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Cheap eats, good treats

It’s been far too long since I updated my blog. No excuses other than I’ve been living a very boring existence the last few weeks. But now that I’m preparing to move to South Carolina on May 15, I knew I had to hit up some of Rhode Island’s treasures.

Except… I DID go to Stanley’s Famous Burgers in the heart of Central Falls, Rhode Island.

A life-long Rhode Islander, I had never heard of Stanley’s until I asked for burger recommendations a couple years ago on Facebook. (As much as people complain about their friends posting food photos and updates, I love hearing about good restaurants! And it sure beats angry political posts, n’est-ce pas?)

First things first: They have a parking lot. Having to find a place to park in an unfamiliar area stresses me out, so this was a bonus.

I walked in to find a retro-’60s-style diner restaurant. Amazing. And fitting, because the prices are also pretty retro.

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Check out these prices!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about new restaurants, it’s this: ASK THE WAIT STAFF.

Brittany was amazingly helpful. All burgers are made with grilled onions and pickles, unless otherwise requested. I’m no pickle fan, but I still got my burger the Stanley Way, and it was a good choice. The flavors all work well together.

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Double mushroom cheeseburger, Quebec-style fries, and Henry’s grape hard soda.

This is my first taste of the very tasty Stanley burger.

If you’re heading into or out of Rhode Island, check out Stanley’s. I hear it gets pretty crowded, so be prepared to wait.

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And don’t forget to get your coffee shake for dessert!
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Your dog is an a**hole

Maybe not everyone…but some people definitely think so.

Newsflash, dog owners: Not everyone likes your dog.

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Yup. It’s true!

Dog owners (or guardian, caregiver, parent – whichever term you use), probably struggle the most with this concept.

Can’t they see how handsome/beautiful, intelligent, charming, and well-behaved Fido is??

“If you have a dog, you will have enemies in the neighborhood.”

~Claire J. Senecal (My mom)

People will take their dislike of you and/or your dog out on you secretly or passive aggressively.

Nine times out of 10, you and your dog will be targets in some way because you’re unconsciously being inconsiderate.

IS YOUR DOG LEASHED? It’s the law in most towns. Keeping Fido on a leash puts people at ease and provides you with better control over his behavior.

You’ll know when and where he’s pooped and can clean up. You should always clean up. Always.

If you disregard leash laws, most people assume you are disobeying other laws, like leaving your dog’s waste everywhere: parks, bike trails, sidewalks, front lawns.

Dog waste is a bacteria-filled biohazard. Nobody wants to step in it, slip on it, see it, or smell it. BE RESPONSIBLE.

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Fido can’t do it himself!

I guarantee you that if you choose to disregard leash etiquette, someone out there is secretly plotting revenge. Or fantasizing about it. I guarantee it.

Worse is when people walk their dogs without a leash and call out, as it’s running up to you, “It’s okay! He’s friendly!”

No, it’s not okay. You have no way of keeping that dog away from or off of me without a leash. You don’t know my (hypothetical) deepest fears or reasons dogs scare me. You don’t know how much therapy I’ve had to try to overcome that fear. I was enjoying my fresh air and exercise, and now I’m experiencing PTSD.

I’ve been training dogs for 40 years.┬á Every smart dog trainer or owner knows these three words to be true, “Never say never.”

Almost every dog bite begins with a dog who is not under physical control while his owner says, “My dog would NEVER run away or bite a person or dog.”

I know of at least a dozen people whose animals were bitten by an off-leash dog whose owners claimed, “He’s friendly. He would never bite another dog. He’s never done that before!”

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Owner: He’s wicked friendly!

If you’re out socializing with your dog, and you’re not at least a little stressed because you’re being hypervigilant about Fido’s interactions, then you’re doing it wrong.

We all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. But I like to think I’ve learned from them.

“Do the best that you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

~Maya Angelou

One of my old neighbors (super nice guy) once said to me, “I think one of the neighbors poisoned my last dog. He used to complain about Rex pooping in his yard.”

Because Rex was let out to roam free around the neighborhood and do what he liked, wherever he liked, twice a day.

Rex may have been poisoned. It may have been intentional or unintentional. Rex could have inadvertently gotten into some spilled antifreeze. They’ll never know.

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Winter can bring dangers to pets you might not have considered.

The former neighbor’s next dog, Spot, was also let out to roam free around the neighborhood. Does this mean the neighbor’s a gambler? An optimist? Or just stupid or lazy?

What would you do if you suspected your dog had been poisoned?

Dogs are a wonderful addition to a family. They can improve your health, decrease your stress, calm your anxiety. But your dog is your responsibility. You need to be considerate of others’ feelings.

If your dog misbehaves, it’s because you didn’t train him well and aren’t providing a mentally and physically stimulating life for him.

If you really love your dog, you want him to be safe.

So, ask yourself: Who’s the real a**hole here?

 

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Overscheduled

Don’t you just hate sitting around in waiting rooms? Whether it’s a doctor’s office, an auto repair shop, or the DMV, you are at their mercy. Are they ever on time?

And who doesn’t feel resentful about it? You have to take time out of work, which infuriates your employer, or you’re losing money or precious free time if you’re taking vacation or are self-employed.

We are constantly running around and sometimes that’s the only thing keeping us from falling apart – inertia.

But while I was on my walk through the woods yesterday, I spotted a snow-covered bench and thought, “Let me clear this off today so that if I want to take a rest on my walk tomorrow, I can.”

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A clear spot for contemplation and reflection. Or just to sit my fat ass when I get tired. ­čśé

 

So I did. And today, I was grateful. The point is that we’re all going Mach 5, and we never have the time to breathe, nevermind to plan. My work environment was like that. It was unhealthy and counterproductive.

Humans need many things to thrive – not just survive. A tree may get plenty of water, but without the soil in which to plant its roots, one heavy wind can knock it over.

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Everything looks fine on the outside… until, WHAM!

 

We’re all very fragile these days. Can we at least agree to try not to be someone else’s heavy wind?

Listen, I’m not trying to pretend I’m the Dalai Lama or Confucius or any philosopher capable of deep, brilliant thoughts…but something about being out in nature enables me to think differently about a myriad of things.

Go outside. Take a walk. Change your perspective. You’ll thank yourself.

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Nature has answers to questions you didn’t know you had.
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Time to make the donuts…

… I MADE the donuts!

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If you’re in the Hilton Head Island area, you need to visit Old Town Bluffton and get an Alljoy donut. Need.

Maybe you have to be a certain age and from a certain region to remember that advertising campaign from Dunkin Donuts featuring Fred the Baker.

In the New England area, the Dunkin Donuts chain is pretty important. Less for their donuts than for their coffee these days. You’ll know you’re in New England when you spot a Dunks every 200 feet.

True donut connoisseurs prefer the specialists. In Rhode Island, that’s Allie’s in North Kingstown or PVDonuts in Providence.

As a self-proclaimed connoisseur (not really, I just love donuts!) I was overjoyed to discover that there’s a gourmet donut shop in Bluffton, SC. I’ve been following Alljoy Donut Co. on Facebook for months. Of course I had to check them out while I was in Hilton Head on vacation.

Here’s my messy, one-take, unedited video review:

What’s your favorite donut shop, and where is it? Hit me up in the comments.

 

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My first time with Walt was sensuous

“Please,” I begged shamelessly, “fill me with pleasure!”

That was me talking to my Walt’s Roast Beef sandwich. I love a good roast beef, but it has to be lean and tender.

You will never meet a pickier eater, I guarantee it. Drove my parents crazy growing up. I still examine each bite before I take it.

Here’s my experience, for your edification:

 

 

The ladies working at the Smith Street, North Providence, Walt’s┬álocation were really nice and helpful.

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I was having a bad day…Walt turned it around for me.

Any other restaurants in Rhode Island I absolutely NEED to try? Hit me up in the comments!

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T-Rexy looking sexy

I have driven past this place hundreds of times and have wanted to stop in for a closer look.

So I finally did, because my new motto, as you may remember, is “why not?

If you’ve driven by The Secret Garden on Rte 7 near D’Agostino Auto, you’ve probably done a double-take.

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This T-Rex is a showstopper.

It’s almost impossible to miss this 8-foot metal, colorful sculpture of a tyrannosaurus rex in their front yard.

So… what’s the deal?

Husband and wife team Paul and Melanie have had their business there for 3 years. They call themselves a “family-run statuary” and mostly pour stone molds like these:

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All kinds and breeds of dogs!
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Gargoyles and goblins…cool.
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Obligatory “Mary-of-the-Half-Shell” religious yard sculptures.

But the metal sculptures are imported from Mexican artisans.

I love the whimsy and color.

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It’s a dalmatian lifting his leg. ­čśé
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There’s a grill in there. Puts a new spin on pig roast.
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This colorful turtle family  would look amazing in a yard by a pool.
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Big red ants on bicycles. How fun!
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Yeah, there’s NO WAY I was leaving this sign behind. SOLD!
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Baby T-Rex was only 4 or 5 feet tall but fierce as heck.

If you’re looking for a yard decoration, I’d highly recommend stopping in to The Secret Garden on Rte 7. They’ve got something for everyone and are as friendly as can be. Check out their inventory on their website.

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America, the beautiful?

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A creek and stream bed whose natural beauty is marred by trash in Lincoln, RI.

One of the drawbacks to being present and noticing everything around you is that you notice the ugliness as well.

There’s no debate here. We humans are trashing our planet.

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The lovely landscape with trash subtracting from its appeal.

As a homeowner of 17 years, I understand some of the struggle. Not everything can be easily tossed or recycled. Getting rid of certain items can be costly.

But here’s the thing: You bought it in the first place. Its disposal should be part of the acquisition choice.

Why would you toss something out the window as you drive past?

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People fish and swim in this reservoir.

You can’t love your country while consciously doing something that detracts from its beauty.

How much extra effort does it take to empty your ashtray in a trash can at home? Or take your Dunkin Donuts cup into work and throw it out there?

No matter your views on the National Anthem debate, true patriotism – true love of country – means doing your part to keep America beautiful.

For me, that means taking a trash bag on my next walk.

Because I would much rather see my country look like this… natural beauty without the stain of mankind on it.

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Cold water + warm air = mysterious fog

Consider taking a few minutes once or twice a week to clean up your small corner. It takes a village.