Hi Everyone,
I've been traveling and super-busy for the last six weeks!
I told all of you about my trip to Denver last month to see Kayla, Perry and Kyle.

We spent Jeff's birthday(Sept. 24) in Pasadena with Heather. Jeff had the best weekend that he's had in years. We got to see the premier of "The PHD Movie" at CalTech and met the author of the comic strip that it is based upon. It was filmed entirely at CalTech, so it was great fun to watch with that audience.
Jeff had a wonderful time attending dinners with Heather and networking with PHDs and Nobel Prize winners from CalTech. Both of them were in their element.
While Heather was in her meetings, I let him choose our tourist destination. He chose the Natural History Museum, of course. We had lunch in China Town after.

I had very little time on the turn-around, and then headed for Little Rock for two weeks. I enjoyed seeing Meg, Tyler and Ryan, but rural Arkansas is a boring place. If you're not into football, huntin' or four-wheelin', there isn't a lot to do but cook, eat and drink. I was staying with my former bartender daughter, so I drank more than usual on this trip - hic!
I taught Meg how to make pie crust and Tyler greatly appreciated that his wife can now make apple pies. I also taught her how to make homemade biscuits and gravy, which she made for him on his birthday. She kept inviting her friends over for Mom's cooking lessons, so I felt like Rachael Ray, teaching the girls how to make Arroz Con Pollo, Eggplant Parmesan and Turkey Enchiladas. Meg was never this interested in learning to cook when she lived with us.

I spent most days being mobbed by Ryan (22 months) and his two dogs, along with my new service dog. Crixus and Shelly are the two sweetest Dobermans on earth. They both live to be petted and Crixus thinks that he should be a lap dog. He also lets Ryan bounce on him! Conner is my HUGE German Shepherd. We made a couple of trips to the mall with him to get him used to obeying me.
Meg finally talked Tyler into a kitten, so we made a trip to the animal shelter and she picked out a beautiful Lynx-point Siamese and named him Spartacus. (In Roman history, Spartacus and Crixus were fellow-gladiators) That kitten is so mellow, he will let Ryan carry him around up-side down. I was amazed at how quickly Meg socialized the dogs and the kitten. It was funny to watch two big Dobermans learning to be friends with a tiny 11 week old kitty. Meg told me today that the three of them are now playing well together - the dogs chase the kitty, then the kitty chases the dogs. It must be a sight to see!

Last Wednesday, Conner and I began our flight home. We had a short flight from Little Rock to St. Louis. He slept at my feet in the bulkhead seat and behaved like a champ. I had a long layover at Lambert, and since St. Louis is home, I had called my cousin. Mary met me with White Castles - yum! We had a nice visit, and then Conner and I got on our long flight. He was great again. The steward loved him and took his picture, along with other passengers. The steward has seen Sea World penguins and a lemur on planes before, so he has a picture collection of animals on his plane. We were both tired and glad when Jeff finally picked us up in San Jose. We stopped to eat in Gilroy, and Conner was a good boy in the restaurant.

On Thursday, I had a massage, and my masseuse loved my dog. She gave him a rub-down from ears to tail, so he is now her fan, too. I had physical therapy on Friday, and then we met up with Jeff and his buddies at the Trident Room Bar. Mike just finished his dissertation and got a posting to teach at Annapolis, so we were celebrating. Conner had is first experience of our favorite bar. (He will have many more)

Jeff and I attended the Navy Ball on Saturday evening. We dined and danced and had a great time. We asked the DJ for "Remember When" because we have our 35th anniversary coming up on the 23rd. Jeff has to hold me up, but it is still fun to dance in his arms. I'll post a picture from the ball as soon as I can.

Yesterday, Jeff had two of his buddies over to help him to move the fence so that Conner will have one big yard instead of two small ones. It was fun watching those three PHD brainiacs build a fence. Everything had to be measured and mathematically precise -LOL. When they made the obligatory trip to the hardware store, I couldn't help but think "three nerds in a truck!" Oh well, I love nerds!

Today was the first day in six weeks that I had nothing else to do and could catch up on my computer. Conner, the cats and I have had a lazy day.
Tomorrow, we're meeting with a dog trainer who is going to help me with perfecting my handling of Conner. He was so strongly bonded to Meg, it was hard to get him to listen to me with her around. Now that he is bonding to me, we'll work on those commands. He is great at "Step, Hold!". He helps me on steps and curbs by bracing himself so that I can use his strong shoulders to keep my balance. He helped me to walk to the machine at the airport when they took my metal cane away, and impressed the TSA agents.
The other day, he peeked in when I was getting out of the shower, so I told him to "Hold" and he helped me out of the shower. He is an incredible dog!

So, I'm glad to be back at WHL and I'm still trying to catch up on everything that I missed.
Love and hugs to all!
Marla