29 July 2010

Parents' Day

Dear Mom & Dad: Happy Parents' Day! I wish I could be there with you back home in Indiana so I could give you a big, wide hug! Love and miss you both!

23 July 2010

Hawk Photo

There are a couple of hawks nesting in one of my parent's front yard's tree. My Dad climbed up on the RV and got a good shot of one of the parents feeding on a misfortunate bird. Ah, nature. Good photo, Daddy!

21 July 2010

Dog Article Notes

My friend, Matt, has been flying back and forth from Virginia for some work travel lately, and he read an airline magazine article that he shared with me. It's an article from Southwest Airlines Spirit, June 2010. The article contained several tips and resources for providing a happy life to your canine friend. Here are some that I really liked:

  • Keep a record of your dogs vaccination/veterinarian history in your car in case of emergency
  • Take Your Dog to Work Day is 24 June 2011 (just missed this year, although I really wonder about whether Lockheed Martin would allow me to bring Heidi into the office)
  • Doggie Days
    • 23 March - National Puppy Day
    • 28 March - International Guide Dog Day
    • April - Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Month
    • 1st Week of May - American Humane Association's Be Kind to Animals Week
    • 21 August - International Homeless Animal's Day
    • 26 August - National Dog Day
    • October - American Humane Association's Adopt-a-Dog Month
    • 2 December - National Mutt Day
  • Good Dog Books
    • "Dogs are from Neptune"
    • "Bones Would Rain from the Sky"
    • "The Other End of the Leash"
  • Therapy Dogs International website: tdi-dog.org
  • Run races with your dog: dogrundog.com
  • Train your dog to ring a bell by the door when they need to go outside
"No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich." -Louis Sabin

Thanks for sharing, Matt!

20 July 2010

WL Evening

I took Heidi to the Waterford Lakes Dog Park, again, tonight. Another lovely evening and friendly dogs and owners. Heidi really likes this dog park. Tonight she even hopped in the little pool!

After the dog park we went over to the WL Town Center. I had a coupon for a small sub, chips and a drink at Quizno's - all for $3.19! We stopped by PetSmart. She lost a pound since last time I weighed her. The vet assistant said it's nothing to worry about just as humans fluctuate in weight a little bit. I gave her some treats while we were there. I decided to "treat" myself to something Sweet! Sweet is a little cupcake and frozen yogurt shop I've been aiming to check out for about three years. Finally did, and for $6 I received 4 mini cupcakes: Red Velvet, Toasted Marshmallow, Heath and Carrot Cake. I had the Heath one tonight and I am greatly impressed! The icing was just like a Heath bar! And there was toffee stuff on the bottom! Mmm!

On the way there a little boy asked to pet Heidi. I still had some treats from PetSmart, so I helped him give Heidi commands so he could reward her with the treats. Also, some nice young girls offered to hold Heidi while I popped into Sweet to make my purchase. It's nice to know there are kind folks out there.

Heidi & Eva playing

Taking a breather and looking pretty against the green grass

Pool time!

SloMo Vid of Dog Drinking Water

My Grandma is on an email list for dogs. Sometimes she sends me things, and this time she sent a slow-motion video of a dog drinking water. Fascinating how they lap the water up - - - backwards could you call it? They're tongue acts like a reversed spoon. Who knew?!

19 July 2010

WL Dog Park

Tonight I had the great pleasure of spending the evening with Heidi at a new dog park: the Waterford Lakes Dog Park. It's a stone's throw away, has friendly folks and dogs, water, a dog-i-pot, benches for the humans and GRASS rather than sand which is outstanding! The weather was super cooperative after a really hot and humid day, so we were there for a couple hours. I always mean to get some reading in while Heidi frolics around, but I really enjoy watching her play, dog watching and chatting with the other dog owners. It all makes me smile.

Heidi with Bailey (Boston Terrier exiting the photo) and Max (whom Heidi romped around with quite a bit)

There was a sweet, old Great Pyrenees and his nice owner was the favorite among all the dogs because he gave them really great back scratches. He gave Anslow (his Great Pyrenees) a back scratch and caused some shedding; as you can see, Heidi caught some of the fluff and just left it there for a good while.

Scratchin'. It's what dogs do.

A new favorite photo of me and my girl!

In other news... Work went along okay. Busy in the morning, training in the afternoon. The training is good, but time passes slowly. I didn't get up early enough to run with Heidi, but it turned out to be a good ting since it was ridiculously humid even at the early hours of the morning. I'm going to run with her tomorrow morning, weather permitting. So I guess the running this week will be Tuesday, Thursday Saturday again. That's fine.

Normally grocery shopping wouldn't be considered news, but I stumbled upon a gem! P.F. Chang's makes microwavable steam meals!!! I had one over the weekend and am awestruck! The General Chang one is good, and tomorrow I'll try the Ginger Chicken & Broccoli! Mmmm!

I announced the book for August tonight: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Anyone read that one? I read up on it, and it sounds really good, so I'm excited!

18 July 2010

Weekend News

This weekend was fun with the 80s pub crawl and book club (for "Eat Pray Love," review coming soon) today. I got the apartment mostly cleaned and got to catch up with Kristin after a month of chaotic phone dates due to travel and vacations between our schedules. Also, I did some volunteering Saturday morning at the National Down Syndrome Congress conference that took place over at Disney this weekend. I think it is fantastic how much support and networking the NDSC provides to those raising children with DS!

This week should be a good one. I am in training at work from 1 PM to 5 PM Monday through Thursday. Friday I'm celebrating the course's completion by going to lunch with some colleagues. I'm also going to lunch Wednesday with my mentor.

Outside of work I'm running with Heidi this week on the mornings of Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We've been running 5K three times a week these last few weeks. I am trying to get to the gym at least twice; three times if I'm lucky. I like to keep up with the cross-training (cycling, elliptical and ramp) as it keeps my body constantly challenged.

Through the week I'll be working on scrap-booking more of Heidi's baby photos and having fun with her at the dog parks.

The highlight of the week will be Wednesday evening when I have some girlfriends over to spend the evening knitting! I'll be teaching the newbs, and I think I might bake a pie. I think someone will be bringing some vino, too! Should be a lovely time.

Have a great week!

Heidi lounging around while I cleaned the apartment

The Crazy 80s Pub Crawl

Last night was the Orlando Pub Crawl's 5th Annual The Crazy 80s Pub Crawl! It was my first official pub crawl here in Orlando. It reminded me an awful lot of Purdue's Breakfast Club with all of the 80s-themed costumes (trolls, Hulk Hogan, spandex, fluorescent colors and side ponies) and 80s music! Great fun! Here are some photos:

Joel, Heather, Casey and I

Joel, Matt (Karate Kid) and I

I bumped into a real Aussie, Pete (Crocodile Dundee)! Casey and I had to take a photo with him since we both lived in Australia during Study Abroad trips!

15 July 2010

Heidi's New Toys

Last night I took Heidi to PetSmart for a couple new toys. She fell in love with the big red puppy and the Kong Wubba thing, which she's already started to shred. It's like a surprise, though, because when she gets through the purple material there seem to be two tennis balls under there, and she likes her tennis balls!

Heidi with her new toys

Look at that happy face!

14 July 2010

Heidi = 56#

As I was updating the Excel spreadsheet that generates the graph below I realized that I pay more attention to my dog's weight than I do to my own. I consider this to be a good thing. = )

Heidi hit a growth plateau there for a few weeks, but in the last week she's been putting away the puppy chow and stacked up a whopping 3.5 pounds! She's 8 months old and has at least 4 more months of growing to do. Any bets on how much she'll weigh when she's full grown? I'm gonna say... 75#.

A Walk in the Woods

I freaking loved this book!

I read another of Bill Bryson's travelogues, In a Sunburned Country (about Australia), last year - a favorite!

No further along in the book than the very first page I'd already made up my mind that someday I will hike a portion of the AT. This was my favorite take-away from the book.

The book club discussion was tons of fun. Bryson provides a lot of information to ponder and funny anecdotes to relate to and laugh at. Katz is hilarious.

Mom is borrowing this book right now, so I can't flip through the pages to do any quotes or comment at length on a specific passage. Lesson learned for me: Mom likes books about places and experiencing those places.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys travel, learning about places (i.e., The US), going places, nature, and the great outdoors. It's also good if you like general humor because Bryson is a funny fellow.

PS - I think the two creatures were fox.


The Sun Also Rises

This was the book club pick for May 2010. I was really excited about reading this book because I enjoy what Hemingway poetry I've read, and the book is a favorite of one of my good friends, Matt.

Unfortunately the book didn't really tickle my fancy. I was able to sludge through the first half. I remember being confused about who was speaking and not know where the story was going. Not that it had to go anywhere, but I didn't know what the point of the book was. I still don't, come to think of it.

The second half of the book was much more interesting with the bull runs and festivities in Spain. Some of the background was drawn out for my tastes, but I was able to keep up with what was going on in the story.

I didn't catch on until late in the book that Lady Brett was a bit of a flirt. I don't understand how or why her fiance put up with that behavior. All along it seemed Jake and Brett were going to have an affair together, but nothing ever really came of it.

Maybe that's the point. That two people can love each other but nothing may ever come from it.

Anyway, the book does not reside so high on my list of favorites as it does on Matt's, but that's the great thing about being in a book club: it'll get you out of your reading box. I'm happy I finished it, and I look forward to discussing the book with Matt (I was out of town for May's book club).

Wikipedia Article
IMDB Article

12 July 2010

Heidi Today

Yesterday I spent my Sunday afternoon scrapbooking Heidi's baby pictures. I am super pleased with how the eleven pages turned out. I can't wait to show them off! It got me all hyped to document more of her happy little life, so I ordered more prints tonight! I am going to stop by Jo Ann's to get more supplies before the gym.

After work I took Heidi to Downey Dog Park, our new favorite after-work hang out. Everyone there is nice, the dogs are friendly, and the park itself is decent. My favorite part is that it's nearby; no 15+ minute drives to get there. I've been super slack about posting about Heidi, or anything at all for that matter, so today I took a photo to share with you all.

Hope you're having a great Monday!

03 July 2010

100 Years Ago

I got this in an email recently. I found it interesting; hope you do, too.

The year is 1910 
One hundred years ago.
What a difference a century makes!
Here are some statistics for the Year 1910:

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
Fuel for this car was sold in drug stores only.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year.
A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year,
 and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME .
Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which
Were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard.'
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The five 
leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza 
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores.

Back then pharmacists said, '
Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind,
Regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.'

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.!

Happy 4th of July

Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone has plans for something fun and patriotic tomorrow!

After church I will be baking chocolate chip cookies to take to Kayelee's cookout. Afterwards I will be taking Heidi downtown to Lake Eola for Orlando's Independence Day festivities. She loves going downtown and mingling with all the other dogs we meet alongside the lake. It's been rainy all week, so cross your fingers that the rain doesn't dampen the fun in store for tomorrow.

Here's a note from the Lockheed Martin head honcho, Mr. Bob Stevens, that I'd like to share with you:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident …”

These stirring words introduced a courageous statement of freedom and equality that still represents the essence of our nation.  “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” have bound Americans together since the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

In a few days, we will once again celebrate this momentous event with family and friends, fireworks and barbecues.  We will observe this occasion as a people whose breadth of diversity could hardly be imagined by those who set into motion events that made it all possible.  We are – quite literally – people from all corners of the globe united in purpose and fundamental ideals.

The patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence knew that their lives were on the line the moment they put pen to paper.  And throughout our history, Americans of all backgrounds and ethnic origins have done the same, knowing that liberty commands eternal vigilance and a willingness to pay the ultimate price.

Today, service men and women continue to answer the call of duty in such far off places as Afghanistan and Iraq.  Like you, I am proud to be part of a company that is privileged to support their mission and our nation in helping preserve “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for generations to come.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a safe and happy Fourth of July, and I encourage you to reflect on how fortunate we are to be part of a nation whose strength lies in our continued declaration of freedom.  Thanks for everything you do, every day, to contribute to this cause.