Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Long Time Coming

I've been super unmotivated and unproductive lately--unproductive at work, unproductive at home, unproductive in my workouts, unmotivated to clean, unmotivated to blog, unmotivated to go out with friends, unmotivated to write my Christmas thank-yous. I'm not sure what my problem is. I guess maybe it's just post-holiday, mid-winter depression. Maybe all I need is a vacation to the tropics or something.

Regardless, despite my general laziness and blah mood of late, last night I did something productive. This particular something was not only productive, but it was also a long time coming. It was a project which had been sitting on a shelf in our computer room for about the last 2 years just waiting for me to get motivated enough to finish it. Motivation wasn't the biggest problem with this project though. It was a project of the heart, and my heart apparently just needed a little more healing before the project could be completed.

Last night I finally finished the shadow box I started in memory of our beloved little boy Steeler. I hadn't really worked on it for months, and it was sitting unfinished basically only because I hadn't found exactly the right picture for its completion. Most of the pictures I've taken since we went digital 6 or so years ago have never been printed, so finding that perfect picture meant searching through thousands of images on our hard drive, and I'd just never gotten around to that search. Last night, while searching for something else entirely, I came across an older, printed picture of our sweet boy that fit the collage just perfectly.

So here is my finished shadow box. I realize this many pictures might be a little overkill, but I just wanted to be able to share each piece of memorabilia.

This is a portion of one of the sympathy cards we received. It says
Perhaps they are not the stars
but rather openings in Heaven
where the love of our lost ones
shines down to let us know
they are with us.

The drawing was from a sympathy card from our friend Quillen

The staff at Stone House Animal Hospital made this precious imprint of Steeler's paw just after he died.

My friend Yaslyn painted this amazing tile for the shelter wall, but since it was burned in the kiln they ended up not using it.

We hung the box in our bedroom above the armoire.

We miss our sweet little Steely Man so much and think of him every day. It's nice to finally have his memorial in a place where we will see it each and every day as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I think this video has been around the Internets two or three times already, but it always makes me laugh. Chad and I are always talking about how weird our dear little Hope is, but she doesn't hold a candle to this dog. Wow--this guy (or girl) has issues. Seriously. What exactly is this dog thinking?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sports Reporter of the Future

Once again I can't take credit for finding this video--I found a link to it on someone else's blog today. This little kid is just so cute I can't resist sharing. He's a terrific reporter who had me cracking up at some of his hard hitting questions. My favorite is the exchange with Michael Beasley at about 3:30 in the video. So hilarious! If you have time, you have to check out this little sports reporter of the future!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chuck and the Webcam

Chad and I had a pretty lazy, relaxing weekend, which was really nice. Last night we curled up in front of the fireplace and watched episodes of Chuck, which I just recently started watching but have become a big fan of. The characters on that show are just so funny! The Office is the only thing that I currently tivo, but I think I'm going to have to add Chuck to my season pass list!

On Saturday evening I also spent a little time playing with my new webcam, which I bought using some of my Target gift cards from Christmas. I bought it with the intention of signing up for Skype or Google Video Talk so that I could chat with friends and family members far away, but I haven't gotten around to actually using it for chatting yet. So far, all I've done is goof around and take silly pictures of myself. The resolution on the camera is really pretty crappy, but there are a few special effects that are mildly entertaining. It's not nearly as cool or as fun as the iPhoto Booth on a Mac, but here are just a few of the silly pictures I took a couple of weeks ago on the first night that I hooked up the camera.

Hopefully soon I'll actually take the time to figure out how to use it for its intended purpose: catching up with far away friends!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Right Between the Ears

This week has sort of flown by, I guess partially because I had Monday off thanks to MLK's birthday. This week has definitely gotten away from me, as I intended to blog about last weekend much earlier than now!

Regardless, last Friday night we attended the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce annual dinner for about the 4th or 5th year in a row thanks to Westar, Chad's employer. While I rarely turn down free food events, I have to admit that this is one that I'm not a huge fan of. I always enjoy getting to know some of Chad's coworkers better and catching up with a few other Lawrence friends, but overall this is an event I could definitely do without. For one thing, this year it was at the Holiday Inn, where the ambiance is pretty blah and the food is marginal at best. The last couple of years the food has been at the Eldridge, which is lovely and has excellent hors d'oeuvres. Although since the Eldridge doesn't have one room large enough to seat all the people at this event, they've done the first enertainment/awards part of the evening across the street at Liberty Hall.

The awards part of the event is the part that kills me every year. Every year it consists of over an hour of people jabbering on, giving long, drawn out introductions and long, drawn out acceptance speeches. There's always a speech from the incoming chairperson and the outgoing chairperson and it just takes forever and is so ridiculously boring! I am not exaggerating at all when I say that the entertainment started an hour and fifteen minutes late this year because the speeches all ran so long! UGH!

However, the entertainment this year was actually really good. The comedy troupe Right Between the Ears performed, and although I'd heard all about them and maybe caught a minute or two of their show on KPR on occasion, I'd never listened to them for any extended amount of time. If you're not familiar with the group, here's a YouTube video that describes it pretty well. Their show plays on Sirius and XM satellite radio even though they are a Lawrence based group, so that's pretty cool! Although it's a little strange seeing a radio sketch comedy show, they were extremely talented performers and it was really hysterical! I laughed really hard at several of their sketches. Most of the humor was current events based and much of it was very specific to Lawrence, which made it even funnier--although probably not so much for someone who wasn't from Lawrence!

This wasn't a bit they did at the event on Friday, obviously, but here's a funny YouTube video I found that gives you an idea of what their comedy is like. Actually, the stuff last Friday was much funnier! It may have even made the marginal food worthwhile!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change Has Come

I'm afraid that by talking about politics on my blog I might be alienating some of my friends and family members, but I just can't let this historic day go by without mentioning how excited I am about the change that has come to America. Although I was at work today, I listened to the live CNN feed leading up to the inauguration until about the time President Obama was introduced to the millions of people on the Mall, at which time I rushed into our break room to watch the actual swearing in of our new Vice President and President. I thought the ceremony, at least the part that I watched, was beautiful. I thought the President's speech was amazing. I thought the crowd was absolutely astounding. I thought the excitement and hope for the future was palpable, even just among the 30 or so people from my office who watched with me. When Barack Obama officially became president, everyone in the room broke into applause!

I realize there was a lot of hype and fanfare that went along with today's events, but if you stop and think about it, it is such a huge deal! It's so hard to imagine that less than 60 years ago, when my mother--not my grandmother or great-grandmother--when my mother was 8 years old, Rosa Parks was only allowed to sit at the back of the bus. African-Americans weren't allowed in certain restaurants and weren't allowed to drink from certain water fountains. African-Americans were discriminated against on a daily basis and it was somehow okay! For those of us who didn't live through the civil rights movement, it's hard to believe that those kinds of things even happened, but they actually happened very recently in our history! When you think about it that way, you can see why it was such a big deal that President Obama was inaugurated today! Whether you're excited about him as president or not, you have to be excited that our country has finally taken this HUGE step towards racial equality! I'm just so happy for America!

With that said, I'm personally very excited about Obama as our new President too! I'm excited to have an intellectual, humble, intelligent, hopeful, articulate person in the White House. I'm excited that we finally have a president that is respected by more than 22% of our nation and a majority of other people in the world! Hooray for our new President!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Clean Machine

A couple of weekends ago Chad and I almost/kind of/sort of made an impulse buy. This is highly unusual for us, as we generally spend entirely too long researching and shopping for every major purchase for our household. We'd sort of talked a little about getting a new washer and dryer, since our old ones were somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 or so years old (which is really nothing since my mom just told me hers were like 25 years old). Ours still worked okay (thanks to Chad repairing both on multiple occasions), but the capacity was so small we were considering an upgrade. We didn't wash our comforter nearly enough since we had to go to the laundromat to do so!

Anyway, we hadn't really entertained the idea too seriously, but then Chad saw a commercial for one of Nebraska Furniture Mart's great financing deals, and we suddenly got the urge to jump in the car and go. We grabbed our trusty Consumer Reports edition that rated washers and dryers and headed out the door. Within an hour or so, we'd picked out the Consumer Report "best buy" (which happened to be a GE, in case you are wondering), haggled with the salesman to get a slightly better deal than they were offering, and headed to the pickup area to strap those babies into the bed of the truck!

Our plan was to stack the new units to free up some space in our tiny little laundry room, but once we did that we realized we needed a table on which to set the laundry basket when loading and unloading, since the dryer previously served that purpose. We were looking at Target for a small table or desk to put in that spot when Chad realized a card table already in our possession would fit there just perfectly. Since our laundry room is rarely seen by anyone except for us, we decided to save money and just let the card table do the job. Between that and the vent duct sticking out of the side it all looks a little WT, but it's functional, so I guess we'll just deal with the unsightliness for now!

It's absolutely amazing to me how much the technology of washers and dryers has changed in just the last 10 or so years. I was astounded that I don't even have to tell our new washer how big of a load I'm washing--how cool that the washer can determine that by itself! I was completely mesmerized by the new front loader and sat and watched it flip back and forth for like 20 minutes the first time I did a load. It was fascinating! I'm clearly very easily entertained. Of course it's also great that it uses so much less water and energy, and has so many more options and features!

So far we haven't really noticed that our clothes are that much cleaner, but it's extremely nice to be able to wash so many more clothes in one load! That extra-large capacity comes in handy when you need to wash the hair of three dogs off your comforter on a weekly basis! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Super Bowl Bound!!!

We had a wonderful evening, snuggled up on the couch as a family, watching the Steelers win the AFC championship!! We're so excited!! Our Steelers are going to the Super Bowl again!

As Chad and I were enjoying watching the game with our three adorable pups I thought it would be a good opportunity for a family picture, so I went and grabbed the camera at halftime. Now this is what I call a perfect evening--dog cuddles and a Steeler victory!

Thankfully I had the camera in hand for the rest of the game, since in the fourth quarter when Troy Polamalu ran back an interception 40 yards for a touchdown, my husband's reaction was pretty darn classic.

Yes, we're super excited in the Luce household! Go Steelers!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I can't take credit for posting this video first, since I found it yesterday on It's just so good I can't resist re-posting it, even if that makes me a copycat. I would be lying if I said I didn't get teary-eyed every time I watch it. I think everyone needs a friendship like this one. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Even Better

I know I'm such a complete picture nerd, but I found some pictures on my camera that are way better than the Christmas pictures I shared the other day. I totally didn't realize they were even there, but apparently I took a few more shots after the holidays! I think these are an improvement from these--what do you think?

Okay, I guess it's kind of hard to make a comparison since most of the pictures are different, but I think I did a better job on the two that were the same. I think very slowly I'm figuring out this photography thing!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Hazards of Donation

On Friday I made my first blood donation since donating two years ago, and although I'm an incredibly slow bleeder, I did manage to fill up my bag with about 4 minutes left to spare. It wasn't too terrible of an experience, except for the few times the nurses wiggled the needle around trying to get the blood flowing faster. That part always makes me woozy. I don't know why I can't have bigger veins or something!

While I survived the donation itself, I have to say that this year I didn't feel so hot afterward. By the end of the day I was drained and exhausted, and by evening I felt like I had the flu. I ended up going to bed at like 8:00 on a Friday night!

I felt okay the next morning, thankfully, but ever since my donation I've had the most bizarre rash all over the inside of my arm where the blood was drawn. It's so strange--I can't figure out what caused it. Check this out!

You probably can't see it so well in the picture, but it's red and bumpy and in kind of a square shape. You'd think I had an allergic reaction to an adhesive or something, but they didn't use any sort of tape on my arm at all. It was wrapped with that crinkly medical wrap that sticks to itself, so maybe the reaction was to that stuff? I just think it's weird since I didn't have this reaction last time!

Anyway, the rash is just a little itchy, so it's nothing that would stop me from donating again, but the flu-like symptoms that came that evening really stunk. I definitely won't be one of those people who gives blood every 8 weeks--I think once a year is my max!

Monday, January 12, 2009


It's no secret that we love Steelers football around here, so Pittsburgh's win over San Diego in the NFL playoffs yesterday made for an enjoyable evening in the Luce household. My love for the Steelers has obviously grown out of my husband's incredible passion and loyalty, and I will admit that part of me cheers them on just because I know Chad will be miserable if they lose. However, I'm pretty sure that Pittsburgh would be my favorite team even if my hubby wasn't such a huge fan, primarily because Hines Ward is my favorite player of all time. I'm convinced that it's impossible to watch this guy play and not become a huge fan. Not only is he an amazing player with incredible toughness, but he always looks like he is having the time of his life out there on the field. How can you not love him??? Check out some pictures from yesterday's game, taken by AP photographer Gene Puskar. Amazing shots!!

I swear there's no other player in the league who keeps a smile on his face while catching, running, blocking, being pursued, and being tackled! I wish I had the video from yesterday's game to share, because he is so freakin' fun to watch! How can you not love this guy???

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holiday Farewell

We put off taking down the Christmas tree as long as possible, but since tomorrow is the last day of curbside tree-cycling in Lawrence, tonight we finally put all the ornaments away. Since I love Christmas and love Christmas decorations and love taking pictures, I thought I'd just share a few of my favorite Christmas decor pictures from this season!

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Ban List Grows

Many of you who know my husband are aware that he's notorious for holding grudges against restaurants at which he's had bad experiences. For example, in college (that would be over 15 years ago) we went to eat at Free State Brewery with my mom and brother and a few other people. Chad's burger was still bleeding when it arrived at our table, so he sent it back to the kitchen. It came back a second time and was still underdone, so he sent it back again. By the time it came out the third time, not only was it was charred beyond being edible, but everyone at our table was finished eating. Chad was not happy, to say the least. We didn't step foot in the restaurant for at least 7 years, and the only reason the ban was lifted at that point was because some friends invited us to join them there. To this day, we only eat at Free State if it's the choice of people we're with. To us, the food is always marginal and the service is rarely good.

I could share other stories about other restaurants on the ban list, but that would probably take all day. I'll just give you a quick list to give you an idea:
  • Bucky's: Chad's whole family got food poisoning in 1988. Chad believes his ban ultimately led to Bucky's demise a few years ago.
  • Teller's: super small portions and some inedible dish about 4 years ago.
  • Jefferson's: rancid fish about 3 years ago.
  • La Tropicana: my brother came with us and got food poisoning about 2 years ago.
  • Cici's Pizza: made Chad sick about 2 years ago.
  • Genovese: an Italian restaurant that couldn't give us a side of marinara sauce because they didn't have any about 1 1/2 years ago.
  • Ten: a ridiculously long wait for cold food about a year ago.
There are probably more that I just can't think of right now, but you get the idea. Chad has no tolerance for marginal food or crappy service. I will admit that I'm kind of intolerant as well, but it's not because I'm a picky eater--it's because I'm so cheap! If I'm going to pay money for dinner at a restaurant, then it darn well better be food that I can't make myself at home!

Anyway, the point of this whole back story is that another restaurant was added to our ban list on Christmas Eve day. We were headed out to purchase a new garage door opener (which my amazing husband installed all by himself a few days later) and I was craving vegetables, so we stopped to eat lunch at King Buffet, which is the one Chinese restaurant we visit regularly. I realize that as a rule, buffets should probably be avoided anyway, but this was one buffet I loved. They had loads of vegetarian selections that always seemed so fresh. We probably ate there once every 2-3 months--whenever we got the urge for Chinese.

Our visit on Christmas Eve day started out harmless enough, as I sucked down my hot and sour soup and plowed through a bunch of veggie dishes. All was well until Chad was finishing off his lo mein noodles and noticed not one but THREE short, straight, black hairs on his plate. He resisted the urge to vomit on the spot, and told himself that it could have very easily been a patron of the restaurant and not the kitchen staff, since it is, after all, a buffet.

I was kind of surprised that he even went back to the buffet at all at this point, but he decided to tough it out because he was still hungry and we had eaten there for so many years without any problems. He told the server that their lo mein had hair issues, and she was very apologetic and insisted we wouldn't have to pay for his meal. Chad returned with a lo mein free plate, and carefully inspected the rest of his food before eating.

At this point, we were still on the fence about instituting an all out lifetime ban, primarily because we just loved the place and had always had such good food there. A few minutes later, however, it became very clear that we could never come back again. Chad's back was towards the main portion of the dining room, in which I was watching a scene so disturbing it was hilarious. I waited until he was almost completely finished with his meal, at which point I said, "I think we need to call the health department."

This is the scene from the middle of the dining room:

In case you can't tell, that's a bunch of restaurant workers MAKING CRAB RANGOON in the middle of the dining room. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm going to guess that preparing food in the dining room of a restaurant is a health code violation. I'm also going to take a stab that these things are health code violations as well:

2. Not wearing gloves when you're preparing food.
3. Not wearing hair nets while you're preparing food.
4. Preparing food after you've been busing tables.
5. Putting your cream cheese in a huge tub that's used to bus tables and then leaving it uncovered, unrefrigerated on a dining room table.
6. Throwing the uncooked cream cheese filled shells directly onto the table, which isn't covered with waxed paper or a baking sheet.
7. Having a small child who is a patron of the restaurant, who had previously been sitting next to us coughing in her food, watch as you prepare food.

Anything I'm missing? Check the picture--there could be more.

Needless to say, after laughing at the ridiculousness of it all (clearly a defense mechanism to avoiding throwing up from thinking about how the food we just ate had been prepared), we left King Buffet, never to return. On our way out we enjoyed some Engrish on the white board in the lobby:

I know you're all probably very sorry that you missed the "specil wholday beef ball." As if that wasn't entertaining enough, as we were leaving we checked out the Christmas tree decorated with children's wishes. This one caught our eye:

This completely cracked us up! It's so sweet that Neshia was putting her most important priority (world peace) first and leaving her worldly Wii desires as an afterthought!

At least we were able to get a good laugh out of the eventfulness of our lunch. As Chad put it, "That's the most fun I've had at a restaurant I'm never going back to!" :)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

To the Under 30 Crowd

Someone sent this to me a few weeks ago and it had me rolling. Not sure where it came from, but I think it's worth sharing. Enjoy!!



When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up--what with walking twenty-five miles to school every ways...yadda, yadda, yadda.

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it! But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.

You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a dang Utopia! I hate to say it, but you kids today don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, We had to go to the freakin' library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!! There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter, with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

There were no MP3' s or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the flippin' record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and screw it all up!

We didn't have fancy crap like call waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that was it!

And we didn't have fancy caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever!

And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing, because you had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel! There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled kids! You kids today have got it way too easy. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!

The over 30 Crowd

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Don't Drink This

A couple of weeks ago Chad and I were headed home from KC late one night and decided to stop and grab a treat for the ride home. We popped into Quik Trip, which happens to be my favorite convenience store, and as I was browsing the coolers for something yummy I came across this:

Now usually I would opt for a diet A&W Root Beer that late at night, but since I'm a very adventurous eater/drinker and I'd never seen this drink before and I'd already eaten a bunch of junk food at our Christmas party anyway, I thought I would give this a try. I love A&W and I love root beer floats, so how could I go wrong with an A&W root beer float in a bottle, right?

Wrong. So so very wrong. Terribly, horribly wrong. This stuff was absolutely disgusting. It tasted very little like root beer and nothing at all like ice cream. How could A&W take such a wonderful combination and turn it into something so awful? I talked Chad into trying a sip, and the consensus was that it tasted a little like kitchen cleaner. How does that happen? What kind of taste testers did A&W employ on this project and how did they let this "flavor" slip through the cracks? I'm baffled that someone tasted this during development and gave it the thumbs up. Really.

So if you're looking to try a new tasty treat, I would strongly advise you to stay away from the root beer float in a bottle. If you want my humble opinion, don't drink this!

Hoops With My Bro

Last Tuesday night I took a break from reading to take my brother to a KU basketball game while he was here in the Lawrence area. I initially thought that finding tickets to this game against Albany over Christmas break would be no big deal. Students would be gone, as would a bunch of Jayhawks who were traveling to Tempe for the Insight Bowl, so I figured there would be lots of people trying to get rid of tickets. I asked around a ton in the week leading up to the game with absolutely no luck, and I was getting nervous that I'd have to pay the full box office price, which was $55 each. I was starting to think I'd just have to pay a scalper outside Allen Fieldhouse, but then my friend LaRisa decided not to go to the game and offered me her tickets in exchange for dinner. I was so thankful because I didn't want Eric to miss his one and only opportunity to see the Jayhawks this year, but I also didn't want to fork out $110 for one game to a small-time opponent!

Once we got to the game I realized why tickets had been so hard to come by--it was packed! I didn't expect that at all during the holidays. I was glad the game was well-attended and the crowd was enthusiastic, since that made for a much better basketball experience for my brother! A few years ago when we went to a game over Christmas vacation it was pretty dead. I guess that's what winning a National Championship will give you: a packed fieldhouse and a crazy crowd no matter the occasion!

Eric and I had a great time at the game--but then again I always have a good time with my brother. I brought along the camera to commemorate the occasion, of course, and I just had to share my favorite picture from the evening. My brother is such a goof!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


You'd think that since I've been off work since Wednesday afternoon I would have been blogging up a storm the last few days. Instead, I've gotten more and more behind somehow. Despite the fact that we were on vacation, we managed to stay steadily busy with basketball games, a trip to the airport, engagements with friends and a couple of volunteer days at the shelter, among other things. Some of those "other things" that kept me otherwise occupied for about 4 of those 6 days were the 3rd and 4th books in the Twilight series. I think I started the 3rd one on Tuesday, and then finished it by about 2:30 a.m. on New Year's Day. I started the 4th at about 10 a.m. that same morning, and then finished it on Friday afternoon. I was completely obsessed, just like with the first book! I swear I think I might have OCD--at least when it comes to ridiculous fiction books and jigsaw puzzles. I have no self-control at all with those things! The really sad thing is, ever since I finished the last book on Friday I've had the urge to start reading it a second time. I have to admit I loved it!

I managed to fight off my reading urges over the weekend and instead spend some time at the shelter, where I have almost gotten caught up with pictures of all the new dogs. Thankfully, on Saturday I had an assistant photographer who helped me take out all the pairs--my dear husband! Chad used to go to the shelter with me fairly frequently, but in the last several years he's instead stayed home on the weekends to do all the laundry and housecleaning and grocery shopping that most normal wives would probably be doing on their day off. It was so nice to have him there to help on Saturday, and he actually enjoyed the day as well since the weather was so unseasonably nice. I think the dogs enjoyed his company too.

Isn't that the sweetest? Little Betty the Bichon mix was obsessed with Chad almost as much as I'm obsessed with teenage vampire books!