Friday, December 23, 2011

The Annual Weldon Christmas Letter





Well here is a quick glimpse into our lives....Beths Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas to all! We have had a happy, healthy year. I thought that I would be more organized this year and so Sarah e-mailed the funny incidents that happened throughout the year so that I could write the letter without my failing memory. Unfortunately, my computer died in early November and I lost all of my e-mails. Some of you will be celebrating that my letter is not as newsy (long) or outrageous (embarrassing to all involved) this year. Next year I will have to try a hardcopy and hope I don’t lose it again or try backing up my computer and attempt e-mails one more time! All grandparents are doing well and we just got back from an activity packed 80th birthday weekend for Pop in St. Augustine where he did the Alligator farm obstacle course/zip lines! Mom informed everyone no gifts, just a fond Pop memory oh, and an obituary for Pop, both to be read at his birthday dinner. None of my kids had even read an obituary. Family trips to Cumberland, St.Louis, the beach, the Okeefenoke swamp, a cruise to the Bahamas with Merle and Anna, Halloween Horror Nights, a Vet school reunion, visits from cousins, Woolstons, and Sheldons, and a family survival course (including Katie and Tucker)with expert Byron Kerns kept us busy. Alan has completed 3 rounds of P90X and one of Insanity both intense physical fitness programs. He pre-ordered the newest one “P 90X2” and when I called him to say it had arrived he asked me if Tony Horton was there (the workout guy on the DVD)! I thought he had lost his mind but apparently Tony was hand delivering the first few that were ordered and Alan thought that might be his order. (I think we may have to do an intervention). Somehow I got shanghaied into 1 round of P90X (90 days) and the Insanity round (another 90days)with him ( did I mention the need for an intervention) Alan dropped 15 pounds, I didn’t lose an ounce (but I did eat whatever I wanted without gaining and it's been a long time since I got to do that)! Alan is playing on 3 league teams as well as Monday night tennis. He and Murphy are going to the USTA league Nationals in March at Indian Wells in California. Alan’s new associate Katie, is working out beautifully. He is serving as an elder at First Presbyterian church. We go to all of the Jaguar home games (unfortunately this year). Alan and Murph have started taking their bags to the games to be the Baguars when appropriate. Alan finally got a new (used) F150 and traded in his old truck with 350,000 miles on it. He has a real problem letting go of things with a lot of miles on them, I guess I should be glad. Alan and I went to see the Monkees with the Bowers and Mike and Pam at The Florida Theatre and it was a blast. Last time I saw the Monkees in Jacksonville, Jimi Hendrix was opening for them and it was the 60’s (he was booed off the stage because we all wanted to see Davy). We also went to see the Moody Blues in St Augustine with the Mikes, Teresa and Pam. We went to the ACVIM conference with Erik & Patti, DL, Cheryl and the boys in Denver and had a great time. As we headed out to the conference I went through my first full body x-ray at the airport. I was standing there uncomfortably as the female homeland security guard was examining me, and she commented "Oh, I really like your shorts, they are so cute." I was wondering if she was just trying to make conversation in an awkward situation or if she really liked my shorts!

Sarah is doing well at Wash U and lives in apartment style University housing just off campus. She is in her junior year and is a Psychology major hoping to become an occupational therapist. She works at a cookie shop called Dough to Door and has only eaten 3 cookies while working there for 2 months which just boggles my mind! She uses a bike to get to her classes and when asked if it was a mountain bike or street bike she replied "a blue bike". (In fairness to Sarah, she borrowed it from a friend of Sally's and probably doesn't even know what make it is). She took some classes at UNF this summer to get all of her prerequisites for OT grad school at Florida completed by next year. She had her first college boyfriend this year. Their first date was to the school cafeteria on Valentines Day. Before they decided that they were dating, Sarah wanted to make sure that they had no misunderstandings so she laid her ground rules (Alan “She is so like her mother!) They actually dated 6 weeks! Alan presented her last Christmas to finish her debutante year. Sarah is such a rule follower, I think she was the only deb (maybe in the history of the tradition) who refused to break the rules and never drank because she was under age! She is enjoying crew despite having to be at practice every morning at 5. She is a kind, stubborn, smart, loyal, demanding, fun, honest, sometimes judgmental, hardworking, mature, and considerate person and makes me proud to be her mother!

Dani is also in her junior year at Florida majoring in Psychology and minoring in accounting. She made it to the finals in a modeling search at Abercrombie and Fitch where she was working until September. Dani had to write a short story in her Spanish Composition and Grammar class. Her professor posted the 3 best stories online and the class voted on the best one and Dani's won by a large margin earning her a book as a reward. She continues to work for her Cognitive psychology professor in the aging and cognition lab (does Family get a discount?) and plans to go to graduate school of some sort after graduation. Alan resolved to teach all of the kids how to properly shoot a handgun this year. When he took Dani to the gun range, she told him that she was so nervous about handling a gun that she was nauseous but she followed his instructions and did a great job. After her session, she was so proud she said she was going to take her target to Gainesville and put it on her front door to discourage any would be

attackers! Dani also caught her first fish this year on Cumberland, a bonnet head shark (go big or go home). Dani is a lovely, thoughtful, picky, industrious, intelligent, neat (unusual in the Weldon household), outgoing, sometimes a bit extravagant, playful, and determined person and she makes me feel honored to be a part of her life!

Murphy is in his sophomore year at UNF and is a business major. He plays just a little tennis, a LOT of video games, and goes to Jaguar games with us. He had his first real job this summer working as an assistant to Arnold Tritt's maintenance supervisor and it was a superb experience. He learned how to fix AC's, plumbing, roofing, duct work, mowing, and even replaced 2 toilets. He made good money and is saving it to purchase a car. It nearly came to naught in Murph's early weeks while he was giving Spencer (his supervisor) a ride to their job at the beach moving Arnold's family. Murph made the mistake of "Hot boxing" his boss (passing gas in a closed vehicle). Spencer wheezed "Is that you, boy?" Murph embarrassedly explained that he had eaten at Moe's (a Mexican restaurant) last night. Spencer grumbled "I don't think I'd be eating at Moe's any more!" Only Alan's son would get in trouble at work for passing gas!( That’s my boy) When they got to the beach, Arnolds wife Danielle said to Murph "You are learning so much, you are going to make someone a great husband someday!" This time Spencer muttered "I pity the fool!"Murph is still trying to find his direction as far as career options (recommendations are welcomed, at least by me). Murph is a quiet leader, tends to take the path of least resistance, often helps without being asked, frequently thinks of others, can be a bit bullheaded, has a great sense of humor, has a great work ethic when he commits, is always willing to come home and hang with Polly and Mac when needed, has a great brain (when he decides to use it), honors his elders, and is a true blessing in my life!

Polly is a senior at Episcopal and going through the college application process. She likes FSU, UCF, and UF. She has already gotten into Auburn and FSU. She is still working at Parkway on weekends and 2 days after school. She just finished cross country and was awarded the Coaches Award and given a Varsity letter as well even though she ran JV which made her ecstatic! She is taking 4 AP classes and Honors Algebra as well as working, volunteering, and running cross country and is one of the busier people that I know. She wanted to return to the Dominican Republic for another mission trip this summer but we send each child only once so she used her earnings from Parkway to pay her own way. A major goal this year is to get her braces off before prom. She was off campus for lunch with friends when one of them got pulled over. The officer didn't believe that they were high school seniors and called the school to verify and make sure they were legally off of campus. After verification, he looked back at Polly and told her "You look like you are 10!" “You look like you have eaten too many doughnuts” she replied silently in her mind. No wonder she wants her braces off. Dinners have shrunk and Polly and Mac have developed a language of their own that involves lines from and references to The Office, Scrubs, Futurama, or movies they’ve seen. Usually Alan and I don't have a clue what they are talking about. Murphy ‘s fluent in this language and Sarah claims to understand it but can’t speak it! Polly had a scare this year when her dog Momo got too close to our psycho cat Pauly. Pauly lunged at Momo and happened to get a claw right into her jugular vein. Momo proceeded to screech and gush blood and a panicked Polly came running up to me in the shower screaming that Momo was dying. I reminded her that she hopes to be a vet and to calm down and hold the wound off. By the time I got out of the shower it was clotting and we placed a bandage. I got abused at work the next day because only an Iggy (Italian greyhound) could be mortally wounded by a single cat claw puncture! Polly is bright, hardworking, a bit sensitive, inclusive, congenial, humorous, not the most coordinated, entertaining, vivacious, and brings me much joy.

Mac is a 10th grader at Episcopal and is dreading Polly's imminent departure for college. He ran cross country with Polly, Pepper, and Tucker and is currently wrestling on the Varsity team. When the coach told Alan that wrestling would be good for Mac because it would give him confidence, Alan almost refused to let him do it since Mac has confidence to rival Alan’s' (which is quite a lot)! Another common occurrence at the dinner table is "that's what he/she said” jokes and" ______ her I barely know her" jokes (I think both originated from the Office). Alan and any kids’ present love to engage in these. Unfortunately, Mac was not thinking when in study hall the teacher reprimanded a student for discussing liquor at school and Mac automatically piped up "Lick her I barely know her". Needless to say Mac got the next reprimand and rightly so. No more of those jokes at the dinner table! On a happier note, Mac is a teachers dream. 5 of his 6 teachers (all but his computer teacher) commented on his "enthusiastic learning and participation" in class discussions, a trait unusual in males his age (particularly those with the last name of Weldon). Perhaps the confidence is not all bad. Mac also plays a little tennis and some video games. He will be getting his Drivers License in about a week so you are forewarned. (Mac drives well IF he notices the stop signs and red lights.) Mac is the child most likely to just come up to me and tell me he loves me and give me a hug when he's not angling for something. Mac is a real outside of the box thinker, mouthy, brilliant, stubborn(are you noticing a trend yet?), confident, intellectually curious, sometimes oblivious, warm, and cheerful person who is not shy about showing his affections and I am delighted to have him as my son. Have a Happy New Year!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blogger Outreach Newsletter: New Photo and Video Sharing Facebook App

 

Technorati Media
Blogger Outreach updates and Visa memory mapper

A new opportunity to share with you from Technorati Media’s Blogger Outreach program.

We connect you with worldwide brands for access to everything from movies and music to smartphones and cereal for product reviews, breaking news and content exclusives, including; unique Facebook applications that allow you to express yourself, like the Memory Mapper recently launched from Visa.

     
 
Share Your Travel Adventures with Visa Memory Mapper
 
 
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Have you recently taken a trip with special meaning to you?  Did you make some lasting memories along the way?  Encounter any surprises or happy accidents?

Visa invites bloggers to recreate their travel adventures with a new Facebook application – Memory Mapper. The Memory Mapper is an easy and unique way to share your personal travel stories and meaningful, exciting moments with a virtual keepsake that utilizes Google Maps satellite technology. 


Use the options the Memory Mapper provides – upload photos and videos from your trip, add captions, a soundtrack and geotag where these memories were created – to retell your special story and share it with the world (blog, Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail). 

Visa memory mapper

Create a Memory Mapper for the Chance to Win a $100 Visa Gift Card
Check out examples on Visa’s Facebook page, especially Adam Richman's Memory Mapper.

Every day through the end of August, five lucky people will win a $100 Visa Gift Card. Each day you create a Memory Mapper you will be automatically entered for a chance to win! See official rules* at facebook.com/visa.
 

If you would be interested in blogging about Visa’s Memory Mapper and the Memory Mapper Sweepstakes, review this press release.
 
 

Participate in the State of the Blogosphere Survey

Each year, we take an in-depth look at different segments of the blogosphere.

The 2011 report will launch in early November. Look for your invitation to participate in the survey in late August. Last year, we had a record number of blogger participants. Thanks again to all of you who responded. 

If you're interested in being interviewed for the survey, contact us at press@technorati.com.

 
 

Technorati Media Blogger Outreach Opportunities

Bloggers, what can we say… You are in demand! We’re interested in working with you based on what you are already doing – sharing your passion, knowledge and opinions about anything and everything. 

Whether it’s blogging opportunities for breaking announcements or sponsored posts for product reviews or topics you care about. 

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No Purchase Necessary to Enter or Win the Visa 2011 Memory Mapper Sweepstakes.  Limit one (1) entry per person and per Facebook account per day.  The Visa Memory Mapper Sweepstakes begins at 12:00:01 AM Pacific Time (PT) on 7/18/11 and ends 11:59:59 PM PT on 8/31/11 (the "Promotional Period"). Five (5) prizes will be awarded each day in a daily drawing from among all elligible entries received each day during the Promotional Period.  Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) U.S. and the DC, 18 years and older.  Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited.  For Official Rules, go to http://www.visa-memorykeeper.com/?a=sweepsrules.

 

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Disaster preparedness for horse owners


Disaster preparation for Horse owners

As Hurricane season is upon us here in Florida it is past time to seriously address the task of preparation. Efforts taken today can save a great deal of anxiety and heartache in the future. Unfortunately, many of us are procrastinators by nature and wait until the news reports of the approaching storm prod us into some form of action. Every year when this happens you find yourself frantically wandering the isles of your local store searching empty shelves for bottled water and batteries with several hundred of your closest friends and neighbors. This doesn’t need to happen. With just a little time and effort now you will find yourself much more prepared and not just another aimless zombie in the golden hoard. Even if you are like me and lack the “organizational gene” you will find that following some simple guidelines can help get you ready for the eventual day when, as they say…. the manure hits the oscillating rotator. By breaking things down into simple check lists you can start getting the things you need and the things you need to get done checked off. You probably have many of these items and just need to get them together and inventoried.

Here are the disaster preparedness check lists we have for our clients. Some things may apply to your area and others will not and need to be adjusted to your geographical threats. The basics are the same regardless if the threat is a hurricane, wildfire, earthquake or electrical grid failure. I have broken these down into 1. Horses, 2. Farm, 3. Home, and tried to cover the important items and tasks you will need to do. In the need to evacuate many of these things will need to be organized into appropriate “go bags” so duplication of documents and some supplies may be needed.

HORSES:

Vaccinations- All horses should be vaccinated with Tetanus toxoid yearly. Mosquitoes increase significantly after the hurricane and transmit the Encephalitis viruses; therefore vaccination with Eastern&Western Encephalitis as well as West Nile Virus should be boostered prior to storm season.

Coggins test- Make sure you have a current negative Coggins test and that it doesn’t expire during hurricane season. These are required for interstate transport so have several certified copies for (truck, trailer and important papers folder)

Health Certificate- these are required for transport as well. You can obtain a six month event permit which will allow movement into adjoining states. (Have extra certified copies)

Identification- Make sure your horse has a microchip ID and register the number. Name tags on the halter “may” stay on but usually don’t and won’t help if your horse is stolen or “adopted” after the storm. Identification of horses that have died is extremely difficult after days in storm conditions as they all look the same. Evidence from work done in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina showed that Microchip ID allowed positive identification in >90% of cases. During Hurricane Andrew in Florida it was almost the exact opposite since microchip ID wasn’t required in Florida and was not readily available then. Most of the dead horses were never identified.

Evacuation- Decide early if you are going to evacuate and have a destination prearranged. Contact family members or camp grounds that allow horses. Map out your evacuation route and all alternate roads to get there. Have several maps in each vehicle. Leave at least 48 hours before the storm gets close as roads and bridges will be clogged with traffic and higher winds as the storm approaches may close some bridges to trailer traffic leaving you stranded.

Important documents- keep copies of health records, Coggins test, health certificate, ID numbers and photos in a Ziploc bag. Also, store copies on a portable flash drive to be printed later if needed.

If you are not evacuating then it probably safer to turn your horses out in a large open pasture that has VERY few trees, if any. Most injuries occur from collapsed barns and flying debris. Just think about the fact that your barn was probably built to take advantage of the prevailing breeze to keep it cool and most likely done by the lowest bidder. That’s a bad combo with a CAT 3-4 Hurricane.

FARM: (Walk your property, visual inspection.)

Check and repair all fences. Remove any barbed wire.

Clear trees and dead limbs (clear all red maple, it only takes a few wilted leaves to induce renal failure in the horse….and they will eat them).

Remove all debris. This becomes flying projectiles

Store all jumps, tables and chairs in a barn stall

Get “tie-downs” for trailers, park them in a large open paddock away from trees and power lines. Park trucks there as well. Make sure they are fully fueled.

Store feed- 7 day supply stored in water proof containers ( 1lb /100lbs body weight x 7 days per horse)

Store hay in barn under waterproof tarp and off the ground on pallets

Water supply- 15-20 gal/horse/day. You can fill up troughs, boats, swimming pools ect. Bleach can be used to purify contaminated water ( 8 drops /gal) but horses may not drink it if treated. A hand “pitcher pump” for your well is also valuable with power outages. Dehydration and renal failure is a common source of death in horses after hurricanes.

Generator- 4hp (4000-5000 watts) with gas to last 7 days. This can be done with 4x5 gallon cans using the generator intermittently. Tri fuel options on generators are a great addition.

Extension cords- 4 long 100ft

Tools-

-Hammers and nails( you need a large and varied supply)

- fencing materials-field fence, posts and staples

-chainsaw, spare chain, gas and 2 cycle oil

-ropes and tow cable

- Ladder

-wire cutters and long handle pry bar (can still get to supplies if barn collapses)

- roll of black plastic sheeting and staple gun to cover broken windows and roof leaks

- flood light-work light with car adapter (1 million candle power), head lamps for hands free work

-waders or snake boots

Extra halters and ropes- stored in sealed plastic bins

Medical supplies-

-Bandage material(sheet cotton,gauze,telfa pads,vet wrap,duct tape

-wound medication (betadine scrub,Nolvasan ointment,triple antibiotic ointment)

-anti-inflammatory meds (Banamine,Phenylbutazone)

-Sedatives (acepromazine, Xylazine)

-Antibiotics (Trimethoprim sulfa tablets, Procaine penicillin)

-insect repellant

-syringes and needles

-scissors and knife

-clean towels

Ask your veterinarian for help and dosages on medications that you need, we are there to help and educate.

HOME:

-water supply, 1 gal/person/day. A “water bob” ($20) can be placed in the bathtub and once filled up holds 100 gallons of water and comes with its own hand pump.

-Food storage, plan on at least 2-3 weeks supply. It could be longer depending upon the level of disruption. The objective is to maintain independence and not be dependent upon rescue or food supplied at refugee centers. Trust me; historically it never works out well for the refugees. Most canned foods are good for at least 2 years. Canned dried storage foods can be good for up to 30 years as are freeze dried foods. These can be set aside in a closet or under a bed in a guest room for a time when needed. Choose foods that you like and fit into your regular diet. You should plan for several meals a day as you do now and shop accordingly. Many online sites and the LDS church provide sources for long term storage food.

-Generator, some form of electricity will greatly help when the lights go out. This will allow you to maintain refrigeration, cooking, lights and connection with the outside world. Gas to keep it running. Be aware of exhaust and fire dangers and keep it well ventilated.

-Solar lights, these outdoor LED lights can be brought indoors at night and provide light for about 6 hours. They are bright enough to use for reading and are much safer than candles and lamps. Once charged the batteries can be disconnected until needed.

-Gas grill, for cooking and boiling water. Keep at least one extra bottle of propane on hand as the grill will get a lot of use.

-Medical supplies, bandage materials, antibiotic ointment, anti diarrheal meds, anti inflammatory meds(advil,Tylenol) , any prescription medications you are currently on. Injuries such as burns and cuts associated with farm accidents should be your focus.

-A small cheap window unit air conditioner, keep stored in the box in a closet. This will provide an unbelievable relief in the hot humid post hurricane power outage (this is why you need a generator). We kept this in our bedroom and slept like a baby with our kids and all our nieces and nephews sleeping on the floor because we had A/C.

-Cash, with power disruptions the banks and ATMs will be non-functional. Having cash on hand will enable you to at least be more flexible.

-Firearms, while it may seem unnecessary to some, you may want to rethink this position. Police protection, phone service and street lights will all be disrupted leaving those in our society that thrive on those conditions to be emboldened. The sound of a generator and lights can send them a signal that you have “stuff”. While much has been written on which guns are best, I tend to think that the best gun is the one you have and are comfortable using. The simplicity of a shotgun with appropriate sized shot is a nice deterrent.

I’m sure this could be expanded many fold but keeping it simple is a great way for many to get started. Going over the list every year and adding to it to fit your needs is another way to keep the process of preparation moving forward. Remember to keep some extra supplies for charity as many of your neighbors may not be as well prepared or could be more severely affected by storm damage. Be prepared to help them.

The storm is coming; it’s time to get ready.