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Koko is coming to visit me in Brookland, DC this weekend. It is time again for Preparation for Her Visit.

Cats & All That ™

I admit it.  I am a perfectionist.  I like things that have order and purpose.  That’s the thing about sharing custody of cats.  They are clean and persnickety but they need care and your furniture is subject to their moods.   Cats rule.  This week Koko comes to stay with me for an extended time period.  As I am a big fan of HGTV, particularly “Fixer Upper,” I’ve begun the work needed to make her as comfortable as possible.  Her jumping chair is strategically placed for her to jump to the top of my dining room hutch and of course,  custom blinds have been installed in the porch window of my house for her viewing pleasure.

I am a perfectionist but I’m learning.

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When It Comes to Predicting Behavior How Can We Really Know?

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We all are sensitive to stereotypes.  When it comes to our pets we rely on on a certain level of predictability.   Dogs act this way.   Cats act that way.   The truth is there really are no rules.  We can’t predict how animals will behave in certain situations.  A recent YouTube video is an example.






Grill On

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This post was written in May 2010.  It features a great recipe for grilled chicken from Martha Stewart.


Bought some chicken legs from the “Yes” market and they were screaming to be barbecued.   Today with the start of summer, I decided to get the grill out of the garage.    Of course being a typical male  Jean-Claude decided to help.  He went in the garage to explore, so I shut the door and let him stay inside.    When I opened the garage door a half hour later, I didn’t’ see him at first, but he saw me as he was perched high atop a set of queen-sized box springs.   He eventually decided to go in-house where he and Roxie stood together behind the screened basement door and watched me get the grill ready.  At one point  Roxie gave Jean-Claude a pat with her paw and then an affectionate lick with her tongue.  Then they both turned their attention back to what I was doing.

Martha’s Guide for Grilling Chicken

Earlier today I watched an ON DEMAND episode of  Martha Stewart on grilling.  She had some guests that are marketing their barbecue sauce.  They were preparing chicken and ribs with Martha…and Martha was well Martha…She is fabulous!!

Here are the highlights.

Heat the oven for 350

Prepare the chicken…wash both sides, salt, and pepper – set aside or refrigerate.

Line a pan with sauce, use a brush to paint the bottom of necessary with sauce….Martha prefers a real pan…I’ll stick with the throwaway dish – foil pan .. like her guests.

Place the chicken side by side  in the pan…cover with sauce

Bake one hour and 15 minutes

While the chicken is baking get the grill ready ( I will not disclose my secret here, but it does involve ready lit charcoal and a match)

I have two charcoal grills – – a big Weber grill and a Smoky Joe.   I use the Smoky Joe when I don’t have guests , ut the same techniques apply to both.   The coals are ready for cooking when they all turn white.  Scoot the majority of coals on the right side.  Cook the chicken on the left side.    Let the chicken cook four to seven minutes on each side or until the chicken has grill marks.  I also grilled a tomato which I am serving with brown rice and onions, fresh basil and Italian dressing (thanks, Ina).   Yum.

You’ve Got to Have Friends: The Story of Alpha, A Dog Who is An Everyday Hero

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A Virginia high school yearbook bears the photo of a dog among its student photos.   Alpha is an almost daily fixture at Stafford High School in Fredericksburg, VA,   He alerts his owner, AJ,  who has Type One  Diabetes when AJ’s blood sugar is too low.   Alpha’s  yearbook photo and the story behind it have now gone viral.  Here’s an account by WJLA-TV, the Washington, D.C. ABC News affiliate.

Alpha photo 8_zpse8zexip5.jpg


Validating Circumstances

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There is discussion these days about the impact that our friends and our lifestyle decisions have on our personal and professional development.  New research shows we tend to develop traits of those with whom we spend the most time.  Experts say our “Top Five” play a role in our decisions.  As the  adage goes: ” We are the company we keep.” Often, we don’t have a choice.  Our families, for instance.  Sometimes we find ourselves alone,  or with friends who don’t have our interest at heart but wield influence.  Sometimes we may simply be on a crowded bus or airplane for a sustained period.   Worse,  many of us daily must be part of less-than healthy work environments that offer no opportunity for growth, personally or professionally.


We are not at the mercy of others. We are valuable.   Our thoughts are powerful.  Daily, we have the opportunity to make choices that validate us.    We can dismiss situations in which our personhood is not valued if not physically, then at least mentally.   No is not a four-letter word.   We can detach from people who consistently invalidate us by constant criticism,  lateness, manipulation or misuse of our time.  The same for clients or employers who don’t  treat us well or compensate us appropriately.     When no one else is in the room, or when emotional terrorists seek to destroy us, we are still armed.  We have God. We have ourselves.