Our little family is growing…

Hi folks!  Yup, you heard right!  We’re going to grow by one.  Nope, I’m not pregnant.  We’re getting a new puppy!  We’re getting a black lab.  He’s 5 days old today!  We’ll get to meet him for the first time on the 4th of July weekend and he’ll come home to us on August 9th!

Rob and I discussed it this morning and he said if he had his druthers about it, he would prefer to the black lab puppy to the yellow.  I didn’t think we were going to be able to get him because he was kind of being held for someone else.  The breeder said that she had been trying to call him since they were born, but he wasn’t returning her calls so she told me that I could have him if wanted it.  She also told me that the bitch is a Chocolate lab and the sire is a yellow one.  She had all yellow puppies except for the one black one.  They were also all male!  What are the odds?!  I was thinking we should get a yellow one, but Rob said that too many people would confuse him with a Golden Retriever!

I gave Rob a list of names, but he didn’t respond to it, so when I found out that we were getting the black one I made a hasty decision with his name.  I could probably change it if I wanted to.  I wasn’t very creative.  The name HAS to start with a “c”.  It’s how they name the litters.  Litter one would start with an “a” and the second with a “b” and so on and so fourth.  So, my not-so-creative name for him is Charcoal.  I had other names, too.  Caesar, Cogsworth, Cadillac, Chance, Cinder (which now that I think about it, I can’t name him that because that was Rob’s ex-wife’s name for their black cat), and Constantine.  I think Charcoal will be okay.  I had to pick a name that DOESN’T sound like Casey–I don’t want to confuse my dogs, now do I?

Now, when Rob and I decided to go ahead and get this dog, the thinking was this: I am home NOW and I can spend some time training him.  I might not have this much time on my hands again.  Casey is my dog, but Rob named him.  Charcoal is Rob’s dog and I named him.  He will basically be my dog until we move back to the states.  Charcoal will require a lot more exercise than Casey does and Casey doesn’t do well on walks.  The only thing that worries me is that Casey will pass his bad manners on to Charcoal.  I really hope Charcoal is an Alpha dog!

I don’t know if Casey really understands the magnitude of this whole thing, but things are going to change for him.  No more sleeping on the bed with us and no more free-feeding.  Apparently, labs are prone to over eating and I don’t want him to get overweight.

I’m also trying to get Casey an appointment to get neutered.  I have to make two appointments for him.  One for an exam and then the neuter.  I love animals and I’m really glad that I married someone who doesn’t mind!  My ex had fits when I bought Dolli.  I wasn’t allowed to have a cat or anything with fur because he was deathly allergic to the dander (if I had used my brain a little more…no, I’m kidding!) I ended up with 3 parakeets, 1 cockatiel and a Siberian Dwarf Hamster.  My dad has my dog now.  It was never intentional that my dad get her, but when I joined the Army, my dad agreed to keep Dolli.  When it came down to it, I couldn’t ever ask to take her back.  That had been his companion–with me stationed in Germany, my brother stationed in Japan and my mother had divorced him the year prior.  He lived for her and she was is spoiled!

Well, I’m going to get going for now.  Hope everyone is having a lovely day and we’ll talk later!!

Do you notice anything different?

Heehee!  Just kidding!  The new header is the panorama I took of Pest.  There are two sides to Budapest.  I took this on the Buda side overlooking Pest.  I wasn’t actually sure that this picture would come out as great as it did.  I’m definitely getting this one framed!!  Yes, I took this with the $125 camera…which just goes to show you–you don’t need an expensive camera to take great photographs!  No editing (except the stitching) required.  Speaking of photos, I’ll post some here in a minute, but first, I wanted to share some of my stories with you.

The first night we were there, we didn’t do much.  We pretty much hung around the hotel for the better part of the day.  That was just fine by me.  We just wanted to relax a little bit.  Later that evening, we decided that we wanted to experience a little bit of the culture, so we headed to a cute little restaurant downtown.  I’m not sure what they called it there, but translated, it means The Rooster-something or other.  We were told to try some goulash.  I never realized it was traditional Hungarian.  It was very good.  Rob got the fish soup for his appetizer, which is also traditional.  I liked the fish soup better.

Then, the meal came and I got pork tenderloin with beef tongue and potato balls.  SO GOOD!  Huge portion, I couldn’t eat it all.  I’ve only had tongue once before and it was because my mother fixed it.  My parents only did special meals once in a while.  I can’t remember which one liked it and which one didn’t–but I remember liking it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it in Budapest.  My main course was definitely better than Rob’s (and I don’t remember what it was he ordered).  Then, we had some dessert and that was extremely yummy, too.  After our meal, we headed back to the hotel and we went to bed pretty early.

The next day started off pretty early and we headed off to get some breakfast.  Then, we went down to the spa and took a few laps in the swimming pool.  After all that, we got on the hop-on, hop-off bus where we were given a two hour tour of Budapest (pronounced Budapes(Hs)t).  We walked around for a little while and saw several weddings taking place.  The first wedding party we saw was near the overlook where the panorama was taken.  I wanted to get pictures of it, but we weren’t in a good position and all you could see was the wedding party’s back.

After we went to St. Stephen’s Basilica, we headed back to the hotel.  We weren’t quite ready to go back, so we stopped off at McDonald’s to have a quick bite to eat.  I can say that I’ve had McDonald’s in every country that I been to.  I’m not sure that gives me any bragging rights, but it’s still fun to say.  The funny part of that statement is:  I don’t even LIKE McDonald’s!!!  Don’t ask me why we always end up at one!  Perhaps it’s the familiarity of seeing one or that I’m still so American (even though I’ve lived in Europe for the better part of a decade) that we eat there, I really don’t know.

After all that, we went to the Danube Symphony Orchestra and then on the night cruise on the Danube River.  It’s one of the most important rivers in Europe and is the 2nd largest.  It starts in Germany and goes through 10 countries before emptying into the Black Sea.  Yes, to answer your question, I have seen the Danube in Germany–never been on it, but I’ve crossed it several times.

The next day, we slept in until 10.  We left the hotel around noon and went to Hero’s square.  There are tons of squares in Budapest.  Hero’s Square has a fine arts Museum and an art gallery in addition to tons of statues.  The Hungarians are big on statues.  We took a tour of the museum and there was a special temporary exhibit on photography.  So, you know I wanted to go see that!  That was an amazing exhibit.  There were some famous photos and some famous photographers featured there.  It was truly awesome.  After that, we started to walk back to the hotel so that Rob and I could have another spa treatment.  Rob got his first-ever massage.  I think he was a little disappointed because the woman who gave him the massage didn’t get all of the kinks out of his back and neck, but I think he enjoyed it all the same.

After that, we got dressed for a night out on the town.  The concierge recommended this place called “Old Man’s” where they have live music until dawn.  He didn’t mention that the drinks would be $22.00 a piece either!  The tiny pizza that we ordered was like 28cm and was about $18.00.  We nursed our non-alcholohic drinks (Rob ordered a Cuba Libre and I had a Long Island Iced Tea) and they should have had a good bit of alcohol in them, but they tasted more like flavored water.  We ate the tiny pizza and finished our drinks and we actually couldn’t get out of there any faster, if we tried.  The music was good, though.  My toe was tapping the whole time, but I was so put off by the price of the drinks that I simply couldn’t enjoy myself anymore!  We walked back to the hotel and called it a night.

The next day was check out and we had a leisurely breakfast and then headed to the airport. All in all, a very good trip, only two complaints–(1) the trip wasn’t long enough and (2) the bar on our last night.

And now, I present you the pictures: