August 2009 Archives

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Well with all the serious talk going around Hoboken these days, how about something fun, and refreshing.

Ever since I bought my condo there seemed to be something just, missing, from my life. I lived with roommates in Hoboken since I moved up here and in some ways they were like a surrogate family or friends that were always at home with me. Now that I lived in my condo alone for two years, it's a bit empty. Even when I lived with roommates and would be watching TV or playing on my computer, it was nice to know there was someone else in the house. Now certainly there's not an exact parallel between a human roommate and a dog, but there's also something there, too. I could have had a cat or a bird or maybe some fish...but I wanted a dog for a very long time.

As some of you know from my Facebook updates, and posts over the last year or so, I have been doing a ton of research into getting a dog. There were lots and lots of factors to consider.

Like...is it right for the dog? I asked Opportunity Barks' Leigh Siegfried about that a few weeks ago, I wrote:

"Hello, I live by myself in a condo. I had dogs all my life, growing up, and my family members and many friends have dogs. I'm an active person, with a fairly busy life, but my weekends & nights are mostly free. I'm interested in getting a new furry friend, but i'm torn with a dilemma. I work about 9-10 hours a day. I certainly can get a dog walker for an afternoon walk, but the dog would be alone most of the day. Is this fair to the dog? I kind of feel guilty for locking up a dog in my condo all day. I'd be around for nights and weekends to be with the dog."

and she replied:

"Look, if everybody that had a dog didn't work 8 hours a day, there would be a lot MORE homeless dogs out there! I think you may want to consider a low energy dog that may already be in foster care, so that the foster folks know that
1. the dog IS crate trained
2. the dog IS comfortable being left alone for hours at a time
3. the dog IS house broken

That sounds like a win-win to me. And remember as you get to know your dog better, they may be able to afford freedom in the house and can get out of the doggie "condo" themselves. Even in a crate, a dog should have multiple things to chew on- kongs, bones, yada, that helps make crate time, less boring and gives a dog access to things to stimulate them.

You can also consider dog daycare if the dog enjoys being around other dogs too, and some walking services even offer mid-day hikes!"

At the time, I was looking to adopt. I did some looking around, getting in contact with various shelters, and viewing what they had available. But, I didn't have a dog jump out at me that was perfect for both me, and the dog.

Some of the factors was that I wanted a low energy dog, a companion breed, that could handle being alone in my home while I was at work. I had my heart set on French Bulldog, Bulldog, Boxer or Boston Terrier. I looked at lots of other breeds, for example, a Labrador Retriever...but didn't think it was fair to have that kind of dog in a condo all day alone.

I know some people are adamantly against dogs being alone at all, but I think Leigh presented a logical argument. The breeder was found by my sister, while we were looking on Petfinder for mixed breed dogs. The French Bulldogs were already 8 weeks old...and available from a registered AKC breeder in Southeast Ohio.

There are friends of mine that very much wanted me to find a homeless dog for my home, and in a way I do feel guilty for not looking longer. But I had to make a decision that was right for me...and right for a dog entering my home. At the end of the day, everyone needs to be happy and this was my decision. I hope that one day I can have more dogs in my life, once I have a home with a backyard, and can help rescue or foster dogs.

I'm very excited at this new chapter of my life. I'm certainly up for any advice from other dog owners and already reading up on what I have to do to "puppy proof" my home.

I don't have a name yet. I have been thinking of a bunch of names and given advice on names like Erving, Scrapple, Rocky, Ben, Will, Krimpet.

Thoughts? Ideas? Comments. Shoot me an email at philly2hoboken@gmail.com. Also if anyone can suggest a dog walker in Hoboken, i'm all ears.

In case you didn't understand my title...

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Running the Eagles and the Phillies club in town, often I get asked about getting a group together and going to local games. One of the groups I met up with over my years was Keith (Mongo) Czaban and Phillytailgate.com.

He has done Eagles events and Phillies events in multiple cities, and this was my first chance to meet up with his group for a local event.

It was very fun, they grabbed a parking lot in Flushing, with lots of beer, food, a DJ and even a string band to lead us from the parking lot to the game (tailgating AT Citi Field is banned). Met lots of people, drank a good deal of beer, and had an overall good day. Lots of fun to sit in our section (sections 138 and 139, which weren't bad seats in my opinion!) and chant/cheer/jeer the game. We got a few Mets fans to taunt us back and it was mostly good-natured stuff.

Getting home wasn't too bad, I took the LIRR from Citi Field to Penn Station, then the PATH from 34th to Hoboken. What's up with Path service on Saturday night and why does it always suck??

Anyhow, I included some pictures from the game and tailgate.

Last night I was standing in Black Bear, waiting for friends to arrive. I look up at the plasma TV, and across the bottom I see "Michael Vick signs 2 year contract with Eagles".

I couldn't believe it. I started to curse like a sailor, while frantically typing on my iPhone texting my friends the news.

Everyone knows that I love animals. I grew up with every animal imaginable, thanks to my kind hearted sisters who worked at the local Veterinary hospital. You name the animal and there was a good chance that my sisters were rehabbing those hurt souls back to health, and often as a younger brother, I was curious and helpful to do my part, too.

Suffice to say, the signing really bothered me.

But I was raised a Catholic, and to this day I consider myself a spiritual, if not practicing, person. As much as I don't talk about God on my blog, my religion is and has always been a big part of my life, as a guiding force for many of my decisions and foundation to the man I am today. I don't claim to be Mother Teresa's Brother. I'm a man. A man that makes mistakes and a man that has sinned and repented for my own actions, if minor, in God's eyes over the years.

Michael Vick made a mistake. A terrible one, to helpless animals. I won't sit here and try to defend Michael Vick. Part of me, like many of you, are angry about what he did, and that's normal to feel that way.

But emotions aside, I turn to what is written in the Bible often for guidance. Just a few quotes that I think are apt in this situation:

Matthew 6:14-15
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Colossians 3:13
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Michael's actions are his cross to bear for the rest of his life. To me, what he does off the field will determine if I forgive him. But I am also someone willing to give someone a second chance. If Michael is truly repentant for his actions, then he will prove to us that he deserves our forgiveness.

I'm still not happy about this situation. I would rather he wasn't on the Philadelphia Eagles. But I am also willing to see if he turns his life around and does the right thing to repent not only to God, but to society, for his past transgressions. He needs to prove to all of us that he is absolutely sorry, and will be a role model for the Humane Society. If he does that, I think most people, but not all, if you are religious or not, are willing to forgive him.

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Ok, so thanks for all the kind emails about mom. Current status is fairly simple. We know she has a tumor on her brain stem. Some people who have this can live years without an issue, and may not need surgery. Others may need to operate if they see the tumor growing. So we are in a wait and see approach due to multiple factors (her age, the danger of surgery, the danger of chemo) and figure that if the tumor is growing...then we take action. Next up will be a doctor's visit in a few months for an MRI and see what the tumor is doing.

Been talking a bit on Facebook about getting a dog. I'm 95% there. I have been looking into rescue and looking into breeders. If you know, I did rescue my old cat, Honey, and she was a good cat, but never quite bonded with me the way I would have liked. So, i'm leaning towards getting a French Bulldog, i'd like to get a puppy (yes, I recognize this will be a lot of work), and the current breeder i'm talking to has a litter that will be due in mid-December.

I rejoined Club H. A friend of mine was able to get me a good deal and i'm locked in for another year. I have been hitting the gym a lot. Things have gone well, i'm down a pant size, and as much as I haven't been losing weight, i'm happy with my appearance, stamina and muscle gains. I'm not quite back to 100%, but more like 90%. Looking good, and feeling good.

I got over the last few days and tried a new place on 539 Park Ave called aptly enough "Park & 6th Comfort Food". There's two places in town that I go to get any of my hoagies - Vito's (Saturday they have London Broil with Mutz that is a must-eat for anyone new to town) and Fiore's (Thursday or Saturday they have Roast Beef with Mutz that is delish!).

I tried three of their specialty sandwiches so far, and hope to try them all with a formal review of all of them in the next few weeks. I tried their Buffalo Chicken Salad, Roast Beef Sandwich and their Italian Hero Sandwich (each sandwich has their own special name...like Eli Manning or The Hoboken, etc). Anyhow i'll write more on the place in a month or so, but suffice to say...seriously try it. If you like the weekend grinder/hoagie/hero like I do and feel betrayed when Vito's closes for a vacation...and are mildly disappointed that Luca Brasi's isn't that good...go to Park & 6th. Great bread. Excellent cold cuts. Good mutz. Often I deride a bunch of local businesses for being "average at best"...this is worth the walk. Try it.

Also want to do a write up soon of La Isla. I have to say that this is probably my #1 place to eat it town, now that i'm living downtown. Why? Because every day I walk in there after the gym and get their roasted chicken breast. For those of you crying over Boston Market closing...this is the next best place for good rotisserie chicken. And it's only $3.50 for a single chicken breast (I go home, slice it up, add some homemade rice and asparagus and call it a cheap meal). You can also get sides with it from La Isla, and I love eating their Papa Rellena (Potato Ball). Crispy on the outside, soft mashed potato inside and a core of ground beef and onion...it's heaven. But i'm sure not very healthy, so I don't eat them very often. Also you have to try their cuban sandwich which has roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and thinly-sliced dill pickles that are added in layers on flat bread and pressed into a thin hot sandwich with a buttery garlic spread. Mmmmmm. Another thing you have to try.

My sister came up to visit me the other day, with her husband and kids. One reason, aside from seeing her favorite brother, was to see City Hall bakery. Has anyone else been noticing this? It's now a tourist destination. I saw people the other day looking around for it, and they finally asked me where it was located. I pointed them in the right direction, and the one pre-teen girl chirped happily while leading her mother to the store.

But it was a nice visit from my sister, they got to see City Hall bakery and I took them over to Oddfellows for dinner. Then afterwards, I walked them around the waterfront and we got some ice cream. I went to Rita's, I just love their custard. They had Cold Stone creamery. I recognize that Cold Stone is always packed, but it seems like they never have enough people working there. I watched some people wait in line and walk away in disgust for being forced to wait so long. That's one reason why I like Rita's. Their custard is awesome and you are in-and-out in less than 3 minutes.

Anyhow, i'm looking forward this week to having Friday off. I love summer.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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