26 March 2010

Lipstick Jungle

I picked this book up when I was home for Christmas Break. I believe I had a really good coupon to use that I simply couldn't refuse. I haven't read a chick flick in a good while, and this book spoke to me with its powerful women and Sex & the City vibe. (If you didn't know, Candace Bushnell is the author of Sex & the City; the TV show was based on this novel. Hence the SATC vibes in Lipstick Jungle, judging by the description on the back of the book and the first chapter.)

I'm reading this book the week of my Spring Break. I read a few; sounds like it will make for a great, light, easy, beach read. Perfect! I'll edit with my review after I return from St. Pete!

I finished this book the other night. Not too much to say, given that it is a light, easy read. I wouldn't say it was tremendously fun. The characters created their own problems, which could have easily been avoided had they made the right choices. It wasn't awful, but the moral compasses on these ladies, in their love lives, was out of whack. In the business world they were spot on in a moral sense, which I admired. They were all powerful women who worked hard to achieve their career goals; which is why I was able to relate to the story. It was interesting to see the role-reversals play out, especially in Wendy's case, with respect to who the family bread-winner happens to be. I learned about what it's like for women to be the "man of the house" from this book.

So, overall, okay book. Quick, beachy read: yes. Moving: not really.


Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs

This was the March book club book, suggested by the other Amanda:

This book is a collection of 18 essays where each pop culture topic was hit on during the sleepy, unwinding moments before Chuck fell asleep. Interesting premise, I'd say. I hadn't read a collection of essays before, at least not willingly, so that caught my attention. I liked being able to jump around or skip an essay if it didn't really appeal.

Here is the full list of essays (from Wikipedia) (the ones in bold are my favorites):

  • 1. This Is Emo: Klosterman recounts "fake love" we are conditioned to pursue, and the false, unbalanced nature of When Harry Met Sally.
  • 2. Billy Sim: Klosterman describes his experience with the reality-mimicking videogame The Simsand how The Sims illustrates that "even eternally free people are enslaved by the process of living."
  • 3. What Happens When People Stop Being Polite: The impacts of MTV's The Real World and how it led to the development of one-dimensional personalities.
  • 4. Every Dog Must Have His Every Day, Every Drunk Must Have His Drink: An ode to Billy Joel, particularly the universality of his album Glass Houses.
  • 5. Appetite for Replication: Klosterman interviews and spends a few days with the members of aGuns N' Roses tribute band, "Paradise City," and outlines the significance of tribute bands.
  • 6. Ten Seconds to Love: An analysis of how American culture is upset with the unrealistic images of success it has created, as stemming from a discussion of the Pamela-Tommy sex tape.
  • 7. George Will vs. Nick Hornby: A rant against soccer (particularly among youth), claiming it supports outcast culture.
  • 8. 33: Klosterman explains how the 1980's rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics symbolizes all rivalries in life, including politics, religion, and race.
  • 9. Porn: An explanation of how the Internet has proliferated the porn industry, as per the need of the presence of the amateur and celebrity in our lives.
  • 10. The Lady or the Tiger: A brief history of the cereal industry, and how Kelloggs was begun as a religious company, but now is a microcosm for coolness. The "cocoa puffs" in the title comes from this essay.
  • 11. Being Zack Morris: An analysis of Saved by the Bell and how "important things are inevitably cliché."
  • 12. Sulking with Lisa Loeb on the Ice Planet Hoth: Why Star Wars is so overrated, and how it has come to represent basic morality.
  • 13. The Awe-Inspiring Beauty of Tom Cruise's Shattered, Troll-like Face: A discussion of the question "What is reality?" as answered by movies such as Vanilla SkyThe MatrixMemento, andWaking Life.
  • 14. Toby over Moby: How the Dixie Chicks are the new Van Halen, as they are one of the only pop bands with musical quality, and how Van Halen's teenage boys have been replaced by the Dixie Chicks' teenage girls. Also how music taste is used to gauge coolness, and those who ignorantly say they like all kinds "except country" only say so to appear cool.
  • 15. This is Zodiac Speaking: A description of three people Klosterman has interviewed who have known or met serial killers, and an exploration of "What does it mean to know a serial killer?"
  • 16. All I Know Is What I Read in the Papers: Most of the media's bias is accidental, and stories are mainly developed by circumstance and by the interviewee who calls the journalist back first. Also how sports reporters hate sports, and how newspapers are designed for those who cannot read.
  • 17. I, Rock Chump: Klosterman narrates his visit to the 2002 Pop Music Studies Conference by the Experience Music Project, and how it was largely an experience without rock and roll.
  • 18. How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found: A commentary on the Left Behind Series and the lifestyle of Evangelical Christians. The chapter title refers to the book How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found by Doug Richmond.

I'm not going to discuss each of my favorite essays, but I will say this: if you like reading Bill Bryson, I recommend this book. Chuck has that same conversational tone and approach in his writing. On the flip side, if you liked this book, I recommend reading Bill Bryson (conversational tone stories about his travels; I read the book he wrote about his time in Australia).

My all time favorite part of the book was the interlude with the 23 questions he asks people in order to determine if he can really love them. How interesting a method to determine if you can love someone! Here is a sample question:

Question 18: You have won a prize. The prize has two options, and you can choose either (but not both). The first option is a year in Europe with a monthly stipend of $2K. The second option is ten minutes on the moon. Which option do you select?

That gives you an idea of the sort of questions Chuck asks. Some of them I had quick answers to; others I had to think about; still others I'm undecided about. For Question 18, however, I'd take the first option to see Europe! Visiting the moon would be out of this world (ha, get it?), but for ten minutes? Nah, I'd rather 524,160 minutes in Europe with a total of $24K to spend while there. I've always wanted to go to Europe. I've never had that same desire to visit the moon. I enjoy gazing at the moon in the night sky. I'd enjoy gazing at the moon in the night sky from Europe, too.

Wikipedia Article
Official Publisher Page


The Children of Men

This was the book for February's book club, suggested by Joey.

I saw the movie version back in 2006 or so. I remember the movie being very grey and dark, filmed in a choppy manner. I also remember having no idea what was going on in the storyline. Lastly, I hated the ending.

This book-movie relationship is one where I feel the book was phenomenally better than the movie. Although, after re-watching the movie (after having read the book), I did like the movie exponentially more than I did originally.

The movie's storyline was fairly different from that of the book. Some things were still there, like names of people, but other things were not really expanded upon but rather only mentioned (i.e., the Quietus). I thought it was dumb how early on Julianne Moore's character was finished in the movie. In the book her character is the most important human on Earth.

PD paints a very exquisite picture of what life without a human child being born for a couple decades would be like: playgrounds are demolished as they are sad reminders, women cart around dolls to satisfy their maternal needs, the last generation feels no need to be alive. Mostly it's a very depressing outlook, but realistic all the same.

I found the first two thirds of the book to be on the slower side. It was interesting but not gripping. Necessary but not fun (lots of background and story building going on). The last third is where it all happens: the main characters are on the run from the government, the big secret is popped, and some romantic drama ensues. Plus, the ending was done well.

Wikipedia Article

In retrospect I will say that it was refreshing to have "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" by Chuck Klosterman as the book for March after such a number of dystopian novels, haha! I do love dystopian novels, but goodness - fresh air, please!


25 March 2010

Tribulation Force, Left Behind: Book II

Tribulation Force was fast-paced. I think I read the book within a single week, back in December or so, and it's a 452-page book. Unlike the first book in the series, this one is quick from the get-go; the first page-turner I'd read since My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult last August.

The story picks up right where its predecessor left off, grabbing your arm and taking you with it through the challenges the characters face: pressing on without loved ones, desperately seeking answers to the questions of how and why so many people suddenly, literally vanished, and sticking together with others who want to fight against the Anti-Christ, a rising, dashing, charming political figure who is loved by everyone who doesn't know the truth. It's gripping. I'm excited to read the third book.

Wikipedia Article


Left Behind: Book I

I read this book at the end of 2009, almost exactly a year after I made the decision to live for God. From everyone I knew who had read the book it was recommended that I read it. My Dad listened to the entire series on audio (he drives a lot for his job), and he, too, recommended I read the book. I trust my dad, and I am totally interested to read or listen to anything he recommends.

So I read it, but somewhat hesitantly at first. I didn't want to read a hokey, zealous, "be saved or be damned," preachy book, let alone the series. Turns out, the story doesn't read that way at all. The plot is quite engaging, really, and, for me and my beliefs, totally realistic. It's horrific, actually. It took me the first half of the book to get fully captivated. By the end of the book I was looking forward to seeing what happened next in the second book.

I need to read the Book of Revelation. The Left Behind series is based on the Book of Revelation.

I enjoy how all the main characters' lives become intertwined with one another as the story develops. They have depth and emotion. The book really drew me in as I read. It's one of those books where you feel you really know the characters. That's something that makes it a good book, if you ask me.

Wikipedia Article


February 2010

I always say, "wow, that was a busy month," but when I say "wow, February was a busy month," I mean it in a way that surpasses any way I've ever said it before. Note: life + owning puppy = life on fast-forward! Here's the run-down for what I trouble I was getting into back in February:

Heidi 72-hour vet check - healthy pup minus the minor ear infection that cleared up in a week's time

Volunteer with BC - first time to volunteer as an adult; it was good.

Euchre Night with BC - first time to host a card night; much fun and more Euchre Nights to come!

Phone Dates with Kristin - started having a weekly phone date with Kristin to work through our devotionals

Bonfire at Joel's - even with the Florida Hospital Lady Track Shack 5K the next morning I still went to Joel's, hung out, met some folks and enjoyed the perfect s'more!

BC Movie Night (I Am Legend) - a favorite movie of mine (also partial inspiration for getting a German Shepherd Dog), and lovely company

Super Bowl Party with Matt - my plans fell through but Matt and company provided for a great group of people with whom to celebrate the event. Sad that the Colts lost but at least a Boilermaker took the championship!

Avatar + Pizza with Matt - loved the movie, discovered a cool pizza joint, great friend with whom to enjoy both

Paws in the Park Walk with Matt - Heidi's first socialization opportunity; Matt joined us for the fun (despite the cold weather!)

The Bling Thing with BC - downtown night! First time to the underground bar (can't think of the name of the place). Loved hanging out in the red, Clue room!

Puppy Valentine's Day Party at Joel's - adorable! Cooked out and made several new puppy friends!

2-week vet check - all healthy!!!

Sunshine movie with Matt - I was right on in knowing that Matt would love that movie! Nice evening and discovered my new favorite white wine!

Sam's Senior State Wrestling Tournament - amazing weekend with family and friends to celebrate Sam's big victory!

Chucky's 21st birthday celebration - belated but brilliant! Can't wait to go out with him again!

Puppy Class 1/8 - so much fun! Heidi loves playing with the other pups, and we both love learning!

Waffles with Matt - we decided my Belgian waffle maker needed to be put to good use. Matt brought fresh strawberries! Yum!

Dinner with Darin - Darin was in town! He got to meet Heidi, see my place, and then he treated me to dinner at Amigo's! I love hanging out with Darin; we always have nice conversation!

Pie & Away We Go movie with Matt - another nice evening in with Matt; we both loved the movie, and I made him a pumpkin pie for helping me get to and from the airport the previous weekend.

BC Movie Night (I Am Legend) - even though I watched the movie recently, it was lovely to host another book club movie night!

Church - finally settled into a schedule with Heidi and figured out how to escape the house for a couple hours to get my spiritual fill

Bonfire at Matt's - wrapped up the month with a great evening at Matt's bonfire! I brought Heidi! Everyone loved her and the cucumber salad I brought. S'mores were amazing!

January 2010

Being the list-lover that I am, I've decided to start listing the high-lights of each month. Bonus: this will make it easy for me to recap things at the end of the year. Ta da!

January 2010

Christmas & New Year's Break - long visit home with family and friends; NYE brought in with parents and grandparents over Oliver wine. Took on a second role at work just prior to vacation!

Retro Game Night with BC - first book club social of the year!

Running a lot - training for a marathon (this was a pre-Heidi 2010 resolution that has since been tweaked from "run a full marathon by the end of the year" to "run a full marathon within the next 15 months" - spring is a great time for marathons in Florida)

Bowling with BC - I did terribly but had a ton of fun anyway because of the cool folks in company

Big Daddy's & Pub Crawl with BC - even though we didn't get to do karaoke (fail!), this was still my favorite night out in Florida yet! "I feel wine!"

Ingeborg's Visit -  Norway Night, Hue and BC, Lake Eola, lunches and dinners, Joel's birthday at the Citrus Club, Dear John pre-screening, Girls' Night!

Heidi - she's my girl! Lots to be learned about being a puppy momma, but totally worth it in every way!


Maya the Wise

Here are some things Maya has learned in life:
'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.'

'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'

'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.'

'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'

'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'

'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.'

'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.'

'I've learned that people will forget what you said and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

23 March 2010

Puppy Class: Week 5

Heidi update! I can hardly believe I've been a puppy momma for 2 months! At the age of 17 weeks, Heidi now weighs 30.1 pounds! I'm putting together a growth chart so we can visually see how she's been growing. I hope to have that by next week's update.

Since my last update nothing too much has broken the mold. We take our long walks, she earns her treats when we work on commands, she still tries to tackle poor Ashes, and she's still cute as a button! Oh, one thing that has happened that is kind of out of the norm: she occasionally finds shells near the pond. I know some of the neighborhood boys fish oysters and their shells out of the pond from time to time, and I think they leave the shells, after they've been pried open?, laying around. Well, Miss Heidi finds them and, of course, proceeds to try chomping down on them. At first I think she's gotten a pebble or that she's chewing on a loose tooth, but a couple times I've fished out half-shells that get stuck in the back of her jaw! Silly girl.

On the way to class Heidi sported the puppy seat belt that Great-Grandma sent down for her. I have no idea how it works, but she was pretty well held in place here (Grandma, you'll have to educate me on how that thing works, haha!):

At puppy class this week we worked on "come," "stay" and "high five/shake/paw!" I've been working with Heidi on the first two commands for a little over a month now, so they were nothing new to her. Whitney, the trainer, is having us emphasize the core elements of the "come" command, so I've done away with having Heidi "sit" after she comes up to me.

I'll circle back to the third command in a moment.

Here is a photo of Heidi and Mazda, her boy-friend! He is a Red-Nosed Pit Bull, but Heidi can take him, hehe! Actually, Mazda was the star of the class this week because he has "high five" down pat!

Going back to the third command, "high five/shake/paw," here is Whitney teaching me how to teach Heidi the trick! She was quick to learn. Anything for a treat!

Here's a photo of me and Heid Jo. Look how big she's getting! I won't be able to hold her on my lap too much longer.

In other news, I'm SUPER excited for this weekend because my family arrives in Orlando for spring break festivities! My parents cannot wait to be grandparents towards Heidi! Miss Heidi won't know what to do with the full house and so much love and attention!


Amanda & Heidi

18 March 2010

Pet Diaries

My grandma sent this to me, and I laughed out loud several times. If you love cats and/or dogs you will find this amusing. Enjoy!

What pets write in their diaries.

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 PM - Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Day 983 of my captivity....

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets.

Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now.

16 March 2010

Puppy Snacknic & Class

Today Heidi and I relaxed outside by the pond while I was home on my lunch break. I laid out a blanket and read while she mowed down on her beef rib bone. We each had a snack, so I am henceforth calling the activity a "snacknic." The weather couldn't have been more agreeable.

Tonight Heidi and I had Puppy Class 4/8. Before the class started Whitney caught me up on what I'd missed from Puppy Class 3/8 that I had to miss. Our make-up work: the "down" command. This week we learned a lot about walking on the leash. I learned that I needed to invest in a Martingale collar, and so I did. It's hot pink so now people shouldn't be so confused as to Heidi is male or female. Here is a photo of Heidi playing with Molly:

I didn't get a photo with or of Valerie yet, but this is her pup, Dakota (American Bull Dog/Boxer mix):

I love puppy class with Heidi! I learn so much, and so does she! Once again she was the quickest learner in the class. Plus I'm getting to know Hope and Valerie, the three of us are making friends. We exchanged contact information tonight, and I'll be setting up a puppy play date soon!

Time to hit the gym and do some reading!



14 March 2010

Girls' Night Out

Last night I went out with some girlfriends: Casey & Heather. We were meant to be a quartet but Jessica was unable to make it out (next time...). We had a good night out, though! We started at Ember, batted eyes at some good-looking Marines, checked out a new lounge called The Rok Room, stopped by Eye Spy, then we went to hang out at Independent Bar. Last night was my first time to I-Bar, and I really liked it, even thought the music is so obscure (even to me) and difficult to dance to. The people-watching is excellent, though. After a drink and meeting a couple of guys, including Tall Guy and I-Have-A-Four-Year-Old, it was off to The Lodge. We always meet interesting folks there (Mullet Man, Puppy Dog and Indian, etc.)! After a while there we went back to I-Bar to finish the night. This time around we met some goofy guys who were in town for a comic book convention. They had on some fun hats (one was a chicken, the other was a penguin), and entertained us the rest of the evening.

I wish Jessica could have made it out, but it's all the more reason to have another girls' night again soon!



13 March 2010

WLTC Markets w/Heidi

This afternoon Heidi and I went on a nice, long walk. We left the apartment complex, crossed the bridge and went to the Waterford Lakes Town Center (WLTC). She loved every minute of it and was very well-behaved; several strangers who pet Heidi commented so! As I write this she is conked out on the kitchen floor. I may even be able to steal a nice little spring nap, myself, if she keeps snoozing.

Once at Waterford we went to PetSmart. I like to go there with her on a weekly basis, in addition to puppy classes on Tuesday, which I missed last week, so we were due for a stop at the pet shop. Heidi weighed in at 27 pounds today. Throughout the afternoon I gave her water that I had in my back pack, but it was nice that PetSmart had a water fountain and dog bowls available for use. I picked up a hot pink tennis ball to throw around with Heidi. I almost grabbed a frisbee, too, but she's probably just too young for that. She's still perfecting her coordination in using the stairs, hehe. Someday we'll do the frisbee thing. Anyway, I also picked up some new treats, which she is very keen on, and a smoked beef rib that I bet she'll love.

With these goodies for Heidi we left PetSmart and headed to the WLTC Saturday Markets. I had been only once before but I had unfortunate timing because as I arrived folks were packing up tents. This time Heidi was my good luck charm and we had plenty of time to browse. These markets aren't nearly as big as the downtown ones, but they have just as much charm and character. I brought $5 with me to spend. I bought some beef jerky, some honey sticks (those reminded me of the Indiana State Fair as a girl), and an apple streusel from Classic European Pastries. The folks at the Classic European Pastries were actually from Europe and were very kind. We made friends - they loved Heidi - and they even took a photo for us!

I'm definitely making another afternoon trip back to the WLTC markets with Heidi. Everyone loved her, said she was so cute, so fuzzy, and people even helped work on her commands and rewarding with treats, and just loved on her. What can I say? I'm a proud puppy momma! Plus there were some pound cakes, whole wheat pastas and jams that I want to purchase in the very near future! Yum!

For the walk I used Heidi's strap leash (versus the retractable leash), and she got used to it about half way through the day's adventure. I need to use it more often. For whatever reason, walking her on the strap leash made me really excited to walk her around campsites when I go camping back in Indiana come this May!

On the walk back I could tell Heidi was getting tired as she was slowing and not drawn away from my side or distracted as much. Once back in the apartment complex we pass Jeff's apartment and he stepped outside to say hello. Turns out he had a little present for Miss Heidi! He gave her a really cool Purdue dog collar! It's way too big for her now, but we're sure she'll grow into it. Jeff also gave me a black and gold Purdue shirt. It was very kind of him!

As soon as we walked in the apartment Heidi passed out. I've just written this, and I think I'll take that nap or perhaps read. Maybe do a little of both!

Enjoy your Saturday,


Poor Yoga Mat

Last night while I was in the shower I was keeping Heidi in the kitchen. I have it barred off on one side of the island with a gate. On the other side I am improvising with her large dog travel crate, wedged in place with a rolled-up yoga mat that happens to be my mom's. Well, Mom, I'm sorry about this, but the mat is all chewed up on the edges. You can thank Heidi when you see her in a few weeks. = P

There were bits of blue all over the kitchen floor. Plus she had drug in some mulch for some added variety.

I suppose it could have been worse. She was havin chewing g a ball chewing and hopping on the yoga mat. Plus the mat still serves the purpose I set for it as a wedge to keep the crate in place so Heidi cannot escape the kitchen. I'm sure there will be more chewing catastrophes to come. She is a puppy, after all.

Anyway, I have an errand this morning, and then I'm going to take Heidi on an afternoon walk over to the Waterford Lakes Town Center farmers' market. We're going to swing into PetSmart, too, for some puppy treats.



12 March 2010

Heidi Lost a Tooth

Heidi lost her first baby tooth today! Or, at least, I noticed the first one missing. There's a tiny nub in the center of her bottom row; she lost the one that was to the right. See the little void of white? It was very difficult to get these photos, haha, and it is never easy to capture white on film with flash.

Here you can better see the little indentation where the tooth used to be. I haven't found it around the floors, so I'd bet she ate the thing. They do that, puppies.

After an ordeal with taking several photos where she jerked her head and bit my hands entirely too much, all of which resulted in her being out of the camera's view or blurry, we just sat for a moment. She's just letting it all hang out. Notice the hugging Mommy-action. = )


Amanda & Heidi

Heidi - Week 6

Hello, faithful readers!

This has been a ridiculously busy week for me! Non-stop until just now. I've had something going on every evening of the work week so far, and so I've not had much energy to snap photos of Heidi. We have been extending the lengths of our daily walks, though. She loves romping around outside and playing around the pond.

I had an appointment on the other side of Orlando Tuesday evening and had to miss our puppy class this week. I was really bummed, but I will reschedule a make-up class.

All week Heidi's potty training has been at B status. She's been doing really well all week except last night. I kid you not, she peed in her crate FOUR times last night. She's never peed twice in her crate in one night, so I've no idea what that was about, but today she's not had any problems. Let's hope she keeps up the good behavior!

Wednesday I had some book club guests over to watch a book-to-movie, Children of Men. Heidi was well behaved and was gracious enough to let us enjoy the movie without any raucous. Everyone who'd met her shortly after I first got her said how BIG she's grown!

I'm starting to notice a lot of color and texture changes in her coat. Her shoulders and legs are starting to turn from black to the tan, slowly but surely. On the top of her back the fur is becoming silky-like and not so fuzzy. Her ears are still adorable and totally floppy when she trots! Last I weighed her, on Monday, she was 25 pounds. According to my German Shepherd Dog puppy growth chart she is a little behind: by four months she should weigh 36 pounds; right now she is 15.5 weeks old. However, the vet says she's a healthy pup, and Heidi is always energetic and happy, so I'm not worried too much about that.

Here's a photo of Heidi mowing down on a stick. It looks like she has a cigar, haha!


Amanda & Heidi

07 March 2010

Strawberry Festival

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing a long-awaited movie and introducing Heidi to and visiting with several friends!

Friday the book club went to see the new Alice in Wonderland in IMAX 3D. The tale is my favorite childhood story, so there was pretty much no way I was going to leave the theatre satisfied. Plus I'm a Disney and Burton fan. Depp wasn't all he was cracked up to be, but it's certain that the Mad Hatter role was tailor fitted for Depp. I thought Mia played a great adolescent Alice (Mia is Australian, you know). I think my favorite character, however, was the Red Queen, played by one of my favorite actresses, Helena Bohnam Carter. She was great! And I ended up liking the Cheshire Cat a lot more than I thought I would based on his looks alone from the previews; though I do wish they had left him pink and purple. The make-up shifting within a single frame was pretty cool (i.e., on the Mad Hatter when his moods went more than "mad"). I wish they'd renamed the movie to something other than one so similar to the title of the first book on Alice's adventures. The story was more mixed with Through the Looking Glass, but, nevertheless, it was a well-done storyline; something new and creative. I enjoyed mapping the characters in Alice's reality to those in Wonderland.

Directly after the movie I went home, grabbed my overnight bag and Heidi, and headed to Melbourne. I arrived at Aunt Joan's, and, after settling Heidi down, finally got to bed around midnight, which is SUPER late for me these days.

The next morning Heidi got to properly meet Aunt Joan, and then Joan and I went to the Strawberry Festival. Starting things off was the pancake breakfast. For $5 we got two pancakes covered in strawberries, whipped cream and syrup, sausage and OJ (that's better than what one could get at any breakfast diner), and it was perfect! Afterwards Joan and I browsed the markets. I ended up buying a few French hair combs that I've been searching for since my days in Australia.

After the festival I accompanied Aunt Joan to Cocoa for her hair cut appointment, during which I caught up with my mom as we hadn't chatted all week. Then Joan and I stopped by a nursery to pick up some tomato seeds and a special fertilizer she needed. We got back to her house, went on a nice but squirrel-free walk with Heidi, then I headed to visit the guys.

Josh was still golfing when I called, but I was able to reach Dan, so Heidi and I went to his place. He was very hospitable and let me stow Heidi at his place while he and I grabbed some amazing Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. Afterwards we took Heidi on a nice, long walk and enjoyed the day while we waited for Josh to arrive. Josh met Heidi, then the three of us went bowling. I broke 100 the first game and couldn't hit 80 the second game, haha, but both of the guys one a game each. Josh had a few really great streaks!

After bowling Heidi and I headed out and we caught Andy just in time for a quick dinner before I headed back to Orlando. I was so happy to visit with Andy; we had a lot to catch up on together. The only disappointing thing from this weekend was not getting to hang out with Jared and have him meet Heidi.

Today I went to church, and spent lots of time outside with Heidi as it was a lovely day. We played and also grabbed an afternoon nap. Another lovely Sunday.



05 March 2010

5 Weeks with Heidi

Wow! I can hardly believe I've had Heidi in my life for 5 weeks! My, how time flies when one is enjoying life! Here are some some week-by-week notes I've taken, as well as some favorite photos of me and Heidi so far. Do enjoy and leave a comment!

31 January 2010 - 9.5 weeks old - 7.8 pounds
---I picked Heidi up from von Lotta Kennels in Atlanta, Georgia
---First bath
---First visit to the vet; great health minus a minor ear infection

7 February 2010 - 10.5 weeks old - 12.8 pounds
---SPCA of Central Florida Paws in the Park walk downtown at Lake Eola with the Lockheed Martin "Mutts on a Mission" team and Matt
---Command "sit" learned
---Command "stay" learned

14 February 2010 - 11.5 weeks old - 16.0 pounds
---Puppy Valentine's Day Party at Joel's house
---Command "come" learned (includes sitting when she's directly in front of me
---Second visit to the vet; perfect health

21 February 2010 - 12.5 weeks old - 18.1 pounds
---Stayed with Beth, Karli & Richard and their dog, Maggie, for a weekend while I was in Indiana
---Learning to play fetch with toys
---Lost a lot of her coat's fuzziness
---Started barking for fun
---Ate two small asphalt pebbles and freaked me out a little; everything came out okay!
---Biting my ankles a little less
---Ears are starting to stand up!
---Comfortable on a leash
---Learned to go up and down slatted stairways
---First week of puppy classes

28 February 2010 - 13.5 weeks old - 22.3 pounds
---Command "watch me" learned
---Potty training going very well, finally!
---First good brushing
---First time to have nails clipped
---Even less ankle biting!
---Well-coordinated with the slatted stairways

I'm going to make it a weekly thing to post the latest on Heidi. My Facebook photos include the latest of Heidi. I'm working on the latest videos. Next big thing: I'm getting very excited for Heidi to meet my family when they visit for Spring Break!

I love you, Heidi!!!



03 March 2010

Dharma Sports St. Patty's Day Puppy Hanky

As a token of my appreciation for all my grandparents have done for me I sent home a St. Patty's Day puppy hanky for their Whippet, Dharma. Isn't she adorable?!

Want a St. Patty's Day Puppy Hanky for your canine friends? Only $7 and free shipping! Click here!




I received this in an email from my dear mother. Any puppy owner, dog-lover or sucker for cute animals will appreciate this photo.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened." -Unknown

In searching for the author of the above quote, I came across this super cute website called "Dear God: From the Dog."



Confucius Book Store Wisdom

Got the following in an email from a friend. (Thanks, Brad!) As a book-lover, I appreciated the humor. Enjoy!

Confucius say, "If you are in a book store and cannot find the book for which you seek, you are obviously in the...."

01 March 2010


This was the book for December, if I'm not mistaken. It happened to be the second Chuck Palahniuk book I've read; the first being "Fight Club," which I very much enjoyed.

I think I liked most everything about "Survivor." It was a hilarious satire about commercialization, sneaky human ways, marketing, celebrity - the list goes on.

One of the funniest things was that I didn't connect the dots that a character named Fertility was sterile! It's funny because she earned her living by sleeping with the men of couples who desired children but could not create their own. Sickening to think of them actually sleeping together instead of artificial insemination, but so funny and wrong that she knew all along that she was sterile, too. Talk about a scam. Anyway, I didn't put it together that her name was Fertility until half way through the book club discussion! It's little things like that which Chuck did so well and so subtly.

Chuck also does a fine job of painting hilarious scenes. My favorite is the bathroom stall scene with the gun and lips on either side of Tender, haha. Another would be when Tender and his brother return to their church/hometown as adults; it has since been turned into a dump site for porn.

I really loved this book. I recommend it to Chuck fans and those who want to snicker at how the world has developed commercially.

Update on the Movie



Ender's Game

One of my best college friends, Jordan, recommended this book to me. After reading the story and getting to know Ender, the main character, I could see why Jordan enjoyed the book so much: he and Ender think JUST ALIKE! It was almost creepy as I found myself constantly thinking of how much the two are the same. That was probably what I liked most about the read; it was a way to get to know Jordan that much more.

The story Card paints is wild, though. In the future child geniuses are bred to lead the military. There's a GREAT twist at the end of the book, which I didn't quite see coming, so that was fun. The characters are developed to maturity, and it was fun to read about the battles at Ender's school. I, myself, could identify with Ender in several ways. He is more mature that others his own age; story of my life.

Good book. Recommended to techies and military junkies who don't mind reading a children's book.

Wikipedia Article



I Am Legend

For January the book club read this awesome book. I saw the movie before I realized it was a book (hate it when that happens!), and while the movie and book have the same basic storyline, they are quite different in portrayal. I really enjoyed the book, but, like "Fight Club," I enjoyed the movie more, which doesn't happen very often.

Man, I wish I'd written this blog earlier when my thoughts were fresh in my mind. I didn't take notes on the book, so I'll just flip through the pages and write what I feel like at the moment.

What I liked about the book:

---the severe routine Robert developed
---seeing Robert transition from a drunk to a student
---the portrayal of how a person would act when they see another person after not having spoken to or seen another human being in 3 years
---the portrayal of how a person would cope without other humans around (i.e., arguing with oneself)
---the excitement of finding a healthy dog
---the desire to die at ones home when the time comes

What I didn't like about the book:

---it was only 160 pages; super short (the book's size is deceptive as it houses 11 of Richard's short stories, not just "I Am Legend"
---I was mentally biased in what I expected of the characters in the book because I'd already seen the movie, although that made some things surprising, which was nice

And that's all I've got. I do highly recommend this book for zombie/vampire/post-apocolyptic fanatics.

Wikipedia Article
Apple Movie Trailer
IMDB Article