My Dog Understands English!


This book is mostly full of true stories about ordinary dogs who obeyed unusual commands they weren't taught. Here is a bit of a different story. Hopefully, we will see more of this story in the comments, so keep your eye on them! Copyright 2013 Cherise Kelley. All rights reserved.

Excerpt


Sometimes, things happen that are just too funny for words. This was one of those times. We have this beautiful parrot that is quite talkative. His name is Ashley, and he sits watching everything in the large family room.

The dogs usually ignore the bird unless he squawks. That is, the dogs ignored it until the bird started learning the dogs’ names. He would call them and they would come running! It gets better.

My son decided to teach the bird dog commands, to see if the dogs would obey. 

 

I did not see any response to this until one day as I was folding laundry.

I heard, “Yoda, sit,” and then “Roll over.”

I peeked around the corner, and there was Yoda in front of the bird cage, doing the commands.

It was so funny, I grabbed the video camera to try to record it, but it was out of charge. Each time the bird would say ‘Sit’ or ‘Roll over’, Yoda would do it. Yoda caught on that it was the bird giving the commands after that, though. I never got another chance to record it. Darn!

Bird Commanding Dog Videos 


Cherise again, here. I so wish she had gotten that on video, the bird giving the dog commands! Isn’t that hilarious? I wonder if someone else will try it. If you do, please get it on video, post it online, and leave a comment here with the name of the site and the name of the video, so we can watch it. I would love to see that! I bet other readers would, too.

My book, My Dog Understands English! 50 dogs obey commands they weren't taught, is available online:
Paperback: Amazon | Barnesandnoble.com
eBook: Kindle

Dog Aliens 2: Oreo Book by Cherise Kelley



We all know what the alpha of the pack does. Find out what a defender does.

Oreo is a rascal dog who loves to make trouble for his goody goody adopted brother Raffle, who keeps trying to tell him they're both aliens from outer space.

Raffle is running himself ragged playing mental movies for Oreo, trying to keep him from wrecking his humans' house. Something is up, though. Their dog alien neighbors are laughing at Raffle for claiming to be from another planet.

I promise that all my Dog Aliens books have happy endings, and no dogs ever die in them. 

paperback: Barnes Online | Amazon | Powell's
ebook: Kindle and the free Kindle app

This is the sequel to Dog Aliens 1: Raffle's Name.
For dog lovers of all ages, but geared toward fourth grade readers.

The Dog Aliens Series

Kaxian Duty - A Dog Aliens Short Story
Dog Aliens 1: Raffle's Name
Dog Aliens 2: Oreo
Dog Aliens 3: She Wolf Neya

Fall Leaves Pictures and Raffle!


I've been a photo-taking fool these past few weeks, with all the maple trees turning yellow for fall. They don't turn that gorgeous red color here in Spokane. They fall while they're yellow. Still, the maple trees are magnificent in October.



 My Minnesota cousin Kathy thinks pine trees are ugly. Any other time of year I disagree, but in autumn the maple trees outshine the pine trees by a large order of magnitude. I will give her that. Maybe she'll admit that the pine trees make a nice background for the maples, here in Washington State.

I did manage to catch a few pictures of Raffle while he was running around at the dog park. Well, I caught a lot of pictures of him, but I managed to catch a few where he wasn't checking out the scent poles, LOL!

I weighed in at 157.6 this morning. I won't tell you what it was yesterday, only that I lost more than 2 pounds yesterday. We got pumpkin spice bread mix from Costco and have been indulging in pumpkin spice pancakes on Sundays. Oh, yum! I like them even more than pumpkin pie! The mix is made by Krusteaz, and it's really easy. Just add water and eggs. I was planning on getting pumpkin spice pancake mix at Trader Joe's because they sent us a flyer, but then I saw this one on my usual Costco run and saved us a trip. It's only for a Sunday indulgence during October.

What's the Story? #1

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? And every picture tells a story. What story does this picture tell you, all on its own? Please comment and tell me, before you read my version. While I wait, I'll tell you I walk past this trailer every day. It's in the overgrown backyard of a motor home that has been vacant for a year now, but that used to be rented out. The lot borders the park where I walk Raffle and Oreo every day.

OK, now that you've told the story this photo tells you, I'll tell you the story this photo tells me.

Bobbie used to go on road trips with his big sister and his parents when he was little. They went to Disneyland and met Mickey Mouse and rode on the Matterhorn. They saw Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Niagara Falls, and Mount Rushmore. They roasted hot dogs for dinner and watched the stars at night for entertainment.

When Bobbie and his sister got too big to fit in the camper with their parents, they put the camper up on cinder blocks on an inexpensive lot out in the boonies and used it as a guest house when they stayed in their vacation home, a mobile home. Bobbie's kids stayed there eventually, as did his niece and nephew. The family had reunions here.

The family prospered. They bought a nicer vacation home. They kept the mobile home as a rental property. But they just plumb forgot their little camper was out there in the back yard. For awhile, kids played in it, but before too long it was vandalized.

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I weighed in at 156.4 this morning. That's the same weight I've been for a month now. It's steady. Maybe I'll just stay here. My jeans fit great!

Cherise the Name

In 50 years, I've met exactly 35 people who share my first name. With two exceptions, every time, it has given us a special feeling of kinship. I'm the only one I know who has counted. There were three of us named Cherise in my class in high school, and the other two are the exceptions. Normally, three women sharing a first name isn't a problem, but with a rare name such as ours, it was.

A guy ran up to me in gym class and proudly announced, "I voted for you for Homecoming Queen!"
"I'm not running," I told him.
"Huh? But your name is on the ballot." He smiled at me. "Maybe someone else signed you up!"
"Nope. Cherese ____ is running."
He looked dumbfounded. Cherese ____ and I couldn't look any more different. Literally, black and white! LOL!

There is at least one other Cherise Kelley online. She is blonde and 20 years younger than I am. Kelley is her maiden name, so I hold out hope that perhaps hers will change.

I love my first name, and I'm so glad my parents spelled it right! Cherise translates to cherry from Old French to English. Not cherries, which it does kind of sound like, but cherry. Modern French for cherry is cerise. In 1989, I visited a French friend where she grew up, in Paris. She and her family and friends found my name just as rare there as it is here in the US.

Cherise is my real name. I'm not French, though. My parents found my name in a book of baby names. I grew up before everyday people had Internet access, so I didn't know the meaning of my name until 8th grade Spanish class. I told the teacher my name and he told me my Spanish name was Cereza. I looked that up and it translated to cherry in English.

Nicknames? My dad's parents thought Cherise was too weird a name to call a little girl, so they called me by a name that was more common in my childhood, Sherry. It stuck. My whole family still calls me that, but we spell it Cheri. In French, that is pronounced share EE, and it translates to dear one in English. To my mom and my sister, I'm Cher. I've had odd nicknames, though. Cherries. Reeses. My friend's dad called me Chartreuse.

A black co-worker gave me my favorite odd nickname: Cyd (For Cyd Charisse, the white 1940s actress and dancer best known for the movie "Singin' in the Rain"). He would say it enthusiastically whenever he saw me, "Cyd!" People's reactions were funny. Even in the early 1980s, almost no one remembered poor Cyd Charisse.
 
In the late 1970s, a guy my age told me that from hearing my name before we were introduced, he expected me to be more of a model, more glamorous. When an older lady heard my name in the early 1990s, she said, "Yeah, that's a 60s name! It's pretty groovy!" Yes, I was born in the 60s, so that makes sense.

When I got Internet access in the late 90s, I looked my name up on various name sites that asked people if they liked their names or not. This one Cherise said she liked it, but it bothered her that even though our name is Old French, people expect her to be black.

I like that my name means something. The other day, someone said it's only recently that people have named their children by putting together sounds they find "pretty" or "cute." He pointed out that traditionally, names have had meaning.

Pirates of the Coeur d'Alene Kids Cruise Review

We took the Pirates of the Coeur d'Alene Kids Cruise in June of 2013: Mom, Sis, and me. We really enjoyed it! This is definitely meant for kids and we had so much fun watching the kids get into it. The crew did a good job engaging the kids with crafts, games, stories, acting, singing, and dancing.

I'd say the kids pirate cruise is aimed at littler kids, ages 3 - 8. Adults had fun watching the little ones have fun, but I think teens would be bored.

It starts with face painting and costuming the kiddies inside the lower level of the dinner boat. Then, up top where the cannons are there's storytelling and a fun action sequence that changes every year.




The crew use microphone headsets, so everyone can hear what is going on from every seat.

The vistas from the pirate ship boat are as spectacular as the show. Lake Coeur d'Alene is an international resort destination.

There's a full bar the entire time of the cruise. Snacks are on sale, too, and soft drinks.

There is an adult version of the Coeur d'Alene pirate cruise for those over 21, too. I haven't partaken, but I hear it is worth doing if you're in your twenties.

Window Is Short for Wind Opening

We only have a one-room portable air conditioner that Scott uses in the bedroom to sleep during the day to be ready for his night shifts at work. The rest of the house is cooled by air flow. We open all the windows and use a series of fans to push air through the house. We point all the fans the same direction as the wind is currently blowing outside. This means one end of the house has fans blowing air in through the window and the other end of the house has fans blowing air out through the window, or wind opening.

So, in my mind, windows are for allowing the wind to blow through and cool the house in hot weather. A neighbor recently asked if I'd seen the new paint job on the back of his house. When I told him I hadn't, he told me, "That's what windows are for." I thought to myself, "No, windows are for letting the wind cool the house off. If windows were for spying on our neighbors, then they would be called 'spyows' (spy openings)."

I imagine people shortened 'wind opening' to 'window' long before they had electric fans to help the wind cool their houses. I wonder when we lost track of why we called them wind openings, but I'd guess it happened fairly recently, with the invention of air conditioning.

That reminds me of a cool story about my family's old farmhouse. My Grandma Anna, second from the left in this photo that was taken in the late 1980s, grew up in tornado country. Her father built this farmhouse in the thick of tornado country. During tornado warnings, she would tell us to open the particular window that appears in this photo. She said that giving the wind this opening would prevent the tornado from tearing the house down.

Unfortunately, this photograph got double exposed. That used to happen sometimes, back when we needed to use film in order to take pictures. I mistook this roll of film for an unexposed roll, and I took another picture on top of this one.

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In other news, I weighed in at 156.6 this morning, and I will be dieting for the next week or so. The cheesecake our church gave us to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary sure was yummy, though!

Make Your Own Luck

You have to make your own luck in this life. I won't tell you how many Starbursts I
opened before I got this one with two cherry-flavored candies inside. I was not expecting this to happen. When it did, I felt like the luckiest kid on the block! I had taken ten pictures of it to make sure I had at least one I could use for this blog before I remembered I was 50 now and not a kid anymore.

Please click on the cover of my free Dog Aliens short story to go download it from Amazon! Downloading it will help me out. I of course hope you read the story and love it and leave a review on Amazon, too, but just downloading the story will help me out. Email it to all your friends and ask them to download it, too!

See? That is me, making some of my own luck. :)

SPOCON pics by the candy lady 2013


This was my first SPOCON. I had so much fun! Loki showed up at in-character karaoke and sang The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes" about how no one knows how the bad guy feels. It was hilarious! We had a whole bunch of good singers!

Now that I think about it, SPOCON 2013 helped me realize why I like Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. It came to me while I sang "The Impossible Dream" at in-character karaoke. This song sums it up. We're all reaching the unreachable star!


And cons are the embodiment of thousands of people all celebrating this together.

At SPOCON 2013, I was referred to as "the candy lady" because of my bottomless dog dish of free candy! OK, I did start asking each person to beg like a dog to get the free candy, but that was all in good fun. :)

These sith lords from Star Wars put on a good show
mock fighting with their light sabres. They even made the animated fighting sounds. Their light sabres did, that is!

This wolf looked really cool on stage at the masquerade in the dark with its eyes and claws lit up by electric lights.


I thought it was wonderful how whole families dressed up for SPOCON and hung out together!

I didn't get a picture of it, but my favorite costume play moment was when a huge guy dressed in military gear made a fancy show of saluting a kid dressed as Iron Man. Egos don't come into the cosplay at this convention at all. SPOCON is all about having fun together.


This dancing dwarf dude was so much fun! He said dancing made the weight of the armor more evenly distributed on his back, so he was dancing up and down the aisles. He didn't really need to make the disco music noises, but they sure were funny. :)

These twins were adorable as teenage mutant ninja turtles. Their mom walked right along with them, and I am pretty sure she made their costumes.


Here are a few Aes Sedai from The Wheel of Time series. Brandon Sanderson was the guest of honor at SPOCON 2013, and my favorite event was The Unquisition, where Brandon answered our questions from his perspective as the author who finished the series after Robert Jordan passed. The fun was we had to ask our questions without using any names! I asked, "Why are the desert people so in love with the queen who fancies the blacksmith?" Brandon Sanderson says the Aiel love Berelain so much because she has barely any territory and yet she wields power like a pro.





This was my view up the hall from behind my table.



The man in green on the right and his daughter to his left won the masquerade for their cute skit.







Coeur d'Alene Resort Dinner Cruise Pictures

Thanks to my wonderful mom, I just went on one of the nicest Pacific Northwest vacations possible! Yes, I am home from another trip. This time, Mom and my sister and I stayed at the Coeur d'Alene Resort and Spa. Here we are on our second evening together, finally relaxing on the dinner cruise. It was spectacular.


The dinner is served buffet style. Salads were out when we boarded at 7pm, and many passengers dug in to those before we got underway and before the crew got out the roast beef, baked salmon, peppered green beans, and au gratin potatoes. Starbucks coffee and raspberry cheesecake rounded out the meal.
The views outshone the food. Gawking at all the million-dollar summer homes on Lake Coeur d'Alene was more fun even than cheesecake! Each home has its boathouse. Some are creatively perched on cliffs while others have intricate cable car systems for getting to and from their boathouses.
The Coeur d'Alene Resort dinner cruise leaves when the sun is starting to set and ends when it is just set - perfect timing, at least in July! Views of the cabins, boat houses, mansions, glittering condominiums and sunset put on a better show than any human entertainer could. Every moment is picture perfect.

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I weighed 150.2 when I left for vacation. Today and for the last 4 days I weighed in at 152.6. not bad at all for eating cheesecake and au gratin potatoes! We did far worse on other days, as I will show you in the coming weeks!

1968 Chevy Pickup $4,500 Spokane

This is a cool truck that Scott and I saw on one of our walks this past week. It's a 1968 Chevy Pickup, according to the sticker on the windshield. The Union Gospel Mission of Spokane wants $4,500 for it. The interior looked decent. Some of the upholstery was coming apart at the seams, which is easy to fix with a needle and thread. I was impressed that the original vinyl paneling was intact, and the ceiling wasn't coming down. It has funky analog dial meters.

I thought this truck was so cool, I made this picture my Facebook cover! I was surprised at the asking price. They have newer cars for sale at less than $1,000. I guess the coolness factor comes into it even for charity!

I weighed in at 151.4 this morning. I lost .8 pounds last week. Just 1.5 pounds to lose before Saturday! I think I can; I think I can...





Walmart Sunbathers: Only in Spokane?

I counted TEN sunbathers in the Walmart parking lot the other day on our way in to shop. We were in there an hour, and those same sunbathers were still out there when we came out to our car! Some of them were on their phones, but others were hanging out with friends. Is this just a Spokane thing, or does this happen where you live, too? Am I the only one who finds this weird?

I grew up near the ocean, in Southern California. Sunbathing was done at the beach if you lived close enough, and at someone's pool or in their backyard, if you didn't. One apartment we lived in had roof access, and we sunbathed on the roof. Looking back, that probably wasn't such a good idea.

When we were kids, it was considered sissy to bring a towel to the beach. You just walked down there barefoot in your swimsuit and ran into the water, diving under the waves so they didn't knock you down. When you got out, you lay down on the hot sand until the sun dried you. Sand doesn't stick to you if you're dry.

There is no beach here in Spokane, but there are community pools that only cost a dollar for the whole day. There is a large Riverfront Park downtown on the Spokane River, which has a waterfall right in town. Liberty Lake is nearby. Why would anyone be a Walmart sunbather? I did turn 50 this year. It's possible I'm not seeing the attraction. Tell me what it is! I'm so curious!
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I weighed in at 152.2 this morning, 1.6 pounds lighter than last week. I walked at least a mile every day. Some days, I manually cut weeds in the garden. A few times, I got on the stair stepper. As far as my diet goes, my approach is to eat Scarsdale meals at home, and normally at parties and when we go out. I had an extra helping of buttery chicken noodle casserole at the church potluck yesterday, though, and that cost me half a pound in weight gain.

153.8 and Going Back Down!


 I weighed in at 153.8 this morning, and that is going down to below 150 by the end of July! It's a fact! I lost .6 pounds this past week. I know, I need to step the weight loss rate up a bit. We are enjoying an active outside lifestyle this summer, which is helping.

Isn't that a cool VW Bug? It was parked there outside the Coeur d'Alene Visitor Center when we arrived the other day. I don't really know where anyone surfs in a lake, but wow, does it look cool!  Oreo jumped in the lake down there on the boat ramp. He's all wet in the picture.

Those are the yummiest strawberries I have ever tasted! We bought them today at Costco. I ate TEN of them! I made them my side dish with my salmon patty, for dinner! I just grab them by the stem and nibble away, no sugar added nor needed. If they are ripe, then strawberries are perfectly sweet just au natural. I very pointedly did not sample anything at Costco. It wasn't even that difficult. I made sure and ate my lunch right before we went shopping.

154.4 This Morning!

My weight is going back down, down , down below 150! Soon! Before my vacation with my mom and sister at the end of July!

Here are some photos I took with the new Panasonic Lumix ZS25 digital camera I got with the money my in-laws gave me for my 50th birthday. 


This camera says it has "lightning fast auto focus," and I take a lot of pictures of the dogs, so that is why I chose it.



This one with the chain link fence amuses me the most, even though the dogs aren't the focus. Look how the flash just loves the rolled-up fence! All the light goes into it and makes it look like it is white hot, when it is just a cold rolled up bit of chain link. Isn't that weird?

Twilight Changed Forks

I was a substitute teacher at Forks High School for the 96/97 school year. Scott and I chaperoned the prom. We shopped weekly for our groceries at The Thriftway, and we got to know the normal way life is in Forks, WA. At the end of the school year, we moved back to California. We called our nine months in Forks "the best vacation we ever had," but we just could not take the constant rain. We laughed heartily whenever fellow Californians complained about a little sprinkle, and we explained our persistent coughs as "coughing up Forks," but mostly, we put Forks behind us. We did until May 2013, when curiosity got the best of us and we went back to see how much Twilight changed Forks.

Video: Twilight Changed Forks May 2013 by Cherise Kelley



In 2008 when the first Twilight movie came out, I was teaching middle school English in Bloomington, CA. A bunch of my students were avid Twilight fans. I listened with amusement while they discussed how dreamy Edward is and how lucky Bella is. I giggled at their speculations on if vampires should sparkle or not. And then I was stunned when I heard them mention Forks, WA. "Where did you say this story takes place?" "In this little town called Forks, WA where it rains all the time so it's always cloudy and the sun never comes out, so it's the perfect place for vampires." That did it. I had to see this movie that had been made about Forks!


I rented the movie and watched it twice, and I was done until the movie of New Moon came out. Taylor Lautner hooked me on the saga. I had to find out what happened! I borrowed the books from a friend and read them all―ten times each! I saw all the movies in the theater and then bought the DVDs and watched them over and over.

I got enough of Twilight once the final movie was out and I had listened to the director's commentary. That finally gave me closure. And then I heard a rumor that Lion's Gate plans to remake the Twilight Saga movies with a new cast. "They should make them in Forks and Port Angeles instead of in Portland and Vancouver" was my immediate thought. My next thought was, "I wonder how much Twilight has changed Forks and Port Angeles?"
Now, I can tell you how much Twilight changed Forks: not much at all. The most notable change is the new Forks High School building―which the residents will be paying off over the next 30 years in property taxes, according to Bob at Forks True Value Hardware. Funny we should mention Bob. His huge store is new, too. The public restroom in his new store is amusingly labeled "Twiolet." Bob used to run a Coast Hardware in the building where the Native to Twilight store now is. He says locals helped him decorate this wall with stuff they brought in from their attics and barns.

There really are few other changes to the town of Forks since we lived there in 1997. The one nice restaurant in town is gone, The Vagabond. Most of the stores have Twilight souvenirs on display. There are a few tour companies that'll show you around town where various locals have volunteered to simulate The Swan Residence, The Cullen Residence, and other Twilight attractions. Leppell's Flowers & Gifts, across the street from the high school, runs one of these tour companies.

Forks is still a rainy small town full of friendly lumberjacks after all the Twilight hoopla.

More posts about Cherise Kelley's Forks Road Trip:

First Beach, La Push, Washington

Inside Bella Italia in Port Angeles

Forks Forest Pictures and Video

First Beach, La Push Washington

First Beach was one of the most enjoyable parts of our recent Forks vacation. It was May, and anyway it is too cold to swim here most of the year, but we had a blast! We took the dogs walking on the beach, and they had more fun sniffing everything than we had looking around, I think.

The people are really friendly in La Push, too. We stopped at the new Quilayute Oceanside Resort for directions and they cheerfully told us where we could park for free and walk down onto First Beach. You can see the resort in my videos. Another motorist hesitated too long at a 4 way stop, and when I rolled down my window to ask if he was OK, he laughed and said he had just spaced out. Other tourists were on the beach with their dogs, too, and we all gave each other lots of space and polite distance so that we could all enjoy walking our dogs on the beach.

Scott took this first video while I was trying to pose our dogs, Raffle and Oreo, for a still picture. I didn't know he was taking a video! I think it's pretty funny. Video of Cherise Kelley with Raffle and Oreo:



This next video is funny, too! Oreo keeps trying to walk me into the ocean! This is also the video of Quilayute Oceanside Resort. It is right on First Beach, but off to the side so you can still enjoy the beach, a really nice arrangement. Another Video of Cherise Kelley with Raffle and Oreo



This last video is for those people asking themselves, "How beautiful is First Beach, La Push really, in real life?" (It is incredibly beautiful. I grew up near the beach and have missed it since moving to Washington, but I got my fix here. This also is a nice video with ocean wave sounds.)



I finished out the week weighing in at 157.0 this morning. Not great, but moving in the right direction to be back under 150 by the end of July.

We took this Forks road trip to find out how Twilight has changed Forks, and my Forks video, pictures, and post are coming next week!

Forks Forest Pictures and Video

I have heard rumors that Lions Gate Entertainment Inc plans to remake the Twilight movies. I hope they remake them in Forks. I don't think Twilight 2008 director Catherine Hardwicke realized the Forks forest is a creepy and cool mossy rainforest, not just a regular pine forest. The town of Forks has been accommodating to Twilight fans and deserves the recognition and increased business that filming on location there would bring.

Exercise comes easiest when it's fun. Scott, Raffle, Oreo, and I had so much fun traipsing through the creepy and cool rainforest! Moss does not only grow on the north side of trees, just so you know.



We saw several deer here at the Storm King Ranger Station on the drive from Port Angeles to Forks. The deer are all so tame, they didn't even run when our dogs barked at them! This is unheard of in most of Washington, where deer hunting is a popular sport. I know because we have lived in Spokane two and a half years now.


But just in general, we were really captivated by how eery and silent the Forks forest is. It is so green and alive because of all the rain it gets. I remember when we lived in Forks back in 96, one day it rained 6 inches. It rained at least half an inch every day, most heavily at about 4 pm. We had to mow our grass twice a week.



We called this one that Scott, Raffle, and Oreo are under "the tepee tree."


I finally cracked under 158 today! I weighed in this morning at 157.4, which means yesterday I lost .8 pounds. I didn't expect that because I gave in and had a slice of pizza for lunch yesterday.

I've been bringing unsweetened berries to the foodie events at church. I brought blueberries to the ladies cookie tea last Wednesday. I brought unsweetened strawberries to the joint worship service we had last Sunday evening with two other churches. People thanked me for bringing berries! The ladies asked me if I picked the blueberries, but I explained, "No, I'm a city girl. I have never picked a berry in my life."

I don't think I am a city girl anymore, though. I wouldn't want to deal with the rain in the Forks forest, but I love living close enough to nature that I can walk in the Spokane forest every day, or at least in the woodsy park, if not up in the forested hills.