Sophie as Spidey and Max’s Pumpkin Carving

Sophie gets her Spidey on for Halloween

Sophie gets her Spidey on for Halloween

Halloween was quite the dress-up occasion for Sophie this year. Towards the beginning of October she donned a tux to compete in the pet costume contest at our local Agway. Then came Halloween itself which fell on a Saturday this year. That plus the great dry weather (yeah, who doesn’t remember super-storm Sandy!) meant that Max had all afternoon to execute some pretty elaborate pumpkin carvings and then get Sophie dressed up in her Spidey outfit. The tuxedo was just too subdued for her big night of meet and greet. Click on the photo for the full story.

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Freeport Maine with Sophie, Labor Day 2015

First stop on our Maine road trip was lunch at the Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier in Kittery

First stop on our Maine road trip was lunch at the Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier in Kittery

Dave the Moose, outside LL Bean

Dave the Moose, outside LL Bean

Helpful little lobsters assist you with your bottle of Allagash or Geary's

Helpful little lobsters assist you with your bottle of Allagash or Geary’s

Our first real road trip with Sophie was to Freeport, Maine over Labor Day weekend 2015. Our first stop was Friday afternoon lunch at the Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier in Kittery. We then made it up to Freeport by late afternoon and checked into our dog-friendly accommodations at the Harraseeket Inn. Everywhere we went, Sophie was a hit. Whether it was outdoor dining at a restaurant, going to the dog park in Bath, or just strolling along the main drag in front of LL Bean, Sophie was the center of attention. That and the perfect weather made for a great time for the entire family. Click on any of the photos for the full travelog.

Steve and Sarah Shapiro’s Wedding, Fall 2015 on Lake George

Steve and Sarah Shapiro, the newlyweds!

Steve and Sarah Shapiro, the newlyweds!

Maxine and I spent a beautiful Fall weekend in Lake George, NY to attend the wedding of our niece Sarah Strasser and her fiancé (of six years!) Steve Shapiro. Yeah, it was definitely about time! We decamped to The Sagamore, a classic estate with expansive property overlooking the lake. Friday night was a late rehearsal dinner, followed by a Saturday morning round of golf for Max and a massage at the spa for Dave. The wedding and reception were Saturday evening at The Boathouse in Lake George along the banks of the lake with a full moon rising overhead. Great to be with family on a wonderful, happy, and beautiful occasion. Click on the picture to the left to see the photo album.

Sophie’s Championship Certificate

Sophie's championship certificate from the AKC finally arrived!

It took a while, but we finally received Sophie’s championship certificate in the mail from the AKC! Lyrac’s Sun Kissed Meadow is her “kennel name”, but she is Sophie to us.

Another January in Grand Cayman – The Cookout, Golf, and Diving

CaymanCookout2014-004Here we went again, back to the Cayman Cookout in January for 4 days of culinary ridiculousness followed by a week of recovery, golfing and diving. As before, the headline chefs were the troika of Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain, and José Andrés. New this year was Lidia Bastianich, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Martin Picard, and Jacques Torres. View the photo album by clicking here or on the photo to the left.

March Anniversary Weekend in NYC

NYC March 2013

This ridiculously cold winter weather reminded me of our anniversary weekend trip into NYC last March with Max’s best friend Maureen Beurskens and Marke Baker. I had the photos lying around, but never got around to publishing them. Marke and Maureen live in Charlotte and flew up for the main event, which were orchestra (well… back of the orchestra) seats for Book of Mormon that we had snagged many many months in advance. Friday evening we drove into the city, checked into the Casablanca Hotel and had an incredible dinner at Rosanjin in Tribeca. I think we were the only non-Japanese in this tiny restaurant with perhaps 10 tables. They serve Kaiseki cuisine which comes from the Kyoto area. I am not sure what we ate, since everything had to be translated for us and nothing was recognizable, but what incredible flavors, textures, and presentation. I do remember one dish came out in little individual rice paper lantern houses that you had to deconstruct and unfold to get at the food! Saturday morning we hit MOMA, then dinner was at The Palm steakhouse, followed by Book of Mormon. The show had to be the funniest thing Max and I had ever seen, bar none. We couldn’t stop laughing from the beginning and were hurting by the time the show was over. Sunday morning we met Max’s brother in-law for brunch near Lincoln Center before we headed home. I did not take too many photos during the weekend, but you can see the few that I did by clicking on the group shot to the left or here.

Thom and Lisa Sayers host Evie Ladin and Keith Terry

Having never heard of Evie Ladin or Keith Terry before, Maxine and I RSVP’d to Thom and Lisa Sayers who were hosting a house concert by the duo. Not knowing what to expect, we arrived early on a cold November Saturday night to participate in the pre-concert potluck. Yes, I had failed to do my requisite google and youtube’ing before the show. So inquiring minds wanted to know, but even Lisa and Thom had no real clue as to what was in store for us. Apparently, Evie and Keith, who are from Oakland, were touring New England and reached out through mutual friends to find a house concert venue before they were to head back home for the holidays. What followed was a complete delight and wonder to everyone that attended! Evie has a wonderful voice, writes some amazing songs, and is extremely talented on the clawhammer banjo, while Keith plays bass and is a master of “body music” percussion. Their crossover mashups between old-time and more new-age street music was a revelation. I wish I had shot video instead of taken photos, but you can go online and search them out. In the meantime, see the album and the delighted new fans by clicking here or on the photo.

Sophie Grows Up (a bit)

Fall 2013

Sophie and Bentley – Sibling Play Date

In mid-September, Sophie graduated from kindergarten, or rather “puppy behaviorial enrichment” as it’s called now. She even performed the requisite graduation “trick”, in her case a “roll over” with daddy. We also had a nice visit with Myra and Reivan, which gave the grandparents a chance to dote a bit on the new member of the family. I also posted a cute video of Sophie doing her nightly face-wash of Maxine, right before bedtime.

Caryl Crouse the breeder visited on a nice mid-November Saturday, along with Sophie’s brother Bentley (nee Dogwood) and his human mommy, Marybeth. It was pretty amazing to see how similar Sophie is to her sibling, even to the point that Maxine picked up Bentley at one point thinking it was Sophie! Siblings play rough and it was quite the exhausting play-date for both puppies and humans. The secondary goal was for Caryl to start to working with the dogs, getting them used to walking and stacking for the judges, allowing their paws and teeth to be handled, etc. Within the week, Caryl will start driving in from Attleborough to work with both dogs regularly in local breed handling classes. The current plan is for Sophie and Bentley to probably debut in February at the Governor’s Footguard show in Hartford.

Click on the photos to see the albums.

Sophie at 4 Months


At 4 months old, we only have one more puppy kindergarten class with Sophie. Graduation requires us to teach her a “trick”. Yeah RIGHT!! She’s starting to lose some of her baby teeth and being a little better behaved, so she’s earned some additional freedoms. Such as being allowed out in the bedroom while we are there. The Hoover carpet cleaning machine is getting less use, but not ready yet to pack it completely away in the basement. Oh well, we still love her.

The photo album is here or click on Sophie’s photo.


Party Boat Cruise on the CT River

Dan Nocera, an instructor in the New Media Center at Middlesex Community College, offered up a 3 hour cruise on the CT River with him and his boat-buddy Jeff Cohen as an item for the college’s silent auction fundraiser. Max bid furiously and won, and their pontoon party boat had room for 3 couples, so… On a beautiful Fall day with perfect weather we set sail with our friends Jon Swift, Anne Cassady, Billy Laughlin, and Becky Laughlin…. Well, not “sail” exactly, but more like cruised and partied out of Portland for a great afternoon on the water. Jeff is a reporter and broadcaster on CT public radio, and also quite a serious winemaker. He brought along a couple of bottles of his award winning homemade petite sirah that was better than some we’ve tasted from commercial wineries. Dan’s wife provided a cooler stocked with appetizers. Despite the gorgeous afternoon, being post-Labor Day the river was practically empty of any other boat traffic- we had long stretches to ourselves. All in all, a terrific time!

See the photos of the fun here or click on the photo to the left.