Monday, November 30, 2009

A Hospital Visit -an active ghostly place

I took several hours off this morning to drive a friend of ours to the Washington Hospital for a cardiac appointment, and it was an interesting experience for me. Everything went well in terms of getting there, and getting our friend in and out of his appointment. What was interesting were the "people" I met. Some of them didn't realize they're not on the physical plane anymore.
I haven't been to a hospital for a long time, especially since my senses have been heightened to the level they are now. After I dropped our friend off at the front door of the hospital, he went in and proceeded to the 5th floor while I parked the pick-up truck. I went in the hospital, got directions and proceeded to the elevator. It was there that I heard people asking me for direction and help. Um... no, they weren't alive anymore. And there were a LOT of ghosts there... so much the back left side of my head was pounding like a freight train hit it (I get a headache there when there are ghosts or spirits around).
The ghosts in that area shared the symptoms they endured that led to their passing. I felt chest pain, shortness of breath, and a headache pounding in the front of my head as if from a trauma during a car accident. I hate it when they share their symptoms.
Anyway, there were several older men, a couple of women and one very strong woman named Agnes that came through to me. She was lost and needed help to find out where to go. Of course, when I'm standing in the middle of a bank of elevators and people are coming in and out, it's difficult to talk out loud to a ghost, when no one else knows they're there. Agnes even "butted out" a gentleman named Arthur who was trying to tell me something about having to inform his family of something's whereabouts in his house.
Agnes kept asking me for directions to get out of the hospital. I kept standing in the area between elevators until the floor cleared, so I could whisper to "Agnes" that she's dead, and she needs to look for a light to move on. She was stubborn. She didn't want to hear that. I got on the elevator and hoped she listened. She didn't. When I got to the cardiac waiting room and rejoined my friend, Agnes was there behind me.
I have to say that it's weird to feel a presence when no one else can sense it. Once my friend's name was called and he went to another room to visit with a doctor, I was then able to whisper to Agnes' ghost and tell her there's a light in funeral homes all over the place. I even told her to look in the corner of the room, and I "saw" her walk that way. She crossed over, I'm pretty sure, but there are a lot of ghosts that don't want to admit they're dead, or have unfinished business they're trying to communicate. I explained to some of them that once they cross over, they'll have the ability to come back and provide signs that they can't when they're an Earth-bound ghost.
When I left the hospital, the headache immediately faded and no ghosts came home with me. Wow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dolly's 5th Birthday Fun!

THE ROPE TOSS BIRTHDAY GAME! - Our Weimaraner Dolly's favorite game is having toy ropes thrown in the yard so she can catch them. Well, this afternoon's weather was PERFECT for that game. At 1:15 p.m. ET it was 65 degrees Fahrenheit with sunshine! So, after Daddy Tom got her started in between raking leaves (while Daddy Rob was grocery shopping and organizing Christmas cards), Daddy Rob took over the rope toss for an hour!

Although Dolly loves to play with ropes, Franklin the Dachshund prefers to sit still, soaking in the sun's rays... so he did, while Dolly ran around him.


Today is Dolly's 5th Birthday!

Dolly and Franklin are celebrating Dolly the Weimaraner's 5th birthday today, November 29th.
Dolly was born in a little of 6 pups to a breeder in Atlanta, who abandoned all of the pups at a week old because their mother contracted tetanus and couldn't feed them (and the breeder didn't want to be bothered-jerks!). So, the Atlanta shelter the pups were dumped at called Wolf Creek Weimaraner Rescue of Tennessee, and Amber (who manages it) drove down and picked up the pups. She (with the help of others) nursed the pups to adoption age. In March, 2005, Rob drove to Tennessee with friend Jeff, and Rob adopted Dolly!
Today, Dolly and Franklin got tuna fish mixed in their dry food, because its their favorite! Then, a bunch of treats and a morning walk. Later today, we're going to Petsmart for Dolly to pick out treats and toys (yes, she does do that). Happy Birthday, Dolly! You're our "poo-poo head" and we love you! Daddies, Rob and Tom, and brother Franklin

Holiday Prep!

Thanksgiving was nice this year - There were 6 of us, including us. Tom's parents, his sister Lisa and our friend Jeff celebrated with us. This year, we ordered a pre-cooked turkey from the local grocery store, that included stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry, pumpkin pie and rolls for $40! I would absolutely do it again! After dinner and dessert (no dog walk after dinner because of the 5th consecutive day of rain), we all went to see the Disney "Christmas Carol" movie. It was really well done, too! We recommend it!

PHOTO: Dolly and Franklin during the Christmas 2008 season... anxiously awaiting their hat and antlers in 2009...well, maybe not so much).
Now it's time to look toward Christmas- We've already ordered and received our Christmas cards, so we just have to write them. Then there's putting up the tree, etc. Rob worked most of the day on "Black Friday" while Tom enjoyed the day off. Then yesterday, Saturday, the 28th, we went Christmas shopping, and wrapped stuff, too. We also met friends for dinner at night. Busy day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tom's B-day Trip To Disney Part 6 -Jeff's Photos

This is the last installment of the 2 day surprise (Tom) birthday trip to Disney. These are mostly pictures taken by our friend Jeff.
ON THE TEST-TRACK AT EPCOT - Test Track is an attraction at Epcot. Sponsored by General Motors [1], Test Track is a simulated excursion through the rigorous testing procedures that General Motors uses to evaluate its cars, culminating in a high-speed drive around the exterior of the attraction. Here's a photo of Tom and Rob, Darold and Jeff taken at the end of the ride!

TO SEE A VIDEO OF WHAT TEST TRACK IS LIKE - Check out this Disney-produced video of the entire ride!

THE AMERICAN MINUTEMEN AT EPCOT - Jeff took this picture of the Minutemen performing outside the America Pavilion.

A MOTLEY CREW - Tom, Rob, Darold and Tobie took a breather after the American Experience at EPCOT while Jeff captured the moment.

STAR TOURS: ONE OF ROB'S FAVORITE RIDES - I (Rob) loved the first 3 Star Wars movies (the last three, not so much), and I was glad to see the "Star Tours" ride. One thing that made it more fun was that Paul Rubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) did the voice of the robot pilot! Thanks to You Tube, you can experience the fun of it yourself:

TOM HATES WAITING IN LINE! - Most people hate waiting in line, and here's Tom with his "grumpy face" (he was posing for the camera) and Rob contemplating how he can obtain a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee (even though its not served in the park and they don't have a rental car) while waiting to get into the Disney Hollywood Studio backlot tour. Notice Kermit the Frog's face on the building behind us. We loved the Muppets in 3-D show.

LIVE FROM NEW YORK (BACKDROP) IT'S JEFF! - This is Jeff in front of the New York backdrop on the Disney Hollywood Studios backlot. I'm not sure if he has a crick in his neck or if he's checking out a cute guy walking by... because his head is turned to the side. I think we'd opt for the "cute guy walking by" excuse as it's more logical.

Tom's B-day Trip To Disney Part 4 (Day 2)

On the second and last day of our Disney vacation, we went to EPCOT. Our friend Darold used to work at the park, and he joined us there on that day.
SOARIN' AS SUPERMAN AT EPCOT - We enjoyed a number of rides, including "Soarin'" which was highly recommended by our friend Lynn J. It was wonderful. It's a simulated ride where you're lifted on a ski-lift that moves back and forth in sync with the movie shown on a huge screen. The movie (taken from planes and helicopters) flies you over many different landscapes including the Golden Gate Bridge, mountains, prairies, lakes and rivers, snow and ice, and more. You really do feel like you're flying, and considering I was wearing my Superman Tee-shirt, I thought it a perfect ride! Here's Tom, Darold and Rob in line waiting for the ride (located in "The Land" exhibit of EPCOT).

AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AT DISNEY - Also inside "The Land" is a really fascinating boat tour through greenhouses showing research on growing plants (and food). I was really struck by seeing a genetically modified tree that grows 9 pound lemons! They use them in the Disney parks to make lemonade, too. The Disney researchers work with the the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture on these projects. Some of them were amazing. Here's a picture of the 9 pound lemon!

- Tobie and Jeff re-joined us for lunch (they slept late at Tobie's house) so we all went to the German restaurant in EPCOT and had a buffet. The cost was reasonable (everything is expensive food-wise in Disney), and the food was great. They asked about food allergies, and being lactose intolerant I spoke up. The CHEF actually came to our table and walked me through the buffet to instruct me what I could and couldn't eat, pointing to what had milk ingredients. WOW.

"COME TO AMERICA" - - Like the Neil Diamond song says, we walked over to the America exhibit next. A fife and drum group in Revolutionary War garb came marching up as we all listened and watched. Click on the brief VIDEO below to see and hear them play for you!

AMERICA PERFORMANCES - We went inside to listen to 6 singers dressed in 18th century garb sing traditional songs in the lobby, like "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Darold and Tobie both happened to know one of the guys singing, too. We then watched a moving film about what makes up America (Darold and I were choked up during it). Afterward, we sat on a bench outside in the 78F warmth and planned our next move. Photo: Tom, Rob, Darold and Jeff plotting their next move, as Tobie takes the picture, and prepares to leave for work in the park.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tom's B-day Trip To Disney Part 5 (Day 2)

During our time in EPCOT, we ventured over to the China exhibit
EPCOT'S AMAZING CHINA EXHIBIT - We saw this amazing replication of the "Tomb of soldiers" that guard tombs of Chinese emperors. The actual soldiers are 6 feet tall, and no two are alike. There are about 100 of them! We also enjoyed "Reflections of China," an amazing film in CircleVision 360 that takes you on a breathtaking visual journey across this amazing country. The movie includes such historical sites as The Forbidden City and The Great Wall of China.

WE LOVE NORWAY! - The NORWAY exhibit was one of our favorites. Maybe because we're fascinated with the country, I don't know. We enjoyed the ride called "Maelstrom." It uses a 16 passenger Viking-style boat that takes you through a 10th century Viking village and a mythical forest where you'll encounter trolls who cast a curse on the boats. From here, the boat starts going backwards before it reaches a waterfall and again changes course. We also enjoyed the 5 minute film on Norway, and had a nice chat with Norweigans who were working in the gift shop. They were all very nice and gracious and happy to talk to visitors. Of course, Norway is famous for stories about Trolls and witches, spirits and forest creatures... and we've both known a few Trolls in our lives. Here we are posing with a Norweigan Troll!

Here's a short Disney Video of the Maelstrom Ride:

ACTING LIKE GARGOYLES IN FRANCE - At the lobby of the exhibit, we enjoyed listening to the young French employee who was toying with the audience to get them to say things in French. Here are Tom and Rob posing like a one of the gargoyles that adorn architecture in France (next to a reproduction of one). Then we took a panoramic journey through France during the motion picture, "Impressions de France" with its magnificent views of the French countryside.

- Our friend Jeff took the following pictures of Tom and Rob on props of suitcases on "Hollywood Boulevard" in the Disney Hollywood studio on Day 1 - Yes, they're out of order... In one of the pictures, Jeff realized he had captured the huge ass of a woman leaning against another prop, so he had to take a second picture. We don't need any help looking like an ass. :)

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Today we give thanks for family and friends, blessings and life's simple pleasures. No matter what you're facing in life, there's always something to be thankful for. We know several friends who are going through financial hard times, job loss, or recent break-ups. Despite hard times, its important to look at what we do have. Tom and I have both been through very hard times including all of those things. I remember eating tuna and ramen noodles for 2 YEARS while going back to school for my meteorology degree, and making $4.25/hr. at a Tennessee radio station (that barely covered the gas to get there).
Today, we give thanks for all of you, our families, friends, and people we meet that make life interesting. We're having dinner here at home today (but I got smart and ordered a pre-cooked turkey from a local supermarket, cutting prep time by 75%!). Wherever you are, Happy Thanksgiving!

Tom's B-day Trip To Disney Part 3

TOM'S FAVORITE RIDE- The TOWER OF TERROR! - Tom loved the "Tower of Terror" so much, that we went on it twice, back-to-back. Plunge down the dark freight elevator shaft of the once glamorous Hollywood Tower Hotel in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This is no ordinary hotel. Its phantom elevator is located beyond the fifth dimension, the one that crosses over into The Twilight Zone! (The great thing about going to Disney on the Friday before Thanksgiving Week, was that the crowds didn't come in until that Saturday) Here's a Disney promo video of Tower of Terror, so you can get a feel for it!

At the end of our first day at Disney's Hollywood Studios, our friend Tobie (who works for Disney) joined us and recommended dinner at "Beaches and Cream" Disney's Beach Club Resort.
DINNER TIME AT A SODA SHOPPE - We had great sandwiches and because Tom was wearing the big "HAPPY BIRTHDAY THOMAS" button they gave him upon check-in (Yes, I told them), the waiter brought him a BIG, free ice cream sundae! Here's a pic of Tom and Rob in the Beaches and Cream themed "50's soda shoppe" restaurant:

TOBIE AND JEFF SALIVATE OVER ICE CREAM - This is one of the funniest photos of the trip. Tobie is a friend Rob has known for almost 15 years (and was a roommate in Florida). Tobie is a fun-loving, wacky little cajun from southern Louisiana that can make anyone laugh. He made us laugh so much it hurt! Tobie and Jeff are very funny, so whenever they're together there is a lot more laughter- our night was no different. Here are Tobie (left) and Jeff (right) sharing a huge ice cream concoction at Beaches and Cream.

HOTEL LOBBIES ALREADY DECKED FOR CHRISTMAS -The lobbies of the hotels had already been decorated for Christmas- and looked beautiful. Here's a couple of pictures of the huge model train display in Disney's Beach Club Resort. I was so inspired that I bought a couple of big gingerbread snowflake cookies from a Disney employee (sitting in a newly constructed holiday gift shop). Um, I ate both of them over the next 2 days, too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Norway can teach the world about power generation!

I thought this was fascinating. Norway could teach the world a lot!
Norway opened on Tuesday the world's first osmotic power plant!
TOFTE - Norway opened on Tuesday the world's first osmotic power plant, which produces emissions-free electricity by mixing fresh water and sea water through a special membrane.
State-owned utility Statkraft's prototype plant, which for now will produce a tiny 2-4 kilowatts of power or enough to run a coffee machine, will enable Statkraft to test and develop the technology needed to drive down production costs.
The plant is driven by osmosis that naturally draws fresh water across a membrane and toward the seawater side. This creates higher pressure on the sea water side, driving a turbine and producing electricity.
"While salt might not save the world alone, we believe osmotic power will be an interesting part of the renewable energy mix of the future," Statkraft Chief Executive Baard Mikkelsen told reporters.
Statkraft, Europe's largest producer of renewable energy with experience in hydropower that provides nearly all of Norway's electricity, aims to begin building commercial osmotic power plants by 2015. FULL STORY:

Tom Witnesses Wacko in Downtown DC Street

Yesterday afternoon around 3:30pm, a man with some weird agenda that police are still trying to figure out, held up traffic outside Tom's office building. Tom's building was evacuated so he and his co-workers watched this unfold as the man stood on his van with 2 cryptic signs and molotov cocktails. Here's the story from WUSA-TV, a local television station:
WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- A man was in downtown DC protesting with signs that said "Justice" and "Not my $200 million." He was stopped in the middle of 17th Street and K Street NW when he got on the top of his van.
A witness on a metrobus behind the van says he saw the man pull into the intersection, jump out of the van and put two signs up on either side of the van. He then jumped on top of the vehicle holding up a sign that said, "Help me."
He was holding at least three beer bottles with rags in them. The witness then told the bus driver that he better move the bus, because it appeared the man had Molotov cocktails with him. As the bus pulled around, they saw the man light the rags on fire and throw at least three of the Molotov cocktails on the asphalt, not directed at anyone.
Police got there and were trying to get the man off of the van until DC Fire got there with a step ladder. At that point, DC Police got on top of the van and were able to convince the man to come down.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tom's B-day Trip To Disney Part 2

Here are more pictures from that first day at Disney's Hollywood Theme Park.

PHOTO: Walking down Hollywood boulevard: Jeff in front, Tom back left. Nice palm-tree lined streets, with a replica of Grauman's Chinese Theatre from Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Calif. Like the actual theatre near the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Disney recreation also has hand and foot imprints of celebrities in cement outside/ It has a great movie ride inside.

Here's my first attempt at a photo with Tom and Jeff in front of the Muppet fountain. Jeff is apparently captivated by Miss Piggy, OR, he's hungry for spare ribs.

Here's my second attempt- after I asked them to "POSE." I should have known better than to ask.

We took the backlot movie studio tour, and they went through "Catastrophe Canyon" that simulated floods and fires.

We also saw "Herbie the love bug" in two driveable halves!

A UPS Story- A few spoil it for the many

A story of what happens when people abuse the system: I had to mail some papers back to a company who was providing a charge number for the UPS delivery to send documents back to the company.
So, armed with the company's UPS number, I went to the nearby UPS store to mail the envelope for next day delivery. The employees of the store told me that they CAN'T accept a UPS mailer unless the customer bringing it in pays for it. They said they have NO forms for people who charge other accounts. SO, I couldn't even fill out a form and drop it in a UPS box.
WHY? Apparently some losers put fake charge numbers on UPS packages (and no, the store isn't connected to the main UPS mainframe to verify account numbers), cheating UPS and the store of the monies owed for services rendered. So, the store no longer accepts packages that aren't directly paid for by the person dropping it off.
THE RESULT? I had to drive 20 minutes toward Washington, DC to the main UPS office to mail the package and charge the settlement company. I think that for anyone that abuses a system, we need to start cutting off fingers. I'm so disappointed and disgusted that people would knowingly cheat people or businesses. Don't these people have a conscience?
I feel bad for the businesses that have to look out for idiots that try and cheat them all the time. Of course, I felt bad for myself (um...maybe ticked) that I had to drive 40 minutes out of the way. On top of all that, I thought UPS guys were supposed to be hot looking- and there wasn't one at either location. How disappointing is THAT? :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tom - Love of my life!

Today is Tom's birthday. To celebrate, I went to the extreme. I decided to take Tom on a mystery trip that I've been planning since August. Luckily, I had some help from my friend Lynn J., aka Lois Lane. She knew all about where we were going, and she's one of a few I told. I took Tom on a 2 night, 3 day getaway to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!
He didn't know where we were going, only that we were staying over night (so the dogs went in overnight doggie daycare). He found out when we were near the airport and I gave him a birthday card with Disney luggage tags (I had secretly packed shorts for him before we left). We departed for Orlando at 7am, arrived at 9am, and took the Disney Express bus to our hotel, where we changed into shorts and ran to a bus for Disney's Hollywood studios (formerly MGM).

Once there, we met my old friend John N. who works for Disney. Coincidentally, our good friend Jeff from Virginia was there to help our other Disney friend, Tobie, move into his new house- so they met us, too. I only contacted John, and 2 other friends who work at Disney, because there was so much to see, and no time for stuff outside, even though I have several friends in the Orlando area. I couldn't manage to get everyone in in 2 days and celebrate Tom's birthday by going through 2 entire parks, as much as I would have liked to see everyone. Anyway, we ate lunch at the Sci Fi Diner, and then went on the Rockin' Rollercoaster. Outside of it we stopped for a picture with Jeff, Tom, Rob and John after the rollercoaster that makes the skin on your face flap!
OH! - The park employee put my camera on VIDEO by mistake, and shot video of us, while trying to take the photo. It's funny. Here it is:

Tom's favorite ride was the Twilight Zone's TOWER OF TERROR. In an "elevator" that holds about 24 people, you plunge down the dark freight elevator shaft of the once glamorous Hollywood Tower Hotel in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Its phantom elevator is located beyond the fifth dimension, the one that crosses over into The Twilight Zone. Here's a couple of pictures in the lobby with Tom and Jeff, and Rob and Tom.

On the backlot of the Hollywood studios are real-looking backdrops. Here's Tom standing in front of a painted mural of a San Francisco street.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In Case You Were Curious- Text from one of our Reception Readings

(PHOTO: Jeff F. reads the "Embraced by the Light" book reading at our summer reception)
I was going through some of our wedding reception stuff, and came across the words to one of the readings that we chose for our reception back in September. The words are really powerful, so I thought I'd share it with you, in case you know anyone else getting married that may want to use it. - Rob
A passage from the book "Embraced by the Light" by Betty Eadie
Above all, I was shown that love is supreme.
I saw that truly without love we are nothing.
We are here to help each other, to care for each other, to understand, forgive, and serve one another.
We are here to have love for every person on Earth.
We cannot measure these things.
Only God knows the heart of man, and only God can judge perfectly.
He knows our spirits; we see only temporary strengths and weaknesses.
Anything we do to show love is worthwhile: a smile, a word of encouragement, a small act of sacrifice.
We grow by these actions.
We are filled with joy as we see the bonds we create with each other.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Napping Today... and Dog-blogging

This is Dolly the Weimaraner and Franklin the Dachshund. Yes, we can type. We've watched our daddies a lot as they spend time on the computer, and we secretly learned how to spell. We read and talk in English to each other when they're out doing stuff without us. So, today, we decided to hijack the blog.
The squirrels out in the backyard are driving us nuts! Pun intended. They're gathering their nuts and food for the winter, and we're behind glass doors only able to bark and yell at 'em. Boy, it would be great to chase a squirrel right now.
We've now snoozed upstairs, downstairs, outside and inside. We like to make sure we cover all spots and leave our scent behind so those doggone squirrels can know they're infringing on our territory. Hmmm... "infringing" is a pretty big word for canine, huh? Yeah, we're pretty smart.
Oh, well, time to go find a treat. Franklin is rummaging through the trash right now to see if our daddies overlooked any crumbs. He's good at that. I'm better at typing because I can stand up at the keyboard and my paws actually touch the keyboard. Franklin is height-challenged. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Superhero movie: THOR in Progress

Although I've never been a fan of "Thor" Marvel Comics superhero of the Norse Thunder God, I am looking forward to the movie that's being made about him. I just learned about this:
Plot Summary: Marvel Studios expands its film universe with a new type of superhero: Thor. This epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe; from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Actor Chris Hemsworth, the actor slated to play "Thor."
Release Date: May 20, 2011
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Screenwriter: Mark Protosevich, Ashley Miller, Zak Stentz
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Jaimie Alexander, Colm Feore, Samuel L. Jackson, Stellan Skarsgard

Thursday, November 19, 2009

VIDEO: Where's Franklin the Dachshund?

Our dachshund Franklin loves to lay under one of the chairs in the living room, and stick his tail out. So, whenever we call him, he wags his tail. It's pretty funny. Our Weimaraner Dolly, just looks on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tom learns to leave Rob at Home During Public Art Meetings

Tonight we went to Bowie City Hall to attend a public meeting on two pieces of proposed artwork for the new City Hall.
Here's a summary from the press release: The Bowie community is invited to a Public Art Community Meeting on Wednesday, 18, at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall to meet the artist finalists for two public art pieces planned for the new City Hall. Three of the finalists are competing to design and build a monumental SUNDIAL that will be located in the front of the new City Hall building, the other three finalists are competing to design and build a MOBILE that will hang in the rear of the lobby.
I (Rob) didn't have that much interest in going, but Tom, being the architect, was extremely interested, so we went. When they told me I couldn't bring my Dunkin' Donuts coffee inside (no food or drink allowed), I already wanted to go home! Anyway, we listened to 6 artists introduce themselves, and saw 3 pieces of work from each of them (on a slide show). The floor was then opened to citizens for suggestions and comments, and what they think represents the city. Some people mentioned horses (the Belair Mansion had a stable that raised them), railroads, etc.
The entire meeting (about 1 1/2 hours was recorded for local cable TV). Tom provided suggestions to make designs that are community driven. I suggested for the sundial to represent the town as the center between Annapolis at 3pm, Washington, DC as 9pm, and Baltimore as 12pm. (6 pm is up for grabs).
When they asked for suggestions for colors on the mobile, one city employee said "I want something calming like earth tones." I told Tom if she wants something calming, she should try a Vicodin. :) Then I got the microphone and I said out loud, "I agree with one of the women before, who mentioned using bright colors, not boring Earth tones like brown and green." Tom visibly cringed because I outright shot down another woman's suggestion (ON CABLE TV!). I then suggested fall colors to represent all the trees AND symbolize diversity in the town. (People mentioned the trees and diversity often).
After the meeting, I apologized to the woman for calling "brown and green boring" but explained that 72% of all men are color-blind with greens, greys, browns and reds, so those colors often look alike to men. Only about 5-10% of women are color blind (look it up!). So, I told her those colors would be lost on most men.
Of course, local cable TV will show the meeting over and over again, so Tom gets to cringe many times. I guess he'll think twice before he takes me to another public meeting!

Another Thing to Blame a on Dog...Jeez!

When you think that people can't come up with any more stupid things to blame a dog for, here's an article from today's Associated Press. Can't people just admit they're dumb?
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.— The Associated Press
A man is blaming his dog for his wife's shooting death in San Luis Obispo County.
Twenty-five-year-old John Norris is charged with involuntary manslaughter for shooting his wife in July as she say on a couch in their San Miguel condominium. A sheriff's deputy testified Tuesday at a preliminary hearing that Norris claimed he was standing on the stairs with a handgun when his dog tripped him and caused him to shoot his 24-year-old wife Tasha.
Norris says he had the pistol because he planned to remove the ammunition before fire inspectors arrived to examine new sprinklers. His attorney says Norris, who has no criminal record or history of domestic violence, loved his wife.
Norris has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and possessing an illegal weapon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can You Donate to Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue ?

Hi! Franklin the Dachshund here. Rob and Tom are my daddies. One of the rescues that they work with is the Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue. Recently, they learned that there have been so many rescues (one woman was harboring 32 dachshunds in ONE HOUSE!) that the rescue is in serious need of donations to pay for all of those doggies' medical bills.
The rescue relies solely on the funds obtained from adoption fees and donations from the public. You can donate at:
Just so you know what they're all about, Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue (CCDR) is a National Non-Profit 501(c)(3), all-volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing needy Dachshunds and Dachshund mixes from coast to coast.
You can even donate in memory of someone's dog or cat that may have gone to doggy Heaven. It makes a great Christmas gift, too. Love, Franklin

Monday, November 16, 2009

Taking Advantage of a Sunny Sunday

The Coastal Low pressure system formerly known as Hurricane Ida finally left the area late Saturday, and we finally had temperatures warmer than 45F on Sunday. In fact, the sun came out and it warmed to 70F! So, we took advantage of it.
We had a great breakfast and fun conversation with friends Steve, Jane and Jeff, then Tom and I spent hours raking more leaves.

PHOTO: The dogs were so excited to run outside and see sunshine, just as we were! Here's Franklin running up and down the fence, chasing and barking at the neighbor's dog on the other side of the fence. Meanwhile, Dolly, our Weimaraner, insisted that we play rope toss for 3 hours as we raked leaves. We did, and she was finally tired!

PHOTO: We raked another 5 bags of leaves, even after last week's 8 bags!

PHOTO: Dolly chewed on a stick while Tom even cleaned out all of the flower beds, too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Ghostly Friday the 13th, and Saturday Stuff

BUSY SATURDAY - Saturday the 14th was another damp day, after 4 straight days of rain (we received almost 2" here in Maryland), so we couldn't rake leaves. So, we spent about 4 hours cleaning inside, sweeping, dusting, doing laundry, etc. We then took the dogs, Dolly and Franklin on a 2 hour ride. Tom went into Lowes to get weather stripping, so I (Rob) sat in the car with them. Then we went into Petsmart and spent an hour shopping for food, treats and toys, while the "kids" enjoyed petting and attention from other shoppers. Afterward, we had to meet with our contractor (we've been trying to see him for a month since he finished the outside dormer and other stuff), and Sat. night was the only time we could connect. Tom drafted plans (he's an architect) to upgrade our 1st floor bathroom, and we discussed tiles, replacing the tub with a shower, and lots more stuff in the plan. We plan to be here long after we retire, so why not?
The last time Friday the 13th happened in 2009, we were in Savannah, Georgia (February) and happened to wind up on a ghost walk. Totally unplanned, as this one was (we were supposed to go on the 12th).
We took the Ellicott City, Maryland Ghost Tour, Part II (they have 3 parts, and we've done Part I before a number of times). We met Jill, Ken, little Kenny and Kelli (my God-daughter). Luckily, the rain (of 4 days ended just in time), but it was cold and damp. The guide, Tessi, was wonderful and very animated. Here are a couple of pictures and stories from the walk. (PHOTO: Tom doing his "poser" routine with Ken, Jill and the kids unaware while listening to the ghost guide)

The former store named Caplan's. This is a "before shot." I took 3 simultaneous photos, as this store is reported to have a ghost child and cat inside of it. Note that the sky is black, and there are no "spots" over the building.

PHOTO 2: Caplan's Orb - Notice an orb showed up over the roof of the building. I had to brighten the image using Photoshop, so the orb would be more clear.

Here's why I took multiple photos: One of the ghost tour guides inadvertently wound up taking home the child ghost in her car one night. She came to realize it when the electrical system was going crazy. One of her friends suggested after 2 days of her car's electrical system going haywire that she drive back to Caplan's and tell the ghost to get out. Apparently, the ghost-child did get out and went back to Caplan's, as the guide didn't have any more weird electrical issues afterward.

PHOTO: This is the B&O Railroad Museum near the Patapsco River at the foot of old Ellicott City. This building was the first passenger railroad station in the U.S.A. This is where passenger railroads started. This building is reputed to have a friendly ghost named "Charlie" that inhabits it.

THE GHOSTS AT THE RIVER - The B&O Railroad Museum is built right next to the Patapsco River. On the railroad bridge the connects to the platform behind the museum/station, there's a large marker that shows where the record floods reached during various years. In 1888 floodwaters from the river went about 30 feet above the river level, flooding the town and killing many. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes flooded the town again, killing more. There were about 6 markers representing floods. Our tour guide stopped and pointed out the markers, and as she did, I "heard" men, women and a few children behind me (there was no one there) telling me they died in a flood event. It was like they were standing behind me in flesh and blood.
GHOST AT "CACAO LANE RESTAURANT" - Our tourguide also stopped in front of a restaurant called "Cacao Lane." I then heard the name "Marcus, Marcus." The guide told us of a mirror being lifted up off the bar, over bottles of liquor, while a bartender and patrons looked on. The mirror was gently lowered to the floor. I believe the ghost's name that did it was "Marcus" and I informed our guide.
GHOSTLY BURIAL CARRIAGE - We proceeded down one of the alleyways, that still had a hand-laid brick "street." When we got there, I sensed a horse-drawn carriage waiting in the alley. The guide told us that one of the buildings we were standing near was a former funeral home and bodies would be loaded onto wagons in that alleyway. She said that one of the "funeral wagons" was still in the basement of one of the buildings, and there have been accounts of a man in 1800s period clothing sitting on the wagon with a deep look of sorrow in his eyes.

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