Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sadness Beyond Words

This morning I received such horrific and unfathomable news it still seems absolutely surreal. I'm completely overwhelmed with sadness and yet part of me can't even wrap my brain around what's happened. Yesterday afternoon my good friend Melissa learned that her husband Gavin died while hiking in the Grand Canyon with some friends. I can't even express my sorrow for my friend and their two-year-old son Liam.

Although the final cause of death has not yet been published, initial indications are that Gavin died from heat-related illness. His death seems even more unreal since less than three weeks ago we were celebrating his 30th birthday with a bunch of friends at the bar he owned here in Lawrence. Although I'd known Gavin casually through Melissa for a couple of years, his birthday was really one of the first times I'd had an extended conversation with him. He was intelligent, funny, kind and down to earth, and he was loved by many, many people here in Lawrence. Gavin was involved in many community groups for which he volunteered his time and was a wonderful husband and father. He will be greatly missed.

Please say a prayer for my friend Melissa and their precious little guy Liam, and remember to hug your loved ones every chance you get. Life is just too short, and you never know what might happen tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Margie's Family

Although last week was a sad time for Chad's family with the loss of Grandma, the celebration of her life at her funeral was really very nice. We had a great time sharing stories about Grandma with her pastor the previous day, which he then retold at the service so that even those who didn't know her well learned what a strong, hard-working, giving, generous person she was. While we were talking with her pastor I realized I had a ton of first hand stories and memories of Grandma, considering she wasn't my actual grandmother at all. Then it dawned on me that she had been my Grandma for 17 years now--no wonder I felt like we were actually related! I think she was even more special to me since I lost my last grandparent, my beloved Grandma Seaman, over 11 years ago. Grandma Decker and our dear Grandma Luce are all I have!

Anyway, as it happens with many funerals, it was nice time to spend with family members that we don't get to see very often. After the burial on Thursday we went out to Chad's parents house and ate and chatted and relaxed with family, and it was really nice. Of course I took lots of pictures, and as I often do, I took lots of candid shots, which I think best capture real moments and real personalities. In fact, one of the few posed pictures of the entire day is one of the few I totally messed up! Candid shots are definitely more my strength!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Best.Video.Ever

Back in 2006 when OK Go released their treadmill video to the world via Youtube, I became an instant fan. Their music is catchy and slightly unique, and their videos are SO amazingly creative and downright goofy. I'm a huge sucker for goofy.

Earlier this year I was amazed and mesmerized by another of their videos when they released the Rube Goldberg machine version of "This Too Shall Pass." If you haven't watched it you absolutely have to. Right now. It's just flipping phenomenal. Every time I watch it I see something totally new and amazing. I'm such a huge fan I can't believe I haven't actually talked about this before on my blog--maybe I have and just can't seem to find the post, since searching for "ok go" brings up hundreds of posts.

Anyway, today at lunch I was checking a dog photographer blog that I subscribe to and she had posted a new OK Go video that might just be my absolute favorite ever. While it's not quite as amazing as the Rube Goldberg machine, it's definitely near and dear to my heart. I was already a big fan--then they had to go and do this!!



Did you catch at the end that they have a place on their website where you can donate to the ASPCA? Can you see why I love it so much?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grandma

Yesterday the world lost a wonderful, selfless women when Chad's grandma passed away at about 3 p.m. We will miss Grandma tremendously, but we are so thankful that she is in a better place now and her suffering has ended.

After moving to an assisted living facility in early 2009, Grandma's health had continued to decline and she'd finally been moved to a nursing home just a couple of months ago. Although she seemed to be improving initially and even talked about possibly coming to visit us in Lawrence like she used to, a couple of weeks ago she took a turn for the worst. On Friday Chad's parents called to tell us she wasn't doing well, and we started discussing when we would go to Salina to visit her, but she was gone just over 24 hours later. Thankfully Chad saw her just a couple of weeks ago when he was in Salina for work, but I was so sad that I didn't get the chance to say goodbye.

Grandma was such a generous, loving woman who spent most of her life volunteering her time and talents and giving of her own resources to help those who were less fortunate. She loved the Lord and was a leader in her church, where I know she'll be missed by so many. The good news is, she's now free of that 88-year-old earthly body and is running and jumping for joy in heaven! Save a place for us, Grandma--we love you!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sidetracked by Video Chat

Last night Chad was out of town, and early in the day I had these grand intentions (delusions) that I was going to have an incredibly productive evening while he was gone. I started strong by getting the first load of laundry going, but just as I was getting ready to clean the bathroom I started getting hungry and went to make myself something for dinner instead. Going to the kitchen meant that I passed by the computer, at which point I happened to notice that my brother was online on Google chat. I couldn't resist calling him for a "quick" video chat, because Google's video chat is just so awesome it feels like I'm hanging out in his living room. Basically, for about the next two hours Eric and I sat around and made each other laugh like a couple of children. Good times.

I just love Google video chat so much, I've been trying to recruit all my other friends and family members who have gmail accounts to use it, because it's so simple. Like all Google functions and products, it's just so perfectly integrated with email and easy to set up and use. I totally love it. I wanted to provide a little sample just so you could see how cool it is! Just try to ignore my ridiculously loud, nasally voice while you check this out.


video

Why didn't anyone ever tell me my voice was so incredibly annoying? Ack! Regardless, you can see how cool video chatting is!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Beta Test--Episodes 4 and 5

I've totally failed as the #1 fan of my brother's web series since I've failed to blog about the last two episodes! New ones have been coming out every two weeks, so #4 came out just over three weeks ago and #5 came out just last Friday. You should definitely watch them if you haven't already! Each episode is only about five minutes long, so it would only take you 25 minutes to get up to date on the entire series! All five episodes and the trailer can be found on The Beta Test YouTube page. I probably won't be embedding them here anymore because they're starting to contain a little more adult content than I'd like to feature directly on the Chatter! According to The Beta Test Facebook page, "If you haven't watched episode 5 yet, get to it! Violence! Mayhem! And even more cats!"

Speaking of their FB page, they're steadily gaining followers, and today they gained five whole fans in one day! I think having 171 people who "like" you is pretty great, but it would be wonderful to see their popularity explode and "go viral" like so many YouTube videos do. Feel free to email this post and help spread the word about The Beta Test!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Football First

Last weekend I missed the Jayhawks' opening game of the season because I met my friend Tish in KC at the Royals game instead. That sounds like an odd choice of sporting events since the Royals are so ridiculously horrible, but I thought it would be fun to see Tish and also meet her best friend Jenn, who is one of the founders of the Fit Bottomed Girls website, of which I'm a big fan. I also didn't think the KU game would be a big deal since it should have been an easy win. Instead, I'm glad I wasn't there because it turned out to be such an awful loss.

Anyway, today was my first game of the season, and apparently I'm good luck because the team that played today was clearly a totally different team than the one that played last Saturday. Our defense was pretty great, our quarterback was effective, and our running game was solid. We lead much of the first half, trailed slightly at halftime and then took the lead again in the third quarter and never gave it back. It was pretty freakin' fantastic. All of this might not sound like that big of a deal since it was just a preseason game, but in fact we were playing the number 17 team in the nation. So yeah--it was a big deal!

The crowd was pretty excited about the game and the win, especially because so many people were calling for Coach Gill's head after the loss last week. The students celebrated big by storming the field, but thankfully had enough sense to not tear down the goalposts! Go Hawks!


video

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Piano Room Project

A few weeks ago when we were doing a little sprucing up around the house in preparation for Robyn's birthday party, I finally finished up a project that had been hanging over my head for nearly a year. When we first moved to this house and were doing a bunch of furniture shopping, we bought this huge picture frame to put over the fireplace, but then decided after sitting it there for a few days that we didn't like it in that spot. I also needed to sand and stain it because the color was a little odd, but since it was too cold of a winter to work in the garage, the project got put on hold for many months. Finally in the spring when I took a bunch of pictures of campus, I decided they were perfect for the frame and got motivated to work on it again. After sanding, staining, editing pictures and getting them printed, I was finally able to get all the pictures into place (which only took about 5 tries) and get it hung on the wall of the piano room (with a little help from the hubby).

Since we'd gotten some long sought after tables on my birthday to almost finish furnishing the space, I went out and got a few decorative pieces and a lamp to put on the new tables. I love the tables and I adore the lamp, which I think matches the print chair in that room perfectly. I still would like to get a ficus for the one remaining corner, but since I killed two live ficus trees at our old house (which I contend wasn't really my fault--there just wasn't enough light in our old entryway), Chad and I are currently in negotiations as to weather I should get a live or a fake one.

Anyway, besides the plant, I think the room is done. I also think the frame looks pretty great, if I do say so myself. It just feels so good to have the project finished!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

You Gotta Have Faith

On Sunday, we went to the beautiful wedding of our dear friend Faith and her new husband Andy. We've known Faith since the early 2000s when we started playing softball with our friend Danny's Set'em Up Jack's team. She is an extremely smart, talented, gorgeous, thoughtful and loyal friend and we are so thankful to have her in our lives. We're also so thankful she found such a wonderful man in Andy and that we were able to be present for their beautiful wedding ceremony!

Faith and Andy started dating just over two years ago and have only been engaged since February, but I still felt like I'd been waiting forever for this friend's wedding. Prior to dating Andy, Faith had an on-again, off-again relationship that was pretty disastrous, and she was upset or depressed so much of the time. It was so difficult to see our beloved friend so unhappy, so we were thrilled when she met her new husband, who is a firefighter here in Lawrence. I remember distinctly how she beamed the first time she introduced me to him at Robyn and Dan's wedding. She was truly like a different person when they started dating and I just couldn't be happier for both of them!

Their wedding on Sunday was so perfect, and Faith did a terrific job with all the planning. It was an outdoor event at a location in nearby Eudora--the BlueJacket Crossing Vineyard & Winery. This was the first wedding the winery had hosted and the setting and scenery were just perfect. It was a little windy, but for the most part the weather cooperated too. Our good friend Nolan actually officiated the ceremony, because he'd gotten ordained online a few years ago so that he could officiate the wedding of a different friend! Andy and Faith wrote their own vows that were absolutely beautiful. When Andy read his vows to Faith I seriously had tears streaming down my cheeks, and I hadn't cried at a wedding forever! Faith's brother Justin sang and played the guitar and did a terrific job. The rest of the music was very unique and special, and when Faith and Andy walked back down the aisle as husband and wife they played "Faith" by George Michael. It was just so perfect and all so beautiful!

The reception was equally fantastic with lots of hors d'oeuvres, salad and pasta by Danny's staff at Jack's and terrific wine from Bluejacket. Faith's mom made 14 different cheesecakes for the occasion--I had the cappuccino cheesecake and it was phenomenal. Faith made centerpieces out of wine bottles with sunflowers and set each place setting with name tags on the wine glasses, and each glass also had a wine charm personalized with our initials! It was gorgeous and so creative! We had a great time hanging out with friends and I had a terrific time dancing with the girls, since of course my husband doesn't dance. The event even included a fantastic sunset! Later we met our friends down at The Oread for some more socializing and celebrating, which was a nice end to the terrific evening!

Of course I didn't take my good camera, but now I kind of wish I would have, because there were so many great moments that I would have loved to capture with better pictures. Regardless, there are hopefully a few good ones in the batch!


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Birthday Baby

Today we're celebrating the 4th birthday of our lanky little man Fresco, and I use the word "celebrating" in the loosest sense of the word, since we did absolutely nothing special for him at all today! He's such a poor, neglected little guy.

The funny thing is that earlier this evening Chad mentioned that Fresco seemed a little dejected, which I attributed to me yelling at Hope and Celtic yesterday after work when they were jumping around like spazzoids before I got their dinner ready. Fresco is so sensitive to the emotions of either other dogs or humans, he was definitely more upset and worried about his siblings getting into trouble than they were, and he even seemed like he was still walking on eggshells a little this morning. I just thought maybe his concern was still lingering this evening, but then while we were outside for a couple of hours trying to pull up the evil, spider-like weed that's threatening to take over our entire yard, it suddenly hit me that his birthday (observed) is today! He was probably just depressed that his parents didn't even remember!

Unlike with his sister, we actually do know that Fresco is four this year and we know he was born in late August or early September. Since we already had a couple of August birthdays in the family, we picked September 1 as his official day of celebration--except that we forgot to celebrate!

Although our youngest munchkin didn't get a party, I assure you that he is probably one of the most loved pups on the planet. He is so sweet and so incredibly affectionate he will win over just about anyone he meets, just like he did when I first spent the day with him over 3 years ago. This little man was clearly destined to be part of our family, and we wouldn't trade him for the world. How can you resist that adorable face and those goofy long legs?