Archives for May 2009

The Vacation Recap, Part the Last!

I commend those that actually have read all of these recaps, especially since I’m not even attempting to proofread through this mass of text so I’m sure some of it makes zero sense. But fear not, for we come to the end of days, err, at least the recaps!

Friday, May 22 – Monday, May 25 (aka: New York, New York!)1

After an uneventful train ride, Yara and I arrived at Penn Station and soon after met up with Jess. We walked over to the Herald Square subway entrance during which I rediscovered the one fact about the City I always forget — it’s ALWAYS hotter than a thermometer leads one to believe. Considering it was also rather humid, it wasn’t exactly the most pleasant walk of my life. But anyway, we took the subway to Brooklyn and were treated to some accordion playing. Even public transportation is more interesting in NYC. ;-)

Abby and me with Yara at the MetWe dropped off my luggage at Jess’s apartment and I met her roommate. Both girls were pretty fascinated to have a dog around for a few days and remarked several times about how big she is, at least compared to most City dogs. (But honestly, hearing that statement drives me crazy since she’s not remotely big.) We headed off again in search of food and a theater to see Star Trek at. We ended up in Jess’s childhood neighborhood and ate at a taco place she’d never been too, but noted had been around since she was a kid. The food was really good, but the burritos were HUGE! Anyway, we hung out there for a bit and then went across the street to a little theater Jess had gone to many times as a kid. It was the typical small theater experience, though much better than the week before as it was minus a tall person obstructing my view or a random spot of light in the left corner of the screen.

Me and Yara on the rooftop of the MetSaturday was pretty laid back. Jess and I had made plans to do a Muppet movie marathon right before I’d left for CT, so we waited for the rest of her friends to show up. In the end only Becky came over, which was super awesome since I’ve known her online for some five years and we’d yet to meet! The marathon was a lot of fun, and I still have Muppet songs randomly running through my head from it. (*coughs* And the CD that Jess burned for me that’s been playing rather a lot.) It’s probably been some 10 or more years since I’d seen any of those films so it was quite a treat for me.

The Chinese garden at the MetOn Sunday we ventured over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We met up with Abby, one of my very best friends from SUCO whom I hadn’t seen in about five years! It was awesome to see her and catch up on things and she and Jess certainly hit it off, which made me quite happy. We didn’t take up too much of Abby’s time, though, as she was working so we promised to catch up with her during her next break. So, Jess and I walked around and around and around the Met. We went up to the roof garden and then wandered through the Asian wings. I was actually quite shocked to see that there was an entire section of Korean art!

The Temple of Dendur at the MetAfter we had reached the Chinese garden, which was sadly not quite serene and quiet since the entire museum was terribly crowded, we made our way to the American wing. Aside from the entrance itself, this was undoubtedly the most crowded section we visited. I always get a bit paranoid when people are that close — I’m a bit claustrophobic — but Yara was hardly swayed by any of it. We hooked up with Abby shortly thereafter and she brought us down into the bowels of the museum to the staff areas.

Jess standing by a collection of Roman coins; she's showing of her necklace which is also a Roman coinAfter parting ways with Abby again, until she was off work, Jess and I decided that we’d go through the Greek/Roman exhibit, which is one of her favorite areas and I could readily see why as it’s terribly fascinating. We also walked around the Egyptian exhibits. It was getting pretty close to closing time by then, so we headed for a quick stop at the Gift Shop, where I picked up this book on the Korean art pieces, which I was thrilled to find as there was a display copy in the Korean wing that I had leafed through a bit.

We waited outside for Abby to get off her shift and then Jess and I parted ways for dinner. Abby took me to one of her favorite pizza places where we were joined by some of her friends. The pizza was absolutely divine and I had a blast with everyone. After dinner, Abby escorted me across town to meet up with Jess, whereupon I discovered how absurdly quick they had bonded as they chatted on about TV shows and boy bands. (Becky and I mostly stood back and fought the urge to roll our eyes right out of our heads.) Twenty minutes of my life I’ll never reclaim and several brain cells later, Jess and I made our way back to Brooklyn.

Jess and me sitting with Yara in the "dine-brary"The next morning was pretty busy being my last of vacation. I woke up early and got all the bathroom rituals finished, fed and relieved Yara, packed everything up, and neurotically checked about 750 times to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything and that my ride from the train station was still in place. Anyway, after Jess was all set, we took off with all my luggage and headed to Junior’s. It’s really a very nice place and the food is top-notch. Not to mention some of the best cheesecake ever. I picked up a slice to go and snack on during my train ride to Albany and it was incredible. Also, I may have had the best chocolate milkshake of my life.

Afterward, we lugged my stuff back to Penn Station and my most awesome vacation came to a close. It was super fun! But to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sad since by that point I was kind of missing home. (This feeling passed about ten minutes into my workday Tuesday.)

  1. Recap continues in parts one, two, and three. See also: the full collection of photos.

The Vacation Recap, Part the Third

Thursday, May 21 – Friday, May 22 (aka: Reliving Our Childhood Field Trips)1

Yancy and Yara lying in the grass, play fighting over a ballWe got off to a pretty early start Thursday, which was hard to complain about given the absurdly beautiful weather. Raechel and I took the girls out for some playtime, though for the most part they were just hanging out in the shade. Of course, as we tried to leave they started to get silly and run around, which had become one of their little rituals — along with playing the best in the kitchen when everyone left the room. Silly dogs!

Rachel and me with Otis, Dasha, Scarlet, Yara and Yancy in front of the fireplaceAfterward, we assembled all the dogs in the living room and James took some photos of the group of us. (You might remember we had took a similar set of pictures last year.) The dogs were quite funny, especially Yancy who pretty much refused to stay still, but we did end up with a few really cute shots as you can plainly see. Oh, and it’s no accident Raechel and I were wearing the same shirt — mine was one of my birthday gifts from her and James. And apparently we are both quite well deserving to sport them!

Not long after that we set out for the long drive to Old Sturbridge Village. Not surprisingly we all tweeted a bit about our destination which ended up starting a conversation about past field trips and continuing the idea of reliving our childhood ones next year by visiting the aquarium in Mystic. Yes, really. Don’t hate, it’s going to be awesome. Anyway, strangely enough even though we were all reminiscing about memories of previous trips to Sturbridge, or the lack thereof in James’s case, none of us expected the large crowd of children on their respective field trips! And let me tell you, there were a LOT of kids there! Yara was actually quite good — as she’d been throughout the entire trip! — and was hardly bothered by the massive short humans trotting around. She wasn’t too appreciative of having to sport her head collar, though, but I felt it was best to be safe than sorry later if she did get super distracted.

We walked around and looked in the various buildings. I was actually surprised how few Sturbridge people were around at first, but just as I was about to say that we entered the pottery building and were greeted by the farmer there. He was really nice and threw a pot for us quickly, which he allowed me to observe close up and get nice and muddy from. After, he remarked about Yara, noting that he missed seeing dogs now that the Village had changed their policy to only allow for service animals. (I have some indistinct memories of Augi and Eli romping around during one of the trips Dad, John and I took when I was very young — Trouble may have even been with us but I can’t remember precisely.) I was actually quite taken aback at how easily he lapsed out of his 1830s character and mentioned it much later to my father who noted that perhaps I didn’t recall that happening before since the staff probably work to maintain their characters for children. There were a few others that we ran into who remarked about Yara or noted something outside the realm of the 19th Century, but thinking back I’m pretty sure none of them did it in front of any kids so I’ll have to side with Dad on this one.

Yara checking out the lambs in the paddockAnyway, we milled around and eventually came across a paddock with a few sheep and lambs. Yara was especially interested in the lambs near the fence, but for the most part during the day she was content enough to do her people supervising thing and just check things out. She seemed completely uninterested in the horses and oxen we came across later, but perhaps it was because she wasn’t close enough. However, she was mildly interested in the lake (or whatever body of water it was) in the Village, but not so much as to really matter. She does seem to have developed a strange fascination with bodies of water which is rather amusing.

We stopped for lunch soon after and from that building worked our way towards the exit, stopping in some more buildings and checking out the General Store and Gift Shop. Then it was back in the car and on the way back to the house. We let the girls have some more playtime and ate a quick dinner and then headed off to see Terminator Salvation. Thankfully, we’d decided to go to the bigger theater a bit further from the house and this time it was a much nicer theater experience. Though, there was a moment of near panic when the concession stand was out of pretzels, but we did manage to get one thing of pretzel bites right before the previews started. The movie itself was . . . ok. Honestly, I still don’t think I’ve formed a complete opinion on it. But we all were in agreement that we were glad to have seen it in the theaters and equally pleased to not be in the uncomfortable conditions of the previous Saturday.

Me and Yara in Deb's beautiful gardenFriday was another gorgeous day, even though it was somewhat marred by it being my last in CT. The three of us started the day off by letting Yancy and Yara have one final romp in the pen. Raechel and I then took the girls for a walk, as we’d done Tuesday afternoon. This time we walked a tiny bit further and I think we broke Yancy because about 2/3rds the way back to the house she laid down in the road and refused to get up! It was quite funny.

Anyway, once we got back to the house we finished up a few loose ends we’d been working on during the week, including eating a cupcake, finishing Galaxy Quest (which we’d been watching in intervals throughout the week), and making tapioca! Well, okay, James made the pudding, but I did help eat some of it! Then it was off to the train station. :-(

Not to leave you with the bittersweet good-byes before my next and (hopefully) last post, I present the following videos for your enjoyment:

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  1. Recap continues in parts one, two, and four. See also: the full collection of photos.

Birthday Goodies

Painting of a GSD guide dog from my book of artAnd now a brief interruption in the ongoing retelling of my most legendary vacation so I can babble about some of the really neat gifts I received for my birthday. I’m not usually hung up on the whole gift-receiving thing — and I’m certainly not one to gloat — but I thought I’d share a bit of my glee with you at a couple things.

First off, Jess gave me a most wonderful book on dogs in artwork while we were at the Met. I was quite filled with squee about this just because dogs plus art is cool on any level. And I was quite surprised and pleased that there were in fact a few representations of the GSD in some pieces. But I was absolutely not expecting to see this photo (to the left) of a German shepherd guide dog. How completely cool is that?

My desk at work with all my stuffed GSDsSpeaking of the GSD and guide dogs, though, I’ve apparently started a small shrine to them on my desk at work thanks in most part to Raechel and James who gave me the very cute GSD . . . actually both of those have been presents from them — the little guide dog puppy to the far right in the photo was my birthday gift last year. I think I need to get one of those harnessed guide dogs from GDUI to round out the collection. Hehe!

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for the birthday wishes, thoughtful cards, wonderful gifts and, of course, to those that helped make my 30th such a great birthday! I totally heart you all. :-)

The Vacation Recap, Part the Second

Starting up from where I left off:

Monday, May 18 – Wednesday, May 20 (aka: The Saga of the Penguin Cupcakes)1

I shall dub Monday “Errand Day” even though in many ways we were quite unsuccessful in the accomplishing of most things that fall under such a category. The day started off bright and early for Yara, who was ushered out of my room at some point in the wee morning by James to be taken out with the other resident dogs. He nicely prepared her food, complete with enzyme treatment, and returned her back to my room to not eat anything until I crawled out of bed an hour or so later.

Yara lying on the guest room floor, eating her breakfastAnyway, after the morning routine Raechel and I took off for what turned out to be a very busy day. First we headed to the vet’s office for Scarlet’s treatment. I was actually quite amused with Yara’s reaction to this new vet as she seemed determined to take Scarlet’s place during every aspect. There was a cute moment while we waited where Yara was resting her head on Scarlet’s feet, but neither of us were able to get a cell phone out quick enough to capture it before the girls moved.

Yara resting her head on my leg while riding the car; she has one eye closedAfter a bit of running around here and there to the chiropractor’s office, the pet supply store, and the mall, we attempted some grocery shopping. Our main items to purchase were veggieburgers and the ingredients for the very cute penguin cupcakes we’d planned to make. While much hilarity ensued during just the grocery store section of this day, I think it looses something when translated to text. I’ll just say we were both quite the dysfunctional shoppers — noodle aisle? — and it was only after nearly finishing our shopping did we think to consult the list of ingredients for the cupcake necessities. Oh, and we never did find veggieburgers in this store, and I kept having to remind Raechel that yes they were important to get lest we wanted to merely have brownies from a box for dinner. Not that we really were pained by that alternative, we just thought maybe it’d be bad form.

Anyway, after this rousing bit of silly, we headed back to the house for lunch where we saw James and Deb for about ten seconds each and failed at explaining the whole shopping endeavor. After we’d fed our starving bellies, we headed out again to yet another grocery store to try and get the things we’d forgotten and/or couldn’t find. In the end we came home with all but one of the ingredients for the cupcakes and about 400 different varieties of veggieburgers. Are we not awesome times a million?

Yara and Yancy playing outside in the pen; Yara is biting Yancy on the neck and Yancy has her right paw wrapped around Yara's headAnyhoo, before dinner we took the girls out to the pen for some playtime. We didn’t stay out too long, though, as it was getting quite chilly and dinner was soon ready. Dinner itself was quite an interesting event — we sort of ran out of clean silverware and we were far too hungry to wait for the dishwasher to finish. So, yeah, we totally ate salad (without greens) with spoons and asparagus with our fingers. It was epic, let me tell you. Did I mention that Deb had a friend over, as well?

Dasha, Yancy and Yara resting in a patch of dappled shade within the penTuesday was the first official day I got to sleep in, thanks in part to James for graciously continuing to take Miss Wakes-at-Dawn out with the other dogs. But also because we didn’t have any plans before noon, when we were to meet up with Megan for lunch! It was also a much nicer and warmer day than the previous two and so we very happily took Yara, Yancy and Dasha out to romp around in the pen. And by this I mean, Yara and Yancy played and Dasha spent most of the time camped out in the shade save for the two occasions she rolled around in something presumably smelly.

After that, we headed out to meet Megan for lunch at the Willimantic Brewing Company. It was quite yummy and very fun to see her again and catch up. Not surprisingly, given how small Fidelco is, Megan and Raechel had a few dogs and people in common and had quite a lot to chat about too. I’m always nervous when introducing people to other friends on the off chance that just knowing me ends up being their only point of commonality. How awkward! Anyway, Megan also was quite happy to see us and how we’re doing. I filled her in on the last few months since Yara started her EPI treatment and we both babbled on about other life type things.

After lunch, Raechel and I attempted to get the last few cupcake things to no avail. We decided that we’d make do with what we had which admittedly was basically everything . . . or sort of. Later, we all went to The Cheesecake Factory, which is one of the best places on Earth, for a fabulous, albeit HUGE, meal. It was kind of an odd experience since we had in sum total three different waitstaff serve us. I kid you not. When we got back to the house, laden with all our leftovers, Raechel and I whipped up the cupcakes so we’d have one less thing to do the next day. We ended up with two dozen and the first batch were quite, uhm, top heavy. They tasted great, though!

Me and Raechel with Yara and Yancy in front of the upside-down Leaning Tower of Pisa at UConnMy birthday was also quite the busy day! As per my birthday wish to not have to do extensive traveling, our plans for Wednesday mainly involved cooking. We had made the cupcakes the night before as I mentioned, but we still had pasta sauce, lasagna, and mousse to make and the task of actually decorating the cupcakes. So, naturally because of this we not only got a tremendously late start to the day, we didn’t even begin any of this until after lunch with James at UConn. We took Yancy with us and headed off to grab some food at the Student Union and find a place in the shade to chow down. Since both Raechel and James are alumni, they had a lot of neat little things to share about the campus and so after we’d finished our food they meandered us through the campus to some of the more interesting highlights, including the Upside-down Leaning Tower of Pisa (pictured right) and the upside-down pyramid (pictured left). The pyramid was actually quite a funny experience for both the dogs: Yancy didn’t want much part with it — and spent most of the time trying to ignore its existence, while Yara was mostly fine with it save for the fact that she wouldn’t move her rear end off the first step for a good ten minutes even though her front end was securely on the next step down!

Me and Raechel sitting in the upside-down pyramid with Yara sitting by my feet and Yancy sitting at the very edgeNext up we hit the Husky statue (UConn’s mascot) where we tried to get some photos of the girls. It was something of an ordeal since neither seemed up for photos and would look away or lie down or get off the stoop. We did get a few nice shots, but in the end we mostly have a series of comical shots of both girls looking one way or the other. Even after Raechel and I joined them, they were still rather obstinate. We also got a few cute shots of Yancy hiding under a nearby bench — perhaps to avoid the intense heat of the sun — and a few cute timed shots of all of us (and the dogs both not looking, of course). Anyway, not long after all this photography, James had to head back to work so we walked back through campus to the car and headed home.

Yara and Yancy sitting by the UConn husky statueWe worked on the various bits for the sauce first. Then started on creating black frosting for the cupcakes . . . apparently black food coloring into white frosting creates purple frosting . . . even when you try and melt chocolate into it. Go figure. So, back to the store we went to try and find black frosting. Oh, and while we were leaving Raechel said something that got me giggling as I was taking a sip of lemonade and in my attempt to not choke on it ended up with it up my nose! So yeah, most everything for several hours later totally smelled and tasted like raspberry lemonade. Good times.

Tray of cupcakes decorated as penguins and ice buckets of fish (in black-and-white)Anyhow, in the end we got dark chocolate frosting, which is a darker brown than regular chocolate frosting, and even that wouldn’t dye black. [EDIT: Raechel later admitted to me that her food coloring was very old, so this is why we had such issues with it. For reference, though, it’s best to use black food coloring with dark chocolate frosting as it can affect the taste of the frosting and this way not so much is needed to color it.] We gave up and frosted the penguins brown (not that you’d know from that particular photo, but these are decidedly brown). We worked on morphing our plain cupcakes into some very befuddled looking penguins and overflowing ice buckets of fish. This was steadily interrupted with sauce stirring and by the time James got home we hadn’t even finished the cupcakes and so left him the task of turning my sauce into lasagna. A challenge he took up with great skill as dinner turned out quite awesome! Raechel and I did quickly whip up some mousse after stuffing ourselves with lasagna and it was indeed chocolatey and quite good! We didn’t have any of the penguins, though save for the bits we munched on while decorating. I’m pretty sure I consumed an entire penguin and ice bucket without actually having one.

Basically, as I tweeted, it was the best birthday EVAR! I had such a blast!

  1. Recap continues in parts one, three, and four. See also: the full collection of photos.

The Vacation Recap

In celebration of my third decade in existence, I gave myself a trip to CT and NYC. I’m super generous like that. Of course, this was after the two-and-a-half weeks of birthday celebration that went on with various friends and family. Truly, this was an epic birthday. And so, because I just know you’re dying for details and also the fact that I have a metric ton of photos, I give you the recap — broken into however many parts it takes me because even I can’t ramble that much . . . and also there really are a lot of pictures to share.

Some Highlights

  • With a few exceptions here and there, say for instance meal times, Yara did an amazing job throughout the entire trip. She wasn’t bothered too much when separated from me Friday before leaving or by all the dogs, children, and crowds at the various places we went to, and she was absolutely fascinated by Raechel’s cats.
  • My first official vacation meal ended up giving me some of the worst food poisoning of my life. That said, everything I ate during my trip was beyond awesome . . . and I’m in total shock that I didn’t end up in a sugar-induced coma from the massive amounts of dessert things I consumed. I’m also in shock that I ate so many dessert things since I rather loathe sweets.
  • I think I may have reached my walking threshold — by the end of the trip I think my feet were ready to abandon me for a little old lady in a wheelchair. Also ZOMG! but the callouses on my hand from the harness. Whoa!
  • Friends of mine meeting other friends equals friends of mine becoming friends; this is never a bad thing. Abby and Jess are beginning to scare me a little with the depths upon which they bonded and the quickness thereof. But whatevs.

Anyhoodle, onto the rambling!

Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17 (aka: The Fidelco Events)1

Before heading out on our long drive, Sarah took Yara for a few hours of fun time play with Fay. I’m quite happy to say that she didn’t seem too bothered by the separation and both girls were adequately tuckered out by the time Sarah came to pick me up in the afternoon. It was rather heart-wrenching to watch Yara’s mini-freak-out in the morning, though, because Sarah picked her up right before I went to work so we separated at the corner by the bus stop. I sincerely thought Yara might drag Sarah right off her feet when she realized I wasn’t walking with them. Anyway, while Yara was having a fun time with Fay, Sharon took me to Iron Gate Cafe for a birthday lunch. It was delicious, though, I would later regret the yogurt parfait dessert.

Yara lying on the floor, chewing a toy as Fay looks on behind her at Sarah'sAfter lunch I headed home and gave Sarah a ring to let her know I was ready. Turns out she was, too and so we set out a bit earlier than we’d initially planned. In the end it worked out as the drive took about an hour longer than we’d thought. Turns out traffic is the suck through MA. The dogs were pretty quiet throughout the trip, though we later discovered that part of this was because Fay was busy chewing on a piece of Sarah’s car. Uh oh! We got to Hartford around 4 p.m. and were greeted at the hotel by a few Fidelco staff of whom I couldn’t recall their names. (Sorry!) After I got all the materials for the Banquet, we headed up to Sarah’s room to chill out a bit. I had a horrific headache that I was determined wouldn’t become a migraine — since I didn’t have a clue where my medicine had been shoved in my suitcase.

The Banquet seemed a lot more low key than last year, which seems ironic since it’s the first year it was called a “banquet” and not just a “dinner.” We went downstairs a few times before Raechel and James arrived and there weren’t many people and no one really seemed to be mingling. Anyway, at 6:30 or so Sarah and I went down to the dining room to grab some seats. Soon after Raechel and James arrived and we all chatted for a bit while everyone else got situated. Not all that much happened this year during the meal — except for me discovering my headache/stomachache was in fact food poisoning from my aforementioned parfait. Fun times. Oh, and Robbie came over to say “hi” and chat with us all a bit; she seemed very pleased with how Yara is looking as compared to when she saw her last year. I know we have talked a lot over the phone throughout the past year, but it never ceases to amaze me how she can keep everyone and their dogs straight in her head!

Our entire group assembled for the 2009 Walk for Fidelco; from left to right: Sarah and Fay, me and Yara, Raechel and James with Scarlet and Otis, and Tom and Patty with RemyThe next day was far more interesting. We all got up early and got the doggies set for the day and then we packed the three of us plus Yara, Scarlet and Otis into the Prius and set off to the Walk for Fidelco. We met up with Sarah and Fay and Patty, Tom and Remy at the registration table and after a quick run around roped Jeff Mann into taking a photo of the lot of us (pictured right). We wandered through the tents, but eventually we decided it’d be more interesting to just walk the route. I will say the Walk did seem more spread out than last year, but it was still a little lacking. Anyway, the route was just as pretty as last year and it was great to chat with everyone.

Afterward we hung out for a bit in the shade of a big tree and watched the Trainers’ Demo. And then, fulfilling our traditions of the year before, took a trip to Fidelco to give Sarah a whirlwind tour (and use the restrooms!) and then had lunch down the street at Three Brothers. Everyone also got a quick introduction to Megan, the instructor who placed Yara with me, as we’d missed each other at the Walk. She wasn’t able to join us for lunch, but we did make plans for later in the week. Lunch was a lot of fun and quite an interesting experience with three different puppy raisers chatting about all their dogs and such. But all too soon it was time for everyone to separate.

Yara and Yancy playing outside in the pen; Yara is leaping into the air as she chases YancyBack at Raechel’s, after quickly checking show times for Star Trek, we took Yara and Yancy out into the pen for their first official play time. They were absolutely adorable together, except for the times they randomly weren’t playing and just wanted to eat or sniff all the tall grass. After dinner, we went to see Star Trek which was so totally beyond awesome that I actually saw it again a week later in NYC and I still want to see it again! The theater experience was a bit less awesome sadly: I’m so short when I sit that really anyone in front of me is an obstruction, but a super tall person sat in front of me this time and even more annoying was this random spot of light on the screen.

Yancy and Yara playing in the kitchen; close-up of both dogs as they are partially under the table, biting at each otherBack at the house, we let the girls have some more playtime before we all went to bed. They were still just as crazy! One thing that is really amusing is that Yancy, who isn’t exactly submissive even when playing, has this strange habit of just throwing herself onto her back. Yara takes this position as an invitation to bite any exposed area she can get at. It’s pretty funny to watch. But listening to them you’d know immediately Yancy isn’t being submissive, in fact she’s quite vocal about her playful antics!

Yara in harness, lying under the tableSunday we checked off another tradition from last year by having brunch at Nita’s. As expected it was incredibly delicious and I already can’t wait for my next trip to go back! Both the dogs were very well behaved and this is saying a lot given how many times we had kids run (loudly) by our table. Next up we headed to Yancy’s “Windsor walk” — Fidelco’s first puppy evaluation — which wasn’t exactly riveting but I found it quite interesting. It’s basically just a quick walk around and some crossings to see how the puppy reacts to things and heels. Yancy did really well, especially given Yara’s close proximity. We also saw one of the X puppies from the litter right before Yancy’s and I’m just shocked at how big all these dogs are. I can’t even imagine how big Yancy will be when she’s fully grown — she’s already almost as big as Yara and she’s hardly four months old!

Yara in the car, sleeping on the backseat with her nose resting on the door's armrestLater, we had chicken pot pie for dinner and the three of us attempted to play some poker. We eventually gave up when James nearly cleaned us all out. But the Braille deck of cards intrigued Raechel enough that we got semi-distracted with the task of me teaching her the Grade 1 alphabet. Oh, and Deb arrived home and ate some of James’s winnings . . . which led to the rest of us gorging on the lot of M&M’s scattered across the table.

Next up! Errands galore, massive amounts of Yancy and Yara playtime, lots of cooking — and eating, oh and my birthday, too!

  1. Recap continues in parts two, three, and four. See also: the full collection of photos.