Friday, April 10, 2009

Cat Burglar

Although I don't consider myself a cat lover or cat person, I still like a good cat video from time to time. In fact, I think this is at least the second cat video I've shared here on the Chatter. One of my Facebook friends shared this yesterday and I got such a good laugh out of it!

Seriously, how does that little kitty find all this stuff? It's funny and pretty amazing!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

My Mishap

This morning started like a perfectly normal day, but it derailed so quickly it was obvious the stars just weren't aligned for me. I guess I really don't believe in star alignment or bad luck or astrology or whatever, so maybe I should just say that it's been a really stressful week and this morning was just the icing on the cake.

My morning went smoothly until the point that I decided I would pour myself a glass of V8 Splash to drink on the way to work. I climbed into the car and headed down the road, but as I went to take my first drink, I guess I hit a bump, because the cup slipped out of my hand and went flying. I managed to catch it before all the contents were gone, but not before I had poured red juice onto the lap of my very light colored pants and all over my seat as well. I guess it serves me right for drinking and driving.

Of course, at that moment when I desperately needed something to mop up my mess, there was nothing useful to be found in my car, even though there are normally napkins sticking out of every nook and cranny. I finally dug some tissue out of my purse, only narrowly avoiding wrecking my car in the process, but by that time it was too late. The juice had already soaked into my stone colored khakis.

I had a sudden flicker of hope as I arrived at my office building when I realized there was a tiny, unopened bottle of Oxiclean stain remover in my purse. After unlocking my office door I reached into my bag and found the small spray bottle, and I'm not even kidding when I tell you that as I pulled it out of my purse the lid somehow popped off and splattered the cleaner all over my purse, my desk, my pants, my hands and my floor. At that point I actually laughed out loud because the sight was really just so absurd.

I ran to the bathroom to wash my hands and get paper towels, cleaned up the spilled cleaner as much as possible, and tried to spray the remaining Oxiclean onto the spots on my pants. I sprayed all I could and wiped all I could, but I ended up with a large wet, pink spot on my lap and another down the back of my thigh. Lovely. Not only that, but my hands smelled strongly of laundry detergent. Two more trips to the kitchen to wash my hands couldn't get rid of the overwhelming odor, so I sat at my desk and tried to hold my breath while I ate my Zone bar for breakfast.

Although the story thankfully ends there, it's safe to say that I wasn't exactly pleasant for most of the morning. Although this picture was taken later in the day, the look on my face kind of sums up how I felt!

Here's a better view of both of the main juice stains together.

I'm crossing my fingers that the stains come out in the wash--I love those pants!!

Oh, and by the way, the poll is still open. Please vote if you haven't already! Right now it's a tie!!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fake Paintings

One of the things on my "stuff to do around the house" list (which I've failed to check anything off of in quite some time) is to pick out artwork for the walls in our living room. We recently moved the frames that hung in that area into the guest bedroom in an effort to mix up the decor a bit. Since I take tons of pictures and am also extremely cheap, my idea of picking out artwork is searching through the plethora of images on my hard drive until I find something that might look good on our wall. After that I digitally alter the images using Photoshop--so that they look more like a painting--and then call them art. I think it's kind of fun to have the artwork in the house be my own even though I have no artistic ability!

So over the weekend I picked out some pictures and did some artistic editing and narrowed it down to two sets of prints that we might blow up and frame for the living room walls. Chad has a favorite pair, but I really can't decide which ones I like better, so I'm enlisting the help of my tens of readers! In case you've never been to our house, this is what our living room looks like (with the red curtains), so keep that in mind!

Vote below and let me know what you think in the comments. You might have to click on the images below to see the details of the "painting" techniques! :)

Building Pic #1

Building Pic #2

Nature Pic #1

Nature Pic #2

Thanks for voting, friends!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bringing It Half Way

One morning many months ago I turned on the TV while getting ready for work and caught part of an infomercial for a workout program called P90X. I found it totally fascinating and immediately wanted to try it out. Since Chad and I had never really exercised together, I found it especially interesting and intriguing because it was a workout that he and I could both use. I suggested that we should buy it, but Chad was concerned that it would be too difficult for me because of my back trouble. Since my experience has been that nothing seems to make my back significantly worse or significantly better, I still wanted to give it a try.

A few months later, I found out that our friends Lindsay and Bill had purchased the P90X program and were really liking it. They found it to be extremely challenging, which meant that they were seeing great results from all the hard work. Since Chad had been fairly inconsistent with his workouts in the last few (or fifteen) years, he started thinking that maybe P90X would be a good way to get him back into the habit of exercising regularly. Plus, because he started golfing more frequently in the last year, he was excited about the prospect of building some strength that would help him hit the ball farther--especially after seeing how far Bill can hit it!

After getting the personal recommendation from Bill and Lindsay, we did some additional research for ourselves on the Internets, and read nothing but good things about the program. Every review or comment or blog about P90X said it was a major challenge that resulted in major changes. Chad was finally convinced! However, just as we were getting ready to buy it, we received the whole 13 disc package as a gift from Bill and Lindsay! What great friends they are!

We started the workout program immediately upon bringing it home, after going out to get a few new sets of dumbbells, some yoga blocks and some push-up bars. A few weeks later we bought a pull-up bar as well, because we felt like doing weights on our Crossbow just wasn't a perfect substitution for actual pull-ups and chin-ups, but overall there really wasn't a ton of equipment to buy. The program's creator, Tony Horton, manages to put together a crazy hard and crazy effective set of workouts using just some very basic exercise gear.

Now let me just say that prior to starting P90X I was already exercising regularly. I was doing about 30 minutes of cardio or Wii yoga or Wii strength exercises approximately 4 times a week, plus walking the dogs just over a mile about 5 times a week. So I wasn't a complete slacker. However, during the first week of this program, I was SO SORE I could barely move. I mean really, really sore. Like the most sore I've been in my entire life. It wasn't just me either--Chad was so sore he literally cried out in pain in the middle of the night when he could barely roll over. I'm not even kidding. This workout program is so incredibly hard. Chad and I walked around like we were crippled the entire first week.

The awesome thing about the workouts is that every day (6 days a week) is completely different--weight training for different muscle groups (legs/back, chest/shoulders/tris, etc.) or different activities like yoga, plyometrics, kenpo karate and core synergistics. There's such variation you don't ever get bored, and there's such variation you manage to work every muscle in your body during the course of a week! Every few weeks the lineup changes too, so you get introduced to a new combination of workouts just when you start getting used to the pattern.

The tough thing about the workouts is that every day is 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, which means that I've been getting up at 5:30 in the morning every day to get my workout in before work. Five-thirty is wicked early--especially for those of us who rarely go to bed before 11 and never sleep solidly through the night! Chad works out after work, so it's also a bummer that we have less time together making dinner and walking the dogs. This working out thing is a big time commitment!

The other bad thing about the program is that after working out so hard for an hour each day I'm flipping famished all day long! Chad and I have had to stock the house with very healthy foods so when we're snacking and eating bigger portions we're at least stuffing our faces with good for us stuff! We've been eating a lot healthier as a result!

So as of today, I'm exactly half way through the 90 day program. While I can't say that I've lost any weight (I've actually gained a few pounds--I'm assuming of muscle mass), I can say that I'm significantly stronger than I was when I started 6 weeks ago. I can do tons more push ups, do lots more reps with heavier weights, and do yoga poses that I couldn't do at all when I started. I can do every one of the ab exercises, do wall squats for a full 90 seconds, and I can do several pull ups on my own (at least from a standing position if not from a hanging position). It's actually quite amazing how much more I'm able to "bring it" (Tony's motto) each week! Chad feels the same way--he's gained several pounds of muscle and has gained lots of definition in his chest and biceps. You definitely can't argue with the results.

Now--if only my jeans would start fitting better. :/

Monday, April 06, 2009

Dear April

Dear Month of April,

I've seriously had just about enough of your shenanigans. This evening when I went to walk the dogs I put on lined sweats, a sweatshirt, my ski coat, a wool hat and gloves, and yet I was still freezing as I turned into that north wind. My nose was ice cold and running all over. This is seriously ridiculous! It's the 6th day of the month--what in the world do you think you're doing?? My neighbors just put trash bags all over the baby trees in their front yard to protect them from tonight's expected 24 degree low. Twenty-four? Really? Really, April, it's SPRING now--or hadn't you heard? Winter is over. Get over it already. Get back to giving us that beautiful, warm, happy sunshine that you're so famous for. Really.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Making Basketball History

Today Chad and I made Luce family history while helping to make KU basketball history. We went to Allen Fieldhouse to attend our first ever KU women's basketball game. Most people who don't live in Lawrence or follow KU sports probably had no idea, but today our Lady 'Hawks played in the finals of the Women's NIT. Our women's team has never been especially successful, so this was a huge step forward in the building of the program.

Although Chad wasn't especially excited about going to watch women's basketball at first, he decided that it would be a good idea to support the team in this historic game. We ended up having a really good time, because the Allen Fieldhouse atmosphere was absolutely incredible! It was so great to see so many people turn out to support the KU women! They annouced a KU and Big 12 record crowd of 16,100 (the Fieldhouse holds about 16,300), but it looked like there were actually at least 500-1000 seats near the rafters that were empty. Still, it was an absolutely incredible crowd for a women's game! Check this out!

This was during the first half, when KU made a run to tie the game about 3 minutes before halftime after being down by as many as 10 early in the game. They ended up falling back down by eight before halftime and then trailing by as many as 13 in the second half, but then made another run late in the second half to cut it to just 3 points with under a minute left to play. Unfortunately, they weren't able to come up with the 3-pointer at the end to tie it, but they definitely made it a great game down the stretch. I think South Florida was really just the better team in the end. It was really pretty amazing that they were able to hold on and win when KU had this kind of home court advantage!

I can only imagine what a thrill it was for the KU women, who generally don't have very many fans in attendance during regular games, to have a crowd like this today. It made me so happy for them and I'm so glad we were able to be there to show our support!

Although the atmosphere today was almost exactly like a men's game, I have to admit that the play itself is so incredibly different. Personally, I think it's all about genetics. If you think about it, the tallest girl on KU's team is 6'5", which means that she's only about as tall as a shooting guard or a small forward on a men's team. She can't be expected to rebound and shoot like the male centers simply because she's not nearly as close to the basket as they are! The girls are great ball handlers and great shooters in general, but none of them are aggressive in the same way that the men are. Many of them seemed tentative in their shooting and reluctant to take the open shot. The other way that their genes betray them is just in their general overall strength. There were so many missed layups simply because the girls couldn't take the ball up strong enough. They aren't gifted with enough upper body strength for powerful inside games and they don't have enough leg strength to jump high for the rebounds! It's just physically impossible for the girls to be as exciting to watch as the boys!

With that said, it was still a fun time today and we were very proud of the women. We have several really great players that are coming back next year, so I have high hopes that our women will make the BIG dance next year!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Give You Up

Today I came across an absolutely fantastic video that I think everyone should watch. Click here to check it out.

If you actually watched it, you probably realize that I was only kidding about the fantastic part--although it was pretty fantastically bad. Now that you're completely confused, let me be the first to explain that you've just been Rickrolled. Despite the fact that Rickrolling has apparently been an Internet sensation for almost 2 years, I had never heard of it until today. Wikipedia claims that 18 million people in the US have been Rickrolled, so clearly I'm fairly culturally illiterate.

Still confused? I don't blame you, because it really doesn't make much sense. Apparently Rickrolling is simply telling people you're going to link them to one site when instead you link them to a video of Rick Astley's song "Never Gonna Give You Up". Completely bizarre, I know. The practice supposedly started a couple of years ago when some person or persons anonymously hijacked some popular website and made every link point to this video. I guess on April 1 last year Youtube hijacked every one of its own videos so that they all linked to Rick Astley as well. Quite the April Fool's Day joke, don't you think?

I guess the video itself is kind of funny, and maybe this would have been funnier had I omitted the long and boring explanation, but this is still such a weird joke. I'm so curious as to whose idea this was in the first place and why they chose Rick Astley. Random!