Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I need advice from my dog and cat people readers

Hi all! I want to research different pet insurance companies prior to Levi's annual exam this year. I know I've read about some of your experiences on your blogs, but I would love to hear recommendations for companies and any positive or negative experiences you might be able to share. Levi thanks you!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

That kind of day

Here is what I brought to the check-out at the grocery store yesterday. Do you think the checker judged me? School has been really rough for the last six weeks or so and just when I thought things were getting better, they got bad again. I wish I could get into it, but better that I don't. Schnucks has the best bakery cookies ever. I would have taken an actual picture of my purchases, but I stuffed the two cookies down my mouth-hole the second I sat down in the car. Well, at least the beer was light.

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What are your guilty pleasures when things get rough?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My handsome male Saturday night visitor

Before I talk about my handsome visitor, I wanted to update you guys on Levi's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) status. Or lack thereof. Unfortunately, the big man did not pass his first attempt to be a CGC. I was at a symposium all weekend, so I was unable to cheer him and Jason on. Levi actually did really well on the items we expected him to have trouble with. He passed supervised separation and did not react to a large man in a giant wheelchair. In fact, Levi passed 8/10 of the items. Which ones did he fail? Loose leash walking of all things!!! If you've ever seen Levi walk, you know that he is not a puller. In fact, we are usually way out ahead of him, especially in the summer when he's hot and lazy. So why did he fail? He was sniffing the floor and Jason couldn't get his attention. Levi knows commands like "look at me" and "touch," but apparently the floor was just too interesting. For the same reason, Levi also failed the 'come' item. Apparently he stopped short about a foot from Jason and started sniffing the floor. I'm really proud of him though because he did well with things we thought would be scary for him and the items he failed are things we can definitely work on for when he retests in June.

So, back to my handsome visitor. A few weeks ago, a frightened little pit mix named Cal came to Stray Rescue's shelter. He came from what I'm guessing is a high-kill animal control facility, where he was on death row for being aggressive and unadoptable. Stray Rescue decided to take him in and give him a chance. It was the first time I'd really met a pit bull there that was not completely lovey with people. He was very scared and barky. But he improved so much every week. On Thursday, I took him on his short walk and sat with him in his apartment. After a little bit of time, he was brave enough to take a stuffed ball from me and we played a bit. Such. A. Doll. I asked Jason if we could take him home for a sleepover to get him out of the shelter and show him what it's like to be loved.

Since we don't know anything about his history, we had to do a slow introduction with him and Levi. We took Levi to the shelter and did the side-by-side walking business and slowly brought them closer. How did it go? Well, I think this picture says it all.

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Cal loved Levi. He is actually rather submissive and performed a lot of mouth-licking appeasement behaviors on Levi. And of course Levi loved Cal because Levi loves every dog he meets. Cal loved attention from us too; his tail did not stop wagging like crazy the whole time we had him. This was quite different from the reception I usually get from my aloof dog! I only get tail-wags like that when I come home! But Cal was so happy. Seriously, look at this guy's face.

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Basically, they spent all afternoon, evening, and the next morning playing. And playing some more. I loved seeing Levi so happy with another dog and loved seeing Cal come out of his shell. To think that he was almost killed just breaks my heart! I mean, several stuffies might have met their demise, but other than that, fun was had by all.

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This was Cal's favorite toy. It's basically an 'egg baby' that squeaks that you stuff inside a penguin for them to take out. Well, penguin died awhile ago, but we still have the egg babies.

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They also chased each other around my mom's big yard

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And nibbling on each other's faces, which was apparently enjoyed thoroughly by all

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Seriously, look again at this face! I can't stand it!

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What's that, you say? You wish you could see Cal and Levi in action for yourself? Here you go!


If you don't want to watch it all, just check out the bitch slap Cal gives Levi at around :18.


And finally, Cal doing his army crawl. So cute.


We were sad to have to take him back to the shelter on Sunday, but we gave him one of Levi's toys as a keepsake. What a great boy! He is looking for his forever home or a foster home. You can fill out an application here if you are interested. That is if we don't snatch him up first;)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Engagement Story

I don't believe I've ever shared our engagement story on here. Four (!) years ago yesterday, Jason surprised me with the most thoughtful, romantic proposal. Here's the story.

We had been dating almost two years and we talked about getting married and had even looked at rings together. I was just waiting for the proposal to happen. I even looked at his phone once to see if there were any ingoing or outgoing calls that might tip me off. Bad, I know. I'm not usually like that, but I plead drunkenness in this case. Anyway, I kept waiting for it to happen and thought maybe when I go down to Florida with my family?

I've been lucky enough to go to Boca Grande, Florida with my family pretty much every year since college. I have a great number of happy memories from the place. Jason couldn't go on the trip with me, so we bid our farewells at the airport. I got down there that night and remember talking with my sister about when it might happen. I even said to my mom, "he's not coming down here, is he?" And typical of my mom, she exclaimed, "HERE?!?! Where would he sleep?" Touché, mom. I know she's not that good of an actress, so she and my sister totally convinced me that this was not the time.

My brother-in-law had plans the next day to have a business meeting in Tampa, so he left for the day. I spent my time with my sister and her two boys and my parents. I even took a long walk on the beach with my mom and she was very quiet. I chalked it up to me being talkative and irritating. My parents were staying in one house with friends and I was staying in a condo with my sister and her family. My sister was growing increasingly angry that her husband had not returned from the business meeting yet. When he finally met us at the pool, they had a fight that was extremely awkward for all of us watching.

I was supposed to go to dinner that night, so I got all ready. Then my sister asked if I would go to the beach with her at sunset to take pictures of her baby. Of course I would! As we walked onto the beach, she told me she had to go back for a blanket because it was chilly. So, I waited there. As I looked down the beach, I see someone approaching. Is that person Jason? I looked back at my sister and she smiled and walked away. I knew then that it was finally happening! I don't even remember what Jason said, but he proposed to me right there on the beach at sunset. I think the first thing I said after saying yes was, "who's watching the birds?" His mom, who was kind enough to do so, in case you're wondering.

When we got back to the condo, my sister had champagne waiting for us. We then went to the house to see my parents. When I flew back to St. Louis with my dad after the trip, I asked him what his favorite part of the week was. He told me, "the look on your face when I opened the door." I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. Anyway, I found out that EVERYONE knew we were getting engaged, including my parents' friends, my aunts that were also in Florida, and even my brother in Maine. The fight my sister and brother-in-law had? All an act. He had gone to pick up Jason at the airport and had driven him back to Boca, then hit up a bar for some food and drink. Then they squirreled Jason away at the house while my parents' friends gave him liquid courage. My dad was the one to take him to the beach. Everyone was so quiet that day because they were afraid of saying something to spoil the surprise.

I then found out that my parents had made reservations for us at my favorite restaurant on the island. But that's not all! My mom had purchased champagne flutes for us, tied with ribbon, and had decorated the table. And there was more champagne waiting for us at dinner. We had a great dinner, went across the street to thank my parents (who were dining with their friends at another restaurant) and then went out to the only "bar" on the island and just had fun. When we returned to the condo, I found gorgeous flowers on my nightstand courtesy of my sister. What a day. I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

Of course the proposal itself was incredibly thoughtful and romantic, but the fact that Jason incorporated my family into the event meant the world to me. There aren't words to describe how touched I was that so many people put so much thought and planning into something for me. And the fact that I lost my dad the next year makes the memories that much more special. It was the last time I was in Florida with him and what a way to remember that last trip.

So, let me share with you some pictures.

Here we are just after the proposal. I asked a passerby to take this photo.

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Back at the house with my parents:

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So excited to see our table at dinner

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We used the champagne flutes at our wedding

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[Photo Credit: Robert George Studio]

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[Photo Credit: Robert George Studio]

And Jason surprised me by carrying them to Belize for our anniversary dinner last year. I didn't even know he had brought them until I saw them sitting on the table.

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Later on in the night after more champagne than I (and Jason, obviously) care to remember

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The bracelet Jason is wearing also had significance. While he was preparing for the proposal with my parents' friends, one of them gave him this "friendship bracelet."

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He also wore it at our wedding

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[Photo Credit: Robert George Studio]

The gorgeous flowers my sister got for us

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Jason didn't get to stay the whole week, but we made the most of the time he had there. It was so much fun showing him around the island and sharing with him a place that was so special to me.

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Sigh. What fun it is to relive one of the best days of my life. Thanks, Jason, for making it so special for me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gripping Films

Forget the films honored by the Academy last night! I'm about to reveal the most riveting movies shot in recent history! These films have action, a hero and a heroine, insightful narration, suspense, and water! All this courtesy of Monty and Lola with (nasal and Midwestern accented) commentary by moi. And if you listen closely, you will hear Monty's "quacks" of delight.



Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hot or Not? Adam Levine

I just assumed Adam Levine of Maroon 5 was one of those men that all women (and some men) swoon over until someone informed me (Joline?) that she didn't think he was hot. And I was like, "what, what WHAT?" So, that is how he got to be featured in our latest installment of hot or not. I'd like to hear some solid reasoning from people who do not find him attractive. The man is walking sex, people. He also writes baby-making music. He has more sex appeal in his ear wax than douchebag-extraordinaire (and voted NOT HOT by me) John Mayer has in his entire egotistical body.

I like him with long hair

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But I love him with supershort hair

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My one gripe is that he seems to be a big fan of the tank top. I do not approve of tank tops on men, but I'll let it slide in this case. I know some of you are going to say that he's too skinny or wimpy for their taste. But I'll use his frequent donning of the tank top to illustrate that he's very fit.

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Though I prefer him in a t-shirt.

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And those you still not convinced should check out the red-hot video for "This Love," which features some steamy scenes with his then-girlfriend.



So, let me know what you think. I think you know how I feel!

VERDICT: HOT!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Heat Wave

We had one this past weekend! Okay, not really, but that giant yellow orb in the sky was visible for once and temperatures rose above 40 degrees. It was bliss. Levi enjoyed the weather because he got to sit outside and watch Jason work on his long-neglected bike. Although Levi might be embarrassed that I'm telling you that yesterday might have been "too hot," as he struggled up the last hill on his long walk. I even enjoyed something called running, an action I used to be very familiar with, but have been too stressed/tired/feeling sorry for myself to do as much as I should be. When is that half-marathon again? I hope all the locals enjoyed the break from the clouds and dreariness! I wouldn't know because I'm WAY behind on my Google Reader.

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He also enjoyed sitting in the sun. I moved the chair after snapping this photo and put his bed in its place so that he could be comfy.

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Speaking of Levi, he did great in his first CGC class last week. He aced all the tests we practiced, but we didn't get to the supervised separation. That will certainly be a challenge. Unfortunately, the two trainers are women and Levi is much more comfortable around women than men. We'll have to bribe some "friendly stranger" men to greet him between now and the test. I also realized that I have a workshop at the zoo the weekend of the test, so Jason will have to be Levi's handler that day. Hopefully Jason can muster sufficient energy and enthusiasm to keep a mellow dog like Levi on task. You can do it, Jason!

I also got some footage of Monty taking a bath for you all, but haven't uploaded it yet. I realized Monty has gotten no video love on the blog and I know you Monty fans would appreciate seeing how irritating he is as he tries to soak my sleeve by running up and down my arm, in and out of the water.