The Beauty of Fall

Fall is our most favorite time of year.  The scenery is just beautiful and the weather is perfect for the pups to be out and about all day.  Last weekend we took a trip to one of our favorite parks in Richmond, Maymont Park.  The leaves are beginning to change and the colors were just gorgeous!

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A friend of ours took this beautiful photo of us with my camera.IMG_1515

The start of the fall season also brought changes for our family.  After 5 years of being in business for himself, my husband Mitch, closed Air Repair and began working a new job.  It was a good 5 years, but being in business for yourself comes with a unique set of challenges. I am proud of him for taking the leap. He has worked really hard and the future is looking bright.

With the closing of the business, it was time for us to obtain a “new to us” vehicle since the work van was not practical nor economical for every day use. Mitch also was not too keen on driving the minivan on a daily basis. The Pilot will also allow for us to purchase a camper next year and get back into camping. We both tent camped alot growing up and quite a bit before we adopted the pups and miss those adventures.

Honda Pilot

The pups have given it a 12 paws up approval!  We of course took them out for a ride the first day we owned it.  🙂


We took a ride out to wine taste at Lake Anna Winery and Cooper Vineyards.  The skies were beautiful.  The leaves were just beginning to change color on the grapevines.

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The girls and I took some selfies.

Pippi and I the girls and I

We drove by Lake Anna on our way to Cooper Vineyards. Very pretty.

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The pictures on our last post for Black and White Sunday were also taken at Cooper Vineyards.  We have one more trip planned to see some beautiful fall foliage before the trees lose all their beautiful leaves and the dreary winter arrives.

BBH 2014, Ziva turns 5! and 2015 Celebrating Greyhounds Calendars


After a two year hiatus, we finally made it back to Beach Bound Hounds…… one of our favorite greyhound events!  This was Ziva’s first time experiencing the beach/water.  She had a great time playing in the water and had a no fear attitude.  She kept wanting to go out deeper and deeper.

The weather was not ideal for sunbathing, but was perfect for having the hounds spend their days with us laying on the beach just enjoying the sights and sounds.

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Also made for nice leisurely strolls on the beach with the hounds.


It was overcast with rain showers every day.  The storms made for some great waves.


We knew we would be packed up and gone when the group had their Blessing of the Hounds ceremony so we had our own little remembrance on Friday the 27th, which was Maggie’s Birthday.  We watched as the waves took their sand written names into the sea.  Gone, but never forgotten.



We also enjoyed watching the pigeons and seagulls fly and scavenge for food. I only brought one lens with me on the trip so it wasn’t the best choice for these type of pictures, but they turned out okay.

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Ziva celebrated her 5th Birthday while at the Beach (9-28-14).  She shared her Birthday cake with her brother and sister as well as some of her fellow greyhound friends.


She also snagged a new toy….literally snagged a new toy from a vendor table at the event.  We were promptly told of the rule “you bite it, you bought it” so she ended up with another toy about as big as she is!  She carried the toy from the conference room where the vendors for the event were back to the hotel.


It was a great trip and we hope to attend in 2015 also!

Speaking of 2015, the 2015 Celebrating Greyhounds calendars came out last month and we were very happily surprised to see all three of our fur kids made it in to the wall calendar!!

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We have some neat trips planned over the next few weeks.  The leaves are turning and the weather is perfect, welcome Fall!  Stay tuned.

Grey Dayz of Summer

Eeek!  It has been a month since I updated the blog.  It has also been a month since I picked up my camera and took any pictures.  This is out of character for me.  We have been busy.  It seems these days we stay busy and I really don’t see any slowing down.  We have had some exciting life/work changes, but I will save that for my next post. 🙂 

You may remember Zola from my last post.  She went back home to Canada on August 17th. We still chat weekly via Viber, love that app.  She is doing very well.  We miss her a lot.  After 6 weeks of staying with us, she had become part of our family.

As for our furkids, they have been doing a lot of this:









They sure do have the good life!

July Recap

Wow! Can’t believe it has been a month since I last updated the blog.  I hope we still have readers out there.  🙂 We have had a busy and fun July; time just slipped away from me. I will apologize in advance for the length of this post.  It is probably the longest post I have ever had!!  We had such a busy July. 

On July 1st, we celebrated Ziva’s 1st Gotcha Day.  Since her favorite thing in the whole world are toys.  She got several new toys to play with.  She is so smart.  She knew when I came home from work and had a plastic bag from the store that smells like dogs that there were toys in there for her.  I had a hard time removing all the tags/stickers quick enough before she got to them.  Note to self, keep a pair of scissors in the car.

She had a blast doing her usual routine of running from the living room to the bedroom, jumping up on the bed squeaking the toy and then back to the living room getting down in play bow position and squeaking it again. She is full of energy at her young age of four.  I played tug of war for a bit with her.  It was hard being camera woman and trying to play but I managed to get a few good shots.  These are also the first pictures I have attempted to edit with Lightroom.  The program is awesome and I have so much to learn!

 We are so happy she is part of our family.  She came to us as a foster, returned to the agency after two days in a home….due to no fault of her own and at a very difficult time for us, after just losing our Maggie, but over time she helped to heal our hearts.  Interestingly enough her official Gotcha Day is one day after Booyah’s Birthday and her Birthday is one day after Maggie’s Birthday.  We did not plan it that way.  In fact, when we first got her and I saw her Birthday on her paperwork, it saddened me because it was too close to my Maggie’s Birthday and I thought we can’t adopt her because her Birthday will always bring me sadness and that is not fair to her.  At the time, my heart was still in a zillion pieces.  It took a long time for me to accept Ziva as part of our family.  Mitch pushed for adoption of her because he knew she was the perfect match and he felt like Maggie and Booyah had picked her for us.  When I agreed to adopt her and Mitch called to let the agency know they asked us what date we would like as her official adoption day.  I said any date except for June 30th because that was Booyah’s Birthday.  So they said how about July 1st, and we said okay. This may not be the typical adoption story, but this is her unique story.  Everything worked out how it was meant to be.  She is strong willed, full of life and keeps us on our toes……a great addition to our family and just what we needed in order to heal.

Here is our special girl.  Look at the determination and patience she has to get her little mouth on the new toy.  She is so cute! Love her!



She and I playing tug of war.

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After 15-20 minutes of play time, the excitement was over.  She decided my exercise mat was the most comfortable place for her nap.


Happy Gotcha Day, Ziva!!  You are one special girl, we love you very much and hope we have many more Gotcha Day celebrations for you!

Zola has been with us for four weeks now and will remain with us for a few more weeks.  Her mom calls from overseas every day to talk to Zola.  She has adjusted well to our routine and she is like part of our family now.  I sure will miss her when she goes back home to Canada.  She reminds me so much of my Maggie. She is a calm, sweet girl who just wants to be loved.


Pippi and Cueball recently had surgery.  Pippi had her ear tumor removed.  The pathology came back a few days later and we were relieved to find out that it was a benign hystiocytoma. She should not have any further issues.  She has fully recovered and I think she looks adorable with her cropped ear!

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Cueball went in for a dental and ended up with 6 teeth extracted.  He was pretty pitiful for several days.  They were all small teeth but still it was a lot at one time.  He has fully recovered.  He eats can food anyway so we did not need to change his diet.  He stopped eating dry food about a year ago.  He could be the new face of Ceaser’s dog food.  This is his favorite!

On July 16th, we celebrated Cueball’s 11th Birthday!!!  It doesn’t seem like he is eleven.  He is still spunky, loves to run, enjoys a good walk, enjoys a good roo, loves to roach and gets super excited when he hears the words Frosty Paws.  Since this is his favorite treat and his Birthday falls in the heat of the summer, it was the best way for us to celebrate him.

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Happy Birthday to our handsome, goofy boy!!!  We hope to celebrate many more!

A few days after Cueball’s Birthday, we joined our friends with our local walking group, Around Town Hounds, on a walk through a beautiful historic subdivision of Windsor Farms.


The interesting factoid about this subdivision is the two historic homes that are nestled in the subdivision.  Agecroft Hall and the Virginia House.

Agecroft Hall

Picture and information copied over from Agecroft Hall’s website:

From Elizabethan England, to the banks of the James. Built in England about 500 years ago, Agecroft Hall now overlooks Virginia’s James River.

On the rolling banks of the James River stands a remarkable Tudor estate. And by Tudor, we’re not simply referring to an architectural style. This manor house was actually built in Lancashire, England in the late 15th Century.
        For hundreds of years, Agecroft Hall was the distinguished home of England’s Langley and Dauntesey families. At the end of the 19th century, however, Agecroft fell into disrepair, and in 1925 it was sold at auction.
        Hearing of this tremendous opportunity, Richmonder Thomas C. Williams, Jr. purchased the structure, and had it dismantled, crated, and shipped across the Atlantic, and then painstakingly reassembled in a Richmond neighborhood known as Windsor Farms.
        Today, Agecroft Hall stands beautifully re-created, in a setting reminiscent of its original site on Lancashire’s Irwell River.

And The Virginia House:

VA House

Picture and information from their website:

Virginia House was formerly an English manor house that was relocated to Richmond in 1925. The home is now owned and operated by the Virginia Historical Society.

Virginia House was completed a few months before the stock market crash of 1929. Designed by Alexander and Virginia Weddell, the home is situated on a hillside overlooking the historic James River and was constructed from the materials of a sixteenth century English manor house. Although Virginia House was a blend of three romantic English Tudor designs, it was for its time a thoroughly modern home complete with seven full baths, central heat, modern kitchen, and commodious closets.

Mrs. Weddell’s appreciation of style is evident as the visitor moves through rooms decorated with English and Spanish antiques, silk draperies, Oriental carpets, and fine silver and china. The nearly eight acres of gardens and grounds that Virginia House rests on were designed by Charles Gilette and provide a rich backdrop to the house throughout the year. The house has been preserved much as it was when the Weddells resided there.

Lastly, at the end of the month Pippi, Zola and I headed to Watkins Glen, NY for the Grapehounds NY Wine Tour.  Mitch was unfortunately unable to attend due to work.  So Cueball and Ziva kept him company while we were out of town.

Aside from Beach Bound Hounds, Grapehounds New York is the best Greyhound event I have attended thus far.  The weather was perfect (upper 70’s to low 80’s during the day and in the 50’s at night) the scenery is peaceful and beautiful and the wines of NY are some of the best I have had yet. Better than the California wines I have had a chance to sample.  I have never been to Napa Valley, it is on the “to do” list so this was my East Coast Napa Valley.  🙂  I went up a day early arriving on Wednesday, so that I could have an extra day of wine tasting.  There were 26 wineries listed on the tour this year, along with 2 breweries and one cidery.  I was able to wine taste at 18 in 3 and 1/2 days.  I used Facebook as my tasting notes.  I met a couple of friends in NY so I wasn’t completely alone since Mitch was not able to join me.  We had a great time! This is an event that I won’t miss again. 

This is the view we had for most of the trip and how the pups spent most of their time.  All the wineries were so welcoming.  As long as I remembered to tote in the two quilts for my girls they were happy wherever we went.  Such troopers, even when they got tired, they hung in.  Greyhounds really are the best!!

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We had dinner one night at Seneca Harbor Station and while we were waiting for our table, I took a stroll down the pier.  It was so beautiful!

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On the day before we left, we joined other greyhound owners for the walk to Taughannock Falls.  Hard to believe, but these falls are taller than Niagra standing at 215 feet, but at no where near the velocity.  It was a quick 20 minute walk to the falls and was so pretty.  The girls enjoyed some time in the cool water when we reached the falls.

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The last picture of the falls was taken at the overlook.  This turned out to be my favorite picture from the trip.  I love the colors and vibrancy.  It looks like a painting to me.  I am pretty proud of myself and plan to print and frame it.

18 wineries = bringing home 2 1/2 cases (I stopped buying when I ran out of cash, it was my way of setting a limit). 

NY wine

Mitch is excited about un-corking NY!

I hope you enjoyed this long winded post!  I had a lot of ground to cover.  Now, I have a lot of catching up to do on your blogs.  🙂


Pippi and Sadie


These photos were taken two weeks ago on a lazy Sunday. We have noticed ever since Pippi’s dental in May, she has become a bit of a drooler.  She had only one tooth removed because of an abscess that did not get better even after 14 days of antibiotic treatment.  It was a pre-molar on the left side.  This was the first time Pippi had a dental since we adopted her in February of 2009.  She is a cute, but at the same time, it is a bit of a gross habit.

It made for an unique photo shoot though. 🙂






She can now drool with the best of them.  She has pretty good range on her drool stream.

About a month and a half ago, just a week after her dental, we noticed a raised red mass on the tip of her ear.  A week later, we were back at the vet’s office to have them take a look.  It cropped up over night. I don’t remember what type of tumor they said she has, but vet said it is common and can develop on their side or the tip of the ear.  The vet suggested trying 4 weeks of Hydro-cortisone Cream daily treatment.  In some cases, these tumors will dissipate with the use of the cream.  This was not the case for Pippi’s tumor. It became larger and continued to stay red.  It is also scabby and hard.


We went back in to see the vet after a month of treatment for f/u and to find out what the next step is.  The tumor must be removed and biopsied, so Pippi will be going back in for ear surgery to have the tip of her ear removed.  Because of the location of the tumor, they can only biopsy it after it is removed.  Poor doodle!  The smear they took on our first vet visit did show mast cells, but the tumor could still be benign.  Her surgery is scheduled for 7-11.  Cueball is scheduled for a dental to remove 4 teeth that day also.  Her surgery should be quick.  The vet said she should do well and also heal well. I will be a nervous nelly all day with these under anesthesia.  They are in the best of hands, but I still can’t help but be anxious and nervous any time they have to be under.


Two weeks ago we had a temporary foster for a day and night.  She was returned due to no fault of her own.  We hosted her for a day and night until she could go to her new forever home.  Meet 9 year old Kady who is now affectionately known as Sadie.




We were happy to help her along her journey to her new forever home.  She is a sweetheart.  The senior greyhounds are the best!!

We will keep everyone posted on how Pippi does after her surgery.  Ziva’s 1 year Gotcha Day is Tuesday, we have our Canadian friend Jasteena and her greyhound Zola coming in town this week for a visit and we are also counting down the days until Grapehounds-NY.  Zola will be spending the summer with us while her mom does important work in Afghanistan.    Lots of fun things going on in July for us!  We hope everyone is having a great summer thus far.  🙂



So my last post entitled Lights, Camera…..  was all about the fun I had in my recent photography class, the experience of using studio lights, what a difference an external flash can make and learning to become more and more comfortable shooting in manual mode. 

Today, I took a chance at action shots using manual mode.  I wasn’t sure if I would even get one decent shot.  Prior to, I thought out my settings for apreture, ISO, and shutter speed.  Lucky for me, Ziva was in a spunky mood today and I knew if I let her take a toy outside, she would be a running fool. She did not disappoint! I took a couple of practice shots to make sure the exposure for the lighting was okay and crossed my fingers for good luck and started to shoot. 

I threw her the big Gorilla toy to get her started.  She grabbed it and took off off.


She did a few laps carrying the Gorilla, but he is big and a bit awkward, so she drops him and just continues to zoom around the yard.


The tongue is out and she is starting to get tired.


But with Cueball joining in, she musters up her remaining energy to keep going.  My shooting did slow down a bit, as I was trying to monitor these two to make sure there were no issues.  My fur kids are usually always muzzled and don’t normally get to play un-muzzled in the yard.

Yes, I am the fun/safety police.


One more lap around with Cueball and they were both done.


I think they had a good time.  They sure took a long nap when they came inside and haven’t moved much since.  We don’t have many more of these nice weather weekends left.  Soon it will be too hot and buggy to be outside for more than a pee/poo break.  So we are going to enjoy them while they are here.  All in all, I am proud of how my photos turned out.  I sure had some beautiful models to work with.  Greyhounds are Poetry in Motion. Yes, yes they truly are!

I did get Lightroom 5 this week but I haven’t even opened it yet.  So these are un-edited (SOOC).  I hope to have some free time this week to delve into the software and start playing around with editing.  So much to learn still.

Lights, Camera….

….no action, but just wanted to share a few pics from my Advanced Digital Photography class that I just finished at the end of May. This class was all about lighting and was a lot of fun! I enjoyed setting up the studio lights and using them for still life and portrait photography.

Written permission was given by my model, Heather, to share these pics on my blog. I would love your feedback. For both of these photos, I used manual mode, my 50mm 1:1.4 lens and a Soft Box light set at half strength. I had so much fun working with Heather. She is a professional photographer so she knew exactly how to pose. I didn’t really ask her to do anything, she chose her poses. She also is a belly dancer and had lots of neat scarves, fans, netting, jewelry, etc. to work with. I took several photos of her but am only sharing what I think are my best two. I am shooting at 100% manual mode now and loving it.

APC Model 6 edited

APC model 10 edited

These two were from one of our still life projects. I edited them in Photoshop using the solarization tool. I like how they both turned out. Even though they are of the same objects, the two styles of editing completly change the vibe of the photos.

APC still life 3 edited

APC still life 2 edited

I recently purchased a 430EX II Speedlight flash and it is making a world of difference for my indoor photos. I am also slowly learning editing and am looking forward to the arrival of Lightroom 5, which should be delivered to my house this week.

I took these this afternoon. This one is without any flash. The lighting in my home is very dim. This is SOOC (Straight out of camera). Yes, I could have used some editing software to try to fix the under exposure, but my goal is to do very little editing. I would like to understand completely how to set up various shots by adjusting shutter speed, ISO, aperture, flash exposure, white balance etc. so that my pic SOOC is a very good one. 🙂 Mitch says I am getting in too deep. He may have a valid point. I use to actually read books at night before bed. Now all I read is websites and facebook pages about photography. Until I no longer enjoy it, I will continue on.

She moved so this is not the exact pose, but this was taken seconds after the above shot with the flash bouncing off the ceiling at a 90 degree angle. The only editing I did was cropping Mitch’s leg out.
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I hope everyone in blogger land is doing well and I look forward to catching up on your blogs and to your critiques of my photos!

Easy like Sunday Morning

Sundays are meant for relaxing….well at least for us they are.  With the busy season in full swing for Mitch, Sundays are his only day off for the next few months.  Life as an HVAC tech is no fun this time of year. 

Our 13th Wedding Anniversary was on May 18th.  We spent our special day at our favorite Virginia Winery, Rappahannock Cellars, in Rappahannock Virginia.  It is about a two hour drive for us, but well worth the trip.  We are club members, so we got to taste in the members only room and got to taste the members only wines.  While we were there, we picked up the case of wine we had waiting for us from our membership.  🙂
The only downside to this winery is the no dogs allowed in the tasting room rule.  So we did our tasting and headed out a few minutes down the road to Desert Rose Winery.  They are very dog friendly.  We did another tasting and then  got a bottle to share out on the deck with our friends Judy and Alexis.

Pippi was very curious about all the “goodies” we brought to go along with the wine.


We don’t allow our pups people food or table scraps on a regular basis, but we make exceptions, especially on special days.  They all enjoyed their pieces of cheese.

We have been doggie sitting Ms. McGann for a few weeks.  We believe this was her first winery trip.  She was wondering where I was going while Heidi got some loving from Auntie Alexis.


Maggie, formerly known as Lizzie, is not camera shy and comes over to check out all the action.


Ziva, Cueball and Sandy were all pooped from the car ride up to the winery and laid down almost the entire time.


Sweet Jackson was taking it all in.


This photo made me laugh when I downloaded the images from my camera.  Ms. McGann and Maggie look like how I felt that day.  A day out in the sun drinking several glasses of wine.  I think you get the idea.  🙂


All in all, it was a great day with good wine, friends and of course the hounds.  When we arrived home, Ms. McGann quickly claimed her spot on the couch.


Today, we also spent the day at another great winery, Cooper Vineyards.  This was their 10th Annual Lucy’s Weekend event, in honor of their hound Lucy who is now at the bridge, and benefiting the Richmond SPCA.

We had lovely weather with a nice breeze throughout the day.


We set up the ex-pen and canopy for shade for the hounds.


7 hounds in the ex-pen.  Can you find all of them? I am pretty sure we could have fit 3 more in with room to spare.  Those ex-pens were a great purchase all those years ago. No regrets.

Mitch enjoying a well deserved day off and some of the shade.


And our good friend Judy enjoying the day.


We enjoyed live music.


While the hounds enjoyed all the sites and smells.



It was another great Sunday spent relaxing.  We have a few more outings planned over the next couple of weeks.  Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day!