Sunday, January 31, 2010

Buddy had a great Saturday!

Anxiety gave way to immense relief yesterday at the cancer clinic with Buddy. He received an "all clear" from the oncologist !!!! We are SO thankful !!! His bloodwork and lung X-rays both came back fine ... NO TUMORS! Yay for Buddy! We're ecstatic!

The blood tests are critical because they check for any kidney problems, a potential side effect of one of his chemo drugs. And they have to make sure his blood cell counts are OK too so that he can safely continue on the chemo drugs.

Sal and I were both so emotionally exhausted after the appt that we needed a nap. It wore Buddy out, too ... the sweet angel fell asleep in the car on the way home! It's tough to go to the animal cancer clinic. Alongside the potential for bad news, there's no shortage of sadness in the waiting room ... a dog was near death from leukemia in the next room. An adorable bassett hound was beginning chemo. And I've met dogs who are missing legs due to bone cancer. Many, many stories of brave doggies. But looking beyond the sadness, my spirit is always SO lifted to see SO many people caring SO much for their animal companions. It's terrific!

A huge thanks to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, & concern for Buddy. We realize that yesterday could have had a very different outcome, and we're just so thankful that Buddy is well and we're treasuring every moment with him & Aruba.

Friday, January 29, 2010

... nervous ...

Hi all ~

Hope you've had a great week. Me? Not so much. Honestly, I've been anxious, jittery. Tomorrow (Sat.), Buddy has an appointment at the cancer clinic. He will get the usual remission exam, bloodwork, and refills of chemo pills. But this time he'll also get follow-up X-rays of his lungs. And I hope and pray there are no tumors. So my nerves are jangled! The upside is that he's doing well ... great appetite, energetic, playful. And mischievous even! So CUTE when he's naughty, LOL. All of that is encouraging, to me. I'll be back during the weekend with an update on his checkup.

I did have a nice distraction last night though! Every week, my favorite scrapbooking designer, Heidi Swapp, does a live webcast online. It's such fun ... she demos techniques & new products, answers questions in a live chat, and even randomly gives away prizes. So imagine my surprise when, at the end of this week's webcast, they called out that "Susan in Florida" is a winner! OMG, that's ME! Yes, I have some fun goodies coming in the mail. I won a heart shadow box from House of 3 (Heidi's digital sb'ing venture). Here's a peek of it:

Pretty, huh? The box can be "scrapbooked" inside and out ... I'm not sure what embellishments will be included with mine, but that'll be part of the fun when it arrives. Thanks Heidi! :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

out on the (home)town

Over the weekend, we joined some friends to "play tourist" right here at home.

We'd been planning this "day-cation" for several months, but it seems the stars had to align for it to happen ... between our busy schedules, caring for Buddy (he's doing very well, by the way!), waiting for a great weather day, etc. And then, finally, we made it happen!

We went on a sightseeing cruise here in Delray Beach, aboard this yacht:

The Lady Atlantic sails the Intracoastal Waterway from downtown Delray Beach south to Boca Raton, then back again. For 2 hours we passed beautiful scenery, including posh homes (ok, they're actually over-the-top mansions) along the shore. You can see some of them here, behind Sal:
For the first half of the trip, the captain narrated and we learned some interesting things (I love that kind of stuff!). I didn't know that the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway was dredged by the military to create a shipping channel that would be protected by a barrier island between the waterway and the Atlantic Ocean ... this was to guard vessels against torpedo attacks coming from the ocean during wartime.

We also learned that Delray Beach was named by farmers from Michigan, who arrived here looking for a better climate. They originally named our city Delray after a neighborhood in Detroit that's also called Delray, and then added "Beach" to make it more appealing to prospective visitors and residents. Works for me!

Sometimes it's nice to be a "tourist" where you live, right? ... we loved seeing our hometown from the water, a new perspective.

Afterwards, we enjoyed some pizza together in our quaint downtown ... good friends, good food, good times ... so nice!

Monday, January 25, 2010

it's Maria's special day!

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

We wish you a FUN day that's full of smiles, Maria! :-)

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Sunday, January 24, 2010

belated wishes to Jen!

My apologies to my sister-in-law, Jen, in Gulfport, Florida ... yesterday was her birthday, and I missed posting it here. :-( I had a migraine for part of the day, and I guess that distracted me. Sorry!

Belated happy birthday, Jen! Hope you enjoyed your day! :-)


Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Thursday, January 21, 2010

it's my Grandma's special day!

Happy 88th birthday today to my Grandma! She lives in southern Ontario, Canada.

We hope you enjoy your day, Grandma, and wish you a great new year ahead!

With love from your grandchildren,
Susan & Sal

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

photo editing is now a Picnik

Calling all scrapbookers, photographers, bloggers, and anyone who enjoys enhancing their photos ... your attention please!

I read (in the newspaper, of course!) about a new, online, free photo editing tool that is SO MUCH FUN. And did I mention that it's FREE? It's called Picnik.

To test run Picnik, I uploaded a photo from our trip to Paris in 2004. A little history of the photo: we purchased a painting from an artist in the Montmartre district, and spent some time watching him work ... it was such an enjoyable & unique experience (he used spatulas instead of brushes), that I snapped some photos of his palette.

OK, so for comparison, this is my original photo, "before" any editing:

And here's the "after" ... (lots of editing features are available!) ... I chose to do some cropping, color enhancement, corner rounding, soft focusing, and added text in a fancy swirly font that felt "Paris-y" in blue and voila!:

So what do you think? I say ooh la la !!

As a scrapbooker, blogger & a (very) amateur photographer, I'm already IN LOVE with this tool! No software to buy or download. And I can edit photos right in my web browser and then save them to my computer. Picnik is easy and intuitive.

You can bet you'll be seeing more fun effects on my photos from now on here at Where In The World? !!


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Dream

"....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

Today is a special and important holiday here in the United States. It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, celebrating the ideals of equality that he fought (and suffered) for.

I'm always so moved when I read or hear his famous I Have A Dream speech. Profound & powerful words! And the following year, it prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. You can read the full, exact text of the speech HERE.

And in 2011, the MLK National Memorial is slated to open. It'll be located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. Part of the memorial will be a stone wall inscribed with excerpts of his sermons and public addresses. Go HERE to take a great 3.5-minute virtual tour of the MLK Memorial. I can't wait to visit it the next time I'm in DC!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

another way to help The Red Cross

Did you know that you can donate some (or all) of your frequent flier miles to The American Red Cross? YES, you can!

The miles facilitate the transport of volunteers & staff to critical areas in need, like Haiti.

Click HERE to find out how to donate miles that you've accrued with their partner airlines ... USAirways, Continental, Delta, Northwest & United.

Continued thoughts & prayers going out to the people (and animals) of Haiti, and to the rescue teams....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

reaching out to Haiti's animal victims

The tragedy in Haiti is overwhelming. The suffering, the agony of its residents is completely unimaginable! I'm sure that many of you have reached out to help them by donating to The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, or the like. News reports are saying that contributions are flowing in despite the sour economy. One of our local news stations set-up a telethon, and a homeless man called in and wanted to donate the $20 bill in his pocket! Isn't that wonderful?

But I'd like to request your generosity again, please ... this time to help Haiti's ANIMAL residents. Like their human companions, they are no doubt in pain, traumatized, hungry, desperate. But in the aftermath of disasters, their suffering is often the last to be relieved.

Two animal welfare groups have joined forces to assist the animals of Haiti, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. They are right now working to get a mobile veterinary clinic to Port-au-Prince, a HUGE undertaking ... your donation will help stock it with antibiotics, bandages, and other supplies. Also, The Humane Society International is coordinating animal relief efforts from the Dominican Republican, if you prefer to support them. And The Best Friends Rapid Response Team (BF is the amazing animal sanctuary in Utah that I visited last year) will be assisting with animal rescues.

On behalf of the animals, thank you,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

it's Patricia's special day!

Happy birthday today to my sister-in-law, Patricia! She lives in Gulfport, Florida.

We wish you a day of FUN & HAPPINESS, Patricia! :-)

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

two years ago today....

... I published my first post here at Where In The World? !! And now today, 355 posts later, I'm celebrating my 2nd blog-a-versary!

Thanks to all of you for meeting me here so often! This has been an AMAZING way to stay in touch with friends/family, and to "meet" new friends around the globe. Keep those comments and e-mails coming, I love 'em!

And since so many have asked why I decided to name my blog Where In The World?, I've posted "The Story" of that in my sidebar. Scroll down when you get a chance.

I hope you'll be joining me for another year of my musings ... actually, I'll start right now with an update on my little iguana friend (see Monday's post). He seemed to be fully revived by the warm sun. Later in the afternoon, he slowly made his way off the shovel, into the grass, and scurried off into the bushes (have you ever seen an iguana run? it's cute!). I'll miss him!

Looking forward to Year 3,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday morning excitement

I tell you, this frigid Florida weather is causing some STRANGE stuff to happen!

Our local news is reporting that iguanas are practically "freezing solid" and falling out of trees, OMG! It's not an urban myth! They can't handle temps below 40F (it was in the 30s here again this morning), they basically shut down & are immobilized. They revive when (if) the weather warms up enough. We don't really have too many iguanas here in Delray Beach, but there are LOTS of them just to our south, in Boca Raton & Ft. Lauderdale & Miami.

So imagine my surprise this morning .... I was hosing some dirt off the pool deck and over-sprayed into the lawn, and saw the grass begin TO MOVE! aaacckkk! What was that?!?!?! I screamed to myself?!?!? I went over to see ... I had inadvertently doused a BABY IGUANA, poor thing! He was so WELL-camouflaged in the grass, laying beneath a coconut palm tree ... maybe he had fallen out of it?

He was lethargic, but alive. So I got a shovel, scooped him up, and put him in the warm sun. I think I heard him say "ahhh", LOL. Thankfully, it's a sunny day here today and temps are supposed to approach 60F.

He's still out there ... just resting, thawing out. Like me, iguanas are vegetarian, so maybe we'll have lunch together later, *wink*. I left him on the shovel because it's warmer than the grass (metal conducts heat!). I hope he'll be OK. By the way, this little guy (only about a foot long now) will grow to be at least 4 feet long!

Creatures are just so amazing. I love the exotic wildlife here in Florida!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

um, this is a first

So I was hanging out, reading the Sunday paper, had the TV on in the background.

I suddenly heard a weather emergency warning "beep" coming from the TV ... and I normally only hear that when there's a really bad thunderstorm or (gulp) a hurricane looming. But no! I look up to see this on the TV screen:

A winter storm warning??? here??? in south Florida??? It went on to give warnings against wind chill, hypothermia, and other cold-weather threats that are foreign to Floridians. This freakish arctic blast has been such a flashback to the 7 winters we spent in Indiana ...

Wishing everyone a WARM week ahead,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

paving day

Our homeowners association has been planning a re-paving of our neighborhood street for months now. Since we're in a gated community, neither our city nor our county will pay for this ... they consider it "private property". So we all had to pay extra HOA dues for a while to create a fund to cover the cost. Can you believe that??? After all the property taxes we pay???

Anyway, no more griping ... today's the day ... laying fresh asphalt. Like any "remodeling" job, it's kind of a headache, lots of noise, dust, and we've gotta park our cars "wherever" in the interim. But it should look nice when it's done! This is our little corner of the community:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

OK, this just ain't right!

What's wrong with this picture?
I snapped this photo off the TV during our local early AM forecast today. Those temps (in the 20s) represent the "feels like" temp here in southern Palm Beach County, Florida (Delray Beach isn't labeled ... it's right between Boca Raton and Boynton Beach). The temps reflect the wind chill factor. Wind chill??? Here?!?!?!

We're all having to adjust! Manatees have had to find a place to huddle and keep warm, poor things. It looks like they have, though ... check out the front page of today's Palm Beach Post for a great photo of them huddled up (it's copyrighted, can't include it here sorry, follow the link). They're so clever ... gathering at sources of warm water, often at outfalls (as shown in the newspaper photo) at power plants. An example of humans & nature peacefully co-existing, for a change.

I'm also worried about the wild iguanas that live down here. They're tropical creatures and can't handle temps below 40F. The cold immobilizes them and they can die. Like the manatees, I hope they're finding a cozy source of warmth.

Bundle up,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Aruba goes wild

Hey there ~ hope you enjoyed the New Year's holiday weekend. We've been COLD here in SoFla, believe it or not! It'll be down into the 30s (F) here tonight and Monday night. Brrrr.....

Aruba was keeping warm & cozy today, cuddled up in my new zebra-print throw ... awwww ... she's so precious!

(I am especially loving this shot because I finally got her to look directly into the camera!!! She's very camera-shy.)

Sal got this throw for me as a reminder of all the fun I had at Creative Escape 2009. Zebra stripes were part of CE 09's fun theme (see my blog posts from late August 09). What a blast it was. I love animal prints! :-)

Have a great week ahead,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

today's my Dad's special day!

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

Enjoy your day! :-)

Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Friday, January 1, 2010

a new decade begins...

('2010' image courtesy of AddictedTo

And this is how I welcomed in 2010 ... YUM!
Love those sprinkles ... don't they look like confetti???

Happy New Year! Wishing you health & happiness ...