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Notes, comments and observations from the Lifestyle and Entertainment desk by Lifestyle Editor Aixa Torregrosa-Vazquez.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For those of you with dogs and cats

Penn Vet Hosts Free Lecture in Wyndmoor,

“Arthritis: A Common Debilitating Condition for Dogs and Cats”

Dr. Ann Caulfield slated to speak at Thursday, September 15 event

[August 30, 2011; Philadelphia, PA] – On Thursday, September 15 the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine will host a free, open-to-the-public lecture called “Arthritis: A Common Debilitating Condition for Dogs and Cats,” at the Y2K9’s Dog Sport Club in Wyndmoor, PA. Beginning at 7:00 PM, Dr. Ann Caulfield, Penn Vet’s rehabilitation medicine therapist, will discuss ways pet owners can manage the chronic pain arthritis produces in their pets and available medications and supplements.

Who: Penn Vet, interested members of the public.

What: Free lecture titled “Arthritis: A Common Debilitating Condition for Dogs and Cats” featuring Dr. Ann Caulfield of Penn Vet.

Where: Y2K9’s Dog Sport Club, located at 1000 E. Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038.

When: Lecture beginning at 7:00 PM, Thursday, September 15, 2011 and ending at 8:30 PM.

To register: Registration is required as seating is limited. This lecture is appropriate for all ages, but participants are asked to not bring their pets. To register, call 215-898-1480 or register online at:

For more information about Penn Vet or its hospitals, visit

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's that on his head?

Al Pacino is seen onstage during the "Scarface" LegacyCelebration Event in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. "Scarface" will be released on Blu-ray September 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nature puts on a show when she wants

A recent walk at Peace Valley Park ended with some bird watching at Lake Galena. This heron perched on a branch over the lake just let us watch it. There were others at the site with professional equipment taking photos, ... and me with my Android phone on hand. I waited and waited hoping I could catch some video of it flying off, but alas, no luck. So it just sits there basking in the sunset glow. It was pretty to watch. Enjoy the video.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Golfer or not, these courses are pretty to look at

Hi. Everyday I get plenty of e-mails promoting this or that and having to do with myriad subjects. Some have to do with travel. Some of the stuff doesn't make the paper ... for many reasons one of them being that some are marketing/advertising promotions ... anyway, I got this one and am sharing it with you.
It's promotion for "Golf Coastal Canada’s Top Golf Courses." It's a slideshow featuring golf courses and the photos are pretty to look at. If you're a golfer surely you'll enjoy it. And, if you are not a golfer just enjoy the view. Hey, it's a mini 60-second vacation!

Here's the link

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tender moment

A male and female African lions are seen at a zoo in Zacango, 130 km. southwest of Mexico City, Mexico. The Zacango Zoo is one of several facilities in Mexico that takes in seized animals. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

No. It's not a good idea.

I read this blog this morning ...
... and my answer to the writer's question is No. It's not a good idea.
Disclaimer: I have not read the book. However, in reading the book's description (posted here: there's a premise I have to disagree with: You do not have to be "a normal sized" person to be confident or have a good self image.
The book cover is disturbing ... as the girl does not see herself as she is in the mirror, but a skinnier version of herself. Honestly, that is way to much pressure for a child. And kids have way to may pressures put on them these days.
Parents, caretakers .... there's some stuff you can do NOW to address a child's weight issue ... if the child has a weight issue (remember not everyone is meant to be a size 0):
Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise. Make exercise a part of life -- for the long term.
If you do not want your child to have a weight-related health issue, feed him/her the right stuff. Too many of us are quick to feed kids happy burgers and fries, too many pizzas. And, we happily do this everyday, at the end, to our own chagrin. Make this a family affair. YOU need to set the tone. But, most of all, do not make your child (and do not let anyone) feel that they are less because of their size.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are you one of these people? I hope so

We are looking for local cooks or chefs who find ingredients and inspiration at local farmers markets.
If you or someone you know enjoys cooking up some tasty dishes with the local produces, give me a call at (215) 361-8824 or send me an e-mail at

I took photo above at the Lansdale's Farmers Market this summer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pennsylvania site part of National Park visitor experience design competition

Local college students take note of this competition:

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service and the Van Alen Institute invite
colleges of architecture, landscape architecture and related disciplines to
participate in a design competition to look at the visitor experience of
the future. “The iconic national park visitor centers born in the 1950s and
envisioned as the park gateway may not serve that purpose for today’s
visitors,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“Many people – and not just those under 30 – plan their visits online,
downloading information to iPhones, iPads, or Droids,” Jarvis said. “There
is no question that people should be able to talk to a real park ranger but
is the visitor center in its current form the best way to achieve this? My
hope is that the competitors will closely examine national parks, even the
very concept of the visitor center.”

As the competition begins this fall, multidisciplinary teams from
universities across the nation will propose models for the design,
management, and operation of one of seven national parks. The proposals
will be based on faculty and student research that focuses on the park’s
unique character, issues and challenges. The National Park Service, in
collaboration with the Van Alen Institute, selected different types of
parks and visitor experiences for faculty/student teams to explore:

* Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania

* Civil War Defenses of Washington, D.C.

* Biscayne National Park, Florida

* Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Georgia

* Nicodemus National Historic Site, Kansas

* Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico

* San Juan Island Historical Park, Washington

A national design advisory committee has defined the overarching design
challenge and specific issues to be addressed at each park. Each team’s
proposal may address specific park projects, but may also investigate
design and planning solutions that consider the way a modern visitor of any
age, ethnicity, and ability relates to any national park and its story.

In December, seven student and faculty teams will be selected to continue
development of their proposals. Winners will be announced next summer and
their work exhibited online. A select number of students will be eligible
to apply for paid summer internships with the National Park Service in 2012
and 2013.

The competition will test and refine six principles that future park
planning and design must demonstrate: a reverence for place, engagement of
all people, expansion beyond traditional boundaries, sustainability,
informed decision-making, and an integrated research, planning, design, and
review process.

These principles were drafted during the 2008 Designing the Parks
conference sponsored by the National Park Service, the Van Alen Institute,
the University of Virginia, the National Parks Conservation Association,
the Cultural Landscape Foundation, and the Golden Gate National Parks
Conservancy. The conference marked the start of a public-private
partnership to promote the importance of well-designed public parks in
contemporary society.

Olympia Kazi, Executive Director of the Van Alen Institute said, “The
competition offers an exciting opportunity for student and faculty teams
across the nation to help build a common foundation of design principles
for 21st century planning and design of America’s national parks –
cherished and protected places that represent our country’s most
significant landscapes, natural systems, historic events, and cultural

The competition guidelines are available at

Contest open to young writers

Just got this from Act II Playhouse ... so kids get those ideas in paper, get busy writing.

Dog With Pen Attention Teachers, Parents & Students:
In conjunction with Act II Playhouse's production ofSylvia (Sept. 6-Oct. 2), we are looking for student-written work for a special event. Students of all ages are welcome to submit!
Details: What is your pet REALLY thinking?
Submit a short monologue, from the point of view of your dog, cat or other pet! Winners will have their work read by professional actors on Act II's stage and will receive two free tickets to the final performance (see below). Entries should be no shorter than two paragraphs and no longer than two pages.
Submit entries to:
Please include your name, grade, school and (if under 18) parents'/guardians' names. Winners will be announced Tues, Sept. 13 via email and on
Ruff Draft
Inside the mind of Fido, Whiskers, Snowball and other family pets
WHAT: Short monologues by local writers and students, read by professional actors
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3 p.m.
TICKETS: $5 at the door
WHERE: Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave. Ambler, PA 19002

Artists called to voice their views on motherhood

Motherhood is a beautiful thing ... and it should be celebrated.
Now artists can voice their view on motherhood. If you area local artist planning to participate please let me know. Send an e-mail to

From the International Museum of Women:

"The International Museum of Women is now accepting submissions of any media type for our new online exhibition,

Your Voices: On Motherhood

Submissions are accepted online through October 31, 2011 with a prize of US$1000 to the Community Choice Award Winner!

Artists, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, writers: IMOW wants to showcase your work in the new online exhibition Your Voices: On Motherhood. Contributions can come in any medium that is currently supported on and work must address a topic related to motherhood."

For more, go here:

and here:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Get your tickets for Liberty Medal Ceremony

In case you want to attend, here's what you need to know:

ON AUGUST 23, 2011
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert Gates to be Honored
Philadelphia – Tickets to the 2011 Liberty Medal ceremony, honoring former U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert M. Gates, will be available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Tickets are free (processing fees apply) and can be ordered from Ticketmaster at 866.492.6326. Callers are limited to two tickets per household. National Constitution Center members can call on Monday, August 22, 2011, beginning at 10:00 a.m. to order tickets (no service charge will apply). Ticket availability is limited.
The public Liberty Medal ceremony will take place on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at the National Constitution Center in Historic Philadelphia. National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and ABC News’ Bob Woodruff will participate in the ceremony. The event will be broadcast live on WPVI-TV/6abc and webcast live on
This year’s Liberty Medal honors Dr. Gates’ five decades of service to our nation – in uniform, as the director of the CIA and as the civilian head of America’s armed forces. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Gates has steadfastly defended freedom, promoted effective diplomacy and supported American troops. A widely respected leader who earns bipartisan support, he is the only Secretary of Defense in U.S. history to serve presidents of different parties. He helped transform U.S. intelligence and military operations to meet emerging realities and advocated for the safety and empowerment of American servicemen and women, while forging partnerships at home and abroad based on shared commitments to liberty.
The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, the medal honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.
Ira Lubert of Independence Capital Partners will sponsor the 2011 Liberty Medal award. Citizens Bank is the presenting sponsor for the Presidents Reception prior to the Liberty Medal ceremony. Hublot, the luxury Swiss brand that brings the "Art of Fusion" to watchmaking, will co-sponsor the Liberty Medal gala for 2011-2012, and will create a limited edition "U.S. Liberty Bang" timepiece to celebrate the significance of the Liberty Medal. The City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also support the Liberty Medal.
The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues. The museum dramatically tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive, multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, Freedom Rising. The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education. Also, as a nonpartisan forum for constitutional discourse, the Center presents – without endorsement – programs that contain diverse viewpoints on a broad range of issues. For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit

Monday, August 1, 2011

Austerity ... something to think about

Reading this article (see link below) brings this question to mind: Am I willing to reuse (more), to "make do and mend"?
Am also reminded of people I've met throughout the years and how their actions serve as reminders that yes, we need to reuse, make do and mend.
The woman that had to wash her husband's only business shirt every evening so that he could have a "fresh" one every morning for work; the woman who reused jars with lids to bring her milk/juice for lunch at work and reused envelopes and other stationary. I am sure you can come up with more notable examples of making do, saving and conserving.
Are we willing to mend anymore? So much is disposable that we just don't consider doing that. You really do not see people with mended clothing. Do you?
Do we even know what mending is?
Austerity is a tough thing to consider this day and age.

Lots to think about .... via The Guardian: America's other debt crisis