Friday, April 30, 2010

Margarita Friday!! and GrandDogs

Every Friday night we've developed a habit of dining at our favorite local Mexican restaurant and enjoying "Margarita Fridays!" The restaurant, "Mi Hacienda" has incredibly tasty food, and Tom says the Margaritas are the best (Rob doesn't drink them or he'd be under the table with 1/2!). This week, we took my (Rob's) mother there for her FIRST ever Mexican dinner. She loved it and even tried Tom's margarita. Of course, we were happy that Friday arrived and Tom got his tasty Margarita! Here are photos from that evening!



My (Rob) mom is visiting for 2 weeks from Massachusetts, and she loves her grand-dogs (just like Tom's mom). She spent almost all day Friday sewing up their toys! Here are some photos of Rob's mom and her grand-dogs (Dolly and Franklin)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dealing with Elderly Parents Who are Failing

My mom is visiting for two weeks and staying with us. Since before my dad passed (almost 2 years ago) we noticed mom's short term memory was failing. Now it's worse and she even gets hostile over little things.
Yesterday, I took mom to a beauty salon to get her hair just washed and set, to pamper her. She was livid when I pulled up at the place. In fact, downright hostile and nasty to me. She said that about 8 months ago she had her hair dyed and the beautician messed it up, and made it orange. She was furious and the dye didn't come all out, so she had to live with it for 2 months (I guess). She panics over everything, and expects the worst- so she thought the local beautician I took her to would "destroy (her) hair!" I assured her it wasn't a cut or coloring, just a simple pampering and wash and set.
- I was humiliated in the salon when she kept raising her voice and telling me what an insensitive jerk (my words) I am to do this "hateful, nasty thing" to her.
I understand the fear from what happened to her, but told her that she needs to trust other people to not do the same thing, and trust me to not bring her to a non-professional.
The beautician, Diane, calmed her down and patiently listened. She was awesome. By the time my mother was under the hairdryer she calmed down.
She looked good afterward, but never said "thank you," and at lunch later, she didn't remember being hostile to me.
I've heard that's a sign of dementia (and her short term memory isn't good at all). So, jokingly I told her "I'm not taking you to get your nails done!" I can only be run out of so many local places (not that I ever go to nail salons, mind you). :) So much for pampering mom on her visit.
There is one good thing. After all that drama, she didn't scream when I told her she's here for 2 weeks instead of 1 week. Whew! (Okay, so I'm still trying to be optimistic here).
I believe she needs assisted living, but she's stubborn and "doesn't want to live near old people." Yes, she's 82. My brothers and I have a lot to figure out in the near future. It's all very sad to watch a parent age and lose their faculties.

Cape Cod to Get Wind Power!

I just read that the U.S. Dept. of the Interior gave the approval for a wind farm (giant wind turbines) to generate power off the Massachusetts coast (Nantucket Sound). Because the Boston area is actually the WINDIEST (sorry, Chicago) city/area in the U.S. with an average daily wind speed of around 11 mph (Chicago's averages 10 mph daily), it's a great place to build this. It doesn't pollute (so it doesn't contribute to climate warming) and it will be in the ocean. I think this is a great solution to generating some energy! Here are the highlights:
LOCATION: Wind farm developer Cape Wind Associates would build 130 turbines over a 25-mile stretch of Nantucket Sound. The 400-foot turbines would be between five miles off Cape Cod at their closest point to land to 14 miles off Nantucket at their greatest distance.
ENERGY: Cape Wind says it can generate power by the end of 2012 and eventually would supply the equivalent of three-quarters of the power used on Cape Cod, which has about 225,000 residents.
COST:Estimates range from $1 billion to more than $2 billion, to be privately funded with opportunities to obtain federal stimulus dollars and tax credits.
OPPOSITION: Native American tribes say the project would interfere with sacred rituals and desecrate tribal burial sites. Others claim it would hurt the ecology of Nantucket Sound and endanger marine traffic while raising energy prices.
FOR AVERAGE WIND SPEEDS OF CITIES (by month): http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/online/ccd/avgwind.html

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Visitor!

My (Rob's)mother is visiting from Massachusetts this week, so we have a house guest. The dogs are getting adjusted to the noise upstairs and more attention. Mom loves to talk and notices everything, so we've had to shush her during a tv show or two. At 82 she's a bundle of energy and very physically fit. Nope, it's not coffee. She has one cup a day (while Rob has 12). Anyway, today, Tuesday, Tom's parents took my mom (Norma) out to lunch and entertained her during the afternoon while I was at the dentist. We enjoyed soup at Panera Bread for dinner, and took a nice dog walk.
Thankfully, my boss (and friend) is letting me work from home, and take the afternoons off while Mom is here. So, if you want to visit and hear lots of old stories, come on by!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Photos, Friends, Family, Fun on the Weekend

A WHIMISICAL LUNCH - Our friend Richard arrived in Baltimore this weekend for meetings and we met him for a fun lunch. Both Richard and his mom had a lot of paranormal encounters that they so wonderfully provided for my (Rob) book. We wanted Richard to experience something memorable and whimsical, so we took him to Baltimore's Paper Moon Diner. It's a gaudily colored diner (in an old house) that has toys, mannequins and furniture attached to the walls and ceilings!

Richard really enjoyed the experience. Here are a couple of pictures inside. The photo of the clock surrounded by figurines includes one of Rob's Favorite superheroes, the Green Lantern (right side). In the next photo, Richard was standing next to a mannequin. It's a wacky place!

A FUN DINNERTIME - Tom's sister Lisa and boyfriend Blair were visiting this weekend from the Carolinas, so we got together several times. Tom's folks made a turkey for dinner so we enjoyed that and played games like "Sequence" and "Dominoes." It made for a very fun evening (even though we both lost all the games). Dolly and Franklin were very well behaved, too, and enjoyed seeing them as well! Here's a photo of Lisa and Blair.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Photos of Fun Saturday Stuff

Today was a busy day as always. We did stuff around the house after making breakfast at home. Then we walked the dogs for about an hour while picking up lots of trash along the main road near us. It's sickening how much trash people toss out of their cars. We managed to get two bags full! On a better note, here are some pictures from today, and we were thankful that the rain held off. They're photos of our dogs Dolly (the Weimaraner) and Franklin (the Dachshund) enjoying time in the front of the house, a photo of our pink azaleas in full-bloom with our flag in the front of the house, our small lilac tree surrounded by purple irises, and mulching. I'll post more stuff tomorrow! Enjoy the photos.





Friday, April 23, 2010

Many Upcoming Book Events!


If writing and publishing a book wasn't hard enough, try promoting it, too! I've been very busy contacting places to make appearances and give talks and book signings. In fact, I've been pretty successful. *All of these include finding or thinking of places to go, confirming dates, writing my own press releases, advertising on on-line calendars and preparation. Here's a look at upcoming book events:
**NEW**MAY 13 (THURSDAY): INTERNET RADIO INTERVIEW ON FORGOTTEN VOICES RADIO. Beginning at 9:30 p.m. EDT, Forgotten Voice's Host Karlo will interview me about my abilities and my book! Tune in here: http://forgottenvoicesradio.com/
MAY 16: HARD BEAN COFFEE & BOOKSTORE, Annapolis, Md. From 1pm on. http://beansandbooks.com/
MAY 28, FRIDAY: CAPE COD COMMUNITY COLLEGE, W.Barnstable, Mass. 7-9pm, Talk and Booksigning Www.caiprs.com
MAY 29, SATURDAY: COFFEE BREAK CAFE, 77 Parkingway, Quincy, Mass. http://www.coffeebreakcafe.net/
JUNE 6, SUNDAY: FEDERAL HILL (BALTIMORE) JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL, 11am-7pm. Table for book signings with our friends Lynn and Steve Jenner (Author of Twilite: the Parody)! http://www.historicfederalhill.org/www
JUNE 11, FRIDAY, INSPIRE GHOST TRACKING GROUP (open to public), 7pm-9pm: Odenton, Md. Talk and booksigning.
Call 443-396-1282 or go to their site at http://www.inspiredeventsofmd.com/
JUNE 12, SATURDAY: JAZZ BRUNCH FOR THE FRIENDS OF THE LARGO-KETTERING LIBRARY (FOLK), from 10am-1pm. Located 9601 Captial Lane, Largo, Maryland 20074, phone number 301-336-4004.
There is a silent auction from 10 to 11AM and the brunch starts at 11. More information: Brenda Grier Colbert; President of FOLK; bgcolbert@verizon.net. This is FOLKs largest fundraiser of the year which helps to support a variety of programs within the library such as the children's summer program, the Christmas puppet shows, Martin Luther King Day program and many more.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Assoc. Press: Court voids law aimed at animal cruelty videos

This is sick. The conservative judges on the Supreme Court have lost my respect. How in the world could they APPROVE videos that show cruelty to animals? What in the hell is wrong with them?
Court voids law aimed at animal cruelty videos
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court struck down a federal law Tuesday aimed at banning videos that show graphic violence against animals, saying it violates the right to free speech.
The justices, voting 8-1, threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit bull fights.
The law was enacted in 1999 to limit Internet sales of so-called crush videos, which appeal to a certain sexual fetish by showing women crushing to death small animals with their bare feet or high-heeled shoes. The videos virtually disappeared once the measure became law, the government argued.
But Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said the law goes too far, suggesting that a measure limited to crush videos might be valid.
In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito said the harm animals suffer in dogfights is enough to sustain the law.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Conversation: Choosing Our Behavior / the Afterlife

On Sunday morning over breakfast, Tom and I had a conversation about the different levels of places people go in the afterlife. He's currently reading a book about "Karma and the Afterlife" by a Japanese author (It was translated into English). our friend Lynn J. gave it the book to us, and it's interesting that even in Japan the afterlife is viewed the same way by professionals investigating people's experiences. The author says that there are 3 levels of the afterlife: lower, middle and higher. Similar to Hell, Heaven and Perfection.
Tom said that the book went onto say that people who are negative or morally corrupt (or just evil) go to the lowest area. They can't get to the higher areas, closer to perfection until they come back to Earth and live another life- going through life's trials and maybe getting it more "right."
I agree with the coming back to Earth in another life to do a better job of learning how to live better - showing more love and compassion for each other, being more loving, thankful and optimistic about life, no matter what you're dealt.
I'm not sure I agree with "three places" people's spirits go. I think that our spirits go to two places, either into the light or into the darkness. In the light, spirits are judged for their behaviors on Earth and their conscience places them on different "levels" in the light. As Betty Eadie mentioned in the book "Embraced by the Light," we choose to come back to Earth to try and live a better life the next go 'round. Before we come back in another life we know the challenges we're going to face, either with a physical or mental disorder, healthy yet impoverished, struggling to find love, a decade-long search for a good job (I can relate to that), even being born into a difficult family. All because we know there's a lesson we need to learn to achieve a higher level of understanding life.
That's why everyone goes through the trials in life, although many of them seem unjustified and unfair. We know friends that have illnesses that you would think would make them depressed or mad at the world, but two of them I'm thinking of are the MOST loving, wonderful, optimistic people. They radiated love. They know the secret of life.
I, myself have gone through periods in my own life where I should have been miserable - hiding who I am and being scared and unable to live the way that would make me happy. I realize that was wrong and I wasted a lot of time, but I enjoyed every day. I also came out of that time appreciating life every day. During another period, I lived off student loans while getting my degree in meteorology, eating tuna fish and ramen noodles while working 2 part-time jobs that barely paid my rent and car insurance. But I was thankful I was able to do it.
Tom and I know of people who have great jobs and houses, not having to worry about where their next meal is coming from, but are totally miserable. They're healthy for the most part, but can't find much positive about their lives. Some haven't found love, others found it and left it behind, and just dwell on what they don't have, instead of appreciating anything they DO have.
There are a lot of people who live paycheck to paycheck, who choose what bills to pay, decide on food or electricity- but somehow they remain optimistic. It's all how you look at life.
A friend told me several times that a friend of his said often "I can't be as happy as Rob. It's not natural." Well, it is natural. You can choose to be thankful for a sunrise, or a hot cup of coffee, or getting green lights on your commute, or having a dog or cat to hug, an email from a friend, or a book or TV show you liked.
Find the simple things in life that make you happy and RECOGNIZE them.
The bottom line: You can CHOOSE to be happy, or choose to be miserable. I choose and have always chosen to be happy. You can, too. It will not only improve YOUR life, but people will want to be around you much more.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Great Dog Day and Movie

Saturday was chilly (only 60F with a strong, constant wind) but we ventured out to a dog event in Columbia anyway. We met friends Todd and Erica with their 1 1/2 yr. old son Cole and Weimaraner, "Beamer" for a deli lunch and the dog event. Here are some pictures from the day.

(PHOTO: Here's Franklin (the dachshund) and Dolly (the Weimaraner) squeezing together for a front seat look in the pickup truck (from their big padded dog bench/bed in the back seat)).




(PHOTO: LEFT TO RIGHT: Beamer, Franklin and Dolly enjoyed exploring the dog event and sniffing tails and the trail nearby we all walked on.)



(PHOTO: Tom and Dolly, Erica pushing Cole in the stroller, Todd and Beamer. Franklin was helping Rob take the photo).



(PHOTO: Nice picture of Beamer enjoying the day)



(PHOTO: Franklin and Dolly striking a pose)

COFFEE TIME! - We were joined at the dog walk by our friends Jim, his sister Lisa, and their mom Jill, with their dogs Fredo and Bella. We later enjoyed coffee, cookies and stories about travel for a fun end to the afternoon.



GREAT MOVIE! - We wound up the evening watching s great movie on the USA Network that was in theatres in 2007. It was "3:10 to Yuma," a remake of a western from 1957. This version starred Christian Bale (of Batman movie fame) and Russell Crowe. SUMMARY: A small-time rancher agrees to hold a captured outlaw who's awaiting a train to go to court in Yuma. A battle of wills ensues as the outlaw tries to psych out the rancher.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

VIDEO: Backyard Squirrel Chasing - Git it! Git it!

Dolly (Weimaraner) and Franklin's (Dachshund) favorite sport is squirrel chasing. When they see one in the backyard they line up and start panting at the sliding glass doors in the kitchen (that looks out into the backyard). Here's a video of their typical "Git it! Git it! Git it!" behavior. After they clear out the yard and make it safe, then they sniff around to see where that nasty, stinky squirrel was walking around, so they know exactly where to go the next time. At least the lawn in the backyard is greening up (See the photo).
video

Friday, April 16, 2010

More Conservative Crap- This time about Supreme Court Judges!

Where does the GOP and conservative Hate crap end? Now a conservative group wants to ban gay people from being considered for the Supreme Court. WHY would anyone want to associate with this kind of prejudice/hatred? There is NO excuse for this crap. Period. This nasty piece of hatred came out today:
"[A] gay judge's sexual preference will, without any question whatsoever, 'interfere with their job.' It's not possible for it to be otherwise... We simply should not elevate to the highest court in the land people who are known for engaging in sexually abnormal behavior which would technically make them felons in a quarter of the states over which they will have jurisdiction." -- Bryan Fischer, American Family Association
Disqualified.: That's what the American Family Association and Focus on the Family -- both right-wing religious organizations -- think of gays and lesbians potentially serving on the Supreme Court following the retirement of venerable liberal Justice John Paul Stevens.

GOP Way Off on Gay Marriage - They Divorce More!

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Mike Huckabee, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012, says the effort to allow gays and lesbians to marry is comparable to legalizing incest, polygamy and drug use (Source:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/13/politics/main6392066.shtml).
It's amazing to us that IDIOTS like Huckabee is still considered worthy of Presidential material. He's a hateful, nasty, bigoted, religious whack-job who needs to crawl back in his hole.
SO, it's OKAY that Larry King is filing for divorce for the 8th time. He married 7 different women "for life" (once he married again after divorcing her). Liz Taylor has been married eight times, most recently to construction worker Larry Fortensky, whom she divorced in 1996. Now, she's engaged to a 49 year old.
IT'S "CHRISTIAN" that Republican So. Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was divorced after a year long affair with a mistress in Argentina. SC Local News.com says "Governor Sanford lied and stated that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail to cover his trip to see his extra-marital lover. Governor Sanford has paid $140,000 in regard to those lies for State Ethics violations. Governor Sanford has stated that his mistress his is soul mate."
DID YOU KNOW? The divorce statistics of Republicans vs. Democrats are surprising. Republicans base their campaign on the sacred institution of marriage but statistics show that this political party has a higher divorce rate. (I looked it up, and YOU should, too). Here: "Surprisingly, a trend for divorce higher rates has been noticed in the Southern “Bible Belt” of the United States. In 1998, the Southern states, with the exception of only one state, had almost double the divorce rates as those of Northern states. Besides the factors listed above, a contribution to the higher divorce rate may be religion." (Source: http://divorce.lovetoknow.com/Divorce_Rates)
SO, why do Republicans love to hate gay people who want committed marriages? I guess it's because gay people are more likely to get married because they really, really want to get married, and we make the GOP look bad in their marriages.

A KICKER- This has nothing to do with gay marriage, but with people who suffer from a life-threatening illness (that Huckabee thinks is a "gay disease"). Huckabee said "He also advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, saying it was necessary to confine "carriers of this plague."" Now THAT'S CHRISTIAN COMPASSION (Not!)! (Anyone that votes for this hateful idiot should their head examined).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

NYC Really DOES have Superheroes!

Our friend Jack sent me a link to this story from the New York Post-complete with video story. I (Rob) have always loved and still love superheroes (you know I have a bunch of costumes in the closet). Anyway - this is a GREAT STORY! These New Yorkers are awesome.
STORY: Dark Guardian gets an assist from two fellow superheroes, Chaim “Life” Lazaros, 25, and Ben Goldman, 23, a k a “Cameraman,” who has videotaped the Washington Square showdowns. The plucky pair also hands out food to the city’s homeless at least once a week. Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/evildoers_nyc_own_superheroes_beware_C07qjscAB2eh34P1CsUOCO#ixzz0l1XVDrtf

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Tribute to Lucy Brown


(PHOTO: Cooper (left) and Lucy (right)
If you read our blog regularly, you may recall that in January 2009, we fostered a wirehaired dachshund from Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue. His name was "Cooper." He's about 10 years old, and had a heart murmur. He was found wandering the streets of a New Jersey town on a snowy, cold winter night. We took him in (through the rescue), cleaned him up, got his teeth removed (they were all infected), nursed him back to health, and he was very happily adopted by his new dad and mom, Bob and Arlene. They already had a wiredhaired Dachshund named "Lucy" who was about 9 years old (I think). What's interesting is that Lucy is blind.
Over the months, Bob and Arlene kept us updated on Cooper and Lucy, and told us that Lucy had come to depend on Cooper to lead in dog walks. They became the best of friends. Lucy also had a heart problem, and last week she succumbed to it.
Bob sent us an email today that had me (Rob) in tears. Here's what Bob wrote: Lucy had her third incident of congestive heart failure that required emergency care. The first two (times) she was able to stabilize with four different medications. Early Wednesday morning she was having trouble breathing so I took her to the emergency animal hospital. The x-ray showed that her heart had nearly doubled in size in a few weeks, and there was nothing that could be done for her. So she waited until Arlene arrived, wagged her tail, gave us both “kisses” and laid down and died. It was a heartbreaking day, but Arlene and I know that we did all we could for her. Since last June, we have taken the approach that every day she was with us was a blessing, and we considered it "bonus time" since we nearly lost her in June.
We're posting this tribute to Lucy to help keep her memory alive and to express our deepest sympathies to Bob, Arlene and Cooper in their loss.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A "Welcome Home" from Iraq to our friend Tom H.

In honor of our friend Tom Hunter, who has just come home from Iraq: Welcome Home, Tom!! Here's a video/song by Dolly Parton about just that to celebrate your "Welcome Home" to your wife Rebecca and your son!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Pope MUST Go! - the Twisted History of Celibacy

As a former Catholic and even more so as a gay man, this EVIL, misguided, hateful Pope needs to go. We just heard on ABC News that Pope Benedict has now blamed the entire HISTORY of sexual abuse in the church on gay men. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!
- In fact, sexual abuse is proven to be more of a heterosexual issue. Furthermore, so is the horrible crime of pedophilia. Look it up. Pope Benedict said that denying priests of sexual relationships with a partner has "nothing to do with the criminal actions. I ask you, Where in the heck does this guy live?
It is HUMAN NATURE to desire to be close and intimate with a partner. You can't deny that or it has repercussions on the human psyche. NO WONDER priests who are barred from intimacies with other human beings develop the illness of pedophilia. Life-long celibacy is torture.
The Pope is trying to pull out an old INVALID fear and put the blame on another group. He truly is a hateful man. I'm so disappointed, so disgusted. He needs to GO!

From the University of California-Davis Psychology report:
http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/HTML/facts_molestation.html
Some typologies of child molesters divide the fixation-regression distinction into multiple categories, and some include additional categories as well (e.g., Knight, 1989). For the present discussion, the important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women.

On a RELATED NOTE: British Campaigners Threaten Pope With Arrest British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins will try to have Pope Benedict arrested to face questions over the Catholic church's child abuse scandal when he visits Britain later this year, one of his lawyers said Sunday. (Personally, I hope he succeeds).
FYI - Here's a Brief History of Celibacy in the Catholic Church (Source: http://www.futurechurch.org/fpm/history.htm
1) First Century
- Peter, the first pope, and the apostles that Jesus chose were, for the most part, married men. The New Testament implies that women presided at eucharistic meals in the early church.
2) Second and Third Century- Age of Gnosticism: light and spirit are good, darkness and material things are evil. A person cannot be married and be perfect. However, most priests were married.
Seventh Century- France: documents show that the majority of priest were married.
Eighth Century - St. Boniface reported to the pope that in Germany almost no bishop or priest was celibate.
Twelfth Century - 1123-Pope Calistus II: First Lateran Council decreed that clerical marriages were invalid
Twentieth Century
1930-Pope Pius XI: sex can be good and holy.
1951-Pope Pius XII: married Lutheran pastor ordained catholic priest in Germany.
1962-Pope John XXIII: Vatican Council II; vernacular; marriage is equal to virginity.
1966-Pope Paul VI: celibacy dispensations.
1978-Pope John Paul II: puts a freeze on dispensations.
1983-New Canon Law.
1980-Married Anglican/Episcopal pastors are ordained as catholic priests in the U.S.; also in Canada and England in 1994.
DID YOU KNOW THAT SOME POPES WERE MARRIED?
St. Peter, Apostle
St. Felix III 483-492 (2 children)
St. Hormidas 514-523 (1 son)
St. Silverus (Antonia) 536-537
Hadrian II 867-872 (1 daughter)
Clement IV 1265-1268 (2 daughters)
Felix V 1439-1449 (1 son)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nice Weekend


We had a nice weekend and the weather was great. Highs in the 60s on Saturday and 70s on Sunday. We did a HUGE amount of housework and 3 dog walks on Saturday and had a fun dinner with friends Hil and Richard in DC at night. On Sunday after breakfast at Panera and a dog walk, Rob worked on a press release about his double booksigning events in May in Massachusetts. Then, Jeff and Jimmy drove up from Virginia and we had a fun afternoon in Annapolis. It was a perfect afternoon (although Rob sensed 3 or 4 ghosts around town). Here are some photos!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Funny TV News Fail-Blog Images

A friend at work introduced me to "Fail Blog" and there are some really funny photos and videos of the stupidest things on that site! These 2 happened to catch my eye as I'm always looking for TV weather bloopers. These are news bloopers, both from Fox News. One is that the Fox news producer doesn't know that a poll using a pie chart or anything else should equal 100% (I think there's a job opening there now); and the other doesn't know their Geography, as Egypt is NOT between Iran and Syria, (That's Iraq). Egypt is in the African Continent (there should be a job open for a Fox graphics person, too). The bottom line, TV news doesn't always get it right.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dogs are as Smart as 5 year olds

Some dogs really are as smart (or smarter) than 5 year old human children, just as DVM Stanley Coren wrote in his book "The Intelligence of Dogs." Case in point:
Last night our 5 year old Weimaraner Dolly woke me up at 2:30 a.m. She stood on my side of the bed panting. That's how she's started to signal me in the middle of the night that she has to go outside and isn't feeling well. I let her outside and she had to throw up. It's not only that action, but what she did when she came inside.

Flashback to three weeks ago. She woke me then when she wasn't feeling well at 1 a.m. I let her out then, and she threw up (she loves to eat grass every couple of weeks). When she came inside, she was shivering, so I took her into our upstairs TV room and laid down on her large bed with her, and covered the both of us with blankets. I held her that night for hours until she got comfortable, and we both went to sleep.
Back to last night - When she came in from outside she remembered that one time we went upstairs and she headed for the upstairs TV room! She KNEW that I would sleep on her upstairs bed with her and comfort her. Last night, I decided to just stay with her on her downstairs bed in our room, so I took a blanket and covered us, and we fell asleep until we had to get up at 4:30am to start the day. She was feeling warm and much better by that time.
Our dog Dolly truly is as smart as a 5 year old human child! Anyone that tells you that dogs are not, simply doesn't know a dog.

Deforestation Leads to Lines!

Two friends sent this funny photo to us. It's called the "Consequences of deforestation." :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Our Puppy Buzz' Spirit Visits

On March 17 we were taking photos of our dogs, Dolly the Weimaraner and Franklin the Dachshund. We took two photos in a row, and to our surprise, our late Weimaraner puppy Buzz (who passed February 22, 2005 when his leash opened and his was killed by a car) also wanted to get in the photo. The first photo shows an orb to Dolly's right side. That's where Buzz's spirit decided to sit for the photo. An orb is a ball of light that is spirit energy.
Note that the second photo confirms that it was not a smudge on the camera lens as it wasn't there anymore. You can also tell an orb from dust, because dust doesn't have a design of color in the middle of it.
Further down, you'll see a photo of Buzz as he was in 2004 (when he was alive). We're just glad that Buzz continues to visit!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Trying Accupuncture for Neck Pain

I (Rob) have had problems with my neck for about 2 years. For the last 1 1/2 years I've been seeing a chiropractor who was able to re-instate my range of motion, and I can now turn my head to the left about 90 degrees (just as I've always been able to do on the right side). When I first went to the chiropractor I could only turn it about 20 degrees to the left, so they've really helped.
- Lately, my TMJ has become hyper sensitive (since I had a tooth pulled and had to keep my mouth open for over and hour. The chiropractor hasn't been able to relieve that continual pressure as well as I had hoped, and I still have a very tough muscle knot in my left shoulder that's been there about 1 1/2 years! SO, I finally went to an acupuncturist yesterday.
I didn't know what to expect. What I got was a very calming experience, and instead of putting the tiny needles in my shoulder or neck, she put them in my lower legs. Almost immediately the dull ache of my jaw's TMJ symptoms lessened. Today, they're still not as pronounced as they were before my appointment. Also, my left shoulder doesn't seem to be pulling as tightly. I also have occasional tingling in the back of my neck on the right side. They're all inter-connected as I suspected, and the treatment can help. Finally, after 2 years of this stuff, I went to the right place (I believe). I go back in a week and am looking forward to it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Weekend Fun


SUNDAY DOG WALKS AND STUFF - This weekend we were busy as usual, but took time out to enjoy several dog walks and admire the beautiful trees blooming all around the neighborhood. Here's a photo of us on our Sunday morning dog walk, and a stunning tree around the corner from our house. We enjoyed dinner with Tom's parents after a busy Sunday afternoon of more house stuff, blogging, etc.
A USUALLY BUSY SATURDAY - As always it was a busy day. Up at 5:30am, fed the kids, grabbed Dunkin' Donuts on the way to grocery shopping (done by 8am); walked the dogs, swept and mopped the floors, bathed the dogs, moved the lawn, dog walk #2 and #3, baked brownies, made dinner for Jeff, Jim and Terry who came over, and collapsed watching a good movie called "Night Train" (starring Danny Glover).
CHOCK FULL OF IBUPROFEN - Tom is experiencing back pain from mowing and gardening yesterday, while Rob's TMJ jaw pain has been tough the last 3 days. It's tough to get old! We're both chock-full of ibuprofen this weekend.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nothing Says Happy Easter like a Blonde Joke


Happy Easter and Happy Passover Here's a funny Easter Egg photo from our friend "Ski" in Mass. and below is a joke from Mom F. in Maine for you! Have a fun day!


A man is driving along a highway and sees a rabbit jump out across the middle of the road. He swerves to avoid hitting it, but unfortunately the rabbit jumps right in front of the car. The driver, a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulls over and gets out to see what has become of the rabbit. Much to his dismay, the rabbit is dead.
The driver feels so awful that he begins to cry. A beautiful blonde woman driving down the highway saw the man, and pulled over. She steps out of the car and asks the man what's wrong.
"I feel terrible," he explains, "I accidentally hit this rabbit and killed it."
The blonde says, "Don't worry." Then she turns around, goes back to her car and returns to the man and the rabbit's body with a spray can. She bent over the dead rabbit and sprayed it.
The man looks at her in astonishment and is puzzled. "Why did you do that?" he asked the Blonde.
She replied, "It's Hair Spray silly. It restores life to dead hair."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

We Researched these FACTS about the New Health Care Reform

(Tom Wrote:) One of the things that I find especially troubling about the acerbic exchange that has been taking place during the debate of the healthcare reform legislation is how vocal the opposition is about a law they know nothing about. I think I can speak for Rob when I say that we think this is a good law, not without its flaws of course, and not because we're flaming liberals, but because we know what the law says. Here are some of the new law's provisions:
1. If you are currently a Medicare recipient, this law will close the "doughnut hole" in the prescription drug benefit - by 2020, it goes away. The current "doughnut hole" means that Medicare STOPS paying anything for drugs after $2700, and doesn't start again until your costs reach $6,154. Now with this legislation, In 2010, if you exceed the $2700 threshold, but don't make it to the $6154 threshold (known as the "doughnut hole" or coverage gap), you will at least receive a $250 rebate. It gets better in 2011, as the cost of drugs in the coverage gap will go down by 50 percent. AND, the law will begin phasing down the coinsurance amount in the coverage gap so that by 2020, it will reach the standard 25 percent beneficiary coinsurance.
2. Copayments and deductibles for certain preventive care screenings will be eliminated. Under this new law, seniors will receive FREE preventive services.
3. The law includes a provision to improve care coordination for individuals with multiple physicians.
4. Americans 65 and older will continue to receive comprehensive health insurance. Doctors and hospitals will continue to be paid per procedure under the new law.
5. Effective immediately, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. AND, beginning in six months, insurance companies must extend coverage to adult children (up to the age of 26) if they are a full-time student.
6. Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny a person's coverage when they get sick, and insurance companies cannot impose a lifetime cap on coverage. Insurance companies will not be allowed to rescind a person's coverage except in the case of fraud.
7. Companies with 50 or more employees will have to provide health insurance for their employees, or be subject to a penalty.
So how will we pay for all these new provisions? The bottom line is being offset with the elimination of waste and fraud that has been endemic in the system, and from small reductions in reimbursements to hospitals and doctors. This is where I have some doubt - but we won't know if it works until we try something. Also, in the beginning there will be no significant cuts in service to Medicare beneficiaries. However, beginning in 2019, Medicare beneficiaries earning OVER $85,000 will have to pay higher premiums. But what's the big deal with this? Every year for the last 5 years, I have watched my insurance premiums, albeit subsidized by my employer, go up consistently between 17 and 25 percent each year. Do you get those kinds of raises?
Probably the biggest opposition that we're hearing about is this: by 2014, all citizens and legal residents will be required to carry health insurance. The concept is simple: spread the risk over a larger number of people. If we don't all participate, then we all end up paying a greater amount for an individual with no insurance that needs healthcare - think gunshot victim, or a individual that suffers a heart attack that had no insurance. So, if an individual refuses to buy health insurance, under this new law, you will have to pay a penalty of $695. In the beginning, there will be subsidies to help individuals pay this "fine," and there are provisions for individuals that are living below the poverty line.
So far, we're not hearing anything that's all that bad.

Perfect Night: Friday Night Dog Walk- "Squirrel!"

Today was a perfect weather day (despite being in the office all day), sunshine and 75F. We both got home early from work, fed the dogs and went to our favorite Mexican restaurant where Tom loves celebrating "Margarita Friday!" - I (Rob) don't drink, but I love the food there, and the waitstaff is friendly and cute. :)
We got home by 6:30pm and took the dogs on a nice long walk - they loved it! Here's Tom and Dolly (Weimaraner) and Franklin (Dachshund) enjoying their walk (Rob was taking the photos).


We stopped at the sign to a little park that we walk them through (yes,we're always armed with "poo bags" to pick up after the kids leave little presents). We tried posing them here in front of the park's sign and as you can see in the second shot... "Squirrel!" So much for getting them to look at the camera. :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bathroom Renovation: Moving into Month 5


Every homeowner knows that when you do something around the house it always takes longer than expected. If you've been following this blog, you know we hired a contractor to remodel our small first floor bathroom on Nov. 28, 2009. Well, most of it was finished in March 2010, but one of the two parts of the specially-made cabinet we ordered for the space between the wall and the shower initially arrived damaged, so Rob sent it back. The replacement arrived 2 weeks ago, but it was made TOO WIDE to fit in the space!! So, Tom bought a planer and trimmed the sides. Of course, he had to remove the tile in the opening, and the electrical socket (temporarily) too, so once he did, and thinned the sides of the top part of the cabinet, he managed to get it where it belonged (over the bottom part of the cabinet). This is a photo from today, April 2, 2010 of the cabinet sitting where it belongs (finally). What we didn't know when we ordered it is that they didn't provide the glass, so now we have to order that! This bathroom has been a challenge!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maryland's Prejudiced Del. Dwyer Should be Removed from Office

Maryland has a hateful, prejudiced delegate from Anne Arundel County named Donald Dwyer, who tied up the legislature yesterday in a hateful attempt to impeach the Attorney General. The Attorney General went back hundreds of years through Maryland law and provided an opinion that gay marriages that were performed in OTHER STATES should be RECOGNIZED as marriages in Maryland. What's the big deal? We do that for Driver's licenses, do we not? **WELL, Del. Dwyer, who is on a personal mission to deny gay people rights made a stand yesterday, wasting time when people are Jobless, Homeless, and in dire straits. Below is the letter I sent him. I hope HE is REMOVED from office immediately. He's a disgrace. His personal homophobia is obviously much more important to him than the people that voted him in. HE should be impeached.

Dear Delegate Dwyer -
Yesterday you wasted a lot of taxpayer money with your personal hatred of gay citizens. I read with great disgust how you tied up the entire legislature over your own unexplained hatred of gay citizens yesterday, when this state faces so MANY important issues.
Do your constituents really want to you waste time on your own intolerance of certain people when so many are in financial ruin, jobless or homeless? Of course not! You were elected to assist your people in their greatest needs. Your homophobia is a personal issue and has no place for tying up the Maryland Legislature.
Obviously you place your own deep-seated prejudices ahead of the needs of your constituents.
YOU are the one who needs to be removed from office. The Attorney General simply issued a legal opinion of what the Maryland law allows.
As a citizen of Maryland hope that during the next election, voters will do everything in their power to remove you from office. Maryland is a great state that welcomes all people and should not be represented by your hatefulness and prejudice.

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