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Joy comes in the mourning

8 Feb

Necklace crafted by Etsy artist, Lisa Hopkins

I’ve cried until my eyes swelled up and blotted until my face went raw.  I’ve mourned long and hard for my dog, and in many ways, still do.  But joy comes in the mourning.

Usually, I have an attitude like this: “God, does ONE MORE bad thing have to happen to me now?  How can I ever move forward with my life?  You are not good or loving or kind.”  Then I feel bad, so I repent yet remain absolutely miserable—a pitiful creature that spurns the happiness of others.

But not this time, not with this incident. 

I knew that I had to CHOOSE to turn my sorrow into thankfulness and find that elusive joy in troubles that James speaks so highly of in his New Testament book.  Even though I mourned and wailed for my lost dog, I thanked God for her life and for choosing me to be her human guardian in her life here on the fallen planet.

And I continued to thank Him for Cassie, and then I thought of more reasons to be thankful.  If Cassie had died a few months ago, I would have completely fallen apart.  Her life was in His hands…and yes, God cares about animals.  He created them, didn’t He? (If you’re in doubt, read the book of Job.  God tells Job that He knows when the mountain goat gives birth on the mountainside.  An infinite God cares about a goat on a mountain somewhere?  Yes, He does.)

Will I react the same way the next time I’m face down with a broken heart?  I hope so, but it’s not a guarantee.  I just know I’m closer now than I was before to finding “joy in all circumstances,” one step closer to choosing joy.  And I’m only asked to take one step at a time with my God. 

Between you and me, I don’t think I could handle much more than that.  Then again, God knows that already, doesn’t He?

Let’s dish…how has joy coming in your mourning?  What helped you arrive at this place?  Or is this still a foreign concept to you—why or why not? 

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Goodbye Cassie, my beloved dog

1 Feb

Cassie the Peekapoo

(March 24, 1999 – January 31, 2012)

I’ve spent the past few minutes updating my online biographies—changing them to reflect that I no longer have two dogs, just one.  I don’t know why this seems so necessary, why I had to move her bed out of my room, asked BFF Sarah to change our four dog bowls to two, or why her favorite toy, Stinky Dog, has been carefully tucked away.  The memory of my beloved dog, Cassie, hangs over my apartment like a thick fog enveloping us all, but me most of all.

It’s been less than 24 hours…and I feel like I’m going through all the stages of grief simultaneously.  Fear, anger, denial, bargaining, and acceptance over and over and over again.  When I woke up yesterday morning, I didn’t think that Tuesday, January 31, 2012 would be the day my dog died.  She was coughing and hacking like she usually does, but it was worse, much more guttural.  As I tried to focus on my daily devotions, I could hear her gasping for breath.  I started crying because I could hear her distress, so I called the vet to make an appointment.  Then I called my mom and asked her to accompany me; I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

Cassie’s horrible coughing echoed through the waiting room.  Apparently, she could be heard all over the clinic.  An examination, x-rays, and a decision—what did I want to do?  The vet gave me some steroids that could help her breath more easily, but they wouldn’t make the large mass in her abdomen/stomach area go away.   When we got back home, I took her on a walk.  Her tail was between her legs, she looked at me for help, for relief, and I knew this was to be our last walk together on a strangely warm, pleasantly golden winter afternoon.

I called the vet and said I didn’t want to make her wait, didn’t want her to suffer anymore.  I wanted to do it tonight, after BFF Sarah came home from work and said goodbye to Cassie.   After BFF Sarah got home, we all sat on the couch—my mom, BFF Sarah, and I—listening to her labored breathing in the silence.  It was deafening.  I called the vet’s office again to see if we could move it up.

I carried my precious dog to my mom’s car, telling her that I loved her all the way to the office.  When we arrived, I held her close and kissed her head letting her know that she was the best dog in the world.  I told her not to be scared, that I would be OK, and that she would soon be out of pain.  The vet came in and I handed Cassie to my mom.  I pulled my sweater hood over my hand and put my fingers in my ears.  I didn’t want to know any of it, see any of it, remember any of it.  I just wanted her to feel my presence in the room.

 Then she was gone. 

I sat in the “doggie death” room staring helplessly at all the books with titles like “Pawprints in Heaven” and wondered if Cassie was running towards my grandparents, if my Poppy would throw Stinky Dog for her like he used to, if my Grammy would feed her from the table when she thought no one was looking.  I wasn’t sure about the theological correctness of it all.  Yet I beleive she is running and jumping and playing and begging for food like she was meant to, not like how she lived on this fallen planet.  As Randy Alcorn says in his book, Heaven, why would God withhold our dearly loved pets from us for all eternity?  When everything sad comes untrue, everything sad, I want to be reunited with my pedigree mutt.

Before I left the “doggie death” room I uttered a prayer.  I thanked God for entrusting Cassie to me for almost 13 years.  I praised Him for my dearly loved companion, that she lived and died well.  I told Him that I was grateful that death will not always have this sting, that our broken world will be redeemed.  I asked God to hold my heart, as I could feel it falling to pieces from the big hole her absence has left.

Then I went home and cried.  Now I go through cycles of overwhelming emotion.  I calm down and then cry, sob, bawl, wail, scream, wretch, and write.  Or hold a very confused Maddy the Shih Tzu with trembling arms. After that, I lose it.  Distract myself, then cry.  I imagine the next few days will be the same.  Distract, cry, distract, cry.  I know God is with me and that Cassie is with Him.  This wound will heal, and maybe my one dog family will become a two dog family again.

But not today.

Today I miss everything about her—the way she barked at nothing, how she demanded to have her food dish refilled, the way her and Maddy playfully zipped around the apartment chasing one another, and the empty little spot by my door where Cassie would lie while I typed.  Perhaps this is where I feel her loss most deeply, our special alone time when I would write and she would watch over me, in between her naps.  During these times, Maddy the Shih Tzu patrols the living room, so it was just Cassie and me, canine and mistress, just as in the days before Maddy came to live with us.  And though Maddy is here and BFF Sarah is home today and I hear Kylie the Cockatiel chirping, I feel alone without my writing buddy.

I miss her so much, loved her so much, cherished my beautiful little dog.  Distract, then cry.  Excuse me while I grab the tissues.  It’s crying time again.

Fat Dogs and Fat Women

31 Aug

My mom's "fat" dog, Katie.

Whenever people encounter my mom’s one dog, Katie, it seems they cannot help but comment on her weight.

“Wow, she’s a little butterball, isn’t she?”

“What a beautiful dog!  She’d be gorgeous if she lost a few pounds.”

“Your dog is fat!  Why is she so fat?” (That’s my favorite tactless statement.)

Sure, Katie is a bit tubby, but why do close friends and even perfect strangers mention it when they encounter her (and of course, my mom, since Katie doesn’t wander the streets alone)?  It just doesn’t seem to be good etiquette to comment on a new acquaintance’s fat dog.

My mom's "fat" daughter (me) . Yes, my family loves dogs.

Not only that, but for people like my mom and me, it drives our suspicions about our own struggles with weight deeper—that when people look at us all they see is a big ball of fat.  They don’t see a person with a name and a history and a personality and a love of books and the outdoors, just fat.  Each of the statements people make about Katie can easily be said to me.  In fact, they have been said to me.

“You have such a pretty face.  If you lose some weight, you would be beautiful.”  (Because apparently I can only date the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man right now.  I mean, he doesn’t seem to be much for conversation, but I guess he’ll do.)

“Do you really need two cookies?”  (No, I don’t.  But I had a bad day and I’m cramming the extra cookie down my throat to make myself feel better.)

“Lose weight and you’ll find a husband. (Uhhh…who says I want a husband?  Maybe that’s just not part of God’s plan for me.  I am painfully aware of how many guys view fat chicks, especially those who sport “No Fat Chicks” t-shirts.  I am told that confidence is sexy to guys, but haven’t actually found that to be the case.)

And I know people are just dying to say, “You’re fat!  Why are you so fat?”  I don’t know!  Because I ate two cookies?  Because I don’t exercise enough?  Because I’ve only been able to effectively lose weight by eating grass (it was salad, but it tasted like grass) and chicken noodle soup?

I know I need to lose weight, not so I can nab a husband, but so I can feel better and be healthier person.  But I do not need to be reminded of the fact I need to lose weight by well-meaning friends and family members.  It’s not like I woke up one morning and “forgot” I’m fat.  I am aware of it all the time—when I don’t sit on flimsy lawn furniture for fear my girth will break it, when a store doesn’t have clothes in my size, when I look in the mirror (or avoid looking in the mirror), when I don’t pretend it bothers me.  Believe me, I know better than anyone that I’m fat.

Then why don’t you do something about it?  (Another fun question.)

It takes time, lots of time.  It took a lifetime to get like this, but it won’t take a lifetime to undo it.  There are physiological, psychological, physical, mental, and personal issues at play.  Sadly, eating salad and exercising isn’t as easy as it sounds due to financial limitations (healthy foods cost more), emotional issues (food is comforting), mental health issues (depression and anxiety suck the energy right out of you.  Plus, my fear of open spaces and crowds doesn’t help at all), and medical issues (my medications make it hard to lose weight.)

But I know this woman/man/horse/what who (fill in the blank with weight loss tip) and lost 80-100 pounds!

Everyone knows someone who lost a massive amount of weight and that’s great for that person.  I am not getting weight loss surgery (as it could *kill* me), trying a fad diet, joining Weight Watchers (can’t afford it), signing up for Jenny Craig (can’t afford it and their commercials are incredibly annoying.  Their commercials alone make me want to stay fat.  Sometimes people who have successfully lose weight are most annoying) or Curves (can’t afford that either). 

I am going to do this thing my own way—slowly as I learn to enjoy food, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.   I am not going to trade one problem for another.  I am going to trust my therapist and my doctor to treat my eating disorder, those close to me (who someone don’t even see my fat), and my God to make it through.

So, instead of focusing on whether or not I take one or two cookies, how my fat has ruined my chances at love, and why I’m fat, maybe you should take a look at that plank of condemnation in your own eye.  Hear that rattle?  The skeletons in your closet are calling.  You just don’t wear them on your physique for all to see and judge.

And while you’re at it, stop calling my mom’s dog “fat”!  Animals don’t like it either.

(Note:  All thoughtless remarks, insulting comments, and diet tips will be deleted.  Remember, I am Backseat Writer’s benevolent dictator.)

What is something you wish you could hide? (It doesn’t have to be physical.)  What thoughtless remarks are repeated to you by people “just trying to help”? (And how are you dying to respond?)  Do you think my mom’s dog is *that* fat? (I think she’s cute. By the way, I groomed her myself.)  Do you have a fat pet?  Do people comment on your fat pet?

Friday Faves: I Survived My Wal-Mart Shopping Experience Edition

24 Jun

On Wednesday, I accompanied my mom on a shopping excursion to the scourge of all giant retail chains–Wal-Mart.  Not just any Wal-Mart, but a SUPER Wal-Mart (though it’s not the biggest, nor super-est Wal-Mart I’ve ever visited.  It’s certainly the most unpleasant.)  Since she’s developed an ulcer on the bottom of her foot, she has been forced to wear a boot which makes driving (and walking) difficult.  While Mom loaded herself into a motorized cart, she gave me the task of following her with a shopping cart and dubbed me “Lady Amy, Keeper of the Cane.” (That’s a fancy way of saying, “My mom shoved her cane into the shopping cart and told me to push it.”)

Now, in general, it is hard to keep up with my mom in stores.  She starts pushing her shopping cart haphazardly–rushing ahead one moment, stopping the next  )without informing her fellow shoppers, who continue on).  All this is made worse with an electric cart.  My mom was flying through Wal-Mart like she would get a $10,000 prize for “Fastest Disabled Shopper in an Electric Cart.”

Forget trying to look at anything.  It was a work-out trying to keep up with Speedy McSpeedster.  So I lost my mom.  Multiple times.  I hate being alone in congested stores like Wal-Mart on busy afternoons, especially when I’m crabby because of the heat and humidity oppressing our region, the screaming kids running up and down and around the aisles, and the ever-changing product locations.  Wal-Mart, would it really be too difficult to keep “Seasonal” items in the same place every time I shop at your store?

After yelling at some kids who were screaming like howler monkeys as they flicked each other with Martha Stewart brand towels, I sought refuge in the book and magazine section of the store.  While perusing luscious literature, I discovered this hilarious product placement (see photo below.) Photo caption contest, anyone?

Shopping at Wal-Mart feels like "23 minutes in hell."

Finally, it was time to check out.  Despite having 100 cashier counters, approximately five of them were open—four of which were for 20 items or less.  Therefore, I instructed Mom to speed over to the self-check-out.  We were about to do what I hated other people doing—buying a multitude of groceries at self-check-out.  And I did it—only slightly shamed—and disrupting the system a total of seven times (the cashier didn’t even have to come over.  She just pressed a button from her kiosk.)

I loaded Mom’s items in my vehicle, backed out of my space, and silently prayed I would make it out of the Wal-Mart parking lot without getting into an accident or hitting a pedestrian.  The Wal-Mart parking lot is a Wild West of its very own, and I, friends, am not brave enough to pioneer it on a regular basis.  Those are the sordid details of my grumpy Wal-Mart adventure—some of which I’m proud of (like telling those annoying kids to stop acting like howler monkeys) and some of which I’m not-so-proud (telling my mom to stop acting like a howler monkey.)  All-in-all, I think I learned some valuable lessons here:

1. Electric riding carts should come with a GPS unit that allows daughters to keep track of their free-wheeling mothers.

2. When yelling at other people’s children, expect a confrontation with Momma Bear.  Or in this case, “I-Don’t-Care” Momma.

Me: “Your kids are running around screaming.  You need to some something.

IDC Momma: “So?  They’re my kids.  What does it matter to you?”  Far off look, as though she sees pink bunnies hopping down the aisle.

Me: “It matters to me because they’re annoying me.” Walk away in a huff.  Not the best exemplification of Christ.

3.  There is a plentiful selection of Oreos available at Wal-Mart, including the much sought after Mint Oreos, which can be used to make this delicious recipe.  My “Oreo Buddies” on Twitter will be overjoyed at this discovery.

4. It is less stressful to drive in New York City at rush hour on a Friday than it is to drive in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

5.  Finally, Wal-Mart’s underwear prices really are unbeatable.

I hope that my story will help you have a more pleasurable Wal-Mart shopping experience.  But I doubt it.  You know what I don’t doubt?  That you will enjoy the smattering of excitement awaiting you in some of the best stuff I found around the web this week…

*The brand new OWL CITY album is out!  All Things Bright And Beautiful released June 14, but I purchased it on iTunes this week with a gift card.  So far, “Alligator Sky” (without the rapper) is my fave song, but “Honey and the Bee” is flirting with my affections. Review forthcoming.  If you’re an extreme Owl City fan, you might want to buy the album on iTunes for the bonus song, “How I Became the Sea” for $9.99.  On Amazon, it’s $7.99 to download and $11.88 for a hard copy (plus shipping, of course).  Plus, if you don’t have Owl City’s first album, Ocean Eyes, you can download it for $5.99 on Amazon. Ocean Eyes contains the hit song “Fireflies” and lots of other awesome.  I highly recommend both albums.

*My friend, Shari, is doing a giveaway on her blog for a $20 gift code to DaySpring’s Online Store.  You can read her story about how all things are possible and leave a comment to enter. Enter now because her giveaway ends TODAY!!! (My DaySpring review and giveaway is coming up on Monday.)

*Over at The High Calling, Gordon Atkinson wrote a beautiful post called “A Letter to My Doubting Daughter.”  Sometimes I’m the doubting daughter and sometimes I’m a “father” who wants someone I love to understand and cling to my faith.  Prepare to tear up. (Amy’s personal note: I think I find this so emotional because I wish my own father wrote a letter like this to me when I was wrestling with my doubts.  I wish he wasn’t wrestling with his own doubts.  Father/daughter situations always make me sad.)

*This is my dog, Maddy the Shih Tzu, attacking those airbags that cushion mail packages.  She seems to think ripping them apart is hilarious.  Now my friends and family are saving these little treasures so the world can have more videos like the one you see above starring Madddy with a special appearance by Cassie the Peekapoo, my hand, my voice, and Shari talking in the background.

*Shannon over at Books Devoured (yes, the same chick who made the Kindle vs. Nook Color video from last week) wrote a great post this week called “Burning the Pretty Candles.”   She writes about how she saves eagerly anticipates book releases, buys books, but saves them for later.  Oh, Shannon, I am the same way!  There’s always another book to review or something to write and I find I’m not enjoying myself.  I forget about the music I really want to listen to and the books I really want to read.  It’s a great post, so check it out!

*Finally, I want to tell you about the exciting new ketchup packaging available at Chick-fil-a.  Gone are the days where you have to squeeze your ketchup out of a little packet or pump it into a mini-cup.  Now  you can do both–dip or squeeze!  Are these not the best ketchup packages available?!  I just want to get an order of waffle fries so I can squeeze and dip to my little heart’s content.

Stop back next Friday when I disclose information about a top-secret project I’m working on called “Amymore.”  It is going to be just like “Pottermore,” except completely different.  I may or may not make this a video announcement, but if I do, I promise I’ll wear make-up and probably brush my hair (maybe even my teeth!)  There you have it, I’m announcing my announcement.

Of course, I know that you’ll be back way before next Friday because I’m kicking off a special contest on Monday in conjunction with DaySpring and (in)courage to win $35 gift code to DaySpring’s online store. Next Friday is also the start of the Freedom Giveaway Hop, which runs from July 1-7 and I’ll be giving away something special.  Trust me; you don’t want to miss it!

Now it’s your turn, answer one or all of the following questions–what are your shopping trips to Wal-Mart like?  Did you check out the new Owl City album?  Did you enter Shari’s giveaway?  Are you gonna enter my giveaway? Do you put ketchup on your chicken sandwiches?  Are you a squeezer or dipper when it comes to your waffle fries?  What do you think about the launch of Amymore?  Do you burn your pretty candles?  Aren’t my dogs the cutest ever?  What do you say to your doubting loved ones?

Updated Review Policy and My Love Note to the FTC

10 Mar

Hear ye, hear ye!  I have updated parts of Backseat Writer’s Review Policy and added a bit of plain speak to my FTC Disclosure.  Read on, you know you want to…

REVIEW POLICY

Request for reviews/interview/marriage proposals can be sent to amy@backseatwriter.com.

Why, yes, I would love to review your album, book, movie, or product!  Due to time restraints, that book I’m eventually going to write, and my personal preferences, I may not be able to honor all requests for reviews, interviews, or Nigerians who want to wire me money.

Before you hit me up with your latest and greatest, please note that I will only accept music for review (and artist interviews) that is downloadable or send to me via snail mail.  Additionally, I will only accept books that are readable on Kindle or sent to me in hard copy format (again, in the mail).  My reasoning?  I need my music and reading material to be portable—to go with me where I need to go.  That’s how I live life and that’s how I review materials.  I cannot be chained to my computer listening to music or reading books.

Additionally, I retain the right to accept or reject all materials based on quality of content and whether or not I believe the materials fit in with the vision of Backseat Writer.  Usually I can tell whether or not something is a good fit by the press release and I will tell you so before you send materials, so feel free to send your queries to amy@backseatwriter.com.

I also added this to that terribly interesting FTC Disclosure or what I like to call “My Love Note to the FTC”…

I do not get paid to do reviews or interviews (though if anyone wants to hire me for freelance work, I’m listening.)  I do not accept money in exchange for posting press releases or endorsements.  All content is generated for the pure love and joy of writing!

Links included in posts are for informational purposes only and are never composed for the purpose of including advertising.

No record company, publisher, publicist, band, artist, hobbit, or gnome will ever influence the content, topics, or posts made in this Backseat Writer, though they may inspire a few!

Any time you want to review parts of my publications policies, you can click on the “About Backseat Writer” tab and read your little heart out.  It is slightly more interesting than watching paint peel.

They Don’t Know Why We Celebrate

23 Dec

A Christmas photo in which the dogs started play fighting. Sigh.

Every year, my best friend and I buy our two dogs Christmas presents.  As we unwrap candy cane-shaped bones and Pupperoni packages, my dogs’ excitement builds.  Relatives visit and sneak little tidbits of food to the dogs.  They have no idea why they’re getting all these extra treats or visitors, but for them, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…I guess.

Unfortunately, my dogs have no idea why or what we’re celebrating.

My dogs greet the holiday with the same enthusiasm as they do a daily walk, a game of fetch, or a visit to my mom’s apartment.  Dogs simply do not have the intellectual capacity to understand Christmas, but they sure do get excited about it.

Don’t we all get excited about Christmas?  The songs surrounding the holiday season, lights and tacky decorations adoring houses, and that ol’ feeling of Christmas in the air.  While Santa Claus, Rudolph, and Frosty are fun; they aren’t the real stars of the holidays.  Moralistic values teach us that Christmas is a spirit and goodness that seems to saturate our society, yet hearts still get broken, people murdered, and loved ones die, even on Christmas day.

Somewhere between presents piled high beneath the Christmas tree, watching Elf for the 1000th time, and drinking egg nog, we miss the real meaning of Christmas.  I know I’m not saying anything new.  What concerns me though is that we, as Christians, have no idea why we celebrate.  Wrapping presents, baking cookies, hopping from holiday party to holiday party, we become busy, miserable, and just wish we could forget the whole thing.

We have no idea why we celebrate either.

The tiny infant and his virgin mother are sometimes lost behind Santa’s sleigh and our shopping list.  We still find him nestled in a plastic manger in light-up (sometime blow-up) nativities.  He adorns our Christmas cards and is celebrated in our songs.  But our hearts are far from Him.

He was born to die.

For us.

To undo the curse as far as it is found.

And, oh, that mean old curse ravages our lives—tears our families apart with drug addiction and divorce, scars us with dark pasts, and obscures our view of the future.  Watching a loved one die a slow and painful death one year made me realize how far this curse is truly found and why we needed Jesus to come to save us.  We are helpless and without hope.  Yet over 2000 years ago, Hope for the human race came to earth, and what’s why we celebrate.

Though my dogs can’t possibly understand the depth of the Gospel—the beginning of the story—you can!  So instead of being caught up in squeaking toys and Snausages like my dogs, remember God’s true gift, which is too big and too wonderful to fit under any tree.  And it is too marvelous to keep to your self.  This Christmas be sure to tell a world looking for a true Savior why you celebrate.

Amy’s Favorite Things, Vol. 2

9 Dec

Since Oprah dropped the ball on her favorite things this year, it looks like I’m going to have to take up the slack (incidentally, I’ll also be taking over for Oprah when the daytime talk show queen turns in her microphone).  I’m sorry I won’t be able to send Backseat Writers a crap load of cool stuff to celebrate “Amy’s Favorite Things” (AFT) but you do have a chance to win an AFT Prize Pack, which includes an Oh Deer Super Dooper Pocket Pooper Keychain, a stuffed cow I got for free at Chick-Fil-A, an unopened package of Ice Breakers Ice Cube Gum I found on my desk, a beautiful star ornament created with my very own hands, and a personalized Christmas card with a holiday picture of my dogs inside (actually, anyone can get one of those, just e-mail me your mailing address).  Who needs fancy schmancy items like digital cameras and expensive make-up when you get can win stuff like this?

Without further ado, I present you with my favorite things of 2009.

AMAZON’S 50 ALBUMS FOR $5 (OR LESS)

Every month the world’s largest online retailer picks 50 albums that cost only $5 to download (but they picked 100 for December).  And every-so-often they slash prices even more—to a mere $2.99.  Over the year, I’ve been able to snag the latest from Sherwood, Owl City, Mat Kearny, and others.  Right now (12/09), you can get Green River Ordinance’s Out of My Hands (read interview), Switchfoot’s Hello Hurricane,  Relient K’s Let it Snow Baby…Let It Reindeer, The Almost’s Monster Monster, Beach Boys’ Pet SoundsThe Turtles’ Greatest Hits and The Elf Soundtrack –all for only $5.

TWITTER

Yes, people, I’ve joined the Twitter revolution!  It’s oh-so-fun to exchange silly banter—all in 140 characters or less. (Incidentally, that gushing statement about Twitter is only 119 characters!)

KRISTIN CHENOWETH

OK, while Kristin Chenoweth isn’t a thing; she’s a person and I’ve written about her before (“Snooked on Pushing Daisies“), but there’s more Cheno love to share.  Last spring, Kristin released her authobiography, A Little Bit Wicked, this fall she starred on one of my favorite shows, “Glee” (also performing a rousing duet of “Alone” with Matthew Morrison aka “Mr. Shue”) and she just made a Lifetime movie, The Twelve Men of Christmas.  Plus,  she’s the voice of Rosetta the fairy in the Tinkerbell movies.  There there’s Maddie’s Corner, an organization started by Kristin to help people and animals.  Yes, Kristin has a dog named Maddie and I have a dog named Maddy (Madalyne)!  Who knew? Suffice to say, Kristin Chenoweth is still smokin’ hot and undoubtedly one of my favorite things, er, people.

HOLIDAY ANIMAL CANDY POOPERS

I’ve known about these things for a while, but they never fail to crack me up.  Maybe I’m just immature, but a reindeer with a cranky face pooping brown candies out of his butt is really funny to me.  Plus, the candy-filled key chains and toys have all sorts of hilarious names like Poo-lar Bear (The Sub-Zero Poopin’ Hero), Baa Humbug Sheep (The Grumpy Party Pooper), and Oh Deer! (The Super Duper Reindeer Pooper). Because I love these things so much, I’m offering one of these little guys in my Prize Pack.  It’s a keychain version of Oh Deer for Pooper lovers on the go.

“GLEE”

Is this show great or what?  Singing, dancing, high school drama, a hot Spanish teacher—it’s all the stuff that I wish I had in high school (minus the drama—no one wants that!)  Plus, the cast on “Glee” can really sing.  I’m especially impressed with Lea Michele who plays young starlet Rachel Berry (my fave character) and Matthew Morrison’s vocals have really grown on me (especially during his “Alone” duet with Kristin Chenoweth as well as his mash-up of “Young Girl” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”).  Jane Lynch is also notable as the gym teacher everyone loves to hate—Sue Slyvester.  And that’s how Amy sees it.  Hmm, sounds better when Sue says it.

TINYPIC.COM

What a storage site!  Not only can TinyPic be integrated into your social networks like Twitter and Facebook, but it also offers dandy photo editing tools to touch up digital photographs in a hurry.  No need to use Photoshop for minor edits and TinyPic offers a ton of storage, as well as printing options (which I have yet to use).

HOODED SCARVES WITH POCKETS

Hooded scarves with pockets (HSwP) are a fashion must (guys, feel free to tune out).  It’s a hat!  It’s a scarf!  And it’s got pockets for storage!  I’ve only seen two of these out in the great wide yonder—there was a beautiful cream-colored HSwP at Target for around $17, but the knitting was shabby and coming undone—pass!  I found another HSwP online at Bath & Body Works of all places—a pink, gray, and white patterned beauty that cost $20 on clearance; it has since disappeared.  Sadly, the HSwP pictured on the left is $200, and even though it has faux fur and button—that is still way too pricey.  Even this amazing brown Fair Isle knit is $50, but I can’t figure out how it looks when worn.  If any of you know of any hot deals on HSwP (buttons preferred), let me know!

Well, that wraps up another year of Amy’s Favorite Things !  Now I suppose you want to know how to win AFT Prize Pack.  It is *so* easy.  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me (and the world) about one of your favorite things!  If you Tweet or write a Facebook status note about the contest, you get an extra entry (one for Twitter, and one for Facebook for a grand total of three entries!)  Hint: if you follow @amysondova or @backseatwriter on Twitter, you can RT (reTweet) what I say.  I only wish I was eligible to win this contest.  The contest ends on 12/16 at 12 PM EST. Oh, and don’t forget to re-visit all my favorite things from last year!

Pretty Pets in Costumes with a Pumpkin, Take 2

30 Oct

After deciding to adorn my pumpkin with a bow, I decided to adorn my pets with their Halloween costumes.  Yes, I put my dogs in Halloween costumes–not only at Halloween, but also sometimes just for fun.  And, of course, I took pictures.  Maddy the Shih Tzu (white/gray)  loves dressing up while Cassie the Peekapoo (tan)  detests it and neither dog is fond of wearing hats.  Despite all the tomfoolery, I was able to get both dogs and the pumpkin in some pictures!

It only took 20 minutes to get this shot…sheesh! Maddy looks like she’s turning into a vamp puppy.

Cassie gives up the fight and sits nicely for her picture.

Then Maddy intruded into Cassie’s portrait.

A quick shot of Maddy before she ripped off her hat and started chewing on it. Yes, she needs a haircut!

My Pretty Pumpkin

30 Oct

We’ve had the pumpkin for over a few weeks now sitting on the floor in a plastic bag.  Since I’m back from my whirlwind Florida trip and sick as a dog, I decided it was finally time to decorate that bad boy. Using a Sharpie marker, metallic star stickers, and glittery fairy stickers, I made this::

Then Maddy the Shih Tzu came to investigate::

Not wanting to be left out, Cassie the Peekapoo came over, too, which caused Maddy to start break dancing.  Then both dogs ran over to start playing–no doubt high on Sharpie marker fumes.

It’s National Dog Day!

26 Aug

Until my friend Shari told me about it, I had no idea that today was National Dog Day, but it is.  And she shared tons of information on “Dog Day” books and activities on her website.  Plus, she used a picture of my dear dogs, Maddy and Cassie on her article.  So, check it out!

Since Shari was so kind to post a pic of my dogs on her site, I’m going to post a picture of her dog on my site.  Here’s her beautiful Samoyed, Savannah::

And, of course, I don’t want my dogs to feel left out. Here’s Cassie (10 y/o peekapoo) looking cute and staring at the camera.

And this is Maddy (3 year-old shih tzu)

Here’s the Dynamic Duo together.

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