Friday, August 26, 2016

Travels With Casey

Confession time: I have really hard time passing up a dog-themed book on the sale table. Seriously, if said book came with a glass of wine and a brownie it would be completely irresistible. So when I saw a hardback copy of Travels with Casey for less than 5 bucks at Books-a-Million you know I bought it! In all fairness, I had just spent that much on a caramel macchiato at the in-store coffee shop. (Froofy coffee, another one of my vices. Yep, I've got issues . . .)

The book sat on my to-be-read pile for a few months before I got to it. The basic premise of the book is:
Neurotic New Yorker rents an RV and travels the country with his dog. He visits various dog-centric people and places along the way.
For the most part I liked the book. I've always thought it would be exciting to rent an RV and travel the country. It's fun to read about somebody who actually did. Other interesting things about the book that appeal to me are:
  • Apparently this author knows Josh Dean who wrote the book Show Dog that I reviewed back in March. It sounds like they were writing their books at the same time.
  • Benoit and Casey came to Jacksonville. In fact, they were doing doga on the beach. I wonder if I saw him? Wouldn't that have been freaky?
  • During his travels he met Amy Burkett from Go Pet Friendly -- one of my absolute favorite blogs!
And there were a couple things I didn't like about the book:
  • The story tends to meander. That's not bad, but it's not my style. I prefer more of a in-your-face John Grisham kind of story to a we'll-get-there-when-we-get-there Alexander McCall Smith kind of story. 
  • I couldn't care less about the author's love life. I'm NOT a romance reader by any means. I want to read about dogs, dragons and dead people, period.
  • I really wish there had been more pictures.
All in all, it was entertaining and definitely worth the $5. Now if only I could talk Hubby into selling everything and buying an RV. I tried really hard when Leah and the pups from Let's Go Dog stopped by here on their perimeter tour of the U.S. last year. Hubby said no. Unless I can either win the lottery or write a million dollar novel, we have to continue working to pay the bills. Dammit. But I'll keep trying! Until then . . . -- K

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back Seat Shepherds

One of the things I don't like about the Jedi Mobile is that the second row seats are bucket seats, not a bench seat. Normally I keep the third row seats folded, reserving the back area for transporting dogs and groceries. Since the middle row are bucket seats, there's only room for two people to sit. Even worse, they do a horrible job keeping the dogs in the very back. Roxy and Jedi will creep up when I'm not looking. Next thing I know, there's dog breath on the back of my neck. I also don't like that the center column between the seats is slanted and made of a slick plastic. The dogs don't get good traction when standing on it and are constantly sliding. I'm afraid one of them is going to get hurt during a sudden stop or sharp turn. Plus, I really don't like dog breath in the back of my neck. What's a girl to do?

I've been looking for a removable barrier. I have a metal one that we've used in the Expedition for long trips. It works. It's sturdy and does a great job keeping the dogs in the very back. But it's also heavy and awkward to put in. It's designed for SUVs so I don't know if it'll even fit in my car.

Mama says "Get Back!"
I saw a heavy duty mesh barrier at the pet store. It went all the way across both back seats. I thought it would be great because Jedi would still be able to see me. However, I wasn't fond of the $60 price tag so that product stayed on the store shelf. Apparently the price turned off a lot of people. There was a heavy layer of dust on the box and the cashier couldn't remember ever selling one

Then I saw the Outward Hound Front Seat Safety Barrier. For $9 it was worth trying. I've had it in for two months now. The dogs have climbed over a several times but a stern "Get back!" has done the trick. Even better, the barrier is a definite indication of where "back" is. I had to remove it to use the back seats for people last week. gasp! The barrier was easy to take down and put back up. However, I'm not as meticulous as Hubby, so now the barrier is askew. (I'll have him fix it later.)

My opinion: The Outward Hound Front Seat Safety Barrier isn't exactly what I was looking for, but for the price I paid it's an OK substitute. However, I'm still looking for something better. Any ideas from you guys? -- K

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Beachy Boy

It's Wordless Wednesday, So I'm going to say this with as few words as possible:

I LOVE THIS DOG!


Nailed it! (I always say too much and Hubby makes fun of me.) Like I said, It's Wordless Wednesday. Click around below and see what others are sharing today! -- K



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Things You Should Know About Rabies

I came back from California to a rabies alert. A rabid raccoon had been found about 5 miles outside my city. The entire community is in a panic. While talking to people I realized that the general public doesn't know a lot about rabies. Perhaps my online friends are in the same category. So, here's some things I thought you should know:

  • Rabies is a virus that infects the central nervous system.

  • All mammals, including humans, are susceptible to the rabies virus. However, certain species are considered rabies vectors (more likely carriers). These include raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, otters, bobcats and bats. Cats and dogs can also be a concern to the public, especially if they are feral and/or free roaming.

  • An animal (or human) contracts rabies through the saliva of an infected animal. It needs to get inside your body to make you sick. This is usually through a bite. There is a small chance that it can come through mucus membranes (i.e. your eyes). You will not get rabies just because a rabid animal walks through your yard.

  • Signs of rabies in an animal include aggression, foaming at the mouth, disorientation, staggering and seizures. Many of these symptoms are also present with distemper, a more common disease among raccoons, dogs, cats and foxes.

  • Rabies is a relatively weak virus and can't live very long outside of a host. That means if even you touch a dead, rabid animal your chances of contracting rabies are small. That being said, I wouldn't handle a dead raccoon without gloves. There are plenty of other nasty things you can pick up from a dead animal.

  • You are not going to die on the spot if you get bitten. (I had a resident who was paranoid about this.) You will have time to get to the doctor. However, don't delay. Thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water then get to the doctor immediately.

  • There are anti-rabies medications out there. They're expensive and can be painful, but they are effective. Your doctor will decide whether or not you need them.

  • The only definitive way to determine if an animal has rabies is to check it's brain tissue. This cannot be done while the animal is still alive. So, when people tell you that they know an animal is rabid by looking at it, know that they are wrong.

  • Just because you see a raccoon out during the day doesn't mean it has rabies. Yes, raccoons are supposed to be nocturnal, but we have totally screwed up raccoons in urban environments. They have learned that if they stay up a little longer they can get free food from humans (garbage cans are rolled out, cats are fed outside, etc.). Also, adolescent raccoons -- like adolescent humans -- like to run around and be stupid when everyone else is asleep.

  • Your chances of getting rabies from an opossum are next to nothing. An opossum's natural body temperature is too low to support the rabies virus. How cool is that?!

  • Your chances of getting rabies from a domesticated dog are also extremely low, especially if it has ever had a rabies vaccine. (You are more likely to get rabies from a cat, especially one that is allowed to roam outside unsupervised.) However, law requires animal control to quarantine any unvaccinated animal that bites a human. A vaccination that has expired is considered "unvaccinated" for quarantine purposes. Most quarantines are for 10 days from the day of the bite and are done at a veterinary or animal control facility. Owners must pay all boarding fees. Quarantining is expensive and inconvenient. Please, vaccinate your pets.

More information about rabies can be found at the Center for Disease Control.


Thanks to Riley's Place for the great photo
Here are a few thing you can do to stay safe when it comes to rabies:

  • Remain calm.

  • Keep your animals' rabies vaccinations up-to-date. This includes cats.

  • If you are bitten by an animal, go to the doctor right away. The doctor will decide whether or not you should receive anti-rabies treatment.

  • If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

  • Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals by leaving food outside and/or garbage cans open.

  • This shouldn't have to be said, but . . . never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. (In some jurisdictions this is illegal.)

  • Teach children that they should never handle unfamiliar animals -- whether wild or domestic -- even if they appear friendly.

  • Prevent bats from entering homes, schools, churches and other occupied spaces.
I hope you feel a little better now. Be smart and stay safe, -- K

Monday, August 22, 2016

Awww...A Touching Tribune

One of the stops on the SoCal Food Tour was The Mexico Cafe. It's a family owned restaurant in San Bernardino. The food was good and the company was great. I think we had 15 people at one huge table. We ate, drank and laughed for a long time. Fortunately, large lingering groups are a regular thing for authentic Mexican meals.

Outside the restaurant was a monument. I was so busy hugging friends that I almost missed it, despite the fact that it was taller than me! Upon closer inspection I saw it was a tribute to local police K-9s. I'm sure I said "Awww..."

Below are pictures I took of all four sides. The sun was glaring on my scratched up screen and my battery was dying, so they're not the best pics from my vacation. Sorry.


Sides one and two have the names of local K-9 Officers. I'm assuming the dates represent time in service, which makes me sad for K-9 Kilo.


A third side explains the reasoning behind the restaurant's annual "Dollars for Dogs" events. At these events K-9s perform demonstrations while officers perform as wait staff. All tips and donations go directly to the organization. From what I can gleam, the restaurant has raised over $100,000 for the K-9 Unit since 2005.


The last side has a poignant quote about the love and loyalty of dogs. It just makes you want to hug your dog, doesn't it?

It's Awww...Monday! Want to start you week with a smile? Click around below and see what others are sharing today. A big thanks to Sandee over at Comedy Plus for hosting this hop. -- K


Saturday, August 20, 2016

SoCal Food Tour

It's Silly Sunday, so here's some random silliness for you. Before I left for California all my Florida friends said "Make sure you post pictures for us on Facebook." Well, I spent most of the time socializing with family and old friends. Boring pictures. So I decided to share food. (Who doesn't love food?) Hubby and I came up with the SoCal Food Tour. We had to eat anyway, right? The rule was we only ate at places we couldn't find at home. Some friends thought it was funny, others thought it was a cop out. We had fun with it -- even the kids got involved! Here were the stops in case you missed the FB posts.

Jack in the Box -- With headquarters in San Diego, this is a predominantly West Coast chain. You can find them in other places throughout the country, but we don't have one in Florida so the kids wanted to give it a try. I was a bit sad to see that the chain has dumped the creepy clown mascot.


Baker's Drive-Thru -- This chain is exclusive to the Inland Empire area of Southern California. On a nostalgic note: I worked the drive thru at a Bakers in my 20s, and the one we ate at was next to my old junior high school. Awww . . .


Rosa Maria's -- Mexican food Mecca! (We ate here twice). This is a family owned hole-in-the-wall with the best food EVER. Until recently there was only one Rosa Maria's and it would close for the entire month of August while the family was on vacation. Fortunately, several family members have branched out and opened three other restaurants in the area. And there are enough employees to enable all four locations to remain open year-round. This is such a big deal that my brother and his new wife took it into consideration before planning an August wedding.


Romano's Macaroni Grill -- Yes, they are all over the country but the closest one to our place is in Orlando. The food wasn't as good as I had remembered. But we met up with some old friends from high school and the great conversation made up for what the food lacked.


In-N-Out Burgers -- You can't go to the southwest without visiting an In-N-Out. The kids loved it. The food was fresh and fast and everything they had heard about. Unfortunately, my uncles didn't tell them about the secret menu until afterwards. Now I guess we'll have to go again so they can experience animal fries.


Hangar 24 Craft Brewery -- OK, It's not technically food, but this microbrewery is worth mentioning. Once upon a time Redlands was full of orange groves. It was the most wonderful place to be in the spring, the smell of orange blossoms was strangely intoxicating. And orange blossom honey was available everywhere. Now there are more condos than citrus trees and you have to buy honey in the grocery store like everybody else.. This brewery is trying to save what orange groves are left. It's most popular beer -- Orange Wheat -- was served at my brother's wedding.


Eureka! -- I had never eaten here before. When I started posting the SoCal food tour on Facebook I got a PM from a local friend saying "You've got to try a Eureka! burger." I did and I was not disappointed. This California chain serves craft beers along with American (although a bit hipster/fusion) cuisine. My favorite part: they'll put avocados on anything.


Del Taco -- Del Taco is unique in that it serves burgers and fries alongside tacos and burritos. We used to hang out here all the time when I was a teenager. Unfortunately, the quality of food has gone down (or maybe my taste in food has gone up). Either way, it seems that Del Taco is no better than Taco Bell these days, and it will not be on the next SoCal food Tour.


Fiesta Village -- Technically not a food place. In fact, I wouldn't recommend eating there at all. The food is on par with Chucky Cheese. However, Fiesta Village has a water park, mini golf courses, laser tag and an arcade that we just can't find here in Florida. So, give me a mini golf course with a windmill on the green and I will gladly pay $4 for a watered-down Coke. Yep, I'm easy.


The Mexico Café -- One Sunday afternoon my family joined all the old long-time friends we could gather at a local restaurant for a large Mexican meal. The food was great (the service not so much). We sat there laughing for hours. As I looked around the room I saw picture after picture of police officers and their K9 dogs. On the way out I saw the monument. Wow. (I'll share more about that later.)


HomeTown Buffet -- This is pretty much a low-budget Golden Corral. We were in the mall and starting to get really hungry. It was convenient and they offered a military discount. (Besides, we had already made plans to eat Rosa Maria's again for dinner.) It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.


Wienerschnitzel -- Anyone who knows me knows that I love hot dogs. When I saw that there was a Wienerschnitzel half a block from the hotel I told Hubby we were not leaving until I got myself a chili cheese dog and a kraut dog. I did, and they were absolutely wonderful. (BTW, when I was a kid it was Der Weinerschnitzel. Anybody know when they lost their Der?)


Johnny Rockets -- We have these in Florida to. I ate at one in Daytona Beach about 10 years ago. But what made this Johnny Rockets special was that it overlooked Hollywood Boulevard. Can't get that in Florida! BTW, I highly recommend the Avocado Chipotle Ranch Chicken Sandwich. Yum!

Gina's Italian Bistro -- This one has a funny story. We spent our last night in California at a friend's house. She said "I'll make you dinner but I want to be on the tour." She served pasta with homemade meatballs and marinara sauce, fresh green beans, sautéed squash, crusty garlic bread, crab stuffed mushrooms and an antipasto plate. Yeah, it was great. So I listed her place on Facebook as:

Gina's Italian Bistro. Very exclusive, by invitation only. (P.S. I beat up a cheerleader in 1983 and earned a permanent invitation.)

OMG it was good. We ate until we hurt, drank wine, laughed, and spent way too much time in the hot tub. It was soooo worth punching that girl in the face!


San Dimas Wine Shop & Tasting Room -- This was the best find of the trip. We spent the early afternoon in downtown San Dimas before heading off to the airport. San Dimas is a cute little town, despite what Gina says. At the very end of the main drag, down by the train tracks, there's this little wine shop. The woman behind the counter was very knowledgeable and happy to pass out samples. To the right of the counter was a case full of personalized wine glasses. Those were for the regulars -- they have scheduled tasting nights! [Insert shocked face here.] And why don't we have something like this in Jacksonville?!


El Pollo Loco -- This chicken place puts all other chicken places to shame, and I almost missed it! For eight days I said "We have to eat at El Pollo Loco before we leave." Somehow, we just kept missing it. Lucky for me, there was an El Pollo Loco half a block from the car rental place in the skeezy part of L.A. I didn't care! I got myself some crazy chicken after all.

Alright, enough with the silly non-dog stuff. I'll get back to dog related content tomorrow. But for now, I think I'm going to see what's in the fridge. For some strange reason, I'm kind of hungry. Want some more silliness? Check out the Silly Sunday posts below. A huge thanks to Sandee at Comedy Plus for putting this hop together every week. Later, -- K

P.S. With all that eating I only gained four pounds. Seriously! Even better, I lost three of the excess pounds my first week back.

P.P.S. Anybody have suggestions for the next SoCal Food Tour?


We're Back!

Guess who's hiring -- again!
Yep, it's been months since my last post. No good excuse for the absence either. I've been really busy and haven't had much to say. Well, I've had a lot to say but most of it was profane and not fit for the internet. So, what's new with me?

First of all, I lost another partner at work. Yep, New Girl left just before Memorial Day, right when things get crazy at work. Like the three before her, New Girl left for a better-paying job in a neighboring city. You'd think management would get a clue. Nope, they just keep hiring people at bargain basement prices, train and certify them, work them to frustration and scratch their heads when people move on. So why am I still here? I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.

In June I discovered that I'm diabetic. You know, I treat my body like shit for 30 years and this is the thanks I get. Not fair; not fair at all. Thanks to this, most of my free time has been spent educating myself on how to live a long and happy life with diabetes. I'm trying to eat better and exercise more -- with moderate success. I've gotten really good about taking my meds and not skipping breakfast. I still haven't completely figured out counting carbs, but I've got my blood sugar under control. Surprisingly, many of the other issues I  had -- constant fatigue, peeing all the time, headaches, inability to sleep despite having no energy -- have almost disappeared. And I've lost fifteen pounds! Sure, it's a drop in the bucket but at least the scale is moving in the right direction.

New family (sort of)
And the biggest news: I have a sister-in-law! After only 16 years, my brother asked his girlfriend to marry him. My entire family (me, hubby, both sons and a girlfriend) flew from Florida to California for the wedding. That was an ordeal. I had to find someone to watch the dogs and someone else to come in the house to take care of the birds and lizard. The logistics of buying plane tickets, reserving hotel rooms, finding a rental car, navigating Southern California and seeing as many people as possible in eight days was quite trying. That being said, it was nice to see everybody. It was also nice to come home to my animals.

While I was gone, it seemed it everything at work blew up. My bosses were calling and texting me before the plane even touch the ground. Currently I have:
  • A dangerous dog case (the owners are deaf which makes communication a lot more difficult)
  • A bad bite case, a rabies alert (rabid raccoon was found 5 miles from work and the community is hysterical)
  • Crossing guard duty (a week before school started it was discovered that the last one wasn't returning so I need to fill in until we can hire a new one)
  • Interviews next week for ACO applicants (cross your fingers, this is our third time advertising in as many months)
  • And way more Dog Club drama than I need
What makes it really bad is that my usual coping mechanisms of booze and brownies are not diabetes friendly. Stupid diabetes. Long story short, I'm a bit overwhelmed right now.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, apparently some people do read my blog. Who knew? I had several family members in California ask about the blog. I've had other people reach out to me on Facebook saying they missed the blog. I didn't know I had regular readers and now I feel like an ass for letting you down. Sorry. Truth is, I didn't have a lot to say. I have a half dozen posts which I started but couldn't find the words to finish. There's probably a few other things I can share too. While we were gone off the grid, Jedi and I continued to train for the nose work trials in October. And work was crazy as ever. I'll share some of these things with you over the next few days. I'm glad you're glad I'm back! Catch you later. -- K