Monday, December 29, 2008

Hello 2009 questionnaire

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Used my passport!
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I think I curse less. I certainly didn't go to the gym at least once a week but it probably evened out to at least that, because I trained and finished another mini-marathon
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, my friend Tracy and sister Katie both had beautiful little girls
4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes, my beautiful and wonderful grandmother, Diana Stratton. I am glad that I got to tell her that we would name a little girl after her before she died. My life will never be the same after her passing.
5. What countries did you visit? Australia and London, UK
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? I wish I had visited Portugal with Mike... I would also like much more satisfaction with myself in total than 2008
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? August 11, 2008... our wedding anniversary and the babydog's birthday!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Held my tongue WAY MORE than I thought possible
9. What was your biggest failure? Being a bad big sib to my mentee Gracie... I just have way too much to do
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nope
11. What was the best thing you bought? Air conditioner, August 2008... Dog, November 2008
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? As always, my mom and dad
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Family not named to protect the not-so-innocent
14. Where did most of your money go? Various costs to be a grownup
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Many random roadtrips
16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Beyonce - Single Girls ...If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.. My sister sang this to make my niece laugh and it cracked me up
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? happier

b) thinner or fatter? oy, fatter fo sho
c) richer or poorer? richer, very very slightly
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? working out
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? worrying about the election
20. How did you spend Christmas? With my husband's family
21. Did you fall in love in 2008? yes, with my baby dog, Milly. I LOVE THAT DOG.
22. What was your favorite TV program? How I Met Your Mother
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Yup. Can't say who
24. What was the best book you read? Twilight books
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Straight No Chaser and Chipmunks Christmas CDs
26. What did you want and get? Chef's knife and new vacuum
27. What did you want and not get? new carpet
28. What was your favorite film of this year? Zach and Miri make a Porno (HILARIOUS) and Twilight
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 29... and spent the day writhing in pain with sore tooth (later needed a root canal) in so much pain I cried myself to sleep and couldn't think straight.. Excellent birthday!!! At least I can say I had Chipotle for dinner that night. I love that place.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Dog not crapping on the bathroom floor
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Expensive Jeans and Cheap Tops
32. What kept you sane? Hubs
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Hmmm, Justin Timberlake, again
34. What political issue stirred you the most? The election
35. Who did you miss? My grandmother. I can't believe she's gone. I miss her so much.

36. Who was the best new person you met? My niece, Gracie. She is the best little booboohead I have ever met!
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. To shut up and mock from afar.... I need to refine this even more in 2009, as I still don't shut up as much as I should!
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Baseball season's underway
Better get ready for a brand new day...
Hey Chicago what do you say?
Cubs are gonna win today...

They're saying, "Go Cubs go, go Cubs go,
hey Chicago what do you say
Cubs are gonna win today"

Well, until at least the Cubs doo-dood the bed and got swept in the playoffs!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Baby Gracie

DSC_0304.JPG, originally uploaded by agstratt.

Mike and I babysat for Baby Gracie yesterday. She was a doll, we had a great time. Check out her new little hairbow... and her eyes are so blue! The only downside was that I thought my arm was going to fall off after holding her/standing and rocking her to sleep.... I have a new respect for my sister's arm strength!

I love this dog!

DSC_0237.JPG, originally uploaded by agstratt.

We have found that Dog only howls when there is Great Unfairness in the world: largely, when you are eating some kind of cheesy salty meat and she is not. Pequod's pizza and McDonald's breakfast samiches have elicited The Howl this week, which cracks us up. We don't feed her much (if any) people food, so I'm thinking the breeder probably let the puppies lick their plates clean or something. Her nose just starts sniffing and sticks straight up in the air and pretty soon... ARRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday roundup

Dog is equal parts awesome and frustrating. On the awesome list: this look, her obsession with bacon, and her exuberance for playing fetch with a pink tennis ball. On the frustrating list: peeing on the floor right after a walk (YOU. JUST. WENT.), whining, and silent-but-deadly gas.

My friend Tracy and her husband Tojy had a baby this morning, Soraya Ruth. She is VERY cute and VERY tiny. I had a no-good very bad day yesterday and today is shaping up to be MUCH better. I broke my iphone, and today Apple replaced it for free! score! I also got pulled over for semi-kind-of running a red light (it was yellow! totally yellow!) and luckily the police officer had much better things to do and didn't give me a ticket. And, oh yeah, it took me 3 hours to go to Target and Jo-Ann fabrics. I am not going back to the fabric store until the holiday season is waaaaaay over, I almost went insane in there. JOANN FABRICS is a soul-suck. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hello from the Knowles Household

We got our babydog, Milly, and she is the best puppy ever!
  • She has seriously awesome ears.
  • She has the saddest face ever when we put her in her area and close the babygate, or when it's night-night time and she has to go in the crate. So cute!
  • Everyone at the vet's office loved her! She didn't even whimper when she got a vaccination on Tuesday
  • There have been a few accidents, but not many. Many less than I expected for a brand-new puppy
  • She loves hanging on the couch and playing with toys or just chilling out and watching TV. She has a mad love for the couch, just like I do.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Mike and I have purchased a puppy and are SUPER geeked about it. The breeder is shipping her to Evansville the Friday of Thanksgiving. Yay, puppy!!
Her name is Milly, and she'll be 13 weeks when we get her. She is a beagle!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


An email from a friend, Kyle, who was on the Obama speechwriting team:

Hey guys -

Thanks to all of you for your texts/emails. I'm really not sure what to say except that last night was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Right now I'm beyond exhausted, and this entire office is hung over, but the last 24 hours have been incredible.

We all watched the results come in from the press area here at headquarters. Personally, I felt like I was going to throw up waiting for the networks to call VA/PA/OH, but whenever one state came in, the whole place would break out in cheers. Spike Lee was watching the returns with us, and he stood up and took a bow when they called New York for Obama (he had voted in Brooklyn that morning). It's a testament to how surreal this campaign has been that this didn't seem weird at all.

Earlier in the day, I had used my staff pass to go down and take a look at the rally site in the daylight (and before the whole city of Chicago descended on it). I just kept flashing my badge until I was right up next to the podium. It really felt like I was in the middle of a war zone - helicopters overhead, batallions of police and secret service, bomb-sniffing dogs, bullet-proof glass, miles of police barracades and lots and lots of guns. Even though the gates wouldn't be opening for another 5 hours and Obama wouldn't be speaking for 9, there were already thousands of people lined up outside the gates, and the street vendors were making a killing with Obama paraphenalia.

Back at Headquarters, I decided to wait with the communications staff until it was pretty clear the race was in hand. The speechwriting team had two speeches ready to go - a victory and a concession. At the end of the victory speech was a story about a 106-year old woman named Ann Nixon Cooper - the daughter of a former slave who lived long enough to vote for an African American for President. Once the networks had called Ohio, and it was clear we would be hearing the victory speech, my boss, Jon Favreau, called Mrs. Cooper at home and told her to watch the speech. It was one of the most memorable moments of a very memorable campaign. She was still awake (pretty surprising in itself) and said she was very excited. She asked which channel the speech would be on, and Favreau told her it would be on every channel.

At that point, I walked down to the rally. Again, we went through about 15 layers of security before being ushered into the fenced-in grassy area right in front of the podium - looking out on a sea of 125,000 screaming, crying, flag-waving people. I have never seen anything like it in my life, and the view gave me goosebumps that lasted all night. Oprah was in the house, and we got word that Brad Pitt had just come through the metal detectors - prompting the girls I was with to go on an unsuccessful 'Pitt-hunt.' CNN was being broadcast on huge screens, and when they projected that Obama would be the next President, the crowd erupted - and didn't really stop erupting until he walked onto the stage.

I watched the speech about 40 ft. from Obama. It made me feel really, really small knowing that the scene I was looking at was being watched by the entire world from Alabama to Australia. After the speech was over, we caught up with the staff and walked back uptown in the middle of Michigan Avenue. Probably the last time I'll ever do that without inviting certain death.

This morning, Barack did a conference call with all the staff to sort of wrap this thing up. He thanked everyone - especially our campaign manager David Plouffe, who flew back to DC at 7am this morning because his wife is having a baby girl. He said that there aren't too many opportunities in life to make the world a little more hopeful place, and that's what this campaign has done.

As for me, it's time to pack up and head home. My future is up in the air - the speechwriters are fantastic, and I'd love to keep working with them in some capacity. But the transition is just beginning, and nobody knows much about anything. So I'll head back to VA and wait for the call, but no matter what happens, it's been a wild ride.Hope to see all of you soon.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hi there...

This week of mini-marathon training is rough-going. I spent last night and Monday night getting the condo tidy (note that I did not say clean, just tidy) and re-doing the blarg. Tonight I ran my 4 miles and I was totally fine with it, but I was ready to be OUTTA there after the run. I should have lifted, but did not.

So glad the presidential race is almost over. I am just ready to be DONE with this already.

Maybe I should put some money in rupees now just in case our whole country goes up in flames soon?

This weekend in Bloomington was so much fun! I had Pizza Express TWICE, got some candy-stripe pants I have been eyeing since undergrad, and got to know a bunch of fun people. I have to also give the two pregnant chicas a shout-out... ya'll were WAY more understanding around LOUD, rambunctious drinking people than I think I will ever be when it's my turn! And my first foray into the actual stadium since undergrad made for some great pics

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Holy cow

If you have looked at this website in the past day or so, you've seen many trainwrecks and iterations... hopefully you like the final product! I definitely needed to update, and now I feel like posting a bit more since it's prettier ;c)

Monday, October 13, 2008

found a good place to nap

found a good place to nap, originally uploaded by agstratt.

I know I say this everytime, but how is it possible to miss the snuggles already?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


  • I am about 4 weeks deep in mini-marathon training and starting to feel like I'm hitting my stride. While I am no spring chick, I am no longer sounding like a box of rice krispies rolling down the sidewalk (snap! crackle! pop! get it?)
  • I think the debates so far have been largely boring, but what is with McCain? In the first debate he wouldn't make eye contact with Obama (even when they were shaking hands!) and in this debate referring to Obama as "This one"? What? I mean, can we have a little respect... I think McCain is probably a really great guy, but he seems really angry that Obama is even running. I mean, it's no disrespect that someone is running against him, that's kind of the point of the whole race, no? I like Obama, and I do think that he and Biden ALWAYS saying "McCain is a good man" is a bit too much, always trying to act the good guy, but at the same time... can't we keep races clean and respectful anymore? As illustrated by all the random ads that are aired by every candidate EVER at every election opportunity, obviously not! I just wish we could all just get along!?!?
  • I am so annoyed by this whole financial crisis. I feel like there are so many people in this country living SO FAR beyond their means and take really stupid chances, and the people who play it safe and save money and live prudently are getting punished. I mean, at this point I could have NOT contributed to my 401k for the first two years of my career and be in the same position.
  • On that vein, you know what else annoys me? WaMu's commercials lately. You know the "The same things you loved about WaMu are still here, but now backed with the resources of JPMorgan" You know what I liked about you WaMu? My SHAREHOLDER'S EQUITY. You suck!
  • Whew, that's great to get out of my system. haha... it could be worse, I didn't have that much in WaMu
  • Going to IU this weekend, and stopping to see Baby Gracie, My sis, and her dude on the way home. Life doesn't get much better than tailgating, Sink the Biz, and Gracie snuggles all in one weekend!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This guy is my hero!

Red highlight shows the awesomest part.

Man creates vigilante robot to battle drug dealers
Atlanta bar owner Rufus Terrill has built an armor plated remote control robot to video tape and chase away drug dealers and other unsavory characters who are causing problems in the neighborhood.

Late at night several times a week, Terrill powers up the 4-foot-tall, 300 pound device and reaches for a remote control packed with two joysticks and various knobs and switches. Standing on a nearby corner, he maneuvers the machine down the block, often to a daycare center where it accosts what Terrill says are drug dealers, vagrants and others who shouldn't be there.

He flashes the robot's spotlight and grabs a walkie-talkie, which he uses to boom his disembodied voice over the robot's sound system.

"I tell them they are trespassing, it's private property, and they have to leave," he said. "They throw bottles and cans at it. That's when I shoot the water cannon. They just scatter like roaches."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Random roundup

  • If you have to get a root canal done and you have a choice of which tooth to get it done on (like you ever would get a choice!) I would HIGHLY recommend a front tooth. Only one nerve as opposed to 3-4 nerves! I was in and out of there in under an hour. And I argued my way down on the bill thanks to the dental coverage printout I took in there (on the phone these jokers from Cigna totally tell my dentist office the WRONG coverage). AND THEN the parking lot machine wasn't working so the guy let me out for free. So, let's just say it was the best root canal EVER.
  • My 10 year high school reunion was this weekend. There was a dismal turnout (like 30 people, most of whom I keep in touch with by some means)... but it was VERY fun. It was so fun to see everyone and I feel like I know what is going on in people's lives via their blogs and myspace/facebook. So we just had fun catching up on other random stuff instead of the basics and had fun together. I made Jay and Kim go with us to the bar to meet up too, since he hung out with guys from my senior class a ton. And I was so glad he was there - I think the guys enjoyed seeing him :c)
  • Saturday, Kim and I went shopping. And I bought a super-cute red cocktail dress. My weight-loss goal was to fit in the red BCBG dress I already own, but this dress may be an even greater option ;c)
  • While we were shopping, my dad took Mike out to see our oil well

Who's the cute boy by the oil well? My cute boy!

  • Clay Aiken confirmed he is gay today? Is this NEWS to anyone?!
  • I am in week 3 of mini-marathon training. Some days it's kicking my butt, some days I'm kicking it's butt. At least I feel like I'm kicking butt part-time, no?
  • My friend Amy closes on her new condo on Friday. CONGRATS, AMY!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


DSC_0032.JPG, originally uploaded by agstratt.

.... thinking Deep Thoughts.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hypothetical Situation...

so let's say that you have a teeth cleaning.

and then your front tooth starts hurting.

also, last year you spent like, a whole paycheck having this tooth redone. veneer, baby!

then let's say that you get an infection, that expensive tooth dies, and you need a root canal.

is is just a friendly little co-inky dink that this all started the week that the cleaning happened? Because the dentist would like to think so. I mean, in the hypothetical situation and all.

As a side note, dentists out there, don't talk to almost-30-year-olds like they are 5. It's insulting. "You see, then the bacteria get in there and they just push right out!" I get it. Thanks, you want to draw it with a crayon?

Babies are so cute!

DSC_0019.JPG, originally uploaded by agstratt.

I am still loving these photos I took of little Grace last weekend. I am missing my Gracie snuggles already.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Daddy Dearest

so a couple days ago (Sept 9th to be exact) was my Dad's birthday. For my dear old pops, I thought I would pull out the "10 things I like" format, since I have yet to send him a birthday card and am an awful daughter.
  1. His laugh. When my dad really cracks up, he rocks back and forth and scrunches up his face, just laughing really hard. It is funny, it's like his whole being is laughing
  2. He knows how to do everything. I swear to you, he does. I can call my Dad and ask him anything from investment questions to how to anchor some mason screws in a concrete wall. I am not saying this in the typical little girl "My Dad can do anything" way. He really can. Go ahead, ask him!
  3. He also knows everything. Closely related to #2. But seriously, it blows my mind how much this one person can cram into his brain. He knows everything from which little old ladies at the church need their walks shoveled during a snowstorm to how to whip anyone at bags (ahem, Calbert Cheny, ahem).
  4. He is super sporty. My Dad can pick up almost any sport and win at it. It makes me feel hopeful that my athletic non-prowess is a dominant gene, and somewhere there is a recessive gene for athletic ability that my kids may someday inherit.
  5. He more gets along with Mike. I have never had a problem with the typical "Girl marries someone like her Dad" stereotype because mine is so great, but it really delights me that they look forward to seeing each other.
  6. His committment to my mom and our family. We've been through rough times but I have never once doubted that we wouldn't get through those times as a family. He has set such a great example for my life and my marriage.
  7. He's not afraid of anything. He'll jump up and defend me in the middle of Kilroy's when some 6'5" chick threatens me. And he'll order a shipment of stone crocks from China to start a new business.
  8. He helps so many people. Whether he's going to Mississippi to rebuild or evacuate a town, heading the relief efforts after a tornado, or just visiting people in the hospital, he is constantly leaving a real imprint on this world in a positive way.
  9. He supports everything I do. He may play the devil's advocate with me sometimes, but he is proud of me and supports everything I do in life. It's amazing to really know, deep down in my soul, that kind of support.
  10. His big heart. He cares about everyone and everything, and loves me and the rest of our family so fiercely that I cannot even describe.

For all these reasons and more, I love my Dad so much! I am a total Daddy's girl, it is no lie. My hope is to spend many more happy and healthy birthdays (maybe where I also actually send a card) with my Dad.

Here's to you, Dad!


DSC_0060.JPG, originally uploaded by agstratt.

they say that babies and animals know really good people when they see them, right? Maybe that's why baby Gracie loved Mike so much. Seems that I've picked out a good one, and i just loved how enamored he was with Gracie and how much she loved being held by him. I already knew he would be a good Dad whenever we get around to having kids, but that was just another great confirmation of that fact.

I am in love...

DSC_0211.JPG, originally uploaded by agstratt.

with my new little niece!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Daily Show welcomes RNC to Minneapolis

This made me laugh....


Must recommend: Vantage point (the movie)

Conversation earlier, watching Vantage Point:
Hubs: You are TOO squirmy.
Me: I can't HELP it. The President of the United States is involved! He might need me to cheer for him! I mean, JACK from LOST is in this!! IF ONLY for JACK!! (Jack from LOST=Matthew Fox=I love him).

From the chica who has never cheered for President, ever. Sorry to give my democrat-ness away..... but, tell yo mama, I'm for OBAMA!!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Open letter to the CTA

  1. You suck
  2. If I wanted my daily commute to last an hour, I would move to the suburbs, save a hojillion dollars on housing, and have a yard.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


On the shit list:

On the good list:

Restock my stuff! I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed it!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

oh hai!

DSC_0347.JPG, originally uploaded by agstratt.

put your hands in the ayer, if you just don't ca-yer....

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Can't believe I'm writing this...

I feel like I have to write this, but writing it will make it real. And I can't believe it's real yet.

This is adapted from an e-mail I sent my sorority sisters on Monday:

I know most of you already know... but I lost my Grandma Stratton this weekend.

We were at the lakehouse on Friday when we got the call that she had been admitted to the hospital the day before, didn't fully wake up on Friday and was in a coma-like state. We hightailed it to Fort Wayne; it was a blessing that we were close enough to make it there within an hour. Jay and Katie arrived shortly after Mike and I, and my parents got there right when we did. They did a ct scan, but we found out only the next day that she had a perforated bowel and had gone into sepsis. We visited and hoped for the best, and all went to dinner as a family once we learned that she seemed stable. At dinner, my aunt got the call that her vitals were doing very badly and she, Dad, and Grandpa got up and ran back to the hospital. When we got back to the hospital, the decision had been made to take her off the machines. She died later that night at 2:45 AM.

I feel like I have lost a person who was a main constant in my life. She was ALWAYS there for me. She was always on Team April, 100% of the time, without having to be anti-team-anyone-else. No matter what I did, she was proud of me. All of us grandkids felt this way, she made us all feel loved and treasured. I cannot believe she is gone. I cannot believe that this is happening. I cannot believe that she will not be around to make my kids feel loved... to buy them doughnuts and grapes, let them eat all the LifeSavers, and tell them funny stories or teach them how to cook. I feel like I'm in stuck in a bad dream. I have been so lucky thus far related to death and it's toll on those close to me. For this, I am thankful. I am glad that I followed my gut at the family reunion this year, however dumb or rash that it seemed, to tell my Grandma that we plan on naming any little girl we have after her. I am thankful that I got to say goodbye even though I didn't say those words exactly.... I could only get up the courage to say "till next time..." and tell her that she was one of the most amazing women I have ever known.
It was funny, talking to my cousins at the funeral, we realized that each and every one of us thought we were Grandma's favorite. I laughed a bit, thinking of course. It made so much sense to me, and was such a testament to the kind of woman that she was, that all of us felt so treasured, so convinced that we were by far the most important. It's still very hard to think she won't be around.

I'd like to say I'm doing ok. I know that I will be OK someday. But I don't think I'll ever get over the fact that she's not around anymore. It makes me think constantly that I should have visited more, should have called more, should have paid more attention. I always thought there was more time, would be more time in the future to see her. I should have known better. I can at least say that she knew how much I loved, looked up to her, and adored her. And for that I am thankful.

I'll miss you, Grandma.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Moosh contest

So there is this contest I want to enter via Moosh in Indy and Hair Thursday... here are the deets:

Rules say that I have to post pics of myself with good and bad hair days. sooooo.... here we go! I had some trouble finding bad hair pics. Mostly because there are a number of ways that my hair can be bad, and if there is a perfect storm of bad hair, it's quite likely I would delete those photos right away. So here are a few and the reasons for bad hair mojo...

No access to styling tools... Australia '08.
BAD layers... nothing like paying $80 for a bonafide mullet. March '05

I get all sweaty and it goes into a teardrop pony with curlies around the face

Here are the "good hair day" photos!

ahhh, nice straight hair with no humidity and a mojito? it really WAS A good day!

after a fresh haircut last fall

Supershort and blonde in 2005

And this is where my hair stands now... a little darker, and short with a few layers (me in purple!)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

More Gracie!

I think I've got Katie talked into sending me a daily Gracie pic.... it totally brightens my day!

so tired, Mom. Can't you just chill out?

always halfway between food and sleep... the life of a newborn

Monday, June 30, 2008

Grace is here!

My little sister, Katie, had her baby this weekend!

Grace Kathleen made her arrival at 6:33 AM on June 28, 2008 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

She weighed 6 lbs 3 oz and is 18.5 inches long.

She was born only 40 minutes after Mommy and Daddy arrived at the hospital! She was in a hurry to enter this world. Gracie was a month early, but needed no special treatment. Mommy, Daddy, and baby are all healthy and happy

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Typical Hubs fare - Today's IM convo

Me: hey pal
Me: what did you do for lunch?

Hubs: hey there
Hubs: got some pizza hut, beat some guy up
Hubs: the usual
Hubs: you?

Me: you beat some guy up?!? What?!?

Hubs: not really. just ripped his shirt. :-)

Me: what happened?

Hubs: i was walking back from the train station and saw some guy wrestling with a female bike messenger
Hubs: he was yelling that she had hit his car or something
Hubs: and trying to drag her off the bike
Hubs: so i put a stop to it
Hubs: just grabbed him by the collar and pushed him away
Hubs: and his shirt ripped a bunch
Hubs: some other guys jumped in and the girl got away, so i just kept walking
Hubs: didn't even spill my soda
Hubs: :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eat, Pray, Vomit

apologies if you have read this book (I haven't!) and liked it, but this review just cracked me up!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Random blasts from the past

So my parents have purchased a new (and smaller house) in Evansville, prompting my Mom to start unloading all my childhood crap on me box by box. The last time I was home, she plopped a plastic tote in front of me with a bunch of stuff from college. Most of it was CRAP, so most of it got thrown away. But some I kept. This weekend at the family reunion, she loaded up the plastic tote again, this time with all sorts of crap from childhood and high school.

The tote included about a million notes written to various high school boyfriends. I only read the few that weren't bundled into little squares, reading a few Q&A notes that my friend Robie and I would write back and forth. One of us would write a page of questions and give it to the other, and then the other would answer all the questions and write another page of questions for the first to answer. Robie, for some reason, liked to streak/moon people and used to ask what people would do if he was naked right then. In one of the notes, he had asked what I would do if he was naked right then in class. My one word response was "Laugh". I cracked up over that. Man, I was mean even back in the day.

Lately, with all this going through old stuff, I've been throwing out alot and taking pics of crap that I want to save, but don't want to bother with trying to find a place for in our city condo. I mean, if we had the room I'd probably keep it all somewhere and then hate myself later in life for not throwing it away sooner. But I like the picture-taking idea.... I have the pic to remember the item by, and don't have to store/dust/move all that crap anywhere. Better remember to backup though!

Here are just a few things I took pics of.... starting off with one of the least embarrassing, a caricature made by an artist at a PwC Mardi Gras party they threw on campus as a recruiting event when I was in college.

This is a button I had in elementary school. We lived in Moores Hill until the third grade, so I sported this around ages 5-8 or so. I mean, who didn't love Alf? And love to proclaim their love for their small town/school via Alf?

Yeah, I was in speech contests when I was younger. I was a very outspoken child, a shyer adolescent, and back to a loud and outspoken adult. Hey, at least I was keeping it real, getting my certificate-gettin' on.

Hmmm, now we get even more embarrassing than speech contests. These are all my band awards for the state and local solo and ensemble contests. EVEN BETTER: I had engraved with my friends engraving tool the name of the song I played and the year of each award. Oy. I played the flute and the piccolo. Truth be told, I played the piccolo mostly b.c it annoyed people AND was small enough to fit in my backpack and carry without much effort. And I was AWFUL at it. You wouldn't know by looking at these medals that I was so bad, but my AIM LOW strategy was in effect even back then: the songs I picked to play were all very simple. I had a good sound, but the fingers wouldn't move nearly as fast as they should have for most band stuff. By the end of high school I had mastered moving my fingers and holding my instrument to LOOK like I was playing but not actually emitting any noise. I was that awesome. OK, enough band.

My friend Jill was picked to go to Hoosier Girls State, and I was the alternate. I was bummed I wasn't picked, and then years later Jill told me the whole thing sucked and she was bummed she wasn't the alternate. I had gotten in the paper but hadn't had to endure the actual conference-y thing.

My Dad started me off right: busting on Purdue from childhood. Awesome.

My Mom always wondered how I kept my siblings out of my room when I was a kid. Simple, post the rules. I am still surprised they followed them. Although back then I was bigger than them and could whup their butts.
Just when I thought it couldn't get more embarrassing than band awards.... this is my sophomore year Prom Date Clifton and I. 1) Holy bangs and plastic flowers batman. 2) Dude, at that school it was a REALLY big deal to go to the prom as a freshman or sophomore. It basically it meant you were So yeah, I used Clifton to go to the prom. I would say I'm sorry to Clifton, whereever he is.... but dude, he had a smokin' date. So yeah, he didn't fare too badly. Except for that I totally didn't hang out with him at the prom and ditched him to dance with the dude I had a crush on who worked at the local IGA. awesome.

One of the better items that I actually did keep... me and Hirsch (Helfrich!) cheesing in a photo booth.
AND FINALLY, the best one... my ONLY sports award ever. I believe this is a t-ball participant award from 1988.... hahahahahah Isn't tball for like toddlers and not 8 year olds???

Stratton Fam Reunion

Just got back from a weekend of Stratton Family reunioning! Here are some pics from the weekend.

Little Jaxon, my cousin Brian's son

Jaxon and Aunt Gayle

Jayden (my cousin Stephanie's son) holds onto Jay's large noggin' for dear life
Little Jayce (Stephanie's younger son) zonks out
Jaxon and Daddy
I love this picture of Brian and Jaxon, but Jaxon is out of focus! He looks like such a Gerber baby though.
Oh, Cousin Zach, you are truly one of a kind ;c)
The whole reunioning group (except for those who left the night before)
And a funny one to end the group of pics... Grandma giving me not one but TWO stinkeyes. Her expression in this one just cracks me up. Grandma is the best, so loving, but a tough cookie!
is she taking a picture? hmmmmmm

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Herman says....

Happy Memorial Day weekend!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Photography class musings

So I am taking a photography class, and the lab teachers were remarking about how everyone hated that week’s assignment:

Take a roll (40-45 pictures) of three people interacting. They shouldn’t be looking at you, if the people in the picture are looking at you, it should be two people in the picture (that would be the two people + you = three interacting). The kicker is that the people couldn’t be friends or family and couldn’t be strangers.


It ended up being the best possible week for me to do this assignment, as my sister’s baby shower was this past Saturday. Plenty of people that I knew a little bit through her, and via the church, but that aren’t people that I “would have over to dinner at my house” which was the test of whether the person was a friend or family member.

I would suppose that most people don’t like this assignment because it makes them uncomfortable to take the pictures – which is the point that the teacher is trying to get across to people: that you are only as uncomfortable as you make yourself in these situations. If you simply act as if you belong there/should be taking photos, then most people do not question you.

For me, the answer is a bit different. I mean, I felt like a bit of a creeper taking pics of people I hardly know, but mostly because I had to frame up the shots SO MUCH because usually I was taking a pic of only three people in a much larger group, so I had to frame the other people out of the shot, wait until someone moved their hand out of the way and then snap my pics. But mostly I am mostly comfortable with taking shots regardless of the situation.

The teacher asked if I liked the assignment. I said no, he asked why and I replied "I don't mean to be a snob, but I really don't care to have pictures of random strangers. Why do I care about people who I am not friends or family of? I will just confuse myself at the Old Folks Home 50 years from now, trying to remember all these random people that I never knew in the first place!"

Seriously? For me, the best shots are those that bring out the beautiful things in the people I know and love. Without that, they’re just random shots that don’t hold as much emotion or fun for me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I feel like I have a hojillion things to write about...

... but suddenly got very busy with no time to write. Here's what has gone on:
-Went to London
-Started photography class (twice a week, Monday & Tuesday)
-Went to Evansville for Katie's graduation and baby shower
-Started mildly working out again (holy fatness batman!)

I have to write up an entry about London because it was AWESOME. And about Katie's weekend because she is awesome! ;c)

The joys of living with a boy

Me: How do you sit in your man chair after you come home from the gym all sweaty?

Mike: Oh, yeah. I'm disgusting. I shouldn't do that (Gets up, sits on coffee table)

Me: I'm thinking the butt-sweat situation might be worse over there. I mean, I'm just guessing.

Mike: I'll go get the cleaning spray.

Me: Good call

Thursday, May 01, 2008

An open letter to bike thieves

Dear person who stole our awesome Trek bikes,

Please come up to unit 204. My husband has prepared a fist sandwich to thank you for your kindness.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I kinda needed this today..

From The Superhero Journal

You are exactly where you need to be.

You are not missing out, falling behind, doing it wrong,not trying hard enough.
You are doing more than enough.

Whatever opinions you have about it,however imperfect
This is yours.

Where you are right now.
Sitting here surfing the internet even.
Is perfect.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back home and it feels so good

Well, I'm back from Australia, with all kinds of stories to tell!

OK maybe not that many stories to tell, but better than normal weekdays. The flights to Sydney were super-smooth: we weren't delayed at all, and we made it through Customs and our 6 hour layover in Vancouver no biggie. We met all kinds of fun people in the Vancouver airport and I had TONS of fun asking people what they thought of Americans and the US in general. The consensus: that we're a little misguided and in deep, but that they have faith that we'll find our footing again. I thought that was pretty interesting.

We left Vancouver at midnight on Saturday night and arrived after a 16 hour flight at 9:30 AM on Monday morning. I only slept for about 4 hours total, so I was feeling like major death warmed over on Monday. However, we had all kinds of stuff to do and needed to stay awake until at least 9 or so to adjust my body to the time change, so we headed to the Sydney harbor for lunch and a zoo outing.
The Sydney Opera House

The Taronga zoo is across the Sydney harbor from downtown, so we took a ferry over there. The zoo is located on a hillside, so we took an air gondola up the hillside to the top of the zoo. Then we walked down the hill, working our way through the zoo. It was so great, seeing all kinds of crazy animals! Mike teased me, saying that they probably had animals that they thought were crazy, like North American bears and cows and such, but they did have a whole area called "Wild Australia" that we spent most of our time in. There was even a kangaroo walkabout where you could walk around and feed kangaroos and such. So cool!! Except for the kangaroo that jumped right at me. It was just a baby little guy, but I still screamed bloody murder like a little girl and got the heck of its way!

I just loved the Koalas. They were so cute that I wanted to cuddle them. I've heard they can be kind of vicious, but whatevs!
Giraffes, with Sydney in the background

That night we headed to the Opera House bar to have a few cocktails, then hit up dinner in an area called "the Rocks". Our ferry tour guide told us that there are a lot of weddings in that area, because you can take pics there on the harbor with Sydney in the background. He also said that Australians joke, "Look, another marriage on the rocks!" haha.... the area was super cute with all kinds of nice restaurants and shops and such. After dinner we were pooped, so we headed home to the hotel to cash out for the night.

The next night we headed down to Darling Harbor (a pretty happening area right near our hotel) for some dinner and fun. We landed at a restaurant called Kobe Jones for sushi. The sushi was super-good, and my one co-worker ordered the "dynamite roll." You could customize the spiciness level by telling the waiter 1-5, and we settled on 3 since we liked spicy but not too spicy. The stuff was so spicy, it got all of our noses running and was like a little explosion in your mouth. I got two chews into my one piece of the roll and then it suddenly felt like some liquidy spiciness exploded in my mouth. I almost spit it out, it was so surprising. After that, we ended up at a swanky bowling alley that played mostly old-school Christina Aguilera and Beyonce. There, my boss almost broke a 200 game before the Christina Aguilera video "Dirrrrty" started up on the video monitors right above the bowling lanes.

The bowling shoes reminded me of Marty McFly from "Back to the Future" Wednesday night, we all headed out to a team dinner at the restraurant Wildfire. It was not a part of the Wildfire chain here in North America, but it was a seafood and steakhouse.

Thursday night the guys headed out to see smashing pumpkins and my coworker and myself hit up an italian dinner in Bondi Beach

Friday was the happy hour that never ended.... well, you can see how that went:
The boss and I throw down IT gang signs
Let's just say it was fun.... I liked Australia!