21 January 2010

Found a GSD Breeder!

Thanks to my friend, Aaron, from the book club and his colleague, I've found a German Shepherd Dog breeder: Kennels von Lotta! I couldn't be more pleased with all the information on their website. They've met all my requirements as a breeder.

I spoke with Yuliya on the phone earlier this evening, and she is very pleased with me as a potential owner! She especially liked the fact that I wanted to run with the dog when training for my half and full marathons. She is holding the puppy for me, and I have just a few details to iron out. I very well may have a puppy in two weekends!

Here is a photo of the beautiful little female pup I may bring into my life and home:

Isn't she adorable?!

I am so excited that I'm jittery! I better go burn off some of this excitement with a run before I burst!


17 January 2010

Mustache Movement

Last night I went out with some friends from my book club. As we were leaving a guy and his girlfriend walked up to us. Turns out they had baked an apple pie as a reward for a competition they were having that evening. Between the two of them, whoever had the most photos with strangers won. The twist was that in the photo they had to put their finger, painted with a mustache, to your face such that it looked like you had a mustache. Kinda weird, but we thought it was great, haha. Here's a photo from last night that was inspired by their competition (you have to pretend there's a mustache painted onto our fingers, haha):

I find it so fascinating the movement that mustaches have been making lately. Have you noticed? I was just talking about this with some colleagues from work a couple weeks ago. Mustaches are EVERYWHERE:

Fine art:



Household items:

Tee Shirts:

There are already lots of on-going efforts which star the mustache:

I love the Mustache Movement, but I think men are sexier wearing beards. = P

Happy Moustache Spotting!


Image Sources:
Mona Lisa with Mustache
Triple Mustache
Mustache iPod Cozy
Mustache Mugs
Mustache Busted Tee

16 January 2010

Researching the GSD

This week kicked off my extensive research into the German Shepherd Dog (GSD)! I have been acting as a sponge and soaking up heaps of information from books like "The Everything German Shepherd Book" and from friends who own dogs. I grew up with dogs, and that helps prepare one, but I am certain that growing up with a dog and owning a dog are two very different things. Now it won't be my parents caring for the dog, but me, etc. But it'll be worth every moment of owning a sweet little German Shepherd pup like one of these:

Which I know will eventually get quite large and look gorgeous like this one:

Why a GSD? Many reasons! A few of the top reasons (not necessarily in order):

1. companionship (I live alone with my cat who, while wonderful, doesn't provide the companionship I could have with a dog).

2. man's best friend (I've always wanted a dog of my own, and now I'm finally able to provide a healthy environment for one; I look forward to working with the pup, training it and taking it to obedience classes!)

3. protection (Living alone in a big city can be scary sometimes, especially at night. While I live in a safe area and a nice apartment complex, one can never be too sure; a dog, especially a GSD, would provide protection.)

4. running buddy (After the pup is a year old I can begin taking it on runs with me!)

I have a lot to prepare for in getting a puppy. Mentally I'm pretty much there. The biggest hurdle was realizing and coming to terms with the fact that during puppyhood I'll have to sacrifice my lunch hour daily to come home to care for the pup. I've realized that this will be very worthwhile in the end, though. In fact, I'm kind of excited about coming home midday through the work week; it'll make for a nice lift in my day, seeing the pup.

I also know it will be expensive to not only acquire but also to own the pet. I'm budgeting $1000 in expenses for the first year, not including the price of the puppy, which I'm not sure about as I've not yet began contacting potential breeders. I'm hoping everything will fall into place (financially and time-wise with the breeder) such that I'll have a puppy by late Summer 2010 or early Fall 2010.

I'm very interested in bringing a GSD into a home where there is already a cat (as in my situation). I know GSDs are have strong herding tendencies, but I also know that they are highly trainable. My plan is to teach the pup early on that Ashes is not to be herded into a corner, etc. Also, while it's a pup, I'll be keeping a constant eye, so I can definitely watch, monitor and control how things develop between the pup and Ashes. I'm still reading up on what experts have to say about GSDs and a cat(s) mixing in the home.

If you have any tips on owning a dog in general or owning a German Shepherd specifically, please send them my way! I look forward to hearing your advice!


PS - I want a female!

15 January 2010

14 February Cheat Sheet

Have you noticed that we're less than a month away from Valentine's Day 2010? Whether you're into this celebration or not, if you're interested in getting a little something for your significant other, check out this cheat sheet I put together for you: five items for women, five for men.

Wait a minute - aren't I single? Why am I putting a Valentine's Day cheat sheet together for those who can actually enjoy the special date? Well, folks. I just love browsing Etsy.com THAT much. Plus I like making lists. And blogging. = )

Just click on the image to be linked to the item's Etsy shop where you can make a swift purchase for your loved one. (All images are from the product's respective Etsy shop.)

F I V E     I D E A S     F O R     W O M E N

It's chilly this time of year. Give her something to keep her hands and arms warm when you're away. These fingerless arm warmers are feminine, super warm and will match everything she wears. (From Zarina2009's Etsy shop.)

What a clever way to say that you'll always be there to protect her from the rain? If she likes simple, silver jewelry, she'll love this umbrella charmed necklace. (From michellechangjewelry's Etsy shop.)

She has friends all over the place and is always talking about how she wishes they could be closer. Nudge her towards the old fashioned way of communication with this darling French vintage note card set. You might get brownie points for getting her some stamps, too. (From foundaroundb4's Etsy shop.)

She loves her coffee. Help her express herself and accessorize her favorite coffee mug with this gorgeous cozy. (From waysideviolet's Etsy shop.)

Here's a romantic heart-shaped locket for you to present to your beautiful lady. It is vintage, old brass, and has a lovely key charm. Place a photo of each of you in the locket, or maybe a love note folded up teeny tiny-like. She'll treasure this necklace. (From BeadCoutureBySteph's Etsy shop.)

F I V E     I D E A S     F O R     M E N

How long will he carry around that old, tattered wallet of his? If he's not super attached and just hasn't replaced the silly thing, consider this stylish and practical wallet. Houndstooth is making a comeback for men, too. (From sewlutionsbyamo's Etsy shop.)

I've been seeing a growing trend for anatomically correct hearts. Here's a tee that will let him express his love in a very technical, yet subtle, manner. (From darkcycleclothing's Etsy shop.)

Check out this sexy, masculine neck warmer! (From minggusandmoob's Etsy shop.)

What computer savvy guy wouldn't love these CTRL ALT DEL pillows? (From diffractionfiber's Etsy shop.)

You know he's always talking about how he has too much change rattling around in his pockets. Give him somewhere to put all those coins with this vintage post office box coin bank. (From Boxnmor's Etsy shop.)

And that's all I've got folks! Happy [early] Valentine's Day!


11 January 2010

Full Marathon Plans

I'm going to run a full marathon this year! Thank you, Mom, for giving me the needed inspiration. = )

Below is a list of a few full marathons I was considering. As you'll see, I'm looking to squeeze in some traveling with my marathon race. I've not had any opportunities to travel since moving to Orlando, so I'm really excited about a trip/race combo this year! Please let me know if you have any insight to these races or general tips for running a full marathon!

9/19/10 Maui Marathon & Half Marathon Kahului, Maui, HI
10/17/10 Long Beach Marathon & Half Marathon Long Beach, CA
10/23/10 Running for the Bay Marathon Apalachicola Bay, FL
TBD The Metro Silicon Valley Marathon San Jose, CA
TBD Leavenworth Marathon Leavenworth, WA
TBD Mount Rushmore Marathon & CrazyHorse Marathon, Black Hills, SD
TBD Grand Canyon Marathon, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Here is the link to view my Google Maps of the various race locations.

Happy running,


09 January 2010

2009 Running in Review

In 2009 I...
-ran 17 more runs than I did in 2008.
-logged 3:54:04 more hours of running than I did in 2008.
-ran 120.72 more miles than I did in 2008.
-ran at a pace (minutes/mile) that was 3'48" minutes faster than I did in 2008.
-burned 14507 more calories while running than I did in 2008.

All in all I'm quite happy with my running in 2009. Clearly I'm most active from March to May, which makes sense because at that time I'm heavily training for the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon.

I feel in debt to the awesome Nike+ kit as it has helped keep me on track, motivated and in my sneakers. So I thank you, Nike+ kit! I also want to thank my parents, Mom especially, as they have been a great source of inspiration and the buddy system (and some rivalry, hehe) in the last year. I'm so happy that we've started a tradition of running the Indy Mini together! Lastly, thank you to Wendy and the Orlando Women Runners; this group was so motivational and friendly. It was very nice to run with them, espeically after having relocated and not knowing anyone in the area at first, let alone other runners. So thank you, fellow runners, and happy running in 2010!


(Wednesday, 6 January 2010)

:: BEGIN EDIT - Saturday, 9 January 2010::

I just logged into my Nike+ account and there was a link to see my 2009 Stats. I thought I already posted (above) about those, but I clicked anyway. Turns out there are more stats to share. = )

Pretty cool!


Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange Land

This is another review I wish I hadn't put off (for months). Oh, well. Here's my review.

Wikipedia efficiently describes the novel, so I'll quote them: "Stranger in a Strange Land is a best-selling 1961 Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human raised by Martians on the planet Mars, upon his return to Earth in early adulthood. The novel explores his interaction with — and eventual transformation of — Earth culture." Here is Mr. Heinlein, looking pretty spiffy:

Robert Heinlein

From the moment I learned the book was about a human "alien" returning to Earth, I was intrigued. Never before had I come across a story-line such as this. The book has an alternate reality: a new government and WWIII has occurred, taxi stations are rooftop and un-manned programmable hover craft have replaced our four-wheeled vehicles.

I think the last alien book I read was Animorphs back in middle school. I may be wrong about that, but nothing else is coming to mind.

Smith, the human "alien" who has returned to our world, has never heard of females, so that was an interesting aspect to the story. Smith was raised in an environment where there was only one gender (male).

Jill was my favorite woman in the story, but my all-time favorite character would be Jubal. He was awesome; the books moral compass and father-figure. Ben is a pretty clever guy. Initially I disliked him because of his trade (reporter types and I are very different), but he grew on me quite a bit. I like to think of him as a spy rather than a reporter; it's more fun that way.

The book's discussion of super-human powers makes me wonder about the untapped portions of the human brain.

I really liked how Heinlein demonstrates thoughts passing through Smith's Martian mind; grokking, translations or not, wanting to keep the peace, going into cataleptic states, controlling his body on different levels.

I enjoyed the Water Brothers concept; it is an important one on Mars. The idea is explained bit by bit as Jill and Smith build their relationship.

I guess that's all I've got given the tardiness of this review. I recommend it to anyone who likes sci-fi.



So I made it through Book III of the Twilight Saga. I must say that this book has been my favorite of the three. My order of favorite is this: 3, 1, 2. I really liked how Meyer started painting the love triangle between Bella, Jacob & Edward. The tension, the emotion, the guilt factors and the dirty fighting on the boys' parts - Meyer knows how to write drama.

That's something I've noticed about Meyer after having read these three Twilight books and The Host: Meyer is phenomenal at writing triangle love stories. I enjoy them, anyway. She thinks of every aspect, every feeling, everything.

The werewolves history is revealed, and I liked how that was done. And the detail of the pack's ominous consciousness - well done and interesting.

While I'm ready to end my journey of reading the Twilight Saga, I'm kind of excited to read the final book.


07 January 2010

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

When I learned that the movie was based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story I knew I'd read it in the near future. It was incredibly short, but, like all FSF work I've come by thus far, well done. For being so short it still drew me into the story; I was somehow able to get to know the characters. I could feel their emotion.

One of the main reasons I love this story is because it's a story which revolves around time, but it's not about time travel like most other time stories. What would it be like to see a newborn which had the mind, skin and eyesight of an old man but the size of an infant? What would you tell people? And how would you react as that old man met your own age as he continued growing younger? Could one call it growing? Or would it be wilting? It's fascinating to think about.

I've not yet seen the movie, but look forward to it.

Official Movie Website
Wikipedia Article


Breakfast of Champions

I wasn't all that impressed with this book, my first Vonnegut novel. I didn't really know what to expect, and that my be a good thing. The story had no meaningful point as far as I could tell. I think that was Vonnegut's intention, though. I think maybe having no point was his point.

I did enjoy the little drawings; they were entertaining.

I also liked how the two men's lives were explained separately and then woven together towards the end. Another really interesting factor of the story was that the author was also a character - as the author. I couldn't tell if the author = Vonnegut or not, but I kind of think they were one in the same.

Oh! It was hilarious how Kilgore's stories were only published in pornography, haha. Vonnegut has a peculiar sense of humor.

At the book club discussion of this book I learned that some of the characters in this book are also present in some of Vonnegut's other books. I thought that was pretty cool. I've never heard of having characters span books by the same author outside of obvious series, i.e., "The Lord of the Rings" or "Harry Potter."

Anyway, I would rate this book a 2/5 stars. *Shrug.

IMDB Article
Wikipedia Article


The Hobbit

A lot of people know who Frodo Baggins is. What a lot of people don't know there's an entire story about Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit whom Frodo considered his uncle. "The Hobbit" is a fantastic story of Bilbo's adventures before those of "The Lord of the Rings" begins. I didn't realize "The Hobbit" was intended as a children's book, though it read quickly and easily as such. In the respect of the intended audience it is much like that of the "Harry Potter" series, enjoyed by all ages.

"The Hobbit" was instantly a favorite. I loved the magic, the languages, the imagery, the journey... It's a story I will surely share with my children.

My favorite chapter was "Riddles in the Dark" where Bilbo plays word games with Gollum.

A movie of "The Hobbit" is being developed! I am excited to see it in theaters! IMDB Article

Wikipedia Article


The Alchemist

When I first saw this book in the store I wondered what story could be told about chemistry and mountains. When I first heard a passage of the book in a dear friends wedding I added the novel to my reading list. Lucky for me, it wound up being the November 2009 book for my book club; we had wonderful, intimate discussion that evening at Stardust.

Here are a few reasons why I love "The Alchemist:"

1. It read like a fairy tale, transporting me to childhood with breaths of magic, nostalgia and enlightenment.
2. The story is simple and powerful.
3. The protagonist is transformed.
4. I think everyone would benefit from reading it.
5. The allegories are clever and well done.

I'm upset with myself for waiting so long to write this review, but "better late than never," right? Bottom line: you should read "The Alchemist" if you haven't already.

Wikipedia Article


05 January 2010

New Tunes

Tonight I had some Best Buy money burning a whole in my pocket. I corrected this problem and bought the following CDs:

a fine frenzy

the flaming lips


Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Bennett for the Christmas present. It had been a long time since I'd strolled the store looking for a few CDs; it was fun to browse them. I was in need of some new music, so this was perfect.