A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Monday, March 31, 2014


We're in the midst of a late season Spring blizzard here in North Dakota. We might be mildly dreading all the shoveling and snow hauling that we'll be doing over the next few days, but for now we're enjoying our snow day.  The dogs are tucked away in their heated beds and the people are hunkered down on their couches, plugging away on various computerized work tasks.  Not bad for a Monday. 

The weather reports have indicated that there is a chance of a very rare weather phenomena - Thundersnow!! (yes exclamation points are required)  It's been reported to the Southwest of us and The National Weather Service predicts there's a chance that we'll get thundersnow here.  
I've heard thundersnow before when I lived in Connecticut many years ago. I distinctly remember thinking how cool it was to have a thunder cell embedded in a snow storm.  The convection that you need for thunder and lightning is almost always associated with warmer storms, the typical tropical summer thunderstorm, and pretty rare for snow making systems.  We're on baited breath here hoping for thundersnow.  Intrigued?  NASA has a pretty great article if you want to learn more about Thundersnow

Sunday, March 30, 2014

End of March Blizzard

The headline from the National Weather Service says - End of March Blizzard...No Foolin'. 
If the various weather experts are to be believed, we're in store for 10 to 20 inches of snow starting early tomorrow morning and all throughout the day.  No promises, but we could have some "Puppy playing in the piles of fresh snow" movies by tomorrow.  You can hope for that, I'll be busy hoping for a snow day, or two.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

More Talking Dogs and Talking Titos' Tax Tips

When Alycia sent me the videos of talking dogs while she was on Spring break last week, I naturally did my best to take it to its fullest logical conclusion.  It was a busy weekend of chores, outings, watching March Madness Basketball, and lots of grading tests/assignments for work.  I did manage to make the following Tito video. It makes me laugh.
Then I got to thinking - "What would be the funniest thing that I could get Tito (and the other dogs) to say?" The best idea I had was that Tito could read from my Income Tax textbook.  But that quickly lead me to realize that it doesn't have to be funny, my students could totally learn tax stuff from a talking dog!!! If just once while they're working during tax season, or taking a test in my class and they remember one of Talking Titos' Tax Tips, well then it has all been worth it. 

We thought these were so informative, that we created a separate page here on Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes.  You can see all of Talking Titos' Tax Tips for yourself. And yes, I've made all of these videos available as a resource to my students. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Professor Cummings on Spring Break

What does a high level academic like Professor Cummings do on Spring Break? Are you envisioning thoughtful Ivory Tower contemplation?  Data analysis with scientific looking computer graphics? Grant writing?  Scientific examination of complex brain wave patterns of language development?  Or this...
This was one of three videos that Alycia/Professor Cummings e-mailed me the other day while I was at work.  Proof positive that she was hard at work with high level academic matters.
I was quite impressed that Alycia was able to teach all three dogs to talk in only a matter of a few days.  This is all courtesy of an app from her iPad called My Talking Pet.  It's highly entertaining, but maybe not the high level stuff you'd expect from a college Professor.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  There won't be any corned beef, or cabbage, or green beer, but Shadowfax the deaf pittie celebrated anyways with a few things green.
She played with her green stick, the awesome and very hardy Goughnuts dog toy
Then heartily napped in her green slumber ball.  OK, so she might not have even understood that it was St. Patrick's Day today, but to her each and every day is a holiday and that's just one of the many reasons we love her. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Camry Update - It Lives!!!

The hero has just stabbed the creature from the deep/crazed psycho camp killer and breathes a sigh of relief that the ordeal is over, only to have the creature lurch back to life once again.  Why on earth these movie characters don't decapitate, hack, chop, mince, puree, and set fire to the creature to make sure it's dead has always troubled me.  Horror movies aside, the Camry that we said farewell to lives on like a horror movie creature.  Well a tiny little piece of the Camry lives on...the license plate. 
Unbeknownst to us (and poorly communicated to us by our local Subaru dealer), we were supposed to keep the license plates from the Camry before we traded it in to the dealership.  Miscommunications and non-hilarity ensued and we ended up having to request new license plates from the North Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles, but these "new" license plates were actually the same ones as from the Camry.  There's some manner of bureaucratic issue here where it's easier to keep the same plates and switch the car that they're associated with than to request new plates.  I don't pretend to understand the mechanations of the North Dakota DMV.  

The vehicle that replaced the Camry (a Subaru Impreza - more on our new car in a later post) will now proudly carry around its' license plate, so a tiny piece of the Camry spirit will live on in infamy.  If the new car doesn't feel like starting or begins leaking various fluids, a vehicular exorcism may be in order to expel the Camry demons from the new car, but for now we'll just assume the best.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Slushy Snow Playtime with Shadowfax

It was 40 degrees outside today, the first tangible and credible evidence of Springs' arrival.  The snow was soft and slushy, perfect for getting some fresh air and sunlight on our winter weary skin. 
The dogs were all exhibiting Spring fever and we happily obliged them with some time outside.  I had on shorts and a sweater, Alycia had her more typical pink jacket and track pants.  Alycia's outfit was more about puppy-splashing management than being cold though, so don't judge her.
Alycia is utilizing the unconventional "two-handed" throwing method for tossing deflated basketballs to Shadowfax.  The deflated basketballs are one the best toys we've ever purchased.  Not only are they less than $1 at a local thrift store (or free from Freecycle), but Shadowfax loves them.  They have just enough give but still offer chomping resistance and haphazard bounces when thrown.  She's a happy little pup. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

O'Keeffe's Working Hands - Hand Salve Testimonial

We don't usually pitch products here on the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes blog.  Our humble blog is small enough that it never attracts the attention of companies who would offer us free samples in exchange for a glowing product testimonial.  So any praise you read here is genuine and all products were procured by us, at relevant market prices. 

OK, legal disclaimers and other information aside...If you have dry or cracked hands, you should pick up some O'Keeffe's Working Hands.  It works and it is awesome.  And this is coming from a dude (me) that hates anything that makes my hands greasy, so when I say that I actually don't mind using O'Keeffe's, that's about as high praise as I could offer.  I'd seen ads for it in Mother Earth News over the years and finally bought some several months ago on a whim during a visit to a local hardware store. 

Between the extreme cold here and the dry air of winter, my hands get pretty gnarly in the winter.  And for some reason, playing basketball and volleyball causes the ends of my fingers to simply split open.  All the time.  All winter.  It sucks and is pretty darn unpleasant.  It's like constantly having a half-dozen paper cuts on the tips of your fingers, but O'Keeffe's has really fixed the problem.  And not only do I love this stuff, but so does Alycia.  Double endorsement ahoy!

On the rare occasion that we do pitch products, it's always something we truly believe in like: Tuffy Dog Toys, Goughnuts Green Stick Dog Toy, and Iron X Weed Killer.  We don't put our Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes stamp of approval on much, but when we do, it's something that we use and love.  We've accordingly added this product to the DDBG Stamp of Approval Amazon widget on the left side of the page.  You can buy it online, but we've been able to find it locally at Ace Hardware, Lowe's, and Menard's.

Anyone else ever used O'Keeffe's before?  If so what'd you think?  If not, what's your go-to remedy for gnarly, chapped, or winter-battered hands?  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Deaf Pibble Butt Rub Video

During the prolonged stretches of cold weather we start to run out of ideas for indoor exercising and burning off puppy energy in the house.  Sometimes the best we can manage is sitting on the floor for some active tummy and butt rubs.  Even that can burn off a little bit of energy, and every little bit helps.

A quick video of pittie puppy smiles and heavy dog-breathing is maybe just the thing you need to pep you up on a Monday morning.