If you are curious about something you don't see here, please feel free to ask away! Please also understand that this is very much my real life, and there are some things that I don't believe need to be aired out on the internet. You get it. Of course you get it. That's why you're my favorite. Don't tell the others.
Seriously though, who are you? I'm a 30-something gal that occasionally (or almost always) goes by the nickname Kp/ KpMcD. Born in Minnesota, raised in Wisconsin, spent some brief time in Texas getting a MEd, found the love of my life in Michigan, got married, and... well here we are. I'm a midwestern kid at heart, and I like to think that even though I liberally use "y'all" and "howdy," I display a decent amount of midwestern ethics and sensibilities.
From the ages 3 until 21 I was able to see Lambeau Field from my back porch. Though there are a few things I dislike about the Packers (traffic on home-game days, and that one time Brett Farve flicked me off), geographical association alone does in fact make me a cheese head (Aaron Rogers for life!). If you don't back the Pack, don't judge me too much, I promise I can make it up to you with whimsical cartoons.
I have a background in art; which is to say I like art, I think I'm generally good at it, and it's what I went to college for. Part of what makes me love the Mister so much is how great he is in praising my work and encouraging me to keep creating (in fact, this very site is a collaboration of my design and his computer skill).
Before we moved to Mexico I was a college administrator. That's a very fancy way of saying I was the lady in charge of the RA staff, and if you made some kind of stupid drunken behavioral mistake, I was also the lady you came to talk to about poor choices and consequences. It was a great job that left me with a plethora of great stories, but I'm happy not to be living next door to 18 year olds and their horrid 2AM karaoke stylings any longer.
Now, with the support and help of my husband, The Mister, my career is best defined as a bit of a dabbler - I craft and art, and I design stationery for our FINvites.com business. Past that, I like to read and write. I generally like critters or every shape and size - which is good considering most of my days are spent hanging out with our doberban-mix Mac, and our self-righetous tabby-cat Bubba.
I'm a self-proclaimed nerd and love puzzles and games of all types (board, video, card, I don't discriminate). The Mister taught me how to solve a rubiks cube on our second or third date and I knew I was hooked. Also I'm a Leo and long walks on the beach are cool so long as I have a way to rinse the sand off my feet before putting my socks and shoes back on. I think that covers just about everything.
MEd? Yup. Masters of Education in Counseling and Human Development. I'm very proud of my education.
So are you a counselor too? Nope. I completed a degree in counseling in order to further my career in Higher Education/ Student Development. To become a licensed counselor I would then need to take a nationally recognized exam. I knew I didn't want to become a counselor, and the exam is rather wickedly expensive, so after writing the check for the initial grad degree, I figured I'd skip that bit and save a little moola.
Why don't you do something with that? I did. Working with college students was my career for a long time, and who knows, I might go back to that some day. I promise you that the challenges my students presented me on a daily basis made great use of the counseling degree, and I believe that many of them truly benefitted from what that knowledge left me able to offer them.
Specifically, my time in Student Development was spent as a live-in member of Residential Life departments. Yes folks, I lived in a Dorm. For years and years. And quite frankly, I burned myself out. I need some time now to live in a big-girl house, be a wife, and explore what else the world has in store for me.
Wait, back that up. DORM? I work in student development and I am personally offended by your use of the word DORM. Did you know the origin of the word ... Yeah okay wow. I'ma let you finish, but Beyonce... No really. A friend of mine worded this better than I possibly could:
In the interest of "fighting the right battles" I'd like to suggest to my fellow housing professionals that we just embrace and own the word "dorm." We all know people are going to use it. And they don't use it in hate. They use it because "residence hall" is longer to say and because "dorm" means something to them. Why can't we just reclaim this word and work to ensure their definition matches the environment we provide?
You mention being OCD a lot. Are you just joking, or are you legitimately diagnosed? This is a very long story, but here’s the condensed version: For a very good long time, I believed I fit the criteria for OCD/ Anxiety disorders, and having spent most of my Master’s work with my nose in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), I felt confident in that statement.
Having now spoken with a professional, I realize I do not necessarily fit the criteria for OCD. However, I do VERY much fit the criteria for suffering from anxiety disorder, and I do have legitimate panic attacks. These attacks do occasionally get triggered by things being out of order or dirty/ untidy. But most notably, I realize that my fantastic dog, Mac, has devised a way to warn me of when an attack is pending, and can help me shift my focus to avoid a rather horrible incident. To sum up:
I have panic attacks. They are real and terrifying. Mac is my service dog. His service is to help me avoid the panic attacks. And if you need more detail than that, I’ve given a rather blunt account on the blog.
Most notably: The vast majority of the time? You’d never know one way or the other that there’s anything out of the ordinary with me. But I think it might be worth being open and honest about it, in a small attempt to make mental health concerns less taboo in this world.
Who is the Mister? The Mister grew up alongside two younger brothers Detroit, Michigan. Now he's an engineer, and he loves his job so much it's absurd. When he's not working, the Mister loves going on new adventures, hanging out with the raddest girl he knows (that's me, just so we're all on the same page here), trying to teach our dog to play fetch, and taking up new projects around the house, like creating a stationery company out of his office. He appreciates brain teasers and puzzles like the Rubik's cube. And he's a bomb-diggity cook. He can make sushi. And curry. And he grills a steak like a you wouldn’t believe. He's pretty much amazing. So good thing I married the dude.
Why do you call him the Mister? Does he have a name? He certainly has a name - but it's his, and this corner of the internet is mine. I feel like my information is mine to divulge, and he should have the same privilege, so this is my way of giving him some anonymity (particularly because I like to blog about the absurd things he says/ does). I'm not going to pretend that if you have some basic google-stalking skills you couldn't figure it out, but I'm also not going to pretend that he doesn't enjoy being called 'the Mister.' Because he really does.
How did you meet? We met on the internet. Judge if you want, but we feel like that worked out pretty well. The Mister likes to joke that he wrote some crazy automated computer program to sift through all his online matches and write the first few e-mails to ladies. I do not know enough about computers to know if this is possible/ true, and thus I try not to dwell too long on the thought that I may very well have flirted with a computer-bot. Because the day-to-day shenanigans of living together were not enough entertainment, we decided to spice it up (literally, the peppers there were hot!) and throw learning a new culture and language on top of all that. So the Mister accepted a short-term contract with his company that brought us to Mexico. We got engaged prior to moving south of the border. We learned new things every day. For instance, women's shoes in Mexico only go up to a size 6 or so. Mexican women have tiny feet. Now you know. And so do I.
After a quick transition back to the states in fall 2012, we went ahead and said our 'I Do's. We're certainly enjoying the adventure life gave us.
When did you get married? October 6th, 2012. 4PM. It was pretty darn awesome.
When are you having kids? Why is this always the next question to immediately follow when did you getting married? We are not having children. Yes we have thought that one out.
Did you take his last name? Can we still call you Kp if those aren't your initials anymore? Yes I did, and OF COURSE you may. Though there are those now who refer to me as KpMcD, a melding of both worlds. :) You can call me whatever you wish, but I'm not going to pretend that I don't secretly go "eeee!" in my heart every time someone refers to me being a wife.
What's up with that stationery business you mentioned? That would be FINvites.com: Your stationery card sharks (ha. get it?). We create custom stationery for any event you can think up, for a reasonable price. Wedding? Check. Baptism? Got Yer Back, Jack. Superbowl Party? Go long, my friend. You can drop us a line at the home page for FINvites for inquiries and further info. But the the purposes of this FAQ, we make stationery, and by we I mean the Mister does the business and I do the stationery making.
Who makes up your furry family? We've got two critters - Mac, a doberman mix who thinks he's a cat, and Bubba, a marmalade tabby who thinks he runs the joint (he's not wrong).
What's Mac's story? Mac's a 6 year old Dobe-mutt who was rescued as a puppy. He came to live with us when I went into the SPCA one day to ask about volunteer opportunities. I came out with Mac. Whoops.
Generally he's a really well-behaved dude, though he has a penchant for chewing and has earned his reputation as a "goat-doberman mix." Since he grew up with only Bubba as reference, he's rather convinced that he's only 10 pounds and fits on your lap (as opposed to the 80+ lbs sack of love he really is). He has never bitten anyone, and baring me being in need of protection from some nefarious character, he never will. A dog is only as vicious as you teach him to be. Because he's generally the bomb-diggity, he also has represented the Southwest Michigan SPCA at community events.
And Bubba? Bubba is a Texan kitty, who I rescued right when I moved to Abilene for grad school/ work. I actually didn't want him. I was resolved to go into the shelter and get the oldest, sickest cat I could find and just give it a good last few months.
But then the man who walked me to the cat room told me the little orange ball of fluff in the corner only had a few more hours left because the shelter was crowded. And that they had found him tied up by his neck in a tree, so he couldn't mew, he could only croak. And then Bub stuck his paw out of the cage and croaked like a furry orange frog. So he came home with me. Whoops. He's 9 now, and enjoys spending most of his day napping and telling me about what he thinks of that whipper-snapper puppy I dared to bring home. And every night, he wins the Mac v. Bubba game of tag.
Wait, they're friends? Yes indeed. Mac and Bub get along just fine, and play tag nightly. Except for those times when Mac forgets he's very large and accidentally sits on the cat.
What tricks can Mac do / how did he learn those tricks? At current, Mac is proficient in the following:
Sit, stay, down, roll over, shake, high five, high ten, take a bow, wave, spin, moonwalk, play dead, and speak, waiting with a treat on his nose, pray, hiding his face in shame, and "pound it" (where he hits your fist with his nose). He also jumps through hoops. He knows English, Spanish and hand signals for all of that, but we're working on teaching him Japanese to cue them as well.
Notably, he really sucks at catching things, and will let treats you throw at him hit his face. And I taught him his tricks. It was a ton of fun.
Will you teach my dog a trick? Um, yes! I would be MORE than happy to play with your puppy and teach him/her some awesome stuff. My only caveat there is that you need to live in the same area I do, and you need to be present for the training session(s). PLEASE e-mail me!
Does Bubba know tricks? Bubba is a cat. He comes when called (when he feels like it), and he poops in a box. That's good enough for me.
You lived in Mexico? We did. In 2011. For about a year. The Mister made it a few more months than I, but he had a contract to honor with his company, so he didn't really have a choice. When they originally offered to bring me and the critters down there, we didn't see a good reason to say no to such an adventure.
Isn't it dangerous? Yes. But it was also an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.
You brought the DOG and the cat down there? We did! Bubba was my carryon. And because of the safety concerns, we decided to fly Mac down to us through a pet moving company. Fun fact - our behemoth of a dog is just an inch too big to fly in a regular plane. Thus, Mac flew down from Michigan on a plane for HORSES. I believe his co-passengers were flying down from Holland (like, the country). It was expensive, and it caused me a lot of heart-ache waiting for months for it to be cool enough weather for him to fly. So when I returned from Mexico, I drove up with the critters. While a bit tense around the border, it was a much easier [and cheaper!] option. That's all on the blog if you're so inclined.
Did you drink the water? YES. It's a sad myth that the water is bad/dirty, and it makes us as Americans look ignorant and arrogant to insist that Mexico has dirty water. Here's the thing - if you see a sign that says "don't drink this" - don't drink it. Everything else? Totally fair game. I got food-sick once in Mexico, and it was from a taco that was too spicy for me.
Do you speak Spanish? Sí. Claro. Pero, continuo a aprender. (yes, of course. but I continue to learn.) I speak, read and write Spanish fairly well, though I am not what I would call fluent. The best way to phrase it is to say that I speak enough Spanish to get into trouble.
Why did you come back before the Mister? Because I had a really hard time with the language barrier, the culture barrier, and the safety concerns. It was time for me to go, and the Mister supported that decision.
You're moving to Japan? Yup. That's a thing. We're gonna do that. January/ February 2015. Coming soon.
Aren't you scared? Yes and no? It's an adventure and the benefits far outweigh the fears.
You're bringing the DOG and the cat there? Yup. They keep me grounded. I wouldn't go without them.
Do you speak Japanese?はい。私わ日本語 を 少し 分かります。Hai. Watashiwa Nihongo o sukoshi wakarimasu. (yes. I understand a little Japanese.) I am learning, and keeping a new alphabet(s) solid in my head has been a struggle. But it's quite an art form, and to that effect, I'm feeling more confident everyday. One way or the other though, most everyone speaks English in Japan, so I'll be okay.
Why? Because The Mister's company is based in Japan, and they want him to go through a management program so he can become a big deal with many leather bound books that smell of rich mahogany. Also, free three year cultural immersion experience? We'd be stupid to say no really.
Will you make me a logo/ design a t-shirt/ paint a painting/ draw a cartoon for me for free? No. I need you to know that there is no ruder question you can ask an artist than to request free art. It devalues the time, effort and care put into that work, and it's offensive to me. The only single exception to this rule is if you catch a "Audience Participation Friday" post on the blog. And then you really only get a free picture of a quick sketch that I made with a ridiculous prompt. If you really want me to create something for you, you can expect to pay a fair price for it.
Will you teach me how to [insert artistic skill here]? No. I don't say that to be mean. I say that because I am not an art teacher. I recognize that I do not possess the patience to show someone how to replicate my artistic skills (and, you know, I do profit from having my own distinct style from others, so I don't really WANT others to know how to replicate it...). I'm sorry I can't be that for you, but I encourage you to check out your local library or arts center - they likely offer classes for reasonable prices. I also very strongly encourage you to just TRY it. And then try it again. And again. And again. I didn't get good at drawing the first time I drew something. I've been doing this since I had the hand-eye coordination to hold a crayon.
What mediums do you not like? Generally speaking, I'll dabble in anything. But for some reason, scrapbooking has never appealed to me. And I have never been able to get a wad of clay centered on a pottery wheel. Everything else is fair game.
Will you look at my design/ give me a critique? YES! PLEASE e-mail me! I love looking at art, and I am happy to be a sounding board to help you further yours.