Wild Life Of A Little Monster

Others are scared of me because of all the fun I have. Considered a vigilante by my Eponine.

Going To Move The Bus

Not certain if she's going to push, pull or drive the bus, or if she'll even have anything to do with the bus. What I know is that Miss America Lauren Nelson will be on the April 22 episode of "Extreme Makeover."

She's joining the show's regulars as they provide a new home for a family in Lawton, Oklahoma, Lauren's hometown. Just reading the press release, I can tell it will be an emotionally charged, heart-warming show.

Speaking of Oklahoma, I have to mention a memorial in honor of the 168 people who died on this day 12 years ago in a blast that shook Oklahoma City. May they never be forgotten.

Roman Wonders

Meant to post this info week's ago and never got around to it. It's an article written by Mim Swartz about a "Cat Lovers Tour in Italy."

She starts her story telling us about Marco. He guards a hospital. Evidently, according to Mim, the Venetians are very fond of the gatti, and that's not a U.S. mob family. Also, I learned that Italy passed a law in 1991 making it illegal to kill healthy stray cats and dogs.

There's information about cemetery cats. That's prevalent in France too. I'm guessing because so many European cities are so much older than U.S. cities, the cemeteries in many cases are part of the neighborhood. I remember we had to walk through cemeteries while strolling through parts of Paris or other French cities. Those cemeteries also are sanctuaries for many little monsters.

I love the great recap of the story about "just a cat." The link is provided in the first sentence of this post. Check it out. Let me know if you decide to go on one of the tours. By the way, I saw the story in The Kansas City Star, but found it online on a blog from the UK.

Tastes Like Fruit Loops

Here's a pic of the multi-layered, multi-flavored citrus birthday cake that was the centerpiece of the birthday spread for MMcB. She hit the three-decade mark.

The cake was a gift from one of her dearest friends. A friend she can depend on above and beyond most of her other friends. That's this Cowboy's opinion, of course.

The party was a great time. Gully hosted. Well attended with mostly good and fun folk. There was a singer. He was good, covering lots of songs. He worked hard too, singing for almost a solid three hours. He was awfully pretty, though. MMcB told me lots of the guests, girls and boys, were swooning over him.

Here's to you, MMcB! Glad to have been able to help you celebrate and am looking forward to discovering what all the next 365 will entail.

What Is A Hokie?

"I am a Hokie." That was the response from a young lady when Chris Cuomo asked "What is a Hokie?" It was during a special Tuesday night by ABC news.

My college pride is mildly abundant. OK, maybe some would say it's overwhelmingly abundant. I get excited with the slightest mention of my school. But there is some notoriety that a campus just does not want. No one wants to see aerial maps of their campus that detail where people were killed, to watch students crying because of lost friends, or to have the U.S. President visit campus only to provide condolences.

Watching the students gather and proudly wear their VTech attire truly is special to me. The gestures of unity, spirit and pride, I pray, will provide them the comfort they need. I also hope it will fuel their determination to heal. They are Virginia Tech Hokies.

Social web pages are proving to be an interesting part of the unfolding story. For many of us, we write knowing it's being posted "out there," but somehow still think it is private. We think, "Surely no one is reading this."

Tonight's ABC special included heaps of information from the pages of people's sites. The sites essentially were the "sources" for the stories. There was not a "human" being interviewed like I had to do in my old journalism days. What we write and post for our social network, even if it is a blogosphere of cats, are the sources.

We really are part of a unique community. A community that could potentially allow millions to know something about us.

Another Week In Review

Easter Sunday-Watched "Rocky Balboa" and "Little Miss Sunshine," liked them both. Ran some errands, ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

Monday - Typical busy Monday at work. Met a friend to help draft some correspondence.

Tuesday - 8 a.m. meeting at one office, rushed to 10:30 meeting at my office, discovered it was being cancelled. Worked on trying to get caught up, answer all the various questions. About 1ish left work. Talked to JAG from Dallas while on the road. It was pouring down rain. Arrived at airport at 2:01 for 2:30 flight, which ended up being delayed until about 3:15. Flew Southwest to Tulsa.

The niece, Ton, picked me up about 4:25. We trekked through a light rain to Stillwater for a student honors banquet. Ton received scholarships. She's an A-student, finance major in the business college. I'm a very proud uncle. Loved being on campus on a "school night" as opposed to a game day.

Wednesday - Arrived at the airport about 8 a.m. Caught 8:50 Southwest flight back to KC. Arrived in Blue Springs for an 11 a.m. meeting that lasted until after 2. Included a great lunch. Much was covered/accomplished in the meeting. Afterward, went to my office and worked. Left 6:30ish to snag MMB for a Sweet Tomatoes run. Created a Mount Hood-looking salad. Skipped dessert.

After a quick Hyvee grocery stop, ran back to her abode in order to see Sanjaya survive another week. Followed that with channel surfing and watching some of the 9 p.m. Oprah repeat. The topic was on being happy. MMB took the online test at oprah.com. She discovered she's very satisfied.

Thursday - Worked in my office in the morning. Zoomed downtown for a 1 p.m. meeting with a dude from "the other company." We worked until 4:45. Then I caught up/wrapped up other matters. Next ran out to 75th Street for a "happy hour" gathering with ShaVar and friends. Had a great time. Home in time for tv watching and getting things done. Called Tag's husband to check on her. She had surgery Thursday morning. Exchanged lots of e-mails with friends.

Friday - Spent the morning working from home, but kept getting phone calls from co-workers. 1 p.m. meeting at the downtown office, followed by a 2:15 meeting. It ended about 4. Then I hung out with a co-worker. There was some gossiping, I admit, until I saw that the clock said 4:45. Dashed back to the original conference room I was holed up in and worked until 6ish. Drove around and then enjoyed a quiet dinner.

Saturday - After snow in some areas of the metro, the day appeared sunny and almost nice. First nice day in quite some time. Met a friend at Waffle House for breakfast. Picked up MMB's eight-layer birthday cake at Succotash and ran other errands, including birthday candle purchasing and bird seed buying. Important tasks. Worked outside and inside.

8:30ish arrived at MMB's birthday party. She's 30. Had a fantastic time. Pooped out shortly after midnight.

Sunday - Caught my regular Sunday shows. Some dude named Imus provided lots of heated debate. Plus, recent Kansas City elections made for some interesting discussions. Spent $122 at the grocery store. Accomplished much at home, both personal and work.

By the way, will be doing a work/life balance thing/workshop at work. That is the reason for the chronology of the last two weeks.

Big Fish

A headline in my college newspaper caught my eye. Saw it while checking online to find other stuff. It is a story about a dude that caught a fish from the campus pond.

In my years as a student and all my years visiting as an alum, I don't think I've ever seen anyone fishing at Theta Pond. Lots of romantic couples, photo posing, and bread crumbs for ducks and geese, but no fishing. Then this guy goes off and catches this fish. Click the link above to see the details. One thing for sure, he will long have a story to share.

Sadly, so will the students, faculty and others that were on campus Monday at Virginia Tech. Probably like most others, I couldn't believe it when I heard there was a shooting with one death. Then I saw a headline that said 12 deaths ... 19 ... 22 ... over 30. Shocking and very sad.

Why do things like this happen? We likely will never know or understand. I just pray the folks in Blacksburg can find solace and comfort and that family and friends are comforted and calmed. I also hope we all learn and work even harder to do what we can to prevent.

When You Have Gas

Just because I always provide you an update, thought I should give a quick update on gasoline prices. Along my daily route, everyone was at $2.59 Monday morning. On the way home, though, the southeastern part of town was up to $2.69. The Shell near my home in the northland was still at $2.59.

I filled up. Almost all of 6 gallons. Grabbed a car wash too.

Surprise Note

The other day, received possibly one of the kindest notes from the Schramwich Wife. I sent her birthday greetings in early March and her note was in response. She's always kind and sweet. However, she doesn't always send me notes. Her husband and I are the closer friends. The card and her sentiment arrived on just the right day.

Week In Review

Not going to say it was a rough week, but at times it was somewhat tough. Had a hard time sleeping many nights. One night a thunderstorm kept me from a peaceful slumber.

Also think the migration from the over 80 degrees on Monday to the freezing temperatures by week's end creates some sort of seasonal confusion. I wonder if that can be diagnosed, with medication to aid in recovery. Hmmm? Combine that with the earlier-than-normal Daylight Savings Time. I am more dysfunctional than normal.

Sunday - After a late lunch at Grinder's, spent a great deal of Sunday afternoon at Paper Source with Sexy Lady working on wedding program ideas. The process took longer than she anticipated, but it was well worth the effort. A great final product was selected. We were proud with our work. That called for treating ourselves to Mi Cocina. Of course, a mambo limo for Cowboy!

Monday - The typically long line at the Post Office disrupted my lunch schedule and created a degree of irritation, but soon got over it. The workday was busy! The evening's highlights: Mowed and edged the front yard, missed Dancing with the Stars, :( and watched the NCAA Championship game while reviewing work documents.

Wished it was a closer game, but it was fun to watch. Fan or not, it was nice when the tv camera caught that Noah guy running through the crowd to find his family. His father seems like a character. The Royals won the opener over the Red Sox. Top of the standings! A rarity.

Tuesday - Lack of sleep is leaving me a little emotional when I think about personal stuff. Worked at staying focused on work. For dinner, went with a friend to the Flea for 2-4-1 Mini Market Burgers. It was chess night, which brings out an interesting crew.

Wednesday - Chapman turns three. Hope he likes the stuff I mailed on Monday. Being a cowboy in progress, he likes westerns. I sent some John Wayne dvds and "The Slant Book." One of my faves. Today also is the anniversary of my father's death. Stayed up until wee hours working on a variety of tasks - personal and work.

Thursday - 8 a.m. meeting at the United Way. It was downtown, which meant I got to enjoy that traffic. It was a good meeting. As my company evolves, a potential new boss chairs this United Way committee. It makes our interaction a little different than what it was a few months ago.

Ran to Supercuts to get the do done before going to the downtown office for a meeting, lunch, followed by another meeting and then work stuff. Met Sexy Lady after work at Paper Source to finalize wedding program purchases. She was pleasantly surprised to have the rough draft project. And it appeared that she loved it.

I left her with friends at reverse as I dashed home to catch Thursday night tv only to discover repeat episodes. That promptly led to inadvertent snoozing on the sofa. That space heater makes things extra cozy. When I awoke about 10:30, logged on to check e-mails. Received a note from a 4-H friend, let's call her Tag, living in the OKC area. She has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a very heavy-hearted message. I know her husband and four sons need our prayers.

Friday - A 9 a.m. conference call meeting was interrrupted by my cell phone vibrating with calls from Sexy Lady (updating me that Army Boy likes the draft wedding program) and later by VMc. He was calling about my upcoming Oklahoma trip and to let me know that he discovered a great breakfast place in Oklahoma City. You know you're living the perfect life when a best friend calls about a breakfast place. :)

Next up was an 11:30 a.m. lunch meeting in Blue Springs with the Bi-County United Way. Four of the Kansas City area United Ways (not Wyandotte County's) are voting on merging. It makes for interesting meetings, but I think it could be good in the long run. There were only two dissenting votes at the meeting. Made me wonder who the other was. Speaking of mergers ... let's just save the topic for another day.

A long and hearty telephone conference with D.C. counsel filled the afternoon. Despite his $500-plus an hour rates, he provided much-needed comfort regarding our plan to tackle approaching deadlines and tasks. After wrapping up other stuff and printing documents to read at home, it was nice to dash out of the office knowing the sofa was in the horizon.

Saturday - Noticed that the hostas are frozen, the orange tiger lillies are falling over dead, and other spring-blooming plants are struggling. Even the new leaves on the tree are curling. The last four nights of below-freezing temperatures are taking their toll. I'm going to miss seeing many of those blooms.

Met MMB at Succotash for a late breakfast. She freaked on the cotton-ball bunny Easter card I made her. Then we chowed down some tasty food from the newly expanded kitchen. I got a nutty tartlette to go and then it was off to the races! We tackled a long list.

Among the tasks completed, I got some new hardware (nobs and pulls) for my bathroom and some little Easter bunny plates at Pryde's. Saw SAK's brother and wife there getting some lemon meringue pies. Made me wish I was invited to Easter dinner. MMB was kind to me and let me listen to my Rodney Atkins cd while we tooled around. It's a great disc. Even sent one to RMc for her birthday.

After MMB dumped me, I stopped at the Antique Mall. Shortly, MMB called to let me know what I forgot in her car, which meant a jaunt to her place to retrieve it all. However, while driving there, I wondered if it was just a ploy since earlier in the day she saw me enter my PIN number while making purchases at Home Depot. Happy to report I left her place safely and snagged her two Blockbuster movies. Hope I return them and she doesn't have to make Blockbuster purchases.

Saturday evening was enjoyed at home. Completed a few home projects (including installing the new hardware), thought about work, tried to watch one of the movies but fell asleep, and just relaxed. Very nice.

Sunday - Watching movies, catching up on blogs and e-mails.

Presidential Proclamation

Wednesday morning, President Bush hosted a Rose Garden press conference during which he took an answered questions from reporters. One person asked W if he was aware of rising gas prices, if he knew how much gas was, and if the administration was paying attention to the matter. Oh, and that's my gist of the reporter's question. He likely worded it more precisely.

Mr. Bush indicated that gas prices "were 'bout $2.60" and that gas prices were largely tied to oil prices, blah, blah, blah. The U.S. President did indicate he thought that $2.60 was more of a national average.

On the way home that night, my fill-up was at $2.42 per gallon. The next morning as I made the trip to the office, I noticed every station at $2.59. Just like that! Seventeen cents higher. Now we are at the national average.

Anyway, those few regular readers out there know I like to moan about gas prices. So there, I vented. Thanks.