Pet Butler

I was driving back from the city today when I passed a truck belonging to a business called "Pet Butler." It was painted green and covered in slogans and info about the business. Curious about what they do? They clean up after your pet. That is right....they scoop poop. Their slogan is "Got Poop? We Scoop!"

Who hires someone to scoop up their pet's poop? Who has that kind of money or enough dogs that that task would just be too much of an undertaking? All you need is 5 minutes and a Kroger bag....and that is only if you clean up once a week. If you do it daily the time diminishes to 1 minute and a Kroger bag.

I was so intrigued that I had to visit their website because of course, they have one. It is ridiculous. It is filled with "poop puns." They even have a section for testimonials. Here is what George R. from New Jersey had to say about their services: "You smell that? Me neither, thanks Pet Butler! :)" They even have a "Pet Butler Turdometer" that keeps a running count of the number of poops they have scooped. And if you are so inclined to join the movement there are franchise opportunities.

I just don't understand why some businesses exist. Call me old fashioned, but I will pick up my own dog's poop.


my first tri

On Sunday I finished my first triathlon. I participated in the 2011 IronGirl near Atlanta. The race is a fundraiser for Aflac cancer center for children. It was a sprint triathlon, which consists of a 1/3 mile swim, 18 mile bike and a 3 mile run. In hindsight....and to be honest, in foresight, I should have trained, but I really didn't. I only did 2 of those activities in the same day 3 times and with large breaks in between and I never did all 3 activities in the same day. I swam maybe 6 times, biked twice and ran maybe 10 or so times. Before the race I was the most worried about the swim because I have never swam like that before and as it turns out I should have been. The swim was awful. I got maybe 3 sets of strokes in and could barely breathe. People later said that the swim was much worse than it has been the past....something about the current being bad this year. I don't know the reason...I just know it was bad. I finished it without drowning and was on to the bike. Now I don't really like biking. I try to, but I hate biking up hills. As it turns out, however, the bike was my favorite part of this race. I did really well in it, biked it really fast and passed tons of people, which made up for my bad swim time. It was a very pretty bike course, which helped also. I had not done a transition from biking to running ever and when I finished and stepped off the bike in transition I almost fell over. My legs felt like jello. I had to pull myself together though because I was about to have to run 3 miles. I greatly appreciated the people who made that 3 mile run mostly uphill....that was real sweet.
I did finish though and they named me an IronGirl as I passed over the finish line and adorned me with a bright pink medal. Overall, it was pretty fun. My roommate came and was an excellent supporter...cheering us on and taking pictures to update my facebook status, which makes it look like I carried my phone during the entire race to give my "followers" the play-by-play.
Here are some of the pictures. Pictures of my in the swim cap will not be appearing here or anywhere else in public space....they are pretty rough. Below is transition 1 between the swim and bike.
I think this picture is hilarious. Amy didn't mean to take it, but it is after the bike before I headed out on the run. I was eating a GU, which turned out to be nasty. It tasted like I was shoving melted tootsie rolls in my mouth and the last thing I wanted right then was melted tootsie rolls. The face is priceless.
Here is the all done photo. I was very glad to be finished. There are more pictures on facebook of the event.
I feel pretty accomplished this year. Since last May I have completed my first 10k, half marathon, full marathon and triathlon. I never planned it that way, but that is what happened. I've really enjoyed it.


i love my dog.

I love my dog. She is the cutest and sweetest. She is a faithful friend, a gifted sleeper, a great snuggler and super smart. Lauren says she is too smart to be so bad and sometimes she is bad. But most of the time she is just a good girl. I always wanted a dog and I ended up with a good one. She use to hate her crate. She would salivate the moment you put her in it and when I would return the crate, and she would be soaked...gross. Now she is so good in her crate. Below is a picture of her today. I was working at home in the office and she just got in her crate and curled up to take a nap. So cute!


pictoral representations.

It is difficult to be in a place where you do not know the language. You can't communicate with people. You can't read signs, or labels or menus. This is why I appreciated places that not only had words, but visual representations of those words. Pictures are a lot more universal than languages. I found this picture below to be particularly helpful. I am not sure I would have known how to proceed without it.

Thank you Amsterdam airport....just another way you have raised the bar on customer service. Except, next time you might want to show the water not shooting away from the stick person.


Fishing with Lauren's kids

Three weeks ago, Lauren invited me to go fishing with her special ed class....it might have been one of the most amazing things I have ever been a part of. Some of them were scared to death of worms. Some of them were scared to death of fish. None of them could cast or bait a hook. One kid in particular just liked to continuously reel his in. But every kid caught a fish and most kids caught multiple fish. It was a GREAT!!!!


Yummy Strawberry Cake

Something great happens in April around these parts.....the Strawberry fields open. They are within walking distance of my house, which is very exciting. I love this time of year. I love going and getting a huge bucket of amazing smelling, giant strawberries for $10. We just finished our second bucket already. Last year we found this amazing cake recipe that we used some of strawberries to make and this year we have already recreated this once. If you like strawberry cake (or any cake with cream cheese icing), you will love this.

You can find it by clicking here.

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Adapted from Paula Deen’s Hummingbird Cake

Nonstick vegetable spray
All-purpose flour, for pans
3 cups self-rising flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup pureed strawberries, strained*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 large eggs, beaten
red food coloring**


- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and flour three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.
- Prepare the cake batter; in a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pureed strawberries, vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertips, 26 to 28 minutes.
- Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting (recipe below); frost as desired and refrigerate until ready to serve.

* You can use fresh or frozen strawberries. If you use frozen, let them defrost on a cookie sheet. Then place in a food processor and pulse until pureed. Run through a medium-sized strainer to remove the seeds. If you have some extra strawberries, try whipping up a quick batch of strawberry scones!

** While I did manage to avoid using red colored gelatin, I did add some food coloring to achieve that perfectly pink color. If you don’t care about getting the pink color, feel free to leave it out. I used about 5 drops, but you should add them one at a time until you achieve the color you are looking for.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
~ 3 cups (approx. 1 box) confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 TBL milk (if needed)


- Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
- Slowly add the sugar in 1 cup batches until desired sweetness is achieved. You may need less than 3 cups if you like your frosting less sweet.
- Stir in vanilla. Add milk slowly if you need a looser consistency.


a surprise ending

I have always kind of liked surprise endings. Some surprise endings are good...while others are bad. I am always impressed in the movies when something completely unpredictable happens in the end. Lately, I have realized how often there are "surprise endings" in life. Most of the time days go by in a normal, predictable fashion, but we have no idea that tomorrow is going to throw us this massive curve ball that we never saw coming. The month of April came with a surprise ending. I spent some time in Europe visiting old friends and traveling around, which was amazing. It was one of those highlight of the year experiences. I got back from that trip and went back to work, assuming my new role in the student ministry at Grace and jumping back into emails, phone calls and planning. I worked 3 days and at the end of the 3rd day I was called into an impromptu meeting with my boss and head pastor and I was let go. A surprise ending. I never saw it coming, but who really ever sees something like that coming? I was shocked, and still am. It has been 3 weeks since that day and I have run back and forth through the full gamut of emotions so many times. I have done the "Why me?" and the "This isn't fair!" and all the other things you think. I have had 1000 conversations in my head with the people who let me go, thinking of all things I should have said (most of which are better unsaid). Mostly, I miss people. I miss my coworkers...some truly great people that I love. I miss my students and wonder if they wonder why I just suddenly disappeared. I am sad to have spent over a year doing something I didn't love, to have finally moved into something that I do love and to have lost the opportunity so quickly. The reason for the pink slip was financial, but no reason ever really makes you feel better.
In the days following the event I received lots of emails, texts and phone calls, which have been a great encouragement to me. I have been well supported by my family, friends and coworkers and have felt loved in a time of uncertainty and despair. In all of this the Lord has provided several conversations and people who have been able to lay a foundation of hope underneath the present feelings of sadness. This is a place where there is huge opportunity for lies to be spoken and to take root, which means it is also a place where truth can be spoken and I blessed to have some good people combating those lies with exhortation. I do believe that the Lord is leading me to something "better." Something that is a better fit for me....something that is more in line with my gifting....something that He has uniquely wired me to do. I think that in a few months or years I will look back and be amazed at how this "surprise ending" has led me into a greater story. Right now I am still grieving....moving forward, but still grieving. What is it that Matchbox Twenty says?....."Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." I suppose we will see.