Saturday, June 27, 2009

I recently started working out with a personal trainer again after not having done that for several years. I really like my trainer and I have no doubt that if I could afford to train with him 2-3 times a week, I would drop weight in no time. My trainer is a really cool guy. His name is Demarcus, he is 25, and he played basketball for one of the universities in Arkansas on a full scholarship. I noticed today that he has a huge Sweet Sixteen basketball ring on his finger, and asked him what it was like playing during March Madness. He broke into a huge grin and said it was awesome. I asked if it was a lot of pressure and he said, "The only pressure was that you might lose and have to go home, except you don't think you're going to lose. No one thinks they are going to lose." Somehow during our conversation, oddly enough, he asks me if I know who Arvydas Sabonis is. Of course, I do! He was the best Center that the Portland Trailblazers ever had, in my humble opinion, and he is my favorite player. In fact, I wear the number 11 on my hockey jersey in honor of Mr. Sabonis.

Not only that, Wally is named after him. Sabonis, a giant Lithuanian ballplayer, was 7'3" and 315 lbs when he played for the Blazers. I loved to watch him play. I got Wally when Sabonis was still with the Blazers, and when I saw how huge Wally was getting, I decided to name him fully "Walter Sabonis" - the name that is on his AKC paperwork.

When Demarcus saw how I excited I was to talk about Sabonis, he called his friend over. His friend (I can't remember his name) is a Lithuanian born German visiting the U.S. to rehab a basketball injury. His father was very good friends with Arvydas Sabonis and he had many, many stories to tell. He said, "I could talk all day about Sabonis."

For those of you unfamiliar with him, Sabonis was one of the best players to play European ball. He was drafted by the Trailblazers in 1986 when he was a teenager, but he couldn't come to the U.S. because he was a Russian citizen and the cold war was still in full force. When he tore his achilles, the Blazers brought him to the U.S. and paid the best surgeons to repair his injury, sending him back to the Soviet Union stronger than ever, where he would ultimately beat the United States with the Soviet team for the gold medal in the 1988 summer Olympics. He finally came to the U.S. and the NBA in 1995 - a 31-year-old rookie - already suffering injuries and playing a slower game. I've always wondered what he could have been like if he could have come to the U.S. in 1986 and played in the NBA when he was young, fast, and uninjured.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I am a terrible blogger. I used to have things to say, and now I just can't find anything interesting to write. It's hot here. Crazy hot. And not just Southern California hot but Texas hot, which includes a giant dose of humidity to make you all that much more miserable. Because of the heat, the dogs have been shedding like crazy. I have enough extra fur in this house to make an extra army of dogs. Charles took Wally outside the other day to brush him out. Here is the documentation of his brushing - see how much he enjoyed it - and see how much fur has come off him. Happy Wally Wednesday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two good things in one night. First, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup.

And then...Charles proposed!

I've never liked traditional engagement rings with a big diamond sticking out, and am extremely happy with this white gold eternity band.

All in all, a pretty good night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We had a crazy thunderstorm tonight. T-storms are crazy here in Texas. There were tornado warnings as well. I think I miss earthquakes. You don't know when they're coming, and they don't last very long. I could care less about the thunderstorms - I actually rather like them - but I'm not looking forward to my first tornado. Poor Kraut has been shaking (he's currently laying on my feet burrowed under my desk) and he wouldn't even eat his dinner. Oh, and we now have an E-Z Up in our backyard...except it doesn't belong to us. It belongs to our neighbor, and this happens every time there is a storm or a lot of wind. We'll have to go out in the morning and throw it back over the fence again. Very annoying.
Happy Wally Wednesday! Here he is, shaking off at the lake the other day:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I've been trying to spend a little more time getting stuff up on the blog, and also trying to get back into the swing of reading other people's blogs. I have two new ones to add to the mix if anyone is interested.

One is the blog of my old friend, Michelle, who is mother of two boys diagnosed with Aspergers. She's also an avid knitter, and is probably the first young person I knew who knitted long before knitting became trendy. You can find her blog here.

Some of you also may be familiar with HGTV designer Angelo Surmelis. He keeps a fairly regular blog which includes design tips, information on recent designs he's done, and lots of Flip video of himself and his cute rescue dog, Baxter. His blog can be found here.

Enjoy and happy blogging!

Monday, June 08, 2009

One thing I've been rather paranoid about since moving to Texas is the fear that I may accidentally acquire an accent. I only spent a month in Australia and still find myself saying, "No worries," and "Cheers" at times. I was at the ice rink the other night, sitting next to another girl on the bench in the locker room. She started a conversation with me, asking where I'd moved from, etc. She was talking about how much she absolutely loves Dallas with a thick Texan drawl. I asked, "So, you're from here, then?" and she answered, "Oh, no...I'm from Washington State." (For those of you not keeping track, I am also from Washington). If any of you sees me in the near future, and you hear me say so much as "y'all," please slap the shit out of me.

I've been enjoying the new camera, even though I have no idea how to really use it yet. I put the telephoto lens on for the first time yesterday and took the dogs to the lake:

Saturday, June 06, 2009

I finally bought an SLR digital camera. I've been wanting to buy one for a long time but haven't been able to justify spending the money since I have a perfectly good Canon 12 megapixel point and shoot camera. But then I got a catalog from a nearby college and saw that they offer an intro to digital photography class, and I figured it would be a good chance to get out and meet some other people in town. I bought a Canon Digital Rebel XSI with a standard lens, and a 50-200mm telephoto lens. I have no idea how to use it, but have had some fun trying out different options while shooting the dogs. Consider this a belated Wally Wednesday, as this is one of the cutest photos I've ever taken of him.

Here's Grace doing what Grace does best - sleeping -

Kraut, ever alert -

And Kraut and Grace playing. Don't worry, it's all in good fun -

Monday, June 01, 2009

About 6 years ago, I was visiting my friend, Robert, in Seattle. While in downtown, I visited the Westlake Shopping Center and ended up buying a necklace in a shop there that is like an artists co-op. It was a really simple necklace - a black leather choker with a red enamel charm surrounded by silver and the Chinese symbol for love on it. It was my favorite necklace, and I wore it almost every day for years, but lost it when we visited Dallas months ago.

Now, Rob is preparing to leave Seattle and move back to Portland. Since he's currently out of work and has plenty of time for field trips, I asked him for a favor before he left. I asked if he could go to that mall, try to find that store, and buy me another necklace if they had it. (I'd visited the same store about a year ago when visiting and saw they still carried that necklace). I told him there was a photo of me on Facebook wearing that necklace so he could see what it looked like.

Today, Rob relayed to me that he had done his homework. He went down to the Seattle Center where the Space Needle is, parked his car, and took the monorail to the mall (which is at the terminus of the line). He said he went to every jewelry store in the mall and showed them the photo of me in the necklace, asking if they had it. No one did. He ultimately found his way to the artist co-op and finally found someone who recognized the necklace. The guy at the store said, "Oh yes, we used to carry that." Rob asked, "Used to?" The salesman said they unfortunately no longer worked with that artist, but went back into his files and found the name and phone number of the artist to give to Rob.

Rob went home, looked the artist up on the internet, and saw she sold her stuff at two other locations in Seattle. Unfortunately, a couple of phone calls later, he found neither of them carried that specific necklace. Rob is very tenacious. If you give him a task, he will try as hard as he can to follow through. He found the artist's web site and e-mailed her to tell her about the necklace and to ask if she still made them. He's still waiting to hear back. I'm hoping she still has them and can sell me one.

Ironically, the artist is in SoCal and I probably could have easily gotten ahold of one if I had looked when I was still there.

So, Rob texted me earlier to say he had heard back from the artist. She said she no longer makes that particular necklace...but is going to go out of her way and make one just for me! How cool is that?