Various events and every day happenings of our quiet life in Port Orange, FL.
Includes community events, travel, home projects, food, gardening and a lot of our pup Rufus.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Guest bathroom reno - the big items

After seeing the bathroom completely bare, it's nice to do some screen shopping and pick out what's going to go into that nice, spa-like bathroom.

The biggest piece that's on order is the tub.
I wanted a deep soaking tub that would fit in the 5 ft. space without breaking open any extra walls. There were a couple less expensive options, but they had poor reviews, mostly about cracking within a year of install. Some were probably not properly installed with the required support, but still, I wanted a good, quality tub. Kohler has always been a trusted name, and although we didn't go with a Kohler toilet, we knew they produced great quality products at affordable prices. Plus they've got great customer service. After pages and pages of tubs, I decided on this one, the Kohler Archer K-1123-LA-0. It's a 19 inch deep tub and with the low stepover height and the unique overflo drain, you can get a full 19 inch soak with minimal water drainage. Not to mention the armrests and lumbar support. The tub will be delivered by Home Depot next week! The drain was a separate purchase. Little on the pricey side for hardware, but hopefully worth it! I went with the brushed chrome finish. Most of our home is brushed nickel, but Kohler's brushed nickel looked more brown-yellow than what I like. Brushed chrome is more like stainless steel. I'm looking forward to soaking in this one!

We've got a small nook in the guest bath due to the linen closet and the guest bedroom closet. It's a space that's 11 inches deep and about 30 inches wide. We found this great piece that fits perfectly! Lancaster Floor Cabinet - Espresso, BBB. Since we're changing the vanity size from 42 inches to 46 inches and adding this across from it, we won't be losing any valuable storage space. I love the glass door too. It's a surprisingly sturdy piece for the price. DH said it was pretty easy to put together.

We looked all around for a new vanity, but couldn't find one we liked for a reasonable price. We had already found out our vanity was 2 pieces and made of solid wood, so we decided to try a DIY craft project - staining. So far, we've done 3 coats of Minwax Polyshades One Step Stain & Polyurethane in Bombay Mahogany. It's just brush it on, wait to dry, lightly sand and repeat. Pretty simple, time consuming, but since we're saving the vanity, we'll have some extra wiggle room in the budget. I've still got to make the final decision on the tile, but I'm pretty sure we're going with this granite vanity top for our freshly stained vanity, Home Depot's Pegasus 37 In. Beige Granite Vanity Top With White Bowl. We're also looking at Lowe's Style Selections 37"W x 22"D Desert Gold Granite Vanity Top and will make the final decision after the tile is chosen. They're both pretty much the same - it'll probably come down to price and which one is in stock. Please don't look at the Lowe's choice, that pic on their website is terrible.

Planning on putting the vanity together Sunday. Look for some before and after pics soon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guest bathroom reno - demo!

I'm sure you've been wondering what we've been up to as far as home DIY projects. Well, DH had off from work on Friday and this is what I came home to.
DH had a lot of demo time that day. Saturday morning, we finished the demo. Yes, even the ceiling came out. DH was cutting the tape around the edge and since we were going to scrape the popcorn ceiling off, move the light and add a vent, we just decided to tear it down and start the whole thing from scratch.
In case you didn't catch our before, here it is in it's dated glory.

The only things that are staying are the toilet which is new anyway and hopefully part of the vanity which I've been trying to stain to match an espresso piece that's going in there. The mirror will go in our master bath for now.

Next blog I'll show you the new soaking tub that's on order along with some of the new pieces and colors! Untill then, here's why you should wear eye and nose/mouth protection while doing demo - DUST everywhere!

Monday, August 31, 2009

New layout

August is just about gone and it's time for a fall-inspired layout. Bring on the cooler weather!

I'll get around to changing out the title bar pics from Hawaii and the Bahamas this weekend hopefully. Enjoy Rufus' end of summer haircut. Excuse the quality, that's what you get with camera phones!
Before - big baby bear

And after - Afro!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Grandmom's birthday!

Today was my Grandma's 84th birthday. She is so sweet. We went over after work and had pizza from Pizza Hut and my mom made her fresh pineapple upside down cake. With the Alzheimer's, my grandma could have celebrated her birthday any day, but any day she's excited when people come over and visit her. We got her flowers and a card and she kept reading the card over and over again, enjoying it every time. Have you seen that Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? I've found out that with beginning Alzheimer's, it's not so much the person affected that suffers, it's the people around them that worry about it. She's just as happy as can be every day, every thing is new and special. And she can't remember the struggles or pains. We also brought her a recent photo of me, DH and Rufus - she kept going over it naming each person. Rufus of course was with us at the celebration. She just loves him! She asks what his name is often and I tell her to think about it, she knows him. After a short pause, with her hands in fists beside her like she's about to ski down a slope, she says with energy, "RUFUS". Like she's won the prize. I just love her!

We had already lit the candles on the whole cake and sang Happy Birthday. If you know my grandma, you know she wanted a second piece! We lit the candle again and sang again. I think we sang Happy Birthday about 8 times that night. There's a few more photos from the night over at flickr.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekend recap - dinner and movies

Friday we watched Gran Torino. This movie had great reviews and acclaim from critics, which from my experience, when critics like a movie and it gets a lot of awards, I usually don't like it. I'm usually watching a movie for entertainment, not life lessons or learning. Gran Torino did have life lessons and while I thought it was ok for the most part, we didn't like the ending.

Saturday we had dinner plans at Angell and Phelps Cafe. Most have heard about Angell and Phelps chocolate, which is divine, but not too many know about their restaurant. We had been there before for lunch and enjoyed it, but had a $25 gift cert to use so that's why we decided to try it out for dinner.Most of you that know me, know I usually don't comment on our dining experiences unless they're really good or really bad. We got there around 6pm. Got front row parking (there was only 1 other table of people in the place). Ok, it's early I thought. They sat us at a 2 seater table right next to the entrance. Neither of us like being stared at, which is usually what happens when someone walks in the door and there's a table right there, so we asked to move. The server was hesitant about it for a sec, but moved us anywhere we wanted. We just moved 1 table over, but it was a 4 seater. Maybe they wanted to be prepared for the big rush. Joking.

The menu on and restaurant's website were much different than at the actual restaurant menu. I asked if we had pages missing (as there were actually blank pages through the menu), the waitress said many people make that comment to her, but no, that was what they offered. She asked if there was something particular I had seen on their website and she said they should be able to make it if I wanted, but I couldn't remember exactly what was on that menu, so we stuck with what was on the menu in front of us. There were only 6 entrees on actual menu: filet, salmon, chicken picatta, catch of the day, greek stuffed chicken, crab cakes, plus 1 special and a few sandwich options. Website had 15 entrees plus sandwiches (yes, I counted). Soup or salad with the meal were $2-$3 additional. The websites said salad or soup were included with meal. Usually I don't mind paying extra if I want a salad, but it's the point that we chose to go here based on their menu and gift cert offering ad on and their website. We both thought the waitress did not seem to be interested in being there. I would have probably been a little cranky had I been working and it was that slow. Maybe she had things going on, I understand, no judgement there.

Looking past all the initial issues, maybe the food is soo good they just need a few items and maybe people eat later than 6pm. No, the food was just not good, mine tasted like frozen prepared food (I had greek chicken and DH had catch of the day, mahi mahi). The fish was overcooked, rice tasted like instant Uncle Ben's, and my mashed potatoes were pasty. (yes, maybe I've been watching too many cooking shows, I do pick up on pasty potatoes - means they were either over cooked or over worked).

I usually don't complain, but this was not even worth staying for. Definitely not worth the price. Music (recorded, playing on a speaker right above our head) was loud, even though there were only 2 other tables when we got there, and I usually don't mind the music at restaurants. I do not want to be one of those people that gets annoyed at the music level in a restaurant, maybe I just noticed it because everything else was so not good, I was trying to think of a positive. The only high point was the chocolate that came with the bill. It was delicious cream mint. I love Angell and Phelps chocolate, as overpriced as it may be. 1 or 2 pieces just work for me. While we're on positive notes, the bread before the meal was ok also. At the end, we had no problems using certificate, but we will not eat at Angell and Phelps again.

We've still got credit for, so we're going to try 2 other places. Hopefully that goes better.

On to better things - saw Julie and Julia with some friends Saturday night - Loved it! Didn't love paying $9.50 for 1 person for 1 movie (plus $4 something for a SMALL cherry coke), but oh well. Theatre movies cannot be fully enjoyed for me without a cherry coke. Brings me back to my childhood. Let me tell you that when we got to the movie, it was packed. We turned the corner to look at the statium seating for 4 seats and we saw a sea of gray. I really think we were the youngest people in there! I'm thinking most of those people watched Julia Child on tv, so were seeing the movie because of her. The girls I went with on the other hand, were not familiar with Julia Child at all. I guess the movie did a great job at bringing different ages together to enjoy a wonderful light-hearted movie. The previews were not light-hearted at all - they were about a serial killer (The Lovely Bones, which is also a novel), a crazy step dad (The Stepfather) and some other similarly creepy storyline. I probably won't be seeing those, but what I will be seeing again is Julie and Julia. But with the price of movie tickets, I'll likely wait for the rental. Until then, I've added the book to my list.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Doggy treat recipes from Rufus' 3rd birthday

On July 26th Rufus turned 3. I still can't believe it! Of course we had a birthday party :) We technically can celebrate his birthday on both the 25th and 26th because of the time he was born (if you missed that story, check it out here).
This year's theme was Hawaiian island. We had all sorts of leis and luau food for the people including DH's special smoked pulled pork, a tropical chicken salad and pineapple upside down cupcakes for the people. Everyone loved it all. We ended up with 20 people and about 15 dogs. Of course I didn't get any photos of the treats, I barely got to taste any of the food! Will work on that for the next party. Photos from the party will be up soon!

With the price of store bought treats and the questioning of ingredients, I love to bake treats for Rufus at home. We used to have a great doggy bakery in town, where we got his 1st bday cake, but they've since moved. For Ruf's birthday this year, we had a nice array of easy treats. I love easy treat recipes, ones with all natural ingredients that can be found in most pantries. And I wouldn't give my dog anything to eat that I wouldn't eat (or at least try) myself.
I've had a lot of requests for this 1st recipe. It's from a dog cookbook titled 'Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way' by Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye which was actually a gift from my aunt for Ruf's 2nd birthday.
Here's a photo my MIL took while we were singing Happy Birthday to Ruf with the candle on his pupcake
It says it makes (2) 8 inch cakes, but I made cupcakes (or pupcakes) and it made about 12 total. (I made 2 batches, recipe below is for 12 pupcakes or 2 8 inch cakes)

(2) cups whole wheat flour
(2) teaspoons baking powder
(1/2) cup honey
(1/3) cup unsalted peanut butter (I used chunky)
(1) large egg
(1) cup skim milk
(1/4) cup chopped unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
Spray baking pans with nonstick vegetable spray and dust with flour (or insert cupcake liners).
Stir together flour and baking powder and set aside.
In large bowl, cream together the honey and peanut butter with an electric mixer or wooden spoon.
Beat in the egg and milk.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter in the cake or cup cake pans (about 1/3 way full if making cup cakes).
Sprinkle the top with peanuts.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the top comes out clean.Cook to room temperature.
Store in airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months (thaw before serving).

Can be frosted with this frosting (we skipped it for the party, may be too messy for 20 or so dogs at once!)
(1) 8 oz. package low-fat cream cheese, softened
(3) tablespoons carob powder (usually found at health food stores)
(1) tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.

Another great and easy treat we had was dehydrated sweet potatoes. You can make them in a dehydrator, but I've found it easier to make in the oven. Preheat oven to 250 deg F. Wash and peel sweet potatoes, microwave for a minute or two to soften, slice approx. 1/4-1/3 inch thick slices, arrange single layer on cookie sheet, bake for about 2-3 hours, or a little longer for crunchier treats, checking often to make sure they're not burning.

We also had these two types of treats which came from this website. I loved that I could just throw everything together in my Kitchenaid mixer!

Chunky Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies
4 cups whole wheat flour2 cups oatmeal
½ - ¾ cup chunky peanut butter
2½ cups hot water2 Tbs molasses
Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
Mix all ingredients together, adding more hot water if dough is too sticky. Knead well. Roll out to ¼" and cut into shapes with cookie cutter (I used a dog bone shaped cutter, may want to roll out a little thicker than 1/4 inch so they bake up a little thicker, some of our thin ones burnt). Bake on greased cookie sheet for 40 minutes (or until lightly browned). Turn off heat and let cool in oven overnight (we skipped this too, baked them the day of the party, they cooled for 6 or so hours on racks).

Savory Peanut Butter Biscuits with Cheese
1 cup flour
½ cup milk
2 Tbs peanut butter
2 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp baking powder (I forgot to add this and they came out like discs, but everyone still loved them!)
1 egg white
1 Tbs chicken broth
Directions: Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Mix flour and milk until lumpy. Add Peanut butter and chicken broth. Mix parmesan cheese with first four ingredients. Add egg white. Mix well or until it has the consistency of pancake batter. Add baking powder. Pour onto cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, in 3-inch diameter blobs. Cook until golden brown. Serve cool.
More treat recipes to come in future posts. For now, happy baking!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Take your dog to work Day!

Today was 'Take your dog to work day' here in the US (or maybe international?). Rufus loves his daily nap time at home while I'm at work, so he went in with me after work until 5. He naps a little while at work, but always has to be supervising and knowing everything that's going on. Here are a couple examples

First, napping. This is the view I saw if I looked under my desk (I had to crouch under to take this pic)
Next - the supervisor

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Business trip

DH is out exploring the world, well the west coast at least. He's been in Colorado Springs, Seattle now and will end up in St. Louis, MO.

This is the view from his hotel room in Colorado Springs. The mountian with the snow is Pike's Peak
This is a view of downtown Seattle from atop the Space Needle - I think he was 520 ft. up here.
It was a beautiful clear day - not to common in Seattle.
Mt. Rainier in the distance covered in snow. It's an active stratovolcano in the Cascade Mtn range.Another shot of the skyline - I love skyline photos.

Next up is St. Louis and the Gateway Arch
As always, more photos are available on my flickr site

Tonight's girls night at my house - chick flicks, playing puppies, popcorn, and homemade pizza!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ready for the weekend!

My original goal was daily blogs M-Th, but since I haven't really been active since, gosh, March, my new goal is weekly blogs. I think I can handle that. Today's a short one though.

Cubs game tonight! Enjoy some photos from our last game. We won't see fireworks tonight, since that's a Saturday night special. Tonight's promo is Geovany Soto Bobblehead Giveaway (1,000): Presented by Daniel Legal & Fantastic Fridays, Ladies Night & Kids run the bases post game.

Off to the game! Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

60 years

I know it's been forever since my last post, but today is a special day - it's my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. I talked to my grandma today and she said she picked the right one. Then she always follows that up with 'and they said it wouldn't last'. She's French Canadian and he's Italian. They met on a blind date for New Year's Eve, Dec. 1948. My grandpa was 21 and fresh out of the Navy I think. He was home reconnecting with old friends and a buddy of his and invited him out for the night on a double date.

I'm not too sure if this next story is from their first date, but I think it is - he went to pick my grandma up, he mom answered the door and he saw my grandma in curlers. She said she'd be ready soon and he said he needed to go for a walk for some air. My grandma thought he wouldn't come back. He had grown up with many sisters, so seeing a girl in curlers was not a favorite site. Thankfully, he came back and they had a great time out. They were married 4 months later on April 23, 1949. I'm sure they've had their share of issues over the years, but like my grandma always says, 'it's teamwork' that holds everything together.

I always find it kind of interesting that DH and I met in a similar way. He was fresh out of the Marines, home reconnecting with friends. I was taking a semester off of college and agreed to go out on a blind date (DH still swears he didn't know it was a date). The first real test was that we went out to a steakhouse for dinner. I don't eat steak, but he LOVES it. And we still liked each other after that :) We're on our way to 60 years + together. Hard to believe our 4 year anniversary is coming up in August.

Here are my grandparents enjoying the beach out on 'the boat' on April 4.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekend recap 1

Friday DH and I stayed in and relaxed. We had Tijuana Flats for dinner, stopped by Andy's for the newest beer release and rented Transporter 3 from Redbox. Most times I prefer Tijuana Flats over Moe's, mostly due to their seasoned chicken and hot sauce selection, even though Moe's is more convenient to our house. I had a chicken quesadilla and DH had a beef hard taco and a steak soft taco. Of course we also had queso and churros. I love their churros! I love their variety of hot sauces, usually more than 10 on the bar, and they change them out frequently. They also sell a million types of hot sauces in case you fall in love with one. Against Andy's suggestion, we tried out the new Sam Adams this weekend. Don't get me wrong, Andy has great taste and has never steered us wrong, and he loves Sam Adams, but he does not like fruited beers (exception, orange slice in his Blue Moon). Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier was voted the 2008 Samuel Adams Beer Lover's Choice winner and was just released January 2009. It was just ok, not too fruity, but bold like most Sam Adams. It actually smelled better than it tasted. A traditional witbier with orange peel and coriander, with an added hint of blackberry. We also tried Shock Top. We usually like to go with micro-breweries, but I've wanted to try Shock Top for a while. Glad I got over that one. It's ok, pretty thick for a light beer, but tasted similar to Michelob's other offerings. Not too good.We've ended our Blockbuster through the mail subscription. It was about $16/month and we would only watch a movie or 2 on the weekend. Now that Blockbuster has changed it's rental rates to $2/day and Redbox has come to our area, we just didn't see where we got $16 worth of movies per month. We rented from Redbox and it was easy, and just $1.07! It would be a little more convenient if the Redbox kiosk was somewhere other than Walmart, maybe McDonalds or Walgreens as in other cities (the photo above is from a McDonalds), but can't beat $1/night for a new movie!
Transporter 3 was ok - typical Jasan Statham, action packed. Saturday night we rented the newest James Bond (#22!), Quantum of Solace. I still don't know what that title had to do with the movie. They said Quantam 1x, referring to some organization, but I don't understand fully what it was. Oh well. That was a typical James Bond/Daniel Craig movie, but too choppy on the editing for the action sequences.

Saturday was cleanup at G-mom and Poppop's. We cleaned their bathrooms and cleaned out the furniture in 2 of the upstairs apartments to get it ready to get estimates for repair and reno work. The weather cooperated and it was a nice day. This guy below greeted my dad and I when we left around 3pm.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Robellini plant bed

Here's what I started with Saturday morning, a clean slate. DH was called into work, so I went out to the nursery
And picked up a few plants - here's a large agapanthus (lily of the nile), 2 smaller agapanthus, and 3 aztec grass to start. Oh, and there's 2 small golden dew in the back. They're ok in shade and get pretty big, so I didn't want them to hide the others in the front.
Then I went to Lowes and Home Depot. Lowe's had flax lily and society garlic 3 for $10 - a 1 gal flax lily was $7 at our local nursery and society garlic was about $4 there too. So, I picked up 3 flax lily and 2 society garlic. I also wanted some form of yucca that could take the sun for the right corner. I found this at Target for $10 - good deal! It's a 3 cane yucca, resistant to 0 deg F, likes full sun and can do good on frequent waterings.
So far, this is what we've got - I counted, I planted about 21 plants this weekend! We went with yucca cane on the right corner, agapanthus, aztec grass, society garlic, flax lily, golden dew and canna - but many many of each.

Last addition to come soon will be a Mandevilla (formerly Dipladenia). There are many different colors - white ‘Summer Snow’, yellow, pink, red. For now, I'm set on 'Sun Parasol Crimson' aka Red Riding Hood, because I've heard that is most resistant to bugs. I'm going to try to train to climb the small part of the fence shown at the left, it's about 6ft high and 3 ft wide before the swing gate. It's a flowering vine, sometimes called Brazilian Jasmine that is great trellised in containers or in hanging baskets. This will be the only plant out front that's not rated to withstand freezing weather.

But I also like the other colors. The pink may go better with our lavander azaleas. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My grandma's been exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s for the past few years. For about the past year, she's been forgetting more and more. It seems to be all short term memory loss. Everything from years ago is still there, and it just seems like yesterday to her. She still knows all of us, but occasionally forgets some big recent events, like my wedding nearly 4 years ago at her house, or that one of my cousins is in Japan, and has been overseas for a couple years now. It's sad, but she's still her cheerful self, so we can be thankful for that.
It makes me laugh when she denies something happened, or doesn't believe us when we tell her. For instance, she'll eat a banana and then a few minutes later go to eat another, and we'll tell her she just had one and most times, if she's forgot, she'll say Noooooo. And it's funny - we ask, "why would we lie to you about eating a banana?! It's ok!" She and my grandpa are still living in their house for the time being. My dad and aunt make food trays (fresh) for them and do their laundry, but try to let them be on their own as much as they can - they've always been very a independent couple.
Sunday was my grandpa's 82nd birthday, so I went over to hang out with them. I brought groceries over (plenty of bananas) and a sugar-free pumpkin pie for the birthday cake. My grandma made the comment that we have to be sure to bring the bananas when they leave to go home. I asked her where she was now, and she said not home. I had her look out to the ocean and told her this was her home, and it had been her home since they moved in almost 50 years ago (their 60th wedding anniversary is next month!). She acted like she remembered, but I don't know for how long. I miss her. She's still here, and she's still happy, but it's so different.
Monday my grandpa called us at work to say he didn't know where my grandma was. He took a nap around 1pm, awoke about an hour later and she wasn't there. We figured she had gone for a walk on the beach, but nearly 3 hours had passed. We finally called the police, told her about her alzheimers and they sent a patrol out to find her. She was on the beach, about 3 miles south of home, just walking like normal. She had a plastic shovel for sand in her pocket, no doubt something she found on the beach and wanted to bring home so the 'kids' could play with it. They used to have nice families come down for the summers and she loved playing with their kids in the sand. Kids haven't been down for over 5 years now, they've all grown up or have changed vacation spots to somewhere more kid friendly. Anyway, the officer asked if she was Cecile, and she said yes, they brought her home. She said she was on her way back, but the officers said she was walking in the wrong direction. Of course she was friendly with the officers, inviting them to come stay with her at the beach. A few minutes later, she forgot she had been brought home. She said she walked home after a nice walk on the beach.

We've got to get some type of ID for her. The medical bracelets are big and bulky, and there's no question she'd take it off. I checked the local pharmacies, that's the only type they have. The local hospital isn't allowed to give out their ID wristbands, but we may have found some online. It's the plastic type that you can have info printed on and it's hard to take off.

I was glad to hear the President talk about funding research for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's in last night's address - 2 diseases that affect my grandparents. Every 70 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease, according to a report Tuesday from the Alzheimer's Association that estimates 5.1 million Americans over 65 now have the disease and says the number is creeping higher year after year, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Scientists are still trying to determine what causes it, but they do know it is characterized by a build-up of proteins in the brain. Scientists are still studying how plaques and tangles are related to Alzheimer’s disease. One theory is that they block nerve cells’ ability to communicate with each other, making it difficult for the cells to survive.

Evidence is also mounting for the promotion of exercise and a healthy diet to reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption, staying socially active, and engaging in intellectually stimulating activities have also been shown to have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Cherish every minute you have with your loved ones.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dentist :(

It was an eventful weekend, but I'll fill you in on that tomorrow.

Today I took my mom to the dentist to get a tooth pulled - not a pleasant experience. Take care of your teeth people! 5 needles going into your gums is not a fun thing. Do you think the experience would be any better if your dentist looked like this?
And this looks like a fun toy if you want your kid to be a dentist...the dentist my mom goes to is holistic and uses ceramic or porcelain to fill instead of mercury-contained fillings. Good idea I think, blends in more and is more natural for your body.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Zak and the SPCR spoo group

For those of you that don't know, I'm an active member of an online poodle flickr photo group. No, I'm in no way a professional photographer, but there are professionals in the group - all 578 members just share an interest in standard poodles. In the nearly 3 years I've been a part of the group, I've seen selfless acts by members, reaching out to help people they've never met in person, some in other countries even. When someone's poodle, or spoo as they're often called, is in trouble - sick, missing, or lost, the group comes together helping any way they can, sometimes with encouraging words or even monetary gifts. When a spoo has a great achievement, like winning in a show or simply a good day of potty training, the group comes together to share in the joy. I've been honored to be involved during many of these ups and downs.
We've even had poodle meetups and met people through the group. DH and I drove about 2 hours one way while we were in CA to meet Jeff and Tracy of the group and their many spoos. They had also visited my MIL here in FL last year. Next month, we'll have our annual poodle-palloza as DH likes to call it, where spoos (and their people) will come to visit for a full day of fun with poodles! Last year, they came from everywhere: FL's panhandle, FL's west coast, and even Canada and Illinois! This photo above is from last year's meetup. It was taken late in the day after some people had already left - 11 spoos just in that pic!

The most recent show of support from our poodle group involved a spoo named Zak (that's a photo of him up there). He's a 4 year old champion show dog that was away for a ski weekend near Alpental Ski Area in Washington State with his human. She came back after a day of skiing on Saturday to discover the cabin door open and all 3 dogs missing. 2 of the dogs were found later that day, but Zak was still missing. Our group suggested to get the local news to do a human interest story on Zak for exposure. After 24 hours of searching, Zak had only been spotted 1 time in the backcountry. Everyone was worried about him because there had been 3 feet of snow since Saturday and his current show cut (bare butt!). We posted all across the web, in many spoo groups and also groups around the area he was last seen. They had helicopters out looking for him. Rescue/Avalanche dogs were available but the weather was so bad it was not safe for them to go out.

Finally, Tuesday afternoon, 2 backcountry skiers who had heard about the missing dog on KING 5 News, heard a barking in the distance. Gabe Newton and friend Matt Glaser searched for 1.5 hours and finally came across Zak in a makeshift den in a deep ravine, miles away from where he went missing. He was cold, but followed the guys to a pass where he was reunited with his person. MSNBC and CNN even got in to report on the good news. (photos from the news story)

He's doing well, slight irritation near his wrists where he was probably tried to gnaw away forming snowballs on his fur. He's eating and drinking fine. After a vet check, no frostbite, no wounds, he is hydrated, lost some weight but he is basically OK. Ever since he's been back, he's been a constant shadow to his people. So glad it turned out to be a happy ending! Look for the news story on Inside Edition, a TV News/Entertainment Magazine maybe early next week!