Friday, December 31, 2010

Enjoyed the 1988 Movie "Willow" /Val Kilmer in 22 years...

This Christmas the local Blockbuster video store was going out of business and selling their old movies. So, I picked up "Willow" from 1988 and gave it to Tom for Christmas. - I had seen it a couple of times and enjoyed it. It's about a reluctant dwarf who must play a critical role in protecting a special baby from an evil queen.It features a young Val Kilmer (who was handsome, built and hot in the movie) and is filled with castles, queens, magic, dwarves, trolls, knights in armor, and forest beings. I enjoyed it again, and Tom seemed to like it, too. It's worth picking up!
Val Kilmer in Willow- 1988

Val Kilmer in 2010

Our friend Tobie's interior house designer explaining his decor for HGTV

Our friend Tobie bought a 1935 bungalow in Orlando and hired a friend of his to completely redesigned it.  It took a year to make the improvements. 
  His friend, Christopher Frank is an interior house designer who wants to have his own show on HGTV, so Tobie made this video of him explaining his decor of Tobie's home.

  Tobie said "We took walls out and added walls and fixtures and turned it from a 3/1 to a 3/2 plus made rooms bigger without adding on to house! Yes, it cost lots of money. I could have paid off the house, but I rather have a nicer place to live so I spent it on the remodeling job! Not completed yet but it is livable....Wrought iron is going into the shower inside the arch since that is why it was custom made for....we just put everything on hold for the holidays so I can enjoy living in it for now without anymore construction. Next year our focus is landscaping!"
   Tobie loves old world designs and his friend made it work for him. His friend Christopher wants to be a HGTV star so Tobie let him design it. See what you think of the video below.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Update on Sprite the Foster Dog!

I'm happy to report that our foster Dachshund, Sprite, is healed from his surgery!
Sprite posing for the camera
He's getting his staples out tomorrow morning.
He now goes outside and runs after Dolly (our Weimaraner) barking happily in his deep bark.
He's been trained now to go in his bed while I'm preparing his food (and the other 2 dogs).
He comes upstairs and either curls up on his bed while we're watching TV, or enjoys sitting in our laps.- He apparently never sat in anyone's lap before and likes it (although he loves trying to get a bite of a cookie if we're eating one).
 -He knows where the treat cabinet is and gets excited by giving a couple of short, deep "woofs" in anticipation.
- He comes up and downstairs and follows us around. He loves company and is so, so easy going.
 -  We're trying to convince Tom's parents to adopt him and "keep him in the family." He follows Dolly and Franklin outside all the time, and is usually the first or second to come back in out of the cold (our Weimarner comes in quickly). We always have him in a toddler shirt or sweater outside, as he gets cold.
- He's also been enjoying walks around the neighborhood (with our other "kids") and goes slow and steady.
- It's so great to see him healed, smelling good, teeth in good shape (he doesn't mind the daily brushing, either), and eating well. He's such a happy boy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 Study: Liberals, conservatives differ on following eyes

I read this today and found it fascinating. I consider myself liberal in many ways and I always follow someone's gaze. Interesting.
  I'm also uncomfortable when people refuse to look me in the eye - For those people who can't look you in the eye when they talk with you- I wonder if they're shy, uncomfortable or don't want to be there. Anyway, here's the article:

Study: Liberals, conservatives differ on following eyes

   A new study reports that liberals appear to be more likely than conservatives to follow someone's gaze, and that subtle biological differences might explain why.
  There may be something biological underlying the adage about people not seeing eye to eye, according to a new study. Liberals appear to be more likely than conservatives to follow someone's gaze, LiveScience reports.
   "Across a variety of tasks, we are beginning to find a consistent pattern where conservatives are more responsive to threat/disgust, more responsive to angry faces, and less sensitive to gaze cues than liberals," said researcher Michael Dodd, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "Liberals, on the other hand, are proving to be more responsive to positive/appetitive stimuli, more responsive to happy faces, and more sensitive to gazes."
   The study, to be published in the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, finds that liberals respond much more strongly to such cues than conservatives. The findings add to a series of clues "that liberals and conservatives may be subtly different on a biological level," LiveScience writes.

What might explain the difference?
  One possibility is that liberals are more empathetic and thus more responsive to others. Another theory is that conservatives are better at following instructions and were thus more likely to listen when the researchers said to ignore the face.
  Dodd and his colleagues believe that a more likely explanation is that conservatives value personal autonomy more than liberals, making them less likely to be influenced by others.
  But, as LS points out, "The results are correlational, meaning there's no way to know whether your tendency to pay attention to others influences your political beliefs or whether political beliefs change behavior."
(Posted by Michael Winter)

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse by Michael Black

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse in New Jersey by Michael Black

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Snowfall Totals in the New York City / NJ/CT region

These are the snowfall totals in the New York City / NJ/CT region from this weekend's blizzard. The figures (in inches) for the metropolitan area are as of 3:30 p.m. on Monday Dec. 27 and are from National Weather Service data. Credit: NY Times

Monday, December 27, 2010

Get Shepard Fairey’s Mutts Like Me ADOPT image - downloads, posters, stickers, T-shirt, badges and more

Get Shepard Fairey’s Mutts Like Me ADOPT image - downloads, posters, stickers, T-shirt, badges and more

Vacation's End: When the Parent Becomes the Child

My (Rob's) mother has been visiting and staying with us for the last 6 days. With her short-term memory loss she forgets things she said 10 minutes before... and sadly it's getting more and more frequent. That's not a problem, though - it's behavior. As my mom has aged she increasingly behaves like a spoiled child who needs to be the center of attention 24/7 and gets ticked if she's not. She got angry at Tom on Monday because he told her that I have to work from home and she shouldn't bother me. He said "talk to me, not Rob because he has a job to do." She went in the guest room, shut the door and pouted for 2 hours. She wouldn't speak with Tom until Tom brought her back instant lottery tickets (like a little kid getting a present).
  She leaves Tuesday to fly to Providence, RI, and that airport is open despite the blizzard (I checked hourly).  We're worn out and stressed.
   Living with someone is totally different from visiting them. I love my mother very much, but liking her behavior and impatience with others is not something I like. A priest once told me that "you love them because they're your family, but you don't have to like their behavior." So true.
  So, how did I get her to fly on her own when she was afraid to fly? I was able to get a message from her mother (who passed in 1959) who provided me clues about things I had no idea about... (like a yellow knitted shawl and a piece of jewelry) and told me that she'd be with my mother as she travels.... so she got on the plane. I'm so glad I have this gift! :)

Christmas Memories

Flowers and Gingerbread House
 This Christmas was memorable and nice. It started with an early breakfast at 6:30am with Tom and I (Rob) and the 3 dogs. My mother (who is staying with us) didn't get up until 8:30am. 
Snow flurries came through in the morning from an Alberta Clipper so Rob walked the dogs while Tom tidied up the house. Rob started cooking at 9am making fresh cranberry bread. Then Rob started dinner with turkey in the oven. 
- Tom's parents came over at 11am and we enjoyed coffee and tea then opened presents! After a fun time and being spoiled... we had a great turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
Mom Ruth, Dolly, Sprite, Franklin, Tom and Bob
After cleaning up dinner, we watched a movie DVD that Tom surprised me with about a dog! - It's called Hachiko: A Dog's Story (or Hachi: A Dog's Tale) is a 2009 American drama film based on the true story of the faithful Akita Hachikō. **THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE MOVING FILM THAT ALL DOG LOVERS SHOULD SEE**
A drama based on the true story of a college professor's bond with the abandoned dog he takes into his home.TO SEE THE TRAILER:
Sprite, Mom Ruth, Dolly, Franklin, Tom, Bob, Mom Norma

DESSERT! - After the movie we enjoyed apple pie, gingerbread (house), oatmeal, sugar and chocolate chip cookies, coffee and tea. It was a filling Christmas to remember!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Great Doggy Christmas Gifts

Franklin and Dolly wearing their handmade scarves
Rob's nephews surprised Dolly and Franklin with handpainted doggy scarves for Christmas (with their mom Sue's talents) among many other surprises. We were so overwhelmed by having hand painted pictures on scarves for the dogs!!  - There was also a card where they recorded themselves saying "Merry Christmas" which brought a tear to Rob's eyes. Wow.

WALKING IN THE CHRISTMAS SNOW FLURRIES!  - Christmas morning a clipper system brought some snow flurries to Maryland, and Rob took all three dogs out for a walk in the snow to get them in the holiday spirit. When we came back, and Tom's parents came over, we all sat around the Christmas tree and opened presents. The dogs got the most presents! 
Franklin, Dolly and Sprite enjoying the snow flurries walk

Sprite in his new sweater with snow on his nose

AM snow flurries in the backyard

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from all of us to you!

Franklin and Dolly met Santa and this is their pic this year!Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas at Homestead Gardens

Rob and Tom at a huge Christmas Wreath at Homestead... with coffee!

Rob's mom making a face at the big Wreath

Tom grinning at the huge toy train display
Homestead Gardens is a local garden shop that has huge Christmas displays of trees, ornaments, live plants and a large toy train display every year. It's a local attraction for people to shop, tour and take photos, so we took my (Rob) mother there. She's never been to Maryland at Christmastime, so it was a treat. Here are some pictures from the afternoon.
Wherever you go, there's always a troll!

DINNER TIME - Our friend Elvina took Rob's mom to church Saturday afternoon, so Rob and Tom could walk the dogs and do some errands.
- After that, we treated Elvina and Rob's mom to a fun and lively dinner out.

Another Adventure on Christmas Week

L to R: Tom, Rob's Mom, Ed, Susan and Cary
We've had an adventurous day. We were supposed to go to a garden center to look at Christmas lights... it didn't happen. Instead, I (Rob) found a couple of hold out stink bugs on the 2nd floor of the house, and went nuts cleaning (Tom was at work). It took hours of vacuuming, moving furniture, etc. I then wrote a story about U.S. weather using a NASA satellite image (, walked the dogs in the cold, and did laundry. We were supposed to go to lunch with Tom's folks, but my mom wasn't feeling well at lunchtime so we didn't go. By dinnertime she was better and hungry, so we met our friends Ed, Susan and Cary for Chinese food and took these pictures. We spent the rest of the evening inside and out of the cold!

Tom, Rob's mom and Ed

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mom's Christmas Visit: Panera Pandemonium

Jim and his mom, Jill

A goofy pic of Mom and Rob

Enjoying Panera?
Whenever my (Rob's) mom visits from Boston, we get together with our friend Jim and his mother, Jill. Jill and my mom cut up like two old friends (well, they've now known each other for about 10 years). So, this Tuesday my mom and I met Jim and Jill at Panera Bread for lunch and laughter. My mother and Jill didn't stop talking, so Jim and I just sat by trying to talk with each other. Afterward, we did a little shopping together. It was Panera pandemonium!!

Holly's Tacky Christmas Light Website: No. Virginia Homes Lit Up

My friend and colleague at work created a website called "Holly's Tacky Christmas Lights" to showcase the BEST Christmas light displays in northern Virginia neighborhoods. You can see them here:
 and watch the TV interview on FOX here:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Firetruck Santa Runs through the Neighborhood

In our town, the local Fire Department has an annual tradition of driving through all of the neigborhoods with Santa on a firetruck. Well, this was the week it happened, and the dogs all ran to the door barking and carrying on as Santa and the Fire Department drove past the house! They came by around 7:50 p.m., and it finally quieted down around 8:30 p.m. so that people could get ready for bed. :)  It's a fun tradition, and I (Rob) ran outside and took these pictures.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Photos of the Rare Lunar Eclipse! -by Ed

Half-way through the Eclipse. Credit: Ed Campion
 Our friend Ed C., who is also an incredible photographer made the ultimate sacrifice this morning. He stayed up for the Lunar Eclipse of a lifetime and took photos seen here.

  Tom and I did see the lunar eclipse at 4 a.m. EST today as it was ending. We got up to get Tom to work (although I'm on vacation I still needed to feed him and the dogs some breakfast). It was Cool! - The eclipse happened the same day as the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere – a rare occurrence that hasn't happened in 372 years. Happy WINTER SOLSTICE... the shortest amount of daylight in any day of the year. It brightens up from here on! :)

Eclipse! by Ed Campion

Christmas Dinner!

Kenny & Allen (left, middle) and Matt (right)
 We went to dinner at my (Rob's) nephew's house Sunday: Kenny and his partner Allen hosted a Christmas-time turkey dinner with the trimmings. Kenny's brother Matt flew in from school in Florida, and sister Kelli flew in from college in Arizona, and their parents Ken and Jill came over, too. It was like a family reunion and early Christmas dinner.
R to L: Kelli, Tom, Ken, Jill
 Kenny and Allen's apt. was nicely decorated for the holidays, and they even had the Kenny and Dolly Parton Christmas album cover framed on the wall for a decoration (which I- Rob - loved!!). The Christmas music played in the background, and we caught up with Kelli and Matt and heard about their school adventures in Arizona and Florida, respectively. What a fun time!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally - DADT Repealed

Something great happened this weekend:  DADT was repealed.
 "WHY REPEALING "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO:   Congress finally did something sensible by repealing this law encouraging hatred and division. Why? Because 1) It is discrimination. 2) gay men and women work in EVERY profession 3) Everyone uses discretion and professionalism in their job - those who don't should be fired (like male bosses that come onto female secretaries who are married).  4) thousands are in the military now. 5) The military has asked soldiers to lie about themselves when Truth is demanded in the military.
(I work with gay people who even know I am, but they don't come on to me)

SO, WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HATRED? Answer:  Ironically, Right-wing "Religious" people who literally interpret the Bible. I find it ironic that the very people who are supposed to be loving and accepting are the ones who judge, hate, treat others unlike them like human garbage. If you are a Christian, ACCEPT EVERYONE as Jesus did. Teach those right-wing people who falsely call themselves Christian what it REALLY means to be a true Christian. Love and accept everyone. Forgive others. Help others. Don't hate, separate or abuse others.

WHAT DO PEOPLE WHO PASS AND CROSS OVER SAY ABOUT HATING OTHERS? -   I believe in God. Thanks to my gift, I've talked with people who have crossed into the light onto the other side. They've shown me what awaits them there. What do they say?  They say how SORRY they are for mis-treating people on Earth. That includes parents who were mentally or physically abusive, alcoholics, drug addicts, people who hated others because of their race, gender, sexuality, religion, weight, disability, or anything else.  In all instances these souls are very sorry for being hateful or abusive to themselves or others. They always ask for forgiveness from those left on Earth. They hope to get messages across to those left alive on Earth NOT to treat others as they did. Unfortunately, ghosts and spirits usually can't get that message across. So, what happens?  People on Earth make the same hateful, stupid mistakes that those who have passed learned way too late.

WHAT CAN WE DO?  1) Stop being hateful. 2) Treat others as you would expect them to treat you. 3) Put yourself in their shoes- how would YOU feel dealing with abuse and hatred? 4) Stop yourself and Stop others. TELL OTHERS you hear who is being hateful to anyone that they are people, too. 5) REACH OUT to someone like that. Get to know them. You'll change your ways. We are all on Earth to share it, live together, and HELP EACH OTHER.

Discrimination and hatefulness in any form is something you WILL atone for after you pass. Even a relative of mine was trapped on Earth for over 20 years begging for forgiveness from my own mother. For an entity to remain on Earth is indeed what hell is like for them. Think of all the ghost hunting programs that pick up audio saying "Help me." Those entities want forgiveness and help crossing into the light. The ones that don't get it are trapped here for eternity and experience a living hell. Don't let it happen to you.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Busy Saturday-Sprite Update

Sprite in Daddy Tom's arms at the Vet
SPRITE UPDATE - 5:30am marked the day's start, even on a weekend day. After getting the dogs organized, making ourselves breakfast and putting in laundry/bed changing, etc. we took Sprite, our almost 14 year old Dachshund to the vet for a follow-up. This was the 7th appt. in 10 days (I think... I lost count because we've been there so many times). He was looking good...finally. He had one area of seepage on his underside, which the vet applied surgical glue as there was no more skin to use a staple. (Ewww). Tom held Sprite for the inspection, and I (Rob) took this really touching picture. Although he's still oozing a little from his tummy, his neck and teeth have healed remarkably quickly. We're still washing his blankets AND bed twice a day from the tummy situation. We did apply a bandage, but it seemed to pull his skin and make it worse, so we're just letting it air out in continually clean blankets.

Tom & Rob at lunch w/Jeff (the photographer)
SHOPPING/EATING - Our friend Jeff joined us for a day of shopping and eating to celebrate the holidays. Jeff was the best man at our wedding and is the best friend anyone could ask for. We did some last minute shopping (But thankfully avoided malls), and enjoyed lunch and dinner together. Of course, he spoiled Dolly and Franklin, and Sprite with treats as he always does when he comes over.
Dolly at the Christmas Tree

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some Christmas Cheer for You! - Lights/Joke

Here's a brief letter that little David sent to Santa and put in his mailbox: "Dear Santa,  Please send me a baby brother for Christmas. Love, David." 
The next week, there was a letter with a return address that said "USPS/Santa"
When David opened the letter it said: "Dear David, I received your letter and your request for a new baby brother. Please send me your mother and I'll take care of that for you. Santa."  
TO SEE CRAZY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON-LINE (and in person), my friend/colleague Holly Zell manages a website she calls "Holly's Tacky Christmas Lights." It showcases houses lit up in Northern Virginia, and if you live there, maps to the houses are provided. See the photos on-line at:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Christmas with the Handsome Governor O'Malley

On Dec. 11 we toured the Maryland Governor's House for their annual Christmas Open House and got to meet Mrs. Katie O'Malley (left) (then Rob and Tom) and her hunky husband, Governor Martin O'Malley (right). Here's the photo
of the meeting. They were both so incredibly nice and welcoming. We told them we were SO happy that
Gvnr O'Malley was re-elected, and I told him he should run for U.S. President. We also talked about
getting gay marriage passed in Maryland and he said he was hopeful, so we may be able to be legally married in
2011 in Maryland. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dogs in the Snow!

Thursday brought about 1" of snow to the metro Washington, DC area, and as I was working from home the dogs got to go out an explore it. Of course, because it only "warmed" into the 20s  they didn't stay out long. Franklin (the Dachshund-left ) and Sprite (the foster Dachshund-center)and Dolly (the Weimaraner- right), sniffed around for about 5 minutes. Sprite was just happy not to have the plastic cone over his head (which prevents him from licking his stitches).

Back to the Vet Again...

I (Rob) worked at the office on Wednesday and had to leave the dogs at home. Sprite (the foster dog) was sedated, so I didn't think it would be a problem. It wouldn't have been, however another 2 stitches opened up so there was blood serum on his blanket and bed when I came home the second time (after work). This was not good... Apparently as his stitches heal, and his skin isn't as elastic (he's almost 14 after all) some of them have come loose. Of course, they seem to be happening every day. SIGH.
Sprite Wearing his plastic collar
  SO, Wednesday night we called the Vet and took him back again! Because the staples held the other areas, Tom said on the way, "They need to staple him all up and make him look like a railroad track!" I agreed. It was the best way, and our Vet agreed. So, they numbed him up and stapled him. Hopefully, this will work. Poor little guy. After we got home and fed him, he was chock full of pain meds, powerful antibiotic, and tranquilizers. Eesh. We have a follow-up appointment on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our friend Phil: A Shining Star... literally

Phil is a young man, 19 years old who came to our door to promote his lawn care services last Spring. We hired him and he does the BEST job ever. Over time, we've gotten to know each other and we've talked about people we all know, religion, ghosts, God, politics, people, dogs, school, comics, tv, movies, music and more. We've grown to look at Phil as a good friend, and always look forward to seeing him. After a couple of conversations and dinners talking about what he should major in in college, he was influenced to choose Architecture- and Tom has become his mentor (and helps with homework). This weekend, he came over for dinner Sunday night and brought us a great Christmas gift- A STAR for the top of our tree. What's amazing is that he ordered it weeks ago, and we were still looking for one! What a fantastic, perfect surprise.
 After dinner we all enjoyed watching the Amazing Race on TV (and one of our fav teams won- Nat and Kat!-Yay!).
Tom, Phil, Rob

Our tree with the New Star!

Dolly Snoozes, Phil Looks on

Everyone together under the Star!

Tom Surrounded by Dachshunds: Franklin, Sprite

Where to find your fav Christmas TV Specials!

Want to know when your favorite Christmas TV specials and movies air in the next two weeks? 
 Each program is listed with the date, time, channel, and category. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Emergency Vet Visit with Sprite: Sutures Open

Fortunately, I was working at home today because I noticed a lot of seepage from Sprite's suture where he had his neuter. I had him on a 'pee pad' that wound up having many blots on it in a short time. Occasionally during the morning I blotted his suture with toilet paper, applying cold and hot compresses, and they didn't slow. Fortunately, the tranquilizer kept him out of it.
  By 11am I knew I had to take Sprite BACK to the vet today. The oozing continued to intensify and I noticed that there were two openings in the front and back of the suture. So I brought him in at 4:40pm, and finally got home by 6:30 p.m. (they had to squeeze me in).
  Two small areas did open up and had to be stapled tonight (EWWW) after they applied a numbing agent (sometimes it happens that the sutures open like that, especially after exploratory surgery on an older dog).
  Our vet, Dr. Yates, confirmed that it was pus that was oozing from the suture, and gave me a much more powerful antibiotic. I also had to get a more powerful pain prescription for him, and more tranquilizers (given the staples). He was so patient throughout the whole process (the almost 2 hours we were there).
   Sprite came home and ate a good meal, walked outside with Dolly and Franklin, and the oozing has almost stopped, thankfully. He's resting comfortably and chock-full of new medication.
 - Unfortunately, I have to go to the office tomorrow, so I can't be with him until lunchtime, but he'll be zonked from tranquilizers. I think this is a turning point and he'll really finally begin to heal.
  - What's interesting is that when Dr. Yates came back in the room with him after putting in the staples, she looked at me and I was all teared up, and so was she! She said that he's such a lovable boy, and so patient that she felt badly for him. She's taken great care of the little guy and we'll make sure he get everything he needs to be healthy. Whew!

1st Snow of the Season / Fright Night Sprite

FIRST SNOW- We received the first snowfall of the season here (east of Washington, DC). Other areas north and west of Washington, DC got snow earlier, but we didn't- that's a benefit of living closer to the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay moderates the air temperatures and keeps them warmer. The first snow coated walkways and the street, but the grasses were clearly visible. (See photo)

SPRITE'S FRIGHT NIGHT  - What was scary about last night is that 1 1/2 pills of tranquilizer didn't work on our foster Dachshund, Sprite last night. Yes, he's still oozing from his surgeries (this is almost a WEEK), and he's in pain, so he's also on pain pills and antibiotics. Now I can finally do hot and cold compresses on his abdomen. (his neck surgery and teeth removals are healing very quickly, unlike his tummy). So, last night, after the tranquilizers were given at 7pm, he was restless until 11pm!!! (we get up at 4am) - so Rob had to keep going out into the kitchen (Tom was thankfully asleep and didn't hear the commotion).
 - Last night before we turned in, we bought dog "pee pads" and put them on his bed so he wouldn't keep bleeding onto the bed. Well, it was shredded at 10pm. He also pushed the blankets off and laid in the bed, getting it wet from his surgery. EEESH. We've been washing him and a lot of blankets every day, and hope he heals soon. We also put him in a small tee shirt and carry him outside to do his business. At least he's had no accidents. Hopefully, he'll heal quickly. We really have to keep an eye on him (and yes, he's still wearing a plastic collar to prevent licking the wound).

Thor; Movie Trailer

I've never been a fan of Marvel Comics' "Thor the God of Thunder" and on May 6, 2011 a movie comes out about the character. Despite a muscle-bound actor  playing the movie, the trailer doesn't do much for me... so I will likely pass on this superhero movie. See what you think.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Read: A Small Furry Prayer

I just finished reading "A Small Furry Prayer" by Steven Kotler. This was really interesting - especially because of the struggle this couple had establishing a rescue for Chihuahuas... Some chapters however, were hard to get through when he started writing about philosophers, etc. 
HERE'S A BOOK SUMMARY:  Kotler is a journalist who dove into the world of dog rescue to impress his love interest, now his wife. He did not foresee adopting the least appealing, most troublesome dogs from shelters and living intimately with them until they either were rehabilitated and adopted by others or died in his lap. According to this part memoir and part philosophical study of the dog-human relationship, many of them died on the small farm that he and his wife bought in crime-ridden Chimayo, New Mexico, leaving him very depressed. From the heart-wrenching work, however, he began to find purpose and see how many canine experts have misunderstood dog behavior. Reflecting on the writings of mystics, philosophers, and animal scientists as varied as St. Francis, René Descartes, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Elizabeth Hess, Kotler elevates this tale about saving dogs to a story about human stewardship of life. Rough language and frank descriptions of sexuality may offend more sensitive readers.

Sprite's Slow Recovery / Kitchen Sink Drain Breaks!

It's Monday and we're had a couple more challenges to start the week. 
SPRITE UPDATE: Our little foster Dachshund is still recovering from his surgeries, but SLOWLY. His mouth is healing fast, and so is the surgery on his neck, but his tummy (he was neutered) is not. It keeps oozing, so we had to put a big plastic collar on him to get him to leave it alone, and I have to keep dabbing it with tissue to absorb the blood serum (it's not bleeding, just oozing). The reason why its happening is because he had to undergo exploratory surgery (to find his second testicle, which just wasn't there), and the doctor had to cut through several layers of fat, which is still healing inside - and oozing). We've washed his blankets daily, washed his back legs, and keep cleaning him up while he lays in a stupor (we had to give him tranquilizers to get him to stop walking around). Poor baby. So, we have another vet appointment later today. 
DRAIN TROUBLES- Last night after our friend Phil visited Tom happened to go under the kitchen sink to get paper towels. They were saturated. Turns out the drain catch has rusted out!  SO, we can't use the kitchen sink or do laundry (it feeds into the kitchen sink from the pipes below). Tom is getting a replacement part on the way home tonight to repair it. *How fun to run into the bathroom to get water for coffee and washing doggy dishes....not.* This happened right after we replaced the dead hot water heater on Friday. Always something!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Visit to the Governor's Mansion for Christmas Open House

Gingerbread House
On Saturday, Dec. 11, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and his wife, first lady Katie O'Malley had their annual open house from 1-4pm.  We LOVE Governor O'Malley.
   We lined up outside the mansion and got in in about 45 minutes. 
We were so excited to see him again (we did this last year) and get a picture with he and his wife. We told him how we voted for him in this past election and were so relieved that he got back in office. He thanked us, and I told him that he needs to run for President. Tom also mentioned that we'd like to finally see gay marriage in Maryland. He said he's working on it. We're hopeful. After the photo, we partook in the warm apple cider and cookies, listened to a 4 piece string ensemble playing Christmas music,
enjoyed seeing a train display all gingerbread themed, and checked  out the gingerbread houses. We also got our picture taken next to one of the beautiful trees in the mansion. The workers handed us each an ornament in the shape of a snowman that their kids built on the front lawn of the mansion last year. Very nice touch - and in the back it said it was a gift from Governor O'Malley and family.
The Gingerbread Train Display

Our handsome Governor and his wife

Lobby of the Mansion

Front of the mansion decorated

Line behind us to get in. 

Us at a tree in the mansion

Waiting to meet the handsome Governor!

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