TAG. I'm it.

I have been tagged by Ramona. So, what the heck...I will play along.

Here goes..

1. Were you named after anyone? I am named after my father's sister Michelle Dawn. Yes, I am a child of the 70's. Michelle was a very popular name.
2. When was the last time you cried? Hmm...I think it was about 2 weeks ago.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Not really, but it could be a lot worse.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Roast beef
5. Do you have kids? Yes! 4 dogs and a cat.
6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? I would like to think so.
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Probably too much.
8. Do you still have your tonsils? Nope. They came out at the age of 4.
9. Would you bungee jump? No way! Maybe ten years ago. The older I get, the more frightened I am of things like this. I used to ride rollar coasters all day long, went to Kings Dominion 2 years, and was afraid to get on the rides. Weird!!
10. What is your favorite cereal? Lucky Charms
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? I try to, but the fur kids usually move them anyway.
12. Do you think you are strong? Emotionally yes, physically - somewhat. I am stronger physically than most people would think.
13. What is your favorite ice cream? Hands down Hersheys Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Yummy!!
14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Their eyes.
15. Red or pink? Red or Pink. I never really used to like pink, but now that I have Maggie, I dress her in pink and red. Those two colors look great on the cow dogs. =)
16. What is the thing that you like least about yourself? Hmm...there is more than one. But, for now I will say, lack of trust in people.
17. Who do you miss the most? My nanny (maternal grandmother). We were very close. She passed away when I was 15. I miss her very much!!
19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Khaki and brown boots.
20. Have you ever re-gifted? Not that I recall.
21. What are you listening to right now? nothing
22. If you were a crayon what colour would you be? Red or Pink.
23. Favorite smells? The fur kids heads just after a nice bath, Magnolia trees, fresh cut grass, pine, wood stove burning, Mitch's cologne.
24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My husband.
25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? I think she is awesome!! Can't wait to see her again in December! =)
26. Favorite sports to watch? No question...Football!!!!!
30. Favorite food? How can you just choose one? Sushi, Prime Rib, Tomatoes, Hot Wings.
31. Scary movies or happy endings? Scary movies
32. Last movie you watched? In the theater? Theater? Can't remember...it has been years. We got tired of going to movies at the the theater only to be disappointed in the movie. Hollywood has not made a spectacular film in a while in my opinion. At home? Michael Clayton. I fell asleep mid way through, and could not tell you how it ended. See comment above!!
33. What color shirt are you wearing? Creme with Blue stripes and black circles...very retro!!
34. Summer or winter? Fall!
35. Hugs or kisses? Hugs!!
36. Favorite dessert? Apple Pie with Ice Cream.
39. What book are you reading now? 4th of July by James Patterson. His books are always good, I have not been disappointed yet.
40. What is on your mousepad? Greyhound and poem about Greyhounds.
41. What did you watch on TV last night? The Simpsons.
42. Favorite sound? Peace and Quiet.
43. Rolling stones or Beatles? Rolling Stones!!!!!
44. What is the furthest you have been from home? Grand Cayman Islands.
45. Do you have a special talent? Nope.
46. Where were you born? Chippenham Hospital in Richmond, VA. Same place I now work.

So now I get to tag 3 people.

Tag to Debbie
Tag to Bethanie
Tag to Sharon

Ha! TAG....You are all IT!!!! =)


Lazy Sundays are the best

This post has been in progress for a week. We had a bit of a tree issue. The heavy winds from the storms that came through this week caused one of the Loblolly Pines on our property to lean. These trees are so tall and thin, they can't withstand too much. This one was leaning towards the house and would have surely damaged the fence had it come crashing down, so Mitch cranked up the chainsaw early on Sunday and chopped it down. If you are a tree hugger, you may want to look away. It had to be done!!

Below is what remains of the pine.

After Mitch finished playing with the chainsaw, we enjoyed a very relaxing Sunday with the fur kids, just well....doing absolutely nothing. And, it was everything we thought it would be. =)

The kids love being able to all sit on the couch.
Cueball likes using his sister as a pillow. And, suprisingly she does not seem to mind.
We bought the kids some new toys, thanks to the gift card they got from their Auntie Ramona and Uncle Mike. Thanks a bunch!!! =)
Cueball loves the pink octopus.

And, since I am actually finally publishing this today, Sunday, February 17th, I can say Yeah for ODU. Final: 67 to 66 Men's Basketball.



February Meet and Greet

We attended the monthly Richmond area meet and greet for VAGA today. It was a little chilly outstide (high's in the 50's), so overly cautious mommy made the kids wear their heavy winter coats to the event. Geez mom, no one else is wearing their coat, why do we have to wear ours? The answer is....because mommy is neurotic and a little over protective of you. In other words, because mommy says so! =)

We had a nice turnout of hounds, volunteers and folks stopping by. Booyah was our donation dog and he did great. We raised a good amount of monies to help the hounds. Booyah's pockets were full by the end of the event.

In the picture above, from bottom left to bottom right..Booyah, Maggie, Cueball, Lotus, Zelda and Pep.

Lotus was great, she was such a good little welcomer when folks stopped by. She is a hound who loves attention. She is very sweet and very cute. But, watch out for her tail, she can really give you a good whack.
Power and his parents came too. Power did great. He also had a good time meeting all the folks who stopped by. We handed out lots of business cards. We talked with so many folks and we hope that the applications come in so that we may find forever homes for the hounds. And after meeting the hounds, how could you not want to adopt one or two or three? : =) They are like potato chips you know. It is hard to just have one.

Boy did this wear them out. They all slept great on the car ride home. Only 6 1/2 more months and the kids will be riding in a new car. We can't wait!!

Dibs on the Taurus anyone? =) Ha Ha...Just kidding.

Today was great and we can't wait to do it all over again next month. =) The hounds enjoy seeing their friends and we enjoy taking them out to spread the word about greyhound adoption.


Half the Sky Foundation Please Help!

I found this information on my sister in law Ramona's site. I have copied it here verbatim. I hope you can find it in your heart to donate something to the Chinese orphanages who are facing difficulties during the extreme winter conditions in much of China.

Not sure if people are keeping up with this but thought I'd share my half the sky update.Welfare institutions in south and central China are having the hardest time dealing with the weather disaster. This part of the country is simply not equipped to deal with extreme cold or heavy snow and ice. The most common critical problems are power outages, lack of safe drinking and cooking water, lack of fuel, diapers and public transportation. In many places where buses have stopped running, our Half the Sky nannies have been walking hours (in one case, 4 hours) along icy roads to get to the children. As conditions worsen, our nannies and teachers are remaining at the institutions day and night. They have given up the idea of going home to their own families for the holidays. They need quilts. They need warm clothing. They need coal, water, disposable diapers and food.Here are the reports I have thus far, while in-flight. I will send more soon. Where you don't see a report, either all is well or I don't yet have information. I will tell you when we've heard from everyone. We've also given all the directors an emergency number to call when/if the situation changes.Hunan Province –Chenzhou has had no electricity or water for six days. They are relying on coal for heat and cooking.

The supermarkets and banks are closed. Staff is using personal money for baby food, diapers, coal and water. Costs are rising due to shortages. They have a natural well which, thankfully, is not frozen. Even the older children are helping to fetch water. They have perhaps six days of food remaining. The local government is overwhelmed by the disaster and is unable to help much.Shaoyang has seen heavy snow every day for 20 days. There is sufficient water and, for the moment, there is power, so the children are warm.

However, 5 of 6 power poles have been downed by weather. Only one stands and the institution fears it will fall as well, leaving them without electricity. Much of the rest of the city is already dark. Children and caregivers continue to work and play together. High school students are cramming for exams and trying to ignore the cold. Everyone prays that the power pole will continue to stand.Yueyang also has no electricity. The one functioning power generator is being used in the children's dormitory. They are relying on coal heat but the price has tripled in recent days. They are running out of food and have applied to the local Bureau of Civil Affairs for funds to buy more. Our HTS nannies have been walking for hours to get to work, often slipping on the ice, "even though they try to be cautious."Xiangtan has had snow for the past 10 days. The main water pipe is "broken again." There is no water for cooking right now but they do have electricity, coal and blankets.

They are still able to buy food but prices have gone way up. Not all of the HTS nannies can get to work every day. They are keeping the programs going as well as they can and make sure that at least five nurturing nannies are there with the babies every day, along with the institution's caregivers.Jiangsu Province –Changzhou has seen some heavy snows but the director reports that the children are fine. The director says that he's doing his best to ensure that the children do not suffer. Public transportation is crippled by the snow and HTS nannies and teachers are waiting for hours to catch a bus for home or even walking home in the snowy dark.Nanjing reports no problems at all despite the heavy snows. I tried to fly into Nanjing yesterday but it was not possible.Anhui Province -Chuzhou has both water and power.

Only public transportation has failed. HTS nannies and teachers are walking to work. They are leaving home extra early to be there for the children.Guangxi Province –Guilin has two broken HTS heater/air conditioners in the Infant Nurture rooms and they've asked us to replace. The rooms are very, very cold. They ask for more soft matting for the floors and also snow boots for our HTS nannies who've been slipping and falling in the ice andsnow as they come to work. They are so ill-equipped to handle severe weather.Jiangxi Province –Fuzhou lost power for a few days but now it is back to normal. The snow stopped a couple of days ago but now is falling again. The directors and HTS staff have gathered all the children into one big room to keep them warm. They've bought New Years clothes for the children and will have a party no matter how bad the weather. This year, however, the foster parents will stay home to keep the children safe. The institution has enough food and water.

They want us to focus on those in more serious trouble and ask us please not to worry. Jiujiang says they've never faced such bitter weather. They desperately need disposable diapers. Washable diapers cannot be dried. They need warm clothes, shoes, gloves hats quilts and warmmats for the floors. They need medicine for infant coughs and colds.Hubei Province –Wuhan suffers heavy snows but they still have power. Heaters are working but there is no water for bathing. The local community has offered to take children in for the Chinese New Year and the institution feels this may be the best decision to keep them safe.Huangshi reports that the freeze is so severe that all heater/air conditioners have stopped functioning. They need quilts and warm clothes for the children.

They need disposable diapers. Several HTS nannies have fallen on the ice on their way to work and they need medicine to treat cuts and bruises.Gathering these reports together makes me think about how careful we have always been at Half the Sky to maintain our focus on nurture and education programs. Ours is not a medical or relief organization. There are many wonderful groups who do that work. Probably the primary reason we've been able to accomplish so much and reach so many children is because we've maintained our focus on our core mission -- providing nurturing care for children who'velost their families..But a moment like this really cannot be ignored.

The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in the US taught us that no matter how wealthy a country might be, its vulnerable citizens (old, poor, ill, and orphaned children) are the ones who suffer most when disaster strikes. Even as China seems to be entering the first world, a disaster like this is quite simply crippling. We know that orphaned children will be among those who suffer the damage most.I say this because I think we should break one of Half the Sky's rules and, if there are sufficient funds raised in the Little Mouse Emergency Fund, we should offer relief (water, food, diapers,quilts, clothing) to any orphanage where children need help. Let's see how this goes. If people are as generous as I think they might be, we will work with the provincial Bureaus of Civil Affairs inevery hard-hit community, and offer assistance to all welfare institutions where there is need.

Please lend a hand, however you can. You can donate to the Little Mouse Emergency Fund by calling us in the US at +1-510-525-3377 or in Asia at +852- 2520-5266 or by visiting us at www.halfthesky.org. Once there, you can click on "Donate Now"http://give.halfthesky.org/prostores/servlet/Categories?

Contributionsor go to http://www.halfthesky.org/help/docs/usdonation-orderform.pdf to download a form to mail or fax. Donations are tax- deductible in US, Canada and Hong Kong.Please forward this message and tell your friends and family.I will be back with an update very, very soon.

Thank you!
JennyJenny Bowen
Executive Director Half the Sky Foundation

Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.Want to receive our free Half the Sky newsletter, full of stories and photos, via regular mail? Just go to our website www.halfthesky.org and click on "Join our Mailing List."


The sun will come out tomorrow

After heavy rains on Friday, the sun finally came out on Saturday and turned out to be a pretty nice day for the kids to run around the yard. The rain always makes them loony. After not being able to get out for a good romp around the yard on Friday, on Saturday the kids let loose. It starts with Booyah and Cueball stalking eachother.Meanwhile, Maggie bounces around playing with her toys. Look at those ears. I have never seen her ears do this before. Too bad the shot is so blurry. We seriously need to invest in a camera that can take some good action shots. I know little to nothing about photography or cameras, so if anyone has any suggestions on a good camera that does not cost hundreds of dollars, please let us know.
Cueball bounces around to get Booyah enticed to join him in a good romp.
Then, before long, the boys are off.
Around the yard they go.
Maggie does not run around the yard with the boys. She likes to cut them off at the end. That sneaky monkey moo. =)
A few minutes later the romp is ending.
One last small sprint.
Okay mom, we are done now.
And, they slept great when they came in! I guess they got out all that built up energy. Glad we don't live in a place like Seattle, Washington where it rains all the time. The hounds would really be unhappy if they couldn't romp around the yard a good majority of the time.

Now we are all realxing on the couch getting ready to watch the Superbowl. GO GIANTS!!!!! =)


LOST & 1st Haul of '08

Yeah!! After eight months, LOST finally came back on the tube on Thursday night. Mitch and I have been waiting, for what seems like FOREVER, for this show to premiere. And, boy was it good! It left us hanging at the end, as to be expected. For once, we actually stayed up until 10:00 p.m. and watched a show while it was on. We usually TIVO everything. We both just could not wait any longer. Actually, I think I was more excited about the premiere than Mitch was, which is odd because I just started watching LOST last season and got hooked on it. Mitch has been watching since the first episode of season 1. Trust me, it's not too late to get hooked on this show!! If you have not seen an episode of LOST, give it a whirl, it is a great show! The only disappointing news is there are only 7 more episodes for this season. =(
HoHum. We will take what we can get, I guess.

In other news, VAGA is bringing up the first haul of 2008 and 7 Lucky Greys will be going to their forever homes tomorrow. Yippee!! =)

Mitch and I are gearing up for Super Bowl! Go GIANTS!!! Sorry Mitch, but you know I just can't root for those darn Patriots. Hope everyone has a great time on Sunday enjoying football, food, friends and those awesome commercials. We sure will be!!