Monday, September 26, 2011

Save a life. Take better photos.

Yes. Better photos save lives. It appalls me that shelters think throwing up unflattering photos of animals behind a chain link fence with crap in their eyes and dirty fur makes them marketable. Most people won't take a second glance at an animal who looks possessed in their photos. Take a look at this video a fellow designer sent me... common sense people. Common sense.

A thumbs up to The Animal Placement Bureau for taking most of their animal's photos in front of a backdrop, in good lighting and multiple poses. I look at Petfinder and can't help but wonder how many of those dogs will never get a fair chance because someone can't be bothered to attempt to take a decent photo of them. You don't have to be a professional photographer to take a better photo. For example:
  1. Get the dogs out from behind the chainlink fence.
  2. Wipe the gunk out of their eyes... no one wants a diseased looking dog.
  3. Give 'em a good brushing.
  4. Crappy lighting inside? Go outside and use the natural light.
  5. I know how animals choose to lay/sit sometimes, but please, no crotch shots.
Really people, it's just not that hard. Take a look at some of these photos. I give these "photographers" the Mmmm, no. award.

I'm pretty sure this dog needs all the help it can get. A pretty bow would work wonders.
Ooooh, pretty ball. Oh hey! There's a dog in the background!
Dude, he looks crazy.
I promise the big, bad doggy won't attack you. Please move in closer or use this cool feature called "zoom."
There are no words.

...and my most favorite profile picture...

Really people?!?! When marketing homes and animals, never ever ever should this phrase be present! Why would anyone waste their time considering purchasing something they cannot see. Mind boggling, I tell you. Mind boggling.

Monday, September 19, 2011

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters

Yes, another StumbleUpon list... but this one I feel is incredibly fitting right now. I'm pretty sure half of my Facebook friends have popped out a child this month and the other half are due any time now. This list was based on the blog LifeToHerYears... it's all about a father's interaction and involvement in his daughter's life. I have such an incredible dad and so many of these hit so close to home. For those out there with phenomenal dads or hope to be one someday... take a look.

Dad and I on my wedding day  07.17.10

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.

4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.

7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.

8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.

9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.

10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.

11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”

12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.

13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.

14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.

15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.

16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.

17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.

20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPhone at home.

21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.

22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.

23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.

24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.

25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.

26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.

27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.

28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.

29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.

30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.

32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.

33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.

34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.

36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.

37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.

38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.

39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.

40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.

41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.

42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.

43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.

45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.

46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.

47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.

49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.

50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All you need is love... and dogs.

Excuse me loyal readers for being a downer... but I am currently trapped in this unexplainable funk right now. Other than there being quite a bit on my plate right now, there's really nothing "bad" happening. How frustrating. I know you men might not get it (my husband being one of them), but sometimes we really just don't know what's wrong. Blah! Snap out of it Andrea!!

I received a video this morning from a co-worker that started the "time to snap out of it snowball." Of course it was about doggies... my favorite topic ever. It reminded me so much of Peanut and her mannerisms. Take a look... it'll bring you joy too.

In other dog news, Miss Zora's double secret living room probation is slowly being lifted. She has graduated up to supervised visits only. The survival of the rest of my furniture depends on it. I've come to the conclusion that she's slightly pissed about her shrinking backyard and this is her idea of rebellion.  Until we have grass and she's free to roam once again, I'll be keeping an eye on her.

My sleepy family. xoxo

So, I'm sort of a hoarder when it comes to that sentimental stuff. I have a box full of notes and cards from various people in my life and I've been slowly working my way through everything. Throwing crap away from old boyfriends, friends who no longer matter... stuff like that. The other day, I came across this sticky note that my dad wrote me. During the rough college volleyball days, my family sent me quite a few care packages as a pick-me-up. In one of them, there was this stuffed purple dog and the following sticky note:

How cute is my dad?  :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do I cry, throw up or kill someone?

You know those days when you don't know which end is up and could quite possibly die from the amount of stress you're under? That's been my life for pretty much a solid week. My many apologies for my lack of posts, but I'll do my best to get you back in the loop.

Table is finally done! Well, kinda. I put it all together last Saturday and it looks absolutely beautiful in my kitchen. THEN we learned that even our protective mat was no match for Clay's hot laptop. We now have spots where the feet of his computer melted the paint and made all the little white fuzzies from the mat stick in them. So eventually I need to wet sand those few spots and touch it up. No biggie, I hope.

Our beautiful, refurbished dining room set.

Peanut gave us such a scare this past week.... a "prepare yourself for the worse" kind of scare. She was drinking a ton of water and having quite a few accidents, so mom had to submit a urine and blood sample. I guess her blood was so fatty that she had to continue fasting, but also start taking meds for this UTI. Well, this 18 hour fast she went on put her into diabetic shock. Peanut, diabetic? Yeah, we didn't know either. Nothing ever indicated she was diabetic, but the fast was enough to push her overboard. Mom and dad brought her to the doggy ER last Tuesday or Wednesday night... very lethargic and ill. The vet said she probably wouldn't have made it through the night had they not brought her in. Peanut was not only diagnosed with Type I Diabetes but with severe Pancreatitis as well. Poor Nut had to stay in the ER until late Sunday night... had to have several IVs, a couple plasma transfusions and was poked up to 30 times a day.

I don't think I've ever been so worried about an animal before. During the day, I was able to keep busy and focus on other things, but especially Thursday night, just laid there in bed crying. I'm so thankful for all the prayers and God's will that Peanut is still with us today. She just had her eye surgery and was like a new dog with a new lease on life. It definitely wasn't her time to go.

Poor Peanut and her IV.

....and then there's devil dog. Yes, my evil evil dog Zora. Saturday morning while I was visiting Peanut, Clay decided to leave Zora out of the crate while he ran an errand. (No comment here). Miss Zora decided to chew the corner off of the arm of my living room chair. When Clay showed me what she did, I didn't know whether to cry, throw up or kill someone. I seriously don't think I've ever been presented with a moment that I absolutely did not know how to feel. THEN, on Sunday, I was in the bathroom 60 seconds top and came out to find Zora chewing the corner of the ottoman! I'm not such which part of my threat to "use her hide to fix my chair" she didn't understand the first time?! So now I have two pieces of furniture that ArtVan has informed me are discontinued pieces AND possibly discontinued colors. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Clay and I took Friday off to play in the mud... 100 yards of it to be exact. Along with my mom and dad, we worked as fast as we could while the dump trucks brought us over some um, "fresh" top soil from one of the Gentex build sites. When I say fresh, I mean cow poop and all. Smells a bit like Coopersville over here. From 8 to 6:00, we worked our asses off and got all the dirt spread as level as we could. Unfortunately, between the dump trucks and the track edger, our poor front and side yard now has to be redone. We broke several sprinkler heads and cut some lines, but spent tonight working on those. Luckily, Clay's co-worker Jeff has been a lifesaver by letting us borrow his quad and thingamajig and level out the dirt.

Only a partial of the first two loads.
Zora doesn't appreciate her yard being reduced to a 10' x 40' area (roughly) and has made it very clear by jumping the gate and hauling ass through the cow poop jungle several times. Tonight I'm pretty sure I threatened to sell her to the gypsies after she broke loose because the backyard was flooded from the sprinkler work. One leap over the snow fence and then she barrel rolled through the mud/cow poop/water mixtures. Ooooh dog. You're so so SO lucky I love you.

Phew. I think that's about it. This week/weekend's plans are hopefully to fix all the sprinklers, level out the dirt and hydro-seed by Saturday. It'll be close, but this month is basically it. That hunting season whore has been creeping around and I know hunting will trump yard work any day. Well, I'm off to bed.... this has been the most emotionally, physically and financially draining week of my life. I'm pretty sure I could slip into a coma right now... (if I don't show up to work tomorrow, just assume I'm still alive.) G'night all! XOXO
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