a new year.

So I’ve been saying (too often) lately that 2014 was a bust. The year was awful and we should just forget about it altogether.

If you are up to speed with my life this past year, hopefully you understand my sentiment.

Or at least my former sentiment.

I really don’t like thinking about 2014 that way. Some of the worst things I’ve experienced occurred in 2014, but those should not eclipse the beautiful things that occurred. The beautiful things are what make it possible to overcome the sad things.

I have a smart friend who shared this ‘Goodbye 2014′ list with me:

  • most beautiful moment
  • biggest surprise
  • most influential people
  • a way in which you’ve grown
  • favorite treat
  • worst habit
  • significant colors
  • significant places
  • most walked in shoes
  • anthems and mantras
  • unofficial uniform
  • sexiest moment
  • disappointments
  • regrets
  • relics and important objects
  • neuroses
  • confidantes
  • destinations
  • firsts
  • funniest moment
  • something you’re most proud of

I thought this was a very healthy exercise and I invite you to think about those things too. Especially if you feel like 2014 was a throwaway year.

Thanks be to emus,


snapping to the max.

I’ve had a few friends tell me lately, “Wow you sure like the Snapchat.”

That’s an example of a positive-sounding sentence, with negative undertones.

But yes! I do sure like the Snapchat! Thank you for noticing.

My latest favorite thing to do is to take a picture and then use the paint feature to change the scene and wardrobe of the central characters. Here are a few from recent days:


So if you decide you want to be my Snapchat buddy, just know this is what I expect from you.



bucket filling.

There is a book and general ‘be a good person’ philosophy out there called, How Full is Your Bucket?

9781595620033_p0_v4_s260x420Read it if you find what follows interesting. Also check out StrengthsFinder 2.0 if you are looking to get to know yourself a little better.

Anyway, I’ve always associated this book with FFA programs because it has been part of some of their curriculum. I was really surprised, and pleasantly so, when Morgan, my five-year-old niece, competently explained ‘bucket fillers’ and ‘bucket dippers’ to me.

The general idea is that we are all vessels that need filling. There are people walking around filling others up, and there are people walking around taking away. Avoid the dippers, attract the fillers.

I believe there is a kids version of this book they must be using in the Kindergarten classroom, but I’m both surprised and pleased to see such young kids learning this lesson. Imagine in grade school, when someone was a shithead, being able to say, “Hey man, you’re really being a bucket dipper. Shape up or ship out.”

I’m thinking about pulling a Billy Madison and running back through the school system. I have a feeling I’ll be a better person on the other side. Plus, I’d probably kick so much ass at Junior Jeopardy.

Fill ‘em up!



training a puppy.

Since she is completely my life right now, I feel it’s okay to write about the little pup’s development.

We’re on day three, and the relationship is coming along nicely. As a Heeler, and a puppy in general, she is really good at following me (sometimes a little too underfoot, but she’ll figure that out). She and Ruby had a great day on Sunday too. Ruby will be a tremendous mentor.

She is getting more into her toys, and less into distracting threads, carpet snags and shoes. She also has really gotten good at climbing stairs, even though she is a pip squeak. Of course the biggest win this morning is how good she is getting at her crate.


I received some great advice from an undisclosed dog owner, who said if she’s in too big of a crate, she will probably poop and pee in it, which could lead to her thinking that is a great place to do that sort of disgusting act. So I took that tiny crate and made it into a little Russian Nesting Doll scenario. I’m sure it’s not necessary, but I just like the idea that she’ll never have to ‘move out.’

So after a few days, she’s growing big and strong and smart. I’m pretty pleased.

Here. Watch her dominate these stairs without any regard for her training blocks.

Aaaaaaand swoon,



I am unsure that I can avoid a puppy takeover of this here blog.

See? There is going to be a lot of content I’ll be tempted to share with you. I really don’t want to become that guy, but I think it’s a likely outcome.

Yesterday Cousin Rob and I made it to Prineville, picked up the pup and drove home, allowing for some good bonding time. At the end of the troad trip, she had a brief introduction to Ruby, and this morning she’ll have more (guaranteed adorable) face time.

Any dogs out there living in apartments or condos, you can live vicariously through Coop here or on Instagram: @bradley_vineyards

Now I’m off to scoop some Coop poop!


a puppy adventure.

Tonight as I sit in my living room listening to an old Jackson Brown record, I find myself researching how to train Australian Cattle Dogs. Why, you ask? Allow me to rationally and calmly expl…


Here’s how it all went down.

I’ve been in the market for a puppy since I’ve been back in Oregon. I kind of half-figured it would be an appropriate Christmas-time addition to my life, one way or another. I knew I wasn’t in a rush, but that there must be a specific dog I’m after. Wait, quick backstory.

Ruby is my mom’s dog, but I claim at least 40% of her as my own. She’s a Labrador, Blue Heeler, Wire Hair Griffon mix, and she and I spent a lot of time together in her formative years. We basically trained and learned to understand each other somewhat. She’s the best dog I’ve ever owned.

Yeah I know! Big shoes to fill for whatever pup I don’t know I’m looking for.

So anyway last weekend, I went to Portland and visited my friend Hayden. Okay so I ended up passing out on his futon after we drank all night, what are ya the Pope? (Please forgive me if you are reading, your Holiness.)

Where was I? Oh right. At Hayden’s I meet this very charming… wait for it… Blue Heeler. Sold.

Two days later, with the help of a popular search engine, I was soon emailing a  seemingly nice family in Central Oregon and making an offer on a 6-week old female.

Aaaaaand because you’ve been such a faithful reader, now you can have a treat:


Who’s a good girl?



the correct way to snapchat.

Yes I recently started playing with Snapchat, and it is really fun. First a backstory:

Snapchat has a notorious reputation for being an app that allows people to send nude photos without any trace of them remaining after a short time. Of course, talk to the likes of Anthony Weiner and you’ll discover that nothing really disappears from the internet. So anyone still using it for this function, just be warned. Your genitals are still out there.

Surprisingly enough, I’ve found a way to make Snapchat a really fun and even useful tool in sharing some of your life with people who don’t live nearby. And since moving back to the Vineyard, there are a lot more of those people these days.

Basically, if I have a weird idea, or a funny scenario, or we’re doing something cool at the winery, I’ll be sure to ‘Snap’ my friends. There are so many fun things you can do:

You can Snapsync (Snapchat/Lip Sync):

You can Snap something cute or pretty:


Or you can do something I discovered last night:


First I thought you could just Snap someone a ten second picture saying ‘drink’ and that person would have to do what you said for the duration of the Snap. But then my mind wandered.

Familiar with the game add on? Maybe this would be called SnapOn? Hmm, I’ll work on that.

The basic premise is to take a picture and then draw something in the picture. The next person needs to recreate that photo and add something else to it. And back and forth you go until you can’t add anymore or you have grown tired of the game. Then you take a drink (and snap a picture of it to finish the round). The winner starts the next round.

Pretty sure this is going to spread like wildfire.