Category Archives: Updates

The Dummy’s Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

You know those “dummy’s guide to” books? I hate them. Seriously, people. The fact that I am buying books demonstrates that I am not a dummy. Give me a little credit.

This entry, however, is a dummy’s guide–not because *you’re* a dummy, but because I am. At least when it comes to construction. And you too can feel like a dummy–and waste most of a weekend–simply by following these step-by-step instructions.

Or you can use this to avoid my dumb mistakes and cut your Christmas-tree-building time down to a few hours. If that’s what you want to do, start at Step Five, and skip steps six and seven. Which leaves you with only two steps. And what fun is that? Just go ahead and do all eight steps for maximum fun and frustration.

Step One: Start with Books


Books for Heather Head Christmas Tree 300x168 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books


I mean, you could try it without books. That would probably take even longer. So yeah. Let me know how that turns out for you.

Step Two: Over-Analyze

Being the free-spirited, spontaneous folk that we are, we couldn’t begin this project without a detailed cost-benefit analysis. The following graph represents our key findings.

Screenshot 2014 12 15 19.24.10 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books


We decided to proceed. Your results may vary.

Step Three: Over-Plan

This is a major undertaking that will affect the appearance of one corner of one room for nearly one month. It’s important that you plan it out in detail prior to engagement.

Stack all the books Heather Head 300x225 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

Start by carefully laying out all the books in your house on the floor, and organize them by thickness, height, and width. Bonus points for arranging by color also.

IMG 20141206 123156697 168x300 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books IMG 20141206 123323647 168x300 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of BooksIMG 20141206 174626100 168x300 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books












This step is completely unnecessary and will eat up several hours. Throw in a shirtless kid putting books in the wrong piles and you’ve wasted yourself an entire afternoon. Congrats.

Step Four: Start Small

When you finally realize the utter futility of step three–preferably after you’ve already emptied all of your bookshelves, ideally in the wrong room–you may begin building a base for your tree. Start small in order to create a set-up that will have to be taken down and started again.

Use big books, but not too many, and place them super close together.

Too Small Tree 300x168 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

Important: Be sure to start stacking the next set of books really far in–leave at least three or four inches between the outside of the first level and the outside of the second level.

This critical step will ensure that the tree circumference decreases in size at a precipitous rate, leading to a completed tree that is wider than it is tall. Continue to stack in this manner until you have at least five or six layers that will have to be undone in order to get the proportions right.

Step Five: Start Over

This is actually the first step that accomplishes anything, so you might want to stop and get a drink first. Maybe watch a little television or troll Facebook for an hour or two. Wouldn’t want to get ahead of yourself.

Ready now? K. Start with as wide a base as you have space for. Then start stacking books in alternate fashion, moving each level in from the previous level by less than an inch at a time. Try to choose books at each level that are more-or-less the same thickness. It’s okay to stack two books to match the thickness of other books on the same level. Don’t obsess–you can always adjust any leaning by thickening one side or the other.

This part will go pretty fast. Sorry.

IMG 20141207 123738728 HDR 300x168 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

IMG 20141207 124841631 168x300 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

IMG 20141207 124137884 HDR 168x300 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

IMG 20141207 125301526 300x168 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books


IMG 20141207 132920663 HDR 168x300 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

IMG 20141207 141553877 168x300 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books


Step Six: Add Some Fancy but Unstable Adornments 

IMG 20141207 151530390 HDR 168x300 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

It’ll look great and get tall in a big hurry. Fortunately, however, it will come tumbling down quite readily without much effort, and take some of the more stable substructure with it, creating additional work. Plus, it’s fun to retrieve all the fallen books from the hollow in the middle, which can easily lead to more damage to the substructure.

Step Seven: Repair the Damage and Finish Stacking

This is the second productive step. Take another break to draw it out. It’s important to forget to take a picture at this point. You’ll be glad for the lack of evidence of your productive work, especially if you have more than a dozen shots of all the unproductive steps.

Step Eight: Light it Up

If you’ve done it right, you won’t get to this stage for at least a week from the start. But when you do:

IMG 20141214 214329989 576x1024 The Dummys Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books




This is Not a Complete Update But It’s an Excited One

Lift off 222x300 This is Not a Complete Update But Its an Excited OnePopping in to mention my new brand launch. I’m super excited about this next evolution in my business career:

Scopcity: Content that Connects

What the heck does “Scopcity” mean? I know you’re asking that in your head because it’s what everyone asks when I tell them the name of the new brand.

Long ago, far far away (from about 500AD to 1066-ish, Anglo-Saxon Britain), before the advent of the printing press or the postal system, news was delivered by a class of citizens called Scops. Scops were singers and storytellers who moved from city to city, charming the citizens, cross-pollinating knowledge, and drinking a lot of ale. They were society’s connectors. In modern corporate terms, they were the purveyors of content.

Scopcity does that for marketing agencies. Minus the ale. Plus the charm, plenty of connection, and lots and lots of content. What we do is create high quality written content to support the marketing programs our clients design for their clients. Web copy, press releases, blogging, case studies, white papers, etc. Writing. Words. Stories.

It’s an exciting evolution for me because I get to take my strategic marketing expertise with me, and then really hone in on the part of the marketing I like best: Writing. And I get to work with some of the smartest folks I know: Marketing experts. Serving the kinds of companies I enjoy getting to know most: Private SMB (that’s not nearly as kinky as it sounds: It stands for small-medium-business. If you knew that already, you will never quite hear the letters “SMB” in the same way again. You’re welcome).

And icing on the cake: I get to cultivate some of the best writing talent in the business world, finding, training, and setting loose awesome creativity on the world. How cool is that?

Since I Last Posted…

I’ve been busy. Here’s a basic round-up of everything I can remember having published since I last posted here. Which was… whoa. December. Okay. This may take a while.


Working in Your Best Interest: Profile of a local commercial fleet leasing company in Greater Charlotte Biz Magazine. These guys were so very kind–not your typical leasing agency.

Recycling the Human Spirit: LOVE this lady. I want her to join my personal board of advisors, if she can ever slow down for a moment. This is about getting back on her feet and back to business after the devastating loss of her husband. In Greater Charlotte Biz Magazine.

Branching Across Continents: Jimmy Lee’s story is astonishing. From a poor boy in China going without lunch at school, to internationally respected top lumber exporter… and a genuinely nice guy. I can’t say enough good things about him. Read his story–it’s good.

Painting the Town Red: Okay, I didn’t write this one, but I had a hand in making it happen by building a strong PR relationship with the magazine on behalf of my client, Rose Chauffeured Transportation. Oh. And I’m quoted in it several times. The print version was gorgeous, glossy, and photo-filled.

Chauffeur Celebrates 80 Extraordinary Years: Gerry St. Onge is quite the character. And his is quite the story. I wrote most of this as a press release, which was picked up as a story by Limo Digest (so, no byline).

There were other magazine pieces, but not all of them are live online any longer (sad face). Most were in limo/chauffeur industry trade mags, on behalf of my client Rose.

Marketing Content:

Waypoint website. Tony Shannon, one of the partners in this great company, asked me to work with their web developer on the new site. It’s live now and it’s gorgeous! I planned the content structure, wrote most of the copy, and repurposed & revised old copy to fit the new vision. I also wrote those terrific case studies–they were fun! This is a great company and I’m privileged to have worked with them on the project.

Beanstalk Case Studies. On the topic of case studies, I wrote these too. I think it was this year. Geez, I don’t know. Also a really smart, forward-thinking company, with terrific people at the top.

Rose Chauffeured News. I run the blog/news section on this website, so most of what is here (unless it specifies otherwise) is my work. We’ve got more great content coming out soon!

Lewis Farm. I LOVE this family and this farm. I have had the privilege of watching them grow the tourist side of their business tremendously in the past few years, and am proud to have played a role in that. Carey and I set up their website on a very simple WordPress platform a few years ago, and I’ve worked with Cathy Lewis in training her to run the website. I still write much of the static content, though I’m tickled to see that Cathy is starting to keep the blog updated regularly. We’ve added wedding pages, birthday pages, and several other pieces of static content since December, and most of that is my work.

I’ve actually written and published way more marketing content this year than what is listed here. Some of it is covered under client confidentiality agreements, so I won’t post it here, obviously. Some of it is not yet live, as there are many moving parts involved in getting a marketing project off the ground. Some of it is no longer live, as some forms of content are just that ephemeral. Much of it is in the form of downloads and offers that you only access via special email links, or in the form of emails themselves. I’ve written guide books, and white papers, and more case studies. Press releases and direct mail copy, marketing plans, and dozens of blog entries for clients. I hardly realized myself how much I’ve written these six months until I compiled this and looked at how much more there is too.

Edited to add: I’ve also written educational and training materials for my own company. These proprietary materials probably will not ever be publicly available. Still, I’m pretty proud of them. (If you’re a writer or journalist and interested in building your marketing content skills and/or landing more freelance business, get in touch with me. The timing has never been better.)

My Blogs:

Curiosity Cat, Gratitude, and Sharing the Love. I won’t bore you by listing all fifteen entries I’ve posted this year. Just take a look at the latest one if you like, and browse backward if you feel so moved.

Writer for Life and Failing the Test. I started a new blog (because who doesn’t need another blog?) just for writers. Check out the latest post, then the rest if you feel moved to do so. I’ll be writing about my journey as a novelist, as well as posting snippets and videos of my favorite authors giving my favorite writing advice. And probably links to author blogs I like, too.

I’ve also written more than what is represented on my blogs. In particular, I’m 50k+ words into my first novel. Debating whether I will post teeny bits of it on Writer for Life, or keep it close to the chest until it’s done. Regardless, I’m as proud of it, if not prouder, as I am all the things I’ve already published this year. Which is an astonishing amount, now that I look at it. Yay me.

Me Being Awesome and Other Stuff

It’s really hard to get going again. You know the feeling? The longer you go without posting to your blog (writing in your journal, calling your mom, apologizing for a mistake), the harder it gets to pick it back up again. Yes, that. In this case, it’s mostly because there is so MUCH to report. Let me break it down.

On the Internets:

Me pretending I’m a Minoan snake goddess on the Curiosity Cat blog

I wrote about increasing lead capture for BellaTEX on my marketing blog

Uncle Pierce runs a brisk business in captured flies that later supports purchasing the meds he needs to treat his dysentery on POW Diaries

I wrote about trends in business education for GCB magazine (you’ll have to actually open the magazine view and flip through to find it, unfortunately.)

I also wrote a bunch of other stuff for clients. Some of it will show up in my marketing blog over time.

In Business:

I’m putting the finishing touches on a presentation I intend to deliver at rotary clubs and other civic organizations around town. It’s part of my personal marketing push, developing my network and so forth. I’m excited and nervous and also… beginning to wonder if it might be overkill. I’ve got so much already in my business pipeline that I may be near capacity two months from now. Not a bad problem to have.


Gunner Graduation 300x225 Me Being Awesome and Other Stuff
Gunner the Graduate

Gunner graduated from Beginner Obedience class at Petsmart. He did awesome. He knows “sit” “stay” “down” “off” “sit-and-say-please” “touch” (a basic recall command), and “Okay, I’m leaving now” (which he learned all by himself. This command apparently means “dance excitedly to the door, push your way out the door, run to the car, and attempt desperately to influence the course of events to end in “and Gunner’s coming with me.” Can I emphasize enough that he learned this ALL. BY. HIMSELF. I’m certain he’s a doggy genius.)

What he has not yet learned:


  • Cats are not toys
  • Neither are ducks
  • Or goats
  • Or small children
  • Or chickens
  • Or squirrels
  • Or Mommy’s favorite pair of heels that she wears to work almost every day and is heartbroken to have to throw away but can’t wear with one heel missing and the toe chewed out

What he has also not yet learned:

  • Running in the woods is really really fun but more fun if you don’t run off and get lost and make someone late for work and come home really really muddy so they never want to take you for off leash runs ever again
  • Other dogs are great playmates but it’s okay not to stop and say hi to every single one you pass in the road
  • Mandarin Chinese

In Other News:

We took up the “can you live on food stamps” challenge and won hands-down. We totally made up the challenge and still won. Actually, *I* made up the challenge and its rules and THEN won it. Sort of. I mean, I did win. But I didn’t *totally* make up the rules. I read about it somewhere, or maybe Carey did. The idea is, folks living on food stamps get the equivalent of $30 (a bit more) a week per person in the family, and the author of whatever it was I read (or Carey did) wondered whether that was a reasonable amount and asked the readers whether they thought they could live on that.

I said yes, and took it upon myself to prove it. It wasn’t that hard, really. I used to do it, years ago when we were poor. In fact, I fed three of us on $35 a week, ten years ago. That’s $35 total, not $35 each. Now, with five in our family, our allowance would be $150 on food stamps.

I’ve been feeding us on $100 a week for two weeks now. And by “I’ve been feeding” I mean I’ve been purchasing super cheap ingredients and Carey’s been cooking.

Okay, so we already had some stuff in our cupboards. And it isn’t exactly fancy fare we’ve had. It’s been chicken and dumplings (with homemade dumplings–flour is cheap), rice and beans, turkey hash, and hot dogs. I wouldn’t want to do it indefinitely. It’s not easy to bypass all the yummy stuff, and it’s hard to squelch that desire for more.

On the other hand, there is something delightful about getting to the cash register with your carefully selected items, and discovering that you have $5 left after paying. What will it be? A gallon of ice cream? A watermelon? A bag of peaches? A treat becomes a treat, a true treat. The actual enjoyment of that watermelon or peach… it’s higher when the fruit is purchased so dearly.

In Yet More News:

Our Internet is very, very spotty at home today and yesterday. Don’t worry, we’re holding up fine. We’ll be okay eventually. It’s just hard right now, you know? The worst of it is that I can’t play my favorite (guilty pleasure) online MPG because I keep getting bumped off the server. So sad. But I’ll survive.

Also, it’s amazing how productive I’ve been today and yesterday. I refuse to believe there is any correlation between the previous paragraph and this one.

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe. Very important. I don’t really know any good reason why you should subscribe but as a marketer I know it’s important to include a call to action so there you go.

(P.S. Above this line is an excellent example of a poorly executed call to action, demonstrating the classic mistake of failing to provide an incentive.)

Subscribe and I’ll mail you  a beautiful unicorn pony, a real one, with feathers.

(P.P.S. Above this line is an excellent example of setting unrealistic expectations, also known as outright lying, and I don’t recommend it.)

Subscribe because I’m funny.

(P.P.P.S. Almost but not quite.)

Subscribe and I’ll send you updates every time I post something fun here.

(P.P.P.P.S. Okay, but no sense of urgency.)

Subscribe tonight and I’ll send you a copy of my never-before-published short story called “Sleeping Panther.”

(P.P.P.P.P.S. And also updates every time I post a new goofy update like this one.)

And also I’ll do a happy dance.

Wait. Subscribe before tomorrow night and I’ll do a happy dance AND VIDEO RECORD IT.

(Notice I did not say whether I would post the video.)

If five people subscribe before tomorrow night I’ll video record it… and post the video here.

(There. That’s not bad. Bring it on.)

Updates and a Picture of Gunner

POW Diaries has had a few posts since I wrote. Check it out. Earlier this week, 70 years ago, some prisoners were captured trying to escape. Uncle Pierce’s memoir recalls what happened to those prisoners.

Curiosity Cat has some video of chicks dust bathing. It’s cute.

On the home front, Gunner has been neutered. Yay. He’s also making progress with the whole leaving the cat alone thing, and she’s been making progress with the whole don’t kill the dog if you can help it thing. Except tonight she took a swipe at him and he got all riled up. Two steps forward, one step back.

Gunner with scarf resized 225x300 Updates and a Picture of Gunner
They stole my junk and all I got was this silly blue scarf

The vet sent him home with a cute blue scarf. I’m thinking of buying more scarves for him. They’re cute.

At work, I’ve been working my buns off and met *most* of my goals for the week. Just one big project to finish up over the weekend. Boo.

My friend Mark Weber, of Darton Group, came by last week and helped me really define what it is that I’m doing at Groove On. Sometimes you’re too close to a situation to see it clearly. That’s been true for me. So he came over and had coffee and saw it for me, and it’s all going to be coming out soon. Stay tuned. And thank you, Mark.

I’ve been looking pretty fabulous all week again. My clothes came back with changes & tailored touches from Manchin Inc., and it’s like a whole new wardrobe. We shortened some skirts, updated some things, tucked in other things, and–this is awesome–put snaps in all the bust portions of my button-down shirts so my boobs don’t pop out in the middle of business meetings. This is preferable. Also, initially I typed “books” which is completely wrong because books are ALWAYS welcome to put in a showing. Books are awesome. I mean, so are boobs, but books don’t ruin anyone’s professional image when they appear suddenly in the middle of business meetings.

And that’s it. I’m going to finish on the note of how amazing I’ve been looking. Not vain at all. Nope.

Update to June 9, 2012

Please, we need your help. 16 years of marriage hangs on your intercession.* Carey seems to think my last post was highly offensive, and not just because I talked about cadavers. Actually, he didn’t even mention cadavers. Are you even paying attention, Carey Stephen Head?**

This is the part he took exception to:

“Carey, however, was trying to look inconspicuous and pretending not to know us. I’m not sure why. ”

He says he was NOT in fact pretending not to know us. For which he puts forth the following evidence:

1. It was his idea to go to Rivergate for the live music in the first place (true).

2. He bought the book Monty was reading (true).

3. He bought the safety pins that were holding up Everett’s pants so he could dance (true).

4. He took most of the pictures and video of us dancing (true).

5. He kept his eye on Everett, who was meandering from group to group and eventually settled on playing ball with another family (probably true. Evidence: Everett did not go home with anyone else last night. I am not sure this is a point in Carey’s favor).

6. He was enjoying himself and being a part of our family, even though he doesn’t like dancing and especially in a public place but that doesn’t mean he didn’t enjoy watching us dance (could be true but he can’t prove it).

Probably it wasn’t at all fair of me to make him sound like a spoilsport or not participating in the fun just because he doesn’t like to dance. On the other hand:

1. I said he was “looking inconspicuous and pretending not to know us” BEFORE he made any of the above arguments. And I said it IN WRITING.

2. I was very tired last night AND I DANCED ANYWAY.

3. I am highly skilled in the use of capital letters. Capital letters make everything truer. TRUE STORY.***

4. Carey did not show up in ANY of the photos or videos. Highly suspicious.

5. Carey threatened me in the very comments of my own blog with a digitalized equivalent of a giant metal chicken.

6. I have more Facebook friends than he does. I think. I haven’t actually checked. Will someone go look please and let me know? Thanks.

7. He didn’t even notice that I talked about cadavers in the same entry. Clearly, he doesn’t even read my stuff except when he can complain about it.

So. Can you help us? I need you to convince Carey that he’s wrong and I’m right, so we can move forward here. Thanks.

P.S. There is a P.S. to this but I think it belongs below the other footnotes, so I’m going to put it there.****

*Not really but it sounds more dramatic this way, plus allows me to link to earlier material, which increases readership. It’s a fundamental rule of media: Readership over truth. Deal with it.

**Exhibit A: He wasn’t paying attention.

***Not really but a lot of people think so and who am I to argue?

****This is the P.S.: P.S. Carey is actually absolutely correct and was a great deal of fun last night. I only said the thing about him trying to look inconspicuous because it seemed like an amusing thing to say at the time and my sense of humor, however un-funny it may be to anyone else, often trumps my common sense and sense of fairness. Also, Carey and I aren’t actually arguing at all.*****

*****Actually, we are arguing, but only because we think it’s funny. It’s how we say “I love you.”******

******My next entry won’t have so many asterisks. I recognize that it’s gotten a little out of hand. I apologize.*******

*******Please don’t tell Carey he was right. I would prefer to win this argument. Thank you.

Heather Today, June 9 2012 (Updated at the Bottom)

Here is what we did tonight:

Here is what Everett thinks is the epitome of performance art:

Hint: He’s shaking his booty.

Monty & Carey were there too. Monty was reading a book he heard about on NPR. Reading. A novel. That he heard about: On NPR. <3 TOTALLY acceptable excuse to not be dancing. Carey, however, was trying to look inconspicuous and pretending not to know us. I’m not sure why. So all the pictures are of Eli and Everett and me:

Dancing at Rivergate 225x300 Heather Today, June 9 2012 (Updated at the Bottom)
Dancing at Rivergate

What you don’t see here are the various little kids that occasionally joined our dance-a-thon and laughed and talked and showed us new moves, and then later shunned us because their parents told them about “stranger danger” and then they were too scared to look us in the eye. I have lots to say about that, but I’ll just give it a single sentence for now: Use a little common sense, people. Also: Stop scaring the crap out of your kids. Finally: They’ll be safer if they learn to distinguish between “safe” and “unsafe” interactions rather than a blanket “all strangers are dangerous.” Finally: Sigh.

And: Everett spent part of his time playing ball with a family nearby that also had children and a dog, and who were within full view of us at all times, and he is not afraid of strangers and I like it that way. This is the last I’m going to say on the topic (for real): I read this in a parenting magazine today and liked it: “We can’t keep them safe all the time, but we sure can drive them crazy trying.” That.

In other news, Carey and I have now been married for 16 years.

Wedding Party 300x225 Heather Today, June 9 2012 (Updated at the Bottom)
Happy couple--with Rebecca Catalanello, Keli Enzweiler, Julie Head, and Mary Whittemore

We made it this far. And shhhhhhh… I think there’s a good chance we’ll make it the next sixteen, but don’t tell Carey. It’s a surprise.

Also I am so tired I can’t even process much of what is being said to me, so I’m a little worried about what I might have said here tonight. So I’m just going to hit “publish” and then go to bed. Because going to bed first and then hitting “publish” after I’ve had a chance to check my work in the morning when I’m slightly coherent would be quite sensible and also very boring. I like to live on the edge. Wild thing.

Also, I’m planning to let Gunner tell his story soon.* Maybe.**

*The one he’s planning to dictate to me.***


***For pretend.*****

****As soon as I’m less tired.******

*****The mythical fact that he’s dictating is for pretend but the story is for real.*******

******Or at least more coherent.********

*******To the best of my knowledge.

********Does anybody know if that’s ever the case?*********

*********And can someone please count the asterisks and see if I got all the footnotes in order?**********

**********Thank you.***********

***********I’m pretty sure I should go to bed now.************

************Note: Never use footnotes when you’re tired. Trust me on this.*************

*************Colons are dodgy too. When you’re tired, I mean: Not colons like the body part. You need those ALL the time, even when you’re tired: I mean the grammatical (punctuation?) colons. The ones that look like this: : Those: They’re dodgy. When: You’re tired. Also: Body part colons you really only need one of ever. **************

**************Unless you get cancer or something, in which case you might need a second one, probably from an organ donor aka cadaver. This is all really highly inappropriate to be joking about. Cancer: Really serious stuff. Also organ donation. And it’s disrespectful to talk about an organ donor as being a cadaver. Just for future reference.

***************I should have hit “publish” when I said I was going to.

(UPDATED: When you get done reading this one, there’s an important update here:

Heather Today, June 7, 2012

I am tired tonight. I had to write a hard email. I know–first world problems, right?

Nevertheless, I’m wimping out and leaving you with only this:

Mantissa Corporation

That’s the magazine article I wrote that came out today in Greater Charlotte Biz magazine. And despite the fact that it’s about a manufacturer (boring, right?) it’s not at all boring. In fact, these guys cracked me up and I LOVED meeting them. But I’m way too tired tonight to remember why so I’ll just leave it there.

Also, Gunner let me know today that he wants to tell his story*, and asked me to take dictation**, but I’m too tired for it tonight***.

*This didn’t actually happen. It’s really just that I now have permission to tell his whole story online and I want to so I’m going to, and I thought it would be cute to write it as though Gunner were telling his own story.

**This also didn’t actually happen. Gunner doesn’t know I take dictation.

***This really did happen.

P.S. I’m pretty sure there was something else I was going to say but man I’m… … oh look, kitty!

Kitty1 Heather Today, June 7, 2012
Big Kitty Noses Are Cute Too

Heather Today, June 5 2012

Gunner Update:

Best. Dog. Ever. He spent a fair portion of the day lying across Monty’s lap watching television. Then he came to Petsmart with me, where he promptly impressed everybody by getting so excited he couldn’t control himself so that I had to leave and come back later. The poor pup has probably never been in a Petsmart in his life, nor seen so many other dogs at once.

But then when I did come back, with Monty to help, Gunner amazed everyone by behaving as though he’d been coming to Petsmart all his life and, oh hi, look, there are other dogs here isn’t that interesting? He got carried away a bit a couple more times, but altogether did extremely well.

We also figured out how much fun it is to walk around the lake together off-leash (the lake is fenced, and rarely frequented by anyone else). I’m training him to recall on command, and he’s doing very well with sit and stay and come as well.

He and the cat are still not happy with each other. Inara is living in our bedroom now, and really hates being taken out to see the dog. He gets excited and scares her and … it’s just not a happy relationship right now. Hopefully it will get better.

Me Update:

Guess what? I looked really great today. I know that comes as a surprise. But everyone said so. My secret? My friend Mary Beth. She’s a custom clothier with this really cool service for professional women. Among other things, she came to my house and went through my wardrobe with me. She’s having most of my clothes tailored to fit better. She helped me clear out some things that just weren’t working for me, cataloged what I have, showed me new ways of combining and dressing up my things, and altogether made a whole new wardrobe out of what I already have–one that actually reflects who I am and the professional message I want to send. Amazing. Then she told me what to wear this week and said that I would immediately start getting compliments on my appearance. And boy did I ever. From the moment I walked into the office this morning to the end of the day with a visitor in our house, I got comment after comment. And it was all clothes I already have! Amazing. Check her out.

Elsewhere around the Web:

The Faerie Palace on Curiosity Cat Within a ten minute walk of our house, we have access to woodland streams, giant boulders, a frog pond, and many other wonders. Our favorite is the Faerie Palace. Come see it.

Lev Grossman announced the winner of the Great Magician Song Cover Version Contest. It wasn’t us. We didn’t even get an honorable mention, but that’s okay because there were so many great entries. I haven’t told the kids yet–I kinda forgot this evening. They’ll be disappointed. Then they’ll remember that we had a blast doing it and they’ll be glad we did.