Thursday, April 08, 2010


Wowza. I can't believe I've ignored this blog for over a year. I know I've said it over and over- I'm going to try to post more regularly. I can do it for a week or two, and then life takes over.'s another attempt. Here are some of my favorite recent pet pictures:

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sunday Morning Rugby

This past weekend was Nick's first real rugby game of the season at Forest Park. What a blast! A guy on the opposing team broke his ankel within the first ten minutes.
We're in purple and white. You can find the schedule at

Ella Minnow Pea

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book was really cute and I recommend it to anyone who has a love for words and literature. I feel that if I read this during a different time, I may give it another star- just wasn't in the mood for something like this when I picked it up. It's also short, so you can read it without feeling like you're making a huge commitment. The story is told through a series of letters. As the book goes on, there was a point where it became annoying to try and decipher what was being said. (You'll understand if you read it.)

View all my reviews.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
The majority of this book was so funny I would lay in bed laughing until I cried. This book is only for people who enjoy stupid man humor. And who are not easily offended by males speaking of females like they are mere objects put on the earth to please them. And then toss in the trash.

I think most girls would be offended by Tucker. There definetly parts were I was, but damn, he is stil funny as hell. And really...most of these girls deserved what they got.

The end of the book bothered my soul and I still can't shake the horrible feeling it gave me a day later. Prepare yourself for humor and disturbance all in one!

View all my reviews.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Captain Alatriste

Captain Alatriste Captain Alatriste by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a great piece of historical fiction. I am new to reading books of this genre, but throughly enjoyed Captain Alatriste.

I was concered jumping into a book like this I would get lost and have no idea what was going on (I will admit I'm not much of a history buff). Not so, it's easy to pick up. Also, it's not a long book, so if you're scared to committ, this is a good one to start with.

The story is told by Captain Alatriste's young "apprentice" which makes for an interesting view point.

View all my reviews.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nick's Sky Diving Adventure

A few months ago I posted a video of my brother, Christopher, sky diving on his 21st Birthday (Friday, June 13, 2008) in Las Vegas at Sin City Sky Diving. Nick went along with him and here is his video. While he doesn't cus nearly as much as Christopher did, it's still exciting to watch.

I love how he didn't tell me the cords on his chute tangled until this video came in the mail.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dolphin Cove Grand Cayman

This is a video I took at Dolphin Cove in Cayman while we were there over the holidays. Such an awesome place. My brother is working here now as the marketing supervisor.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chaz Stomps at Mouse

I took this video in January to show my Mom and Brother the stomping that's been going on at our house any time Chaz sees Mouse at the bottom of the steps. Chili even makes an appearance towards the end. The stomping really gets going at about the 45 second mark.

Background: Chaz is our brown bear staring in the video. Chili is our black brindle girl who is smarter than 90% of the humans I know. Mickey, who is not pictured but mentioned, is our buff tabby cat we inherited from my Mom when she moved. Mouse, the one all the fuss is made over, is a tabby cat we inherited from Nick's mother last year unexpectedly. He's about 15 or 16 years old, about 5 lbs and very sweet to humans. He beats the crap out of Mickey, who is 7 years and 22 lbs. He also refuses to come up stairs.

An Embarrassment of Mangoes

An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book did many things for me. It helped me pull more of my dreams into focus. It gave me inspiration and hope. It made me miss my mom and brother.

I'm sure this is one of those books that's not for everyone, but if you've ever seriously toyed with the idea of picking up and moving to an island...or you know in your heart the current life you're living just doesn't match up to what you had planned for yourself, this book is for you.

View all my reviews.

A Year In The World

A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller by Frances Mayes

My review

rating: 1 of 5 stars
I made it to page 111. I'm done. This is not a book for a vegetarian or someone interested in an exciting travel review. Every other sentence the author is talking about how she's eating pork at every meal or how fresh the fish eyes look at the market. She assumes the reader knows how to speak fluent Spanish and knows the ins and outs of each country she visits. The traveling in this book is not even done within a year but instead over many years.

I'm bothered that the travels only took place in one portion of the world, yet the book indicates the travels took her all over the world. Did she forget about the other 90% of this planet?

The writing has a tad full-of-oneself feel to it.

I rarely don't finish a book. I'm not finishing this one. There's no point to this book- no story to follow.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Not Nearly Enough Time

I flew into San Francisco today for a meeting tomorrow morning. This is my second time staying in the city, but I've passed through a total of four on my way to other areas of California. I walked around for a few hours this afternoon, but was leary to walk as far as my heart wanted to for fear of wandering around on streets trying to find my way back to the hotel in the dark. Alone. I'd still be out there now exploring if I had a buddy. I'm sad there is still day light and I'm hanging out in my hotel room.

I love this city. The people are friendly in a way you don't even experience in the mid-west. It's more of a relaxed, genuine non-judgemental friendly. It's February and the weather is beautiful. Warm enough in the sun for shorts, still breezy in the shade for a light jacket. Hotels, stores and restaurants are pet and environementally friendly. I feel like I'm in my own house every where I go! I was hoping to extend this trip a few days and bring Nick along with me to see why I love it here, but the scheduling just wouldn't work out. Hopefully next time.

I'm staying at the Harbor Court Hotel. Love it. I haven't been impressed with any hotels I've stayed in lately, but this little one has been a pleasant surprise. The design is adorable, stylish and comfortable. It's a block down from the Farmers Market and just off the water. You can easily walk to the area around Union Square and beyond.

I'm flying out tomorrow right after I'm finished with a meeting, so unfortuntely it looks like my sight seeing time is over for this trip. I'll be back San Francisco.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Things I'm Thinking About On A Monday

Why are some people so judgemental of others they barely know yet never take a good look at themselves?

From the words of Mr. Robert Nesta Marley- Judge Not, before you judge yourself.

Don't think for one second what you are saying about someone won't get back to them.

Lightlife Smart Chili is super easy and super good!

I am a much happier driver when my car is clean.

The dirty grey piles of snow are not pretty.

I am so thankful for everything I have.

The book I'm reading is awesome, but it does make me miss my mom and brother even more than normal. (Join me on Goodreads!)

I need a weekend for my weekend.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


It's zero degrees in St. Louis today. I woke up at a reasonable time, but had so much trouble pulling myself out of bed to face the fridged temps that I made myself considerably late for work. As I was throwing stuff in my bag to run out the door, I slipped on my trusty ballet flats. With no socks. And reasoned with myself it wouldn't be too bad since I'm going straight to my car, to the garage at work, and then to my desk. I was horribly mistaken. My car was frozen so much so the steering wheel didn't want to turn. It took my entire drive to work (30 mins) for it to warm up. There were a few water main breaks in the area, so I had to take a nice little scenic detour while helplessly watching my purse tumble over and spill everything between the passenger seat and the door. I made it to the garage at work and spent 5 more minutes fishing under the seat of my car with frozen feet trying to find my cell phone. I make it up to the office. The heat on the side where I sit IS NOT ON.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nine's the Lucky Number

If you're close to me, you know full well the entire year of 2008 was not on my list of what I'd call "good times." Nick and I were thrown our fair share of obstacals, and when I think back on all of them it's clear to me why my mood wasn't top notch for 12 months. When week after week brought some new kind of headache, why did I even expect to want to get out of bed in the morning? Silly, silly me.

While I'm trying to forget each little tradgedy of '08, I can't deny how much I learned from every single second of the misery I endured. I would never chose to relive any of it, but I think it's going to help make 2009 that much sweeter. My new knowledge of life, how this world and people will unexpectedly let you down, the importance of family, what friendship really means, what career happiness/success will mean for me, and where I want to be as a person have been invaluable lessons 2008 taught me.

I could go on and on. I can feel it. 2009 is going to be good.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Over Optimizing Relevancy

As posted October 22, 2008 on

My topic for this post comes from a thought I had during my last blog entry, Google’s Real Time Quality Score Changes Your Query Results.

“One of the reasons search works so well is because it’s the most-efficient advertising medium available. If the search engines keep making changes like this, it is not going to stay that way and then you have to wonder – will search still be as popular or will advertisers give up on it?”

Google’s Quality Score nightmares, while the most significant, haven’t been the only changes the engines have been making in the last few months. We’ve seen Yahoo’s unannounced version of extended broad match appear as if from no where. MSN had a fun time surprising us, and themselves for that matter, with their change in display URL de-duping policy. And good old Ask has upgraded their technology to provide faster and more relevant results.

What’s with all of the unannounced system upgrades guys? Not only did we find out about the Yahoo!, MSN and Ask upgrades after the fact, but why are the big four releasing these changes that are supposed to make things more relevant all at the same time? September and October have been crazy months here in the search world.

And let’s get back to the point of these upgrades- that are “supposed” to make search results more relevant. From what I’ve seen professionally and personally the results have become less relevant. For a professional example, let’s consider the brand Orbit gum. Note- Orbit gum is not a client of mine, although this scenario has happened with real clients at our agency. There’s just a pack of it sitting on my desk, so we’ll go with it. Let’s say you searched on Google for “sugarfree gum.” Now let’s also pretend we know Orbit gum is running a paid search account in Google AdWords. You would expect the Orbit gum ad to show since sugarfree is a major selling point for Orbit. Prior to the roll-out of the Real Time Quality Score (RTQS) changes, the Orbit ad for the search phrase “sugarfree gum” had a high Quality Score (QS), a reasonable CPC, strong CTR, and showed up in the top three positions consistently. Post RTQS roll-out; this is no longer the case. Orbit cannot get their ad to show in Google on a search query where they are undoubtedly relevant with their keywords, ads and landing pages- the same search query they had such amazing results with before RTQS was rolled out. Tell me how this ad is no longer relevant?

For a personal example as your every day searcher, I went to Yahoo! and searched on the title of a book I’m reading, “Twilight.” In my screen shot below, you can see in the paid results a listing for a show called Tudors was served.

I understand there may be value for Tudors to be bidding on the term “twilight”; they may be able to capture some clicks from people like me since the audience demographics overlap between the show and the movie. I get it. Is this ad showing as part of the new extended broad match-like system Yahoo is using? That I can’t say since Tudors is not a client of mine. Maybe they are bidding on the term “twilight.”

What I don’t get is how can the search engines tell me that Orbit gum is not relevant to a search on “sugarfree gum” but the show Tudors is relevant to the book Twilight?? These are just two examples and I’m using two different engines so as not to pick on just one. I could go on and on. My point here is have we finally hit a point where the engines have over-optimized their algorithms the same way search marketers can over-optimize an account? Has their quest to better understand what searchers are looking for gone too far so they’re now at a place where they don’t understand me at all? My hunch from what I’ve seen going on lately is…quite possibly yes.

As the engines keep raising our Min CPCs, telling us we’re not relevant when we clearly are, and providing searchers with listings they are clearly not looking for, what does the future of search look like? Will the algorithms revert back to how they were a year or two ago? Will they keep making new enhancements that don’t enhance anything except their bank account?

Is it Finally Time to See the Butterfly Take Off?

As posted November 20, 2008 on

With the unknown future of Yahoo’s stability, the recent grumblings over Google’s advantageous use of their power, and the inefficient technology of Ask, has the search world finally entered the Era of MSN? This is quite the possibility when you give it some thought.

We know this has been a volatile year for the top four search engines. Google, while still mighty, has seen some backlash for some of their recent enhancement choices. While we love Ask and want them to succeed, it seems that their current company model doesn’t support the technological changes they need to make in order to gain a nice chunk of market share. The stability and sureness of Yahoo as a whole is, simply put, not there. All the while MSN’s been plugging away to make their user and advertiser experience better.

If you’ve been in the search space for the last 3 ½ years, you can probably remember the entrance of MSN into the ranks. Everyone was excited, but it didn’t take long for that excitement to change to irritation. Many of us felt adCenter was launched before Microsoft was ready to support it and back it up with the technology it needed to be successful. For example:

•The interface was cumbersome to use
•There were many simple tasks a search manager wasn’t able to do because the system wasn’t intuitive
•The adCenter service reps were unknowledgeable and over booked on accounts
•It was impossible to get one on the phone when you had a problem or needed a campaign uploaded, but it was even more impossible to then speak to someone who could actually help
Over the past year and some change, we’ve seen some smart moves on MSN’s part. They have:

•Continued to make interface and functionality upgrades to adCenter
•Re-structured their service model and added a good number of reliable reps to ensure agencies and advertisers have the help and coverage they need to be successful
•Provided pro-active account deep dives and recommendations
•Purchased Atlas
•Partnered with Facebook
•Created the Excel Ad-In keyword tool
•Created an account management desktop tool so making updates to campaigns are a breeze
•Added and improved their quality-partner content networks
And so the list goes on.

Most clients I’ve dealt with see their greatest search ROI from adCenter. The only reason they don’t put more money towards MSN Search is because the volume they need to spend the budget is not there. To begin solving this problem, MSN has started a public push to gain more searchers on and It’s already started this year with the introduction to Live Cashback and

The service is better, the technology is better, and the user base and awareness are growing. Microsoft has what it takes to really give adCenter and the push they need to succeed. I’m excited to see that butterfly take off in 2009!

Google’s Real Time Quality Score Changes Your Query Results

As posted September 26, 2008 on

Last week, Google moved its Real Time Quality Score (RTQS) testing out of beta and launched it live for all AdWords advertisers. RTQS allows for Google’s algorithm to calculate Quality Score (QS) on the fly each time a search is conducted. Previously, the Quality Score was not calculated in Real Time, but over a period of time.

When I first heard about the rolling out of this update to the calculation of Quality Score, I was hopeful it would be beneficial to both searchers and advertisers alike. For searchers, it would allow for instant determination by Google’s system to serve up the most relevant query results. Thus, in theory, giving searchers exactly what they are looking for each and every time they search. For advertisers, I was crossing my fingers we would also see a lower cost-per-click (CPC) since our ads should be showing in higher positions when they are more relevant, with an increased QS to help boost them up there. Also, since results being served will be real-time relevant to what the searchers are looking for, that should then mean advertisers will see more qualified traffic, creating more clicks, a higher click-through rate (CTR), and a lower cost-per-acquisition (CPA).

I hoped and waited impatiently for our first sign of changes. And then the reports started coming in; they were not pretty.

We have a few clients who saw immediate increases to the CPCs and decreases to QS. While it wasn’t what I wanted, I can understand how it happened. There could be a few reasons. If ads that were previously showing in search query results were not as relevant as they could have been, Google is now judging them more closely, and determined that for them to show, the CPCs would need to be higher since the QS is lower. If we have more terms in our account that fall into this situation rather than falling into my ideal situation, it’s quite possible we will see the overall CPC increase.

The other possibility (do I dare say it?): Google’s Real Time Quality Score calculation has some bugs to work out. I’m going to put my money on this one. Why? Here is just a sampling of what we’ve dealt with this week:

•New accounts we launched after RTQS went live have had to set their max CPCs at upwards of $100 just to meet the “quality-based min bid.”
•The account interfaces are not giving you a warning message that your bids are too low to meet this quality-based min bid until you’ve tried to increase them. This means you can have your max bids set at $3 with no warning messages. If you try to increase your bids to $5, you’ll get a warning that says your max bids are not high enough for your ads to show.
•For some keywords, for example, that previously had a $3 bid to show on the first page, we’ve now had to bid $50 – and then find we’re only paying a $2 CPC for second position.
Typically, my recommendation when red flags such as these arise would be to focus on optimizing your accounts as best as you can. However, in this case, before trying to solve the issues on your own, advertisers and search strategists should look at every detail in their paid search accounts and take any of these issues you find as far up the Google flag pole as you can.

One of the reasons search works so well is because it’s the most-efficient advertising medium available. If the search engines keep making changes like this, it is not going to stay that way and then you have to wonder – will search still be as popular or will advertisers give up on it?

And who knows, Real Time Quality Score has only been in effect for less than two weeks. We may see some drastic differences in the next month than what has been reported here.

Have you seen more relevant ads when you’re searching on Google? As an advertiser, how have your results changed, if at all? Feel free to post your answer below or Contact Us with your thoughts.

Will Google’s Chrome Win This Round of Browser Wars?

As posted September 3, 2008 on

Many of you have received a ghastly amount emails and news posts about Google’s new beta browser, Chrome. And, if you’re like me, you thought “Here we go again.” Does the world need another browser? First, we received news about Flock, and now we hear about Chrome. What is the “piece de resistance” that will outshine the likes of Internet Explorer (IE) or Firefox? Is this site going to be a heavy contender for the latest and greatest battle of the beta browser?

I’ve never been one to partake in the legendary browser wars of the last five to ten years. To me, it’s just a BROWSER. If it works, is easy to use and is on my computer- great! Most common Internet users feel the same way. If you’re not a designer, programmer or tech-geek (and I say this with great affection), how much does your browser choice affect your life? I would dare to guess not that much.

Well, my fellow readers, I was quite surprised when I made it my default browser.

When I downloaded the open source beta Chrome, it conveniently auto added all of my bookmarks from IE. After doing a few test searches, I was able to see how the speed dial feature works. Below is a snapshot that shows some of my favorite sites that were saved to my homepage as “Most Visited:”

My first thought was, “That’s helpful,” then followed with, “Well, maybe I don’t want the person sitting next to me to see all of my business.” Many people consider their bookmarks and most recently viewed sites as personal information. However, Chrome thought of that already. Problem solved! Since Chrome is so easy to use, I was able to figure out how to customize my experience without even needing a user manual. The more time I spent using it, the more I warmed up to the idea of expanding my browser horizons.

At first glance, Chrome seems to have all of the major features users will look for- tabbed browsing, a clean look, ease of use, customizable interface, speed dial and bookmarks, password captures, and history privacy options. One of my favorite features is the integrated address and search bar.

It will be interesting to see the impact Chrome has over the next six to 12 months on the browser market share. Will you add a little Chrome to your daily routine?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Another Perspective

While I've had so much going on the last few months I could have knocked out some really great posts, I honestly haven't had the time. I'll try to start catching up. However, I have something I feel needs to be posted now.

My mom lives in Grand Cayman and has experienced quite a difference in culture during her five years on the island. This is an email she sent me a few weeks ago; she was thinking about sending it to their news station for publication. We're really blessed to live in this country. Something to think about.....

"As I stand in my kitchen tonight preparing a turkey to share with my co-workers, I am struggling with two thoughts:

First, I am on a committee to help prepare a scheme to determine the top 10 employers in Cayman. One of the qualifiers is how an employer handles "diversity." I feel that this is something Cayman has not yet learned to embrace and if I dare to speculate, there may be 80% of the population here that is Cuban Caymanian, American Caymanian, Mexican Caymaian, Brazilian Caymanian, Indian Caymanian, Canadan Caymanian, Britsh Caymanian, Jamacian Caymanian and many more. I am an American but my parents descend from Austria and Hungary. I am no less an American. I embrace diversity and have seen the many facets of the world through my diverse friends, co-workers and acquaintances - it has never made me any less an American or changed the fiber of American heritage.

Second, this struggle I have been forced by order of the Board of Directors to terminate the contract of a recently hired Canadian because I was told I had hired too many "white people." This employee is exquisitely qualified, already on the island as a dependent, white, and clearly a victim of political circumstance. Doesn't matter to me what color he is; he's the best person qualified for the position. His selection was a process, just like that of president elect Barack Obama.

I am thankful at this Thanksgiving because I am from a country that has taught me we are all humans, and to be tolerant, practice acceptance and to embrace diversity. I am thankful I have grown up in a country that can elect a president to lead and not be biased by the color of their skin or nationality of orgin.

My hope for Cayman is it will learn to embrace diveristy, step forward in time and understand that Cayman can keep its heritage but not keep Cayman in the shameful dark ages of prejudice, segregation, and absoutely no understanding of how to go forward with human rights.

Inclusion is far better than exclusion. Embrace Diversity Cayman."

Let this be a lesson for the whole world. Amen!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Z1 707 J

Hey you in the White Dodge 4X4 with Illinoing plates Z1 707 J going 44 West near Grand- tell your passenger to STOP THROWING HIS CIG BUTTS OUT THE WINDOW!!!

Because They Got the Right Stuff

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

My review

September 5 Update-

I'm a little over 200 pages into the book. Whoa. Whoa. I don't know what to say about it yet. This is going to be one of those I will need to finish before I decide if I like it or not. There are horrible, terrible things that happen in this story. The setting reminds me of Robin Hood times. I feel like my Dad would love this book, and my boyfriend would like it as a movie. I can handle heavy stories, but this is heavy of a different kind.

Original thoughts-

Wow, the reviews on this one are so mixed I'm not sure what to think. I plan to start the book tonight, and I must say I'm a little scared.

View all my reviews.

579 PJS

One of the things that peeves me the most in this world are people who throw their cigarette butts out their car windows. For me, it's worse than seeing someone throw normal trash out because I hate cigarettes and the inconsideration most smokers have for others around them. And themselves.

Now, I do have quite a few friends who smoke and are respectful of others. I'm not bashing people who smoke. Although I wish you would quit for your own sake! If you're going to smoke, that's your own choice and I respect that. But when you toss your butt on the ground, then we have problems.

Do I think this world would be a better place if we could eliminate everyone who thinks it's okay to toss a cigarette butt out their car window? Yes. I do. If a person has the mentality where they think that is an OK act to be doing, I don't think this earth needs them.

You don't care about your health. (And when you don't care about yourself, what do you care about????)
You don't care about the health of others around you.
You don't care about the planet or keeping it clean.
You have this preconceived notion that you may do whatever you want to this planet because you are you.

It's disgusting and pompous. I'm sick of getting mad and leaving it there, so I will now start to post and talk about people I see doing this. Here we go.

MO license plate 579 PJS, you know who you are. You flicked your cig butt out your window this morning while on Page Ave. near Schuetz Road, a few minutes before 9:00 am. Congratulations, you are my first installment of The-Big-Jerks-Who-Flick-Cigarette-Butts-Out-Their-Car-Windows.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels like they are looking for something or wants to be inspired. I have no plans of running off to India and getting up at 3 am to meditate, but it did leave me questioning some things in my life, and also in the lives of people I love. Great great book. We should all be so lucky to find the balance and peace Liz found.

View all my reviews.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I needed a new pillow anyway.

Two posts in one morning. It's been an eventful week.

Chaz has always had a thing for our neck pillows- the kind made out of foam and are formed to support your neck while you sleep. He destroyed Nick's awhile ago. For a few months now, when I get out of the shower in the morning, mine will be at the end of the bed with slobber on it. I guess the damn thing said something nasty to Mr. Chaz this morning.

Introducing Mouse

Mouse came to live with us on Aug 4 from Nick's mother's house. I can't imagine why anyone would want to get rid of this sweet 15 year old little man, but I suppose I don't understand anything a certain someone does. So I'll stop wasting brain power on trying to figure out the inevitable.

Mouse has been hiding in a corner of the basement until two nights ago. He's never seen another cat before, so any time Mickey comes into eye sight, he would growl and scream like someone was trying to murder him. Poor Mickey just wants to be his buddy in the worst way. He's trying to be patient with Mouse and give him the time he needs to adjust, but you can see in his giant eyes he's ready for some snuggle and play.

And, yes, we now have Mickey and Mouse. Charming.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Didn't you know cotton balls taste good?

In an attempt to be a little more like my favorite blogger in the whole world (Heather Armstrong of, I've decided it's time Chili and Chaz learn how to balance things on their heads. We started out this past weekend with something light and easy- a cotton ball. Chili picked it up quickly, as I expected she would, and decided she is now the princess of balancing cotton balls on her head:

Chaz didn't really get what we were trying to do. He just wanted to eat the cotton ball.

Mmmm...smells good.

Mmmmm....tastes good too.

Oh no Dad is trying to take my tasty cotton ball treat!

Please Dad I love my cotton ball!

After we pried the cotton ball out of his jaws of steel, we moved on to a nice squishy eye mask. This one worked!

Even if my Chaz man doesn't like to balance things on his head, he is pretty damn good at wearing shades.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hard Work

When we bought our house last summer, the house was in good shape, but the yard was another story. The woman who lived in there before it was rennovated was blind, and not that I personally have anything against blind people, but I don't think anyone ever did a thing to take care of that yard. The whole place was covered in a vine-y weed that would go underground, then come back up, go underground, then come back up, and so on. Which means, this is not your typical weed. You can't just go out and pull the thing out of the dirt.

Last year, Nick pulled out the old chain link disaster of a fence, which was covered by none other than that vine-y weed, and entagled in old little crappy dead trees. Once all of that was removed, he put in a new privacy fence. Since then, we've been doing things like trying to tame the devil weeds and grow grass, make flower beds, replace ugly bushes with new pretty ones, and so on. The larger projects this summer are rocking the side of the house (where no grass will grow since that's the dogs' running path), move the AC to the side, put in a patio, run electric to the garage, finish the privacy fence along the back, and tear out an old section of fence and a tree stump to put in a parking pad. We're finally moving along and making some nice progress.

One of the things that drove me crazy was this tree we have in the back yard. It was completly covered by the vine-y weed. It killed me someone was letting that weed bascially strangle the tree. I tried tackling that thing last year, but didn't make much progress. One of the first things I did when the weather turned nice this season was remove that vine from the tree and make a nice flower bed around it.

Here is a before picture of what the tree looked like:

Here is the after picture:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Christopher Sky Diving

Christopher and Nick went sky diving for Christopher's 21st Birthday when we were in Vegas in June. June 13, Friday the 13. You can see Christopher's video on YouTube here. I'll try to get Nick's posted this week as well.

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Certain Girls

Certain Girls Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I loved loved this book right up until the last 75 pages or so. Not to say the ending was bad- it was just- and this might be a spoiler- INSANELY SAD. I wasn't expecting the twist in the story, so it hit me like a mac truck one night when I was casually reading before I fell asleep. I cried my eyes out into my boyfriends hair as he slept; tossed and turned all night. Overall, yes, another great book from Jennifer. You'll want to at least read Good In Bed before this one as the story picks up Cannie's story some years after from where GIB left off.

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