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3 Observations for the Holidays

     One thing I really enjoy about not only going away, but also coming back from vacations, is gaining a new perspective. You tend to come home with a new appreciation for all that you have and what you are interested in changing in your life. From the moment you fly above the clouds, or hit the roads, you are not in your normal surroundings and that leads to a brain stimulation. Now that we are home, and it is early December, my mind is opened and I have made these 3 observations:

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Flying above the clouds & you see the grand creation of this earth you wonder why trivial things get to you.

1. Fuss.  We all want to leave a wonderful example. How often have a heard someone say…”I normally don’t bother with lights or a big tree but my grandson is visiting this year!” or “my daughter is introducing us to her out of town boyfriend so we decided to splurge and have tenderloin for dinner this year.” All of this “stepping up” seems so encouraging to me. It means we are trying more because we care that much more. How easy is it to throw in the towel and not fuss or prepare our house because of the effort involved? Hey, it’s Christmas, the day the Savior the World is born….let’s keep on fussing, we have all of Advent as a time of preparation!!

2. Holiday Lights. There is no questions that the days are short, grey and dreary. Just when you didn’t want to go outside past 4 pm anymore, Presto! Christmas lights! What a beautiful sight. From twinkling icicles, to illuminating wreaths, the effort people put into decorating the exterior of their house does not go unnoticed. I know it’s dark too early but because of these lights on the inside out outside of homes it is so joyful to see the beautiful lights. I made sure I already drove my mom around to enjoy the beauty of various neighborhoods. You cannot help but think “be the light, lights are happy, lights brighten the world you up. Light always conquers darkness”. And always compliment someone who decorated, they put in an effort to make this season more beautiful and bright, they deserve a compliment! Sing it loud..”This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”

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Hang up decorations, decorate the dogs, spread cheer…and compliment those who make the effort.

3. Greens, greens and more greens. Green is becoming my favorite color, full of renewal and life. The evergreen tree is a little reminder to “be green” and be true to the Earth. The Evergreen maintains all of its leaves and needles throughout the year. Contrasting with all other trees which cycle through the seasons gaining and shedding leaves in their own beauty. Evergreens are full of stability, strength, and a symbol for the Christmas spirit. Representing our faith as unwavering, especially to prepare for the birth of Jesus.  The natural aroma of pine will immediately uplift you, make you take an extra deep breath, and enjoy the season we are lucky enough to share.

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Fuss for your family and friends. It’s Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

#todayonmywalk

     Let’s face it, if I wasn’t a dog owner I certainly would not take a daily walk or two. I would attempt. But it would not be daily occurrence especially in the rain, snow and sleet. Even on beautiful sunny days, something always comes up. You know, you always have to go somewhere.

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My inspiration for the name of my blog and my appreciation to slow down and sniff on daily walks. Meet Rory and Lucy Marie. My favorite walking or strolling companions. We stop and smell the roses and take pictures. #todayonmywalk

 

     But, inspired by my dogs, this summer I decided to take a picture with my cell phone camera and post it on Instragram with the hash-tag #todayonmywalk.  It’s a fresh look and the same walk I have been walking for years.  It’s the ability to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us daily. The simple joys. Our two dogs enjoy stopping and sniffing and using all their senses on walks. As soon as I pick up the leashes near the front door of the house, the “ladies” start circling around in utter joy over a chance to walk the neighborhood. When we go for a walk, they act like they won a million dollars. But, we do something worth far more than that…we walk, breath, and appreciate the beauty we see everyday. This is Buffalo in the summer. I am going to keep this up for all the seasons.

 I do not take for granted the incredible happiness just having the ability to go for a walk with my favorite walking companions – Rory and Lucy Marie give me.

Now let’s look at some of the pictures that made it on #todayonmywalk

And follow me on Instagram at poodlewalker1. Thank you for reading.

 

 

This line-up of geraniums in large pots can be found outside a store on Elmwood Avenue. #todayonmywalk

This line-up of geraniums in large pots can be found outside a store on Elmwood Avenue. #todayonmywalk

A flower filled coffee table on the porch of a friends back yard. #todayonmywalk

A flower filled coffee table on the porch of a friends back yard. #todayonmywalk

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This bucket surrounded by little rocks really caught my eye. The whimsey flowers add to the “old fashioned” homey feel. #todayonmywalk

 

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I spotted this on the Buffalo Garden walk. I truly think it’s the prettiest window box I have ever seen. #todayonmywalk

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This house caught my eye because the house number is written out in cursive writing. Love it. #todayonmywalk

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Here you go, this is what you do with the unattractive tree stump on your lawn. Fill it with flowers. It stopped me in my tracks. #todayonmywalk

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Curb appeal. The double wreaths. The matching pots. The dog statue. The high ornate windows. Stop and stare. #todayonmywalk.

 

 

Looking For A Chocolate Poodle?

Get off the Silver Creek exit and treat yourself to the uniqueness of Valvo's Candy and Cement.

Get off the Silver Creek exit and treat yourself to the uniqueness of Valvo’s Candy and Cement.

When you live in Buffalo and want chocolate, you think of the big 3 candy makers. Watson, Fowlers and Parkside. You can’t go wrong. After all, they all excel in packaging, store locations and quality. Great chocolate! But, humm, I was not able to find a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket until I drove to Silver Creek and looked for the large female “Big Boy”  larger than life statuette. (That’s the best way I can think of to describe it)

There she was on Routes 5 and 20 and 5 and dime is what this store reminds me of exactly. You want a cement figure of an alligator? You got it. You want a solid chocolate ballerina? You got it. Valvo’s is best described in pictures. Reminiscent of the past, the candy is jammed all over the store and you can’t help but be enamored by it all. Huge chocolate rabbits. I must say, the chickens looked the most appealing sitting in their baskets. I simply can’t describe it all; it’s best just to have the pictures tell the story. I did find it peculiar to find a Blessed Mother chocolate statue. Would you want to bite her head off? No way. It might be the first piece of chocolate I would not be able to eat. Visit Valvo’s. It’s one crazy place.

Folks, how about a chocolate Blessed Mother? Horse? Poodle or Chicken? Would you call it unique or odd?

Folks, how about a chocolate Blessed Mother? Horse? Poodle or Chicken? Would you call it unique or odd?

 

Finally, I the poodle walker have found a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket.

Finally, I the poodle walker have found a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket.

I simply cannot describe how peculiar yet folksy this store is without pictures.

I simply cannot describe how peculiar yet folksy this store is without pictures.

The chickens were the most appealing. They are sitting in baskets like they would in a hen house.

The chickens were the most appealing. They are sitting on eggs like they would in a hen house.

 

 

Ambush Makeover

In Ambush Makeover, producers search for a lucky lady to re-do who is kind and giving with no time for herself. This lovely lady typically has not kept her appearance up because she is too busy giving to others in need. The loved ones are always surprised when the selected lady appears with fashionable clothes, highlighted hair and beautifully applied make up. As a special treat, today we have selected 2 very lucky ladies indeed. Rory, a 3 year old pedigree standard white poodle and Lucy Marie, a 1 year old cockapoo. Both ladies have neglected their looks during this long cold winter and have not properly brushed their coat. They had other things to do; for instance– barking at the mail carrier. Let me present to you the before and after pictures of the lucky ladies.

Rory and Lucy Marie age 3 and 1 neglected their beautiful coats due to the long and dismal winter.

Rory and Lucy Marie age 3 and 1 neglected their beautiful coats due to the long and dismal winter.

After a lovely day in the poodle salon, the ladies are cleaned and brushed and waiting for Spring weather.

After a lovely day in the poodle salon (aka Petsmart), the ladies are cleaned and brushed and waiting for Spring weather. Rory immediately removes her bows upon exiting salon. Please accept out apology, she is not a bow dog.

 

Carriage Trade Dog Biscuits

A funny thing happened on my way home from work one day. I stopped into Carriage Trade Bakery at 1654 Elmwood Avenue and picked myself up a delicious cut out cookie. I noticed the dog biscuits and picked up a couple of those too. When I got home, just a couple minutes later, we were all happy and waging our tails. Before you knew it, I was stopping in more and more to pick up just one little goodie (almond biscotti, sticky bun, cinnamon roll, and still my favorite – the cut out cookie and dog biscuits). What a place! So charming. So delicious. I got to know the little family. The owners are Andy and Shandra and their daughter Devan. Now who the heck cannot resist their daughter who eats the dog biscuits for an after school snack? Why not? The biscuits are made from whole wheat flour, milk powder, wheat germ, and a touch of brown sugar. They sell for 50 cents each. Shandra said that it’s natural to want to buy your best friend a treat when you buy something for yourself. So many customers walk their dog and tie them out front and that is how the whole idea of making all natural dog biscuits started. Look for the red neon sign that says OPEN and walk on in. The cut out cookies featured now are butterflies and flowers. That will get you in the spring of things.

Shandra with a fresh tray of dog biscuits.

Shandra with a fresh tray of dog biscuits.

The biscuits fit great inside the kong toys.

The biscuits fit great inside the kong toys.

Frozen

 

 

Where’s the beach? Picture taken February 16, 2013 on the Canadian shores of Lake Erie.

Where’s the beach? Picture taken February 16, 2013 on the Canadian shores of Lake Erie.

Disney sure picked the perfect winter to release the movie Frozen. Just like Arendelle in the movie, Buffalo and many other Great Lake and East Coast cities have been in deep, deep, deep, deep snow. Buffalo got nearly 43 inches of snow in January 2014, but this month we expect less since the Great Lakes have frozen over and the lake effect snow is no longer in season with a frozen lake.

Heavy ice protect fish eggs from predators, and it has delighted photographers, ice anglers, cross country skiers, snowmobilers and of course poodles that are allowed to run free.

Nature is a wonder. Winter is beautiful but we all seem to struggle a bit more. This beach will come alive soon in the Spring but right now there are no signs of animal life around.

Winter is the time of sleep for many animals. Turtles,and frogs burrow deep into the mud to hibernate. Woodchucks and chipmunks sleep the winter away snug in their burrows  As do  earthworms and insects such moths, woolly caterpillars and bumble bees. Oh, they will be back. I have seen the chipmunk burrow holes to prove it.

But today on this winter day, I simple enjoyed the bright white snow and ice and taking a walk with my two special guys and two special dogs. It’s crazy to think how much different the beach will look in six weeks.

 

Father and son walks with the dogs along frozen Lake Erie.

Father and son walks with the dogs along frozen Lake Erie.

Where's the beach? Where's the drift wood?

Where’s the beach? Where’s the drift wood? I’ve been running around looking everywhere.

 

 

Time to Unwrap the Poodles

Some people collect nutcrackers, Byers Choice, or Spode China for Christmas. I prefer the poodle ornaments.

Some people collect nutcrackers, Byers Choice, or Spode China for Christmas. I prefer the poodle ornaments.

I’m having fun inviting myself over to different houses to see what the heck people collect at Christmas. Stay tuned! It will be my next blog. Traditions give our family some uniqueness and comfort. I mean, who doesn’t live for the continuation of craziness of figurine collections year after year? I’m sure my own family thinks I’m a little nuts to collect poodle ornaments. Forgive me; they may seem tacky to you but not for me. Every year at this time when I pull them out to hang on the tree, I am reminded how much these little glitzy fake poodles mean to me. You know, sometimes you forget how much something means to you until you experience it again. I’m not just thinking about Christmas items we drag out of our attic once a year. It can also be an organization or club you were part of, a past job and people that you got to know, or even a group of friends or old neighbors you have not gone out with in a while. Connect, reach out and continue the good things out there. Oh, and if you see any poodle ornaments hanging around; by all means, you know who to call.

Walking your alpaca

Alpaca Walking your Alpaca in the Village of Hamburg

Crossing Buffalo Street in the Village of Hamburg NY this last Saturday, I saw a gentleman walking a strange but beautiful animal. Was it a llama? A standard poodle? A pony? No, it was a alpaca! I was introduced to Syd the Kid, a 2 year old male who had a face you could not resist. The gentleman was in town selling warm and soft alpaca socks and scarfs at the Farmer’s Market. It caught my eye. No doubt you have passed alpaca farms on road trips and have zipped right by. This cute alpaca lives in Eden NY and the farm offers tours. Such fascinating animals! I got a kick out of Syd even thou he has been known to kick. They don’t call him Syd the Kick, I mean Kid for nothing. If you are looking for soft and warm alpaca socks and scarfs; check out www.edenvalleyalpacas.com. Maybe you know of other alpaca farms. I wouldn’t mind the socks but I’m sticking to walking poodles.

Do You Want To Call Your Dogs? Pull Out A Receipt.

Trick or Treat

Have some fun this Halloween.

Happy Halloween from Rory and Lucy Marie.

Happy Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve. It’s going to be a fun day. I can’t wait to go to work and tell everyone to “take off your scary masks!”  Of course the favorite activity for children is trick or treating. I don’t know about you but I have never cared for bobbing for apples; the water got dirty and there were teeth marks in the apples. But it was a game we played every year. Growing up in the 1960’s, our costumes were almost always home made. Politically incorrect too; a lot of bums. Our parents didn’t fuss like they sure do now. You need a bag to carry your trick or treat candy?  Go grab a pillow case. The fun part was spilling your candy all over the floor and making candy trades with my sisters. “Wait, how did you get the candy cigarettes and waxed teeth and not me, we went to all the same houses?”  Oh, and in case you need a joke for today to share here are a couple. What do ghosts have for dessert (I-scream), Why couldn’t the ghost find his mom and dad? (they were transparent).