Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pawsible Dreams

Friday night we went to the annual Pawsible Dream auction--the biggest fundraiser for the Lawrence Humane Society each year. It's always a fun event, and I always enjoy being able to socialize with my shelter friends outside of being at the shelter! I love bidding on stuff just to increase the final purchase price, even if I know that I won't win, and even if I'm not necessarily dying to have the item in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I don't bid on stuff I find completely hideous or useless, but I certainly bid on things that I wouldn't purchase in a store! For example, one of the items I won this year was this picture frame and matching doggy (complete with cartoon picture in case you couldn't figure out it was a frame).

While I thought it was cute, when I made my bid it was still pretty early in the silent auction and the price wasn't ridiculous, so I really didn't think I'd win it at all. Chad wasn't exactly thrilled about this purchase, so I guess I might be taking it to display in one of my offices.

My favorite all time LHS auction prize is this hand-painted antique window that I got a couple of years ago. I think it's so pretty!

The artist who did it submits a different one every year, and I'm always tempted to bid on another because I just think they're just beautiful. If I had a lick of artistic talent I would paint one myself--it's such a simple idea!

The only other item I won this year was something I'd been planning to purchase anyway, so I'm kind of excited about it. This friend of ours from high school has a business creating the most adorable customized stationary, which I saw for the first time at last year's auction. I got outbid last year, but this year I came out victorious!

Of course, the most important part about buying lots of fun stuff at the auction is that all of the proceeds go to help my doggy and kitty friends! Last year the event raised over $30,000!!

Magic Birthday

I just wanted to express a heartfelt happy b-day to our friend Jake today, who is celebrating his "golden" birthday (also known as a champagne birthday)--he's turning 29 on the 29th! This evening we enjoyed lots of food and friends and lots of laughs at Jake's golden birthday party, hosted by his wonderful wife Amber. I've blogged about Jake before, so I'll try not to repeat myself, but let me just say that in his awesomeness Jake marked his 29th by winning a four mile race with his running club, and being named club runner of the year! Go Jake--and happy birthday! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

P.O.A. Step 3

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about taking step two in my marketing campaign to help get Fresco adopted. I actually ended up not getting step two finished at all, but instead ended up doing step one twice: I updated Fresco's Petfinder page that week, and then updated it again over the weekend. What I most recently altered in this online description was the reference to the date Fresco originally came to the shelter, which was November 2006. Based on the fact that not a single person had emailed us after seeing his Petfinder ad, I decided that people must be prejudiced against him because of how long he'd been in the doggie orphanage. It sounds silly, but it actually happens at the LHS all the time. The shelter often houses perfectly wonderful dogs who get overlooked for a month or so for whatever reason (had a pending application that fell through, had a crazy roommate, was a common color, etc.), and after people start seeing how long the dog has been there, they just start assuming there must be something wrong with it. Fresco was one of those dogs when he was at the shelter, and I suspected that this phenomenon was still occurring even though he'd moved out of the shelter! So over the weekend I tested my theory and took out the reference to his November 2006 arrival and just mentioned that he'd come to stay with us in August. Voila! We've since had three emails from people who saw him on Petfinder! We're in the process of scheduling meetings with a couple of them. We're not entirely sure either home is the perfect one for Fresco, but we're excited that people are finally starting to show some interest!

The step in my plan of action that I never got done was sending an email out to everyone I know to share a link to Fresco's publicity flier. I put that step on hold until I could get around to loading some more pictures and videos of our dear puppy online. He's so freaking cute you just have to check these out. I have a couple of other videos that are much better, but they're also too large to load onto Picasa. I need to find some freeware that will allow me to convert the video files to something smaller!

The way I'm frantically trying to get Fresco adopted, you'd think he was a terrible burden or we didn't like him or something. The fact is, we adore him. We are having a hard time imagining our family without him, but we know our little man Celtic will be happier to have more of our attention all to himself. Hope, on the other hand, will be devastated when Fresco is gone. They are such good wrestling buddies. The bottom line is that the longer he stays at our house, the harder it's going to be to say goodbye to him! So if I seem a little frantic about getting him adopted, it's only because I'm trying to save us all some heartache!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

One Year Later

I mentioned yesterday that I've been slightly depressed this week, and while some of it was softball related, some of it was definitely because today has been hanging over my head all week. Chad and I were just not looking forward to today at all. One year ago, on September 20, 2006, our beloved furry son Steeler passed away.

It seems like just yesterday that our little man was curled up beside me at bedtime or trotting along beside his brother on our daily walk. I still remember so vividly the early morning hours of that terrible day, when we took him to the emergency vet and watched so helplessly as he passed away. I still find it so hard to talk about him or to think about him without crying. I still just miss him so much. It certainly does get easier with time, but I know that no matter how many years go by, there will always be a Steeler sized hole in my heart. I miss you, little guy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The End

My dad called yesterday and pointed out that I hadn't been blogging much lately, which is definitely true. With the longer and longer training walks on the weekends, it's been more and more difficult to find time to sit down at the computer on Saturdays and Sundays. Thankfully, I'll have a little more time starting this weekend, because our softball season has finally come to an end. We played a double header on Sunday night with our co-ed team and my women's team did the same on Monday. Although I'll be very glad to have the extra hours on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday (when Chad's men's team played), it was kind of a bittersweet ending to the season. Not only did I personally play pretty poorly in the last couple of months, but both of my teams had a hard time winning games down the stretch. It was a big bummer. I managed to get hit in the head by a throw a week ago Sunday, then hit in the shin this last Sunday, then hit by a one-hopper in my face on Monday night. Clearly, my skills are diminishing, and I'm starting to feel like I'm hurting my teams more than helping them. It was a very depressing realization, and it definitely put me into quite a funk the last few days, which is another reason I've been a little quieter than normal. I'm sure next year I'll miss playing, but I think between my advancing age and my aching back, it's time to hang up the old glove and cleats. :(

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Funny Birds

I haven't have much time for blogging lately, so I thought I'd just share a funny picture that someone sent me via email today. The title of the picture was "How you know you're not Mom's favorite." :)

The look on the squished birdie's face just makes me laugh!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Free Food Festivies

I'd like to share with you one of my life's mottoes: Never Turn Down Free Food. Seriously. If I'm invited to participate in any event that involves free food, you can pretty much guarantee that I'll be there. I'm one of the least picky eaters you'll ever meet, so I usually don't even care what's being served, although it does help if it's restaurant food. As you might know, Chad is the head chef in our home, because I don't really like to cook. I think that's where my love of free food comes in--I get to eat without having to prepare or clean up anything, and I also don't have to feel bad while my husband prepares everything!

Lucky for me, this week has been full of free food festivities. Last Friday night, Chad and I were volunteers at Treads and Threads, the huge benefit for the cancer center at the KU Hospital, held at Kansas Speedway. We enjoyed a variety of food from 23 of Kansas City's best restaurants before spending our two hour shift driving golf carts, which is actually a really fun job! We'd done it a couple of years ago and had a great time, so we got our friend Vikkie, who is the volunteer coordinator for the event, to sign us up again for this "shuttle" service, where we drive people to and from their cars in the parking lot when they arrive and when they're leaving. I loved flying around in those golf carts with the wind whipping through my hair on a cool September evening! Several of my passengers commented that they thought my ride was more fun than the ride they'd taken in the pace car! The only bad thing is that our shift was right in the middle of the event, so we missed the entertainment for the evening, which was Hootie and the Blowfish. We're not huge fans, but it still would have been kind of fun to see them. The fireworks show was also pretty amazing after the show, but I could only see about half of it because part of the time while I was driving it was behind me!

On Wednesday, we had another opportunity for some free food--this time without even having to do any work! Chad received several tickets from Westar for the annual Taste of Lawrence mixer put on by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. Attendees get to sample tons of food from 27 area restaurants, and get to socialize with about 1700 fellow Lawrencians. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, which made for a very enjoyable evening!

Last night, there was another Lawrence Chamber of Commerce event in downtown Lawrence, fittingly dubbed "Get Downtown." It was basically just a big block party at which several bands played, with several food and drink vendors. Admission was free, so the street was pretty much packed with people. Some friends from work told me about the event, one of whom gave me some VIP passes to get into a more exclusive gathering at a downtown bank, where we enjoyed--you guessed it--some free food! :) There weren't too many snacks to choose from, and Chad's picky tastes weren't interested in the street vendors, so after having some appetizers at the bank we headed a few doors down to a new restaurant called Global Cafe. We had some really great sandwiches and would totally recommend it!

After some dinner we headed back down to the block party to watch the headliners of the show, a cover band called $ell Out! who are apparently pretty popular in the area. They just do cover songs from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and each of the 8+ people in the band dress as one of their favorite music icons. While they weren't really spectacular musicians (although one of the female singers did have an amazing voice), their set was a lot of fun because just about everyone in the crowd knew all of the songs! I thought it was tons of fun!

This is kind of an aside to the real topic of this blog, but I was trying to look online at the Lawrence Journal-World to find pictures of these two big events of the week, which entertained several thousand people between them. The J-W managed to come up with only one picture of each event, neither of which was very representative of the event itself. There wasn't even an article about Get Downtown in the online J-W at all today, and this was the only picture they published taken at the event. KU didn't really have anything to do with the event, so I'm slightly confused about this picture, and slightly baffled at the fact that you could have thousands of people at a concert in the middle of the main area of town and not do some sort of news story about it!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

P.O.A. Step 2

Tonight I've been working on step 2 in my "Get Fresco Adopted" plan of action. Yesterday I updated his Petfinder page to make him sound even more desirable, and tonight I've updated his "publicity flier" (which I created a few weeks ago but never got around to actually sending out to anyone) and uploaded it onto the web so I can send out a link to everyone I know. I've printed a few copies that I'll post at my two offices, so hopefully someone, somewhere will fall in love with those sweet hound dog eyes like we have! How can you resist that adorable face??!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Belated Blog Birthday!

I just realized that last year I blogged on the anniversary of September 11, which means that I've been blogging for over a year. Officially, my blog's birthday would have been on Friday, since my first blog ever was on September 7, 2006. Wow--they just grow up so fast. :) Despite the fact that in a year's time I've only amassed a whopping 10 or so regular readers (that I know of), I still have to say that I'm having a good time chronicling the lives of Luces here in Lawrence. Hope you're enjoying it as well!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fresco the Fantastic

I feel terrible that we've had Fresco for a month now and I've barely blogged about him at all! In fact, I haven't done a very good job marketing our little visitor either. Normally when we have a foster dog, within a week or so of his or her arrival I've created a promotional flier with a description, pictures and contact information. I send it out to just about everyone I know, hoping that people will send it on to their coworkers and friends until ultimately someone who is actually looking to adopt a dog will see our precious little pooch. Despite these efforts, I'm pretty sure that 5 of our 7 previous foster dogs were adopted because of their Petfinder ad and not because of my personal marketing efforts. So with Fresco, I got lazy and assumed we'd have lots of inquiries from his Petfinder page, which just hasn't happened. We've had two meetings with prospective adopters, but neither were a very good match for our lanky little guy. The first meeting was with a group of students who lived in an apartment, and the second was with a family who had a rather aggressive 5-year-old and no fenced backyard. Neither ended up submitting an application for Fresco anyway, but I was glad since I didn't feel too great about either situation!

So the funny little Fresco remains in our care, and thankfully, he's settled in very well and is getting to be less and less extra work. He didn't adapt to being kenneled while home alone very well, but the good news is that he is doing well roaming free in the house while we're gone! To us, this is a huge accomplishment considering he's barely one year old, since our boys were still destroying lots of pillows at that age!

Fresco hasn't had an accident since the day after we returned from Ohio, so we're confident that he's completely housebroken at this point as well. Although he did get into one fight with Hope over a toy during his first week here (which she pretty much instigated), since then they've done a lot of wrestling and playing and he's even letting her steal his toys. They've been so much fun to watch. As you can see from the picture I snuck through the window, they enjoy each other's company (by the way, our lawn in the backyard isn't always that out of control).

Many of our friends have gotten to meet this sweet little boy, and most everyone has loved his super friendly and affectionate nature. He plops right down into the laps of anyone who will give him the time of day, and even some people who have no interest in him at all. Fresco doesn't discriminate against non-dog people. :) He is so incredibly sweet. I'm sure we would keep him if Celtic seemed happier with the situation. Celtic does enjoy the daily game of chasing Hope who's chasing Fresco, but overall he just seems so dejected and depressed about having to share so much attention with a young whippersnapper!

So project "find Fresco a home" continues. The first step in my plan of action will be to change his profile on Petfinder so that it doesn't talk so much about the fight which landed him at the shelter in the first place. Not that we won't be completely honest with anyone who comes to visit him, but we first need people to actually show some interest! Once they meet him, they won't be able to resist this adorable little guy!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

How You Know You're Getting Old

This morning, I walked into the kitchen at work and glanced at today's copy of the University Daily Kansan sitting on the counter. This was the picture on the front page:

It was under the heading of "Student Life", so I guessed it was a story about some incoming freshman or something. When I looked at the caption, I discovered that all four of these kids are, in fact, not freshman at all--they're actually seniors serving on the Board of Class Officers. Okee dokie. I really thought they all looked 18. This is a very disturbing sign of my advancing age!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Speaking of My Brother

I actually meant to post this to my blog many moons ago, but somehow it slipped my mind. I came across it one day a few months ago when I decided to check my brother's blog for some unknown reason, even though he hadn't posted anything for at least a year. Ironically, just a few days earlier he had posted a short film written and directed by his friend Seth (who happens to be from Lawrence), which Eric and Seth produced for the Fox Searchlab program. I think this was some sort of contest, but I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, the film is very interesting and very well made, albeit extremely dark and disturbing. I mean really, really disturbing. I mean like disturbing enough that kids shouldn't watch it, and not just because of the language. I mean seriously.

With that said, I'm still going to post it here because my brother's in it and I think he's cool. Plus, some of you film buffs might actually kind of like it. I think it's very well written, directed and produced, and it definitely has some great performances! The only bummer is that I think the credits are cut off the end so you don't see Eric's name roll across the screen!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You Work for the Government, Right?

Several months ago I blogged about a public service announcement that my brother had booked through his commercial agent. Although no one has actually seen Eric's PSA on T.V. yet, it's now available for viewing online, along with what appears to be every other PSA made since 1970. I think it's pretty funny! Check out the whole bunch of PSAs or just my brother's spot if you're interested. Yeah Eric! :)

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Stellar Start

You've gotta love the opening weekend of NCAA football, especially when your own team has such a great start! Although I'm a couple of days late blogging about it, Saturday night we went to the home opener of the 2007 KU football season, and the outcome was even better than we imagined it would be! Prior to the game, Chad had done some reading about the Central Michigan team we were playing, who apparently returned 14 starters from last year and also went to a bowl game. It was supposed to be a pretty tough game, but KU made mincemeat of the Chippewas, beating them 52-7. We ended up leaving after the 3rd quarter when the score was 45-0. It was great!

Our new starting quarterback is Todd Reesing, who's a sophomore that I happened to blog about last season when he came in as a backup and had a very impressive game. His first start for the Jayhawks was no less impressive! He threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions! There were many great plays during the game, but my favorite was an amazing grab by Marcus Henry (86) where he went over the back of the defender, tipped the ball up in the air and then caught it as he was falling to his knees. It was definitely worthy of Sports Center!

Another highlight of the game for me was seeing my favorite player, sophomore Jake Sharp, rush for over 100 yards. I'm not just a Sharp fan because he's a fellow Salina Central Mustang--this kid is an amazing running back! I became a fan after watching all of the Mustang highlight videos from Jake's senior year at Central. Sharp set several state records and was so much fun to watch. You can check out Jake the human highlight film on YouTube.

Check out the LJW for more highlights and pictures from Saturday's game!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Now That's A Big Twinkie

While not actually a Twinkie (I just felt compelled to use a classic movie quote), I did see an unusually large food item of another sort early this morning. For a change of scenery, my friend Amber and I started our 6 mile walk this morning at one of the local high schools. As we neared the end and looped back towards the building, we saw something strange on the horizon. "Is that a loaf of bread?" I asked, which seemed like a ridiculous question. As we got closer, we could see that it was, in fact, a giant loaf of Iron Kids bread, which is certainly not something you see every day!

Amber posed next to the monstrosity so that you could get a feel for how large it really was. They were blowing up some other giant structure as well, but since it wasn't fully inflated, we couldn't quite tell what it was going to be. It actually took us a couple of trips around the parking lot to figure out that they were having the Iron Kids Triathlon there, which is apparently being held tomorrow. There's certainly no question as to who the sponsor of the event is!