Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My selfish cause is drawing attention!

As you all know, I love Trader Joes. Moving away from TJs was almost as hard as leaving my parents... and I am not kidding. Mark and I ate crappy food when we first moved here because it had been so long since we had shopped at "normal" supermarkets, we no longer knew what to buy. Anyway, I started this group on facebook.com to get some folks in KC interested in getting a TJs. Well, its ballooned to more than 3,000 people that live in Kansas City (i restricted access so only KC people can join). My group gained notice from one of the biggest food bloggers in KC, Owen Morris.

Check out the blog: http://blogs.pitch.com/fatcity/2009/01/bring_trader_joes_to_kansas_ci.php

He writes:

"If you have a Facebook account, I demand this instant that you log in and join the group "Bring Trader Joe's to Kansas City, Missouri!" The only requirement for joining: You must be in the Kansas City, Missouri, network. Currently the group sits just shy of 3,000 members.

That's an important number. It proved to be how many signatures Nashville's petition received before Trader Joe's listened and opened up in the Music City less than two months ago. The Nashville petition started in August 2007, and it took 15 months to gather 3,000 signatures. "Bring Trader's Joe to Kansas City, Missouri!" has been active for less than a year.

The group was started by Rachel Perry Hanses, who said she started shopping at Trader Joe's when she was 6. "My mom and I would drive an hour to go to the TJ in Los Angeles. I recall sitting in my yard eating peanut butter pretzels." Although she has e-mailed Trader Joe's numerous times, Hanses said the company has never responded.

Maybe it will when 3,000 of her closest friends weigh in."


An amazing gift!

About 5 years ago (maybe a bit longer) I began doing some pit bull advocating on Myspace.com. During this adventure, I met some really neat people. Most notably, my friend Lindsay. Lindsay adopted Buster James Brown around the time that I adopted Slappy and we instantly became friends. She lives in southern CA, and we always kept in touch about random things, including life, travels, dog stuff, etc. I once posted a picture of Slappy that just touched her soul- and she felt an urge to paint the picture (she is an artist). Anyway, about 5 years later (today) I received the painting in the mail and I was blown away. I knew she was talented, but I was just so touched that she captured Slappy's facial structure and eyes so well. She got ever single little detail down to her spotted belly and pink spots. Anyway, its a beautiful painting and I feel really fortunate to have met such a wonderful person! Thanks Lindsay!

My wonderful and perfect painting of Slappy by my very dear friend Lindsay Lawson!
Look at that expression... I know it well! )
It looks great huh!
Perfect... I am so honored to own this! )

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ted and Nicole Cawlfield

My friend Nicole is a an amazing photographer. She takes most of the portrait like pictures for the MABBR website. She captured this moment of Mark with Ted yesterday and its absolutely lovely.

Photo by Nicole CawlfieldMark and Ted

Friday, January 23, 2009

Looking back...

Here is a before and after on the front of our house-

This is the day we closed on it- August 4, 2005

front of house

Here is the house after we got all the nasty ivy and other plants out and actually tried out a lawn- around 2006ish.


This is the house after we had the porch rebuilt and the retaining wall installed in 2007:


Here is our house this past summer 2008:



Monday, January 19, 2009


I am so excited for the next 4 years! They're going to be tough, and not everyone will see the changes that we want immediately... but we made the right decision- and if you ever second guess yourself.. remember "I can see Russia from my house!"


Saturday, January 17, 2009


Mark and I booked our trip to Paris- we worked really hard over the xmas holiday to be able to even slightly afford to go somewhere... we had planned on a ski weekend in Denver- I always look at international trips because I dream big, and I found tickets to Paris at an amazingly low price- we were able to book a 3 star hotel for 6 nights and our flights cheaper than every other trip I found that was flight only... how do you say no? We figured that our lives are so stressful and chaotic and that we wont be able to go anywhere again for a very long time... we should just go.

So we will!

C'est la vie!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I have been working with our behaviorist to take in Diallo- one of the OK Bust dogs. He is sweet and very needy. He is going to need a ton of rehabilitation- Anyway, our behaviorist has volunteered to take Diallo to her home and work with him on a rehabilitation for 3 weeks. We're beyond thrilled and we cant wait to hear the first progress report!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dinner Party: Soul Food Theme

We have a group of amazingly talented cooks for friends- and we get together monthly for potluck themed dinner parties. This month's theme was Soul Food. Nobody held back and many people thought that this was the best meal to date. We make everything from scratch-

Rachel & Mark: Buttermilk Biscuits, coleslaw, stewed tomatoes and okra and peach cobbler. The okra was a huge hit, which is good because I was a little ambivalent about it. The coleslaw (my mom's recipe) is always a hit. The cobbler was good- and the biscuits were flake and yummy!

Aubrey & Chet brought homemade gumbo (it was amazing) and collard greens:


Katie & Chris brought the single best macaroni and cheese I have ever eaten in my life. This was my favorite dish of the night. I cant tell you how good this was!


Matt & Kelly made chicken fried steak, which I cant eat b/c of the beef- but I heard good reviews and mashed potatoes, that were yummy!


Ben made spoon bread- its like a corn bread with cream cheese delciousness... it was AMAZING and a sweet potato pie that was good (but it had a little too much whiskey in it for me).


And last but certainly not least, Jessica made one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. She called it a blueberry/lemon pound cake. It was like a giant delicious muffin with tons of blueberries... I cant say enough, I had some for breakfast... this was phenomenal! I just realized that I don't have a picture of it!!! Darn... It was really good regardless of photos!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back to school!!!

Mark started school this week. He finished his last semester on the Dean’s List (his first time in the D.C. program) with a 3.7 gpa. He is officially half way done with his program. It seems like it’s going to take forever, but he will be a doctor in 1 year and about 8 months. It’s amazing really. We’re starting to think about where we want to go, what he wants to do (associate or open his own practice) and how things are going to work. I need to start getting my name out there as a viable option for law libraries in CA. I am going to attempt to attend the 2009 American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) annual meeting so I can start to talk to people and network.
I start my 2nd semester of graduate school this weekend. I have orientation all day Saturday, and my classes start officially next Friday. I have 8 units finished (and I got all A’s!) and it’s a 39 unit program. I’m chipping away at it, slowly- I’m enrolled in 9 units this semester which leaves me with 17 finished after this year. I’m still unsure if I want to take summer school or not yet- but I probably should so I can get this degree finished. I may take 1 or 2 classes just to do something. I will need to take at least 4 units to make sure I can graduate next spring. I’m not entirely sure I want to graduate in spring b/c if I graduate then my loans come due about the time that Mark graduates. That will be the time when Mark and I are starting his practice and we don’t need the $1300 payments coming up so quickly. I may just take this summer off and go to school next summer!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I dont want to shock anyone...

As all of you know, Mark and I are very involved in rescue with MABBR. We are in pretty deep meaning that we deal with a lot of the crap that comes to the rescue day to day. We hear all the sob stories and get all the gruesome emails. Many of you cannot handle what we do day to day, and we respect that... but I just need to get it off my chest.

PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT IRRESPONSIBLE BREEDERS! For every dog bought from an irresponsible breeder (especially pit bulls) I PERSONALLY have to clean up messes. Hammy, our foster dog was bred so the man could "sell" these pit/lab mixes. A friend of our rescue found the pups starving to death in the man's yard (she lives next door) and asked to take them. We were able to save 3 out of 11... one died from the elements- the rest were "dumped in a car somewhere, that is all I know." My Hammy had 10 siblings, and god only knows where the other 8 are... :(

Anyway- today was particularly hard for me in terms of emails the rescue has received. I just thought I would post a sampling so you all see what I see every single day. If this helps save one dog... so be it. If it makes you cry... it needs to be known. This crap is happening every where...

1/6/09: Emails to MABBR (I edited them for anonymity)

1.) Puppies getting ready to be killed
I have just heard that Jackson Animal Clinic is going to put down 7 pit bull/lab mixed puppies that were found behind a grocery store in Platte City, MO.

2.) First of all my husband is in the Military, and we are stationed in Japan...(I found a dog, yada yada)...The kennels off base (Japanese kennels) will put her down immediately because the americans have over-bred the pitbulls on this island. WHY ARE AMERICAN MILITARY PEOPLE BREEDING DOGS ON FOREIGN SOIL?????

3.) This is one of those extremely hard cases you send out an email with hope in your heart. I was called today at work, local shelter has been holding on to a pregnant Pit mama, allowing to grow fat and happy just to put her down with babies still intact. Shelter manager called my work today, asking me to work a miracle rescue on her, as she will be put down tomorrow. She will 100% be euthanized tomorrow if no one responds to this plea for rescue. I'm attaching her photos, not the greatest as they were taken at the shelter. Shelter manager said she's such a sweetheart, and she just can't put her down, manager said "Tina if you move her to rescue, I will be forever indebted to you."

I dont know why these three emails just really got to me. Perhaps its because I just love dogs too much, or perhaps, I am just losing faith in humanity. Who are these people? I cant imagine myself ever knowing or caring for someone so inhumane and heartless. I guess this is just a rant, but its something I face every single day- and I am not even on the decision making side of the rescue, I keep myself out of it, because its too hard for me to make the call of who lives and who dies. We have volunteers who go "shopping" for dogs in shelters when we have 1 space available. Imagine walking into a shelter with 200 dogs, 160 of them pit bulls, all crying and wagging their tails at you... all cute, sweet and loving... and you have to pick 1!!!!!! I cant do it... my heart says no. Dont breed or buy while shelter dogs die!

Please don't buy! :(

Monday, January 5, 2009

Coffee table steal fo the year!

I have been dying for a small round coffee table with a glass top so I can have something to put my glass on in the living room without taking up all the space. Mark and I went to a thrift store yesterday to buy a bag of stuffed animals for the dogs and low and behold, the cutest little 40's wood table I have seen to date! $8.98 is all it cost me, and I brought it home and set it up.


Now... I am at a loss about what to do with it. The wood has some water damage, so I am not sure if I want to refinish it completely or paint it. And if I do paint it, what color do I paint it? I have so much vanilla in this room already, but I am scared to paint it a vibrant color. Ideas?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hamster has a home check tomorrow...

Originally uploaded by runaroundrachel
Its breaking my heart, but he is potentially getting adopted tomorrow. We're driving over at 1 to see their house and meet them. He gets neutered on Tuesday and could possibly be going home after that... My heart breaks, but its so good for him!


Originally uploaded by runaroundrachel
Mark and I were coming home from work the other day when we saw a ton of fire trucks down the street. They were still putting out the fire when we were coming home. We walked down a bit later when all the hoopla was over and saw one of the cutest little houses burned up... It was really sad actually. The house was always overgrown and a little out of place in our very up and coming neighborhood. Its always sad to see something so beautiful get destroyed. We're just hoping nobody got hurt.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Originally uploaded by runaroundrachel
This is our living room, or one view of it anyway. I love the way it looks, but its a little sparse.... I'm not sure what to add to make it better. I am having a coffee table made by my wonderfully talented friend Chet who is an iron worker. It will be round with a glass top. Im not sure what else to do... any ideas?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009: The Year of Health!

I always make resolutions that I know I can keep. One year it was to not eat doughnuts anymore... I have probably had one or two doughnuts since making that maybe 5 years ago. I do little things, not like most people who swear to quit smoking, lose 100 lbs, or climb mt. everest. Last year Mark and I decided that we were going to start supporting local businesses and not eat at chain restaurants. This has gone very well for us, so well that we have each gained a few pounds.

This years goals will be small, but big at the same time:

1. Buy local produce- We're joining a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) farm. For more info visit http://www.localharvest.org/csa/. Its about $200 for a 2 person share and we work directly with a local farm to basically buy their crops in advance. The farmer has people that support them, and we have no middle man so our prices are generally lower- around $8-12 a month. We get all of our veggies fresh from the farm, organic, clean, and direct from the grower. That is huge, and that is how most other people on earth eat, so it will be good for the soul as well.

2. Throw away less. Even recycling is bad for the environment, to a degree. If you buy plastic water bottles and just recycle them, then you ignore the fact that you are drinking purfied tap water and using bottles with harmful substances in them when you could just be refilling a nalgene with a brita filter. We are going to start baking our own bread from whole grains, I have already started making my own yogurt. We carry bags to the store to avoid using plastic, and we do a LOT of recycling. I am going to start a compost bin out back and a doggie septic tank, so we can naturally get rid of the poop. We're also going to buy bikes this spring and start riding our bikes when we do errands that are within a 5 mile radius of the house.

3. No more deep fried foods. This is the one that made Mark cringe. He LOVES french fries. We decided to meet in the middle and one day a week he can eat whatever he wants. We did this for a while this summer- we ate at home and only ate out once a week and when we did eat out, we ate whatever we wanted!

4. Enhance our lifestyle. We're starting to realize that we're about a year and 8 months away from Mark being a doctor. We plan on opening a clinic for him in an area that we're going to be a part of the community. We want to have the appearance of professionalism, maturity and health. We're both going to be representing his clinic in public and we both have to give off those vibes. We're going to start practicing what we preach about health, wellness and overall life. We started wearing shoes that are good for the back, Ecco, Sofft, etc. We need to start doing healthy things that will help Mark- running, biking, races, etc. Also we need to drop the extra pounds. This can come off slowly... but if we want him to appeal to athletes, we need to look like the athletes we are!

So thats it for me at least... Hopefully this year will make us better people, who make a smaller carbon footprint on the earth, and start living a healthier lifestyle!


DC Fireworks
Originally uploaded by Grundlepuck
Here is to 2009 being the best year ever!

We love you all,

Mark, Rachel, Slappy, Pokey, Beans & Sassy (and Hammy)