Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Idea of New Year's Eve Fun

While I wait for those enchiladas (I really need to get a picture), I've been cruising around to friend's sites. I found this fun little ditty over at Loretta's. (Or should I say Spiderman's?) ha ha ha. Like her, I might have preferred Elektra, but this is pretty cool. I'm sure Kevin would like the outfit, although he's not particularly patriotic.

Your results:
You are Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
Green Lantern
You are a beautiful princess
with great strength of character.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Meanwhile, my kid and my puppy are going NUTS. Kevin is teaching Caspian how to cook, and therefore I have no help with these weirdos!

Must go practice my xylophone now. (Or deal with weird little beings.)


Great group of sites from a fellow Muser

Tricia over at Tricia's Musings and her husband, Chris, have a couple of other sites worth visiting, if you haven't seen them yet.

It's so funny, I was initially drawn to Tricia's Musings because I saw she had visited my site and we had chosen the same name for our blogs. (Plus, she has a funky-cool avatar that reminds me of one of my favorite periods of my hair.)

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That's me, circa 1996. The color is actually a little faded in this shot. It was more like Tricia's avatar when it was first colored.

Kinda weird, huh?

I really like her site because it's visually appealing and has a great variety of content that includes substance and fun. So, I was excited to hear that she had another blog called Celebrity Scoop. I do like myself a little celebrity gossip, even though I try not to indulge too much. (It makes me feel guilty for some reason. I guess I feel bad for the celebrities' lack of privacy. Of course, some of them just thrive on it.) I do like that Tricia puts her own unique spin on the stories, including highlighting political figures like Saddam Hussein as well. Very interesting.

Her husband Chris' site, Odd Planet, reminds me of my husband Kevin's Shameless Stuff. How funny, huh? Tricia and I must be soul-sisters or something. While we girls write about our lives and like to peek in on the celebs, the guys are all about the weirdness in the world. Kevin's tagline reads, "Observations on the shameless world around me. Gads, we're all so weird!" The description for Odd Planet, is described as such, "Odd Planet is a humor/ entertainment blog that brings you odd new stories, stories about dumb criminals, and strange people. You’ll also find a good number of funny pictures and videos on the site as well." Perhaps the guys should write about the weird parallels amongst all our lives?

OMG, both Tricia and Chris are participating in Photo Hunters Scavenger Hunt. And oh boy, did they pick different topics. How funny. You have to go check it out to compare, especially if you know me and Kevin. It's very like how we might do something. I swear Tricia and Chris, we are NOT stalking you.

Anyway, get on over there and check out those blogs. They are worth a looksee. Yes, I just said looksee. So, sue me. I like weird words.

Happy NEW Year! (Maybe I have to try this photo scavenger hunt thing. Hmmmm.)


Idol Me

I admit it, I haven't been as into American Idol in recent seasons as I was in the beginning. Kevin's favorite part is the beginning when people are so bad. He loves the humiliation. I'm not as into the humiliation aspect, but it's hard to feel bad for them sometimes because there is often such an amazing level of cluelessness that you tend to feel they get what they deserve (assuming they even understand that). And it's always fun to find other people who watched to jaw about the whole experience. Personally, I loved the one early in last season, I think it was, where that crazy woman just went off on Paula Abdul for no reason.

If you can't get enough American Idol, this is the forum for you. When I knew they were looking for reviews of their forum, I really expected to find a new, somewhat empty forum. This is not the case. When I popped in there, they just happened to have 52 people in the forums right then. Not only that, there are over 2000 threads, over 2700 members, and over 30,000 posts. Plenty of chatter for those who can't stop getting their Idol on.

The sections of the forum have a nice mix of recent seasons, past seasons, international idols, spots to get to know other members, and off-topic discussions. You always need that spot on a forum, or it will take over the threads. The threads themselves are loaded with information about the show and every little obsessive detail about the idol-wannabes. And wow, they have a lot of information about Taylor Hicks.

The design of the forum isn't particularly lovely, but seems well-organized. More importantly, the place seems well-moderated and friendly. If it's one thing I don't like to be a part of, it's a place with a lot of negative energy. Although there's a lot of gossip going on, obviously, it seems done in a light-hearted manner. Go check it out. Tell me what you think, and have fun!


Year of the Dog (Pee)

Puppy training hasn't been going as well today. It seems Luke would rather go outside, be scared of other dogs barking, stand around forever, and then come inside to pee. Hmmm. That wasn't the plan. Kevin Alpha-dogged him. It's funny that so many people I know have recently got puppies. We are nearing the end of the Chinese year of the Dog. Kevin is a Dog, too. He's good at playing Alpha Dog, which is good. It helps keep the little one in line. I hope.


Oh Mickey You're So Fine!

And by that I mean Mickey Mouse, of course. I was just talking about my friend Erika in the previous post, and she's currently in Orlando, visiting her ex-in-laws. Yeah, figure that one out--you leave the marriage, but you keep the in-laws! She's been sending along some very cute pictures of her family at Disney World, which is of course, the big draw there. She's staying with the fam, but if you're not lucky enough to have ex-in-laws in Orlando, there's always Orlando hotels. They also have fabulous resorts and vacation homes.

I was interested to read that Orlando has 52 theme parks. FIFTY-TWO! Disney is a draw, but that's clearly not all they have to offer. Since it's such a competitive industry there, the theme parks are constantly updating themselves, as well. There's always something new to see, even if you've been there before. The parks are continually adding rides and attractions. Additionally, warm ocean beaches are within 40 minutes by car. If that's not your thing, top-rated golf courses abound. There are many options for family friendly travel in Orlando, so check it out!


The Big Disappointment of New Years

We have big, big, BIG plans for New Years. And by that, I mean: none, really. Well, we have plans to have Kevin's best enchiladas in the world. And I bought a bottle of Asti. I think it was last year that Kevin refused to even drink a glass of wine with me on New Years Eve. le sigh.

It seems New Years Eve is generally disappointing for me. There was the year I got locked in the bathroom away from my friends while my boyfriend was in Guam. There was the year a different boyfriend broke up with me. There was last year without even a glass of wine. There have been many more that I can't even remember. Although I've had some fun ones with my friend Erika. She's now across the continent. (And in Florida anyway. So, if I was across the continent where I used to live, that wouldn't work either!)

Well, here's hoping. I'm supposed to be learning my rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" on Zane's xyolophone. I need to go practice. I'm thinking I'll just do my best to make the holidays fun for me and the kids on my own, because Kevin's not really into it. We'll see. Maybe he'll surprise me one of these days.


Puppies and Toddlers: Good or No?

Shout out to Bill Gottschalk for the phrase, "Good or No?"

As you may know, we just got a puppy. As you may also know, we got a son 22 months ago.

Sometimes I wonder about the sanity of getting this puppy while we still have our own human puppy. As if we don't have enough on our plate. And both Kevin and I like our freedom. (Sagitarrius & Aquarius). Neither of us are that big on discipline. Both puppies and babies come with a need for a lot of discipline. So maybe I should start with the obvious crazies (or cons?) (or NO?)

Here are the "No"s to getting a puppy while you have a toddler:

  • More discipline
  • More work
  • More mess
  • Managing toddler and puppy can be very difficult for one person:
    1. You have to take the puppy out QUICK sometimes, but what do you do with the toddler?
    2. The puppy wakes the toddler with whining or vice versa: they feed off each other.
    3. The puppy wants the toddler's toys and vice versa. You want them to have their own toys.
  • Basically, toddler and puppy together can equal anarchy.

But here's the thing: toddlers on their own equal anarchy anyway, so what's the diff?

Here are the "Good"s. Basically, they come mostly under a single heading: "Parents of toddlers are not used to having much of a life anyway, so what's one more little poopy, peey, adorable addition?"
  • Poop, pee, and puke are no big thing deal to the parent of a toddler.
  • You are accustomed to other messes, anyway, too.
  • You are accustomed to constant vigilance anyway.
  • You are unaccustomed to uninterrupted sleep anyway.
  • You are accustomed to disciplining a LOT anyway, so what's a little more.
  • We rarely go anywhere anyway.
  • The place is somewhat baby-proofed, and therefore already puppy-proofed.
  • It gives you a chance to teach your toddler gentleness to animals from the start.
  • After trying to train a toddler on anything, you find that training a puppy is somewhat easier and takes less time.
  • And the BEST reason to just go for the craziness: they're just darn cute together!

I'm sure I'll come up with many, many more bullet points as the weeks and months progress, so stay tuned!


Oh Boise!

My hugely romantic husband moved all the way from Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to be with me when we met online. Beautiful, no? Well, it was until he decided that he hated Milwaukee and MUST move back out West. Turned out, we were something of the "country mouse" and the "city mouse"--I only wanted the city and he only wanted the country. Well, that and I didn't want to move at all, which was why he came to live with me.

Then stuff happened and more stuff happened and more stuff happened. Then we decided to get married. Instead of going the traditional route (my dad likes to call us "unconventional"), we decided to have a ceremony where we proposed to each other. We rented a spa suite at a swank local hotel and went off to be romantic. As we were proposing to each other, something odd happened. It came up that Kevin was determined to move back West. He was going, one way or another. And I said, "Well, hmmm, I'm not sure I am." And he said, "Well, hmmm, maybe we should think about this marriage business."


So, we didn't fully decide that night. Instead, we stayed over and worried. And in the morning, I just got the feeling that we should be getting married. And I was sad. And I knew something would work out, so as we were leaving, I said, "Let's get married. I'll move with you!"

Idaho Falls was out of the question for me. Too small. Too deserty. He assured me that Boise, a place where he had spent many raucous times as a post-high schooler with friends, was a desert oasis. We visited to check it out. I have to say, I liked Boise. It was a decent size: a city without being too large. It has a lot of interesting historic charm. It has beautiful parks, and lots of great restaurants. My favorite one included a river that people actually tube down in the middle of the city. We even checked out some great Boise real estate. I think I might have a picture of us in Boise. Yep, here we are in the park.

Boise ended up not being the right move for us, as you probably know. We ended up staying in Milwaukee for 4 more years, much to Kevin's chagrin. However, we did get married in 2002, much to both of our happiness.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Luke Update

He's doing so well. We seem to be getting better at the potty training thing. It's been really cold lately (at least not raining) so we bought him a coat.

Luke models his coat

Luke models his coat, side view

Kevin has been working with him on crate training and it seems to have worked because he only whined one time that I know about last night and stopped right away. And he's still sleeping up there in his crate! Kevin even got to sleep in bed instead of on the closet floor with a dog. Wow, now if we could only train Zane not to wake us up in the night! I sure hope he didn't make in his crate. They say that can put them back weeks or even months! He seems to have pretty decent control, though. Perhaps because he spent so much time with the older dogs, he learned from them.

Kevin and Luke really love each other.

Kevin and Luke, in coats

(Let me just say that taking the red eye out of a red head is a pain in the butt because you have to be so careful not to get any skin because the computer reads it as red and greys out that too!)

Both Zane and Luke have been very good boys. Zane is very gentle with him and learning to be more and more careful and how to play with him as well. He is also getting good at "walking to the puppy" vs. running.


I actually got some sleep last night!

I am pretty sure I got almost 8 hours, interrupted only once to nurse Zane. And I was in bed a fairly normal time frame: from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am. Amazing!


Caribou Coffee Granola Bars

I don't really like granola bars. I do really like coffee and chocolate. These Caribou Coffee Granola Bars ROCK IT! They are delish. We got ours at Safeway. They didn't have them yet at Thriftway. Or you can order them online. They are worth it. WW people, I think they are 4 pts/bar.


osCommerce Cafe

As you know, I'm a fan of good design. Why do I just have the basic design on this site? Well, I've been working on that. Part of the reason, however is that good design is not always easy to find, nor is it always easy to get financially.

The osCommerce Cafe was set up specifically to help designers create gorgeous sites for people with online stores. Set up by Myles O'Reilly, author of The Programmers' Guide to osCommerce, in March of 2006, The osCommerce Cafe currently has 70 different templates from which to choose. The templates are neatly organized in 19 different categories, so you can easily find a theme that matches the store for which you are designing.

Categories include:
Animals & Pets
Art & Photography
Food & Drink
Interior & Furniture
Kids & Toys

There are many great designs. Here's a nice one in the fashion category. I checked there first since Kevin makes t-shirts. This was a little more haute couture than what he does (understatement!), but I like that, too. There is currently one in the Art & Photography section, but it's nice. This is my favorite in the flowers section. I used to make jewelry. This would be a nice template for my jewelry store (if it ever comes to exist). I especially like the mix of funky elegance. Unusual, in my opinion.

One of the coolest things about this site is that you just pay a membership fee to get access to all the designs for a specified period of time. The base membership is $89 for 3 months, which is a huge savings when you consider that purchasing individual templates can cost upwards of $150/design. There are also memberships for 6 months or 1 year.


Secret Agent Josephine

I read a really cool post by Secret Agent Josephine yesterday. I hadn't visited her blog in a while. When I visited, I remembered why I love her blog so much. I don't really know her. I've only emailed her back and forth maybe once or twice. But she gets a lot of traffic and a lot of comments and she was so kind as to email me back, and I think she was really, REALLY pregnant at the time.

She's just cool. First of all, she's a graphic designer and an AWESOME one at that. (I've been using a lot of all caps lately--excuse me if that's obnoxious.) Her site looks cool.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

She includes amazing photographs that she takes all the time. (I need a better camera.) And not only photos, but many of her entries have slideshows with a number of great photos. (Hmmm...hey maybe I should copy that idea.) She has ads on her site, but she designs them herself, so they all look cohesive. She writes about her life, but in a very honest and interesting way. Maybe she is just a very honest and interesting person. I think her posts may be longer than the average blog post, but I always just read them right up, because I find them so engaging. She's got style. And knows what's important. She's adorable, as is Baby Bug, her almost-one-year-old daughter. Heather got me into SAJs blog while SAJ was pregnant, so I've seen Baby Bug grow up.

SAJ does things that the rest of us wish we could do - like make these awesome milestone movies for her kid with fantastic music every month. They almost make me want to have another kid. Almost. (Not really.) She lives at the beach, but she's cool enough to know she's lucky. And she draws on boxes with sharpies instead of cleaning her bathroom. Now, I might do something like that, but probably not as well as her. (Not self-deprecating here, just true. She's a freakin' artist, People!)

What I liked most about the post was how it made me feel. It made me feel that not only was I ok to not have a totally clean house, but that I was probably doing the right thing. Because really, shouldn't we all do what we love? It also gave me a window into one of those people I admire and think, "HOW do they do all that?" They don't do ALL that. They do what they love. And it shows.

Thanks, SAJ. You are awesome. Keep shining, sister.


Here's a link to the Sproose home page, an interesting concept: a social search engine. Sproose has built an index that users can search to find websites and then rank them on a scale of 1 to 5 stars (5 being highest). After a site is voted on, in moves up or down in the index immediately. That sounds pretty fast.

This sort of search engine is different from the traditional methods like Google, which uses link popularity to determine page rank. It is a similar concept, with Google's thought being (I imagine)--if you link to something, you like it. However, that's not always true. You can be totally angry about something and link to it, thereby giving that site a boost even though you hate it.

With Sproose, you are being a little bit more forthright by actually rating the site based on how much you like it. The idea being, this is a more fair way to rate sites. Interesting concept. I look forward to seeing how it will do.

Here's what it looks like:

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Luke in his coat

He is such a good little boy. He lets us do almost anything to him. It's been cold, and he seems to like his coat. For the latest on Luke, go here.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

More Fun Puppy Stuff, Zane is 22 Months, and Our Bad Camera

Zane thought it was important to read up on Yorkies. (That's the book he's reading.)

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Zane thinks it's really funny for him to sit in the puppy bed. It kinda is. I think I have another pic of him in a puppy bed. He is holding the toy that Kevin was immediately attached to at the pet store. Kinda weird.

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Here's the picture that Zane's mean Daddy took of him after he fell down.

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Ok, the truth is, that this picture is just to illustrate how badly we need a new camera. Zane was coming towards Kevin. Then Zane fell. Kevin asked if he was allright. Zane said yes. So Kevin took a picture of him laying on the floor. I said, "Why don't you just take a picture of him instead of helping him." Unbeknownst to me, Kevin STARTED taking the picture long BEFORE he fell. Silly camera. It's a travesty. We take interesting pictures. We should have a good camera.

Parallel play:

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Here's the first pic of Zane in a puppy bed (from Thanksgiving):

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HP Loves Posties and Posties Love HP

HP has some great tools for Digital Photography Review. Check out the following video where HP and PayPerPost go out on a PayPerPost Postie Patrol with Robyn Nykaza. It shows some of the completely cool and awesomely spontaneous things you can capture with HP products.

When I heard all the things Robin was going to have to find, I got a little bit stressed out for her. Timed things stress me out. I immediately thought, "HOW is she going to find someone in shorts on that bitterly cold day?" so I LOVED that Ted gave her that right off the bat. Love Ted. And then how everyone went along with her definitely made it more fun. I love how these things are challenges, but the team is rooting for you to win. HP is so cool for doing this.

I thought it was hilarious that Robin was slightly reluctant to put "I heart HP" on her forehead with a black sharpie, but didn't have any problem kissing that strange guy. I would have NO PROBLEM writing whatever, wherever if I were lucky enough to be offered this opportunity. That looked like the easy part. Would I participate in something like this for the completely rad HP gear? In a heartbeat! It might be harder to do a lot of that stuff in Olympia, but I imagine they'd give me an achievable goal.

I'd also love to see my husband (also a postie) do it! We could use that camera and printer so bad. We just got a new puppy! And my dear friend in Milwaukee who also has a Yorkie is NOT online, so I'd need to print the pics and send them to her (something I never do now, because I have no photo printer). Heck, if HP wanted to replace my husband's HP computer that needs a little work, that would be great too. Well, the $1000 would do that.

Ok, so again. Thanks HP for hangin' with PayPerPost. What a great partnership. You guys are cool.

This post was brought to you by HP.

A Really, Really Good Day

Yesterday was a really, really good day. As I was making coffee in my kitchen at about 1:30 pm, I just felt happy. Not that I haven't been happy, but not in this contented, fun sort of way for a while. We went to Target and Petsmart to get stuff and puppy stuff. Then we came home and had lunch. I cleaned up the house a bit and Kevin cleaned up the living room. After lunch, I put ZV down for his nap and Kevin went and got the puppy. That's when I had that happy-I'm-in-my-quiet-sunny-coffeesmelling-puppygetting-semiclean house in the middle of a day on a Wednesday feeling. And it was nice. I think it was the fact that it was sunny for the first time in a while. Normally, I don't require the sun, but it was nice. And it was quiet. No TV or kids. And of course, coffee brewing. And things were cleaner than usual. Just nice. Ahhhhhhh.

Kevin also got a call from DirecTV about a job. They said he might need a truck to do the job (which we don't have). I would be open to a truck except for the expense. They might have a company vehicle, which would make it so much easier. No word yet from the not-for-children video store. Now I'm not so sure WHAT I want. It's so confusing. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it plays out. He also had gotten an email about some grocery merchandising job, but it was from 10 pm to 6:00 am. Yeccho. I don't think he replied back. I suppose, if we become really desperate (vs. just kinda desperate), but again, yeccho.

I got a lot of hits on Musings from sending everyone the puppy link. And the Bestest Blog Carnival. That was cool.

Oh, and my friend Moses' baby came on the same day we got our puppy. Cool.

Just lots of stuff happening.


Luke's First Night

Well, this may be a little bit more labor intensive than I had hoped. Zane playing with Luke is soooooooooo cute. But you just really, really have to manage it so hardcore. However, he is getting better with it by our saying, "WALK to the puppy" so he approaches Luke in the right way.

We really did not know what to do with him for the night. We have to figure it out. We didn't get a crate because Kevin was against it. Now he's thinking maybe we should. We couldn't really just leave him down in the kitchen, because if he cries and whines, it will be my mom he wakes up. That wouldn't be good. So, we brought his bed up to our closet, which is attached to Zane's room (where we all sleep), but separated by a baby gate.

It seemed to work until about 3:00 am, when he began to whine. (Apparently, this was only 1.5 hours after Kevin brought him up.) The whining woke Zane. Which made Luke whine a little more. Which made me say, "Luke, NO!" Which made Zane say, "Luke, NO!" about a million times. Which made Luke whine. Which made Zane cry. Which finally woke Kevin who got out of bed to sleep in the walk-in closet with the dog. By which time Zane was wide awake. So we went to the bathroom (for me), got a drink of water (for him), visited the puppy (for him), got grumbled at by Kevin (for me), read a book (for him), and FINALLY he went back to sleep, after much nursing of course (for him). I, of course, did not go back to sleep.

I'm sure it won't always be like this.


See, we kinda feel bad for him, because in his previous home, he had 3-7 other dogs to hang with and cuddle and nap with at any given time. We will have to read up on what to do about this sitch. We can't really have him sleep in with us, I don't think. I would worry about Zane waking up and accidentally stepping on him or something as he runs around before we are fully up. He might end up in with Caspian. That would probably be nice for both of them. Until the summer.

It will work out, I'm sure. Now, how are we going to potty train this dog with a toddler around? Oy vey.

He really is sweet, though. I'm sure it will work out. It has to. Do I sound like I'm protesting too much? Ha!


Bestest Blog Carnival 1.2

I participated in a The Bestest Blog Carnival 1.2 yesterday. I forgot to write about it here! It's a bunch of bloggers all writing about their families. Check it out. Thanks to Jessie at Who Are We for hosting.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Puppy, Puppy, Puppy

Ummm...we're getting a puppy tomorrow! His name is Luke. We think it is officially Lucius Aurelius Bacon Bond. But we will call him Luke. Lucius means "light bringer" and reminds us of the cool dude named Lucius we met on St. Lucia. Aurelius means "golden". Bacon means, well, bacon. Kevin loves bacon. And we love Kevin Bacon. We considered naming Zane "Kevin Bacon Shamel". We decided against that. Bond is like James Bond. Our doggie is Bond. Luke Bond. He's a superspy who has a way with the ladies, which is good because we might decide to breed him.

He's a yorkshire terrier. He's shrimpy. He'll be 3 months on January 7th. He was born the day after our 4th wedding anniversary.

All hail Lucius Aurelius!


Luke is Home!

He came home and went right to bed!

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We found out last night that we would be getting him, so we went to the store this morning to get him some doggie stuff. He's got a sweet setup in the kitchen. Luke came from our neighbor's, who bred their girl Maggie. He was born October 7th, one day after our 4th wedding anniversary. He has been completely unphased by Kevin going over there and getting him. Of course, we have known him since he was a few weeks old, but we really thought he would be nervous. I guess he was really meant to be ours.

His full name will be Lucius Aurelius Bacon Bond. Or maybe Lucius Aurelio Bacon Bond. Can't decide yet. Votes? To learn more about why we chose each part of his name, go to my other blog.

We're so HAPPY. He is awesome. Caspian is gonna lose his shit when he gets home from his mom's on Friday. He has no idea!


Cholesterol Concerns?

High cholesterol is a big health problem in our country. Approximately 1 in 3 people in the United States today have high cholesterol. On it's own, you may not even be aware that you have high cholesterol. The real problems occur when high cholesterol causes more serious health problems like diabetes, congestive heart failure, heart attack or stroke.

There is an herbal remedy that can make a difference. Cholestelow will lower cholesterol naturally. That means none of the nasty side effects that can sometimes be associated with pharmaceuticals. Cholestelow reports that over 99% of users scientifically queried reported positive results from using it. And over 95% said their levels reached normal from use.

Of course, it's a good idea to be sure you have a check up, know your cholesterol levels, and consult your doctor about any concerns.


A little light holiday reading

I've been enjoying a book that I wanted to share with you all.

You get to hear all the tawdry behind-the-scenes details of many of history's most famous rulers. And learn some history while you're at it. It's really easy to read, lots of fun, and makes a great...ahem...bathroom book. The chapters are just short enough for that or busy moms. Sometimes it just makes me wish I needed to spend more time in the bathroom. (Moms, you know how that is--the only place you get a break, IF you get a break there.)


Tis the Season for Great Deals

There are so many great sales and discounts after Christmas. I have plans for some of my Christmas dough already. One way to help it go a little further is to use online coupons. Right now, we're all about the electronics, so Best Buy coupon codes are a sweet deal. Kevin may need a new computer. We also need to figure out how to back up our computers (bad, I know--geeks, help me!) and I'm sure we'll need stuff for that. And of course, there's the ever present need for a digital camera that actually works. Ahhhhh...Best Buy.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

PayPerPostie Blogroll

My Completely Weird, Wacky and Utterly Normal Family

I write about my family a LOT. I thought I'd just put together a nice little summary about all of us together here for you. We just moved to Olympia, WA, from Milwaukee, WI this summer. My family = Me, Kevin (husband), Caspian (Stepson, almost 9), and Zane (Son, almost 2).

In addition to my immediate family, we brought my somewhat ailing mother, Rosemary. She lives with us now. It's like our own personal Frasier. That's what they do in Washington, right? So, right there, you KNOW we're crazy. Sometimes to watch the things fly between my mother and Caspian is quite hilarious. You never know what either one of them might say. Put them together, oh my. Here's a good example: Christmas, 2005.

Kevin and I have been married for 4 years, together for 6 years. It's the longest relationship either of us have had. We met online and then he moved across the country to be with me. Romantic, yes. It hasn't been easy, but it seems to work. And at the end of the day, we love each other. That's what matters, right? We sometimes disagree and have trouble communicating, but we agree about the big things (where we live, how we live more or less, our kids, our life), so it's cool. The BIG things are important.

Here we are on our wedding day, October 6, 2002. New moon in Libra.

We have all been getting along with my mom pretty well since the move. But there are occasional blips. Like yesterday. ::shudder:: Just a little brawl between my husband and my mother. Nothing to be concerned over, really. I mean, we just live together. Ahhhhh! I like peace. This was not peaceful. Hopefully, it can be now. We've all been under a weeeee little bit of stress since we started to run out of money. Dang. Is that what happens when no one has jobs? Dang.

I think what I'd like to do is give just a short profile of each family member.
Should I go in order of weirdness? Age? Beauty? How about random?

Let's just start with me. Here's what I usually look like on the Web:

I'm striving for balance in my life and coming up a little bit short. I haven't worked since May 19th and I'd like to keep it that way. I'm not sure where that's going. Since having my sweet baby Zane in February of 2005, work just doesn't seem as important. But who are we kidding. Work has never been that important to me. I am really into blogging lately. I love photography and making videos and am putting them to work on my new blog, Shameless Reality Show. I'm learning more and more about internet marketing every day. We've been making some money online, but unfortunately not enough yet. I'm in the process of losing the last 30 lbs of baby weight. Oy. I also love astrology, hanging out with friends, drinking coffee, exploring my spirituality and my new hometown. And of course, my family.

Here's Kevin, Sagittarius, a self proclaimed professional weirdo:

Here are Kevin's words about himself:
"I'm a professional weirdo. I do art, heal people, focus my imagination, talk to mitochondria, I'm trying to sell my novel, I like animals and the sky, and trees, and gathering good friends."

Here's Caspian. He will be 9 on 1/11/07.

Caspian is a Capricorn. He's really smart, funny, and creative. He wants to be an actor, singer, scientist and veterinarian. He loves animals, video games, hanging with his friends, and being with his dad. He is learning how to play chess better since he just got a chess set. He wants a hamster. Bad. Caspian has been a challenge to us in the past, but his behavior has greatly improved lately. He also does well in school. Yay Caspian.

Here's his Darth Vader Rap:

Zane is the baby. As Kevin says, "Zane will ALWAYS be the baby." Here's hoping.

He is a sweet little Pisces with a mischievous Gemini Ascendant, like his Daddy. He loves blocks and stuffed animals, playing with the family, hanging out with the neighbors, going for walks, getting mochas, and so much more. He's really into talking and counting lately. And binkies. He loooooooooves binkies. He dreams of milk in a cup almost every night and nap.

And finally, there is my mom, Rosemary.

I think sometimes she doesn't know what hit her by moving in with us. But mostly, she likes it. She is divorced from my father and widowed from her second husband. She's got a lot of health issues and hasn't worked in ten years. When we moved away, I was going to have her move into assisted living since she really wasn't able to take care of herself. She hangs out in her room a lot. She likes to play with Zane and play cards with Caspian. She likes teddy bears, sweat suits, angels, and Christmas movies. Oddly enough, she also likes Law and Order and the X-Files.

That's us. Tune in to find out what else we do. You never know what we might do.


PayPerPost Carnival

A fellow PayPerPostie, Jessie, has decided to get all of us bloggers together for a PayPerPost carnival in the new year. How cool! If you are a blogger for PayPerPost and would like to participate, here are the guidelines:

1. Be an active postie.
2. Email Jessie at the link to your blog as well as the link to your favorite post.
3.Submissions must be entered no later than 11:59 p.m. on December 27th.
4.Place a post on your blog directing other Posties to enter the carnival and then another post the day of the carnival directing readers to check the carnival out.

Jessie says this about the last carnival she in which she participated:

"This is a great way to exchange links, gain new readers, and increase your PR. The last time I participated in a Blog Carnival I got an extra 400 visitors that day, many of whom have become regular readers. I also found a lot of other really great blogs."

Wow! Count me in!



I have a confession to make. I love to chat online. I know many of you are shocked, especially considering how much I love to chat on my blog. I don't know what it is about a chat that works for me. Perhaps because it's fun, it's safe, and you get to meet new people. Or because you can just hang out with people you already know. A chat room is a great place to get a group of people together and watch the craziness ensue.

For some reason, it's different than talking on the phone. For one, we can all talk at once and somehow it works. Some of my most fun experiences were talking with my astrology friends in a chat room. And of course, I chat with Heather just about every day. It's great for moms because it's something you can do and be interrupted and go back to without having to apologize (much). Sometimes the person doesn't even know you're gone!

Anyway, if you haven't tried a chat, you should. It's just fun. Heck, sometimes I chat online with my husband from the different floors of our house. That's advanced geekiness, though. If you're new, start with a chat room.


Updates on Zane and Internet Marketing Monitor

The title does not mean that Zane has anything to do with the Internet Marketing Monitor. I just had two unrelated things to blog about together. Not that Zane wouldn't visit Internet Marketing Monitor. He just hasn't yet. He has been sick. But I'm writing to say that I think he is fine now. The puking and other seemed to have subsided by afternoon yesterday. Probably something he ate. By nightfall he was eating soup with us and continuing to be a little Hell-on-wheels toddler.

Here's a little bit of fun. Internet Marketing Monitor actually quoted and linked my review of IMM in their article about PayPerPost. Wow! Lightning speed on that one. How cool. thanks IMM!


PayPerPost on YouTube

As a subscriber to the PayPerPost YouTube channel, I feel uniquely qualified to write about their presence there. Of course, you know by now that PayPerPost is the company that facilitates ads on blogs by bringing advertisers and content creators (bloggers) together.

I like that they are using YouTube so extensively to get more buzz about their company and services. It's a smart move, in my opinion. I also like that they use it to help create community between their posties and their staff. We get to see not only the names behind the company, but the faces and SO MUCH MORE! (Sometimes too much? Naaaaah.) This is a new level of transparency in business, and I think it's great. I have experienced and read about some of PayPerPost's competition, and I think this one element of community goes a long way towards building their business and the loyalty that people, especially bloggers, feel towards it. An old fundraising adage says "People give to people, not organizations" and I think that's true in this case as well. I do my best for PayPerPost because I am loyal to it. I go the extra mile because I know who they are and care about them and their product.

But anyway, enough of my PayPerPost love, on to their YouTube channel, specifically. They've got some great stuff on there.

First of all, they have all the episodes of Rockstartup--the reality show about the beginnings of PayPerPost. If you haven't seen it. Check it out! Here's the first episode to get you hooked.

Then, there are the video confessionals from the staff. Here is where we really get to see what is going on with everyone. I loved Randy's (Randi's?) initial video. He told a lot. I guess that's what happens when you put the word "confessional" in there. Here it is.

There's also some things that are just plain fun. Here is Ted's impersonation of a catfish. My kids love to watch it. And he challenged the posties to give their impersonations as well. A good fun opportunity. I have had a number of views of my own catfish (for better or worse!)

I have to say, though, that I think my favorite video so far might be Ted's Rap Smackdown on Colleen. I just love it. He started it off as a bit of fun that none of us were even paid for. However, it did generate a lot of buzz in our community and helped keep all of us hyped about PayPerPost while we were waiting for some more advertisers to come along (which they have). Did you think we didn't notice? Ha ha! Anyway, here's the smackdown. I also got a lot of hits on my blog from people coming to see my smackdown on Laura.

So, when you go the PayPerPost's YouTube channel, you'll see a variety of content, including great information and lots of creativity. You'll also see the inside scoop of PayPerPost. And don't we all just wanna know what's going on behind the scenes? I do. I'm sure you do, too!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Poor Sick Baby

Ugh. I've been puked on a couple times and changed a couple of poopy diapers and it isn't even 8:30 am. Poor Zane woke up around 2:30 and wasn't feeling well, but it was hard to get any information out of him. He made it through that time, but woke me up and puked all over around 5:45. Back to the bath for the second time in less than 8 hours. And then when he was out of the bath, he did it again. Poor little guy. Kevin has been very good about cleaning up all the laundry while I take care of Zane. After he gets the stuff out, he seems fine though. He's content to play, watch the Muppets, or just play "steal our spots". We are thinking maybe it was something he ate.

I was suspicious of the yogurt from Safeway. They had to get rid of much of their dairy section because they had been without power for days. But we got some yogurt there. Hmmmm.

Here he is watching Oobi. (One of his new favorite shows.)

At least now that he's not feeling well I feel justified in junking out on TV. I don't feel that great either, but it might have something to do with the 3 hours of sleep I got. The couch is hideous in this shot. The slipcover is in the wash after the last puking episode.

Funny thing about Oobi, I was telling Kevin how I thought it was unrealistic because Oobi and his friend always let Oobi's little sister play with them, and right as I was saying it, they went off and did things without her and it made her sad.


Internet Marketing Monitor Review

I’m not sure quite why, but I’m nervous about writing this post. Perhaps it is because Internet Marketing Monitor is trying out PayPerPost so that they can review it. I feel I must really deliver the goods for Internet Marketing Monitor, PayPerPost, and posties everywhere. Internet Marketing Monitor has asked for “people to write unscripted, unbiased reviews of its content”, so that is what I am going to do.

I will start by saying that I am new to the internet marketing game. Like so many things in which I am interested, I know just enough to be dangerous. I would love to know much more about internet marketing, but the variety of sources out there is daunting for someone like me with not a whole lot of research time. In checking out Internet Marketing Monitor, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a lot of information, but it didn’t read like Greek to me. Perhaps that’s because the originator of the site, Matt, was smart enough to know he needed a ghost writer, Derick. Good on ya, Matt.

I looked through the site for a good long time before even considering writing this post, and I found a nice variety of Internet Marketing content on things I’d like to look at in more detail. You see all the big names there…Yahoo, Ebay, Google, MSN, YouTube, and current information on what’s going on with them.

I am sometimes completely overwhelmed with the pace at which things happen in the Internet world. Internet Marketing Monitor clearly has been in this game and understands that. They promise to post multiple times a day, five days a week. And it seems they have. Although the blog was only started in the beginning of November, there is a lot of information on it already. I could have stayed there for hours more, and I’m sure I will visit it again. Kudos, too, on them for the 5-day rule. One thing you learn about the Internet is that it’s important to know when to unplug. (Seeing as I am writing this review at 2:04 am, I clearly haven’t learned that lesson yet. I’m just hoping I get it done and posted before my toddler calls me to bed.)

The posts themselves on the Internet Marketing Monitor are well-thought-out, informative, and well written. I enjoyed reading many of the entries and got a little bit more sucked in than I expected to. That's good, because even though I know I want to learn this, sometimes I just get overwhelmed and have to move away from the site, whatever site it is. I can get a little bit Blog-ADD, but I didn't find that happening.

I have to say that I'm not that into the design. It's a pretty basic WordPress theme, I think. It clearly states "all business", which may be what they were going for, but it also says to me, "business is kinda ugly". This could just be my personal opinion. And, they did specifically ask for reviews of content, not design.

I love that they give "report cards" to different affiliate programs and directories. This is the sort of information that really interests me. Where is it best for me to spend my limited time in developing my sites for greatest monetary value? I will be checking back to see what they say about them, as right now they are still collecting data. The only issue I had was again with the template design. At first, I was reluctant to click those links, because I thought they were ads.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with this site and it kept my novice-head-spinning attention for quite some time. I think that's really saying something. If I had to rate it? I think I'd say B, mostly because it's still new and the look could be more engaging. An internet marketing blog should know that. Also, I'd really like to know more about who Matt is. How much of an expert is he?

Thanks for giving me this opportunity, Internet Marketing Monitor. I hope you found the review helpful.


Great New Milestone

I don't know that this is one of the "traditional" milestones. And I'm also not sure I trust it 100% yet. But here it is: I LOVE that my kid seems to know what he should and should not eat. He found some weird thing in his food the other day and he said, "Yucky" and showed us. He did the same thing to his banana that he found sitting out (I guess we need to clean better? But hey, I'm busy BLOGGING!)

Anyway, it's great that he knows what he shouldn't eat. Yay for that!

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Vegas Hotels, Baby

When we went to Vegas, we knew we were staying at the Bellagio because we were there for a wedding, and that's where the wedding party was staying. That was easy. And it was fabulous. But now that I've been there and seen all the choices for hotels, I can see how it would be completely overwhelming to try to select one site unseen.

Las Vegas Hotels have so many different personalities, price ranges, and styles, it's great to find a site that gives honest reviews from real people who have stayed there. Check it out!


Pimp My Nutcracker & Zach Braff

I find the funniest things over at Julie's blog. She found this at The BenSpark. It's called Pimp My Nutcracker. People are doing the funniest things for the holidays. Here is my pimped nutcracker...

And, while I was at The BenSpark, I heard about a new Zach Braff movie!!! Quoi? I must be slipping. I heart Zach. With JASON BATEMAN (hi-larious) and Amanda Peet (Awesome). Could I be more excited? Did you see Jason Bateman in Dodgeball? OMG, too funny.

Ok, I basically just copied The BenSpark post. I didn't mean to. It was just that the post I was looking to site had the other info that thrilled me! What do they say about copying and flattery? I gotta help out my man, Zach. (Funny, after I did all this, I just noticed that ZB has it on his site, of course!)


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Looking for a Digital Radio?

I know just enough about a lot of technological things to be dangerous. Digital radio is one of those things. Choosing a new digital radio can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you have no idea what you really need. This site talks about the different types available, power source, a list of features, warranty and budget. Once you read all that, they have suggestions on brands, top models, where to buy. There's also a handy price comparison. Very helpful and easy to navigate, too!


Guy. Roof. Kudos

So, we've had some weird weather lately that has not done great things for our house. Our roof has scattered to the four winds, exposing some, well a lot, of wood on the top of our house. It's not so good. Our State Farm insurance guy came out to assess the damage and got straight up on our roof to do a temporary patch. Let me say that again. Our STATE FARM INSURANCE GUY just hauled it up to our roof to do a temporary patch. I, my husband, my mother, and our roofer were all quite surprised. As was Zane, who said, "Guy, roof, hammer" for the rest of the day.

The real roofing dudes are coming tomorrow to fix it, and our insurance guy, Pete Mattich, smoothed that over so we could make it happen quicker, too. I'm sure I'll be hearing a lot more "guy, roof, hammer" tomorrow. And thanks again to Pete!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Get Organized: Online Calendar

My life is relatively uncomplicated at this point. I like to stay organized, but I don't have a pda or anything like that. I just don't need it. However, there is a free online calendar I just learned about that could help me keep my life organized and that of my family, too.

This calendar is fairly straightforward and easy to use, yet has a lot of functionality. (It even has different themes you can choose to customize the look of your calendar.) You can add holidays and events, and set up reminders for these.

I especially liked that you can share events with others by email. I just sent my husband a reminder about my birthday. (It's over a month away, but you can't be too sure.) I wanted to make sure the other person didn't have to be registered in order to receive the reminder, and he isn't. It seems to have sent just fine. I could see that sort of thing being very handy for keeping track of the kids' school activities, too. You can also have reminders delivered to your desktop or your cell phone. Nice!


Cookies, cookies, and more cookies

No, this is not a tech entry. I have made two batches of cookies in the past few days. One is already gone. Zane is such a cookie monster, and unfortunately, so am I! I am already waaaaay over my Weight Watchers flex points for the week. But I'm still counting, which is new for me. I am hoping that will help. In the past, once I went over, I stopped counting and just did whatever I wanted.

Well, here is Mr. Cookie.

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Small Business Blog:

From being part of a startup organization and from starting our own home-based business, I know that owning a small business is a huge responsibility. It's good to have resources available to help you understand the ins and outs of some common business issues. Check out this link for for some free business info. Some recent entries have great information on taxes, business debt, and retirement benefits for small business. They also offer help for incorporating online, including kits that make it much easier.

The site is pretty basic looking, but easy to navigate and read, which is important, especially if your time is at a premium. And as a small business owner (or potential one), it seems that is always the case. Isn't it funny how people think being your own boss will save you so much time working and you end up doing so much of the work yourself anyway? That's why it's great to have expert help when you have important financial and legal questions.


Caspian's Early Christmas: We can't do anything normal

Caspian is leaving tomorrow to have Christmas with his mom, so we had our Christmas with him a little bit early. We let him open all his gifts and also let Zane open a good number of his. Zane didn't know quite what to make of it at first, but was good. Then, as things progressed, he got a little giftcrazy. And just a little crazy.

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Credit Cards

I think credit cards are worth talking about at this time of year. It has long been a goal of mine to be financially independent, and the first step towards that is getting out of debt. I have certainly used my share of credit cards in my life and I could be again. I think the trick is to use them responsibly and be smart about it. That means, first of all, being informed on credit card news.

One thing that can help a lot is 0% balance transfers on higher percentage rate cards. Make sure you read the fine print, however, so that you know the long term commitment you are making is worth the original savings. My favorite is when they extend the 0% for the life of the remainder of the loan.

There are a lot of places to get credit card advice. I suggest reading up from a number of different sources and really being informed. The sooner you can get the debt paid off, the better. Again, make sure to read the fine print so that you don't end up being committed to something that doesn't help you in the long run.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

5 Things Meme

OMG, I've been tagged in a meme by Colleen. Is that the correct terminology? I only recently even looked into what the heck a meme even is. (Mostly because I heard someone railing on them!) If any of the rest of you are as in the dark as I am, I got the following definition here:

“ meme n (mëm): A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. From the Greek mimëma, something imitated, from mimeisthai, to imitate."

” In Blogspeak, a meme is an idea that is shared and passed from blog to blog, like a question posted in one blog and answered in many other blogs."

Well, that makes sense to me. "Meme" is French for "same".

Allright, this meme is: 5 Things You Probably Don't Know about Me.

Seeing as I plaster my life all over the internet, this could be tough. However, my PR is low enough that maybe no one reads what I write, so how would know. But then again, you wouldn't be reading this now, in that case. Are you even reading this now? Allright, allright, I'm going to try to dig deep...

Depending on who you are, you may not know:

1. I never smoked pot until after college
2. I went through a weird period where I listened to a lot of Barbra Streisand. I'm not talking menstrual period. I'm talking about a few months of Streisand in my 20s.
3. I've worn contacts since I was 12.
4. Caspian playing with his toes next to me totally grosses me out.
5. I loved road trips until I took a few with my husband. ::shudder::

(I suppose the 6th thing is that I can't figure out how to do a numbered list and make it look nice in Blogger. But I suppose you might know that now.)

Now I have to tag people, I think.

Here goes:

I have a feeling these things can get pretty incestuous, as in the above people may have already been tagged by this. Well, if you do my meme, something wonderful will happen to you within 7 days. Not really. Well, maybe. I can't really say. It's no big deal if you don't.


Custom Avatars and Ringtones

I'll admit it. I dig avatars. There's something about a cartoon representation of yourself that you can make any way you want that is really appealing. U-doo is a website that will allow you to customize your own avatar and ringtone. You can then download them to your mobile phone, email them to yourself and your friends, and publish them to your Myspace page. Cool. Check it out here.


Caspian and Zane

These are just too good not to share. Caspian took these pics tonight in the kitchen. He was appalled by what he was doing with his teeth in most of them, which I think is good. He should be. Honestly, good practice since he wants to be an actor--must be self aware. My poor baby Zane scratched himself really bad yesterday either with his own fingernail or a Triscuit crumb. Damn Triscuits. That is the big gaping wound on his face. The pics are cute regardless.

Caspian and Zane, 1

Caspian and Zane, 2

Caspian and Zane, 3

Caspian and Zane, 4


Oh Christmas Tree! (Part Quatre)

Wow! Quatre. What a series. More than just a trilogy! Well, I put Zane to bed around 9:30 and fell asleep with him. I woke up once and Kevin was not in bed. I woke up again and Kevin was not in bed. I envisioned him on the loveseat, in front of the t.v., asleep. So, I decided to be a good wife and get up and wake him. Look what I found instead...

We had talked about wrapping tonight, but I thought I might have put the kibosh on that with my early sleeping. Nope, he went ahead and did it without me, which I think is just great. He usually does most of the wrapping anyway, as he gets so creative with it. I used to care about wrapping, but then one or two Christmases, I REALLY overdid it with the specialness of my wrapping and I really can't care anymore. I'm just a functional wrapper now. But his are so pretty! My Santa is an artiste!


I Am Free Tonight

Well, actually, I'm not free tonight. But I'm talking about an online dating website with some unique features. You know from some of my previous posts that I like to fancy myself a bit of a matchmaker, even if I don't really make matches in real life. I think talking up online dating services is the way to go for my matchmaking. Leave it to an Aquarius (me). Anyway, I really like this one I just found, called

One of the scariest things about meeting someone online is the actual meeting. You can't help but think, "Is this safe?" Also, there's a lot of pressure on those first one-on-one dates. One of the coolest things about this new site is that it has features that alleviate many of those worries in one fell swoop. Their unique wingman tool allows you to set up double or group dates. That's definitely safer in my opinion, and a little bit easier on the nerves as well. If you're going out with a group of your girlfriends, you often would like to meet up with a group of guys. With this features, you can "shop" for them ahead of time, pick out a group you like, and meet them. How cool is that?

They also have a Date Now! feature that lets you put in exactly what you want to do on a date, when you are available, and your zip code. In effect, you are designing your perfect date and just finding someone who likes it, is available and close by to go with you. I think that's awesome.

The site,, has also gotten some cool press since they started up. Check out the bottom lower left corner of the site where it says "news/press" to see it. (I was planning to link, but it's a pop up box.)

How fun. It almost makes me wish I were dating again. Amannnnnnnnnnndaaaaaaa...?

Oh, and did I mention the service is FREE, as in costs nothing to participate? Check it. It seems to be powered by ads, which I'm imagining are targeted at the college crowd. So, wait, in addition to Amanda, I need to be working on Steve and Willie. (Not sure if Willie is free, though. Hmmm.) I have so much work to do.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree! (Part Trois)

Hey, check it out! Kevin finally got it up! (Hee hee...I had to do that after this post.)

Zane loves the tree. And rightfully so. It is small, but it was my grandmother's. You cannot see in this picture, but it is made from painted pine cones. It's a little worse for the wear and every year I think I'll get a new one, but every year it seems fine and I don't know if I could bear to get rid of it. We did inherit a big tree by moving in with my mom, so maybe next year, when Zane is bigger.



Continuing on my health kick thread here, I've always been interested in doing a really good cleanse. Through the course of every day living, not always eating the best, experiencing stress and strain, our bodies tend to pick up things and hold on to them when perhaps letting go would be better for us.

Almighty Cleanse by Danny Vierra is a product that can help cleanse the body of unwanted accumulation and help you feel cleaner, lighter, and more energetic. A cleanse like this can be especially helpful in alleviating bloating and constipation and also generally supporting the digestive system. Check it out!


Spot Stealer Extraordinaire

Here's is Zane's new trick...

Start here.

Exit Kevin to get a coffee or a coke or a smoke or what-have-you.

This is what happens.

Gosh, we still need things on our walls, don't we?