I haven’t posted much about my cats

The dogs tend to be more photogenic, so its easier to focus on them.  But a cat update.

For Trouble not much has changed.  She still lives up to her name, enticing Arty into chasing her and then swatting him with claws when he does, and trying to eat any piece of plastic bag type material I miss when cleaning up.

Unfortunetly the same can’t be said for Janie.  Her health has continued to deteriorate.  We keep having to adjust her thyroid meds.  She’ll be stable and then her thyroid will go screwy again.  One of her last sets of bloodwork showed some odd numbers that the vet thought MIGHT be indicitive of Addisons disease.  Addisons is REALLY rare in cats, but its inevitably fatal if not treated, so we tested for it.  Came back negetive for Addisons, but possibly positive for Cushings (which is basically the exact opposite).  Except its only possibly positive.  And while Cushings is technically easily treatable, when you add in her other problems (random pancreatitus, kidneys slowly failing, an out of control thyroid, occasional IBS) we don’t know how the meds will work with her.  I HIGHLY suspect that the REAL cause of her out of control thyroid isn’t that her thyroid is getting worse, its that her kidney’s are getting worse resulting in improper dosages of medication actually getting absorbed.  But checking her kidney’s requires another ultrasound, which means another day spent at the vets, and every time we do that she comes home sicker from the stress, and we have to re-integrate her into the household cause she smells so odd that none of the other animals want to deal with her…..and I think she’s heading into another bout of pancreatitus on top of needing her thyroid meds adjusted again…..the bad days are starting to outweigh the good ones, and I’m not sure its fair to her to keep prolonging the pain and misery…..

Why I don’t care for Cesar Milan

This post has been building for a while….so sorry if it turns into a rant.

Now, before I get started, I’m not saying that all of what CM teaches is bad.  Its not.  SOME of his techniques, used on SOME dogs are quite effective.  He occasionally makes good points.  The problem is that a fair bit of what he DOES, is NOT a good thing.

One of the message boards I frequent is specifically for the owners, breeders, and other folks who enjoy, mastiffs and mastiff type breeds.

We have a member with a severely human aggressive Cane Corso.  And before someone states that’s a repetitive statement, no actually, its not.  But this dog was mistreated as a youngster and so now will only tolerate her new owner.  And she appears to have actually bonded with her new owner, something that is fairly amazing considering her back ground.  Her aggression towards other humans appears to be mostly fear based, and she has some other fear issues with a variety of things.  Her owner has been slowly working to get her to tolerate cars, for example, in hopes that if he can get her to tolerate cars without being drugged to the gills then maybe he can expand the realm of whats possible.  He’s had trouble finding a trainer who’s got experience with fear reactive LARGE dogs.  But he IS making progress.  Its slow.  But it helps that his sole goal is to simply have her not lunging at strangers if they get to close.  He doesn’t need her to be a love bug, he just wants her tolerant.

We have another member who’s a big CM fan.  And so this CM fan wanders through the thread where the above  guy is posting on his progress, and tells him that he just needs to alpha roll his dog to show her who’s boss and all will be fine.  I managed to refrain from hitting the roof, but did advise him that alpha rolling a human aggressive dog was a really bad idea….

And see, that’s my first problem with CM.  And alot of other trainers to be honest.  Alpha rolling, as defined by these folks, is forcing the dog onto his side or stomach in response to bad behavior.  Its based on some rather outdated understandings of how wolves work in packs.

Unfortunately that is NOT what a real alpha roll is.  A real alpha roll the “dominant” dog does not in anyway force the “submissive” dog to submit.  The “submissive” dog rolls himself over, showing his belly in an apology.  Its an “ooops, I didn’t mean it, sorry!” offered voluntarily by the “submissive” dog.  All that forcing your dog onto his side or back does is show you’re a bigger bully than he is.  Now yes, with some dogs, they do calm down when you do that, if that’s what your dog does that cool, consider yourself lucky.  But many dogs do NOT calm down when that is done to them, they infact consider it a challenge that must be met.  Or in the case of an already fearful dog it can result in the dog becoming fearful of their owner who just proved them-self to be a big bully, and when the dog has already shown a tendency towards fear aggression……

My 2nd problem with CM, is shown in this video:

And since I’m to lazy to type out all that’s wrong please read here where someone else said it better than I would anyway.  Suffice to say that this isn’t the only time CM has badly mis-read a dog’s body language, it just doesn’t always end up in a bite.

My 3rd problem with CM:

First he’s showing a perfect example of how NOT to use a choke collar.  He never releases it fully, the dog is constantly struggling because CM is constantly restricting the dog’s airflow and jerking on his neck.  Then, he kicks the dog, more than once, to elicit a response from the dog.  Watch his feet closely, he likes to use the foot furthest from the dog to do it, kicking behind him into the dog’s gut.  And then when the dog reacts he chokes him some more.  And then he chokes the dog until the dog collapses.  His excuse: the dog was fighting me, he was trying to bite me.  You know what?  Every single living thing on this planet would fight and bite if someone dropped a noose around its neck and cut off the air supply.  If you or I choked our dogs to unconsciousness and the animal cruelty folks found out we’d be up on charges in a heart beat.  But its CM, he was training the dog, it’s ok.

There….hopefully I have it out of my system so now I can go be polite to the CM fan on the message board instead of telling them just what I think of their animal abusing god…..oh wait, maybe not.

Booties for the puppy

We had horribly cold temps this week.  I’ve dealt with worse, but that doesn’t make it fun.  Overnights well below zero, and only warming up to the single digits.  Both dogs get Musher’s Secret on their paws regularly in the winter, but even with that the single digits and colder proved to be to much for Arty.  Less than 5 minutes outside and he was trying to pick up all his feet at once to warm them up, the result was the highly pitiful sight of him falling over in the snow and crying cause his feet hurt.  Made worse because he WANTED to go out, and otherwise didn’t seem bothered by the temps.

Needless to say that doesn’t work well.  So off to the locally owned petstore to buy booties for him.  He’s still not to sure about these things being put on his feet, but they do help keep his feet from freezing so badly.  At least I’m not forced to carry him back in after barely 3 minutes!

Apollo of course is oblivious, and can’t figure out why Arty’s having such problems….

.GOV responses

To the form letter I sent via Ruger’s link.

I’m a little disappointed, of the 10 people it got sent to, only two bothered to respond with even a form letter of “thanks for contacting us….”.  Those two, not only sent out an initial form letter with in 24hrs, but also sent out a longer (probably still form letter, but more pointed) later.

The first was Senator Charles Schumer:

Dear [ScaryYankeeChick]:
     Thank you for contacting me regarding gun control legislation.  Like you, I believe the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution’s Second Amendment. The recent Supreme Court decisions reinforced this fact, but I believed that this was the case prior to those decisions.
           While I certainly respect the Second Amendment to the Constitution, I believe that we have a collective interest in keeping guns out of the hands of those who want to harm the innocent.  I believe it is possible to strike a reasonable balance.  I have long advocated for faster and more accurate background checks so legal purchasers can receive their guns quickly while ensuring criminals do not illegally purchase and possess firearms. In 2011, I proposed S. 436, the Fix Gun Checks Act to provide more funding to states to compile required background data for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  This legislation builds on the National Rifle Association-supported NICS Improvements Amendment Act, passed by Congress in 2007.  Ensuring that this information is comprehensive and up to date will protect law enforcement from criminals with illegally obtained weapons while speeding up the process for purchasing legal firearms.  
     You may also be pleased to know that I have successfully fought to create new opportunities for law abiding citizens to exercise their right to use guns. For example, in the 109th Congress, I secured federal money to expand the scarce hunting grounds in New York State by creating a financial incentive for private landowners to allow hunters access to their property.
           Thank you for contacting me about this important issue.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can ever be of assistance to you on this, or any other matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
The 2nd was Representative Richard Hanna:

Dear [ScaryYankeeChick],

Thank you for contacting my office regarding federal gun control legislation and the Presidential Actions put forward by President Obama on January 16, 2013.

As you may know, President Obama put forward a series of 23 Executive action items which the Administration believes will assist in reducing gun violence.  These actions spread across a broad spectrum of approaches, ranging from a broader background check system, to further research on the causes and prevention of gun violence, to the nomination of Minnesota U.S. Attorney Todd Jones as the Director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), to allowing funds to be used for the hiring of school resource officers to improve safety in schools, to assisting schools, houses of worship, and institutions of higher education develop emergency response plans.  The full series of Presidential Actions may be reviewed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions.

Although the ability to issue policy changes through the Executive branch is a long-standing privilege of presidential administrations, I am concerned with any unilateral action that is meant to usurp the powers of the legislative branch as enumerated in the Constitution. Over the years, the balance of power initially envisioned by our founders has shifted dramatically, sometimes granting executive agencies far too much power to act and regulate unilaterally. Costly federal regulations are often a great burden on individual Americans and our traditional values.

I strongly defend the Second Amendment and generally oppose new gun control laws because they are burdensome on law-abiding-citizens who choose to own a firearm for a variety of good reasons such as hunting or protection.  From the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes, we’re blessed to live in a region with beautiful forests, lakes, and creeks here in Central New York.  Enjoying the outdoors is part of our tradition.  Hunting, recreational shooting, and trapping are not only healthy hobbies – they’re fundamental rights that need to be protected.  The rights defined within the Second Amendment are vital to preserve those activities, and I have consistently voted to uphold it.

Supporters of increased gun control argue that if only Congress regulates more, perhaps human tragedies such as those directed towards the students and faculty of Sandy Hook Elementary School or Columbine High School, the patrons of the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, or former Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona could have been prevented.  I believe we should punish violent criminals to the full extent of the law, especially repeat offenders, without unduly infringing upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding-citizens.

It is especially important to ensure that Executive branch agencies act in a manner that is responsible, appropriate, and most importantly, in accordance with our Constitution.  No agency, organization or person is above the law and each shall be held to the highest degree of accountability.  I do fear that such actions may infringe on the powers of the legislative branch as detailed in the Constitution.  I will continue to monitor these events closely and participate in any conversation on the issues that transpires within the House of Representatives.  I remain confident that in instances that appear to skirt the legal boundaries of our law, the Constitution will and should always prevail.

While I am sure you may not agree with every vote I cast representing you, you will always know my rationale for the decisions I make on the House floor. I am committed to open government and transparency, which is why I post updates from Washington and explanations for final passage votes on each House bill on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/reprichardhanna.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of my offices in the future if I or my staff can be of assistance.  We work for you.

Warm Regards,

U.S. Representative



Its been cold enough today that the woodstove can’t quite keep up.  So rather than turn up the heat I decided to bake instead.


First up, Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls:


For the Biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
For the Filling:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Icing:
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cream and stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. If the dough seems dry, add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Roll the dough into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting at one of the long sides, roll the dough into a cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces. Press down on one side of each piece to flatten slightly, then transfer to a pie plate. Repeat with all the pieces.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk and drizzle the icing over the biscuits. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

I used store bought frosting, and I had to add an extra 1/2cup of flour to the recipe.  But they turned out awesome.



And Soft Pretzels:


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (around 110 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons if you’re using bulk yeast)
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for bowl and parchment paper
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Coarse salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the warm water, sugar, and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let it sit for 5 to 8 minutes, until it gets a little foamy.
Add the flour and melted butter and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated. Once there’s no risk of creating a plume of flour dust, increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl walls, climb up the hook and appears smooth. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the dough and shape it into a smooth ball. Grease the bowl with a little oil, place the dough ball into the bowl and turn it so that it gets a thin coating of the oil. Cover the bowl some plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out and a towel to keep it warm. Let it rise for approximately one hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Combine water and baking soda in a large, wide pot and bring to a boil.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and generously grease the paper. Set prepared pans aside.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and onto a slightly oiled counter top. Gently deflate it a little and shape into a ball. Cut dough into quarters and then cut each quarter in half (so that you have 8 pieces of approximately the same size).
Roll each piece of dough into a long thin rope and twist it into a pretzel shape (see above for detailed instructions). Place on the greased parchment paper.
When all the pretzels have been shaped, give each one a 30 second turn in the baking soda-spiked boiling water (a slotted spoon or spider is the best tool for this job). Return boiled pretzels to their positions on the baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake pretzels until they reach a deep, brown color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Cool for a few minutes and serve warm (ideally with some coarse ground mustard). These pretzels are best on the day they are made, but can be refreshed in a hot oven on the second day. For longer storage, freeze them in a ziptop bag.


They turned out very nice.  I didn’t have any pretzel salt, so I grated chedder cheese over mine instead.

Non-ethanol gas

Weekend Pundit commented on how just “lovely” ethanol gas is.

I’ve never been a huge fan, but untill recently I didn’t seem to have a choice in the matter.

Last spring a gas station not that far from me swapped a single pair of pumps over to non-ethanol gas.  It made sense, they’re the closest gas station to a fairly large marina on the local lake, plus we’re a fairly rural community with all sorts of odds and ends equipment that just runs better on non-ethanol gas.  That pair of pumps was so popular that they couldn’t keep the tank full.  Now the entire island is non-ethanol.  Price wise its sits between 10 and 20 cents per gallon more than their regular gas.

I also recently discovered that there are at least two fairly major local gas station chains who have premium non-ethanol at every pump at every gas station.  Now I’m not going to pay the price for premium, but when I can swing not to far out of my way to hit the gas station by the marina I’m doing so.  I’ve seen an uptick in my miles per gallon too.  Its hard to say an exact number, since I’m not ALWAYS able to get non-ethanol gas, and so there’s always a mix in my tank rather than pure non-ethanol, but my miles per gallon has been slowly inching upwards with each tank…..

Three more links of interest

Ruger has set up a way to send a quick and easy letter expressing your thoughts to the various .GOV officials.

(found via Dead Man Dance)


TX AG has put out ads in NY space inviting NYers to move to TX.

(found via The Next Chapter)


According to the ACRU, Harvard did a study comparing over all murder rates to over all gun ownership rates and discovered that the higher the legal gun ownership rate the lower the over all murder rate.  Amazing coincidence huh? (Disclaimer, I haven’t read the study for myself, maybe today…..)

(I forget who’s blog I found this one on, it was late last night…..)