Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bouncers for Babies

The other day I got an email message from my friend Tracy (who is the older sister of my very good friend Erin) who lives in Shanghai. She spends one afternoon a week at the Shanghai Children's Home, an orphanage which houses hundreds and hundreds of children. This facility has 200 children under the age of 18 months! With only 4 adults to every 20 children, the babies obviously have to spend a lot of time on their own.

Tracy's email was regarding a nonprofit organization called Angel Covers that does incredible things for orphaned children worldwide. One of her high school classmates started this organization after adopting her first little girl from China and seeing how so many little ones in orphanages didn't even have blankets to keep them warm at night. Angel Covers began making and donating blankets for these babies, and have expanded to provide medicine, books, toys, food and other basic needs for children in orphanages all over the world.

Recently, Angel Covers started working on Project Tigger, which provides bouncy chairs for orphanages so that the babies can get out of their cribs and receive some stimulation during the day. While these bouncers cost anywhere from $30 - $60 in the U.S., Project Tigger gets them sent to orphanages in China for $8 a piece, including shipping!

So Tracy got her contact person at the orphanage in touch with her friend Kari at Angel Covers, and they arranged for 50 new bouncers from their next order to be allotted for Tracy's orphanage in Shanghai (they currently only have 2 and one is broken). She emailed a bunch of her family and friends, asking that each person donate just $8 for a bouncer. So much money was raised for the project through Tracy's efforts, bouncers are now being sent to other orphanages in the area as well!

One of the neatest things about Tracy's involvement in the project is that she will be able to take pictures once the bouncers are delivered and set up. That means everyone who donated can see exactly where their $8 went and all the little babies that will be benefiting!

Angel Covers has many other really neat programs to benefit orphaned children, and you can go to their website and check out all of the exciting things they are doing. They have a number of products you can buy, and they also have gift cards that you can send to people as gifts after making a donation in their name--a great gift for the person who has everything!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

To Walk Or Not To Walk

Part of the reason I started this blog last year was to share my experiences in preparing for and participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day. It was an interesting journey, and I wish I'd actually started blogging about it back when I started fundraising and training in the Spring. I think it would have been nice to tell the story from beginning to end instead of just blogging about the end result.

When I finished the 3-Day last year, I wasn't entirely sure if I'd walk in the 2007 event. It was a wonderful experience, but not quite as life-changing as I imagined. I think this was partially because it didn't turn out to be quite as challenging as I thought it would be. Raising $2200 wasn't too hard at all thanks to my generous friends and family, and walking 60 miles was actually pretty easy after putting in 580 training miles over the course of 24 weeks. Even though I wasn't committed to participating again, I at least thought I'd have the option. Then a few weeks after the last 3-Day event of the year, the organizers announced that they were pulling Kansas City from the list of 12 host cities for 2007. Even though the K.C. event alone raised $2.5 million last year, they apparently decided the participation numbers weren't high enough.

So this year, if I do decide to walk again, I will have to travel to one of the 12 cities participating: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Diego, and unannounced cities in Michigan and Arizona. Chad thinks I would be insane to travel hundreds of miles to walk 60 miles, but I'm thinking that this might just make it a more interesting and worthy challenge!

I should probably make a decision about this relatively soon, but there are a few things that are holding me back. 1) The bulging disc in my back still hasn't recovered from last year, so that's kind of my biggest obstacle at this point. Hopefully soon I'll get some relief from the new massage therapist and acupuncturist I'll be seeing in the next couple of months, so that will no longer be an issue. 2) There could be some significant expenses in traveling to the host city, and I'm cheap. 3) It's hard to imagine myself flying to another city all alone without any friends or family members, only to walk and camp for 3 days with thousands of people I don't know. The idea just makes me so lonely! If I'm going to do this, I really need to find someone who wants to take on the challenge with me! The experience would be so much more wonderful if I were accompanied by even one close friend or dear relative. If you think you might be that wonderful person, you should check out the inspirational video on the 3-Day website to see what a cool event it is!

I tried to convince Chad that he should walk with me, but he wasn't really very keen on (a.k.a. adamantly opposed to) that idea. Now I'm trying to convince him that I should walk in the San Diego event and he should join the crew there, so that we could go together and pretend like the trip was just a vacation. I would walk and he would work, but we could camp/eat together each day and then spend a few days relaxing in San Diego after the event is over. Chad isn't too thrilled about this idea either, since he doesn't really think it would be much of a vacation at all.

Maybe in the next couple of months I will build up enough courage to take on San Diego all alone. After all, it is my favorite city in the world--at least of those I've actually visited!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Our Little Conehead

Poor Celtic. He has definitely had a rough week. After his surgery on Tuesday, I stayed home with him on Wednesday because he was still having a tough time getting around. On Thursday, I left him home alone, but he was subjected to the humiliation of the cone collar, since he's notorious for licking his stitches as soon as no one is looking.

Despite the fact that he was unable to bother his incisions, I had to take him back to the vet on Thursday because the big incision under his arm had swollen up to the size of a small egg. The vet said that he had developed a seroma, which is just a collection of fluid in the space that had previously been filled with his fatty tumor. They gave me antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory, and sent us on our way.

We thought the incision was looking like it was almost healed, even though the swelling was still present. Then last night we sent Celtic and Hope outside for their last potty break, and I noticed a trail of blood all the way down the hall into the kitchen. We called the vet, who suggested wrapping him with an ace bandage for the night and bringing him in this morning. After almost an hour of applying pressure to the wound, we were able to bandage it up and get Celtic down for the night.

This morning, the incision was still not bleeding--that is until Celtic got up and walked down the hall. We bandaged him back up and headed straight to the vet, who basically just told us we'd have to keep him bandaged and as immobile as possible until the bleeding stopped, which would probably be several days. The vet made one attempt to reapply the gauze and ace bandage, which failed miserably when it fell off two minutes later and Celtic bled all over the exam room floor. The vet then got an idea, and brought in the super-duper medical tape--the same stuff that I blogged about after giving blood a few weeks ago! This actually did the trick, and now Celtic is sporting a very fashionable green bandage and is no longer bleeding all over the house. We have to change the gauze and readjust the bandage every once in a while, but hopefully we can keep him immobile long enough for the wound to heal.

The good news is, OxiClean takes blood right out of carpets!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

South Park Studio

The other day I was at a coworker's desk and saw this image on his desktop, and I just about died laughing. I didn't really know what many of the Big 12 football coaches looked like, but the likeness of Mangino was just so dead on I thought the picture was classic. After I found the picture on a sports blog (which is much funnier than mine, I'm sure), I Googled all of the other coaches to see if the other caricatures were as good as that of our coach. None were nearly as funny, but the Mangino character, I think, still makes it a picture worth sharing!

While searching for this image, I found this fun website where you can make your own South Park characters! Check out the South Park version of me, who is getting ready for this year's softball season!
Go make your own South Park character at the South Park Studio!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Doggone Difficult Day

My poor little boy Celtic had a very rough day today. For the second time in the last couple of years, he had surgery to remove several benign fatty tumors called lipomas. We don't really know why he keeps developing these growths, but suspect that it might be hereditary since his brother developed them as well. Anyway, one of the lipomas under his arm had gotten to be really huge, so when he had his teeth cleaned today (which is done under anesthetic), we had the vet remove his tumors as well. The poor guy has many stitches in 3 different locations, which is making it difficult for him to lay comfortably, let alone get up and walk! He hasn't moved from his dog bed more than once in the 6 hours he's been home.

Hope, on the other hand, only had her teeth cleaned today. She was also put under general anesthesia, but instead of being sad and lethargic like Celtic, she mostly acted like she was drunk. She tried to visit every person inside and outside of the vet's office, and then fell over several times on the car ride home. In her first couple of hours here, she happily stumbled around the house, walking into walls and tripping over her own two feet. Her eyes were unable to focus and she appeared to have lost all of her better judgment, as she tried to climb onto the off-limits couch twice right in front of me. When she did sit down, she swayed and wobbled just like she was intoxicated. Now she's crashed out snoring in our bed. She seemed to be in good spirits though, so I didn't feel too bad laughing at her.

Celtic, on the other hand, I feel terrible about. I hate that he had to go through this all over again. :(

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's Curtains For Us

Since I've finally recovered from Chad's disaster of a birthday, I'm moving on to talk about more important things--like our new living room curtains. This blog topic is one on which I'm really hoping to get some input, because neither Chad nor I really have much skill in the area of interior decorating.

This month we decided to make a few home improvements in our living room, and we found some curtains at Target that we totally loved. We brought just one panel home at first, just to make sure that we liked them as much once they were up. We loved the color and stripes, but the panels themselves were so much wider than the previous curtains, one panel covered the entire window with fabric to spare. Once we put two panels up, there was so much fabric we could hardly open the curtains to let any light in at all. We widened the brackets and the curtain rod so we could let a little more light in, but now the curtains hang several inches beyond the actual window, which kind of makes it look like we're trying to make the window appear bigger than it is. We can't decide if there is really "too much" curtain, or if we're just not used to the way they look, or if we just have no idea what stylish windows look like. Maybe it's all of the above.

So here are a few pictures so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.

Two panels

One (Pre-Cut) Panel

The New Curtains vs. The Old Curtains

Maybe part of why it doesn't look right is that I so don't care for the white windows next to the wood trim. When we replaced our rotted out wood windows a couple of years ago, we didn't want to go to the expense of replacing all of the woodwork in the house to match, thinking that we'd eventually get used to the contrast. I'm afraid I'll never get used to it, so maybe trim replacement is in the cards a few years down the road!

So anyway, our thought is, to make these curtains work, maybe we could cut them in half lengthwise and sew the cut edge finished. The two half-panels would still completely cover the windows, and it would allow a lot more light into the room because the curtains could open farther and wouldn't be so bunched together. The question is, would this look too weird, like there was "too little" curtain? I really just don't know!!

I'm really hoping for some input here, people. While I always love comments, this time I actually need them! Would you a) leave them as pictured, or b) halve them. Please give me your two cents! I would totally appreciate it!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Birthday Blizzard

Ugh. That's about all I can say about yesterday. It was probably one of the worst birthdays Chad could have ever asked for. Let me just give you a synopsis of how the day went.

7:00 a.m.--Getting ready for work, we watch local weather people who say the day's high should be 30, with lots of sun, and a small chance of flurries late in the afternoon.

7:30 a.m.--Chad almost drives out of the driveway, but decides to go check the sump pump overflow PVC pipe outside, and discovers that it's completely encased in ice, and therefore none of the water draining into our sump can exit.

7:35 a.m.--Chad begins calling the landscape company who designed this sump system to see if they'll come work on it so that our sump pump doesn't overflow. He waits for them to return his call.

9:00 a.m.--Chad finally calls a plumber because he can't get a hold of the landscapers. He reschedules his meeting that was supposed to be in KC so that it was in Lawrence. He waits.

10:00 a.m.--Plumber arrives, and Chad stands outside in the below zero wind chill trying to help him unfreeze the pipes.

10:30 a.m.--I receive word that Darrell Hammond has canceled that night's show, to which I had invited a bunch of our other friends as a surprise to Chad.

10:45 a.m.--I come home from work to hang out with the plumber so that Chad can go to his meeting, and begin trying to contact our 12 other friends to let them know that we're still going to go to The Improv.

11:00 a.m.--Plumber leaves and only charges us $82, which was nice, but the fix is only temporary. More work will have to be done later once the temperatures get back up to normal.

12:00 noon--I head back to work, where I frantically try to get some stuff done so that I can leave early to go to the Improv.

3:15 p.m.--I exit the KUEA building, surprised to find that it has started snowing--hard--in the last half hour or so. As I drive home I call friends that were supposed to attend with us that night. Everyone is still on board. It takes me much longer than usual to get home because the roads are wet and slippery, and people are driving ridiculously slow.

4:00 p.m.--Chad starts questioning whether we should go to KC at all because of the weather, still not knowing that 10 other people besides Dante and Jaimie are going with us. I try to tell him that it can't be that bad. The snow starts coming down harder.

4:30 p.m.--We make an attempt to head towards KC. The snow is coming down so hard, we can't see a quarter mile in front of us. We get out to the Interstate and traffic is moving about 35 miles per hour. We realize it will take us two hours to get to Zona Rosa at that pace. Chad decides we shouldn't go, so we pull off at the East Lawrence exit.

4:40 p.m.--I start calling friends to tell them we won't make it. Chad is surprised that so many friends were coming. When I call our friend Mike, he is not happy with me because he's already at Zona Rosa, since clearly the weather hasn't gotten as bad in KC yet. I feel terrible.

4:45 p.m.--When I call our friends in Lawrence who were planning to make the trip, they suggest that we at least go out to dinner since we're all out driving anyway. It takes us 30 minutes to drive 2.5 miles from 6th and Iowa to 6th and Wakarusa. We pass several emergency vehicles tending to or driving to accidents. At this point, we are very thankful that we didn't try to go to KC and subject our friends to the same dangerous trip. The snow is coming down so hard, we can't see 200 yards in front of us.

5:15 p.m.--We arrive at J.B. Stouts, where we meet 4 of our other friends, but it's FREEZING in the restaurant because apparently their furnace can't keep up with the ridiculous cold outside.

6:00 p.m.--We have a good meal, but certain people in our group (who shall remain nameless) aren't in a very good mood because all the wrongness of the day is starting build up. Our server is kind of pushy and keeps calling everyone "hon" and "sweetie," which gets on nerves until finally Chad is downright rude to her because she won't leave him alone.

6:30 p.m.--Chad apologizes to the server for being rude.

7:00 p.m.--We check the weather and it has stopped snowing completely. We decide to head to the bowling alley, even though some in the group don't really want to bowl. The bowling alley is packed since the annual "Bowl for Kid's Sake" tourney is going on. We try to call Jaybowl, but they are very busy too. We finally realize there is actually a lane open, and pay over $21 a couple to bowl two games.

7:30 p.m.--Chad is not getting any happier because he's not bowling so well. Heather beats us all in the first game with a 111. I'm satisfied with my 67 in the first game, because it was better than my opening 50 from earlier in the month.

8:30 p.m.--Chad doesn't bowl any better in the second game, but Grant is burning up the lanes. I bowl a strike, then two gutter balls in a row, then 2 strikes in a row. Then I kill my turkey.

9:00 p.m.--Chad still isn't getting happier because he's still not bowling well. He finally rolls his first strike on the 10th frame of the second game, and follows it with a spare, and ends up beating me 120 to 105. That makes him a little happy.

9:45 p.m.--We leave the bowling alley, and see that the roads are perfectly clear and safe. Which makes us realize that we probably could have actually gotten home from The Impov safely after all. Getting there still would have been a problem.

10:00 p.m.--We arrive home and go straight to bed after a long and frustrating birthday.

I write all of this now in the hope that some day I will either look back on it and laugh, or look back on it and never try to throw a surprise party again. You can see how all of my planning to do something special for Chad's birthday totally backfired on me.

The one blessing in all of this was that Darrell Hammond actually canceled so that our money was refunded. Had that not been the case, and the snowstorm had prevented any of us from getting there, we all probably would have been out the $66 for a pair of tickets.

I guess God really does use all things for our good--even if it doesn't feel so good at the time! :)

Friday, February 16, 2007

My Birthday Boy

There is another very important birthday in my life this week--my dear husband is turning 35 today! Happy birthday, CW!! I could probably write for hours about what a wonderful, affectionate, funny, smart, loving, loyal, hard-working husband he is, but I'll spare you all the superfluous details! Let's just say that I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world because I have a spouse that makes me so happy!

Chad's special birthday present is a trip to The Improv Comedy Club at Zona Rosa in Kansas City tonight with some of our good friends. Darrell Hammond was supposed to be the headliner, so we were very excited! However, we just got a call from the box office to tell us that Darrell has canceled his show! ACK!! I'm so bummed, but the good news is, they are refunding our money and giving us complimentary tickets to the replacement show instead. While I've never heard of the guy who is performing (his name is Jeremy Schachter), he has a Comedy Central special coming out soon, so he can't be all bad. Besides, when we were there the last time, the opening act was someone we'd never heard of, and he turned out to be absolutely hilarious! I still have very high hopes for the evening!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A B-Day V-Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Okay, so I'm day late on this one. Yesterday evening was just so full of quality time with my hubby, there was just no time for blogging. What I really wanted to blog about wasn't actually Valentine's, but rather a very special person that I know who happens to have a birthday on February 14th. Our dear friend Quillen turned 12 yesterday! I was especially excited about her birthday this year because of the momentous occasion that was scheduled to go along with it. The last couple of years, Quillen has been growing her hair out for Locks of Love, an organization that provides hairpieces for children suffering from medically related hair loss. Yesterday was the day she was supposed to get it all cut off! Unfortunately, my dear friend got sick and had to cancel the appointment. Is there a bigger bummer than getting sick on your birthday when you're a kid? I honestly can't think of one! Hopefully she'll be back on her feet soon so that she can enjoy her ceremonial haircutting! Feel better Quillen, and happy belated birthday!! :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow Beautiful Snow!

If you've read my blog before or know me at all, you probably realize that I absolutely love pictures. I love taking them, looking a them, editing them and sharing them. Today is a day that I wish I had my camera. The snow is absolutely beautiful! There were about 3 inches at our house this morning, which was just enough to cover most of the grass and make everything white. Because it was such a wet snow, tons of it stuck to the trees, leading to a gorgeous "Winter Wonderland" effect. Since I was one of the first people to leave the neighborhood, the snow was almost completely untouched and just so amazing! Can you tell I like snow?

Since I didn't have my real camera, I tried taking some pictures with the 1 megapixel camera on my Palm Pilot. I went to several different windows around my office building, attempting to capture the beautiful snowfall. There is one office in particular on the 3rd floor of the south side of the building that has the most amazing view of the south part of Lawrence. I tried to capture it, but the snow was just so bright white it didn't turn out at all. The only picture that was remotely cool was this one, which is from the 3rd floor, looking north out the front windows, overlooking the foyer. You can sort of see how pretty things are! Maybe I should start taking my real camera everywhere for just such a photo opportunity!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

In Your Face!!

I can't let the weekend go by without mentioning yesterday's amazing performance by Julian Wright in KU's impressive performance against those despicable Missouri Tigers! In your face, Mizzou!

While it still feels wonderful when we annihilate Missouri in any sport, I have to say that I don't detest Missouri nearly as much since Quin Snyder left. Their new coach Mike Anderson seems like a decent and likable guy. We had to laugh yesterday when the Tigers were playing typical Missouri basketball--jacking up ridiculous 3-point shots over and over--and Anderson calls a timeout and then just stares at all the guys in the huddle. After many seconds of just staring, he finally looks at the main offender and just says, "What are you doing? What are you doing?" Although we were only reading his lips, it was still so funny!

In the 92-74 rout of the Tigers, Julian finished with 33 points and 12 rebounds, the most by a Jayhawk since Nick Collison in 2003. At least 4 of those baskets were dunks! The great thing is, in the next game it might be a different KU player that steps up to be the leading scorer. We have so many different weapons, and yet sometimes I wonder if that's not the reason we struggle some games. No one really knows who the go-to guy should be!

If you missed the game, check out the play-by-play from the Journal-World or the article about Julian's performance. Go Hawks!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hey--Let's Go Bowling!

Last week, Chad and I went bowling for only the third time in the almost 13 years that we've been married. We've had so much fun Wii bowling with our Journey Group friends that we all decided to give real bowling a try. Despite the fact that I was just about the worst bowler you've ever seen, we really had a fun time!

As you can see from the picture, my awesome husband has beautiful form, and he's a pretty good bowler considering it's been years since he's played. When he was a kid, he won lots of trophies in a bowling league, so he's definitely had some practice. I think his first game he bowled like a 150, which I thought was pretty good. I, on the other hand, bowled a FIFTY my first game. As my friend Paula put it, you'd practically have to try to bowl that badly! The crazy thing is, I was trying as hard as I could to roll that darn ball straight down the lane, but no matter what tips coach Chad gave me, I was totally erratic. It was embarrassing and ridiculous. Of the eight people who were bowling, I came in dead last! I just had no control at all over the ball.

My second game started just as shaky, until Chad mentioned how the ball was falling out of my hand every roll, at which point our friend Jake went and found me a new ball (yea for Jake!). My new ball had a thumb hole that fit much more snuggly (and an awesome pink color), and that's when things really started picking up! I actually bowled a couple of spares and even a strike! Chad took a picture of the scoreboard to prove it (notice that he rolled a strike that same frame). I had no idea what a difference having a properly fitting ball makes!

So our second game I was actually the most improved bowler of the group with an amazing 95! Actually I probably would have broken 100 if I'd used the pink ball for the whole game, since I actually lost a roll when the computerized scoring skipped me for waiting too long to go (I was waiting to steal Kristin's ball). I'd love to go a little more often just to see if I could get better at it!

My conclusion: bowling + friends + cheap Jaybowl = FUN! For the complete set of bowling pictures, click here!

Oh, and let me just say that when I first used the phrase "Hey--Let's Go Bowling!" with our Journey Group, none of them caught my reference to the ad campaign from the 80s. Clearly, they are all many years younger that we are! Please tell me that someone else reading this remembers saying "Hey--Let's Go Bowling!" so that I don't feel so darn old!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

DBR & The Mission

Last Friday night Chad and I went to see a performance at the Lied Center. I received complimentary tickets to a show, and I thought the one that looked the most interesting of those available was called A Civil Rights Reader by Daniel Bernard Roumain, featuring DBR & THE MISSION SQ UNIT and DJ Scientific. The Lied website included a video clip, and it looked like something I would really like. Even though a normal string quartet wouldn't be something that would interest me in the slightest, I was actually kind of excited about this!

The show started with a solo violinist playing an electric violin plugged into an effects box, which is certainly unique and produces some interesting sounds. On one hand, the effects box could make the violin sort of sound like a guitar, but on the other hand, when a violin is plugged in, it sort of amplifies every screechy note played. Maybe I'm biased because I was a screechy violinist for a few years as a kid, but I generally find the instrument to be rather annoying--kind of like fingernails on a chalkboard. It actually made me feel a little better about my own screechy violin playing, since even these very accomplished violinists had quite a bit of screeching going on! Part of that was because they were playing so aggressively--sort of rockin' out on stringed instruments most of the time. I guess when you're slamming your bow across the strings it can definitely make an evil hiss! :)

Despite all of the screeching, during the first half of the performance, DJ Scientific laid down a mean beat underneath most of the arrangements, so they were fairly interesting and kind of made me want to tap my foot, which is definitely a positive in my book. In fact, just before the intermission, Roumain (otherwise known as DBR) invited people to get up and dance, and several college-aged kids did, which is a little unusual for a performance at the Lied!

After the intermission, the SQ Unit (that's like the "band" name of the string quartet) played a few arrangements without the DJ, and here's where our enjoyment started to wane. It's not that the musicians weren't all very talented, or that DBR was innept at arranging music, but let's just say that he and I don't really share the same musical tastes. The majority of his compositions had a very dissonant sound, which is something that just rubs me the wrong way--kind of like fingernails on a chalkboard. I know there are people who really get into that sound (hence the popularity of Dave Matthews), but it's just not a style of music that makes me happy. It was at this point that Chad leaned over to me and said "That was very interesting music, Marty," which was the movie quote I'd been thinking of pretty much the entire night (and if you can name the movie, you'll get bonus points--for what I don't know).

As the second half of the show progressed, DBR and the DJ "played" their laptops, which as far as I could tell, consisted of them playing audio clips of people talking in strange loops while the SQ Unit screetched on. This was the point at which Chad leaned over and said, "This is getting really weird!" He wasn't kidding--it was pretty bizarre. The show ended with a jam session of sorts where DBR and the quartet and DJ Scientific all just improvised for a while. While it definitely takes talent to make this type of improvisation even the least bit coherent, it was still pretty random and not something that I'd generally choose to listen to.

Overall, while it certainly wasn't our cup of tea, it was entertaining in a strange way, and I'm sure we're more cultured for having attended. You can check out DBR's website for lots more information and samples of his work if you think it would be something you might be interested in!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Searching For Good

The other day I learned about a special search engine called GoodSearch. This website donates 50% of its revenue to charities designated by its users. My friend Amy who works at the Lawrence Humane Society signed the shelter up as one of the recipient charities, so she asked me to add a link to the site on the shelter's Petfinder page. It's simple because you use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. The money they donate to your cause comes from their advertisers, so the charities and users don't pay a dime. After finding your favorite charity, you can even click on the "amount raised" button to see how much money has been raised for them through this website. The search engine is powered by Yahoo!, so the results are really good too. It's a very simple way to support your favorite cause!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Homestar Runner

Many months ago, I spent a day sick at home. Through a comment that someone left on my blog, I came across a very funny website that ended up entertaining me most of the day as I lounged around in bed. It's a website with tons of cartoons, games and accessories featuring a very odd and goofy character named Homestar Runner. I can't even describe to you how bizarre and funny Homestar and the rest of the oddballs in these cartoons are. The website is quite elaborate, with a special video to welcome first time visitors as well as clips to familiarize you with each quirky character. If you're ever bored and need a little time to kill, this is the website for you--that is, if you have a fantastically strange sense of humor like I do!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Honorable Mention

I felt the need to add to yesterday's post about the Super Bowl. I totally forgot to mention the hilarious promo for Letterman featuring Oprah. While I'm not a fan of the O, that was absolutely classic considering the ongoing fued/relationship that they've had over the years. We don't watch Letterman much anymore thanks to The Colbert Report, but we made a point not to miss Oprah's "homecoming" to the show back in December of 2005. This promo was just so funny if you knew the history between the two.

I also forgot to mention another Budweiser commercial that I found very amusing. I thought the one where the guy picks up a hitchhiker with an ax just because he has a case of Bud Light was pretty funny. There was also a good Sprint Broadband spot about "Connectile Dysfunction." We also laughed at the Blockbuster ad with the rabbit and guinea pig who were trying to use the mouse as a mouse. I guess the morning polls indicated the Budweiser crabs were the favorite commercial of the night, but that one just didn't excite me. Crabs just aren't cute and cuddly enough, I guess.

Speaking of cute and cuddly, did anyone else find the one with the GM robot that got fired almost heart-wrenching? I almost got teary-eyed when he was going to do himself in. I think the fact that I got emotionally attached to a robot in a 30-second commercial officially makes me a sap.

I also forgot to mention yesterday that I really enjoyed the half-time show with Prince. While I'm not a huge fan or anything, I was quite impressed that he performed so well in the pouring down rain! He's a great guitarist, and I thought he sounded pretty darn good vocally too, especially considering he's 48 years old! I must say I was also very impressed that those two girls dancing around him never fell down while wearing high heels on a slick stage. The jamming marching band was a very fun addition to the show as well. I much preferred the half-time show to whatever it was that was going on before the game. We only caught a few seconds of that, but it looked like a crazy mess of visual and auditory over-stimulation! Yikes!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Luce, Party Of Two

In case you missed it, today's Super Bowl was super sloppy. It was pouring rain in Miami, and there was a ridiculous number of fumbles due to the wet ball. While we weren't super thrilled with the outcome (we're not exactly fans of Peyton's whiny face), we did have a super nice time together watching the game. The funny thing is, we had actually planned to have a Super Bowl party today, but as it turns out, Chad and I were the only ones who could make it! A friend suggested watching the game at our house a couple of weeks ago, but we were a little slow about asking other friends to come over. Everyone we asked to join us either already had plans, had child bedtime issues, had work conflicts, was traveling, or had homework to do--or so they told us! ;) Next year we will certainly start making our plans for a Super Bowl party much earlier!

As it turned out, neither of us really felt very well this afternoon, so we were actually sort of glad we had nothing to do except sit on the couch and watch football! We forewent dinner and instead made a half batch of Amber's famous 3-2-1 dip (3 8 oz. cream cheeses, 2 Ro*tels, and 1 pound sausage) and a huge plate of raw veggies with my favorite T. Marzetti's® Buffalo Ranch Veggie Dip (which is so good it makes me want to eat my vegetables!). We lounged, snuggled on the couch and ate Super Bowl snacks while I uploaded all of the dog pictures I took yesterday. It was so relaxing! We even watched all of the commercials instead of fast-forwarding them like we usually do. I think my favorite was the K. Fed spot (although I have to admit I didn't remember what it was for). The FedEx one right after that was pretty funny too. There were some good Budweisers (rock/paper/scissors, wedding auctioneer, spotted dog), and I also liked the Emerald Nuts one with Robert Goulet. Very random and very funny. If you missed any of them, you can check out ALL the Super Bowl commercials online!

Hope your Super Bowl was super as well!

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Groundhog Birthday

Today is not just Groundhog Day! It's also the birthday of a very special person in our family-- Virginia "Mom" Luce! Ginny is turning 50-something today, so I wanted to celebrate by sharing just a few of the wonderful things about my mother-in-law.

Ginny is a very kind and gentle person who is definitely a woman after my own heart because she's a huge animal lover! She has rehabilitated many different species over the years, and their homestead is currently the residence of two dogs and tons of kitties. In the past she's cared for orphaned raccoons, injured birds, and a plethora of other creatures! She has an amazing gift with animals and a wonderful heart.

Happy Birthday, Ginny!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Apple Who Fell Far From The Tree

Last Saturday, my mom and I spent an afternoon together at Sunfire Ceramics, a paint-your-own-pottery studio that Mom really loves. We've been there together several times, and each time I've painted a piece of pottery that looks like the masterpiece of a 6-year-old. As I may have mentioned before, I'm a terrible artist. I mean really terrible. The crazy thing about this is that my mom is an amazing artist. I mean really amazing. The last time we were at Sunfire, some lady walked up and asked her if she was a professional. She can paint these amazing landscapes and flowers and all sorts of things that I can't even picture in my mind, let alone paint! I'm clearly much more of a left-brained person (hence, my job as a programmer/analyst), so all I can envision are patterns and shapes that I want to paint, but I have no fine motor control over those darn little paintbrushes! It's very frustrating!

So anyway, today I went down to Sunfire and picked up the pieces that we painted last weekend. I'm so proud of my mom's work. It's so beautiful. I'm so not proud of mine. I'm sure it won't be too hard to guess which is which.

I really can't comprehend how I inherited absolutely none of my mother's artistic ability and very little of my father's musical ability! Not fair!! I only got my mom's love of people and gift of gab (clearly) and my dad's analytical brain. I guess that's the mystery of genetics!