Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Cooper" the Foster Dog Doing Well!

Here's an update on our foster dog "Cooper" that we provided for the CCDR website (Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue), and some brand new (this morning) photos of Cooper!
Cooper is extremely well-mannered, house trained, and affectionate. He loves being around people, and follows us around the house. He knows commands, like "Come" and "Sit." We're teaching him to sit on his bed with our other dogs during dinner time. He's extremely patient, and loves dinner time, but is still building an appetite after all his dental surgery - which is healing well.
He knows when to go out, and goes to the door. He sleeps through the night, and loves his bed. He also enjoys exploring in the fenced-in backyard with our other 2 dogs (Franklin and Dolly). He lays on their bed with them as well, back-to-back. He also enjoys looking out the window to see people, birds or squirrels.
He doesn't like to go up more than 5 or 6 stairs, and waits to be carried. But he'll go down them!
Cooper is on antibiotics until mid-March, to clear up the infection that was in his mouth when the rescue found him and brought him to the animal hospital. He's recovering very well. He also has a heart murmur, so he's on medication once a day for the rest of his life, but the Animal hospital has agreed to keep sending it to his owner for a reduced cost.
He has fit right in with our dogs, and will fit in with any dogs or people. He's very mild-mannered, and although hasn't been exposed to children, we're sure he'll love them. He seems to love everyone! He is so easy to care for and so lovable!

Lots of Home Improvements this Winter

The Cape Cod style house that we live in was built in the 1960s, and the large 3 front windows are the originals, and the front door let a lot of cold air, we used our tax refunds to get them replaced.
We recently had thermal windows installed in the living room (front of the house) and they've made a huge difference in keeping the warmth in the first floor of the house. The installer did a great job (although the window company is a nightmare to deal with- see Tom's earlier blog).
We finally got the front door replaced, too - because I was tired of putting a towel on the bottom of it. Now it's sealed, and keeps the cold out. It's a fiberglass door that we ordered a Lowe's, and the installer even fixed the outside storm door, too, so it also has a tight seal to the doorway.
We now have to replace our front window in the bedroom - the mechanisms on the side broke (it's a Pella Window). After WEEKS of calling the people that installed our new front window, a salesman came over this week to have us sign a contract. He wanted 50% down (that's okay), but added a $14charge because I had to put the $450 on a Visa card. (yeah, the window costs $900- for ONE Bedroom window- and there's nothing big or special about it).
With Tom being sick this weekend, it looks like home projects are on hold, although laundry, sweeping and cleaning the kitchen are always on his list, even if he's dragging! I have to admire his dedication and cleanliness!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Some Days... Airport Thievery and more

Some days you just know are going to be a challenge. Today is one of those days for a couple of people I know (me included).
1) Last night Tom came down with either a serious head and chest cold, or the flu. We hope it's a cold. He had a tough night of restless sleep, and stayed home sick today (which he RARELY does). He's got decongestants, tylenol and lots of tea and chicken soup there. Looks like no home renovations this weekend...that'll make him crazy!
2) Our foster dog, "Cooper" slept through the night (YAY!) except for getting up to wheeze (he has a heart mumur) at 1:40am. Getting him, Dolly and Franklin organized and out the door to day care took extra time, of course, but it worked!
3) Airport Thieves - Today is our friend Jeff's birthday, and he had to fly to a business meeting in SC. I called to wish him happy birthday and learned his cell was disconnected! - When I reached his partner, he told me Jeff's phone was STOLEN through airport security. I did reach Jeff on his company blackberry- and he told me that while he was being checked at security, someone pocketed his cell phone and obviously ran off with it. What is WRONG with people!??!? (Oh, yeah, Happy Birthday, Jeff- maybe the weekend will be better for you).
4) Dental Visit - one of my molars is being sensitive, and it has a big old filling in it- so I'm anticipating a root canal (everyone LOVES those! Not.).
5) Talkers - If you've ever been waiting somewhere and you just want to sit and think (like on a subway, plane or bus), or try to get work done and people call you and chat and chat - doesn't it drive you crazy? It's happened several times this week.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Foster Dog Update: He Came Home Today

The Vet called this morning at 10am about our wirehaired senior dachshund rescue named "Murray." We're changing his name to "Cooper," though.
Cooper came home from the hospital after lots of tooth removals. He's chock full of antibiotics for the severe infection in his mouth, which is expected to heal in a couple of weeks. Dolly and Franklin welcomed him with wagging tails. (They let us know when they DON'T like a dog)-they all get along well! Cooper sniffed the house and followed Franklin around the backyard. Then Franklin and Cooper slept together on a dog bed (while Dolly took one of the TV chairs).

His Eating: For now, he needs soft food (baby food, and ground up canned wet dog food).
His Health: They took x-rays and determined his lungs look great, but his heart is enlarged (and has a murmur) so he'll be on heart meds for the rest of his little life most likely. He needs to see a cardiologist, so the vet is telling the rescue person today.
His Mouth: Vet said the damage to his mouth was "insurmountable." When the canine tooth easily came out, it left a large gaping hole and there were no gums around it to sew up, because the infection destroyed them. So, Dr. Bonner said that if the hole doesn't close in a month, he'll need surgery to close it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

La Nina Still Bringing Colder Than Normal Temps to U.S. East Coast

Because of the moderate La Nina in the eastern Pacific, we've had a colder than normal winter up and down the U.S. east coast.
According to the National Climate Prediction Center, La Niña is expected to continue into Northern Hemisphere Spring 2009. A La Niña event occurs when below-average equatorial sea surface temperatures (SST) happen across the central and east-central Pacific Ocean. That colder than normal waters off the Pacific coast change the course of Jet Streams across the U.S.
In the eastern U.S., since November, the jet stream his dipped down like a "U" shape through the center of the country and back east of the U.S. east coast, allowing for colder than normal air to move down into the region from Canada.
What's worse, is that it looks like it will hang around through APRIL making it a CHILLY early springtime.Here's the official report:

Weekend Weather: Baltimore/Washington to Boston

Mild Air Moves in from Boston to Macon, GA. but Below normal temperatures return for the weekend and beyond in the mid-Atlantic. High pressure moving offshore today with southerly winds late today bringing warmer air to the region into Thursday and into Friday. A cold front will bring scattered showers on Friday before stalling to the southeast of Balt/Wash/northern Virginia on Saturday. A low pressure system develops along this front over the southeastern states Sunday bringing another chance for showers.
BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON - Mild then Below Normal Again.
Average highs this time of year: 47. Average Lows: 28
Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 31.
Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 56. Low 40
Friday: Cloudy, AFTERNOON and evening SHOWERS with a high near 59. Low 33.
Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 47.Low 27
Sunday: Mostly cloudy, widely scattered showers with a high near 43. Low 26
Tonight: Increasing clouds, with a low around 27.
Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 48 Low 35
Friday: Cloudy, Breezy, Scattered afternoon/evening showers, high near 53. Low 36.
Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 42. Scattered Evening/overnight SLEET/Snow. Low 28
Sunday: Rain, snow, freezing rain, and sleet likely. Cloudy, with a high near 35. Low 26

Foster Dog Update2

I received a call from the Animal Hospital last night about our foster dog. He's now out of surgery. **People who Cannot take care of a dog should bring the dog to a SHELTER, not turn it loose on the street.** The vet said that if Melissa of Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue didn't pick up this easy-going little dog, he would've likely been dead by this weekend. The dog "Murray" (named so for now) was on the streets of New Jersey for about a month possibly.
Most of his teeth were removed last night. The infections were so bad, the vet said she couldn't remove some teeth for fear the infection would enter the sinuses. Teeth were rotted out- sick as that is. The vet said she's unsure if the infection has spread into the jaw bone, but doesn't believe so. Finally, it was so bad, his little nose bled. He's in IV now, and being watched as he heals. He will come to us for the first time on Thursday.
**NOTE TO DOG OWNERS: Brush your dog's teeth, or give them dental chews. Dental infections can kill a dog, just as they have killed humans.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Operation Update on "Murray" the Foster Dachshund

I spoke to the Animal Hospital where our Foster /Rescue wirehaired Dachshund, currently named "Murray," is getting oral surgery. Here's the scoop:
1) He tested negative for Heartworm (whew!)
2) His Liver and Kidneys are fine
3) He has a heart murmur
4) He tested positive for Lyme disease, so he's going to have to be on 14-28 days of antibiotics.
5) He was getting his dental extractions this afternoon. The doctor said she's wondering what may lie in the back of his mouth because they've been unable to look (because he's so sensitive). I discussed with the doctor the time they should keep Murray under watch after the operation. We decided that because we don't know what's in the back of his mouth, and the actual extent of the infections; and possibility of bleeding, not eating, etc. that Murray should be watched for a couple of days. So, I'm planning to pick him up Thursday.
This way, I can be sure that there will be no bleeding from his mouth, post-op, and that he's actually able to eat. (because if he can't eat, they need to keep him on IV). The doctor was really wonderful in helping me make the best decision for the little guy. I told the doctor that I have no problem letting him stay in their care as long as it takes to ensure he's good enough to come home. Anyway, it's all about what's best for "Murray."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Murray the Foster Dachshund: Currently Hospitalized

Earlier this month, after reading and hearing many stories about abandoned dogs, Tom and I applied as foster parents for a homeless dachshund through Coast To Coast Dachshund Rescue. A local rep. came to our house and checked it out to ensure it was pet-friendly (of course it is! Dolly and Franklin live here!). Anyway, we were approved, and our Maryland representative Melissa told us at the time there were NO dachshunds needing foster homes. Two weeks later, she's got SEVEN needing homes!!
We decided to foster a tiny black wirehaired dachshund that was found in northern NJ on the streets with overgrown nails, and rotted teeth - all of which are being pulled this week. The little 16 pound guy is in horrible pain. The pound named him "Murray" although he doesn't respond to that name, so we'll likely change it to something that he does recognize. He obviously lived with someone, as he's housebroken, loves riding in a car, and knows when to go outside.
I met Melissa of Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue at lunch today at the Swan Harbor Animal Hospital at 200 West McComas Street in Baltimore. She brought Murray with her (he was just transported from NJ to MD yesterday). The doctor at this new hospital in Baltimore's Federal Hill neighborhood was wonderful.
Murray will stay at the hospital a day or two or three. He was given shots at the shelter in New Jersey, but he needs a lot more. They likely have to pull ALL of his teeth, as they're so rotted and causing him so much pain. They're also giving him vaccines, running bloodwork, and bathing him. The doctor examined him and told me (and the rescue person who met me there with him) that the dog has quite a heart murmur. They'll check for heartworm, too. By the middle or end of the week, Murray will meet Dolly and Franklin.
I can't believe people would subject a little 16 pound dog to the elements to fend for itself. It's heartbreaking. If you want to foster a dachshund, let me know. Coast-to-Coast has 7 more.

MOVIES: Hotel for Dogs / Jumper FOR DOGS is a 2009 American feature film adaptation of the Lois Duncan novel of the same name about two orphans who take in stray dogs at an empty house. We saw this movie at the theatre on Sunday and loved it. It will make you smile, laugh and bring a tear to your eye. GREAT MOVIE!
JUMPER (2008) We wanted to see this in the theatre when it came out, but never did, so I found the DVD for a very low cost and bought it. We were NOT disappointed! It was a very good movie. The plot: A genetic anomaly allows a young man to teleport himself anywhere. He discovers this gift has existed for centuries and finds himself in a war that has been raging for thousands of years between "Jumpers" and those who have sworn to kill them.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

In Memory of Buzz Wyatt- 4 years later

Four years ago today, my first weimaraner puppy Buzz Wyatt was tragically killed at the age of 7 months, when his leash opened and he dashed out in front of an oncoming speeding car in front of me. I had Buzz's ashes put inside a small wooden box, with a gold name plate, which I keep in the house next to his pictures, and a photo album dedicated to him.
As I've done every year on this day, Tom and I went to the site where Buzz was taken from me, and placed a single rose. I will always remember the meaning of unconditional love and life lessons he taught me.
Since his passing, Buzz has given me many signs including moving objects, making pennies appear, and I've actually even seen a full body apparition of him once. Our mutual love never changes. I love you, Buzz.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

4 Massachusetts SPCA execs Make Over $200K- How WRONG is that?

As someone that gives to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals- and always has, this article from Friday's Boston Globe really peeved me. Okay, I can deal with $100K because it's a big responsibility to get donations, marketing, managing and organizing.. but more money in a NON-PROFIT that's Dedicated to animal welfare? NO, NO, NO. People donate for the animals, not the executives. - People who work around animals work around them and for them because of their love for them. I'm sure the folks at my doggy day care don't make much money at all - BUT They're happy. These kinds of salaries are inexcusable. (I don't believe the Maryland SPCA has these issues).
This photo I found on-line IS what the money is supposed to be going to - helping these poor abused animals improve their lives. NOT executive outrageous salaries.

Here's the story:

As the nonprofit Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals prepares to close three animal shelters in reaction to a 25 percent loss in its endowment, advocates for animals are questioning the pay packages of the society's top administrators.
Four of the top five officials at the MSPCA make more than $200,000 annually, according to the organization's latest tax-exempt filing. "I think that some of that money would be better spent on caring for the animals," said Joyce Godsey, a volunteer at the nonprofit Animal Rescue of Merrimack Valley.
In 2007, MSPCA's chief executive officer, Carter Luke, received a salary and benefit package worth $340,595. The vice president of human resources received $215,723, the chief medical officer received $246,337, and the vice president of development received $202,880.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Savannah: Part Eight: Disappointed in Pink

This is the final entry about Savannah, and it's about a dinner that we were really looking forward to, in the very expensive and historic "Olde Pink House."
Some background on why the Pink House is special: Savannah's Olde Pink House was so named for the beautiful shade of "pink" stucco, which covers its old brick. This Georgian mansion was built in 1789 for James Habersham Jr., one of Savannah's most important early cotton factors and founding-family members.
OUR EXPERIENCE: I've read on-line many good experiences at the Pink House. Unfortunately, ours wasn't one of them. We called the restaurant at 9am and learned the only reservations available were 5pm and 9:30pm- so we took the 5pm slot. It was exciting to me to eat in a haunted restaurant.
We arrived in plenty of time for our 5PM sitting. We informed the hostess of our presence, and after a few moments, we were taken upstairs, through several other dinner parlors into the upstairs dining room in the new addition to restaurant completed just last year.
Along the way, there were a lot of wait staff hanging out in the hallways and on the stairs for some reason. Our waiter came over, greeted us, and took our drink orders. Upon his return he asked if we were ready to order. We were never informed of the specials (so we thought there were none), but we heard him tell the adjacent table about them after we had already ordered. Maybe he forgot, although there were not many in the restaurant at the time.
Gary ordered a fish entree that he said was so poorly prepared and the accompanying sauce was so bland that he didn't eat more than 1/8th of it.
I ordered the 4 small burgers well-done, but they were served rare with a dark outside. I sent them back to the kitchen and they came back STILL RARE. I didn't eat more than 1 1/2, and later was sick that night and the next day.
The waiter didn't come back more than once - but only to get the dessert order which only Jeff had. Jeff and Tom said their dinners were good.
When the bill came for the four of us, (3 had a glass of wine each and only one had a dessert) it was $190. Pricey I would say - and not worth it for the money (or for Gary's fish entree, and my beef burgers that made me ill for the next 24 hours).
We were very, very disappointed and thought it was NOT worth the price we paid (and the anticipation of going there.
For potential travelers to Savannah, we would not recommend the Olde Pink House.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Savannah: Part Seven: RR Museum and Paula Dean's

Famous TV Chef Paula Deen has a restaurant (The Lady and Sons) and a gift shop in Savannah- so we opted for the gift shop. It was filled with cookbooks, nicknacks for the kitchen, jarred delights, and more. It seemed that it was all really fattening (although appealing). Perhaps that's just southern cooking! - Some of the items on her restaurant buffet are:Southern fried chicken, Baked chicken, Collard greens, Mashed potatoes, Yams, Lima beans, Black eye peas, Mac and cheese, Green Beans, Rice, banana puddin', Peach cobbler, and "Gooey butter cakes." Oh yeah, her sons are handsome guys.
Another place we went was the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, 601 W Harris St
Savannah, GA 31401 ( It's laid out as a circle and you can see the railroad yard, printing press (where the bills and tickets were issued); mechanical rooms; roundhouse and lots of railroad cars. Great signage gives a good idea of the industry and a nice way to spend a cloudy morning (it was 45F outside, too).

I thought the main smokestack looked a little like the leaning tower, so asked Jeff to LEAN while I took his picture!
Tom and Rob were just grinnin' and enjoying the morning!

With some of the railroad works in ruins, and only walls standing, I thought this photo with walls and windows behind walls looked very artsy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Savannah: Part Six: Ghosts: The Ghost Tour - 2 Haunted Houses

We took a Walking Ghost Tour called the "Sixth Sense Tour" on Friday the 13th- which we thought appropriate! It was 7:30pm and dark, and perfect. I DIDN'T sense any ghosts on the tour, only because the ghosts were in the houses that we walked past. There are some interesting stories though, and here are a couple of them:
MERCER HOUSE - The Mercer House, located at 429 Bull Street, Monterey Square Savannah, Georgia 31401 has a number of ghosts in it. It was designed in 1860 by New York architect John Norris for General Hugh Mercer, the great grandfather of Johnny Mercer. The Mercers never actually lived in this house. It wasn't completed until 1868. General Mercer sold the house unfinished in 1865. (PHOTO: The Balcony of Death)
In 1913, it was the home of a physician, who is said to have been pushed off a balcony where he broke his neck on the sidewalk below. Our tour guide said that the source of the ghost who pushed him is unknown. Whatever it or they are, they caused a lot more unrest.
The home would later be owned by famous antique philanthropist James Williams, who shot his lover, Danny Hansford in the 1970s, and after 4 trials was acquitted. All this was made famous or infamous in the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." When Williams was finally acquitted, he returned home after being in prison 9 years and after only 6 months died in the house of a heart attack at age 59.
After Williams died, a little boy and his friend were playing on the mansion's roof (how they got up there, only they know). The little boy was apparently pushed by the same ghost that killed the doctor in 1913. According to the other boy, he saw the other boy being pushed, but he was frozen and couldn't move as the other boy fell off the roof. That boy was impaled on the fence and died. The broken arrow on the fence still remains today, and the guide told us that people often see the boy running down the sidewalk saying "I need to go home." He didn't show the night we were there.

432 ABERCORN STREET- THE GHOSTLY FACE ON A BUILDING - This was by far the most frightening story and house on our ghost walk. In the 1800s, an Army General named Wilson lived here with his 9 year old daughter. Because the family was "upper class" the little girl was not allowed to associate with school children of lower class, that just happened to play outside of their home. There was a school for lower class children diagonally from the Wilson house, and the kids would go out in the grassy square and play at recess and during the summertime. Wilson's little girl would sit in her 2nd floor bedroom window and beg her father to let her out to play with the other kids. She didn't care about "classes." She was only 9. Her father refused. One day, she ran outside and played anyway. It was a fatal mistake. Her brutally mean father actually tied her up in a chair in her bedroom and faced her toward the window to watch the other kids play. He left her there 2 days... and it was the summertime. Summer in Savannah means 99F with 100 percent humidity. The little girl was dead of heatstroke when her evil father found her, still tied to the chair.

The General was distraught and angry after the girl's death. You can guess he was the type of person that blamed the children for his daughter's death, and not himself. After she was buried, he would sit in her chair staring out at the children. Our tour guide said he died there, too, but as an old man. I gather that he is apparently still angry, and needs forgiveness for killing his daughter before he can move on. Strangely, his face has appeared on the OUTSIDE of the house. In the photo above, his visage is seen to the left of a window on the front of the house. The photo above is a close-up. The Georgia Paranormal Society compared the image to photos of the General and they match. Further, one man tried moving into the house and renovating it. Workers refused to work and some ran out, leaving tools behind (which can be seen in the windows). The man who moved in was pushed down the stairs and into the front doors after he distinctly heard a man's voice say "Get Out." He did and no one has returned in years.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Savannah: Part Five: Ghosts: Green-Meldrim House and Ye Olde Pink House

The last two houses that we went to in Savannah had one haunting each that I was able to detect. Of course, I didn't go through one of them entirely. This photo is of the GREEN-MELDRIM HOUSE.
The house was designed by New York architect John Norris and built in 1850 for cotton merchant Charles Green, this Gothic-revival mansion cost $90,000 to build. General Sherman lived here after taking the city in 1864, as he was welcomed by Mr. Green. The house was bought in 1892 by Judge Peter Meldrim, thus "Green-Meldrim." His heirs sold it to St. John's Episcopal Church to use as a parish house.
This house wasn't on the "haunted" list, but when we toured it for its history, I sensed a ghost. It wasn't until we got into the dining room at back of the house, that I got a headache and got nauseous, and sensed a female ghost. I sensed that she didn't want people in HER house. I believe this was the wife of Charles Green.
James Habersham Jr., one of the wealthiest Americans of his time, built this house in 1771. He became a hero during the Revolutionary War and rose to the rank of major in the colonial army. The house was made of red bricks which was plastered over with white plaster. The house appears pink because the red bricks bled through the plaster. The house has chandeliers, antiques, and even original Georgia pine floors in its tavern which is in the back left side of the house. That's where ghosts of young African-American children are known to romp. We didn't go back there, however. Of course, I didn't need to go there to sense a ghost. As soon as we came through the front door and walked up the stairway to the second floor, I sensed a man - whom I believe was Mr. Habersham. I later read that he's been seen on the 2nd floor many times. Once we walked through the long hallway and into a huge room where we dined, I didn't sense him anymore. Turns out, we walked into a new building that was built in the last couple of years and attached to the house to expand the dining area. (PHOTO: Jeff having fun at Ye Olde Pink House) UP NEXT: The Walking Ghost Tour and a creepy face on the outside of a building

Monday, February 16, 2009

Savannah: Part Four: Ghosts On Tours; Sorrell-Weed House

"Ghost on Tours" isn't the name of a tour we took, it was just that these are stories I had of ghosts that I encountered (for the most part) on the Ghost Tour we took, or in the 2 mansions we visited. This is all about the Sorrell-Weed House. Spirits who are believed to haunted the house include a former slave who died at the
house and Francis Sorrell's wife who killed herself by jumping from a second floor balcony. I think there may be one more spirit in there.

The Sorrell-Weed house was one of the two mansions we toured. It's located on 6 West Harris Street in Savannah and was built in 1840 by General Gilbert Moxley Sorrel (youngest general in the confederate army). General Robert E. Lee (1862) and General
William T. Sherman (1864) also visited the home. In 2008, the new owner found a box inside a false ceiling that had authentic first drafts of the original surrender papers signed by General Lee.

THE GHOSTS - There are apparently a couple of them, and this house is known for them, as the Sci Fi Channel show "Ghost Hunters" was filmed there in 2005 and confirmed some entities using scientific equipment. Hosts Jason and Grant declared that the house was indeed haunted. During their investigation they captured an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) of a woman yelling, "Get out, get me, my God, my God." In fact, it is now listed as Savannah's most haunted house.

MY EXPERIENCES: THE HAUNTED WAITING ROOM- Once we got into the house we were led into the front right room until others came in. While we were there, I got the sense that we were joined by a male ghost. My headache started. While Jeff, Gary and Tom were talking amongst themselves, I sensed our ghost had taken a seat in the rear corner of the room. I know it was a man from the 1800s. I wish I could see them all the time, but I can't. I took this photo of the chair where the ghost was sitting, then he moved to the fireplace.

THE HAUNTED BASEMENT - When we started the tour, I was immediately drawn to the basement for some reason. I kept looking at the stairway that led there while the young female tour guide was showing us the first floor of the house. Once we did go downstairs, she told us that it was there in the basement that the "Ghost Hunters" confirmed spirit activity. This is my photo of the basement.
SITE OF A SUICIDE: Francis Sorrell's wife killed herself by jumping from a second floor balcony into this brick patio. When the tour guide took us out there and showed us the spot, I didn't feel the presence of a ghost. Why? Because the ghost is likely haunting inside. Ghosts don't necessarily linger around the spot they died. They go to a place they liked while they were living. Mrs. Sorrell's bedroom was in a 2nd or 3rd story of the house that was closed off to tours, because its still being renovated. I'm sure that that is where she dwells.
NEXT ON THE BLOG: The Pink House, Green-Meldrim House, and Ghost Tour

Savannah Part Three: Ghosts That Weren't On the Tours

(PHOTO: River House Tavern's bar) Although we did go on a ghost tour, I didn't need it to find spirits. As usual, they found me. In the next blog entry, I'll tell you about ghosts that were in places where they've been reported. This entry is about ghosts that appeared and we weren't on a ghost tour!
1) GHOST AT THE BAR: The River House, 125 West River Street, Savannah, GA 31401 This restaurant is located in an 1850’s King Cotton Warehouse. It's located facing the Savannah River, and features local seafood, homemade breads and desserts, baked on the premises. We went in for the desserts and they were very tasty. After we finished dessert, I got up and headed to the restroom. As I walked by the small bar (next to the restroom) I got a headache in the back left part of my head - which indicates a ghost is around. I suddenly got very woozy, and felt as if I were drunk! I made it into the men's room and fell against the wall! The ghost, who is a man, conveyed to me that he became drunk or sick and died in that building. I was able to shake it off and walk back to the table. We promptly left and my head cleared. Sometimes, ghosts will share with you their symptoms of how they felt just before they died, as this one did.
2) GHOST IN THE GALLERY - One of the places we walked with the City Market in the northern area of historic Savannah. It's about 2 or 3 blocks south of the Savannah River. The Gallery sold paintings from local artists and is one of about 100 galleries around the historic district. It's a huge art town.
Tom and I went in and looked around. Then we went into the basement part of the gallery. I immediately got a headache and sensed a male presence down there. It was not happy. I believe he was one of the victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic that swept through the city in the late 1700s, where hundreds died and were buried around town. So many people are buried everywhere around the city that you're likely standing on someone's remains anyway wherever you go (a tourguide told us). Between the civil war and yellow fever deaths, countless people were buried all over, and some still alive at the time!
Anyway, I was very uneasy there and felt that the ghost was angry that he died (and likely was buried while still breathing). I told the ghost to move on, and look for a light in a funeral home, but couldn't gauge whether or not he listened. Regardless, the employees likely don't know about it. (BELOW: The Gallery at City Market)
3) A SWEET-TOOTHED GHOST at the Savannah Candy Kitchen, 225 E River St
Savannah, GA 31401. of the shops we enjoyed was this one- filled with lots of homemade and tasty candies. However, when I was at the back of the store (I'm unsure what it was originally), a ghost passed me and let me know that we were not alone there. I didn't stay in the store long enough to figure out if it was male or female or how that person died. I was really more interested in getting some candy, selfish as that was!

Savannah Part Two: Parks, Spanish Moss, A FlirtingTrolley Guy

(PHOTO: Tom and Rob at a huge fountain at Forsyth Park)
Savannah's streets are built in a grid format, making it easy to walk anywhere. It's also pretty safe to walk around (as long as you're in by midnight we assume). We walked everywhere until around 10pm without a problem.
There are about 23 "squares" within the grid. A "square" is a green area with houses surrounding them. They're filled with "Live Oak" trees (the name of the tree) that harbor "Spanish Moss" that hangs from their trees. Oddly, it is neither spanish, nor moss. It's a member of the pineapple family that propagates airborne. It was named "Spanish" after the long beards of the spaniards that once roamed the area, and "moss" because it resembles a moss. It's also loaded with chiggers, or little bugs, so it's best left alone. (PHOTO: Spanish Moss hanging off live oak trees in Pulaski Square)
We took a Trolley Tour on our 1st full day there. I was in the gift shop with Gary while Tom and Jeff were checking out the trolley tours. There was one for $10 and one for $25. When I got to Jeff, he was talking with a very flamboyant young man (who was flirting with him) and convinced Jeff that we need to take the $25 tour... That was "Old Town Trolley." Well, the black woman who was our tour guide was wonderful. Unfortunately, we got off at stop #3 to see some houses and never wound up getting back on it again (out of 17 stops), so the money wasn't well spent...but that's our fault- we loved walking, and Jeff loved flirting. :)
We did take the trolley to Forsyth Park, which is the southern-most point in the historic district, so it was good. In 1733, the lands around Forsyth Place (now Forsyth Park) comprise much of the designated 5-acre Savannah garden lots of colonial Savannah, Georgia's earliest British and European settlers. During the Civil War, Union soldiers encamped there. The Fountain was created in 1858 and received extensive restoration in 1988. (PHOTO: Gary, Tom and Jeff at the fountain)
A number of the squares have monuments on them of the people the squares a named for. The monuments are either sculptures of the people (always men) or architectural monuments. (Photo: Monument in Wright Square- I think!)
For those who saw the movie "Forrest Gump" - the bench he sat on is at the Savannah History Museum. The bench is actually one of several fiberglass props made for the movie. However, if you go to the northern part of Chippewa Square, that's where it was originally placed for the movie. We stopped there, and Gary took a picture of it, with the church behind it that was in the movie's opening scene. That's where a feather slowly drifts down from the church steeple to the ground. (PHOTO: Forrest Gump on his bench in Chippewa Square- from the movie!)

Savannah Trip - Part One: Lodging; Food

(PHOTO: Tom and I being goofy in Savannah!)
We took a 3 night trip to Savannah with our friends Jeff and Gary as a winter getaway. It wasn't as warm as we hoped, but it was wonderful! Rich in history, architecture, great shops and restaurants, and lots of ghosts. Really.
Everyone should visit the historic district of Savannah and NOT rent a car. We're glad we didn't. Savannah, GA and Hilton Head, SC share an airport - that's about 20 miles from each place. We took a shuttle ride for about $45 for all of us combined to our great hotel, the Country Inn and Suites on Montgomery Road. Tom and I had a nice corner room, and although there was traffic outside at times, we brought earplugs for 3 good nights of sleep. We recommend the hotel and the earplugs on any trip!
Although there are no Dunkin' Donuts, to my disappointment, there are really good restaurants! We ate at Loco's Grill on Broughton Street several times, and the food and service were excellent (the pot roast sandwich!). Only a 15 minute walk from the hotel was Loco's Grille, the "main street" (Broughton St.), and City Market (an open-air pedestrian street filled with shops, many art galleries, restaurants, and horse and carriage rides), 5 minutes further north was River Street, a beautiful stretch of a brick street with shops, etc. on one side, and the Savannah River on the other side. Really beautiful. You can also see South Carolina on the other side of a great expansion bridge that sits at one end of River Street, and watch the paddle boats, tugs and freighters pass by.
(PHOTO: Horse and Carriage at City Market on St. Julian Street)
Breakfast daily was at our favorite- Panera Bread, also on Broughton Street. That was wonderful as always. We did have lunch in the Soho South Cafe on West Liberty Street and had a charming waitress from Canada. We walked in and were hedging about it, but the cute young guy that was seating people talked Jeff into it. No surprise! - Everyone enjoyed their sandwiches there, and the atmosphere (it's an old garage, filled with lawn furniture and old 1960s kitchen tables, surrounded by art you can buy. A fun environment.
The River Tavern on River Street had good dessert, as 3 of us enjoyed pecan pie and other things (I just had coffee). Of course, THAT place also had a ghost- one that made me feel how he died...more later.
We made reservations at "Ye Olde Pink House," which is an historic house turned restaurant, and pricey. It was almost $200 for 4 of us. The food wasn't too good, the service not too good, and I got sick from the food for the next 2 days. Tom will write a special blog about that! :) The only redeeming thing there for me was that I sensed the ghost of a man in the first part of the building, which turned out to be the original house. The building we were seated in was a relatively new add-on to the house, and I sensed nothing in it.
Aside from the candy shops, bakeries and such, you can gain a lot of weight! Luckily for me (?) I was sick from the Pink House's dinner, so I gained none. :) Always the optimist.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Savannah! details to follow

We're on our way back from Savannah, where we've been for the last 3 days. It's a beautiful city (well, we've walked around the entire historic district). Temperatures have hovered around 60F under cloudy skies with occasional rain these last 2 days, and the first day was 73F and sunny, so we took advantage of that.
The historic district, where we stayed, has a large "dead history." There were many deaths from the civil war here, and from a yellow fever outbreak in the 1700s. So many people died in fact, that they were buried in trenches throughout the city - and buildings were built over them.
There's a lot of ghostly unrest here, as some of the yellow fever victims were even buried alive. At one point, people started burying their dead with ropes attached to bells. If the person buried that was assumed dead, awakes and rings the bell, they would be dug up, if lucky enough to last that long. That's where "dead ringer" comes from we've been told.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Finished Book: Murder She Wrote: Slaying in Savannah

I just finished reading another in the Murder She Wrote series: A Slaying in Savannah. We'll be vacationing there, so I wanted to read this in advance. As always, it was great. This is truly the best mystery series I've ever read- I can't ever put them down. Authors: Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. The Story: Tillie, an old friend of Jessica's passed away in Savannah, and Jessica was tasked in Tillie's will to come to town and solve a murder of Tillie's former fiancee that happened 40 years ago. Great book with twists and turns, and a great visual of Savannah.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some Down Home Maine Humor

One of my adopted "Moms" lives in Maine, and she sends the funniest, most entertaining emails to us. Here are a couple of them that you may enjoy. They made us laugh out loud!

Summer's almost here in Maine .........we can now see the deer moving around. Yep, won't be long.

1) INTERVIEW WITH A 104-YR OLD:"And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?," the reporter asked. She said, "No peer pressure."
2) THIS COULD BE FROM AN ELDERLY MARYLANDER: I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes, I'm half blind,
can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that
make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia, poor circulation; Hardly feel my hands and feet, Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92.
Have lost all my friends. But, thank God I still have my driver's license.
3) WORKING OUT: "I feel like my body is totally out of shape, So I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Great Consumer Blog - Our Favorite!

Ms. Dan Thanh was a consumer writer with the Baltimore Sun newspaper for years, and had the BEST consumer column we've ever read. We looked forward to it every week. She's since left the paper, but she DID start a Consumer Blog called "Consumer Wingman."
FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE - It's one of our Blog Favorites in the Column to the Right, so you can read it often, too. It's been VERY HELPUL. She also promises to continue helping right consumer problems. You wouldn't believe some of the issues she corrected from the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, to utilities and more.
Here's her description of it: "I'll do my best to fill you in on interesting consumer news and tidbits that might help me, you and your mother (father, too!) be better consumers. In turn, you tell us your best tips and share your happy, terrible, frustrating, surprising, or mindboggling attempts at trying to spend or save. Occasionally, you'll have to put up with my mini-rants about how businesses, politics, etc. affect consumers. But it's not a one-way rant. Feel free to share a rant, too. That's what makes this fun.
Also, on a more limited basis since I do this as a labor of love now and not full-time, I'll try to help you resolve your consumer problems. Yes, that's right. If you're at all familiar with my old Consuming Interests column at The Sun, readers used to write in with a complaint they couldn't resolve with a company and ask for assistance. I'd hear their side of the story, contact the company for its side and then try to negotiate a resolution between both parties. Win, lose or draw, I'd write a column out of the story and explain where things went wrong, who was at fault, who was willing to compromise and how to avoid stumbling into a similar situation."
NOTE FROM ROB AND TOM: This is one blog you really want to read all the time!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Perfect Weather/Birthday Party

Today was the 2nd day where temperatures were in the 60s. In fact it reached 66F today here in Bowie, and we thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors. We walked Dolly and Franklin about 1 1/2 miles this morning after our breakfast at Panera (and relaxing reading the Baltimore Sun... and there is no better newspaper in my opinion). After a sandwich in our enclosed (almost) patio (we still need to put screening on it after building it last year- but that happens this spring); we took the dogs for a 2 mile walk!
We went to our friend Richard's 75th birthday party in Washington,DC and had a nice time celebrating with he and his partner and a whole houseful of well-wishers.
We came home and took the dogs on another 1/2 mile walk, and called it a night. We can't say we didn't take advantage of today's nice weather!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What a Difference a Week Makes! /Weekend Projects

One week ago it was in the 20s and we had snow! The wind chills were in the single numbers and it was truly wintry. The dogs didn't even like being outside for more than a couple of minutes.

Today, Saturday, February 7th, a WARM FRONT finally got through, breaking the arctic hold of cold air that we've had since November 1st (because of La Nina, that dirty little girl). Anyway, we took advantage of the 62F sunshine!!
This past week (in the cold) we had a tree removed from the backyard, that was too close to the enclosed porch we built. So, Tom removed the wood chips and distributed them in the backyard, taking a little time to toss sticks to Dolly (the Weimaraner) while Franklin the dachshund went to look for leftover bird seed that fell from the feeder. I also tossed a rope to Dolly outside, and enjoyed the sunshine. We even took time out to meet our friends Jason and Kevin at Chik-fil-A nearby, which was fun.

Our day started in the 7am hour as usual. We got the new stairway carpet runner (from England!) and Tom installed it while I did the laundry, mopped the floor and made the bed. The stairs look fantastic! By 4pm, we needed a nap that we didn't get!

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