Friday, January 31, 2014

Video: Macaroni Toss for dogs!

Our three kids, Dolly, Franklin and Tyler love macaroni and after we have pasta nights, there's always some left over. So, we play doggy macaroni toss. Only one of our kids has eye-mouth coordination, though. The other two usually get beaned on their heads with pasta!
(To see the video if you can't see it below:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Weeknight Dog Rescue Transport

Monday brought a call for transportation for Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, and we answered the call. One dachshund that was rescued named Sami had back surgery (likely caused after jumping off a chair or couch and injuring his back) at a veterinary hospital in Catonsville, Md. The other, Happy, came directly from the Baltimore Shelter.

Happy, the long-haired dachshund
A TEAM EFFORT -  All of the people that work as volunteers for the rescue give their own time, spend their own money on gas, and freely give their time. One such amazing person is Shelley S. She agreed to go to the vet hospital (even though it was over an hour away from where she lives) at the end of her work day and get Sami at the Vet hospital. She also picked up Happy from the Shelter (and stopped to bathe him because she said he desperately needed it).Happy is a long-haired, black dachshund and looked pretty shaggy.

MAKING A PLAN - Trying to figure out the logistics and getting the two dogs from one place to another takes some work. The dogs ultimately had to be delivered to central Virginia that night and there were 4 volunteers that were ready: Shelley going to Baltimore, me (Rob), Kristin (in Columbia) and Katie (in Virginia). I suggested a 3 team transport, so Kristin didn't have to join in this time (she's always helping- including at this weekend's dog event).

Shelley drove them (each in their own crate) from Baltimore (Catonsville is next to Baltimore) and would be driving back toward the northern part of Washington, DC, so I met her at IKEA in College Park between 5 and 5:30 p.m.  - I raced home to try and help Tom rescue a neighbor's dog who was accidentally left out in the cold, and then headed to Virginia. The Washington, D.C. Beltway slowed to a stop before Northern Virginia, so I had to get off the highway and go a back way (I knew of thanks to our friend Jeff), which I took to get to the drop off in Springfield, VA. Of course, the drop off was at a Dunkin' Donuts. 

Katie drove up from central Virginia and took Happy and Sami and brought them back to her home where they will go to foster homes. Katie had the flu and I have a bad cold, so we were both groggy from cold/flu medicine. That's where the coffee helped.

HAPPY ENDINGS -  Shelley said that when she picked up Sami at the hospital, he was already standing up, so that was a great sign that he'll be able to walk again after his back surgery. Another good ending for two innocent dogs! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

(2012 Fan Film) BATMAN: DEATH WISH - Catwoman, Harley, Nightwing, Robin

While searching You Tube, I came across this really well done fan film about Batman and the related characters in the Bat Family (Robin, Nightwing, Catwoman, Batgirl, Oracle) and villains Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn.
  I thought this was a great film- They've  captured the personalities of all the characters perfectly. Everyone did a great job. -I particularly enjoyed Nightwing, Robin, Catwoman and Harley's performances, because their characters lend themselves to more personality (the Batman actor did a great job, too, but is limited by the character's personality). Great sets, and supporting actors.  Learn more about it below. -Rob

Uploaded on Jan 13, 2012 VIDEO:
Batman, Robin and Nightwing investigate a mysterious assailant who is targeting the kingpins of Gotham's criminal underground. As more of the rogues gallery is ensnared, a disturbing revelation about the attacker's identity takes shape.
  "Batman: Death Wish" is a Batman fan film directed by Matthew Hiscox (Army of Two: 40th Day, Blunt Trauma) and written by Jennifer Zhang (Street Fighter High, Dead Inside).
  And we're proud to say the video features an *original score* and cinematography by Andrew Ceperley!
    Visit for cast interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers, a movie stills and more! New updates each week.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Joke of the Week: Bluntness and Observation

Thanks to Mom F. in Maine who sent us this great joke!
A young Army officer was severely wounded in the head by a grenade, but the only visible, permanent injury was that both of his ears were amputated.  Since his remaining hearing was sufficient, he remained in the Army.
   Many years later he eventually rose to the rank of Major General. He was, however, very sensitive about his appearance. One day the General was interviewing three servicemen who were candidates for his headquarters staff.
   The first was a Captain, a tactical helicopter pilot, and it was a great interview. At the end of the interview the General asked him, 'Do you notice anything different about me?'
    The young officer answered, 'Why, yes, Sir, I couldn't help but notice that you have no ears.'
     The general was displeased with his lack of tact and threw him out.
I just thought this was a cute military pic!

    The second interview was with a Navy Lieutenant, and he was even better. The General then asked him the same question,    'Do you notice anything different about me?' He replied sheepishly,
    'Well, sir, you have no ears.' The General threw him out also.

    The third interview was with an old Sergeant Major, an Infantryman and staff-trained NCO. He was smart, articulate, fit, looked sharp, and seemed to know more than the two officers combined.
     The General liked this guy, and went ahead with the same question, 'Do you notice anything different about me?' To his surprise the Sergeant Major said,     'Yes, sir, you wear contact lenses.'

    The General was very impressed and thought, 'What an incredibly observant NCO, and he didn't mention my ears.' He asked, 'Sergeant Major, how did you know I wear contacts?'
    'Well, sir,' the soldier replied, 'it's pretty hard to wear glasses with no f*****g ears.'

Monday, January 27, 2014

Check out Jeff's New Music Blog: RockingGirlsRule

Our friend Jeff (who was the best man at our wedding) has finally delved into the world of blogging. He's as former radio disk jockey, who loves all kinds of music, from 80s pop to classic country to current top 40. He introduced Tom and I to Lady Gaga (yeah, we didn't know about her). Jeff's favorite singers include Loretta Lynn, Blondie, and Pat Benatar to name just a few. He loves the strong women figures in music. SO, now he's blogging about them!
Debbie Harry of Blondie
  You can find his blog at:
Of course, his first blog is about Blondie's new cd.... Check it out. Jeff has great insights into music and you'll always find what he has to say is interesting!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Enjoyable UK Mystery: Mrs. Jeffries and the Silent Knight

I (Rob) have now read three books in the Victorian Mystery series of "Mrs. Jeffries." Mrs. Jeffries keeps house for Inspector Witherspoon during Victorian England, and she and her fellow co-workers: cook, footman, butler, maids, help their homeowner, the Inspector, solve murders. **It reminds me of the kitchen staff in Downton Abbey, but helping to solve murders. - It was a bit slow for a time, but was an enjoyable read. I recommend the series- especially for Downton Abbey Fans and Mystery lovers!  - Rob 

THE BOOK SUMMARY:  Sir George Braxton was found lying face down in a frozen fountain with the back of his skull bashed to bits.  The case is complicated by a distinct lack of holiday cheer in the victim’s three argumentative middle-aged daughters and their sullen houseguests.  Even the cranky cat hates everyone. To top it all off, the Home Secretary has called in Inspector Witherspoon over the heads of some touchy local lads, making matters stickier than a plum pudding.  Only the help of his housekeeper, Mrs. Jeffries, and her crime-solving staff will give the poor Inspector any chance of sleeping in heavenly peace on Christmas Eve... She keeps house for Inspector Witherspoon...and keeps him on his toes. Everyone’s awed by his Scotland Yard successes—but they don’t know about his secret weapon. No matter how messy the murder or how dirty the deed, Mrs. Jeffries’ polished detection skills are up to the task...proving that behind every great man there’s a woman—and that a crimesolver’s work is never done.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A GOOD NEWS STORY: In Sweden, a Man lands dream job after Hasselhoff car ad

I love great stories about creative people who become successful. Last year, I bookmarked a website of news from Sweden, because we would love to visit the country, as well as Norway and Denmark at some point. Regardless, every now and then I check it, and found this great success story. The moral of the story is: Express your creativity. You never know who's watching and how many will appreciate it. - Rob 


CAPTION:  David Hasselhoff, Lord of the Rings, and an old Subaru turned out to be the magic elixir that helped one desperate Swede land the job of his dreams.

Man lands dream job after Hasselhoff car ad
Published: 14 Jan 2014 14:08 CET

"It's a bizarre situation. In the last week I went from being jobless to writing for one of the biggest automotive magazines in Sweden," Nils Jangen, 28, told The Local.
Jangen's unlikely journey out of unemployment took place after one last-ditch effort to raise some cash after months of joblessness had left him nearly broke.
Having relocated to Sundsvall last August to accompany his girlfriend as she continued her studies, Jangen didn't realize that finding a job in the eastern Swedish town would be so difficult.
"I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I had no idea it would be so tough," he explained.
With his savings near zero and no job offers in sight, Jangan found himself with no other choice than to sell his trusty Subaru, a hatchback that had been in the family for nearly two decades.
"I'd sent off 200 CVs and had only been to one interview. I was getting pretty desperate," he said.
So one evening in early January, Jangan set about writing up what he hoped would be a winning ad to be published on the Blocket buy-sell site.
"I included a bit of humour thinking it might help get my car sold. It wasn't going to sell itself; it's really an old beater," he said of the white 1985 Subaru Justy J10 Trendy.
Jangan's creative muse resulted in an ad that placed his car in a scene from the Lord of the Rings film, complete with a fierce looking Saruman. To spice things up further, Jangan cut and pasted an '80s-era picture of US actor and cult hero David Hasselhoff giving a thumbs-up sign.
"I included The Hoff because my girlfriend has this weird sort of crush on him. That's why he's there. After I'd put in scenes from Mordor, I figured 'Why not add The Hoff?'"
In the text of the ad, Jangan referred to his car as a "Japanese mountain goat" featuring "the power of 54 frighteningly well-hung horses", adding that it was "hand-forged in the darkest of Japanese industries" by "the Saruman of carmakers".
"The car has seat belts in all seats built with the 1984-patented I.D.N.R.I.S, which stands for Instant Death No Retardation Impact System. In other words, there is no risk of ending up in long-term care because you die immediately in any collision at speeds higher than 12 km/hour," the ad read.
While listing an asking price of 10,000 kronor ($1,500), Jangan added in the ad that he would be willing to trade the car for a job as he was "in a city where the prospects for the future are on a par with those of North Korea".
After publishing the ad on a Monday, Jangan didn't think much about it at first. But the ad struck a chord with Blocket users, who shared it widely via social media, leading to a write up in the local Dagbladet newspaper.
And when Jangan checked his email on Tuesday night, he shocked to find hundreds of new mails inquiring about the car and praising his creativity.
Among the many emails were dozens of job offers, including one from motorsports magazine Auto, Motor, & Sport.
"I've always dreamed of being an automotive journalist – probably watched too much Top Gear in my time, so I said yes right away," Jangan recalled.
The Monday following the publication of his ad for the Subaru, the previously jobless Swede found himself working under deadline pressure at the magazine.
"I'm getting thrown in at the deep end. It's really exciting," he said.
"I'm doing my best to pretend to know what I'm talking about. I don't have any formal training as journalist or a writer, but I'm pretty into cars so at least I have some credibility."
And the Subaru?
It was ultimately sold for a few hundred kronor to a local auto repair shop, which plans to use it as a mobile, four-wheeled advertisement.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Help Dachshund Rescue: with old cellphones, printer cartridges, mp3 players. etc.

Do you have any old cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, MP3 players and GPS devices?  Please donate them to Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue! 
Recycling for Dachshunds

Did you know you can recycle your used inkjet and toner cartridges to help Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue?  Cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, MP3 players and GPS systems can also be recycled. You can always drop them off to us at an event, (check or email Rob and Tom). Coast-to-Coast also has an easy way for you to ship 20 or more items directly for free!

Coast-to-Coast  signed up with Funding Factory, and both businesses and individuals can recycle their items for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue. Businesses can sign up to be a supporter, and individuals can also print a free label to send in items.  Check out our link at to print your free shipping label. Feel free to share this information with your dachshund lov­ing friends, the program is available nationwide. 

If you have any questions about recycling, please email Melissa at 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why it's not a good idea to name Winter Storms

This picture from a Weather Channel broadcast was sent around on Twitter yesterday and forwarded to me from my friend Hugh. We both used to work there before they came up with the goofy idea to name Winter Storms. NOAA and the National Weather Service does not name winter storms. 
   In this case, the on-camera meteorologist was talking about what they called "Winter Storm Janus." 
Of course, from the camera angle and the place the guy was standing, it gives the storm a different meaning - and to some it really is a pain in that place. :) 
   Let this be a lesson to them not to name winter storms. They shouldn't fool with mother nature. :) 
 - Rob

The importance of camera blocking. Sorry, . This kind of Tom Foolery never happened on my watch.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rob's Mom Part 13: Funny Story: "Very Pleasant!"

Here's another story from my (Rob) funny family archives. My mom loved her house. She always took pride in the house and how she was a meticulous housekeeper. She told stories of how when she was a girl, that she and her mom would clean their house from top to bottom,  mopping, sweeping, cleaning windows, doing laundry, etc. She never lost that when she got older either.
  In addition to keeping the inside of the house clean, she was always outside with my dad, planting, trimming shrubs, sawing branches of trees, mowing the lawn (when me or my brothers didn't do it - which we usually did), painting or staining outside furniture, making sure that everything was color-coordinated, swept up, and in order. She made sure that outside chair pads matched the outside table umbrellas. She loved flowers and yellow was her favorite color, so there were always a lot of yellow flowers around.
  I've provided all of this background because Mom and Dad really put a lot of work into their house and took pride in doing it and making it look great. It did.
Mom got steamed!
   On the side of the street we lived were colonial houses, ranchers, split level houses. We lived in a rancher. Across the street (for some reason) there were huge brick houses that we called mansions (they weren't really, but they were huge houses). The people that lived in those houses were usually doctors or lawyers and had a lot of money. 
  One day, when my brothers and I were teenagers, my mother went out grocery shopping. It was there that she ran into one of the neighbors who lived further down the street (we lived on a main street). The woman was the wife of a doctor and apparently she was a bit snobbish.
  Mom came home from grocery shopping and she was steaming. When my brother Doug and I asked what was wrong she said she ran into Mrs. X (I don't recall her name), "the doctor's wife." Mom said that she made conversation with Mrs. X, and said "Don't you live in the beautiful brick house with the large picture windows (and whatever else she may have said)?"  Mrs. X replied she did live there and Mom said she told Mrs. X she loved the landscaping around her house, too. She then told Mrs. X where we live, and Mrs. X replied in a very snobbish way, "I've seen your house, it's very pleasant."
  Mom was livid. She was insulted (and she should have been).
  Of course, my brother Doug and I were not ones to let things go, and we liked to turn bad stuff into funny stuff, so through the years, we'd take advantage of situations and use that phrase.
  During dinner one night, mom served broccoli, which we both hated, and mom asked if we were going to eat it. I remember Doug saying, "I've tasted your broccoli, it's very pleasant." We all laughed (including mom). We went on to use that saying for everything, from clothing to paint colors, to dinner selections. It was all in fun, and that saying will always be funny to us!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Research Paper: A day later, caffeine stimulates memory

Caffeine helps people remember fine distinctions between similar things at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed, new research shows.I keep up with some scientific journals and when a study like this one comes along, it's got my attention being a hyper-Dunkin' Donuts coffee drinker (Tom is a hyper-tea drinker). - Rob


A day later, caffeine stimulates memory
Caffeine helps people remember fine distinctions between similar things at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed, new research shows.
“We’ve always known that caffeine has cognitive-enhancing effects, but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting has never been examined in detail in humans,” says Michael Yassa, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University.
The Yassa team’s paper – published January 12, 2014 in the journal Nature Neuroscience – shows “for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours,” he says.
Yassa and colleagues, led by undergraduate Daniel Borota, gave research participants a series of images to study, and five minutes later gave them either a 200-milligram caffeine tablet or a placebo. The subjects—none of whom regularly ate or drank caffeinated products—provided saliva samples before taking their tablets to measure their caffeine levels. Saliva was taken again one, three, and 24 hours later.
The next day, the caffeine group and controls were tested on their ability to remember the images from the previous day. Some of the visuals were the same, some were new and some were similar to but not the same as those the subjects had studied. More members of the caffeine group were able to correctly identify new images as “similar” to previously viewed images versus erroneously citing them as the same.
The brain’s ability to recognize the difference between two similar but not identical items reflects a deeper level of memory retention, the researchers say.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rob's Mom: Part 12: Funny Story: "Best Thing on the Table"

I (Rob) received a number of comments that requested more funny stories about my mom, so I thought I'd share two of the stories that have always made for a running joke in our family. Today I'll cover the story I'll just call "Best Thing on the Table."
  My mom was Italian. She grew up in East Boston and Dorchester, Mass. and spoke Italian until she was about 5, when she had to learn English. As a result of being Italian, my mom was an excellent cook. She loved to cook and bake.
  Typical Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas dinners would find mom baking days in advance of the holidays. She would spend an entire day making homemade strudels with almonds, raisins and chocolate. She'd make pumpkin and homemade apple pies. Dinners would always be filled with a first course, either homemade chicken noodle soup or salad. Mom would also either make homemade lasagne or baked ham to go with the turkey on each holiday.
   Keep in mind that when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, usually for the holidays there would only be mom and dad, myself and 2 brothers, and my grandmother (my dad's mother) - so that was a LOT of food for 6 people.
   Mom would also have us help set the table in the dining room, which was a treat, because no one EVER went into the dining room or living room unless it was a special occasion. In fact, the very same wall-to-wall carpeting that was installed when the house was built in 1962 still stands today, and almost entirely in perfect condition. 
   One Thanksgiving in the early 70s. after the homemade chicken noodle soup and salad and the homemade lasagne was served, it was time for turkey. Mom was serving everyone. That's when my grandmother said to my dad, "Can you pass the cranberry sauce, it's the BEST THING ON THE TABLE." The cranberry sauce was the jelled cranberry that came directly out of a can!
"Best thing on the table?!?"
   My mother's eyes widened in horror. She was totally flabbergasted and insulted after spending a week of cooking, baking and meticulously planning (of course, I don't blame her, anyone would be upset). I don't know if my grandmother said it as a joke (she didn't joke often that I can remember), or to purposely get my mother's ire up (sometimes they did before they both mellowed).
  Anyway, my brother Doug and I would later say that during any dinner, as a joke, and we'd laugh about it. Mom also learned to laugh about it, too. "Pass the cranberry, that's the best thing on the table" became a running joke in our family for decades. In fact, it's still funny today. :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Leslie Gore Was on the 1966 TV Series "BATMAN" and another surprise

I (Rob) love the 1966-1968 BATMAN TV series. I love watching the old episodes and look up stuff about each one after watching. I was totally surprised to find out that in the episode called "That Darn Catwoman," famous "It's My Party (and I'll Cry if I Want to)" singer, Leslie Gore was Catwoman's assistant!!  That wasn't the ONLY surprise I learned about Leslie Gore. Read on.
Leslie Gore from the 1967 performance in Batman

Gore performed on two consecutive episodes of the Batman TV series (January 19 and 25 1967), in which she guest-starred as Pussycat, one of Catwoman's minions. In the January 19 episode "That Darn Catwoman" she lip-synched to the Bob Crewe-produced "California Nights", and in the January 25 episode "Scat! Darn Catwoman" to "Maybe Now".[5] "California Nights", which Gore recorded for her 1967 hit album of the same name, returned her to the upper reaches of the Hot 100.

LATER IN HER CAREER- Later in her career, she composed songs for the soundtrack to the movie "Fame" in 1980. Among other things, in 2009, "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows" was featured in the film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

A BIG SURPRISE - Beginning in 2004, Gore hosted the PBS television series In the Life, which focused on LGBT issues.[9] She stated in a 2005 interview that she was a lesbian. At the time of the interview, Gore had been living with her partner for more than 23 years! Wow.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What to Choose Now that Incandescent Light Bulbs Aren't Going to Be Around

According to the Baltimore Sun newspaper, the Jan. 1 phaseout of old-style 40- and 60-watt bulbs is the third step in the change to more efficient forms of lighting. The first step, in 2012, targeted 100-watt bulbs and was followed last year by the elimination of traditional 75-watt bulbs. .The law doesn’t ban incandescent bulbs, but only requires them to be more energy efficient.
Now consumers have three choices: compact fluorescent light bulbs, LED bulbs and halogen bulbs. We decided to post this to help you make a good choice. 

1)  Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, are long-lasting and stingy on energy use and relatively inexpensive. But  these have a small amount of mercury. DOWNSIDE: They have to be disposed of at certain Recycle Centers. MERCURY can't be tossed in the trash.

2) LED bulbs are illuminated by light-emitting diodes. They last for decades and use even less energy than CFLs, but they are still fairly expensive.**THIS IS OUR CHOICE- It also provides the brightest light and DOESN'T get hot, and doesn't have any toxic substances**

3) Halogen bulbs are the most like the old familiar incandescent bulbs. They don’t save nearly as much electricity or last as long as the others. DOWNSIDE - They get VERY hot, quickly.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I Had a Dream of Mom! What does it mean?

When I awoke on Thursday, January 16th, I remembered that I dreamt of my mother. She was in her kitchen, looking decades younger and all dressed up. Almost like this picture I took in 2005, but mom appeared about 20 years younger (in her 50s). She said that I need to "put this on your key tag" - and handed me something off her house and car keys. I'm not sure what the object was - perhaps a tag, or a key. Whatever it was, she wanted me to carry something of hers with me. I think that that was the message.

My mom in her kitchen, similar to how I saw her in the dream
WHAT DOES A SPIRIT IN A DREAM MEAN?  Spirits come into our dreams usually when they can't convey a message to us in other ways. They come to us to show us that they're okay on the other side. Usually it's a peaceful setting. Tom dreamt of someone who passed walking through a meadow with him - that's a common scenario.
   What's interesting is that after my dad passed he never came to me in a dream. Likely because he was so active in my waking moments. He played with electricity, gave me messages I could understand, I heard him, sensed him and even saw him. With my mom, I heard her a couple of times, and she gave me the musical sign. This was a really great confirmation.

CONDOLENCES - My friend Carol lost her mom (and grandmother to her grown children Katrina, Andrew and Brian)  the same day I had the dream.I offer my deepest sympathies to them at their time of loss. It's important to keep their memories alive, though, and talk about fun things you remember.
   As I told Carol and her adult kids, if you have lost a loved one, please keep this in mind: Remember, this is just a transition for them into spirit. It's those who are here that struggle with not having her here physically, but we have to remember that the person in spirit can now hear you (without a telephone) and can watch over and protect you. That spirit will be around you. It should be a comfort to know that when someone passes, their loved ones are by their side, as my dad appeared at my mother's bedside before she passed.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rob's Mom: Part 11: Another Funny Story: Mom's Trash / and Sayings

Since I've been blogging about funny things to do with my mom, I wanted to add one more short, funny story from early December of this year.
Taking out the trash?
  Anyone that knew my mom knew that she always liked to dress up. In fact, even at 85 she always liked to wear heels no matter where she went. On occasion she'd wear flats or sneakers, but most of the time, she wore heels. 
   One night in mid-December when Tom and I called mom, she told me that she slipped on the ice when she went to take the trash out. We always called her together and had her on speaker phone, so we could both listen and talk with her. I asked if she hurt herself and she said "no, just my butt."
  That's when Tom said "I told you not to put trash out wearing heels when it snows!"  Of course, mom laughed (but didn't deny it) and said what she always loved saying when we teased her: She said "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" and we all laughed afterward.

OTHER SAYINGS - Mom said many other things that I think are important and fun to remember. "everybody's talkin' at me, I don't hear a word they're saying," - from the old Glen Campbell song "Everybody's Talkin' At Me." When I was a kid, she loved to sing, and when I became a disk jockey on the radio, I made tapes (yes, tapes) for her of a lot of songs she enjoyed. One, "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac, would always put her in a great mood, and I put that on the video dedication I made to her for her services.
She always said "send me a ticket (gift card for Dunkin' Donuts or Panera Bread)," and wise-a-guy (usually to Tom). She loved to sing the phrase
   Whenever I would call Mom, and whether I stayed on the phone for 5 minutes or 60 minutes, and said I had to go, she'd always respond "You always rush me off the phone." I used to think, how much more is there to talk about?!
  - Of course as mom got older, she would talk about the 1940s, 50s,60,70s,80,90s,00s and I'd never know what decade she was referring to, so it was somewhat of a challenge to figure out what was current day news. 
    A FAVORITE MEMORY  - One of my favorite memories happened every week-  Tom and I would call mom and per her on speaker phone, and Tom and Mom would always poke fun at each other and joke. Sometimes as we were talking with mom and getting close to home, we'd tell her that and she'd say "Hang up!" and then Tom would say "Hang Up!" - then mom would start talking again, and Tom would say "Hang Up!" it was really funny. Eventually we'd hang up when she was laughing.
 We always left her laughing, and mom loved to laugh.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rob's Mom: Part 10: Another Funny Story: Mom's Dunkin' Adventure

She left this on the counter!
As my mom aged, she was very aware of how much she spent. She told us that she liked going to Dunkin' Donuts and Panera Bread, so Tom and I sent her gift cards to both throughout the years.
Mom didn't call them gift cards, though. For some reason she called them "tickets." Occasionally, she would tell us that she hasn't gone to Panera Bread because she "didn't have a ticket." So we'd send her a gift card. Of course, because her short term memory was going, she would often put them somewhere and not remember where she put them.
   During one phone conversation I had with mom in October (I called her every day pretty much), she asked for a dinner suggestion. She didn't eat much (like us), so I suggested a Dunkin' Donut egg and turkey sausage sandwich. She liked those, and the bacon and egg sandwiches. The next night I called mom as usual, and she told me she went to Dunkin' Donuts to get her dinner the night before.
Mom: quite the character
  She said, "I ordered a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a bagel with coffee." When I went to pay for it, I didn't have a ticket, so I walked out."
  I said, "Whaaaat? You walked out?  Didn't you have cash?"  She said she did, but she'd "rather use a ticket." So, of course, we sent her another gift card. We were shaking our heads after I got off the phone with mom and we had a good laugh over it. :)

NEXT: Part 11: Another Funny Story: Mom's Trash / and Sayings

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rob's Mom Part 9: Funny Story- Mom's Trouble with Phones

   This is another entry surrounding the passing of my (Rob) mom and it's quite funny. I call it "Mom's Trouble with Phones."
  About a month before my mom passed (Dec. 29, 2013), I was talking with her on the phone as I did every evening. For some reason over the last couple of years her portable/wireless house phones would always malfunction. Often whenever we were talking, her voice would fade out and come back in, and I couldn't hear her for a while. That happened quite a lot, actually.

REDIRECTING THE BLAME -   Mom kept blaming the phone trouble on the phone company, telling me that her phone lines were somehow mixed in with the phone lines to the nearby hospital. She said "the machines are screwing up my phone line." That wasn't really the problem though.

MANY PHONES IN SEVERAL YEARS -    Over the past couple of years, my two brothers bought her quite a number of different portable phones and no one could understand why they weren't working correctly. I think between my two brothers they went through every single brand on the market. 

THE FUNNY TRUTH COMES OUT -  It was in November that I was  talking with mom and I couldn't hear her. She cursed the portable phone and I heard that! :)
     When the sound returned I asked my mom if she recently talked with my older brother, Steve. She said she did, and they argued (they're very much alike and tended to butt heads on the phone a lot). She cussed a couple of times and said that Steve was about to hang up on her, when she did him one better. "I threw the phone down the hallway," she said!  "That'll teach him to hang up on his mother!"
That funny mother of mine!
    I thought for a minute and burst out laughing on my end of the phone. THAT is why mom has gone through SO MANY PHONES over the last several years!  She would throw them down the hall, against the wall, or slam them down!  Remember, my mom had some dementia in the couple of years before she passed, so as I was laughing she asked how our dogs are doing. I said to her, "Mom, no wonder your phones don't work - you're throwing them down the hallway after you talk with Steve!"
  To which she replied, "who is throwing the phone down the hallway?"  Oh jeez!!!! I'm still laughing over this conversation.

OUR WACKY EXPERIENCE WITH MOM'S PHONES - During the week of mom's services, Tom and I and two of our dogs were staying at mom's house. My brother called one morning at 7 a.m. and I ran into the kitchen to answer the phone. It didn't work. I ran into the den because the phone was still ringing and I picked up another phone to find it disconnected!  I ran into another room and a phone was in on the floor (not connected) and broken. Of course, by the time I found the one phone that still worked somewhat, the call went to voicemail!  :)


Monday, January 13, 2014

Rob's Mom: Part 8: An Important Musical Sign from My Mom

This is the last blog about the events surrounding my mom's passing. This blog shows how people who lay comatose in hospitals can provide messages to their loved ones outside the hospital and over long distances. The next and final 3 blogs are not about that week, but are all funny stories about mom.

On December 22, 2013, my mother had a massive stroke and was rushed to the hospital. She was transferred to a major hospital in Boston where she lay comatose for 7 days. The prognosis was very bad, and I was told that it was just a matter of time before she passed.
My mom loved to laugh
   While she lay incapicitated, she managed to send a musical sign to me and  Tom.  It came on December 24th, while we were having Chinese food, as is the tradition in my family on Christmas Eve.
   One thing I've learned through my ability to communicate with people who have passed is that when someone still living lies in a comatose state, they have the ability to leave their bodies and communicate with people anywhere in the world.  That's exactly what happened in this instance.
    During dinner, we were listening to Christmas music being pumped in over the intercom. Within 30 minutes, we heard my mom's favorite song, "Ave Maria" twice! 
     What's even more weird is that after listening to Christmas music since mid-November every day, we had never heard that song played this season.
  We both instantly knew that it was my mom, telling me that it was her time to go, and asking us to get up to Boston before she did. My mother passed away on December 29, 2013.

NEXT: Part 9: Another Funny Story About Mom and Phones

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rob's Mom: Part 7: Funny Story we Heard at the Services

There were some funny things we heard about during my mom's services, and this story is one of them. While we were in the receiving line at the wake, a guy in his 40s came up to us and told us that he worked in my mom's house and remembers one incident fondly.
   He's an electrician, and he said that back when my dad was living (before Aug. 2008), Mom and Dad asked him to install a light in their corner kitchen cabinet (that had a gl
ass window in it to display the cups and dishes she had in there).
  So, he told us that he had to go up to the attic, and my dad went with him. Meanwhile, he said my mother was standing in the kitchen near the cabinet with a broom. She was tapping the ceiling near the cabinet so the electrician could find the spot to drill for the wires.
   He said that when he went up in the attic he found it quickly and marked the spot, and mom kept tapping the ceiling. She hollered from the kitchen that her arm was getting tired and wondered if she should keep going.The electrician said he looked at my dad to respond, and my dad smiled and yelled back, "Keep going! Keep going! We'll tell you when to stop!"  He said he and my dad had a good laugh in the attic as they continued to hear the broom handle hit the ceiling for awhile! :)
NEXT: Rob's Mom: Part 8: An Important Musical Sign from My Mom 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rob's Mom: Part 6: You Can't Fool With Mother Nature!

Funeral director returning to Mom's casket after services outside
This week I've been writing about the events around my mother's severe stroke and passing.  This is the sixth part in the week's events. Mother Nature threw us a curveball with a nor'easter that started the day of the funeral, but held off just long enough to get it in. My mom always liked to make a show or be the center of attention/life of the party- and with the storm, she certainly was!

    My mom liked to say "You can't fool with Mother Nature" and she sometimes referred to herself as "Mother Nature." Well, she sure put on a big show for the day of her funeral, as Boston got walloped by TWO snowstorms. The first one started before sunrise, the second one in the late afternoon.
Mom in 2001
The funeral was at 10 a.m. and by then, there was already 2 inches of snow on the ground, and our pickup truck fishtails in the snow. So, we opted to meet my brothers at the church and not risk driving across town to the funeral home. We also decided to drive my mom's Ford Escape SUV after Tom checked the internet (on his phone) and learned it did well in the snow. Smart move.
    The funeral Mass was at Saint Ann's Church in Wollaston, Mass. Father Bronagan (sp.?) who presided over my dad's funeral in August 2008 also led my mom's service. He was wonderful, as were the organist and female singer, who belted out my mom's favorite song, "Ave Maria" (which really made me a mess). My mom always told me "when I die I want Ave Maria sung at my funeral as it was at my mother's." So it was.
14" of snow fell outside mom's house
    My older brother Steve did the first reading, and I did the second one. My younger brother Doug gave an AMAZING Eulogy, which I will post as another blog. He really captured the spirit of my mother, and I think it's important that everyone know her and you will after you read it.
Mom at the White House in 2010
    After the funeral mass, we all filed outside in the snow and gusty winds. The temperature was 27F, the wind chill put the temperature in the teens or single numbers. There was already 2-3 inches of snow on the ground as we all proceeded to the cemetery (which was the next town over and a 20 minute drive through the snow). The hearse was a light blue color instead of black, which was perfect for my mom. She would have approved (or I'll hear about it from the other side).

Tom, Mom and Rob on a visit in 2012
   The cemetery set up a large tent, and the funeral home folks carried her coffin and placed it under the tent. We all gathered there for a couple of minutes as the priest conducted the services. The winds were blowing the snow sideways and gusting to about 20 mph. The wind chill was bitter. My mom's casket was joining my dad's, in a "drawer" in a wall in the cemetery. The tomb was on the side of a small hill.
   We all returned to Doug and Sue's house for a reception, sandwiches and conversation. After about an hour, we all departed to face a snowy ride home. Tom and I returned to my mom's house and hunkered down with Dolly and Tyler to deal with the second part of the blizzard (and we did get 14" of snow there- and were trapped inside all day Friday, Jan. 3rd. We departed for home on January 4th). 
Boston skyline, heading home


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