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Archive for the month “January, 2013”

On the bus to the Super Bowl

I am running a contest here in 3D. 

The first 5 readers who can tell me who played in last year’s Super Bowl will win a bag of Candy Canes and other left over Christmas and Halloween treats. OK?

Actually, I would have a hard time remembering who played. I can think of one team but not both. But in trying to make some plans for this year’s Big Game I remembered one of my favorite posts from last year, where Dylan was not going to lose… the attention of her Dad to some stinking football game.

So while you are trying to think of last year’s teams why don’t you grab a seat On The Bus To The Super Bowl:

Did you have a good time watching the Super Bowl? Do you have any good feasts or scrumptious snacks? I got my honey-do list done just in time to ‘score’ my favorite wings at the ‘What’s Your Blue’s name’ place, Sticky Fingers.

I settled down in front of the TV to see what transpires between the Patriots and Giants (Opps! the Contest is now over) and resolved to have a good time. My two little girls had their own agendas however.

Game On!

One perched on one side of my foot stool and one leaned across the other. Both wanted their share of MY wings. I told Mom, “I didn’t order enough!”. But Skylar was content to gnaw on the left over wings and Dylan made due with some BBQ’y pieces I tore off. Both were fighting for more of Daddy’s attention. And both were gonna lose this one night. I easily brushed them aside and out of my view of the TV as the game started. Not tonight girls!

Shortly after the game started however it was Skylar’s bedtime. Mommy scooped her up, read her a story and tucked her away. Now it was just down to Dylan, mano a mano, so to speak, to compete with my watching the great football finale. Once again I under estimated her!

As my wing dinner disappeared Dylan rethought her strategy. Seeing that my attention was firmly set on the TV, sitting on top of the mantle over our fireplace, she got on board. On the bus….

She says, “Daddy, I’m getting on the bus and you are the bus driver! Where are we going? Good idea?” I didn’t fall for it at first but she insisted. “Daddy, where do you wanna go? I’m ready. You’re the bus driver. I’m in my seat.”

Riding in the back of the bus

You see, she had gathered her toy drum and sat it on the brick ledge in front of the fire place. She put her kiddie chair in front, suggesting another seat on the bus for mommy. She sat back there with her little suitcase, sans pants, yet wearing dress up shoes. She was a force to be reckoned with! When she starts talking in her made up, yet serious  conversations, it just draws you in.

I had to just stall her until her bedtime in 45 minutes. “Do you have everything,” I asked, hoping to have her chase something down and out of my view.

“Yep”, she follows, “You are the bus driver. And I am riding on your bus. Where do you wanna go?”

“Well you better have everything because I am not coming back this way”, remembering how we left  her stuffed rabbit toy in Philadelphia on our last trip. “Everybody buckled in?”

“Yes I am daddy, I mean bus driver. Where are we going?”

“Charleston. Are you buckled in? Do you have everything?” Finally digesting her current outfit I said, “Hey! You can’t travel on my bus without any pants on. You have to be wearing pants to be on my bus!”. ~ I got her now!

She runs over to the chair where mommy had her folded baby laundry and pulls up the first pair of pants laying on top, then runs back to her spot at the back of the bus, conveniently during a commercial.         

I said, “Come back here young lady. I don’t know if that outfit is going to fly on this bus!” Seeing something funny is happening here, I told her, “I am going to have to get a picture of you to see if you can wear this outfit on my bus and turn it into my supervisor.” So I took her picture and then she ran back to her seat.

“Are we ready to go now bus driver”, she happily asks as she sees she is winning. “I’m ready. Where are we going to?”

“Charleston”, I told her. “Do you have everything? We’re not coming back this way. Are you buckled in?”

“Ahhhhh, bus driver? Can we stop back at the hotel? I think I left ‘rabbit’ back there. Then we can pick him up. Good idea?”

Well…..Good idea?

“No, pretty little rider in the back seat. We are headed to Charleston. Now, do you have everything? Are you buckled in? We’re not coming back ths way!”

Grabbing a DVD case I spied lying on the floor I picked it up and offered it as the in ‘bus trip’ movie. Dylan smiled, but missing the ball with my cleverness she said, “but you are looking at the TV. I don’t have one. How can I watch the movie? But I am ready to go bus driver”, she sad with a grin.

Just then one of the elaborate Super Bowl commercials came on. In the background was the song, “Wild Thing”, with the chant “Wild Thing”. With the ‘wings’ apparently kicking in, I offered up my extent of dancing, some head shaking and lip synching (sad, I know) to the song, while I sat on the sofa. Jumping on my enthusiasm to the song, my 4 year old jumps up out of her bus seat and starts shaking dancing like it was the ‘Funky Cold Medina. Where does she get this I thought? Luckily she enjoyed the song and attention long enough that I had time to catch a picture even with this slow digital camera.

Wild thing….you make my heart sing…

You couldn’t help but smile. Even mommy, looking up from her book, had to smile. My ‘pretty little bus passenger’ then hopped back in her seat and told me, “I’m ready to go daddy, I mean bus driver. Where are we going?”
I looked up for the score, seeing the end of the first quarter. It was ‘Dylan 14 – Super Bowl 3‘. She was going to go into her bedroom for night-night and win again. I don’t mind. Its not like I let her win, given what’s on the TV. But she still won. She’s a pretty smart girl. Maybe Gisele should model her for a while.


I am running a contest here in 3D. 

The first 5 readers who can tell me who played in last year’s Super Bowl will win a bag of Candy Canes and other left over Christmas and Halloween treats. OK?

Actually, I would have a hard time remembering who played. I can think of one team but not both. But in trying to make some plans for this year’s Big Game I remembered one of my favorite posts from last year, where Dylan was not going to lose… the attention of her Dad to some stinking football game.

So while you are trying to think of last year’s teams why don’t you grab a seat OnThe Bus To The Super Bowl:

Did you have a good time watching the Super Bowl? Do you have any good feasts or scrumptious snacks? I got my honey-do list done just in time…

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Interview with a Mermaid

As introverts go, I really enjoy meeting new and interesting people. It’s a big reason I stay on WordPress as I have met many here. I think one is reading this post right now!

Last week as I was stalking strolling WordPress and reading some stuff when I actually ran across a Mermaid, I mean a real live Mermaid, the Chubby Mermaid! chubby-mermaid

Go figure? I mean, why not here on WordPress, right? 

I was pretty excited, living on the coast and being a beach bum myself. And some of you may know another one in the family that likes Mermaids, ah…ah…ah:

Dylan w Ariel, Eric and King Triton

So I thought this was pretty cool. I checked out the Mermaid’s blog and it was probably a little of what I expected as it was not a usual human type of blog. She has a different kinda outlook plus a very optimistic and whimsical spirit to her. Never mind the title to her blog, this blog is phat! (Sorry, the pun was there I had to take it)

I told my daughters about finding a real live mermaid and their eyes lit up! “What daddy? You found a real mermaid in the computer?”   

Being the good dad that people seem to think I am, I tried to think of how to get some sort of way for my kids to meet this mermaid.

Skype was out as Skype doesn’t get under water I found. Something about the frequency waves and all the Skype spam it carries.

So I thought….

A demanding pair of girls ‘virtually’ would not give up. Humoring both the girls I asked, “What would you say to a mermaid if you met one?” They thought about it and came up with a wide range of questions.

Inspired, I hurriedly scribbled some down and thought maybe this mermaid would like to answer my girls’ questions personally. So I sent questions to her. Not surprisingly, this gracious mermaid found the time to reply to my girls with some answers and her positive outlook on life from the sea:

 Interview With A Mermaid:

1.   Everyone has a name, what is your real name? My name is Dylan. What’s yours? (after I told her the Mermaid I found was called the Chubby Mermaid)

This is some pretty top secret stuff…..I’ve never told any of my computer friends my name before. 🙂

My name is  Ambra

2.     Where do you live?

I live at the end of the street from the water  in a Texas city very close to the bottom of the United States.

Ambra's Home

This is what I see every night from where I live.  I love pretty lights…..don’t you?

3.     How do you make cups?

 I’ve been wondering that for so long too…..I don’t really know but isn’t this cool

4.     What did you have for breakfast today?

 I had some extra strong coffee and lots of whip creme 🙂  Shhh, don’t tell my mom.

5.     Do you ever wish you were a person and got 2 legs like Ariel?

I used to wish that all the time.  Then I realized that being a mermaid is neat….and maybe there are a lot of things I won’t ever get to do because I don’t have legs but there’s an awful lot of people that might like to be a mermaid too.  So that makes me feel pretty lucky!

6.     What does Autumn mean? I’m not sure…

 Autumn is a really pretty time of year where everything changes colors and it gets a little cooler outside.  It is also the time of year where we go back to school  and make friends and learn things.

7.     Do you know Ariel?     Ariel

Of course.  I see her every year at the mermaid parade  at Coney Island.  The mermaid parade is a great big family reunion for mermaids.  She is very sweet and a great mommy.  Her favorite color is purple and she is a fantastic singer.

8.     And there’s a bad person named Ursula. Do you know her?

I’ve never met her….Thank goodness.  But you’ll be happy to hear that no mermaid has seen or heard from her in a very very long time. 🙂 


9.     Is it cold where you live? It got really cold here today.

It isn’t very cold at all. Today the sun was shining and  the water was warm. It was 73 degrees outside.  I almost never have to go outside with a coat.  Which is good….I don’t think I’ve ever met a mermaid that likes to wear a coat. I don’t even own one right now

10.  How are, um, How do you play football?

I don’t even know what football is???  It sounds hard….maybe even impossible.

11.  Is school fun? I start school next year.

School is extra fun.  You get to try new things and meet many different kinds of people.  You also get to sing songs, play on playgrounds, read books, color, play instruments, and learn many important things that will make you super smart.

12.  Do you have to hold your nose underwater? I still hafta hold my nose.

 Nope- I don’t hold my nose at all.  But I do  blow lots of bubbles through my nose underwater.  Its fun!  Do you ever do that?  It can get silly and it makes swimming a whole bunch easier.

13.  What is your favorite (TV) show? Mine is the Winks Club. And Batman. And Sponge Bob Square Pants

I don’t really get good reception in my fishtank 😦  but I do sometimes watch movies about acrobats and dancers. This girl hula hoops so well…. 

14.  Do you like parties? (she just had one in her bedroom)

Yeah I like parties—-especially parties where everyone dresses up.  You should have a party where everyone dresses like a mermaid!! That would be really fun! I could help with that too! : )

15.  What does Mermaid mean?

It basically means ocean lady.

16.  What does Water mean?


17.  Are you a Princess Mermaid?

Not technically — but sometimes I realize how lucky  I am and  it makes me feel like a pretty magical princess.  Do you ever feel that way? 

18.  Why are monsters bad?

I don’t think all monster are bad…..I think they look funny…but they aren’t all bad.  I bet there are a lot more nice ones than there are bad ones.

good monsters

19.  Do you like to sing?

YES!!!! I love to sing!  It is one of my favorite things to do.  Singing always makes me feel happy….. 

Here is a video of me singing with my puppies!! 

20.  Why does Skylar (her sister) not know how to make pictures?

Maybe she is waiting till she is a little older and for her sweet sister to show her how! 🙂

Thanks so much for your answers and comments Ambra (I hate calling you the Chubby Mermaid) and taking time out of your busy day. My girls want to meet you more than ever now! We’ll have to work on that one.

Some of you may know I turned 50 this year. I actually did the 50 year male physical this morning. Do any of you know what all that encompasses? All sorts of insertions and body invasions, some of which the doctor says, are so uncomfortable that they will actually put me to sleep for some.” WHAT?!

It makes me wish I was a mermaid, er, merman, and get out of some of this stuff. So let’s keep our waters clean of toxins and foreign objects so our new friend,  Ambra and all the other merpeople, so they don’t have to worry about their health too. They’ll only have to worry about Ursula.

Have a great day Ambra!

Tell Ariel that Dylan and Skylar said Hello!

Dylan asks, “How did you get on land to play the guitar?”

…more questions I’m afraid 🙂

Party Time!!!

Wait. Wait. Wait!  Put the 5 Hour Energy and the Monster Fuel away. This is not going to be an all-nighter (it better not) I was catching up on some reading and projects when my 4 year old came over and told me its “Party Time!”

This time she means business. She came over and cornered me with her posse, Ariel, Eric and King Triton. There was no getting out of this one!

I explained, “I still have some work to do”!

Dylan put on her sad heartbreak face, as she looked down to the floor with her somber look, barely showing her eyes from beneath her hair hanging down.

I said, “But I have nothing to wear!”

So Dylan pulls out her Dora costume for me; a red halter top and baggie genie pants.

I told her, “This will never fit me!” I tried on the red halter top (please don’t picture this!) And sure enough it was too small.

So Dylan ran to get her Tinker Bell outfit for me.

Sorry! Ain’t gonna be no stinkin’ fairy I thought. Feeling the peer pressure I thought I would humor her. Sure enough, it was not going to fit either. I tried!

“Well daddy why don’t to try dis on?” she says, handing me her pink tu-tu from last Valentines day.

Darn! She got me that time as it was a tie-string format. I reluctantly agreed. ~sorry no pictures of this!

Dylan gathered her friends put them in the lil’ shopping cart she got for Christmas and said, “Come on dad, its dis way to the party.” as she walked back the hallway.

I still had so much work to do I knew I didn’t dare ‘throw down’ like days of old. What to do? She had me. I drew a heavy sigh of relief as I saw where the party was going… back to Grandma’s room, a.k.a. her nap room.

So I told her of the great kinds of parties we had when I was a kid (when we still lived by candlelight). I told her they were the best parties, the most popular ones….Slumber parties! And I explained the concept to her.

I told her, her and her friends could sit around and talk about who they liked and who liked them. And when they wake up we would have pizza for everyone; it’ll only be 5:00pm, so no pancakes this time.

The party crew: Dylan, holding Ariel in her PJ’s, Eric, and King Triton

Seeing she’s buying into this I threw in how I would take some pictures ( I really needed some blog fodder) so that her and her friends could share and save the party forever. As my parents did, I warned her there was to be no talking after I turned out the lights and checked for any flashlights in the room; and cell phones, or games, lip gloss, small computers ~ its so cool to be a kid now a days!    She said, “OK”.

They slipped on their jammies and I put a finger to my mouth, saying “Hush, be quiet. I don’t want to come back here and see you girls talking after I leave.”

Dylan gave me a nod but then sprang up, as in another attempt to postpone the inevitable, and said, “I still hafta go potty!”

You girls better be sleeping back there!

I asked, ” who else in here needs to go potty?” But the room was silent.

She went. She did. She went back to the slumber party with out incident and I shut the door hoping to get some work done in the quiet. Another party under my belt (sigh) Just in time I thought. No more life in the fast lane for me

Wait. Hold on a second. Do I hear boys back there?

She never ceases to amaze me!

Make a Fast Friend

Make a fast friend. Adopt a greyhound. That’s what the tag on my license plate says. We adopted a greyhound 9 years ago. Dylan still talks about him. In fact, it’s why I am doing this post. A few weeks back, when I found all those lost CD’s with pictures on them while packing up, Dylan spotted a few of  ‘Cloudy‘. To this day she still talks about him and even prays for him.

w cloudHe was a great pet, a good watch dog, and great friend. We miss him and are making plans for adopting another after the new house is purchased (one reason house #2 really didn’t work).

So, one night this week I decided to go shopping at our local Greyhound adoption web site, Greyhound Crossroads. The unfortunate end to these athletes is sad in so many ways. That’s why adoption agencies and foster houses are set up for greyhounds.

When walking Cloud on the beach I was made to feel like a celebrity because so many people wanted to come up and pet him; especially excited kids.


So I wanted to tell you all a little bit more about these lovable pets and too often misunderstood breed. So I contacted the Greyhound Crossorad’s director, Joanne Johnson,  and asked for some fast facts on greyhounds.

Now any pet in shelters or in harm’s way is worth adopting. No debating it. Greyhounds, however, have a few misconceptions that people have that keep them from being adopted, Joanne Johnson said in her email. We hear these same things every time we have the dogs out in public. So these are the things we really try to educate people about. For instance:

1) People think they are high energy because they are race dogs – the opposite is actually true. They are sprinters and very low energy. They race only once every 3 -5 days for 30 seconds at the track. That keeps them in top physical form and is all they can do without risking injury because they are low energy dogs. The rest of the time they are resting and sleeping. They have a nick name of ‘couch potato’.

100_0427   100_0151

2) People think they can’t be apartment dogs and need huge yards to run in because they think they are high energy. They are actually very good apartment dogs because of their low energy level and quiet nature. Although they do love to run we don’t require fenced yards if a family will leash walk them. A short walk can drain their energy as well as a run because they are such low energy dogs.

How many of you would like a reason to go for a walk each night?


3) People think they can’t live with cats or small animals – not true. We do get a few that have too high of a prey drive to live with small animals but most are fine with cats and some even live with rabbits and birds. Probably 80 percent or maybe even more than that are fine with small animals.


4) Retired race dogs aren’t old. Most are only 2 or 3 years old. Some of the better racers may retire at 4 or rarely 5. Even fast dogs start slowing a little in their 4th year and since one second separates the winner from the last place dog it doesn’t take much slowing to end in retirement. Few dogs ever race when they are 5. Ones that are really poor racers can retire out of training well before their second birthday when they are still pups.

cloudy yawn

We got Cloud just after he turned 2. His real name was Dana’s Cloud Nine on the track. He didn’t place that often they told us, so they took him off the track early. He was built like a bodybuilder,  with bulging shoulders and hip muscles on a well chiseled frame. Greyhounds can be pure motivation to fitness enthusiasts.  As a runner, he was always inspiring to me.

5) People think they have been abused and may have behavior issues from training on the track. Greyhounds are elite athletes and trainers only make money when they win races. Any abuse or bad treatment will make them run slower and trainers will make nothing. The average greyhound has over $3000 put into them before they start racing so are a considerable an investment for their owners. It wouldn’t make sense for an owner to send a dog worth that much money to any trainer that might harm it or not take good care of it.

Most trainers chose their profession the same way everyone else does, because it is something they like doing. They love working with dogs and greyhounds in particular. To us, it was like Cloudy had already been to obedience school from the very beginning. He needed housebroken but was otherwise very well mannered. You are actually living with an actual retired professional athlete!


6) Most greyhounds are very social and very bonded to humans BECAUSE of their trainers and the people that work with them at the track and dog farms. So it is natural that they will become bonded to their new owners as well.

Wake me when it's time for dinner

Wake me when it’s time for dinner

What else is the baby gonna do?

What else is the baby gonna do?

The biggest behavior problem we see with greyhounds is actually separation anxiety, which is caused by being too bonded to people and not something you see in abused dogs that are afraid of people.


7) Along the same lines people also think that greyhounds are forced to race and hate it. Greyhounds can’t be forced to do much of anything and are famous for turning into statues when forced to do something they don’t want to. They were bred to run and chase for thousands of years. Their pedigree includes, big lungs, tails for rudders and little to no coat to slow them down.

Dogs that don’t have the instinct to give 100 percent effort at the track couldn’t ever win even if someone could force them to run. They are no more forced to run than a herding dog is forced to herd, a retriever is forced to play ball or a water dog is forced to swim. It is what they love and what they want to do more than anything else.


The only thing Cloud enjoyed doing was running. He got so excited when I took the leash off of him on the beach. He didn’t chase balls or fetch sticks. Greyhounds are truly something to watch when they take off; a combination of grace and power, along with a blur of winding legs and determination.

Rumor has it they can go from 0 – 60 mph in 5 steps. I found that not too far from the truth when I thought I would try to jog with him on the beach one time.

Every Sunday I would take Cloud for a walk on the beach as long as it stayed warm. It was therapy for both of us.  I was feeling stupid froggy one day and thought Cloud might run beside me while I ran on the beach. I took the leash off and he took off. The best I hoped for was to try to keep him in sight. I eventually caught him as he decided to relieve himself in the back yard of one of the million dollar houses along the beach.

Race you to the dunes!

Race you to the dunes!

8) People sometimes think greyhounds aren’t friendly, social dogs because they don’t bounce and wag their tails as much as higher energy breeds when meeting new people. They also hold their ears back when relaxed which makes them look stressed or shy.


When greyhound get real relaxed they like to roll over and lay on their backs, often with their paws up in the air.  They do this frequently when they are at ease. The first time we saw it we just looked at each other and laughed. They have no shame we thought.

No shame!

No shame!

They are just low energy and aren’t hyper like other breeds so most greet people calmly and politely when out in public; i.e. well-mannered. That is one of the reasons they excel as therapy dogs.


Dylan saw this next picture. It is from when we first picked up Cloudy from Greyhound Crossroads. They take a picture to show another successful adoption. Dylan asks, “Why am I not in this pictures? Where was I?”

cloudy n us

I politely replied, “Well you weren’t born yet. We got Cloudy before you were born.”

Enthusiastically, Dylan responded, “So I was in Mommy’s tummy then, right?

OMG, it is too early for this talk! “No Dylan. Cloudy just came a few years before you.”

So I keep looking at the greyhound adoption site to see if one is available close to us. And then Dylan, and Skylar, and Mommy and Daddy can have a Fast Friend again.

Here are a few more of our great friend. If you want a fast friend, google greyhound adoptions in your area. And adopt your own retired athlete.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Greyhounds like the water too, although Cloudy never did master the 'jumping of waves'.

Greyhounds like the water too, although Cloudy never did master the ‘jumping of waves’.

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