Friday, May 30, 2008

Don't Leave Pets or Kids in Cars on Hot Days!!!

Here's a Letter to the Editor I wrote that was published in this week's Bowie Blade Newspaper:
As a meteorologist, I'm writing to remind residents of the dangers in leaving their dogs (or young children) in a parked car during days warmer than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. On days of 80 degrees or higher, and especially in direct sunlight, it takes 10 to 15 minutes for the heat in a vehicle to reach 140 degrees and kill an animal (or a child) quickly by heatstroke. Just think of how when you open your car doors after being out in the sun for 15 minutes, you get hit with a blast of hot air. Sunday, May 25, here in Bowie, I heard what turned out to be two crying small Maltese dogs in an SUV, parked in the hot sunshine. It was 85 degrees and sunny. The windows were only about 1 inch open on both sides of the vehicle. This is very dangerous to the animals. If they were half opened, it would have been better, but the heat was tremendous and they should have been left at home. Fortunately, I located the woman whose SUV it was in a nearby store (I had an employee announce it). When I spoke to the woman, she gave me an attitude but went outside (either she left or opened the windows wider).
I love our two dogs, but won't bring them in my vehicle on warm days. People also need to remember that dogs have fur and their body temperatures are usually at 102 degrees, so they have a jump on humans with heatstroke. If you love your dogs, leave them in your cool home on hot days.
Woman's Day magazine tells you how to keep your furry friend safe all summer long.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Simple Pleasures... look around!

This Memorial Day weekend was filled with a lot of simple pleasures... to Dolly the weimarner it was finding a big stick to chew on at Pat and Brooke's house. To Franklin the dachshund, it was finding crumbs of food dropped accidentally on the floor during a cookout.
We took pleasure in a nice cookout with Brooke and Pat, and their Cavalier Spaniel, Eli; dropped by our friend Will's house for his graduation party from Univ. of Maryland; walked the dogs around the neighborhood (3 times a day) in the WARM sunshine! (on a weekend, yet); calls from friends; and a surprise visit from Steve and Jane when we were eating breakfast at Panera Bread on Sunday. Those are great, and simple pleasures that make life wonderful. Hope you can find some simple pleasures this weekend and every day -even if it's only a stick! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Memorial Day

Wow. Memorial Day weekend is already upon us. It's a time to reflect on those that we love and lost. Most recent to us, Tom's grandma Grace passed a year ago this month in Chesapeake Beach, Virginia. My first puppy, Buzz passed in February 2005. Interestingly enough- both continue to provide small signs that they're around us, guiding us, protecting us, watching us. We mysteriously find pennies (literally from Heaven) often - and that started when each of them passed. So, to them and all of you who lost someone dear- Happy Memorial Day. It's happy because their love and memories live on in us.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wascally Wabbits equal silence

We have a HUGE wild rabbit population here in Bowie, Maryland. Our dogs, Dolly the weimaraner and Franklin the dachshund love to chase them. Dolly gets scared of 'em when she gets close. Franklin will kill them if he can catch them (he caught one last year). Anyway, we made the mistake of leaving the garage door up, and the kitchen/garage door open. They somehow saw a rabbit on the front lawn and bolted out on Saturday. I ran out immediately yelling at them to stop! - in our neighborhood, around the corner, some cars really Zip through the streets and certainly couldn't stop in time for dogs chasing a rabbit across a street- so I panicked.
After 5 houses and around the corner, Dolly heard me and stopped. Franklin ran on (he sees rabbits as food, and being on a diet, there was no stopping him I guess). He gave up and walked to me when the rabbit went under a fence minutes later.
By that time I was totally hoarse. I could only whisper, and today, 4 days later, I'm just finding my voice again. I do, however, think Tom enjoyed his "quiet time" for the last four days!

Sinking Money into a Sink!

We spent the last two weeks trying to install a utility sink in our laundry room. We thought it would be easy. It wasn't!
It went from $100 to almost $1000 with lots of plumbing issues. First, we needed to run water lines in - we got a plumber to do that. Then we learned that the drain line wasn't big enough or something to take the water, so the first time we ran the washer machine - that was connected to the same drain line as the new sink- ALL the water gushed into the sink, through the sink drain... and didn't go down. SO, then we needed to make the drain to the sink the only drain into the line, and put a discharge line from the washer into the sink. Okay.
The sink STILL didn't drain. Then we had to buy a $225 sump pump for the sink (and washer) to ensure the water gets thrust down the drain. THEN it worked. Apparently, the 1" in diameter drain line wasn't large enough to take all that water. Oh, yeah, we also had to buy a "Backflow valve." Tom knows what all this stuff is and he installed the stuff post-plumber (I took care of the dogs and made banana bread- hey, you do what you're good at!)
We were finally able to get it finished and do 2 weeks of laundry (we were unable to do it, because it was attached to the same drain system). What a mess!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dolly Needs to Sue Howard Stern!

AP- Dolly Parton says she is "completely devastated" by a segment on the Howard Stern radio show featuring her voice discussing sex and other celebrities.
The country performer released a statement Wednesday saying editing or trickery made it appear she was commenting on topics and celebrities including Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Burt Reynolds and Johnny Carson.
"I have never been so shocked, hurt and humiliated in all my life," Parton said. "In a blue million years, I would never have such vulgar things come out of my mouth."

She's furious and said today that if there was ever a reason to sue someone, this would be it. I She has every right to be upset. Celebrity or not, NO ONE would want their words jumbled into something that may be deemed offensive about the people they love.

If some of the people think it's funny, it wouldn't be if it happened to them. Saying something directly and being quoted out of context is one thing, but to toy with audio clips to make something offensive on purpose is stupid, disrespectful, and childish. That is defamation of character, and frankly, I hope she sues Stern penniless. I know she'd give any award to charity. She is a great person and role model. Howard Stern is totally the opposite.

Politics- Makes no sense sometimes

We just read that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards endorsed Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday at a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This was the same John Edwards totally skewered while on the campaign trail for lack of experience to social programs that will not fiscally work. We don’t get it. We don’t understand his motivation unless, he’s thinking Obama will win the nomination and make him his running mate. We're very disappointed in John Edwards.
We think it's fascinating how a politician can be so totally opposite his running mate, only after losing the candidacy, endorse him simply because he's currently leading in delegates.
Anyway, I like Obama and I'm a democrat (because I love everyone) -but I worry that he can't carry us to the White House because the blue collar workers, older Americans (and there are more of us), and low-middle income folks, haven't been identifying with him.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tornado season deadliest in a decade

By Paul McIntosh, AP- This funnel cloud formed in Keo, Ark. last month. Arkansas has had 49 tornadoes this year, already above its annual average of 48, according to Greg Forbes, severe weather expert at The Weather Channel.
The USA has been ravaged through mid-May by a near-record number of tornadoes that has pushed the death toll — including 47 killer twisters over the weekend — to a 10-year high. The deaths of 98 people attributed to tornadoes this year has made 2008 the deadliest year thus far for tornadoes since 1998 and the seventh deadliest since modern recordkeeping began in 1950, The Weather Channel said. Such a rate could make 2008 the year with the most tornadoes since 1950.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Whose Chair Is That?

We bought 2 side chairs (cushioned) at IKEA to watch TV in our television room, and lately have noticed that Dolly has claimed mine, and Franklin has claimed Tom's chair. Meanwhile, Tom and I find ourselves more and more on the floor with pillows, while the doggies snooze in our chairs. How did that happen??

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all moms around the world!
Tom and I are fortunate to have great moms (LEFT: Tom's mom, Ruth/RIGHT: Rob's Mom, Norma). Our moms are some of our best friends and we can't thank them enough for all the time and love they gave us and continue to give.
Being a mom is hard work - we know. It's ashame that some people have kids when they're not ready for all that comes with it. We feel for those that don't have good moms, and we really appreciate our moms.
Mother's Day in the United States, celebrates motherhood generally and the positive contributions of mothers to society. It falls on the second Sunday of each May. It is the result of a campaign by
Anna Marie Jarvis (1864–1948), who, following the death of her mother on May 9, 1905, devoted her life to establishing Mother's Day as a national, and later an international, holiday.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Goofballs on the Job!

There were just TWO instances of goofballs on their jobs yesterday.
1) The Post Office said they had "no further info" about the certified mail I sent on 4/30 from Md. to Calif. It has been 8 days. Turns out, the place I mailed it to DID receive it on 5/5, and the Los Angeles post office "forgot to scan the Certified Mail bar code." FORGOT! Didn't I pay for that service?
2) I called our bank and verified that a check sent to pay off a loan was received. The cust. service person said "You overpaid the loan (they apparently gave us a wrong payoff figure) and there's a credit balance. Did you want to close the account?" UM - the LETTER that accompanied the check said "please close the loan, this is to pay it off." DUH!!! - When someone zeroes out a loan, don't you think they want to pay it off???
- On another note: LENGTHY MEETINGS: I was in a FIVE, yes, 5 hour meeting Tuesday night. People were alloted a certain amount of time for their presentations, because it was supposed to be a 3 hour meeting. Obviously, they didn't heed it. Someone went on for 20 minutes about finding an "extra washer" near a spacecraft! **When I lead meetings, I MAKE people stick to their time. Nothing makes me more crazy than useless meetings where people waste time... Do you have a Meeting story?

Eddy Arnold Passes Away at 89

As a kid, I remember my mother singing "Make the World Go Away... put your head on my shoulder..." - Rob
Eddy Arnold, one of Country Music's Greatest Stars of all time passed away at 4:40 a.m., on May 8, 2008, in Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Arnold was 89 years old. Eddy's wife preceded him in death in March 2008.
Eddie has had scores of #1 hits (see below). The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted him in 1966. The following year, the Country Music Association chose him as its first entertainer of the year, making him the only artist to win that award after becoming a Hall of Famer.
Arnold had more top 10 hits (92) and spent more weeks at No. 1 (145) than any other country act. He is the only country singer to have charted in every decade from the 1940s to the 2000s. A remake of Cattle Call, sung as a duet with LeAnn Rimes, provided Arnold with a final hit. He briefly emerged from retirement in 2005 to record one last album.
He officially retired from performing in 1999, at 81. "I wanted to give my wife the rest of my life," he said in 2002.

What Is Life Without Love, 1947It's a Sin, 1947I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms), 1947Anytime, 1948Bouquet of Roses, 1948Texarkana Baby, 1948Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go A Long, Long Way), 1948A Heart Full of Love (For a Handful of Kisses), 1948Don't Rob Another Man's Castle, 1949One Kiss Too Many, 1949I'm Throwing Rice (At the Girl That I Love), 1949Take Me in Your Arms and Hold Me, 1949There's Been a Change in Me, 1951Kentucky Waltz, 1951I Wanna Play House With You, 1951Easy on the Eyes, 1952A Full Time Job 1952Eddy's Song, 1953I Really Don't Want to Know, 1954The Cattle Call, 1955 That Do Make It Nice, 1955 What's He Doing in My World, 1965Make the World Go Away, 1965I Want to Go With You, 1966Somebody Like Me, 1966Lonely Again, 1967Turn the World Around, 1967Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye, 1968
Source: Billboard magazine

Thursday, May 8, 2008 Let's You Swap Books for the cost of Mailing!

Here's a great free service called "BOOKMOOCH.COM" that I urge all readers to join! It's where you can swap books with people around the U.S. it's done on a point system. You post 10 books you're okay with giving away and pay the mailing costs (media mail is cheapest). Then, you do searches and pick the ones you want from others, and they mail them to you. You can "mooch" off of anyone. I just joined 2 weeks ago, and am almost done compiling my complete collection of Murder she Wrote mystery paperbacks! I've mailed about 17 books out already... and you get 1 point for each book you list, and minus a point for each book sent to you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Only ONE way to track a letter with Post Office

I've learned a lesson today about tracking a letter with the U.S. Post Office. I recently sent a check by certified mail, and was told I could see the progress of it nightly online at by typing in the 20 digit tracking number. WRONG. You can only see when it's been delivered. "Delivery Confirmation" doesn't show you anything different either, despite what some Postal clerks have told me. I called 1-800-ASK-USPS, and was told that only the $16.95 Express Mail service can tell you where your letter is each day.
SO, certified and delivery confirmation is useless to track something. Further, if you're sending a CHECK for paying something off, either send it Fed-Ex, or USPS Express Mail. Otherwise, "it's somewhere in the system and we can't know where it is until delivery," said the Post Office Rep. Wonderful. So, after 7 days, I'm STILL waiting for a certified letter with a check to arrive at its destination. The Post office is no help.

Planned Superhero Movies from Marvel Comics

Thanks to Hugh in Atlanta for this update: Marvel Comics plans to launch its 2010 film slate with the release of the sequel, Iron Man 2, on April 30, 2010, followed by the launch of Thor on June 4, 2010. On May 6, 2011 with The First Avenger: Captain America (working title) should open, followed by The Avengers in July 2011.
Marvel eagerly awaits the June premiere of The Incredible Hulk, their second self-produced film.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Drivers with pets in their laps could land in legal dog house

From the Associated Press-This is a good idea. Little Franklin tries to ride in my lap while I'm driving, but I quelled him of that bad habit. Not only is it a distraction, but having a dog in your lap can prevent you from turning the wheel quickly to avoid a collision, AND the dog could go flying through the windshield. It's best to buckle your dogs in if possible, or keep them in the passenger or back seat, where you can grab their collars if needed! - Rob (RIGHT- a dog that wants to drive!)

Drivers with pets in their laps could land in legal dog house
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Pull over and put down the dog.
A California lawmaker wants to ban motorists from holding pets on their laps while driving and getting caught can net a $35 fine. The bill passed the Assembly on a 44-11 vote on Monday, and heads to the Senate.
Assemblyman Bill Maze says his legislation has nothing to do with pet-loving celebrities who are photographed driving around Los Angeles with their small dogs.
Maze says he introduced the bill after seeing a woman driving with three dogs on her lap. He says pets are a distraction that put motorists and their passengers at risk.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Iron Man - A Good superhero movie!

Tom and I got to see the new superhero movie "IRON MAN" on Sunday afternoon!
"Iron Man" stars Robert Downey Jr. as billionaire industrialist and playboy Tony Stark, who wrestles with a mid-life crisis as he invents a high-tech suit of armor that transforms him into a superhero. Downey gave a great performance and really added charm and humor to a character who in the comic books has always been too stiff for my liking (which is why I never collected Iron Man comics). However, Downey's modification of "Tony Stark's" personality was great! This is a movie to see- Very well done, and ties story and origin into modern day Afghanistan, arms deals... just see it!

Cell Phone Replaced

No one turned in my cell phone to the Maryland Science Center- so obviously, someone walked off with it, sadly. Such a poor reflection on humanity. Anyway, I had to buy a new phone late Sat. night, and was able to keep the same number fortunately. Cell phone companies (mine is T-Mobile) are now really good about preventing thieves from using your phone if you call 'em immediately like I did. So, I'm another $125 in the hole - but at least I can talk to you! :)

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next