Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wedding Wednesday - Helpful Honeymooner Hints

It's the final Wedding Wednesday friends!  Don't worry, I have something fun in store to take over Wednesdays from here, and we'll talk about that at the bottom of the post.

So, last we left off, we were talking about the honeymoon.  Specifically for today, to wrap everything up, I wanted to leave you with some helpful tips that The Mister and I learned the hard way in reagards to our honeymoon.  I suppose you could relate these points to any vacation you plan, but I wanted to throw them out there in relation to the honeymoon specifically, because if you're anything like us, the wedding took up so much of your mind space up until the big day that the honeymoon is an afterthought and some things were missed that would have helped us out.

Without further ado:

KpQuePasa's Helpful Honeymooner Hints
in no particular order.  except the first one.  the first one is crucial.

1.  WEAR SUNSCREEN.  Or more specifically, remember to PACK sunscreen.  Not just because you don't want to burn to a crisp on your trip, but also because the resort knows you do not want to burn, and also that you're more or less trapped in their resorty-resort-ness.

A normally two dollar bottle of sunscreen will cost you thirty dollars in the gift shop.  

If you decide "forget it, we speak Spanish, we will take a cab into the nearby city and buy sunscreen at a market! ha, beating the system!" you will be informed by the hotel concierge that a cab to the city and back costs ninety dollars.  And then you and your Mister will get SUPER grumbly with each other, one whole day into your marriage, for no other reason than SUNSCREEN.

You will eventually shell out the thirty bucks at the gift shop, and you will also spend the entire rest of your time on your honeymoon eyeing the carts that the housekeepers wheel around.  You know, just in case someone checked out and left sunscreen in their room and the housekeeper put it on their cart while going through the room.  You think maybe you can steal it from the housekeeping cart for free.  This will work once except you'll get all excited just to find out that you covertly snagged tanning OIL, which is less than helpful.   True story?  You betcha.

2.  Along the lines of what to pack, see if you can remember to pack your contacts.  Or make sure your new husband miraculously has the same eye prescription you do, and that he remembers to pack more than enough of his own daily contacts.  Because then everybody wins.  Yup, I wore the mister's contacts for a week.  I'm darn lucky that worked out, because I can't imagine how awesome a tan-line of my glasses would have been on my face.

3.  Say 'yes' as much as possible to each other.  I don't know how to further explain that.  It's just a good practice.  If you have no other reason to say "No" than you don't feel like it, then you're already failing at that marriage thing.  I think the most helpful thing the Mister started that got me to really try at this tip is when he started calling us "Team McDermott."  (I don't know why but this always makes me want to sing "We're allllll in this together!")  Say yes.  What could it hurt to be a little silly and follow a random suggestion?  You will probably enjoy this far more than you would have originally thought.

Zip-lining?  Terrifying but still pretty boss.  Hour long couples massage?  Yeah, it might be expensive, but wow I can't think of anything more worth it.  And then, see if you can't keep doing that when you get home and the suggestions turn into more practical things like "should we move the guest bed into a different room?"

4.  Try the local cuisine.  I felt sorry for the tourists at our resort who spent their time lined up in front of the dude making grilled cheese sandwiches.  For the most part I gathered these people were scared of all those myths about bad water and getting food-sick, or maybe they were just stuck inside a comfort bubble.  And maybe if you have a delicate stomach, that might be true.

People, "when in Rome..."  I can tell you which food is going to taste better than you've ever believed:  It's not the Wonderbread that was imported to the country a week ago, or the over-pasteurized and over-preserved slices of American cheese in that sandwich.  It's the mangoes that someone picked this morning and brought to the restaurant, and the fish that was caught out of the ocean 20 feet from your honeymoon suite 15 minutes ago.

Let me tell you, I ate exactly that, mangoes and fish, for a week straight and felt like a queen.  The Mister was also nice enough to buy a coconut every day for me from the little man on the beach towing a wheelbarrow.  He'd slice it open, stick a straw in it, and oh my gosh that was heaven (not to mention a great hangover cure/ the coconut doubled as a glass for afternoon piña colada refills.  fantastic!)

5.  Going to an all-inclusive?  BEST IDEA EVER, Bravo.  That said, bring some money for your service staff.

Yes, I know.  In theory, you do not HAVE to tip those servers.  It is not mandated.

However, here's what you can learn from a bartender if you care enough to strike up a conversation past snaping your fingers and barking for a rum and coke:  All the staff live on the property.  Just them.  Not their families.  Their families live in the city.  The staff get up every day and work 12 hour shifts serving people who may or may not treat them like dirt.  Those tips go toward the expense of taking a bus home to see and care for their parents, or in many cases their own children once a month, and even though tips are not guaranteed, they're the best bet at making this separation worth it for their situation.

I'm not trying to get onto a Sally Struthers soap box here, but even a small tip goes far.   It's appreciated, and that reflects in the amount of service you get.  We had a server in the resort's restaurant that looked out for us every day to make sure we sat in his section.  He pulled out chairs for us, he made polite conversation, and kept our glasses full.

Now, those are all things that he would do regardless as part of his job.  When we showed appreciation for those small acts with a tip, he went out of his way to pick fresh flowers to adorn our table top, he made sure the Mariachi band visited our table for a song, and made sure that someone was ALWAYS watching to make sure our morning coffee was filled.  He told us what were the best and freshest foods to check out, and what entertainment was going on that day.  Did you know the restaurant doesn't actually serve piña coladas?  Only the pool bar does that.  But our server liked us enough that instead of telling us they don't do that, he walked to the bar, got me a piña colada and brought it back to my table for me.  He didn't have to.  He was just a nice guy.

I guess whichever route you want to think about tipping staff, just be a grateful person.  No one deserves to be treated like something you stepped in, no matter who you are or where you are.

6.  Are you somewhere on an ocean?  Go in the ocean.  I don't care that there are nice pools all over the resort, go in the ocean at least once you ninny.  And to that same effect, at least once, go with your significant other and sit on the beach at night.  Listen to the waves and stare at the most clear sky full of stars you'll ever see.  If you think it sounds mushy and stupid, you're missing the point.  Just try it.

7.  Ladies, do you have a piece of clothing that says "Bride" on it?  Because WEAR THAT.  WEAR THE EVER-LIVING CRAP OUT OF IT.  Everyday.  Even if you're not a bride on your honeymoon, get a shirt that says otherwise and make sure people see it.  You get free things.  You get better service. You get first class flight upgrades.  DO IT.  I'm wearing one the next time we go on a vacation for darn skippy.

8.  Dress up and be fancy for each other.  See if you can make it special.  No one else you know is going to see you, and your significant other clearly thinks you're attractive.  Put in the effort to look nice and let them appreciate you.

I can't tell you how much I love the smell of the Mister's "going out on the town" cologne.  He put that stuff on every day for me even though roughly 15 minutes after he'd put it on we'd wash it off in a pool.  It was an extra touch that I knew was solely for my benefit.   We had one night where we made a point to really gussy up for each other.  Didn't I just see him in a tuxedo?  Yes, but this was still awesome.

To that effect, I wore this dress that night:

Which you may note is entirely made of sequins, backless, and notably shorter than I would usually opt for.  That said, I'll be damned if I didn't enjoy the adventure* of it, and to a greater extent, the attention.
 like when this guy from the resort asked me to do some crazy flamenco dancing with him.

I also wore a bikini.  Do I think that's a fashionably forward thing that I will ever do in an audience of my peers or share pictures of?  Nope.  But I pushed that out of my head for the week with two simple thoughts - A) The Mister was beside himself that I would do that for him.  and B) Someone else out there looks worse.  Ladies, don't pretend you don't automatically look for someone who looks worse in a swimsuit than you do when you go out.  It's comforting.  

*Stupid story that will make me feel better to get off my chest:  The night we dressed up like this, the entertainment at the resort was a Burlesque show, which we both thought was going to be fun to watch.  Before each nightly show they usually have a small game of audience participation type things.  

Unfortunately this night they asked The Mister to participate, and I was all about it until I realized that the game they were playing was to bring a random woman onto the stage and have all the male participants do a strip-tease for her.  I was actually recording the game for The Mister and you can hear me in the back of the video going "wow, I really, really don't like this game."  

Because you know what?  It's my honeymoon, the last thing I want to see is the dude I JUST married being all schmexy for someone else, even if it is in jest.  Particularly if I just spent a hour+ squeezing into a backless, sparkly dress.  If I have one criticism of the staff at our resort, it's that when the Mister saw how upset I looked sitting in the audience and backed out of the game (MAD bonus points to the Mister), the staff told me not to be so uptight.  Maybe recognize your audience is all I'm saying.
Am I totally off-base and over-reacting there?

I know you, my fair readers, 
may not have gone on a honeymoon, 
but you all HAVE been on a vacation at the very least.
Did I miss anything?  
Tell me in the comments!

And that, my friends, concludes the run of Wedding Wednesdays.   It's been fun to relive all this with you!  Thanks for coming along on the ride.

What's coming up next week?  Well folks, as I mentioned in Monday's post, I'm looking for some fun things to teach Mac, since I'm totally a professional trainer now.  If you have a good suggestion for a trick to teach my pup, hit me up!  From now on, we'll be showing off Mac's mad skillz on Wednesdays.
sending you off with some well-timed wiggles today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quarter Life Crisis

I'm writing this instead of dealing with the  heap of dishes in the sink.  It's one of those "this chore has been put off so long it's overwhelming to even start" sort of situations.  Pray for my soul when you get done reading this, because I'm pretty sure by then I will have run out of reasons not to pull up the big girl pants and actually tackle that.

So... I did it!  I passed my "final exam" and am officially accredited in my new job.  What is that new job?  I know I posted a few clues here and there... Before you scroll down and ruin the surprise for yourself, do me a favor, just because I'm curious:

Make your best guess - what is my new job title?  
Write it down, and then tell me 
what you thought in the comments.  

Now scroll down, following whatever ridiculous gifs I put in a row here to add space before the "big reveal" and see if you were right!  (I'm almost positive this is more exciting for me than it is for you.  Sorry I'm not sorry.)

I'm a dog trainer.  
(and soon enough, Mac will be my demo-dog, what what!)

I'm gonna go ahead and refrain from using the actual company name here, but you can rest assured that I'm in line with a corporate entity that sells stuff for your pets and also offers dog training.  I'm pretty sure that leaves you with 2 options to guess, but there's a whole spiel in my employee manual about how my online life should stay reasonably separate from the job.  So you know, disclaimer: my opinions are my own, and do not reflect those of the corporate pet store through which I am now gainfully employed.

After returning from Mexico, and getting married, and assuring that we would likely stay living in this general vicinity for some amount of time, I started job searching in earnest.
I reviewed my skill-set as I polished up my resume:
  • Graphic design and fine art background.  
  • Education in counseling and human development.  
  • Past career in student development and housing in University/ Collegiate setting.  
  • Penchant for organization.  
  • Admittedly still burnt-out on the idea of working with students in a position that required me to be responsible for things outside of my regular working hours. 
(anyone who has ever held a duty-phone is nodding their heads and saying "amen sister" to that last one, I promise you.)

This all seemed to make a transition to an office manager for a school the most logical bet.  And wouldn't you know, there are a lot of those types of positions open around here.  I applied to... well I can't say all, but most.  I was looking for a part-time gig, something to get me out of the house a reasonable amount of time, give me something more fulfilling to do than *dishes*, and give me a reason to put on something other than sweatpants (even I can say that was getting bad, y'all).

Then one day in November I walked over to the pet store with Mac to kill some time.  At the checkout line, if you are not familiar with pet stores, they usually have some cookies for dogs in a container at the counter, and the cashier will ask if they can give your dog one.  I always say yes, but that Mac has to earn it.  Typically that means he gives a high five, but the gal scanning our bag of pig ears that day got excited at the high five and asked to see Mac's whole repertoire.  So we ran through that, and she said "wow, you should be a dog trainer."  I jokingly replied "ha, are you hiring?"  But you know what?  Consider that bug officially planted in my brain.

Wouldn't you know it, even though I feel I was more qualified professionally for everything I had applied to before then, the only call back I ever got was from the pet store.  I went in for an interview and they invited me back to observe a class being taught, to make sure I felt comfortable with what was being asked of me (I get the impression that a few people had been gung-ho about this job until they realized that it's not 100% playing with puppies but more a 90% playing with puppies and 10% cleaning up after the puppies).  As soon as that class was over, before I could even walk out of the building, they grabbed me into a side office and just like that, I was hired.  (You know, minus a pee test.  But we already went over that.)

I think I'm still in an adjustment period.  I've long had a very proud feeling to be an "Administrator" that worked at an "Institution."  Big, impressive words that I've now replaced with "employee" and "retail." I wasn't sure if my friends and family would think I had taken a step down.  I hadn't realized until that thought hit me just how important a professional image was to me and my self-esteem (hey there, blatant honesty).   I wasn't sure if I thought I'd stepped down or not.  What if it was just a weird phase?  A quarter-life crisis?  Will I grow out of it?

I guess I'm still not truthfully 100% sure on any of the above, but I have decided that regardless of the answers to those things,  becoming a dog trainer was / is totally the right move for me.  

Today I went to work and I taught a dog to roll over.  I played with at least 20 different rolly-polly puppies, and I talked to people who were legitimately excited to tell me about their pets.  I help dogs.  It's fun, and it's a topic I never seem to run out of thoughts on.  I came home happy instead of worried about what still needs to get done before the next time I go to work.  And I have time to do the dishes.  You know, once I decide I want to.

Have you ever considered a career change?  
What did you switch from/ to?  
Was it a fulfilling change?

I've found a few things that have made me more comfortable with this shift from College Administrator to Dog Trainer.  Maybe they'll help you too if you're in a similar changing tides kind of boat.

          1.  The following quote from an online advice column called "the Rumpus":

You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. 
Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. 
But that’s all
          2.  The statistics!   True FACT: the average person will make a career change 5-7 times in their working life.  Sign of a changing society - people have the ability to seek a little more spice of life.  I'm just trendy.

          3.  History - Vincent Van Gogh was a schoolmaster, student priest missionary, and an art dealer BEFORE he became a painter.  I'm not thinking about cutting off my ear anytime soon, but if a career change or two is good enough for someone I consider one of the greatest artists of all time... well then hey, good enough for me.

          4.  Not to be rude or anything, but there are a LOT more transferable skills between getting college students to behave how you want them, and getting dogs to behave how you want them than one would initially think.  If you've worked with college students, you have the skills, patience, and tone of voice to train a puppy.  Believe me.

          5.  The Mister.  Mad points for how supportive he's been - taking up my slack when I was putting in long training hours, and encouraging me, and checking in to make sure I really like what I'm doing.

So I'm a dog trainer.  Or as I summarized on the book of faces last week:  Bring me yon puppies, for I shall teach them the way.

In closing - I need some good ideas for sweet tricks I can teach my dog.  
Because I've got that bug now, and Mac is ready to learn. 
(or he's ready to eat the liver treats, but same thing really)
What tricks would you want to see a my puppy do?  
(please not "get me a beer," I'm not ready for Mac to know how to open the fridge full of foods.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Top 5 Awesome Ads

Having a nice chill day-off here at Casa QuePasa.

Shh, no one tell them we have a vet appointment later.  No Rabies for my Babies.

Dude.  that should be a shirt slogan for vet clinics: Come get your Rabies Vaccines Today!  No Rabies for your {fur} Babies!
(do you run a vet-clinic?  Because I will design those for you.  fo'sheezy.)

That kind of leads me into today's topic.  As you may know, I have a background in graphic design.  Every once in a while, I take on side projects in my spare time to design a logo or the face of a website. Sometimes people ask me for some help with their advertisements.  It's all fun and keeps my creative juices going and in tune.  Everybody wins.

Being a good design-type person means you are always on the look-out for new and cool ways to get people's attention.  Things that are out of the box.  And so today I wanted to share some of my recent favorites with you folks.

Top 5 KpMcD Approved Ad Campaigns (in no particular order):

1.  RUN, Save yourselves! What has long been my favorite commercial, back in the 90's Sprite put out a commercial that made fun of the traditional kid's drink mascots.  (I can't even tell you how happy I am that I could find this on YouTube.)
Because really if a tiny 3-d sun jumped off of my drink bottle I would flip out too!

clearly I am not adverse to all mascots.

Have a favorite product mascot?  
Who and what for? Tell me in the comments!

2.  Matt Damon's revenge.  I don't know if you like talk shows, but if you do, you might be aware of Jimmy Kimmel Live's Jimmy Kimmel and his [fictional] rivalry with Matt Damon.

It started way back when Jimmy's then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman made a video spoof where she "admitted" to having a side fling with Matt Damon.  Jimmy then began a habit of signing off his show by saying that Matt Damon was supposed to be a guest but they ran out of time for him.  Long story short, Jimmy recently switched time-slots for when his show airs, and to gain a publicity boost, Matt Damon stepped in and got Jimmy back for all the public snubs.

I love inside jokes, and I feel like this is an inside joke that everyone's kind of in on.  It still makes me feel special that I understand exactly why this is hilarious.  HE TOOK OVER THE WHOLE SHOW with Jimmy duct taped and gagged in a chair behind him.  They stayed in character the whole time.  Bravo, gentlemen.

3.  TNT's Drama Button.  TNT (The channel we here in the states have long associated with marathons of cop shows and "drama"), has recently gone international, and they decided to get the attention of their new audience in the most "in your face" way possible.
They actually got up in their faces.  In real life.  And then showed them what "drama" is all about.


It's like extreme flash-mobbing.  I can't, it's just brilliant.

Would you have pushed the button?

4.  JELL-O SAVED US ALL.  Apparently there was a whole line of lead-ups to this one commercial, but I only ever saw the final one and it still stood out fantastically.  Remember back in December on the 21st how the Mayans predicted we were all going to die in a horrible apolcalypse?  This aired the day after that.
I remember actually looking at The Mister and saying something to the effect of "DID YOU SEE THAT?  That was genius!  The dude who thought that up had better be getting a bu-cu raise, like yesterday."  Way to take something so culturally relevant and use it to your advantage, Jell-o!

5.  Where's the Gorilla?  Not gonna lie, this is the ad campaign which inspired this entire post.  Here in Kalamazoo there is a gaming company called S2Games.  Their mascot is a gorilla named Kongor, and they have billboards all over the SW Michigan area.  I've always been impressed with their boards, because they're very talented at using 3-D elements.  Now they've begun telling a story, and to say I am absolutely obsessed with where it's going could safely be the understatement of 2013.

First we got to see the Gorilla.  His fingers stuck out from the billboard.  his eyes glowed.
It was pretty boss.
Suddenly he was gone.  
(This was such a subtle change from the original billboard that I'm sure most people - including me- didn't even notice it for a few days.)

Now, I believe there was another board in between here that I can't find a picture of, but it was something to the effect of "Missing: One Giant Gorilla.  Answers to Kongor."

Then the Bananas came.
This is the 2-D version, but they also had a few with a giant 3-D banana hanging on a string from the board.

A few days ago it changed.  The "Here gorilla gorilla" message still stands, but the bannanas have all been eaten.  (I would go out and take a picture of one, but I would likely crash the car while trying ot snap it) All that remains are giant 3-D peels perched from the tops of the billboards.  I literally squealed with joy when I saw it.  And then almost swerved Dora off the road because EYES ON THE ROAD, KPMcD.  I am entranced.  Where is Kongor?  When will we see him again?  IT'S SOO GOOD PEOPLE.

Do you geek out over advertisements?  
What's the best one you've seen?  I want to know!

In other news, tomorrow is my last day in training for this new job I keep off-handedly mentioning.  Assuming I pass my "final exam"  I will officially be accredited by 5PM tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, I can't wait to tell you a little more about it Monday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Everyday I'm Shovelin'

Hey Y'all -

No Wedding Wednesday today, sorry.  I do have one more to write about what I learned on my honeymoon, but I think it's going to have to wait until next week.  Over the past few days (and right now apparently) we got dumped on with lake effect snow here in Kalamazoo.

If that's a phrase that is lost on you, the basic gist is if you live next to a big body of water you usually get a lot more snow than areas w/o large lakes in the same conditions would get.  As Kalamazoo is fairly close to a GREAT Lake (Lake Michigan what what), we've been rather walloped the last few days.

Apparently our sub-division is beneath the city officials, as we have yet to be properly plowed out, but more importantly the end of our driveway where the Mister and I have backed out onto snow a few times has now become rock hard ice... and thus instead of spending the morning being a cheery wedding blogger I shall instead be outside chipping ice from the base of our drive.

Silver lining.  This is good exercise. Yep, that's what I'm going with.

(my after picture)

Do you have a good snow related story that you 
could share for when I come back in to warm up?  
Share in the comments!

Monday, January 21, 2013

How I Keep Tiny Noggins Warm.

I've reached my final week of formal training for my new job!  Which is to say that I've got one more week of full-time craziness before I assume the part-time job I actually signed up for, but I'm still really enjoying it, and I'm truly learning a ton every day.  And I'm feeling a lot more confident in this, so that's good too.

That said, it was nice to have the day off yesterday.  I spent most of that day being crafty.  One could say, MONSTROUSLY crafty. (ooooh soooo punny.)

A few weeks ago I posted a child's fleece hat to the Etsy Monster, and a very good friend of mine messaged me almost instantly to say "you made that?  Think it would fit my kid?"

And, you know, yes I think it would fit... except he doesn't have one tiny noggin running around his home for that hat to cover.  He has two babes, two noggins.  And as such, I couldn't just send one hat.  Plus, the perk of being a friend to the great KpMcD (if I can toot my own horn for a minute), is that I'm a giver.  (and I do enjoy any good reason to plop myself in front of a project, let's be real.)

So yesterday I craft-nerded out and put together two monster hats just for those two awesome little men.  I can't wait until they get to try them on, so I'm off to send them off in the mail right now!

Did you like Monsters as a little kid?  
What was your favorite fashion accessory*?
Did you like dress up?  
What did you dress up as?  
Tell me in the comments!

*I had a vest/ dinosaur costume.  It was fleece and pink and tied together in the front with ribbons.  It had a hood that had purple fleece spikes sewn to it, those same spikes down the back, and it even had a pink tail that was spiked as well.  I would wear it ALL THE TIME with my brown twirly-round skirt, well past the point that either item fit me in any sense of the word.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Liked it, So I Put A Ring On It

(It's been a weird day, I'm a little off the walls.  You understand.)

First things first: The winner of Monday's Story-Contest:  Um, Jamie!  Not only because her story is hilarious (it involves a cat dressed as a tinfoil unicorn gone wrong.  you should read it.), but also because she's the only entrant who I'm not married to (I thought that might be a conflict of interest.)  So Jamie, stay tuned, I'll hit you up on facebook about that thar painting, and congrats!

Second things... second, (are you keeping up?) I have context before we leap into today's silly story.
I have poor circulation.  My hands and feet are ALWAYS cold, even in the middle of summer.  The Mister, in true keeping with the adage of opposites attract, is almost always warm.  This works really well for both of us.  Example:  I get up in the middle of the night to pee and when I come back to bed, I put my near-icicle-status feet on the small of the Mister's back to warm up my piggies.  Instead of gasping in shock and yelling (as, let's be honest, anyone could be expected to do), The Mister is generally happy for a way to cool his constantly over-heated self down a bit.  (Pictured Right: my super cold piggies screaming in pure glee).  

There was actually a line in our marriage vows that said: "Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth for the other."  When the officiant said it, we both chuckled.  I hope the officiant didn't think we were being flippant or not taking it seriously, but it's kind of become a running joke between us that The Mister is in charge of holding up that end of the deal. 

There you go.  Context, you has it.  Now for the third thing third... quick story:

The Mister has a wedding band.  It's a lovely ring, and I think he's finally getting used to it.  When we first got hitched, he had a hard time with the feeling of something always resting on his dainty digits.  But he could tell it was very important to me that he wore it faithfully (something about the way my eyes twitched just a little when he'd take it off) and so in the last few months he has acclimated to his new and most awesome fashion accessory.

bling bling y'all.

Do you or your spouse wear your/their wedding ring(s)?  
Is it important to you?
If not, why?

Sometimes, just to see if he can push my buttons, The Mister will take off my ring and spin it on the table/ counter/ whatever in front of him, like the top from Inception.  Sometimes I'll bust out "the LOOK" until he puts it back on.  It's become a bit of a lighthearted game.
aforementioned LOOK.  just in case anyone was confused.

The other night at TGIFridays we began this tête-à-tête anew.  And thus, the following exchange occured:
          KpMcD:  How's it going with that ring there, handsome?  You used to it yet?
          The Mister: Here *hands me the ring*  It's warm, right?
          KpMcD:  Yeah, because you're always warm.
          The Mister: I just took it off.  Give it a second.  How about now?  Cold right?
          KpMcD: ...Uh huh...
          The Mister:  Right!  Totally frigid!  It's like having you wrapped around my finger 24/7!
          KpMcD: Aw baby.  That's sweet.

I was weirdly flattered.  Because it's true.  I'm totally the White Witch from Narnia's long lost twin sister, and I get kind of twitter pated that he sees that ring not only as a symbolic reminder of me constantly, but a rather physical (temperature wise) reminder as well. 

And then I thought about telling all of you that small story, and I wondered if anyone else has a story like this that someone without context would be all "Excuse me!? RUDE."  But in reality is something else entirely.  My husband calls me frigid, and I find that endearing.

Do you have a similar story?  Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wedding Wednesday - Honeymooners!

Quick reminder - if you missed it, I started a contest.  Tell me your best story about a test or exam in the comments of Monday's post, and the best story wins a free painting!  See the original post for more details and to make your submission.  Contest closes Friday morning!

Wedding Wednesday!  Where we're not actually talking about the wedding any longer!

This week's edition is dedicated to the honeymoon.  Ooo-la-la!

The Mister and I jetted off to the sunny Dominican Republic the Monday following our wedding, and spent five blissfully sunny days sitting on a beach at an all-inclusive.  (just before hurricane season hit the island.  So... good timing on our part) We will be repeating this soon.  Next week I'll talk about what we learned that could maybe help you in planning your honeymoon/ next vacation, but for now I'll share some pictures to make you jealous.

Somewhere in August I just felt overloaded with wedding stuff, so I made a declaration that The Mister was officially in charge of the honeymoon and everything it entailed.  I didn't want to have to worry about it.  He did a bang-up job picking a place and booking it.

The view from our honeymoon suite balcony. 
The last day, literally 5 minutes before heading to the airport, we realized we should probably get a picture of the beach.

Everyday we got flower petals and a towel sculpture.  AWESOME.

Inside the resort.  We didn't really spend too much time inside, but it was pretty in there.

We ziplined.  I was terrified (noted by unsure smile).  
The Mister would do it again every day for the rest of his life.

If you never take another piece of advice from me, take this one:  Go on a vacation in a spot that is all-inclusive.  After you spend an entire engagement worrying about every tiny detail of a single day, stepping off a plane and worrying about nothing for an entire week is pretty much the most amazing thing ever.

If you take two pieces of advice, take this one too:  If you see a gal sitting by the pool with a sketchbook and your swim suit doesn't fit you properly, you can be sure she's probably drawing you.  To be clear, if you have the confidence to walk out in an outfit, MAD PROPS.  I know I wore outfits that week that I wouldn't wear around people I know.  Live it up.  Just know that strangers judge a little too.  I'm okay with it.

I did not exaggerate that woman's massive bun enough.  It could have swallowed her whole head.
Shortly after I drew the woman on the right, one of her strings on her top popped.  They were working a little too hard.  Thankfully she was European and didn't seem to be too embarrassed.

My notes, because they're a little washed out, from L-R: 
"Woah underboob!  maybe +1 size would have bennefitted here"
(this woman was well aware she was falling out the bottom of her suit.  
I think she thought it was attractive.)
"Does she have eyes?"  I never saw them if she did.
As for the guy in the middle, I just liked his sun gear.

GUYS.  It is the real life vacationer from Lilo and Stitch.
If I had a red pencil I would have colored him in.  SUN. BURN.
And then the little old Italian man.  He was kind of my favorite.  Never took his shirt off.  My comment:
"Almost certainly has no idea what his hat says.  You don't want to stare long enough to figure out if there's a speedo under the shirt."

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Where do you WANT to go on your honeymoon?
Have you been back or have plans to go back?  
Why or why not?
Tell me in the comments!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Participation Test: Painting Giveaway

Hey folks!

So... I had a post planned for today that was all about a fun conversation that the Mister and I had on Friday.  But it's going to have to wait.

I have to take a test today when I go to work - it's to make sure that the giant manual I read last week stuck with me before I move on to the practical training portion.  And as much as I want to be all:  Kp.  You have a master's degree.  And not just a master's degree:  You 4.0'd that crap.  You've got this.  No worries.

Well, I'm just not able to get myself there.  Which I suppose is good.  Complacency isn't really a great way to go into a test.  Also, I really LIKE this gig so far, and I want to be super bad-ass at it.

But what it means for you is that instead of cute anecdotes from me today, I'm going to study, and so in order to keep this place interesting, I want to hear from YOU in the comments.

Why bother to do that, you may ask?

Well I'd like to think it's because you're a nice person.  But realistically you might just do it if I make it worth your while.

Tell me your best TEST/QUIZ/EXAM related story.
AND like on facebook.


For freesies.
The painting will come on a 5x7 canvas board, and will be painted in acryllic paint.  The subject matter will be of your choice*

I'll probably do a post about the painting process, but then it goes right in the mail to you!

it will probably look better than if an elephant had painted it.

Totally worth a comment, right?

I'll pick the winner on FRIDAY, January 18th and announce it on the blog and on facebook.

*keeping in mind I do not do people portraiture in paint, and if you really want something that's pretty, my forte would be plants/ still lifes or cartoons.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fabu Feline Friday

I have some context to go with this post.  But I'm not quite ready to share completely.  So I'm making it vague.  Here's what you should know:

1.  Remember when I was all "I have a job!" and then "I don't have a job!"?  The second one was a lie because I am inpatient.  I, in fact, do have a job.

2.  I am in training for a very specific thing that I am really very excited about.  There are a lot of thoughts to go along with this.  It will be an interesting post when we get there.  At least for me.

3.  I don't want to share those thoughts quite yet because I struggle to be like "oh this is my job, this is what I am" when I am still in fact training to BE that.  It kind of feels like a lie.  I have decided to wait to expand upon all that when it's actually legit and I'm actually doing that.

4.  The job is part-time.  The training is full-time plus some.  You'll have to excuse me if posts are blunt/ sparse/ late in the next few weeks.

5.  I'd like to not get fired, so let's just be super clear that my opinions are mine and not of any corporate entity.  Yes? Okay great.

6.  Biggest piece of context for today:  The above things have resulted in Mac getting a LOT of attention lately, and I am starting to notice that the eldest fur-kid is feeling a little left out and jealous.

So today I'd like to share the story of how Bubba and I came to live together, sticking together through five moves, three states and two countries.  There is a shortened version in the FAQs, but hopefully the unabridged (with pictures!) version is more interesting.


Bubba and I became an inseparable team back in 2006. I'd been living in Texas a weekor so, and while I didn't have a lot of money, I knew the college I worked for was pet friendly.  At least cat-friendly.  I considered this a bit of a bummer, because while I like cats, I am most certainly more of a dog person.  So I had shared with my supervisor at the time that I figured I would save up a bit and maybe look into a cat.  I was given less than a week after that statement was uttered before I got a call one idle Wednesday morning from my boss.  "I'm giving you the day off.  Go get a cat.  You need someone to keep you company down here, so far away from your family."  This is exactly how crazy cat ladies are born folks. 

I wanted to be rational about this.  While I was lucky that the college I was at currently was pet-friendly for their live-on staff, it is not the most common thing in the world.   In a few years when I would be expected to move on, I didn't want to pigeon-hole my options for employment.  So I walked into the shelter that day, determined to pick out the oldest, smelliest cat they had. The one that would probably die soon but that deserved some love in the meantime. No one ever picks those cats. 

The picture of the old, dirty, one-eyed cat got me choked up every time those commercials with zoom shots of abused animals in cages come on TV. You know the one - with "In the Arms of the Angel" crooning in the background and the voice over about how you can “help a critter in need by sending the humane society just thirty cents a day.”  That's the cat I wanted.

I'm so sorry.  Don't hit play.  Spare yourself.

I breathed in the powerful cat-pee and disinfectant smell that is the same in every animal shelter, pound and humane society in the world as I walked in the door, happy to know that this day I would be saving some lucky old critter from ever smelling that pungent smell again. I walked up to the front counter and asked which way to the cats, while the mandatory shelter mascot, a white cat with only three legs who is given free rein to wander anywhere in the shelter, judged me from his cat tree in the corner. He must had decided I was okay, because he jumped down and tottered over to me, rubbing up against my legs while the lady behind the front desk called over the loud speaker found someone to escort me through the facility.

A very kind gentleman in a janitor's jumpsuit lead the way to the cat room, which I felt was rather cleverly located at the end of the hallway that houses all the adoptable puppies. As we walked, I wondered how many cats missed out on homes each year because adopters had to resist the temptation of taking home fluffy little bear-shaped dogs, with tiny little tongues to wash your face and gigantic eyes pleading for you to love them as much as they will always love you. But I was 100% determined. Old grody cat. That's what I was walking out of here with today. Yessiree.

As the shelter employee held open the cat-room door for me, he sheepishly stated in his southern drawl: “Ma'am, we're not supposed to do this, but that little orange one in the corner? He's been here too long. If he's still here, after noon today we'll have to put him down to make room for others.”

I looked in the direction indicated, and my gaze was met with a pair of giant amber eyes, while an impossibly tiny orange paw struck out from the bars of his cage and pawed at the air closest to me.
dramatic reenactment.

“Wha- the orange kitten? I was really thinking I'd get an old, unloved cat. Someone's gonna adopt him, he's a cute little baby.” I had 75% resolve. I mean, there was an old disgusting cat in the next cage over. I tore my eyes from the kitten and stole a glance at it. It hissed and backed into the dark corner of its dirty litter-box. The little orange kitten climbed onto the bars of his cage, showing off his tiny cream colored belly.  Okay, 70%.  

“No one wants him 'cause he can't meow. I call him Frogger.” The worker replied, walking up to the kitten's cage and unlatching it.

“Can't meow?”

“Nope. We found him with a piece of string tied around his neck, he must've gotten tangled up from trying to get loose and had pretty much hung himself from a tree. Messed up his vocal cords pretty bad. He croaks like a frog now.” And just like he was in his very own infomercial, that little kitten looked at me and said “eurk” in demonstration, as the shelter worker took him from his cage.  

Still sounds just like this.

As the worker held the little tabby out to me, I looked at the clock. 11:30AM. So he had half an hour after I adopted a different cat for someone else to come along and give him a home. Half an hour before,... well, they probably wouldn't do it right at noon, would they? I thought that felt a little too “spaghetti western High Noon firing squad.” I was 25% determined that I getting a different, crappy, totally unlovable, evil, geriatric cat.

The kitten grabbed my arm in a tiny bear hug using two tiny pink paws, latched into the fabric of my hooded sweatshirt using tiny needle claws, and used this leverage to heave himself up to my shoulder, where in the span of two seconds he had nestled himself in the folds of my hooded sweatshirt up against my neck and began to purr. I was now 100% determined:  This little orange tabby would be coming home with me as soon as I could sign the paperwork. Old evil cats be damned.

I renamed “Frogger” to “Togues,” and we've been a together ever since. He still doesn't have much of a voice, but everything else about him screams “important, perfect, majestic tabby cat” so loudly. The meow is really quite an endearing cherry on top of all his handsomeness.  A fact of which he is fully aware.

you can't resist the cuuuute.

We look out for each other. Bubba consoles me when I'm feeling sad or sick. I make sure his litter box was always clean and his bowl was always full of premium cat food.  

He spent his years living in Texas helping me refine my skills, making me more approachable to students who thought I was intimidating, roaming the halls of the building I oversaw each day, greeting students and begging food from them (he once dragged a whole slice of pepperoni pizza back down the hall to my office to gnaw on).  

Bubba's first homecoming at a college back in the days when it was acceptable to have "the Indians" as a school mascot, and years later at a Winter Luau event.

He built community between the residents, leading them to throw him birthday parties, invite him (not always me included) to their events, and giving otherwise very different cat-loving students a common ground to build friendships.  He once even got a gaggle of young men to do vacuum the entire residence hall**.  Their mothers would have been so proud.

And as you may have noticed, these same gentleman renamed my fabu little feline.  "He's a proper Texan, he needs a Texan name,"  they told me in authoritative man-voices, all while whirling around a feather wand for Bubs to pounce on.  Togues was too high-falutin' apparently.  At the time I remember being offended.  In hindsight, 'Bubba' is a much better fit for his big personality. 

When that time came to look for jobs at other colleges, I happily turned down jobs that were not smart enough to recognize the amount of mental stability a live-on staff member's critter could provide.  Instead of seeing Bubba as a hindering detail and more as a way of helping me dodge bullets in the job market.  And so you could say he's directly responsible for me ending up in Kalamazoo, where I met Mac and the Mister.  

and sometimes we all sit on the same couch!  together!

I am 100% resolved that I couldn't be luckier to have stumbled across this loving little tabby.  

How did your pets become part of your family?
Do you have a pet story to share?  
I'd love to read it in the comments!

**Mistletoe is a weed that grows on trees commonly in the south.  The men in my hall thought it would be fun to pluck some 'toe and hang it above doors in their hallway around Christmas, until someone muttered "wait, isn't mistletoe poisonous to cats?"

the main hallway, the cord to the vacuum, and the Bubba gato.

It took them hours to gather and hang the foliage.  It took them less than five minutes to completely eradicate it from the building.  

More gratuitous Bubba kitten photos you say?  But of course!  (click to embiggen)

Looking out the window, playing in the sink (both around 4 months old)
Being an excellent office cat by helping me be 0% productive, and the first night Mac joined us (they were the same size!)

Doing his best batman impression.

Such a graceful little dude.