Monday, January 28, 2008

Worn out

We had family spend the weekend with us. After two days of running around with the kids, Danny is worn out.

This picture says it all!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


At 6:15 am, I heard something banging on the back deck. I had noticed that the feeders which were full in the evening were empty by morning, so I ran downstairs to see who was stealing our birdseed.

I turned on the deck light and there he was - a raccoon! The lights did not make him move.

I have to give the raccoon credit for his intelligence. He was sitting on the deck railing with one paw was wrapped around the metal caging, to pull the feeder in close. The other paw was scooping seeds out of the hole and putting them into his mouth.

Compared to some of the raccoons I have seen, he was relatively small. However, after a few more weeks of this, I am sure he will be much larger.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Meet Gigi

Readers of this blog will be happy to know that Gigi is not another dog (as if we don't have enough dog pictures already).

No, Gigi is my new portable GPS unit, a Garmin Nuvi 650. Valerie got me this unit for my birthday.

I know, I know, real men use maps. We get lost and pull out the map thinking we know where we're going and confidently charge ahead. Our 30 minute trips take 45 minutes because we have a "back way".

Valerie is, how do you say, directionally challenged. So she decided to get a navigation system with her new car last year. Its great. I never have to worry that she'll get lost going here or there. I've even found myself taking the Lexus when we're going to someplace that we've never been before. It's convenient.

I travel on the weekends to far-flung places that I've never been before. Google maps does a pretty good job of getting me where I want to go, but you miss a turn on those directions and you are screwed with a capitol S. You better hope you have a map of the area and know how to read it.

Gigi is portable so she can go with me in the Honda or the 4Runner. You still have to have an idea of where you are going because she's not perfect. She'll route you down I95 in the middle of rush-hour (a big no-no for those out of the area) and she'll pick the shortest route even if it entails you exiting the highway skipping two exits on a crossroad and getting back on the highway. But if you miss the turn on Bumblebee road, she'll recalculate your course and get you to where you want to go.

But I still carry my maps for backup.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


When the alarm goes off at 5:15 am, Danny does not want to wake up.

When he does get up, it is just to hop up on the bed and try to sleep a little longer.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Worn balls

Believe it or not, these tennis balls were recently washed.

I think it is time to put them in the trash.

As you can see,Danny loves to play fetch and is not very gentle with the ball!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Squirrel for lunch

I was in the kitchen at lunchtime and noticed a squirrel on the "squirrel proof feeder". The squirrels are smart enough to know that they can hang onto the shepherd's hook with their hind legs and pick seeds out with their front paws. If a squirrel sits on the rim of the feeder, his weight causes the lip to close and seeds are protected.

I headed to the window to bang on it and temporarily chase away the squirrel. Before I could get to the window, there was a flash of feathers . In an instant a hawk swooped down, flew off and the squirrel was gone! I was stunned and could not believe what I had just witnessed.

It seems that the squirrels do not realize how vulnerable they are when they are stretched out trying to grab sunflower seeds. Obviously, the hawk has figured this out! I began to wonder if the hawk comes for lunch at the feeder every day.

Hawk 1, Squirrel 0

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Darkest Evening

I received the book, "The Darkest Evening of the Year" as a Christmas gift. The heroine in this suspense novel is a woman who founds a Golden Retriever rescue organization.

The book talks a lot about dogs and how we treat them - sometimes with great kindness, more often with great cruelty.

What struck me the most was when Dean Koontz describes the great love and great loss that a dog lover experiences. From the first moment you meet your dog, you know that your time together, whether counted in months or years, will be much too brief.

So, with that in mind, I take a few extra minutes to play fetch with Danny and give him an additional hug.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Real Golden

We were asked the other day if Danny was a purebred Golden.

I was surprised by the question, as to me it seems obvious from his sculpted head to his tremendous heart that this dog is pure Gold.

It seems as if Danny's extremely furry coat had someone wondering if there might not be another breed in his genes.

Sometimes Danny gets a devilish gleam in his eyes and races around the house - just like our Sheltie used to. So maybe it wasn't such an odd question after all.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Project Upgrade, Phase V

Well, not really an upgrade, more like a replacement.

Last Sunday our microwave started emitting some pretty funky sounds while running. Maybe we could have lived with the noise, but it stopped heating as well.

We spent the afternoon shopping for a replacement. Since the extent of our microwave cooking skills stops at heating vegetables, we knew we didn't need anything fancy.

Our first stop was Sears. We were prepared to get the cheapest black microwave they had in stock. We picked one out, but the sales associate said we wouldn't have it until Wednesday. I knew I wasn't going to install it until the weekend, but I wasn't going through that again. So we passed.

Our next stop was Best Buy. Again, we looked at the microwaves and picked one out. Except they didn't have one in stock either. We passed again.

Finally, we wound up at Lowes. Sure enough, they had a nice basic GE oven in black. And it was in stock. Thirty minutes later, we were on our way back home with the oven in the back.

It took me about two hours to take the old one down and install the new one. Granted, the electrical was already done from the previous oven, so that made it easier. It had a really lightweight bracket that I thought would never hold something that big, but sure enough it's on there pretty solid.

So out of the four appliances in our kitchen, I've replaced three so far. Keeping my fingers crossed for the dishwasher, although I thought it would go before the microwave.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Maddy & Paddy Return

I opened the curtains this morning and thought I saw something moving on the pond. I blinked, looked again and there were Maddy and Paddy (the ducks).

Due to the warmer weather, the pond has not frozen. I was surprised to see the mallards as I thought they migrated south for the winter.

I wasn't sure if these ducks really were Maddy and Paddy until I went to the pond to take a picture. The ducks were not the least bit frightened and swam towards me - perhaps looking for a snack ?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Moocher

Danny got a nickname when he went on vacation. In certain Long Island circles he's known as "the moocher". Mark commented that Danny could hear a potato chip bag from 4 rooms away.

No way, we thought, he's a good boy.

Lately, while snacking on the couch, he's right there watching our every move. Not obnoxious, but definitely watching intently. If a chip just happens to fall, he swarms around it and gobbles it up in the blink of an eye and he goes back to watching.

Yes, moocher is appropriate.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Customer Service

It seems as if many companies no longer consider customer service a priority. However, I had a very positive experience with Burgoyne.

I received a beautiful set of Burgoyne greeting cards as a Christmas gift. When I opened the box to use the first card, I noticed that some of the cards were missing. I looked up Burgoyne on the Internet and sent an email asking if they could send me the missing cards.

To be honest, I did not expect a reply. So, you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to receive a response the next day saying that they would mail the cards to me.

I went to the mailbox today and the cards were there! Thanks Burgoyne.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


If you like to hunt, fish, or camp, or are married to someone who does, you have probably heard of Cabela's.

A few months ago, Cabela's opened a new store in East Hartford, Connecticut (across from UCONN's football stadium). I was thrilled that this long awaited store finally opened - mainly because it is much closer than the Cabela's in Hamburg, PA.

The store in CT is smaller than PA. However, it has a nice selection and when Jeff says "Let's go to Cabela's", it is not a 4 hour drive!