Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Home Improvements


Houses are like people, they continually need improvement. So, we've replaced our carpet in the master bedroom and sitting room this week. We bought industrial strength carpet, so it would wear well, even with the dogs and their nails on it. The carpet is a tight loop, berber-type carpet, and it's hopefully going to last a long time. The installers took about 2 hours to put it in, and it looks good!

New Dolly Parton Video: Backwoods Barbie

Dolly is not only my favorite singer, but she was an inspiration to me in how to live my life: be happy, optimistic, friendly to all, outgoing, have faith, and laugh at yourself. Here's her latest video: Backwoods Barbie:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dogs DO Go to Heaven

Our friend Sandra and her family recently had to cope with the passing of their little dachshund, Rebelina, from cancer. Her son, Jimmy was devastated, especially because their pastors at church said "Dogs don't go to Heaven." I can personally tell you that's a bunch of crap. THIS is what's wrong with Churches. Dogs have pure souls like children. They do go to Heaven, and I've seen it.
Anyway, here's what I wrote to Sandra, so she could share it with her son:
1) To let Rebelina pass was the most loving, unselfish thing he could do. She's out of pain, and at peace. That was a really brave thing for him to do, letting her pass away.
2) The Church is 100% Wrong. Yes, Dogs DO go to Heaven. Yes, Rebelina will be waiting there in Heaven when everyone's time has come. I can tell you I know this first hand.
When my dad passed away and I was at the cemetery when he was being buried, I saw my dad's spirit walk toward a very intensely bright light. In that light (the gateway to Heaven) stood his parents, my mother's parents, and the 2 dogs my dad and mom had, that had both passed - a poodle named Gigi and a cocker spaniel named Penny. They were all on the other side, waiting to welcome my dad.
So, no matter what churches tell people about dogs don't believe it. I have a gift to see and communicate with people and animals that have passed over, and they really DO go to Heaven. My dog Buzz has communicated with me very often, as you may remember. One way for him to know the Rebelina is in Heaven is if he or anyone in the family dreams of her. That means that she's in Heaven. People and pets who are earth-bound can't be dreamt of.
Dogs also can communicate in various ways. Our friend Craig's dog caused a flowering plant to bloom in the shape of a heart last year. (We have photographic proof), and he heard her nails on his floor after she had passed away.
Boy, do I need to finish writing my book on ghosts and spirits.
As for churches and "religious people" who say such stupid things (especially to children) without any knowledge - they need to keep quiet. Dogs do go to Heaven. Period.
(PHOTO: Here's one church that DID get it right).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our Friend Beverlee Passed Away

(PHOTO: Beverlee on her 85th birthday with a hat and Dunkin' Donuts coffee and favorite donut)
Beverlee Askew of Baltimore passed away today, March 29th at 5pm EDT at the Future Care Nursing Home. Beverlee was 86 years old, and would have been 87 on May 21st. Rob met Beverlee about 4 1/2 years ago at his friend, Terry's house for Thanksgiving dinner.
Beverlee had just met Terry at a veterinarian's office the week before when Beverlee had to euthanize her elderly cat. She was distraught, and Terry learned she had no relatives in the state, so Terry had Beverlee over for dinner.
Bev was a sharp woman, with a great sense of humor and she was extremely worldly wise. We'd talk about politics, religion, people, family, dogs, her past, home renovations, my partner Tom, the weather, and anything else. Bev was in the Navy, and often told me about her husband Howard, who had passed when they were in their 40s. She loved Howard with all her heart, and now she's together with him.
I would go up to see Beverlee about every 2 weeks or so with Dolly (our weimaraner)to visit, and always bring Dunkin' Donuts coffee and her favorite, a vanilla cream filled donut. She loved them, so I'd always bring a half-dozen and watch her eyes light up.
She told me that her dad never showed affection or told her he loved her, but she knew it anyway. She said he was the silent type. She also told me she thought she was visited by her mother after she passed, and always listened intently when I told her about the ghosts I have encountered. She enjoyed her church and the people that went there, and her pastor. She said that everyone was so friendly, and welcoming to everyone, including gay people. She had a number of gay friends, and she was so cool about it. She was so excited when Tom and I found each other, and she said "he's the one you'll spend the rest of your life with." Of course, she's right.
Bev has one son, who decided to estrange himself from her, and he and his family moved to Michigan. She hasn't heard from, nor seen him in over a year. Her only real family is her niece Brenda and husband Gary in PA. They have done everything for Bev.
I do remember a number of times getting calls from Bev, and having to drive her to the VA Hospital in Baltimore (from wherever I was), but it didn't matter how long it took to drive there (we live 45 mins. from Baltimore). She was always grateful.
Over the last month, you know that I've been sick for about 3-4 weeks, from the flu, to upper respiratory infection to bronchitis, so I haven't been able to visit Bev since before Valentine's Day (although I've sent letters and post cards). I finally got over all that and my mom just visited for a week. Tom and I talked today about my going to visit Beverlee next Saturday, now that I'm healthier, and all events are over. I also got the records of the dogs' vaccinations, so I could bring them to her nursing home. I received the call tonight at 6:18pm EDT from Brenda, Beverlee's niece. I'm heartbroken.
I will always cherish my visits with Bev. She loved her Dunkin' Donuts and coffee. She loved seeing Tom and I, Dolly and Franklin. I loved talking with her about everything. I know that she's finally going to be at peace and reunited with her husband Howard after waiting some 45 plus years. God bless you, Beverlee. I will really miss you.
Tomorrow, I'm going to Dunkin' Donuts and get a coffee and a vanilla cream donut to have in your honor. Love, Rob
(PHOTO BELOW: Beverlee loved seeing our dog Dolly. Notice the Dunkin' Donuts coffee cup to the left in this photo from July 2008)

Beverlee's Obituary from the Baltimore Sun Newspaper:
ASKEW, Beverlee G. On Sunday, March 29, 2009, BEVERLEE G. ASKEW, 85 of Baltimore; beloved wife of the late William Howard Askew; mother of William David Askew; grandmother of four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; sister of the late Beth Brotzman. All services are private. Contributions in Beverlee's name to be made to the First & Franklin Street Presbyterian Church, 210 W. Madison Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201. Peaceful Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Center, P.A., is in charge of arrangements. Published in the Baltimore Sun on 3/31/2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Childish Behavior in Adults: Grudges,Teasing, Anger, Rudeness

Why do some adults behave like spoiled children with Grudges,Teasing, Anger and Rudeness? Recently we've been subjected to people holding grudges, and we think there's nothing more mentally unhealthy than holding a grudge against someone. It's one thing to be mad at someone for doing something bad to you, but you've got to forgive and move on, especially when you have to keep dealing with the person. Tom and I don't hold grudges. They're emotionally and mentally wearing. Further, when one person is so incredibly stubborn that they still hold a grudge against someone who died 25 years ago, we think that's absolutely ridiculous. Not only that, but to keep bringing it up is really useless and only serves to cause discomfort in the people having to hear it again. So, if you hold a grudge against someone, we have a couple of words for you: Get Over It. Forgive. Life is VERY short. We're all here together. If you don't have to deal with the person that wronged you, and you can't be adult enough to forgive them (depending on the severity of the wrong, I guess), then don't talk to them anymore. Otherwise, if they're in the family, grow up, swallow your pride, and be adult enough to be the peacemaker. Better than acting like a spoiled child.

Teasing, Anger and Rudeness
- My older brother lives to get people upset. (I have 2 brothers, the younger one, Doug is one of my best friends and has no behavior issues!) My older brother, however, somehow gets a rise out of pissing people off on the phone. I know that's part of his bipolar/anger disorder. Every time he calls me, he can't get off the phone and say "goodbye" or "have a good rest of the day." Instead, he finds a way to get pissed off, get foul-mouthed and hang up on me. Anyone that knows me, knows I don't behave like that. Yesterday he called to say our mother arrived safely in Boston, and at the end of the conversation, decided to talk politics - which is dangerous as he's a staunch right-wing Republican (I attribute that to bipolar disorder), while everyone else in my family are Massachusetts Democrats. At the end of the conversation, he started bad-mouthing Obama and said he's responsible for the record deficit. I responded by saying that Pres. Bush took the country from a record surplus to a deficit. My brother then said some nasty words and hung up on me. He got what he wanted- he made me respond and got a chance to hang up on me. I'm thankful we're 400 miles away, but pity the people that have to deal with his un-medicated behavior. I really wish he'd seek medical help so he could regulate his behavior and live a more stable emotional life. It's a shame that at 50 years old he still behaves like a child. If you know someone with bi-polar disorder and anger issues, urge them to seek help.

Mom's Visit: Day 4

Friday was my mother's last day in Maryland before she headed back to Boston. On Thursday night, my younger brother Doug (who flew to DC with my mother) joined us after his week of meetings. Friday was the best weather day, with temperatures reaching 63 (not the 40s), but Mom and Doug didn't get to experience them, as they flew out at 1:30pm. They just spent the morning at the house before I had to drive them to Reagan National Airport in DC. There really weren't any photos from Day #4, but here are other pictures from the previous days that weren't posted.

(PHOTO: Mom pointing at the model of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope at NASA Goddard- during her Day #2 visit)

(PHOTO: Day #4 with Mom, Rob's brother Doug stopped to pose with Dolly and Franklin)

(PHOTO: On Day #3 at night, while sitting in the living room of our house, Franklin jumped up Tom's lap and gave him a smooch, while Rob's brother Doug looks on)

(PHOTO: Cooper before I took him back to the animal hospital on Friday (Day #4) in the early morning, so he could have surgery on his gums. His gum around one of his pulled teeth didn't close, so he needed surgery. I drove to Baltimore in the early morning and dropped him off, then drove my mom and brother to Reagan National Airport, then drove back to Baltimore to pick up Cooper after his surgery - LOTS OF DRIVING on Friday for Rob).

(PHOTO: On Day #3 at night, my mother actually convinced Tom to play the piano for her. I've been trying to get him to play for years... he's shy. He used to play in churches, but doesn't like playing for people any more. My mother, however, doesn't take "NO" for an answer, as Tom learned. Yes, he played several songs for her.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mom's Visit: Day 3


(PHOTO: Dolly and Franklin looking outside at the drizzle/rainy day)

Today was an overcast and rainy day - all day. So, no dog walking, no outdoor activities... and mom was very slow to get going. Tom took the day off, so he and I were up with the 3 dogs at 6 a.m. and had breakfast. Mom finally came downstairs around 8:30 a.m. for coffee and toast. By then, the dogs had been outside and inside 3 times! :)

PHOTO: Driving in the rain, heading to Annapolis to lunch.



PHOTO: Treated to lunch! L to R: Tom, his dad Bob, Mom Ruth, and Rob's Mom Norma.
Our big adventure out was to drive to Annapolis and get treated to lunch from Tom's parents (Ruth and Bob) at McCormick and Schmidt's restaurant. It's a really classy restaurant, and the food was very good, service was excellent. Afterward, we took a walk through the adjacent Annapolis Mall.


PHOTO: On Day #1, our friend Jeff drove up from Virginia to have dinner with my Mom. He's known her for about a decade, and loves to tease her. It was a fun dinner out at Chili's restaurant.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mom's Visit: Day 2

Today Mom and I met my friend JC and his mom Jill for a nice lunch at Panera Bread near Arundel Mills. My Mom met Jill back in 2001 when she last visited Maryland (with my dad) and they hit it off. Today was no different.
Afterward, I took mom on a driving tour of Baltimore City - through Fells Point, and stopped at the H&M Bread Store when we smelled fresh hot bread. We also stopped for coffee at Dunkin' Donuts and went to DOGMA, a Baltimore dog store.
PHOTO BELOW: Moms Jill and Mom G. at Panera

BELOW: Rob, Jill, Mom G. and JC outside Arundel Mills Mall

BELOW: Both Mom G. (Norma) and Jill enjoyed walking through the Mall.

BELOW: Both moms enjoyed shoe shopping for quite awhile, although no one bought anything!

BELOW: Tom and I took Mom G. to her first Chik-fil-A visit. She loved the waffle fries and chicken sandwich.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mom's Visit: Day 1

I drove Mom to Washington, DC today to see the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin, and they weren't quite totally out yet but still pretty. We also drove by the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument and National Mall. After our nice drive through tour, we met Tom for lunch in downtown Washington, DC. Tom then walked us a couple of blocks south to the WHITE HOUSE!
CAPTION: RIGHT:Mom "as a poser" in front of the White House!.

CAPTION: BELOW: Mom and Tom in the park just north of the White House with some Bradford Pear trees in bloom already.

After a trip to Washington, DC, I took Mom to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where I work in Maryland. I got her a badge through security, and took her to see my office- which is wallpapered with the dogs and Tom. I then took her to buildings where they build satellites!
CAPTION: Below, Mom is standing in front of one of NASA's clean room where many satellites have been built.

CAPTION: Below- I took Mom into the NASA Visitor's Center and got her to sit in this simulated space capsule. She had a hard time getting out of it!

CAPTION: Below - One of the fun things that Mom enjoyed was playing astronaut at the NASA Visitor's Center!

Mom G. Visits This Week!



My mom arrived late last night from Boston! It's the first time she's been to Maryland since 2001. She's been afraid of flying since 9/11, and she came down with my younger brother, who had to fly down for a work conference. Mom will be here through Friday, so we're going to have some fun touring around.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Great Educational on-line Quiz Website - Take a Quiz

I was listening to WSM-AM 650 radio out of Nashville this morning (on-line) as I usually do, and a teacher recommended an educational website: www.sporcle.com. It's loaded with educational quizzes about MANY THINGS. I took the U.S. Presidents Quiz and got 30 out of 44 in 4 minutes. See how you do: http://www.sporcle.com/games/presidents.php
Other educational games include:
U.S. States; Countries of Europe; Countries of the World; Countries of Africa; Countries of Asia; Periodic Table; 3 Letter Body Parts; Commonest English Words
U.S. Capitals; Countries of North America; Countries of South America; Corporate Logos; The Nine Planets

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Excellent Book! Murder She Wrote: Margaritas and Murder


This is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE mystery series. I can't put them down. They're so well-written and all of them are excellent stories. In this one, Jessica Fletcher finds murder south of the border. I can see why this is a USA Today bestselling series!
Here's the summary: Mystery writer Jessica Fletcher visits Mexico for a little R&R in San Miguel de Allende-the perfect place for her to soak up the sun, bask in Mexican culture, and spend time with her good friends Vaughan and Olga Buckley. But when Vaughan is kidnapped for a large ransom, Jessica must put her life on the line to find him. *** A MUST READ! *** AUTHORS: Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Back to a Regular Saturday Schedule!

(PHOTO: Cooper after today's bath)
I'm now feeling about 85-90% for the first time in three weeks, so we were finally able to do Saturday things. Up at 6:30am, breakfast for us and the dogs (after they enjoyed the backyard, despite the 25F and hard freeze overnight).
We are BOTH now going to the chiropractor 3 days a week. Tom started this week. His lower back and his neck are both issues. He has the same "unable to turn 90 degrees issue" with his neck that brought me there in the first place. So, it's another thing to do together. Isn't that sweet? :)
We dropped off dry cleaning, picked up a prescription, did all our laundry, swept the house, put clothes away, got a breakfast sandwich at Dunkin' Donuts (yum) for lunch, and checked out a stone quarry store going out of business. We then took the dogs to Tom's parents' house where Tom and his stepdad repaired a neighbor's wall with drywall, while Tom's mom and I walked all three dogs for about 1 1/2 hours. It got up to 55F today with sun, so it wasn't too bad.
After a quick trip to the comic book store for me (to get a back issue), we came home and Tom planted grass plugs in the front yard while I got some quick groceries and washed all three dogs! We met Mom and Bob (Tom's folks) for dinner and got some flowers and another shrub at Lowes for planting tomorrow.
Now, it's time to relax and maybe watch a movie. Nice to be back to a typical Saturday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Arrives! - Great Contest to Create a Dunkin' Donut!


There are several things worth celebrating today. 1) It's FRIDAY 2) It's officially the meteorological arrival of springtime (as of 7:44 am EDT this morning 3) Dunkin' Donuts is holding a "create a new donut contest" and 4) I've got my extra-large black Dunkin' Donuts coffee in front of me.
1) SPRING OFFICIALLY ARRIVES THIS MORNING - Our average high this time of year is 55F, but today's high here in the Baltimore/Washington area won't reflect that... reaching only 47F. That's a February high temperature. This winter has been on average about 5-7 degrees below normal due to La Nina in the eastern Pacific, and the little vixen is still holding on. She needs to go! We want warmth!

2) HOW TO JOIN THE "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" online contest - and win a $12,000 grand prize and have your donut sold in participating Dunkin' Donuts locations throughout the country! From now through April 7 visitors to www.DunkinDonuts.com/donut can build your virtual personal donut using dozens of flavors, toppings, fillings and shapes.
A dozen finalists, selected by a panel of Dunkin' Donuts judges, will travel to Dunkin' Donuts University, the worldwide training center for the company located in Braintree, Massachusetts, in May 2009 for a bake-off facilitated by Dunkin' Brands Executive Chef Stan Frankenthaler and the company's donut experts. The public will also be invited to vote for their favorite finalist online beginning May 15. The grand prize winner / creator of "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" contest will be unveiled on National Donut Day, June 5! That's a day I'll be Celebrating!! HMMM- I wonder if adding coffee beans into a donut is a possibility? I LOVE That caffeine and their coffee is #1!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2 News Stories About Stupidity

This week, there were 2 stories about stupidity (I'm not even going to go there about the AIG thing. Those idiots need to recover those bonuses). Here's the first:
1) POPE VISITS AFRICA, REAFFIRMS BAN ON CONDOMS
Pope Benedict XVI refused Wednesday to soften the Vatican's ban on condom use
as he arrived in Africa for his first visit to the continent as pope.
FULL STORY: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/03/17/cameroon.pope/index.html
This STUPID Pope says "condoms can't prevent the spread of AIDS." Well, for someone who has no idea what sex is, and how diseases are transmitted, I don't think he should be making recommendations. First, his funding against gay marriages and encouragement of hatred, now, his stupid ban on condoms to prevent spreading AIDS. Yet, more reasons why the church is losing people. Stupidity doesn't attract followers.
2) ABANDONED DOGS TO BE SHIPPED TO CONNECTICUT FOR 'SUPER ADOPTIONS'
This is really a wonderful thing, finding homes for these animals. What's STUPID:
Georgia DOESN'T HAVE A SPAY AND NEUTER LAW like the New England States, that aren't suffering from severe over populations of animals. GEORGIA LEGISLATORS need to get their heads out of the sand! So, one solution is to send unwanted dogs to states that are Smart enough to have spay and neuter laws. Are Georgia legislators really that stupid? FULL STORY: http://www.cbsatlanta.com/news/18964989/detail.html

Newspapers Closing - This is VERY bad


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Rocky Mountain News have closed down. That leaves one newspaper in Seattle, and one in Denver (to cover all of the Rocky Mtn area). This is extremely disturbing, as other cities threaten to close their newspapers down. Here's a commentary I wrote on USA Today about the topic (and to one of the uneducated right-wing commenters who said "Good Riddens to liberal rags")
Local newspapers are mandatory to stay in touch with our communities. Radio and Television stations and websites get their news from newspapers and wire services. Unfortunately, wire services don't cover local news. So, when newspapers fade, people will realize the great service they provide. Newspapers need to charge for on-line viewing, too.
As for people who complain about "liberal bias" in newspapers, all publications will have a slant one way or the other. Just read past it and find the news that affects you.
I also find it amusing that people who complain about newspapers as "liberal rags" and say "good riddens" (I suppose it was "riddence?") would benefit with learning better spelling if they actually READ a newspaper. Reading promotes education. Perhaps that's why the reading and spelling levels in our country have declined so much. Pick up a newspaper and read it. If you don't know how to spell a word, or don't know what it means - look it up. Regardless, read your newspaper.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Travel By Train: A Smarter Solution


An article in USA Today on 3/17 said that President Obama's stimulus package included $8 billion for high speed rail development in the U.S. - EXCELLENT. It's great to know that we finally have a president that uses his head, and understands that rail travel is the answer to transportation problems. Europe has been doing it successfully for decades. Here's the article:
USA TODAY - Now, President Obama and leaders in more than 30 states say it's time to embrace trains again — but newer, faster ones that can transport passengers past gridlocked airports and highways on electrified railroads at up to 200 mph.
They're betting billions of federal and state dollars that high-speed railroads can someday move travelers between major U.S. cities within two or three hours just as they do in Western Europe and Japan. And along the way, they argue, such systems can ease travel congestion, reduce the nation's dependence on oil, cut pollution and create jobs.
"For so long, Americans have viewed the automobile and the airplane as our transportation vehicles," says Anne Canby, a former transportation secretary for Delaware and train advocate. "Until now, rail hasn't been a major player in the discussion."
Driving the new-found interest in trains is $8 billion that was tucked into the president's economic stimulus legislation signed last month. FULL ARTICLEhttp://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2009-03-16-high-speed-rail-travel_N.htm?csp=DailyBriefing

Happy 5th Birthday Franklin!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANKLIN!!
Today, March 18th is our lovable dachshund, Franklin's 5th birthday! That's 31 years in people years (5 years for the first 2 years, then 7 years each year after). We nicknamed him "The Frank-olino" or the "little brown monkey" (not to be confused with Dolly, who we call "Poo-poo head" or the "Grey Monkey.").
Born in South Carolina, he was adopted by Tom five years ago. He was at the back of the cage with his littermates, terrorizing his sister. Tom knew he was the one immediately, and named him Franklin. Franklin has a strong personality. He's full of love, and loves to kiss and be held, whether Tom is sitting in a chair or laying on the floor watching TV. He also loves to sit on the arm rest in our pickup truck when we're driving anywhere.
He's a food hound, and loves his treats! Watching Squirrels as the run around in the backyard from his bed in the kitchen behind the sliding glass doors, is one of his favorite activities. He and Dolly go to doggy daycare and play with dogs their own size about three days a week. He loves his walks with Dolly and daddies, and playing tug of war with Dolly, as the pull the stuffing out of the toy of the week! We're making a special trip to Petsmart tonight for treats!

Rob Went to the Doctor (again)!

I went to the doctor yesterday, after reaching week #3 of coughing. The bronchitis is still there, and after a lung function test I learned I have a mild pulmonary obstruction... i.e. there's crap in my airways. So, armed with new medications, I've got steroids to clear 'em, Symbicort (for asthma to open airways); an antibiotic in case what clears is indeed infected, Mucinex, Nasonex for sinuses, Sudafed PE, AND I had to get Zyrtec for allergies. I think I'm keeping CVS in business when the economy is bad. Anyway, the doc wants to see me in 8-10 days, and thinks I should be able to put all the meds (except the allergy ones) away after that. We'll see.
Last night was the FIRST NIGHT in 3 weeks that I actually slept through the night without coughing. Seems the Symbicort and steroids are already working. This is very encouraging.
- The only side note is that from all the coughing yesterday, my temporary tooth filling came out, so it's back to the dentist today. Boy, March is just filled with little physical irritations. I'm SURE that April will be a healthy month (ever the optimist, I am).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Judge Judy on Bernie Madoff and Economy

We LOVE Judge Judy. Every night, we sit down and have dinner watching Judge Judy' courtroom program. We enjoy her no-nonsense approach to the law, and the use of common sense. She's tough on people who are stupid and need to be taught lessons. Of course, we can't believe how truly stupid people are, and how they could possibly opt to embarrass themselves on national television!
Anyway, in this CNN interview with Larry King, there are some interesting highlights:
* Judge Judy tells Larry King that Americans can buckle down, get through crisis
* Obama shouldn't vilify the rich, but appeal to their sense of social duty, she says
* Judge Judy on Bernie Madoff: "I think he has the ego the size of Noah's ark"
* If civil servants have to take furloughs, AIG execs can give up bonuses, she says

Green on St. Patrick's Day

Despite being 1/2 Irish (my dad's side) I've never really celebrated St. Patrick's Day, other than wearing green. That is, if someone tells me something is green, because I'm color-blind with greens, browns, greys and reds. I'm working from home today and wearing a green Superman shirt. That, and my complexion is GREEN from constantly coughing from this darned bronchitis that won't go away (Week #3).
Just so you know, Saint Patrick's Day is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa AD 385–461), one of the patron saints of Ireland. He drove the snakes from Ireland - If only he was still around, he could drive them from WALL STREET, too!
Of course, nowadays, I think "trolls" are the modern day Leprechauns. After all, they love green. Trolls are people that we think are just nasty to others, and selfish (you'll always run into one somewhere). So, if you see a person wearing green outside of St. Patrick's Day, it could be a troll! That's when you wear one of these buttons. (there are of course, the rare "happy trolls.") OKAY, so Sudafed PE, Robitussin with Codeine, Mucinex, Albuterol and Nasonex are all getting to me. :) Thankfully, I've got a doctor's appt. today.
Happy St. Patrick's Day... even to the trolls and leprechauns.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another Rainy "Dog Day"


One of our many favorite songs by the Carpenters is "Rainy Days and Mondays (always get me down)" and it's a perfect song for today (and this entire past weekend). So, what do dogs do on rainy days? Well, our dogs: Dolly and Franklin, and (our foster dog) Cooper don't like the rain at all. Instead, they like to cuddle together. Here's a picture of them cuddling up on one big dog bed today.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

MOVIES: Race to Witch Mountain


The last time we went to the movies, we saw "HOTEL FOR DOGS" - which was really very enjoyable! During that time, we saw a preview for "Race to Witch Mountain" and it looked good. We saw it today because it was of course COLD, Damp, 41F and miserable, typical cold weather that we've had since Nov. 1. A good movie day. Turns out people agreed. We really enjoyed it, and recommend it.
'Witch Mountain' races to top spot at box office March 15, 2009, 1:03 PM EST
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Disney's "Race to Witch Mountain" raced to No. 1 at the weekend box office, bypassing expectations with $25 million in ticket sales. The PG-rated sci-fi flick starring Dwayne Johnson as a cab driver with a pair of alien teenagers along for the ride topped the R-rated superhero epic "Watchmen," which earned $18.1 million in its second week. (NOPE - we didn't see WATCHMEN. Because it's 2 hrs and 40 mins. we'll rent it and watch it at home over 3 nights!).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cooper Update/ Coughing Rob / Crappy Weather

Happy Saturday! It's weekend of THREE "C's": Cooper, Coughing and Crappy (weather).
UPDATE ON FOSTER DOG: COOPER
Cooper weighs 18 pounds now. He gained 1.5 pounds from all the baby food and pedigree soft food (and soft treats). He's now able to eat dry kibble mixed half with wet canned dog food (he has some back teeth). He now gets excited when we come home or ask if he wants to go for a walk. He shows it by jumping off his front feet several times (keeping his back feet on the ground). He also likes to cuddle up under our arms if we're laying on the floor watching television.
ROB'S CONSTANT COUGH: Tomorrow marks 2 weeks being sick for me. Flu and upper respir. infection are gone, but Bronchitis persists, and so does the damned cough. Learned that I need to sleep on my back to NOT cough at night. Thank goodness for "breathe right nose strips" so I don't snore (much).
MORE CRAPPY WEATHER: We've got a stalled front on top us all weekend, meaning more COLDER THAN NORMAL TEMPS again (and scattered showers). It's been since Nov. 1st that we've had "colder than normal temps" every day with the exception of MAYBE 10 days. All due to La Nina still in the eastern Pacific Ocean, causing Canadian air to dip over the east coast. The pattern is FINALLY expected to break next week, putting is NEAR or slightly over normal for high temps. That means highs of 53 next week, not 41 (like this weekend).
BONUS PICTURE: I took this photo of Dolly's profile this morning. She's such a beautiful girl and so loving. She's been with me all the time during my sickness these last 2 weeks.

Animal Shelter Voted Down/ Corrupt Cty Exec. Johnson

There were two items in the local news that really ticked me off this weekend. What do YOU think?
BOWIE, MD CITY COUNCIL VOTES DOWN A DOG SHELTER: Right now the county we live in has a shelter that kills strays after 5 days. The proposed Bowie, MD shelter would give dogs and cats another 2 weeks for adoption. Instead, the STUPID City Council (with a $500K surplus) says "no." I think City Councilors MUST ADOPT up to 5 strays from the county shelter and deal with it. How barbaric. They need to be voted OUT.
CORRUPT COUNTY EXECUTIVE JACK JOHNSON NEEDS TO GO - This man took a 1 month trip to Africa to "try and get trade between Africa and Prince George's County, Md." - At the TAXPAYER'S EXPENSE. Funny, how some of his extended relatives live there. Can you say CORRUPTION?? - So, the County is cutting jobs of Firemen and Policemen, but this ass gets to spend THOUSANDS of dollars on a personal trip to Africa and try to pawn it off as "good for the county." The trip was in 2008, and what's come out of it? NOTHING. VOTE HIM OUT. Put him in jail. http://www.co.pg.md.us/

Friday, March 13, 2009

Superhero Film Schedule Released


(PICTURE: The Avengers, including Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and more)
Here's this week's updated list from Marvel Studios on Feature Films in the Pipeline
Source: Superherohype.com
Iron Man 2 - May 7, 2010
Thor - June 17, 2011
The First Avenger: Captain America - July 22, 2011
The Avengers -May 4, 2012
(PHOTO: The Green Lantern)
FROM DC COMICS:
Jonah Hex--a western based on the DC comic book character--which rides into theatres 8/6/10. Josh Brolin is set for the title role, while John Malkovich will co-star.
Green Lantern, release date set for December 17, 2010.

NON-SUPERHERO, BUT LOOKING FORWARD TO IT:
Sherlock Holmes: Starring Robert Downey Jr. 12/25/09.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cooper Gets a Check-Up with the Great Vet Dr. Bonner in Baltimore


Today I took Cooper up to Swan Animal Hospital in Baltimore, for his post-operation check up with Dr. Bonner. First, I have to say that Dr. Bonner is one of THE BEST VETS I have ever dealt with. I wish that she was closer than 45 minutes to our house, because I'd take our other dogs there. IF YOU LIVE IN BALTIMORE- I recommend Dr. Bonner at Swan Animal Hospital, Federal Hill! She was the one that took care of Cooper when the rescue found him and brought him there (I met them all there). Dr. Bonner removed most of Cooper's teeth due to severe infection; put him on heart murmur meds, and they bathed him and clipped his nails. Dr. Bonner has since checked in with me at least THREE TIMES in three weeks on Cooper's progress. I've NEVER had such GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE from a vet. She's amazing.
Cooper's mouth has healed well, except for one hole that remains where a canine tooth is. The doc said "He's a different dog." He's happy, energetic, tail-waggin', and gained weight (and is even more cleaned up). I told her of all the progress, and she was so happy about it. Our rescue person said she's now had 3 inquiries about possible adoption of Cooper. Meanwhile, he's still our little guy.

"Man-Thing" the Marvel Comics Movie from 2004


Before we got sick 2 weeks ago, I went out on a limb and bought the Marvel Comics character movie "MANTHING" on DVD. It came out in 2004, and I barely remember hearing about it in the theatre. Of course, neither of us saw it at that time. Man-Thing is a character that was once Ted Sallis, a chemical engineer killed and thrown into a swamp. He comes back to life as living vegetation, basically a "swamp monster." There's nothing human left of him. We thought it was well-paced, interesting, and it held our attention through the whole movie!! It's got to be good if A) we don't fall asleep during it B) We don't watch it in 2 sittings C) we turn it off.
Worth watching!
THE STORY: Agents of an oil tycoon vanish while exploring a swamp marked for drilling. The local sheriff investigates and faces a Seminole legend come to life: Man-Thing, a shambling swamp-monster whose touch burns those who feel fear. The swamp locations offer a creepy setting for the story, and it was well-produced. The swamps are full of swirling mists in a green glow STARRING: Matthew Le Nevez as Sheriff Kyle Williams (he's handsome, so it makes it easier to watch) and Rachael Taylor as Teri Elizabeth Richards.
SEE THE TRAILER HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTUL1GWbrRw
BELOW: WHAT THE COMIC BOOK CHARACTER LOOKS LIKE:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Architectural "What Not to Do"


Being the architect, Tom thought it would be good to show “what not to do.” One of Tom's favorite architectural critics is not an architect at all. In fact, he is a bit of a kook to some. But once a month, he likes to poke a finger in the eye of architects. And, for the most part, he gets it right. Here is this month’s architectural eyesore: The Hespeler Library of Cambridge, Ontario.
“The original building was constructed in 1923 with funds from the Carnegie endowment; it was expanded in 1981.
In 2007, the City of Cambridge decided to expand the library yet again. The city specified that the winning design must “preserve the historic nature of the building.”
Phew, no radical changes to the original building, right? Wrong!!
Apparently, additions that “compliment the original architecture” do not win design awards. So the solution was simple: build a giant glass box around the original building. Ta da! The old building is "preserved" and the architect wins an award for Design Excellence from the Ontario Architects Association in 2008!
(PHOTO: WHAT THEY COVERED UP)
Everyone wins except the occupants. The triple glazed wall panels were apparently "value-engineered" out of the project in favor of cheaper double glazed panels that has a poorer ability to mitigate heat loss/gain during cold overcast/sunny weather respectively.” – James Kunstler
(VIEW FROM INSIDE THE GLASS FRONT OF THE BUILDING)

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.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

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

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14