Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cold Enough?

Why do we live with this cold weather?

So many of you know that I really love warm places. In fact one of my favorite means to evaluate cities and towns that I visit revolves around the presence of palm trees on the street corners.

The weather lately has been very cold. I have not been as cold as I was in Omaha a couple weeks ago when it was -7 F. But even here in balmy, by comparison, Maryland it has been cold in the teens and twenties.

The problem of course is the puppy. Since 5:15 AM this morning I have been outside with her four times to perform various elimination activities. (I've been told that the "P" words are on the outs so I can't write pee or poop)

And the temperature is in the teens. Cold. And ice to fall on. I slipped the other night walking the puppy. In our neighborhood it seems homeowners do not really like to clean off their sidewalks. Ugh.

And then there's the electric bill to keep warm--the constant tension between being warm and paying the electric bill. Turn it up, turn it down. Too hot, too cold.

Ah--well--we can always travel someplace warm and dream. But then, would we be confronted with this?

A man relates the following travel story:

I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area. So I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up. She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands. 'Now,' she asked me, 'Has your plane arrived yet?'. . .

I guess I'll wait for Springtime and to open the pool.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ups and Downs

Families are marvelous aren't they?

We"circle the wagons" when there is a crisis--like when Jackson was born with problems. Or when one of us has financial problems or has some definable need.

But you know what--sometimes when life is more sedate we begin to focus on the minor stuff.

We need to remember how much we love each other and need each other and not major on the minors.

We need to remember that when one of us really upsets the rest--that we've all been there before. Whether getting monetary assistance, or living with the parents for a year or two--we have needs an assist from family and each one of us was better for it.

We don't always agree--so what. But we each bring something to the family that makes it stronger.

It is hard sometimes to realize that we are different--each has a different set of experiences and has a personal view of the world and our place in it.

But--let's not start taking out the knife and slicing each other apart. Until we walk in each others shoes--we don't really know what is going on in every one's heads.

We need to show the same deference to others that we have needed in the past. We need to stop character assassinations.

Remember--each of us has needed the safety of the "circled family wagons" in the past. Let's remember the safety and protection that the family provides.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How Did He Do That?

Louis figured out how to avoid Makayla by jumping on the table.

Makayla was chasing him and then, Louis was gone. Tormenting him from above.

It was very frustrating for the puppy.

She just had that look of utter disbelief as the cat she was about to pounce on evaporated before her eyes.

But, there is always another day.

And another chase.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm a Snow Dog

So who cares that I'm really from Holland?

I love snow!

Who wants to be a watch dog on some barge anyway.

And we finally had some snow in Maryland that I could play in and enjoy. It is so clean and free of scent. And fun.

And I'm getting big.

I had an appointment with the vet today. Ugh--four shots and something up my nose.

And I have round worms because Daddy didn't watch me and I played in some rabbit doo-doo.

But it was fun!

I love snow though.

Mommy was home all day and we played and played and played in the snow.

She likes the snow as much as I do.

She is a good playmate.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Cute am I?

Makayla is getting big. We continue to be amazed at how much she has grown and all of the new things she does.

She is playing with a new toy we bought her on Saturday.

She does not like the vacuum--but we successfully get her to go back to bed when she gets up at 5:30 on the weekends.

She bounces like Tigger when she runs after a toy we thrown.

She makes me laugh a lot.
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Makayla the wonder puppy

We had a break through this week.

The puppy is becoming house trained and has determined how to let the human members of her pack know when she is in need of a visit outside for some relief.

At 11 weeks--we are ecstatic.

She goes to the door and paws it--we need to hear it, but since we are now tuned into her method of advising us of her need--we have been pretty good. We still take her out a lot anyway. But this is great news.

She is also learning to sit and wait. I just which I could get her not to want to suffocate Zachery with love every time she sees him. He really doesn't appreciate it too much.

But they have begun to play a bit--so we are making progress.

It is amazing how this puppy is getting us moving. I have just come in from a walk--the morning walk. And we are doing an afternoon walk of about a mile and three-quarters every afternoon.

All of this was in addition to playing four racquetball matches this week. I lost three of them--I'm not playing the most inspired racquetball of my life right now.

But the wonder puppy is everywhere and it is cool to come home and have someone excited about my arrival.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Hope of the Nation

Wow, as I watched the Inauguration yesterday on TV, I was touched by the faces of the people in the crowds. Faces that seemed to be springing to life with hope that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.

Change sometimes does that for us, doesn't it? Allows us to break from the the past and reinvent ourselves. That is just the position our new President finds himself. All of those lofty idealistic statements and the visioning. Now its crunch time. Time to distance ourselves for what we didn't like about yesterday and remake our nation and ourselves into what we want it to be for the future.

I too have hope.

I think it is time to change and lean into the bit from a different direction. Seems nothing was getting done form the way we were approaching the problem.

See--there's hope.

We as people need to also assess our lives and the direction we are headed. Are we getting stuff done from the approach we are taking, or are we just banging our heads against the immovable wall of resistance. If we're not moving forwards, then perhaps there comes a time in our lives when we too must consider changing course and holding out hope for a new path.

Leaders need to be tuned into their teams and their processes to determine when a strategy change could be needed. Reinvent the team as we reinvent ourselves.

Just as our President seeks to reinvent our nation and change our focus--just so long as we hold fast to our basic core values.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Loading Airplanes

So I am sitting on a flight from Chicago to Baltimore watching people load the overhead bins. I am amazed how inconsiderate people are.

First, it seems they do not understand the concept of getting out of the aisle to let people pass.

Second, bags should be placed in the overhead either wheels out or in to allow other bags to slide in next to them. Putting them in sideways wastes available space.

Third, when the flight crew says no coats in the overhead it means no coats. Funny how many people exempt themselves from that one possibly because it was not enforced.

But then here's one for the airlines. If you're going to charge for checking bags, make sure the overhead bins can accept at least one suitcase per person.

Or, alternatively let us load our own bags on the ramp. I mean is it reasonable to believe that people can travel without clothing?

So I guess you figured out my upgrade didn't come through and I'm stuffed into a window seat in the last row of an Airbus 319 next to a wide bodied traveler.

And we have a maintenance delay.

And we were late to begin with.

And I've been on the road all week.

And I'm tired.

But it really should be better than this.
Bob Doan
Elkridge, MD
Sent from My Blackberry

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Terra Barossa 2006 Shiraz - A Review

I had the pleasure of having a glass of this special wine the other night and was very impressed. Available for under $15 this wine has a nose which is complex and inviting. There were hints of blackberry, vanilla, oak and plum. The color is a dark and seductive purple--which is also very inviting. The palate is also complex and seductive as it invites you into its structure. The tannins are not over powering but the mouth fills with berries and a hint of chocolate as this wine journeys through the mouth. The finish lingers and demands another sample of the wine.

The wine is Terra Barossa 2006 Shiraz Estate Grown by Thorne Clarke Wines Barossa, Australia.

RECOMMENDATION: This is a very special wine that will do well on its own with a strong cheese or with a red meat dish. It is a must have.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm Getting Bigger

So I have been been remiss in my blogging activities this past week. I have been distracted a bit by the furry friend on mine--Makayla.

In short--she is a near full time job when I'm at home. Between running her outside every time she sniffs a carpet--potty training is not going well, and playing with her until she finally tires--I do not have much time for blogging.

And then there was the annual taking down of the Christmas Tree. She was a great help. Maybe moving a bit too fast for some of us, but she really liked the garland that had encircled the tree. Actually, if the truth were known, she is the reason we took the tree down a bit earlier than normal. She loved the tree. And now she loves the poinsettia! Which is a problem.

But she is getting bigger every day. She is extremely intelligent and sensitive. She also has a mischievous side to her. She loves to torment the Yorkie--Zach. He really doesn't want much to do with her, and Zach is the only dog that Makayla has met that doesn't want to play--so she is determined to make Zach play.

Yeah--that's not going so well.

But--she is fun on four feet.

I guess that is my four feet!

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Valkyrie: A Movie Review

In the long list of movies that opened over the Christmas holiday, one that is an inspiring story of resistance in the face of overwhelming odds is Valkyrie.

It turns out that the movie is not so much another World War II war movie, but rather a study in leadership and command coupled with the difficult life-changing decisions which sometimes need to be made. And then of course facing the real world consequences of the resultant actions. When the consequences of action or inaction are death, men flinch. This is serious stuff.

The reviews of the movie are generally good. The acting is excellent on all fronts. The cinematography is superior and the uniforms are real and appear authentic. Read the VOA review of the movie and its history. There is significant historical discussion about the motives of von Stauffenberg for his part in the plot. The movie would have the viewer believe he was motivated to end the war and surrender to the Allies for the greater good of Europe and Germany. And this seems to be the prevailing view of many historians, the Wikipedia article on von Stauffenberg is a good source for the basic history. Others would have have us believe that frustrated with Hitler's conduct of the war and in order to preserve Germany, von Stauffenberg planned the assassination and coup to allow the German High Command to run the war without Hitler's interference.

Even though I knew from history the outcome of the plot, I was still rooting for success. The mark of a good movie is one that can so intimately involve the viewer into the story. And this movie is just such a movie.

An interesting view of von Stauffenberg from his wife's point of view is: (from the Wikipedia site)

Describing her late husband, Nina von Stauffenberg said:

He let things come to him, and then he made up his mind ... one of his characteristics was that he really enjoyed playing the devil's advocate. Conservatives were convinced that he was a ferocious Nazi, and ferocious Nazis were convinced he was an unreconstructed conservative. He was neither.

Tom Cruise plays the part of von Stauffenberg very well and is surrounded by an excellent cast. Director Brian Singer does an excellent job of integrating the cast and keeping the story moving without lingering for too long on tangential plot lines.

Recommendation: A solid pick for both an entertaining and educational event. The movie provides another view of the German officer corps. There are some graphic scenes of violence which may not be suitable for smaller children especially both the beginning of the movie in North Africa and the ending. I recommend this movie be seen on the big screen. It will be a great rental, but the impact in better felt in the theater.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Makayla's Journey

Hi. I'm Makayla and I want to tell you my story.

Since Tuesday before Christmas until today I have been a wild journey. I'm still not sure where I actually live--although my new pack mates are really cool. I have slept in three different houses and met so many new friends.

Ben is my favorite. I want to grow up and be just like him. And since we are both Keeshonden, I may be able to do just that. I like his house.

My favorite toy is my duck! Mmmmm--I like duck. I heard that Troy likes goose--but I think that is a story for another time.

Trevar is a great friend too. He likes to play a lot and he runs and runs and runs. But he never let's me catch him.

It was really cold when I met Trevar and Ginger a big Chocolate Lab. I got to play in something white and cold--it was called snow. It was fun to run in and play in.

I have also played with Ethan and Jax--they are a lot of fun too. I like Jax's shirts--they are fun to pull on. Gibbs and Jeffy are a fun pair of beagles and I love running around the house with them.

The ones I can't figure out are Zach and Louis. Louis is a big, white cat who just stares at me. I know he wants to play, but he's too cool to let himself have a good time.

Zach though is just a pain. He's a Yorkie with an attitude. We did sleep near each other--but he won't play.

But I am having a great life and I look forward to meeting you soon.

Happy New Year--whatever a year is.

My Zimbio
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