Saturday, March 29, 2008

Everything Happens for a Reason

I know it sounds cliche but it's oh so true! Earlier in the week, I complained about having to re-send our employment letters to Tallahassee since the first once I sent were rejected since they weren't signed properly. So, I re-sent them and received them back on Wednesday morning. I was contemplating running out to the Fed Ex Kinkos at lunch time to get the certified docs out to the consulate in San Fran asap. And then I read updates from ADOPPT on their new website's Q&A section. I had posed a question asking how long we had to get our refreshed documents in, and I was surprised to see that the answer was: all families that need updated documents have been contacted. Ummm.... hello? I KNOW our docs expired, but I wasn't contacted! So I emailed our agency and got an answer back that each province is different and once our dossier is reviewed, they will let us know then if they need updates. So, I may have sent them in for no reason, thereby spending $400 for no reason as well. SO, the REASON why the docs were messed up in the first place was to save us that money! (I hope!)

Chances are they will need it anyway. I have decided that if I don't hear anything in four months (I can't believe I just wrote that - I BETTER hear something before 4 months!) but if I don't, I will ask if I should send in the refreshed docs before they expire again. Ughh. Please, please let us hear something well before then. All this waiting is driving me nuts!

So, to pass the time, here is another funny photo from I love this site. I love things that make me laugh. I like to share them with you, so I hope you enjoy the funny pics I will post every so often.

funny dog pictures
see more loldogs are funny dog pictures!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Aku!

Today is Aku's 5th Birthday! We have plans to take him to the dog park tomorrow, so I hope to update w/ some birthday party photos!

As promised, here are a few pics from the dog park! Aku loves the pool!

Here is a Boxer tribute from loldogs:

funny dog pictures
see more loldogs are funny dog pictures!

funny dog pictures
loldogs are funny dog pictures!

funny dog pictures
loldogs are funny dog pictures!

loldogs, cute puppy pictures, boxer, I Has a Hotdog
loldogs are funny dog pictures!

waterpik ur doin it wrong, loldogs n cute puppy pictures - I Has a Hotdog!
loldogs are funny dog pictures!

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

This Made May Day!

Hero was born in Korea in September 2003. He has Beatles mania.
His full Korean name is Ha,YoungWoong;
Family name is Ha / Given name is YoungWoong (from Chinese) which means "Hero" in English. Self-motivation is what differentiates Hero from other child musicians like Michael Jackson who was forced to practice as a child.

Starting at the end of 2005, Hero began to sing by himself and now he can sing about 40 of The Beatles songs and forty other old pop songs.
Hero has not been trained in English or Music and has yet to live in or even visit any English-speaking countries. He just learned the songs by ear by himself and for his own amusement and after two months he finally managed to sing all 27 songs on The Beatles "1", though his pronunciation as a non-English speaker is a bit poor!!!

Hero has been dying to learn the guitar, but regretfully, he is too short and weak to get a tight grip on it with his fingers since he was only 90cm in 2007, last year and is still only 100cm now.

For your reference Hero's Korean is quite advanced for his age and he has yet to receive any formal training. Korea masscom regards him as a language prodigy; He was also featured in a Special Edition of BEST BABY in February 2008 (the most influential monthly parenting magazine in Korea)

To keep up with more videos from Hero:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Enough with the paperwork, already!

I posted previously about our frustrations with having to renew some of the paperwork for our dossier because they expired 6 months after completion if not logged in. We missed it by the couple of months that our dossier was waiting to be logged in. So, we renewed the documents and last week, I mailed them off to Tallahassee to get the notaries authenticated by the state. They arrived back from Tallahassee last Thursday while I was in Vegas, so I opened them on Saturday to find that the notary that processed our employment letters forgot to sign them. Ughhh! How annoying! Well, at least Tallahassee just sent them back and asked for signatures and gave us credit, so at least I didn't have to pay an extra $20. (I only had to pay for the extra shipping back and forth.) But the worst part is the extra time it takes. Grrrrr. I expect and hope that it won't affect anything, but who knows, it is a stressful time for Vietnamese adoptions with a lot of uncertainty about the continuation of the program between the US and VN and all the talk of becoming Hague complaint. It is enough to drive someone batty! Luckily, I am quite insane already, so maybe no harm is being done to my already abnormal psyche.

So, I hope to get the newly authenticated papers back on Thurs or Friday and have them off to San Fran the same day I receive them. Then, hopefully the consulate will not take as long to process them as last time, since they were stuck there over Christmas and New Years! With any luck, and since there are o holidays coming up, the updated docs will be in Vietnam within 2 weeks!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Myke's New Recipe: Ahi Tuna Sliders

Myke made an awesome dinner tonight! His creation is called:
Ahi Tuna Sliders: mini tuna burgers with wasabi sauce and ginger slaw on sweet Hawaiian rolls

Myke's recipe:

1 lb sushi grade Ahi Tuna
sesame oil
1 package Hawaiian sweet rolls
1 package precut cabbage/ slaw
ginger dressing
wasabi sauce

toss the slaw in the ginger dressing and let sit during the rest of the prep
cut tuna into slider sizes to fit the rolls
cook tuna medium rare or rare in sesame oil
put wasabi sauce on one side of the rolls
put slaw on other side of the rolls
assemble sliders, eat, and enjoy!

Total prep and cooking time: 20 minutes.
Makes dinner for two or great party snacks!

Recommended side: sweet potato fries!

He modified a Rachael Ray recipe:

Editor's note: Ok, I feel obligated to add a note that I arranged the plate and took the picture. Myke is a little upset because he says if he knew I was going to post this, he would have made it look nicer and painted the plate, etc. So, if it looks bad, it's my fault - it tasted great! : )

It was a total BARF-O-RAMA!

I get home from work today to find that Yogi and Aku ate two entire packages of Hawaiian sweet rolls and then proceeded to have a BARF-O-RAMA Fest! I almost took a picture of the puke destruction in the kitchen because no one will ever believe the amount of puke that was there! Myke stopped off on the way home to get some car supplies, so I was left to clean this disaster by myself. I was on the phone with my dad when I got home and briefly thought about taking his suggestion and leaving, pretending that I was never home! Hah!

No, I couldn't do that, I would never leave the babies with that mess, plus, Myke and I know that I am the one on puke duty - he can't handle it and will just add more to the mess! So, its actually good that he wasn't home first. Plus, I had to send him to the grocery store to get another package of sweet rolls, for his planned dinner recipe. (I will post about that later!)

I managed to clean up the mess. It took me about 30 or 40 minutes. I was dumbfounded at first, unsure of how to even tackle this problem, where to start? But eventually I did it! The whole time, both of the dogs, looking at me through the dog gate, but this time, I was the one locked in the kitchen!

Oh, and I have to tell you how great this Bissell Flip Hard Floor Cleaner is! It is a wet/dry vaccuum and mop all in one. It saves the day for us lots of times!

Maybe one day, we will actually learn the lesson and not put things where Aku can reach them. Poor guys though - I feel sorry for them, they only mess with things when we are not home, they must be so bored and lonely!

We are sure that the doggy conversation in the kitchen is Yogi talking Aku into reaching up and knocking food on the floor. One day Myke will actually make the videos we are always asking him to doing a voice over of Yogi and Aku. I am sure that will be one of the funniest videos ever!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Download a Free Recipe Book for Charity

If you go to you can download a cookbook with recipes from Mario Batali, Chris Daughtry, Marisa Tomei and more. The download is free for you; but $1 is donated to America's Second Harvest to help feed the hungry. You can even choose for the donation to go to a chapter near you.

I meant to post this before. You only have until March 31, 2008. It only takes two minutes. I was reminded about it when I heard about the TAP Project. This is a program that restaurants around the country are running. You can purchase a glass of tap water for $1 and that dollar gives clean water to a needy child for 40 days! Great program, huh? So you can look up a participating restaurant near you:
While just doublechecking their website, I see the program ended today, but you can still donate on the website. Money is tight for us, saving for the adoption and all, but I think we can handle $5. What about you?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Halloween Show Fun Photos

I spent this week in Vegas at The Halloween Show with my Dad. Myke stayed home to take care of the dogs and hold down the fort at work. This is the show where we decide on what to buy for the year. Its tricky to know now what to buy and how much of it since it is 7 months before Halloween, but Dad is a pro at this - he's been doing it for over 20 years - I have been doing it for almost 20 years myself. Boy - that makes me sound old!! Well, I just wanted to share some fun pictures I took at the show. I thought all my FCC friends would love The Golden Buddha Costume! Below are pics of me with Elvira, Bloody Mary and some cute models. Also is my dad (right) with our good friend Frank from Atlanta. If you want to see al the pics I took, they are on my Flickr account:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Luck of the Irish - We are logged in to VN!

What else than the luck of the Irish could it be? We got the official word today that our dossier was accepted at the Vietnamese DIA and we ARE LOGGED IN! I'm so happy I could kiss a leprechaun! I will been in Vegas all week at the Halloween Show, so I will get the blog all caught up by the end of the weekend.

In anticipation of possibly getting logged in, I sent our expired papers to Tallahassee last Friday to get the updated papers authenticated. There was lots of talk and rumors going around last week on whether Vietnam and the US will sign a new MOU, whether Vietnam will become a Hague country and how that might affect the adoptions in process and our agency. I am so glad to be logged in now, because if any negotiations falter, there is more of a chance that those who are logged in will be able to complete the adoptions. The other word from our agency is that they are expecting a new license for the province called Hoa Binh "any day now". So once that is obtained, hopefully things will move right along. And, chances are that maybe we will be waiting on a Hoa Binh Princess?!? Hoa [hwah] Binh means "peaceful" in English.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Farscape is Coming Back!

Farscape is our all time favorite TV show. It ran from 1999 - 2002. When we found out it was getting canceled, we were both so upset. It's hard to believe that you can get that attached to a story line and its characters, but we did! So, while checking in on the Sci Fi channel website yesterday, I just decided to click on their Farscape link to see what they said and was thrilled to see this!!
Farscape Returns!
Farscape is Back in Webisodes
You can sign up for Farscape Webisode updates on the website. So, I have combed the web for more info, but cannot find it anywhere. I'm not sure how new this announcement is or if any of the main characters will be returning, but I will be sure to keep the blog updated as I find out info.

I really think this show has the draw to launch webisodes into the mainstream of video entertainment!

This sci-fi story is so well written and acted out so well, that it is hard for anyone to not fall in love with this show. Sure, it has a special appeal towards Sci Fi fans, since it is set in space in another galaxy, but also features one of the best love stories ever told and features the development of such a strong friendship bond between the characters. You also get an underlying sense of how these friendships overcome all types of barriers parallel to cultural and ethnic barriers that exist in real life. That is because these friends develop this tight bond even though they are different species from different galaxies, rather than different countries or origins of humans.

Farscape has a huge following even to this day, with an annual convention, fan websites galore, and one of the largest campaigns ever launched to save the show. In the end, the Henson Production Company and the Sci FI Channel, could not justify saving the show because of the expense of producing it. That is so unfortunate, because the show brought so much entertainment and joy to so many.

So if you have never seen Farscape and want to catch up, the series and its mini series finale is available on DVD, plus, they just recently announced that sesaon 1 is available on iTunes. You can also check out the synopsis on the Official Farscape Site. And here is a brief overview for you to get an idea of what the show is about:

Astronaut John Crichton [played by the amazingly handsome Ben Browder] assumes he'll be home in time for dinner. But a freak accident during an experimental space mission catapults him across a thousand galaxies to an alien battlefield. Suddenly, he's trapped among alien creatures wielding deadly technology - a battle that 20th century sci-fi pop culture never prepared him for. Hunted by a merciless military race, Crichton begins his quest for home from a galaxy far, far away...

Thus began the epic adventure "Farscape", the groundbreaking award-winning sci-fi production that has become a fan favorite around the world. Named by TV Guide as one of television's best cult shows ever and known for the overwhelming fan-based campaign that led to the miniseries production, "Farscape" has continued to find new audiences as it airs in syndication and is available on DVD around the world.

The Farscape universe will continue to be explored with new online webisodes produced by The Jim Henson Company and RHI Entertainment in partnership with SCI Be sure to check back here for updates on this and other "Farscape" related news.

Ben Browder will always be "Crichton" to us and Claudia Black will always be "Aeryn Sun", but you may also recognize them from another great Sci FI show, Stargate SG 1. Browder plays Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell and Claudia Black plays Vala Mal Doran. It was great to see them together again, even if they weren't "together" in the sense that all Farscape fans want them to be. Farscape also features the very cute and vivacious Gigi Edgley, who plays a character on Farscape with a name you might recognize: Chiana.

So to explain further, no, our daughter will not be named after an alien in a sci-fi show, we just really liked that name and spelled it Chianna - to incorporate my Nana's name (Anne). So, it was back then (probably 2000 or 2001) that we picked that name for our daughter, not based on the character, as much as we just really liked the name. But it does bring even more meaning to how important this show has been in our lives and more memories.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sign of the Financial Times?

Read the following story yesterday on AOL:

Say It Ain't So

Several brands which were extremely powerful during the last few decades are about to disappear. Many of them no longer drive big sales. Some are a part of companies that are in trouble. Some are part of industries which are falling apart. Here is a list of brands, most over them a decade old, and some much older, which are likely to go away in the next year or two.

Ubiquitous 20th Century Brands That Will Disappear

Several brands which were extremely powerful during the last few decades are about to disappear. Many of them no longer drive big sales. Some are a part of companies that are in trouble. Some are part of industries which are falling apart.

Big brands disappear all the time. Sometimes we simply miss their passing. Cingular Wireless was on most Top 100 brands lists. Once AT&T (T) took over BellSouth, it dropped Cingular completely. Compaq was one of the most visible PC brands in the world. It began to fade away after it was bought by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). The IBM PC brand, one of the original PC brands, no longer exists since it was acquired by Lenovo, a Chinese company, several years ago.

Here is a list of brands, most over them a decade old, and some much older, which are likely to go away in the next year or two.

XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: XMSR) will disappear either in a merger with Sirius (NASDAQ: SIRI) the acquiring company will use its brand for both services or because without a merger XM may not make it. The company has over $1.2 billion in long-term debt. XM has always been the service with the largest number of subscribers. The XM brand could begin to disappear a few months after the potential marriage is complete.

E*Trade (NASDAQ: ETFC) has survived in a discount brokerage business where a number of famous brands, like Quick & Reilly, have gone away because of mergers. For the time being, management at the company says it does not want to sell out, but the firm's $12 billion in home equity loan exposure may make staying independent impossible. The most likely buyers of E*Trade would be TDAmeritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD) and Schwab (NASDAQ: SCHW). It would be ironic if a discount broker brand disappears because it was scuttled by its mortgage business but the housing crisis does things like that.

K-Mart is one of the two big brands at Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD), Eddie Lampert's failing retail play. Based on same store sales for last year, K-Mart is the less successful of the two retail operations. Spending to promote K-Mart and Sears may cost more that the holding company can afford. It certainly makes sense to kill off the K-Mart name and re-label all of the stores with Sears. It could save hundreds of millions in promotion dollars every year.

Dodge is part of the Chrysler company which was recently bought out by private equity firm Cerberus. Chrysler management has already said that the company has too many brands and too many dealers. It is trying to cope with a vicious downturn in the US auto market. Keeping a car brand means huge advertising and marketing costs and product development. Dodge vehicles will probably be re-branded as Chrysler and Dodge will go the way of the Dodo.

Circuit City (NYSE: CC) has been synonymous with electronics retail, but companies like Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) have brought too much marketing muscle and wholesale buying power to the industry. Outside investors are already circling Circuit City trying to "improve shareholder value". That means that there is a good chance the chain will be sold. The price of the company's shares has already dropped from over $30 less than two years ago to just over $4. Best Buy could be the most logical buyer by keeping the locations that do well and closing the rest. Virtually all the merchandising, management, and public company costs would go away as would the Circuit City brand.

Gateway was recently bought by Taiwan PC firm Acer. Some investors may not remember when Gateway was considered a peer of both Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) and Compaq. In 1993, Gateway was in the Fortune 500. Acer will not keep the Gateway brand and its own. The dual promotion costs are too high. Starting soon you will be buying an Acer PC online or at your electronics retailer.

Vonage (NYSE: VG) almost invented VoIP. It certainly made it popular. Then cable companies began to market the service to existing customers and much of the "first mover" advantage Vonage had went away. Patent suits from companies like Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and other big telecom companies bled away most of the cash that Vonage raised in its IPO. Two years ago, the stock was above $17. Now it trades at under $2. Vonage still loses money. One the large cable companies is likely to take over the Vonage customer list and let the brand disappear.

Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) is still trying to keep itself out of the hands of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), but with a $31 offer and no other bidders even close, Redmond is going to take over. Microsoft is not generous about letting other brands have the limelight. Yahoo!'s brand will last while the e-mail and instant message operations are integrated, but soon enough it will all be MSN.

Old Navy is one of Gap's (NYSE: GPS) three brands and it is the one that is pulling down overall sales at the big clothing company. Old Navy has a little over one thousand outlets. Maintaining the costs of separate buying, marketing, and management costs just isn't worth it. Soon, the Old Navy stores will just be Gaps.

Countrywide (NYSE: CFC) had an operation on almost every street corner, or so it seemed. The mortgage bank would give almost anyone a home loan.They were not so generous when foreclosure time came around. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is buying Countrywide. The CFC brand has so much negative baggage and such a poor image that BAC will be smart and quickly put its name on all of the Countrywide branches.

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) is still likely to sell its large handset unit to someone. It simply loses too much money and it is dragging the company under, As Motorola's stock price drops, the amount it will take for its handset operation will drop. LG, Sony Ericsson, or Samsung are probable buyers at some price, and that price gets more affordable as Motorola's global market share drops. That Motorola phone is likely to be called an LG handset sometime next year.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Friday, March 7, 2008

New Paperwork Completed Today

I found out last weekend that not only do our medical forms expire after 6 months, but our local police clearances and our employment letters also expired. This is quite frustrating, since I should have realized this updated them before we even sent them in, but alas - we have to spend the time to re-do them and probably have to spend the money to re-authenticate everything as well. So, last week, we got new medical forms done and this week, we got a new employment letter, and a new copy of our local police clearances. That was quite a frustrating car ride today, because neither Myke nor I could remember exactly where to go. After driving up and down the wrong street, we were finally directed to the right place after finding a policeman to ask! Ughhh - maybe next time, someone [me] who spends a little bit of time [almost every waking moment] in front of this computer, might look it up first. DUH!!!!!

I made an already frustrating situation even more frustrating and I feel terrible about it!

So now, we are holding on to the paperwork until we hear from the DIA in Vietnam. Once our paperwork gets logged in, there is a chance they may not require the updated forms since the dossier has been there since January. So, we have them ready and waiting! Hoping that we don't have to send them in because not only will it possibly delay our process, but it will also cost about another $500.00 in fees and shipping costs.

Ok, now I have to add the following story to this post. I was just getting ready to finish and publish this, when I get up to feed the dogs. Yogi evidently needed to go outside and was waiting by the front door. I didn't realize that he had already started to pee until I slipped on the peed on tile! I scream extremely loudly as I wipe out. (I'm OK, but I hurt my right wrist and left ankle in the fall.) Meanwhile, Yogi is running away and, of course, peeing across the rug the whole time. And Myke, comes running out of the office, flinging the office door open, causing the door of the dart board on the office door to fling open, right into his face! (Myke is OK, and has a red mark on his forehead.) He finally makes it over to me, laying on the floor (in dog piss) unable to get up without his help. So, he helped me up and I limped into the shower to wash myself off.

I know it is now a funny story, but at the time, it sucked.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Help for the Visually Impaired?

This is from the form to fill out from Earthlink's spam blocker email.

Ok, so if someone is visually impaired, how is that tiny link at the bottom going to help them?

Am I missing something?