Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Alice has squished herself on the couch between The Human Male and me and is snoring.  This will be our station for the rest of the night.

New Year 2011

I couldn’t hope for a better night.  My favorite New Year’s Eves have always been spent at home with my loved ones.

Wishing you a wonderful and safe New Year’s, and a 2011 that’s at least three times better than 2010.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Four Days after Christmas!

Whoops, I missed posting on Christmas.  Chalk this up to “time flies when you’re having fun”!  We’ve had a really nice Christmas in The Motherland.  Alice, The Human Male (who flew in on Christmas Eve), and I are driving back to DC tomorrow.


Hope you all had a great Christmas, too!

Alice holiday 1

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Festive Alice!

The great blog Dog-Owned Life is posting pictures of festive pets this week in honor of Christmas.  I sent in a picture of Alice, and it was posted yesterday.  Yay!

I highly recommend going through other Dog-Owned Life posts to look at other Christmas pictures.  They start the afternoon of December 21st.  The pictures are just adorable.  I love seeing people so excited about their pets at Christmas and how they get them involved.  And the one with the little girl just makes me smile.  Look at how proud she is!

Mark’s still accepting pictures.  If you have any good holiday pictures of your dogs and pets, his contact information is in with the picture posts.  Send them along!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I’m doing on my Christmas Vacation.

I’m officially on Christmas vacation.  Alice and I drove to Reading, PA to meet up with Popsy on Friday, and then the three of us drove to The Motherland on Saturday.

We’ve done some fun stuff so far, which will come in later posts.  But one thing that I wanted to share right away is that I bought Alice a sparkly little hat.  She looks mahvelous.

Alice hat

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The most important flow chart you’ll see today.

I haven’t lived in Albany, New York, in a few years, but I like keeping up with what’s going on up there.  It’s a really interesting city full of characters and lots of really unique opportunities, and I’ll always have a soft spot for it.

Besides talking to my Urban Family regularly, one of the best ways to keep in the know is reading All Over Albany.  AOA’s run by Greg and Mary, who used to have a really fun radio show on the local NPR station.*  They’ve since moved to the blog world, and it’s been dreamy.  They know everyone, are really interesting themselves, and they write well.  And the people who read AOA for the most part leave really nice, funny, thoughtful comments.  Reading it’s a great way to take a break during your day.

AOA is pretty dog-oriented (they have a dog on staff named Otto), so their postings occasionally are canine-centric (like pictures from a pug party, or where to get a good dog sundae).  Today they posted one of the best dog posts I’ve seen on any blog.

The title of the blog post is “It’s winter. Your Dog has pooped. What now?” Intriguing, right?  Very much so.  On the page, they’ve provided a flow chart of how to decide when to pick up after your dog and when it’s okay to leave it.  Clearly they’ve put a great deal of thought into this.

Our neighborhood is pretty dog-centric, and there’s a strong sense of being a responsible dog owner.  But our dog area turned into a battlefield during our blizzards last winter, and there’s one side of our complex where people NEEEEEVVVVEEEERRR clean up after their dogs—even though there are two garbage cans with poopy pouches right there.  For crying out loud, if your dog goes right next to the can and you’ve got bags right there, just pick it up.  It probably won’t kill you, and it’s not going to magically fly into the can on its own. 

I’m planning on printing this off and sticking it to the cans, and then take one over to the Dog Park.  I’m sure our local dog folks will get a kick out of this.

* Secretly, I appeared on a few episodes in roundtable segments and read an essay on how to speak New York if you’re a Midwesterner.  Seriously—the ALB’s a town of unique opportunities.  And doing radio’s really hard.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pouty Puggle.

My good friend $-Money was in town for a work training last week and stayed with us.  The Human Male and I absolutely loved having her here.  I think our excitement, though, was eclipsed by Alice’s.

Alice is pretty good with people, but sometimes she finds someone that she looooooves.  When she sits on your lap and gives you kisses, that means that you two are married.

Well, Alice and $-Money committed themselves as one last week.  Alice snuggled up with her, took naps with her, and had no problem stealing her food.  Big time love.

$-Money went home yesterday, much to all our chagrin.  Alice was very unhappy.  She looked around the house with her pouty face, then jumped on $-Money’s deflated air mattress, clearly waiting for her to come back.

Alice pout

It’s kind of sad, but her indignant little pout (and glowy little Jawa eyes) is way too funny to take seriously.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If you hear about dog bites today, it’s probably my fault.

In the part of my life that pays me, I do a lot of writing.  E-mails, reports, contracts, proposals, web copy, notes to myself reminding me to write something else tomorrow.  Occasionally my work involves writing research articles.

One that I wrote was recently published is getting some mainstream pick-up (which has been weird, exciting, and pretty neat to tell my folks about).  Two of my favorite animal blogs covered it this week, so I felt it was probably time to mention it here.

The article discusses the number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations related to dog bites and characteristics for these encounters.  The numbers are wild—more than 316,000 ED visits and 9,500 hospital stays in the US related to dog bites.  Now, we’re not talking all of them; these are just for the people that sought medical help for their bites.  Can you imagine how many there actually are that DON’T go to the doctor?  That number’s got to be astronomical!

The article can be found here.  By format definition, it doesn’t go into reasons why this is happening or make any conclusions or recommendations to prevent the situation.  But WE can discuss it here.

My recommendations would be take your dog to training school to prevent certain behaviors, approach dogs you don’t know carefully (both those that are pets and strays), and don’t harass agitated/nervous dogs.

Also, my inner 10-year-old would like to suggest not trying to catch an aggravated Dachshund in a box for fun, even if your friend’s grandpa’s done it a thousand times.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Alice’s Glamour Shots.

Today we took Alice’s picture for our Christmas cards.  We went down to our neighborhood’s Christmas tree.  Here are some of my favorite outtakes.





Alice is not a hat-wearing kind of girl.  I had to tie that bad boy on so tightly, then we bribed her with treats.  And wouldn’t you know, it worked!


One unrelated picture, but well worth sharing.  Typically our Christmas tree is in the middle of our main street, placed on top of a fountain.  This year they moved it to our hood’s plaza and did something spectacular to the fountain.  Whoever made the decision to switch things up is a freaking genius.  Our neighborhood looks gorgeous.



Sunday, November 28, 2010

November’s a wash. Come on, December!

Okay, so posting in November’s officially a lost cause.  Things have been pretty crazy with work.  I’m not sure how the first couple of weeks of December are going to fare, but we’re making our annual pilgrimage to The Motherland for Christmas and I have hope for holiday blogging.

I hope you all had a very wonderful Thanksgiving that included life’s three best F words: family, friends, and food.  And now we’re officially into the holiday season—decorations, music, and even more food.  What a great time of the year!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is it November already?!

I don’t know where October went.  It was a busy month of work, giant meetings, Oktoberfests, roller derby, parties, races, cheese-stealing, Transformers movie shoots, and a few scary moments in DC.  But… there are 31 days in October still, right?


I currently have 272 pictures on my camera, most of which involve Alice.  Hopefully I’ll catch up with the stories this month (in particular, the cheese thievery).  Until then, I’ll leave you with one picture.


This past Sunday was the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K.  I really love this race.  The Human Male and I did it last year, but we didn’t sign up in time for this year’s run (the 10K.  Neither of us are marathoners yet/ever).  We did the Army Ten Miler a week ago and I was reminded how fun and motivating it is to see dogs along the side of the course, so we dressed up Alice in her Halloween finest (she went as a Fall Fashion Plate this year) and took her over to cheer on runners.


I’m really glad we did.  We parked ourselves just past the Mile 23 marker in the Crystal City neighborhood at a place where the course looped in time to cheer on the 10K runners (its course the last 6.2 miles of the Marathon course) and we saw a lot of smiles and heard several “Look at the dog!”s.  You could tell a few of the runners really needed the boost right then.  One girl actually stopped running to pet Alice.  She’s a pug owner.  :)


We sat around for a little while to drink coffee (we parked ourselves between a Cosi and a Caribou Coffee semi-intentionally), shake our cowbells, and watch the handbike marathoners and the lead marathon runners.  The runners began trickling in, and about 10 minutes after the first runners, we saw the first female runner (Janet Cherobon).  She torched a couple of the guys and as she passed our spot, a group of 30-50 year old ladies a few feet down started cheering and yelling “Run, girl!  Run!”  It was so cute.  I noticed one of the ladies had a stroller with her little daughter.  It was one of those moments when I just felt so good to be part of the girl club.


Alice was interested in the runners at first and stared at them, craning her neck to figure out why they were running and she wasn’t and what the people yelling, banging on pots, and ringing their cowbells on the other side of the course were doing (and if they had treats).  She then found herself a warm spot on the street and laid down to watch the runners pass by.



We stayed to cheer on some of the sub-4 hour marathoners and headed home.  Along the way, we passed a few other spectating dogs.  Two were too cute not to post.



Hope all is well with everyone!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Off topic, but a relevant issue in the Alice Palace.

A few months ago, The Human Male made the suggestion of dumping the cable and going to internet-based TV.  His argument was that most of what we watched was online—and what wasn’t, we could get off of iTunes.  The Human Male’s one of those “up on technology” guys, so I thought it was his attempt to be cutting edge and cool.  I didn’t see much point, since it would require buying a ton of new equipment (my TV was circa Time when in-set VCRs were High Tech), and we don’t watch much TV to begin with.  Plus I love the DVR—all the shows I want, automatically in one place, and I can watch them whenever I want.  It’s like having all your entertainment chicks in one basket.


And then I stumbled across the cable bill.


In our house, we divide the bills—The Human Male pays cable and internet, and I do water and electric.  I thought it was even.  I was very, very wrong.


What happened is that over a year ago, we decided the bill was too pricey for how much TV we watched, so we got rid of the super-duper digital cable and went down to basic digital.  It took a giant chunk off our bill, and we didn’t miss the channels at all.  But it ends up that the price I thought we were paying was a special  deal.  So when the year was up, we got the “pleasure of being a long-time customer” increase.  Which ended up being $30 MORE than what we were paying for the special channels we got rid of.


I. WENT. BALLISTIC.  Honestly, I thought The Human Male had missed a bill, it was so high.  But no.  Apparently what I thought was his effort to be technocool was actually an attempt to save well over $1,000 a year.  Considering we could get everything we needed and still have a ton of money left over for that price, cable was dead to me instantly.


That weekend, we bought a new, high-tech TV and started planning our switch to internet-only.  We signed up for Netflix, started researching antennas, and talked about getting a video game system so we could access Hulu Plus/Netflix without having to hook up my computer (it’s very important during football season that I have access to some form of entertainment that’s not football related).  Over the past month, we’ve gotten a pretty good set-up.


Except that I’ve discovered a problem.  A BIG one.


I’ve had some problems using the video game controller (which works as a remote for it).  Apparently there’s a button on the back that pauses things.  So if you go and set it down, it pauses.  You pick it up and press play and it’s fine, but the second you set it down again, pause.  I didn’t know this until I started crying because I couldn’t get a show I really wanted to watch (and was bumped off the DVR the night before for some stupid boy show) to play, and The Human Male had to sit me down like a preschooler and explain the technology to me (he also may have given me a cookie to calm down).


I thought after he showed me that that I’d be able to use the box, no problem.  So today, a half-work-from-home/half-vacation Friday, I thought I’d throw on some girl shows and listen to them as I went about the day.  I clicked on the right source and hit the video game console’s on button—only to find that it was already on (machines being left on is a HUGE pet peeve of mine).  So I look at the screen, and there’s no picture.  Just a message saying that the TV won’t play that resolution, and to change it.


Okay, what?  What’s actually wrong, and how do I change it? 


I figure it has something to do with it being left on all night, so I turn it off.  And I turn the TV off.  And then I cut off both power sources.  I unplug things and replug them in.  I try games, DVDs, the Netflix disc.  Nothing.  Same stupid, idiotic, vague message.


And then I realized what happened: my TV was set up in Malevision.


I think women know what this is—where you try to use your TV, DVD player, or satellite and you find you need a Y chromosome to figure out which series of buttons you need to hit—and in what magic order—to get the thing to work.  I feel like I’ve been cautious in preventing this—I know my parents’ bedroom TV is set up in Malevision and there’s a TV show on every once in a while about the subject.  I’m aware of the issue and vigilant, and feel like I lived alone long enough to identify when things are about to Go Boy.  For example, when The Human Male was trying to figure out which antenna would work best, he devised a “radio tower” that consisted of one of our counter stools (from the opposite end of the apartment) placed in front of our bedroom door, with our patio door opened and the antenna cord stretched wide.  When I said there was no way that was going to fly, he picked it up and held the antenna over his head, then turned hopefully to the TV.  I kicked him out of the house after that.  Anyway, I feel like I’m good at spotting when things are about to go nonsensical to anyone with two X chromosomes, and yet, here I am.


To you ladies out there, have you had this happen?  How did you fix it?  At the very least, can you tell me how to turn on the TV?  And is there any recourse I can take except to load up the Netflix queue with the girliest movies known to mankind?  And do you have suggestions for titles?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shana gets her bandana.

It’s been a trying few weeks in DC’s dog community.  There’s a lot of fear over if our dogs are safe in our streets since Parrot’s shooting (and another in-home police shooting of a dog shortly after).  There’s anger over what happened.  There’s cynicism if anything will be done about it.  And of course, there’s sadness over what was done.


A recent posting on Parrot’s memorial blog was from one of his event handlers.  Her tribute to him breaks my heart every time I’ve read it.  This boy beat all the odds: he beat a rough start and a kill shelter.  He was rescued, saved, looking for his home.  He was supposed to be in the clear.  And yet, this happened.  After everything he’d been through, he died at a festival.  Someplace that should’ve been fun and safe.


I’ll admit it, it’s been  easy to feel blue over this.  I’ve gotten weepy a number of times over Parrot.  I’ve actually felt a little guilty for what happened to him—I’m part of the species who gave him a rough start and ended his life.  And I feel guilty and angry that it happened on my home turf.  It’s irrational, but the feeling’s there.  He didn’t deserve what happened to him.  He didn’t get the chance to have a long, happy life that he deserved.


But a few days ago, the endlessly and wonderfully cheery Dawn of Lydia and Pugs retweeted something from the Ellen Show that gave me a good little “Aha!” moment.  Ellen was commenting on a news report of a dog who was dragged behind a truck and was—thankfully—recuperating.  Linking to the report, she wrote “As an animal lover, this story broke my heart. As a human, it makes me want to help. You can help, too.”


My goodness, what a wonderful reminder that we can compartmentalize.  As a dog lover, DC resident, and human, Parrot breaks my heart.  As a dog lover, DC resident, and human, it’s my job to act and support the things that will work to make sure this never happens again, not on our watch.


The letters will continue to be sent to the police (who responded to mine with not the typical form letter that went out) and to the soon-to-be mayor (DC’s current one never responded—and then lost his primary two days after the shooting.  Coincidence?), the donations to preventing animal cruelty and breed discrimination will continue to be made.  And the successes towards making this place world safer and more secure for all dogs will be celebrated.


The first item on that list?  Shana.


Shana’s an American Bulldog (a great breed—our neighbors just got one named Roxy and she’s the keeeeee-youtest character) and the first of “Parrot’s Pals”—dogs who are rescued using funds from the Parrot Fund.  She was rescued in South Carolina just days after Parrot’s death and arrived less than a week later


At events, Lucky Dogs wear green bandanas.  In the early pictures before she arrived, Shana was wearing a red polka-dotted one.  In more recent photos, Shana has a green one.

 [There are more pictures of her on Petfinder.  Please go view her page and share it.]

It’s bittersweet and heartwarming.  That look of hope and happiness in her eyes makes genuinely want her to have the all the toys, treats, beds, love, snuggles, tennis balls thrown, adventures, and years that the world can offer.


So very , very much so.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happiness is…

A couple of weekends ago, Alice, the Human Male, and I decided to have breakfast at Founders Park in Old Town, one of my very favorite places in the world. 


The thing that I love most about Founders Park is that it’s everyone’s park.  Every person that walks by, every bench they sit on, every spot on the lawn where they throw a blanket, is theirs.  And yours.  I don’t know quite how to express it in words, but if you ever end up there, you’ll understand.  It belongs to everyone.


That feeling isn’t limited to people.  As The Human Male and I sat on our regular bench, we noticed a black lab that was play in the grass behind us.  His owner had let him off his leash (while not fenced in, it’s considered the “dog” part of the park) and he was playing in the sprinklers.  He bounced through them, tried to bite the water stream, and rolled around on the soppy ground.


I can’t think of the last time I saw such pure joy.




Friday, September 24, 2010

Surf's Up!

Free Kibble's linking to this super cute article and videos on a surfing dog competition today.  Worth a read and a watch.  The bottom video has lots of cute surfing pugs, and Abbie's winning move (which is pretty fantastic) starts around minute 9.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Barrel Oak Winery.

The Sunday of Labor Day weekend, Alice, The Human Male, and I went to the Barrel Oak Winery.  It's located in Delaplane, Virginia, about 55 miles outside of DC.  I'd originally heard about BOW a year or so ago from a Kissable Canine newsletter about dog-friendly places around the area.  More recently, I'd heard about rescue fundraising events being held there.  After finding out they were having an island-themed celebration, we decided it was time to check it out.

It was so much fun.  There were dogs everywhere-- in photos in the bathroom, playing all over the lawn, sitting at the tasting bar, even sitting on a stool inside.

Alice wore her finest lei to the party.

We tried some samples of the wine, which were unbelievably fantastic-- I highly recommend the Seyval Blanc and Traminette.  The Human Male and I ordered some wine, sangria, and some snacks, then went and sat on the lawn to admire the view.

All around, Barrel Oak is a wonderful, wonderful place.  It was dog-friendly, kid-friendly, family-friendly, person who could use a glass of wine and escape from life for a couple hours-friendly.  I'm so excited to go back!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Found/Missing/Found/Missing: A Tree!

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree on the blog before.  By our house we have a planter that had a sad looking pine tree in it.  Since the day we moved in two years ago, the tree has been losing more and more needles.  We thought it actually made it through our Snowmageddons, but it quickly went downhill early this spring.  By the beginning of June, there were seriously only about five needles left on it.  The rest were on our patio.

One Work-at-Home Friday in May or June, I heard some people talking in our courtyard.  It was a couple of people from our front office and a guy who seemed to know a lot about landscaping.  They fawned over some trees in other planters, then walked over to ours and said matter-of-factly, "So, this one's dead."

I immediately texted The Human Male to let him know that we were finally getting a new tree.

I took one last picture with Charlie Brown:

While I was in Portland, they removed it:

And then they put in a new one:

After a couple of weeks, we noticed that New Tree wasn't doing so well.  Shortly afterward, we found a very similar yet healthier one in its place.

The tree seems to still be doing okay (although the sprinkler system in the planter went berserk this weekend and now shoots a 10 foot flood of water against our patio door at 3:30 in the morning).  It's losing some leaves, but I don't know if that's a sign of trouble or Autumn.  Fingers crossed this one holds up!

Dogs + IKEA stuff = The Best Song You’ll Hear this Week.

I heard some rumblings this week about the new OK Go video.  OK Go is a band from Chicago (all the best ones are!) that writes ridiculously catchy songs and are known for their wildly creative videos that tend to be done in one take.  I’m way too old to care about music videos, but I still get stupid excited when a new one comes out. 


I thought their last two videos (This Too Shall Pass and End Love) were spectacular and hard to top.  Alas, they managed:


Three and a half minutes of dogs and stuff from IKEA.


There’s so much to love about this.  My favorite parts are the high shelves, the rainbow boards, the red stools, and the high-five dog.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I oogle over those round desk chairs each and every time I go to IKEA.


And did you notice the screen at the end?    Most of the dogs in the video were rescues, and the band is donating a portion of the proceeds from their video downloads to the ASPCA (here’s their posting on the video).  How cool is that?


I’m hoping that they’ll soon expand it out to the song or album.  Like I said, I’m old and don’t have too much use for videos, but I do like a good beat that I can bug out to now and again.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Best Kind of News.

Remember last January when Then Human Male and I met Matt Damon?  The Lost Dog and Cat Rescue announced today that he was adopted this weekend! 


So, so much happiness!  Matt’s such an awesome, charming boy.  I’m so incredibly excited that he’s been adopted.  That is one tremendously lucky family.


Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m the teeeeensiest bit sad.  The Human Male and I had several discussions (or potentially I talked at him and he was in the room) about adopting him.  I really wanted him.  But honestly, Matt wasn’t our dog—his family was out there, and now they’re finally together.


Welcome home, Matt Damon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pool Party!

Our building’s pool closed for the season yesterday, so for the last few hours, management invited dogs to play in the pool.

Quite a few dogs took them up on their offer.

It was so precious.  Some of the dogs were afraid of the water, including Alice.

Others, like Alice’s friends The Danger Twins (two rambunctious lab mixes), were not so shy to belly-flop right in and swim like it was their job.

Despite her hesitancy, it seemed like Alice wanted to jump in and play.

But she did swim when we pulled her into the pool.

I love how her tail sticks straight up when she swims.

It struck me that she thought of it more as a giant bathtub and less of a rectangular river-- but I do think she enjoyed it.

I know we did.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Found: A Whale!

Another wonderful prize we found in Mystic, Connecticut.  Alice was not so thrilled about this guy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Found: A Store for Alice!

It was a pleasant surprise to find a Black Dog store in Mystic.  We went to one in Martha's Vineyard on a family vacation twelve years ago, and I loved it.  I'm not a big fan of branded things (a funny attribute of someone who does marketing), but I'm a sucker for Black Dog stuff.  First, it's a dog, and second, it was originally used as a way for Martha's Vineyardites to identify one another when they were on the mainland.  How cool is that?  I just had to have my black dog taken in front of their sign.

What was super cool is that they were completely fine that Alice came in the store-- which meant I bought more.  I bought a couple of wine glasses with black dogs etched on them and a new girly collar for Alice.  I couldn't resist.  Alice's regular collar is extremely special-- it's a skull and crossbones collar that was given to her by my friend Lindy as an adoption gift.  It's pretty beat up now, but to "replace" it, the new one had to be tremendously fabulous.  Alice's new one is made of a preppy pink and green-striped ribbon with little black dogs on it.  The color looks great on her-- we can now see her from outside when she stands in the window.  I also think it's funny that it has black dogs on it, plus we're still keeping with her nautical theme.

Anyone heard of overnight fostering?

I don’t think there’s any secret that I’m feeling the urge to get a second dog.  The Human Male, being an unlikely voice of reason, has made a very valid point that we shouldn’t.  I know he’s right, so I’ve thought about doing volunteering and getting my fill of dogs that way.

Last night I was tooling around some local rescue group websites and found that one does overnight fostering.  Basically, if a transport comes in and the foster can’t keep the dog the first night (out of town, prior commitment, etcetera), you bring him in—basically give him dinner, a bath, and a bed for the night.

This definitely got my feelers up.  I think we could have an extra dog for a night every once in a while, and that short of time wouldn’t be a huge commitment and would alleviate concerns of getting too attached.  We definitely have a ton of questions before we’d consider signing up, and I’m just wondering: has anyone done this or know anyone who has?  I’d never heard of this before and it’s intriguing.  I’m very curious if it’s as good as it sounds and what the potential downsides are.

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Found: Mystic Pizza!

On our way home from Providence, I saw signs for Mystic, Connecticut.  Living in New York, I heard a lot about Mystic Seaport-- apparently it's a normal school trip who live in the state.  I'd never been there and was curious about it.  Not only because it's a seaport (I'm a sucker for water and tiny seaside towns), but because of the fabled Mystic Pizza, a la the 80's girly movie.  

I drove the first few hours back and took a detour when we saw the turn-off for Mystic, much to The Human Male's chagrin (though not really a surprise).

In short, Mystic is FREAKING ADORABLE.  In the 20 minutes we were there, it just seemed like the perfect little seaside town.  We got there and my brain immediately started screaming "Don't make me go back to DC!"  I started thinking about how much vacation time I had left and how expensive it would really be to keep our rental car for a few extra days.  We did end up driving back home that day, but I really want to go back.  Now.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I did on my Summer Non-Vacation, Trip #5: Providence, Rhode Island.

After getting home around 8P on Wednesday from Ithaca, we left for another trip on Friday evening.  This time it was to go to my coworker friend Lauren's wedding in Providence, Rhode Island.  I was particularly excited about this one because I'd never been to the state and have heard wonderful, wonderful things about it.  After pricing airline and train tickets to Providence and the cost of boarding Alice, we decided it was most affordable-- and the most fun-- to rent a car and bring Alice along with us.  

I was so burnt out from traveling at this point that I tried my best to ignore that we were on the road, living out of a suitcase, and sleeping in another hotel (I'd been to three that week alone).  But the trip through Connecticut and Rhode Island, along the coast of the Atlantic, was so pleasant.  And Providence was FANTASTIC.  We stayed at the La Quinta in Warwick, which I'd recommend to anyone traveling in that neck of the woods-- they were wonderful and more than accommodating to Alice.  Our little dog quickly made herself at home.

We were extremely lucky that the night we were there that WaterFire was happening after the wedding.  WaterFire is a summer art installation in which they place bonfires in metal baskets in the rivers that run through Providence.  It was so cool, and Alice loved it.

Our stay wasn't long, but it was great and I can't wait to get back and spend more time in Providence.  And Alice is looking forward to it, too!

What I did on my Summer Non-Vacation, Trip #4: Ithaca, New York.

For my fourth trip, I went to a conference in Ithaca, New York.  I was pretty burnt out from traveling at this point, and I had to drive up there (a 7 hour trip up, 8.5 hour trip back).  So I won't get into details on the trip.  Overall, though, Ithaca was great, the drive through Pennsylvania was GORGEOUS, Cornell's a beautiful campus, and I found a spectacular local wine from Six Mile Creek Vineyard (the Seyval Blanc).

I saw this cool piece of a railroad car right along the border in Pennsylvania.  I can't for the life of me remember what it represented.

One interesting thing that I will mention is right outside of Harrisburg, PA, there's a replica of the Statue of Liberty in the Dauphin Narrows section of the Susquehanna River.  It was completely unexpected and supremely cool.  I guess she's 25 feet tall and made of wood, metal, and fiberglass, and built by local Harrisburg residents to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.  I wasn't able to stop and take a picture of it, but if you're heading in that direction, keep your eye out for her. 

I was so, so happy to get back home to Alice.  There's nothing like coming home to a dog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Run, Alice, Run!

On June 19th (not long after I wrote this post), Alice did something she's never done before: she ran in a real 5K!

The Red Cross of the National Capital Region had a 5 and 10K fundraiser, and the 5K (3.1 miles) allowed dogs.  I love the Red Cross-- they helped out a friend after she had a house fire a few years ago, and a good friend of mine used to work there.  When we heard about the dog-friendly race, the Human Male and I jumped on it.

Here's Alice picking up her number at the Alexandria Red Cross Chapter:

And here are some action shots.  I'd like to say that they're blurry not because I was jiggling the camera, but because we were going sooooo faaaaaassst.  Really, I swear! 

Each race I try to find someone that I'll finish before/close to/not far after.  This was Alice's-- the teeniest, tiniest chihuahua ever.  He was seriously four inches tall.

Halfway point!

And here she is crossing the finish line!

I was so proud of her.  Her official time was 39:34-- awesome for a little 22lb dog, especially on a very hot morning!  The wonderful crowd cheered whenever a dog crossed.  It was so sweet.

After the race, Alice was barely winded.

I'm so proud of my little runner!