Friday, December 25, 2009

A New Christmas Dinner Tradition

I found the perfect dish to compliment any meat served for Christmas dinner - Corn Pudding. Sounds rather gross, doesn't it? In actuality, it is really just a corn souffle. Really tasty and not really heavy. Not heavy like a casserole - light like a souffle.

The recipe I tried is called Tee's Corn Pudding, Southern Living, August 2006. Here it is:


Tee's Corn Pudding

Yield: Makes 8 servings

1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 cups fresh corn kernels (about 12 ears)*

1. Combine first 4 ingredients.

2. Whisk together eggs, whipping cream, and butter in a large bowl. Gradually add sugar mixture, whisking until smooth; stir in corn. Pour mixture into 8 lightly greased 8-oz. custard cups.

3. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until pudding is set and deep golden. Let stand 5 minutes.

*6 cups frozen whole kernel corn or canned shoepeg corn, drained, may be substituted.

Note: You may substitute 1 (13- x 9-inch) baking dish for ramekins. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes.

Southwestern Corn Pudding: Stir in 1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles and 1/4 tsp. ground cumin.

This is definitely going to be a future annual tradition. Most delicious as you will soon find out! Pin It

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And More . . .

For today's grazing table I made Artichoke Tarts and No-Bake Cookies. Both are fabulous recipes. The Artichoke Tarts actually came from Weight Watchers, however, I failed to use Fat-Free Cream Cheese or Low-Fat Cheddar Cheese, so I guess my batch really isn't diet friendly at this point. Delicious nonetheless and quite a hit with my co-workers! Oh, and I substituted a Monterery Jack blend cheese instead of Cheddar.

Artichoke Tarts

6 spray(s) cooking spray
16 pieces wonton wrapper(s)
1/4 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp sweet red pepper(s), chopped
7 oz canned artichoke hearts, without oil, drained and chopped
1/4 cup(s) parsley, fresh, sprigs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 16-hole miniature muffin pan with cooking spray. Gently press 1 wonton wrapper into each muffin hole, allowing ends to extend above cups. Coat edges of wrappers with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine cheeses, cayenne pepper and mustard in a medium bowl; mix well. Stir in red pepper and artichoke hearts; spoon about 1 teaspoon of cheese mixture into each muffin cup.

Bake until cheese mixture is set and edges of wrappers are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve. Yields 2 tarts per serving. 2 points per serving.

And the No-Bake Cookies are fabulous. Some call them "Cow Patties". This is a recipe I've made for years and is one of my favorites. It stems from a chocolate, oatmeal, peanut butter concoction I remember being served weekly with our hot lunches in elementary school. The lady in charge of our lunches was Mrs. Baggett. She was the nicest lady and she served the best tastiest lunches I can ever remember being served in a school lunchroom. Many moms would happily come eat with their children just to enjoy her wonderful cooking.

Long after elementary school was over, I searched high and low for the recipe for many years and I finally found it. It is quick and easy and I find I usually have the ingredients on hand so whipping up a quick batch is always possible.

No-Bake Cookies

2 cup(s) sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cup(s) quick cooking oats
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts (optional)

Combine sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter in saucepan. Heat to boiling point, stirring constantly. Boil one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter, oats, vanilla, and nuts, if desired. Drop on to parchment paper. Let cool. Enjoy!
Pin It

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Holiday Baking

For our munchie table today at work, I bought in delicious homemade cake donuts. Yum, yum is all I can say. They were enjoyed by all! Pin It

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ginger Snaps

Last night I hunkered down in the kitchen to make the most wonderful holiday cookies - Ginger Snaps. I'm taking these to work for our "grazing" table. Actually, if you can believe it, I had a request from a co-worker to make them again this year.

Instead of rolling in sugar, I use the little white round candies. They are much more festive this way, don't you think? Besides looking good, they are most delicious! :)

Ginger Snaps

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses Grandma's Molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup shortening

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients. Roll into balls, then roll in sugar. Cook on top rack in 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Pin It

Friday, December 11, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

A classic performed by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews in December 2008.

Pin It

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Begun . . .

Yes, the holiday season is upon us which means what for Patti? Yep, lots of hours in the kitchen "making and baking". I'm not complaining at all as most of you know I love this stuff. And my office mates love it too as I usually bring the fruits of my labors to the office for all to consume.

As well, here at work we customarily volunteer to keep a munchie table fully stocked for the last two weeks leading up to Christmas. It's actually called the "grazing" table. I think I've signed up to bring something at least four of those days, if not more. But I love it! I think I missed my calling - I should have been a pastry chef!

In any event, the first thing I made this season really isn't edible at all - well, not unless you're a canine. And, yes, my Greyhound Lucy ate her fair share of these last year hence why I'm making more this year. The item in question is Cinnamon Ornaments!

No Christmas tree should be without these fabulously aromatic ornaments. Cinnamon is a fragrance that is so typically associated with the Christmas holiday season and I, for one, love that aroma when I walk into my home. It's a comfort thing for me as I vividly remember the scent of cinnamon wafing through the air of my childhood home. Such memories!

The ornaments are fairly easy to make - you just have to be very careful with them because they are very delicate. Here is the recipe:

Cinnamon Ornaments

1 C. ground cinnamon
1 t. allspice
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. nutmeg
1 C. applesauce

Mix dry ingredients. Add applesauce a little at a time. Mixture should have consistency of playdough. If too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons applesauce. Roll 1/4 inch thick on ungreased surface. If too sticky, sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on level surface to dry 4-5 days. Insert fine wire at top of ornament before drying. Tie with ribbon. Yield 2 dozen.

Here is the blob of spices after mixing.










Here is the blob rolled out. This does get a bit messy but the end result is well worth it!















Here are my little Gingerbread boys and stars all ready for the drying period.



















I added a few white buttons for the Gingerbread boys and lastly I have to add ribbon bows. The wire hooks were inserted in the beginning prior to the drying period. They will be ready to hang tonight! Once the holiday season is over, be sure to carefully pack these away in Zip Lock bags to ensure their aroma keeps for years and years to come.












Each day until New Year's I'll be able to enjoy the robust fragrance of these delightfully easy to make ornaments. But alas, after the holidays they are packed away with the other ornaments until next year when I'll pull them back out for another season of reminiscing.
Pin It

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Last Weekend

On Saturday we attended a Meet and Greet for Second Chance Greyhounds at one of our favorite spots, Top Dogs, in Kennesaw. We did visit with quite a few folks that day and are hoping for an adoption or two.

One of our volunteers, my friend Kim Morris, purchased these adorable antlers for her Greyhounds to wear in the upcoming Christmas parade in Kennesaw. Our group is scheduled to appear, along with our Greyhounds, of course. The antlers caught Sami's attention the moment she pulled them out of her bag, so naturally I had to put them on her to see how she like them. Here is the result!


video

Afterwards, we walked down to Highland Grill to grab some lunch. We are able to bring the Greyhounds and eat on the covered patio which makes it really nice. Here I am sharing my margarita with Sami. No, not really. I was drinking it and she was licking the outside of the glass. She is such a goofy one but I love her dearly!

Pin It

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Weekend from Hell!

Friday afternoon after work I drove to Marietta to Tip Top Foods to purchase two cases of chicken backs. This is part of the raw diet I feed my four Greyhounds. I got home and unloaded the chicken and then commenced to letting the pack out to potty. Once that was over, it was time for their dinner. I grabbed four chicken backs for them and put them outside to eat. As usual my foster ate her kibble in the kitchen in her bowl. While they were eating, I had begun the process of bagging the chicken backs in meal-size bags for freezing.

After having ample time to potty, it was time for them to come back inside. Everyone clamored around me as I worked to bag the chicken backs. After completing the first case, I decided to let them back outside so they wouldn't have their noses right in the case of chicken! It would only be for a few minutes. I didn't muzzle them as I normally do. About ten minutes later, I heard alot of commotion so I flew out the back door only to see them attacking Sugar. She was on the ground, belly up, kicking and screaming. It was really Lucy and my foster. Remi and Sami were there but they weren't on her. I tried to get Sugar away from them but couldn't. I grabbed her by the collar and started dragging her toward the back door. All the while, they continued to take jabs at her - they wouldn't stop no matter how loud I screamed at them. It seemed the more she shrilled, the more they attacked. She was pretty torn up but I was finally able to get her in the house by herself.

I immediately called my BFF, Kim, who then called my vet to see if they would wait for me. It was 5:50 pm and they close at 6 pm. They said they would so I put Sugar into the Pilot and then went inside to get the others from the backyard. I went to crate them and Lucy even lunged at me, ready to attack! I couldn't believe it!! I was able to get everyone crated and then I jumped in to the vehicle to head to the vet. We arrived in 20 minutes or so - a total bloody mess. During the entire ride there, Sugar stood up the entire time.

Because of the extent of her injuries, it being a weekend, and the fact that she has Von Willebrands disease, it was recommended that we go to Cobb Emergency Veterinary Clinic so they could monitor her 24x7. My vet bandaged her up to slow the bleeding and we then headed to the emegency clinic. When we arrived, they took her back and started procedures and such to stabilize her. Kim arrived shortly thereafter. Surgery was definitely required. After some creative financing (her bill was est. at $3,000-$4,000), they started some tests to ensure she could clot before doing the surgery. I went back to see her and she looked just horrible - just beaten to a pulp and her color was grey. They were going to give her plasma, which would take 2 hours, so we decided to go home and clean up blood. We got back to the hospital about midnight. They had decided not to do the plasma just yet but had begun the surgery. About 4-4:30 a.m. they came to tell us that all went well and Sugar was awake. Kim actually heard her yell out around 3:30 a.m. Apparently she had a rough time waking up from the anesthesia and was in quite a bit of pain.
They did decide to give her the plasma Saturday morning. That afternoon, I went to see her, taking her some hamburger meat, marshmallows, and sweet potato treats - hoping she would eat something. Sunday morning she did eat some of the hamburger and was able to take her meds orally so she was weaned from the IV drip and I was able to bring her home that afternoon.

She has a 3-inch tear on her neck that was stitched, several on her left side that were stitched, another 3-inch tear on her chest that was stitched, one on her crotch that was stitched, several smaller ones here and there on her body that were stitched, and the worst was her left forearm. There was no skin left on that 4-inch long, 2-inch wide wound. The night it happened, I could see muscle and tendons. The vet stitched her up the best she could but there is an area the size of a quarter that is still bare. She has a wet/dry bandage there which will be there for a few days.

I saw the wound yesterday during a dressing change and it is amazing how good it looks. My vet was totally impressed with the surgical work they did on her. The before and after is quite a transformation. Anyway, she does walk a bit funny on that front leg, folding her foot over and dragging it. We're hoping there isn't any neurological damage but won't know that until the bandages come off and she is able to bend it better and put pressure on it. She is bruised pretty badly, mostly on her stomach, chest and legs.

Despite her injuries, she looks really good now that she's stitched up all over. She ate a chicken back last night and a little hamburger meat and a bit more stew meat this morning for breakfast. She is taking her pills via peanut butter which is excellent because when she had the liver ailment a few years back, I ran out of various methods to pill her. She would figure out a pill is involved in whatever I was giving her and wouldn't eat it - for months afterwards. Smart and stubborn - that is my Sugar.

Her six drainage tubes come out tomorrow and another bandage change will happen on that front leg. I'm hoping one more after that and then we'll be home free. Next week her stitches will come out. She's a fighter and will survive.

I can't say enough good things about the emergency clinic. They were informative, professional, and current on Sugar's case anytime I asked about her. My vet called there on Saturday morning to inquire about her status and then again on Sunday which made me feel really good. I didn't know that until we were there yesterday for the bandage change.

Lucy is now on Amitriptyline and the foster was moved to another foster home. I am being careful about the dynamics and am watching for anymore signs of aggressiveness from Lucy. Of course, I have no idea what transpired in the backyard that night and probably won't ever know. I do know, however, that I will be much more careful about the muzzles. I was busy with the task at hand in the kitchen and it just slipped my mind and I am usually a stickler about the girls wearing them!

The look on Sugar's face that night will forever be in my mind and definitely will serve as a reminder to me to muzzle, muzzle, and muzzle again!
Pin It

Friday, October 23, 2009

Upcoming Coursing at Moreland

It's been some time since I've blogged - it's been very busy at Second Chance Greyhounds. So much has been going on and it seems to be daily if not hourly! But it's for a good cause and we are doing a good thing - placing Greyhounds into their forever homes and we're having a blast doing it!! I must say that starting a new Greyhound adoption group has proven to be very difficult but we've come such a long way since January when we first began tossing this idea around. I've said it time and time before, we should all be very proud of our achievements, as there are so many!

But tomorrow I actually get to take the day off and do something I so love to do and that is watch my dogs lure course! We're going to be at the ASFA National Greyhound Specialty in Moreland. In the Open category where Sami will run there are 11+ Greyhounds. It'll be Sami's first real trial so I'm a bit anxious to see how she does. She's a nut for the lure which is a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing as they don't seem to think with their brains when that is the case. Their only goal is to get the lure, at all costs! So, we will see how she does.

Lucy will run in Field Champion, along with about 7+ Greyhounds. Last time she ran, she suffered a puncture on the outside of her front right foot. Ten days worth of antibiotics cured that and she's been good to go ever since. That was also two months ago so she's had plenty of time to recoup! We'll see how she does.

There will definitely be some competition for both Sami and Lucy.

We are expecting rain this afternoon and evening which should make the ground perfect for coursing tomorrow. Temps should reach near 70 which is perfect for coursing. Everyone should be comfortable, most importantly, the dogs!

I'll report back after tomorrow with results. Keep your fingers crossed that my girls do well! Pin It

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rest and Relaxation?

Last weekend I had a 2 1/2 day mini-vacation planned (this also included 12 hours RT of driving time), to go down to my hometown (Panama City) to visit the family and get a little R&R. So, as you can imagine, I needed to find a facility to board my four Greyhounds. I hate splitting them up into private homes and thought they would do best if kept together.

I consulted a few of my Greyhound friends and was immediately told about this most wonderful place that I call "Camp Why Not". I called and thank goodness, there was room at the inn for my four. I was all set and they were all set. The night before, I packed up their food and treats and gathered muzzles - they tend to eat things in the yard which shouldn't be consumed so the muzzles help eliminate that.

Friday morning I packed the car with my gear, their overnight bag loaded with food and treats, and them, of course. We headed to Camp Why Not in what appeared to me to be a monsoon. Thank God, it was just drizzling when we made it to the camp, so everyone bounded out of the SUV for a run around the grounds. They seemed happy and the camp counselor took a moment to get to know each of the dogs. I left, feeling very comforted that they would be well taken care of.

Then it was Southbound to PC. It rained a hard rain all the way to Columbus which made for miserable driving but then the clouds parted and blue skies could be seen. The weather continued to improve during the drive through Alabama and was absolutely beautiful when I arrived in Panama City and during the entire weekend.

Here's a shot from my balcony at the Bay Point Marriott. Beautiful, huh? I wish I could live in Panama City and make a living as well but I don't think I could without taking a $40,000 a year pay cut and that would be very painful!

Friday night the entire family (brother, sister-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, nieces and nephew, Daddy and girlfriend, Ms. Pat) all met at my favorite restaurant, Capt. Anderson's for a very nice dinner. I had Greek salad, 1/2 Florida lobster stuffed with crabmeat dressing and new potatoes. Umm, my most favorite meal!

I remember when our birthday's rolled around when we were children and we were asked which restaurant we wanted to go to and my sister, who has a March birthday, and my brother, who has an April birthday, always suggested Capt. Anderson's so that's where we always went for theirs. Capt. Anderson's is always closed during the winter months so when it was my birthday, December 15, I was out of luck. I had to choose somewhere else but it was never my favorite but merely a substitute because I had no choice!

The next day after our family dinner, my sister, brother-in-law, niece and myself went kayaking. Around 9 a.m., we launched our boats somewhere off the base (Tyndall AFB) and paddled across to Crooked Island Sound. It was about a 5-mile hike across the bay but we eventually made it! This little slice of heaven is part of the Air Force Base but is open to civilians unless they are doing military exercises. They weren't this weekend so we did get to go onto the beach and explore. My sister went sea shell collecting while my niece and myself enjoyed swimming in the Gulf. The water was beautiful despite a bit of seaweed here and there. As you can see from the picture of the beach, it's a very unspoiled stretch of land that very few folks know about. We used to snorkel and scallop along this bay but the State has since mandated certain areas where scallops can be harvested and this is not one of them.

My Dad and Ms. Pat soon joined us on their motorboat and we sat beachside enjoying chicken salad sandwiches, chips, and grapes for lunch. Very nice.

We didn't leave until well past 4 p.m. because my BIL and Dad were mullet fishing. Yes, my family does enjoy a fried mullet every now and then, complete with cheese grits and hush puppies. Actually, when we were younger, we had mullet quite often. My Mom used to joke that she was afraid we would all be born with scales, fins and gills!

On our way back, my BIL and sister tried out their new sails they purchased for their kayaks. It was the oddest looking thing but quite effective when there was wind going the right direction. And, of course, totally ineffective when the wind died or changed directions. But pretty cool, nonetheless.

We finally made it back to the landing at about 7:30 p.m. My, what a fun-filled day! I was sunburned, exhausted, hungry for dinner, and thirsty for a Margarita. I headed back to the Marriott and showered, ordered some fried shrimp for take-out, and poured myself a Margarita. I spent the rest of the night just enjoying and relaxing.

The next morning I ordered a ham, onion, spinach, and cheddar cheese omelet through room service, savoring every bite while doing some last minute computer work. Then, it was time to load the SUV and head home.

Another six hour drive back and I was in Atlanta. Again, driving in torrential rain. Seemed it did stop on Saturday but kicked back up just in time for my drive in. Figures, huh?

I drove directly to Camp Why Not to gather the girls. On my way there, I decided to call the camp counselor to alert her that I'd be there directly. She told me they had quite a few "adventures" over the weekend. When I asked her to elaborate, she said that Sami jumped a fence into her backyard in an attempt to kill one of her Jack Russells.

She was muzzled, thank God, and all was well when she was able to break them apart. No harm done. Sami sustained a pretty bad bruise on the inside of a back leg but she'll be okay. Secondly, she said that Lucy and Sami got into a brawl in their run. She was sure one of them had been injured badly, especially with the ruckus they were making. But again, just a scrape here and a bruise there on Sami - none on Lucy.

Before leaving, she shared these photos with me. From the expressions on their faces, I see they did have an excellent time at Camp Why Not, especially playing dress up. Who knew?
Needless to say, they were exhausted puppies when we did finally get home. They barely moved that night and all of yesterday, finally acting like themselves last night. I, too, felt pretty much the same and finally think I've recovered from the whirlwind weekend although I honestly feel as if I need another vacation so I can truly rest and relax! Oh well, fun does come at a price, doesn't it? And fun was had all around by everyone!



Pin It

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Things To Be Thankful For

I found this plaque in the spare bedroom closet. It's been some time since I saw it. Here is what it says:

Things to be Thankful For

Faith in the ultimate goodness of life.
Faith in yourself.
Faith that what you seek, you will find.
The kindness of strangers.
Thewarmth and security of home.
Expressions of unconditional love and support.
Your health.
The health of those you love.
Your boundless imagination.
Restored hope.
Answered prayers.
Daydreams.
Following your intuition and being happy you did.
Trying something new and loving it.
The desire for knowledge.
Watching the sunset.
Meeting a kindred spirit.

Now, isn't that nice? Maybe it should go back on my desk to provide me with daily inspiration (I could use that these days) ! Pin It

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spoiled Rotten?

It's been some time since I baked the girls some homemade cookies. I recently purchased a paw print "cookie stamp" which gave me the incentive to whip up a batch of cookies last night.

I chose the recipe, Peanut Butter Carob Cookies, from my most favorite doggie recipe book, Doggie Desserts. Here is the recipe:

6 T. all natural applesauce, no sugar added
1/4 C. honey
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. all natural peanut butter, no salt or sugar added
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 C. unbleached white flour
1 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 C. carob powder
2 eggs
1 T. ground cinnamon
2 t. baking soda

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. With your hands, make 1-inch balls wth the dough. Place balls 1 inch apart on baking sheet. With a fork, flatten ball leaving indent marks from the fork. (I used my paw print cookie stamp instead.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. When done, cookies should be firm to the touch. Turn oven off and let cookies sit 1 to 2 hours to harden.

Spoiled Greyhounds? I dare to admit to that, but I do know I have four very happy Greyhounds who know they're loved!
Pin It

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Man and His Dog

Kim LeVear and I drove over to Talladaga Friday evening to conduct a home visit for a potential adopter. On the way over, we encountered a most unusual sight. See for yourself . . .

video

We laughed and laughed. Thank God my Lucy wasn't with us or she'd be wanting a Harley herself so we could drive around like that. Can you imagine a Greyhound on the back of one of those? Pin It

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Christmas in July

Or so it feels like it and no, the temps aren't in the 30's (actually they're in the 80's - pretty mild for July in Georgia).

What is it I speak of? It's a gift I purchased for myself, a pre-Christmas gift if you will - my first 3GS 16 GB iPhone! I think I spent about 3 hours last night bonding with my iPhone. I'm almost a professional user at this point. Just kidding as I have so much to learn on this new device. It's totally different than my Treo.

And there are so many little apps for it which is way cool. If anyone knows of any that just knock your socks off, please let me know.

New toys are always such fun, aren't they? Pin It

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quiet a Scare

Saturday evening, my foster Misty's new Dad came to pick her up. They had been vacationing in Puerto Rico for a week or so and had just flown into Atlanta that night. Their little girl had been anticipating the arrival of Misty for two weeks or more.

Well, not 15 minutes after leaving my house, Misty's Dad called me to say something was wrong. My first thought was that he had been in a car wreck and something had happened to Misty. Unfortunately something just as bad had happened - Misty escaped while he was getting her out of the SUV. My mouth went dry and my heart starting pounding. I told him I would be right there.

I immediately ran into the bathroom, stuck my contacts in my eyes, threw on my shorts and a t-shirt and stuck on my tennis shoes. I crated my girls and gave them a cookie and said "bye for now". And then I was off!

Luckily, Misty's new family lived within 5 miles of me so I was there in no time. On the way, I called Kim who subsequently called Scott. Everyone converged in the neighborhood of the new adopter within a half hour or so. It was amazing, to say the least, and always makes me proud to be a part of such a wonderful group. As I said on our email list, we would move "heaven and earth" to help find one of our lost hounds.

We had spent a good bit of time in a cul-de-sac that butted up against this neighborhood. We heard quite a few barking dogs and I told Robert (Misty's Dad) that they must be barking at something and maybe it was Misty. I used the squawker and sure enough, Misty came out of the woods. I called her name and she immediately turned and ran back into the woods. Robert and I proceeded into the brush, hoping she would stay put and we could catch her. She did have her leash and collar on as well as her Second Chance Greyhound tag. I was hoping the leash would get snagged on something which would immobilize her, giving us a chance to grab her. She is a skittish thing so I knew she wouldn't just walk up to us.

About the time that Kim arrived, Robert and I had headed to the neighborhood behind his, which was called Heritage. Funny enough, this neighborhood is located off Austin Bridge which is the same road my neighborhood is on! Anyhoo, we walked that neighborhood for what seemed like hours, trying to find the back of it, the portion that would have backed up against his neighborhood. We thought we had found it because we heard the barking dogs. Yes, they were still barking. Along the way, we passed out business cards to folks we found out and about. It was late, maybe 11:00 p.m. by then but we did run into a few folks. Everyone was very nice, wishing us luck in finding Misty.

In the meantime, Kim was patrolling the cul-de-sac in Robert's neighborhood in case Misty decided to run back out of the woods. One of Robert's neighbors was there as well. I believe they were walking about when one of the homeowners in the cul-de-sac approached them with a pistol, asking what they were doing, etc. Obviously, this scared Kim half to death. When they explained they were looking for a lost dog, the man backed off and actually wished them luck as well.

About this time, Scott and his girlfriend, Tricia, arrived on the scene. Robert and I were walking back to my vehicle when Kim called to say they were going to branch out and search some more, from their vehicles. Scott and Tricia actually ended up driving to Heritage where Robert and I were, however, by that time, we had headed back to Robert's neighborhood. We hadn't even made it back to his house when Kim called to say that Scott had spotted Misty. She was in Heritage and he had her cornered. She was running around and around one house. Robert and I turned around, heading that direction. About then, Kim called again to say that Scott had Misty. WOW, I think that's the first time I had breathed since Robert's initial call some 3 1/2 hours earlier. It seems that Misty's leash got caught on something with afforded Scott the opportunity to grab her. Funny, she was right where Robert and I were not 15 minutes before.

Luckily for us, she was in fine shape. A few briers but that was all. As you know, Greyhounds are sprinters with no true endurance so she was obviously exhausted from the ordeal but seemed in good spirits otherwise. When we all arrived back at Robert's house, we all hugged on Misty while Mariam (Robert's wife) got Misty a bowl of water and then some liquid nourishment for us as well. We stood around marveling at Misty's calm demeanor while we were all attempting to come down from the adrenaline high. She just looked at us as if to say, "what's the big deal - I just went on a midnight stroll"!

What a harrowing experience for sure. There is nothing worse than loosing a Greyhound, especially in a brand new neighborhood. Robert's neighbors were so nice and helpful and without Kim, Scott, and Tricia coming to the rescue, I'm sure we would still be looking for Misty. It does take a team, and that we were. As someone said, "we rock"! I have to agree.

Here is a map of the area. The "A" pointer is Misty's new home. The red circle indicates the last sighting where she came out of the woods and the yellow circle is in the vicinity of where Scott found her.

On a side note, whilst rummaging through the forest with Robert searching for Misty, I couldn't help thinking to myself, "you're going to get poison ivy". I am so allergic to it, it's not even funny. Sure enough, this morning I woke up with a few welts on my hand and my neck. I'm waiting on "the others" to appear as I'm sure there will be more! I think an Epsom Salt bath is in my future. Pin It

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The First Run

Yesterday I took my new girl, Sami, up to Calhoun where GANG was in the middle of a three-day lure coursing trial. I had been anticipating this day for about a month - ever since I adopted Sami. My goal was to see how Sami liked lure coursing. I had intended just to let her watch a few runs and then, hopefully, let her do a practice run. Unfortunately, we arrived too late as the coursing of the day was complete. So, there was no one to watch!! We decided to go ahead and go for the gusto and let her run a practice run. After the hour drive, we had to make the best use of our time, you know?

So, we taped up pads and gathered slip leads and headed to the line. The lure operator started the lure and Sami just stood there. I ran a bit with her trying to get her to run - and NOTHING. As my friend Kim said, the look on my face said it all. I was so afraid this would happen and was so disappointed. I really enjoy lure coursing and wanted a coursing dog. I thought Sami would be perfect when I chose her.

At the suggestion of the lure operator, we decided to let Haylee take a practice run. Kim had her taped and she was ready to go. Once she started running (and Haylee loves to run and she's good at taking the turns, too), the light bulb went off in Sami's little head. She was overexcited and definitely wanted to take another turn at it. So, once Haylee came back, we once again, approached the line. The lure operator started the lure and Sami was off and running. She really did well, running really too fast, but I am certain she'll figure that out and will learn to take the corners a bit slower. She has a very fluid style with a long gait.


Needless to say, I am quite pleased and can't wait until fall when we can course for real. A few Single runs and she'll be ready for her certification run and then on to the Open category. In the meantime, we will train and train so we'll be ready.

I am just happy I won't have to return her. Now wouldn't that be something - the Chair of a Greyhound adoption group returning a dog because it won't lure course!! Ha - I wouldn't have done that as I love that girl - she is the funniest and sweetest dog! But, don't think I didn't think about it!! Pin It

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Call Me Grace

Actually, I'm the less graceful person on the planet. This morning is proof of that. I actually fell off the bus this morning. Yes, it was quite embarrassing and actually was quite funny at the same time. I fell on that last step from the bottom of the step on the bus to the ground.

As luck would have it, there was a nice black gentleman standing right there to witness it all. He did reach out his hand for me and asked the proverbial question, "are you alright ma'am?" Well, of course, it "smarted" quite a bit and as I was gaining my wits about me, I looked down and to my defense, there was a pretty big hole in the concrete. I then exclaimed, "there's a thing there", pointing to the monster hole that caused my fall. That's all I could muster. I stood up and told the young man, thank you, and proceeded on my merry way.

Once I made it to the train I glanced down at my foot - the one that took the brunt of the fall. Thank God it wasn't "frankenfoot" but was my left foot. I was concerned it may have been bleeding because it hurt so darn much but it's okay. There is a little weird bruise on the very left side of the foot, right on the bone there. Really strange spot for a bruise but it's there nonetheless! I first thought it must be embedded asphalt or concrete but it's a bruise.

There are three things to note here - (1) unfortunately the ballet lessons as a kid didn't help much, (2) make sure you're fully awake from the bus ride before disembarking, and (3) watch your step!! Pin It

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Birthday Wishes!

I'd like to wish my newest girl, Sami, Happy Birthday today. She turns 2! Yes, she is still a puppy and it shows!

One of my other girls, Lucy, also has a birthday today. She is now 5!! Hard to believe.

Tonight after the dog wash and after a nice dinner of turkey necks, they’ll enjoy some cinnamon/banana cake and ice cream!! They also received new alphabet charms for their collars from Brighton and hopefully, their new collars will arrive today. And then later tonight they will both get manicures and pedicures!

Happy birthday, my sweeties! Enjoy the day watching golf while I’m helping to bathe 60+ of your cousins, Aunts and Uncles! Pin It

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who knew?

My friend Kim Morris and I were chatting yesterday when out of the blue she mentioned a story on Fox News about minature cow farming. Minature cows? My first thought is that you can't really trust Fox News so it was probably a hoax. Honestly, I had never heard of such but yes, after one Google search, I found many minature cow farms ie http://www.minicattlecountry.com/ and http://www.littlemoos.com/ just to name a few.



Apparently mini cow farms are quite the rage, especially amongst women farmers because they are easier to handle. As well, with rising feed costs, it obviously is more economical to own and feed a herd of mini cattle as opposed to their larger cousins.

There are also other benefits. As this article in the LA Times states, "Their miniature Herefords consume about half that of a full-sized cow yet produce 50% to 75% of the rib-eyes and fillets, according to researchers and budget-conscious farmers." The dairy cows can produce 2-3 gallons of milk per day. It's a little hard to milk them since you basically stand on your knees, but the dairy farmers say its well worth the effort.

"Minicows are not genetically engineered to be tiny, and they're not dwarfs. They are drawn from original breeds brought to the U.S. from Europe in the 1800s that were smaller than today's bovine giants, said Ron Lemenager, professor of animal science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind."

There are now more than 300 mini-Hereford cow farms in the US. That number is dramatically higher than in 2000 when there were less than 24 farms. You can now purchase a heifer for about $800 and a bull for about $1200. Phenomenal is all I can say.

I wonder how many mini-cows would fit on my 1/2 acre? :)

PS - I stand corrected. Kim Morris commented to this post reminding me that the topic of mini cows came about when I complained to her that I was addicted to my virtual farm on Facebook. Duh? That's where it came from. And no, I don't have mini-cows on my virtual farm. Thus far, I only have one cow, four horses and one rooster.

PSS - If these had been mini-moos, perhaps this might not have happened. Poor woman! Pin It

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Sign of the Times

On the way to Five Points on the bus this morning, I observed something very disturbing. We always pass by a church on Central Avenue called Church of the Immaculate Conception.

I usually see 2-3 homeless folks sleeping on the steps of the Church most every morning but not today. Today, I counted about 12 men sleeping out there or it could have even been more.

I wish there were something I could do to help these folks. There are plenty of soup kitchens downtown and I know there are shelters so I wonder if there is no more room there for these folks? Or perhaps they are comforted more being near the Church?

I dunno but as the days progress and the economy seems to be in quicksand, I see more and more homeless folks (men and women) in the downtown area. It's very sad to say the least. Pin It

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cool Memories

As I sit here trying to cool down after 3+ hours of yard work, I can't help but reminisce about our recent trip to Gatlinburg where the mornings were cool and crisp. It was very refreshing.

A few of us traveled there the last weekend in May to attend an annual event known as Mountain Hounds. And yes, it involves Greyhounds! It's just a weekend or rather about four days, set aside for Greyhounds and Greyhound people to socialize, play games, shop, and generally just have fun.

We rented a cabin not far from downtown Gatlinburg where the festivities took place. It had three floors with a bedroom and private bath on each floor. A full game room on the lower level, decks surrounding the place, flat screen TVs, fireplace, gas grill, etc. It truly was a beautiful place and oddly enough, is owned by someone in the Atlanta metro area. Here is a view taken from the front deck. Isn't that just beautiful?

We drove up through the Smoky Mountain National Park. What a beautiful drive that was. The road paralleled the Nantahala River. Watching the rapids and rafters made me so badly want to make another weekend trip to do just that. It is so much fun!! And that water has to be the coldest on earth! Just beautiful!

The weekend was filled with many wonderful events, both for the Greyhounds and for their humans. One such event was the Luau held that Saturday evening. Most of the Greyhounds wore Leis and some even went so far as to wear grass skirts. There were hamburgers and hotdogs complete with all the fixings as well as ice cream treats for the dogs. Everyone had a wonderful time!

Another highlight of the weekend was a presentation by Dr. C. Guillermo Couto who is Professor/Chief, Oncology/Hematology/Transfusion Medicine, in the Greyhound Medicine Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State University. Wow, that was a mouthful, huh?

Dr. Couto is a highly respected Greyhound veterinarian who's speciality is oncology. He has also led numerous research studies, all of which will eventually lead to better veterinarian procedures and medicine for our Greyhounds. His staff and clinic are wonderful and as I told someone after the seminar, the Greyhound breed is very lucky to have someone as knowledgeable and dedicated as Dr. Couto in their corner.

The weekend was soon over and it was time to head back to Atlanta and to reality. It was a wonderful weekend and I definitely plan to go again next year!

As the days get hotter and hotter as we progress into summer, I will continue to reminisce about the cool, refreshing mornings of Gatlinburg. Pin It

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

We're In a Prison

Well, not quite yet, but we will officially be moving five Greyhounds from the Birmingham Race Course/Southern New England Kennels, to their home for the next three months, Gadsden Correctional Facility, on Thursday, June 25th. Gadsden Correctional Facility is located in Quincy, Florida and has a little over 1,500 beds. It is an all female, minimum/medium-security prison that has been managed since 1998 by Corrections Corporation of America.

This particular facility currently is home to a canine companion training program and in the past they had a canine bomb sniffing training program. With that being said, the facility, staff and inmates are accustomed to having dogs in the facility and training these dogs. They already have a large turnout/training yard and the in-house knowledge to bring in another program. It's an ideal fit for us and for them.

So, watch for blog updates on our Available Greyhounds page for those Greyhounds in prison. They will be represented with an orange icon - which you can't miss! Of course we are very excited and are looking forward to seeing and hearing how this program benefits the women as well as the Greyhounds. Pin It

Friday, June 05, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust . . .

Well, yesterday after I had come home from work I let the girls out to go potty. Everyone was muzzled, however, foster girl Sami doesn't have a poop guard in her muzzle like the other ones do.

Anyhoo, I looked outside to see if they were done and lo and behold Lucy and Sami were pouncing on something on the ground. I rushed out to see what it was, thinking it must be a squirrel, when Remi then got in on the action.

Once I was closer, I realized it was a bird - poor thing. It was upside down on the grass, wings spread wide and breathing hard. Feathers were everywhere. It was intact which amazed me as they were giving it a pretty good beating with their muzzles.

I ran inside to get the camera (sadistic person that I am) and when I came back, the bird was sitting like this. I thought it must be a miracle - he was going to live! I tried to shoo him away but he continue to sit just like a little bird statue.

I let the girls out again to eat their chicken backs and the bird continued to sit just like he was, under the hedge. They never saw him!! I thought he was going to make it but when I checked on him later, he had, indeed, died.

I am wondering if I have Greyhounds or if they are actually bird dogs? Perhaps I should change their evening meal up a bit and give them a bit more beef and rabbit and lay off the chicken? Perhaps they've acquired a taste for fowl due to all the chicken I've been feeding them? Perhaps the birds are sick which is how they are able to capture them? Who knows?

I also wonder if they should be unmuzzled. At least the kill would be quicker and the critter wouldn't suffer. Suggestions anyone? Pin It

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Good Deed

This past Sunday about ten of us headed to Birmingham Race Course to do a Spring cleaning of Southern New England kennels, where we get our Greyhounds for Second Chance Greyhounds.

There was about ten years worth of dust in the kennel itself and in the office area. Everything was power washed and wiped down from ceiling to floor. What a difference a little elbow grease made! That kennel was spotless!!

It is hoped that our efforts might pay off more immediately in that the dogs will race better. We will see if that is the case. They sure were happy when we left. Here are a few pictures of them in the turnout pen waiting patiently while we cleaned their home.


A good time was had by all and now Alan has a clean kennel and 64 happy pups who we hope will run better. In June we go back to wash them all!! Now, that is way fun! And, yes, the dogs enjoy it, too! Pin It

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Disciplinarian

Her name is Sugar and yes, she is the disciplinarian in my home. I currently have two foster Greyhounds who are prone to intermittently countersurfing on occasion. If Sugar is nearby, she will immediately bark at the culprit. She won't budge from where she sits or lays but she will emit a very loud bark. No growling, just a bark. It's quite funny because it does work and the culprit will immediately back down from the counter and I must say it's happening less and less frequently. Funny thing is, Sugar was never a countersurfer herself.

Fostering is such hard work, isn't it? Pin It

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Alarms That Are Alarming!

Saturday morning was a rude awakening. You see, we were awakened by the sound of my house alarm going off at 5 a.m., nonetheless. At first it began as a "tweet" so I thought perhaps the fire alarm needed it's batteries replaced. Before I knew it, the alarm was blaring us out of the house. And, as fate would have it, it was the FIRE alarm going off.

I smelled and smelled and didn't smell anything burning. I called the alarm company (they didn't call me which is really QUITE alarming) to tell them I thought I was having problems with the fire alarm. She asked if I wanted to dispatch the fire truck and I said "no, there isn't a fire". Of course, I would have died had there really been a fire and I had just called off the forces!! But alas, that wasn't the case, thank God!

I hung up with the alarm company operator who then had a technician call me because by that time, it certainly appeared to be a malfunction of some sort. During this whole ordeal, I had to put all the dogs outside because the alarm sound was driving them crazy! It really is pretty loud, piercing to the ear loud!!

So the technician calls me and we then commence to diagnosing the problem. We look at the main control box which is in a closet and it was then that I felt water drip on my arm - coming from somewhere. I retrieved a flashlight and looked at the ceiling in the closet and couldn't see anything dripping in there anywhere. Then, it dripped again. I looked up and lo and behold, there was a case of canned juice up on a top shelf in the closet. I grabbed the case and, yes, the end was wet. Apparently one of the cans was leaking and it was leaking directly on the control box which then caused the system to go crazy.

This whole time the fire alarm was still going off. By then, I could hardly tell you my first name as the alarm is SO loud you can't even think straight.

The technician then walked me through the steps to disarm the system which I did. He suggested I wait a bit and attempt to redo the connections and see if the system resets itself. I am about to do that so wish me luck! I hope it works!!

What a weekend!! Pin It

Lucy's Latest Victim

I don't know how and I don't think I want to know how, but the poor black bird pictured above is Lucy's latest victim. God help any creature in our backyard that is slower than her!
Pin It

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Riding the Storms

Well, dear Lucy has been storm phobic since I adopted her several years ago and it has little by little become increasingly more intense. That would be Lucy's phobia and well, the storms as well. We've had some terrible storms come through the Atlanta area this Spring, complete with hail and tornados.

So, to try to help Lucy get through the storms, we went to the vet seeking help. Dr. Carpenter prescribed Amitriptyline, actually two tablets every 12 hours or as need. I could potentially give her up to four. Well, we tried that to no avail. They did make her drowsy but she was completely aware of her surroundings and the storms she heard overhead.

So, another trip to the vet seeking help. This time we saw Dr. Johnson as Dr. Carpenter was off that day. He prescribed Acepromazine which is most commonly just called Ace. Sighthounds, in specific Greyhounds, are pretty sensitive to Ace so it is usually prescribed with caution.

Our first opportunity to use it was Sunday night. I have to say it knocked Lucy on her keister! She slept like a rock Sunday night and was groggy until Monday evening. I might cut a pill in half next time and see how that works for her. It is a tranquilizer so I'm not surprised she slept so well and for so long. It is commonly used in conjunction with anesthesia to relax the canine patient before a procedure.

So, the good news is I think we have finally found something that works for her. I must wait for another horrific storm to realize the benefits of this drug on Lucy as the storms on Sunday were pretty mild. More later as we continue to find the perfect solution for her! Pin It

Friday, May 01, 2009

Oddities

1. Yesterday I was at an office building when I decided to utilize the ladies room. Lo and behold, on the wall was a tampon/condom machine. Now, the tampons I could see, of course, but do folks really need access to condoms at the workplace?
2. My dentist just called to confirm an appointment Tuesday morning. She said this is "so and so from Dr. So and So's office. I am calling to confirm your appointment Tuesday morning. Will you be attending?" That question tickled me a bit as I wanted to respond, "No, I'll be sending a substitue."

Ah, Friday's . . . Pin It

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Stray Flurry??


The forecast this evening on Monday, April 6th (yes, April 6th):


Low: 30°F RealFeel®: 20°F
Mostly cloudy, breezy and quite cold with a stray flurry

Now, what in the heck is a "stray flurry"? One that has wandered off from the others? If so, where will the others be? Will the stray flurries be able to catch up, I wonder? I hope so as I'd hate to see some stray flurries wandering around all by themselves. I had to giggle when I read that forecast.

Maybe the girls and I will be able to catch a few stray ones tonight!! I'll let you know how that works out for us. :)

PS - not a single sighting of a stray flurry at my house!
Pin It

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My, What a Rough Night!

Dear Lucy woke me up at 2 a.m. panting her little head off and shaking like a leaf. It only got worse from there. She was beside herself with the oncoming storm that was producing lightening and thunder just in the distance. It appeared to be going around us (not over us) but it was close enough for Lucy to apparently feel the electric charge from the lightening strikes and then there is the boom of the thunder to contend with. Bless her heart. I always feel so bad for her during storms but there is absolutely not a thing I can do. I will stock up on Melatonin today so we'll have it next time. I just have to be vigilant about knowing the weather forecast, having Melatonin on hand and dosing Ms. Lucy.

She was so bad this morning that she wouldn't eat her breakfast at 4:30 a.m., nearly 2 1/2 hours after her "episode" began. The rain had finished but I guess she could still feel the storm around her and she was still panting and shaking. She did go potty with the other girls but then came right back inside and onto my bed. I gathered everyone to crate up before I left and had to go fetch Lucy off my bed. She didn't want to go in the crate but she did finally did. I hate doing that to her but I can't leave her out for fear she would hurt herself. She is safer in the crate beside Sugar and Foster Sandy.

Speaking of Foster Sandy, during this whole ordeal with Lucy what do you imagine Foster Sandy was doing? She was pulling every toy out of the toy basket, squeaking it if it indeed still squeaked, eating parts off of some of them, and running around the bedroom tossing them in the air and catching them. Obviously she was oblivious to everything else around her, including the thunder and lightening.

What was Sugar and Remi doing during this entire ordeal? Sleeping. Neither one of them budged, not an inch. Me? What was I doing? Well, trying to sleep. I did eventually dose back off around 3 a.m. but the ole alarm sounded off at 3:45 a.m. pronto. I think I rolled out of bed around 4:15 a.m. making me miss my first bus but I did catch the second one and made it here at 7:10 a.m. Not bad. Of course, I slept the whole way!

I can only hope and dream tonight is more peaceful. I say Melatonin for EVERYONE whether they need it or not!! Pin It

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lucy is Nesting

Yes, I do believe she is going to drop some eggs shortly since she has been building (er, digging) this nest for herself. I caught her perched in it the other day. Imagine my surprise. Who knew that Greyhounds nested? :) Perhaps soon she'll learn how to fly, too!


video Pin It

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Cooking Adventure


Yummy, yummy, yummy! Doesn't that look delightful? It's my first pass at making homemade cake donuts. I'm taking them to work with me today to share with my workmates. They are the best taste testers! I'll let you know how they like them!
Pin It

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Funniest Question I've Ever Been Asked

This morning on the train, I was approached by a guy - actually another panhandler. He started chatting with me whilst I had my Zune blasting tunes through my ear plugs! I couldn't hear a word he was saying. It always amazes me that folks can't see black wires dangling from one's ears and more than likely they know the person is listening to music, yet they will talk and talk. But I digress.

I yanked the ear plugs out of my ears because the guy seemed a little persistent. BTW, this is about 6:20 a.m. He immediately said, "First, let me say good morning." By the look on my face, I'm sure he realized I was not amused nor did I think it such a "good morning", especially after he interrupted a perfectly wonderful Pink Floyd tune I was listening to. He then said, "Would you like to help me get on the bus legally?" If I hadn't been so PO'd, I probably would have laughed in his face! I immediately replied, "No". He then stood up and walked down the train car to harass someone else. When he stood up, I noticed his pants were down around his knees. I would have gladly given him $25 to go buy new pants that fit, if I thought that is what he would have done with the money!

Get on the bus legally - for Pete's sake, it seems he gets on the bus and train just fine legally or not. These folks will try just about anything I guess! He really should come up with a better line!! And a better approach!! Pin It

Friday, March 06, 2009

Observations

My, my what a week it has been. It started out with 20 degree weather and snow on the ground and will happily end with 70 degree weather and blue skies. We usually have a freak Spring snow storm, it seems. Pretty weird, but it happens. Never in the winter but usually in the Spring. Go figure. Only in Georgia!

In spite of the cold, snowy start, the week really didn’t seem to get any better. Well, not until today with the temperatures soaring into the high 60’s and beyond. There will be many folks playing hooky this afternoon, I’m sure of it. I, myself, am leaving shortly to go run some errands and then head home to start cooking for our wine tasting benefit tomorrow evening. We also have a Meet and Greet in the morning at Pooch Porch CafĂ© in Alpharetta. Busy, busy, busy!

But I should share with everyone some of my mass commuting experiences of the week. It began on Monday morning. I was not physically present for this one, however, a full blown description of the event was provided to me by my workmates. I happened to have been on the train directly behind the one they were riding, thank God, so I did not witness this. I would have died laughing I think, and probably would have been shot on the spot.

Nonetheless, it was a very frigid morning with the temps barely breaking 20 degrees. This is, of course, about 6:15 a.m. I don’t think the sun was even up at that point. So what happened on the train, you ask? Well, my workmates were sitting in the train when a fellow rider got up from his seat and promptly walked to the end of the train car. You can walk from train car to train car by opening the doors (just like in the movies), however, this is suppose to be for emergencies only. I guess this must have been an emergency, at least for this man or at least in his own mind. He stepped out of the train car, turned to his right and then put his head down, never venturing to cross over to the next train car. He then stood there for a minute and then shook himself a bit. He fumbled around a bit, and then walked back to his seat. Yes, you guessed it, he was relieving himself. In the frigid weather, no doubt, while the train is moving about 50 mph. I’m surprised he has a weenie left after that display. Again, I would have died laughing and probably would have been shot for doing so.

Wednesday morning we were leaving our train station in our shuttle van, heading to work. Walking across the parking lot was a black man on the arm of a white, red-haired woman. None of this was odd, but the fact that they were both blind is what struck me. Yes, they both had walking sticks so it was apparent they were blind. They quickly crossed the parking lot, heading straight for the turnstiles to enter the train station. Once at the turnstiles, they found their MARTA cards which gained them entrance into the station. They walked straight across to another bank of turnstiles which led to several MARTA buses waiting to take passengers to different areas on their routes. They passed through those turnstiles and then climbed onto one of the waiting buses. I just sat there watching this entire thing with awe and wonderment. It struck me as so, because those of us who are sighted have such a difficult time with the MARTA system (sometimes, well, yes maybe a lot of the time), so that it is totally awesome that folks who are challenged are able to navigate through the system and safely get from point A to point B. I’ve seen many blind folks in the stations during the last year and every time it moves me more than the last.

Then yesterday on the train from Brookhaven to Five Points, the train stalled at the Lindbergh station, for what appeared to be, no apparent reason. We sat there for about 20 minutes and then were asked to leave our train and wait on the platform for the next train waiting to approach the station, which we did. Then a train on the Northbound track approached going Southbound. A bunch of folks got off that train and came over to our train. We then sat there for another 35 minutes or so, with the doors open, and people milling about here and there. Another train came on the Northbound track, going Southbound. We thought it was there to pick us up so we all disembarked and went over to that train. On the train signs, it said it was headed to the Airport which would have been the direction we were going. Once on the train, the conductor announced that no, it was headed back Northbound to the Chamblee station, basically where we had started from. That was definitely not the direction we needed to go so we quickly disembarked, running back to our original train which was still sitting there.

Apparently at the very next station there had been a fire on the tracks, actually on the Southbound side which is why we were detained for so long, although the word on the streets at the time was that there was a fire in the tunnel. Neither situation was good for us as no trains were going Southbound or Northbound, between the Arts Center station and the Lindbergh Station and we had to get past the Arts Center station to get to Five Points to catch our bus.

Our original, now empty, train was directed to go ahead of us. We figure it was the “sacrificial train”. If it made it through the tunnel, then they would send in our train, which was now full of people. We had been sitting there for some time and these trains normally run through a station every 5-8 minutes, so you can only imagine how many folks had piled into the train by then. About 10 minutes later, our train finally closed it’s doors and then proceeded Southbound, very slowly, I might add. I guess so that if we did go through any fire, we would suffer even more, especially at that speed.

We finally made it to the Five Points station. What a relief – finally - free, free at last! It was so hot, and people were so packed in that train you couldn’t move. My workmate and I practically ran off the train, up the escalator and across Peachtree Street, to where our bus would pick us up. Air, fresh air, it was delightful. And cool, finally, it was cool. Our bus arrived in just a few minutes – we were lucky we caught one so quickly. We promptly boarded and headed to a seat. I noticed even before we sat down, that it was pretty hot in there. I asked another rider and, sure enough, the air conditioning was broke. But, thank God, buses usually have escape hatches on the top which can be opened, much like a sunroof. They were open and provided some relief, especially if the bus was moving pretty fast.

Unfortunately for us though, there were two wrecks on I-20, both of which had traffic backed up forever or nearly so. We sat and creeped, sat and creeped but finally made it to the bus depot. After the day was all said and done, I finally arrived home around 6:30 p.m. I left work at 3:45 p.m.

Today, I decided to drive myself!

Just a few observations and experiences from the week – the weekend just has to be better! Pin It

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Snow White

The deep South was transformed into a winter wonderland today, thanks to Mother Nature. It started snowing here in Douglasville (west of Atlanta) about 11 a.m. and didn't stop until about 4 p.m. The first few hours we were graced with beautiful huge snowflakes. It really was quite a sight. I think it must have snowed about three inches or so.

The girls, of course, were scared to go out when it was really snowing hard. They just stood under the protection of the roof of the patio looking out at the winter wonderland as if it were going to bite them if they stepped on it. Same as last time! After the snowfall ended, they did decide to romp around a bit in the backyard. "A bit" is the key there. They aren't dummies as they knew it was cold, wet, and frozen tundra so they did limit their exposure and just ran out, did their business, and then ran back in - all as quickly as possible!!

I wish they would enjoy playing in it like those Northern Greyhounds as I think they would really enjoy it. I see such beautiful photos and videos of those Greyhounds romping in the snow and they look like they are having so much fun!

Not my sweet Southern Belles. Nope, not mine. They would rather be lounging in the backyard sunning like lizards than running through snow. I guess they truly are Southern Belles. I really don't blame them as I'd rather be doing the same thing!
Pin It

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vote for Sugar

Grand prize is $10,000 to charity of your choice (hopefully, Second Chance Greyhounds), second place is $5,000 to charity of your choice, and third-fifth place is $1,000 to charity of your choice. You never know . . . Pin It