Category Archives: wine country

When a dog “hugs” you, they might just be trying to stay alive.


A few weeks ago we noticed irregular breathing, and certain listlessness when our Lab puppy is playing.  I happen to suffer from an occasional bout of Atrial Fibrillation, ( a form of arrhythmia)   so was convinced that it might be the case in our pup.  My wife and I grew very concerned and had her “Lexie” checked out.  Nurse couldn’t hear anything.

Last night, we heard it again. Wife was freaked out, and I sat down and really listened.  “A-fib” is an almost random contraction of the Atria of a human heart and can yield some pretty wild syncopated rhythms .  That is not what I heard last night.  The beat was irregular, but it was ON beat.  What they call Serial in heart terms. I did some research and found this posting:

Q. My 1-year-old dog has an odd heart rhythm. It goes thump… thump, thump, thump…thump. I am so very worried. What should I do?

A. You have done an excellent job of recording your dog’s heart rhythm. Your description of the thumping almost perfectly describes a sinus arrhythmia, a normal heart rhythm which can sound alarming at first. During sinus arrhythmia, the heart rate increases when your dog breathes in, and then slows down while he is breathing out. As long as this variation is regular, it is completely normal. You may want to listen a little longer to make sure this is true.

Did you know that an EKG (heart rhythm test) will change if there is another heart within 10 inches of the one being measured? The energy put out by one heart will affect the energy of the other heart. This is the reason you should hug your loved ones often, human or dog. Let them feel your love.

This explains lots.  When Lexie sleeps in our bed, she always nuzzles her back into my chest so that she can feel my heart.  In the morning , when I first sit down on my easy chair to begin working on my laptop, she will stand up on it and drape herself over me so that our chests are pressing against each other.  I never knew this, but she is feeling my heart beat.  The first time she  did that, I WAS in A-FIB and I swear she picked up on it.  That was the first time my wife noticed her irregular heart beat.

When i am “normal” or sinus, now, I think she uses my heart to help regulate her own, much like they do their mothers hearts when they are in the pack as little ones.  I wont be so quick to push her away because I am busy, or have to pee and she is standing on my bladder.  A little human time might just be what she needs to keep her heart healthy!




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Marriage Isn’t For You

by  –

Kim and I

Kim and I

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raisethem? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and aguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.


Marriage is about family.

I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.




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VIDEO: Best marriage proposal ever

Isaac Lamb proposed to his girlfriend, Amy, in a very innovative way, and the video has gone viral.
Check out Isaac’s incredible proposal – set to Bruno Mars‘ “Marry You.”



When Isaac Lamb decided to propose to his girlfriend, Amy, he knew he wanted to do something over-the-top. but not even Amy was prepared for the elaborate proposal he staged with 60 of their closet friends and family members. The video went viral – and has already amassed almost 6 million views on YouTube at last count.

The video even got Bruno Mars’ stamp of approval!

Congrats to Isaac Lamb and the future Mrs.. I don’t think I could’ve made a better music video for this song. Thank


Pink Slip Mitt: Salvation for a Hungry Nation?


On Spending… 

Governor Ronmey wants to cut government waste and spending. Plain and simple. Forget the stupid things Obama thinks are important, like health care and education.  If we just let nature take its course, the ignorant inner city bastards will just all kill each other and we’ll have plenty of money left for oil subsidies and country club memberships.  What the hell, we can even muster enough of the minorities that survive to form one hell of an Army, and invade another country that doesn’t have any weapons of mass destruction!

On Trade… 

Candidate Ronmey supports predatory trade and opening our pockets beyond the American border. This means, Mitt wants complete extortion regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership, create the Dead Reagan Economic Zone, reinstate the Trade Promotion Authority and persecute new trade agreements that promote the occupation of all oil producing countries.  Hell, when we own all the oil, we can have George W. Bush re-negotiate our debt with China.  After talking with him for a few hours the poor bastards will be so confused they will give us anything we want.

On Jobs… 

Mitt Ronmey has an exceptional understanding of labor relations from his experience exploiting government and business. He recognizes the value of immigrants, but is focused on protecting the white Stanford/Harvard educated sons of Governors they serve. This means appointing experienced NLRB individuals, amending the NLRA and reversing Obama’s organized labor orders. Mitt also supports the right of all Americans to be set for life  with companies like Blain Capital, and their daddy’s connections.

On Wimmins… 

Mr. Ronmey supports a fundamental redesign for personhood amendments and the Blunt Amendment as evidence that he’s going as far to the right as anyone can when it comes to women’s reproductive health. Candidate Ronmey also sees his opponent’s folly in condemning Rush Limbaugh after he attacked Sandra Fluke. He and the boys are also working overtime on repealing the women’s suffrage act in time for the upcoming presidential election. “There is plenty to be done in the kitchen and the bedroom, not the boardroom.”

On Immigration

Governor Ronmey is well versed on the issue of immigration in America. While Governor, he opposed the DREAM Act. He was the Governor of the home of the first maids and gardeners to move up from Cuba through Florida.. Everyone should be welcome to come to the United Statesto serve us, as long as they don’t take any of the jobs a twenty year old in Boston wouldn’t refuse, but they need to do it correctly, as have countless generations of Americans did with the slaves, before us.

The first act of an immigrant should not be an illegal one. Damn it, his parents came here as immigrants, and they had to work hard for his money.  There is now way in hell he wants to share it with anyone else, no matter how unsafe the conditions were where they came from.

“Give us your tired, your hungry, your poor,” Should have read:  “Give us your educated, your young, your investors.”

On Homeland Security…

Governor Ronmey believes that the best offense is a good offense. Our country should be able to and must defend itself, both home, overseas, and by doubling Guantanamo. Governor Ronmey supports the PATRIOT Act and believes it allows the Government the access it needs to deny due process to anyone wearing a turban, or looking like they might even know the location of a Mosque. He firmly supported the National Defense Authorization Act that would have given the President the ability to arrest and detain any United States or foreign Citizen suspected of being a Muslim, a Democrat, or one of them Women’s sympathizers therefore making them a part of al-Qaeda.

He believes that the number one job of the Government is to keep its middle class citizens paying, and as President he will do what it takes to secure our safety from the acts of thought-crime we might unknowingly commit.

I’m Sure You’ve Noticed the Date


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Marijuana Must Be Legalized

The opinion and story of a Colorado Attorney:  

It is 5:00 a.m. on a cold dark Colorado morning. Twenty-five SWAT team officers, clad in black helmets, body armor, wielding assault weapons, large clear shields, and heavy iron battering rams, surround a quiet residential home, shatter the front door, and throw flash-bang grenades and tear gas inside.

The team of 25 militarized cops stream into the house, screaming obscenities, shattering the terrified childrens’ sleep and jarring the scared parents awake. The SWAT team then literally destroys the home and the furniture within, slashing couches, overturning bookcases, throwing possessions all over the floor, carting the crying children off to Social Services or foster care, and throwing the parents to the ground at gunpoint, handcuffing them painfully before carting them off to the police station.

The SWAT team then locates its target: a couple dozen three-foot high cannabis plants in a modest indoor basement garden, and a pound or so of dried plant matter, some lights, some fertilizer, and a few books on how to grow marijuana.

This is not an extreme example. This scene literally happens every day in America, a nation that loudly professes that it is a “free” country, but that leads the globe in per capita incarceration of its own people, a rate that exceeds those of human rights leaders such as North Korea, China, and Iran, due mostly to the war on drugs.

And this scene embodies America’s war on marijuana. A government this large, this powerful, this intrusive, this belligerent, is necessary to fight this modern-day prohibition against a simple herb that approximately half of the American adult population has consumed at some point in their lives. There are so many reasons this must change:

1. Money

The war on marijuana costs us money. The direct costs to local, state, and federal governments are staggering and exceed a trillion dollars. Police, prosecutors, probation officers, judges, courts, jailers, prison guards, and defense lawyers form a massive prison-industrial complex that distracts limited resources away from our failing economy and other more important priorities. The indirect costs to the economy, though more difficult to quantify, are probably higher in the form of people removed from their families and their jobs, the opportunity costs of distracted police and jammed courts too busy to adjudicate important criminal and civil cases. We also lose out on the benefits of industrial hemp, which has no recreational effect but which could be an extremely useful crop for American farmers and industry.

And all of this money has been wasted — accomplishing, like so many other heavy-handed government programs, the precise opposite result of that which was intended. Even the U.S. government’s drug czar (it is appropriate that this government position is named after an imperial Russian tyrant), Gil Kerlikowski, admits that the 40-year experiment with drug prohibition has been an abject failure.

Decades of drug prohibition has not accomplished a single of its goals. Albert Einstein’s definitionof insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” As our governments at all levels pour more lawyers, guns, and money into this militarized marijuana prohibition, people still obtain it — easily — and supply and demand is totally uninterrupted on a macro scale; one dealer falls, another pops up. Under Einstein’s definition, our government is literally insane.

2. Freedom

The war on marijuana is alien to the principles of a free nation founded on the principles of limited government and personal responsibility. The negative impact of marijuana prohibition laws far outstrip the negative impact of the substance itself, which is one of the few things on Earth that has no practical lethal dose, it is basically harmless.

Humans in all cultures have used the cannabis plant since the dawn of history for medicinal, spiritual, industrial, and recreational purposes; only in the 20th century did it occur to any government to prohibit it. Thomas Jefferson and other founders grew cannabis on their plantations. The Declaration of Independence is written on hemp paper. Even Genesis 1:29confirms that God gave man every seed-bearing plant on the Earth. God giveth, government taketh.

The history of American marijuana prohibition and “reefer madness” shows that its practical and legal basis is a house of cards. An outgrowth of alcohol prohibition which arose in roughly the same era, marijuana prohibition was born out of racially-charged fears of Mexicans and blacks.

For the American government to prohibit the cannabis plant, that government must declare war on its own principles. Such a prohibition then contributes to overall erosion in the general population’s respect for the rule of law, because the aggressive enforcement of this law touches so many people and makes the law itself — not just marijuana laws, but all laws and law enforcement officials — a joke.

The body armor-clad government stormtroopers are necessary to prosecute the war on marijuana. That level of expensive and intrusive force is necessary if cannabis, widely used and widely accepted, is to be prohibited from our private homes and lives. But perhaps the best brief against prohibition is the fact that marijuana is widely available to prisoners in America’s prisons and jails. Prisons and jails are the most tightly regulated, highly government-controlled locations in the world. If the government cannot keep marijuana outside of these places, can anyone seriously argue prohibition is enforceable in the general population?

3. Safety

The war on marijuana, like alcohol prohibition before it, creates and fuels the criminal underclass, organized crime, and domestic and foreign drug cartels. It is basic Economics 101: where there is a demand, a supply will be created to meet it, period. Human demand for marijuana, like alcohol, has lasted thousands of years, and will never go away. Leading economists like Milton Friedman have long seen the drug war as an economically-bankrupt policy.

If marijuana were legalized and taxed, violent drug cartels would lose the principal source of their income. Marijuana ought to be treated like a more dangerous substance: alcohol, available at the corner liquor store, and taxed and regulated. How many Mexican drug cartels smuggle beer over the border? Ban it, and you would see many. Create a regulated legal market for it, and the drug cartels are not involved.

4. Children

It is literally easier for American schoolchildren to obtain marijuana than beer.

That is because the government has created the black market in marijuana, making it more accessible to children. There is no black market in beer. It is relatively cheap and easy to obtain, for adults, but difficult for children. Prohibition increases childrens’ attraction to marijuana; the “forbidden fruit” is always sweeter.

For all of these reasons and many more, Americans have now passed the critical 50 percentthreshold in support for legalization of marijuana. (These polls typically understate support, as many Americans are understandably reluctant to admit to using or supporting marijuana to an anonymous telephone surveyor.) Even conservative televangelist Pat Robertson recentlyacknowledged that marijuana ought to be legal.

It is long past time for politicians at all levels to end this bankrupt policy of Prohibition, and stop breaking down the doors of Americans who only want to possess a harmless plant in the comfort of their own homes.


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What’s the Deal with the Northern Lights?

You see them displayed in Christmas movies as a phenomenon of the North Pole. But the Aurora Borealis, as they are scientifically referred to, are actually visible from areas of the earth much farther south than the north pole. If you want to enjoy the beauty and wonder that is the Northern Lights, here are a few interesting things you should know:

  1. The name Aurora comes from the name of the Roman goddess of dawn.
  2. An Aurora in northern latitudes are called aurora borealis (northern lights). An Aurora in the southern latitudes are called aurora australis (southern lights).
  3. The plural of aurora is aurorae.
  4. An aurora occurs when highly charged particles from space collide with atoms in the earth’s atmosphere. This makes the atoms excited, meaning they start moving at a rapid pace. The way they release this energy is to accelerate along the earth’s magnetic fields, which will emit the energy in the form of light.
  5. Solar flares are the most common occurrence that induces an aurora in the atmosphere.
  6. Solar wind is constantly blowing past the earth, contained in this wind are particles that agitate the atoms in our atmosphere. When the sun flares, the wind become stronger so aurorae are most likely to occur then
  7. Norther and southern aurorae mimic each other.
  8. From a distance, the aurora will appear as a greenish glow or even a faint red. From a closer location, the light can appear as a vivid green color.
  9. The green color is due to the emission of oxygen as the atoms begin to slow down from their excited state.
  10. Blue colors come from nitrogen atoms gaining an electron (becoming excited) and red colors occur when the nitrogen atom slows back down to it’s normal state.
  11. Often they look like a curtain of light in the sky that can change shape every few seconds, or even hold their shape. They can also emit it a simple reddish or greenish glow in the sky, without any movement at all.
  12. Aurorae can occur on other planets.
  13. The sun has an 11-year sunspot cycle during which sunspot activity first increases than decreases. Aurorae are most commonly seen at the peak of that cycle and during the three years afterwards because of the increased strength of solar wind produced. The last solar cycle started in January 2008. The max of this cycle is expected to hit in 2011 and 2012.
  14. Pictures taken by space ships of the aurora are even more amazing than what you can see from earth. NASA’s website has a good array of options.

About the Author

Natalie Clive is a writer for My Colleges and Careers is a useful website that can help students find the best online universities where they can earn a college degree. Individuals with a college degree are more likely to have a higher quality of life.


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Five of the Biggest Challenges to Starting a Business

It takes more than passion and great ideas to launch a sustainable business. According to the SBA, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years. To be successful, an entrepreneur needs a strong sense of the challenges that lay ahead and how to respond to them. Here are the five biggest challenges that even the smartest and most dedicated ones will face when starting a business.

1) Forging an idea into a business opportunity.
No matter how great your idea is; your first challenge is to ensure it can be developed into a real business opportunity. Is there a market need for your idea? Is it unique or are there lots of people out there doing exactly the same thing? Also, be sure your idea has the potential to generate profits or you may be better off as an employee. Finally, find a potential customer who will try your product or service and give you feedback. You should always test a business idea before investing a substantial amount of time and money in it.

2) Choosing the right business entity.
When starting a business, you must decide what form of business entity to establish. The structure your business assumes will determine your limitations, liabilities and the income tax return you will have to file. The most common business entities are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and S corporation. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. A sole proprietorship can be easier to create and run, but the owner is responsible for all debts in the business. A corporation, on the other hand, offers liability protection, but it is subject to capital gains tax. Your accountant or attorney can help you decide what type of business structure best fits your needs.

3) Creating a sound business plan.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Before spreading your wings and flying solo, make sure you have mapped out the road in front of you. A business plan is a document that identifies the goals of your company and explains how they will be achieved. It is a blueprint for your business and it is an indispensable tool in attracting investors. Preparing a business plan takes time and energy, but it is one of the most important steps in starting a business.

4) Raising capital and managing cash flow.
Unless you have substantial personal savings, chances are you will need to borrow money from an individual or a bank to get your business off the ground. And you will need a strong business plan and good persuasion skills to sell your idea to potential investors. After you’ve ensured the capital, you will face the challenge of managing cash flow, as you may have to pay suppliers before you collect from clients. The key here is to control your costs and not let your expenses grow faster than planned.

5) Wearing many hats.
Unlike a salaried employee, business owners are in charge of the entire day-to-day functions. As an entrepreneur, you are the marketing and sales person, the bookkeeper and the web designer. Wearing many hats can get overwhelming, mostly if you are not strong in some of these areas. So, hire great people and delegate responsibilities. To be successful, you must become an expert at prioritizing tasks and pacing yourself.

These initial challenges can give entrepreneurs the knowledge and confidence needed to survive hard times. As the business grows, there are always going to be bumps along the road. But the more prepared you are, the better chance you will have at launching a new successful business.

Jen Silva writes for and enjoys writing on topics such as how to start a business, topics related to business cards, and online faxing options. Visit to view more business advice and online articles relating to starting a business.


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