Monday, July 30, 2007

Hot and Bothered

That pretty much describes me anytime I'm outdoors and the sun is out. I heat up very quickly and sweat at the drop of a hat. I don't even have to exert myself...just standing in the sun/heat gets me going. So why I agreed to accompany Christy and her family during their OUTDOOR family photo shoot at the Botanical Gardens this past weekend when it was as humid as a mo-fo, I will never know. When your hair falls flat and you haven't left the house yet, you know it's humid with a capital H. But there I went...being the good aunt and sister and photography enthusiast that I am. Christy...I think I sweated off the $6 entrance fee you covered for me by hauling your purse around and helping to keep Ella happy. So I'm calling it even!


Here are some pictures I snapped during the outing, while trying not to get in the way of Stacia, the photographer. I really want to focus on my photography, learn the ins and outs of my camera, and understand how it works in manual mode, etc., I just don't know when I'll fit it in. Sometime before I head to Hawaii that's for sure.



And if that wasn't enough torture for me, I was outside in the humidity again this evening with Darcy and Winston's first training class. There may be hope for Winston after all if he does well in class. Actually they both did very well. I really like the trainer (he's been training for years and runs the kennel) and there are only 3 dogs total in the class so we get lots of one-on-one when we need it. This is how the boys looked when we got home and that is exactly how I felt. Next week I'm wearing my sweat/headband, I don't care how silly I will look...it's not easy trying to grab for treats in one hand, hold your dog's leash in the other and wipe sweat from your brow at the same time!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

July Movie Reviews

I can't say enough about the movie "Hairspray." I will admit that at first I wasn't sure what to expect. I had seen the trailers and it looked good but you know how those trailers can be deceiving so I didn't go into the movie with too much expectation. I did not like the original Hairspray with Ricki Lake because I am not a John Waters fan...that man is just weird and so are his movies, and I'm not a big fan of movies with a whole lot of singing. But this movie, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED!! I took my mom she loved it even more than I did, we couldn't stop talking about it on the way home! The theater was packed and was loud from everyone laughing. The story is a good one...chunky girl wants to dance on the local dance show and is in love with one of the dancers, but fat girls aren't looked highly upon by the snotty skinny producer. The movie is set in the early 60's so they deal with the segregation issue also which brings some scenes that make you sad and angry at the same time. They also touch on bi-racial dating when the white best friend of the chunky girl falls for a black dancer. At one point she utters a line that is basically saying that 'once you go black you never go back' which made everyone laugh and cheer, but my mother...she "whoo whoo'd" so loud even I looked at her like "keep it down lady." John Travolta does such a good job that you really do stop thinking about how that's John Travolta up there in drag...but then you see his blue eyes and remember. He did a great job, so did the rest of the cast. I loved this movie so much I have to buy it when it comes out.

And on video I saw....

Catch and Release with Jennifer Garner, about a woman whose fiance' dies and she moves in with his best friends. It was okay, but I can't help but think that the editing of this movie is what makes it so-so because the acting was good, it had some funny scenes but sometimes it just didn't flow well.

Premonition with Sandra Bullock about a wife who is told her husband dies but the next day when she wakes up, he's alive. And then the next day he's dead again. It wasn't quite the "thriller" I thought it would be but it kept you interested enough. The ending however totally sucked...it didn't answer any questions and was kind of a let down after the big build up.

The Guardian with Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. Think Top Gun in the water. But I liked it. And I have it if anyone wants to borrow it. (This is what happens when you don't keep your Target receipt and have to return something ...you have to pick something to exchange that's the exact same price from the same department.)

That's it for this month's movies. My nephew Jakob turned 6 years old this month and he had a bowling party which was fun. Here are some pictures from that day...

Me and Isaiah


Jakob and Popo


Me and Ella

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hawaii Here I Come!

That's right folks...I'm goin' to Hawaii!

On April 16, 2008, I'll be boarding Norwegian Cruise Line's "Pride of Aloha" for a 10 day Hawaiian cruise with my mom, dad, cousin Liz and Aunt Norma. I am so excited I could spit!!

Last year I made a list of the "50 Goals for my Life" and traveling took up the majority of that list, Hawaii being one of the places I must visit before I die. Now in a perfect world I'd be sharing a cabin with someone tall, dark and handsome and not the old folks, but hey...my life is not perfect. Neither is yours so don't laugh!

I'm actually very happy to be sharing this trip with my parents. You see, my father is not much of a traveler. His idea of a vacation is going to Las Vegas or Coushata (sp?) so that he can gamble. When we lived in Germany we did manage to get him to Paris and Garmish, but that was it - oh and Belgium too but that was just to buy furniture. So when my parents told me they were taking a cruise last year with a friend of my mother's and her parents I was in shock. My sisters and I didn't think they would have a good time because mom can't swim and is afraid of big bodies of water (we should have never let her see "Titanic") and there are no slot machines in Cozumel for Dad. So we were pleasantly surprised to hear that they had the time of their lives and loved it! So much so that they went on the same cruise again with my dad's cousins. So now Dad is on a cruise kick and when they told me they wanted to go to Hawaii I jumped at the chance because my parents are still physically able to get around and sharing this once-in-a-lifetime experience with them is a blessing, even if they will work my nerves from time to time -- but that's what drinks are for!

So now I have however much time is left on my Hawaii Countown clock to get a one-piece bathing suit body. My trainer tried to say I needed to be bikini ready but this body will never be in a bikini...at least not one that I would display to the public!

I really wish my sisters, niece and nephews could go with us. We will miss them while on the trip but...too bad, so sad! I'll bring them back souvenirs!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Anyone want a dog?

I need your help. Rather, my dog Winston, needs you to help me because he could be a goner if we don't get this little issue fixed.

Winston is my cute, tan colored Shih-Tzu puppy. He's very calm in nature...a little slow, meaning you need to sometimes pick him up and take him outside or you'll be standing at the back door forever waiting for him to get there, and he's stubborn and has selective hearing. When it's meal time or treats are involved he hears perfectly and sits/stays very well. Overall, he's a great dog. He just has one very bad habit that I can not stand. He is a barker! And not the normal barking at someone at the door thing. He will bark non-stop at his brother, Darcy, if Darcy is paying more attention to his chew bone than to Winston, and he will bark when he's outside and wants to be let in, and he will bark when he doesn't want to go to sleep in his kennel and wants out. And he barks non-stop for what seems like forever. I swear he barked for an hour straight this past Saturday when we tried to keep them in the kennel after they ate breakfast so that we could sleep in.

Yelling at him gets him to stop for a second. I tried putting pennies in an empty coke can and shaked it at him when I asked him to "shhh" -- but that only scared Darcy who isn't a problem barker. We've tried ignoring him which does absolutely no good. Typically, I could care less except that I don't want my neighbors to start complaining when he barks in the morning, and on the weekends I'd like to sleep in past 5:30 a.m. if at all possible.

So I did a search on the Craigslist forum for pets to see if anyone had any tips. I read that some trainers use Bitter Apple spray..the stuff you spray on things you don't want your dog to chew on. I read that if you spray a bit in their mouth after you tell them the shush it, then when they don't bark you praise them. So I tried it one morning. Of course his mouth is too little for me to spray directly in it, so I was just spraying towards his mouth. He didn't like the smell, but he kept sitting there, looking at me and barking. So I tried spraying it on his 'chin' and then rubbed it inside his mouth, on his gums. Darcy thought he was getting some kind of treat and came over to sniff Winston's mouth and Winston gave him an ugly growl...he was NOT happy. He looked at me, walked out of my bedroom and sat on the other side of the door just looking at me but he didn't bark. So I praised him. "Hooray!" I thought...this is going to work! But later that afternoon he started back up. And Christy you know how you said you can tell Ella not to put gum in her mouth and she just looks at you and does it anyway? That's Winston. He started up and I held the bottle as a threat. Didn't work. So again I sprayed it in the air towards his mouth, and nothing. Grace was laughing and said I needed to spray closer to his mouth so when went to do that, I accidentally sprayed it towards his eyes instead of his mouth! I felt so bad and his eyes started to look red so I took him to the sink to rinse his eyes out. Grace teased that if he went blind he would be my dog (as you might remember, we decided not to pick which dog would be "ours"...that one of us would take both of them when the time for her to move out came.) So I'm trying to rinse out his eyes which is not easy because he hates water on his face. And I'm watching him closely for signs that he can't see. He was fine and shortly thereafter started barking again. I sprayed it on my finger this time and then rubbed it in his mouth which finally got him to stop barking. But it's not working overall, it's only working as a quick fix in the moment. He still barks constantly whenever he wants. He will stop if I get up and walk towards him but then he'll start back up and I really don't want to get a shock collar but I'm at my wits end.

Any suggestions????

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

June Movie Reviews

So I'm a little behind in my blogging. Not too much has happened and I'm still in recovery mode from my reunion. :-) But I did manage to see some movies last month...

Rented....

Daddy's Little Girls -- A movie about a black single father of 3 girls and a stuck-up black lady lawyer (that's what I knew about the movie before I saw it.) Gabrielle Union plays the stuck up lawyer...the male character (don't know the actor's name) was a blue collar guy trying to get his own auto repair garage going while supporting his three daughters whose mother left them and was now the hoochie girlfriend of the neighborhood drug pusher. Bad Mom gets the girls and now the father is trying to win back custody. Nothing new as far as the plot goes, but it was a good movie, sad at times, funny at others. Not spectacular and not crappy either.

Letters from Iwo Jima -- I came into this with high expectations since it was the "spinoff" of "Flags of our Father's" which I liked, and since this movie got high praise. You know going in that the Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima are doomed but the stories of the general (I think that's what he was) and his soldiers was supposed to be compelling. It wasn't. It was Boring with a capital B. I kept waiting to be compelled and instead I got sleepy and then irritated that I rented it and ended up stopping the movie before it ended. I so don't get why this was acclaimed by the critics, I really don't.

Saw...

Shrek the Third -- It was cute and funny but I can't imagine there will be a Shrek 4.

Surf's Up -- I took the twins to see this while I was off for a week after the reunion. I think I wanted to see it more than they did, but they seemed to enjoy it (about surfing penguins) and I think they want to learn how to surf now. :-) It was really cute and funny. Not a "must see in the theater" kind though...you can wait for the rental.

Knocked Up -- Originally I had no interest in paying movie ticket prices to see this one, I thought it would be one of those 'stupid funny' movies that I don't always like, but then I kept hearing that it was really good. So Grace and I went one Saturday afternoon and laughed our asses off! If you don't know, the movie is about a beautiful woman, out to celebrate a promotion, who gets drunk and sleeps with a slob of a guy who happens to be at the same bar. She gets pregnant and they take a stab at a relationship. Funny as hell..you have to see it.

The Transformers -- Yes, I saw it. I didn't want to see it, but Michelle and Christy/Rob were taking the boys to see it. I wanted to see Ratatoulle (sp?) but Ella wanted to see the Transformers with the boys so I tagged along figuring I could take a nap if I hated the movie. Surprisingly I didn't hate it, I loved it! The action was great, the story line wasn't cheesy like I thought it would be, and Shia LaBeouf was so darned good in this movie! It's funny, exciting, visually appealing, and just hooks you in from the beginning. I'm glad I went to see it and would actually go see it again!