Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cheeky at Home: My Weekly Post About Working From Home

     The past few weeks have been full of Strong Men, Ninjas, and Circus mobiles.  Sometimes they all seem to line up and I have to make a bunch of them at once.  It makes for a nice rhythm---working on these guys.  There's less thinking and sketching.  I can probably make them blind-folded.  I watched the entire Friends series on Netflix while working this past month.  Comedies have gotten so much better.  I usually take my lunch breaks with Michael Scott or Leslie Knope.  It takes me awhile before I feel Office and Parks burnout.
     For the past few weeks it has been Mardi Gras season.  You can't say this down here, I've noticed, but I have a love-hate relationship with Mardi Gras.  I love, love, love spectacle and celebration and joy on the street.  Love it. But, the throws: plastic beads, inflatable bananas, plastic swords.  The very best of the throws are like those things you try to get with a claw out of a vending machine.  They are thrown out of the floats in a constant stream.  It puts a funny feeling in my stomach.  All this junky junk that I wish didn't exist in the world being thrown out to eager hands.  Walter eats it up, he loves it.  Then we go home with bags full of the stuff.  If someone knocked on my door, asking me to buy all that stuff, I would pay him to keep it out of my house.   I wish the parade riders would pool all the throw money together and spend it on spectacle-type of things.  Take some flame throwing lessons! Buy some stilts!  Make giant puppets!
    Also, everyone gets a week off of school down here for Mardi Gras.  In a few weeks, they will have another week off for spring break.  There's a mid-western curmudgeon inside of me that wants to wag my finger at everyone and tell them to "Get to work!".
     My dislike of Mardi Gras was making me disappointed in myself.  That doesn't sound like me.  Who is this old, grumpy woman swatting beads away and spitting on King Cake (not really)?  I figured I was just seeing the wrong parades.  There are so many, you know?  So, we went to one in New Orleans.  It was called the Krewe of Chewbacchus, and it was everything I ever hoped for.  It's a greener parade, mainly walking, with some contraptions and bizarre, dressed-up bikes.  The throws are all handmade, my favorite being a crayon melted into the shape of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. It's sci-fy and fantasy-based.  So, within the Chewbacchus Krewe were sub-krewes of Star Trek, Unicorns, Ninjas.  It was amazing.  The costuuuuuumes, the spirit, the funk, the joy.  Andy Richter was there, triking by with little fanfare, and so was the guy who plays Chewbacca.  There was so much creative energy.  I loved it.  It made me want to call up Mardi Gras on the phone and give it a heart-felt apology for my attitude.  I'd love to join the Krewe.  I would make a sub-krewe of robots!
Anyway.  Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Reals: The Crains

 Look at these beauties.  If you're like me, you're wishin' you could have cut the rug with these two at their colorful wedding.  You just know the music selection was spot on!

The Reals: Ramos!

This family is so gorgeous!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cheeky at Home: My Weekly Post About Working From Home

I've been trying to "reduce" lately.  That's what my husband calls it, and also I heard Betty Draper say it on Mad Men once.  It's one of the more boring topics to discuss.  I am tracking what I eat and adding up points (I like that they are called points because it gets my adrenaline going----competitive spirit, sort of).  A nice thing though, about reducing and being diligent about consuming, is just how luxurious the simple treats are.  Fancy, fabulous treats aren't worth it right now because of the sadness associated with losing soooo many points.  But, hot cocoa packets in coffee?  Wow.  I found a packet in Walter's treat bucket (a place we store the numerous treats Walter brings home from school.  The fact that it's a bucket makes him sound like a horse, but it's just one of those beach buckets).  I poured it in my afternoon coffee (only 3 points!) and magic happened!  Rainbow marshmallows!  What a delight.  I floated from that moment for the rest of the day.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Reals: Sweet Caroline

Is there a sweeter looking girl in all the world?  Answer:  No.  I love her style.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Reals: The Hibfoots

  I really love the picture of this family up above.  I am familiar with the kind of laugh that makes children lose control and arch their backs back like that little guy is doing.  The noise of the laugh is so touching, no one can resist smiling at it----as you can see from Mom and Dad.  The person I corresponded with for this gift for the Hibfoots was such a delight, her name is Joyce, and I wish everyone had a Joyce in her life.  She works for the organization that Mom up above is the director of: a non-profit animal welfare group.  They do something I thought was a joke at first, until I really read through and started to understand the importance and need of it:  providing oral contraception to animals.  You can read all about it here and it will make you go "Of course!", because it's such an amazing concept.  I'm including a write-up Joyce provided me about Mom and Dad up there because their lives are very cool:

Elly: Our board member. Dr. Elly Hiby is an Independent Animal Welfare Consultant and Scientific 
Coordinator to the International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) Coalition. Previously she 
worked at Dogs Trust as International Director, covering a range of dog welfare issues around the world 
but with a focus on humane dog population management. Prior to working at Dogs Trust, Dr. Hiby 
worked for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) for eight years, including leading on 
the companion animal welfare program and advising on humane rabies control internationally. She has 
also worked as a technical expert with the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE), the World Health 
Organisation (WHO), and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on dog population management.
In 2006, while working for WSPA, Dr. Hiby and contemporaries from Royal Society for Protection of 
Animals, Humane Society International, and International Fund for Animal Welfare formed the ICAM 
Coalition. This coalition aims to improve understanding of effective population management by sharing 
experience and data from past and current non-profit projects and by combining knowledge to produce 
documents outlining best practice. In her current role with ICAM Coalition she leads the Indicators 
Project, aiming to develop guidance on monitoring and evaluation of dog population management to 
support academics, practitioners and funders to track progress, learn and subsequently improve their 
impact through the use of measurable indicators. 
Prior to joining WSPA, Dr. Hiby completed a PhD in dog welfare and behavior with a focus on improving 
the welfare of working dogs and the impact of training methods on pet behavior. However, her passion 
for animal welfare has led to work with many other species, from training horses under the guidance of 
“horse whisperer” Monty Roberts to surveying wild seal populations along the UK coastline.

Her husband Mike:   On the 23rd August, Mike and his brother Andy embarked on  a novel and eccentric challenge: to cycle Brompton folding bicycles between the British 3 peaks (Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis - in this order), wild camping en route. Then with Bromptons folded and carried on rucksack mounts, climb each peak via scrambling routes that would not be attainable whilst porting a larger-sized bike. We intend to complete our expedition in approximately 10 days: cycling for six of the days and covering on average 100 miles each day, scrambling the peaks in one day each, leaving one ‘spare’ day which is optimistically reserved for a recuperating beverage in Fort William.