Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some stitching updates

I've been very flighty about my needlework recently. For a while I didn't have much of an urge to cross-stitch but to knit/crochet instead. So I started and finished off a pair of fingerless mitts (which ended up being a bit too large, I need to rip them out and restart on a smaller size needle).

A couple friends and I meet once a week to just hang out and grab some lunch. I needed a mindless easy project to work on while we gabbed so I decided to crochet a marketbag since it was only dc stitches the entire way around. I finished that up relatively quickly.

After those two project were finished, I started another pair of fingerless mitts for my mom but lost interest in knitting so I flitted back to cross-stitch. I've been moving from project to project since nothing seems to hold my interest for longer than a week (I've always had follow-shiny-object syndrome). After working on a few projects, I thought I'd post some progress pictures of those since it's been a while.

Autumn Abstract (Vervaco) is currently one of my favorite projects. It's probably cause it's relatively easy, has great colors, and since there are so many motifs I get a sense of accomplishment just by finishing one little area.

Spanish Bleu (Sampler Cove) is also becoming a fast favorite. I have to admit I had a hard time getting into this project because I was stitching 1 over 2 on linen and my tension had to be pretty loose. It took a while but I finally got the hang of it and I'm now quite enjoying the project.

Celtic Banner (Butternut Rd) has been quite fun to stitch for a while but I got distracted with Spanish Bleu and Autumn Abstract so I pushed it aside but I worked on it for a short while recently.

Lastly but definitely not least, Coeur De Chiens (Rouge Rubis). A stitching angel named Sue bought me this chart and even provided me with fabric and floss for it! Obviously love this cause it's dog-themed but it's also different since it's negative space. It's a little tough for me since I'm doing 1 over 2 on 40-ct linen but I love the way it's turning out so far! It's not a big project so if I can get back into it, I could finish this one relatively quick.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cirque du Soleil

Mike and I have loved Cirque shows ever since Scott and Erci introduced us to Quidam at Tysons Corner several years ago. Since then we've seen over half a dozen various Cirque shows, some of them touring, some of them in various vacation spots (Florida, Vegas). Cirque is quite a unique experience, if you've never seen a show, I'd highly recommend going to their website to see whether they have a show coming to your area. Cirque shows are visually stunning, highly choreographed, the music well done, and the acts are breathtaking (literally). Each show has a theme running through which tells a story but it's pretty loose and is mostly used to move from act to act. Each show is amazing but after a while, the shows start to blur together and most of them are very similar so we stopped going to them.

Last thursday Cirque du Soleil's new show Kooza premiered in DC. One of Mike's vendors at work is a sponsor for Kooza so the vendor offered us two seats to the premiere. Since we hadn't seen a cirque show for a few years now, we couldn't turn down the offer, even if we had to travel over the Wilson bridge right in the middle of rush hour. We got there with plenty of time to spare, so we wandered around the outside tent filled with cirque merchandise while noshing on free popcorn and soda. We got to our seats (third row from stage!) with an amazing view of the stage.

Kooza tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world. He meets a myriad of characters during his journey which is used to pull the acts together. This cirque is a little different from the previous shows we've seen in that it seems more "traditional". There aren't as many weird/cool contraptions but a lot of acts involving balance, contortion, acrobatics, and clowns. The acts show off the endurance, agility, and flexibility of the human body (how do they DO that?). If you're in the DC area, definitely try to grab some tickets to see this show, it's a lot of fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finished knitted blanket

With the addition of twitter into my repertoire of "stuff" I have, I've been blogging a lot less these days; however I do need to show off a recent obligation piece I did.

A friend of mine is expecting a baby in December. A while back we were chatting and she was poking a bit of fun at the "crafty" group of people (knitting, scrapbooking, etc) without realizing I was a knitter. Once I admitted that I also did a lot of needlecraft work, she started poking a bit of fun at me (all in good nature). Honestly I don't care if someone doesn't understand the pull of "crafts", I really enjoy doing them so defending my hobbies isn't a bit deal. We had a bit of fun and moved on. Shortly afterwards I found out she was pregnant so I thought it would be perfect if I knitted something for the baby.

There's a free pattern out there called Moderne Baby Blanket. It's modeled after quilted blankets but instead of piecing fabric together, you piece together blocks of knitting. The pattern is super easy since all you do is knit (garter stitch) the entire piece. After finishing the knitting, I did a half-double crochet around the entire piece to give it a finished look. I'm very pleased at how it turned out and it's not a traditional blanket so I knew my friend would like it. The blanket was very well-received at the shower and I got to poke some gentle fun at her.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout bad or good?

Obviously it's on everyone's mind and there seems to be some very strong opinions about it. I've read a LOT of people who are against the bailout but I'm having a hard time understanding why there's so much resistance to the proposal (keep in mind I am NOT an economist). I get that there are those out there who believe a capital market should be left alone and not nationalized. I also get that there are those people out there who think those banks and institutions screwed up and therefore should pay for it. I also get (and very much agree with) the issue that compensation for the CEOs of these companies are ridiculous when they are "bought" out.

I understand all those points that people bring up but most seem to forget one major point and this doesn't even take into account the credit crunch/freeze that will happen if we don't do anything. The FDIC and Federal Reserve already have the right (and obligation) to deal with failed banks. The FDIC comes in as a bank fails, finds a healthy bank to take over the failed one, protects the deposits, and often takes over bad loans from the bank. Usually the FDIC has a reserve of money but that is FAST running out. This is their job and they will continue to do this as banks continue to fail. This is without Congress' approval or any oversight committee.

For the Citibank takeover of Wachovia, the FDIC is sharing the risk on a $312 billion portfolio of loans (without needing the express approval of Congress). They have already provided money for IndyMac, Freddie and Fannie Mac, and AIG failures, again without Congress' intervention. Without Congress and this bailout the FDIC and Federal Reserve is completely reactive, chasing after each failed bank and figuring out what to do with it, spending money it doesn't have (ultimately coming out of the taxpayer's pocket), and slowly running out of healthy banks for mergers. Getting the $700B from Congress with rules, regulations, and oversight committees will allow the FDIC and the Fed to be proactive and hopefully allow for transparency on the entire process. Until that happens, the FDIC and Fed will continue to bailout the failing financial industry and taxpayers will continue to pay for it. No matter what happens, the taxpayers will pay for this financial disaster. Wouldn't you prefer to have some limits, regulations, and committees making sure the money is used properly and something like this never happens again?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


So Mike and I have headed to the Big Island of Hawaii for our anniversary vacation. We usually vacation around the beginning of september for two reasons. First it's our anniversary (9/12) but most importantly it's usually off-season pretty much anywhere. Kids are just in school so parents aren't taking them on vacation, the weather is still fantastic, and vacationing tends to be a bit cheaper this time of year.

This year we've gone to the Big Island of Hawaii for 8 days. We were in Maui and Kauai for our honeymoon. We loved Hawaii so much that we wanted to come back but try a different island.

The time difference is really wreaking havoc with my system (6 hrs) and I'm surprised at how long it's been taking me to adjust to the time. We've already been here 6 days and I'm still waking up in the middle of the night. Unfortunately I'm resigned to the fact that I'll get used to Hawaii time just as we have to leave on friday. Oh well, that still doesn't detract from the really great time we're having here.

We've been slowly updating our activities on Mike's blog so I'm just going to link to it here. I'll update more on my blog but it'll just be random bits of thoughts and opinions that didn't fit in our daily activities.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another room down, a gazillion more to go....

Okay, maybe not a gazillion but I don't think I'll ever be finished painting this house. Next house will be MUCH smaller. Least I finally finished painting the first floor hallway though. Since it's such an open space, I wanted to keep the colors relatively neutral but change it from the current color of off-white. After much consultation with Sue (she's my color consultant) I decided on stripes on the bottom half, below the chair-rail, and the lighter neutral color on top. Sue also made a really good suggestion of different glosses for the stripes so the darker color is semi-gloss while the lighter color is eggshell. The overall effect is subtle but definitely nice.

Unfortunately after painting the hallway, I realized how beat-up, dirty, and smudged our trim has gotten so my next step is to wash, patch, and repaint the trim. Then it'll be onto the garage hallway and back door vestibule next.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pete is Mr. April!

Every year LRR (the lab rescue we volunteer with) puts out a calendar with LRR alumni dogs. All adopters are encouraged to enter pictures of LRR alumni and the twelve best are chosen for the yearly calendar. The calendars are well-made and all proceeds go back to helping LRR's dogs; they make great Christmas gifts for those dog lover friends and co-workers (*hint hint*).

We entered some photos of Pete and Max for this year's calendar (Max made it in LRR's 2007 calendar). Unfortunately Max did not get chosen, but Pete's picture below was chosen for April, yay! I still think Max's bee picture should have been chosen, I love that shot (yes, the bee is still alive)!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Surprising benefits of the Wii Fit

Mike and I have had the wii for a while now (Eric was kind enough to send us one when they got lucky purchasing two) and we haven't used it much. Unfortunately most of the games haven't lived up to the hype of the wii, and one of our all time favorite game franchise, Metroid Prime, seemed a bit disappointing with the wii. Once we bought the xbox 360 there was no contest and the wii just gathered dust.

When wii fit came out, I was curious about the effectiveness of the game but couldn't find a copy anywhere (without the inflated price of ebay). After a couple of gentle nudges from Mike I decided to just sell our wii since we just weren't using it and the demand for wii consoles was still high. Before I sold the wii I was able to borrow a friend's copy of wii fit.

The wii fit focuses on aerobics, yoga, balance games, and strength training. The aerobics are interesting but don't last long enough for a real workout. The balance games are fun and help you to control your sense of balance but I think the most useful are the yoga and strength exercises. The yoga exercises help me stretch and strengthen a very stiff out-of-shape body while learning to balance myself correctly. The strength exercises uses your own body to tone and train. After the first day of wii fit, I found myself with some sore muscles and a profound respect for those who can be flexible enough to do some of those yoga poses.

I'm using the wii fit as a supplement to the aerobics and weight-lifting mostly to improve my balance, stretching, and muscles. However one surprising benefit of the wii fit has been to increase my focus on what I'm doing when working out. Since the fit uses a balance board, you have to be aware of your form, position, and balance when doing the various exercises. I've used this ability while weight-lifting and realized that I haven't been doing a lot of exercises correctly. Notably because I can feel the right muscles working now and I'm also rather sore this evening although my weight-lifting regime hasn't changed at all.

So I think we're now going to keep the wii and continue (hopefully) to use the wii fit to help us get into better shape. The fit is what you make of it. You can do a half-assed job and think the game is stupid or you can really work at it and get a pretty good workout. Granted it's not a replacement for regular aerobics and strength training but it is quite good as a beginning or supplement.

Monday, August 18, 2008


The truck is just fine, it'll pull through with just a couple of scratches but no major injuries. The garage door however is on major life-support with little chance of a full recovery. Let me start from the beginning.

Usually every saturday and/or sunday we take the dogs to the nearby dog park in the mornings. It keeps them socialized and it's nice to give them a change from their normal walks in the neighborhood. This saturday was no exception. We popped the pooches into the suv, I opened the garage door and we headed out. CRASH!!! Unfortunately the garage door opened much more slowly than we anticipated so the top of my truck hit the bottom of the garage door. We pulled back into the garage and got out to survey the damage. Unfortunately the bottom portion of the door had bowed out enough that we couldn't move the door in either direction so Mike and I unscrewed the bottom half of the door and put it aside. Once that was removed, the rest of the door moved on the rails just fine so we've kept it in the open position. Since there was nothing else we could do about it that morning, we headed to the dog park and grabbed some breakfast afterwards.

When we got back, I called a few companies for estimates to replace the door; Mike was too disgruntled to talk to anyone on the phone. All the companies said that no one uses wood doors anymore (too much maintenance, no insulation) so they would have to special order a new door. Everyone apparently uses steel instead....obviously except for cheap-ass builders like ours. One company came out to give us a quote (most over the phone) and showed us that replacing all our doors would probably be a good idea. We haven't done any maintenance on our doors so you can actually see water damage in the panels, the rollers are mostly rusted so they slide instead of roll. Plus everytime the garage opens and closes, it sounds like it's going to shake the rails apart. Surprisingly Mike agreed with the company so he started to research steel doors instead. These days garage doors use torsion springs (incased in a black box) with no cables or springs so it makes for a very quiet smooth door. I got some quotes from other companies on steel doors and Mike found Costco sells good steel garage doors too.

On Sunday we headed to Costco to see what they had. Our timing was good since they didn't just have the typical small area with pamphlets but there was an actual section with garage doors that day so we got to see how they looked, the differences, etc. The cost is MUCH better than most of the quotes we got. We're looking for something a little more fancy than the typical garage door this time around. If we're going to upgrade to steel, we might as well get something that looks a little nicer especially since the garage doors are the first thing that people see as they come towards our house.

Mike is rather excited to get new doors, and I'm excited to get nice and quiet doors so this little incident turned into a good thing....right?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Surprisingly exciting to watch

Jen gave us 4 tickets to see the Nationals (baseball) at their new stadium last night. Unfortunately all our friends have other lives and we were therefore unable to pawn off the other two tickets which was unfortunate since these were kick-ass seats. Unlike Clark Construction's tickets to RFK, these were not right behind homeplate and we didn't get free food but it was still pretty amazing.

These tickets were about 20 rows behind home dugout (on the first base line) so the view was fantastic. Actually I think the view from these tickets were a lot better than from behind homeplate. Plus we had pre-paid garage parking right next to the stadium. Mike took a picture from his Blackberry from our seats but the picture doesn't convey quite how close we were to the field.

The new stadium is impressive, large, and spacious. It still has the "new stadium" smell. There are vendors around the entire stadium so you'll always have over-priced food no matter where you are.

We aren't baseball (or sports) fans but it's always fun to sit in the stadium and watch what's going on while stuffing our faces. The Nats were playing Cincinnati Reds and by the bottom of the 2nd inning we were sure the game was over. The Nats had 2 runs in the 1st but Reds came back with 5 runs in the 2nd inning. The 6th inning had the Reds adding 1 run and the Nats adding 2 for a score of 4-6. Then it got really good! In the 7th inning, the Nats came back with a vengeance with 4 runs, then added 2 more in the 8th inning for a game winning score of 10-6! So we really ended up getting into the game as the score got closer and closer.

It was a lot of fun to watch and cheer but like all live games we had a VERY loud heckler/"encourager" a few rows behind us who did a LOT of shouting through the game. It definitely annoyed a fair number of people and I'm sure his voice carried to the other side of the stadium!

Definitely lots of fun to go watch the Nats plus it was just a bonus that they won that night. Jen, thanks for the tickets, they rocked! We'll take any other sports tickets you send out way.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Only six months late

I finally finished Jen's last pair of socks I owed her for Christmas 2007. Needless to say, I don't think I'm going to promise her socks for this year but it was definitely fun. Socks knit up quickly so I have the instant gratification thing, plus it has enough different stitches that you don't get bored. For these socks, I used the Charade pattern, DPNs (double-pointed needles) #1, and Cherry Tree Hill Cherry Blossom yarn. I loved the yarn color but because it has so many different types of colors, I had to find a pattern that was relatively simple or else it would get lost in all the colors.

These came out quite nicely. The stitch pattern is stretchy enough to fit nicely on the leg/feet but will easily go over the heel (my Jaywalker socks I made were a bit tough to get over the heel). I really liked the way it turned out and I think Jen liked it too. After finishing this last pair, I was sure I wouldn't want to do anymore socks for a while but I already have the urge to start another pair!

I also finished square 4 for my Great American Aran Afghan (GAAA). There will probably be around 20-24 squares total so I still have a ways to go. I started this one for a slight change of variety. With the afghan squares, usually you're working on 2 or 3 different types of cables but it's pretty much the same thing the entire way up. For this square the pattern changes depending on what you're working on. Still was an easy knit, I am very very pleased by the chart diagrams and written instructions for GAAA. They are very clear and concise so knitting these squares is quite a pleasure.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Woooo-hoooo weeeeee!!!!

Mike and I took a road trip to Cedar Point Park, the roller-coaster capital of the world, last weekend. Both of us are roller-coaster freaks and love finding the newest best rides around. We've been to various amusements parks but Cedar Point is sort of the mecca of parks due to its multitude of coasters (17) and other thrill rides. We've been there a couple of times but the last trip was in 2003 so we were due for another trip.

We shuffled off Pete to Scott/Sue's house and Max to Timo/Nancy's house so they could also have their own vacation being spoiled and pampered and drove off on thursday afternoon. It took us about 7 hours to get there, overall a very easy drive.

Originally we had doubts about going because Sandusky, OH was to have pretty awful weather (thunderstorms, lots of rain) during the entire time we were there. We thought we'd postpone but Mike couldn't quite stand the thought of going to work on friday and if the weather was bad, we could always stay until sunday when it was supposed to clear up so we decided to go anyways.

Friday dawned a bit cloudy but the weather reports stated the rain and thunderstorms weren't going to hit until late afternoon so we figured we'd head to the park. The park was a little more crowded than expected but apparently we hit a day when a fair number of ohio schools (middle and high schools) were taking field trips to the park (I don't think my school EVER had a fun field trip like that). The lines still weren't too bad but I definitely felt old.

Top Thrill Dragster was our first stop. It's a fantastic coaster that uses magnetic induction to go from 0 to 150 in 4 secs, then shoots you straight up 420 feet and back down. There's nothing quite as thrilling (except maybe jumping out of a plane) as being shot forward that fast with your cheeks flapping. The only thing more thrilling is the chance that you might not make it over the hill! There is a sign that states that sometimes the car will not clear the top of the hill but not to worry since it will come back to the station. I found a great video online that shows this happening. After our first thrill, we headed to various other coasters in the park.

My other favorite is the Millenium Force, a 310-ft steel coaster. It's first drop is 80 degrees with a top speed of 93 mph. I believe it is currently the 4th highest coaster in the world (Top Thrill Dragster is #2). Due to the height of its first hill, they use a special lift mechanism that takes you much faster than the typical chain and the seats are very open so it's a bit freaky looking around and down while getting ready for that first drop. I love this coaster because it's very smooth and the hills are fantastic. There aren't a lot of turns, twists, or loops but some great stomach-dropping hills.

Overall friday was a great day, we never saw any rain, the weather was warm, and most of the lines were no longer than 15-20 minutes (with the exception of the big rides which were no more than 45 min). We rode all the coasters we wanted and had a great time. Unfortunately since we thought it was going to rain we didn't apply any sunblock and got a bit toasted in the diffused sunlight.

Saturday morning the weather report showed the rains and thunderstorms that night had passed and the day was to be clear and cloudy with no showers in sight. We headed back to the park and it was PACKED! I guess those in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois felt like riding the coasters that day. It was a lot more families and packs of older people (our age and older) than on friday. Since we wanted to head home by saturday afternoon, we just hit our favorite rides: Top Thrill Dragster, Millenium Force, and Maverick (newest coaster, was closed on friday). The lines were much longer, our average weight was about 45 minutes. We called it a day after that and headed back home.

Cedar Point is definitely a fun place but better to go during the week than weekend, especially before school gets out. I think we've got enough thrill that it'll be a couple more years before we head back but we're definitely gonna check out the amusement parks on the East Coast for new thrill rides!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Longest paint job...EVER!

After over six weeks, I finally finished painting the kitchen. This was definitely the longest paint job I've ever done although it really shouldn't have taken quite that long. We've wanted to paint our kitchen (and hallway and foyer and....etc) for a while but we haven't been able to pick a color. Finally found some paint chips from Home Depot (new paint product called Fresh Aire, no VOC chemicals) in shades of red and green so I brought those home. Fresh Aire (just recently released) was also giving out 3 free paint samples so I got a few and we liked the green the best. Painting that green took me less than a week to complete, although I got really tired of all the nooks and crannys of the kitchen.

I left one wall blank because we wanted to do an accent wall. Picking a new color for that wall took me about two weeks! Originally we were going to do a darker green but after speaking to Sue and Jen we were advised that lighter would be better. Sue picked out a color and said it would look really good but did I listen??? Instead I decided to try a couple of other colors first but nothing looked quite right. I finally bought the paint that Sue recommended and of course it looked fabulous. It took me about a week to finish because by this time I had somehow screwed up my back so it was pretty difficult to do any painting.

After finishing the wall, we realized that the niche wall and the staircase wall (originally left unpainted) would look better with the kitchen colors than with the hallway colors. Unfortunately by this time my back was really pretty painful so I didn't attempt to work on it until last week. I finally finished the darn thing last thursday so our kitchen is finally complete. Now I have to find window treatments, who knows how long that will take!?!

We are really quite pleased with the paint colors in the kitchen. It's subtle and clean but it also transitions really well into the family room. Next paint job will be the foyer/hallway area which is a doozy. I think I'll save that job for later...much later.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's about time!

For the last couple of months, I seem to have lost my needlecrafting mojo. I would put a cross-stitch WIP on my stand and after only a few days I'd lose the urge to stitch on it so I'd put it away. It was the same for my knitting, I could only do a couple of rows before I would completely lose interest. Even looking through my kitted projects, nothing caught my interest. I have been lusting after Celtic Banner by Butternut Road but I didn't own it. Thanks to some gentle nudging by Sue, I caved and finally bought it and the materials for it. As soon as I got all my materials, I put it on my stand. FINALLY my mojo came back! I LOVE LOVE working on this project. It's gonna take me a while to complete it, but I really enjoy working on it and when I'm not working on it I want to work on it. That's always a good sign. And to top it off I've started stitching Jen's fourth pair of socks (for her 2007 Christmas present) and I'm enjoying that project too.

I've completed my first felted project (a purse) and I'm quite pleased at how it turned out. It's a very simple pattern called a Booga Bag, basically knitting in the round. I originally bought the skeins of yarn to make a scarf but after knitting a part of the scarf, I realized how itchy the fibers were and put them aside until I realized I could use them to felt a bag. The knitting went really fast since it was pretty mindless. After finishing the bag and icord (aka handles for the bag), it sat around for a while until I finally got around to felting the bag. After felting it sat around again while I figured out how I wanted to finish the purse since I didn't want to just assemble it the way it was.

I bought some metal feet, grommets for the handles, metallic clasp to close the bag, and plastic mesh to stabilize the bottom of the bag. I also lined the bag since I thought it would look nicer than just the interior felting. It came together quite well, hopefully my mom will like the bag.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Always something new

With such a beautiful day outside, I thought it would be nice for the dogs to spend it in the backyard. So I got two large beef knuckle bones for Max and Pete to gnaw outside. They are only allowed to eat these things outside because they do get a bit messy. The bone is smoked long enough the dogs just gnaw away at the bone. They both found cool areas to lay down in and started working away.

Well, after a couple of hours, I guess Pete had enough for the day. I keep an eye on them to make sure they don't wander around and just make sure they are doing ok. We noticed Pete started to get up and walk around with the rest of his bone in his mouth so I went down the deck to see how he was doing. Going down the stairs, Pete was in the small garden making odd head movements (obscured by our rhododendron) so I went over to see what he was doing. When I got to him, he was using his head to move piles of mulch around the plant then tamping it down with his nose. I watched him do this for about 3-4 minutes and realized he was burying his bone! We've never had one of our dogs (or fosters) show this behavior so it was fun to watch. Incredibly he was neat about digging the hole and putting all the mulch back where it should be. If I didn't come down while he was doing this, I never would have known he had dug in the garden. Just to be sure, I dug up the bone (surprisingly hard to find, he had buried it deep and close to the plant) so Pete wouldn't dig the garden back up to get to it in the future.

I wonder what else he's buried in our yard?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy Holly

I'm a bit late writing about Holly, a foster we had for three weeks. You'd think I have more time to blog without a job but I seem to be blogging less.

On April 5th we got a new foster dog, Holly, a 3.5-yr old yellow girl. She was given up because her owners weren't well. She's a little more nervous than most of our other foster dogs and it took her about 2-3 days to settle down and relax. The first few days she was extremely skittish and would scamper away if we reached too quickly for her. She still freaks out a bit if she starts to feel trapped (ie grabbing her collar, grabbing her feet) but she just tries to get away from the situation without getting aggressive. Now that she's more comfortable here, she loves affection from people. She'll often sidle up and lean on us for LOTS of petting, then she'll fall over so we can rub her belly.

Interestingly Holly is either on or off, there is no in-between right now. Other foster homes say she will relax in about a week but for now she's either crashed on the floor resting or else running/trotting around to see whats going on, never walking.

Holly is starting to play with Pete but she plays like a boxer. She'll rear up and "boxes" with her front feet but Pete keeps up with her pretty well and they'll start wrestling then chase each other over the house and backyard. It's always nice when we get a foster that will keep Petey occupied. Unfortunately her boxer tendencies also seem to influence her interactions with people. If she's really playful she'll use her paws to do some smacking but it sounds like she's better than when she first came into the system.

She's one of those funny dogs that LOVES to eat water. As soon as we're near the hose, she goes bonkers waiting for us to turn on the stream of water. She'll stay outside and attack the sprinklers for as long as they stay on. She's perfectly content to get drenched and play with the water as long as you keep it on.

Holly treated Pete a lot like a younger brother. She would hassle him to play and wrestle and then push him around to get the the water first, out the door first, etc. Pete is not a very good alpha dog (I think he's much more happy as a submissive but we don't have an alpha in this house so Petey is trying to be the top dog) so I think he gets frustrated when a foster dog easily pushes him around. Unfortunately that meant he was taking it out on Max. Pete started to attack Max a lot more, often breaking the skin, and unfortunately at random times. So we ended up having to move Holly after three weeks. Thank goodness Pete's behavior improved after Holly left the house. The Max bullying got a lot more mild, less frequent, and a lot more controllable.

Unfortunately without a playmate in the house, Pete's been looking to us for a lot more chasing around. Guess you can't always win.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The problem with high ceilings...

is that most of the stuff attached to the ceilings tend to be high too. Specifically the chandelier, second floor windows, recessed lights, and the fan have been the bane of my existence. We've been in the house for over 8 years now and we've never cleaned the chandelier in the foyer or fan in the family room and over the years I've watched dust accumulate on these two items till it really really bugged me. So I finally rented a 12-ft scaffolding for a week and cleaned the suckers up!

The chandelier was definitely a challenge since it had over 1600 separate pieces that I had to remove, clean, and replace back on the chandelier; however only 4 of the 38 bulbs were burned out. The chandelier alone took me 4 days to complete but I'm ecstastic at how clean and sparkly it is now (yeah, I get excited about the weirdest things).

The ceiling fan was a LOT easier since I just removed the blades and washed them outside. Our ceiling fan in the family room was the largest we could find and is made of fishing rods and cloth so the dust really sticks to it; very noticeable since the cloth is off-white. While I had the scaffolding, I washed the second floor windows in the family room too since it was about time. I usually wash those things about every 2 years but I have to use the extension ladder and it's quite cumbersome.

And one last picture to post of some blackwork I've been working on last week. This is Jardin d'Amour by Papillon Creations. The design is inspired by the garden of the same name in France.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Super Pet Expo

Took the pooches to Super Pet Expo at the Dulles Expo Center this past saturday. The expo contains local vendors that sell all sorts of pet items. The expo seems to get more popular every year especially since pets are allowed. We got there shortly after it opened and it was already extremely packed.

This is the first time Pete has attended such a large function and we were curious to see how he would do. Unfortunately he did not start with a stellar performance. While we were waiting for Scott and Sue outside, Pete decided he needed to "own" Mike so he peed on his shoes and pants! Needless to say, Mike was NOT pleased so I took Pete and he took Max (I did not get peed on).

This year it seemed all the dog bakeries were out in force and Pete found every single one of them. Poor Pete didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to eat any of the wonderful items he kept smelling, especially since they were all out in the open (and almost at nose/mouth height). Both Pete and Max got a lot of loving from strangers. Pete because he is a chocolate lab (not seen as often as yellow or blacks) and Max because of his lab/dane mix. At one table, Max charmed the vendors into giving him more than a few pieces of chicken jerky because his head easily rested on their table and he gave them his best sad-eye stare.

Overall the dogs were very well behaved and handled themselves better than I expected. They got lots of extra goodies from the vendors, Pete got a nice new collar, and I got a cute dog bookmark.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stitchin stuffages

Haven't blogged much about any of my stitching or other needlework stuff recently so I figured it was due time. I've been rather lax about my hobby recently. Instead I've been doing a lot of reading of various fantasy books. I rediscovered a book I loved as a teenager (which probably got me started in the whole fantasy novel vein) and was finally able to read the entire series (Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet). I read the second book when I was in middle school but never found any of her other stuff. I thought of her recently and found all the books in the library so I gobbled them up in a matter of a few days, then I went and found other series she's done and went through those. Obviously as they are geared towards teenagers, the reading is easy but the storyline is very entertaining. I would consider the books on par with Harry Potter readings. Unfortunately when I do find books that intrigue me, everything else is excluded so I'll just spend my entire day reading instead of anything else.

After reading most of her books, I finally got back to my knitting and stitching. I've finally started on Jen's other half of her Christmas presents (she only got 2 of her 4 pairs of socks). I'm using a free pattern called Jaywalkers for these socks just to try something different. It's working out well so far except that the pattern isn't as flexible as regular stockinette stitches so it's a little bit tough to get over the heels.

I've also finally taken some updated pictures of some of my cross stitch pieces I've been mostly been picking at (just a couple of stitches added here and there). I seem to have mostly lost my stitching mojo so I can't stay focused on one project very long.

I've gotten a fair bit done on Wedding Sampler so far, with only one more page to go. It's not a hard pattern and it really shouldn't take me very long to finish it once I bear down and just do it.

Cirque des Cercles (CDC) is moving along quite nicely. The black fabric makes it a bit tough to find the right holes so I'm forever frogging bits of my stitching. Another easy one because I'm only using one variegated floss color so I don't have to switch around.

Then I've got my monster Chatelaine projects. Egyptian Garden is only about 35-40% finished so far AND I've got a LOT of beading still to do. I love the brilliant colors on this one.

Sue and I started Mystery X (Secret Victorian Garden) together at the beginning of 2008. We were trying to keep up with one part/month but the second part is just so large we couldn't stay on track. We're still working on Part 2 for this thing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mongo-huge church

On Easter we went to church with my parents, Jen, and Din. Usually on the main holidays we'll go to my parents' church but my Dad was very interested in visiting McLean Bible Church near Tysons Corner. MBC is one of those HUGE church with auditoriums and a very large parking garage. There is police there every Sunday to help direct the flow of traffic.

The entire service seemed a bit over-the-top to both Mike and myself. There's a stage with a full ensemble of stage lights, screens, and a full orchestra. There are cameras throughout the auditorium to film the entire worship so those further back can see close-up views on the screens. It's very similar to the services seen on tv on sundays. The sermon seemed a bit arrogant and rigid especially regarding Christianity vs other religions. While I understand that each religion thinks it is "the one", my parents' church is very tolerant and focuses on more important issues rather than differences of religions.

I do understand how people are drawn to the church and the message but I think I prefer a much more relaxed and smaller atmosphere in church.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Carrie, lovebug & kisser

We've had Carrie, our newest foster, for a week now. She's a cute little (56 lbs) black girl who loves people and other dogs. She's only a year old and is still quite a puppy. Since she loves to play with other dogs, she's kept Petey quite occupied with tug-o-war, chasing, and wrestling. It's kinda nice to see Pete playing so much with another dog. Max is Max and he's quite content just to lay down and watch.

Carrie loves people but she tends to be pretty pushy when she gets excited. She literally starts wriggling with happiness and that crazy tongue of hers starts darting all over the place trying to lick/kiss you as much as possible. Definitely still a puppy since she can get into trouble if she's not watched. She's not too bad in the house since we have lots of toys everywhere and our trashcans are out of reach (previous experiences w/Pete); however she does loves to explore outside and she's found a specific area in the backyard that just NEEDS to be dug up. For the last few days she's come back up the deck with a very brown nose and front paws, the rain has NOT helped with clean-up.

She's actually a very good girl for a puppy. While she gets excited with strangers, she tends to be pretty calm indoors. She sidles up to you and constantly wants attention. She'll lean on you, and gently put a paw on you if you stop petting. Her favorite position is definitely on her back with her belly exposed for lots of belly-rubs. The other foster homes have been working on her housebreaking so she hasn't had one accident here (one of our biggest priorities).

Surprisingly she's been in the system since November, but she just had a visit from adopters today and they'll be adopting her next week. She should be quite happy with three young (human)boys to give her lots of affection and playtime.

Monday, February 25, 2008

PMP test finally finished

I PASSED, I PASSED! I am now PiMP certified, wheee!

The exam was this morning for 4 hours. Thank goodness Mike and I did a practice run on Sunday cause it was a bit tricky getting to the testing center. The test wasn't quite as hard as I expected but that's probably due to 1.5 months of almost straight studying and taking a multitude of practice tests.

I thought I'd find out my test results from PMI in a week or so but I got the results as soon as my test was over, one of the advantages of computer-testing.

I plan to spend the next week vegetating, then it's time to dust off and update my resume and go job hunting.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I finished something!

Ok, so it's not something that will contribute to the improvement of humanity (or even myself) but I did finish three xbox games recently. For someone who gets bored easily and always looking for something new, this is quite an accomplishment. I finally got all achievements for Viva Pinata and I finished the storyline for Half-Life 2 and Overlord.

Viva Pinata is a similar to a simulation game, more information on Mike's blog. I've been playing it on and off for a while. It's very enjoyable but can be a bit slow at times. I usually play it as a nice distraction after getting frustrated with FPS games. I only had about 6 more achievements to complete the game so I just finally sat down and finished it up. This will probably be the only game I'll ever get all 1000 pts.

Half-Life 2 is a fantastic FPS game, Mike's review here. I thoroughly enjoyed the game since it wasn't just a straight out shooter like Halo 3. There is a rather involved storyline with exploration and puzzles involved. I still half Half-Life 2 Episode 1 & 2 to complete although those are much shorter. Apparently Valve (the makers of Half-Life) didn't want people to wait 6 years for the sequel, so they released smaller episodes instead. Half-Life 2 episode 1 & 2 are actually misnomers, they were meant to be Half-Life 3 episode 1 & 2. Valve plans to release episode 3 sometime in the near future, hopefully with Portal 2 added in!

Lastly I finished the storyline for Overlord. Overlord is an interesting game, similar to Pikmin (gamecube game). You are the Evil Overlord and control minions (4 different colors - each has their own strengths/weaknesses) to do your bidding. I found Pikmin to be much more fun and easier to control but Overlord was still enjoyable. I finished the game with 0% corruption (I was a *good* Overlord). If I want to collect more achievements, I need to replay the game to get 100% corruption (*evil* Overlord).

Three games down....infinite more to go.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

There's a party in my mouth!

Ok, so this is gonna be a bit graphic about infections and stuff so I'm giving you fair warning. If you're squeamish stop reading now!

Last friday I had to get an old root canal retreated since it had gotten infected. The endontologist went back in and packed it full of meds. She said it looked pretty infected and gave me some antibiotics. She also warned me that with the change in environment (the dental work, added oxygen, etc) the bacteria may go a bit nuts and multiply. She wasn't wrong! After the Novocaine wore off, I felt some aches and pain but it really didn't start hurting until saturday and my left cheek and gums starting to swell. By Sunday, I had upped my Motrin from 2 to 3 to 4 pills and it was still just taking the edge off the pain. I gave in and called the endontologist on Sunday. She switched my antibiotics to a stronger type and called in a prescription painkiller (a very very mild narcotic).

In the past I haven't done well with any products containing codeine/narcotics. Darvocet (what she prescribed) didn't appear to have codeine and it's supposed to be an extremely mild narcotic so I figured I'd chance it since the motrin wasn't eliminating the pain. That was a very bad decision on my part, I ended up extremely nauseous and in the bathroom for about 4 hrs until the meds left my system. NO MORE NARCOTICS FOR ME.....EVER! I switched to motrin and hoped for the best.

Monday morning I saw her again. She said the infection hadn't localized so she couldn't drain it. She doubled my antibiotic dosage and gave me prescription ibuprofen. The antibiotics are finally doing their thing; I no longer look like I'm chewing on a golf ball and the pain is finally eliminated when I take the meds. I see her again on wednesday but I think the infection is finally under control.

Unfortunately I had already scheduled my PMP exam for next monday 2/25. I was torn on whether to postpone the exam or just study through this week. Studying won out, I'm so darn tired of waiting to take the exam and studying that I decided to just get it done. If the pain became problematic, I could always postpone the exam up to 48 hours before Monday.

It's been a doozy of a week so far and it's only tuesday!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's stuffins

We had a fantastic Valentine's dinner with Jen and Din at Filomena's in DC. I was nicely surprised when Mike was able to get reservations in early January there. Traffic was less than optimal, but it was a thursday and Valentine's day to boot so we weren't surprised.

It's always fun to hang out with Jen and Din. When Jen and I are together, we always end up getting so silly. I think Mike was just glad that we weren't driving home in the same car together.

Filomena's is a fantastic Italian restaurant located in Georgetown. We've been there only a couple of times, but the food is outstanding. Everything is homemade and the portions are huge. The food was definitely as good as I remembered but Jen's chicken ravioli was ...interesting. We all tried each other's food (except mine... no one's really a fan of seafood at the table), and when we tried Jen's ravioli, we were trying to figure out the unique flavor and realized it was smoked chicken. Mike tried it and was more direct in his assessment. He said it tasted like a fireplace, then said, "No, it tastes like an ashtry." Jen mulled it over and replied, "No, it tastes more like a fireplace." The chicken was definitely oversmoked, but it still tasted ok. I got the cheese ravioli with giant scallops and shrimp in a creamy lobster sauce....YUM. Even two days later the leftover is still delicious.

Then of course we all had to get dessert. Mike and Din got the chocolate cake while Jen and I got the white chocolate macadamia mousse. Both really good but by the time we finished, I think we were all ready to explode. Sleeping on a full stomach is quite uncomfortable, needless to say both Mike and I had a really light breakfast the next day. Excellent way to spend Valentine's day - good food and family.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Finally!! More studying ahead

After almost 2 weeks, I finally heard back from PMI. I have successfully met the requirements of the PMP certification audit so I've been approved to take the test. That means no more slacking off like the past week. I plan to schedule the test for the 20th or 21st of this month which gives me a week and a half to cram all the info into my brain. Let's hope it's good enough to pass!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dogs: Neurotic, Houdini, & Hallucination

Pete has been a Fischer for almost a month but we're seeing all sorts of interesting behavior come outta this little guy. He seems a bit neurotic where he'll act up but it's not regular. After a few weeks of trying to fix his behavior, I called up a friend who has a LOT of experience with dogs. It appears that Pete wants to be #1 in the pack, we're enforcing that Max is #1, and Max is not enforcing that. No wonder why Pete is so confused! Pete is trying to work out pack order and we're interfering which is making it much more difficult. So we're going to let the dogs work it out and just make sure no one damages anyone else. Hopefully since Max has no wish to be #1 and Pete does, they'll work it out relatively quickly.

We moved Elmo to a different foster home today. He had adopters come see him last sunday and they absolutely loved him. Actually they originally met Elmo at a different foster home during Christmas and knew he was the one so they applied to LRR with the sole purpose of adopting Elmo. LRR made them see other dogs to make sure Elmo was the one. I think they'll make a fine home for Elmo and will help him through his puppyhood. While he was here, he got a LOT better about night outings. After a few more days of 5-6am wakings, he moved to 7am so we were MUCH happier. He does have a rather unique trick though. He's the only foster dog we've ever had that can open the crate door. Elmo hates crates and can't be left alone in a crate for more than a few hours or else he turns pretty destructive which is why he was sent to us. Well, earlier this week I went out for a few chores and put him in the crate. Imagine my surprise when I came home and three dogs met me at the door! I think he banged the door enough times to loosen both latches to get out. He's escaped twice while I've been out, thank god he didn't cause any damage to the house at all.

Lastly, on tuesday night I had the best dream. I dreamt I was walking our street with Sheba by my side. The dream was incredibly clear and the day was beautiful outside. In my dream, I knew Sheba was gone and she was simply a hallucination that only I could see, but I could also bend down, hug her, and pet her. She was happily trotting next to me with a grin on her face. I'm amazed at how real that dream felt. When I woke up, it didn't feel like a dream, it felt like a memory. It put me in such a good mood through the day.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Now for the waiting (& studying)

Finally mailed off my audit package to PMI so I can take the PMP exam. Since the global center is located in PA, they should receive my package in the next couple of days. It takes them up to a week to process all the information and if I pass the audit, I'll get an email with a confirmation to take the test. If all goes well, I should be able to take the test by the end of next week, early the week after.

The audit package wasn't too hard to put together. Mostly just need all my old managers to verify and sign my work history records. One of my bosses retired and lives in Ohio..thank GOD for facebook! He was more than happy to get the paperwork, fill it out, and send it back to me. I met my other two managers for lunch (at different times) where we chatted about old times and I got their paperwork finished. I have to thank PMI and the audit since both my lunches were quite enjoyable.

I have to also provide proof that I've attended the PM-related classes in the past that I put on my application so I had to track down my certificates from those classes, copy them and add to the packet.

Lastly, I had to prove that I did have a bachelor's degree, again adding a copy in the audit package. That provided me a chance to relive a comic memory of Sheba. For those of you who graduated from College Park knows that during graduation you don't get your degree. It gets mailed to you in a brown tube several weeks later so there isn't a chance of any mixup. I got my degree in the mail and just tossed the tube in my room as I left for work. When I got home, I realized I made a small boo-boo; Sheba thought the brown tube was a toy and chewed a large section apart....OOPS. So I finished my illustrious educational career by having my dog eat my degree!! I thought it was fantastic so I never replaced the degree and just stored it away in the (mostly) intact brown tube. I found the tube a couple of days ago and copied the degree to add to the packet. Picture of degree below, pardon the coasters but it won't lay flat after 12 years in a tube. Plus I thought the themed coasters were rather appropriate to use.

So really, although the audit was a bit of a pain since I have to keep studying so all the information doesn't dribble outta my ears, it allowed me to meet up with my old managers and relive a great Sheba story. All in all, that's not a bad outcome at all.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Oh boy, he's one of those...

After getting Pete, we were going to wait a month before fostering again so Pete could acclimate; however we realized that Pete needed someone to play with and Max wasn't up to the job. So we've now got a new foster in the house that may be too much even for Petey. Yet another chocolate foster named Elmo. He's a year old, and definitely still a puppy. We seem to have hit the jackpot on chocolate fosters in the last 6 mos. He and Pete are extraordinarily similar in appearance. They both came out of Caroline County shelter, so they may be at least half-brothers.

While I've mentioned the term puppy in the past, I usually mean mentally since most labs don't settle down until 3-4 yrs of age. In this case, Elmo is both physically and mentally a puppy. He still needs to fill out a bit, he's got the attention span of a gnat, he definitely has energy to burn, and he's still got puppy-bladder. That means for the past few nights, he tells me about 4-5 hrs after bed that he needs to go outside pretty bad. Thank god he's housebroken and he knows to at least notify me but it's tough getting up in the middle of the night. As a puppy, he still has a hard time settling down at night so he spends a lot of time moving back and forth from the dog bed to the couch. Unfortunately as a light sleeper, I get to hear his entire walkabout.

Doesn't help that the night before Elmo came, we woke up to a small Petey crisis. Pete had ripped open a stuffed toy and eaten some of the fluff inside (first dog I've ever seen that actually ate the stuffing). That night his body decided that it was not digestible. Mike and I woke up to Petey jumping off the bed and making retching noises. Quinn had trained us very well. Mike grabbed Pete and moved him into the bathroom. I up-ended the nearest trash can and guided Pete's face toward it so the mess would be contained. What a team!

At this point, my brain is rather fuzzy from lack of sleep and I don't see any end in sight. I have a feeling I'll be up every night to let Elmo out sometime between 2-5am. At least Mike will take care of Elmo on the weekend evenings so I can drug myself into unconsciousness and hope to catch up on sleep then.

PS. Elmo is really rather sweet and well-behaved for a he just needs a bigger bladder!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Various bits of life

We got a nice beautiful snowfall yesterday which is already starting to slowly melt away this morning. It was even more enjoyable since we were at home in the warmth, watching the snowfall outside. We had to take Max to the vet that afternoon so I called them to verify they were still open. They wanted to close early so we took Max a little earlier than the original appt. This was the best and fastest vet visit EVER! Since lots of other people had cancelled, and the vet office had rescheduled other appts, we were the only ones there. When we arrived, most of the staff was just up front dawdling, including the vet. We got there and immediately got taken into the office where Max's vitals were taken. Our vet came right after that and we were out of there in 30 minutes flat with no waiting. It was wonderful, I wish we could have snowstorms everytime we needed to take our dogs to the vet. (Max is fine, just a little conjunctivitis. He got some antibiotic eye drops)

With Mike back at work, I decided I better start looking for a job too. I put my resume out there back in late November and December and only got one nibble but it didn't work out. I've noticed that PMP (project mgmt certification) seems to be the new "in" thing for PM positions now, so I figured I might as well work towards mine. I took a PMP bootcamp (one LONG week of class) and put my application (which took FIVE hours to complete!) in for the exam. I got a response back yesterday of approval so I submitted my payment for testing. Unfortunately I was one of the 10% that is randomly audited. That means I have to track down my previous managers, have them review and verify my application for accuracy and sign the verification record. So now I'm in the midst of finding my various managers so I can do this. Unfortunately that means I can't take the test when I was hoping, originally the end of January. I have to wait for all the paperwork to be signed, send it back to PMI, wait for their review and approval, then I can sign up for the test. I've been spending this week studying like mad to cram all the bootcamp info in, but I've lost some steam knowing that I have to wait now. Hopefully I'll be better motivated next week to restart the studying cause this is a tough exam and I really don't want to have to retake it. I think the entire PMP cert process is very much modeled after the CISSP cert process. I can't wait until the whole thing is finished. I better find a job after all this work!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Late Xmas stuff

I meant to post this stuff much earlier but silly me forgot to take pictures before I gifted the presents. This year my sister, Jen, asked for some knit socks. I had made my first pair around Thanksgiving and she liked them so much I gave them to her. So I ordered 4 different colors with the plan to knit up 4 pairs of socks for Christmas for her. *snort*...this is where you knitters and needlecrafters will start laughing hysterically. I admit being a bit overly ambitious but I was still at least able to finish 2 pairs by Christmas. I used the same pattern for the previous socks just using different colors. I still have two more pairs to do, which I promise to complete before next christmas *big grin*. I plan to use different patterns this time to give them a little more depth, plus it gives me a bit of challenge too.

Coincidentally one of Jen's gifts to me was late too so I can post it in this blog. I had to share even though she and I are probably the only ones that "get it". When we were growing up we weren't really exposed to a lot of popular culture. We'd listen to the radio but really we didn't listen to anything specific except for one record that we LOVED! Keep in mind we were still in elementary/middle school so we hadn't formed opinions on music yet. Anyways, our parents had a 45 (remember records?) of the Bay City Rollers single "Saturday Night". We would play that over and over and sing with it. It still brings back fond memories. So Jen found an actual record album from the Bay City Rollers, framed it and gave it to me for Christmas! It's definitely one of those cool memorable gifts you never forget about. I can't wait to find a place to put it.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

It's 2008 already?!?

I can't believe it's already 2008! It feels like just a couple of years ago that we were oncall for the famous Y2K bug in 1999, waiting with bated breath for all the ATMs to fail, the traffic lights to lose their minds, and the world to come crashing to a halt. Was that really almost 10 years ago? Time definitely seems to move faster each year and I have to get used to dating everything '08.

2007 was overall a very mixed year for us. Mike was stuck in chemo for the first few months of the year but he had a successful surgery to remove his stricture and for the first time in years he seemed to be in remission from his Crohn's disease. All of Mike's various health issues made us realize there was more to life then just working. We made the decision to leave work and spend 9-12 months traveling, spending time together, visiting friends, and visiting family. The second half of the year was great with our long-awaited 17-day Mediterranean cruise, visiting family and friends in NY, working on the house, spending time together and just enjoying the time off. I lost Sheba to cancer in October which was a major blow for both of us. There are still times when it literally hurts to think about her but other times when I can reminisce at all her silly antics.

This was also the year that my parents did some major cross-country driving sometimes causing Jen and I to worry. They spent three months traveling in their minivan all over the US. Most of the time it was great, but there were definitely some moments when we wouldn't hear from them that Jen and I would think all sorts of terrible things were happening. I think we learned that our parents can actually take care of themselves and not to worry so much, which was good because they also spent a few weeks traveling to Canada and a couple of weeks traveling south to FL later in the year.

I'll be interested to see what 2008 brings us. We've already added an addition to our family. Mike's got a new job with Comcast. I plan to get my PMP certification with the intention of finding a "real" PM position in N.Va. Hopefully we'll also do a really fun vacation this year too.

It's a boy!

Today Mike and I signed the adoption contract for Pete, he is now a Fischer. We're quite thrilled to have another dog in the house. Pete has such a cute face, I'll have to be very aware of Pete's good looks so that he doesn't "cute" me into giving him things (ie food). Sue put a Pooh "It's a boy" blue balloon on our mailbox for us to see when we came home this afternoon. She's so silly, and we loved it.

I've had mixed feelings about adopting Pete for the last couple of weeks. I wasn't sure I was ready to adopt so soon after Sheba's passing but I also knew I really liked this dog and felt like this was the perfect home for him. The longer he stayed with us, the more I bonded and a few days ago I was ready to admit that I didn't want him to leave. Pete's been returned twice to the rescue for his incessant barking and apparent separation anxiety but at our house he's completely comfortable, he doesn't bark, and he couldn't care less if we leave the house (other than to make sure he gets his treat). It's also great to have a dog that plays with the foster dogs and keeps them occupied. So hopefully the third time really is the charm.

Since Pete still has some puppy tendencies and he can be a bit of a bully (more on that later), I've been working with him daily on obedience training. I'm happy to say that Pete is a smart cookie. He's quickly learning the basic commands and variations on those commands. Next set of sessions will be done outside where there is more stimulus to keep him challenged. He's definitely enjoying the sessions and I keep them only 10 minutes long to prevent boredom.

So we've learned that Pete is not a submissive dog, unlike the past three dogs we've had. Strangely though, Pete is also not a dominant dog based on his behavior with strange dogs outside and at the dog park. Pete is just a plain bully! He'll boss dogs around at home that he knows will give in. Petey doesn't bully Max (unsure why), but he's bullied Austin and Simba. He doesn't do it often, just once in a while to show he's the boss of them. At first I thought it was a pack thing, but when my sister-in-law's dog was here, Pete did not bully her at all. Faith is a dominant dog and I think Pete knew that so he didn't give her any trouble. I don't really think it's an issue as long as Pete knows we're the boss of him. That means I can't spoil him as much as I spoiled Max, Quinn, and Sheba but I think (hope) I can manage to keep some limits and boundaries with Pete.

We're currently taking a month break from fostering so we can continue to work with Pete and get him acclimated to his house without constant changes of new dogs. I'm very interested to see if he's going to be better or worse with the foster dogs once he knows this is his permanent home.