Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Dilemma

UPDATE - Dec. 18 - The Dilemma Worked Itself Out
Marley and his new mama, Stephanie
Look at that big smile! :)
I remember the night Marley was "surrendered" to us just a little over a month ago. I had never seen such a big dog in my entire life! He was kind of rambunctious and Makani was terrified of him and he was just so darn HUGE! I questioned whether I had done the right thing, volunteering to foster him. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I fell in love with Marley. He became my shadow, rarely more than 3 feet away from me at any given time. Makani was just not happy, and I had to remind myself that HE was my dog, and we were giving Marley a good home until the right person came along. Today was that day.

Stephanie found Marley on Golden Rescue's website and fell in love with him immediately. She just needed to get down to Florida to adopt him! Marley will be living with her in the Keys and going to work with her every day! Stephanie was not at all concerned about his size - she loves Marley for Marley - which is the way it's supposed to be! :) As sweet as Marley is, he was not one to give kisses freely, but within 30 minutes of meeting Stephanie, he gave her a kiss. I know that they are meant to be together and he will have an amazing life with her.

As Taylor Dayne sings, "Saying goodbye is never an easy thing..." but it's a whole lot easier when you know that the one you love is moving on to something just as good as he had (if not better). Congratulations Stephanie and Marley! <3 

UPDATE - Dec. 14: A bright glimmer of hope...
For Marley's sake, I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I do believe we've found his new mama. Someone who's going to love him as much as we do and likely spoil him even more. :) I'm so excited for them to meet this coming Sunday. 
This news comes not a moment too soon for Makani, who has become uncharacteristically destructive. Rob and I have both fallen in love with sweet Marley, but Makani does not share our enthusiasm for having another dog in the house. Casualties include a Alana's running shoes (both backs have been completely chewed up), a gnawed (but salvagable) Reef sandal (grrrrr), a torn up honu throw rug, and a half-eaten Volcom sandal. Since Makani was NEVER a chewer, my first reaction was to blame Marley. Rob proved his innocence very quickly. (see video) Sorry, Marley...my bad. 

In the days since my last post, we've met with another potential forever family - a couple with three young children - who decided that Marley was "wonderful, but scary big." They were afraid he would knock their baby over (and he might...though not intentionally!) I believe that everything happens for a reason, and Marley was just waiting for the right person to come along. I believe we've found her!

Stay tuned...

UPDATE - Dec. 6: The dilemma continues...
Marley met his first potential "forever family" this weekend. The people live on five acres with horses, chickens, rabbits, and miniature donkeys. It sounded like a PERFECT situation for Marley. They stopped by to meet him and seemed to love him. I had bought him a new festive red collar and put a big red bow on him. He looked so handsome! Marley was excited to meet them, but then calmed right down and behaved so well (I was so proud of him! :)). The people were going to lunch, then coming back to sign the papers. 

When the couple returned, they told me that they decided that they weren't going through with the adoption because they were afraid Marley was too active and would terrify their (sometimes vindictive) cat. :( My heart sunk...I'm not sure whether I felt more sorry for him or myself (not that I don't love him, but that would have solved the dilemma). I needed to relax, so I curled up on the sofa with a book, and guess who climbed up and snuggled up next to me? Marley was totally cool with the situation. He clearly loves being here. Even Makani has warmed up to him. Now they play with each other. It's hilarious to watch Marley chase Makani around the pool (great exercise for him too).

Yesterday, Rob brought Marley to KMC with him and everyone loved him - the KMC crew and customers alike. Marley was a perfect gentleman, happily greeting everyone who walked in. :) 

What to do...what to do...

About six months ago, I asked Rob what he thought about the idea of fostering dogs for Golden Rescue South Florida. We had adopted Makani from the organization (as a puppy) and were completely "sold" on Golden Retrievers as our "dogs of choice." Rob was all for it, so I volunteered, we were approved, and shortly thereafter we volunteered to become a foster for a "Golden Oldie" mentioned in a GRSF post. 

"The Sweetest of the Peas"
That "Golden Oldie" was named Sweet Pea, and she was surrendered by a friend of her family. Little was known about her, except for the fact that she was eleven years old (or so the family friend had been told). Sweet Pea truly lived up to her name - she was a sweet, sweet girl. However, she couldn't see well or hear well. She had been shaved, so she looked more like a yellow Lab than a golden. I took her to the vet and was told that she was healthy, despite her advanced age. We weren't optimistic that she would be adopted, and considered adopting her ourselves if nobody came forward. We knew that she was surrendered due to a divorce and we knew that her human dad was a tugboat captain who was away for months at a time (it dawned on me that he was like Popeye, and what was Popeye's baby's name?....). We wondered if her "dad" would come looking for her when he returned from sea! Six weeks after we became her foster family, Sweet Pea was adopted by an absolutely wonderful man from Miami Beach who was specifically looking for an older dog. Her new owner absolutely treasures her (as she deserves to be treasured) and even brings her to visit us. I feel like Sweet Pea won the doggy lottery!

All of this background information to get to the subject of this post - the dilemma! it's all about Marley! I had seen posts about Marley - an overweight (150-lbs!) Golden Lab  whose family was looking for a good home for him because they lived in a small house and couldn't give him the life he needed - on GRSF's Facebook page. A couple of weeks after their first post, they mentioned that they were looking for a foster for Marley ASAP, as his family was going away for Thanksgiving. I consulted with Rob and he agreed that we would step up to the plate. Little did I know what we were in for...
Velcro Dog

Don't get me wrong, Marley is an absolute SWEETHEART! He is truly like my shadow. I had never planned on adopting him though. When he arrived, he was extremely energetic and rambunctious. He was the biggest dog I had ever seen...EVER. Makani immediately growled at him (totally intimidated by his size, no doubt) and was clearly unhappy that this giant was invading his home (which made me feel awful). Marley's owner (although a nice guy) didn't seem overly distraught about giving him up (which was a little sad). He mentioned that his girls gave Marley three donuts before he brought him over. (Well, that explains A LOT!)

World's Largest Lap Dog
Marley quickly acclimated to our household and our routines. After a couple of days, we knew he felt comfortable with us when he climbed up in Rob's lap while we were watching TV. Mind you - this is a 150-lb dog - NOT a lap dog. I took Thanksgiving week off of work, and Marley became my shadow. He followed me everywhere I went (around the house). He did have a couple of accidents in the house (both in Alana's room - hahaha) and absolutely LOSES it if we are walking and he sees another dog, but other than that, he's been a great dog. What I did NOT expect was for Rob to fall in love with him and want to adopt him...hence THE DILEMMA.

Chase with Marley on Thanksgiving
Last week, Rob told me that he wanted Marley for Christmas. Now, you have to understand, Rob rarely asks for anything. For the past few years, times have been pretty tough, so we've really held off on exchanging gifts with each other. I do love Marley - he's a good dog and he clearly loves it here. I'm just not sure I'm not ready for that commitment. Makani is our dog - this is HIS house. He is clearly less happy since Marley arrived. Plus, it's a huge financial commitment (double the vet bills, double the flea/tick prevention, double the dog food (especially when half of it is PRESCRIPTION diet food, etc.), and that really isn't a great idea right now. Not to mention double the dog hair to sweep up and double the - errr - land mines. But it also means double the love, devotion, and protection (c'mon...who would mess with a house guarded by a polar bear). 
I'll let you know how it turns out...

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

...You Might Be in the Country

On my recent trip to southern Georgia (Manassas, to be exact - Population 100 according to the 2000 Census), I made a few observations:

If there is cotton as far as the eye can see, but you are nowhere near a clothing store...you might be in the country.

If your local market has a working analog gas pump out front...you might be in the country.

If there are more "feed and seeds" than grocery stores in your town...you might be in the country.

If you know where the local school bus driver lives just by driving down the road...you might be in the country.

If your local A/C and heating place is having a yard sale on Saturday...you might be in the country.

If you think that a mule is not just a jackass-like animal...you might be in the country.

If the closest Publix is 45 minutes away...you might be in the country.

If you have a skinning rack in your back yard...you might be in the country.

If the closest Target is an hour away...you might be in the country.

If the only accommodations for miles around is the Cheeri-O Inn (and it was built in the 50s)...you might be in the country.

If your local supermarket has a "fruitcake ingredients" display ...you might be in the country.

If your county school district office is located in a house...you might be in the country.

If the only cell service available is in the parking lot of the Rite-Aid in town...you might be in the country.

If your nekkid lady sticker on your truck or van is wearing boots and a trucker cap...you might be in the country. (Bob, the boot man, just corrected me - she is a Boston Red Sox fan - wearing red SOCKS, not BOOTS...bummer!)

If a man steps aside so a lady can walk out an automatic sliding door (since he can't hold it open for her)...you might be in the country.

If you can buy a giant can of boiled peanuts at the local Sunoco...you might be in the country.

If the "major" intersection in your town has a blinking yellow light...you might be in the country. 

If a yellow road sign announces your upcoming dirt road (cause otherwise you may drive right past it)...you might be in the country.

And finally...

If you are in a place where your blood pressure drops instantly, time slows down, and everyone you meet has a smile and a friendly greeting...you are most certainly in the country.

With Love and Aloha to Y'all ~ Nancy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blame the Machines

The title of this blog was taken from a song on Duran Duran's latest album. Blame the Machines is a (supposedly true) story of a German man who was killed after driving the wrong way up a highway on-ramp after being mislead by his GPS. One of my favorite authors, Jennifer Weiner just released a new short story called "Recalculating" about a possessed GPS. This is all confirmation that I am not alone in my refusal to trust or depend on these "navigation systems." They say that "real men never ask for directions." In my experience, however, men may not stop to ask a real human being for directions, but they have no problem plugging an address into a GPS, and they will unquestioningly follow whatever directions are given. It's almost as if they are so hypnotized by "Jane's" seductive voice that common sense takes a vacation of its own.

I am very fortunate in that Rob and I rarely argue. We've been together for 22 years and I can probably count on my fingers the number of true "fights" we have had. Ironically, several of them have involved his placing trust in the GPS over the woman he has chosen to start a family and spend his life with (who, often, is holding a map). Our first battle was fought on the confusing, notoriously congested highways of Los Angeles. We were trying to make our way to Long Beach. Rob was driving and listening to the directions being spoken by the GPS, while I was paying attention to the street signs that clearly guide motorists like ourselves onto the correct routes. A sign announced that we should take the exit to get on the 405 Freeway heading toward Long Beach. Rob drove past the exit, because "that's not what the GPS says." I got mad.  He pulled off the highway and told me to get out the car and drive myself. For the next few years, any time I suggested a vacation, I was told that I "don't travel well."

There have been other incidents along the way, my own GPS has taken me off course into dangerous 'hoods in Miami, nearly lead me the wrong way up an on-ramp to I-95 (just like in the song) and got me all turned around in Orlando. For the most part, I've learned to MapQuest addresses when I can and get a feel for where I need to go BEFORE heading out. I only use GPS-guidance as a last resort.

My latest GPS-related battle with Rob occurred just last week. Alana asked us to pick her up from her girlfriend's grandmother's condo on A1A - less than two miles from our house. She texted me the address, which I gave to Rob, then offered to ride with him. As soon as we got in the car, Rob enters the address into the Navigation app on his phone. I shake my head and say, "You have GOT to be kidding me - we've lived here for over 30 years - you don't know how to get to an address on A1A?!" His response, "But Nance, it's so cool! Listen, it'll tell me exactly where to go, and when I get to my destination, it'll show me a picture of it!" I still rode with him, but it was a quiet ride. Lucky for us, we made it there and home (with only the minor hitch of Rob entering through the exit of the parking lot (because the GPS didn't tell him to turn into the entrance). I'm not kidding...

My latest GPS encounter involved not my real husband, Rob, but my friend/co-worker/travel partner, Bob. We have often joked that Rob and Bob are "brothers from different mothers," because they have a lot in common. UNfortunately for me, this includes the whole GPS obsession. Keep in mind, my hackles were still up from the whole A1A incident just a few days earlier. Bob and I were wrapping up our business trip in New Jersey. The convention (in Atlantic City) ended at 3:00 and our flight was due to leave Philadelphia at 7:10 that evening. Bob really wanted to go to the Shore Store in Seaside Heights to get a t-shirt for his daughter. I had mapquested the route and learned that Seaside Heights was over an hour away from Atlantic City. We also had to ship all of our conference stuff via FedEx before going to the airport. I found a FedEx location in Toms River (just west of Seaside Heights) where we could ship the stuff. I knew we'd be pushing it, but we figured we'd give it a try. By the time we made it to Toms River, it was after 4:00. This was complicated by the fact that the GPS instructed us to take the westbound exit on Hwy 37 instead of the eastbound exit, which would have dropped us right into the parking lot of the strip mall where FedEx was located. Once headed westbound 37, there was not an opportunity to make a U-turn for a few miles. This should have been a sign...

Our GPS-Guided Tour
of New Jersey
Anyway, after shipping our packages, Bob realized (and I totally agreed) that we didn't have time to go to the Shore Store. I had MapQuested our route before we left the convention center and saw that the most direct (and fastest, according to MapQuest) route would be to take Highway 70 to Philadelphia. Granted, it was a country highway, so we might not be able to drive as fast as we could on an Interstate. Bob decided to consult his GPS. We ended up heading north (which made NO sense, since Philadelphia was southwest of where we were). The GPS was taking us up to 195, then west to the NJ Turnpike, then back south toward Philadelphia. I tried to tell Bob that it was taking us way out of the way, but he insisted that it would be faster because it was all highway driving. Needless to say, it was a long, QUIET ride to Philadelphia. We still had to fuel up and turn in the rental car, check in and go through security. We got to the gate just as the plane was boarding. 

Bob (and his GPS) did get me to the airport on time, but I was not a happy woman. Bob lives with four females - he knows when he hears nothing but silence and gets the occasional icy stare of death he's in trouble. ;) He bought me a beer on the plane and I accepted his apology and we were able to joke about it on the flight home. He promised me it would never happen again. I don't believe him, but we're still friends. Just like I know that Rob will continue to listen to the synthetic song of the siren that is the GPS even when his flesh-and-blood road sign-reading wife has MapQuested the heck out of the trip. But it's all good...they're just men, and the GPS is their way of not asking for directions.

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Things I Learned in Atlantic City

I recently took my first trip to Atlantic City for a convention. I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew that the streets on a Monopoly board were named after streets in Atlantic City. I kind of pictured a mini Las Vegas, but at the same time remembered my former hairdresser telling me that she found a dead body while walking home from work at night in Atlantic City. The latter turned out to be closer to the truth. Here are a few observations I made while visiting.

1. Atlantic City is NOTHING like Stone Harbor - It’s amazing to me that a beachside town that is so well-known could be so, well, scary. It makes Seaside Heights look downright classy!

2. There is a reason the rent is low on Baltic Avenue – I can’t honestly say that I thought ANY part of Atlantic City (except maybe the convention center itself) is pretty, but I can promise you that there is a reason the purple and light blue streets on the Monopoly board are considered the “low rent” district. Baltic Avenue is actually a main thoroughfare, and it is NOT pretty.  We also happened upon Mediterranean. The name might conjure images of an exotic European sea, but reality will shatter that image really quickly. Even Boardwalk - the most prized address on the Monopoly board - is nothing to brag about. Yes, it runs along the beach (which is probably nice in the summertime), but most of the businesses lining the Boardwalk are like (decent) tourist repellent, as you will see below in Lesson 7.

View from my room at the Courtyard Atlantic City
(two blocks from the beach!)
3. Pacific Avenue may be a green street, but it is not safe to walk along at night – Our hotel (which was really beautiful) was located on Pacific Street, just a couple of blocks from the Boardwalk and the beach. Now, Pacific Avenue is one of the green streets on the Monopoly board, so I assumed that it would be pretty nice. Not really. Our two-block walk to the Boardwalk lead us past a couple of (what appeared to be) deserted apartment buildings, a “gentleman’s” club and some dumpsters being ravaged by pigeons.  Our stroll along the boardwalk that night was engulfed by thick fog (which made an already shady place downright spooky - I kept hearing "Thriller" playing in my head), so we decided to try and walk back along Pacific Avenue. Let’s just say that the Pompano Beach equivalent of Pacific Avenue would be Hammondville Road - err...MLK Boulevard (which, by the way, Atlantic City also boasts). Within two blocks, we came across a young lady who I’d bet all my chips was a ‘ho. Numerous “gentlemen’s” clubs advertised “Live Go-Go Girls” (I’m not kidding).  Bob and I realized pretty quickly that we were out of place, so we decided to cut through the Trump casino…

4. Casinos are the Oases of Atlantic City – It was very strange to step out of Skid Row into the over-the-top opulence of the casinos. Wall-to-wall Italian marble, crystal chandeliers, gleaming brass fixtures, and the clink-clink-clink of slot machines.  It’s hard to imagine the amount of money that went into building these places, yet they are surrounded by poverty. Sad, because many of the old original homes in Atlantic City could be beautiful if renovated. I’m sure that the idea behind the casinos was to bring life back to the economy, but they were virtually empty when we were there.
Casino at Trump Plaza

5. If you want to feel young, go to a casino – I would say the average age in the Atlantic City casinos was 70. All I could think of was Grandma Mazur from the Stephanie Plum novels. 

6. The preferred mode of transportation in Atlantic City is a Rascal – It seems like everywhere we went, people (both young and old) were driving around on Rascals. Considering the amount of walking Bob and I did, it was kind of understandable. Pedicabs are also very popular on the Boardwalk. A mode of transportation that is no faster than walking yourself seems pretty pointless to me.

7. There are more massage parlors on the Boardwalk than any street in the U.S. – I have honestly never seen more massage – more specifically – Asian massage parlors in my entire life. There had to be one sandwiched in between every five to ten cheesy shops (one of which sold Preparation H and bongs!) along the Boardwalk. Funniest part about it was, I got Bob to look into the window of one of the massage parlors, and the little old Asian lady gave him a finger wave. We were tickled.

Casinos at Night
(This is the nice part of town...if there is one.)
8. New Jersey people are GOOD people - Hey, I already knew this - my Dad and his family are from New Jersey. I'm from New Jersey, for goodness sake! However, Bob had heard horror stories about NJEA from other vendors who refused to ever do the conference again. They said that the teachers were rude, they took anything that was free and even would come INTO the booths and snatch extras from under the table, etc. Let's face it, New Jersey does get a bad rap. Every single person I encountered in New Jersey (even the ones on Pacific Avenue who scared the bejeezus out of me, but completely ignored me) was pleasant and friendly. A stack or two of mousepads may have disappeared off of our table, and a few teachers took five or ten at a time, but they ASKED if they could. The ONLY time I encountered Jersey attitude was in Toms River when Bob was shipping our stuff at FedEx, I heard all this honking and yelling. Some little old lady had accidentally turned into the lane that came IN to the shopping center instead of going OUT. These gorilla juiceheads were honking at her and yelling. Poor thing! Other than that, everyone was great and I'd love to go back to Jersey...just not necessarily to Atlantic City!

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Forget Diamonds ~ This Girl's Best Friend is Golden!

I love my dog. Ask anyone who knows me and they will vouch for it. His name is Makani and he is a Golden Retriever and (in my opinion) the sweetest dog on Earth.

I was not always a dog person. My family had a Sheltie when I was very little, but I don't really remember him. Growing up, I was only allowed to have birds or fish. A lot of my friends had dogs, and many of them I was afraid of. Rob loves to remind me that when we first started dating, I was afraid of his yellow Lab, Kona. I really was...he was a big dog and kind of a spaz.

Family Portrait 2003
with Baja
When Rob and I bought our first house, we started talking about getting a dog. Rob has always had dogs in his life. He really wanted a pug. I started looking in the newspaper and found some pug puppies for sale. We drove all the way down to Pembroke Pines. The puppies were adorable. Then, the owner asked if we'd like to meet the daddy - we said "Sure!" The black pug she brought out was one of the ugliest dogs I had ever seen. He looked like a gargoyle. He was wheezing and slobbering and I started to reconsider the whole "getting a dog" thing. I had also found an ad about Golden Retriever puppies for sale in Hollywood. Rob had a Golden Retriever named Baron growing up and said they were great dogs. I swear it was a set-up. We went to that house on Cleveland Street and it was love at first sight. I took one look at the puppy that we would name Baja and it was OVER (or just beginning). I knew we had to bring him home.

Baja's 15th Birthday
(He LOVED Publix cupcakes like me!)
Baja was an awesome dog. He prepared Rob and me for having kids. He wasn't the most well-behaved puppy in the world, but he was smart, loving and protected our family. When we moved to our new (current) house right after Hurricane Wilma had knocked out power to the entire area, Baja delighted in the fact that our entire family slept together on the bedroom floor that first night. He was in Heaven! Baja lived a good, very long (especially for a big dog) life. The week after his 15th birthday, he started running into things. Over the course of the next week, he went downhill fast, getting to the point where he could no longer stand to go outside. We knew that we had to put him down. We were there when he took his last breath and we all cried. Baja's death hit me especially hard - much harder than I had ever imagined. I hadn't lost anyone whom I had been so close to, and he really was like my first baby.

Adoption Day for Makani
We knew we wanted another dog, but I didn't think I would be ready any time soon. A few weeks went by and we started talking about the possibility of adopting an older Golden, so we didn't have to go through the puppy phase again. After having one Golden, I knew I never wanted another breed. I did some research and discovered Golden Rescue South Florida - a wonderful organization that places Golden Retrievers (and occasionally other breeds) in good, loving homes. The first time I logged on to their website, they had a litter of puppies up for adoption. Part of me thought it was too soon, but seeing those  sweet little puppies made me long for a dog again. I asked Rob if he thought it was too soon to consider getting another dog. He told me that he was ready, but he wanted to make sure that I was. So, I made the call. Golden Rescue doesn't just let anybody adopt the dogs in their care. They actually conduct interviews and home visits (which is awesome). Lee Ann came out to our house and met us and we were approved! :) We were given a date and time when we could go and pick up our new little guy. When we arrived, there were only two puppies left - both adorable. One was (temporarily) named Tommy and the other was Gizmo. We decided to take Gizmo home. We renamed him Makani (which means "the wind" in Hawaiian) and a new chapter in the life of our family had begun.

Sweet little Makani
sitting for a treat
Makani was a good puppy and learned very quickly how to sit for a treat. He was housebroken quickly and soon learned to actually retrieve toys and tennis balls (which Baja NEVER had any interest in). Makani rarely barked at all and was very timid. He was always so eager to please. The few times he did the "puppy" things he wasn't supposed to (digging holes in the backyard, chewing up things that didn't belong to him, etc.) we only had to look at him sternly and say "Makani...What did you do?" He would get all submissive and pee on the floor. He hated letting anyone down (kind of like me). When he does bark though, this tender little guy sounds like James Earl Jones! He has a deep, mean-sounding bark - which makes for a great security system.

Makani is now two-and-a-half and he is the most well-behaved dog I know. He behaves better than Baja did at five-years-old (of course that might have something to do with the fact that he left his cojones in Hialeah when he was less than a year old). He is as sweet and loving as can be and is positively OBSESSED with chasing tennis balls. He is a retriever through and through. He knows that Rob throws the tennis ball for him after dinner, so he'll wait patiently by the the garage door until Rob is ready to take him out. Rob has trained him to not only return the ball, but to place it in his hand or the thrower. If Rob is working in the garage, Makani will sit for extended periods of time with his ball, just waiting for Rob to take a break and throw it. He even falls asleep with the ball in his mouth! When I get my suitcase out to go away, Makani stays by my side the night before I leave and he always greats me with a wagging tail and plenty of kisses when I return home. It's nice to be loved!
The "Sweetest of the Peas"
Our foster Golden

Our Goldens have brought us so much joy that we decided to volunteer to be a foster family for Golden Rescue. We have only had one foster dog so far, but we fell in love with her. Her name was Sweet Pea and she was a "Golden Oldie". She was estimated to be at least 11 years old and we knew it was unlikely that she would be adopted. We contemplated adopting her ourselves if nobody else came forward - that's how much we loved her - but decided to leave it in God's hands. We had Sweet Pea about six weeks when she was adopted by a wonderful man (also named Rob) from Miami. He was specifically looking for an older dog and fell in love with Sweet Pea on the spot. I believe that Sweet Pea has won the doggy lottery. Rob is so good to her, and he is kind enough to share Sweet Pea with our family. We Sweet Pea-sit when he goes out of town on business. We love having her, and she seems happy staying with us. It's a win-win for everyone.
Nothing beats a Golden smile!

We will continue fostering Goldens as long as we can. Every time Golden Rescue puts a new dog up on their Facebook page, my heart says "Awww...I want him (or her)!" :) They are the best dogs and companions anyone could wish for. They truly do love unconditionally and always look like they are smiling. I know that no matter what kind of day I'm having, Makani will be there for me. He'll bring me his tennis ball to congratulate me on good days or to make me feel better on bad days. He's always there with a smile, kisses and a tail wag. If you are thinking about getting a dog, consider a Golden. If you live in South Florida, contact Golden Rescue! We are so glad we did!

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Smoosh Time

Hey Jersey Shore fans - get your minds outta the gutter! It's that time of the year again (actually four months overdue)...the dreaded annual mammogram. If you've ever had one, you now "get" the "smoosh" reference. If you haven't had one (and you're female, over 35 or have a family history of breast cancer), you should. I'm not gonna lie...having your boob squeezed in what amounts to a plexiglass vice grip hurts...a lot. But early detection is so important. I personally know several women - many of them young - who have been diagnosed, bravely battled, and (thank God) survived breast cancer. They were smart enough to keep up with their annual exams and listen to their doctors (and their bodies).

I've been fortunate in that most of the time, my results have been normal. I admit that I do not do the regular self-exams that the doctor recommends. I know I should...I just never think about it. I did have a minor "scare" a couple of years ago where my mammogram showed an "area of suspicion." This led to a follow-up mammogram (the area of suspicion did not mysteriously disappear in two weeks' time), an ultrasound (which was inconclusive), and a needle biopsy (at which time a tiny metal pin was injected into my breast to mark the area for future imaging - I wonder if TSA saw it during my body scan last month at FLL). I was lucky - the "area of suspicion" turned out to be completely benign. Now I have to have a mammogram every year just to make sure that nothing has changed.

The prescription for this year's mammogram has been tucked away in my wallet since July. I've had a Post-it note on my desk calendar to remind me since then. At the end of July, August, and September, I moved that Post-it note to the next month, vowing that "I'd get around to it..." Once October (National Breast Cancer Month) came and went, I felt guilty enough to stop putting it off and made an appointment. Hoping that all goes well and I can be smoosh-free for another year. :)

With love, aloha, and a great deal of admiration for all the amazing women who have battled breast cancer and WON! :)