Dogs Don’t Talk

Books by Chris Brogan
                            Books by Chris Brogan

At our son’s second grade parent teacher conference, she told us how he did not follow directions in class. She read a story and instructed the students to tell her what the dog would have said if the dog could talk. Chris replied “Dogs don’t talk.” She explained to us in great detail how important it was for Chris to learn “what if” thinking. She encouraged us to work with Chris to help him understand “what if dogs could talk.”  When she completed her speech, Steve said, “Dogs don’t talk.” That was the end of our conference.

Over the years, the statement “Dogs don’t talk.” has been part of our language. It is used when something doesn’t make sense or is not logical.

Every morning I send out a “Good Morning” message to family members and a few friends. Last Friday, I asked a question of those folks in the Northeast who were experiencing snow fall. “How would you explain snow to someone who has never seen it before?”

I got some interesting answers:

  • Cold dust that sticks to itself.
  • Like frost in a freezer
  • Different sized/shaped ice shavings falling from the sky. Sometimes fluffy (less water in it) or sometimes mushy (too much water in it).
  • Like shaved ice only with airborne particulates instead of waterborne microbes.
  • Show them a picture.
  • A friend replied: I had to do that when I was in North Africa. Not sure how successful I was. Pictures really help.

Six people answered as soon as I asked the question. The next reply caused me to think about questions in general.

For the most part, we don’t really answer thought provoking questions on a regular basis, or at least Steve and I don’t. Most of our information is presented to us via television, or internet feeds, Facebook, Twitter, and weekly news magazines.

One guy could not figure out why I would ask such a silly question because he knew for a fact that I already knew what snow was like. After Hmmming and thinking, he  actually came up with some good answers and sent me three pictures as well. He said:

  • Explain that it freezes before it hits the ground.
  • Tell them the color.
  • Explain that temperature is a factor.
  • Show pictures of individual flakes and explain that no two flakes are the same.
  • Tell them that it takes thousands and thousands of them to make a pile.

My reluctant friend ended our texting marathon by asking, “What prompted your question? You know what snow is.”

I almost instantly replied “Dogs don’t talk.”


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Live Long and Prosper

In 2011, Steve and I were at a reception for our son, Chris, in Chicago. A smiling, determined looking lady approached me with outstretched hand saying, “Hi! I’m Karen Putz, I know your son and I’m happy to meet you.” We instantly became friends and the friendship just gets better every day. That is because Karen and I think very much alike.

Biologically speaking, I am probably old enough to be Karen’s mother. But Karen and I don’t think about age and how it relates to what we can and can not do. Well that is not exactly true, because Karen talks a lot about age in her latest book, Outside the Wake: How an “Old Lady” Taught Me to Live.

In the book, Karen talks about being all washed up at 44 and on the verge of getting ready for “old age” when she met Judy Myers, a barefoot water skier who helped Karen change the direction of her life. Karen also talks about many other people in the book who do amazing things rather than sit in their rocking chairs.

Steve and I don’t barefoot waterski, but we live a pretty active life and it does make a difference. We both create every day. We read. Currently, we are reading the works or Norman Doidge: The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science and The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity (James H. Silberman Book). Repeatedly, the phrase “use it or lose it” is used to emphasize the need to move and not retire in place.

We watch limited Netflix, but never have the TV on all the time. We are out and about nearly every day. We eat healthy food, although maybe a bit too much of it. We look for the happy in a situation. We try to be supportive of family and friends. Life is too short to be unhappy.

The world is full of so many beautiful places to see and wonderful people to meet. We are so blessed with all we have and so fortunate to know the wonderful people in our lives.

From that first hand shake, Karen has inspired me. She travels all over the country. She does hand stands. I always smile when I see a picture of Karen or one of her family on Facebook doing a hand stand.

She posts words of inspiration and sometimes that is just what is needed to give an extra spark to the day. She seems to be everywhere on line. She always has inspiring words. One thing is for sure, she is not an old lady.

AND she sends out cards, an art form that is nearly forgotten these days. Karen is an amazing person. We have a mutual friend, Calvin Lee. Each year he creates a tee-shirt with a cartoon depiction of himself for the SXSW conference. Last year, I sent Calvin a message saying I could not attend the conference, but I love the tee-shirt. A few days later a tee-shirt arrived in my mail box. I was so excited. Steve took a picture of me and I immediately posted it on line for everyone to see.


A few days later, I received a lovely card from Karen with the picture on the front and a get well message on the inside. Karen is so lovely and full of inspiration. Her Christmas cards are even better. I could do another whole post on the wonderfulness of her family.

If you don’t know Karen Putz, you should. Follow her on Twitter at @AgelessPassions and on Facebook at Karen Griffard Putz.

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Light snow fell as we walked toward home in the sparkling glow of the street lights. The snow created a magical winter wonderland.

As the storm intensified, the snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain and lashed us as if we were being beaten by thin tree branches on all sides. The slippery ground made it nearly impossible to stand and we wondered if we would survive.

When we turned the corner, it seemed to feel warmer and suddenly we weren’t being lashed any more. Now giant snowflakes were falling from the sky. They were so beautiful. So individual. The snowflakes were heavy and clung to our clothing. The snowflakes collected and became great mounds of heavy snow on the ground. The high moisture content created what is called “sticky snow.” That is what snowmen are made of. It is fun for some, but difficult to remove from walks and roadways.

The most unremarkable kind of snow is powdery snow that has very little moisture. It can be blown by the wind into great mounds. Our car was once covered with snow – all except the antenna.

Steve and I are in New England as I write this post. We haven’t seen snow for the past three years, but it still holds the same magic.

Yes, it can be a nuisance, but there is nothing like snow to liven up the conversation. Are you ready for the storm? How much do you think we will get? Is everyone home? After the storm, the questions continue. How much snow did you get? Did you lose any trees? Is everyone safe? Have they got the roads cleared down your way?

When snow storms happen in New England, I browse Facebook to see what is happening as the storm progresses. We like the magical part, but the deadly part is scary.

I hope you enjoy the wonder of snow as much as we do.

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The beginning of this post was written several times as I marveled at how many wonderful people I know. I listed them by name and location, but the list got too long. Had you read it, I am sure you would have said, “What’s the point? You didn’t even include interesting pictures.”

More thinking…

I do know a lot of people. We all do and we have wonderful technology that enables us to stay connected with them. I am so thankful to live in a world that keeps me informed with just the touch of a keystroke. We are so blessed to be connected. It wasn’t always that way.

When I was growing up we didn’t have the internet. Computers changed my life. I caught on early and was able to train others in my work place. Word processing was the BEST! Being able to create a document and save it, change it, add to it later, reuse it was fabulous. It was so much better than retyping the same document over and over.

Inventions that changed the world are listed below.

1962 Tape Cassette
1964 Beatles came to America
1965 8 Track Tapes
1967 Counter top microwave ovens
1969 The Internet was created
1969 Mini Cassettes created
1969 Arpanet – precursor to the internet
1970 Computer Floppy Discs
1971 VCRs invented
1973 Portable Cell Phones created
1978 Lazer Discs
1979 Walkman CD player created
1980 PacMan was a popular computer game
1980 Rubik’s Cube was invented
1981 IBM sold their first personal computer
1981 3D printing created
1982 Compact Discs
1984 Macintosh Computer created – We were a first user.
1988 Injet printers first available to the public
1985 First domain name was registered
1989 WWW invented
1993 MP3 Player created
1994 Cordless Digital Phones created
1994 Amazon was created
1994 DVD’s creatd
1995 GPS  created
1996 Nintendo was released
1998 Launched International Space Station
2000 Prius cars invented
2001 Google+ was created
2001 iTunes launched
2001 iPod invented
2002 Red Box Opened
2002 Roomba vacuum
2002 Bluetooth Technology
2003 SKYPE was created
2004 Facebook was created
2005 YouTube was created
2005 Flat screen TV created
2005 High Densidy DVD’s
2005 Google maps launched
2006 Blue Ray Discs
2006 Twitter created
2006 Google calendar launched
2007 Gmail launched
2007 Google maps street view
2007 iPhone Created
2007 Kindle was created
2008 First useable 3D leg printed
2010 Home Solar Panels
2010 Pinterest was created
2010 Instagram created
2010 LCD TV’s were created
2012 Google glass
2014 3D printing became popular

Reviewing this list takes me back to the beginning of this post. I am thankful to be in this space, in this time. I am thankful to have all this technology to stay connected with the world. Most importantly, I am thankful to be connected with you.

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