Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hula Hoop Treasures

I remember a time when I was planning a trip home to visit my adult son. Visits in and of themselves are priceless treasures.  Add to the mix a special friend who wouldn't let me say, "I can't" and instead, she taught me that I can.

LIFE cover by Bill Ray
I told her that I had always wanted to hula hoop. But I was never able to learn how. I don't remember being able to hula hoop as a child and I definitely couldn't as a grown up. I thought it was hopeless and I had given up. 

My interest had been sparked again and before that trip home and I had seen some hooping videos of very talented people. I wanted to learn how to do that. 

My dear friend not only insisted that I could do it, but that she could teach me during that quick trip home.

All I needed was a "grown up" hoop, she told me.

I was oh so skeptical.  But she met us at the hotel room with a variety of hoops she had made. That time at the hotel was precious. My clumsy attempts at hooping and my son's natural ability to spin that thing around his waist in both directions. Oh, we laughed and had a wonderful time.

Yes, indeed, I only needed a hula hoop that was larger and weighed more than those tiny things sold at the dollar stores.  I practiced with the hoops she brought and she sent one home with me.  My friend, Heather, has since provided the written directions for a DIY hula hoop.  Because I am a visual and hands-on learner, I found this tutorial with another gal making hoops with the same method. 

Nowadays, hula hooping is just called hooping.  It is popular among children and adults.  It reportedly has many benefits including exercise, core strengthening, and sheer enjoyment. I believe those claims. Especially the claim of elevating mood.

Occasionally, I take my hoop to work. Some skeptics there insist that they won't be able to hoop. Almost always, they can hoop with my big old circle of plastic love. And we laugh and laugh.  It's not as hard to learn as you think.  I am not a hooping teacher but I can give you a few tips.

  • Don't try to use those little toy hoops from the dollar or big box stores
  • Do use a "weighted" or adult sized hoop - there are more expensive exercise hoops at sporting goods stores or you can make your own for a few bucks
  • Make sure you start with one that is tall enough - standing on the floor it should reach your belly button  (mine is a few inches taller than that because I did have such a hard time getting started)
  • Experiment with sizes and widths of hoops
  • Don't give up
  • If you don't have a friend to teach you, use a tutorial online or buy an instructional book with a DVD such as Hooping: A Revolutionary Fitness Program   
  • Figure out which way spins better for you - clockwise or counter clockwise - around your hips. You will have one way that is much more natural than the other direction.
  • Practice - practice often and with your favorite music.

I don't hoop often enough. Now and then I move the chairs out of my teeny living room, I play some good music, and I spin that plastic around my hips. Every time I hoop I feel good afterwards. People swear there is a spiritual and healing quality related to hooping. I've come to believe them.

I imagine the day that I'll be able to do tricks with my hoops, because after all, I know now that I can.

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Written by Dawn Rae
Disclaimer: In affiliation with and, Dawn Rae is a blogger and content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of AllPoster or Amazon products. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tale Review: The Moose Jaw book I

Moose Jaw by Mike Delany 

I just finished reading The Moose Jaw (The Fergus O'Neill Series Book 1) by Mike Delany. I read it in under a week, which is nearly a record for me.  I generally read at night, just before bed, and often fall asleep after reading just one chapter. Or less. It typically takes me far longer than a week to read a book.

Sleep didn't come easily while visiting with Fergus (Gus) in his special cabin in the Alaska bush. I wanted to stay awake and read just one more chapter each evening.

After losing his job on the same day that he learns his wife is having an affair, Gus decides to spend some time alone in order to reflect on his life.  Gus heads for the land he purchased in Alaska and plans on building a hunting cabin while regrouping. Haywood, his Alaskan hunting buddy-that-didn't-sleep-with-his-wife welcomes him with open and protective arms.  They have hunted the area together and Haywood had alerted Gus to this piece of land when it came up for sale.  It turned out to be a good thing that Gus had purchased it.

Or maybe it wasn't a good thing.

The Athabascan elders had previously rejected ownership of this very same land because of Yega. As he is receiving the title to the land, Gus learns that Yega is "an Athabascan word. it means spirit, or something like that... ghost, perhaps." Not very superstitious, Gus has Haywood fly him and his things to this remote land.

Reading about Gus and his cabin building, self-sufficiency, and Alaska bush living was something I enjoyed very much.  Every bit of his hunting and fishing adventures rang true. The visual images of trout, salmon, bears, and other big game danced in my head.  I felt as though I was along for the ride as Haywood lands the little plane at Gus's property. And I feel the solitude as Gus spends his days living and staying out of the way of momma bears and their cubs.

Gus doesn't remain alone for long. He discovers a woman in need. And a bear that seems to be lurking behind every tree.  Morgan, the woman, is near death and Gus nurses her back to health.

Days count down until Haywoods scheduled return and things begin to go eerily wrong.  Haywood arrives and is convinced that his friend has lost a bit of touch with reality from the solitude. Things begin to go really wrong.  It takes their old Alaska State Trooper friend, Hard Case Calis to help put the pieces together for them and explain some things without possible explanation. 

This story is a mixture of rugged outdoor adventure, romance, mystery, with a bit of paranormal thrown in. I typically don't choose romance or paranormal genres but I enjoyed this book very much.  The male character point of view, the mystery, the reality of the hunting, fishing, and cabin building mixed with the unbelievable happenings were balanced in a way that seemed true. Even though maybe some happenings were beyond true or real.

At the writing of this review, Author Mike Delany offers this book on Kindle at .99 cents!  You can't beat a good book for a dollar. 

Written by Dawn Rae
Disclaimer: In affiliation with and, Dawn Rae is a blogger and content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of AllPoster or Amazon products. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

No Dog with a Loving Family Should Have to be Relinquished to the Animal Shelter

As a child, I brought home every stray animal I crossed paths with. I was about 7 years old when I was feeding that big stray cat that came around.  Even when he bit my thumb and hung on for dear life  as I tried to make him let go, and even after the drama of trying to find out whether or not I would need rabies injections, I couldn't be dissuaded.

I continued to bring animals home and add members to our family.

Alaskan Malamute Portrait by Lynn M Stone
As a pre-teen, I found a large, angry Malamute dog in the neighborhood where my friends lived.  He
had clearly been abused or neglected. And would growl and snap at any adults who approached. If you imagine a cross between a junkyard dog and a wolf, you would be close to what he appeared to be.  I begged my mom to let me have him.  Fortunately, my mom was a bit, um, impulsive.  Despite his clear aggression toward adults, she told me that if I could get him into the hatchback of our small Vega station wagon, I could bring him home.  I did and she kept her promise.

As a parent, I'm not sure I would have done the same. I would have given more than a second thought to putting an angry dog in my car and driving miles down the road.  My child in the back of the steel and glass trap with this unknown beast. That scenario could have turned out badly.

I'm glad she was a bit unpredictable like that.  And I'm really glad that he didn't bite my face off as we drove those miles home. King turned out to be the best dog we had for many years and lived his life into old age with us.  He was never aggressive with any of our family members; adult or child but he was the best guard dog a farm family could ask for.

As an adult, I have limited the number of pets in my home. My focus was on raising my children.  I've also lived in limited space with limited finances.  Even so, I daydream about the day that I can continue to give animals in need a loving and safe home.

My children grew up and opened my eyes  to some of the difficulties of life in the armed forces.  I watched as our soldiers gave up their cars, their personal items, and worst of all, their pets, due to relocation and deployments.  The ongoing daydream I had about stray animals began to shift.  I began to dream of the day that I could own a kennel of sorts. A place to keep family pets while their people were deployed.  I kept thinking, "some day, I can do something to help."

Imagine my surprise and excitement when I recently found a way I can help now!  The opportunity comes through an organization called Dogs on Deployment.  I immediately signed up.

People register on the site to "foster" pets in the short term, while the service persons are sent to trainings, have to relocate, or are deployed. Service persons can list their pets that will soon need temporary homes. I won't rehash all of the information on the site, because there is so much information there, But I encourage you to register and have a look around. 

If you need proof that a program like this is important or you think that dogs aren't happy when their family members return, watch this.

I am limited with the size and breed of pets that I can foster due to living in an apartment.  But I have signed up. And I look forward to having a visitor while the owner is deployed.  It is the very least I can do for our service people who don't want to relinquish their pets to the shelters while they are serving our country.

written by Dawn Rae
Disclosure: In affiliation with, Dawn Rae is a blogger and content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of Allposters products.

Don't forget to stop by Ruth's PAWSit Blog Hop today for more dog related blog posts! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tales About Tails and Companionship

Dogs have been a part of my life from my earliest memories.  In my opinion, my home is not complete without a dog living in it. Dogs are built-in friends, home security systems, and similar to having permanent young children.  There is no such thing as empty nest when you have a dog to care for.  While I don't think every family should have a dog, as they are huge commitments of time, energy, and resources, I can't imagine myself in a home without a dog.

Daisy was my companion for years. She was an intelligent and spunky Rat Terrier. When she suddenly passed away, I was devastated. It is still hard to talk about her and I'm glad that I had written about her and her favorite toys before she became ill.

I'm not completely sure what made me choose her at the pet store.  In large part, it was the way she sat and looked me right in the eye while the other puppies jumped around and barked.  It was only after I brought Daisy home, as a tiny puppy, that something seemed more familiar about her than it should have.  One day something clicked and I started to dig through the very old family photographs that I had hoarded over the years.

The author at 3 years of age
There they were, the little dogs of my young childhood. I cannot tell you whether these dogs were Rat Terriers or Toy Fox Terriers. But clearly, there they were in photo after photo, the little white and black dogs with me, my pigtails, and barefeet.

Ratties fit best with active families. These dogs need exercise and mental stimulation.  If you are looking for an accessory dog that is only interested in lying on your sofa and riding around in your purse quietly, a Rat Terrier is likely not the best choice. Some websites state that Rat Terriers need 30 minutes of exercise every day.  Our Daisy required more daily stimulation and exercise than a mere half hour. 

These dogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have long legs and some have short legs.  I prefer the long-legged variety, called Type A. The short-legged and longer body type are called Teddy Roosevelt or Type B.  Rat Terriers come in three different sizes; toy, mid-sized, and standard.

Before adding any dog to your family, make sure that you are ready for the commitment.  All dogs deserve your time and attention every day.  If you decide on adding a Rattie to your home, please do your homework first. In some ways, having a Rat Terrier is like having a full-time toddler. However, if you are ready for this level of supervision and interaction, I think that you'll find that your Rattie is the best dog you've ever had.

For more dog stories and dog blogs, check out this dog blog hop every Saturday on Dog Pawsitive Tidbits

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