Sunday, January 31, 2010


This is the framed portrait my aunt did for us of Jasmine (ignore the flash glare in the middle). My mother sent an email just after Jasmine died and said that God is patting her head in heaven now. So I sent several pictures and those words to my aunt and this is what she created. Lucie had it mounted and framed and it came out beautiful. We miss her every day. Thanks Aunt Tania!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Meet Mocha

So there you see the newest Hale family member: Mocha. She is a Newfoundland. Almost 3 months old, brown with a white spot on her chest. While on vacation this summer, we saw one and loved the breed. We had several family meetings about the loss of Jasmine, "replacing" her, and the inevitable future loss. Yesterday was one month since Jasmine died and it was very emotional. But we convinced Lucie (!) and did our research and shopping. The biggest problem was finding an affordable one. Most are champion bred and cost about $2000! I have no intention of showing her in dog shows. Finally we found Mocha for sale by an Amish/Mennonite (?) family about 3.5 hours away in Pennsylvania. So we loaded up the Hale family truckster and headed out. On the way out there, we looked at the picture we had of her and decided on the name of Mocha because of her coffee color with a splash of "whipped cream" on her chest. We really wanted to see where she was born and her parents and so forth. And it was worth it. She lived on a farm way out in the middle of nowhere with other Labs and Newfies. Her mom is all brown and weighs 120 lbs and her father is black and white and weighs 150 lbs! She was very social and fun... and dusty! So we hung out on the farm for a while and took her home. She slept most of the way home with no accidents. When we got home, we made the introductions to Britni the beagle (who wanted to play a lot!) and let her explore her new yard. Then I gave her a long bath (which she loved) and she came out of the tub a fluffy and clean puppy! We had a good evening and she did really well. Last night I put her in her crate in our bedroom but that caused a ruckus with Britni so I moved her down to the living room and I slept on the couch near her crate. We slept well all night and when Britni came down this morning, I opened the crate door and they both marched out to the yard and took care of business. She is pretty well behaved but I am not fooling myself - we have a long road ahead of us. She will stay crated during the day and between Lucie and I, we will give her all the potty breaks she needs. A new chapter in our life begins...

In other news, everything else is going OK. The kids did well on their mid-terms and are actually exploring employment opportunities. Elliott hit a buzzer beating, half court 3 point shot at half time of his game the other day. The crowd went nuts and they said it was the best shot in the league this season. His team lost but he scored 14 of the 29 points and did well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Elliott's Carrying The Team

Elliott's had a couple of big games this season including a really close one today. They have only won one game and lost five but it is a very young and small team - Elliott is the oldest and biggest and most experienced. And he is making the most of his veteran status by teaching the younger players what to do and running the game on the court. But it is too much for one person. He is shooting 60% from the field and has scored 40% of all of his team points. Today he had 14 of the total 28 points and had 18 rebounds! When the games get close, he inbounds the ball, brings it up the court, passes off, and tries to get open to score. And he does really well. The team is improving - they are into the second round of playing some teams and so far his team has scored more than in their first meeting and the opposition has scored less. So there is improvement. Elliott has a great attitude and just enjoys the game and the exercise. A parent on the other team told me today, "that #3 (Elliott) is really good. He picks his shots and hits them." I proudly said, "that's MY boy. And every good play he does he didn't learn from me!"

Today Ashleigh is down in Baltimore with her boyfriend doing the Aquarium and eating out. She is still playing indoor lacrosse on Saturdays (not this one) and they do pretty good. Both she and Elliott are trying to get jobs as they are starting to see the need to earn some money to do things (since Lucie and I sure don't have any!).

Britni is a different dog without Jasmine around. Pretty quiet and oddly enough, obedient and much better behaved. Some of things she used to do just annoyed Jasmine. We are sure she misses her like we do. I took her for a walk today and she really liked that. Lucie has been taking her in the car on errands and things too.

Work is still going great for me. I love it there. Something new every day. Still not used to real benefits, vacation time, and "banker's hours" though (lots of holidays). I and the kids are off Monday. I bought some meat to grill (it got into the 50ยบ's today!).

We had a good night out with some friends last night. We had some good laughs - it seems like we haven't had a good laugh in a long, long time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pet Portraits

Just quickly posting a couple of pieces of artwork my aunt did of Jasmine. The pastel of God reaching out to pat Jasmine was inspired by something my mother wrote and my aunt sent that to us to be framed. The painting of Jasmine on the couch she kept for her shows. Really good stuff and we love the outcome and effort.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009: Roller Coaster Year

Well we made it to 2010 but what a roller coaster of a year 2009 was. I was reading back on some of my blog entries from the past year and lots of emotions were invoked. Employment issues marked most of the year, but that was resolved in the best of ways. The end of the year was an emotional time for the family as well with Jasmine passing away and another issue. Sometimes we make the right decisions and sometimes not. But as I look back I can clearly see that the constant through 2009, and every year, is God's goodness. It is up to me, and everyone, to decide whether to stick to that plan or venture off on our own. Believe me, the venturing off is not the way to go but thank God there is place to come back to. So I thank God for His goodness and mercy and for my family and close friends. I was never much of a roller coaster guy...