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Love and Zen

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on May 22, 2013 in balance, On My Mind Write Now, The Road Less Traveled with Comments closed |


This morning I was out walking my dog Chauncey when a neighbor’s dog came bolting out of their yard toward us. “Love! Love! Love!” That’s what I heard from behind their pink front door. Out came my neighbor, leash in hand. The dog looked to be a Shephard mix and as soon as she got to us, she crouched down and rolled over on her back. By now my neighbor had caught up with her and while putting the leash on she whispered, ‘good girl,” a few times in her ear.

We’ve never encountered this neighbor and dog before. All I had noticed was their pink door, pink shutters, and the hot pink and black yard flag that proclaimed, “It’s a Southern Thang!” She asked Chauncey’s name and asked if he were a good dog. I assured her he was and for a few moments, the two dogs played and rolled around while we talked.

When I started to leave she said goodbye to Chauncey, and I said goodbye to Love. I was corrected when she told me that Love was not the dog’s name. I apologized and told her I heard her calling the dog when she ran out. She laughed and explained this was a common misconception. Sugar was the dog’s name. I guess that too is a southern “thang?” Why then, was she screaming “love” at her? Turns out that my neighbor doesn’t believe in training her dog to negative words like “no” and “stop.” Instead she chooses words like “love,” “good,” and “nice.”

My mind was churning a bit as I wondered how you might get a dog to stop a negative behavior with a positive word. Perhaps the word doesn’t matter as much as the consistency behind it. After all, I get Chauncey to come by hollering “meatball.” He was used to getting a treat when I said this, but now he doesn’t have to get one every time. I quickly imagined how I might choose the word “fubar” as the get down command whenever I see Chauncey standing up on the counter ready to grab something. This is his new thing. Just started a few weeks ago and it is very irritating. As long as he has the same expectation when he hears fubar— that I will push him down, then I guess it could work. Eventually the word and my movement of taking him off the counter will trigger him. When the behavior comes he will expect the word. He will know I don’t like it when he does it. Then the behavior will stop. Easy peasy!

Hate this behavior! Should I yell "Get Down!" or FUBAR?

Hate this behavior! Should I yell “Get Down!” or FUBAR?

My neighbor added something else as she explained her command. I told her that it was interesting that she had picked such a word to be the command to react like a behaving, non aggressive dog. She agreed and said that more importantly, when people hear it, “they know what they’re gonna get….love” Interesting…. Just like Chauncey knows what he’s going to get when he stands up on the counter? “FUBARED!” (If you want to know what fubar means, here’s the NSFW definition. I learned it in the military.)

Now, I would never do anything to make Chauncey look “fubared.” In fact, far from it. It is well known to those around me, that even before Chauncey was born I had decided to raise him with no physical discipline. It would be an ironic and inside joke if I decided to train him not to get on the counter with such a word.

I always planned for him to be a Zen dog. One, that while needing discipline would not get it in the form of domination or physical punishment. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. You might be surprised what you can accomplish with patience, anticipation and true communication between dog and friend. It has been a challenge. He is only eight months old now and over 80 pounds. But, it was always in my mind that I would allow him to make doggie decisions and I would guide him to make the ones that were best for everyone in the household. How I do this and how sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work is something I will be talking about. Let’s just say for now, that Chauncey is a wonderfully rambunctious work in progress. We have conversations about this and sometimes– he listens.

A zen doggie from his "om" collar to his yin and yang name tag!

A zen doggie from his “om” collar to his yin and yang name tag!


Halfway To A Half Marathon

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on January 11, 2012 in Half Marathon, On My Mind Write Now, The Road Less Traveled |

So it’s been a little over three months since I declared that I was going to run a half marathon and lose 40 pounds. Just reading that sentence seems a little crazy. But that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve got three months to go and amazingly it looks like I’m halfway to both goals.

My first month of watching what I ate went swimmingly. I lost 10 pounds without effort, which is why I love it when I behave like a good vegan and eat properly. I’ve tried to avoid smashing down bags of Lays chips and jumbo portions of Sour Patch Kids. Sometimes I’ve failed but I know that when you take excessive sugar and bad carbs out, fat has an easier time leaving the body. Today I’m not sure how much I weigh because the scale died from constant checking, but according to the Wii scale, I’ve lost between 17-20 pounds. About halfway. With three months to go I just might make it. An additional fifteen to twenty pounds seem possible. I’m not sold on that number though. When it feels right I’ll know and that may be about 10 pounds away.

Which brings me to the running.

Read more…

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Life After Facebook

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on January 5, 2012 in On My Mind Write Now, The Road Less Traveled |

A few months ago I took leave and deleted all of my Facebook accounts. (Read why here) I was a ‘several times a day’ user so it could have been a difficult transition for me. I was pretty dedicated to my reasons for leaving. For my stubborn personality, that was pretty much all I needed to end the Facebook relationship that I had nurtured for quite a while.

The other day I spent 2 hours chatting and catching up with a friend who lives out of state. Literally the first thing she asked me was when I was coming back to Facebook. I told her that I wasn’t and she feigned offense. It seems that she wanted me to be on Facebook so that she could keep up with what was going on in my life. I told her that when I was posting 3-4 times a day and posting pictures I couldn’t recall her ever saying anything back. “That’s ok,” she replied, “I still liked looking in on you and seeing what you were doing.” I told her I would start sending her a text picture every once in a while and after all we did talk on the phone.

I don’t miss Facebook. Every once in a while I might find out that I’ve missed something. Like finding out that someone I know moved from my neighborhood to a suburb 20 miles away. Yet, if she and I were really friends I guess I would have known that. So most of the time I just don’t know what I miss and that seems just fine.
Read more…

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Three Questions That Oprah Didn’t Ask Us To Consider

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on November 9, 2011 in On My Mind Write Now | Oprah’s Three Questions by spencerhope

Like it? Create your own at

I made the little video above because there was a time when I so bowled over by an Oprah Winfrey quote that it became a mantra of the moment for me. On her final show, she gave an incredible master class and shared her thoughts on what she perceived to be a core piece of meaning for many of us. She said, “I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. If I could reach through this television and sit on your sofa or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?’”

Yes, that makes perfect sense and when she implored us to, “Try it with your children, your husband, your wife, your boss, your friends. Validate them. ‘I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me,’” I thought…wow…. this one conversation could be the key to breaking down so many moments of distress between co-workers, partners, spouses, children, parents—everybody.

But you see, you can ask a person to validate you but in the end if you don’t validate yourself first you will tend to walk around going from person to person asking them, “Can you see me?” “Can you hear me?” “Does what I say mean anything to you?” There are a lot of people to ask that of, but only one person’s answer really matters. YOURS! Read more…

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Amazon Trade In: Get Both the iPhone 4S and the Kindle Fire For $200

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on October 12, 2011 in Excellent E-life with Comments closed |

I have an iPhone 4 and on the surface I’m not that interested in upgrading to the new iPhone 4S. Yes, Siri the new voice command tool that is said to do everything for you from finding restaurants to telling you the meaning of life is interesting but also a little creepy and I’m fine without it. I thought that I would use my existing phone’s voice control capabilities to dial numbers and play music by voice command but I never did. So Siri is not a draw for me. Plus Apple is fantastic in that they release upgrades that work on older models so many of the cool new features I will still have on my iPhone 4 and original iPad.

What I am interested in and will always be a sucker for is a good deal. I saw that Apple was offering buybacks on the iPhone 4′s and giving Apple store credit for them. I have no wish list in the Apple store but that reminded me that I once traded in all of my old phones and ipods to Amazon and received a healthy Amazon gift card which I used to deplete a good chunk of my wish list. And then it came to me—what about the Kindle Fire?

If you have an iPhone you can trade it in to Amazon and receive a gift card which you can use for any object they sell, including the Kindle Fire. As of today Amazon is offering $240 for an iPhone 4. $280 if you have it un-used and in it’s original box. You ship it to them at their cost and they will credit your account by gift card.

The key here is to act quickly. The more phones they receive the lower the trade-in value will go. The sweet spot of course is to be able to purchase an iPhone 4S for $200 and get at least that much to trade so that you can buy the Kindle Fire for $199. Think about trading in all those old iPods tossed around. Video cameras too. The only hitch is Amazon does not allow trade in for their Kindles so you can’t upgrade your Kindle this way.

I haven’t decided to jump yet. $200 cash is $200 spent and I don’t see the need to do that even though I am eligible for an upgraded iPhone. I think the Kindle Fire would make a great gift either way. If you can swing the $200 cash (don’t use credit!) you can get both for the price of one. Something to consider but remember the trade values are moving as we speak!

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Setting Good Intentions: 13.1 Miles Here I Come!

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on October 5, 2011 in Half Marathon, The Vegan Diaries |

Each night I spend a few moments visualizing running a 13.1 mile race this coming March. I know I will be able to do it but it would really be nice not to fall across the finish line convulsing and shaking. I’d like to make it in an energized and healthy way so, in my mind I am running fast, light footed and smiling as I cross the finish line.  Last March when I did an 8K I got incredibly sick before and after running.  Part of that was because I didn’t train for it. While I made it without passing out, it was only the second time that I had gone that far. The first time being a practice run the week earlier, which resulted in so much lactic acid build up that I was projectile vomiting 3 days later. But I still went ahead and ran the race and afterwards my body shut down.

At a regular physical later, I found I had several nutritional deficiencies, the worst being an iron count so low that a blood transfusion was mentioned. So I want to do it better this time. I want to train slowly but properly. I want to get my body in the best optimal and nutritionally sound shape so that this experience goes down easier. Read more…

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No Facebook Required: Leaving Facebook-Why, How, and What’s Next

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on September 28, 2011 in The Road Less Traveled |

Facebook is banking that you are too tied to the service to quit them. They are hoping that you will be blinded by the beauty of Timeline and will be so busy clicking on your friend’s Timelines that you won’t see or understand that with each click you tighten yourself deeper into the cog. They are banking that you won’t have the time, tech savvy or knowledge of all the steps needed to undo all of the default settings they have put in place to open your identity to more people than you thought you allowed. They are betting that you can’t imagine life without Facebook. That you fear losing touch, losing the ability to share, and that you’ll forget that it was just a few years ago that you were staying in touch and sharing your life on your own terms and were doing just fine. They’re betting that you have come to feel that there was no life before Facebook and that there will not be a life for you without it.


Make them lose that bet. Quit Facebook. I am.


Take the Red Pill and Leave The Matrix


Can’t say that I didn’t see this new Facebook day coming. It’s been a queasy feeling for me for quite a while now. Admittedly, I loved Facebook. For all the reasons that you probably do: I liked sharing links, photos, stories, and happenings with friends. But in the past year or so I’ve noticed a trend in myself and in others in sharing more and more intimacies that I felt uncomfortable seeing or uncomfortable after I posted them. What was going on here?  I…we…were getting too comfortable with this medium. My opinion. Read more…

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The Art of Procrastination-Losing Weight and Running a Half Marathon

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on September 21, 2011 in On My Mind Write Now, The Vegan Diaries |


I am a procrastinator. I would say I am a professional at it because what I do to earn a living seems to get so much better work out of me when I wait until the last minute. I always have been this way and how I wish I were not because I am also a person that likes to take on big tasks that really need preparation. When I was a teenager and played basketball during the fall, I never worked out or played during the summer. Every year the first week of practice would find me in bed sick, sore and unable to move as my body broke down. Yet every year I did the same thing, willing to accept that pain rather than prepare and do better.

Today I am embarking on a dual goal of running a half marathon in March of next year and also being 40 pounds lighter when I take that run. I think I have more than enough time to get in shape for that run but you see, I always wait until the last moments to prepare–or not prepare. I’m not a stranger to running. I do it every once in a while, sometimes when I travel I like to run in a strange city. I wrote a blog about running an 8k in March of this year and how sick I got doing that. So I’m going to try to make the coming event a well prepared for one. I’ve been a good girl and downloaded all sorts of iPhone apps to take me from couch to 5K, 5k to 10k and then 10K to half marathon. I plan to follow the directions to the letter. Read more…

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No Grocery Store Required? Amazon Prime and My Local Farmers Market – Opposites Attract

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on September 14, 2011 in On My Mind Write Now, The Road Less Traveled |

Let me just start with the simple fact that I hate going to the grocery store. I always buy more than I plan to buy and the extra always seems to come from the snack and wine aisles. I hate waiting in line. There is no true express lane no matter what they say. Self-checkout lanes? They are designed to check you out of your mind when you realize you’re taking twice as much time to look up broccoli on a touch screen.

I hate carrying bags and as much as I try not to, it seems I’m always forgetting my canvas good shopper recycled bags. I stopped clipping coupons a long time ago because I realized there was a tiny discount for products unless you are a super clipper and besides, have you ever really looked at the coupons in a Sunday paper? They are full of junk foods. Nothing even remotely healthy has a coupon because coupons are mostly there to make the public addicted to food and drugs that aren’t good for them in the first place. Once I became a vegan I quickly realized that at least 70% of the food in grocery stores is not vegan friendly and that’s probably the case for most vegetarians too. I started to wonder why I even bothered and started to think about never going in a grocery store again. Even those who aren’t vegan might want to think about joining me in this mindset. Read more…

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How to Use HandBreak and Apple TV to Burn DVD’s Into A Mega Movie Library

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on September 1, 2011 in Excellent E-life, How To |

Laptop + Apple TV+ Portable 1 tb Drive = 400 Movies on the Go

With HandBreak, Apple TV, a 1 TB hard drive and my laptop I have built a movie library that is portable and accessible on my iPhone, iPad or most any TV at home or away. Back in the day I would go down to Blockbuster and stock up on the 5 for $25 sale in order to build my movie collection. Not anymore. One reason is because Blockbuster disappeared but mainly it’s because there are better options for movie fans: Netflix and Redbox. Before Netflix changed their membership options I had the unlimited plan and every DVD I would get in the mail I would burn it into my iTunes library and send the DVD back the same day. With Red Box I rent 3 or 4 new release videos at a time, add them to my library and turn them back in a days time. I don’t make copies for friends. I only use them for my own viewing.

Over time this chunking of movies has added up and today I have about 400 old and new release movies in my library. There are so many I haven’t watched yet that movie night is always full of possibilities. Plus because they can quickly be seen over my mobile tech toys, business trips and plane rides are never without movie options.

If you want to do the same you can use HandBreak to easily build your own movie library. No super geek skills required. Read more…

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