Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bah Humbug

December 18th was the second annual Reindeer Run 5K. Why do you suppose I entered a 5K? Well, I hope you know by now that it wasn't for the running! It was, of course, for the costume contest!

This year's costume was a concept that was both auditory and visual. The sheep says "Baaaaah". The bugs say "Hummmmm". Together we are Bah Humbugs.

It took most people a while to understand what we were, but you knew when they got it because they would start chuckling. A lot of people thought Marin was a Christmas sheep. I don't recall the story of the Christmas sheep.

Bad news first. The race started out with the running. Ugh. Bugs and sheep running:
Marin, our awesome sheep friend, ignored the warning signs of heat distress and wore her costume for the whole run. What a dedicated costume-r!

Good news second. We won the costume contest (of course!). The emcee did not understand what our costume was at all. At the start, they had everyone competing write down their costume name. When it was our turn to parade across the stage, he introduced us as the Bah Humbugs, but he still didn't get it. I took the mic from him and Marin gave a wonderful "baaaah" which the rest of us followed with a melodic "hummmmm". As we walked across the stage area, he said "OH! I get it now!!" He gave us extra credit for the auditory portion. Despite the fierce competition from a fake-boobed, sexy Grinch in a tiny little green dress with two little Who-Children and a running stroller modified into an impressive sleigh, the Bah Humbugs took the prize...cuz we are awesome.

In case you haven't seen enough of the costumes yet, here we are with Santa (and Kristen's daughter, Ila):
Bah humbug, everyone!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

El-Oh-El-Aye - Lola

Since my work travel schedule took a bit of a break over Thanksgiving, I got my first foster in forever. Yay!! Her name is Lola. I was going to name her a noun instead of a name, but "Lola" was suggested by 3 different people within 10 minutes so I figured that was some sort of a sign. And she likes it when you sing to her....L-O-L-A Lola... Lola is a one year old min pin who is in foster because she needs time to heal some wounds. This cut on her paw is the biggest of the wounds and it was pretty close to healed when I got her.I think she could have gone up for adoption with that minor injury, but if the vet says she needs foster time, then she needs foster time! :) Which is great for me because she is the sweetest little love bug. She loves to cuddle and wants to sit on a lap, any lap, all the time. She's housetrained, quiet and easy to live with. As usual, the arrival of a new foster ensures that Mo will be attached to my side. She's not taking any chances of being replaced! There are two things that Lola is scared of. One is the camera: And the other is the cat:When I introduced her to Al, it caused no reaction at all. He was on the counter and I was holding her so she could sniff him. Ho hum. But a few hours later, the cat moved and HOLY TERROR! She went into a barking frenzy!! It's ALIVE!! Now she watches him constantly, usually keeping a bit of distance.Al does try to make friends with her. Lola will be sitting in my lap and he'll come up and rub his head on her. Lola gets all sorts of crazy, not knowing whether to run and hide or lick him. She starts with the licking. Al starts purring. Cute - they are friends! But then Lola can't contain her nervousness and she starts nibbling on him. Al is quite dog savvy, he can handle a little nibbling. But then Lola's fear and excitement get the best of her and WOMP!! She'll give him a big ol' chomp. Al doesn't take kindly to being bitten so he'll swipe his paw at her. This causes screams of terror and hurt feelings from Lola. Hilarious. Yet she never learns and the scene replays itself every few days. She gets along fine with the dogs - no problems at all. Mostly she ignores them, but outside she'll try to join in the chase games. Running around with Frankie: I take her back to the shelter this week. I am hoping her shelter time is short. She loves being around people and being in a kennel will make her very sad. She should go quick since she's small, gets along with everyone and is housetrained. Fingers crossed! One last picture of her sweetness and my crazy evil shadow:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Rematch

My friend Marin hosted her annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Spectacular this weekend. The invite stated:

So, it’s once again time to scour the racks at your favorite used clothing retailer for the fugly holiday knitware that it sure to be hiding amongst the mismatched dishware and broken kids toys. In an exciting twist this year, we are also encouraging guests to take it one step further and add themes or costumes to your holiday attire. ‘80s Christmas? Done! Homemade Uncle Scrooge outfit? Yes, please! But whatever you do, you better look like a huge holiday goofball because non-dresser-uppers will be mercilessly ridiculed, tarred, and feathered! Also as in years past, a Grand Prize will be awarded to the winner (it’s more of a loser though, right?).

Did someone say costume?? Did someone say prize?? Yee haw!
(Of course, someone also said huge holiday goofball, but we'll ignore that part!)

Marin and her husband were Santa and his elf. She is the cutest elf ever!
Pat wanted to beat his 2nd Place finish last year, so he spent even more time making his sweater this year. I think he forgot the "Ugly" and made his sweater too cute:While it may look like a simple design made with felt and a glue gun, it actually took quite a bit of work to make it. That's because he spent hours soddering and wiring the eyes and nose of his reindeer. He even made a schematic with the boys at work to make sure it was done right. He's such an engineer. :) The eyes could be red, blue, green or purple and could flash in varying stages of colors. The nose flashed red. I took about 100 pictures but could not get one while the nose was glowing.

I chose to go with a holiday theme costume. My original idea was to go as a snowflake, but the creativity part of the making of the costume completely overwhelmed me, so I took the easy way out and became a snowman instead:
A hot glue gun is a pretty handy tool. I used it to put on the buttons, make the pipe and make my carrot nose. I actually glued the orange felt to an old pair of glasses. Worked perfect!

Karissa and her dad went with Ugly Sweaters purchased at Goodwill just hours before the party. I'm pretty sure Baby Travis' outfit was not purchased at Goodwill:
After coming in 3rd Place last year, Emily upped the ante went with an "ensemble":
That is her actual tree skirt that she is wearing as a skirt. And those shiny balls are her actual Christmas tree decorations. Awesome.

Last year, a girl named Sarah won the contest. This year she was too scared of the competitiveness of Emily and Pat, and thus didn't even try to top her outfit last year. I think she just had on a red shirt and jeans. When the voting was tallied, the costumes and ensembles topped the Ugly Sweaters. Emily and I tied for 1st Place! Pat came in 2nd.

And Jamie, though wearing what really was the ugliest sweater at the party, didn't even get an honorable mention. You just can't compete with a Snowman, a Christmas Tree and a sweater with wires and battery packs!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My 3 Dogs: Agility Update

We all went up to Pinetop over Labor Day weekend for an agility trial.

GEORGIE: Georgie doesn't do agility. She got to hang out in the x-pen all day, whining and crying and being a pain in the ass.

This trial was Mo's big debut! Our hopes were high! She'd been doing great at Jim's. Her confidence was up. We were doing full advanced courses, very slowly of course, but completing them! I thought she might be ready.

I was wrong.

She didn't like it at all. She was nervous with all the people and all the activity. She acted as if she had NEVER seen a contact obstacle EVER before in her life. This is the furthest she went on any of the equipment:

No amount of cheerleading, begging, pleading or fake-treating would get her to go another step. This picture actually shows her at her bravest. Most of the time she wouldn't even touch the obstacle. She did a whole lot of the standing still, staring into space and pretending she was invisible like she did when we very first started classes. She did do a few jumps and perhaps a tunnel in every run, but we didn't complete more than 6 obstacles in any run on the first day.

Nevertheless, she was a hit with the crowd. Everyone loved her! After her first run, when I finally gave up and took her over the end jump, the whole crowd cheered for her....which had the unintended effect of scaring the bejeezus out of her. She tucked her tail and tried to run. After that, everyone realized what a "special" dog Mo is. They were super nice and gave her lots of room, moved slowly when near her and took their time trying to befriend her. Though I did have the feeling that people were tsk-tsking me behind my back for starting her in trials before she was ready. I was tsk-tsking myself, too.

I was hopeful that the second day would be better for her. She'd be a little more accustomed to the surroundings and she'd realize that all I was asking her to do was the same things we've worked on over and over again at Jim's house. I knew she could do it, I just needed to convince her that she could do it.

Yeah...not so much. She still refused all contacts, she refused some jumps, even. I tried to keep a positive attitude - maybe she'd do well in jumpers, which was our last run of the day. No contacts or tunnels! Perfect.

Here is her final run:

She started out so great - I thought for sure she was going to get a Q. Then at jump 4 and 5, she realized there were people around! And they were moving! YIKES! How can she be expected to go over a jump when there are moving people around?!?! But, finally....she finished a course! About an hour over time, but she did the whole thing! It wasn't anywhere close to how she does in class, but she did it.

I also had high hopes for Frankie to do well at this trial. He, too, has been doing great at Jim's, doing perfectly in fact! He is now SIX years old and should be outgrowing his crack-baby ways. I thought for sure he would qualify in more than half of his runs.

Again, I was wrong.

We only got 1 Q out of 10 runs. It was very depressing. He got all cracked out on every run! People enjoyed his antics, but I didn't. I even tried having Pat run him once to see if that would get him to pay attention. It almost worked - he completed 3/4 of the obstacles - which was a record for the weekend, but he still lost it and went zooming around the ring for awhile.

Even when he's on crack, Frankie still excels at Jumpers. We always qualify. Except at this trial. Ergh. I must have been leading too far out because the jump I'm pointing at here:
was completely skipped:
and he took the next jump instead:

I have to admit that by the end of the trial, I was completely disheartened. I have put four years and thousands of dollars into Frankie - to no use. The dog definitely has a screw loose and I am a terrible handler.

Pat and I were supposed to stay Sunday night so we could hike and explore the area on Monday, but instead I insisted that we just load up and go home. I was too grumpy to stay. :(


Huh? We already went through My 3 Dogs. Who is Pablo??

My friend Vickie found a chihuahua puppy a few months back. No owner was located so she named him Pablo and let him stay. Pablo looks out of place with her pack of Aussies, but he fits right in with my pack of tan dogs! They are like a little family of tan:

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I have a free night tonight. Well, not a whole free night, but a bunch of free hours in a row anyway. I got home from work at 4:30 and I don't have soccer until 9:00. I would really have liked to go to bed early since I've been up before 5:00 am two days in a row (flights to and from Albuquerque), but I don't want to miss soccer. I thought about a nap, but if I start that, there is no way I'll get up and go play.

So, with four consecutive hours of free time, I could have done so many things on my to-do list, such as: input all my receipts and payments into my Town Treks budget worksheet, read The Godfather for book club, read Home for the other book club, take the dogs for a much-needed walk or take myself for a much-needed run (CitySolve and Great Urban Race nationals are next weekend and the weekend after!) or even (gasp!) update my sadly neglected blog.

But no. None of that got accomplished. Why? Because I got on facebook and got stuck there ....for a really long time!! I did some cyberstalking of people, read lots of posts (my cousin is selling both Gopher football tickets and her house...anyone interested??), tried to interpret the vague ones (why exactly do suppose that Elizabeth's day did a 180?) and looked at pictures of my roommate's trip to the Grand Canyon and Elaine's baby.

And here's where the vanity part comes in. I checked out my own profile page, too. Cuz I'm vain. And cuz it's fun to read people's comments on my postings and my pictures. This is my current profile picture - taken last week while Travel Troupe was cruising the Caribbean:
I am vainly proud of the comments that my facebook friends have posted. One comment: "You should take on a second career of doing fitness competitions. I think you could bring in some cash. Just don't tell them what you eat." Another: "Like a fitness model!" nice. Keep 'em coming, people! I do love a good compliment. :) And with less than a year before I am no longer in my 30's (oh my god, how I hate getting old!!!), compliments on my looks are more pleasing than they were 10 years ago.

Someone also asked me if this picture was photoshopped. Come on! You don't believe that a 39 year old whose main (only?) food group is Tootsie Rolls and KitKats can take a decent photo? But I have to admit - that yes - I did edit it a bit...but only because that woman who is perfectly framed between my legs is a little off-putting. :)
Ok then...vain girl checking out. I've got some sushi waiting for me and some Coyotes hockey to watch for an hour before I go play soccer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lotsa Doggies

Buster came to stay for a week while Karissa was out of town. Bruiser and Chico came to stay for the next week while Chris' sister was out of town. Their visits overlapped by a day ...and this is what that day looked like:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sayonara Sarah

My super-smart, super-pretty, super-talented and super-awesome friend, Sarah, moved away. This makes me sad.

Me and Sarah:
Sarah and I were both part of the old-school book club crowd. Why do my book club girls keep leaving me? (Lili and Grace - I'm giving you the evil eye right now!)

Book club girls wearing black in mourning for the loss of Sarah:
She moved to St. Louis to take a big, fat promotion. Hurray, Sarah! We are very proud of her.

Proud though we may be, we have not had a book club social event since she left! This is just wrong!! It's obvious that we need her here to rev us up and get us out. So sad. We are all going to turn into dullards without her around. (I've always wanted to use the word "dullard")

Wait! We did have one sort-of social event. We had a "Hazing Of The All-New Actual Lesbian" to find her replacement. The All-New Actual Lesbian is going to be a good addition to book club, but if she really wants to be Sarah's replacement, she'd better be scheduling a happy hour damn quick.

In memory of our dearly departed Sarah...some random pictures from the glory days...

At Frank and Albert's:

At Trader Vic's:At Kristen's house:
Thanksgiving at my house:

At Heather's Hazing night:

A few months ago, Kiri hosted what turned out to be the "Last Supper". I meant to blog about it at the time, but (no surprise) I never did. There was something about feral llamas that had Sarah laughing a lot...but the story escapes me. So instead of a story, you just get dinner pictures.

Pat and Wayne:
Robyn, Kiri, Mari:
Jimmy and Tom:
And the best for friend Sarah. We are already planning book club reunion to get her back here!

Monday, August 16, 2010

3-Legged Agility

I'm taking Mo to her first agility trial over Labor Day. I'm not sure if she's ready to trial, but I guess we'll see.

It's been hard this summer because she really hates the heat. Frankie couldn't care less if it's hot...he'll play all day long. But Mo, she shuts down when it gets too hot. I was practicing with her on a course that went out and back and out again. Mo went out with me, she went back with me, but when I went out again, Mo ran right into her x-pen in the shade instead. :) I hope it's the heat and not a dislike of agility. I guess we'll see that, too. The trial is up north in Pinetop so it should be nice and cool.

She's already super-slow to begin with, but add in the heat and she slows down to barely a walk. However, last night we got to practice when it was fairly cool out and she did so well! She was almost running even. Check it out (I hope you've got some time because even at an almost-run, she is still Slo-Mo):

You can tell she is still afraid of the noise of the teeter. And I forgot in the middle of the run that she still doesn't do off-side weaves so I had to stop her so I could get on the right side. It sure is a different experience running Mo compared to Frankie!!

And here is Frankie doing the same course in half the time:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Amy!

On my 40th birthday, I plan on doing something amazing - something like zorbing in New Zealand or flirting with hot Aussie guys on the beaches of Australia. On my sister Amy's 40th birthday, she is doing something amazing, too. She is fighting cancer, dealing with chemotherapy and doing it all with a positive attitude! Happy Birthday Amy!!

Before the chemo started, Amy cut her hair short in hopes that when it started falling out, it wouldn't be quite so icky.

Despite the short-haired efforts, hair-loss was still pretty icky... especially when her son, while at a birthday party at California Pizza Kitchen, grabbed a clump of it right off her head to show off to the people at the party! After that, she gave in and asked Anne to shave her head. She debutted the cancer-chic look at the Twilight Town Trek.

And here is the best reason for her fight...2 lovely children who love their mama!

To keep you all in the loop as to how she's coping, I am copying in her latest email update. She's due for another one soon since this one is already 3 weeks old (hint, hint Amy!).

Well, hello to all.... Since my 3rd round of chemo was on Thursday July 1st and it is now July 7th, I bet you can figure out I didn't have the greatest reaction with my latest chemotherapy. The nausea is still an everyday battle-the patch I wear on my arm is helping, but it's worse than morning sickness, and now the fatigue has set in. My normal fast paced walk is now just a slow crawl- I actually had to have Aden hold my hand to keep my pace up while at the mall looking for big girl beds for Cerys!

For 4 days I slept probably 18 hours a day- which to many of you hard working people sounds like heaven- but for me, it caused my back to slip out and now I can't walk standing straight up! So I'm BALD, BENT over at the waist and shuffling my feet to walk- I look like a 90 year old man!!! I've been to the chiropractor (keep adding up those medical bills!) the past 3 days in a row, but the back is in alignment. Now i'm just dealing with muscle spasms from being in bed so much....gee, the days that I dreamed of staying in bed for the whole day are no longer - I miss being me.

I did take my kids to the pool- because they were really wanting mommy time (Cerys) and Aden wanted to play with the boys. Even though I kept my bald head covered and was sitting in the full shade with only my legs in the water, I had some British man come up to me and ask me about my cancer treatment, and why with my port and the patch, was I not covered up due to the hypersensitivity issues of the chemotherapy? He also asked me if the man playing with Aden and the other boys was my husband (i wonder now if he was hitting on me-naahhh) which it wasn't, Lane was working. I wanted to tell him to mind his own business, but instead I told him sometimes I have to be a mom first and put the cancer treatments on the back burner.

I only have one more treatment of the nauseous cocktail of cytoxin and adrinomy (spelling is now gone)....that will be on the 17th. On the 29th, I"ll start the taxol chemo treatment of which the side effects include muscle and bone pain, neuropathy (numbness) of fingers and toes and metal like tastes/food. I just hope the nausea really does subside....

Hope you all had fun on the 4th of July- our kids really liked setting off fireworks with Lane and hanging out with the grandparents. I was just so thankful for their help and some awesome Omaha steakburgers from the Hawkins and Mabb families!!! You guys rock!

I am starting to wear my wig a little more- just realized I don't have a picture of me in it yet- I'll add that next time! Love you all- sorry to bitch and moan about me- so please email or call and inform me and distract me with fun things (or even bad things) from your lives to keep me sane!

love again- amy

Keep fighting, Amy. We all love you!! And happy birthday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

St. Louis Twilight Town Treks

When Christy and I first talked about doing an urban adventure race gig, it was a given that we'd bring the race to St. Louis. My sister, Amy, lives in St. Louis. For a few years I've been telling her that we should do one of the races together. She was interested...but none of the races go to St. Louis! Wtf? So, MY race definitely would! did!

From the very start of Twilight Town Treks, St. Louis was hoppin'. The minute I put our website up, we were getting hits from St. Louis. The only marketing we did was to post the race on various race calendars in our markets. Immediately, St. Louis made up 1/2 of our total webhits every day. We had teams register there before any teams registered here in Phoenix! And we KNOW people in Phoenix!! It was crazy.

I expected St. Louis would be great, and I was not at all surprised that the race was SO SUPER FUN!!

We had 38 teams register and 7 teams sign up at the event - a perfect amount of teams! The weather was really, really hot and really, really humid. There was a thunderstorm threatening at 5:30 when registration started. Luckily, it blew over and the weather behaved for the duration of the race. I was worried about my volunteers being out there in the rain all night. Rain is fun for racers, but not so much for people who have to stand out in it for 4 hours!

Let's talk about the race volunteers. Do these people look familiar to you? Yep, pretty much my whole family came to St. Louis to help! Pat flew in the day after we got there. Anne and my parents drove down from Springfield and Amy, of course, lives there. It was like a slumber party at her house that night! How cute does Amy look with her newly bald head? What a trooper she is...she had chemo on Thursday and on Saturday night she's staffing a checkpoint on my race for me. My family rocks!

And some more sisters:
Yes, I was in a sorority and these are my sorority sisters. The girl on the left is my college roommate, Jill. The girl on the right is Kristen, a friend of Jill's and a DG who came around after I slacked out of the sorority. Luckily Jill forgave me for being a DG flake and we've remained friends for 15 years! These girls are awesome!

More great friends:
There is Christy...and who's that in the background? It's our friend, Wayne, who flew in from Phoenix to take a mini-vacation and help us with the race. So nice!

I am so lucky to have such great friends and family. Without them I know that the St. Louis race would not have been the HUGE success it was. And, a HUGE success it was!! All the racers were enthusiastic about being there. They all had a ton of fun on the race, despite the 95 degree, 95 percent humidity that night. It was so hot and sweaty that at the puzzle challenge, we actually had to pull one of the puzzles out of use because the pieces were so soggy from people's sweat that they were losing their shape. Ew. :)

Pat keeping the sweaty puzzlers in line:
The Animal Protective Association was our charity recipient for the race and working with them was just as awesome as everything else in St. Louis. They were so eager to be a part of everything. They scoped out their location, they brought out their tent (but were asked to take it down by the park people), they even tried to bring their RV out for a better visual, but the parking was too difficult. I love them! The dogs they brought were Cooper and Lula. Lula is the black one. They were both sweet but Lula stole my heart. She did eventually get adopted, but sadly not by one of my racers. Last I checked Cooper was still waiting for a home (breaks my heart!!).

After the race, most of the racers stuck around the bar all night, talking about the race and making friends. It was incredible how good the mood was! Almost all of the teams told us how much fun they had and promised they'd be back next year. The facebook postings from the racers that night and the next day were all positive. One of my favorites: "This ranks up there as the funnest thing we have done as a couple." Some teams were even talking about road-tripping to Las Vegas to do our race there. I would love that! These people were so much fun! I can't wait to go back there again next year.