Monday, November 1, 2010

Get Your Boobs Out of My Face!

It's November! Sorry Susan G. Komen. I'm sure you're sad to see October go but I am not. I'm tired of talking about boobs. And having everything turn pink. And acting like saving the ta-tas will save the world.


Don't get me wrong, breast cancer is an awful disease and I have no doubt that it an horrible, devastating experience for women and their familes. One that I hope I never have to go through. And there is breast cancer in my family like every other woman's family. My aunt lost one of her funbags to the disease. My grandmother overcame it only to have the cancer come back in her bones.
But there are a lot of awful things in the world. Diseases, hunger, genocide, snakes. Shouldn't there be a month dedicated to hungry children? Why can't someone convince the NFL to wear purple accents to raise awareness about Alzheimers (or whatever color you wear for head injury awareness for that matter!). When I worked for the National MS Society - which has ONE WEEK for awareness - they were happy when the Today Show panned across a group wearing orange MS shirts for awareness. Seriously.
My theory for the breast cancer craze is twofold. 1) Everybody loves tits. Ladies want to have great ones; guys want to see them, touch them and well, let's be honest - they wish they had great ones too. So we all want to keep them around and breast cancer works against that. 2) There are survivors. And a lot more of them then there used to be. Which is great. But ladies, you've done your job. You pushed research forward. You not only raised awareness about early detection you made it clear that every woman is responsible for it(probably the most important part of the whole campaign). You made pink synonomous with your cause. Your efforts have saved lives.
I know you tireless, spirited survivors won't stop until all the sweater puppies are safe from this monster. But could you back off just a little bit? Maybe find another cause worthy of your work and push forward to help bring the beginning of the end to another disease. There are plenty of people suffering and dying from other things. Don't you think they deserve a day or two of their own?
And, take a look around - maybe at one of those walks you all like to go to - there are a lot of survivors now. You all deserve to be proud of yourself but please - quit thinking the world owes you a big pink cookie.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Animal House


This was the scene in my front entryway when I came home from work on Sunday. You may not be able to pick them all out but there are six dogs swarming at my feet. Besides the two pups of our own and one that we are currently fostering; we are responsible for Reyse, Kramer and Jax while our friends are on their honeymoon this week.
Our house is currently MTV's "Real World" for dogs this week I'm not sure which dog is the gay one - they all like to hump each other. Reyse is the only girl, so I guess that makes her the crazy skank of the group.
 The first night was pretty rough. No one wanted to settle in for the evening. Fortunately, Sparky had the next day off so he was able to most of the wrangling.
Now we're settled in for the week but I'm not sure what they're saying about each other in the confessional room. As long as no one gets too drunk or smacks anyone; we should all make it to Saturday.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Haters Hatin'

Just when I was reveling in all the love I was getting last week; I discovered I have some haters (before my head could get too big).
Apparently, I've lost two Facebook "friends" in the last week. I have 303 FB friends (formerly 305). So while I do cast my net pretty wide; I'm not a crazy friend collector. A majority of my "friends" are people that I have spent time with at some point in my life. Some are still close to me but a lot of them are in my past. Doesn't mean I don't love to see what's going on in their lives. A few are brief acquaintances and yes, there are a couple that I have never met in my friggin' life but there's some kind of stretch of a connection there that obligated me to "friend" them.




First, I checked the obvious people - those that are most important to me. Then I checked the last group - those random people who might have realized they added me in some kind of stupor. Everyone is present and accounted for. So the two culprits are out there in that nebulous group. A friend I haven't connected with for a while. Someone who doesn't constantly post updates so I wouldn't noticed they'd gone missing. Did I offend them with my photos? Did I just annoy them with my posts about Hawkeyes and Glee? Why have I spent approximately 18 minutes trying to figure out who dropped moi? Why do I care?
On top of that - I got a shock on Twitter this evening (check me out @kellyclaire). Twitter's a little different - I follow quite a few people I don't know and a lot of them follow me back. People unfollow me and that's fine. I have no emotional investment in most of them. Plus, I'm not very witty (a major + in the geek community) or informative so I don't blame anyone for losing interest. But a friend of mine sent a tweet that  included a person I thought I followed - we'll call her @Susi (Disclaimer: if that twitter account exists - it is in no way associated with the account I'm talking about. At least, I don't think it is.).
When I saw my friend's tweet, I thought, "Hey - I haven't seen anything from @Susi in a while. I wonder if she stopped tweeting." Yes, I think in Twitter terms sometimes (I'm cool like that). I don't know @Susi personally but she kind of put her stuff out there - very personal, sometimes emotional tweets -  so she had an interesting feed.
So I clicked on her name and pulled up her page. To my surprise, the "Follow" button was on the page. This only shows up when you don't follow the person. "Well, that's silly. Maybe Twitter had a glitch and dropped some of my people. It happens." I proceed to click on the Follow button...



Blocked?! I got blocked?! That's what you do to spammers and super-annoying people. Not nice but not necessarily interesting people like me! Unfollow me - no biggie. But block me like some dirty porno spambot?? Really? What the eff did I ever do to you @Susi?
But what really pisses me off is that I actually spent a few minutes caring about any of this. Seriously - that makes me want to unfollow/de-friend myself. Why did I invest time wondering about people I didn't even notice went missing? Why am I writing this post? I've got awesome people in my real life who for whatever reason put up with me. So I'm over it. If I annoyed, offended or bored you in my internets life then I guess all I have left to say is; whatever bitches. Enjoy you're life without me - obviously I'll be fine without you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To My Loyal Fans!

Well, it appears that word is spreading about my sparkling wit being published on this little corner of the internets. Since my laziness has prevented me from posting for about a month and a half, I suppose it's time to give the people what they want!
But really - it's nice of some of you ladies (Meagan, Ali, Dana) to check Practicing Classy out and give me a little encouragement; however unwarranted. Aaaand, I'm sure the world will thank you someday.
So there actually has been some earth-shattering news in the last six weeks or so. For all the dirty details check out the post on my more professional blog, Socialize. Long story short, my corporate, convenience store event planning job was making me crazy. I was offered a part-time job back in the non-profit world and somehow convinced Sparky that I should take it and start my own event planning company (hence the Socialize blog - it's the name of the new biz. I think it's brilliant).
Honestly, I'm enjoying the new actual job immensely! As opposed to a certain past employer - they ask for my input and respect my ideas. It's been a while so it's a little like coming out of an abusive relationship. Slowly though, I'm beginning to realize it's for real.
As for Socialize, things are moving along slowly this month but I'll start aggressively pursuing some clients in October - just in time for the holidays!
I'll share more details with you later (if I remember to keep posting).

loves,

k

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stop, Kelly, Stop!

Well friends, there is no need to fear. It is highly unlikely that this will ever turn into a running blog (or a blog in general, for that matter). Over seven weeks into my "training" and I'm actually behind where I started. 

This will not be me any time soon. source 

This all began with good intentions and reasonably high motivation. But excuses were just to darn easy to come by. The weather was the big setback for me. You see, I'm kind of a weenie when it comes to sweating; and the humidity in Iowa this summer has been like a warm wet rag over your face. Even at 6 AM. The few (very few) times I did attempt a jog, I would finish with a slight headache that would slowly get worse throughout my morning at work. Whether it got worse because of the running or my job; I don't actually know. One day, I actually had to take a slightly longer lunch and take a 20 minute nap at home in order to fend off a potential migraine.
This was all livable though. Sparky suggested that maybe I was pushing myself to hard; so I pulled it back a little. I walked when I was tired instead of pushing myself through to the next block (ok, half block). But one day last week; my future track career came to a halt.
I did my morning run, got ready and went to work. The day was going along nicely until someone stuck a knife in my head. MIGRAINE! Not just any migraine - the (second) worst migraine I have EVER had.
By the time I went home for lunch, I was sick to my stomach, for reals. I stuffed my face with Ibuprofen, laid down and went fetal - complete with moans and cries to make it stop. If things had gotten any worse, I would have told the migraine anything it wanted to know. After a 90 minute nap, things got better and for whatever reason; I returned to work.
Apparently this is called an exertion headache. What it means is that there is no effin' way I am doing the half marathon this year. Not if I have to face that pain every time I run.
So I am starting over. I've done two miles twice this week. So far, so good. With the half marathon unlikely I'll have to go another direction. Maybe I'll get to 5-7 miles before the snow flies. Or maybe I'll just take up yoga.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Run, Kelly, Run

I seem to have convinced myself that I think I should train for the Des Moines Marathon. But the half marathon part - running/jogging/walking 13.1 miles is enough to make me hyperventilate; let's not be silly. I think part of it has to do with the fact that Sparky has done two marathons and trained for the HyVee Triathlon this year. Sadly, severe weather made officials shorten the course so he while he trained for full swim, bike, run madness; he only got to do sprint lengths.

Oh, yes; I am one lucky lady!

So my hot hubs has inspired me, kind of. I'm already a day behind on the IMT Des Moines Marathon four month training schedule (two if you count the rest day on Tuesday - when I should actually be crosstraining). I should have run 3 miles on Monday. Oops. 

Aaaand, have I mentioned before that I am not a runner. Or athlete of any sort for that matter. So, this is going to be interesting. If I ever get started.

Friday, May 28, 2010

AWhole Lotta Nerve

Let's just get it out there...some people in this world need to be punched. Not in a fight or a mugging but by random strangers when they are doing things like this:

Apparently having a BMW Z3 roadster makes you more important than anyone else on Earth. Did you know that? I didn't; otherwise I would have invested in one long ago(sidenote: yes I know you cannot INVEST in cars). If owning a luxury vehicle gives you the right to block wheelchair cutouts with your car then I'm sure you get to go to the head of the line, cut people off in traffic, take candy from babies, etc. That totally makes it worth the cost. Right? I mean, all of the front parking spots were filled, what else was the guy supposed to do?
What a jerk. Seriously, someone needs to punch him.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life After LOST


As I began to write this, I did a quick Google search for "lost." The series finale extravaganza begins in about an hour and that little word is currently the fourth most popular search in the last hour."Lost quotes" is number 12. Included in the search results is the Lostpedia; a "Lost-related wiki with over 6000 articles, 25000 registered users, and 150 million page views." Wow. The site is currently on partial lockdown until the finale airs due to "extensive spoiler vandalism."
I like Lost. I enjoy watching it. But I don't have a freakin' clue what it's actually about. But there are many people (besides the 25,000 registered users on the Lostpedia site) who invest time in figuring it out. My husband is one of them. I'll admit, I tried. Early in the show's history they ran special commercials with hotline numbers that supposedly gave clues to the mysteries. Yeah, I gave up.
Allegedly, all of the questions about the show's space-time-continuum-good-vs-evil-nuclear-astro-whatever-physics-fate-destiny-numbers-Kate-Jack-and-Sawyer-love-triangle plot will be answered. But the question I have is - What are all of these people going to do when Lost is over? Sparky included.
They have Lost lingo, people. Sparky has used it on me - Tailies, Red shirts, MIB - I'm sure I don't know the half of it. There are podcasts and websites that are dedicated to the show. There has even been a convention. I know Lost isn't the first show to create this phenomenon. And it is interesting and accessible. At least fans don't have to learn Klingon and invest in costumes to participate. Plus, the networks have not been able to replicate the same intrigue with other shows, despite attempts (has anyone tried to watch Flash Forward - finally on the chopping block).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Can I Say?

Let's clear the air - it's been far too long. Over one month since my last post. I'm a poor excuse for a blogger. There's really no excuse. Just a few things at work and at home that sucked me into a black hole that did not allow me the time or energy to mess with anything beyond them. Well, maybe that was the case for a couple weeks. Then, it just got a little intimidating. But...I'll give you a quick re-cap of what's been going on. Think "Twelve Days of Christmas" but with less numbers and repetitions.

For the past month or so this is what I've been doing...

Lots of cricut cutting...


And invitation making...

Seeing eight sorority sisters...


Planning three Regional Meetings...


And one Kentucky Derby Party...

OK - not really like the song and I probably haven't been too busy to blog. Just too lazy mentally exhausted. But I'll do better. Well, I'll try to do better!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dressed for Stress

I love clothes and fashion but hate figuring out what to wear. It's honestly a struggle for me most mornings and special occassions usually involve a lot of hand wringing and cold sores (hey - on my lips, I get them when I'm stressed).
So my anxiety level went through the roof when I had to figure out what to wear to my friend and sorority sister, Krystal's upcoming wedding. How's this for a wedding attire puzzle:
2:00 PM wedding ceremony in a Catholic church
5:00 PM (in the evening was on the invite) reception
Formal attire
PLUS:
I'm a personal attendant
I haven't seen some of the other DZ friends who are attending in almost seven years.

So I have some serious strategizing to do and some obstacles to overcome.
1. I have to look HOT! and chic. Let's face it ladies, we all dress for each other and no one is worse about this than sorority girls. Don't get me wrong, the other DZs attending are fantastic and I probably would have seen them more recently if I was any good at keeping in touch with people. But, I still want them to think I look outstanding.

2. Catholic church. This may be in direct opposition to looking HOT! I believe proper church attire calls for you to cover your shoulders (especially in the Catholic church; pretty sure you can rock the bare shoulder in a Methodist church and probably still make it to heaven). So...a wrap or jacket will be needed unless I can find a sexy Mormon prom dress.

3. Afternoon ceremony. Evening reception. Formal attire. So cocktail or long dress? Is a fancy cocktail dress OK? Probably, since it's in Omaha (Krystal's a midwest native who lives in LA now) and O-town can be laid-back. But Krystal's fiancee is a California guy who went to USC - I get the impression his family has probably been to some fancy weddings. I broke down and bothered the bride about it. Really. I asked what she was picturing for her guests, long dresses, cocktail dresses, etc. She said she was hoping people would wear long dresses, but would probably be mostly cocktail style.

So - I spend several hundred hours some time stalking the super sale sections of the Neiman Marcus, Saks and Bloomingdales websites. I also join and check my sale sites daily. These include, but are not limited to Shop It to Me, Gilt, HauteLook and Ideeli. Whenever something seemed appropriate and within my grasp, I start to doubt it hotness and/or price and end up losing out.

Then Rent the Runway came to my rescue! If you don't know what RTR is - it's only the most amazing concept ever. In short, according to their website:

"We buy pieces directly from top designers and then offer rentals at just 10% of retail prices. It couldn’t be simpler: just browse our pages until you find something you love. Put it in your basket, tell us when you’d like it delivered, and it’ll appear on your doorstep—in two different sizes, just to be safe." 

I had checked the site but nothing fit what I needed - long but not too fancy, not black and preferably not strapless. Then, the new arrivals came in. I crossed my fingers and logged on. Despite my usual lack of luck, I spotted the perfect dress. A fab Badgley Mischka number that I snapped up.
Badgley Mischka Heavenly Halter Gown
UPS will be delivering it to my front door on Thursday. Also arriving Thursday are the shoes I hope to be wearing - Jessica Bennett's Kael slingback from Endless.com. The bride is a big fan of hoop earrings so in her honor; I'm planning to wear a pair similar to the ones below.




Nothing like waiting until the last minute to make sure everything looks good, right? Looks like Thursday will either end in tears and a mad dash to a dress rack or a sigh of relief and the hope that I don't screw up my hair and make-up too much on the big day. Oh - and let's hope I don't look like a tool being the only person in a long dress.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Torture by Coupon Code

AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!
Sorry. I had to get that out. The last few minutes just landed themselves on my "Top 10 Situations in Which I Wish I Had A Time Machine" list.
While searching for a dress for an upcoming formal wedding I will be attending (another story) I hit up my lady, Diane Von Furstenberg, and came across something I had to have - not necessarily for this wedding, just in order to live a complete life:
DVF's Adisa dress called out to me - not only but because it was BE-A-U-tiful, but because it was ALSO on sale. Even though the pattern's name, "Secret Garden Fresh," sounds like a deodorant (or Summer's Eve) scent; I still wanted to wear it. The colors would be perfect for my sickly-white-but-not-pale-enough-to-be-pretty skin. The cut is great; especially at the top. I own very few dress that are a) not strapless and b) not A-line - so this would be a nice change for me.

Despite sale, the 200-some dollar price tag that remained meant that our love was not to be. *Sigh.* I was about 95% sure I would live through the heartache.

But then! one day, I looked at it again (ok, confession, I looked at it every day) and the price had gone down further! $154!!! I could swing that for love. But how could I make Sparky understand? Really, I couldn't, so I just had to break him down (sorry dear) over time. Until today... Pay Day.

The stars aligned, Kurt caved and a size 10 was still available. I added Adisa to my online shopping cart and proceeded to check out. Here, I was offered the opportunity to enter a promotion code. I had one ready for free shipping and should have left it at that. But nooo, I whipped out Google and did a quick "dvf.com coupon code" search. Behold the story of my life:

If I had Photoshop, this would be the point where I would highlight the part of the picture that says $50 off until April 1st, 2010.

Yep, I missed out on $50 by one day. You have got to be kidding me. And yes, I still tried to use the code. Just to rub a little salt in the wound, I had to check one other thing. This promo started on March 19th. After checking my Gmail inbox, I found that I joined the DVF.com mailing list on March 18th - probably a day or two after the mailing list received notification about this sale. Awesome.

Yes, I still bought it - and used my consolation free shipping code. In case you were wondering, I don't plan to rock the black tights with this frock. But there will definitely be Spanx action under that skirt.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trippin' Kitties

Have you seen the latest commercial for Friskies cat food?

Uhhhhh...

I understand that they are trying to embrace the whole Alice in Wonderland and 3D trend but really? Really?!

A cat having what is obviously a drug-induced hallucination. I would like to meet the person who said, "Yes! Now that will move some product! No one is going to wonder if there is LSD in that can."

Now, I've been a sheltered nice enough girl that I've never been around anyone tripping on a hallucinogens. But I can still picture what this little kitty is doing in reality-land on his trip through "Adventureland." (Which; p.s., is the name of an amusement park just outside Des Moines.) Kitty laying on his back on the kitchen floor, rolling from side to side and occasionally swiping his paw through the air.

Wait a minute! That is what cats do! Maybe they are always having crazy visions about catching fish while in a fish-shaped boat. We should get some scientists on this.

Also - those turkeys in the beginning scare the beejeebus out of me. The first time I watched it, I thought they were going to kill the cat. Not that I'm a cat fan; but I certainly don't want to watch one get killed by a tribe of freaky turkeys.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Eyes Have It

Riddle me this, riddlers...what could I be sporting that would automatically elevate me to a level where my lady-ness could not be called into question? A symbol so universally equated with luxury and elegance that even I would be hard-pressed to find a way bring it into ill-repute...

That's right - Chanel.

*Sigh* I don't have the money to rightfully rock the double C's. I mean, really? Would you believe I was for real if I climbed out of my 2004 Mazda3 with a $3000 purse? No.
Poor people do not own Chanel - it looks funny when you pretend to. Aaaand, that is basically the only thing that keeps me from going into some serious debt. It's also the reason why my $30 fake Chanel stays in my closet. To avoid the siren call of the credit card; I do find some slightly cheaper ways to show my love for Miss Coco.
Three years ago, I decided that optical insurance would be an genius way to finance a fashion statement and bought these lovelies from the only place in town that carried Chanel frames:




Chanel 3112



I loved them. One of the best parts of my day was pulling them out of their case - a black, quilted case. Strange? Probably. Technically, Chanel glasses are made by Luxxotica - but they have a licensed agreement so they still count; I think.

But in February of this year, tragedy struck. You would think that glasses are either in their case or resting on the bridge of your nose unless you put them somewhere else and then forget where that somewhere else was. I've been sans glasses for weeks (I only really need them for reading - so you're safe out on the roads) in hopes that they would reappear. The problem was, I bought those frames pre-marriage. I only had to justify the cost to myself. Now, convincing Sparky that somehow, someway Chanel frames give me better eyesight than other glasses and are a worthy investment?? Not. Happening.

So, I gave up, got a new prescription and headed out to look for some new frames, resigned to the fact that Chanel would grace my temples no more.
I resisted and resisted. I almost settled on a pair. But I decided to go out and look once more, just to be safe. That's when the clouds broke, angels sang and rays of sun shone down from the on these:

Chanel 3131

Oh no! Cue inner dialogue -

Sensible Kelly: Kelly, don't try them on. They're cute they probably won't look good on you. They're a little ostentatious too...
Crazy Kelly: Oooooo...me want.
Sensible Kelly: No! No! Don't reach for them!! I thought we agreed you didn't need expensive glasses. Don't...don't do that...Argh!
Crazy Kelly: Soooo pretty! Sooo pretty on me!!
Sensible Kelly: Dang it! Now, look at the price...Yikes!
Crazy Kelly: Yikes!

Even Crazy Kelly came to her senses when she spotted the price tag. But like they say in Speed, she's crazy, not stupid. One quick Google search later and I found an online store that had them for a "little" over half the price. Sold! Right Sparky?

Did I mention I have $150 in my FSA account? That will offset the cost some more. Going once...going twice...who has the best husband in the world?

ME!!!!!

I'm also about to have the cutest glasses in the world. I cannot wait for them to get here! I will still have to have the lenses put in - I wasn't about to trust some rando online shop to do the medical part of things.

In honor of my lovely purchase, I'll close with some words of wisdom from Mademoiselle Chanel herself. It's advice I should probably follow a little more often in order to remain worthy.

"I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny."
-Coco Chanel

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Book of Max, Chapter 5

As soon as we were aware of Max's kidney problem, Dr. Kay prescribed the nutraceutical, Azodyl, and a special food with limited protein; Hill's Prescription Diet Canine k/d. Both of these products helped him tremendously. (I would highly recommend using them if you have a dog going through renal failure.)
Every five to six months we would see signs that Max's kidneys were affecting him. He would get lethargic (very unusual for our little Spunkers) and couldn't keep his food down. He was always a trooper and tried to act tough about it. But no matter how tough he was, Max would spend a few days at Club Vet getting pumped with fluids.
After learning during the first episode that Max would bark the whole time he was in a kennel at the clinic, Dr. Kay would let us bring him home each night. We were happy to do it. It was probably harder on us to have him away from home than it was for him to stay there!
About one year ago, Max had a particularly bad time with his symptoms and bounced back slower than usual after treatment. We expected that we would see his episodes start to get closer as predicted and we began to prepare ourselves for the worst. But again, Max toughed it out and got back to 100%. We tried to take it easy with him for a little while, but Max wasn't having it. He wanted his walks and his playtime just like normal. Surprisingly, he didn't have to go back for fluids for months.
We knew we were lucky when Dr. Kay later commented that she had also expected the worst. She said on more than one occasion that Max was "a miracle dog."

But even after he being so tough for so long, Max's kidneys kept fighting him. He went in for fluids in November 2009. He recovered, but again, it was slower than in the past. In January, only two months later, the symptoms showed up again and, despite treatment, they were back less than a month later. Max lost a lot of weight during this period and Dr. Kay confirmed what we feared - there were few precious moments left with our Moose.
Max held on for a few more weeks. He followed us and snuggled with us as much as he could. We gave him even more attention (if that is even possible) and made sure to enjoy every second with him. Even though he tried not to show it, we saw our tough little guy getting weaker and struggling to accomplish his normal feats. Jumping onto the couch was a struggle, he would rest halfway up the stairs, he didn't squirm at all when we carried him around. Then Max stopped eating.
It was time.

Sparky made the difficult call to the vet to schedule a time to send Max on to the next life. It was devastating. Every minute we got closer was harder to accept than the last. On the last day, we both took the afternoon off to spend Max's last couple hours with him. It was a sunny and reasonably warm day. Max wasn't able to walk more than a few steps by this point, but because he had loved his walks so much we wanted to give him one last trip around the block. Sparky and I took turns carrying him on his usual route. We pointed out his favorite poop and pee spots along the way. He seemed alert and I swear he was trying to keep his eyes open and take it all in, forever.
When we turned the last corner to head back home, we saw a patch of grass where the sun had completely melted the snow and was still shining. We laid Max down so he could feel at least a little bit of spring one last time. We rubbed his now skinny belly and let him rest there for a few minutes. Then we returned home to prepare for our last road trip with Max.
It should come as no surprise that Max wanted to do things on his own terms. As we were getting ready to leave, Sparky carried Max down the stairs. Before he could reach the bottom, Max was gone.
He left our home completely opposite of the way he burst in and enriched it. Quietly, with little fanfare and without kisses or fat lips. Sparky and I held him on the couch as the light left his eyes completely and our hearts broke into pieces.

I'm sure it sounds silly and over-dramatic - but it's been hard adjusting to a house and a life without Max in it. His barking and snorting were a lot noisier than you would think. We were much more careful getting into bed than we realized (you always had to feel for a Max lump so you didn't squish him - or piss him off). He brought so much more joy to our lives than we knew. He had made us a family - partly because he was so needy - but mostly because of his spirit and his unconditional love for us. We'll have the opportunity to give and receive that kind of love again, but Max was the one who taught us how.

Thanks Monkey, you'll forever be loved and missed.

Max Sparks

??- March 4, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Book of Max, Chapter 4


Max bounced right back after his brief vacation at the vet. It took a few days for his voice to come back though. He had essentially barked for two straight days while he was away from home. He hated kennels. His kidney problems lingered in the back of our minds, but Sparky and I tried to keep it from worrying us too much. So the legend of Max continued.

If you listened to his crazy people (Sparky & I), you would learn that he was quite the well rounded dog. We had many stories about Max's unknown past. His occupations had included a chef - he used his front paws to stir and taste; a lock-picker - you would be amazed at how many doors the little guy could open, a carpenter, a poker player and a pirate.

However, his most important job was being the Defender of the Universe. We had a song about him killing evil cats, etc. I know what you're thinking...nerds.

BatMax

We would also tell the story about Max's rough and tumble life on the streets of KC. He smoked cigars and got in his fair share of fights when he had been drinking. I think some of this came about because Max actually did have a tattoo. We (actually) believe he was inked by a puppy mill.

Nothing like a good stogey.


One day Sparky created a brilliant song about how Max spent time as Blackbeard's first mate. During the climax of the story, Max lit his tail with a candlestick, jumped in the ocean and led a ship through a horrible storm (not so sure about the logistics on that one). Unfortunately, we laughed too hard for too long to write it down and forgot most of it.

Yeah - so we are nerds.

In reality (we're not crazy all the time), Max became involved in every part of our day. We always spent a few minutes with him and Flynn in the morning; he would "clean" my egg plate after breakfast; Sparky and I would both come home for lunch as often as possible to hang out with the pups; Max would be at the door barking for us when we got home and at night, he would call "couch time"- meaning it was time for Sparky and I to sit on the couch so he could snuggle between us. At about 9:30 he would let us know it was bed time by fidgeting around on the couch or, if necessary; jumping off the couching, walking to the stairs and intermittently staring up them and then over at us.

Max with his BFFs Reyse & Kramer.

I could go on and on telling you about all the things we came to adore about Max - his mind bullets - a tool he would use to get doors to open or to try to tell us what he wanted; how he would "turn on the cute" for a treat; his nicknames (Maximus, Maximoose, Moose, Monkey, Poopbutt); how he drank his water in rhythm; his dribbling problem (FloMax was another nickname); his love of all things pork/ham/bacon based but I think you get the picture. He loved and was loved.

The Book of Max, Chapter 3

Beside his slightly stinky issues, life with Max was a joy. He was quickly incorporated into as much of our day as possible. We took him anywhere dogs were allowed and learned all about his own unique little personality full of spit and vinegar.

Receiving a signature Max kiss.

Max cheered Sparky on during his first marathon.

Our friends got used to being greeted by kisses and "spin jumps" (when Max got excited, he would start pivoting on his hind legs and jumping at the same time). We found out that Max preferred the weather to be sunny and 70-75 degrees. He would hardly even tolerate the rain. On a few occassions we tried to wrap him in a grocery bag so he would at least go potty. It kind of worked once.
December came and it was time for some routine vet check-ups. Max had gone through all the routine tests while he was with MABTR. The results didn't show any problems so we weren't worried. Max was healthy, we made sure he took heartworm preventative every month (please, please, please - give your dogs heartworm meds) and we tried to make sure he ate his non-gassy food.
When Dr. Kay called to give me what I assumed would be an all-clear, I got a bit of a surprise. Max had tested positive for heartworms. Since he was on the heartworm preventative, Dr. Kay was optimistic that the results were a false positive. Unfortunately - a second test only confirmed the bad news. Max had heartworms.
Ten years ago this would have essentially been a death sentence for a dog. Today, the treatment is still a scary process, but much more effective. As part of the process, you have to restrict your dog's activity for a few weeks (I'd go into why - but it's pretty icky - you can read about it in the treatment link if you want). This was no easy task with Max, but we managed to wrangle him in for a while so we could beat those mean old heartworms!
The day of reckoning finally came and we brought Max back in to make sure those gross little guys were dead and gone. Dr. Kay was happy to report that they were, but there was a minor area of concern. Max's kidney output levels were a little off. It was possible that it was related to the course of medication he had just finished but we were just warned to keep an eye on it just in case.
Life went back to normal. Max had his energy back and was as endearingly annoying as ever. The spin jumps and barking returned; he could chase the mean squirrel in our backyard again (and then bark and bark at it while it snickered in the tree) and we could take him on walks again. Max loved walks, he would trot down the street like a show dog; but then the crazy guy would whip around, clamp his mouth down on his leash and chew and pull. This ordeal started as soon as we would pull it out (accompanied by barking, of course) We learned quickly to hook it up right away or Max would shake the leash so fiercely that the metal clamp would whip around and bonk him on the head. On our walks, other people would see his antics and comment that "someone wants to escape." But he didn't. Max never tried to run away from us (even on the two occasions when he actually made it through the leash); he just loved to chew the leash. We couldn't break him of the habit.
At about 4:30 AM one morning that summer, I woke up to some strange noises. I found Max collapsed in the hall outside our bedroom. He was awake but his breathing was shallow and he wouldn't look at me when I called his name. Instead he was intent on pulling himself across the carpeted hallway to the bathroom about 7 feet away. I yelled to wake Sparky up and he joined the scene. We couldn't figure out why until the little guy had simultaneous vomiting and diarrhea (gross, sorry). He didn't want to mess up the carpet.
I got him into the bathroom while the episode continued for another 20 minutes. Once things finally settled down a little, Sparky and I wrapped Max in a blanket and headed to the emergency vet (it was 5:30 AM at this point). Max was completely lethargic and still was barely moving when we arrived.
A few very scary minutes later we got some relieving news. It appeared that Max was dehydrated. We told the vet that Max possibly had some kidney problems as well. They recommended we have some tests run and then have him stay there for IV fluids. The quote for this was $477.
Now - Sparky and I aren't cheap; especially when it comes to our dogs. But it did occur to me that the doggy ER might be premium priced like the human ER. I asked the doctor how much those procedures would cost at our vet. (P.S. It was a weekday and 6:30 AM by this point - our vet's office would be open in 30 minutes) His answer:
"I'm not familiar with every vet's pricing structure, but I'm guessing it would be about the same."
I got the used-car-dealer-vibe from this guy and didn't like it. Not only did I think he was lying about the cost difference, I didn't want to leave our dog with him. So I asked him to transfer the information to University West Pet Clinic because we'd be more comfortable taking Max there. He got a little huffy about it; but oh well.
Max spent the next two days at University West getting IV fluids pumped in to one of his front paws. He had been dehydrated and tests confirmed that it was due to his kidneys. They were slowly failing. Also - the whole thing cost $250 at our vet's office. So there.

Looking tough with his IV bandage.

We learned that we would likely have to bring Max in again to be flushed. From the sound of things, these episodes would grow closer and closer together until Max would have an unacceptable quality of life. We weren't sure how much longer we would have with him but no matter what, we knew it wouldn't be long enough.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Book of Max, Chapter 2

Have I ever mentioned that Sparky was a cat person? In his opinion, dogs were stupid, slobbery and smelly. He thought that dogs surrendered their unconditional love to anyone who looked at them, whereas you have to work a little harder for a cat's love (A little harder? I don't know if I have ever met a cat who loved someone). Having Reyse around had softened him up on this quite a bit but Max changed him forever.

From day one, Max has slept in our bed with us. He snored, he fidgeted, he would lick your face in the morning, he occassionally fell off the bed and whined until we woke up because he wouldn't jump back up in the dark; but it was all worth it when he bulldozed under the blankets and curled up by our legs. We experienced pretty much all of this in the first week. We also experienced the gas problems that can be typical of Bostons; at night and during the day.
Boston Terriers have sensitive stomachs. Sensitive stomachs = gas. In Max's case, this meant a LOT of gas - stinky, room-filling, gag-worthy gas. There is special dog food to help this - but it doesn't help right away. It takes 2-3 weeks for the dogs stomach to de-sensitize to the sensitive-stomach food.

During our first few weeks with Max, Sparky decided to hold a launch party for a certain-current-President's official candidacy announcement. Basically, a bunch of strangers were going to come to our house to watch Obama announce the news on a internet feed.
Not sure how Max would react, we planned to keep him and Reyse up in one of the bedrooms for the duration of the party. Max didn't think this was a good idea. While people arrived Max barked (barking isn't a particularly common trait of Boston Terriers - Max didn't seem to care about this fact. Ever.), scratched and threw himself at the door. There were people to meet, dammit!!
The commotion continued as people were settling in for the show. We apologized and explained the situation about our new dog. Everyone agreed that it would be ok to let the dogs out (we warned them about the kisses too), which we proceeded to do.
After a few minutes of chaos, Max and Reyse settled in with the crowd. The announcement started and the room grew quiet. We heard a small squeak and thought nothing of it. Then I noticed sour expressions on the faces of a few of our guests. Before I could open my mouth; a wave of dog-poo scented air hit me. A few awkward glances were going around the room. The unspoken question, "Dude, who cut the cheese?" lingered in the air; along with the smell.
Sparky and I realized what was happening and explained (again) our new dog's "gas" situation. Everyone eased up a little, knowing that the person next to them had bowel control. But it kept happening. Max pretty much constantly passed gas for the next 45 minutes. Sometimes with noise, sometimes without. All times with smell. People could not stop laughing. When they left, each of our guests made sure to say good-bye to our stinky little dog. Some even leaned down to get another kiss. Max was happy to oblige.

Max's special food eventually did help the gas situation. Unfortunately, he never liked his food as much as he liked Reyse's food and later, Flynn's. But for anyone who thinks farting can't be endearing; I would have to disagree. Max farted his way right into Sparky's heart and made him a dog person forever.

The Book of Max, Chapter 1


You may remember Max from this incident. If not, Max is one of our two dogs - he is a Boston Terrier and our other dog, Flynn, is a German Shorthair Pointer mix. Flynn is afraid of the camera so you probably won't see many pictures of him here. But he does exist.

Max is part of the reason I haven't been visiting blogland much lately. He's sick and has needed some special attention the last few weeks. I try not to make this blog a Diary of Debbie Downer, but I need this right now.

Max came into our lives 3 years ago. Sparky and I lived in a duplex we were renting with our friend Lindsay and her big, beautiful Black Lab, Reyse. For my birthday (February 17th, for future reference) Sparky's gift to me was a dog - but one I picked out on my own. No surprises. None of this cute, cuddly furball with a ribbon around it's neck stuff. I contacted Jennifer at
Mid American Boston Terrier Rescue about a few of the dogs they had available for adoption. We had just bought our house and would be closing and moving in one month. I didn't want to put a dog through more trauma than necessary so I let Jennifer know this in case they thought it would be a problem.

The dogs I was interested in had all been adopted and Jennifer thought the move might make for added stress for one of the poor pups. However, she would keep me in mind for any other dogs that came up for adoption.

A couple weeks later, Jennifer emailed me about a dog that was being fostered in Newton, about 45 minutes from Des Moines. An older couple had actually adopted him but Max wasn't mixing well with their cats so they had to give him up. They were keeping him until he found a new home. Jennifer sent me this photo collage:



Aaaannndd... my heart melted. I forwarded the message to Sparky and asked if we could meet Max. Later, I found out that Sparky had thought Max was ugly in the pictures (he doesn't think that anymore) but he was willing to play along.


IF we were going to take Max home, we wanted to make sure he and Reyse got along so that weekend Sparky, Lindsay, Reyse and I packed up the car and traveled to Newton to meet this guy. We pulled up to a nice farmhouse and were greeted by an adorable older couple. They had Max in the backyard for us. We walked around the house and through a gate where a black and white monster waited for us. He was barking and jumping as soon as he saw some new friends.


While I was leaning down to introduce myself and Max launched himself off the ground, full force, to greet me with a kiss. We smacked into each other in the middle (I ended up with a fat lip) but that didn't deter Max. He jumped and barked until I was sitting on the ground with him getting covered in kisses. His foster parents looked on and said, "We've never seen him do that to anyone before." Love. (We later learned that this actually was a fairly typical Max greeting but I felt special at the time.)


He gave Kurt and Lindsay similar greetings and then moved on to Reyse, who was exploring the expansive backyard. After a little butt-sniffing and sizing up, Max proceeded to mount and hump Reyse, despite the size difference. Clearly, this one was going to be in charge. Fortunately Reyse is a fairly passive dog - so they got along just fine. We spent about a half hour playing with and learning about Max. He had been found roaming around in Kansas City, no license or microchip. He had been trained by someone because he was housebroken and knew basic commands. His age hadn't quite been determined with any certainty but he was an older dog. His teeth were fairly worn down like an older dogs but the vets thought it was because he had been in a kennel at one point and had chewed on the bars (this didn't surprise us later). He acted like a much younger dog than his teeth showed so the guess was that he was around 6 or 7 years old. Besides kennels, Max also liked to chew on his leash when out on walks so his foster dad had put some plastic tubing around his leash to keep Max from chewing through it.


In that short 30 minutes, we had found our dog. I think it was a little unexpected for his foster parents. Even though he was terrorizing their cats, they wanted to keep him - I think the cats only won out because of seniority. I called Jennifer to tell her we wanted to take him home and find out what the next steps were. She suggested we take him that day for our "trial period" (ha!). It broke my heart to see the disappointment on the old couples faces. They packed Max's things up, kissed him good-bye and stood in the driveway while we pulled away.


We made it back to the duplex where Max quickly made himself at home.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Fashion Statement

It's New York Fashion Week and there are plenty of fabulous clothes to talk about but I don't have any business discussing Tibi, Temperly, Tory Burch and the like. A little number in the mall did catch my eye this week and I just can't resist commenting on it.
Check out what made an appearance in the Juniors Department at Dillards:


Initial thoughts? Probably not my fave color choices, not so crazy about the wonky, ill-made pocket...No that's not all. Take a closer look. Do you see?

For the pre-teen who just doesn't have time for first and second base.

Did I mention this was in the JUNIORS department of a fairly nice department store. Excuse me while I state the obvious - but the skirt can be completely unzipped! I mean, I've heard of easy access but this is a little ridiculous (and lazy). No teenage girl needs to be advertising...that. Come on designers, department stores and parents - can we please stop indicating to our daughters (full disclosure: I don't have children yet - but I was one) that we want them to be prostitutes-in-training?! How about we let them be girls for a little while?
I suppose that even if you don't buy it for them, at some point they will probably leave the house in something sweet and frilly and then change at their bffs house into something like this:

Your honor - may I please enter Exhibit A into the case of Kelly v the Fashion Police.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Craft FAIL

I read a lot of blogs written by Craftees. People who restore Goodwill finds from the depths of hell, make artwork from materials that cost less than two dollars, go on baking sprees, cook things without using a recipe and just create all around fabulousness (I'm looking at you Poverty with a View and bigger, better, best). I'm jealous of them. I love that they post all kinds of great tutorials that I can follow but I want to be able to look at something, wave my magic Craftee wand and create something that people adore.
So imagine my joy when I spotted these pretties in the dollar bins at Michaels

and some V-day inspiration came to me. Why - I could spray paint these little frames a lovely shade of pink (because what could Craftee doesn't adore spray paint), throw some cutesy scrapbook paper in as a background and then cut out coordinating L, O, V and E letters. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? Cuuuuute, right?!
Well, it sounded like a good plan. I picked out four frames and some hot pink spray paint. With my 40% off a full price item coupon, I spent less than $10. Woo-hoo!! Let's go!


Mistake #1 - the frames. Picture frames are easy to spray paint, right? You pop off the back take out the glass or plastic and go to town - no fuss. Unless you fail to check your frame construction and discover during craft prep that the back looks like this:

Excuse the blurry shot. I have unsteady and unmanicured hands.

So backing is attached and so is the plastic. Hmmmm...let me think about this. OK - so it's not as easy as it was supposed to be, but I can make this work. The filler paper (is there a technical term for that?) can be trimmed down to cover the plastic. Voila!

Mistake #2 - the paint. I found the perfect color among the selection at Michael's. It was a deep hot pink called Rhine River Rose. It was a Krylon H2O Latex paint. Spray paints are all the same, right? WRONG. In my case anyway. Even if I had googled "how to use latex spray paint" BEFORE I commenced my disaster-making ways, I would not have found anything to deter me from the path I was about to go down. No one else seems to have a problem with this paint. In fact, every blog/website sings it's praises - "it's low VOC," "you can use it indoors," "it dries so quickly," "mistakes clean up with soap and water." No one has written, "Latex spray paint will turn your Valentine's Day craft into a gooey, sticky mess like this:"

This picture doesn't do justice to the epic disastrousness I created.

That's a little better.

"And because won't even be dry a full day later OR wash off with soap and water, you will have hot pink fingertips for three days." Nope - everyone else seems perfectly fine with it.
OK - so mayyybe I shouldn't have painted in the garage in sub zero temps. Since it is low-VOC paint - I probably could have used the slightly warmer if slightly more dungeony basement. Maybe the right temperature would help the paint dry.

Mistake #3 - the paper. As you may notice in the above pictures, the brilliant idea of using paper to cover the parts that needed spray paint protection did not work. Because, genius, what happens when coated paper gets wet? It curls up. Good call on that one.

I'm going to give it one more try before I trash the project. I am going to attempt to re-paint in the basement in hopes that the "quick dry" claims exist in the recommend temperatures. I will attempt to wash the spray-painted clearness with soap and water. If that works, I'll store them away and deal with the paper next year. If not, I'm sure I can buy what I'm looking for at Target.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Birthdays and Black Eyes

My birthday is quickly approaching. While trying to decide how to celebrate, I have been thinking about birthdays past. One party from a few years ago is reason to follow the tidbit for this installment of Momma Says Monday. Let's take a look back...

My friends and I were discussing what we should do for my 26th birthday; over beers, naturally. I threw a party bus out there (yes, I decided that my friends should get me a party bus for my birthday. Narcissistic much?) and we thought that sounded like a great idea. A little research and a few phone calls later and we were ready to roll.
During the pre-party, what would prove to be a fateful prophecy came from some of the avid Arrested Development fans, including myself, Sparky and my sister, Libby. While talking about the (dearly missed) TV show, the topic of "hop-ons" came up. We related the episode to our adventures to come that evening and warned everyone, in the words of Michael Bluth giving advice to George Michael on driving the stair car,
"Be sure to watch for hop-ons. You're going to have some hop-ons."

Fast forward several bars and many beers later; a bus full of couches (yes, couches) and fairly intoxicated twenty-somethings rolled into the last bar for the night - Miss Kitty's. Some of the group headed into the bar straight-away but several remained on the bus to finish additional beverages.
Then, a not-so-gentlemanly-and-verrrrry-drunk young man boarded our craft. Seeing this, Sister Libby recalled the "rule" we had established earlier in the night and quickly sprung into action. She attempted to inform our new guest that we were no longer accepting RSVPs for party and asked him to remove himself. However, I believe all that came out of her mouth was, "It's a hop-on! NO HOP-ONS!! NO HOP-ONS!!"
The next part is still a bit of a mystery to all witnessed/experienced it. And, none of us - especially me - are entirely credible sources. It seems that several of us jumped in behind Sister Libby as she berated the guy off the bus. She did not feel that he had quite gotten the message even after he had left and continued to communicate this to him after he had started to walk away. From what I remember, he did not appreciate this and he grabbed her and shoved her against a nearby (parked) vehicle. Did I mention that Libby is my younger sister?

Here's an equation for you... birthday girl + far too many drinks + hop-on man throwing sister against a car = x

X = an enraged, drunken big sister who immediately proceeds to rush to the rescue. That is, if rescue includes yelling profanities in the face of the d-bag who did this - only to be tossed to the ground by him. And by tossed, I mean grabbed by the shoulders and thrown to the concrete, head first.
Libby was shaken up but alright. The birthday girl, on the other hand, came to with my head in my friend's lap staring up at their stricken face. Oh, and with pain shooting through my head. I'll spare you the exact words I was babbling as I tried to determine if I was going to die in the bar parking lot. My friends assured me I was ok and got me back on the bus (during this time, our new *friend* had been tracked down by some of the gentleman accompanying us and received a stern talking to).
Then the ambulance showed up. And the police. I was questioned about the incident but between my partying and what-turned-out-to-be-a-concussion; I was completely incoherent. Nice. After checking me over, it was determined that the growing lump on my forehead warranted a trip to the hospital. Sparky and I were newly engaged at the time so as they strapped me onto the ambulance bed and started to pack me in, I was calling out, "What about my fiiiiiaaaanceeee! I can't leave without my fiiiiaaaanceeee!" Seriously.
The last thing I really recall about that night is hearing the EMTs call me in to the hospital as an "intoxicated white female with a head injury." To which my response was, "Ohhhh noooo. It's my biiiirrrthdaaayyy. I get to be int...intoxss...intoximicated," followed by tears of embarassment and sorrow about my "ruined" birthday (at least I still knew enough that this was embarassing - that's a good sign I suppose).
After a trip to the ER, I was sent home with a mild concussion. I sported a lovely bump and very black eye for a few weeks. Those eventually faded. But I'm pretty sure the limited memories and my feelings about hop-ons never will.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!!

I am so over this winter. I swear, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and runs back into his warm little home in the ground, I will fly/drive/walk to Gobbler's Knob and pull him out of there until he agrees that spring is just around the corner.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tory Burch, Will You Be My Friend?

Dear Ms. Burch
Can I call you Tory?
Well, Tory, I saw your tweet about your one of a kind Barbie that is being auctioned on Ebay to benefit CFDA. The outfit you have designed is FAB.U.LOUS (as per usual).

Since you're obviously interested in charity, I was wondering if you would take on another one. It's not a widely known cause but it's certainly worthy. Plus I happen to know that it's benefactor would truly appreciate your generosity. Curious yet? It's me.

It won't be tax-deductible, but if you could donate a human size version of this outfit (and I mean real human - not model human) to me I would promise to rock it to the best of my ability. And, Tory, if you like the sound of this project we can certainly expand into revamping my ENTIRE wardrobe. If you need a walking billboard for your clothes, shoes and accessories - I'm your girl!
In return, I would be happy to do some of the following:

-wear a "This outfit brought to you by Tory Burch" sign every day
-mention your clothes at least once in every conversation I have
-blast emails and constantly update my facebook/twitter with what Tory Burch outfit I'm wearing
-tattoo your logo on my forehead

But if you have other ideas, I'm open to those as well.
I hope you will considering donating to this deserving cause. In the meantime, I'll just keep drooling over Reva flats. Best of luck with the auction!

Warmest regards,

ks

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wait - I'm not wearing pantyhose

This next little gem for Momma Says Mondays didn't come from my mom. It came one of the girls who lived on my dorm floor freshmen year (the prestigious prominent legendary facility commonly known as Dirty Burge at the University of Iowa - another story for another time).

"Pantyhose are the difference between class and trash."

Granted, this was 10 years ago, and it sounded dated at that time. It's funny how standards change over time. Waaaay back, showing your stockings was cause for alarm. Can you imagine causing scandal with your legs?! Now, nip slips and even hoo-hoo flashings are a perfectly acceptable part of pop culture.
For me, the determing factors in pantyhose are usually the shoes I'm wearing and if I need a little extra help in key areas. But this statement always makes me pause (not for long) when I consider not wearing pantyhose. If I had never heard it, I don't think I would ever give the presence or absence of pantyhose a second thought. But because I have, I am always checking (and judging; just a little).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Calligra-tard

I just completed a two session calligraphy class for beginners at the lovely Ephemera Design. I'm not so sure it's for me. It requires patience and preciseness - two things I definitely lack. While I appreciate the beauty of the fonts and the skill used to create them, I just don't know if I have enough desire and respect for it.
The font we learned was Uncial. According to our instructor, there are a LOT of rules to writing with it. Size, spacing, strokes is all too much for my right hand to handle.
I threw out the rules to writing in cursive as soon as I could. I've been writing like a doctor ever since. So, during our second class, when the instructor asked if anyone wanted to show their homework, I shrunk down in my seat like the naughty kid in the class. Now don't judge - I did my homework. It just looked less like this:


and more like this:

It was pretty bad. I think the instructor actually gave up on me. She helped some of the other ladies in class perfect their letters. Whenever she walked by me she would watch for a minute and then discreetly drift away. While I definitely enjoyed it, I don't think I'll be listing my calligraphy services on craigslist any time soon.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Momma Says Mondays

I'm bringing it back! Momma says Mondays is here again.
This particular quote is not so much advice - just a little fun. My mother came of age (really? what does that even mean?) in the 60s and 70s. So she was at the best age during the best decades of the 1900s. This is also the time when she met and fell in love with my dad, who was a professional musician at the time. So let's see... a single lady in an era known for the parties and craziness with a musician boyfriend...it's no surprise that I didn't come along until she was 32.
Several years ago, as my sisters and I started to enjoy our 20s, we began to realize how much potential for fun our mom would have had. I don't think we'll ever know the extent of that fun because whenever we ask for specifics about the decades of free love and disco, we get the same response:

"Hmmmm... I have gaps."

This statement is followed by a small smile and giggles. Then, nothing - she won't budge. The closest we have ever gotten to more information is, "I didn't inhale."
Keep in mind, she raised girls that are (reasonably) well-behaved. She made it through our teen years with only a few "incidents." Now, it would be perfectly safe for her to tell us about her potentially shady past. But I suppose after 20-some years of giving your life to your children, it's nice to have some memories and things that are still your own.
Which means, there is a lesson here - there's nothing wrong with keeping a few things sacred, or, just secret.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Panty Raid!!!

What would you think if you were asked to sort through a variety of tangled bras and undies while 57 other people did the same thing around you?
Several times a year, thousands of women forget their dignity and pack themselves into a certain lingerie chain's stores and dig through tables of plastic bins filled with unmentionables. They burrow to the bottom of one bin, claim their treasures and move onto the next. These women are like hundreds of crazed squirrels dig for nuts. But instead of searching through dirt and grass they untangle bra straps and set thongs flying all in the name of a semi-annual sale.
I suppose that is the price to pay when you're getting a deal. It always seems a little depressing to me - like the Goodwill without the musty smell and horrible flourescent lights.
But - a sale is a sale and strange or not - I'll fight you for the cute bras in the 36C bin.

Friday, January 8, 2010

No Excuses

I've been avoiding this post for a long time (obviously). A few weeks turned into a month, which turned into two months which turned into a bunch of excuses - planning a trip for work is taking all my time, the holidays are far too crazy, I've only seen this episode of The Office three times before so I better make sure I don't miss anything...
Then; I was going to get really crafty. To my knowledge, I have no blog visitors/followers at this point so I was going to write a bunch of posts and give them dates in the past so, if/when I do start having thousands of followers, I will look like the prolific blogger I would like to be. Sneaky, right?
Actually, I'm sure real bloggers do it all the time. But for a minute I thought it was pretty clever.
I'm too lazy honest for that though. So, I'm going to start fresh and hopefully be a bit more disciplined in my approach to blogging. Maybe then I'll start accumulating those thousands of followers I'm going to have.