Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful for Family

My brother and I had a great time together this last week and I'm so thankful he was here. We always have so much fun no matter what we're doing. We watched movies, did some shopping, visited my cousin, went to the KU football game, watched and went to KU basketball games, went out to eat, went to church and brunch with my mom and did lots of other stuff with my mom, did the Insanity workout together each day, walked the dogs, ate Thanksgiving dinner (after I spent the whole day cooking) and I'm sure did lots of other stuff that I'm forgetting. It was a fun and busy week! I'll share a few more pictures later, but first I wanted to share a few pictures from our amazing Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin Darren's house yesterday. This was the Turkey Day dinner to top all Turkey Day dinners!

My cousin Darren and his partner Oscar built this incredible house in Shawnee earlier this year and it was absolutely designed for entertaining, so they hosted 20 people at their house yesterday and the food was just phenomenal. Darren and his sister (also my cousin) Debbie are both amazing cooks (just like our Grandma was) and Deb's son Mike is a great cook as well. I can't even explain how much food was there and how fabulous it was!

We had a great time seeing my Aunt Lois and her husband Bill along with Deb and Darren and other family members, and it was also nice to get to know Oscar better. He's a great guy and it's just so nice to see my cousin so happy.

I had a great time taking tons of pictures of their gorgeous home and beautiful Christmas decorations that were already up. I also had lots of fun taking pictures of all five dogs in attendance, two of whom are Darren and Oscar's and three others belonging to my aunt and her sisters. How adorable are these guys?






I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of great food and lots of quality time with family and lots of adorable canines!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

OCC Gifts

One of my projects earlier in the week was to finish shopping and wrapping and packing up our Operation Christmas Child box. I love this ministry so much and have so much fun participating every year!

Since I'm now without income we decided to fill only one shoebox for this Christmas, so Chad and I decided together that we'd shop for a 10-14 year old girl. We thought maybe the older kid boxes would be in higher demand since the older kids are a little more difficult to shop for--there isn't as much of a cute factor as there is shopping for the little ones. We headed to the dollar store and made the rounds picking out toiletries, candy, accessories, school supplies and a few toys. I couldn't find a sketchbook to go with the colored pencils we'd picked out, so I later picked one up at Half Price Books and thought I was all done shopping. When I went to box up our gifts on my first day off, I couldn't fit them in a small box so I ended up having to pick out a larger one, but then I had too much space left over and decided I needed to do more shopping!

So anyway, this week I wrapped my box and printed the shipping label and wrote a note to go inside to our child, but first I laid out all the presents to take a few pictures. I always think it's so fun to see how much stuff you can fit into the boxes--it's like a little clown car! Here are a few pics of all the stuff we got before I did my supplemental shopping.

Look how much empty space there is! I went back to the dollar store and picked out a jump rope, a princess watch, some bracelets, and some headbands. That filled the box up perfectly, so I dropped it off at our church and was all done!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Memorial Stadium in Lincoln

Chad and I originally decided to go to Lincoln for the KU/Nebraska game when our friends Jake and Amber moved back to Nebraska over the summer, at which time we had no idea how good (or in this case, bad) KU would be in football. As the season progressed and it became obvious how inconsistent our Jayhawks were, we had a tinge of regret about spending a significant amount of money on the tickets. However, we thought that since it would be the last time KU would ever play Nebraska in Lincoln's Memorial Stadium (since Nebraska recently left the Big 12), and since we hadn't ever been to Lincoln, and since their stadium is supposed to be the football equivalent to Allen Fieldhouse, and since it was supposed to be a fantastic football experience, we were actually pretty excited about the game.

While we didn't actually have any hope of winning against #10 Nebraska, we were expecting that our 'Hawks would have a little momentum after their record-breaking comeback against Colorado the week before. Unfortunately, like most of the people in the stadium that week, we left at halftime. We had totally underestimated them against Colorado, so we were hoping that we were underestimating them against Nebraska as well. I kept telling Chad I would be happy if our guys were just able to score one touchdown.

Anyway, when we got to the stadium in Lincoln and found our seats, we quickly realized that we were not going to have the quintessential Nebraska football experience, since this was our view.

Uh, yeah. So we couldn't see all of the field, most of the Nebraska band, the majority of the other seats in the stadium, any of the 5 jumbo screens, or the sky. The only good thing was that because we were tucked away in a corner underneath the upper deck, we stayed incredibly warm on a super cold night. While our friends elsewhere in the stadium were freezing under blankets, we never even put on our gloves!

Clearly we didn't get to hear, see and feel the excitement of the game at Lincoln's Memorial Stadium, which was a bummer. The game was also a bummer, in that we didn't even score that one touchdown that I had hoped for--our offense was horrific. The one bright spot of the evening was our defense, which held those Cornhuskers to only 20 points all night. I thought that was super impressive--way to go defense!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Product Testing Institute

A couple of weeks ago we were watching football with some friends and we saw this phone commercial, which I absolutely love. It's so flipping funny! That made me think of the commercial below, which a coworker sent me a few months ago. It cracked me up so much I saved it, but then I totally forgot to share it! Chad didn't think it was quite as funny as I did, but I think it's a keeper. These little girls could not be more adorable!

Once you've watched those cuties you have to watch the other similar commercials for that particular Sony phone. They are seriously so hysterical. They have focus groups for Guidos, Models, Surfers, Glam Rockers, and Seniors. The Guidos and Models are probably the funniest, but the Models are so over the top I don't even think they're real. The Surfers are darn funny too though. When you need a break today you have to check them out!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This weekend we made a quick getaway trip to our neighboring state of Nebraska, where we met our good friends Jake and Amber and visited the college town of Lincoln for the first time. While the primary purpose of the trip was seeing our favorite Nebraskans, we also went to see our Jayhawks play the Cornhuskers in football. The game left a little to be desired (more on that later), but we had a nice time with Amber and Jake and their good friends (and our friends too) Amy and Brian, who we met up with after the game.

After our friends left Lincoln this morning, the highlight of my day was actually taking pictures in the really cool Haymarket district of Lincoln and the UNL campus. While I didn't have the lens I wanted and the light was entirely too bright for good pictures, I still had fun and got a few good shots. I didn't take the time to edit many of them and I uploaded them in a small file size so the quality isn't great, but I still want to share a little of the beauty of Lincoln!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kristin's Fall Show

When I wrote about quitting my job a couple of weeks ago I mentioned wanting to use the creative side of my brain for a change. Although I didn't really do anything creative in my first week off, I did find some inspiration by spending a couple of afternoons with my friend Kristin. I've talked about my talented friend and her amazing jewelry many times in the last few years, but I have to blog about her once again because I never cease to be amazed by her fantastic creations. I've been helping her to get ready for her fall show (which is Saturday), and I can't even begin to explain how much incredible STUFF she will have at her show! Along with amazing bracelets, necklaces and earrings, Kristin also makes wool and wire flower pins (at right) and wool purses--all made from recycled wool sweaters. She also makes smaller wool flower hat pins and flower hair bands with interchangeable flowers! As if that isn't enough, she also has hand-painted mugs and embroidered wool pillows. Seriously, she absolutely amazes and inspires me!

I obviously love Kristin's designs and believe wholeheartedly in her talent, so I'm excited to do some online marketing for her now that I'm unemployed. My first project was making her a Facebook page today, which will hopefully eventually have lots of pictures of her jewelry and accessories. If the link doesn't work, you can log on to Facebook and search for "Something Beautiful by Kristin Campbell" to become a fan or like her! I've also set up a Facebook event for her show tomorrow if you're interested in going.

If you aren't on Facebook and would like to attend Kristin's show, here are the logistics.

Saturday, November 13 · 4:30pm - 8:00pm

Point B Dance Studio
3115 W 6th St Suite H (east of Sonic on 6th Street)

I hope everyone in the Lawrence area can make it. If not, I'll be helping Kristin with another show Friday in KC, so put it on your calendar! I promise you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Old 97's Video Blitz

After about six upload attempts I finally got one of the the videos from this summer's 97's show on Youtube, so if you're interested you can watch their old song Doreen below. I love this one because it shows each of the guys rockin' out on their own instrument--they're all so good at what they do!

If you missed their stint on Leno last night, you can actually watch that as well (after sitting through a brief commercial) on NBC's website here. Their website also had a backstage interview with the guests of the evening, which includes a few words from Ken and Rhett starting at about 1:50. Rhett mentioned that this was actually the 4th time they've been on Leno's show, so apparently I'm not the only person out there who thinks they're pretty awesome!

As you can imagine, Chad was pretty excited to hear that their new song started as a Bob Dylan tune, since Dylan is his absolute favorite artist ever. Now Chad's on a mission to figure out which song it was that they rewrote. I'm sure he'll be going through his 100 Dylan CDs in the next few days and listening to every song--or maybe he'll just be able to find the answer on Google!

Seriously, don't you think I deserve some sort of compensation from Old 97's for all of the online marketing I'm doing for them? Maybe in the form of backstage passes for their upcoming show at The Bottleneck? ;)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My Favorite Foursome

Back in July when we saw my favorite foursome from Dallas (aka Old 97's), I really intended to blog more extensively about the show, but instead only ended up sharing about my awesome encounter with Murry. So let me just sum up my review of the evening: the weather was perfect, we had great company (our friends Nate and Leigh Ann), and the 97's sounded fantastic. Although they didn't play two of my favorites (Niteclub and 4 Leaf Clover), they played with their standard over-the-top energy and were absolutely terrific. Although we weren't quite in the front row because we didn't pay for VIP tickets, we were just a few rows back at the front of the "regular person" section. As usual though, I didn't have my good camera, so getting good pictures of the band was nearly impossible in the dark with them always moving! I saved just one of the band and one of each of the 97's.





Old 97's

While my pictures pretty much suck, my camera does much better at video, and I have several great clips of entire songs that I'm going to try to get uploaded to my Youtube page tomorrow.

So this post might seem completely out of nowhere since the concert I'm talking about was so many months ago, but the reason I thought of it was that I was just looking at my calendar and noticed that I'd set myself a reminder to record Jay Leno on Wednesday, because my 97's are the musical guest! They'll be playing a song from their latest album, which I don't like nearly as much as their old stuff, but it will still be fun to see them!

Speaking of seeing them, I'm way more excited to see them in person, which will actually happen again in just a couple of months!! They are coming to Lawrence on January 28 and will be playing at the Bottleneck! I'm putting it on my calendar right now and think you should too!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Days Off, Day One

Today was obviously my first day of not being gainfully employed, and thankfully I had a pretty productive day. I hate the idea of Chad working his tail off for the man while I contribute nothing to the family unit financially, so I darn well want to be sure I'm contributing in other ways! To make sure I got myself off to a good start on day one, I woke up with Chad at 6:30 and got busy soon after. I did four loads of laundry, dusted a couple of rooms, put away a bunch of stuff I'd brought home from my office, boxed up our gifts for Operation Christmas Child, figured out how to work the new digital picture frame my coworkers gave me for a going away present, boxed up some stuff for Goodwill, cleaned the kitchen, started the Insanity workout series, went to lunch with a former coworker, went to Half Price Books and bought my first Christmas present, went to the bank, talked to my friend Mindy about her upcoming first 3-Day, walked the dogs and got the mail, had my quiet time, poop scooped the yard, answered a bunch of emails, unloaded the dishwasher and actually cooked dinner. I probably won't be this productive every day, but I'd say my first day off was a successful one!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

12 Years

A 12-year chapter of my life officially came to a close yesterday, and I'm so very excited to start spending more time doing things I really enjoy! I expected to sleep wonderfully last night since a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. My poor hubby's congestion meant that he had a hard time breathing and therefore snored all night long. As I lay in bed listening to his snores my mind was still racing about work, which I guess is to be expected for a little while at least. The last couple of weeks were extremely busy and pretty frantic, as so many people came to me with projects they wanted me to complete before I left. For the most part I got everything done, but I still feel like there were so many loose ends that could have been tied up better, and since I'm such an anal retentive freak, I'm still worrying about it.

There's actually another thing that's eating at me as well. Hopefully if I get it off my chest now I will put it behind me and not feel the need to talk about it again. I mentioned this last night to some friends who were helping me celebrate my departure, and they thought it was weird too, so hopefully this isn't just me. Here's the thing: outside of my own division, there was only one senior staff member who even bothered to say goodbye. She happens to be the only woman senior VP, which I don't think is a coincidence. She called me earlier this week to specifically say how much she appreciated all the work I'd helped their department with and how much she enjoyed working with me, and I appreciated the gesture so much.

Strangely enough, my own senior VP (my boss's boss) didn't say a word to me until he sent an email on my last day thanking me and wishing me well. It was a very nice email, in which he said, "I greatly respect the expertise, hard work and unique precision you have brought to that position. You have taken it a long way from the days when providing reports for in-house staff was essentially a non-technical position, and forever changed how Information Systems will handle that function. You leave behind a tremendous legacy of reports, applications and processes that we will use for years to come." While I certainly appreciate his sentiments, it would have been nice if he'd shown me any sort of respect while I actually still worked there, but whatever.

I honestly expected that I would hear SOME sort of goodbye from our president and a couple of the other senior VPs, but no such luck. This is actually so typical of the leadership of that office, so I don't really know why I'm surprised. There is a "good old boys"culture that everyone has talked about there for years, and if you're not one of those important guys in the fund raising department, you really don't matter that much. Within the fund raising division, there are 6 VPs/assistant VPs under the senior VP, all of whom I'd worked with closely, and most of whom had worked there a shorter time than me. Despite the fact that all of their subordinates were extremely kind, appreciative and complimentary when they found out I was leaving, not one of the VPs/AVPs said a word upon my resignation. Not a word, despite the fact that I was in the midst of projects for a couple of them at the time!

Seriously, I think this is so disrespectful on so many levels. I don't care if I'd been a file clerk who'd never spoken to the organization president in her life, I think after 12 years at the same office, anyone deserves a "thanks for your years of service" email at the very least!

While I certainly don't regret all the years I worked there, all the things I learned there, all the benefits I was given there, and all the friends I made there, I am so thankful not to be there anymore!

Monday, November 01, 2010

First Photo Session

Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure and honor of taking some family photos of my friends Pat and Kristin and their little baby boy Elijah. I was super excited about it but also a little nervous, because even though I've taken a million photos in the last few years, I had yet to take any pictures for anyone other than myself. Thankfully though, my subjects were beautiful, the weather was perfect, the setting was lovely, and the late afternoon lighting was great! Everything came together and my first photo session actually went pretty well!

I did a little editing of pictures Saturday night and then some more editing Sunday evening, and although I might still have a little more editing to do, I wanted to at least share the ones I'd picked out so far. I think they turned out pretty good! I put them into a slideshow using Windows Moviemaker, but I didn't have any tunes that seemed like a good match, so I ended up using a random sample song that was on the hard drive of my computer which is totally lame. I need some good ideas for slideshow music!

I had a great time on my first photo shoot and hope to take some more pictures for friends in the near future!!