Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian

Monday, August 24, 2009


Before we left NY, Mal was getting once a week laser treatments for his back and pelvis. We saw improvement. When we arrived in Gville, we decided to give accupuncture a shot thinking if it didn't work, we could always fall back on to the laser.

Mal had his first appointment with Dr. Xie (pronounced shay) at the UF vet school a week after we arrived. We were still living in a motel. I didn't feel comfortable leaving Cosmo alone there so he went along for the ride.

The appointment consisted of a lot of history given to a 2nd year vet student. Then Dr. Xie comes in with two other vet/Phd's - one from Spain and one from Korea. Lots of talking, looking at Mal's tongue, feeling his ears, his femoral pulses etc. They pronounce him suffering from a stagnated qi (pronounced chee). And the accupuncture starts.....

Cosmo spent the first part of the appointment hiding behind me, staring at the wall. Kind of a 'if I don't see them, they can't see me' thing. Once he realized that no one was going to do anything to him, he relaxed, let himself be fussed over a little bit, got some pets and laid down.

Mal was very relaxed during the whole procedure:

Midway through the appointment (which took about 1.5 hours total!) we were joined by two other vets. All total, at one point, we had 5 vets and one vet student in the examining room!

Accupuncture results? Not really sure yet. Mal is doing better, his mobility has improved greatly. The shaky backend is pretty much gone. He is still way too thin and doesn't seem to put on any weight no matter what I feed him or the quantities.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Friday and Saturday Nights in Gville

Imagine taking a stroll through Time Square. Imagine taking that stroll with Bono, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen or Mac Davis (that last is thrown in there just for Jen!)

Friday and Saturday nights are big night outs around here. The ground floor of our building has several high end restaurants, all with sidewalk seating. In the immediate 4 block radius, there are probably another 12+ restaurants, several live music venues and coffee shops.

As I take the dogs around for their last evening walk around 10:30-11 ish, we are stopped constantly. People remark about them. People want to ask questions. People want to pet them. People lean over the railings separating their dining area from the sidewalk to pet them and even occasionally offer a bite of their dinner. Mal sometimes takes them up on their offers, Cosmo usually refuses because he doesn't like to eat in public. :-) A low murmur follows us as we make our way and I can hear the comments behind us.

"Oh, those are greyhounds."

"I bet they were racers"

"Look at the gorgeous whippets!"

"Do you think they are greyhounds?"

"Wow, look at the Great Dane"

...and so on.

And it isn't as if there aren't plenty of other dogs around either, even at that time of night. People have their dogs all around hanging out, walking them, etc. But the greyhounds seem to occupy a singular spot in the collective consciousness and they garner outsized attention from the public.

Sometimes I like it and seize the opportunity to do a little education. Sometimes I just want to walk them and get up to bed.

My dogs are freaking rockstars around here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Things I've Learned

This past week, I've learned that:

1) My old kitchen was huge.
2) My new kitchen? Not so much.
3) We have way too much crap.
4) Husband believes packing should be done methodically. Unpack a box, think about where you want the stuff and put it there. Items should only be handled once on their way from packing box to permanent home.
5) I belong to the 'unpack the box, stuff the crap somewhere and get the boxes the heck out of the house and reorganize later'.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Week in FL

My first impressions:

1) It's hot down here.
2) It's not as hot as I expected. According to locals, this past week has been very warm. It's been in the mid 90's every afternoon. That is hot. The sun is very intense. I would not want to be doing manual labor outside in the sun anywhere from noon to 5 pm. That being said, there is usually a breeze. The morning starts in the low 70's and it usually cools down to the mid 70's to low 80's in the evening. I know the low 80's doesn't sound cool but it *feels* cooler. Both my sister and I remarked that first week, how temps that would feel very warm in NY seem to be more comfortable here.
3) People are very friendly and polite. They like to chat.
4) People are too friendly and polite. They like to waste time chatting away. LOL My NY casual chat tolerance ends at 5-10 minutes. That's usually when these folks are just getting started. And I have the 'hang out' gene. I can only imagine Bridget, who we joke doesn't have the 'hangout' gene, would be going ballistic around here. She has an even shorter chat tolerance than most. :-)
5) Traffic isn't as bad yet as the locals say it will get when the students return. I've already seen lots of UHauls so the students are starting to trickle back - probably mostly freshmen who have orientations and such. I compare all traffic horror stories to my epic traffic tale which consists of me loading a UHaul from a 6th floor Manhattan walkup apt., driving it from W 169th St, through Midtown at 5pm on a weekday, through the MidtIown Tunnel (I was stopped and searched!) into Brooklyn. Nothing compares to that trip. LOL And it was done with a sweaty, cranky and tired daughter! Anyways, I imagine the traffic here will be irritating but I think I can handle it.
6) I think we made the right move living downtown. We like it already!
7) I can't wait to get a bike with a big basket on the front. I plan on riding it around town, doing my shopping like a Parisienne. :-)
8) I LOVE the outdoors-iness of this place. There are sidewalks EVERYWHERE. 95% of the streets have bike lanes. No matter what time of day there are people walking or biking around. I love being able to walk so many places. And I love that the municipal authorities have made it very accesible (i.e. the bike lanes). I've also thought that when the students get here in force, I will have to be in hyperalert driving. There are a lot now, but there will be many more walkers, bikers and scooters on the streets.
9) Lots of smokers. I mean, a LOT of smokers. Young people too. Strange. I would be interested to see the % of smokers here compared to Syr.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I don't want to unnecessarily perpetuate any stereotypes - my northern counterparts seem to think that things in the south are slow and relaxed and people move like they are encased in molasses - so I will stick to just the facts.

We are having new carpet put in the condo. The old carpet was serviceable but stained in places. We had it professionally cleaned but weren't ecstatic with the results. We decided to replace it while we are waiting for our furniture. We figured installation would be easy in an empty place.

Carpet is only on the stairs, the upstairs landing and two bedrooms each with adjoining baths. Job consisted on ripping out the old carpet, installing the new. Two rooms and a staircase.

Two workers started the job on Friday morning. Worked all day Friday. Worked all day Saturday. Still here today.

Three days to install what is essentially three rooms of carpet.

Wow. Just wow.

The workers are very nice though - we just can't talk to them anymore. They would never get it done. Yes, they are a chatty couple. :-)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Road Trip Day 2

We hit the road early for what we knew would be our longest and hardest day. We started out from Hagerstown, MD and ended up in Columbia, SC. We decided to take our time and we picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Shenandoah National Park (it's called Skyline Dr. in this section). Well worth the $15 park entry fee. It was stunning. Gorgeous. This country of ours really is amazing!

We drove the last 50 miles of Skyline Dr. and exited out of the park onto the rest of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We drove about another 60-70 miles along this route. We took our time, stopping numerous times just to marvel at the scenery, to walk the dogs, and once to have a picnic lunch. The dogs didn't seem to impressed with the scenery but they enjoyed the new and different smells. We decided to get off the Parkway when we did because my sister (who suffers from car sickness) was starting to feel a little queasy. It is a windy, hairpin turn road and it is hard to get over 40 mph.

At that point, we hooked back up with 81 and headed south. We picked up 26 around Johnson City and took that into Asheville. We wanted to see Asheville. :-) We didn't see much of it, but what we saw, we liked! One of the best parts of the drive was going right over the Appalachian Mountains. We approached them from the northwest and crossed right over them to the other side. We really got the sense of approaching them and traversing over them. There was a definite beginning, middle and end to our driving them and it gave me a sense of scale of this mountain range in the middle of our east coast.

We pulled into Columbia, SC way late. Later than I expected. We were all so tired that we really didn't care too much that our motel (Red Roof Inn!) could have modeled for a Roach Motel. I'm being a little unkind. It had a marginally acceptable level of cleanliness and it did allow dogs. The dogs crashed, I crashed, Sherry crashed. It had been a long day of driving but we positioned ourselves perfect for an easy last day of driving.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Road Trip Day 1

We left NY around noon in a major rainstorm and it rained for the next two hours until we were south of Ithaca. Very apropo to our feelings. Both dogs had major meltdowns after Bridget said good bye to them. Cosmo tried to follow me into the shower, Mal just followed me all around the house, whining. Mal NEVER whines :-(

Anyways, I left NY after a nice three mile run in the morning with my running group. It was a nice farewell to finish up with them and my friends.

First day travel went really well. Both Cosmo and Mal are excellent travellers. We made good time. Went through the central part of PA which was beautiful. Today we are tackling the Blue Ridge Parkway and are shooting to end up in Augusta, GA.

Only little glitch is Cosmo's exposure to automatic doors and elevators. The expression on his face when a motel door opened as he walked up to it was priceless. He doesn't like the elevators so much. First time on it, his legs buckled and he almost collapsed when it started moving. Mal is an old champ at them and nothing fazes that dog. They are the best travelling dogs!