Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Last Sunday Stealing of August!!!

I don't have a picture for this post, so enjoy this lovely fractal! 
 Hi everyone! It is time again for Sunday Stealing! I know it is still Saturday night, but just go with it. 
This meme doesn't seem to have a particular name except for "More". If you want to do your own Sunday Stealing post, link up at the Sunday Stealing Blog!

Alright. Here goes nothing. 

Have you ever said you would never love again? 
No. It is pretty hard not to love!

Have you heard a song today that reminds you of somebody? 

Kind of. I heard "Karma Police" and it reminded me of a whole group of people I used to hang out with when I was about 18. We listened to the alternative station pretty much constantly, and Karma Police was one of my favorites!

Do you apologize first? 

Usually. I can't stand people being mad at me. 

Has someone made a promise to you and broke it? 

Billions of times! Billions, I tell you! 

Have you ever won a lot of money in a slot machine? How much? 

I've never actually played a slot machine. But once at Enchanted Castle I was playing that game where the wheel spins around and you have to try to stop it on a certain color, and I landed it on the smallest color and got about a thousand tickets!

Do you watch sport on TV even though you aren’t a sporty person yourself? 

No, but right now I am in the same room where my dad is watching a baseball game.

Do you eat / drink at your computer? 

I drink at my computer a lot. I find it hard to eat at my computer because I need both of my hands to type!

How much do you overeat at special occasions? (Birthdays, Christmas, etc) 

Uh,,, a lot? How do I measure that?

Do you require glasses / contacts to see properly? If so, which do you use? 

Yes because I have an astigmatism. I wear glasses. I'm afraid if I tried to use contacts I'd poke my eye out! I don't wear them as much as I should though. I only wear them for driving or reading, basically. 

When you hear your voice back on a recording, do you think it sounds awful? 
I sound like a really little kid. Or an elf. 

When was the last time you got the hiccups? 

Probably a few weeks ago. I get them a lot. But my dad knows this guy at work who got the hiccups one day and had them for a whole month and they wouldn't stop! The doctors couldn't figure out why! The poor guy was ready to kill himself. Literally. Because he was hiccuping every few seconds, at all times, and he couldn't sleep or anything. Finally the doctor managed to stop it by putting him on anti-seizure medication. Weird, right? 

If you had to, which record would you go into Guinness World Records for? 

I have no idea! Having the highest amount of puppies on my lap at once?

The last sweet thing you ate: What was it? 

A Drumstick cone. 

Do you have a middle name? 


Do you find it embarrassing? 

No, it's a very common middle name. Pretty standard, really. 

Uh... I guess that's it? Okay! Now for the Happiness Challenge. I am happy that I spent the day volunteering with my dog rescue organization and got to hang out with a sweet old man dog named Rickles who loves to play catch with a stuffed animal! I am happy I bought my Small Dog some of her favorite little squeaky balls today! And I am happy my little cousins are coming over tomorrow for a tie-dying party! 

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

High Five Friday!

I found out about this linky party thingy from Nannypology, who found it on Lauren Elizabeth. It's kinda like the Happiness Challenge, but for Fridays! The idea is to share five of your favorite things from the past week... not necessarily blog posts, just things. Join in if you want! You can link up by clicking this button.

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

1. I survived the week of being on my own... along with my dogs! I proved to myself that I can live on my own again without having constant panic attacks. I will be fine. (Now if only I could find a job, so I could get a place to live on my own!) 

2. I  visited with my Nona, and had a great time. We went out for lunch, went to K-Mart, and watched TV. She gave me some magazines to take home, too! My Nona is one of my favorite people! 

3. I got lots of sunshine even though I also got plenty of humidity and heat! I am not usually one for air conditioning... I grew up without it, so I rarely feel the need to turn it on... but this week I've been cranking that baby up!

4. I started polishing my writing skills again by starting on a new novel. It is pretty much a redo of a novel I started, but never finished, a long time ago. Let me know if you'd like to read what I have so far... I'd love any advice and criticism!

5. My parents are coming home today! It will be nice to see them and see lots of pictures of the baby. And I know my Big Dog will be happy... she's been very homesick for them. (Small Dog, on the other hand, is content to be up my butt at all times. Right now she's literally trying to climb under my butt, because it's storming and she's scared of thunder!)

So it was a pretty great week, after all, wasn't it!  
Now go write your own High Five post, and lets all have a great weekend!

PS... I sure use a lot of exclamation marks, don't I? Here are some question marks to balance it off? ???????????????????????

Thursday, August 29, 2013

No, It's Not Amazing. It's Not Amazing At All.

This is a picture of the Avenue of the Giants. The picture is
from the town where my brother used to live. When I visited him
we would hike in this type of forest every day! Because it was,
like, right there. Talk about an AMAZING experience! 
You know what word irritates me lately? 


It used to be a perfectly good word... until everything became amazing. 

If you have a child, your child is absolutely amazing. If you're dating someone, the person you're dating is just amazing. If you go on a vacation, the scenery was amazing. If you try a new recipe, the recipe is amazing. If you buy a new outfit, you look amazing. 

For some reason, the thing that pushed me over the edge with this word was a magazine article that asked people to give advice about how to feel confident in social situations. One person said, "I put on an amazing shade of red lipstick." 

I love the color red. It is my favorite color. But how can a shade of red lipstick be amazing? 

The definition of "amazing," according to the Oxford Dictionary, is "causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing." But the dictionary page adds that the informal definition of the word, as it is commonly used, is "very impressive, excellent.

There are some things in this world that are actually amazing. Redwood trees, for instance, and their close relatives, Sequoias.  Have you ever seen them? These ancient trees can grow up to 380 feet tall, and can be more than 100 feet wide. They can live up to 3,000 years! There are trees that are set up over roads so that you can actually drive a car through the hollows. But just telling you the facts about these trees can't really describe them. I've been in the Redwood Forest. Standing amidst these giant trees, leaning against one and looking up and seeing them reaching almost to the sky, and even being able to climb inside the trunk of one and feel like you're inside an elf's house... the feeling is... well, amazing.

Other things can be great, but aren't necessarily amazing. For those things, there are many different lovely words that can be substituted. Here are some.

That cookie you just ate? Was it so delicious that "delicious" just won't do it justice? Maybe it was delectable, divine, enticing, exquisite, mouthwatering, rich, savory, scrumptious, succulent, or titillating!

Is your child really smart? Maybe she's alert, brainy, brilliant, clever, exceptional, sharp, resourceful, acute, exceptional, keen, wise, or witty? Or you might describe her more as imaginative, inventive, gifted, inspired, or innovative.      

Aren't words fun? There are so many of them to choose from, and you can get your point across so much more effectively than just saying, amazing.

What is your least favorite word? What words do you wish people would use instead?

Oh yeah, and for the Happiness Challenge... I am happy that I have a grocery bag full of old magazxines that my Nona gave me yesterday, so I have lots of things to read! I really love magazines! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To Grandmother's House We Go

Me with my Nona at her birthday party about a year
Yesterday I spent most of the day visiting my grandparents!
I started off my life with five grandparents... my mom's parents, my dad's parents, and my dad's stepmom. But my dad's father and stepmom died when I was a kid, and my dad's mom died when I was about 21, so now my maternal grandparents are the only ones left! They are the grandparents I've always known the best anyways because they helped to raise me... my brother and I used to stay at their house a whole lot. I call them Nona and Bopop... Nona is the Italian word for grandmother, and Bopop is just a silly name I made up for him when I was just learning to talk. My brother and all six of my cousins (I'm the oldest on that side of the family) call her Nona, but only my brother and two of my cousins call him Bopop all the time. Another two call him Bopop or Grandpa, and the youngest two just call him Grandpa... it all depends on what their parents teach them to call him, I guess. I'm not sure what Squeak will call them when he gets big enough to talk... I hope Nona and Bopop, like we do. 

I go to see them every so often, usually when I have time off of work. We have a pretty good routine. Generally my Nona and I (and sometimes Bopop if he's not playing poker or something with his friends) will go out to lunch, and then go to K-Mart (where she always insists on buying me something!!!), and then come home and watch TV and/or play cards. Sometimes if I can stay late enough I stay for dinner too, which is always hella good because my Nona is a good cook and even if she's just making something simple like spaghetti she makes it all elaborate and there are rolls in a basket and salad and applesauce for side dishes and dessert too. 

(This time I only stayed for lunch because I had to get home and let Small Dog and Big Dog out so they don't do their bathroom tasks on the floor just to spite me for being gone too long!)

I always loved my Nona when I was a child... she was a second mother to me really. But it is strange that, as I get to know her as an adult, I love her even more! It is so cool to actually just sit and talk with them. I guess throughout my whole childhood and teenage years, I never actually talked with them that much, because usually when I was at their house there were ninety billion other people around. Even now at family gatherings it is the same way... we are Italian and most of them talk pretty loud and interrupt each other and everything... so for me it has always been easy to get lost in the shuffle. When I was little there was a space in the living room, between the picture window and the living room chairs, and I would go back there and block myself in with the ottoman and read in peace. 

So now it is a completely different experience to just be able to talk with them, and only them. And they really listen to me. I mean, when I'm there, you'd think I'm the most fascinating person they've ever met, the way they listen and pay attention! They listen and they actually think about and process what I say!

It is also weird to me that I have so much in common with my Nona. I mostly take after my dad's side of the family... that side is most likely where my Aspergers and other mental health issues come from genetically, although I believe ADHD runs on both sides of the family. But every time I talk to my Nona I find things I have in common with her. Just weird little things. Like she gets anxious being alone in the house too, and she used to have excema, even on her eyelids the way I do, and her eyes run when she eats (I know, so gross... its allergies though.) She tells me stories about my parents and aunt and uncles... she told me, for instance, that even back when my mom was a little, little kid she was a perfectionist, and had to have her room super clean and neat at all times. She'd have her crayons all organized and never peeled them or broke them, and they'd all be fresh like new, and she'd have everything arranged in her little play kitchen just perfectly. When her cousins, a wild bunch of ten, came over and played, my mom would get upset because they messed up her stuff! 

My Nona also remembers weird little things about me, that my parents don't seem to remember. For instance she says that when I was a toddler I never smiled or laughed, and my aunt and uncle would go crazy trying to get me to laugh, and I'd just stare curiously at them. And she remembers that I was a really slow eater and would be sitting at the table eating for an hour after everyone else got up.

Some things that I swear happened, but my mom says I just imagined... I find out from my Nona that they did happen! I always thought I remembered that, when I was a little kid, my aunt and uncle would lay garbage bags down on the grass and spray them with a hose, and we'd use that as a "Slip and Slide" because we didn't have a real one until much later. But my mom always said that we actually had some other version of a Slip and Slide, maybe a Crocodile Mile. So yesterday when we were in K-Mart we passed through the toy section, and I saw a Slip and Slide, I asked Nona, "Did we have that at your house when I was little?"

And she replied, "I don't think we had a real one. I think we just put garbage bags down on the grass."


Today for my Happiness Challenge, I am happy that I got to hang out with my grandparents yesterday. 

Also I am happy that I had fun playing with the hose like a geek all by myself in the backyard today! I was using it to water the plants, but it was about a billion degrees out, so I started spraying it in the air and letting it rain down on me. I did this for far too long. It was fun! My dogs, however, didn't appreciate being included in the surprise shower! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not So Bad After All!

This picture is pretty old but one of my favorites. It is from New
Years Eve a few years ago. They were afraid of the
fireworks so they decided it was safest to get into a pile! 
 On Friday night when my parents were getting ready to go on their trip, I was kind of panicking about the idea of being alone in the house for a whole week. I was really afraid I was going to be lonely and depressed! Usually in the past when they went on trips, I was working at the time, so I was basically still in my usual routine for the bulk of the day. Plus since I was working, I generally was tired by 10 pm and konked out with no trouble... so really I only had to contend with being alone for about 6 hours a day. But since I'm not working now, the thought of being alone in the house, 24/7, day after day, freaked me out! I tried to deal with it by planning on going to Meetup events every single day so that I would at least have something to fill up a few hours per day. 

I am now four days into my stint of loneliness, and guess what? I am fine! In fact, I am enjoying being alone! I haven't even gone to most of my Meetup events. (That isn't necessarily a good thing. I shouldn't self-isolate or whatever you wanna call it. But I'm just saying, I haven't been desperate for a distraction!) I've been fine with being home with my dogs to keep me company!

There are many things I can do when I am home alone, without having to worry. Here are a few. 

1. If I cook something like macaroni and cheese, I can put the pot in the sink and deal with it when I get to it, instead of immediately having to run upstairs and wash it the second I finish my dinner!

2. I can leave my keys, shoes and purse downstairs by the door, instead of having to take them up to my room as soon as I get home. 

3. I can use the computer whenever I want, for as long as I want, without anyone pointing out something more useful I could be doing. In fact I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and it doesn't have to be useful at all! 

4. I can open the windows or close them or do whatever I want with them. I mean if it is raining they should be shut... but other than that, who cares?

5. I can watch whatever I want on the TV and I don't have to share with anyone. 

6. I can drink as much Dr. Pepper as I want without anyone offering a running commentary on my eating habits.

7. I can wear whatever I want. I can wear a dress. I can wear overalls. I can wear the world's most oldest, worn out T-shirt. Nobody can tell me not to! 

8. I don't get that panicky feeling in my stomach when it is time for my mom to come home. Generally, for my entire life, I've automatically tried to detect my mom's mood when she comes home or when I get up in the morning. I would listen to the sound of her voice if she is talking to anyone, the sound of her footsteps, etc. If she's in a bad mood there is not much I can do... no matter what she is going to scan the room and find something to rip me a new one about (see numbers 1 through 7 for examples of things that might piss her off at any given moment) but at least I can prepare myself. I know to be quiet and try to be invisible. If she starts vacuuming I know I am up Shit Creek without a paddle. If my dad is home and she's arguing with him, it could go well for me (she's mad at him so is super nice to me) or poorly (she can group me in with my dad and I get the trickle down effect of whatever he's in trouble for.) But if she's in a good mood then I know I can go upstairs and talk to her and things are fine. 
So really when they're not here, I don't have to be on the alert all the time. And it is kind of a nice feeling! 

Okay, so for the Happiness Challenge... I am happy that I have proved to myself that I can be alone for long amounts of time without going crazy. At least if my dogs are with me. My dogs make all the difference. They really do. They are my saviors. And I am happy I have them. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Stealing: Young At Heart:

I miss my AG Bear! He looked just like this! Until my puppy
chewed up his shirt.
 HI everyone! I am alarmed to announce that I slept until 4:30 pm today! Well actually I got up at 7 to take my dogs for a walk so they wouldn't peepee on the floor, and then I went back to bed and slept until noon, and then I went downstairs and fell asleep on the couch until 4:30. Not a very productive day. But I am not feeling so good... I'm really light headed and sort of feel like my body is tingling... like I'm about to disappear. So maybe I needed the sleep! Haven't eaten anything yet today either. For once in my life I am not hungry!
I am outside now blogging so that I can get some sunshine into my system before night time... hopefully I won't be wide awake all night now! The good news is that my neighbor kid (from the house with my Neighbor Lab) brought me some homemade cupcakes! DInner! LOL!

It is time for another round of Sunday Stealing! This one was stolen from Lacey Eagle Bear. If you want to participate, you can just go over to the Sunday Stealing blog and link up! 

1. Are you a young heart or an old soul? I am a little of both! Sometimes I am pretty wise, and sometimes I feel like I'e lived a hundred years already. But I'm also young at heart because in many ways I think like a kid... I still love sweet things, bright colors, swingsets, rollercoasters, and stuffed animals!

2. What makes someone a best friend? Someone who understands you and cares about you as much as they would a sibling... and vice versa. 

3. What Christmas present do you remember the most? When I was about 8 I got an AG Bear. It was this teddy bear with a speaker in its back, only it didn't say real words like a Teddy Ruxpin. Instead whenever it "heard" a noise it would repeat it in a mumbling sound. I loved that bear like he was my child! My mom used to make me take the speaker out at night because the mumbling woke me up in the middle of the night. I still have him somewhere... but I think his speaker broke! 

4. Tell me a movie/song/TV show/playbook that has changed your life. Um, nothing like that has actually CHANGED MY LIFE! I guess I am not that easily effected by movies and songs and TV shows! 

5. Name one physical feature that you like about yourself and one that you dislike. I like my eyes because they are a cool color... sort of brown in the inside and gold on the outside with little random flecks. I've always been told I had cool eyes. I do not like my face because I look like a potato! 

6. Can money buy happiness? Temporarily, maybe. 

7. What’s more important in a relationship: physical 

attraction or emotional connection? Emotional
 connection. If you don't have that, then the other person stops being physically attractive to you. Have you ever noticed that when you really love someone, they always look beautiful to you, even if other more neutral parties don't agree?

8. Is there anyone close to you that you know you can’t trust? Used to be several, but luckily they are not in my life anymore! 

9. Where was your favorite place to go when you were a little kid? Probably our summer vacation spot in Wisconsin... it was, and still is, Heaven to me. I also loved Santa's Village, which was a little amusement park we used to go to a lot!

10. Have you spent a night in the hospital? I spent three weeks in the hospital when I was a teenager. But it wasn't a normal hospital. It was an adolescent mental health unit. Terrible place! 

11. Do you enjoy being only with 1-2 friends or with a large group of people? One or two friends. When I am with a large group of people I get overwhelmed and pretty much lost in the shuffle. 

12. Have you ever been bullied? I was bullied during a lot of my childhood, from fifth grade on through the middle of high school!

13. If your partner wanted to wait until marriage until having sex, would you stay in that relationship? Of course!

14. Do you believe in God? In my own way, I do. I don't follow any sort of organized religion. I feel like that is something personal between you and God, and no other humans can tell you who or what to believe. 

15. Out of all the social networks in the world why use a blog? It is my connection with the world. I can write more than a sentence at a time, and really put my heart into it, unlike having to stick to quick status updates. I can also learn more about other people and connect more with others, by reading their blogs. 

16. What is your quirkiest habit? I dunno... you tell me!

17. What is normal? Are you normal? Not really. No. 

18. Someone close to you is dying! You have the choice to let this person live for 10 more years but if you do you cause the death of 10 strangers. What is this, the Book Of Questions? I guess I would let the other person choose. If they felt like they were desperate to live, in spite of the consequences, I would let them live. If they felt like they were ready to die, I would let them go. 

19. What is one thing you could never forgive? Someone hurting one of my pets! 

20. When you’re alone in your own home, do you talk out loud to yourself? Maybe not to myself, but I do talk all the time to my dogs. Because they are always home with me, I am never actually home alone.

21. Who is your favorite super hero? Do Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles count? 

22. Could you be in a long distance relationship? Sure. 

23. Do you know what makes you happy? My dogs  make me happy. Being with kind people makes me happy. Dr. Pepper makes me happy. 

24. Who was your first crush? A kid named Victor in my first grade class. I don't remember why! I barely ever talked with him... in fact now that I think of it, he was Hispanic, and didn't speak much English, and I didn't speak Spanish. So I would get my friends who were Hispanic girls to talk to him and tell me what he said! 

25. Where is your favorite place to go out and eat? I want to go to Rain Forest Cafe but nobody ever goes with me. Other than that, I love small family-run restaurants like the ones we sometimes eat at up in Wisconsin, such as Little Bohemia. 

26. Are you an early bird or night owl? Kinda both. I like being up early, and I like staying up late. It is the middle of the day that really wears me out! 

27. Give me an unpopular opinion you have. Many people feel that undocumented immigrants (aka illegal aliens) should be caught and immediately sent back. I feel like we should be a little more lenient. We are lucky to have been born in the United States. We should count our lucky stars that we were born with the right to be here. I just feel like it is not fair for us to keep others out just because they were born somewhere else! There are many people I know of who were born here as US citizens, whose famllies have been here for generations, who certainly don't "deserve" to be here. For instance, child molesters and animal torturers. How about we deport them, and let in anyone from other countries who is willing to obey the laws and work hard and not hurt anyone? That is an unpopular opinion and now I'd better duck. But that is what I believe. 

28. Do you believe in giving kids medals and trophies for participation?  I can see both sides... on one hand you don't want kids to feel that they are entitled to a trophy even if they didn't work hard, and on the other hand  you don't want to discourage kids who love the sport but are not as talented or physically coordinated as others. How about giving one kid from the team a small trophy after every game? Pick the kid who deserves it the most for that game. Make sure every kid gets the chance to get a trophy at some point in the season, but that it is for a reason that they can be really proud of, not just because they showed up.

29. What song best describes your life right now? Busted Heart, by Bishop Allen. Not the title necessarily... just the lyrics. 

30. How do you express your creativity? Writing or blogging. Obviously! 

31. Describe your neighborhood. Working class suburban neighborhood. Half of the houses were built in the 1920's -30's, and it used to be that the rest of them were built in the 50's-60's-870's... all moderately sized three bedroom houses, basically. Now there are a lot of larger, newer houses being built. Or people will just keep building huge additions on top of the already existing houses! 

32. Give me the story of your life in 6 words. Sometimes life rocks. Sometimes life sucks. 

Well, that was a pretty cool meme, or whatever these are called! 
And now for the Happiness Challenge. I am happy that I am feeling much better today and not so anxious or depressed. I am happy Emma brought me cupcakes. I am happy to be outside blogging with my dogs. I am happy that I will probably rent a Red Box movie later. I am happy that tomorrow I might o out for pizza with a Meetup group. I am happy that I watered all the flowers today and then I sprayed the air and saw a rainbow and then I put the hose on mist and sprayed it on myself to cool off. 

See ya tomorrow! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013


This is me right now!
 I have always hated being alone. When I was a little kid, I didn't even like playing in my own room unless someone was at least on the same floor of the house with me. When I got a little older I could tolerate being alone on one floor of the house as long as someone was on the floor right below it. For instance I didn't like to be upstairs in my bedroom, if everyone else was in the basement, but it was okay if someone was on the main floor, in the living room or kitchen or something.
Now I can usually handle being alone in the house all of the time, on any floor. Night time still bothers me but I just turn on all the lights. I can stand this for one or two days in a row, if nobody else is home. But once it stretches into multiple days, or weeks, I start to go stir crazy!
It isn't that I'm afraid of being alone. Not exactly. It is the feeling of being alone that I hate... I feel like the air is closing in around me. Its the feeling of emptiness everywhere.
Having my dogs helps me a lot because they are a comfort to me and take away some of the emptiness. If I were completely alone without even any dogs, I would literally be throwing myself against the walls! (This really did happen once when I had my own apartment but no pets were allowed, and I was completely off my meds because I couldn't pay for them... I got so depressed and stir crazy I was pretty much crashing into walls just for the sensory feeling of it!) (I know. I'm weird.)
So remember how I was talking about my parents going to see my brother and sister-in-law and Squeak and all that? The time has come!
(I probably shouldn't be saying that in a blog... but I am not worried because my neighbors are cops and my other neighbors have vicious rottweilers and there is a trained ninja skunk in my backyard and they are all keeping an eye on the house!)
Last night I was so nervous, I couldn't even sleep. I stayed awake tossing and turning until about three in the morning, then passed out until five am, and I woke up then because my parents were getting ready to leave for their flight. I tossed and turned some more and then fell into a fitful sleep filled with really bizarre dreams, until I woke up at 9:30 and had to get ready for my volunteer job!
When I am going through depression and anxiety I have trouble doing normal things like eating or even reading, watching TV or using the computer! My anxiety was probably at around an 8 out of 10 after I came home from my volunteer job, and I could barely sit still... but I went outside with the dogs for a while, and I brought one of Small Dog's little tennis balls out to throw to her (although mostly she just kicks it around herself, because she is a really odd dog) and then I came in and made some macaroni and cheese, and ate while watching TV, and now I am using the computer... so I guess now my anxiety is down to about a 5!
Wow, this is a really boring blog post, isn't it? Hopefully I'll have a more interesting topic for tomorrow! 
As for the Happiness Challenge... I am happy I volunteered today and got to spend the day with a cool little rat terrier named Rickles, I am happy that I bought some new shelves to try to help organize my room a little, I am happy it was nice and sunny and hot out today, I am happy my dogs are here with me, and I am happy that I will probably fall asleep early tonight and feel better in the morning! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stuff I Know About Dogs

Hi everyone! I don't have a lot to write about today because I have been doing nothing but sitting around on my buttocks lately don't want to brag too much about my exciting adventures lately. So I thought I'd tell you some of the things I know about dogs. You may know that I really love animals...all animals... but especially dogs. I have a notebook in which I keep important things such as photos  and momentos and what not, and I also have some pages where I write down facts that I learn about dogs. Want to hear them? Of course you do! Listen up! 

1. Dogs have sweat glands in the pads of their paws. This is really the only place they sweat from. If it is hot out, the best way to help a dog cool off is to put some cool water on his paw pads!

2. The reason dogs' noses are wet is because the wetness helps attract more scent particles so that they can smell more things. When they lick their noses, they are actually able to taste the scent particles that they are smelling! The wet stuff is not saliva. Its mucus! Their wet noses also help to keep them cool.

3. The name of the dog on the Cracker Jack box is Bingo! The name of the Taco Bell chihuahua is Gidget, and she's a rescued dog! The name of the Target dog is Bullseye, and he is a pit bull! The original Target dog's name was Smudgie, and he was a  Kingsmere Moondoggie, which is a breed I am not familiar with. 

4. Basenjis are born unable to bark! But they do have voices. They can growl or whine, and they can make a yodeling sound sometimes. 

5. The smallest dog in history was a four ounce Yorkshire Terrier. The current smallest dog is Heaven Sent Brandy, a chihuahua who is six inches long from nose to tail. 
Heaven Sent Brandy

5 1/2. The smallest breed of dog is the chihuahua. The average chihuahua is four to six pounds. Tea cup chihuahuas (weighing less than four pounds) cannot be purposely bred. When you see a very tiny chihuahua weighing less than four pounds, it is usually because the dog was the runt of her litter or had/has health problems. They can be difficult to own because their bones are like toothpicks so they can't play very much or jump off furniture, and their diet must be carefully regulated because they can only eat a little at a time and are prone to blood sugar problems. 

6. Dogs can hear sounds four times further away than humans have. They have 18 or more moving muscles in each ear. They can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second! 

7. Dogs can see in color! Not all colors, though, They can detect blues and yellows.Red and green look the same to them... similar to a color blind person's sight! Also, dogs see better in low light than in bright light. They have membranes in their eyes to help them see in the dark. 

8. The BIGGEST dog in history was an English Mastiff that weight 343 pounds! The current largest living dog is Zeus, a Great Dane from Michigan who is more than seven feet from nose to tail, and 44 inches from foot to shoulder.

9. The average dog can run 19 miles per hour. But Greyhounds can reach up to 45 miles per hour! 

10. The average temperature for a dog is 102 degrees.

11. The oldest dog in history was Buddy, an Australian Cattle Dog (just like my dog-cousin!) who lived to be 29 years old. 

12. The most ancient breed of dog is the Greyhound.

13. Dogs have 220 million smell detecting cells in their noses. The scent-detecting area of their brain is four times larger than that of a human. Dogs can smell 1,000 times better than humans. They can also detect individual smells even when mixed together. For instance, while a human might smell cookies baking, a dog can smell the chocolate, the sugar, the flour, the eggs, etc, all separately. 

14. Dogs have 1,700 taste buds. Humans have 10,000. Dogs can detect the tastes of bitter, sweet, salty and sour, but not as well as we can. They especially like the taste of meat, but they also enjoy sweet things. In the wild, dogs will supplement their diets with fruits and berries that are sweet.

15. By smelling another dog's urine, a dog can tell the gender, age, health and mood of a dog. They can also tell these things by sniffing each other's butts, which is why they like to greet each other that way! A frightened dog will put his tail between his legs to hide his scent glands. (Have you ever heard that dogs can "smell fear?" It is true!) 

16. Male dogs raise their legs to pee so that they can aim higher, to make themselves seem bigger. Some dogs have even been known to jump up while peeing on something, to get as high as possible!

17. Dogs have the intelligence of a two to three year old child. They can understand 150 to 200 words. Just because your dog can't talk, doesn't mean she doesn't understand what you're saying! 

18. Boston Terriers's eyes can pop right out of their heads when they get excited! A veterinarian or other experienced person can pop their eyes back in for them. 
This Boston Terrier's eye popped out, but the vet put it back.
He now does not have peripheral vision, but other than that
he is okay! 

19. A dog's heart beats 70 to 120 times per minute!

20. Many dogs don't like when it rains, because the sound of the raindrops on surfaces hurts their ears. 

21. Dogs' whiskers are touch sensitive, and can detect changes in air flow!

22. Teddy Roosevelt had a pit bull named Pete!

23. Chow Chows and Shar Peis have black tongues. 

24. Poodles are natural swimmers. They would swim out to retrieve game ducks for hunters. The traditional poodle hair cut was originally meant to help improve their swimming ability. The pom poms left on their fur helped to keep them warm. And by the way, poodles were originally bred in Germany, not France. 

25. Newfoundlands have webbed feet because they were bred to help fishermen and rescue drowning people. Their coats are water resistant. 

26. Dogs dream just like us, and go through similar sleep stages. They curl up when they're asleep to stay warm and to protect themselves from predators. (My dogs sleep all spread out though, taking up as much room as they can!) Also, 21% of dogs snore! 

27. When dogs kick at the ground after peeing or pooping, they are using the scent glands in their paws to spread their scent around and further mark their territory. 

28. Boxers got their name because they stand up on their hind legs and "box" with their paws when they play. 

29. Basset hounds cannot swim at all. 

30. The largest overall breed of dogs is the Irish Wolf Hound. These dogs are the size of small ponies!  But they are generally very sweet and gentle dogs, and can be referred to as gentle giants. Sadly, their average lifespan is only seven years. 
Irish Wolfhound

31. I lost 31. Sorry!

32. The heaviest breed is the Saint Bernard. This dog's average weight is 140 to 264 pounds! 

33. The only two mammals with prostate glands are dogs, and humans. 

34. A dog's noseprint is unique, just like a human's fingerprint, and can even be used to identify a lost dog. 

35. Dogs have lived alongside humans for 14,000 years. Cats have only lived with humans for 7,000 years. This may be why dogs are considered more "domesticated" than cats.

36. Dogs can have allergies, just like people. They may sneeze and/or get red, watery eyes just like humans. More commonly, they will itch (especially on their feet) and will try to scratch and bite at the itchy spots. 

37. Dogs can make about ten different vocalizations. 

38. 58% of people include their dogs in their annual holiday pictures. 

39. The rarest dog breed in the world is the Cesky Terrier. There are only 350 of them in the world! 
Apparently this is a Cesky Terrier. Ever seen one?

40. When recording the song "A Day In The Life," Paul McCartney included a high-pitched whistle only dogs can hear. He did that as a way of saying hi to his dog, a Shetland Sheep dog! 

Paul McCartney and his dog

41. Dogs can count up to five. The experiments that proved this included giving a dog a certain number of treats, and then taking one away when the dog wasn't looking. The dogs knew the difference and looked for the missing treat! 

Okay, everyone. Are your minds boggled with all these dog facts? I have some cat and other animal facts I'll tell you on a different day!

For today's Happiness Challenge, I am happy that I got to eat strawberry Gelato at Mariano's today. But that is about it. I told you it's been a boring day! 

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

This Is The Story Of A Bear

 Hi everyone! Today I am linking up at a new blog hop (new to me, I mean... clearly many of you have heard of it) called Linkin With My Ladies. It is over at Sugar Me Pretty, if you want to join in!

Anyways, I wanted to introduce a long time friend of mine. He's a bear. A stuffed bear. Don't mock me. 

Not long ago, I told you the story of how I ran away from home when I was a teenager. As you may have read, I was caught and forcibly returned to my parents after a few months. But as soon as I turned 18 (actually, five months after I turned 17... it was Halloween) I left home again, returning to the street life I'd become comfortable with. (And that, again, is another story. I should be writing down all these stories I've promised to tell you!) 

So I was 18 and homeless, with the emotional age of about 12 mind you. I generally either stayed at the adult homeless shelter, or in a car with some older friends I'd met. At the time, I was the youngest person in the shelter, not including children who were there with their families. 

I became friends with a husband and wife named Lee and Kathy. (I'm actually using their real names here... although I do not know their last names... on the off chance that they might read this post someday!) Although the other homeless people were usually kind to me and tried to help me because I was young and naive, Kathy was the most motherly. She and her husband used to be over the road truckers, until things had gone downhill and they'd ended up homeless. They had a teenage son who was living with Kathy's parents. Whenever I saw Kathy at the shelter I spent a lot of time talking to her. 

Eventually they moved into a motel (a lot of homeless people get motel rooms and live there over a long term basis because they can pay week by week, which is easier and more immediate than trying to save up for a month of rent plus a security deposit for an apartment and also have to get a credit check and all that.) The motel was pretty far away, so I didn't get to see Kathy and Lee much any more. But one day she happened to get ahold of one of the people I hung out with, a guy named "Liam" who had a car. She asked Liam to bring me to the motel. At the time I was almost always hanging around Liam so he brought me to the motel to see my friends. It was around Christmas time. Kathy gave me a present... a teddy bear! The bear was wearing a Christmas stocking cap, and had a red and green plaid bow that matched his hat and his paws. Some may say I was way too old to get a teddy bear as a gift, but Kathy knew that I was young for my age and that I would love to receive a teddy bear! I decided to name the bear Chumbawamba, after a band that Liam loved and that I loved too. The band Chumbawamba played my favorite song, "Tubthumping." 

That day while I was visiting them, Kathy also told me that she and Lee had managed to get jobs for a new trucking company, and they were going over the road again. This meant I would probably not see them for a long time, and maybe never. (The latter ended up being true. After that visit, I never saw or heard from them again.) 

From then on, I carried Chumbawamba with me everywhere. Seriously, everywhere! He was with me through all the experiences of my life, up until this very moment. When I was homeless in a different town, away from all of the friends I'd made, Chumba often served as my pillow. He was, and still is, my comfort item. 

You can see from his picture up at the top of this post, that Chumba has suffered a lot of wear and tear. When my cat Sammy-Joe (who died this past February) was a kitten, he used to amuse himself while I was at work by attacking Chumba, stealing him off my bed, and wrestling with him. That is where Chumba got the large gash on his neck. (I've tried to sew it fifty billion times, but because it is so jagged and because of the type of material, it always comes back open.) His plaid ribbon fell off, and although I tied it back on many times I eventually lost it. Once while I was visiting a lady I considered my former foster mother (another long story) she made a new ribbon for him, but I eventually lost that one too. I lost his hat. His paws got holes in them. His fur wore off. His stuffing came out through the hole in his neck. I restuffed him multiple times, once using stuffing from the inside of my friend's worn out couch. A lot of people who see him assume that I've had him since I was a small child. He went through a lot of wear and tear in not that many years. 

Now, just as I'm planning a long journey, Chumba is going on a trip of his own! Tomorrow I am shipping him to Realms Of Gold, a "hospital" for stuffed animals. In about two weeks, he will return with a whole new lease on life!

I am hoping he'll manage to spin his way back to me before I leave, because I have never been on this long of a trip without him. I'm already going to be stressed out because I can't have my Small Dog with me. I need to at least have my Chumba! 

I can't wait to see what he'll look like with all new fur, new stuffing, and patches on his paws! 

Okay, now for the Happiness Challenge. I am happy it was a beautiful day out and I spent a lot of time outside, also eating two Popsicles, an orange one and a red one. I am happy I downloaded Skype so that when I am in California I can put Squeak on Skype with my parents, and when I come back here my brother and sister-in-law can put Squeak on Skype with me! I am happy that my eye infection cleared up in one eye, although the other eye still hurts like a #$@#^%!# every time I blink! And I am happy that I am going to have Chumba back as good as new!