Saturday, June 30, 2007

Miss Peaches, the Famous Pro Plan Dog

Last week I flew to St Louis, Missouri on business to visit Nestle-Purina Pet Care. Even though I've been to St Louis many times before, I wanted to take some photos for the ol' blog, but I didn't have much time for sightseeing. The only photo I was able to snap was in the car as we whisked past the famous St Louis Arch (see left). During the course of the business meetings, I met the famous "Miss Peaches", who is a beautiful and graceful standard Poodle. Miss Peaches is the dog featured on the package of Pro Plan Selects Salmon and Brown Rice dog food (see photo below). I am a dog lover and enjoyed meeting her. She sat quietly in the middle of our meeting, occasionally strolling over to say hello and for a kiss. Below: Miss Peaches does a few tricks for us.

Since I work for PETCO, every-so-often I take my dog Koshimi to work. He likes going to PETCO and all the attention he gets. When I was in St Louis sitting in the meeting with Miss Peaches, all I could think of was how much I missed Koshimi.

Above: Koshimi being playful and silly...he's a great dog.
-Rick Rockhill

The Saturday Seven: Things I Collect

Last weekend I misplaced something at home and spent the better part of the day searching for it, with no luck. So today I decided to retrace my steps in an effort to find what I had been searching for. As I moved through the house in my quest, I stumbled across all sorts of things that I collect. While I don't consider myself actively collecting anything, apparently I suffer from a several obsessions as well as an opposition to discard things. This brings me to another edition of The Saturday Seven: Things I Collect at home.
#1 Wine: I love big, full-bodied red wines, primarily from Sonoma & Napa. I don't think this is an obsession, but there are a few hundred bottles in the wine whatever that means.
#2 Postcards: I've been collecting these since I was 12 years old, and still have every single one after all these years. In all I have over 200 postcards saved...the explanation for these is that I'm a pack rat and nostalgic as well.
#3 Refrigerator Magnets: These are just a few...I literally have hundreds, but only a few are on the fridge door at any given moment now. Not sure what is driving this collection, but they do remind me of places and people.
#4 Shoes: My secret & unacknowledged obsession. What can I say, I like shoes. I have tons here in Palm Springs, and another whole bunch at the beach house in San Diego as well.

#5 Foreign Currency: Over the years I have collected all sorts of foreign currency. I like to save them for some crazy reason. This is all about nostalgia and memories of my travels.

#6 Clocks: I really am a collector of clocks. I have loads of them all around the house. I enjoy hearing them all chime every 15 minutes, and when its really quiet I can hear them all ticking. My only explanation is that I am obsessed with clocks, particular those that chime and need to be wound weekly.
#7 Bacarrat Crystal: Believe it or not, I started saving money for Baccarat crystal glasses when I was only 14. Where I got the idea to buy expensive crystal I'll never quite know, but I now have an extensive collection of Baccarat rock glasses, perfect for cocktail hour!
Bonus item: Cuff links: I love to wear French cuff shirts. A few years ago, I started buying all kinds of cuff links to match my mood and personality. I have loads of different styles, shapes an colors.
What do YOU collect? Oh go ahead, leave a comment, its completely FREE today!
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, June 29, 2007

"There's Always Room for Jell-O"

The warm summer months are here, and other than ice cream there are not too many refreshing desserts that you can make quickly and easily. For those of you who live in the US, perhaps one of the most down-home, unpretentious desserts in America is Jell-O. This revered gelatin is simple to prepare and is usually a crowd pleaser, particularly on a hot summer day. Gelatins date back to the Victorian era, but were popularized in the early 1900's by the Gennessee Pure Food Company, which later developed into The Jell-O Company. The first four Jell-O flavors were orange, lemon, strawberry, and raspberry. Amazingly, there were some bizarre Jell-O flavors such as Celery, Italian and Seasoned Tomato, all of which were discontinued (uh, duh!). Lime was introduced in 1930 and remains popular today.

Completely Random Jell-O Trivia:
* The people of Salt Lake City consume more lime-flavored gelatin than any other city in the United States...not sure what that means but it is interesting anyway.

* Bill Cosby has been a spokesperson for Jell-O since 1974.

How about some nifty Jell-O tips?
If you plan to make some refreshing Jell-O this summer and want to add some fruit, here is what you need to know:

* Fruits that float: fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, orange and grapefruit sections, sliced peaches and pears, strawberries, and fruit packed in light syrup

* Fruits that sink: seedless grapes and fruits in heavy syrup such as apricots, cherries, fruit cocktail, peaches, pears, and pineapple.
So go ahead, treat yourself and have a refreshing bowl of "J-E-LL-O" (sung like the old TV commercials).
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today's Random Topic: Date Palm Trees

I frequently receive e-mails from readers asking about the palm trees in Palm Springs. I don't think of them much, since they are just part of our landscape. We have a row of palm trees along our property, and also several that regally frame the courtyard in the front of the house. But there are many varieties of palm trees. The Coachella Valley is known for Date Palm Trees which produce delicious dates. Even if you are under 70 years old, you may be surprised to know how delicious and healthy dates can be. Most dates contain no sodium or cholesterol, are a good source of fiber and are low in in calories.

Dates were first introduced in the Coachella Valley in the 18th century by Spanish missionaries. However dates are the oldest tree crop cultivated, dating back 5,000 years when dates were considered a good source of nutrition to sustain desert people throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Dates are also considered a delicacy and served by European Royalty and Sultans in many countries. I know they look gross, but don't be grossed out, really.
So how do they grow, you ask? Well, in my commitment to provide interesting information on this blog, I visited a date farm where I saw thousands of Date Palm Trees with young dates ripening on the tree.
Above: The trees are planted to allow for workers to work between the trees for harvesting.

Above: close up of the dates (still green) that grow and ripen on the tree.
Above: Shield's Date Farm in Indio is a local favorite for dates. They even grow and sell organic dates! (this is not a paid promo, I just wanted to mention where you can buy some delicious dates grown right here in the Coachella Valley).
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

"Wisdom Wednesdays" features the sage advice of our resident oracle, Dr Sidney Wang. Believed to be a reincarnated descendant of King Rama II of Siam, Dr Wang responds to e-mail submissions with advice, predictions of the future and conveys ancient proverbs to provide guidance and support. Dr Sidney Wang's 24 Hour Wisdom, Advice and Inspiration service is also available from the left side navigation for this feature.

This week's e-mail comes from a reader named Bobbi-Jo, from Little Rock, AR.

Dear Dr Wang,

I have been considering selling my house and buying a mobile home. My house has appreciated in value enough that I could sell it, live in a mobile home and stop working full time. However, this would be a huge change for me. What do you see in my future if I make this change?

Little Rock, AR

Dr Wang responds: Dear Bobbie-Jo,

You did not indicate your age so I have consulted The Great Bubble Wall in my tank for insight. I see that you are not at retirement age, and there is something else prompting this sudden change in your life. You are being pressured at work by someone who does not appreciate your talents. However, you have asked specifically about selling your house, and whether you should make this change. From my perspective, whenever the decorations in my tank are changed, I know that feel refreshed, so a change is in order for you as well. Here is what I see in your future:

Your home will sell within 45 days, so begin packing soon. Life in a mobile home will be a suitable lifestyle for you, and you will be happy. I see you parking your home near giant rock formations, probably close to a national park somewhere. Unfortunately you will be bitten by a snake during one of your morning walks, so be sure to have a good first aid kit on hand. The good news is that you will survive the snake bite, and the snake will make an excellent belt for you.

One other challenge you will encounter is a series of plumbing problems in your mobile home. But it’s nothing to worry about, after all I live in my own waste; you’ll get used to it in no time.

In the meantime, keep swimming upstream.

-Dr Wang

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Peek Into The Library...

Welcome to the Library, my favorite room at home.

It's a great room with cozy chairs, a nice leather sofa, deep red walls and rich chocolate brown moulding and accents. The bust on the pedastal above is from the Victorian era, which I acquired from an estate sale in the Cotswolds area of England.

I'm sure it's no surprise to you that the Library is filled with books, but it also has a well stocked wine rack with glasses ready to be filled at a moment's notice! I find the Library to be the perfect place to read the newspaper, dig into a good book, or to just relax with a cup of tea or glass of wine. I thought I'd share a few pics of some books, along with random related quotes. I hope you enjoy this sampling...

"Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house"

Above left: Hollywood Bios and Auto-biographies, including Lana Turned, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Tab Hunter. Above right: Coffee table books: Chihuly glass, Art, Architecture, & Hollywood

"Books, I found, had the power to make time stand still, retreat or fly into the future"
Above left: More Coffee table books & above right: Bit of everything

"A room without books is like a body without a soul"
Above left: Ian Fleming 007 books, Detective stuff & above right: US Presidential biographies

Dr Wang would say: "A book is like a garden carried in the pocket"
Above left: Art, history, politics & above right: more celebrities, politicians and Royalty .
"A library is a hospital for the mind."

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body"
Above left: The Classics (Shakespeare, etc), Harry Potter & Wine books

"Beware of the man of just one book."
Above left: Mysteries and the Occult & Fiction stuff, mostly Paul Theroux

And one final thought: "Never judge a book by its movie"
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Cracked Pot Parable, featuring Dr Sidney Wang

An elderly Chinese man had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water, at the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the man bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the man one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old man smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?" "That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them." For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.

Dr Wang interprets this parable:
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all of my crackpot readers, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Dr Wang also wishes to thank David from the UK for his partnership in this parable.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dr Sidney Wang Contacts Paris Hilton in Jail

Resident oracle Dr Sidney Wang, used his psychic powers earlier today for a glimpse into a day in the life of jailbird Paris Hilton. Dr Wang reports that Miss Hilton has had "good days and bad days", but has resigned herself to finishing her sentence with dignity. Dr Wang gazed into The Great Bubble Wall in his tank as a crystal ball type device to obtain actual visions of Paris Hilton in prison.

At first view, Dr Wang saw a despondent Hilton sitting in her cell, rocking back and forth. Her hair was ragged and uncombed. Dr Wang's voice finally reached her jail cell, and Paris acknowledged his greeting. "I am much better than when you last contacted me, Dr Wang" Miss Hilton said. "I was under stress and strain when you channeled my great grandfather, Conrad Hilton and I was unable to speak calmly", Paris said. Dr Wang then offered to channel Paris' great grandfather once again and she readily agreed.
Several hours later, Dr Wang settled into a very tranquil state, at the bottom of his fish tank, meditated briefly and altered his state of consciousness to allow the psychic medium to take effect. Within minutes, he began receiving signals of energy from the spirit world. "Hello?..." said Dr Wang..."Hello? Have I reached anyone?" Suddenly a voice boomed: "It is I, Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotel chain. Let me speak with my great-granddaughter Paris Hilton". Dr Wang's fins fluttered briefly as he attempted to recontact Paris in prison. When Dr Wang reached Paris, she was already performing her prison duties, which at the moment involved cleaning toilets.
Dr Wang called out: "Paris, Paris I have contacted your great-grandfather Conrad and have a direct message for you". Paris put down her toilet brush and said: Yes Dr Wang, go ahead"
Dr Wang's body shuttered once again and reopened his psychic medium to the spirit of Conrad. Mr Hilton began to address his great-granddaughter: "Paris, you little spoiled brat. When you are released from prison, I want you to continue scrubbing toilets. You have many more important life lessons yet to learn. When you get out of jail, I want you to pick up dog poo in public parks and wear polyester blouses from WalMart". Paris listened to the spirit of her great grandfather intently, as drops of water dripped from her toilet brush. Her eyes filled with tears, but she bravely replied: "Yes, grand-daddy Hilton". With that, Dr Wang's connection to the other world was lost, and Dr Wang's body shuttered once again. He told Paris, "I'm afraid that's it, I've lost all contact".
Paris thanked Dr Wang and resumed her prison work, humming "Amazing Grace" as she scrubbed the toilet bowl, yet at peace that she had finally spoken to the great Conrad Hilton once again.

The Saturday Seven: Ways to Make the World a Better Place

I have always been a "glass half full" kind of guy (vs. the glass half empty view). My perspective when something goes wrong is "Well, it could have been worse". I was born with a positive outlook on life. I suppose I'm a bit old-fashioned in the sense that I like to think that most people have generally good intentions. I believe that all of our actions are interconnected, and almost have a karma to them. (Good deeds are returned tenfold, but negative energy whips back at us like a rocket. I also firmly believe that each person can make a difference in this world, in some way. This brings be to this week's edition of The Saturday Seven: Ways to Make the World a Better Place
#1 Volunteer in a Soup Kitchen

#2 Adopt a Dog or Cat

#3 Plant a Tree/Donate to a National Park

#4 Buy Organic Foods and support sustainable farming techniques

#5 Practice Random Kindness to Strangers (try it, you'll be surprised)
#6 Recycle as much as you can
#7 Send Flowers to someone you care about

Bonus: "Say Please" and "Thank You" as often as possible
So go ahead, why not try all of these ideas. Or if you have another idea, leave a comment and contribute to this post! Oh- and THANKS for reading my blog today!
-Rick Rockhill


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients or business colleagues.