Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'll be out of town... but...

I won't be in town or spending much time on the blog-o-sphere until Tuesday. The amazing Michigan adventure has begun. I write you now from the home office of one k_Rahn. Well, her family at least.

It is finally that time. Wedding go-time. Sunday baby. It's on. Best friend marriage.

I leave you with this incredible piece of news today: ROUS(s) are real. (If you haven't seen The Princess Bride you have no idea what I am talking about, and should be slapped - because all people should see The Princess Bride.)

They aren't as big as we thought, but they can find land mines. I'm not kidding. Read on kids - read on.

Could Giant Rats Eliminate Land Mines in Thailand?

  • September 28, 2011
     • 3:00 pm PDT
  • 253 responses
giant rats apopo
Across the world, African giant-pouched rats are replacing dogs as man’s best friend. For 11 years, Tanzania-based nonprofit APOPO has trained rats to sniff out hidden land mines or life-threatening tuberculosis. Now, APOPO wants to bring its "HeroRATs" from Africa to Asia.
Rats have excellent senses of smell and weigh too little to set off land mines with their bodies, making them the perfect alternative to using robots or humans to find mines in war-torn countries. Plus, they like to socialize, are easy to train, and are motivated almost entirely by food. HeroRATs have already found 861 land mines in Mozambique, allowing trained technicians to destroy the mines before they can harm local residents.
APOPO is in the process of conducting a land mine survey in southern Thailand, in hopes of getting rats involved once more funds are raised. The Cambodian wars of the 1970s led to major battles around the border between the two countries, with the Khmer Rouge planting large numbers of mines on the Thai side. The Thai government has committed to ridding the country of land mines by 2018, which would be all but impossible without NGO involvement. "Many years with very limited funding have meant that they have been trying to do it on their own, and the result is the very traditional approach," program manager Andrew Sully said in a press release announcing his move from APOPO's Mozambique program to Thailand.
It takes nine months and about $8,000 to train each of the 300 HeroRATs at APOPO headquarters in Tanzania, but trainers say the money and lives they save over the long term more than makes up the cost. To learn more about these super-sniffer rodents and the program's expansion to Asia, check out APOPO’s website, where you can even adopta HeroRAT of your own.
Photo courtesy of Brian Johnson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baggage Loaded and Unloaded

I did it - I actually packed a majority of my suitcase last night.

In the process, I was dismayed to realize that I have very few items for the "cooler months" that I actually like. Just as I was staring at my closet, waiting for things I liked to appear, I realized I had all my favorite items  in the dryer already. I was way ahead of myself. Silly girl. Clearly going to the gym did not revitalize your brain as you had hoped it would.

In the ever constant quest to pack, unpack and repack our both figurative and literal baggage I found myself wondering who is there to help us with that process?

Apparently, Daily GOOD was wondering the same thing when they stumbled upon a new website dedicated to checking one's "emotional baggage." In return for your checked baggage you get a song from a stranger - to encourage you through whatever it is you are going through. This morning I sent off some baggage and got a Bob Marley song in return, and then took on someone's else's baggage and sent them some good old Christian Aguilera.

Check this out - it's pretty neat if you ask me. And if you are reading this... you kind of are asking for my opinions... right?

Check Your Emotional Baggage in Exchange for a Song

  • September 27, 2011 • 3:00 pm PDT
  • 227 responses
Feeling weighed down by emotional baggage? A new web service offers a quick pick-me-up. Simply upload your drama to Emotional Bag Check—whether your burden relates to relationships, school, or work—and you'll get advice from a stranger in the form of a song she hand-picked to help you cope. Or if you're feeling emotionally generous, you can get a taste of someone else's turmoil and send a song his way to help him deal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Packing Lists

I have less than two days to get my life together for this trip to Michigan.

I find that packing lists are essential, not because I will forget the small stuff, but because I will forget the big stuff.

Currently my packing list includes:

1. Bridesmaid dress for the wedding you are going to Michigan for
2. Bridesmaid shoes for the wedding...
3. Underwear
4. Socks (it is not going to be sandal weather)
5. Chargers
6. Blow dryer (your hair is short again - you can't let it air dry)

Now, will I remember to bring jewelry for each and every planned outfit? Of course. Will I remember my make up, my nail polish, my hair accessories, my boots? Obviously. That is the stuff I LIKE to pack. That is the stuff I give an inappropriate amount of consideration.

Does anyone else tend to forget the most important stuff when they are packing? I hope I'm not alone in this.

Packing lists make me feel accomplished, although they only seem to get me millimeters closer to being packed. The list is ready, but the laundry isn't done, the suitcase isn't out, the room isn't prepared and the dogs don't have an official sitter.

Yep. I'm screwed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day of Birth Celebrations

This weekend was my birthday, and the variety of celebrations could not have been more joy-inducing.

I started with a midnight message of parental harmonies (my parents singing happy birthday in harmony amidst laughter), a 12:24 am birthday call from my significant other to wish me a very happy first 24 minutes of my 24th year of life, and a 9 am haircut to get me snazzy for the very full day.

From there my wonderful friends showed up for a delicious brunch punctuated by bellinis and mimosas (as pictured below)

It should be noted my underage sister was handed a bellini that belonged to an of-age person, so that she wouldn't look left out in the photo. Have no fear, I did not provide her with alcohol during this brunch.

It became one of those brunches who's bellini tab shocks you a bit at the end - but when they are a dollar... I mean come on...

I walked out of Taverna with a plethora of dog toys and treats (which I asked for on my birthday) and another assortment of wonderful gifts from dear friends who don't listen very well to instructions.

That night my wonderful-man-partner took me out to dinner at Ellerbe Fine Foods and wooed me with sustainable, organic, local-grown fine dining. This place could not have been more to my liking. Crumble-crusted red fish with étouffée and french bread, preceded by roasted red pepper mozarella balls... and followed by chocolate zuchinni bread cake and fresh mint ice cream. 

I would call that a bit more than a birthday success. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Olfactory Overload

I think most people agree that scents have a profound impact on our experiences and our memories. I am someone who is, at times much to my dismay, particularly sensitive to smells. Dish rags at my house get washed twice a week to avoid the smell of mildew (one I cannot tolerate) and I have a "cinnamon" inspired wall flower in our living room to avoid the smell of "dog bed" in the corner.

I can't be the only one so effected by their olfactory experience. Think about it - what smells do you hate? What smells do you love? What memories are those tied to? How important is that part of your experience of any given place or time?

Amber Jones felt even more strongly about the power of the sniffer than I do... check this out.

The City That Always Smells: Scratch-and-Sniff Book Tours New York City's Scents

scratch n sniff new york

No matter how fine the prose or stunning the photography, any literary attempt to capture the essence of a city will miss the mark on one key characteristic: scent. Urban centers are a menagerie of smells, including everything from the delicious—freshly-baked bread, sizzling garlic, taco trucks—to the atrocious—garbage trucks, roadkill, or the Abercrombie & Fitch cologne counter.

Now, first-time author Amber Jones will bring New York City's smells, both good and bad, to the page with a scratch-and-sniff children's book. Jones will whisk readers through 19 neighborhoods and 30 smells, including hot dogs, sewer steam, churros, and fish, following the adventure of one family's trip through the metropolis. Jones told The Guardian that the inspiration for the book arrived while sniffing her way in the direction of a pizza parlor, only to realize that she had stepped in horse manure. Overwhelmed by the scents around her, she decided to make an olfactory guide to the city.

Established publishers rejected Jones' idea, citing the cost of production and an assumption that readers wouldn't be interested in sniffing gross, albeit realistic, odors. She didn't what to neutralize the book's grit by including only fresh scents, so she opted to self-publish, and herKickstarter campaign met its $20,000 funding goal last month. Check out the book's website to order a copy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Old and Married

We got old and people started getting married.

I had somewhat adjusted to this new life-stage when I went to my first wedding with a legitimate significant other and was a part of the "after reception wedding party shenanigans."

But now, in just one week, one of my best friends in the world is getting married. I've known her since the 2nd grade and realized last night while I was raiding the refrigerator, and confronted with her "save the date" on the door, that it is one week away. In exactly one week I will board a plane for Michigan and in 10 days I'll be standing outside, watching her say her vows, kick up her feet and declare "we were just married!"

When did this happen? When did we grow up?

The realities of aging, relationships, work-lives and constant changes has caught up to me. And on this crisp as-close-to-fall-as-we've-gotten day in Fort Worth, I'm appreciating the exciting moments on the horizon.

Toys R' Us sold us a crummy message - who doesn't want to grow up? This new stuff can be pretty great.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


My dearest Holly just got back into town and will be staying at my house until early October. It is incredible how much fun it is to set up a bed, some dinner and a "temporary closet" for someone you love and want to have as your guest.

This got me to thinking about how lucky I am to have the community that is my home. I live in a duplex, and the upstairs consists of me, my two incredible roommates, an outdoorsy lady I met in Alabama last summer at church camp and one of my best friends in the world, that I've known since the 6th grade. Oh and don't forget our two pit mix pups that everyone who reads this blog has seen plenty of. Downstairs there's two elementary school teachers and a sustainability guru who just finished her masters in Arizona. Oh and their adopted sassy cat, Rita, of course.

Between the 6 of us, we have 3 adopted animals, two teachers, a nurse, a study abroad coordinator, a future pastor, and a future environment healer. Community dinners each Monday are some of the most entertaining meals you could imagine.

GOOD magazine proposes that everyone find a way to invest in "community" this month. If you have a great idea, I suggest submitting it. Currently, I'm trying to think of how 6 women could spend $500 on a community dinner... I'm sure I'll come up with something.

Loving the GOOD Challenge this Month? Win $500 to Connect Even More

The Daily GOOD
Each month, GOOD challenges our community members to do something that will improve the world around us and our own lives. The challenge for September? To connect with other people. In an effort to support this challenge, we want to fund a GOOD meet-up event. Submit your ideas here to apply for $500 to fund your event.

If you've been looking to get closer with members of your community, neighborhood, office, or school, this is your shot. Come up with a plan—is it a party, a workshop, a volunteer day, or a beer crawl? Who's invited? And, when is this all going down? You get the idea.

Projects can be submitted as a written description, an image, or a YouTube video. We'll accept them from individuals, groups, or on behalf of an organization. Once projects are submitted, rally your colleagues and friends to back your effort and join the GOOD community in deciding which proposal most deserves the cash to make it happen.

Act fast: Ideas must be submitted by noon PST on September 30. After that, we'll open up the ideas to a community vote, which will run through noon on October 6. Then, we'll announce a winner on October 10.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Twitter Glitter

I held out for as long as I could... I told myself - "No Alexis, you will not conform. You shall not become one of those constant-status-updaters known as "tweeters" - nay, you shall hold fast to the belief that twitter will pass without making a splash, and no one will care about it in a matter of months."

Fail. Big old, epic fail.

My favorite podcast from NPR, "Pop Culture Happy Hour" ends every show with "follow us on twitter". They started taunting and tempting me early on. My favorite magazine, GOOD Magazine, has many of its writers on twitter... more curiosity builds. And then - one of my best friends gets it, and I find myself wishing I could read her witty, everyday remarks.

Crap. I got twitter. And then I started following funny people. Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O'Brien... these are very funny people. Not to mention I can feed my NPR addiction by getting 140 character updates on news, music, blogs and interviews.

Technology... you own me. I blog, I facebook, I email, I text and now... I tweet. Dear God... I have no private life.

Sooo... if you want to... you can totally follow me on twitter. @constantstatus

That just felt wrong to type.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Look both ways

This weekend was the sort of respite that every person needs. It was the definition of a week-end. My week was over and it was time to do things with people I love and enjoy each moment of no-work and no-stress.

Friday I discovered that I do in fact enjoy cooking, as long as I'm doing it for others. Cooking for myself doesn't feel worth it, but putting together a meal for a group of people gives me warm tinglies down to my toes. Something about seeing people smiling and full that makes the heart breathe a sigh of satisfaction.

Saturday was a birthday brunch with mimosas, a double feature movie, and chinese take out for dinner.

Sunday was an early morning trip to the dog park with my girls and a close friend followed by a work out that I'm still sore from, and a wonderful evening at church including our first night of young adult study. We're reading "The Hole in our Gospel" by the President of World Vision. I found myself thinking of my pups in the car on our way to the dog park - expectantly staring out both sides of my car.

I feel like if we'd look both ways, we'd be hard pressed to come up empty handed. One way or another, there has to be something that makes us happy.

Look both ways today.

Friday, September 16, 2011

GOOD Magazine

One of my favorite print publications that is also web savvy is GOOD Magazine. If you ever need a punch in the pants/face to remind you that the world can be good, and there are people trying - this is a great place to start. Not to mention, there are some nift-tastic ideas that the trend-tastic writers of GOOD fill you in on.

In my "Daily Good" email yesterday they posted about a new initiative/idea to put "mini-hotels" in airports for the delayed/exhausted traveler. Yes please? DFW could benefit from these. I'd most certainly pay $15 for an hour of rest in a real bed between international flights.

I'm having flashbacks to making a luggage fortress around my sleeping body on the floor in the Rome airport... *shiver...

See here for more!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cold front

This week we have a bit of "cold front", in Fort Worth speak that means we get to experience 86 degree highs instead of 100. It has been a busy one to say the least, and things have felt fluttery in my brain. Not overwhelming, not frustrating - just fluttery.

I try to focus on one thing or prepare for a certain experience or event, and it's over before I can fully blink. Therefore, my lids "flutter", creating a "fluttery" experience.

While I attempted to to do my 200 pages of Student Affairs theory and practice reading this tuesday, I sat in the newly added warehouse-style-in-house-coffee-roasting shop known as Avoca. The Magnolia strip of goodness that houses Spiral Diner Vegan food, King Tut Egyptian tasties, Nona Tata Italian delights, and Yucatan Tacos is  my favorite spot to find food, drink and conversation in Fort Worth. The addition of Avoca has only improved the atmosphere in this Indie-hip enclave.

I found myself more focused than usual, thanks to their iced-coffee blend they call the "iced totti", and told Airika matter of factly that we needed to download the Foster the People album - "Torches." Airika proceeded to accidently call them "Foster the Children" repeatedly, which made me laugh and occasionally snort. Most of you have probably heard the song "Pumped up kicks" and if you don't like it, we may have to reconsider our friendship. The song, the album and the group are, as itunes puts it, "as fresh as sunshine and as refreshing as a surf wave."

If you are having end of the summer blues, I highly recommend the following therapy:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bella break

This has become a dog blog. I do apologize.

But it's like getting a new toy - it's realllly exciting for the first while.

This is the last Dog post - specifically the last Bella post for a while.

And it's just the highlights. :)

They love each other. It's disturbingly adorable.

Now this is my favorite thing that Bella does. It's the bat-pig-dog head tilt. I've never seen a dog do it to this extent. Wait for the end...


Friday, September 9, 2011

Dog wrastle

This is the reality of my life at night and in the morning.

If you have five minutes to kill - this is ridiculous, and gives you a great idea of what my life is like now.

In short: it's pretty ridiculous and entertaining. I apologize for the snort in this video. I just couldn't handle it when Bella had Emma's leg out like a chicken wing to chew on.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cavey McCaverson

I'm a ninny. I caved. I didn't even last 48 hours believing I wasn't keeping this dog.


Welcome to your permanent home as of now Bella May.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Holiday Weekend

Well, it wouldn't be a holiday weekend at Shelby house if we didn't have 2 extra people staying there and a new dog.

Meet - Bella May.

Take a deep breath, she isn't mine (at least not currently) - the plan (we hope) is that this sweet girl will be someone's dog very soon.

Airika and I cannot be trusted at the dog park, on the most beautiful day Fort Worth has had in over 3 months. The scene was set; a perfect breeze, green grass, Emma frolicking in the sunshine - when suddenly, we see a puppy. A puppy that looks stunningly similar to our Emma Lou! We bee-line for her and start ooing and aweing over how beautiful she is, how soft she is, how SWEET she is.

Someone walks up behind us and says "if you like her - she's free." What!? Holly wants a dog! Holly is in town this weekend! Well, we know where this leads... this dog is coming home with us.

The beautiful pup had been removed from her home on Friday, and didn't even have a name yet. She is malnourished and has worms but found her place quickly on a bed in our living room this weekend.

She's at the vet this morning - and she most certainly has a name. Unfortunately, Holly is also allergic to her.

Welcome to your temporary home Bella May. Now we just need someone to adopt you and give you a permanent home. I wish it could be us :(

Friday, September 2, 2011

If I had unlimited funds...

Yesterday was a day of no-motivation towards the time I was ready to put together a blog, so I neglected to do my "If I had unlimited funds post."

Therefore - I shall do it today!

This morning I am not thinking about any particular items I would like to buy if I was the absurdly-wealthy-version-of-myself, I am thinking about two particular "hotels" I would like to stay in some day.

The first is the Edgewater in Seattle. I'm in love with this historic hotel on the waterfront, placed strategically across the street from the most exciting parts of Seattle's central districts. Below is a picture of the dream I would love to stay in. And don't worry - in the on-suite bathroom there is a huge clawfoot tub.

The other place I am dying to go to is the Oxygen villas in Costa Rica. These villas are situated just 15 minutes from the coast, up in the jungle. It's a private nature reserve of sorts, with the incredible villas sprinkled throughout their well-managed complex. Sleeping in the jungle with the comforts of a resort appeals to me. It's the "open air" feel with air conditioning. Doesn't sound like a bad deal. See below for my desired villa.

I know these images will be the subject of my mind's meandering this afternoon - maybe yours too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Long days

Kristin and I were discussing the feeling of "terribly long days that bleed over into the following day, making them feel equally long and insurmountable." That is how today is. Yesterday's 8 hour work day and 3 hours worth of class followed by a sincere need to go to the gym made it a ridiculously long day. So long that it creeped into today.

At this point in the afternoon, I am thanking the Good Lord above that I have advising appointments from now til' four and an info session after that. I have no choice but to be productive.

However, the thought of 3.5 more hours of work and office-chair-time makes me want to do this:

Only when I do it - I'll be older and significantly more clothed. 

Stupid Thursdays.