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The Making (and Eating) of a Snowman

Every Easter my Grandma Mahon (yes, my grandma is a Mahon - pronounced "man") comes to visit us in chilly Minnesota. I say "chilly" because she's leaving her 70ish degree North Carolina to brave the cold wonders Up North with her crazy family.

Crazy? Of course - Mom & Dad a) moved North of the Mason Dixon and b) still inhabit this cold Siberia even though they KNOW it'll drop BELOW ZERO every winter. Crazy.

(*Side Note - several winters into Mom living in Merrifield, the winter was harsh, and with wind chill, the temperature crept down to -80. As in, 80 BELOW ZERO. Grandma called, frantic, wondering how it was with all the horses in the house with us. Because, of course, we had 2 horses at the time and why would we leave them outside? Mom gently stated that they had a nice, warm lean-to and no, they were NOT in the house. *)

I digress.

Much to Grandma's chagrin, the Satterfields headed outside this past Saturday to make a snowman. Keep in mind, in order to have good "snowman snow", the temperatures have to climb above 32, so we thought it was a heat wave. We all tromped outside to watch the goings-on, while Grandma stayed warm and dry inside, where she could see everything through the window.

Clint Throwing a Tree Branch for Zada, the German ShepherdEverything including Princess Sophia posing with her snowman, "Frosty", (and subsequently taking a chomp out of him, of course), Amy & Clint throwing a giant branch for the dogs, and Mom and I trying to capture it all on camera.
Zada in the Snow with a Tree Branch, i.e., Her Version of a Stick
Also, I'd like to add that not many households can claim the success in asking - and receiving - the simple obedient gesture of 3 dogs laying in a row and not moving until they're told they can...and it's not even done via Cesar-like methods!

3 Dogs Lying Calmly on Beds
So, although I have no pixel-proof that Sophia loved her Easter basket (rife with jelly beans, chocolates, seeds and a pot - my sister is Martha Stewart - a new magic wand and a "skeid-a-scope"), suffice it to say it was a successful venture Up North. Lots of good food, chatting at the dinner table, plenty of laughing, hiking and relaxing (please see previous post).

Up at Mom & Dad's

When I was younger, I couldn't WAIT to leave "the country" and GO somewhere...anywhere, as long as it wasn't out in the middle of nowhere (and, as long as my parents weren't there, frankly).

Now I'm pushing 30 (still wearing jeans) and can't WAIT to head up North to Mom & Dad's as often as I can. My, how things change - it's amazing how city life can transform a person.

So, here I sit, in the comfort and relaxed atmosphere of the house where I grew up, and there's already a small part of me that's dreading tomorrow when we have to leave...

(These pictures aren't from this weekend, but I finally got the images loaded from when Clint and I were here in mid-January for Mom's belated "Christmas" party.)

Since I don't have time to monkey around with the code and making sure my picture captions correspond, I'll explain. (Sophia wants me to watch "Happy Feet" with her, so I'm on deadline :)

The first shot is of the house with the sunset reflected in the windows. I grew up in this house (well, from the time I was 13, anyway). The next shot (to the right) is Clint playing fetch with all 3 dogs (Zada, Tesa & Hogan) on the lake. Next (left) is Zada waiting patiently - albeit intensely - for Clint to throw the stick. The last is Clint tossing snow for the dogs (Tesa & Hogan). My dog hasn't quite figured out WHY we jump repeatedly, biting at snow that flies through the air.

Well, time to head upstairs for the movie...

I Want to be like Kleenex

Kleenex. Chapstick. Xerox. Google.

What do all these brand names have in common?

When was the last time you were a guest at someone's house, your nose was running, and you asked, "Do you have any bathroom tissue?" Note, not all 3 criteria need be met; the idea is what counts.

Or, if your lips were dry and flaky, did you ever turn to your (mom, best friend...insert someone whose lips you trust here) and ask, "Can I borrow your lip balm?"

Boss to underling: Go Xerox this document and bring it to the meeting.
Underling to boss: Sir? Don't we have RICOH copiers? I didn't know we had a Xerox machine.
Boss to underling: Whatever, go make a copy.

And, last but not least, earlier today while talking on the phone with my sister - I took a break from blogging long enough to answer the phone and set up a time to go for a dog walk - I tried to tell her what I'd been doing all morning, and she didn't understand what "social networking" meant. So, I said, "ugh, go Google me and you'll know what I'm talking about."

The thing is, all these companies have transcended mere brand awareness and moved into "genericized trademark" status. I purposefully didn't include the copyright symbols behind these brand names, not just because I'm lazy and I don't want to, but also because I'm trying to prove a point.

That is, once you've moved from brand awareness into becoming a "generic trademark" you no longer get the right to claim the trademark symbol every time someone writes about you. If you've earned the right to be the "colloquial description for (or synonymous with) a particular class of product or service*", then you've subsequently lost the right to your trademark symbol appearing in every publication. (Based on context, of course)

Anyway, my random thought happens to be the longing for someone, some day, to say "wow, that was a Bernier-ism". Meaning "wow, that was random".

On a side note, I think my dog is already nose-to-nose with me in this race, as I've already started to identify things that're stinky with a comment of "ish, that smell is so ZADA!" She innocently sleeps on at my feet this very instant, lost in some doggy dream and contentedly exuding a noxious gas from her rear end.

On a random other side note (since that's what I want to be known for, of course), my grandmother is coming to visit for Easter, and will arrive in town this coming Wednesday. Us girls (Mom, Grandma, Amy and I) are all going to lunch. Should be a fun time.

* From Wikipedia

The Point & Shoot Camera Part Deux

Last night I raved about my new buddy, my Canon point & shoot. It takes some pretty nice images - i.e., professional looking shots (like the snow shot :) - but it also captures those fun "portrait" type pictures, as well!

Here we see the "Ms. Zada Potato Head" with...unfortunately...NOT detachable ears :) I can't lie to ya...I LOVE the "nose-to tail" photos.

I'd have to say the majority of usage this lil' guy (the camera :) has seen has been outdoors, but the indoor images have turned out well, plus there's not a big delay between shutter and shot. Again, overall this guy gets 4 stars. (Probably not 5; the main "fault" is that it uses Double A batteries which don't last very long.)

Here's Clint cuddling with Zada while watching TV up in the TV room. She's a huge fan of finding any blanket real estate available and curling up on it.

Aaaaaand here it is. I taught my dog to "Heil Hitler."
Oops. Not on purpose - it started out as a "hello" / wave type trick; then morphed into the always-recognizable Nazi salute* because of the way she does it. It's not her fault, though, because it's in her blood...she IS German, after all!

Well...there'll probably be many more renditions of the "ratings & reviews" of my point & shoot camera, but this one HAD to be Zada-centric because, well, she hasn't made an appearance for awhile!

Self Portrait! →

PS: I'd like to add that my post last night has an error. It's not "a couple weeks" 'til Bon's one week FROM TONIGHT! Helmet Hair and Big Bangs, here I come!

* Side Note: I'm careful to whom I show this trick. Again, not a politically correct gesture to teach someone - even if that someone is a cute and cuddly dog.

The Point & Shoot Camera

It took me a long time to "go digital". Until the spring of '06, if I remember correctly. And, now I couldn't imagine NOT having at least one digital camera (so of course I have 2).

My first camera purchase - EVER - was my Canon 30D. Every other item - minus batteries :) - had been gifted from good ol' Mom & Dad for birthdays and Christmases throughout the years. I was pretty pumped not only to be going digital, but buying my VERY OWN camera.

After almost 2 years of practicing and getting spoiled with digital imagery, for Christmas this year Clint got me my very first point & shoot (digital). I'm enamored with it - another Canon - and it takes some pretty darned good pictures! It's an 8-mega pixel, which, by the way, is what my SLR is! (Only when shooting RAW, of course :) Although the zoom is quite a bit touchier than my single lens reflex, the point & shoot competes very well.

I'm thrilled with my little P&S Canon...fits in my purse a lot easier than the SLR for those spontaneous shots, but puts on the "big boy pants" and performs well for the professional images, too.

PS: We'll see how well it does in the murky recesses of the Bon Jovi concert in a couple weeks!