kgiff.com
Please excuse the mess. I'm in the process of moving to a new server and new blogging software. It'll be a while before this place gets to be looking like normal again.
Monday, July 31, 2006
dogs

The hounds went home yesterday. I think they knew they were going home. Hunter sat by the door most of the day. Jade would join him on occasion. They hadn't sat there for most of their visit.

There are a few extra tumble weeds to pick up. Other than more hair, having the four wasn't all that bad.

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Next up Cisco and Berkley are looking forward to spending some time in Maine. Well, they would be if they understood what we were saying.

Kelly • 04:17 PM • (5) Comments
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
blograndom

Yesterday I was looking at DCSportsChick's blog and she mentioned it was her one year blogging anniversary/birthday. (Happy Bloggiversary DCSC!) It dawned on me that I had started doing this about a year ago too. And while DCSC managed to mention her one year of blogging on the actual date, mine is coming 5 days late.

In honor of one year, here's a few lists I've compiled about this blog:

10 random things about blogging

  1. I'm still not a good writer. Probably never will be.
  2. From DCSC (she's getting a lot of shout outs from me today):

    On a side note, did anyone read the article about bloggers? I wonder if this dude even knows what a blog IS.

    "The average blogger is a 14-year-old girl writing about her cat," said Alexander Halavais, an assistant professor of interactive communications at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

    No, stupid, that's a MySpace page. Did this guy do any research or read any blogs besides his daughter's? Way to go!

    Hmmm double the age, add a little, and substitute dogs for cat and that could be me
  3. I'm not obsessed with my blog. I've read a lot of people's blogs where they've had to "take a break" from blogging because they had become obsessed with it. Every once in a while I think oh I haven't updated my blog in a while, but I don't do anything about it unless I have something to say. Sorry loyal followers, I may go weeks without an update.
  4. I've changed the look of this blog three times. First it was some standard template, then it was the blue thing (yeah, not sure where I was going with that), and the eyes have been around since January. Time for an update?
  5. This blog has moved addresses once. It used to be at ekota.blogspot.com (which is not a link because now it redirects you to some article on car insurance -- who knew people were cyber-squatting on blog URLs).
  6. I recently removed the blogger toolbar from the top of this blog (did anyone notice?)
  7. Not everyone updates their blog regularly which is fine. Some people seem to forget they have blogs (hint, hint to some of my friends with blogs).
  8. I have 3 other blogs besides this one. None of them are as interesting or updated as often as this one (and this one isn't all that entertaining). No I'm not going to share the URLs with you.
  9. There is a fine line between sharing your life with family and friends and having too much personal information on the internet.
  10. I LOVE comments! I never get enough comments. I'm like a little kid on Christmas when I see an increase in the number of comments. I know people are looking as some days I have almost 30 people or more look at this blog (and they can't all be me checking for comments, can they?)

10 Highlights from this past year

  1. Our Patio! It was the whole reason this blog was started. We still love the patio, it needs to get used more than it does.
  2. Three weddings and a funeral. This year we witnessed the union of three wonderful couples and mourned the loss of one great man.
  3. Our first cruise. Yeah, we're hooked. We can't wait to go again.
  4. My new car. There is only a rare occasion where we miss the space of the SUV. Having to make two trips to the nursery to get the plants and supplies we bought, or our upcoming trip to Maine, or hauling things that are dirty. The XC90 was a tad more comfortable for long rides and there was a bit more space. But even for agility trials, I kinda miss it, but not really
  5. Agility updates! Cisco got two novice titles and we brought home ribbons from both dogs.
  6. We shared some of the agony of buying a new home.
  7. Some steps were taken in moving forward with Ekota Design.
  8. I shared my "she's no Martha Stewart" baking skills.
  9. Our trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. I will freely admit the only reason this made the list is because I'm an attnetion whore and wanted to call attention to the pictures I took again. And incase you haven't seen enough, all 146 pictures can be seen on Flickr.
  10. I began the 12 week challenge.

10 things I hope to blog about next year

  1. More home improvement projects. We've been in our house for over a year now and most of the walls are still white and most of our pictures are still on the floor in the living room.
  2. Going to a National's Game. We're coming down the home stretch of the second season there has been baseball in DC and I've yet to go to game. Maybe it's some sort of silent protest that the stadium isn't being built in Northern Virginia. Nah.
  3. Cisco competing in Excellent. First he has to get his two Open titles of which we have one leg towards our jumpers title. And let's not forget about Berkley getting a title.
  4. Visiting Washington, DC. We live so close to DC and we've yet to go to the Spy Museum, the american indian museum, the WWII Memorial, etc.
  5. An Alaskan Cruise. hint, hint
  6. More successes and progress of Ekota Design.
  7. The birth of my friend Kathy's baby girl (coming up soon).
  8. A mini trip. I'd love to get away for a long weekend. There is some talk of skiing over new years, but if that falls through, we have to plan a short getaway.
  9. More weddings!
  10. Me doing a 5K. Yup, you read that right. Me of all people doing a 5K. Notice I didn't say running. Ideally I'd like to run, but I'll be happy just having the courage to sign up for and making it through a 5K.
Kelly • 08:40 AM • (3) Comments
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
family
Uncle Al

On July 12th we said goodbye to my Uncle Al. Chris and I drove up Tuesday night for the Wednesday funeral. What we missed at the wake on Tuesday night was the out pouring of love and support of people who knew my Uncle and his family. Mom said that between 400 and 500 people stopped by the funeral home.

The next day, there were about 300 people present at the Mass and the longest funeral procession I've ever seen to the cemetery. My aunt picked out a spot near a tree that reminded us all of the tree that was in their front yard.

My uncle was not only my uncle, but he was also my godfather. I have so many fond memories of the time spent at their house. Either watching TV while my uncle took a nap, playing outside in his well manicured lawn, watching him pick vegetables from the garden, or spending time with him downstairs in his workshop, sometimes I even got to help some.

Uncle Al, you will be missed by lots of people.

My dad has a tribute to Al on the family website. His words are much better than mine. UPDATE: so it's not lost, I've added dad's tribute to this blog.

Kelly • 02:33 PM • (5) Comments
Monday, July 24, 2006
dogs

They're all sitting. I was highly amused yesterday when I got them all to sit. Now sitting and having them all look cute for the camera wasn't as easy.

I'm on hold with Cingular. Trying to get $28.83 credited back to my account from when I transferred from them back in November or so. I should be heading to work oh 20 minutes ago or so. I've tried calling Cingular on multiple other occasions, but they always ended up eventually sending me to some department that was closed at the time. So needless to say, I don't want to hang up now. I've only been on the phone for 40 minutes.

Kelly • 09:23 AM • (3) Comments
Friday, July 21, 2006
dogshouse

Since this past Friday we've been taking care of our friends' two dogs. That's right, we've got FOUR dogs running around.

Within the first few minutes Chris was like four dogs is WAY too many. All four were running around trying to check each other out. Since then things have calmed down considerably. It takes a little longer to feed four and to take four out and make sure four have done their business, but for the most part all four just lay around.

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Chris laughs at me as I call "ciscoberkleyhunterjade" when it's time to go out, or get fed, or go to bed. Cisco and Jade are our barkers. They bark at just about everything, sometimes the other two start, but not always. Hunter is the whiner of the bunch, he whines. A lot. According to Chris he whines a lot more when I'm not around. Last night when I took Cisco to agility, Chris said Hunter whined a lot.

DSC00027

Berkley, Hunter, and Jade are all part of the Crate Brigade and crated in our living room. Cisco has free run of the house, but usually that involves getting him out of someone's house to put them in. I think Cisco would love a crate of his own. I tell him when I leave for work to keep them all in line.

We have Hunter and Jade through July 30th. Then we'll be back down to two.

BTW, these pictures were taken with my new camera. Not bad, huh?

Kelly • 09:53 AM • (2) Comments
Thursday, July 20, 2006
family

I just thought this was awesome. Since the family website will change and this won't be there forever, I wanted to give it a permanent home.

Remembering Al...

First off, I don't buy for one minute that Al is "at rest." I'd be willing to bet that somewhere a saw is humming away... I would imagine that heaven probably has to periodically be renovated, and I'm sure Al jumped right in there to help - just like he always did when any of us needed a helping hand.

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away they were meant to be there... Thirty-plus years ago, I was about to marry into this family. There was going to be a "meet the new guy" party in Cleveland. I had never been to Cleveland and, of course, had never net Claire’s family. When we got off the plane at the Cleveland airport, there was a guy and a little girl there to meet us. It turned out to be Al and Holly. I took an almost immediate liking to Al. Before the party, he called me aside and told me not to worry, that these were good people - a few were wacky, but "good wacky." I spent the night with Terry and Al - I remember it being a long night, but a very good night. By the next morning, I was pretty comfortable with the upcoming marriage and - more importantly - I had found a new best friend.

Al was born in 1937 in Cleveland. He grew up and lived there all his life. He married Terry Stracensky, sometimes known as Col. Klink, in 1962. They had two great children - Scott and Holly.

Simple facts. But you don't measure the life of a man by simple facts, simply told. It’s been said that you measure it in the truths he learned, or in the times he cried, in the bridges he burned, or even the way he died.

Al learned much, rarely if ever cried, never burned a bridge, and pretty much knew when he wanted to make his exit.

Al was a man who knew what an honest day's work was and delivered it without fail - ever. He learned to be generous to his friends... he learned that a cold beer on a hot day was one of life's true pleasures... he learned to live life with optimism and enthusiasm... he learned the joy of working in his garden... and he learned that spending time with his family was his greatest pleasure.

I never saw Al cry, but here's how I imagine he knew he had enough of life. He was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness more than two years ago, he suffered a heart attack, he developed emphysema. A lesser man might have caved in - but Al hung on - he convinced himself that there was still unfinished business. In those two and a half years he celebrated two more Christmases, birthdays, witnessed his grandchildren's many achievements, participated in family gatherings and activities, took vacations and got to see Scott and Vicky's wedding.

The last time I was with Al, he gave me directions as to how his doorbell should be installed - he smiled just like the "old Al," took my hand and said, "thanks, Jim." It was a great closing. I think about how lucky I am to have known someone who is so hard to say goodbye to.

I’ve wondered in the last few days what Al would have said had he known that would be our last time together. Knowing Al, it wouldn’t have been a big deal - it would have been pretty simple. He might have said not to cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened.

Kelly • 02:21 PM • (1) Comments
Thursday, July 06, 2006
random

KermitFan80 has this in her blog and well, since I had nothing to blog, it seemed worth repeating here. Yeah everyone has probably seen it before, but yup, it's still true.

Kelly • 12:33 PM • (2) Comments
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
playphotographyfriends

I went to the Leesburg Parade with Deb, Wendy, Ryan, and Leyla this morning. It was... different. Nothing all that impressive, there were some bits of creativity, but then there were businesses basically trying to advertise with one or two fourth decorations plastered on their vehicle but mainly I think it was to advertise their business.

There were no horses, no clowns, no men driving tiny cars or motorcycles, no marching bands -- two fife and drum bands, but no hs marching bands.

The parade still resulted in some good pictures. Okay so half are of Leyla, half are of the parade. Again, to see the whole set (143 pics), you need to be my friend. Let me know if you want to be my friend and I'll invite you.


Kelly • 10:19 PM • (1) Comments
Sunday, July 02, 2006
family

I finally got around to uploading pictures for Chad and Ashleigh's May 20th wedding in Cincinnati. And this past Friday, my cousin Scott married Vicky in Cleveland.

Chad and Ashleigh's wedding was on a boat on the Ohio River. The day was gorgeous and the weather was great. Right about the time the cruise ended it started to get a bit overcast. It was great getting to meet and spend some time with some of Chris' cousins. Not all the photos in this photo set are public. You'll have to ask to be a friend or family in order to see them all.


Scott and Vicky had a beautiful wedding. They had a lot of personal touches and really did a nice job of including Vicky's daughter Madeline. All of the attendants were probably under the age of 10 and they all did a fabulous job. It was great getting the opportunity to spend time with and get to hang out with my family.


Kelly • 08:51 PM • (1) Comments
randomtravel

Where x = 2

We flew in to Dulles from Cleveland last night. Went to my cousin Scott's wedding on Friday.

Flight time: 45 minutes

Time spent waiting at baggage carousel number 1: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

I asked they said it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get the luggage. Well, we watched numerous flights come up, wait a maximum of 10 minutes, grab their bags and go. I even went and stood in the lost luggage line just to find out. All they could tell me was it had gotten on the plane. She even started to fill out a lost luggage claim for me. It wasn't just us from our flight. There were others too.

Next time we'll probably drive to Cleveland. We arrived at the airport at 5:15ish, we got home at 10:45ish. 5.5 hours. Time to drive: 6 hours. I think Chris is finally convinced driving to Cleveland isn't that bad...

Pictures from the wedding coming later.

Kelly • 11:26 AM • (1) Comments