Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Its here, its here!

Today it was finally ready.
A project that I have been working on for quite a while now.
It was scary, nerve wrecking and totally went against my Dutch nature that told me it would never work.
How dare I think that people were waiting for this.
But…I was asked to do it, more then once.
And so without further ado, here it is…

Friday, September 9, 2011

And after Irene we met Lee...

While big parts of the US are still recovering from Irene, Lee came over for a visit.
And boy, is he overstaying his welcome.
He started Sunday night with rain and it hardly stopped raining until since.
Being Dutch I thought I was used to a bit of rain, but this is a bit much, even for me.

But first let me tell you, with Irene we got lucky, we had some wind, some rain, but nothing really bad, unlike a big part of the east coast. Devastating floodings in which people lost their lives, their homes, the places they earned money.

And now Lee showed up, with lots, lots of rain.
This time we aren't getting away that easy. Nothing really bad, but Lehto and Lee don't get along.
Lehto wants to go outside and play and run, but Lee won't let him.
Because, and you may not know this, 21 week old galgo's do melt in the rain.
And you better believe it, because there is no way you are going to ignore his pathetic little yelps when his earsies get wet. Or the crazy run through the house after which he tries to dry his ears by first rubbing them with his feet and if that doesn't help, rub them on the carpet.
I must say, he is getting better though after day 4 of constant rain. Whats not getting better is his behavior.
He just wants to go out, play, run, chase rabbits. And since that won't work, he pesters his sister Paquita.
Tries to eat my plants, my oven mitt, my hands and every single piece of paper he can find.

Oh, and we have some leakage, yes, also from Lehto , but also in our living room.
Its not as bad as it was 2 years ago, we had that repaired, but its at the same spot. There is a new ring appearing in the ceiling and the drywall feels damp.
In June of this year we had golfball sized hail and I am thinking this might be the culprit. After the hailstorm we saw signs showing up in the neighborhood, all from roofing companies. So after asking a few questions we found out that some people were getting a new roof. Long story short, we are getting one also, like almost 60% of our neighbors. The adjuster from our insurance had no doubt, we needed all the shingles replaced, the gutters, and also the siding on the back of the house.
Right now we are waiting for that. And I guess we will have to get some drywall and ceiling repaired also.

And we are the lucky ones, not far from us 10.000 people are evacuated, many are flooded and it looks like there will be problems with drinking water. Roads are blocked and the Turnpike is closed.

Am really glad we are on a mountainside and it is supposed to stop raining tomorrow…

Just hope Maria and Nate don't decide to drop in also.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shaken…not stirred

You probably already heard it on the news.
But 24 hours ago a huge part of the US East coast trembled and shook.
The biggest and most wide felt earthquake on the East coast for more then 100 years.
For the people in DC and New York this was a more then rare event.

And it certainly wasn't something I expected when I moved here.
In the time Jack and I only talked though the internet or on the phone, he assured me that hardly anything happens over here. Worst case would be a storm or so much snow that we wouldn't have power for a while.

Well…we rarely lose power.

But within the almost 2 years we live here, we had 3 earth quakes, several snowstorms, a hailstorm last June, so bad, we need our roof replaced and new siding on the back of our house.
We had a tornado touchdown and spent several hours in our basement with 3 dogs because of that.
That whole week we had tornado warnings and are now drilled on how to react to that.
Our garden flooded twice this year because of flash floods.
And yippie, we are supposed to get a visit from hurricane Irene coming weekend.

Nah….nothing ever happens here.

Yesterdays earth quake was scary, it only lasted for 20 to 30 seconds, but it felt like there was a big truck driving through our house.
It really is a scary to feel the earth under you move and the whole house shake. For a moment I was scared my computer screen would fall over and our new puppy (I'll be blogging about him soon) came running to see what was going on.

And we were miles and miles away from the epicenter.
But, other then in other area's around here, earthquakes are not uncommon in this area.
Dillsburg is supposedly on a small fault and we get minor quakes now and then.
And I don't like them.
You can't prepare for them, they suddenly happen unlike tornado's or severe thunderstorms.

For those we get warnings on our local tv stations. And after the tornado touch down in Dillsburg, I do pay attention to those warnings.

Anyway, nothing ever happens in Dillsburg…

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's been too long

For weeks now I have been dreading this. I avoided the blog, didn't want to write again about the last 2 months.
Writing an entry would mean I had to write about losing our boy Johnny.
And I really didn't want to do it again. In these things I may be a bit different from most people in that I write about it right away,  in the days after it and the more time passes, the harder it gets for me.
Its been 7 weeks now and the house feels quiet, way to quiet.

Johnny was our goofball, the one who would greet you like you were his long lost friend, even when you only went out to get the mail. He was the one making sure that we wouldn't forget to feed them, starting 45 to 30 minutes before it was time.
Jack told me why he decided to adopt him. When he went to the adoption kennels, he was the one who had spent the longest time there. He was covered in scars, his tail looking like a rats tail without any hair.
But he was happy and loved the attention. And Jack couldn't leave him behind.
Johnny was quite the character. Spoiled by Jack, he owned the couch, his side of the bed and choose where he wanted to walk. When I came in the picture, he didn't like the  changes and wanted to let me and Cara know. We both didn't take his (excuse the language) 'shit' and he never tried again. Cara used him as her favorite pillow and I gained a loyal friend.
To be honest, even though he was huge, he wasn't the smartest, but sweet.
He had the most funny facial expressions I have seen in a greyhound and I loved taking his pictures.
And silently I always had to laugh when people commented on his pictures with words like handsome, gorgeous and so on and think to myself, so many people passed his kennel not seeing the beauty of this goofy black boy, all they saw were his bald spots, the scars and his black coat.
It was their loss…

He left us with a very quiet house and 3 dogs. And within days, even with our sadness, we found ourselves looking for 'something or someone' who could bring back the laughter in our house. We needed a goofy addition to our other sweet dogs.
And don't ask me how it happened, because I never intended to do this, but in 3 days Lehto will come to live with us.
He is a Spanish galgo from AsociaciĆ³n BaasGalgo and is only 12 weeks old!
I'll tell more about him soon.  But right now we are exited and to be honest, a little nervous. 
How will our family adapt to a puppy?
It will be interesting, I'm sure.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Warning, it's a dogblog!

And it shouldn't be a surprise for people who know me.
After all, they have seen the updates on Facebook and have been sending well wishes for the dog going to the vet at that particular moment.
For almost 2 months now we have been regulars at the vet and I am guessing it won't be long before we get the invitation to an open house for their French vacation chalet. We probably supported enough for all the plumbing to be done by now.
I 'am'  joking, but only a bit, for the last 2 months we had to visit the vet at least once a week and it all started with Johnny who seemed to have a bit of an incontinence problem. Long story short, he reacted very bad to the medication and it is only thanks to a prior experience with one of my galgo's that he got away with ' just'  seizures. For the people who want to know what medication it is that sighthounds can react bad to, specially if they have high blood pressure, it is Phenylpropanolamine. Also known as PPA and given often to dogs that suffer from spay incontinence.
Johnny has had two seizures now and is on medication, for both the seizures and his bloodpressure.
In the meantime, both girls have been vaccinated and Sunday night Tex suddenly had an episode  in which he totally freaked out, panicked and somehow got his front leg in the air vent. Several x-rays later he is now sporting a nice big bandage and his muzzle to keep him from chewing and licking. 

One of our kitchen cabinets now has been taken over by medication for all dogs and the stuff I am using to get my own health back to where it should be and a huge jar of peanut butter. Johnny alone gets 11 pills in 24 hours.
Add to that the peanut butter it takes for him to wswallow them down, you might be able to imagine the paint peeling farts we have to endure these days.
And lets be honest, greyhound farts aren't known to smell like roses to start with.

But, that is life with senior dogs, Tex is 13 now, Johnny is 10 and Paquita turns 9 this month.
Compared to them, Cara is still a baby at around 4 years old.

Speaking of which, her pictures are selling better and better and not just that, we've been donating her prints for several auctions and they are doing very nice in bringing in bids for greyhound and galgo causes.
From tomorrow on you can bid on one of them in an auction to benefit Dr. Cauto's bone cancer in greyhounds  research. More information can be found here:

If you are interested in buying one of my pictures, check them out at :   

I'll leave you with a Little White Monster picture and am off to put on a sweater since Spring seems to have trouble finding us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Made some changes

Tomorrow it is 4 weeks (I think) ago that I was told to make some real changes in my lifestyle or I was heading for some serious heart and vascular trouble within 10 years. (think heart attack before I would be 56)
After a bit of a struggle, we are getting there. And yes, Jack is reading the back labels of everything we buy at the Giant also, searches the web for information and eats, mostly, what I eat. And, a bit adjusted, my son does too.
These days we can be found at the organic isle, the vegetarian cooling and the (yes Mom, it is true) at the fish department.
And slowly I am starting to realize that this is becoming a quite interesting change in feeding ourselves.
Certainly after a friend suggested a book that is called 'Cholesterol down'.

This book gave us some clues on what foods are really good on bringing the bad cholesterol down within 4 weeks. Not that I am aiming on just pleasing the doctor next month, but I really want to avoid taking medication for the rest of my life.
Much to Jack's pleasure one of the clues is eating a bowl of oatmeal every day. He boils water, adds the oats and puts some honey in there. To be honest, just the sight of it makes me queasy. I 'll stick to my way of eating oats. After looking around, I found a perfectly fine muesli, add some greek yoghurt and I am happy.  Other things are: eating a lot of vegetables, raw if possible and beans, kidney beans, black beans, all types except for green beans, the well known apple a day (red if possible) and with skin, adding two teaspoons of flaxseed meal, a handful of almonds and for me, adding Metamucil, a fiber, to my diet 3 times a day.
And even if this wouldn't bring down my cholesterol, we can at least heat our house with the bio gas we produce.
For once we are worse then our 4 dogs.

A good way to burn that off and recommended in the book is walking, 30 minutes a day. Now, I still have to get Jack to do that, but for myself I think I am fine in that department, going to the gym 4 to 5 times a week and every week an hour yoga should be enough exercise.
Also for myself I decided to cut out alcohol totally. But, I still drink my 3 cups of coffee in the morning.

All in all we find the new food we try tasty, I love Quinoa for example and we have no trouble adjusting to it.
The only problem for me is, if I eat everything that is recommended, I would end up eating too much and I do want to get rid of a lot of pounds. So I have to restrict myself.
And that is hard, but…I lost about 10 (US) pounds already. It is going slow, but it is happening.

I do have one complaint though.
Did they really have to deliver the girl scout cookies now?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Met de billen bloot, or…coming clean

Think I need to, unless you don't want me to?

Oh, you do want to hear it? Well, only if you promise not to laugh. Really, don't.
I am so embarrassed by it, I should have known better.

Anyway, here we go.
In the 17 months we live here, I gained about a kilo a month. Around 35 pounds in total.
Totally fell into the trap that is called good food, a glass of wine and worst of all, no exercise.
Which is bad for someone like me, since I used to do everything on my bike, groceries, going to work, visit family. And besides that, I walked the dogs, 4 times a day for at least 30 to 45 minutes every walk and one of the walks would be more than an hour. And really, it is easier to eat healthy in the Netherlands than over here. Portions are bigger, a lot of food contains more sugar and or salt. And lets not forget the refills you get when eating out.

And yes, I was totally aware of this. Heck, I had to, at some point I didn't fit into my clothes anymore and we went shopping. Fitting clothes, while trying to avoid looking in the mirror.
A few months ago I got my membership to Planet Fitness and went there several times a week.
But somehow nothing happened. I still gained, a bit less fast, but still…

A few weeks ago I had my first doctors appointment. Over here you need a physical for your drivers permit. And found out I am being punished pretty hard for being overweight for about a year now.
After a blood test the doctor told me my body is totally out of whack. Blood pressure, liver, cholesterol, nothing as it should be.
I was more or less given the idea that there was no way this was the result of just 1.5 year of being like this.
Left the office wondering if I really was an alcohol or drug abuser that only ate fast food.
Soon an envelope with diet and other rules was found in our mailbox.

Basically it comes to this, avoid everything that comes from animals unless it is non-fat. Try to avoid any sugars and eat whole grains and lots of green vegetables.
Decided also to not have any alcohol and most of all, not take any painkillers for my arm.

Slowly it is starting to work.
The first pounds are gone. It was frustrating in the beginning, in the first week I even gained again, but now it is starting to work.
What helped a lot was changing my cardio work out, instead of using the treadmill, I am on the elliptical now.  Also found that I love strength training which is new to me since I used to like endurance.

In April I have to get back to the doctor to check my blood again. Hope to come back with a clean bill of health.
And one thing I know now, you don't have to be very overweight to have it be a very bad influence on your health. In my case, every pound more than 140 (63 kg) is a threat to my health.

So, there it is.

You can laugh now...