June, 2013 Archives

Dog Hair Is For The Birds

June 11th, 2013

The secret to making your house frizzy-free.


How to live with a dog

On a recent Friday night, Taylor, Marci and our pal Tony join Bernie for a chat in the kitchen.

For most of my life I’ve lived with a dog or two in my house.

Lovely Mocha gave us litter after litter of puppies back before society realized it just wasn’t cool to add surplus dogs to the population. Her little runts — Ajax, Tiny Tim, Brownie and Blackie — were fathered by neighborhood dogs who hopped our fence or in one insane case, enjoyed Mocha’s feminine wiles while staying on the opposite side of the fence. Try getting that image out of your young, impressionable head.

After Mocha’s 16 years ended, Brindle joined us for a psychotic streak of 12 years. There is no doubt in any of our minds that he was just wired differently than normal dogs. If he were human, he’d be either long incarcerated or a commentator on Fox News.

Marci and I had our first dog together, Alex One, although at the time he was just known as Alex. I’ve written extensively about Alex One and his relationship with his successors Bernie and Alex Two. It’s in my first book if you want to catch up with the rest of the class.

But the point of my story rests with our latest dog guests, Bernie and The Current Alex. They always hang around us in the house. Right now, as I adjust my desk chair, I reflexively move slowly in case one of them is lying right next to the wheels. Nope, just a clump or four of their dog hair.

Dog hair, it’s everywhere. It’s ubiquitous. Dog hair is obnoxious, annoying and fluffy in the wrong way. If dog hair was Fox New… wait, I used that one already.

I have taken to grooming them as often as possible now that I have a little more time on my hands. I like to get as much of it off them as I can and leave it outside to reduce my seemingly endless vacuuming. If you want to catch up some more, here’s an earlier video I did where I cut right to the chase and actually just vacuumed Bernie.

Today Bernie and Alex Now got their coats nice and worked over. Clumps all over the backyard — and not on my carpet — remind me of a job well done. But as I was examining the black haired tumbleweed outdoors, I noticed the little discarded hair balls had gathered quite a bit of attention.

They were being examined, pecked and even fought over by a number of birds.



I watched as whole groups of them went from pile to pile, picked up what they could in their beaks, and flew off to parts unknown.

Following their flight path, I watched with a mixture of amazement and pride in my ability to give back to the Universe. In one of our little front yard trees, one of the backyard birds had landed and was busy weaving the hair into its nest.

We provide a safe domicile for our dogs and they provide a cozy nest for winged creatures everywhere.

For this tiny moment, all is right with the world.

Relaying the Message

June 8th, 2013

Attend a Relay For Life event and you won’t feel like you’re just running around in circles.

Relay For Life American Cancer Society

Storm clouds hover but never really let loose on the walkers at Relay for Life this year.

It was supposed to rain all day and all night long. Some old, bearded guy down the block was starting work on a massive boat and Relay For Life was surely going to be washed away.

And yet, though the clouds held sway and a few drops did pitter down, the Troy, Michigan event pulled in around $90,000 last weekend.

I’ve written a lot about Relay For Life and Rodney’s Runners, the awesome team my daughter, Taylor, put together to raise money, awareness and hope. These events happen all across the country every summer. You show up, walk around a track, buy some baked goods and voila, you’ve just helped out.

The American Cancer Society is closing in on a bunch of new and amazing cures or ways of avoiding The Big C entirely. I’ve recently heard about researchers using people’s immune systems to battle different forms of the disease. And now that they’ve mapped the Human Genome, they’re talking about cancer switches and receptors. It’s almost like we’re big, complex machines that just need a software reboot.

It’s a very exciting time in the cancer world, even for people like me who the doctors say are cured. If you get a chance to attend one of these Relay events, you probably won’t find sadness or despair. It’s likely you’ll see a bunch of energy, love and more than anything, hope.

That and cookies.

American Cancer Society Relay for Life

Relay For Life at night: Luminaria bags commemorating those of us who dealt with the disease decorated the track.

How to get involved in fighting back against cancer this year

RELAY FOR LIFE IN THE MILLIONS AND BILLIONS: Since Dr. Gordon Klatt organized the first large-scale Relay For Life in 1986, 4 million people have walked in 5,000 U.S. cities and raised more than $3 billion. That’s not counting the similar events in two dozen other countries around the world.

FIND A RELAY FOR LIFE NEAR YOU: Here’s the official Relay for Life “Find an Event” page.

GET YOUR FRIENDS EXCITED ABOUT RELAY FOR LIFE: Click the blue “f” Facebook icon at the top of this column and invite friends to stop by and read this short column—and look at the photos, of course.

GIVE A ‘CUTE’ LEUKEMIA TO FRIENDS: Learn to laugh in the face of fear. That’s one way to get friends on their feet and support Relay for Life. You can also order a copy of Rodney’s book, A “Cute” Leukemia here.