Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So Retro

Do you need a good laugh today?  Well look no further!


Yup, that’s me in all of my 70’s glory.  I know, I know…  You don’t have to tell me…  I’m stylin’!    lol

That haircut is called a Dorothy Hamill pixie cut, and it looks suspiciously similar to the way I used to have my son’s hair done.  I know that I was not the only poor girl out there who had this hairdo foisted on them as a child, and I know that, like me, all of those girls now refuse to have their hair cut any shorter than their shoulders.  In fact, Dorothy Hamill is single-handedly responsible for an entire generation of women who have a fear of short hair cuts (properly known as Tonsurephobia).  She deserves a medal…  Oh wait, she already has one.

Now, how about that orange leisure suit?  You want one, don’t you?  There’s nothing like a soothing palette of colors from the seventies…  Harvest gold, burnt orange, and, oh yes…  Puke green.  I’m not sure if that’s a shirt or the upholstery fabric from my mom’s couch.  And what is with the gigantic collar?  I was in danger of suffocating if a stiff breeze blew one of those flaps in my face.  If that style comes back into vogue they’ll have to put warning labels on them like they do on plastic bags.  “Warning, this collar presents a suffocation hazard to animals and small children.  This is not a toy, do not allow children to wear unless closely supervised by an adult.”

Last but not least, check out my teeth.  You’ll be happy to know that in later years they got even worse.  Not only where they huge, but I also developed a wicked overbite.  By the time I was twelve I could eat an apple through a fence.  It’s ok though, it was nothing that gnawing down a couple trees (and a few thousand dollars in orthodontics) wouldn’t fix.

So why am I putting up this picture for public ridicule you ask?  Well, you see, I got my hair done yesterday, and the completed ‘do had my children pulling out this picture for comparison.

No, I didn’t get the pixie cut.  :Þ

When I was in my early twenties and started having children, a weird and awful thing happened to me.  My hair started changing…  Drastically!  I lost the strawberry blonde color and it turned brown with a slight red tint.  It also went from straight to really, really curly.  I used to spend money on perms and hours in the bathroom curling my hair, and now I spend money on dye jobs and hours in the bathroom (ok, twenty minutes tops) ironing my hair flat.  It’s not fair, why can’t my hair ever be in style as is?

I’ve been accused of dying my hair to cover up the grey (yes, I have some), but the truth is I don’t.  I started dying my hair long before any grey showed up.  I do it to bring back the red that I lost with each pregnancy.  I’m vain that way, and I got tired of people asking where Alexi’s red hair came from. 

Over the winter I had it dyed a dark auburn with blonde highlights and bright red lowlights.


Yesterday I decided to do something different for spring though.  I had all of the color stripped out (that was fun, my eyes still burn and my scalp will never be the same), and I went lighter.  I told Karen, my awesome stylist, to take me back to my childhood (minus the pixie cut) and make me a strawberry blonde again.

So she did…


That’s my color now, and it’s remarkably similar to the color it was back in the second grade.  Jenna even dragged out the lovely picture above to critique Karen’s work.  The verdict?  She did good!

I’m really happy with it, but I get confused every time I look in the mirror.  I wonder how long it will take before I get used to it.  lol


Monday, March 16, 2009

Should I be Worried?

Jenna likes to take pictures, she even received her very own digital camera for Christmas, and most of the time she takes pretty good photos. I think the most interesting thing about her portfolio is looking at the world through her eyes; everything is so big.

I was browsing through her photos today though, and I started to notice a theme. Tell me what you think…

P002027 DCP_0247P002059 P002076 DCP_0037 DCP_0238 DCP_0349



So, do I start saving for therapy now? lol


Just stuff…

I was playing around in my Twitter account today, and finally remembered to add Dawn from Because I Said So (funny, funny blog if you aren’t already a reader) to my Twitter feeds. As I was reading through her posts I followed a link, not knowing that she was setting me up on a new addiction…

Basically it’s like musical Twitter. You can DJ your own stream, listen to other people’s stations, or get a mix of everyone who’s playing music. It’s really cool and you should go and sign up now! I’ll wait for you to get back. :D

That was easy now, wasn’t it? Now add my station to your favorites: StormRose That way I can find you and add yours to mine! Then we’ll be Blip friends and all will be right in the world.

Yea, I know my musical tastes are a little eclectic, going from Disturbed to Eva Cassidy, but if you can believe it I’m one of the tamer ones in my family.

Next subject…

Last week I posted a graphic I made for TommyD, and I wanted to show you another bit of recent Photoshop work I created.

The snake forum I hang out on has seasonal contests for photography and photo manipulation. I decided to throw my hat in the ring for the last one, and entered a little snaky valentine.


What you’re looking at is a composite of three different pictures. The first is the background with the red tag laying on it. The second is the heart shaped box, and the third is a picture of Kauket when I first got her (she was so tiny). To fit the love theme a little better I also took her markings and changed them into hearts (click on the picture to see it full sized).

It’s a good ‘chop, not perfect but mine rarely are. :D It did well enough though. I took first place in the photo manipulation category (out of two entries LOL), and won myself a gift certificate to get a new baby corn snake from Dakota Corns. Now I just have to wait for Breeding season to swing into gear so I can pick a hatchling.

Kek is about ready to move up into a 20 gallon tank, so the baby will take his old 10 gallon. Then it’s no more for me until Kauket has her own babies next year. I’ll probably allow myself to keep one of her beauties so that I have a grandchild, the rest will go to Chad to place in new homes.

Speaking of the snakes, I’m going to see if I can get some new pictures for you in a couple of days. All of them shed last week, so they’re looking gorgeous in their schmexy new skin. They ate last night though, so I have to wait for them to digest.

Next subject…

As of last Saturday we’ve officially had Zathras for a month. It’s amazing how much he’s changed in that short time. He’s bigger for one, and now he’s fully quilled. When we first got him his quills were pretty sparse and you could see patches of skin between them. Now he has a pretty thick blanket of quills that bristle out in a cactus-like way when he’s feeling particularly grumpy.

He still hasn’t taken to his exercise wheel, I moved it lower in his cage last night though so maybe he’ll start using it if it’s easier to get in and out of. He also still sleeps a lot, but it’s ok. We’ve bonded and now he’ll sleep on my lap when I take him out for play time. He’s adorable when he’s sleeping. :)

Last subject…

If you already follow the Creative Dreams blog you can skip this part because you already know. lol

I finally got some of my digi designing mojo back, and I released a new kit in the store last week. It’s called Aliens Among Us, and despite the fact that making it felt like pulling teeth, I’m actually quite happy with it. There’s a freebie add-on up on the CD blog, so go snag it if you enjoy digi scrapping.

After I made the kit I needed to make a sample page to go up in the store, and that was hard. I don’t have many pictures of CJ when he was little (due to the circumstances of my divorce), which made me sad. I did manage to find a more recent picture of him that worked well enough though.

I’m not sure he appreciated the sentiment, but I like how the page turned out. lol There are also some really cute pages that my creative team made up in the preview section of the store. Be sure to go take a look because wow are those ladies some talented scrappers!

OK, that’s enough out of me for today.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Testing 1... 2... 3...

I'm testing to see if I can blog from my new Blackberry. If you're seeing this it means I was successful.

We now return to our regularly shedualed programing.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Meet Jerri

It occurred to me the other day when I was blogging about the animals, that you haven’t met the smallest member of the household. In fact, when I went through my photo album I realized that I didn’t even have any pictures of her.

In my defense though, she’s not my pet. She belongs to Jenna. That’s a good excuse, right?

Now, before you think I’m totally insane (Hey, keep the snarky comments to yourself) for letting a six year old have her own pet, let me explain our policy…

My role in child pet ownership is that of interested bystander. I remind the kids when cages need to be cleaned. I check the animals daily to be sure they have food and water; if they don’t, I remind the kids to take care of their pet. I purchase the basic care items for the pets, but extra toys and treats are the responsibility of the owner. I will care for the pets if the child is sick or away, but the bulk of the care is the responsibility of their individual human.

To own a pet in our house, you must first demonstrate your ability to responsibly care for someone other than yourself. For example, when Tiana wanted a guinea pig, she showed us she could be a responsible care giver by taking care of the cat for three months.

So far this system has worked really well for us. And as amazing as it seems, the younger kids have to be reminded to take care of their babies a lot less than the older ones do.

So anyway… How does a six year old prove herself? Easy, she stole one of my pets. John got me a hermit crab at a fair last summer, and Jenna decided that it was hers. She named it Fluffy and though she wouldn’t hold it, she took really good care of it until it passed on about five months later.

So off we went to the store to get another hermit crab for Jenna, but hey guess what… You can’t get hermit crabs in Wisconsin during the winter. After Jenna cried inconsolably in the middle of the store for about five minutes, we asked what would another appropriate small pet for a six year old be? One that could happily live its entire life in a five gallon tank.

Meet Jerri:


You see the irony, don’t you? Wanna know what makes it even worse? She lives on the shelf underneath Amaunet the snake. Now that’s irony.

She’s actually not a bad pet, except for the fact that she likes to bang around in her tank late at night, and a few times has been loud enough that she woke us up and made us think someone was breaking in.


She’s really warm and soft, she feels like velvet, and I think that’s one of the things that makes Jenna adore her so much. She’s also hyper, so her and Jenna have that in common.

She has a tiny little hamster ball, and will cruise around the house in it. It drives the cat insane! It’s a lot of fun to watch. :D

Jenna has been really great about taking care of her. I do help her with cleaning the tank (mainly so that she doesn’t make a bigger mess), but she does the bulk of the work.


People have asked if it bugs Jenna that we feed Jerri’s relatives to the snakes. Surprisingly, no. Maybe it’s because we’ve had the snakes for so long she’s used to it. Maybe it’s because we feed pre-killed frozen mice, which look and feel quite a bit different than Jerri does. Whatever it is, she seems to have a pretty good understanding of the circle of life.

So now you’ve met the smallest member of our menagerie. :)


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wanna see the cutest thing EVER?

This is my last post for today; I promise!  I just couldn’t put all these things in the same post, it wouldn’t be right.  lol


Last night after play time Zathras fell asleep on my lap.  He’s really cute when he’s sleeping…


Look at the cute little sleepy mouth.


Completely sprawled out and comfy on Mommy’s lap.


Hey guys, do you mind?  I’m trying to sleep here!


Ahhh, back to sleep snuggled under my cozy blankie…


Alexi decided he has the coolest yawn ever.  He sticks his tongue out about an inch before he gives a huge jaw creaking yawn.  It’s cute in a creepy Gene Simmons kinda way.  I’ll have to try and get a video of it some time.

Ok, that’s it, I swear!  You won’t hear from me again at least until tomorrow!  :D


Snake Bite!

The other day I was reading some bite stories on the corn snake forum I peruse, and I was smugly thinking to myself that in 4 years of keeping my three snakes, I’ve never been bitten… 

Perhaps it’s because I keep them well fed…

Perhaps I just have really friendly snakes… 

Perhaps it’s my exceptional handling skills…


You know what’s coming, right?



That one, right there!  He’s the culprit!  Oh sure, he looks all sweet and innocent with his baby face and his big bug eyes, but don’t let him fool you.  He’s what they refer to as a hateling, or a cornobra.

Kek is squirrelly, he has been since we got him which isn’t all that uncommon in hatchlings.  He doesn’t really like to be held because, well… I’m a giant and he’s not much bigger than a pencil, you’d have reservations too.  For the most part I leave him alone; he’ll calm down when he gets older and bigger. 

I do have to take him out for feeding time though.  He gets weighed, and then he gets to nom on a nice juicy mouse.  That’s the deal, and usually it’s not a big one.  Sometimes I have to chase him around his tank a bit (they’re really fast when they’re that small) to get him out, but it’s no biggie.

Until I got smug that is…

I put jungle gyms in all of the snake tanks to encourage them to climb and exercise, and Kek LOVES his gym.  He’s constantly up at the top pretending to be an Amazon Tree Corn, which can make things a little dicey when I need to get him out for feeding time.  He wraps himself around the bars you see, and I have to pry him off to get him out while holding onto his squiggly little body.  It’s kind of like a juggling act, except the balls want to get away really badly, and they’re pretty ticked at you.

So last week I take a deep breath and dive in, holding him in one hand while trying to unwrap his very strong tail from the gym with the other.  Now I don’t know if he was really mad, or if he just decided that I smelled awesome, because the next thing I know he’s unhinged his jaws and is trying to eat my thumb.

I know you’re all going to ask if it hurt.  The short answer is no.  Not one little bit.  In fact, I’ve had showers that hurt worse.


Look at him, does he look like he could inflict any damage?  He may have startled me if he were bigger than an earthworm, but he’s not so instead it was pretty laughable.

It didn’t take him too long to realize that the meal he was going for was slightly too big for his stomach and he let go.  While he was distracted I did manage to get him off the gym, so thank heaven for small favors.  He looked at me with a “What?” kind of expression as I put him in his feeding container, and then happily munched down the correct food item.

Yet he wasn’t finished with me.  One chomp was not enough.  Oh no, I had been way too conceited about my snake handling skills, so I needed to be brought down a few pegs.  He tagged me again as I moved him from the feeding tub back into his tank.  Just a quick nip on the side of my hand to remind me that I’m not all that.

It’s ok, he’s cute so I’ll keep him, and just like a snotty teenager; this hateling phase will eventually pass.




Some of you already know that my husband John is the producer for an internet radio show called TommyD’s Nutz (as in crazy you perv).  John and Tommy met in New York when they were in high school; Tommy worked at John’s Dad’s video store, and Pop kind of adopted him.  Later on, after John returned home from college, they were roommates, but they lost touch and didn’t reconnect until a couple of years ago.

John produces the TommyD’s Nutz show, and I do a lot of graphics work for them.  I make ad banners when they have guests, do graphics for the site, and just for fun I spoof the guys on the show quite a bit.  For example, when they first got the web site up I encouraged the regular show hosts to put up biographies.  When they ignored me I did it for them, just making stuff up as I went along…

Tommy D was the product of an illicit love affair between the bearded lady and the tattooed man at the Coney Island sideshow. Horrified at what she'd brought into the world, his birth mother abandoned him at the Catholic Church after he tried to eat one of the trained circus dogs.

The priests took Tommy in and raised him in the church, hoping to someday expel the evil inside him. Despite numerous attempts, and daily beatings, his depraved spirit remained.

When Tommy turned eighteen he left the church for good, and began his vile campaign across America. He currently spreads his immoral message over the internet airwaves, and can be heard Monday and Wednesday evenings on Wildlife Radio.

My kids learned a long time ago that this is what happens when you don’t listen to me, for I am not above public humiliation. 

To back up my brilliant work of fiction, I even produced some pictures from Tommy’s childhood.

Tommy-&-Mom Tommy with his Mom

Tommy-&-Priest Tommy with his adoptive “Father”

The moral of the story?  Don’t screw with a chick who has Photoshop and knows how to use it!

All kidding aside though, Tommy is a great guy.  Not only is he funny, but he’s got a heart of gold and I’m lucky to be counted among the people he calls friends.

Unfortunately Tommy recently learned that he has a rare form of cancer.  The good news is that it’s a very slow progressing form, and while the doctors aren’t sure of the best course of action at this time, I know with 100% certainty that he’s going to kick this thing’s ass.

So yesterday I found myself chopping a new graphic for Tommy…


Being able to keep laughing, and having a positive outlook, is one of the best forms of medicine.  Tommy knows that, and the rest of us who work on the show with him aren’t going to let him forget it.  So every Monday and Wednesday they’re still doing their thing over on Wildlife Radio, laughing at themselves and other stupid people.  Check them out if you get the chance and need a good laugh, but only if you have a strong constitution because the show is truly depraved.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Just in case you didn’t believe me.


I wake up Zathras between 8-9 every night to play.  If it were up to him, he wouldn’t get up until midnight when we’re all asleep, but that time spent with us every day is pretty critical to his development.  So he gets up, and out, no matter how cranky he is.

He’s not that snuggly when he first gets up, he wants to explore and check things out.  So after breakfast and a trip to his litter box, we usually put him on the floor for some safe play.  Once he plays for twenty minutes or so, he’ll snuggle in and even nap on our laps if we’re lucky.

Of course, through all of this MacDuff is always close by.  Like I told you the other day, as soon as the cage door opens, Duff is there waiting for his friend.  Last night I put Zathras in the critter pen with some new toys we’d gotten him, and Duff jumped right in the pen to help him check out his new stuff.


Zathras couldn’t figure out how to get the treats out of this ball.  He kept jamming his nose in it, trying to sniff them out.  With MacDuff’s help though, they figured out that if you roll it the treats just fall out.


Once they got the process down, Zathras was kind enough to share the goodies with his cohort.

He’s settling in nicely.  I finally got his cage up off the floor and onto some shelves that hold all of his supplies (that way Duff can’t climb into the cage anymore).  He’s housed in the office where I can peek in on him whenever I walk by.  I also found out that he loves pigs ears (you know, the dog treats).  I gave him a piece of one last night and he ended up dragging it into his igloo to sleep with it.


He likes to hide and burrow, so when he’s out I usually throw a piece of fleece down for him to tunnel under.  He’ll play peek-a-boo with the girls.  Poking his head out one side, then going back in and peeking out the other side.


Isn’t that the cutest little nose you’ve ever seen?  It’s squishy and wet like a puppy’s nose, and it wiggles around as he sniffs.

Nose Extreme close-up of nosicle goodness!

If you can’t tell, I just adore my little pin cushion, and I think he’s starting to like it here too.