Sunday, August 31, 2008


We spent today at Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate in Sleepy Hollow, NY. The weather was beautiful and it was a pleasure to be out in the beautiful gardens.

The house is nice, but not as grand as we expected. It seems that John D. Rockefeller's strong Baptist heritage meant he was more focused on family and philanthropy rather than the ostentatious homes of the Gilded Age.

The gardens were magnificent. Nelson collected a significant amount of sculpture that is scattered throughout the estate. The entire home is filled with expensive art and sculpture. In what other basement will you find several works by Picasso ?

There is a 9 hole reversible golf course and a "playhouse" that is larger than most modern mansions. There were beautiful carriages and older cars on display in the carriage house.

I would highly recommend a visit to Kykuit.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

How Fast?

I may have been going a couple MPH over the speed limit. I checked my GPS later and what did it say?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pickup Time

We will be picking Cooper up on Sept 6. Linda is being very nice and she will drive 2 hours south, so we only have to drive 3 hours to Massachusetts.

I had packed away all the toys and bowls when Danny passed. I also donated all his heartworm and flea control treatment to SGRR. I now need to unbox all these items and get the house ready for a new dog.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cooper Update

Linda took Cooper to the vet today. Good news - he now weighs 54 pounds and is between 2-5 years of age. The vet said Cooper was definitely not 7 years old.

It seems that Linda has the magic touch!

Cooper is scratching a lot and it may be due to allergies. Cooper got a cortisone shot and we will have to follow up with our vet. His coat is still in bad shape and he has some bare spots, but with time and good nutrition, that should get better.

Linda said Cooper loves to be a copilot in the car- just sits on the passenger front seat and looks out the window. I am wondering how he will handle the back seat.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


When my Mom heard we were getting another dog she said, "I guess that's your anniversary gift". I laughed because after we decided to adopt Cooper, Jeff said "Happy Anniversary, I'm getting you a dog".

Our anniversary is actually this coming weekend - 17 years! I had two thoughts, 1)where has the time gone and 2)we are getting OLD! The truth is that I know I am lucky to have found my soulmate.

Jeff's parent's will celebrate their Golden anniversary next week. Now that is really a reason to celebrate.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


We are hoping to pick up Cooper on Sept 6. We still need to work out the details with his foster Mom, Linda. In just a few weeks we will again have a Golden boy sharing our lives.

I asked if Linda minded keeping Cooper until the 6th and she said no,she wants to fatten him up a little. Linda also wants to take Cooper to the vet to see why he is chewing himself and to recheck for worms.

I said that I could never be a foster Mom - how do you give up a dog that you have cared for ? Linda said that most of the dogs aren't too hard to let go of, but the ones that REALLY need you are tough to say goodbye to.

Looking back, I realize that she was talking about Cooper. Is she concerned about what will happen to this special dog? I hope that Linda will occasionally visit this blog to read Cooper's story.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I guess you never know what fate has in store. We just decided to adopt again and last night I saw Cooper’s picture on the SGRR website. On a page with 20 beautiful dogs, Cooper stands out because he is far from beautiful.

You see Cooper was literally starved and then abandoned. As a result, he is extremely thin and has a wispy coat. How this dog survived 7 years of neglect is a mystery to me.

I looked at Cooper and thought “We couldn’t save Danny, but maybe we can help this one”. So, I sent off an email and application, expecting that it would be several days before we heard. Two hours later there was a response – we were green lighted to adopt. Because we previously adopted Danny from Sunshine Golden Rescue, we did not need a phone or home interview.

I called Cooper’s foster Mom, Linda P in Maine this morning. (Isn’t it odd that both Danny and Cooper’s fosters were named Linda and lived in Maine). Linda said Cooper is sweet but will require a lot of love and training. She thinks he was never walked (poor leash skills), rarely in a car, etc. The amazing thing is that he still likes people.

My heart broke again, when she said, the team in Alabama got his weight up to 40 lbs, so now he can be fostered. Just how emaciated was this dog ? Cooper’s target goal is 60-65 lbs. Cooper is on limited exercise – due to his thinness and lack of muscle. Linda said when you pet him, all you feel is bone.

I hung up the phone and wondered if we could really commit to this. Jeff and I talked – we do not know what long term health issues there may be or what Cooper’s emotional issues are. Adopting a senior means that you will only have a dog for a few years at best, much less at worst and Cooper’s history is not in our favor. But then we looked at his picture with the dark eyes full of hope and agreed that if anyone can help Cooper, it should be us.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Beginnings

When Danny died, I said no more dogs. The heartbreak was just too great. I could not imagine loving another dog and losing them too.

But the days pass slowly and the house is too quiet and we are too sad. I miss Danny’s companionship, playfulness and Golden smile.

We started thinking about adopting another Golden. This is not an easy decision. I asked myself a million questions. Had we mourned long enough ? Would it seem we were trying to replace or erase Danny’s memory ? Can I accept that a new dog will be unique (not Danny) and love him for himself ? Danny was an incredible dog – will my expectations be too great ?

After considerable soul searching, I realized that: My heart will always ache for Danny, just as it does for our other dogs; Danny will never be forgotten; Danny was not Jake (our first Golden), but we adored him.

Someone told us, if you are truly a dog person, you will always want a dog to share your life. Danny’s foster Mom, Linda, said it best – By getting a new dog, we honor our previous dog because they have added so much to our lives that even though the pain of losing them is great we are willing to risk our hearts all over again.

We will soon begin the Sunshine Golden Retriever Rescue adoption process (application, phone interview, home interview). With a little luck, by Thanksgiving, there may be a new member of our pack.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'm not sure I ever appreciated working in retail while I was growing up. Oh, I appreciated the opportunity to work and being the boss' son probably made it easier than it could have been. But the intangibles I gained were invaluable life lessons. Simple things like how to make change.

This skill came in handy twice yesterday. I owed a colleague $15, but all I had was a $20 and a $5. While he was handing me three ones, I noticed a $10 in his wallet. I handed him back his three ones plus a $5 expecting the $10 back.

Silence. I guess I just caught him off guard.

Later that evening, I was on my way back from a meeting when I decided to stop into McDonalds to get a couple Apple Pies for $1. The cashier rang me up and pronounced $1.06 (we can't forget Uncle Sam). No problem, I gave her a $1 bill and a dime. As she was counting out four pennies, I piped up and said, "Wait, I have a penny..." and handed it to her.


Then she called for the manager for a "void". No, I am not kidding.

The manager comes over (all 19 years of him) and tells the cashier to figure out the change.

So the cashier pulls out a calculator....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fire Museum & Educational Center

While we were in Charleston we visited a new museum, the Fire Museum andEducational Center.

They have restored fire trucks from the American LaFrance company from every era.

In addition, they have fire safety demonstrations, movies, and you could even climb into a Fire Truck Simulator. Valerie hopped in the simulator and started honking horns and sirens!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kiawah Island

Kiawah is a private island about 20 miles from Charleston, SC.

Kiawah is one of our favorite vacation spots.

These pictures illustrate the beautiful beach better than any words could.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Charleston, SC

You know it is HOT when Valerie says, "It's too hot, I don't want to visit the shops on King St".

To be fair, there was a heat advisory in effect and the 97 degree temperature with humidity felt like 107. However, to not want to shop was unheard of. To stop after only 4 hours left me wondering if the era of the great shopasaurus was coming to an end.

Later, while eating at the Crab Shack, Valerie said, "I don't know if I can live down here. I forgot how hot it gets in the South". So much for retiring on Kiawah Island,SC.

However, after a few sweet teas and a bucket of shrimp and crab legs, Valerie was feeling much happier. A large piece of key lime pie sealed the deal and I heard, "Maybe living here wouldn't be so bad."

Monday, August 04, 2008

Red Robin

We always see the ads for Red Robin restaurants on tv, but there are none located near us. So, when we found out that we would be passing by one in Virginia we decided to stop for lunch.

Red Robin’s specialty is hamburgers, lots and lots of hamburgers. We both thought the burgers were great, hot and juicy. They also have fantastic milkshakes.

The endless basket of fries was a nice surprise. We had a very attentive waiter, who happily exchanged our empty basket for more fries.

The only disappointment is that Robin the mascot only visits on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I thought seeing a dancing robin would be fun.

We would definitely recommend visiting Red Robin, if you like burgers.