Monday, October 30, 2006

Waving Tomato

From the file of weird-o-rama:

Last week I was going out to lunch with some co-workers, and on my way to the restaurant I went through the intersection of 23rd and Iowa, which is probably the busiest in Lawrence. Near the corner was a person in a tomato costume, lethargically waving both hands at passerbys. Hmmm. No signs to advertise why he is there, just a tomato standing on a street corner. As I returned from lunch, Mr. Tomato was still there and still waving, and since I had to pull over into a nearby parking lot to close the hood of my car (which in my clumsiness I had accidentally popped open with my foot getting out of the car at lunch), I decided to try and get a picture of the strange red creature with the very low resolution camera on my Palm Pilot. It was then that I came up with my theory as to why he was there--I was parked in a the parking lot of Cici's Pizza, whose logo sports a small tomato. My question is, is this really an effective use of advertising dollars? I mean, if someone wasn't already familiar with Cici's logo, would they even make the connection since the tomato wasn't even standing in front of the restaurant? Furthermore, if someone is familiar with the sign, this means they've probably already tried Cici's pizza buffet, which means that they most likely will not be going back unless they only have $5 to their name and need to gorge themselves with as much food as possible on a tiny budget. I think the marketing geniuses that came up with the waving tomato might need to rethink this one.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Meet Todd "Sparky" Reesing

Before yesterday, I'd never heard the name Todd Reesing. Then at halftime of the KU/Colorado game, when KU was down 9-0 due to a very ineffective offense run by senior QB Adam Barmann, Coach Mangino pulled the red shirt off Reesing and put him in to take his first snap. I must say that Chad and I were skeptical at first. We couldn't see how burning this kid's red shirt with only 3 games remaining was a good idea, especially since Barmann normally plays better in the second half. Plus, this Reesing kid is so short he looks like a high school player out there with a bunch of college guys. He threw an interception on his first drive, and I must admit, I was totally second-guessing Mangino's decision. Then on KU's next possession, Reesing threw to our fellow Salina Central Mustang Alum Jake Sharp for a 42 yard gain, and good things started happening! Reesing led the Hawks to 3 touchdowns in the second half, and had an amazing 63 yard run that you have to see to believe. KU finally won it's first Big 12 matchup of the season, thanks to the exciting play of a little freshman nicknamed Sparky! Check out the full story and highlight video from the Lawrence Journal-World.

I'm Going for the Record

All of last week, I felt like I was on the verge of getting sick. A scratchy throat and slightly aching body led me to take lots of vitamins and attempt to get to bed early. Unfortunately, with the World Series game Thursday night, I got less than 6 hours sleep, and ended up feeling worse on Friday. I went to bed about 11 or so Friday night, and with the help of NyQuil, slept until about 11:00 in the morning on Saturday. I mustered the energy to shower and get dressed, and we went to watch the Jayhawks take on Colorado (more about that later). After the game and a trip to the grocery store, I laid down for a nap, thinking I'd get up again later in the evening. At 10 p.m., I was still sleeping, so Chad got me up so I could get ready for bed. We watched a little SNL, and I was back asleep in an hour. This morning I got up at 11 a.m. again, which was technically noon since we gained an hour last night with the time change. I got up and had a bite to eat and some juice, but I'm still running a low-grade fever, so now I'm back in bed with the laptop, laying around and watching football. I'm bummed about not being able to go to the shelter or go watch the Steeler's game at Jack's, but I'm trying to focus on my amazing accomplishment: sleeping 30 out of the last 37 hours!

Friday, October 27, 2006

World's Most Amazing Dad

I had read the amazing story of Team Hoyt before, but today someone sent me a video about this father/son duo that I'd never seen. I had perused the photos on their website, but seeing footage of them in action is even more moving and incredible. Below is a great SI article about them, but I also recommend you check out this wonderful video on YouTube.

Strongest Dad In the World
By Rick Reilly

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars -- all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much -- except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life," Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution."

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain."

"Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that."

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

"No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 -- only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

"No question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century."

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago."

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

"The thing I'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once."

If you didn't find the article or the first video touching enough, then definitely watch this other video, with more amazing footage that's been set to music. There aren't many people in this world more inspirational than these guys!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Houston...We Have Hair

I just have to share a sweet picture that I took on Tuesday. My Aunt Merry was visiting from Houston for a few days, so I went over to my Mom's house in Topeka for a few hours in the evening to spend some time with both of them. The coolest thing was, I got there and Mom took off her ball cap, and voila--she has hair! :) It's been about 3 months since she finished her chemo, and her hair has suddenly started growing with a vengance! Even though she was very attractive even as a bald woman, now she can easily go out in public without a hat or scarf or anything on her head, and she won't even draw attention to herself!

Aren't they cute? With Mom's hair short it might be hard to tell, but they look sooooo much alike in person. Except for Aunt Merry's Houston drawl, they sound exactly alike too. They both look so great for their age, it's hard to believe they are 60 and almost 70 years old! I can only hope that I look that great when I get to be that age!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Pledge...To Buy A Lexus

Okay, I'm really not planning to buy a Lexus, but I was trying to think of some clever way to tie two things together. Those two things are my brother's Best Buy commercial that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, and my brother's NEW commercial that he booked today for Lexus!!!! Yippee! This is the best and most exciting news I've had all week!

For those of you who've been watching lots of sports on TV these days, you've probably seen several different Best Buy commercials with Eric's brief appearance, including at least one during game two of the World Series! The great thing about seeing several different verions of his commercial is that he gets paid each and every time we see him say "I pledge to set up your HD right." Hopefully soon, we'll get to see him on TV talking with a buddy about his Lexus!

Today when I was sharing Eric's exciting news with a friend at work, he asked me to send him a link to Eric's Best Buy commercial if I could find it online. I searched a little on YouTube with no success, so I just Googled "I pledge best buy commercial" and came up with a couple of pretty funny blog entries about the spots. I have no idea what either blog is about, so beware of offensive content, but one is called Where the Hell Was I? (which quotes Eric's line in the commerical verbatim) and the other is called The Pordcast (whatever that means). Both were pretty critical of Best Buy, but at least the commercials are generating some Internet buzz!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dog Pictures of the Week

I made it to the shelter this weekend, and there were lots of cute new dogs just waiting for their photographic debut. I just had to share a few of my favorite pictures from the day:

Diva, a little minature Dachshund from a puppy mill that would not stop crying until you picked her up.

Charlie, a terrier mix who looked like a Gremlin from the movie when his ears stuck out.

Maggie Jean, a Cocker Spaniel from a puppy mill whose bouncing made it very difficult to get a decent picture!

The last picture isn't one that I actually posted to Petfinder, but it made me laugh so hard I just had to share. Let me just preface this by explaining that in the world of dog photography, I see any moment that a dog is not in motion as an opportunity to capture his or her image. For some of the more active dogs, this time of stillness might include the moment at which they stop to go potty. Sometimes, I can get a good picture of their face and then crop out their body, so that it's not so obvious they were relieving themselves. On Sunday, this was most certainly not the case. Look carefully at my picture of Belle, the English Pointer.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tiny Houseguests

I'm really too tired for blogging this evening; we didn't sleep much last night. We had two small houseguests, the smallest of which was a little under the weather, which meant that he got up just about every hour from 11 p.m. on. Ugh. Tonight we're ready for some solid sleep, although we did have a great time with our nephews, Miles and Quinton. Chad took Miles to the Natural History Museum and we played with puzzles, played the piano, played on the computer, and played with toys. Miles also spent some time cutting out magazine pictures and making collages, while Quinn spent a lot of time being held since he was a little needy. Overall, we had a very good weekend with them and are hoping to spend another weekend with them soon!

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Hairy Situation

The last couple of weeks, Celtic has been shedding excessively. It's very odd, because his light-colored undercoat is coming out in big chunks, just like it usually does in the spring as his body is preparing for summer. Last night while we were watching the game (yea Cardinals!) I decided to do some grooming, and here's what I ended up with after about 20 minutes. Yikes! It looks like we have a new small animal crawling around the house. I was baffled about why Celtic was losing so much hair at such an odd time of year, but then I realized--I've been complaining to Chad about the exact same thing. The last month or so, I feel like when I wash and comb out my hair in the morning, way more hair than normal seems to end up in my brush. My stylist didn't seem to be concerned, so I decided it must just be stress. Apparently, Celtic and I are both feeling stress as we continue to grieve the loss of his brother. We miss Steeler so much. Even though an entire month as gone by since his passing, there isn't an hour that goes by that I don't think about him. Celtic's hair problem makes me think that he must feel the same way. Thankfully, we have each other for support! :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

MacGyver Lives

Today really got off to a ridiculously horrible start, albeit slightly entertaining. As I walked out the door to go to work, I hit the garage door opener only to see the door move about an inch. Upon careful inspection of all the mechanical parts I could find, I noticed the cables on both upper corners of the door were disconnected, which certainly seemed like a problem to me. I called Chad, who was already on his way down to Wichita on business, so he called our always reliable friend Grant, who has the mind and knowledge of a mechanical engineer (seen here probably describing how he fixed a garbage disposal out of tube socks and a roll of duct tape).

Grant came to my rescue in minutes, and after a quick visual inspection he had identified the real problem--not the cables that I thought were broken, but rather the giant spring above the door that was completely severed (not exactly sure how I missed that one). Grant attempted to lift the door manually with no success, which made me feel a little better since I'd tried earlier and couldn't get it to move a millimeter. With the spring broken, even with the door dislodged from the track, the door felt impossible to move without the strength of ten...ordinary men. Grant thought maybe he just needed a Red Bull, but since he didn't have any energy drinks, he grabbed the floor jack and a piece of scrap lumber and got the door up a tiny bit. We shoved more wood underneath until we could get a 2 X 4 in there, and then made a little lever and got the door up a few feet. Once it got about waist high, Grant was able to use his Herculean strength to lift the door all the way up. He wedged the 2 X 4 in between the door and the driveway long enough for me to back the Escape out, and then we used the lever to lower the garage door slowly back down. It was quite an adventure!

Thanks to our dear friend, I made it to work for my 9:00 meeting and had my car for the rest of the day's events. Yea Grant!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jerky Juggler

I know I've already shared the Chris Bliss juggling video with pretty much everyone I know, but a friend mentioned how cool it was the other day, and it made me want to watch it again. I found it on YouTube, since there you can find every video known to man. While searching for this awesome juggling finale I came across a bunch of other juggling videos, and I found that there is quite the controversy as to whether Chris Bliss (who is apparently a comedian by trade) is actually a good juggler. A professional juggler created a parody of Chris Bliss' routine called the "Chris Bliss Diss" video. While this guy is an incredible (and obviously better) juggler, personally, I found the Chris Bliss performance more entertaining. There is something about him performing in front of a live studio audience (with no "do-overs") that makes it extremely impressive. Plus, it seems to me that there is more variation in his choreography, which, in my humble opinion, fits very nicely to the nuances of the music. Of course, I'm not a juggling connoisseur, but I thought is was important that I weigh in on the juggling dispute.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rooney's Caterpillar

At our social gathering yesterday afternoon, the most adorable guest was clearly little Rooney, pictured here with his mom Michelle. When Michelle brought in Rooney's bag of toys, I warned her that Celtic is notorious for stealing children's playthings, especially little stuffed ones. Almost every time our nephews have come to visit, a few days later we've found a trinket of some sort tucked away in some secluded corner of the house. Soon after I warned Michelle that Celtic was a klepto, he comes sneaking up the stairs with a little stuffed animal in his mouth. Since my hands were full at the time, I made a mental note to go looking for the toy later, and then went about my business.

A few minutes later, our guests went outside to play basketball, and Celtic and Hope went along. Chad looked up to see Celtic digging in a mulch pile and went to investigate. He began to flatten out the mound of mulch Celtic had created, and much to his surprise, there was a stuffed caterpillar hidden below:

Michelle was a very gracious guest and said that Celtic could keep the toy since he seemed to love it much more than Rooney did. Maybe we should seek canine kleptomania counseling. :)

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I'm bored. This is very unusual. Normally on the weekends we always have something going on. Normally on the weeknds when we don't have something going on, I'm at the shelter taking pictures or uploading those pictures onto Petfinder. Today we are supposed to be having our end-of-year softball party which was scheduled to start sometime after noon. We were planning to play basketball, eat, play DDR and watch the Chiefs/Steelers game at 3:00. However, since the weather is wet and rainy, basketball is kind of out of the question, so now most people aren't coming over until gametime. So I missed my "shelterizing" altogether today, because I'm sitting around doing nothing, just waiting around for more friends to show up for our gathering. The Steelers game will start in a few minutes, so I suppose that will give me something important to do, but for the last couple of hours, I've been bored. Maybe I should just relax and savor the moment of inactivity, but I hate not being productive. I feel terrible that I didn't make it to the shelter this weekend, especially since I ended up having almost 3 free hours I didn't know I was going to have. To make up for missing all those new doggies at the shelter this week, I thought in my boredom I'd feature one of my favorite dogs at the shelter, so that maybe this post will actually have a point. The cute boy below is Harley, and he's a wonderful young dog who is very sweet and well-behaved. Click on his picture for more information! :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Biggest Pet Peeve

Okay, so far I haven't generally used my blog for venting, but today is going to be the exception. We just got back from the KU/OSU game, and as you may know, the outcome was not good. We were ahead 17-0 at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, and somehow we managed to give up 42 points in the second half. Our defense did not play well, to say the least. Oklahoma State had one receiver who caught for 300 yards and had 4 TDs. Enough said, really. I'm depressed. The point is, even when I'm terribly sad and/or frustrated that my Jayhawks aren't playing well, I never scream and yell at the players and coaches during the game.

Negativity is probably my biggest pet peeve in the world. I don't generally enjoy even being around "glass half empty" kind of people. I find them annoying and depressing. So, you can imagine my dismay when it seems like every game we go to, we end up sitting right near that guy--you know the one. The guy who never cheers and claps when the team does something good, but always has a comment when something goes wrong. The guy yelling "What the ___ are you doing, Mangino?" when they go for the field goal and not a touchdown on 4th and 2. The guy screaming "Come on!" Gob Bluth style (imagine the tone being "come on you idiots" as opposed to "come on jayhawks"). The guy who--in all seriousness, this happened today--stomped on the bleachers behind us in anger when Kerry Meier threw an interception late in the game. I mean seriously, is that necessary? Is that constructive at all? Is there any possible way that screaming angrily at the team is going to make them play better? I mean really?

For more lovely examples of what type of attitude I'm referring to, check out the article in the Lawrence Journal-World about the game. Not the article itself actually, but the comments beneath the story left by the readers, who have nothing better to do with their time that to criticize people. It irritates me more than I can tell you! For all of my friends out there, if you ever hear me yell negative comments at a game--football, basketball, softball or whatever--you have my personal permission to punch me!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Speaking of Funny Shirts...

This post is primarily for my friend Nolan, because when we created a team of runners for the Race For The Cure back in August, he was dead set on the idea that it should be called the "Boob Lovers" or something to that effect. Since there were women on the team as well, we talked Nolan out of that idea, and instead the team was called "Cancer-Hating Boob Savers."

Then the next month I participated in the Breast Cancer 3-Day, where I saw some great shirts that I thought Nolan would love. A group of women doing the 3-day had named their team "Save Second Base" and then at a later date found this website, called, that sells t-shirts with the same phrase. How convenient for them--and how funny is that!

The other awesome shirt that I saw was one you may have already seen if you looked at my pictures from the 3-Day, but's it's worth showing again just in case. This was so hilarious, especially considering the person wearing it...well...wasn't exactly who you'd expect to be wearing it. Needless to say, I asked if I could get a picture just so I could share the humor with friends. This one's for you, Nolan!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A T-Shirt for Chad

Here are some pictures from another e-mail that my mom sent me, and since a few of them made me chuckle, I thought they were worth sharing. They are supposedly phrases from t-shirts, although I really have no idea if they are real shirts or just photoshopped figments of someone's imagination. Regardless, I thought they really would be funny if they were actually on t-shirts.

This first one totally reminds me of something Chad would say. He often tells me about people who "grow roots" in his office, talking about nothing in particular when he's trying to get work done, and how much it irritates him that they don't leave even when he tries to make it obvious that he's not interested. I think this t-shirt would pretty much be perfect for him in that situation.

Okay, this second one so perfect for me at work. I can't tell you the number of times I've been ask to write a new program or report for someone who has failed to plan ahead and needs it immediately.

I know I'm a horrible person, but sometimes I get a little irritated with those people who ask me the same questions over and over and over and over...

I really think I have seen this one on a t-shirt, and I just think it's very funny and very hilarious.

I just thought this was a very humorous reminder that we're all headed for the grave eventually. Maybe some people think that's rather morbid, but it's actually very topical, because the chapter we're studying in our Bible Study this evening is entitled "How Do I Face Death?" Coincidence? Hmmmm....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Okay, seriously, you really have to see this. My mom sent me a link to this news story about an absolutely amazing dog. You may have already seen him on Letterman or Leno, or where I originally saw him, on a talent contest for pets called Pet Star on Animal Planet. In the first season, he won the championship and the accompanying $25,000 prize.

His name is Skidboot, and he's an Australian Cattle Dog (Heeler) mix who even has his own website. The news story I mentioned above is about 9 minutes long, but when you have the time, it is totally worth watching. This dog is astounding. If you Google "Skidboot" you'll see how popular he is. Here is another online clip I found that's from his "Best of Skidboot" DVD.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My New Split Personality

Next week I will celebrate my 8th year of employment at KU Endowment. For those of you who don't know, KU Endowment is the fundraising and fund management arm of the University of Kansas. My office building is pictured on the right. The University of Kansas also has an Alumni Association, pictured below, which is completely separate from KU Endowment. Both organizations are completely separate from, but affiliated with, the University itself. Confused? Of course you are. You can easily see why so often people ask me about how things are going at Alumni, when I actually work at Endowment. It's a reasonable mistake to make, since many universities have one organization that handles both the fundraising and the alumni memberships.

This story actually does have a point. A couple of weeks ago, my boss and boss's boss came into my office and made me an offer. One of our programmers was splitting his time between KU Endowment and KU Alumni, but they wanted to bring him back to Endowment full time to work on some new projects, which meant they needed someone to fill his shoes as the part-time programmer at Alumni. So, as of today, I am spending 60% of my time writing and running reports at KUEA, and 40% of my time doing the same at KUAA. Crazy, huh? Now when people ask me how things are at Alumni, instead of saying "I don't know, I don't work there," I can give them a knowledgeable and reasonable answer!

You can find me at KUEA in the mornings and at KUAA most afternoons, where I will be hiding out in my tiny new office that overlooks the Religious Studies building. Not very impressive, I know, but I'm looking forward to new faces and new challenges at my new location!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Football Frustrations

What a depressing weekend. Saturday started out with such beautiful weather and high hopes. We went early to the Homecoming game and hung out with our friends (Heather and Grant and their daughter Quillen) on the Hill. We went into the stadium at kickoff and watched a trick play on KU's first drive lead to an early touchdown. We watched as KU's lead increased to 10-0, and we cheered as they held on to a lead through the entire game. Then, with just over 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Texas A&M began a drive that started dampening our good spirits. With just 34 seconds left in the game, A&M scored a touchdown to take the lead, and our wonderful day was ruined. :( I was so depressed when we got home I ate an ice cream bar and collapsed on the bed, where I proceeded to sleep for almost 2 hours. I think the hours of excitement and adrenaline followed by such a sudden burst of my bubble caused extreme emotional exhaustion!

Thankfully, an evening of eating pizza and watching a good movie with our friends helped to relieve some of the doldrums. Then Sunday, Chad had to work all day at a Westar booth at the Home Energy Conservation Fair (please try to contain your enthusiasm) which was sad for him because he wanted to be watching football, and sad for me because I missed him! He finished his workday in time for us to watch his beloved Steelers, who ended up depressing us again with their loss to San Diego. ACK! That's 3 losses in a row for the Steelers and 2 for the Jayhawks! In my little world of football, things couldn't get much worse. I'm just trying to remind myself that my little world of football isn't really very important in the real world of life. :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Funny Fox

Click the image at the left for a funny news story that Chad's friend Mark Holyoak did recently at his TV station in Missoula, Montana. Mark was the Sports Director at Channel 49 in Topeka when Chad was a Sports Reporter there. They had lots of fun together in the sports broadcasting world and Mark was a great boss and friend. Mark is also a good photojournalist, and the video he shot of a bear bouncing off a trampoline a couple of years ago became quite famous (just Google "bear on trampoline" and you'll see how popular the video was). This new story is getting a lot of notoriety as well. It's about a funny fox who steals golf balls. :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cash Dash

I know the title is rather deceiving, since this post really has nothing to do with money or running quickly. I just wanted to talk about my little dog friend Dash, who was recently renamed Cash. As anyone who knows me knows, I spend some of my free time every weekend at the Lawrence Humane Society, taking pictures of adoptable dogs and posting them onto an awesome website called Petfinder. It's a huge database of over 200,000 homeless animals from 10,000 different shelters throughout the U.S. and Canada. You can search by breed, size, gender and age to find the perfect pet for your family! It's really a great resource!

So anyway, I spend around 3-4 hours at the shelter every weekend taking pictures, and then another 2-3 hours at home saving those pictures to my computer and uploading them with descriptions of each dog (there is an awesome volunteer who does the cat pictures, so I don't have to worry about them anymore). It feels like the most productive thing I can do to help dogs get adopted, although the staff doesn't ever make a point of telling me how many adoptions have occurred as a result. Every once in a while though, I'll hear through the grapevine of my volunteer friends that an adopter has traveled from Minnesota or Texas or Colorado or Iowa to adopt a dog they saw on Petfinder, which is always very encouraging and reassures me that my efforts are worthwhile. On occasion, I'll hear potential adopters at the shelter mention seeing a dog on the website, and it's always good to know that people are actually checking out the dogs (and cats) online before they come visit.

So last week, Chad and I were eating with a couple of my shelter friends, Amy and JoAnna. Amy was talking about how this guy came in from out of town to adopt Dash, whom he had never even met in person, but had seen on the website. Since Dash is an active young dog (the picture above is one I'd taken of him that was on Petfinder), we were all a little concerned that this person didn't know what he was getting himself into. These kinds of situations, where the adopter doesn't take any time to get to know the dog's personality, often end in the dog being returned a few days later because the adopter is overwhelmed with their new friend's energy level and/or personality quirks. Regardless, Amy said the guy seemed to like Dash a lot, so he signed the adoption papers and away they went to his new home.

So this week, Amy e-mailed me with an update and picture from Dash's adopter:

"Dash had his name changed to Cash, but all is going well so far...He's a wonderful dog who refuses to leave me out of sight, and loves attention. I've tried giving him a bed in the laundry room, but he cries out until i let him sleep on my bed. His first night here I awoke the next morning to a dog attempting to spoon with me, thankfully he's given that up and stayed to the end of the bed...Cash loves the frisbee, and plays well even at night, but that tennis ball stick is top priorty. I look forward to having him around for years to come..."

It just brings tears to my eyes! Happy endings like this one are what keep me going back to the shelter week after week! :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Day 3--Finally!

I know everyone has probably been on pins and needles waiting to hear the synopsis of the last day of my 3-Day adventure. :) I honestly haven't been very motivated lately, but tonight I'm finally going to try to finish my exciting story. Maybe the problem was that it really wasn't very exciting.

Day 3
Sunday began in the warehouse where we had slept, when someone's alarm went off at 4:00 a.m., even though there was no place to shower, dress, etc., and buses weren't supposed to come get us until 5:00. I'm not sure what people are thinking sometimes. After struggling to sleep for another hour, we packed up our sleeping bags and went to sit in line for almost 90 minutes. Ugh. They couldn't take us back to camp because there was still so much lightning in the area. We finally got back on the bus for the ride back to camp, but when we arrived, there was all this crazy traffic and a couple of vehicles stuck in the mud. Our bus couldn't get through the traffic, nor would the driver let us off the bus because the door was on the wrong side of the road. After sitting in the same spot for over 30 minutes, the driver was finally able to turn around, but then the "organizers" wouldn't let her drive us up to camp. We exited the bus and walked the almost half mile up a hill to our tents, which were filled with about an inch of water. At that point, I was actually very thankful for the concrete floor of the warehouse!

Thankfully, I had followed the packing instructions provided and had placed all of my clothing in plastic bags, and also packed a tarp to cover my suitcase. Although it still got a little damp, everything inside was dry, thankfully! Unfortunately, unless we wanted to stand in water, we had to go get dressed in port-a-potties. Ugh again. As soon as I was dressed, we heard the announcement--the route would be CLOSING in 45 minutes. This meant that we had to pack our stuff, take down our tents, eat our breakfast, and get on the road before it closed, or else we would be bused to lunch and not allowed to walk at all (they want to make sure everyone is finished in plenty of time for closing ceremonies). I kicked it into high gear and made it on the course with about 15 minutes to spare, although I left Cindy and Carla at camp in order to do so. They ended up starting their walk just minutes before the route closed at 8:45!

I think the obstacles of the morning only increased my determination to walk that day. I took off at a quick pace, caught up with a woman who walking at a good clip, and we began talking, walking, and passing people left and right! It was the first day that the route was really crowded, but also the first day that the weather was actually cool. The temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees overnight and the cloud cover made it almost chilly. We got sprinkled on from time to time, but thankfully there were no significant showers.

Just before we got to the lunch stop, I lost my walking partner Stacy, who didn't want to continue as such a fast pace. A 57-year-old woman named Regina took her place, and she was all about getting finished ASAP, which was right up my alley! Regina had also left her team behind the day before, citing slow walking and general crankiness. We were on a mission to the finish line, so after a quick lunch, we took off again and powered through the pit stops and remaining cheering stations. By the time we arrived on the grounds of the Liberty Memorial it was right around 2:00, but since there were only 70+ people who had finished ahead of us, it was honestly rather anticlimactic. There were a few crew members to cheer us across the finish line, but there were very few spectators. I had invited Mom and Chad to be there at 5:00 for opening ceremonies, since I had no idea that spectators were even allowed before then. While I felt great physically, it was a little lonely emotinally! The nice thing was that I was able to relax and cheer on the hundreds of other walkers as they came across the finish line, which was an emotional experience for many. It was great to be there for Carla and Cindy, who walked the entire day without getting "swept", despite Carla's blisters and sore hip.

The closing ceremonies were definitely emotional, as we were able to see how many of the women we had been walking with for the last 3 days were actually breast cancer survivors (donning the pink shirts). The youngest survivor who walked was 29. The oldest was 65. It just reinforced the fact that this horrible disease affects women of all ages, from all walks of life. While I wouldn't say that the 3-day was the most emotional or physically challenging thing I've done in my life, I still definitely think it is a worthwhile and important event. You can't argue with $2.8 million raised--by the K.C. walkers alone. When next year rolls around, if I'm still physically able, I'll probably do it all over again. It's a great way to honor my mom and the 200,000 other women who will be diagnosed this year, and it definitely makes me feel like I'm doing my part to help eradicate this deadly disease.

For more pictures of the event, view my pictures on!

Global Warming and The Stones

Okay seriously, Sunday was October 1, and as we were coming home from church at like 11 a.m., it was 85 degrees. The high ended up being 94 that afternoon, and after only an hour outside at the Humane Society I was a sweaty mess. Thankfully, our awesome friends Robyn and Dan invited us to go to the lake since the weather was so summery. Since Chad was on his way down to the Rolling Stones Concert in Wichita (is that not the most hilarious picture of Mick Jagger?), I headed out to Clinton with them to hang out on Dan's new boat. We spent a gorgeous evening on the lake and enjoyed an awesome sunset. Although I will say that the water was so darn cold I thought I was going to croak of hypothermia when I jumped in, Dan and his friend Evan actually went tubing at about 6 p.m.--not even in the heat of the day! I got home that night and had to wear a tank top and shorts to walk the dogs at 8:30 p.m. It was in the 90s again on Monday and is supposed to be 96 today--what is with this weather??? Chad had to turn the A/C back on yesterday morning! Al Gore wasn't kidding, people! The truth of global warming is very inconvenient! Unless, of course, you get to go to the lake in October because of it. :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Squirrel Hunters

The dogs were so funny this morning I just had to share, although probably no one except me really finds this amusing. They were hanging out in our bedroom while I was getting ready for work, and suddenly they both made a mad dash for the back door. When I went to let them out, I saw what had piqued their interest--there was a squirrel sitting smack in the middle of the backyard (which doesn't happen that often since we have only one not very mature tree in back). I reluctantly opened the door (one of the dogs at the shelter was recently bitten by a squirrel, so maybe I'm a little paranoid) and they sped outside after the little rodent, who scampered up the back fence to get away. However, since Celtic loves to track his prey, he immediately started sprinting around the yard with his nose to the ground, trying to figure out the exact course the squirrel had taken, maybe thinking that if he can find the source, then there would be more squirrels to follow. This has always been one of Celtic's favorite games; he and Steeler would spend hours tracking scents around the yard any time a rabbit or cat made it under or over the fence. However, Hope apparently didn't understand the purpose of chasing the scent of something that had clearly left her property, so as Celtic ran around excitedly, she thought he was playing chase with her instead of the non-existent squirrel. She started baying loudly in his face and at his heels, trying to pounce on him and engage him in a wrestling match. Celtic quickly got fed up with her intrusions, so he lashed out at her in what I always refer to as his ninja move (he makes viscous noises and crazy moves, but he doesn't actually do anything to hurt anyone, kind of like when martial artists in the movies go "WOHAAAAA" and don't actually do anything but strike an imposing pose). Apparently she got the drift that he wasn't interested in playing though, because after that she mostly just stood around and stared at him, apparently wondering what in the world he was hunting for, since the squirrel was obviously gone. It's funny to me that she is also a scenthound, yet unlike Celtic, she has no interest in scents if there isn't prey involved. It makes me wonder if she wasn't trained specifically to scent only raccoons and nothing else. Maybe she just isn't a very good hunter, which might explain why she was dumped at the shelter with her puppies in the first place. Regardless, we love her so much and are so thankful that she's Celtic's new partner in crime, even if she is just a confused observer. :)