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The Case of Bella and the Chicken… #pets

Hubby loves roast chicken, and his favored way of cooking one is with the barbecue. He sticks a beer can (half-full) and herbs inside the chicken, and as it cooks, the chicken absorbs the moisture from the can.

Chicken

Bella loves to know everything that is happening and watches proceedings with interest.

Chicken Bella

Close interest…

Chicken Bella Window

Close, close interest…

Chicken Lick

Luckily, hubby rescued his chicken before Bella moved near enough to nibble. A close call!

Puppy Tales and Newsletters

Bella Bone

The other morning we took Bella for her walk. We usually come across the “regular” walkers and say good morning.

This particular morning, Bella was off the lead and we met up with a local lady and her dog, which is a tiny thing. Bella is about three times bigger. This little dog is long-haired and you can scarcely see his face because he’s all hair. When he runs he looks like a flag fluttering in the wind. Whenever I see him, I put Bella back on the lead because she can be a bit of a bully with smaller dogs. Anyway, hubby said, “Leave her off the lead today.”

Bella behaved beautifully. The little dog just stood there with his nose lifted in the air while Bella sniffed him. She circled the little dog once, and then to my horror, Bella lifted her leg ready to pee on him.

I shouted, “Bella!” and she stopped at my horrified shriek, giving me an affronted look. I started laughing, and luckily, the lady thought it was funny too.

It’s obvious Bella subscribes to the dog rules: If you can’t eat it or play with it then you should pee on it!

Author newsletters:

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research about author discoverability and newsletters recently. Many of the “experts” suggest a pop-up for a newsletter signup, one that appears the second someone clicks onto a site. I find them annoying and usually click away from the site.

What do you think about pop-up ads on a website or blog?

Where Bella Teaches Shelley To Sit

Bella, our puppy is very smart, and she picks up things quickly. She was top of the class at puppy school. Recently she has been difficult when it comes time to go for a walk.

Bella

She likes to go for a different walk each time, and if I head off in the normal direction, she sits down and refuses to move. If we turn in a new direction, she’s happy and bouncy, trotting alongside like a perfectly behaved pet. If she meets “little people” during her walk and especially giggly little girls, she sits down and refuses to move until a meet and greet has been completed.

Color me frustrated.

At first it was funny, and I laughed. Then this stubborn behavior happened every day, and I lost my sense of humor.

I tried speaking in a stern voice.

I tried bribery with some dog crackers.

I tried pulling her. (Can’t do this too hard because her collar sometimes pops over her head, and the last thing I want is a loose puppy on the busy roads)

I tried shouting. (The neighbors twitched their curtains, but that was all that happened. Bella didn’t move!

Finally last week, in exasperation, I sat down in the middle of the footpath and glared over at Bella. She looked at me, and I could literally see the surprise on her furry face. She jumped up and came over for a pat. I got to my feet and our walk continued. Each time she decided to sit, I sat too.

Our outings seemed to go a bit more smoothly, and I got my way about the location of our walk.

I was telling my husband when he got home from work, and he started laughing.

“What?” I asked.

“Don’t you see what has happened?” he said. “Bella has taught you to sit!”

Anyone else have a naughty pet? Also, does anyone have suggestions for natural remedies for dog allergies? We’re not sure what is causing the allergy. There are so many variables.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

Bella Hot, Hot, Hot!

It’s definitely summer here in New Zealand with higher than normal temperatures scorching the country. Bella has taken to cooling off by lying on her back with all her feet in the air. I call it her hot, hot, hot! pose.

Later today I’m visiting Not Your Usual Suspects blog where I’m talking about Scarlet Woman—the little book that could!

What are your favorite tips for cooling down during a hot summer?

Animal Antics – A Report from the Home Front

A report from the home front today.

Bella, our puppy, continues to challenge and delight us. She’s an active wee thing and loves to help out with jobs around the house. We’ve trained her to carry some of the recycling out to the bin, and she also enjoys toting the mail from the mailbox to the kitchen. Sometimes she likes the mail so much she refuses to give it back and a chasing game ensues. Most of our mail arrives in the kitchen complete with teeth marks.

Here’s a photo of Bella on recycling duty…

Bella

I had breakfast with my father and sister on Saturday and talk turned to some of their animals. My father hand milks his house cow every morning. Donna is a rangy black and white cow, and she and Dad have been a team for many years. These days—at twenty years of age—Donna’s eye sight is failing and her hearing is going, but she still kicks up her heels and charges through gates. My sister says if you see Donna coming it’s best to stand back.

But the funniest thing is that Donna goes to sleep in the middle of milking and starts snoring. Evidently the snoring is very loud. Who knew that cows snored?

I have a review for The Zombie Always Knocks Twice (seems to be free at Amazon at present so grab a copy) posting on 25 Sep, but apart from that I’m taking a blogging holiday. Hubby and I are off to Europe, so I’ll see you when I get back at the beginning of November.

A Day in the Life of Bella

The other day Mr Munro found a dog toy in the cupboard, one we’d purchased and saved for later. Bella was very excited since she is definitely still a puppy at heart.

Bella

 

This is what the toy looked like after about five minutes.

 

Puppy Toy

 

This is what our floor looked like after a few minutes of playing. Exhibit A.

 

Toy Stuffing

 

She had a lot of fun playing with her toy, and over the course of several days I picked up lots of stuffing. It was a magical toy, and the stuffing went forth and multiplied! Trying to separate Bella from her toy—not gonna happen!

 

Bella and her Toy

 

After playing all day Bella was exhausted. She retired to her bean bag for a nap.

 

Bella on her Bean Bag

 

She looks so cute when she’s asleep. No one would ever guess how naughty she can be during her waking hours.

 

What mischievous antics do your pets or children get up to during the day?

Adventures with Puppy, Bella

We’re having lots of fun with Bella. She’s behaving better with me now. Most days I sit in my chair working away while she creeps into my husband’s chair and has a snooze. I think she’s decided the chair belongs to her since Mr. Munro has to forcefully evict her most nights.

We’ve attended four puppy school classes and are halfway through the course. She’s usually very well behaved in class and learns quickly. At the last class we talked about tricks. We hadn’t tried teaching Bella any tricks and decided we’d attempt something basic first — a high five. She caught on really quickly and I had her high-fiving like a champ. When Mr. Munro arrived home from work we proudly demonstrated.

Here’s the process if you’d like to teach your dog to high five.

1. Hold a small treat on your right palm with your thumb covering it.
2. Hold another treat in your left hand out of sight of your dog. (I hide my left hand behind my back)
3. Get your dog to sit.
4. Hold out your right hand and say “High Five”. Your dog will sniff at first then automatically start to paw at your hand.
5. As soon as your dog slaps your hand with their paw give them the treat in your left hand and praise them.
6. Repeat process several times.

Bella

Since Bella is very good at coming when we call her name, we’ve started letting her off the lead in safe areas. Mostly she’s very good at returning, although tonight we met another dog without warning. The dog was three times Bella’s size but that didn’t deter her in the slightest. She wanted to play!

Can your dog do any tricks?

Things about Vampires and Vampire Slayers

Thursday Thirteen

This year I’ve watched Buffy, the Vampire Slayer for the first time, and with all the hype about Twilight and New Moon I decided to do a thirteen about vampires and vampire slayers.

Thirteen Things I’ve Learned About Vampires and Vampire Slayers

1. Vampires are very pale and don’t like sunlight.

2. Vampire Slayers wear cool clothes and are kick-ass tough. e.g. Buffy Summers

3. Slayers hang around in “Scooby” gangs.

4. Slayers fall in love with guys who are totally wrong for them.

5. Vampires are ugly in vamp form.

6. Werewolves aren’t very sexy – all that hair!

7. Slayers don’t seem to need much sleep, and they’re not afraid of things that go bump or growl in the dark.

8. Some vamps have a great sense of humor. I just love Spike.

9. I want to shake Bella.

10. Vamps should run if they see a pointy wooden thing instead of hanging around to sneer. Run Vampire! Run! It’s a stake and it will make you go “poof”!

11. Sleeping in the dirt doesn’t look like much fun. I prefer my cozy bed.

12. Joss Whedon rocks.

13. I’m on team Jacob. Angel can come into my house any time! Open invitation. Yep, David Boreanaz you’re welcome too. :mrgreen:

Have you seen New Moon? (I haven’t yet) Did you like it? Do you have any things I can add to my list?

What Makes a Good Heroine?

My special guest today is paranormal author, JA Saare. Her post is about heroines and in particular Buffy and Bella. I’m a huge Buffy fan, but also a very new one since I’ve just started watching the series for the first time. I’m hooked. Over to you, Jaime…

Author, JA SaareWhat makes a good heroine? Is it a hard-assed Buffy or a soft-spoken Bella?

I remember it like it was yesterday. The WB network was advertising this brand new show that was a spinoff of the movie sharing the same name. At first it was laughable, and I made the common joke about the “frog” network and their futile attempts to survive in a Seinfeld ruled world.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – really?

Beastly creatures and high school metaphors aside, how could anyone take such a thing seriously? The market for the paranormal, at that time, was weak. Even with a devout cult following, shows like Kindred: The Embraced were shelved after one short season. Darkness didn’t prevail, people wanted pep, they wanted sass, they wanted Rachel’s latest haircut! Still, I tuned in, reminiscing about the days when Dylan Mckay was the hottest thing since freshly mopped tar on a sweltering summer roof. Chewing my popcorn and drinking my Jolt cola, I watched a young and impressionable Buffy Summers enter into the Hellmouth, err, I mean the doors of Sunnydale High, for the first time.

And whaddya know? It was love at first stake.

Buffy was tough. She was strong. And she could make the high school jocks cry like hard core sissies. But even more importantly, she was a total girl. Her need to belong to the world she was so apart from was so raw, and so very relatable. Each week brought about new challenges with real themes, ranging from first love, to domestic abuse, to losing your virginity and discovering the guy you thought you loved isn’t who you thought he was at all.

Those next seven years were some of the most memorable of my life, and I remember them fondly because they were shared with a young girl that was roughly my age when the show started and ended. Oddly enough, we shared heartache and growth, and when those final credits rolled on the final episode, The Chosen, I wept. When it was all said and done, I knew there would never be another heroine to compare, and I bid a very fond farewell to one of my favorite characters of all time.

Fast forward a couple of years.

I was browsing the books in my local Barnes and Noble, looking for something to pass the time. My favorite authors weren’t due to for a new release, and I wasn’t in the mood for the usual romance. I wanted something different, something with bite.

A cover got my attention. It was simple but elegant, a pair of alabaster hands palming a ripe red apple. Figuring I had nothing better to do, I snagged the book and purchased it along with a double Mocha Latte. I read it in record time. It was a beautiful story, a romance that used sensuality to sell. Sure, Bella was a tad annoying, but what girl isn’t at that age? And that hunk, Edward, hubba-bubba! Not a bad read at all, and guess what? The sequel, New Moon, was coming soon!

It was a good thing I had the foresight to save that first edition hardback, because soon after, the Twilight frenzy was born.

Now, it’s all about New Moon. The motion picture is on the way and the hype has just begun. As I stare at the numerous billboards lining the walkways of Target and Wal-Mart, I have to ask myself…What is the deal?

Attending the release party at that same Barnes and Noble for Breaking Dawn was a mind-blowing experience. For one, I discovered no book, and I do mean no book, is worth the agonizing shrieks of ecstatic tweens as they clamor for their sparkling vampire fix. Fights broke out over quizzes that indicated your “blood type”, and if you were the parent of the disgruntled girl that got the white paper bracelet that signified Jacob’s preference, Lord help you.

Then it hit me.

The frenzy isn’t about Bella at all. It’s all about Edward – the man that completes her. For without him, she is nothing.

Testing my theory, I pulled out Twilight and read it again, then came New Moon and Eclipse. Yep, it was just as I thought. Bella, the ever normal Mary Sue that is plain and shy but shows up at a new school and becomes uber-popular and snags the attention of the notorious unobtainable vamp himself, is only important so long as the topazed-eyed vegetarian sparkler is at her side. What better way to prove self-worth than to gain the attention of the most beautiful creature in existence, and maintain it permanently?

Jaded and angry, I pulled out my DVD collection of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, starting with season one. There were similarities – anxiety, shyness, attempting to fit in.

But then, it happened.

Buffy meets Angel, and in true kick-ass manner, she blows him off. Oh, to be sure, she did so in a sultry fashion. And what do you know? The boy follows her. Thus, one of the most beloved and indelible couples on the small screen was born.

It’s a shame Buffy The Vampire Slayer didn’t get the recognition Twilight has. Though they are notably different (Buffy, though in print and comic format, is inherently a television show), the messages were so much deeper, so much more involved. Sure “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” sounds silly, but that goes to show you that it’s not smart to judge a book by its title, or in this case, the catchy symbolism of a cover.

If Mr. Whedon has some free time, maybe he can schedule an intervention and do the world a favor.

Have Buffy give Bella a call, Joss. The world needs a reality check.

Happy Reading!
Jaime AKA J.A. Saare
http://jasaare.com/

Soft As Moonlight Moon Kissed Lick of Frost A Kiss Before Dying

J. A. will be giving away a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter from her blog tour so don’t forget to comment here to have a chance to win. For details of JA Saare’s entire blog tour go here.

Which heroine do you prefer? Buffy or Bella? What do you think makes a good heroine?