More Like Pro "Bust"

My friend Crash got offered pre-sale tickets to the Pro Bowl which was held here in Glendale this year. Since we can't afford to go to the Super Bowl and it's not like we would ever travel to the Pro Bowl somewhere else, we decided to get tickets and take our sons to the game. Her son, Matt, was celebrating his birthday on game day and I gave Steven his ticket for a Christmas present.

We met up early at McFadden's in Westgate. Spoiler alert - this was the best part of the day. Our friend, Gloria, flew out from Atlanta to go to the game with Pabla and Jello Shot Prince was there with his two Cardinal game tailgate buddies. Chris was supposed to join us as well but being late to the party (as is his wont) got him denied entrance to the bar because of alleged fire marshall concerns.

Gloria and Pabla headed out to meet up with some other folks then Crash, Matt and Steven started over to the stadium. I stayed behind with JSP and his buddies for another pregame beer(s). I still managed to make it to the seats before the rest of my gang.

Because we didn't want to spend a gazillion dollars, our seats were rather high up. Not bad but spotting my players was a little like looking for the queen in a bee hive - where's the dot? In this case, the dot was the beautiful yellow of a Green Bay helmet.

They're down there somewhere.
Here's where the bust comes in. Everyone knows this isn't that serious of a game. The players going to the Super Bowl don't play. A lot of the really good players beg off due to injuries (Aaron Rodgers, for example) and I suspect some just find an excuse to start the post season by spending time with their families.

So, it's kind of a big, albeit talented, pickup game. I'd be down with that but I need someone to root for to make it interesting.

Dear NFL - Your experiment to generate more interest in the game is a failure. I don't give a rats arse about Chris Carter or Michael Irvin and therefore care not a whit for "their" teams to win. NFC versus AFC. That, I care about.

Seriously, who am I supposed to care about more on a single play - Clay Matthews on defense or Jordy Nelson on offense? That's a complete Sophie's Choice for me and it was like that the full first half. Coupled with the lack of super sharp play and it led to the fact that we only stayed for the first half.

The four of us left and went back to McFadden's for a bite before heading home. We actually lasted longer than JSP's crew. They were out before the half.

At least we got home at a reasonable time.

Do I regret going? No. It was an overall reasonably priced experience but not one that I'll ever do again. Unless it's back in the Phoenix area and the format is changed, then maybe.

And, I got something to bitch about out of it which always makes me happy. ;)

New Frame Of Memories

I love photos. I love collage frames. I am almost out of wall space in my house for collage frames. :(

The frames that I do have up often stop me in my tracks as I pause to relive the experiences pictured. So fun to see 30 years of my life represented in my home!

My parents bought me this frame a few years ago (yes, years) and I had planned to hang it over the entertainment center but Steven surprised me with a Cubs picture that he hung where this was intended to go.

So, the frame sat unused but, as I was looking through pictures for my 2014 year in review, I was inspired to make some space and fill the frame with pictures that represent great memories.

I managed to hang it in a spot where there's glare no matter what angle you try to look at it.
Sigh.
Clockwise from the top left:
  • My Bestie Jim and me in Belize
  • Scott, Phred and Russ at Last Man Standing in Las Vegas
  • Jason Brown! and me (he likes it when I exclaim his name)
  • Dawnie and her daughter Shelby from Dawnie's birthday weekend in Des Moines
  • Thom and Paula from the same weekend
  • My favorite MOTM volunteers and all around great people, Lorene and Joe at PHINS to the West with me
  • Steven and me in a drunken celebration of pulling off a fantastic 50th Anniversary Party for my parents
  • Crash, Jamie and Zoey at Dawnie's birthday party
  • My favorite bass player, Hal, with Mike Nash and Mark Sacco
  • And, in the center, Thom, Tracy, Crash, me, Scott and Paula at the San Diego Anniversary Party with a bonus photo bomb by Barb
Good times, good times!


A Year In Review One Month At A Time - December 2014

Social Butterflies love parties! And, love going to lunch or dinner or breakfast or just connecting with anyone at any point. You know what December is filled with? Parties and social connection opportunities!

And, presents. December has lots of presents.

This Social Butterfly likes presents almost as much as parties.

I had a super fun filled social month in December. It started with a Festivus party at my friends the Shaws' home. Michelle puts up a crazy huge holiday village in their garage. So impressive. And, so much work but clearly a labor of love.

There were lots of wee ones at the party. Normally, their shrill little voices make me avoid children but they were cool at this gig. They had a playroom to hang out in and nicely interacted with each other. Michelle and James have two daughters, the practically perfect Kate and the, well, Southern folk might say, "Bless her heart" Claire. She's something but I think she's awesome fun.

She's a character and a ginger -what a great combination!
St. Lucy's Day has become a traditional event near Dec 13. Steven, Sonja and Katie host a wheat planting event at their home and it's always a good time. This year, the #terrors displayed some aggression against my wheat so I ended up having to put it up on a shelf about seven feet off the ground. It managed to get to a decent size but I forgot to take a picture on Christmas Day - doh!

Pre-Holiday Party Lunch - new tradition?
The Arizona Parrot Head Club had their Holiday party on Dec 14. I am in an ongoing argument about whether to call it the Christmas Party or the Holiday Party. My reasoning in that we don't have an exclusive group of Christians so Holiday is more appropriate doesn't fly with the Christians. I'll leave it with that but I will always call it Holiday.

Last Men Standing

As always, there's a competition to see who can stay up for the final photo of the evening. We whittle away at the contestants and do fake out photos until the last people declare we're all truly done. This year, Barb, Thom, Phred (he's not always up for it) Tammy and I made it. I think we are all asleep within minutes of the above picture.

My Poker Chicks and I had our annual ornament exchange on the 20th. I think it was our 16th year. Everyone brings an ornament and we randomly get one back. There have been some hilariously bad/funny ornaments and some great ones. This year, I brought a glass Wonder Woman which went over pretty well.

New to the schedule this year were a couple more events. One of my colleagues and his girlfriend (now fiancee) had an Open House on Dec 23. I thought that was a genius night to do it. Most everyone is done with their holiday shopping and are now burning their last vacation days for the year. It was a lovely evening with current and former colleagues and their spouses (and a few of the more quiet children). I've been pushing for opportunities this year for my peers to build better relationships with each other and this was a good chance to do so.

Another fun and smart idea was the Open House Breakfast my friends Maria and Jeff had on Christmas Eve morning. Again, everyone is mostly done with Holiday prep and it was nice to hang out in their back yard in the beautiful Arizona weather and relax. They had lots of activities for the well behaved bazillion kids there, too.

I left the Open House then headed to a sports bar near my parents' house where The O'Malley Babes and I met for wings and beer. We started doing this last year and I think it's going to become a mainstay.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are always spent with family and long time friends. It was an especially good year as everyone was healthy for a change.

My only December disappointment is the decreasing number of cards that I get. I know lots of people just don't do cards anymore for various reasons. I love cards and spend a lot of time on picking the right one for the right people as I always buy several different versions. I really enjoy reading everyone's letters and I put all photos I get up on my fridge where I stop and stare at them throughout the year.

While there were some challenges in 2014, December was a month of great fun and I was happy to close out the year on that high point.




A Year In Review One Month At A Time - November 2014

Looking back at November, I am reminded about how many times I got sick this past year with some sort of viral/flu infection. Dang, maybe it's true as you get older, your body has more trouble fighting off germs. I need to talk to someone about a flu shot alternative to the one with eggs in it. I'm allergic to eggs for those that don't know.

Because, oh yeah, I got sick again in November and had to miss our corporate Holiday party and an Arizona Cardinals game with my friends. Sucks.

The highlight of November, 2014, was the start of the holiday season in my mind. My friend Lori hosts a party for her birthday every year and she makes it a collection for Home Base Youth Services. We all clean out our closets then we drink a lot of wine at Lori's. Or, maybe I'm just the one who drinks a lot of wine.

SmartPractice colleagues (Please note I didn't have a visible beverage)
It's a lovely evening. There are lots of current and former co-workers there and Lori's non-work friends have been very welcoming. I've spent several evenings with her "girls". I feel lucky to be included.

There was also a great party at the end of November for my friend Kathy's birthday. It managed to be a complete surprise to her. For those that don't know, Kathy is one of the O'Malley Babes that I hang out with and Kathy, her sister Mary and I have had many adventures dating back to our days at Coronado High School.

Mary got it set up at a nearby bar and brought in a band, The Bank, that we've been following around the Valley for 30 years. (Yes, since I was 4 or so.) There were friends from high school, the Parrot Head Club, their work, family friends and kids that our no longer legally kids. We had a blast catching up and playing electronic Beer Pong.

So fun and so great knowing I have such great long-time friends!


A Year In Review One Month At A Time - October 2014

October is consistently two things - Jimmy Buffett in Vegas and the beginning of Meeting Of The Minds in Key West, Florida. Anything else is gravy.

I was privileged this year to be allowed to ride up to Vegas on Thursday with the Jello Shot Prince and Scooter. The caveat was that I had to follow their traveling rules and traditions and laugh at all of their jokes. Parts of that was easier than the other. ;)

Taking the traditional coming in to Vegas picture.
I already knew the tradition from above because I've been the recipient of that picture for years via text message. It's not so fun to get when you're still stuck in the office. It was much better being on this end of the shot.

We had dinner at Margaritaville on Thursday then JSP and I worked on our attempt to maximize our weekend Blackjack playing time. The guys went golfing on Friday morning and I ended up back at the Blackjack table but joined by Tracy and Scott as they had arrived from California. So fun!

Friday night was the Last Man Standing Party hosted by the Phin City PHC at Tommy Rocker's. No Jimmy and the Parrots this year, dang it. However, lots of friends from all over were at the party and we went home with lots of prizes.

Not our prizes, mind you, we end up being the sherpas for everyone else since Scooter drives his truck to the party. I've been assured this is not going to happen again this year a my friends are going to control themselves at the auction.

I don't believe it.

Saturday night found us at Buffett at MGM. My cocnert tradition is to take a picture of the set for each song. They do a good job with the images. Tracy and I made a beer and washroom run because of necessity (our beers had been empty for a while!) when I heard Margaritaville and took this picture.

So going to get me into trouble
This is the PERFECT picture to represent Margaritaville for me. I could get drummed out of the whole Parrot Head organization because it's considered the national anthem. It's the song that everyone bar band knows and plays when someone requests Buffett and it's the song that I alway choose to go to the washroom during. I just think I've heard it enough. 

Vegas was great but it was soon time for my favorite event of every year, Meeting Of The Minds. MOTM is the biggest family reunion as up to 3,500 Parrot Heads descend upon Key West, FL for a week of fun, music and day drinking.

It's also time I get to spend with my bestie, Jim. He lives in Minnesota so it's not like we can randomly meet up during the year. 

Besties!
We roam the island together and drag friends along in our wake. Every year, we try to find a new bar to go to in addition to hitting every one of our "favorites".  We're running out of time to do it all. Maybe we need to add some extra days.

Peppers of Key West is a must-stop
This year, we roomed with a group from Minnesota and it was fun showing them the ropes. We took them to Peppers, convention Goody Bag Stuffing, Rum Barrel and Schooner Wharf Bar. We also pointed them in the direction of our other faves and they found a few new ones all on their own.

Hal and Phred - two of my favorite guys
We also spent time with my favorite band, Jimmy and the Parrots. We first ran in to the gang at Margaritaville on Thursday then caught their show at the Casa Marina (from the front of the stage, of course). Then, it was off to Louie's Backyard and a final late night stop at Mr Z's. That was the night that Jim and I had considered going to bed a little early but, oh well. Where the band goes, I go, so it was also off to the Rum Barrel on Friday afternoon for their show there. 

Man, I love that band.

It's always with a little melancholy that I leave Key West. It's still warm in Phoenix when I get on the plane at Sky Harbor but it's winter when I get back. MOTM week is the transition to our cold weather and I hate cold weather even when it's still 50 degrees and the rest of the country is below freezing. If I have to wear shoes other than sandals, it's too cold. 

Overall, October is a really good month.





A Year In Review One Month At A Time - September 2014

September summary - work, work, work, flu, work, work, PLAY! Guess which part I'm going to focus on?

It had been many years since I'd been to a San Diego Parrot Head Club Anniversary Party. They host a heck of a good time at Campland On The Bay. Everyone brings in their motorhomes and tents and settles in for a weekend of fun, food, drink, music and no driving. Well, no driving of cars. There were some golf carts and bikes going around.

Tracy got us hooked up with a motorhome service that drives the trailer in, parks it then comes to pick it up. Two of our AZ people had to work so they flew in but the rest of us drove. Thom and I went over in my bitchen' car and somehow ended up pulling into Campland within mere minutes of Tracy and Scott on Friday afternoon. Already there were a couple other groups from Arizona.

So many great things about this event! It attracts friends from all over so it's always a great reunion. They have a beer garden - unlimited beer and margaritas while you stay in the garden so we pretty much didn't leave for hours. There's a great musical lineup from Thursday night through Saturday night. They also raise a ton of cash for charity.

There's also an unofficial event - the Trailer Pub Crawl. A fairly large contingent roamed the campgrounds and descended upon different people's sites where they were served a signature drink after the site host gave a toast.

Too much fun! No, really. I tried to get out of it but got swept along. After a day in the beer garden and then the crawl, I was forced to take a nap. Man, I hate taking naps when there's stuff going on. I rallied, though.

We were both drunk and awesome but at various levels.
The party didn't end after the music stopped. We floated between two of our gang's trailers and then it was down to the Last Men Standing. Someone decided we needed to be drinking Moscow Mules and Crash ended up being the mixologist. 

Then you pour in the ginger beer, the ginger, the ginger!
She remembered the recipe by reciting it aloud as she worked. Something that our trailer mates who were trying to sleep didn't find especially delightful but they did find it humorous. 

We perhaps should have retired before 4:30 AM but we didn't. It was a slow moving morning on Sunday but after a very quiet breakfast at Cafe Coyote (where we learned my bitchen' car is too low to the ground for the parking garage we usually use) it was time to head home. A quick stop was made by Thom, Crash and me to check out the new Elk's Lodge in Yuma then we were back at home, sweet, home.

I suspect this is going to become an annual must-do event. 

I really need to win the lottery.



A Year In Review One Month At A Time - August 2014

Unless I do something stupid like scheduling a trip the weekend before (which I've done, a lot), August is almost always just about Parrot Grande. Parrot Grande is the Arizona Parrot Head Club's main weekend event and fundraiser.

The weeks leading up to Parrot Grande are intense and busy and I feel like I can't be away from my email for more than an hour at a time. This may be surprising unless you know us, but Parrot Heads aren't so good with RSVPs and advance planning and then sticking with actual plans. Lots of changes up to and going into the weekend. Add in to that chaos, the hotel had to take a building of rooms out of service the day before we got there meant a scramble to reassign everyone.

Ultimately, all the stress is worth it because the payoff of fun and charity ($10K to ChildHelp AZ) is great.

This year, I don't know why but I regressed to my old Bob Karwin stalker ways. So far, none of the video I've seen is too embarrassing. It's just the internal shame that I have to worry about.

Just like old times!
I think I was inspired by his declaration that this was the last official 8th Floor Party and, man, it was one for the ages! For the few that don't actually remember the evening, it was a great time!

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - July 2014

July is always a special month and, an especially busy one. My son and my parents' birthdays and my parents' anniversary provide the basis for a lot of family time. It also seems to be the summer vacation month.

This year, it started out on a very high note. I completed my indentured service in Germany and got home on the 5th. I was on the road on the 6th to go get my new babies. Steven and I drove down to Tucson and the poor little ones cried most of the drive home. They appeared to settle in quickly which was good because I was back on the road again on the 10th.

#terrors from day one
The Parrot Head of Puget Sound have an annual event called Laid Back Attack. My intended traveling companion couldn't make it so I went solo. Fortunately, I knew a lot of people there and the ones I didn't know were very welcoming. It was a quick day tour of Seattle then a lot of time listening to some great Trop Rock music. They also raised $27K for the USO.

Julie and Mike
As an added bonus, I was able to hook up with a friend I've known since high school and his wife for lunch on the water. We haven't seen each other in too many years to count and it was delightful being able to catch up. BTW, Julie's license plate spells Hermione so I feel like we're the same person. :)

My Dad hit a milestone this year with his birthday - 80. How can that even be possible? Steven and I hosted a party and three of his siblings flew in from Wisconsin for the festivities.

Joan, Chuck (my Dad), Bill and Mary
The party was super fun but spending time with everyone was priceless. I consider myself very fortunate that the family I was "given" is made up of a lot of very cool people that I would choose to hang out with even if we weren't related.

July was a good month filled with great memories.



A Year In Review One Month At A Time - June 2014

This was a rough month and I'm drained just remembering it.

It started with some fun in Amsterdam. That was certainly cool.

Anne Frank House
You MUST tour the Anne Frank house. It's such an important story. Go early, though, as the lines become ginormous as the day goes on.

Amsterdam Canal
Also, do a boat tour. The city is beautiful and they do a good job of giving you a history lesson while you're lounging about. You can bring adult beverages on board, too!

Van Gogh Museum
And, do some of the museums. I had a fantastic three hours at the Van Gogh Museum. But tickets online and reserve your time because the line gets long for that, too. I had an especially proud moment because I navigated a few buses on my own to get there!

None of the switches, knobs or wheels did a darn thing.
Skip the Heineken Experience. They don't actually make beer there anymore and it was just a huge commercial for the brand.Yes, you got some "free" beer at the end but it was Heineken.

After the weekend in Amsterdam, it was back to Hamburg for the go-live of our project. I've tried to black out the ensuing 23 days of soul sucking, physical and mental crushing experiences and focus on the one tiny moment of happiness:

We completed every page of software validation in this binder.
Man, that was a tough project. I was never so happy to get home.


A Year In Review One Month At A Time - May 2014

May rocked it. So busy and so fun!

OK, there was one day that I try to avoid every year. My birthday. Seriously, the calendar and math are not my friends. There's just no way that calculation gives my age correctly. It's all I can do to force myself to go out for dinner with the family which is what we did the night before the "big" day.

Family - some by birth and some by choice!
However, this year the actual day was awesome. My friend, Sonja, put together a wine tasting trip to Southern Arizona and members from both the Phoenix and Tucson Parrot Head Club went on it. I even got Steve Pfister to go.

We all met at a hotel and took a chartered bus to the wineries then on to a party that the Tucson club was having that night. I really should have not felt committed to emptying out the bottle of Slivo...

Sonja, Birthday Princess and Steven
Despite the fact that Sonja insisted on mentioning my age all over the place before, during and even after, it was a great celebration. And, hey, presents! I likes me the presents!

Then, it was back to Germany. This was a time where our travel schedule made us stay over a weekend so we went to Berlin. Berlin in a one day whirlwind is exhausting! I would go back and spend a few days on museums alone.

I got to touch the actual Berlin Wall -
without being shot at!
Literally, 12 hours after I got back from Germany I was on the road to PHINS to The West (PTTW) in Laughlin, NV. It's one of my favorite events and pretty much a huge social butterfly reunion.

Shirt has not been completely retired yet.
One of the activities at PTTW was an Ugly Shirt Contest. Jeff, Jello Shot Prince, bribed me into working my mojo to get him to win with the promised reward that he would stop wearing this shirt to every Buffett concert we go to.  I can't remember if he wore it to the October Vegas show or not. :(

The Proroks!
PTTW is really a Parrot Head family reunion. I love seeing people from all across the country and getting to spend time, albeit it briefly, with them. Two of my favorites are Joe and Lorene Prorok from Nebraska. They are truly delightful!

One final highlight for May - I got my Global Express approval! No more waiting in the long customs and TSA lines like the common folk do. Suckas!

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - April 2014

Because anyone can do a Pub Crawl in their own home town...

Scott is always proud to be in charge of Phred
My friends Tracy and Scott moved to Irvine, CA a while back. They're always trying to entice us to come over and visit. The lure of the San Diego Parrot Head Club Pub Crawl was too much for me to resist.

This trip was too dang fun! There was a string of bars that were each creating a free specialty drink for us and also providing much needed snacks. The club had chartered two double decker buses and staggered the arrival times between the two so the bars weren't overwhelmed. They also planned it so the tow buses overlapped at each place so we all got to spend time together.

Tracy, Scott and I started out at the host bar, Paradise Bar & Grill, around 9 AM with the plan to pace ourselves. One drink per bar, we said, decisively! Really, we mean it! We aren't going to bed early, no siree!

I think Tracy and I had two beers and the specialty drink before we got on the bus for the first crawl. So, there went our plan for moderation with the smallest hope we could recover it.

It was fun, fun, fun from there. Scott and I took turns tagging our group in so we could keep track of where we'd been. Thank goodness for Facebook checkins - here's where we went:

  • Paradise Lounge and Grill
  • Skybox Sports Grill
  • Redwing Bar and Grill
  • Fiddler's Green
  • Desi's Bar & Grill
  • Kristy's MVP Sports Bar
  • back to Paradise Lounge and Grill
The only downside was the effect of riding the top of the bus on my hair.

Can you say tangled beyond rat's nest?

It took all of the conditioner I had with me to get it unsnarled the next morning.

Oh, and if there was any question about whether we got back on our planned pacing level, well, Scott did much better than Tracy and I did. I completely gave up after Tracy ordered the second Moscow Mule at one of the bars. Let's just leave it at that.

Oh, part two, we were in bed by 8:30 that night. Thank goodness for taxis and hotels near the bar!

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - March 2014

March found my friend Mary having a milestone birthday and the Arizona Parrot Head Club hosting a Mom O'Malley Memorial Poker Tournament where we raised $530 for Hospice of the Valley. Good stuff!

But, the highlight was Germany and the discovery of my most favorite attraction, ever!

Frankfurt
We started out trip business trip with a weekend in Frankfurt. It's OK but so much of it is rebuilt after WWII that it doesn't feel  historical like I expect Europe to feel. We did the usual tourist stuff - took a bus tour, roamed across the river, rode the subway, had some Apfelwein and came away with a "been there, done that, don't need to go back" attitude.

But, then we got to Hamburg and I talked my colleagues into going somewhere after work one night and found my nirvana. You can have your Disney adventures, I will happily go back again and again to Miniatur Wunderland!

This is their version of Las Vegas
Why is this my nirvana? Well, besides the intricate models and dioramas that I could stare at for hours, it also had buttons. Buttons I was actually encouraged to press! (Unlike the time we toured a Soviet submarine and my button pushing was not only discouraged but instilled some fear as to what it would actually do. I didn't blow you up, Long Beach, you're welcome!)

Buttons, glorious buttons!
I have no idea what any of the buttons do because the descriptions are in German but I tried to push every one that wasn't already lit up. They move cars and trains, light up buildings, play music, make characters dance...I don't know all of it yet because I ran out of time to touch each one. Even after a second trip back with some other colleagues, I haven't gotten to them all.

Must. Go. Back.

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - February 2014

February sucked.

Yes, I went to Germany for the first time but it was only a Monday through Friday trip. That meant nearly 50 hours of travel time in five days which is just stupid.

Never again.

But, here's why it really sucked. It was the last time that I got to see this before I traveled:

I still miss George
Let me dry my tears and we'll move on to a happier month.

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - January 2014

Facebook rolled out another one of those year end reviews where they pick the pictures. I'm not sure of their algorithm but my pictures were pretty dumb and I had not patience nor desire to edit them. Besides, without the stories, what good are the pictures?

So, without much more ado, I decided to create my own look back at 2014 one month at a time and include some of the tales from the highlights. Hopefully, this makes up for my deplorable lack of consistency in blogging last year. :)

Pretty dang sure my playlist was better...
The Arizona Parrot Head Club worked our traditional water station for the PF Chang's Rock N Roll Marathon. We've been the last stop on the full marathon route for years and the athletes really like us for our energy. They would like us more if we would give them beer but we're not allowed. Sorry.

Our usual DJ was out of town so the event Chair asked me to put together a playlist...the day before the event.  I was up until the wee hours despite having to get up before dawn. Unbeknownst to the Chair or me, the backup DJ had asked Dave to provide the music as well.

So, here's how it went down. I had my 8 hour playlist going and I believe we were all enjoying my combination of Trop Rock, Country and Pop favorites. Then, Dave showed up and, all of a sudden without even a "pardon me", my device was unplugged and he was playing off his computer.

What the hell?!?!

Which is pretty much what I said to Dave but he stood fast and queued up his music for the rest of the day. His rationale was that he was choosing in the moment from his entire song library so he could be spontaneous and therefore provide a more enjoyable listening experience.

Whatev.

To be annoying, and to make a point, I would pop on over on some songs and say, "This was on my playlist, too" or "I have the Jimmy and the Parrots version of that song, do you?".  (He pretty much did and played them, BTW.)

I wasn't subtle at all, either. At one point, Scooter apparently got tired of me and came up to Dave and said, "Can you play anything BUT Jimmy and the Parrots?" He thought he did it loudly enough for me to hear. He's probably lucky that I didn't.

No one jokes about my favorite band and gets away with it!

Kitteh Antics

I've just spent a month chasing kittehs away from holiday cards, wrapping paper, gifts, bows and anything else they could find. I was not at all successful. In fact, every morning I came out to the dining room to find items spilled on to the floor. Every evening, I came home from work to find a similar mess. I confess there were days when I didn't have the energy or the heart to pick up in the interim.

I knew the wrapped gifts were doomed for destruction so I spent an evening wrapping all that I had and then put them in to a big box for security. I should have closed up the box right away but I took a few minutes to sit down and take a rest break.

This bow looks tasty!
Starbuck took a bow off a gift then pranced through the house quite happily with it. Always staying a few feet in front of me so I couldn't grab her, of course. I was finally able to liberate the bow and not only closed the lid on the box but put several heavy boxes on top of it to prevent further damage.

Fast forward a week and everything has been put away. Except for one Amazon box that has a laminator and sheets in it. It's been sitting on the floor by the dining room table for weeks without being molested. How naive of me to think it was safe.

Last night, Starbuck and I were playing fetch with one of her crackle balls. After one of the tosses, she didn't return right away and I heard rustling. For some reason, she had dropped the ball in to the box where it got caught under the packing material.

I fetched it out for her and we resumed our game. For a few more tosses until she dropped it back in to the box. Sigh. I decided to move the box on to the table in the hope that it would be ignored. I blame the wine for my poor decision making.

This morning, I noticed that Samwise had once again divested himself of his collar. It was lying on the hallway floor when I got up and I made a mental note to retrieve it. A few minutes later as I was reading my email in bed, I heard suspicious noises from the dining room.

This is what I saw when I investigated:

Looking for something...
You may have guessed it but, yes, he had put his collar in to the box. Or, maybe she did. Regardless, why?

WHY?!?!?!

What?
He's been repeatedly sprayed with the water bottle but still won't leave the box alone. I finally turned it over (after putting his collar back on him and having him take it off again) so they can't dig in to it but they've both been on the table several times since then. And, gotten sprayed several times.

Clearly, the water thing is just not working as a deterrent. Nor is yelling obscenities. Damn, I'm out of disciplinary techniques.

I'm off now to find a place to stow away the laminator until I need it. Maybe a completely empty dining room table will be deemed too boring to be on once I'm done.

Ha! Like that's even a possibility.