Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spring Fever

This hasn't been much of a crafter's blog lately has it? Fear not, I have not abandoned my creative pursuits. I have a couple of projects in process. Unfortunately, they are large and are taking quite a bit of time to complete. They are also gifts, so I can't post details just yet. But stay tuned, friends. I hope it will be worth the wait.

In between my projects, I'm beginning to look forward to spring...far away as that may be for us Minnesotans. Hope springs eternal that maybe somehow, spring will come early this year. In preparation for the warmer, less-snow-shoveling weather, CT and I have joined a fantasy baseball league at mlb.com. It's a free league for us amateurs just wanting to try it out. CT and I are big baseball fans and this allows us to participate a little bit. We had our draft for our team this past weekend. It was a little nerve-racking, I have to say. We tried to do our research and pick our favorite players over the past couple of weeks, but I'm not sure it was really all that helpful. And CT seemed to get a little bored at times. But our line-up is set and now all we have to do is sit back and see how we match up against the other teams in the league.

Here's what we ended up with:

  1. Catcher
    Bengie Molina (C , SF)
    .284 avg 19 HR
  2. 1st Base
    Paul Konerko (1B , CWS)
    .313 avg 35 HR
  3. 2nd Base
    Freddy Sanchez (2B,3B,SS , PIT)
    .344 avg 6 HR
  4. 3rd Base
    Brandon Inge (3B , DET)
    .253 avg 27 HR
  5. Shortstop
    Nick Punto (2B,3B,SS , MIN)
    .290 avg 1 HR
  6. Outfield
    Hideki Matsui (OF , NYY)
    .302 avg 8 HR
  7. Outfield
    Coco Crisp (OF , BOS)
    .264 avg 8 HR
  8. Outfield
    Ichiro Suzuki (OF , SEA)
    .322 avg 9 HR
  9. Pitching Staff
    Minnesota Twins (P , MIN)
    3.95 ERA
  10. Bench Players
    Ross Gload (1B,OF , KC)
    Henry Blanco (C , CHC)
    Mike Lamb (1B,3B , HOU)
    Moises Alou (OF , NYM)
    Jacque Jones (OF , CHC)
    Nick Swisher (1B,OF , OAK)

The averages listed are for the 2006 season. I don't think we did too bad. I guess we'll find out. Our first match-up is the first week in April. I'll keep you posted on how we do.

While CT and I are looking forward to baseball season, PK is just itching to begin this season's geocaching adventures. We tried this new hobby a couple of years ago and PK has been hooked ever since. If you've never heard of it, it's like a game of high-tech hide-and-seek. People (a lot of people) all over the world hide little treasures (called caches) in public parks and wilderness areas. In fact, you probably have at least one or two little hoards at your nearby city park and don't even know it. Anyway, the "hiders" input the exact coordinates of their hidden cache into the website using their portable GPS systems to get the correct position. Then the "seekers" use their GPS units to download coordinates from the website based on the areas they want to search (for instance, caches hidden within a 30 mile radius of home). Next, you pack up and head out for a enjoyable day int he fresh air searching for hidden treasure. Once you've found a cache, you sign the log book to note that you were there. Then you're welcome to take one little piece from the cache provided you leave something in return. It's really a lot of fun. The hiking is good exercise and the hide-and-seek is sometimes quite challenging.

We've found that this is a good way to explore the parks and nature centers around our home...some we didn't even know existed before! We even took a trip last summer to Kansas City and spent the weekend geocaching around the city. I have to admit, it wasn't a great success, though. We ended up forever trolling around the not-so-pleasant parts of KC and not finding much. We did discover that possibly the only restaurant in all of Kansas City is Church's Chicken. It could've been the same Church's Chicken we passed over and over again, but I'm skeptical!

So, as you can tell, we're all quite ready for spring. That being said, I've just heard another snow storm is heading our way today. Oh well, that's the price we yankees pay to live so close to the north pole. On the bright side, I really love hot chocolate.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

Secret Lives and Imaginary Friends

I have this really weird hobby....some would call it habit...or obsession, even. PK thinks it's creepy. Anyway, I like to make up life stories of complete strangers. For instance, this weekend we took CT to a waterpark. I spent most of the day people-watching and making up imaginary lives for the other parents at the park.

That guy with the really, really hairy back was too easy....an escaped ape from a local zoo. There was a skinny little blond lady that planted herself elegantly on a beach chair for over an hour while 5 or 6 kids came and went and argued and pinched eachother. She barely even noticed them, so I pretended that she's their step-mother, not really a bad one, but one that takes very little interest. Their father is much older than she is and has a good job so she doesn't have to work. All the kids are old enough for school so she spends her days getting her nails done and taking tennis lessons. She only came on this stupid family vacation because there's a spa on-site and her husband promised her a facial if she feigned affection in the kids for a couple of hours. She drank 2 pina coladas while she lie there, so she has a little drinking problem. Plus, she's having a passionate affair with her tennis coach who speaks very little English. Anyway, you get the point. I judge people based on their appearance and make up soap-opera lives for them. Does that make me a bad person?

Sometimes, I don't even have to see the person to envision an imaginary life for them. Do you ever visit a new friend's house for the first time and find that their house is exactly like the one you conjured up in your head when you first met them? Well, it's kinda like that. I peek in open windows as we drive by at night. Then I make up people and lives that must live in a house like that. OK, I'm a peeping Kelly, but honestly, I don't look to catch people in the act or see them standing around in their skivvies scratching themselves. I really hope to see no one at all. That way I can make up whatever wild thing I want about them.

There's this house on our block that always has the curtains open in the living room. The only thing I can see through the window is a grandfather clock and at least a dozen photos on the wall. I imagine this is a grandmother's house. She lives there alone since her husband died a few years ago. She leaves the curtains open because she likes to know what's going on in the neighborhood. She has 4 grown children and 3 grandchildren. She's led a fascinating life as an author. She once had a passionate love affair with a prince of Georgia, but he was imprisoned for political reasons before the fall of the Soviet Union and she never saw him again. She's pretty certain that her husband's best friend murdered his wife 20 years ago and she spends a lot of time trying to prove it. It's a lot like Desperate Housewives in my head. It's a crazy secret hobby, but it entertains my brain when I'm bored. Other people's imaginary lives are so much more interesting than my true life.

So, this morning as I drove by another open window, it occurred to me that there may be others out there like me. If that's the case, then they might have driven past my open curtains over the past few days. What life did they conceive for me? Well, based on this week's chaos. I'm pretty certain that my house resembles a disgusting germ-hole. Both CT and I have been sick so the place is littered with cough medicine and tissues. If it were me spying in through our front window, I would conclude that the household has contracted the bird flu and we were under strict quarantine...not allowed to have any contact with the outside world. I might imagine a giant bubble erected around my bed to keep the infestation from spreading. Only people wearing spacesuits are allowed in the bubble and only at their own risk. I would definitely fantasize about all kinds of awful symptoms and a slow, painful death for myself.

Anyway, since I'm only feeling half-crappy today (a great improvement over utterly crappy like yesterday), I think I'll clean up the den of sickness this afternoon so y'all can imagine a much more cheerful existence for me when you drive by my open window.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

OK, Maybe I am a Descendent of Monkeys

Last night I was telling PK about my newly-discovered banana allergy and how I single-handedly debunked evolution as the origin of mankind (see Proof That I Am Not Descendant of Monkeys for this enlightening concept). However, I am a woman who can admit when she may be wrong. As I was explaining my scientific theory, a picture flashed in my mind...a snapshot from long ago...a buried memory from my childhood. It was probably traumatic, so it's been hidden away in my subconscious for decades.

It happened on a family vacation, when most disturbing childhood memories are made. The four of us (Me, Mom, Daddy and LB) went to Houston for a week one summer. While there, we visited the popular Houston Zoo. LB and I had been to the Tulsa Zoo a couple of times by that age. No disrespect to that fine tourist attraction, but I'm now fairly certain that was a common squirrel with an extra tail, not an Two-Tailed Arabian Flying Monkey. Anyway, the Houston Zoo was amazing. It had animals from all over the world that no one had ever heard of before. I tell you, they had animals with animals with names that cannot be pronounced by the human tongue! It was on our tour of the primate house when it happened. Horror of all horrors to every preteen who has braved an embarrassing public humiliation brought on by her own parents..... My daddy came face-to-face with what can only be described as his twin brother! A monkey....my daddy looks like a little monkey at the zoo, people! And there we stood....all 4 of us...in complete awe in front of a glass enclosure staring open-mouthed at Uncle Monkey from Houston.

We have rarely spoken of this...only in whispers to occasionally help explain some odd family trait. But I tell y'all this now, so that I can finally let go of this painful memory and begin to get to acquainted with my chimp side. While I find it doubtful that humanity evolved from apes...I, in fact, may be descended from monkeys afterall. I embrace my new heritage. Afterall, everyone loves a monkey....I am especially fond of dancing monkeys at the circus (you know the ones with the little hats and a little coat to match the ringmaster's).

Not KellyFaith's real Daddy....just a clever look-alike.

OK, this isn't really the monkey we saw that fateful day. I couldn't find a picture of that one. This photo does bear a small family resemblance though....perhaps a distant cousin.

Just to set the record straight, this is a true story. However, my Daddy is not a real monkey...he just has certain characteristics similar to the little monkey we saw at the Houston zoo. I feel confident in sharing this story, because everyone who knows me and my Daddy knows that I look exactly like him. Seriously, put a goatee and some sideburns on me and I am a dead ringer. Therefore, it could just of easily been me who met my carbon copy monkey brother. Thankfully, it wasn't, but it could've been. We've shared many laughs about the day we met his doppelganger and I'm sure Daddy will take this in the humorous spirit in which it was written. So I speak for my entire monkey family when I say oo-oo-ee-ee-ii-oo-oo-ee (loosely translated: Don't eat the green bananas and may no falling coconut fall upon your head).

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Today's Favorite Quote

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!
-Lucy Van Pelt

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

February Stamp Club

For those who don't know. February is birthday month for me. Among my friends and family, I have 12 birthdays to celebrate this month. So, the theme for this month's Stamp Club meeting was birthday cards, because I've been spending so much time making them lately. No Valentines for this stamper. I'm way too busy keeping up with all the aging going on!

If you look closely, you'll notice that I used the cracked glass technique on the screen. The inside of the card reads "You're how old?!?!?" Perfect for a certain brother-in-law...not that his aging is funny, but it does make me feel younger.

This one was for my nephew. What kind of card do you give a 20-year-old guy anyway? A photo of half-naked girls is kinda inappropriate for a nephew, so I settled for something simple. I'm sure he'll appreciate it in his own way.

This one was given to my father-in-law with a western paperback book for a present. As you can tell, I kinda like a theme.

I just realized that if February is birthday month, then May is one heckuva month too....because of Mother's Day, of course.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Today's Favorite Quote

One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Singing Along With the Radio

I'm working on a project at work that requires all my attention with no interruption. To help deter those who would violate my cube fortifications, I've brought in some headphones and have downloaded some CDs to iTunes. This should make me look sufficiently unapproachable. However, I have discovered a flaw in my plan for utter seclusion at the office. I downloaded Bowling for Soup's newest album called The Great Burrito Extortion Case and I can't help but tap my feet and nod my head like I agree with everything everyone is saying around me. I am literally having the bite my tongue in order to keep from singing along. So, instead of looking busy and in deep concentration, I look like I'm having my own little party in my head. It really defeats the affect I was going for and I'm positive my co-workers are giggling at my antics by the coffee pot. My only hope is that maybe they think I've contracted a rare complicated medical condition that causes me to spasm uncontrollably and bite my lip until it nearly bleeds, but I admit the possibility of that is slim.

You must know by now that I love to sing along with the radio when alone in my car (and sometimes to the complete mortification of CT). Oh, I'm no American Idol, but I bop along at the stop light with no regard for who might be watching. I'm not usually what I would all a music lover. My car radio is usually tuned to public radio (MPR), but occasionally on Fridays, I need to loosen up a little. So, I turn the radio so loud that I know I'm breaking some noise pollution law, and I sing at the top of my lungs. CT calls it "Mom's Rock Out Time" and despite my awful screeching along, he does seem to enjoy those afternoons on the way home from school.

I encourage everyone to sing along with the radio once in a while. It's very liberating to let yourself go like that. However, I caution that singing along it work is not advisable if you would like to convey a professional, hard-worker personality. I think it's too late for me to be viewed serious and competent, so I'm going to crank up the volume and tap on the desk while humming along until my cube neighbors start launching complaints. Of course, I'll be too completely absorbed in my work to notice the grievances.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Proof That I Am Not Descendant of Monkeys

OK, we can debate the merits of evolution another time. However, I can now prove without a doubt that I am not a descendant of monkeys, despite my occasional behavior to the contrary. I have recently discovered that I am allergic to bananas. I ask you, could any self-respecting chimp admit to such a fault?

Anyway, I've always known that I am a little weird....well, in respect to my reaction to bananas, I mean. I love bananas...banana bread, banana pudding, banana flavored popsicle, etc. Most importantly, I have a very strong affinity to Chunky Monkey, which I have also recently learned does not really contain actual monkeys, so I was able to rule out a monkey allergy almost immediately. The point is, every time I eat one of nature's perfect foods or Ben and Jerry's perfect ice cream, I get a very strange symptom. It's not unbearable or painful....just freakish. Bananas make my ears itch. I mean really, really itch. It makes me want to rip them off the side of my head. There, now you know...I am not a descendant of primates...and I sometimes want to rip my ears off. It's a shameful secret that is now out in the open for the whole world to ponder and critique.

So, what I've recently learned is that I am not alone. There's no Itchy Ear Banana Allergy Anonymous (IEBAA) for those with my affliction (yet), but we're out there....suffering in silence and frantically clawing at our ears while gulping down our banana parfait. Apparently, banana allergies is not uncommon among people who are also allergic to ragweed and latex. While, I am fairly certain that I am allergic to ragweed, I've never had a problem with latex. However, the article suggests that it is only a matter of time before I start experiencing latex-related allergy symptoms. It seems the 3 allergies are very often seen together and are somehow connected...although how bananas and latex are related is beyond me. If this is the case, then I will definitely have to be on the lookout for the gorilla wearing latex gloves at the supermarket buying Chunky Monkey, because he'll be the death of me for sure.

There is some good news. The article suggests that limiting my exposure to bananas may suppress my reaction to ragweed. So, if I lay off the banana splits for a while, my chronic, seasonal sniffles might get better. Though it will be hard, I'm willing to make this sacrifice in the interest of proving or disproving the theory. Similarly, if I reduce my exposure to ragweed (I have yet to find a way to do this), then my allergy to bananas may subside as well. I would assume, therefore, that if I stay away from both bananas and ragweed, that I may never experience any reaction to latex. I'm going to have to check with my doctor on that one, I suppose. In the meantime, I'm going on a banana-free diet. If can do it, it will not only prove the grandma is not a rhesus, but it will prevent my wild urges to rip my ears off and save me the trouble and embarrassment of the cosmetic oddity of having no ears.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Today's Favorite Quote

There are no favorites in my office. I treat them all with the same general inconsideration.
-Lyndon Johnson

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Cute Puppy Day?

Last weekend we took CT to Build-A-Bear Workshop in the Mall of America to spend a gift card he got for Christmas. Among the hundreds of teddies, we found tigers, penguins, kitties and bunnies all waiting to to find a new home in some kid's toybox. And then there was the featured pet....yes, you too can now have your very own stuffed groundhog. It disgusts me really. Is no holiday safe from our capitlist gusto? Before you know it, we'll all be obligated to make a special trip to Hallmark to search for the perfect card to express our feelings to our friends and family regarding the groundhog's weather supremacy.

Groundhog Day....Humbug, I say. Why do I want to celebrate a varmit scared of its own shadow? And although they're rarely correct, I prefer to get my weather from the guy on tv who actually attended meterorology school thank you very much. While we're on the subject, groundhogs are awful menaces to the suburban lawn. For eight years in our home, we've tried unsuccessfully to seed grass....any grass at all would have been lovely. After years of a dirt lawn, this spring we finally had some patches. Oh, it wasn't a putting green or anything, but it was ours and it was green. Within a few days, we noticed holes multiplying all over the place. Apparently, the groundhog had also admired our success and decided to take the opportunity to move in and return our humble yard to the dirt from which it came.

So, why a stinkin' groundhog? Cute Puppy Day...now there's a day for Hallmark. And CT's goldfish was swimming on his side this morning...that's not a good sign folks. Perhaps he is merely signaling the cold front that is moving in.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Today's Favorite Quote

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.
-Mark Twain

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