28 October 2010

A Halloween Story

A man is walking home  alone late one foggy Halloween night,when behind him he hears:




Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.




Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him.






He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him. However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping.




on his heels, as the terrified man runs.

Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, he locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps. 

With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.

Bumping and clapping toward him. 

The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup! Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket......



(hopefully you're ready for this!!!)


The coffin stops. Bahahah!

27 October 2010

PSU Spring 2011

I am registering for my Spring 2011 classes at Penn State this week. I am signing up for these two:

IST 552 - Data and Knowledge Management
This course introduces the computational foundations, methodologies, and tools in data, information, and knowledge management so that the students can organize information storage more efficiently, process information more effectively, and manage and reuse knowledge for better situational awareness and decision making. Emphasis is placed on data models, knowledge representation, information retrieval and searching techniques, data mining, geospatial applications, and multimedia tools. Relevant organizational issues are discussed throughout the course.
IST 411 - Distributed-Object Computing

This course presents the fundamental concepts of distributed-object computing, with applications to client/server computing, which is an important platform for real-world computing systems. The course focuses on tools and techniques used in the design, development, and deployment of client/server systems, including traditional architectures and distributed-object technologies. Issues of managing client/server systems, and the relationships between organizational processes and information system architectures, are also considered. (Prerequisite: IST 311 - waived for me as an ISLDP!)

PetSmart Costume Contest

 Last Saturday was the Waterford Lakes Town Center PetSmart Puppy Howl-o-Ween Costume Contest. I made Heidi her costume; she was a beautiful Purdue University Cheerleader! Look at that golden Purdue "P" and all those shiny sequins! (She totally hated wearing the bow.)

Me with Heidi in her costume!

All good athletes know the value of stretching!

Before the contest

Onyx the Rottweiler was a Karate/Boxer and won the contest!

Hugh Hefner and the Girls Next Door

21 October 2010

Last Call to Support AAMW

Fund-raising for the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk is wrapping up soon, and I wanted to put up another blog asking you to consider donating to the cause. If you'd like to support me in my fund-raising efforts, please visit this website: http://mworlando2010.kintera.org/forimogene

For motivation, Kay Redington, CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, shared this video:


PS - I'm making head-way on Heidi's costume! Can't wait to share photos! This walk is going to be a great time!

19 October 2010

1,000 Mile Mark

Yesterday I hit the 1,000 mile mark! This number started back in July 2007 when I got my first Nano iPod to pair with my Nike+ running kit. Maybe I'll hit the purple level by 2012!

18 October 2010

Woman in Technology

My friend, Sam, shared an article with me called "Woman in Technology." Here is the link. In the article Nicole Sullivan-Haas writes about women in male-dominated fields. I particularly liked that she pointed out how women are the assistants:

I mean, just take a look at the fastest growing careers for women. We are veterinary technicians not veterinarians, dental assistants not dentists, medical assistants not doctors. We like to believe we have evolved, but the data speaks to something else. 

I can definitely relate as I was the only female in my class at Purdue University (out of about 60 students). I wanted to share this especially as some folks have asked me about my being a woman in engineering lately.

Pets at Bedtine

Last night as I was winding down for bedtime, both Heidi and Ashes hopped up on the bed with me. It was so cute - and kind of rare - that I snapped a couple of pictures.

Miss Heidi About to Pass Out

Ashes & Heidi on the Bed

17 October 2010

Pumpkin Fun

Friday night I had friends over for Spook Night where we carved pumpkins, ate pizza, drank sparkling cider and peppermint chai, had pumpkin cake and watched a zombie movie (none other than Shaun of the Dead). It was a blast. Heidi was really well-behaved - I'm so proud of her! Turns out she likes pumpkin!

Here is a photo of those who carved (or skinned) pumpkins. Heather carved and painted cover art from a Pink Floyd album; Matt & Joan skinned a baby pumpkin with a "disapproving" emoticon; and I carved a spider! (By the way, they make flameless tea candles that last 75 hours now!)

13 October 2010

Heidi is 11-Months-Old

Just wanted to share a couple recent photos of Heidi. These were taken today, around the pond at my apartment complex. In the latter one she is alertly listening to Eos, the African Grey Parrot in a neighboring apartment building. He was singing songs to Heidi. Super cute to watch Heidi's reaction.

12 October 2010

Heidi's First Heat Cycle

Heidi started her first heat cycle yesterday. Puppy puberty. Gross, I know, but going through this as a dog-owner for the first time has been a bit of an experience. I noticed Heidi was cleaning herself quite a bit lately, and so, to be sure things were okay, I lifted her leg and checked things out. She was super swollen! I freaked out: oh-my-god-she-has-a-tumor!-wait-what-is-that-exactly?-what-if-she's-prego?!-I'd-better-call-Dad-stat!

It's sort of repulsive, but here's what I saw (the top bit of fur is her tail; side bits are her thighs):

So, after talking to Dad and some research on the subject I realized that no, she isn't pregnant; yes, she is fine; yes, this is all very normal. I also got some bad news: no more runs or dog park visits with Heidi while she's in heat. Turns out that male dogs can smell females in heat from miles away and will go to great lengths, even harming themselves, to mount the female. I'm going to steer clear of all that jazz.

Having a female who isn't spayed can be messy. Heidi has done a great job keeping things tidy, if you ask me - at least so far. She did drip a bit on the carpet, though, so I had to take care of that. I also decided to pick up some doggie diapers. Yes, doggie diapers; you read that correctly. They look a little something like this:

Surprisingly enough she has not bothered it at all. And it has been helpful in giving me ideas on how to design and sew doggie clothes. She's doing really well; lots of lounging around and taking it easy while her hormones do their thing.

From what I've been told, heat cycles last about 3 weeks. Of those 3 weeks, the dams only bleed during the first week or so. Heat cycles occur once every 6 months-ish.

If you have any tips about tending to a female in heat, please send them my way.

Dog Costumes

In the spirit of Halloween and dog-loving, please enjoy this photo:

Next week I'm going to make Heidi's Halloween costume. The plan is to make her a Purdue Cheerleading outfit.

Also, here are some more dog costume photos from the doggie newsletter my grandma sends me.

11 October 2010

October Challenge Adjustment

As of Monday, 11 October I am at a 100% success rate in my self-imposed challenge to run once a day for the month of October.

I managed to run every day during an extremely busy work conference last week, but last night, after getting back in town and settling back into my normal routine, I caught myself thinking "Man, I've earned a day off. Maybe I won't run tonight." I still ran, but I got to thinking about things as the month wears on.

In order to combat thoughts along those lines, I've decided to adjust my challenge. Instead of each day's run being worth $3.00 flat, every day will grow in value by $0.50. Between today, Tuesday, 12 October and Halloween, Sunday, 31 October, the run value will grow from $3.50 to $13.00! With this daily increment my run will be come more expensive, thereby warding off thoughts of "oh, maybe I won't run today."

So! Keep checking up on whether I ran the day before - you might get some green for it!

October Challenge Description
October Challenge Tracker

Today - $3.50
13 - $4.00
14 - $4.50
15 - $5.00
16 - $5.50
17 - $6.00
18 - $6.50
19 - $7.00
20 - $7.50
21 - $8.00
22 - $8.50
23 - $9.00
24 - $9.50
25 - $10.00
26 - $10.50
27 - $11.00
28 - $11.50
29 - $12.00
30 - $12.50
31 - $13.00

How You Help the Alz Assoc.

I received the following from the Alzheimer's Association for my participation in the Memory Walk fundraising. (So far I've raised $150! Thank you for your support!) I wanted to share with you the note because it outlines how your support helps those affected by Alzheimer's.

You’ve heard it before, and it’s true: The funds raised through Memory Walk® benefit the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. But what does that mean?

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care and support, with more then 70 chapters nationwide for care consultation, information and referral; education and support programs. The organization has been part of every major advance in Alzheimer research and public policy.

Here are some specific ways your dollars may go to work:

$50 – 24/7 Helpline 
Provides reliable information and support during three crisis calls.

$100 – Safety programs 
Supports two people in MedicAlert® + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return®, a 24-hour response service for wandering 
and medical emergencies.

$300 – Help from a care consultant 
Provides availability of an Alzheimer care consultant who can aid a caregiver in distress during the middle of the night.
Your financial support helps us to provide these services, and allows us to continue research efforts that may lead to a cure.

For more information about the work of the Alzheimer’s Association, visit http://www.alz.org/.

Alzheimer’s Association

03 October 2010

Sidewalk Chalk Art

This week I got an email forward from my Mom, and I found it worthy of posting here. In the images below, a chalk artist transforms sidewalks into three-dimensional worlds. I think it's fascinating how it's done in such a way that the scene only make sense visually if your'e standing in the right spot. I think my favorite one here is the white water rafting one. Enjoy!

01 October 2010

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month!

Heidi & I at the Waterford Lake Dog Park, Summer 2010

If you have been bouncing around the idea of adopting a dog, I want to take this opportunity to give you a nudge in the direction of doing it! Dogs make great companions, and you will quickly find that you are very happy when your puppy is happy. Getting Heidi has been one of my life's biggest joys. She's my baby, and I love her so much. I love knowing that when I put the key in the door she will stop whatever she's doing and come to the door to give me a warm greeting.

Here are some things I thought heavily on before I got Heidi:
  • Can I afford a dog? Owning a dog is expensive in the first year with all the vaccinations, health checks, puppy food, toys, etc. After the first year the costs drop considerably, but you'll need to make sure you can afford to properly support your puppy financially for the span of its life beforehand.
  • Do I have time for a dog? Dogs require a lot of attention. They have specific needs and things can quickly go down-hill if these needs aren't satisfied. For example, a dog needs to be outside to relieve himself 2-3 times a day at the minimum; MANY more times a day when he is a puppy and still potty training. By the way, by about 4 months the puppy should be potty trained; at least that's how long it was until Heidi had it down pat. She's almost 11-months-old now and has had just a few accidents inside the apartment.
  • Why do I want a dog? So many reasons! Not in any order, here are some reasons that made me want a dog: protection for a young, single, white female, companionship, something to nurture, tend after, and love on (Ashes is great, but dogs are so much different than cats in this respect). The biggest reason for me was companionship.
  • Can my living environment handle a dog? Be sure to take into account your home and whether it would be a good fit for a dog. German Shepherds make for great apartment dogs, so that's worked out well. On top of that, I make sure to socialize and exercise Heidi a lot since her breed needs that to stay happy and healthy. If I didn't work with Heidi and just kept her holed up in the apartment, she wouldn't make for a very good apartment dog, so keep this aspect of owning a dog and breeds in mind.
  • What if the dog destroys everything in my home? This is part of the deal, especially with puppies. I made sure to keep valuables out of Heidi's reach, and so she didn't have a lot of opportunity to destroy things. To date she's only ruined a yoga mat, a broom stick, a hand towel and one pair of shoes. Not always such a happy scenario for other dog owners, but it's possible if you take the time to pick up after yourself. There are a ton of techniques and sprays which help with this. Potty training is another area where you have to accept that there will be messes. Just keep reminding yourself that it doesn't last forever. Exercise and socialization are huge ways to ward off a dog's destructive chewing nature. When they are stimulated in healthy ways they won't feel the need to go relieve some stress by chomping on your Minolos.
Besides! Against the tricky questions and situations mentioned above, there are so many benefits to having a dog! The list is really endless - from health benefits to making friends at the dog parks - they have huge potential to supplement your life. Heidi is the apple of my eye! I thank God every day for her being a part of my world.

If you have any questions about owning a dog, please don't hesitate to ask me! I would love to help you in your decision about whether adopting a dog is right for you. For more information, go here!