Thursday, January 31, 2013

VIDEO: Indoor doggy playtime

Here's a short video of our dogs enjoying indoor playtime!  We usually play indoors when it's too cold or stormy.    Franklin the Dachshund likes to play tug of war, Dolly the Weimaraner likes to tear toys apart little by little. Tyler the foster dachshund likes running after balls, and Sprite, the senior dachshund likes to watch it all.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Slight Change in the Blog

Tyler snoozing upside-down!
I haven't been seeing the amount of spammed comments that have hit our blog, and when I checked today there were about 600 Spam comments, saying how they like the blog and asking to check out their website.
  Because this blog sends comments to our emails, Tom's email was deluged with them (for some reason mine was not getting them), so I had to delete the Comment section, sadly.
  I can't understand why people choose to use other's blogs and destroy things for other people. It really ticks me off that 600 stupid, thoughtless people can prevent friends and visitors from leaving a comment on something they feel interesting. Sigh.  - If you have a comment you can email me.    Meanwhile, I'll continue to post these on facebook.
  Because I didn't want this blog to be a downer, I thought I'd include this cute photo of our foster pup Tyler sleeping upside down, with his little back feet up. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our 23 Hour Trip: Salem, Massachusetts!

This past weekend, I (Rob) was supposed to be partaking in an event with our friend Ruth, associated with my books. However, after I bought Tom and I some non-refundable airline tickets and paid in advance for the hotel (it was a special). I salvaged the trip and planned an afternoon touring historic Salem, Mass. - Home of the Witch Trials in 1692. What an amazing place.
House of the 7 Gables
Rob and Tom outside the House of 7 Gables
  The first place we visited was the House of the 7 Gables.  The book: The House of the Seven Gables is a Gothic novel written in 1851 by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.  It was really amazing and cool because it's the second oldest wood-framed house in the entire U.S. (The oldest is the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Mass.). Hawthorne was inspired to write his novel because of his visits to the house. His cousin owned the house (and at the time it didn't have 7 gables).   Usually, the old houses were torn down, but the 7 Gables House was bought by a fan of Hawthorne's famous novel, and she restored it.(A gable is a peak on the roof, btw)
Model of the House

 Was there a ghost in it?  Of course!  This house is over 350 years old. Someone had to be attached to it. The original section of the house was built in 1648. What did the ghost tell me?  The ghost told me that they died of a fever, and made me physically feel chills in my head.  As we went through the house, we learned that there was an outbreak of fever in the late 1600s that killed a lot of people in the colony.. interesting.

Tom at Hawthorne's birthplace

Hawthorne's birth home
  The second place we visited with Nathaniel Hawthorne's Birthplace. It was moved and put right next to the House of the 7 Gables. The house was built sometime between 1730–1745, and located at 27 Union Street until moved to its current location in 1958. According to architectural historian Abbott Lowell Cummings, the house was probably built for Benjamin Pickman on land deeded him by his father-in-law Joseph Hardy, and may have recycled structural timbers from a 17th century Pickman house that earlier stood on its site. It reflects typical architecture for the period: a central chimney, gambrel roof, front and back stairways, and a post-and-lintel doorway.

  - The Witch Museum was great, too. It showed how young girls created the false hysteria that led to 25 deaths and imprisonment of 150 people.
  The museum also had displays about modern day witch hunts like McCarthyism in the 1950s (the communist scare); the AIDS epidemic blamed on gay people; and several others. The place has such an amazing history. (Website:
    There were NO witches then, it was all hysteria... it's a great lesson in history and everyone should visit!
Rob and Tom outside the Witch Museum
Downtown Salem main street

Monday, January 28, 2013

SCIENCE BLOG: What is Freezing Rain?

Earth and Sky (a great science website and podcast) did a story about Freezing Rain, and considering the northeastern U.S. and Mid-Atlantic is experiencing it, we thought we'd post it to help explain a few things. See below!

“Why is it raining when it is below freezing?”
   Why is it raining when temperatures are below freezing? What is going on? This phenomenon is simply called freezing rain. In this post, I will explain what causes it and how it can be the most problematic weather feature in the wintertime, especially in urban areas.
Freezing rain in Kentucky. Image Credit: NWS/NOAA

Freezing rain is simply rain that falls through a shallow layer of cold temperatures at or below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) near the surface. When this rain becomes supercooled, it can freeze on contact with roads, bridges, trees, powerlines, and vehicles. When freezing rain accumulates, it can add a lot of weight on trees which can result in numerous power outages and damage to homes. Freezing rain is typically the weather threat that creates the most car accidents, injuries, and deaths in winter storms. Many people can drive in the rain and snow, but when the roads become icy, it is almost impossible to drive. Just a quarter of an inch of ice can add 500 pounds of weight on trees which can easily bring them down. Some of the most severe ice storms can shut down large cities, result in thousands of power outages, and the most violent ones can also become billion dollar disasters (rare).

    Here is a diagram that shows the importance of how precipitation falls as rain, sleet, snow, or freezing rain. It is important to know the difference between snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

1) Snow forms when the entire layer of air is sub-freezing. Snow consists of ice crystals and is white and fluffy.
2) Sleet forms when the layer of sub-freezing air is fairly deep, 3,000 to 4,000 feet. This allows time for the water droplet to freeze into a tiny piece of ice and become sleet as it falls to the surface. Precipitation in the wintertime that falls as tiny ice pellets is sleet. Hail is only associated with strong thunderstorms and are larger in size and can cause damage.
3) Freezing rain forms when the sub-freezing layer is very shallow. 2,000 feet from the surface, temperatures are above freezing,so any precipitation that falls is liquid. Once rain hits that shallow, cold air near the surface, it freezes on contact with any object.
Ice storms can cause major problems on the roads. Image Credit: NWS

Shallow, cold air at the surface can sometimes occur thanks to cold air damming. Cold air damming, also abbreviated as CAD, is where a low level cold air mass is trapped topographically. These events can be very common near or around mountain regions, and is known to occur across the eastern United States thanks to the Appalachian Mountains. Some of the worst ice storms to form were thanks to this CAD effect that is also known as the “wedge”. The term is constantly used because shallow cold air is wedged down the Appalachian Mountains thanks to a ridge of high pressure typically located across New England, eastern Canada, or the Mid-Atlantic.

When it comes to freezing rain, it is the weight of the ice on the trees that cause major problems. They can fall over and crush cars, houses, and power lines. According to Steve Nix, brittle tree species typically take the brunt of heavy icing. Trees such as poplars, silver maples, birches, willows and hack-berries are more likely to break and fall over due to the weight of the ice. One of the big reasons these trees break and fall over first is because they are fast growers and develop with a weak, V-shaped crotches that can easily split apart under the added weight of ice.
Image Credit: NWS Hastings by Marla Doxey
The Bottom line: Freezing rain is simply rain that falls into a shallow layer of cold temperatures that is below freezing. When this supercooled droplet hits an object, it then freezes and becomes ice. Freezing rain is the most dangerous winter weather element as it can paralyze cities and cause a lot of damage. Freezing rain is the culprit for ice storms, and it can create a large nightmare for travelers on the roads.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Study: Lightning and Migraines/My Ghostly headaches

I always get a headache in the back left side of my head whenever the energy of a ghost or spirit is around. Now, a new scientific study links lightning (another form of energy) to headaches, helping to reinforce my theory of "electrical overload" in the brain from outside energies (like ghosts and spirits).  As a meteorologist, I find this very plausible and exciting that this research acts to confirm my theory about getting "ghostly headaches." - Rob


Lightning tied to onset of headaches, migraines, says study

A new study has found that lightning might affect the onset of headache and migraines.
Do you sometimes feel like you’re getting a headache when a thunderstorm is coming on? Turns out, it’s not the thunder – it’s the lightning. That’s according to a new study that has found that lightning might affect the onset of headache and migraines.
Photo via Shutterstock
The study, published in the January 24, 2013 online edition of the journal Cephalalgia, said there was a 31 percent increased risk of headache and 28 percent increased risk of migraine for chronic headache sufferers on days lighting struck within 25 miles of study participants’ homes.
In addition, new-onset headaches and migraines increased by 24 percent and 23 percent in participants when lightning was nearby.
Geoffrey Martin, fourth-year medical student at University of Connecticut, and his father, headache expert Vincent Martin MD, a professor at University of Connecticut, led the study. Geoffrey Martin said:
Many studies show conflicting findings on how weather, including elements like barometric pressure and humidity, affect the onset of headaches. However, this study very clearly shows a correlation between lightning, associated meteorological factors and headaches.
Arlington, Virginia, looking towards Washington DC. September 1, 2012. Photo credit: EarthSky Facebook friend Brian Allen. Thanks for posting Brian!
Vincent Martin said:
We used mathematical models to determine if the lightning itself was the cause of the increased frequency of headaches or whether it could be attributed to other weather factors encountered with thunderstorms. Our results found a 19 percent increased risk for headaches on lightning days, even after accounting for these weather factors. This suggests that lightning has its own unique effect on headache.
So why would lightning trigger a headache? Vincent Martin explained:
Electromagnetic waves emitted from lightning could trigger headaches. In addition, lightning produces increases in air pollutants like ozone and can cause release of fungal spores that might lead to migraine.
The researchers said that his study gives some insight into the tie between headaches or migraines, lightning and other meteorologic factors. However, the exact mechanisms through which lightning and/or its associated meteorologic factors trigger headache are unknown.
Bottom line: A new study, published in the January 24, 2013 online edition of the journal Cephalalgia, is the first tying lightning to headache. The study found there was a 31 percent increased risk of headache and 28 percent increased risk of migraine for chronic headache sufferers on days lighting struck within 25 miles of study participants’ homes.
Read more from the University of Cincinnati

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Photo Blog: Riding for Food!

At lunchtime Rob took Dolly, Franklin and Sprite to the pet store to get dog food for Dolly. Tyler and Franklin both wanted the front seat! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Outrageous News: American Evangelicals Finance Uganda's Antigay Movement

     I can't understand why people in the Worldwide Christian community allow some things to go on - this latest expose by the New York Times is horrifying and disgusting. 
 - Some AMERICAN Evangelicals and THOUSANDS of U.S. churches are funding the movement in Uganda to execute all gay people. 
Tell me how this is Christian?    THIS IS SICK, SICK, SICK.
 --Published on Jan 23, 2013:  The filmmaker Roger Ross Williams reveals how money donated by American evangelicals helps to finance a violent antigay movement in Uganda.
Related article:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Great Pic of our 4 Kids

It's rare that you can get 4 dogs to sit together where one of them isn't moving, but when they were all waiting for their daily cranberry pills (to reduce the acid in their urine) covered in peanut butter, they're very patient. Here's a picture I (Rob) took of them patiently waiting!
Front to Back: Tyler, Sprite, Franklin & Dolly

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CBS News Video Report: The Real Downton Abbey

CBS NEWS VIDEO: The Real Downton Abbey

(PLUS: Info about Highclere Castle, and a book about one of the former Countesses) 
The popular PBS series "Downton Abbey" has taken the U.S. by storm and Tom and I have been watching it. Because we missed Season 1 and 2, I (Rob) surprised Tom with them on DVD, so we're watching them and getting the entire story, while watching the current season (3). (BTW- Season 4 is apparently airing now in the U.K. so if you check the website their may be some spoilers).
   DID YOU KNOW?  The 5th Earl that lived there bankrolled the Egyptian excavation that unearthed the tomb of King Tut. Many of the archeological Egyptian artifacts he found still exist in the mansion today.
    Here's a real story behind the castle where the TV show is filmed. Martha Teichner visits Highclere Castle.  For the link to the Television production's website:

Dowton Abbey TV Show Cast
BOOK ABOUT REAL FORMER OWNER: There's a book about the REAL Lady Almina who lived in the castle. 
The Countess of Carnarvon has written a biography of one of her predecessors:  Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, wife of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.  This book lacks depth but is fairly well written and well researched. On Amazon:

HIGHCLERE CASTLE: Highclere Castle is the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and also features as Downton Abbey, the hugely successful drama series with over 11 million viewers in the UK and now shown in over 100 countries around the world.
Highclear castle's Monk's Garden
Highclere Castle has been the seat of the Earls of Carnarvon since the late 17th century and today is still a much loved family home. It is one of England’s most spectacular Victorian castles, set amidst 1000 acres of sweeping parkland. Built by Sir Charles Barry at the pinnacle of Victorian England, it is steeped in the history of the famous and well connected.
 1,200 tourists visit the castle a day, even though it's the real home of an Earl and Countess.
For a link to visit the Highclere Castle:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Geography Quiz: Where are the Midway Islands?

One of the cool things about my job is working with satellite data. As a kid, my Dad used to teach my brothers and me about geography at the kitchen table. He would quiz us about the names of the ocean basins, countries, U.S. state capitals and other places. Dad loved geography, so in the spirit of my dad's love of geography, here's a quiz for you and I'll even give you a satellite image.
   On Jan. 18th, NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the Midway Islands. I had to wonder how many people know what the Midway Islands are- who are not familiar with military history. The answer below.

 The Midway Islands are a 2.4-square-mile toll in the North Pacific Ocean.   Midway is roughly equidistant between North America and Asia, and lies almost halfway around the world from Greenwich, England. It is near the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, about one-third of the way from Honolulu, Hawaii to Tokyo, Japan. Midway Atoll is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, and the former home of the Midway Naval Air Station (former ICAO PMDY). For statistical purposes, Midway is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. It is less than 140 nautical miles (259 km; 161 mi) east of the International Date Line, about 2,800 nautical miles (5,200 km; 3,200 mi) west of San Francisco

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inaugeration Weather in History

It's going to be cold today for President Obama's second inauguration, and here's an article from USA TODAY that looked at weather during past events.

 So what does the weather have in store for President Obama's second inauguration Monday, which will occur at noon on the steps of the U.S. Capitol? Most likely, chilly, windy conditions, thanks to a cold front barreling through the eastern U.S. that should put an end to the relatively mild weekend weather.
William Howard Taft, center,  inauguration as the 27th president March 4, 1909.

Here are the records for inaugural weather since 1937, the first January Inauguration Day, according to the National Weather Service:
  • Warmest: 1981. President Reagan's first inauguration. Noon temperature: 55 degrees.
  • Coldest: 1985: Reagan's second inauguration. Noon temperature: 7 degrees. The inauguration was moved indoors.
  • Rainiest: 1937. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's second inauguration, when 1.77 inches of rain fell.
  • Snowiest: 1961. Eight inches of snow fell the night before John F. Kennedy was sworn in.
  • Warmest non-traditional date: (Aug. 9, 1974) - Gerald Ford; 89 degrees, with partly cloudy skies and hazy conditions.

Full story:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why a Dog's Recovery and Heartworm Treatment is Challenging

If you want to know why it is SO IMPORTANT TO GIVE YOUR DOG HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVE, check out the treatment to try and cure the dog (as we're in the process with our foster dog, Tyler):(UPDATE: August 2013: 6 months after the treatment, Tyler tested Negative for Heartworm, so the treatment worked./ UPDATE 2: 2 years later Tyler has become athletic in agility training classes. )

Recovery and Heartworm Treatment is Challenging
Tyler now in heartworm treatment
 Heartworm is a severe infestation of the heart by worms of from 6-12" in length which load the heart and cut off its ability to function. In severe cases, the worms grow, reproduce, and migrate from the heart to arteries, the lungs, and even other organs in the body.

PREVENTION: It is a horrific mosquito-borne disease that no dog should have to endure and is completely preventable by monthly heartworm pills, which kill the microfilaria deposited in the blood stream by mosquitoes before they can invade the heart, mature, consume the heart, and kill the dog.
THE CURE IS ROUGH: Fortunately, there is a cure, though it is rough on the dogs and their caretakers, and expensive, but most dogs with heartworm disease do survive through the treatment and the loving, knowledgeable care of their concerned caretakers.

From the occult blood test, if a heartworm positive (HW+) dog is a Stage 1 or 2 (mild to
moderate heartworm disease, though the assessment is more complicated than this) with no
clinical symptoms (slow heartbeat, congested lungs, fever, prior coughing, and
listlessness), we do the full treatment of two injections over 24 hours. A second, milder
injection may be done in 4 weeks with re-check, OR oral Ivermectin or pill for microfilaria.
If the dog is a Stage 3 - 5 (severe to critical heartworm disease--"loaded" with the heartworms),
The dog gets one injection; then the standard two injections over 24 hours in 4 weeks; recheck and
possible Ivermectin in another week.
The injections (called an Immiticide or Adulticide because it kills adult heartworms) are made in the lumbar region with a long needle; the Immiticide is an arsenic-based compound (though the modern compound has less arsenic than older compounds): it can hurt some dogs, cause pain to spread throughout the lower back muscles, and make the dog feel nauseated. Both symptoms will usually ease in a couple of days. Usually Rymadil is sent home with them for the after pain.


Some patients are very tired and sleep a lot for two to four days; some have temporary
difficulty getting up because of the muscle soreness. Though some dogs do not experience
the muscle soreness, it is particularly important not to pick up the dog or put any pressure on
the back for 2-4 days after the injections.
Even a gentle dog might cry out and snap in pain if
that area is touched. You will know the dog is feeling better when the eyes brighten, tail
wags, and the dog resumes interest in the caretaker and home activities, usually in just a few
Let the dog sleep in a crate or on a preferred doggy bed or blanket, wherever she is
most comfortable, while you watch her and keep her quiet; some dogs think they’re feeling
well and may even want to play, but it is imperative that no heartworm patient exercise
during the recovery period. The dog may not run, play, or go for any extended walks
during the four-week period.  Even after heartworm treatment is successfully completed, the patient should not go for long walks or engage in strenuous play for another month:
each patient should be allowed to gradually build his or her strength. Go out in the yard with him to make sure he doesn’t run but just eliminates and comes back in.

 (1) Keep an eye on the gums; they should be pink. If they get very red or white, along with listlessness, call us and take the dog to the vet: the dog may have a secondary infection (red gums) or anemia/shock (white gums) and need quick intervention
(2) Pay close attention to combination of lethargy, increased respiration, restlessness, and coughing; if you note these symptoms after treatment, call vet. She will probably be put on Prednisone and will respond quickly
(3) Watch for vomiting or any bloody discharge combined with listlessness, fever, rapid
breathing/heart rate, and pale gums. Although extremely rare, also watch for hindquarter
paralysis and urinary incontinence. With the symptoms in (3), which are life-threatening, the
dog goes immediately to the nearest Clinic because the signs point to embolism (worm clot
from the die-off of the parasites during treatment)
; the doctors will keep her overnight,
possibly a couple of days or even a week, put her on IV to hydrate her, sometimes oxygen if
she's in distress, and give her cortisone injections to break up the clot.
(4) If hindquarter paralysis- rare, but seems to be caused by muscular 'grip' or possible embolism pressing on the nerves, the doctors will treat with injections of corticosteroids and antibiotics. In both of our cases, the paralysis eased within a few days, and the dogs fully recovered

Most HW+ dogs do go through a certain amount of coughing and/or gagging
reflex which could start at any time, but some patients rarely cough at all. The worms are
dying and dissolving, being passed through the bloodstream and lungs; the dog has to cough
up the resultant phlegm – not the same as real vomiting, which you’d recognize.

However, if the coughing/gagging reflex seems heavy and uncontrollable, causing the dog distress, call the vet and us as he may be starting an embolism. Again, this is rare in our experience, and we
do expect some coughing/gagging a few times a day or a few times a week for a couple of
weeks; then it gradually subsides as he improves. However, the veterinarian may prescribe
Prednisone for your foster because he hears a 'crackling' in the heart indicative of higher
level infestation or fluid build up.
A 100% recovered Tyler

A  GREAT POST-HEARTWORM UPDATE JUNE 2015 (2 years later). 
Our Dachshund, Tyler, recovered from heartworm and is a healthy, happy dog, as your dog will be.  Sometimes we wonder if the heartworms caused a strain on his heart (they will, the longer it goes untreated). However, for the last 1 1/2 years he's been in pre-agility training and has done very well. So, he's regained his health, he's happy and very active and even athletic!  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Great Book: To Fetch a Thief - Chet and Bernie Mysteries

I just finished reading the book "To Fetch a Thief" - one of the mysteries in the series of the "Chet and Bernie" mysteries, and it was AWESOME!
  - Bernie is the detective, and Chet is his Border Collie, who narrates each adventure. Told from the dog's perspective, this is a great series!! This is the 2nd I've read, and I'm totally hooked.
   I read the first book, "Dog On It" two years ago and loved it. Although this is a series, I don't think you need to read that one first. I'll definitely be reading the rest of them. 
   Here's a Summary from the publisher:  In the third book in the brilliant New York Times bestselling series featuring a lovable and wise dog narrator, Chet and Bernie go under the big top to solve the most unlikely missing persons (and animals!) case ever.
  CHECK OUT THE BLOG: Chet the Dog has a blog, too:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dangerous Air Pollution in Beijing: The U.S. without an EPA

   Take a look at this photo of Beijing's air quality- this is NOT fog, it's pollution. Be thankful we have an EPA. Conditions in Beijing, China on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, show what happens when a country doesn't have air pollution restrictions and laws that we have thanks to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
    People wear masks to go outside, because the pollution is so bad.  Sunday was the third day that air pollution in the city has reached dangerous levels. The public was advised to stay indoors and to avoid strenuous exercise. Kids couldn't play in the parks, runners couldn't breathe when they tried running. This is serious and this pollution also travels around the world, which is another reason WHY we should care. China needs its own EPA and pollution controls.
Heavy fog envelops Beijing on Sunday morning and the municipal meteorological station
issues the city's first orange fog warning. [Photo/Xinhua]
THE FACTS:    According to real-time monitoring data from the China environmental bureau, the density of PM 2.5 particulates exceeded 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of the city, some even exceeded 900. WHAT'S NORMAL?  The World Health Organization considers a safe daily level to be 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
  THE BOTTOM LINE FOR THE U.S. IN THIS:  Politicians that support the Tea Party and Republicans who want to do away with the U.S. EPA are dangerous. The horrendous air quality that Beijing has is a result of having no "EPA" there to regulate pollution and develop pollution controls. The Tea Party has indicated they want to abolish the U.S. EPA. If that happens, this is what we'll get. Vote Smart.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Big Need to Harness Wind Energy

The Baltimore Sun on Sunday, Jan. 13 reported that Maryland's Governor is still trying to get legislation passed to establish some off-shore wind farms to help power Maryland. 
   Being a former resident of Massachusetts, I (Rob) know that that state has some in place, and have contributed to the generation of power. In fact, according to the Sun, there are three wind projects along the coast in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey that stand to benefit from a one-year extension of Congressionally approved extended federal tax breaks meant to encourage renewable energy development. I don't understand the opposition. 
   Some opponents said it would affect fishing, which is done much farther off-shore. Others said wind farms would "look bad." - Funny, how windmills in Holland are considered beautiful.  Others, like the including Maryland State Senator E.J. Pipkin, a Republican representing the upper Eastern Shore, argue that offshore wind is prohibitively expensive, and its higher-priced electricity could cost jobs rather than create them.
  SHORT-SIGHTED POLITICIAN: The Baltimore Sun says that "Pipkin questions why the state should commit ratepayers to nurture a fledgling industry when Western Maryland is sitting on potentially rich reserves of natural gas."  This is WHY we can't get clean energy sources developed. Foolish, short-sighted politicians like Pipkin keep thinking the answer is to drill for more instead of seeking other sources of power. Eventually, everything underground will be used up. We need to wind farms and other sources of alternative energy for us and our children and grandchildren. I don't understand the stupid notion of "live for today." That's incredibly selfish, short-sighted, and arrogant.
 - In a related note, it's Conservative politicians like this fool that are squelching the growth of U.S. innovation.
    THE UPS AND DOWNS:  Okay, so everyone's power bill may increase by as much as $1.50 a month to cover their costs until installed. I don't mind that, especially, when we're 1) Running out of natural resources to create electricity, and 2) that once paid for, our bills will go DOWN. 3) Wind turbines do NOT create pollution.
   MASSACHUSETTS SUCCESS WITH WIND POWER: According to an article in Information Week, " One year after coming on line, a $3.9 million wind turbine is generating a third of a Massachusetts ski resort's power.  For the full success story:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Foster Update: Tyler's First Anti-Heartworm Treatment

TYLER THE FOSTER DOG UPDATE: Tyler's First Anti-Heartworm Treatment

    Tyler completed his month of pre-heartworm treatment, and on Tuesday he got his first shot to help eradicate the heartworm. The shot was given with an injection of pain medication because it's very painful. Tyler's backside hurt when we brought him home, and he's on pain medication for 2 weeks. The anti-heartworm injection is supposed to kill off the worms around his little heart,  but apparently hurts at the injection site. He's got two more shots to go, both in mid-February.
   We have to keep him very quiet, with little activity for the next three months.
   By mid-August, he gets tested for heartworm again. Hopefully, he'll be free of them. If so, we can get him neutered and he can go to his forever home.

ABOUT TYLER: YOU CAN HELP THE RESCUE COVER HIS COSTS:  Our foster dog, Tyler is a mini black and tan dachshund (he's 12 pounds). We're fostering him through Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue.  If you would like to help in the cost of his Heartworm treatment (it's about $1500.00) you can donate to the rescue at

Tyler wrapped up in a blanket and rolled over all by himself!
Is there a treat in this for me?
  Tyler is now housebroken, although he still needs to be neutered to avoid marking inside (which will happen after his heartworm treatment  is over). Although he hasn't marked in the last couple of weeks, he now wears a "belly band" to prevent
marking. That will change once he's neutered. He loves Pupperoni and little biscuits.
  - He gets excited when anyone comes home and likes to jump up and down, so we nicknamed him "bean" as in Jumping bean!
 - He loves cuddling with our other dogs, and loves playing with stuffed toys and gnawing nylabones.
  He rides well in the car, and usually likes the front seat. He likes to be close to people.
 -Although he sleeps in his crate, in the morning after breakfast, and getting my partner out the door early, Tyler (and our other dogs) nap with me for about 15 minutes before starting my day.  He loves napping ona big bed with someone.
  - He now loves peanut butter, and takes medication with it. It had to grow on him!  He also likes some tuna and chicken  mixed in with his dry kibble. I'm working on getting him to not eat quickly.
  He mastered "sit" and knows what "go outside" means. I timed him so about 15-30 minutes after he has dinner, he  needs to go outside. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Lights Under Kitchen Cabinets

A couple of years ago we installed lights under the kitchen cabinets,that were rectangular, boxy and halogens. We don't recommend getting them because they get very hot in a short time. So, this weekend, we found small rectangular strips of LED lights at Lowes and Tom installed them.  Unlike the boxy halogen lights, the LED strip of lights can't be seen under the lip of the cabinet (unless you look underneath the cabinet to take a picture like I did). The LED lights also cast a brighter and more uniform light, so it's easier to see things on the countertops. We recommend using the LED lights.
Original Halogen lights - note the shadows

New LED lights, more uniform brightness

Monday, January 14, 2013

Neighborly Dinnertime!

Back in November for Tom's birthday I (Rob) got a bunch of our friends together who are also our neighbors, and we had dinner at a local restaurant. It was so much fun to get everyone together, and introduce them to each other (we met everyone walking the dogs, and they hadn't met each other before), that I decided to do it again!  So, on Saturday, Jan. 12, we all met at a restaurant and had a great time. Will and Cristina, Jim, Yolie and Shelley and Elvina joined us for a fun couple of hours there. Several of the other neighbors couldn't make it, so we'll do it again. I think that we're really fortunate to live in a great area where we've been able to make good friends. It doesn't take much to plan, either. Just find a restaurant close by and invite some of your own neighbors who may not know each other. Here's a picture from our fun evening.
Left Front: Elvina, Cristina, Will / Right front: Shelley, Yolie, Tom, Jim (Rob took the picture)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

VIDEO BLOG: Funny Car Seat Costume

Tom found this funny video of an innovative guy who created a "car seat costume"  and he went through drive through windows after ordering. It's quite funny. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Picture Blog of the Week: Canine Kid Candids

This week our 2 year old mini-dachshund foster dog Tyler finally learned how to sit because I used his bowl of food to teach him. Food works, and dinner works much better than  treats. :)  Here are some pictures of us and our kids from this week.
Franklin and Tyler the foster get comfy

Tom and Dolly posing
Close up of Dolly's beautiful face!

Tom and Tyler addressing a package


Friday, January 11, 2013

Another great dog charity to contribute to: Petsmart Charities

Another great dog charity to contribute to:  Petsmart Charities

This is another dog charity we donate to, and they do amazing work. Here's a rundown from their end of year statement.

In 2012  about 400,000 more pets were able to enjoy their first holidays at home.   
               In November, your generous support assisted more than 24,000 pets and their families who were affected by Superstorm Sandy. The historic relief effort involved dispatching 23 Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicles full of life-giving supplies to New York, New Jersey and West Virginia.                                    
               In October, your donations helped fund the Rescue Waggin'® transporting its 60,000th dog, a six-month-old spaniel named Cookie who was adopted shortly after arriving in Iowa. The Rescue Waggin' program saves lives by transporting adoptable dogs and puppies from overcrowded facilities to shelters where they are in demand.                                   
               In June, your generosity helped PetSmart Charities celebrate the 5 millionth adoption, a beautiful Husky named Dodge.                                 
               In January, you helped launch a $1 million national program to spay/neuter cats and pit bull terriers — pets with the highest risk of euthanasia because of shelter overcrowding.                                          
               Your 2012 donations helped provide more than $32 million in funding to strengthen animal welfare efforts in communities all across North America.                               
                 In 2011, PetSmart Charities gave 84 cents from every dollar received directly to help pets in need — one of the highest percentages among all animal welfare organizations and continued the success in 2012.               
  Just $25 can help save a homeless pet's life. Please give a gift and help save another pet's life today.               
  An estimated 8 million pets will enter shelters in 2013 and only half of them will find their lifelong, loving homes. Please give a generous gift today and help save the lives of more pets. To donate:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

VIDEO: Jon Stewart Shreds House GOP Over Sandy Vote

Jon Stewart Shreds House GOP Over Sandy Vote: 'What Would Jesus Or Any Other Human Being (VIDEO)

Jon Stewart didn't really have a joke at the end of his rant against the 67 GOP members of the House who voted against aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy, and he didn't seem to need one. As is "The Daily Show's" style, the host had so thoroughly painted the vote as incomprehensibly laughable there was nothing left to say but "we'll be right back."
The issue is certainly personal to Stewart as a native of New Jersey, but this wasn't a question of residence for the host, simply one of conscience. At one point, he queried to members on the wrong side of the vote, "What would Jesus -- or any other human being that isn't an asshole -- do?"
Watch the full clip above and then breathe a sigh of relief that Stewart and company are back from their two-week break to give voice to the country's collective exasperated sigh.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NOAA's 2012 U.S. Weather Review: Significant weather and climate events

NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -where the National Weather Service and Climate Prediction Center are housed) issued this graphic about significant weather and climate events in the U.S. during 2012. Thought you'd find it interesting. - Rob



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dozen Dunkin’ Donut WonDDers From DDs Around the World

We're both big fans of Dunkin' Donuts- from the Coffee and tea to the breakfast sandwiches (which we enjoy for a light dinner).  Recently, Dunkin' Donuts published a story and pictures of  UNIQUE donuts made in other countries where Dunkin' has stores (I didn't know this, and think it's cool). Some of them sound great, while others (one with fish on it) make me cringe! Anyway, it's fascinating what other countries do to donuts. Enjoy! Rob

 Here’s A Dozen Dunkin’ Donut WonDDers From DDs Around the World

By Rick Golden, Manager of Donut Excellence
To honor and celebrate this “day of dozens,” Dunkin’ Donuts is putting a spotlight on unique donuts available in its restaurants across the globe.  With locations in 32 countries, such as Korea, India, Russia, and Germany, local flavors and tastes provide an opportunity to create a variety of delicious donuts for our guests to enjoy. 
"Donuts are a brilliant canvas for innovation,” said Stan Frankenthaler, Executive Chef and Vice President of Global Product Innovation at Dunkin’ Brands. “There's something truly artistic about mixing and matching different combinations of donut shapes, fillings, frostings, and decorations to create excitement and appeal to unique audiences around the world."
In celebration of 12.12.12, here are a dozen of our favorite Dunkin’ Donut WonDDers from around the world:
Boston Kreme Donut, United States
While this donut has truly gone global, it’s originally from the United States and continues to be one of our most popular donuts. Fun Fact: In 2007 the Boston Kreme was named the Official Donut of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!
Chicha, Peru 
The Chicha donut in Peru is topped with a purple corn juice icing – a local flavor that you’ll also find in Coolatta® beverages! The donut was created as part of a “Patriot Dozen” donut series to celebrate Peru’s Independence Day. Other donuts in the series include designs and flavors inspired by local hobbies, food, and Peruvian history.
Dates Donut, Saudi Arabia
Another interesting example of how Dunkin’ Donuts customizes its donuts to appeal to local taste preferences can be found in the Middle East, where guests enjoy donuts with the flavors of rose, pistachio, dates, and more. The above Dates Donut features either chocolate or white icing and is topped with a date syrup drizzle. 
Dried Bonito Donut, China
For those craving a more savory treat, Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in China feature donuts with flavors such as pork, seaweed, and fish. The Dried Bonito Donut, pictured here, is topped with dried bonito fish and a sweet teriyaki sauce glaze.
Dunkin’ Deluxe Donuts, Germany
True to their name, Dunkin’ Deluxe Donuts are oversized glazed donuts shaped like a flower with decorative icing and a fruit-filled center. These donuts come in a number of berry flavor varieties.
Fruity Paradise Donut, Thailand
One bite of this sweet treat from Thailand will transport you into donut paradise! The Fruity Paradise Donut features a glazed donut with whipped cream, toasted almonds, pineapple, kiwi and cherry.
Moscow Wink and Emoticon-Inspired donuts, Russia 
Instead of sending an emoticon in an email, or text, Dunkin’ Donuts guests in Russia can share their winks and smiles with one another in person with these colorful donuts.  All feature playful names related to their facial expressions, like the Moscow Wink!
Pineapple and Cream Cheese Sandwich Donut, Korea
A donut that DDoubles as a sandwich? In Korea, this sandwich is a sweet treat featuring fresh pineapple and soft cream cheese on a thin, long stick donut.
Pinwheelnut, Cheese Topping and Black Cheese Topping Donuts, Indonesia
Talk about a triple threat! In Indonesia, you can be the “big cheese” by trying the Cheese Topping Donut or Black Cheese Topping Donut. For those with a sweet tooth, Indonesia also offers a Pinwheelnut Donut. 
Saffron Pistachio Melody, India
While saffron may be more commonly associated with savory dishes like paella and rice, you might not know that it is also delicious when used in baked goods. In India, Dunkin’ Donuts guests enjoy this savory, bright yellow hued spice in a Saffron Pistachio Melody Donut, featuring an icing infused with freshly extracted saffron water and topped with pistachio nut pieces.
Have you ever travelled to a Dunkin’ Donuts internationally? Which of these 12 WonDDers would you like to try?

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