Friday, January 30, 2009

Buddy update

Let me begin by thanking everyone for your kind comments here and in e-mails about Buddy, they were much appreciated. They really helped me through these difficult days of uncertainty.

Thankfully, I heard back from the vet today, and didn't have to wait through the weekend until Monday.

The report from the veterinary cardiologist states that Buddy indeed has a one-inch "mass" in one of his lungs. {sadness & tears}

The "good" news is that it's in the same location as the previous one, which seemed to be coming-and-going a year ago. The question is this ... is the mass benign or malignant? That's a tough one to answer, because the only way to find out is via "fine needle aspiration". That involves putting Buddy under anesthesia while a fine needle is guided by ultrasound into the mass in his lung. The needle withdraws a sample of the liquid and/or cells, which would then be analyzed in a lab.

Of course, this is a very invasive procedure and would put Buddy through a lot. And, in our eyes, it presents too much risk. This needle needs to be expertly guided such that no blood vessels, arteries, etc, are punctured, all while the heart is beating nearby and the lungs are moving up and down. The procedure could lead to huge problems if something went wrong ... blood build-up in the lung, etc. So, we've been weighing it all out.

But so far, we're leaning toward NOT doing the aspiration. What gives us comfort in this decision is that we think, and the specialist who does aspirations agrees with us to some degree, that if the mass were a malignant tumor, it would've created health issues for Buddy a while ago.

So, in a nutshell, I think at this point we're not comfortable with the aspiration procedure, and will take a "wait-and-see" approach. Buddy is not symptomatic, his cough is even more slight than it was a couple weeks ago. He coughs slightly once or twice a day now, and some days not at all.

We might have a consultation with another specialist who does these aspirations. And we'll set up an appt for more chest X-rays in 3 or 4 months, monitoring Buddy in the interim.

For now, although we're not sure what exactly is in Buddy's lung, it doesn't appear to be of immediate concern. Of course, there's never 100% certainty (and that's true even of aspiration results!), and that's what makes this all so difficult.

We just hope that we're doing the right thing for Buddy. He's our furry angel!

Thanks again, and enjoy the weekend ...

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Hi everyone ... I'm sad to say that our little Buddy had a hard day at the veterinarian's office today.

He has been coughing a bit lately, but only in the morning after waking up, and only for a little while. He's fine the rest of the day and night. Kind of odd, no? Although it seemed to be improving, I took him to the vet to be checked anyway, given his age (11) and that he has a history of cancer.

A chest X-ray revealed a growth either in or near his lung. My heart sank.

And there just happened to be an ultrasonagrapher in the vet's office today, so we opted to have her do an ultrasound of his heart and lungs. The images and X-rays were sent to a veterinary cardiologist, who will report back to our vet with a diagnosis. That could be as early as Friday. Oh, but it's so hard to wait!

Buddy had another growth in 2007 in the same location, and it subsided on its own. According to the vet, sometimes growths come and go, just like in humans. We're hoping that this new growth is also harmless, and that our little Buddy won't need any invasive treatments, surgery, etc. He has been through enough, the poor angel!

But for now, we have no choice but to wait ...

Monday, January 26, 2009

congratulations, Sal !!!

Sal's week is off to a great start ... he has been nominated for the 2009 Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award at Florida Atlantic University!!! WOO HOO, way to go Sal!

This is a very prestigious award, only one is given out per year, university-wide. So, it's an honor to be a nominee among the hundreds of faculty on campus. In 2006, Sal was named FAU's Researcher of the Year, so this teaching award would be another well-deserved accolade.

So proud of you, sweetheart!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

it's Maria's special day!

Happy birthday today to Sal's cousin, Maria! She lives in Croydon, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia).

We wish you a fun and memorable day! :-)

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Friday, January 23, 2009

it's Jen's special day!

Happy birthday today to my sister-in-law, Jen, in Gulfport, Florida!

We wish you a fun and memorable day! :-)

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

it's Rosemary's special day!

Happy 87th birthday today to my Grandma, Rosemary, in Leamington, Ontario, Canada!

We wish you a fun and memorable day! :-)

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

A bright future has begun today for America ...

Like many of you I'm sure, I watched Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th U.S. President earlier today. What a proud moment! I sincerely hope that this will usher in a new era of inclusion for our country, leaving behind a dark past of racial injustice and hatred. And the pain and suffering that so many endured because of it.

Today a man of African heritage became the American President on the steps of the U.S. Capitol that was so inhumanely built by slaves. How incredible is that?

Monday, January 19, 2009

weekend fun

Hey everyone, how was your weekend?

Sal and I packed a lot of fun into ours. :-)

Spent some time browsing at the bookstore, all while sipping on an iced chai tea from their cafe. Makes for a nice evening.

We enjoyed Sunday brunch with friends at an outdoor eatery in downtown Delray Beach. Almost as a bonus, an art fair was in full swing in downtown DB too, so we browsed through some cool exhibits. Afterwards, we strolled along the boardwalk in Green Cay Nature Center. What a spectacular way to enjoy the "natural Florida", with egrets and herons flying around us, and alligators and turtles sunning themselves. I love spending time there.

On Saturday night, we had gone to the movie theater hoping to see Slumdog Millionaire. It has won 4 Golden Globes and countless accolades, and although I knew all that, it didn't occur to me to buy our tickets ahead of time, and of course it was SOLD OUT. No duh Susan! Note To Self: buy tix for popular movies online, not at the box office! So I did buy them online for Sunday night to make sure we'd get to see it. I'm trying to think of the best words to describe the film ... excellent ... riveting ... moving ... energetic ... raw. And at times, difficult to watch. The story is presented as a series of flashbacks, which gave it more depth. I recommend it. Loved the music too!

Have a great week,

dreams do come true

"....I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character...."
MLK, 1963

Please take a moment on this holiday, Martin Luther King Jr Day, to reflect on Dr. King's message of equality and nonviolence.

Perhaps read the full, exact text of Dr. King's moving I Have A Dream speech. Or go HERE for a free audio lecture, Martin Luther King Jr: Stride Toward Freedom. To listen, you can download it to your computer, transfer it to your iPod or MP3 player, or burn it to a CD.

How amazing is it that we have all witnessed the historic election and (tomorrow) the inauguration of President Obama, when only 45 years ago Dr. King could only dream about such possibilities?

Friday, January 16, 2009

another sign of the times

Hey everyone & happy Friday!

Well, actually ... it's not totally happy for me ... I found out this morning that one of my fave magazines, Simple Scrapbooks, will be shutting down this summer. Ugh! They cited the economy, it's of course impacting every industry. They will publish only 2 more issues. You can read the SS official announcement on their blog. I'll miss it arriving in my mailbox.

P.S. ~ Wow, what a miracle yesterday on the Hudson River in NYC! Kudos to the pilots for saving all 155 lives onboard, and who knows how many on the ground?, by executing such a skilled water landing. I think all of us who travel, which almost always involves flying, think "what if?" now and then. May we all be fortunate enough to fly with a crew like that one.

Enjoy the weekend ...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

it's Tricia's special day!

Happy birthday today to my sister-in-law, Tricia, in Gulfport, Florida!

We wish you a fun and memorable day!

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

the winner!

Congratulations to Claudia, Sal's cousin in Bensalem, Pennsylvania! (that's near Philadelphia) She was the first to contact me about my "blog-a-versary" (see my previous post).

Her "prize" is my $25 donation to her charity of choice, Samaritan's Purse. This organization is run by Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, and provides international relief. Claudia told me how she and a group of other moms have participated many times in the Samaritan's Purse project called "Operation Christmas Child", which delivers shoeboxes filled with goodies to children in need. Each child gets his/her own shoebox ... and a bit of joy. What a wonderful concept!

If you would like to learn how to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child (they're accepted year-round!), please click HERE.

Thanks Claudia, and everyone, for celebrating with me today! :-)

one year ago today...

Hi everyone! Thanks for dropping by ... today is a special day here at Where In The World? ... it's my first blog-a-versary! (is that even a word?)

That's right, one year ago today I launched my blog and I've been loving every minute of it! What a fun way to stay in touch and share my thoughts, photos, news, opinions, ideas, travel adventures, scrapbooking projects, birthday wishes, and other random musings..... P.S. ~ this is my 196th post!

Can you believe that it has been a year already?!?!?

To celebrate, I'm having a CONTEST ... the first person to respond to this post, either via comment here on my blog (remember you no longer need a Google account to leave a comment) or in an e-mail directly to me (, will WIN !!! What's the prize, you ask? I will donate $25 to a charity of the winner's choice ... not a bad prize, right? In these challenging economic times, charities are hurting.

I'll let you know, in a subsequent post, who won and which charity he/she chose.

And grab a hard hat because I'll be doing some "remodeling" on my blog over the next several weeks (months?). I plan to update it, add more bells and whistles, and generally "bling it up" a bit. For instance, I have a new "signature" that I'll now be adding to all my posts (you'll see it below), and I added links to my fave TV shows on the sidebar ... let me know if we have any favorites in common! So take a stroll around now and then to see what's new. It will be a gradual process ... a little here, a little there ... and your feedback on the changes along the way is always welcome.

So, please pardon any virtual dust when you visit in the near future.

Thanks again for joining me for the ride during the past year. I've really appreciated all your excitement about my blog and the positive feedback you've given me! I know that my blog has several loyal readers (dare I say fans?), and that totally thrills me. Thank you! :-)

Time now to kick-off another year of having fun together and keeping in touch ... via blog! Stop by to say hi and see Where In The World? I've been or am off to next.

Monday, January 12, 2009

the 7 (natural) wonders of the world

You may recall that 7 (man-made) wonders of the world were chosen not long ago, with the help of about 100 million voters worldwide. They are: the Colosseum; the Great Wall of China; the Taj Mahal; Petra, Jordon; Christ the Redeemer Statue (Brazil); Machu Picchu (Peru); and the Pyramid at Chichen Itza (Mexico). Despite all the travel I've done, I've only been to one of these (the Colosseum in Rome) ... {sigh} ... it's a big planet.

Another round of voting is underway, and we can all participate. This time, it's for the 7 Wonders of Nature. There are 261 nominees and you can go HERE to vote for the semifinalists until July 7. (note: you'll have to "register" your e-mail address on the site, but this is only to prevent people from casting multiple votes) Here are my votes: Cliffs of Moher (Ireland); Niagara Falls; the Galapagos Islands; Bora Bora (French Polynesia); the Grand Canyon; Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe); Maldives Archipelago ... even though I've only visited 2 of these! Later, voting for the 7 finalists will continue by Internet until 2011. It'll be interesting to see what's ultimately chosen.

Switching subjects ... hey scrapbookers! A set of 4 new yummy colors has been released by Shimmerz paints. They're part of the Blingz line and are just in time for your Valentine-inspired projects:
P.S. ~ See you tomorrow for a special day here at Where In The World?.

Have a great week,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Big Fat Greek Bus Tour

Hi everyone, hope you're enjoying some downtime this weekend.

If you're a fan of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding (and I sure am!), then hold on to your pita bread because have I got a surprise for you! The star & writer of MBFGW, who played Toula Portokalos, will also be the lead character in a new movie (a comedy) called My Life in Ruins, which hits US theaters on May 8. Richard Dreyfuss and Rachel Dratch (of SNL fame) will also have roles.

This time, instead of playing a dissatisfied Greek-American travel agent, she's making a comeback as the dissatisfied Greek-American tour guide. I've already read a review that disses the film, but I don't care (no amount of Windex will fix pessimists). I think she's a great actor, and MBFGW was so much fun (plus I'm looking forward to all the gorgeous scenery in Greece). Can't wait!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

scrapbooking humor

Thanks to my friend and fellow scrapbooker, Kyoko*, for sharing this funny cartoon:

*I'm waving to you in Japan all the way from Florida!

P.S. ~ One week from today, January 13, will be a special day on my blog ... please stop by to check it out!

Monday, January 5, 2009

say it ain't so

Hi everyone & happy Monday. How was your weekend? I didn't do much, just a little scrapbooking ... felt a cold coming on, had the "blahs" ... took it easy. Feeling better today though!

I was truly saddened today to read about another apparent casualty of the worldwide economic slump. This article tells how Ireland's famous Waterford Crystal company is struggling and has filed for bankruptcy protection. Wow, I never would've predicted that such an established Irish institution would suffer this fate!

When Sal and I went to Ireland in July 2007, we specifically included the small town of Waterford (southeast Ireland) in our itinerary because I really wanted to visit its famous namesake crystal factory. We took the factory tour, and it was amazing to watch the craftspeople, to see them translate their expertise into works of crystal art before our eyes. I didn't have a blog back then, so I'll share some glimpses of the tour here:

The crystal pieces are marked in a grid pattern so that the cuts can be precisely made:
And of course, after the tour, I just had to visit the Waterford gift shop! And, of course, I just had to get a souvenir! {imagine Sal grimacing} Anyway, I chose this gorgeous footed bowl:

It's a modern design, not the traditional Waterford look, but it was more my taste and decorating style. I like how the horizontal "cuts" in the crystal add sparkle; this piece is especially nice for floating candles, or is pretty enough to display empty.

Now I'm extra glad to own a piece of this incredible Irish tradition that, sadly, may soon be gone.

Friday, January 2, 2009

it's my Dad's special day!

Happy birthday today to my Dad! He lives in Seminole, Florida.

Enjoy your day! :-)

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

it's my Dad's special day!

Happy 65th birthday to my Dad today! (he lives in Seminole, Florida)

We hope you have a terrific day ... enjoy! :-)

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba