28 February 2010

Paws in the Park

Another belated blog post. Please forgive me! Here it is:

From the Lockheed Martin article:

"With biting wind, overcast skies, and temperatures hovering around 40, Saturday, February 13 went to the dogs…literally! The spirit of the 16th annual Paws in the Park Pet Walk at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando was not shuttered by the wind or cold temperatures. Over 2000 people turned out for the event to raise money for the Central Florida SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

The 45+ person Mutts on a Mission team comprised of Lockheed Martin employees from STS and MFC and their family members (furry and not) raised over $9,000, putting the “pack” in the third highest fundraising team. The entire event raised more than $160,000."

Kurt Bouwman with Cassie and Julie Bolyard display the Lockheed Martin banner during the Paws in the Park fundraiser. The Mutts on a Mission “pack” included over 45 Lockheed Martin employees and their family members.

LM Mutts on a Mission group shot

First of all, thank you to everyone who sponsored me and Heidi to participate! We thoroughly enjoyed it and are happy you joined us in helping the animals in the central Florida area through this event!

My friend, Matt, joined me and Heidi for the walk, and it was a ton of fun! When me and Heidi first arrived she was very shy and huddled around my legs at the sight and sound of so many other dogs, many of them larger than her. I had parked on the far side of the lake from where the LM group was meeting, so I had to go .3 miles with Heidi, and it would have taken ages had I not decided to just carry her!

Matt arrived just in time for the group photo and for the walk to being. Heidi did wonderfully after the photo! She observed the other dogs, then all she wanted to do was play! This walk banished her fear of the larger dogs, and she got some great puppy socialization! Everyone thought she was super cute, and, of course, she is! I thought she'd tire out and force me to carry her after walking half way around the lake, but she was full of energy and didn't pass out until we returned to the car! I'm so proud of my Heidi Jo!

Here are some more photos from the walk:

Heidi and an adult German Shepherd

Heidi conked out on the ride home after the morning's excitement

Matt, Heidi & I with a German Shepherd and their owner

Matt walking Heidi

Heidi & I

Puppy Valentine's Day Party

Shame on me, for this is two weeks overdue! Anyway, my friend Joel and I hosted a Puppy Valentine's Day party at his place on Valentine's Day. We invited our fellow dog-owning friends and had a little cookout and welcome party for Heidi. It was a lot of fun to let Heidi romp around with other dogs off their leashes in a magical fenced-in back yard! Also, Jessica made a pup cake! Yummy chicken with sweet potato icing and peanut butter treats on top! Here are some photos from the afternoon (not in order):

feeding Heidi her piece of puppy cake; she wolfed the thing down and wanted more!

Jessica displaying her puppy cake

one of Joel G's friends holding Heidi

Joel L doesn't have a dog, but he did have a hot dog!

a group puppy shot

Jessica holding Heidi

the three larger dogs playing around

Joel G with Heidi

My baby girl and I

08 February 2010

Busy Week

Wow, this year has just been super busy, but that's not a bad thing! For me, it's a good thing; I thrive on keeping busy. Although an occasional free night is really desirable. I found an open night tonight, actually. I caught up on some things I'd been putting off, gave Heidi a much-needed bath, and just relaxed, in general. Tomorrow through Sunday will be kind of crazy, though! Outside of work and caring for Heidi, here's what I've got going on this week:

Tuesday: run in the morning, dentist appointment in the afternoon; Euchre night with Joel, Tiffany & Matt in the evening.

Wednesday: roller skating with the book club!!! I'm super excited for this!

Thursday: phone date with Kristin (pending my being able to catch up in my devotions so we can actually have a discussion about them), and yoga.

Friday: dinner and Avatar in IMAX 3D with Matt! Can hardly wait! He's going to be speechless after watching that movie!

Saturday: Paws in the Park walk with Heidi!!! By the way, I've raised more than twice the amount of my original fundraising goal! Thanks to all who've sponsored me and Heidi! Downtown with book clubbers that night?

Sunday: church in the morning, Puppy Party in the afternoon! Joel is hosting a gathering in honor of Heidi's arrival! Plus he has a fenced-in back yard - magical! Skyping family for Valentine's Day love and aiming to get to bed early.

Gotta go walk Heidi!


06 February 2010

This Week

Well, I don't know about you, but this week has absolutely FLOWN by me! Having a puppy to care for is like hitting a fast-forward button on life, except you can still enjoy the moments.

I wanted to recap the last week. I've had a lot going on and want to share it with my little army of readers.

Sunday I brought Heidi home, introduced her and Ashes, and tried to catch up on sleep wherever I could. (See post on Heidi.)

Monday I kept busy at work, coming back home for the lunch hour to tend to Heidi, and taking advantage of my flex-time so as to not leave Heidi alone for more than a few hours at a time. That evening I met up with Jessica and Lindsey at Lake Eola to serve food to 100 homeless people; we teamed up with Rock for Hunger. It was a lot of fun, and I'll be helping Jessica's volunteer group more in the future.

Tuesday work and lunch were the same as Monday. After work I was able to squeeze a run into the busyness of caring for Heidi. I ran for 30 minutes, and hoped and prayed I could run at least twice more between Wednesday and Friday for my race over the weekend. Later I had Joel, Heather & Matt over for an evening of Euchre! Joel and I were a bit rusty after not having played the beloved Midwestern card game for so long, Matt had played once or twice before, and Heather was new tot he game. We had a great time playing over Chex Mix, pizza and strawberry milk! Heather & I won, so I guess it's true what they say: girls rule and boys drool. = P After a while Heather had to go in for some work (she was on call), so Joel, Matt & I played some three-person Euchre. We also played with Heidi! It was good for her to romp around and socialize with other people. Groundhog Day marks my anniversary with Lockheed Martin as a full-time employee. I received necessary permission to begin part-time telecommuting, and am so happy with my first year with Lockheed! Also, I learned that I may be able to participate in Lockheed Martin's Information Systems Leadership Development Program (ISLDP), pending space available. It's a very challenging and prestigious program, and I'm thrilled to have the potential opportunity to take part!

Wednesday was my first laid back evening of the week. I had a lovely chat/Skype session with Miss Kristin. She adored seeing Heidi, even though Heidi wouldn't look at the computer screen/camera head on, haha. By Wednesday I was starting to get a good feel for her tiny body's "schedule" and learning her needs, etc, and was able to sneak in another trip to the gym. For an unknown reason I had a very sharp pain in my right knee a few minutes into my run, so I quit, not wanting to worsen the problem. I switched to the elliptical machine and called it a night.

Thursday was a lot like Wednesday minus the phone date but plus a run. I took it easy and my knee was fine. I did some blogging and hit they hay early. Thursday marks the day when Ashes started to play back - or even initiate the playing - with Heidi! He jumped and hopped and ran all around the living room! They're going to be great friends!

Friday I worked from home; it was nice, but a little chaotic given that I had a lunch outing at noon and a meeting at 1 PM. I had several meetings through the morning and into the afternoon, too. Work has definitely been keeping me on my toes, and on one of the calls I learned about several new efforts I'd be jumping in on for my communications role. It's really exciting, and I love the people with whom I work! For lunch I took Matt to Good Fellas' Pizza; we had pasta, and it was delicious - plus it helped me load up on carbs for my race the next morning. After a long week I was able to find time for a nap. Later Matt picked me up and we went to Oviedo for Joel's bonfire party. We met up with some familiar faces from the book club, and met some new ones. The highlight of the evening was roasting s'mores! Mine were cooked to golden perfection! It was a fun party, but at midnight it was time to head home. Matt helped me walk Heidi when we got back to my place, and then we said goodnight as I had an early morning.

Today I got up dark and early at 6:30 AM and went to Winter Park to run in the Florida Hospital Lady Track Shack 5K. The race is all women; estrogen overload! Last year I ran the same race, which was my first in Florida, so it's become a sentimental, traditional race for me. It's a fast course, and I really enjoy it. With Tuesday's knee pain I figured I'd just be running this 5K for fun, but overall I felt great, no knee pain, so I pushed a little. I ended up only half a minute from my PR time of 25'52"! Here are my race stats:

Division: women ages 19-24
Division Place: 12/144
Name: Amanda Bennett
Bib Number: 1306
Age: 23
Place: 146/2077
Gender Place: 146/2077 (top 7%)
Clock Time: 27'46"
Chip Time: 26'33"
Pace: 8'32.6"/mile
Hometown: Orlando, Florida

I'm quite happy with my running performance. A good race to kick off the year! I also bumped into Marissa post-race. It was nice to chit chat with her on the way to our cars. And we got little plants from a local nursery. When I got home I napped, but Heidi was wide awake so I didn't sleep too well. Grudgingly I got up and lounged around for a bit. In the afternoon I took Heidi to PetSmart to engrave her dog tag. Here are a few photos that mark the occasion:

Which brings me to the present. I'm painting my nails a lovely lavender using my new "Done Out in Deco" OPI polish, then I'm going to see if I can't catch a few Zs. Tonight I'm having company over to watch "I Am Legend!" Tomorrow is church and lunch with Aunt Joan over a Melbourne visit. For the Super Bowl it's looking like I'll join Matt at his friend's party.

Have a great weekend!


04 February 2010

Paws in the Park - Coming Soon

On Saturday, 13 February Heidi and I will take part in our first event together: the SPCA of Central Florida's Annual "Paws In The Park!"

Did you know that 100% of the funds you raise stay right here in the Central Florida area? Your support is vital to provide shelter and medical care to unwanted and abandoned animals. In addition you will support a variety of programs designed to promote human responsibility toward animals and to bring people and pets together. Please continue supporting these efforts by fundraising online. It's fun, easy and will make a very positive difference in the quality of life in our community!

I'm pledging to raise at least $50. Please visit my Personal Fundraising Page and consider helping me by making a secure online donation now by using this link: http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?SID=2457067

To sponsor:
1. Click the link above.
2. Scroll down
3. Click "Sponsor Me!"

When you make an online donation, I will be notified by email of your support and you will automatically receive an e-tax receipt from the SPCA of Central Florida. Don't forget to leave me & Heidi a message on the Guest Book!

Here is Lockheed Martin's Paws in the Park team page: Mutts on a Mission!

If you can't give, but know someone who can, please pass this on to them! You would be surprised to know how many people will give, if asked. For more information, please visit www.OrlandoPets.org.

Thank you for helping me reach my fundraising goal for this very worthwhile endeavor!


Amanda & Heidi

03 February 2010


On Saturday, 30 January 2010 I picked up Heidi, my German Shepherd Dog puppy! I bought her from Yuliya & Chad of Kennels von Lotta in Atlanta. It was a day filled with driving (7 hours, one way), but it was entirely worth it - plus I had a driving buddy on the way home! She did very well in the car! Here I am with Heidi, posing for our first photo:

I got back to Orlando at about 5 AM. (Thanks to Jordan for chatting on the phone to keep me awake towards the end.) When I first walked into my apartment, Ashes was waiting for me, like usual, but this time he did a full-body double-take when he saw who was with me! It was very interesting watching them say hello for the first time. I hate my hair in this photo, but Ashes' and Heidi's expressions are priceless here in their first photo together:

Here's an adorable photo of Heidi playing in the lawn outside my apartment:

Sunday afternoon I took Heidi to the vet for her 72-hour check after bringing her home from the breeder. This visit was her first to see other puppies and dogs outside of her family. She was timid around others her size, but warmed up to them after a few moments. Around large dogs she was always ducking around my feet; she's so cute. No matter the size of the person, though, she is super friendly, always giving kisses to their hands when they reach to pet her. Here's a photo of Heidi with a little girl and her mom:

Her vet check went well. The vet said she was in perfect health with the exception of a minor yeast ear infection. I am treating it, and so far her little ear is doing great. It's good that I have to clean and medicate her ear twice a day because it gets her used to me messing with her ears. I'm also making sure to play with her paws a lot so she doesn't mind when I have to clip her toe nails. I think down the road vets will appreciate her being used to these sorts of things.

She weighed 7.8 pounds the Sunday, 31 January I brought her home. This past Saturday, 6 February she had jumped up to 12.8 pounds. She's growing quickly! I found a German Shepherd Dog puppy growth chart, and, according to the chart, she is expected to reach 16 pounds in two weeks.

Speaking of keeping her tidied up, Wednesday night I gave Heidi her first bath! First I set her in the tub on a towel so she wouldn't slip around (dogs hate that feeling). Then I trickled some water from the faucet. She like it and lapped some up. Then I turned the water on a little stronger; she was okay with this. Next I turned the water on to reach a luke-warm temperature and she decided that was her cue to figure out how to escape the confines of the tub. She didn't enjoy the bath terribly, but she permitted me to lather her up and rinser her off so long as I was half-hugging her during the process. She smelled so nice afterwards! Here's a picture of her partially wet and trying to hop out of the tub:

Yesterday marked Heidi's first day of high energy levels. She has gotten used to her new home and environment, and now she's comfortable to romp and play around. She tries to get Ashes to play with her but he mostly refuses her. Yesterday was the first day she sought out to play with other pups and dogs on their walks. Before I would have to coax her over to the others. She's doing so well in socializing with other canines!

She has also taken a great interest chewing whatever I allow her to chew. She found my slippers on Monday, but I've been saying "no" whenever she gets near them or any other shoes by the front door. She seems to be learning that shoes are off-limits (at least while I'm around). Instead of shoes I've been teaching her that it's okay for her to chew on her toys. Here she is chowing down on Mr. Hippo:

View Heidi's photos albums!

Album One (Day 1-3)
Album Two (Day 3-present)

View videos of Heidi here! That link will take you to the first on my YouTube "Heidi" playlist; from there you can view other videos of Heidi (on the right-hand-side).

Someone planning to buy a puppy from Kennels von Lotta made a comment on one of my videos of Heidi, and that led me to seeing some videos that Yuliya had on YouTube. Here is a video of Kennels von Lotta's "E Litter." Heidi is from the "J Litter," but I'm sure she romped, ate and nursed just like the pups in the video.

Heidi's registered name is Johanna Adelheid von Lotta. von Lotta is the Kennel name; that part always goes last. I chose Johanna for several reasons: Heidi is from von Lotta's "J Litter" (most breeders name their litters a letter of the alphabet), so I wanted a name that started with "J." "Johanna" is a German female name. The meaning of the name "Johanna" is "God is gracious."

Before I chose her registered name I had my heart set on the call name of "Heidi." I chose "Adelheid" because it is a variant of the name "Heidi," plus it is also a German female name. "Adelheid" means "noble and kind;" perfectly matching to the character of German Shepherd Dogs.

Heidi was only 9.5 weeks old when I picked her up over the weekend. She only weighed 7.8 pounds when we were at the vet; she's all fluff!

I've been learning a lot about properly caring for a dog, especially such a young one. I am crate training her to help with potty-training, manners and behavior. She has her good days and some bad days where she'll make a mess, but she's learning. Heidi and Ashes get along famously for a cat and puppy! Ashes gives off an "I'm only tolerating her" attitude, but I know he secretly is very happy to have a friend in the home while I'm away. Besides, she's a furry ball of love!

If you have any tips for owning a puppy/dog/German Shepherd Dog, feel free to leave a comment! = )



Inga Visits!

I had the great pleasure of hosting one of my most dear friends last week! Ingeborg made a stop in Orlando on her backpacking trip along the southern US states on her way to Phoenix! It was amazing to see a friend from Australia (we were flat mates over there in Spring 2008 during our study abroad trips; she's from Norway). Of course we had kept in touch, but we hadn't seen one another in the flesh in 18 months! It was amazing to catch up with her in person. Here is the link to the full photo album.

We had something fun to do every day of her stay. Here's the run-down on our little adventure together:

Friday night: Inga arrives; we stay up way too late talking about EVERYTHING; we eat lemon poppy seed muffins with butter and jam; I unwrap all the little presents she brought me from Norway; we gorge on all the candies included in said presents; we have fun speaking "Norway-English," haha; we agree to sleep in the next morning.

Saturday: we slept in; she blogged about her travel to the US while I went for a run; we had pot pies for lunch (her first time having one; she's a fan); she made great friends with Ashes; and we went out for NORWAY NIGHT!

Several of my good friends from the book club joined us in showing Inga Downtown Orlando! We hit Latitudes (to get started), The Lodge (Inga's favorite), and Eye Spy (heaps of dancing); then we capped the evening with some good ole Jimmy John's (another first for Inga).

Sunday: met some folks from the book club for brunch at Hue, downtown. It was quite tasty, but took longer than anticipated, and so we were running behind time to get to the book club at Stardust. I was able to inform Inga of the book we were reading for January in time that she could read it, so she had fun taking part in the discussion with us. We had several new faces at both the brunch and the book club, but Inga was dubbed the "honorary, global book clubber," haha! After the book club we strolled around Lake Eola.

Monday: I had to work; Inga had a nice, lazy day. That evening we were originally planning to go to my Orlando Camera Club meeting to learn about HDR, but we got sucked into a shopping mode and hit Ulta and Ross that evening. We got a little crazy with our nail polish selections! So many to choose from! For dinner I took Inga to Panera.

Tuesday: I worked again, and Inga had another relaxing day. That evening I took a nap while she read, then we went to the California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. After CPK we went downtown, in formal-wear, mind you, to celebrate Joel's birthday at The Citrus Club on the top floor of the BB&T building downtown. It was really elegant, and we had fun chit chatting with Joel and his friend, Dennis. Happy birthday, Joel!

Wednesday: Again, work for me; Inga had a lazy morning; I brought home Jersey Mike's Subs for lunch, then she went to Waterford and I went back to work. That evening we lounged for a bit before going to Urban Flats for some flat bread, live music and she had some wine (as I was driving). Afterwards we went to Borders where I picked up the February book club book and she found a cool iPod case.

At one point through the week I took Inga to The Marble Slab. She was blown away by the concept, haha! She had a crazy concoction, but it really wasn't too bad, less the York Peppermint Patties, haha!

Thursday: after work Inga and I went to Amigo's for dinner where I ate entirely too much, too quickly, haha. Inga picked up heaps of goodies for the pre-screening of the movie "Dear John" that Joel got us tickets for. Ryan met up with us, too, and we camped out for an hour to get excellent seats in the theatre. I didn't cry, though my eyes got a little dewy. Inga cried, I'm pretty sure. We felt the movie was okay, and preferred "The Notebook." Fun time, nonetheless!

Friday: I took the day off to spend a full day with Inga. Ryan hooked us up with some good deals to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures. Ryan was a great "guide" to the parks. We hit up all the good rides and the longest wait, with one exception (the new roller coaster where they play your song during the ride), was 15 minutes! It was unheard of, I tell ya!

After much walking around, snacking, riding and chatting we got back to my apartment just in time for a quick power nap and prep for the Girls' Night I had planned as the last big to-do before Inga left Orlando. I had a few girls from the book club over, and Tiffany. We chatted, snacked on fruit and fondue, drank wine and had a lovely time painting our nails. I have a feeling there will be more Girls' Nights in the future.

Saturday morning we packed up and drove to Gainesville as it was her next stop and it was on my way to Atlanta to pick up Heidi. So we got a couple extra hours together. She DJ'd for me with the iPods. When we got to her hostel we said our goodbye's quickly to avoid bawling. I sure will miss that girl!

Thank you so much, Inga, for visiting! I loved having you in my home and company! Travel safely as you journey to Phoenix!


PS - Here is the link to Inga's travel blog if you're interested in reading (the second half of each post is in English) about her travels in the US.