Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Double Sign from Rob's Mom!

Seeing signs from our loved ones that have passed just takes a bit of attention to detail and knowing what they enjoyed in life. Why? Because that's how they identify themselves - and that's exactly what my mom did recently.  
   I went into a CVS store for vitamins, but decided to look at birthday cards even though I didn't need any at the time. The very first card that caught my eye was a dark background with something white sticking up so I pulled it out of the rack and it was a poodle on a birthday card!
  So what? Well, my mom had a poodle named Gigi, that she doted on, loved and cherished. My brothers and I said that Gigi was my mother's favorite child. In fact, Gigi passed in October 1993, and right until the day my mom passed in December 2013 she talked about that beloved dog every day.
  Mom influenced me to pick out that card to let me know that she is around. She also wanted to make sure I realized it.
  Here's where the double confirmation came in. As soon as I picked up the card over the intercom of the store came the opening notes of one of her all time favorite songs, "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac!
  With spirit, there truly is NO such thing as a coincidence. My mom wanted to ensure that I knew she was around me that weekend. I didn't expect a message in a CVS, but that's the point. We never know when our loved ones will be around us so pay attention!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

In the news: Unusual Precipitation Patterns in the U.S.

EarthSky put together an interesting story about how precipitation patterns across the U.S. have been changing recently, and The National Climate Assessment put together a map of the most extreme precipitation (rain and snow) have increased in various regions of the U.S.  (Dr. Marshall Shepherd, a research meteorologist and more whom I admire and respect so much, is quoted here). This is well-worth reading to see how our climate is changing. - Rob

According to the National Climate Assessment, the most extreme precipitation events (those in the 99th percentile of intensity) have increased in every region of the contiguous states since the 1950s. In the U.S., the highest precipitation events seem to be occurring more in the Northeast and across the Midwest. Image via National Climate Assessment

Depending on where you live, you could call 2014 the year of the drought, or the year of the deluge. In early August 2014, we have seen several significant rainfall events occur across the United States. During the week of August 10, for example, a slow moving area of low pressure across the Great Lakes and New England produced widespread showers and storms. Yesterday (August 19), parts of Phoenix (yes, the desert) recorded over four inches of rain in a short time period, thanks to an upper level low pushing into the western United States. Are extreme rainfall events related to climate change, and/or has urban sprawl contributed to flash flooding events due to more concrete and poor sewer systems? The answers to both questions are probably yes. 

Is global warming responsible for the increase in urban flooding in the past few years? As we’ve all heard by now, computer models suggest that, as Earth’s climate warms, we are more than likely to see bigger swings in both rainfall events and droughts. Meanwhile, it’s super important to note that you cannot point to a single event and link it, clearly, to climate change or global warming.
However, after seeing repetitive episodes of extreme flooding – such as the floods in Nashville (2010) or Atlanta (2009) and such as the floods of August, 2014 – you might wonder when we will finally conclude that global warming is responsible. Some climate experts are now beginning to make this connection. According to Dr. Marshall Shepherd, Director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at University of Georgia and host of WxGeeks on the Weather Channel, both humans and climate change do play a role in urban flooding. Shepherd says there is a unique formula that comes to mind regarding extreme rainfall events. That is:
Urban Flooding = Increase in intensity of top 1% rain events + expanding urban impervious land cover + storm water management engineered for rainstorms of “last century”
He explains how most of the flooding events that have occurred over the past 10 years are a result of “extreme meteorological conditions, urbanization, and people.”
One factor, he says, is the sheer size of cities, which are growing and becoming more spread out. As cities continue to expand in size, it’s as if a target has gotten larger and easier to hit. According to Shepherd:
If the bullseye is tripled in size, I probably have a better chance of hitting the bullseye more often. Warming climate is likely increasing the urban flood bullseye, making the probability of such flooding more likely.
Theresa Anderson, whose Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia came from research into hydrometeorology, says heavy rainfall and other extreme weather can severely impact big cities.
These heavy rain events are devastating for cities. Urban areas, which are expanding and
Dr. Marshall Shepherd
aggregating, are not equipped to handle large volumes of water due to outdated storm water management, impervious surfaces, lack of vegetation, etc. Unfortunately, that leads to major flooding over a short period.
Hopefully these events are anomalies, but when considering the predictions of an accelerating water cycle, record rainfall events may be more likely.
Bottom line: Under conditions of a warming climate, a growing population and subsequent urban sprawl mean that extreme precipitation events are affecting cities more now than they did before 1970. Not one extreme weather event can be linked to global warming; however, computer models suggest that accelerating the water cycle via climate change will continue to bring about unusual precipitation events, including drought or flash flooding. Urban planners are beginning to speak of the need to adapt and improve cities’ infrastructures – for example, their drainage systems – to help reduce urban floods.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Negative Energy Can Affect Your Health

Recently, we were out and around a group of people - several we didn't know,

and they were apparently into "not so good" things. When people are into things like ouija boards or dark arts, or if they have anger issues, are depressed or just hateful - bad energy sticks to them like trying to clean peanut butter out of a jar.  
  Why do I bring this up?  Because it affects the people around them, too. Negative energy can affect innocent bystanders. Especially people who are emotionally sensitive or in tune with their own internal energies. 
  Such was the case with me and two other friends who came home and that night and all during the next day - all three of us were sluggish, fuzzy-headed and exhausted.  Even 5 days later I still don't feel 100%. I have to concentrate to speak clearly. 
  So, if you know of a negative person, you may want to avoid them. Many people have relatives and people they care for who are negative. In those cases, protect yourself. Before you see them, picture a shell of positive energy around you, play music that makes you sing, appreciate the simple sights around you, enjoy your favorite coffee or other beverage. Build up the positive so that the negative can't get through. I wasn't prepared, sadly, and I'm still dealing with it days later.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dolly's Surgery - 2 Days Later

Dolly can't wait for the muzzle growth to come off
Our 9 year old Weimaraner, Dolly Loretta had some minor surgery on her nose this past Tuesday to remove a growth. She's doing well now.
   As dogs get older, some develop bumps and fatty deposits - just like people. A small bump developed on Dolly's muzzle last year and she's been scratching it with her paw (despite the ointment I've put on it).
   So, she tore it open and it bled, dried out and just stayed there like a skin tag in her line of sight. It bothered her so we had it surgically removed at the Family Vet Clinic.
Franklin checks out Dolly's surgery area
  The vet, Dr. Varner, did a great job (as usual). Dolly recovers pretty quickly and by 2:30 p.m. on the day of surgery she was "pacing and ready to come home" so I took a late lunch and brought her home.
   She did get a side-effect of the local anesthesia, though - diarrhea. So, she's also on Imodium (yes, you can give a dog imodium after every movement- little dogs get 1/2, bigger dogs get an adult dose).  
   She's so good about not touching things she shouldn't and hasn't once bothered the spot, so she never needs an E-collar.
Dolly after surgery
  By Wednesday evening she no longer needed the pain medication and acted like her normal self, had a good appetite and energy returned. Now, hopefully the tummy trouble will subside. At least she's a lot happier without that nasty skin tag in her line of sight.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Wonderful Gift to a Precious Dog!

Kirby taking it easy
Our friends Lynn and Jeff received shocking news about their boxer named Kirby. They learned that Kirby has cancer and she doesn't have a long time on the physical plane , but they gave her one of the greatest days of her life, letting her know how loved she is by so many. As dog dads, dog rescuers and guys who have lost our dogs Buzz and Sprite our hearts ache for them.
Kirby, Lynn, Jeffrey and Jeff
A great family photo
     MAKING A DOGGONE GREAT CELEBRATION - Lynn and Jeff had an open house for Kirby where friends and family came to say hello to her and cheer her. After a couple of hours Kirby was worn out with hugs, pats, toys and treats. What a wonderful way to show our beloved dogs how much their loved by overwhelming them with love from so many.  So, take it from Lynn and Jeff - if you have a dog or cat (or other pet child) who is failing, help celebrate their lives now by showing them how truly loved they are. We were so honored to drop by and give Kirby hugs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Great Book about a Dog: Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love

I (Rob) just finished the most wonderful book about a dog that was given a second chance. A puppy that was used as a bait dog in dog fights (by some thug) was rescued after his ear was torn off and jaw was damaged. A veterinarian took him under her wing as her own special cause and saved his life, while looking for a family to adopt him.
  The father of the family of four authored the book called "Oogy, the Dog Only a Famliy Could Love." The book is wonderful, and shows how any dog deserves a second chance and immediately becomes part of the family.
  Highly Recommended!!!!

BOOK SUMMARY:Now in paperback, the New York Times-bestselling story of a puppy brought back from the brink of death, and the family he adopted.
   In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen--one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue--ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms.
   Heartwarming and redemptive, OOGY is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him "Oogy" (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fun in Federal Hill, Baltimore

Two weeks ago we finally made it up to Federal Hill to visit our friends Steve and Jane and enjoyed lunch there. Fortunately, the rain held off so we got to walk around Federal Hill and explore a little of the history, the great view of Baltimore's Inner Harbor and Steve got to enjoy the new:)  kids play area. :)

Federal Hill

Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Selfie time! 

What is Federal Hill? it's a neighborhood in Baltimore, MarylandUnited States that lies just to the south of the city's central business district. Many of the structures are included in the Federal Hill Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Steve playing with the kids stuff
On the night of May 12, following the Baltimore riot of 1861, the hill was occupied in the middle of the night by a thousand Union troops and a battery under the command of General Benjamin F. Butler, who had entered the city, under cover of darkness and during a thunderstorm, from Annapolis via theBaltimore & Ohio Railroad.[5] During the night, Butler and his men erected a small fort, with cannon pointing towards the central business district. Their goal was to guarantee the allegiance of the city and the state of Maryland to the Federal Government under threat of force. This fort and the Union occupation persisted for the duration of the Civil War. A large flag, a few cannons, and a small Grand Army of the Republic monument remain to testify to this period of the hill's history.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

IN THE NEWS: At home, really, with Superman (Home were he was created)

This is the kind of story I (Rob) really enjoy. The home where Superman was created is owned by a wonderful family who acknowledges it, welcomes it, and lets others enjoy it, too. 

At home, really, with Superman
Charlotte Observer

Ohio family enjoys sharing history of home where Jerry Siegel created Superman comic
Superman, the story goes, was born on the planet Krypton and sent to Earth in a small rocket by his father when that planet was about to explode.
He was actually born in 1933 in a two-story bungalow in a scruffy neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland, probably in the attic.
If you're in the area to see Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or nearby Canton for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, swing by the Man of Steel's birthplace. There's no admission fee.
The matriarch of the house these days is from Lawrence, S.C. Her nickname is "Super Nana," and she is apt to be wearing a headscarf emblazoned with Superman's time-honored "S" monogram. And the legal owner of said property is a 6-year-old who wears a red cape when he visits.
Who would've guessed?
Initially not Hattie and Jefferson Gray, who bought the home in Cleveland's Glenville area in 1983. Three years later, she said, they received a letter from the Cleveland Landmarks Commission saying the house had historic significance because it was the Depression-era residence of a Siegel family whose nerdy son, Jerry, created The Man of Steel. Jerry wrote the story, and his neighborhood pal Joe Shuster drew the cartoon panels. Superman's inaugural appearance was in 1938, in Action Comics' first issue. From that point, Superman was up, up and away.
Siegel is said to have typed out the story in the house's third-floor garret, in the middle of the night, where he could, without waking his family, pursue his dream of becoming a writer of pulp fiction.
That room is now the cosmic navel of the Superman universe; fans swing by on tour buses or park their cars in front of 10622 Kimberley Ave. Some jump out, take photos and zoom away; others hesitatingly mount the porch to knock on the door.
They know they're at the right place: At the corner of Kimberley and Parkwood Drive, an ornamental city street sign double-marks Kimberley as Joe Shuster Way. And there's a red S-in-a-triangle sign affixed to the sidewalk fence at the Gray residence.
During the day, if she's home and not too busy, Hattie Gray invites people into her living room filled with furniture and family photos. Straight ahead is the dining room where special Superman photos, mementos and proclamations are kept in a glass cabinet.
To the left is a well-worn stairs to the second floor, where another staircase goes to the tiny garret. That narrow stairwell, hallway and room at its end are festooned with Superman items -- beach blankets, little-kid undies, posters and more -- stapled or taped to the walls or hanging from the ceiling.
The garret itself is a homespun catchall of Superman books, comics, action figures and other memorabilia. In the center is a small desk and chair, representative of where Jerry Siegel may have sat when inspiration hit. On the desk is an electric typewriter. While incongruous -- electric models became common only after World War II -- keep in mind that Superman's speed allows him to defy Einsteinian physics and fly both into the future and the past.
Cleveland in the 1930s was a bustling metropolis of ethnic enclaves. Siegel's parents were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania who lived in the working-class Glenville area.
Jerry made friends with Joe Shuster, another introvert at Glenville High who also came from an Eastern European family and who shared a love for the inexpensive pulp magazines -- crime, fantasy, romance, etc. -- whose lurid covers turned up monthly at newsstands. The boys became involved with the high school newspaper and, barely out of their teens, tried their hands at writing and illustrating comic strips and publishing homegrown fanzines.
Drawing from "Tarzan" books and comic strips and "Tarzan" movie star Johnny Weissmuller, plus Dick Tracy, Buck Rogers and other pop idols, their Superman gradually evolved from a villainous mastermind to a good guy with super powers and a secret identity.
Superman. Credit: DC Comics 
Comic books -- initially strips compiled into a magazine format -- were catching on, and pulp publishers wanted a piece of the pie. National Comics (later DC Comics) finally bought Superman, who made his debut in Action Comics in spring 1938. Siegel and Shuster were happy to sign the 10-year deal that called for more comic stories.
The contract stipulated that all rights to Superman would belong to the publisher in exchange for $130.
A Superman comic strip came along in 1939; "The Adventures of Superman" radio show hit the airways the following year.
Feeling they'd been ripped off, the duo filed lawsuits, ultimately settling for $94,000, and continued to write and draw comics with less-successful superheroes. Both died in the 1990s in the Los Angeles area.
But Superman could not be killed by age or even radioactive kryptonite -- the invention of radio-show writers, as were Perry White and Jimmy Olsen -- and the character moved into TV and blockbuster movies as well as other DC comics.
As Hattie and Jefferson Gray and their daughter Fannie are well aware. Mindful and prideful of their home's history and wanting to keep it in family hands, the Grays deeded the property to grandson Christopher Jefferson Gray, of Columbus, Ohio.
When he visits "Super Nana," "Super Papa" and aunt "Super Te-Te," he is usually wearing his Superman cape, Hattie said. She added that the 6-year-old isn't thrilled when tourists ask him to stop leaping about and just pose for a picture.

Read more here:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

IN THE NEWS: Deceased gay teen’s eye donation rejected: Because he was gay

 Here's an absolutely RIDICULOUS story -and one of bigotry. I can't believe that the FDA has a rule that gay men cannot be organ donors. How totally asinine.  There are SO many people waiting for organ transplants and this stupidity prevents lives from being saved.  Just read this...

A.J. Betts Courtesy of KCCI (used with permission)

Mother outraged after learning her deceased gay son’s eye donation was rejected

Sheryl Moore’s son lay on the bed before her. Soon, she knew, her 16-year-old boy would be taken off life support — another life lost to bullying.
Alexander “AJ” Betts Jr. attempted suicide in July 2013, the Des Moines Register reported at the time. He died shortly thereafter. Betts’s mother said he had been outed as gay about a year and half before his death. His friends told KCCI that schoolmates constantly made fun of him, ridiculing him for being gay, for being half African American, and for his cleft lip.
“He’s different. He doesn’t add up to what they’re used to,” Noah Lahmann, the teen’s best friend, told the news station.
Before he died, Betts had a request: Donate my organs. A 14-year-old boy received Betts’s heart, according to a letter Moore received, but she said his eyes were rejected.
A Food and Drug Administration’s guidance for donor eligibility says men who have had sex with men in the past five years “should” be ruled as “ineligible” for donating certain tissues, labeling their behavior a “risk factor.”
“My initial feeling was just very angry because I couldn’t understand why my 16-year-old son’s eyes couldn’t be donated just because he was gay,” Moore said, according to KCCI.
The FDA’s guidance reflects its ban on blood from men who have sex with men. That policy is a by-product of the AIDS crisis that ripped through the gay men’s community decades ago.
     The FDA explains its much harder line regarding blood as such: Men who have had sex with men “at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors” because “a history of male-to-male sex is associated with an increased risk for exposure to and transmission of certain infectious diseases, including HIV.”   Critics have long called the policy discriminatory, but the FDA says it’s necessary: “FDA’s deferral policy is based on the documented increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections, such as HIV, associated with male-to-male sex and is not based on any judgment concerning the donor’s sexual orientation.”
     In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Glenn Cohen, a bioethics law professor at the Harvard Law School, wrote that the United States should repeal the rules about blood. “We think it’s time for the FDA to take a serious look at this policy, because it’s out of step with peer countries, it’s out of step with modern medicine, it’s out of step with public opinion, and we feel it may be legally problematic,” he told CBSCohen notes some contradictions in the FDA blood ban: Men who have sex with HIV-positive women or sex workers are banned for only a year.
Last summer, the American Medical Association voted to end the ban. According to Time magazine, William Kobler, a board member for the the association, said in a statement, “The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science.”
 FULL STORY: Washington Post:


Friday, August 22, 2014

Watched Movie: Saving Mr. Banks"

It's a rare thing for us to actually sit for two hours and watch a movie, but our nephew Matt gave us a list of movies we needed to see. "Saving Mr. Banks" was on the list- so we saw it. It's the story behind how Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) convinced the Australian author of Mary Poppins to allow Disney to make a movie of her book. She was a nightmare to work with and the film really showed just how truly difficult she was.
 - The story is intensely personal to the author - thus her reluctance to turn over some creative freedom to Disney. All we'll say is they treated her like Royalty. ... you should watch it as it will give you an appreciation for how hard Walt Disney worked to make it happen.  WORTH SEEING!

From Wikipedia:  Mary Poppins is the lead character in a series of eight children's books written by P. L. Travers. Throughout the Mary Poppins series, which was published over the period 1934 to 1988, Mary Shepard was the illustrator.[1] The books centre on a magical English nanny,Mary Poppins. She is blown by the East wind to Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane, London, and into the Banks' household to care for their children. Encounters with chimney sweeps, shopkeepers and various adventures follow until Mary Poppins abruptly leaves, i.e., "pops-out". Only the first three of the eight books feature Mary Poppins arriving and leaving.  The books were adapted by Walt Disney in 1964 into a musical film titled Mary Poppins,starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. I

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tyler Strikes Terror in the Hearts of Vet Techs!

On August 19, our Weimaraner, Dolly, and one of our Dachshunds, Tyler had to go to the vet for a couple of tests. The bottom line: Dolly doesn't have diabetes and Tyler "the Terror" is heartworm free, but we're trying to figure out what's going on with Dolly. Tyler, however, struck terror in the hearts of the vet techs! 

  TYLER THE TERROR STRIKES - The Vet techs didn't believe me when I told them Tyler is a terror, but one of them brought him out of the room to draw blood for a test. Tyler squirmed and shrieked like crazy over and over when the vet techs took him. The tech said that he absolutely wouldn't hold still for a minute and kept shrieking!  Even Dolly, who was in another room with me, looked up and tipped her head!  When the female vet tech returned with Tyler, she looked at me and said "You were right, he's a terror."  
Tyler and Dolly at the vet's office on 8/19/14
  DOLLY'S ENIGMA - Dolly started doing fast, shallow breathing from time to time, and it started a couple of months ago (when it got hot outside). She doesn't do it all the time, though. Mostly it occurs at night, but it's not every day. So, she was tested for diabetes  and it was negative. Other things that make a dog breathe quickly and shallow are heart-related, and she shows none of the other signs of that either. She's now been tested for everything and thankfully, it's all negative. 
POSSIBLITIES? -  Two things that stand out are that she becoming more heat-sensitive as she gets older, and/or that she has developed asthma. Yes, dogs get asthma, although that's not too common... but I (Rob) have it, and I have the same breathing issues when air quality is bad. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Successful Dog Save

Oscar the Dachshund was in need of a home
Dog rescues come in all sizes. Not all of them work the same. One thing that they all do have, though, is people who care about dogs and have big hearts that help make them happen for the sake of dogs. Dog rescuers also don't need to belong to an official rescue, they just need a heart like a woman named JoAnn who took in an abandoned dog.

FIRST AWARENESS -  Last week, while I was flying home from Pensacola, Florida, I received a text message from our friend Renee (who is in the Inspired Ghost Tracking Group with us). Renee didn't have Tom's cell, just mine, so she sent me a note asking for help placing a dog in a rescue's foster home.

THE DOG STORY - A little 2 year old dachshund was in a home with two teenage boys whose father, a highway department worker, was recently struck and killed by a speeding car. Their mother had passed of illness 2 years prior leaving the kids an only choice of going to a grandmother's trailer. The grandmother refused to take the dog. The entire story is horrendous.

SAVED BY JOANN -  JoAnn (also a member of the ghost group like Renee and us) lives close to the family's home and asked to take Oscar because the grandmother was going to dump him into an animal shelter.
  While fostering Oscar until she could find him a home, JoAnn contacted Renee, who (knowing that Tom and I work with Dachshund and Weimaraner rescues) messaged me. She explained that since the dad passed a week ago, the dog wasn't being fed much and his dish had mold growing on it. If you look at the photos of Oscar, you'll see he's very thin.
A very thin Oscar at JoAnn's house 

NEXT CONTACT -  I contacted Corinne who manages Sophia's Grace Foundation Dachshund Rescue. Corinne immediately called JoAnn and arranged a foster home for Oscar.

OSCAR'S SURPRISE ADOPTION!  - Over the course of the week that JoAnn continued to watch Oscar until the foster home was ready, she and her husband decided to adopt him!  So it all worked out for Oscar. JoAnn said that now Oscar can stay in a close environment to that which he grew up in (in the same neighborhood).

On a related note, Rescues need Foster Homes! - please consider fostering even for a short time.  WHAT IS SOPHIA'S GRACE FOUNDATION? The foundation affirms to offer financial aid to dachshunds in need of rescue, refuge and health support.  They are always seeking Foster parents (they pay the medical care, you just feed and house the dog until they find a forever home), and NEED Donations to keep rescuing these dogs!  FOR MORE INFO:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pensacola Highlight: Meeting my Nephew

Rob and Matt at the Paracon
One of the best things from my (Rob) trip to the Pensacola, Florida Paracon was that I finally got to spend some great quality time with my 24 year old nephew Matt. Matt lives in Tampa and has degrees in Sign Language interpretation and French. He's an amazing guy. He's into fitness, he's very aware of social and political issues and we had a lot to talk about. I was really honored that he drove 7 hours from Tampa to spend time together.
A fountain at the old Pensacola docks
Rob and Matt take a night-selfie at the docks
 - He arrived on the Saturday of Paracon, so we went to dinner and talked a lot before fizzling out. The next day, he accompanied me to Paracon and stayed for half the day before I told him to go explore the town and see a movie (I didn't want him to come all that way and sit all day). We enjoyed another great dinner and drove to old Pensacola at night, where we walked around some docks.
  Spending the time together was amazing. We really got to know each other much better, and he's an amazing man. A million thanks for making that drive, Matt!
Historic sign at the old town dock

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rob's 20 min. Interview on Chimichanga Talk at Paracon

While at the Pensacola Paracon I got to partake in The Chimichanga podcast show and had a fun 20 minute interview.  
One of the hottest events this summer, Pensacola Florida was the host of 2014’s Paracon! Interviewed on our longest show ever, Reverend Dianne Frazier (0:11:11) from Spiritlight, Writers Rob Gutro (0:22:57), Shannon Bell (0:47:15), Reverend One Eagle Feather (1:05:05) from Spiritlight, and Jason Woodham (1:26:36); Actors Melanie Robel (1:44:18) and Jimmy Dempster (2:17:19). Plus the Fun with Wang Star Wars Saga Trivia Challenge!
(NOTE - There's quite a bit of background noise- it was BUSY at the Convention) 

WHAT IS CHIMICHANGA TALK? Every Wednesday they provide an insider’s look at the industries from comics to novels, from video games to movies.
The Big Wang interviews Rob
According to their website it's a geeky podcast which averages 2,500 listeners, Chimichanga Talks! takes an insider’s look at the industry from people in the industry. From comics to movies, video-games to novels, we cover it all! Past guests have included: Michael Rooker, Lew Temple, I Fight Dragons, Bobby Nash, and Lloyd Kaufman to name a few.


One of the hosts known as "The Big Wang" interviewed me about my book "Pets and the Afterlife" and we talked about ghosts and spirits. In fact, He recognized that his grandmother's spirit has been around him. It's about 20 minutes long!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Paracon Heat Adventure, People, Ghost Stories and Costumes

The heat inside curled book covers
2 women with an axe to grind?
The Pensacola Paracon was Saturday, August 9 and Sunday August 10. On Saturday vendors like me (Rob) had to be there at 9 a.m. and the doors opened at 10 a.m.

TOO HOT TO HANDLE - The air conditioning was working... until 10 a.m. and then it died. The outside temperature hit 100F. The INSIDE temperature in the convention was about 105/110F. It was unbearable. I bought about 7 bottles of water and people were miserable. There were many people in costumes, too. I read some of the facebook comments, and some people left after 30 minutes. We had to stay from 10am to 6pm (8 hours) in 100F plus heat. 

Even R2D2 from Star Wars was there! 
MY TALK -   My talk about a "double murder ghost investigation" was at 4:30 p.m. in another building, which did have A/C, but only 18 people showed as the crowds rapidly thinned out. The talk went well, despite the small group. 

The Joker in the background looking at toys
  I got to meet some really great people over the weekend, though. People who came to the table to ask questions, share stories and find out what my books were about. A young gentleman named Will was there with his family and I was amazed how much he was so spiritually developed. I met a wonderful woman named "Silver Wolf" (nickname) who rescued many dogs in her neighborhood.  Justin was sensitive to energies and realized that bad relationships cause negative energy that no one needs. I met David and Maria Chavez who are starting "Phantom Paranormal Research and Investigations" in Pensacola. I met Ray and Heather Carlson of Bellview Paranormal Society;

A guy with a beaded face painted on
2  SPIRIT RESCUE STORIES- 1)  One woman gets a headache whenever in the presence of a ghost or spirit just as I do. She said she felt her grandmother's spirit with her and her husband when they spent 72 hours on a kayak in the NW Pacific before being rescued by a Japanese Coast Guard boat. 
2) Another woman told me that even though her dad passed 4 years ago, she knows his spirit is around. One day her breaker box shorted and the lights in her house went out. She called to her

Deadpool and Darth Vader
dad to fix it and shortly all the power was restored and the breaker worked again!  She knew it was her dad. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paracon: Meet Spiritlight and author Shannon Bell

Dianne and One Eagle Feather
There were many highlights to my (Rob) weekend event at the Paracon in Pensacola, Florida. Many of them included the people I got to meet.

Here's a look at some amazing people that I befriended, and whom I was fortunate enough to be positioned next to at the event. One couple was Dianne and Reverend One Eagle Feather of Spiritlight.
Dianne tames a dragon
  They truly lit up the room. They perform Native American weddings, they are psychic healers, mediums, paranormal investigators who also do house clearings, Reiki masters, and they make amazing jewelry, too! Dianne did medium readings at their table and was always spot on.
  We had something else in common: Dog rescue!  They are very active in animal rescue!!  Check out their Rescue page on Facebook:
One Eagle Feather hugs a magical beast

For their regular website:
AND, if you live in Kentucky or thereabouts you can see them at Scarefest in September 12-14 in the Lexington Convention Center.
MEET SHANNON BELL - Shannon and her husband John sat on the other side of my table, and also lit up the room. I really lucked out with great people around me. Shannon just published her first novel, a Vampire romance. Her website is:
 Of course, her large banner caught my eye because it had this (left) photo of this handsome, hunky guy (Daniel Sobieray is the model). Yes, I took a promotional post card to use as a bookmark! :)

ABOUT HER BOOK: "The Mortal One" - The Mortal One is a paranormal romance. Dylan leaves her life in Florida to go on a vacation of a lifetime so she can find herself. Instead, she finds vampires – even after she has convinced herself they don’t exist. She is flung into the arms of Nico, an immortal who must mark her to save her. The problems
Shannon and John 
compound because another vampire feels he is entitled to mark her as well. She is caught up in an exhilarating love affair as well as vampire politics. She finds it hard to be the only mortal one.

Kindle – Buy here:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spot The Historical Error In This “Downton Abbey” Publicity Picture

Can you Spot The Historical Error In This “Downton Abbey” Publicity Picture?  Don't scroll down for the answer until you look very carefully.  

Guys, YOU HAD ONE JOB. posted on Aug. 14, 2014, at 11:26 a.m.

BuzzFeed Staff/ Huffington Post
Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Ltd/ITV

There’s just one issue with this image, which was apparently removed by ITV as soon as they realised the error. Seen it yet?

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Ltd/ITV

Who knew there were plastic water bottles in the 1920s? You had one job, guys. ONE JOB.

Spot The Historical Error In This "Downton Abbey" Publicity Picture

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