Monday, March 25, 2013

The Greatest Dog in the World

If you've ever wondered if there is such a thing as a perfect dog, wonder no more. I've not only seen the perfect dog, I've captured him on film. Feast your eyes on Cody.
We first met Cody over the backyard fence, since he was being raised by our next door neighbor. In those days, Cody spent the majority of his time outside, rain or shine. We never passed up an opportunity to lean over the fence, pet him, and occasionally, sneak him some treats. He seemed so lonely, and he craved the attention.

Cold, wet, skinny Cody
One day, while leaning over the fence petting Cody, and telling him what a good boy he is, I heard a voice say "if you want him, you can have him." It was my next door neighbor, and she was talking to me through her kitchen window. She explained that they were moving, and that they needed to find a good home for Cody. She had noticed the relationship that had developed between us, and she thought we would be a good fit for him. I didn't know what to say. I was crazy about this dog, but I wasn't sure I was ready for dog ownership. We already had two cats, and hey, cats are easy. Dogs require an investment of time. I told my neighbor I would think about it, and let her know after speaking with Michele.

The decision to take in Cody was reached very quickly.

Cody moved in with us about a month later which was mid September of 2009. The neighbors sent along his big blue pillow, which we have in our living room in front of the fireplace. We knew a good transition would require some things that Cody was already familiar with. He spends a lot of time lounging on it, and it's his favorite spot to nibble on special treats.

Cody taking it easy
One of Cody's favorite pastimes, when he's not lounging on his pillow or our futon, is to take walks. That's why we love the area we live in so much, is because of the sheer number of places available to walk Cody. We started walking him with a leash, but soon realized he didn't need one. Cody is very well behaved around other dogs, and he doesn't stray very far away. We can just walk and talk, and Cody will always be within a few feet of us.

Walking Cody
Cody has become such an integral part of our everyday life, that it's hard to remember what life was like before he joined the family.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Jazz Night at NCWHS

Last night, NCWHS hosted its 18th annual Jazz Night. Participating bands this year were Evans JHS, Kingsley JHS, Parkside JHS, Normal West Jazz Kats, Normal Community Jazz Band, Normal West Jazz Band I, and the Parairieland Dixie Band.

The theme this year was New Orleans Jazz, and in addition to 3 and a half hours of great music, donations were accepted for the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund.

I took many photos, as I always do, but I'll only provide a small taste of them here. For more photos, go to my shutterfly site here.

The first picture is of the Normal Community West High School Jazz Band I. My son Alex is the baritone sax player sitting on the far right in the front row.

Ryan Budzinski conducts Jazz Band I at the Normal Community West Jazz Night held on March 8, 2013
The next shot is of the Club Wildcats sign that hovers above the stage on the side of the catwalk. I've always felt like this sign gives the place a lot of class.
A familiar site at Jazz Night, the Club Wildcats sign.

Nick Gets His Braces Off

After nearly three years, Nick's braces have been removed. Here are before and after shots taken the day Nick went in to get his braces put on.
What we were dealing with on that first day is illustrated in the following photo:
Nick's Teeth on 6/10/2010
Nick had a significant over bite, lots of crooked teeth, and severe crowding. The corrective process was threefold; hold back the growth of the upper jaw while allowing the lower jaw to continue growing, make more room for the teeth coming in, and straighten out the crooked ones.

The results are spectacular:
Nick's Teeth on 3/8/2013
And here is Nick today, nearly three years older, and many many many years wiser:
Congratulations Nick! Way to hang in there.