Monthly Archives: March 2009

Meet Jody; Cuddle Up With Nicolas



Today I walked a one year old Akita mix who was surrendered because her owner had died. You could definitely see the Akita features, especially the markings and the tails, but the personality was much more social than akitas generally are. She was very well behaved, very obedient, and very affectionate. Jody is also very smart. She caught on pretty quickly that when I had her sit she would get a treat. So at one point, she sat, then looked up at me expectantly. Okay, I said, and gave her half a treat. She carried it to the edge of the lot we were on, dug a small hole with her paws, dropped the treat in, and pushed dirt over it with her nose! I know in cartoons dogs bury their bones, but I’ve never seen it until now. Here are Jody’s stats:

akita tail

akita tail

  • Name: JODY
  • Sex: spayed female
  • Breed: Akita mix.
  • Age: @ 1 years and 0 months old.
  • Weight: @63 pounds.


After I walked Jody, Nicolas Cage was looking at me with those expressive eyes and big ol’ ears, so I took him out. Nic is an attention hound and a people pleaser. If you want him to behave or to stop doing whatever he is doing, all you have to do is stand still and not look at him and before you know it, he’s sitting right beside your legs. When I brought him back and headed towards the relaxation zone, and I thought that sounded like a good idea after a bit of a workout. He immediately jumped on the couch, I sat down, he ploped his head in my lap and pushed up close against me. Then he rolled over for me to rub his tummy. He is a very energetic young boy, so an active life style would be good for him, but he can also kick back and relax with you!



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Walking Miss Patches

Patches Illustrating the "Sit" Command

Patches Illustrating the "Sit" Command

Patches and I went on a very long walk today timewise because we were working on some obedience commands and her not pulling. She has sit down pat, well if you have a treat that is. Nevertheless, she knows the command. And is not doing too bad with Stay. The biggest thing is the pulling because she still has all that puppy energy and wants to run run run. I ran with her for a bit because I need the excercise, but she has four legs and I only have two, so it’s not really fair. Ha. She’s also very very curious. She watched some of the big construction machines for a while and also explored a lot. I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but Patches has the most beautiful green eyes I’ve ever seen on a dog! (or a human for that matter). And her big ears are so expressive! After we got back to the shelter she curled up with a teddy bear on her bed.

Patches, Urban Explorer

Patches, Urban Explorer

The Humane Society was crowded today (with people, cars, and dogs). There were puppies on the main floor and they were so small and squirmy and adorable. Usually they are in the puppy room. I wondered if they might be expecting more visitors because of the e-waste drop off program going on. You can drop off your old electronics for recycling for free (many places charge a fee to recycle these), while helping the humane society raise funds as well.

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Filed under animals, Excercise, service

The Good Life

Yesterday I explored The Good Life Market at the Banksville Shopping Plaza on Banksville Road. It was recently reaffirmed that I have insanely high cholesterol, so I thought I’d see what they had in the way of whole grains and other foods my nutritionist had suggested. The nutritionist especially recommended whole grains, things high in fiber, and things with “the good fat” as I call it (mono- and poly-unsaturated, omega 3 fatty acids, etc…the stuff you get from almonds, fish…). The young woman who was working there was very knowledgeable and very helpful. I didn’t use one of the available buggies, because I thought I was “just looking” so I had quite an arm load by the time I was done. In toto:

some of my bootie from

some of my bootie from The Good Life Market- 3141 Banksville Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15216

  • Tinkyada Brown Rice Veggie Rotini
  • Deboles Multi Grain Spaghetti
  • Amy’s Cheese Enchilada Meal (frozen dinner)
  • Amy’s Black Bean Enchilada
  • Amy’s Brown Rice Bowl
  • Amy’s Tortilla Casserole
  • Amy’s Original Rolled Oats
  • Barbara’s Cinnamon Puffins
  • Bob’s Red Mill Muesli
  • Organic Adzuki Beans
  • Westsoy Rice Drink
  • Woodstock Farms Organic Almonds
  • Red Yeast Rice Supplement
  • Bach’s Flower Essences: Rescue Remedy, Rockrose, and Pine (I used to have about 10 different ones but I forgot them in a refrigerator where I used to live and my old roommates threw them out :()

Hopefully this will help me to live The Good Life…a healthy, eco-conscious, guilt-free lifestyle!

Its the good life, Better than the life I lived,
When I Thought that I was gonna go crazy
Now my grandmama aint the only girl callin’ me baby
And if you feelin’ me now,
then throw yo hands up in the sky

-Kanye West “The Good Life”

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Things I’m Thankful For Today

i miss u every second we are apart maimunka

i miss u every second we are apart maimunka

Things I am Thankful for on Saturday, 28 March

  1. Seeing Rado
  2. Hugging and kissing  and talking to and looking at Rado
  3. azeukiNot getting hurt when all my books and pictures on my tall bookshelf fell on top of me. Yes, it still works to do an upper block when things are falling on you.
  4. Almonds. They taste good and will help lower my high cholesterol.
  5. Red Yeast Rice capsules. No taste, but also supposed to lower my cholesterol.
  6. Making progress on cleaning the apartment
  7. Listening to NPR– “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” and “Whad’Ya Know?” and knowing the umami answer (the fifth taste)
  8. an english toffee scone (probably not good for the cholesterol, but tasty)
  9. that i have a car to get places faster when i need to
  10. hope

Week Re-cap: Good things from this week

  1. change is possible, even if it’s hard
  2. all the spanish i learned is somewhere in my brain and i am recalling more and more of it
  3. conversations with horacio castellanos moya, whose mind works the same as mine–knowing i’m not crazy, or if i am, there are more of us
  4. having a job, if only for another two weeks
  5. new friends (leanna, jake, lance, jen, horacio i’m talking to you)
  6. children….their size astounds me as much as their capability for growth. max loves to come to the coffee shop to see me and i am constantly amazed at how smart and funny and real such a tiny person is (he is just over a year old). it makes me know i want to have some someday
  7. sleep. missed a lot of it this week, so i’m appreciating every minute of it
  8. driving horacio to greensburg and seeing him see the amish in their horses and buggies for the first time
  9. meeting new people (camila, james)
  10. intercultural communication

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Filed under Friends and Family, life, the universe, and everything, words

Extra, Extra!

A walk with Nicolas Cage

A walk with Nicolas Cage (photo by Karl Polacek)

I love to take long leisurely walks with Nicolas Cage. Nic is such a ladies’ man. I love his big ears and expressive eyes. If only I didnt’t have to pick up his poop. Of course I’m talking about Buff and white Pit-bull terrior mix Nicolas Cage, not the internationally known actor Nicolas Cage. Why would I want to go on walks with him? Anywaaaaays, here are some extra pictures that Karl Polacek took when he was putting together the Humane Society article and gallery.

Deep in conversation with Nic

Deep in conversation with Nic (Photo by Karl Polacek)

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Driving Sr. Moya

Horacio Castellanos Moya

Horacio Castellanos Moya (Photo: Heather Mull)

I volunteer with the City of Asylum Pittsburgh, and today I had the pleasure of driving one of the writers, Horacio Castellanos Moya, to a reading/q&a session at Westminster College in Greensburg, PA. I had never driven there before, so I got directions from Google Maps. We got there without a hitch, and talked the whole time– philospohy, physics, religion, writing, etc. After we got off of 79 we were in farm country and passed many Amish buggies (Horacio’s first time to see them). The Amish houses all have blue painted doors. Once there, the professor who arranged for Moya to come, along with three other professors and three students took us to dinner at Rachel’s Roadhouse. Never one to turn down free food, I had the portobello pasta. During dinner I talked with two of the professors, Camila  of Argentina who says my Spanish is good (i think her ears are kind), and James Perkins who was the only professor along from the English department (the others were from the modern languages dept). I translated some of the ongoing Spanish conversations for him and also talked about poetry and literature with him. We got back to the college and had some downtime in which I had coffee and looked at books. Camila showed me the cafeteria, the “soul” of the campus, as she said, and James showed me his favorite spot on campus, a long narrow area with comfy chairs in front of a floor to ceiling window with a view of the campus, including the man-made lake supposedly in the shape of Alabama. One of the president’s of the university is also said to have water skiied on it. Then it was time for the reading, where Horacio read from his novel Senselessness (excerpt). He read the entire first chapter and part of the sixth. I absolutely have to read it now. It is about a horrific tragedy (massacre of indigenous peoples of honduras), but also has humor. He said sometimes you have to laugh or you will cry. I say that when there is humor and lighter moments in a book, it makes the tragic ones hit even harder for the stark contrast. After the reading, he took questions. One man asked to hear the first page in Spanish, which Horacio complied with. He reads in the same rhythym in both English and Spanish, something I noticed about Russian poet Ilya Kaminsky. The Russians also laugh in the face of tragedy….I guess it is a human thing. Don’t want to get too philosophical here right now, because we got enough philosophical on the carride home to last me at least a week. We also manged to get a little lost. Those roads are sooo dark and there were no stars out even to guide us. When we realized we didn’t recognize anything anymore, we tried to back track to a point where we recognized, but somehow got off the course and ended up in a city. There was life and we could stop for directions finally. Then we realized it was Grove City so we just got on 79 and went back to Pittsburgh.

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Filed under books, miscellaneous, philosophy, service, writing

Trib Article: Society Works to Find Unwanted Pets New Homes


slide show photos by karl

slide show photos by karl polacek



It’s up— Society Works to Find Unwanted Pets New Homes—article and photos by Karl Polacek. It is a good overview of what’s going on at the Humane Society right now including statistics. Polacek also makes use of anecdotal evidence, providing a close up on the case of  an abused cocker spaniel, which really helps to give a face to the plight of homeless pets. Numbers are good because they provide the absolute evidence, but stories are emotional and put us in touch with our humanity. I hope some people who read this will be inspired to donate their time, money, or needed items to the WPA Humane Society. I am in photo 7/8 in the accompanying photo gallery. I hope people don’t think Nicolas Cage looks mean because he is such a sweetie and a people pleaser. Some pit bulls have other dog agression issues because of their innate breeding, but they are also preprogrammed with loving and listening to people. When bullies were used for fighting, the handlers had to know that in the heat of the battle, if they reached in the dog would distinguish between opponent and human and not attack the human. So pit bulls are actually notoriously GREAT with people! In the photo Nic is passing kisses and they’re pulling to investigate each other. They may have been best pals together (more likely since they are opposite sex), but we are told not to let the dogs get close to each other just in case they don’t get a long. Of course, the dogs in community runs are cool with the other dogs in their pen, but you just have to err on the side of caution because you don’t want any of these angels getting hurt. I love working with the dogs. They are all so grateful for the extra attention and fresh air and are a joy to interact with.

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