Monday, September 29, 2008

Half Way There

This is really a post that belongs on my other blog, and in fact, I'll probably post something similar there as well tomorrow. I don't have much time tonight since I've been working on 3-Day stuff and watching the Steelers win in overtime (yea!), but I'm just too excited not to share even though it's way late. Today I reached (ok, almost reached) a big milestone in my fundraising for the 3-Day when I reached $1,095, which is more or less half of the minimum $2200 I need to raise to participate. I have to give a lot of credit to my dear husband, who made a batch of his famous mustard and gave it to his softball teammates in exchange for a donation! It was mustard money that got me almost to the halfway point today!

I still have a lot of fundraising work to do yet, as the event is just 53 days away and I have $1105 left to raise. That's just over $20 a day, and that's not counting the thousands more I need to help the rest of my team raise! I'm hoping to send out more fundraising emails later this week, so if you haven't gotten one from me already, you probably will! :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Frog(ish) Friend

This spring we saw an abundance of toads (which I almost always call frogs before Chad corrects me) hopping around our neighborhood while we were walking our dogs in the evenings. At first they were tiny little guys, but as the spring turned to summer the tiny little toads grew into bigger toads. Thankfully no dogs tried to eat said toads, which actually kind of surprised me since Hope will eat anything and Fresco has such a strong prey drive. The toads would often jump right in front of a dogs face or sit there without moving until the dogs actually got close enough to sniff them. It's a wonder the dogs didn't have frog legs (I mean toad legs--do they still taste like chicken?) at some point this summer.

Anyway, I've always liked frogs/toads and can remember playing with them as a kid and thinking nothing of it. I wouldn't consider touching one these days, but I do still think they're kind of cute to look at. Cute in an ugly sort of way, I guess. The other night when Chad noticed there was a toad was sitting out on our front walk, I grabbed the camera and went out an snapped a few pictures of my frogish friend.

There's something about those funny fingers and toes and the way that their skinny little legs splay out when they jump that just makes me laugh! Don't you think my toad friend is kind of cute?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mother Earth

Last Friday night Chad and I had such a lovely evening out I just had to share. We went to dinner at Pachamama's, which we hadn't been to for years, mostly because it's pretty expensive and we're pretty thrifty. We're not opposed to going out to a nice dinner once in a while, but we're just not willing to spend a lot of money for a dinner unless it's really flippin' good. The last time we were at Pachamama's (which loosely translates to Mother Earth) was probably 5 years ago. It was good, but not fantastic, so we just hadn't had the urge to go back again--at least not until recently.

What lured us back to Pachamama's was our good friend Nolan, who recently took a job there. He mentioned that we should come in some night when he was working the bar so that we could just sit there and order off the bar menu, which is much less expensive than the regular menu. When Friday rolled around and we didn't have anything on the calendar, we decided to head downtown and see Nolan. I can say with confidence that we will definitely not wait another 5 years to go back!

Our dinner was absolutely fantastic. We had the Pommes Frites for an appetizer, and I can't even explain how delicious they were. Chad got the HUGE "Star Bar Burger", which was also terrific (I even tried a bite!), and I got a panini type sandwich with a white bean and avocado mixture. It was so delicious, and we were so incredibly full by the time we left that we decided we needed to walk around a bit before getting in the car for the 10 minute drive home!

Walking up and down Mass Street was something we hadn't done in so long. It was such a beautiful night and the streets were just packed with people--extremely interesting people! Sometimes I forget how diverse Lawrence is when I just go about my day-to-day life on campus. Take a walk down Mass on a weekend night and you'll certainly not forget we life in a crazily diverse town. Downtown Lawrence is a great place for people watching, that's for sure. We should definitely do it more often!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wedding Out West

I've had so many friends get married this year I'm starting to feel like I should have a whole category on my blog devoted just to weddings! This last Saturday, my friend Leigh Ann and I drove 243 miles (each way) to our friend Christy's wedding in Ellis, Kansas. It was definitely a long trip, but we were happy that we were able to celebrate the big day with Christy and Chris. Christy was absolutely striking in her fabulous dress and an amazing up-do! Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so I had to swipe this picture of Christy and her new hubby from her Facebook page!

Although the drive was extremely long, Leigh Ann and I were able to pass the time chatting away as the Western Kansas landscape flew by. I was so thankful to have a fun friend to hang out with so that I didn't have to make the drive alone. Chad was also very thankful that I had a fun friend to hang out with so he didn't have to go with me and miss the KU football game! While Leigh Ann and I were traveling, Chad and Leigh Ann's fiance Nate were cheering on the Jayhawks!

On the trip back to Lawrence late Saturday night, Leigh Ann and I stopped for gas in the booming metropolis that was my childhood home--Salina, Kansas. I was seriously embarrassed by the absolutely bizarre nature of the truck stop where we ran in to get a snack. This place not only had some slightly odd people, but also had the most ridiculously tacky junk all over the place. For the second time that day I was really sorry I'd forgotten my camera, because some of this stuff was really picture worthy. Maybe Leigh Ann and I were getting tired and possibly a little silly, but we were especially taken by these fabulously awful mirrored wall hangings. Even though I only had the camera on my cell phone, you can hopefully get an idea of how hideous they were.

Nothing says "Salina" like a mirrored unicorn with some rainbow lights!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Burn Notice

Tonight I had major plans to get caught up on some blogging, but my plans were foiled by three overly excited dogs. While out on our walk tonight we came upon a strange dog on a dark street, and when all three of my hound dogs started pulling like crazy I got the worst rope burn of my life from one of the leashes. Holy moly, my hand hurts. Check this out:

Those white streaks on my first two fingers are burns. Burns that hurt more badly than any burn I've ever had in my whole life. There's another one on the palm of my hand that you can barely see, but that hurts really freakin' bad as well. I don't mean to be a baby, but holy flippin' cow my hand is killing me!!!

Ironically, while I laid around with an ice pack on my hand tonight, Chad and I watched the final season two episode of Burn Notice. Chad only recently discovered this USA Network show and started recording all the old episodes. I wasn't a fan at first, but it grew on me quickly. It's like The A-Team meets MacGyver, but way more cool. Speaking of cool, can anyone please tell me how to cool my hand down?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Four Weeks

Exactly four weeks from tonight, I will be rockin' out at the Granada to my favorite band in the world!! I am so excited for the Old 97's show! For all of you who have heard me blathering on about the 97's for years and are wondering what all of the fuss is about, now is your chance to find out! That is, if you live in the KC/Lawrence/Topeka area, or if you live in the Salina area and want to ride to Lawrence with our friend Jason, who I know will be driving to Lawrence for the show.

In all honesty though, I really really really hope everyone will come, because I promise they are a blast to see live. I'll even make it easy for you--here's a link to the Granada's website where you can buy your tickets for around $20 after fees. Now you have no excuse not to come check them out!

In case you need some more evidence before you buy your tickets, check out this clip from a 97's show from just a few weeks ago. They have this much energy from start to finish and are so much fun to watch!! Four Leaf Clover is seriously my favorite song of all time--I love it even though Rhett totally forgets the words at one point!

Hope to see you all at the Granada on October 16th!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Obsessions

Sometimes I honestly think I could blog as my full time job. Now, that job wouldn't actually pay me any money, mind you--but I think I could stay busy with my three blogs at least 40 hours a week. Of course, if I stayed home all day at the computer I probably wouldn't have many interesting life experiences to blog about, so that's probably a really terrible idea. Regardless, I read blogs like Pioneer Woman and Dooce and think how cool it would be to actually make a living just by taking pictures and blogging all day long! Of course, I'd have to become a lot more interesting and a lot funnier and a lot better photographer and a lot better writer if I really wanted to make this happen. Somehow it seems like a long shot.

I'm pretty sure I could just walk around taking pictures 40 hours a week too, without the blogging even being involved. Again, there would be no actual income for such a gig, so that might be a bit of a problem, but a girl can dream, can't she? I just love love love taking pictures and trying to become a better photographer. Often when I'm home for lunch, when I should be cleaning the kitchen or doing something else productive, I grab the camera and start snapping pictures of the pups outside. Last week, in the midst of many days of rain, we had one beautiful, perfect day on Tuesday. I just had to grab my camera and head outside for a little play time on my lunch break. My subject of the day? Mr. Caterpillar.

These might not look like action shots, but I was focusing manually, and the little bugger was actually moving fast enough that it was hard to keep him in focus! My camera was set to be fully manual, which means that I adjusted the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and everything else all by myself, so I was actually kind of proud of these pictures! Probably only other photography geeks like me will think this is interesting at all, but I'm almost always taking pictures on manual now. I'm getting better, but I still have a long way to go!

I really wish I could build myself a really cool blog that had a Daily Picture section and a Daily Dog section (like Dooce's Daily Chuck). I'm pretty sure I take enough pictures to post new and semi-interesting photos every day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Separated at Birth

We weren't able to watch the season opener of SNL on Saturday, but thankfully the very funny intro was posted all over the Internets today. I'm generally a fan of Tina Fey regardless, but this opening sketch was so brilliant. Okay, so it sort of helps that she and Sarah Palin look like they were separated at birth, but Tina also completely nailed the annoying Palin voice. It was so flipping funny! You can watch it below if you missed it on Saturday.

Apparently, there had been lots of chatter on the Internets even prior to this about how much they resemble each other. Somehow that completely escaped me until now!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wonderful Wedding

This weekend we went to the long awaited wedding of our good friends Robyn and Dan. Their wedding wasn't long awaited in the sense that they were only engaged for about seven months, but it was long awaited in the sense that they started dating 5 or 6 years ago. It was so nice to see them finally start their married life together!

We met Danny 8 or 9 years ago when Chad started playing softball on his brother's team, of which Dan was a member. A few years later he and Robyn started dating, which was about the time we all started playing co-ed softball as well. We've been one big softball family ever since.

We worried about Robyn and Dan's wedding ceremony all week because it was an outside celebration, and we've had record amounts of rain in the last couple of weeks. It had rained every day since last Wednesday, and it rained hard the day before the wedding. It rained off and on Saturday morning, but Robyn had faith that it would all work out in the end and they went ahead with the outside wedding plans. The rain held off for a couple of hours before the wedding and through most of the ceremony, with only a few sprinkles dropping right near the end. Once the guests were all safely under the reception tent, the rain started coming down pretty hard. They even ended up taking some of the wedding pictures in the rain! It continued to rain all night, but the wonderful thing about the rain was that when you combined it with a spectacular sunset, it created an amazing rainbow!! How cool is it that they had a beautiful rainbow at their wedding!

Despite the fact that we all got a little wet and had to slosh through a lot of mud puddles to and from the tent all evening, we had such a wonderful time at the wedding and reception. It was so great not just because we loved celebrating this day with Robyn and Dan, but also because so many of our other friends were there as well! So many times you go to a wedding and you know just a small group of the guests, but on Saturday we knew like half the people in attendance! We got to see a few friends we hadn't seen in forever and just had a really terrific time hanging out, eating great food and dancing. I even got Chad on the dance floor a couple of times! :) It was a blast! Here are some pictures of the night if you're interested!

Congrats Danny and Robyn! May you have a lifetime of happiness together!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today is obviously a very important date in the history of our country. It's hard to believe it's been seven years since that fateful day. My friend Suzanne and I were talking today about exactly where we were when we heard the news of the first plane crash. I vividly remember watching the first tower fall on live television with my coworkers in the main kitchen of our office. I remember the pangs of devastation I felt while watching the horrific tragedy and the weeks of depression that followed. I couldn't even begin to imagine the devastation and depression that must have been felt by those people who actually lived through the disaster.

What I also remember is the amazing sense of unity that Americans seemed to feel in the months that followed 9-11. We went through such a profound period of common interest and purpose regardless of political affiliation. It's so sad to me that in the last seven years, we seem to have lost any unity we once had.

Back in those days I really liked John McCain. I thought he was a moderate, reasonable, fairly independent man who was sort of representative of middle America--someone I could have voted for. Now I feel like he's done nothing but try and divide America. His choice of a inexperienced, ultra-conservative running mate is a good example--she is such an amazingly polarizing figure. I spent entirely too much time today reading heartfelt, impassioned, intelligent letters from women all over the country who are very dismayed about McCain's VP choice on a new blog called Women Against Sarah Palin. While I know that not every letter had every fact about Palin 100% correct, it was still extremely interesting and thought provoking. I found it fascinating, and yet depressing at the same time. Why can't we all just get along?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Struggling With Sleepiness

All I wanted to do today was crawl under my desk ala George Costanza and go to sleep. I couldn't keep my eyes open. It wasn't just my eyes though--my brain was tired too. It was that foggy kind of tired where you can't focus or function normally, so trying to get work done today was a major struggle.

Although I haven't been getting a tons of sleep this week, it wasn't the lack of ZZZs that had me feeling so out of it today. Yesterday I went to an appointment with a new doctor who specializes in lower back/hip/pelvic pain. He prescribed some medicine that I started taking last night that was supposed to help with my pain and also help me sleep. I didn't necessarily notice a better night's sleep last night, but holy cow--I certainly felt like I could have slept all day! Hopefully I'll adjust to the medicine soon and won't feel like this forever!

While the doctor thinks this medicine (which, oddly enough, is actually an anti-depressant, which kind of freaks me out) might help a little with pain, he thinks that ultimately the solution is for me to have back surgery. It's not exactly the news I was dying to hear, but then again, I feel like I've exhausted all my other resources at this point. I'm ready. So let the surgeon shopping begin!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

My Man Darnell

My friend Paula will likely say that Darnell Jackson is not my man but is rather her man, but my dear husband will vouch for the fact that DJ has always been my favorite player. When the class of 2008 started as freshman, I loved Darnell from the moment he stepped foot on the court. Even when he got very little playing time, there was just something about him that appealed to me. He exhibited such strength and just seemed to be bursting with potential. I knew he would grow into a terrific player, but really had no idea he would also grow into such a terrific man.

Today Paula sent me a link to a letter, from Darnell, posted in the Journal-World over the weekend. You can read it in its entirety here, but in a nutshell he just thanked his fans for so much love and support during his four years at KU. It was so touching it brought tears to my eyes. It was thoughtful and heartfelt, and I think it says so much about his character. He is really an amazing kid, and I'm so proud that he's a Jayhawk and so proud that he's made it to the NBA.

We love you too, Darnell!! Good luck in Cleveland!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Damp Days

Tonight while the dogs and I were walking we got rained on. This wasn't the first time in the last few days that we've gotten wet while engaging in some outdoor activity. The weather here has been unusually wet and cold the last few days. I can't remember the last time I had to wear a sweatshirt and sweats in early September--it's pretty crazy. Our normal September lows are in the 60s, and tonight the low is supposed to be 46.

I'm not really minding the cool temperatures so much, as fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons. However, the unseasonable weather definitely interfered with some of our plans over the weekend. On Friday night, we went to volunteer at Treads & Threads at Kansas Speedway. This was the 3rd or 4th year that we've volunteered at this cancer benefit, and although we happen to love our particular volunteer job, this year it was cold. For several years we've been the shuttle drivers who chauffer the party-goers to and from the parking lot in golf carts, which is normally loads of fun. This year, however, the wind and low temps meant the job wasn't quite as enjoyable! I put on an extra layer before going out, but my jaw was still clenched from the cold when our two hour shift was finished! Thankfully though, the rain that had continued most of the day on Friday actually ended before Treads & Threads began. I can't imagine how miserable driving golf carts would have been had it been raining!

On Saturday, the rain wasn't too bad in the morning, but my mom and I did get sprinkled on for about 5 miles of our 12 mile training walk. We went to the KU/Louisiana Tech game in the evening, and while the weather stayed nice for the tailgaiting festivities, the rain started coming down just before kickoff. It rained lightly off and on throughout the first half, and by halftime we were pretty much soaked. Thankfully, our friends Heather and Grant have seats underneath the pressbox, and there was room to squeeze in with them and dry out during the second half. We definitely should have gone up to visit them earlier in the evening! Since the Jayhawks came away with a shutout and there were plenty of great highlights to keep us entertained and excited, it was fun despite the lousy weather!

Sunday's weather wasn't too bad, and although there were a few sprinkles, it got a lot warmer during the day. It still looked like fall though--I couldn't believe how many leaves were falling off the trees all over town! While taking pictures of dogs at the shelter, I also took my first fall leaf picture of the season!

I hope the coolish weather continues and the wetish weather goes away for a while. I'm tired of wiping down 12 doggie feet 10 times a day!

Why I Hate Politics

After watching this "story" on The Daily Show (one of the three TV shows I actually watch regularly), I had two different friends send it to me via email. I thought it was so hilariously frustrating and frustratingly hilarious that I emailed it to several people as well. I guess it only makes sense that I should also post it to my blog. It's so unbelievable to me that politicians/analysts can talk out of both sides of their mouths and then expect no one to remember what they just said.

They're such lying sacks of poo.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Taking the High Road

A week ago tonight, while the rest of the world was blogging about Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, I was blogging about dog wigs. My brother texted me after the speech had started to ask if I was watching history being made, which I wasn't. It's not that I didn't want to watch or intend to--I really just forgot that the DNC was on! I'm just so not a fan of politics.

With that said, I have since watched Obama's speech in its entirety, and I have to say I thought it was really amazing. He's such a terrific speaker, which I realize doesn't guarantee that he will be a terrific president, but it would be such a wonderful change to have a president who could communicate intelligently and coherently. I know that some of his ideas are lofty, but since I myself am very much a glass half full kind of person, I appreciate his positive message. I appreciate his effort to unify America.

Although I haven't watched a lot of the Republican National Convention, I haven't been impressed with what "highlights" I've seen. This morning on Good Morning America, they showed several minutes of Governer Palin's speech, and while she is a very good public speaker, I was aghast at her numerous snotty and snarky attacks on Obama and Biden. They showed clips of several other jerkish comments by Guiliani and Huckabee, who I think normally seems like a really decent guy--he's always been such a great sport on The Colbert Report.

After what seemed like a very negatively run Republican convention, I found Joe Biden's comments on GMA this morning so refreshing. You can watch the interview here, but basically, when asked what he thought about Palin's speech, Biden had nothing but kind and positive things to say. When Robin Roberts asked if he wanted or needed to change his tune in order to respond to Palin's attacks, Biden just completely refused to go negative. He totally took the high road. It was so classy and was such a refreshing change.

While I do, of course, care about where each candidate stands on important issues, I feel like I'm just as much affected and influenced by the "content of their character."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Start of Football Weather

The title of tonight's post could be considered one of those “before and after” clues that they used to have on Wheel of Fortune. Maybe they still do have them on Wheel of Fortune--I guess I really don’t know because I haven’t seen the show in years. Anyway, the post is really about two different things--the start of KU football over the weekend and the beautiful fall football weather that we had today.

Today’s weather was actually quite rainy (Gustav finally reached the Midwest), but the cool 60 degree temperatures still got me so excited for fall! I actually wore a long sleeved shirt today AND had to put on a light jacket. It was a little blustery outside, and we weren't able to take the dogs for a walk because of all the rain, but I have to say I’m really enjoying it! The long walks on the weekends are going to be much more enjoyable if the weather stays this cool!

Today's weather is a far cry from the weather we had for Saturday evening's football game. We actually headed over to the stadium around 4:30, parked in our "secret" cul-de-sac (which has unfortunately become not-so-secret and was almost completely full almost two hours before kickoff) and walked about a mile to a tailgate gathering with some of Chad's coworkers. It was so hot we were pouring down sweat by the time we arrived! The alleys and yards and makeshift "parking lots" in the blocks surrounding the stadium were absolutely packed with people. I've never seen so many tailgaters for a KU football game! There were so many people everywhere it was difficult to find a shady place to sit down, which would have been nice since the sun was pretty brutal--not that it should be otherwise at the end of August in Kansas.

After stopping by one more tailgate party we headed to the stadium, where there were LINES of people waiting to get into the stadium--a definite first for opening day at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence! It was crazy to see so many people excited to watch us play a non-conference game.

Thankfully, our seats are on the press box side of the stadium where there was plenty of shade (which we won't be so thankful for once it gets cold this fall), so we cooled down a little once we got in and sat down. The game was a success in the sense that the Jayhawks dominated, but they obviously didn't look as sharp as last year. There were some definite highlights, like the long punt return by true freshman Daymond Patterson in which he hurdled a defender and went on to score a touchdown. Overall though, since the game wasn't really that close, I did a lot more socializing towards the end of the game and not so much paying attention! Oh, and I took some pictures. I know you're shocked. Keep in mind that these weren't taken with my good camera--just the pocket sized point and shoot.

A very full stadium--supposedly a record crowd.

I love this action shot--if you look closely the ball is in the air.

I think the horizon behind the scoreboard is really pretty!

Check out the new practice fields--which apparently aren't being used at all since they're so wide out in the open.

While we're on the subject of the renovations around the stadium, can I just say that those ridiculous looking seats in the end zone are the cheesiest, tackiest, most absurd looking gimmicks to get more money that I have ever seen. As you can see, they weren't filled to capacity, which hopefully means that they'll be a complete failure and will be removed from the stadium next year! What an eyesore!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy LaborBirthday

I hope everyone has thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful Labor Day! As Chad and I are celebrating a day of not working, we are also celebrating the very special 2nd birthday of our very own Fresco Luce. I just realized that our dear little puppy doesn't even have a middle name--I need to work on that. Anyway, most everyone knows the story of how Fresco came to be part of our family, so I won't go into detail, but let me just say that this amazingly loving, amazingly goofy, amazingly smart guy could not be much more important to us! At least once a week, Chad and I have a conversation about how happy we are that we rescued him. He was so worth it. :)

As anyone who has visited our home knows, Fresco is the happiest when he's the center of your world, so it's always a bit of a struggle for us to give all three dogs the attention they crave and deserve. Fresco makes it darn easy though because he's just so darn lovable. This morning I awoke to a his sleepy little eyes staring me right in the face as his head lay right on my pillow.

One of Fresco's most adorable habits is his preference to have one limb hanging off the bed at all times. I have no idea why in the world he insists on doing this, but it's so flippin' funny. Here are some pictures I took a couple of weeks ago to just show off his adorableness. Notice that he's also quite the contortionist. Since he's only 2 he's still very flexible!

You can pretend not to notice how much dog hair is on our bed!