Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stealing Blog Ideas...

This week has been kind of slow for blog content. I promise, I really do try and pay attention to things so that I write about them, but seriously, this has been a big nothing week. Mostly, the day to day has passed me by because I've been pretty stressed. When I get like that, I'm pretty useless and the past few days have been no exception.

I seem to get myself into some strange situations at work because I am pretty much up for anything when it comes to assignments. If it's something besides prepping tax returns, I'll volunteer for it. Well, as you can imagine, sometimes being so amenable to new experiences can get me in trouble. My lastest adventure was as an "expert witness". Yes, I am now an official expert witness.

In retrospect, I think that I can say it was an overall positive experience. However, having never been involved in a trial, I have to admit that I was so nervous I could barely see straight. I guess I felt that if I didn't do well on the stand that I would look like such an idiot, so there was a lot of self imposed pressure. The reality is that as a CPA, the stuff that I have to testify about is so dry and boring, most of the court was about to drift off to sleep by the time I was finished (me included). I just wanted it to be over so that I could stop torturing everyone. Maybe that was the tactic...
Anyway, I mentioned that I was stealing blog ideas. Someone I used to know in what seems like another life started up a blog recently and posed a question about ranking your top five cities. At first, I thought that this would be a really easy topic, but damn if it didn't start me thinking, and thinking... At first, I listed five cities quickly. Then, as I read my list, I started to think that I sounded a little pretentious. It wasn't as if I didn't love the cities that I'd listed, but I was afraid that I would come off as someone that wanted to show that I'd traveled a bit. Oh, look at me, I've been here and here and here.

Then, I thought about how I was really overthinking the question. The idea was essentially to list five cities that mean something to you. When you boil it down to that, it gets a little easier (at least for me). So, here goes. My top favorite cities with explanations (and in no particular order):

1. Paris - I spent about four ridiculously amazing nights here with Blake and our friends Jessica and Phillip. The food was so delicious that nothing since has come close. The wine flowed with abandon and the streets were brimming with possibilites. I doubt that I will ever feel that free again and I savor the memories. Plus, you have to love a city wherein a waiter busts a plate on your head. It's just too wonderful and glorious.

2. Inverness, Scotland - It isn't so much the city that got to me but the highlands surrounding it. Not to knock the city, it was wonderful. Blake and I skipped the meal that had been planned for us and we found a little restaurant and ate alone. Then, we wondered into the square and joined a group of pipers. It was great and cemented my love of the Scottish culture and the Highlands in particular. I can't say enough about the beauty of that place. It I ever go missing, look for me here (or don't).

3. Stockholm - If you've ever been to this gorgeous city, you really don't need much of an explanation from me. But, it is such a beautiful place that your brain almost doesn't believe what your eyes are seeing. I think also this place will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first international destination for the Doerr family of three. Yes, Catie got her first passport stamp in Sweden.

4. San Francisco/Seattle/New York - This is a three way tie. All of these cities are a bit iconic, so you can probably imagine why I love them. But, I think the main point here is that in a country that continues to lose it's regional flavor, these cities seem to stand out with their individual flair. As for San Fran, how could you not love it? Seattle is so pretty, no matter what time of year you visit. New York... Ah, New York. Teresa Kroh and I hit the city in July of 2006 and I must say that we blazed a path right through. We managed to tear that city up in about three days. All I can say is that it lives up to the hype. It really does...

5. Montreal/Quebec City - These two cities tie because they are so impressive and so close. Montreal is so like a European city in that it has great little cafes and a beautiful Old Town. Plus, an additional factor in its favor is the lack of jet lag. Quebec City is the oldest walled city in North America and I loved it at first sight. We stayed at the Chateau Frontenac which is situated on the city walls. Wow. By being situated on the city walls, it overlooked the St. Lawerance river. Amazing view. Really though, the meaning for me here was that our trip to these two cities was the last trip that Blake and I took as a twosome. I can hardly remember now what being a "twosome" felt like but I bet it was kind of boring with all of the free time stuff...

So, thanks Wick for supplying some content for my blog entry. I hope you don't mind me borrowing, but it was such a compelling idea that I just couldn't let it go.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Touring Downtown T-Town

Saturday I needed to get out and do something. Since I'm (surprisingly) still committed to exploring Oklahoma, I thought I'd start out with something easy. I happened to notice on the public announcements board at Petty's that a local architecture group was sponsoring a tour of downtown tulsa apartments and condos. I've wanted to checkout these places for a while since everytime I look at my yard I long to live some place surrounded by concrete. Also, though I hate to admit it, I'd welcome a reason to evict certain feline inhabitants of my household. Anyway...

Jessica and I started the tour at the Philtower Lofts and I have to say that I was really impressed. Since I work just a few buildings down, I was aware of these apartments and have been curious about them for a long time. The first one we saw was just gorgeous. The apartment had a rooftop patio overlooking Boston Avenue and another patio off the master that had an east facing view. The kitchen was complete with high end finishes and the decor was contemporary. Jessica and I loved it and I was imagining myself living there anxiety ridden about Cayton falling over the railing on the patio. Yeah, great place, not really right for me...for now.

The next stop was the Tribune Lofts. They were pretty cool, but I think they would have been more impressive if the cabinetry and countertops were a little more "urban". I just don't think ceramic tile countertops really play into my concept of loft living. That is, unless they were going for a "urban meets country" thing, which I doubt. The second unit was a two bedroom apartment and I have to say that the concrete countertops made a lot more sense. But again, the all white walls, white cabinets and the white appliances were too much for me. I guess I spent too many years in OU dorms to be able to deal with so much white. I guess it's a little too much "near death experience" for me.

After the Tribune, we headed north toward the heart of Brady District. This place is NOT hopping on a Sunday afternoon. Well, there were a few Goth kids hanging out in front of Cain's which was were we ended up because of the crappy map that we were provided for finding The Boston Apartments. According to the map, the apartments should have been at Main and 244. So, we figured they had to be close to Cain's, which would have been a pretty good landmark. HA! After trudging all the way down there in the soupy humidity that is common on an Oklahoma June afternoon, we realized the map was very, very wrong. It was at this point that we noticed the address was 21 1/2 BRADY. Even though I maintain that the map was wrong, this should have been a big clue.

Despite our poor reading comprehension skills, we made it to the Boston Apartments and it was worth the trek. The owner had created a beautiful little bohemian retreat (OK, at least it's what I think of as Bohemian. I am really not sure I actually know what that means). It appeared that she had combined two units and so it was quite large. Jess and I were pretty much in love with it, but there was one huge drawback. Window units... Maybe if I hadn't just walked a mile out of my way and maybe if I hadn't had sweat pouring off of me, I wouldn't have been so turned off by the lack of central heat and air. But, amazingly, I toured the whole place in about a minute and a half, tore ass down the stairs and back to my car. I blasted the air for a few minutes and only then could I appreciate how really pretty the place had been.

The next stop was the Village at Central Park. Now, this place looks really cool. The condos are brownstones and it really does look like a Tulsa version of a neighborhood of brownstones. I was excited when these started to go up and I've been dying to get over there and give them the ol' eyeball. Again, Jess and I were totally winging it and ended up touring a couple of places that weren't on the tour but were open houses put on by realtors. Oh well, it was fun anyway. The first two places we checked out were being shown by a realtor and they were totally empty. Note to self: leave some furniture in your house if you are ever trying to sell it. A big empty apartment is just not all that appealing. But, they were a nice size and the layouts were pretty cool.

We eventually made it to the unit that was actually on the tour. Wow, that is all I can say. Wow. The owners went all out on this one. It was straight out of one of those decorating magazines that feature houses that look better than your house ever will. Seriously, I could have licked the floors they were so yummy. I had a serious case of house envy and I'm not even lying. Jessica and I could barely contain our excitement. We raced all over the house and I was making mental notes all over the place. By the time we left, I had a list of projects for Blake.

The final stop was a big Old Tulsa house at about 16th and Denver. I can't say enough about how beyond the beyond beautiful this house was. It was the kind of house that you wanted to grow up in when you were a kid. The walls were solid, strong and gave off a sense of welcome and security. It was the house that you'd want to have family Christmases in and where you'd want to gather in the kitchen and bake and swap stories. Frankly, I was drawn in by this house and it was by far the cosiest of all of the places that we stopped. I think it had the most soul. I took this tour slowly and savored all of the details in every room. This was one place that felt lived in and I didn't get the feeling that any of it had been staged. Well, that is except for the large number of abstract nude paintings on the wall. That was really a different touch. But, I figured that maybe they weren't a permanent fixture since most of them had a price tag and the artists name on the wall next to them. Check out my house and buy some nekkid paintings! Now that's the way to conduct a house tour...

(By the way, these are the opinions of the author and, really, what do I know? No need to send me any hate mail if you own or built any of these places and don't like what I said.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Grocery Stores Suck, Flor is the Shizzz

Open letter to all grocery stores:

As a consumer, I would like to write to you regarding the sheer torture that a trip to one of your establishments is for me, a mom. Let me explain. I took a trip to buy a few groceries that would enable me to make supper. I didn't need much, just some fruit and bread. It was going to be a simple little outing on the way home from work. Since I was on the way home from work, I stopped to pick up my two year old. I admit, this may have been my first miscalculation, but I really had no choice as I was pretty much her only opportunity for a ride home as her dad was on his way to a concert to see Wol- (never mind, too embarassing).

Anyway, we arrived at the store to find racks up on shiny racks stuffed and overflowing with small items that could only be described as kid magnets. There were rows of fluffy handmade bread, jars of jams and jellies, neatly stacked pyramids of fruit just waiting to topple over. WTF? Yes, this looks nice, but are you just trying to booby trap parents with little kids?

Further, let me just say (a certain small well known Tulsa store should listen up) aisles that are narrower than the arm span of an average size woman are a real pain in the ass. This is especially true when the buggies (or shopping carts for people not from a small town) are GINORMOUS.

Also, I would like to say that often when I go to the grocery store, I am not there for fun. I am there to buy the stuff on my list and make a hasty (and increasingly expensive) exit. So, would it be too much to ask you to reliably stock basic f%^&ing staple items so that I don't have to go to (God Forbid) more than one of your locations in the same day??? Yes, that question warranted three question marks...

To sum up, I would like to see the following changes:

1. Breakable items would be moved to an area out of reach of toddlers

2. Fruit should be put into bins, not stacked to resemble the Eiffel Tower. This is just an unnecessary hazzard and it actually makes ME want to kick it to pieces.

3. Aisles should be at least 8 feet wide so that if a customer stops to peruse the selection it won't cause buggy traffic congestion.

4. Please send the angry teenage stock boy to check supplies so that I can grab a jar of tahini and go. I mean, what kind of store doesn't have a basic staple of middle eastern cuisine??

Thanks for your consideration beotches,


Ok, so we needed a rug for the bedroom now that the hardwood floors are in. I've been obsessed with finding a way to install some Flor carpet tiles because they are SO cool. Finally, the opportunity presented itself and I took it.

Check out these pics of my super cool new rug. It's made up of six different tiles, all with unique textures. I am totally in love.

Runner in the hall

Rug in the bedroom - closeup

Additional view of my new rug

If you want to check out all the options available with these awesome carpet tiles, go to It's really a cool idea for people with kids or pets since you can just pick up a tile and run it under tap water to clean it. When it's dry, you just stick it back down. Awesome.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

On Almost Losing a Finger and Sophie's Killing Spree Continues

Recently, I decided that the Doerr family should focus on sampling the recreation opportunities in Oklahoma. Part of my motivation comes from wanting to see more of my home state and the other was the need to find something to do close to home. I've always found it annoying when people say that Oklahoma has nothing to offer and then when asked, they admit that they've not been to any of the state parks, museums or other offerings. I didn't want to be that person, so I've been making some effort in this area. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

I had never even heard of Oxley Nature Park, but it's in Mohawk Park near the zoo. From the website, I learned that there are walking trails, lakes, wildlife and more (!) So, I told Blake about our weekend plans. He was OK with going, though the forecasted heat didn't make him happy. Cayton was noncommittal but given that she pretty much has to do what I say made me confident that she would go.

When we arrived at the Oxley Nature Park Visitor's Center, we headed in to get our trail map. One of the volunteers asked us if we had bug spray and added that using it would be HIGHLY recommended. So, Blake took Cayton outside and started spraying her down with whatever spray Oxley provided. I grabbed a trail map and joined them out on the deck to get sprayed as well. Cayton was covered pretty good by the time I got out there, but we decided that we should use the bug spray wipes to get her face covered. It's funny how when you review an event in your head, you can often pinpoint the second that everything went to hell. This was such a moment.

I innocently reached into Cayton's diaper bag to grab the bug spray wipes. As it was a new cannister of wipes, I had to push the first wipe through the hole in the lid. Good God Almighty Cutter, but do you have to use weapons grade plastic in your wipes lids??? I found the first wipe, pushed it through the hole in lid with my left pointer finger and found that my finger was stuck. If you've ever seen one of those lids, you'll remember that they have little triangles that clasp the wipe. Well, apparently Cutter feels that these little triangles should be honed to deadly little spikes to avoid losing a wipe. Never mind that my finger was caught in a bug wipe chastity belt thingy.

It took me a minute to realize that I was in trouble. I stood there staring at my finger, every available option running through my head in the space of a couple of seconds.

"Blake, Oh my God, my finger is stuck and I can't get this thing off!"

"What, what's wrong?" Blake adopted a look of concern, but I know he really just summoned every bit of strength to keep from rolling around laughing at me.

"Why did you stick your finger in there?"

"Oh, just for shits and giggles I guess. Can you please just help me get this off of my finger!!????" At this point, my attitude started to dissolve into hysteria. Every attempt to remove the lid was extremely painful and those little triangles were digging into my fingertip. I kept talking but it made less and less sense. It crossed my mind that I would probably break pretty quickly if I were ever tortured for state secrets.

I think I was almost at the point of jumping up and down and tears had started to gather in the corners of my eyes. It was a do or die/lose a finger moment. So, I looked at my poor purple finger tip and took a deep breath. I bent my finger so as to put the pressure on my finger nail and just pulled. It slid a bit painfully off of my finger. The relief was palpable, for me at least. I think Blake pointed out at that I probably shouldn't have pushed my finger so far through the hole and then he laughed his ass off. I hate him.

After I gathered myself following the bug wipe incident, we headed out to discover Oxley. We were surprised to find that the park was extensive and that the trails were groomed and well marked. We had the map out and headed toward one of the lakes. About 5 minutes into the walk, Cayton looked at me and said, "Me carrot", or something like that. This is her request for me to carry her. It seems that whenever Cayton is faced with the prospect of walking more than a few feet, it becomes my job to wag her around. She insists that only Mommy can carry her. It's tiring, but at least I'm beginning to develop some nice arms.

I think the other big miscalculation that I made was taking the family to the woods after a month of rain. If you think the bugs and mosquitoes in your yard are bad, you've not been to the woods in late spring. I can honestly say that I've never seem mosquitoes swarm; now I have. There were so many bugs flying around that they were actually crashing into us. About an hour in, we surrendered. It was great, but wiping bug juice off of my arms and legs really started to dampen my spirits.


Sophie is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known. She's really right up there with my childhood dog, Thumper. She just lives to get our attention and she is in heaven if you pet her. Truly, it's her favorite thing in the world.

Like many serial killers, Sophie does not display any homicidal tendencies. She looks sweet, she loves to play with Cayton and she mostly just sleeps and eats. However, it is now undeniable that she has declared jihad on birds and more recently, possums.

Blake has become the coroner at our house. When we get a report of a dead body, I call him to the kitchen and send him out into the backyard to clean up the crime scene. He's really getting pissed off about this new household duty. However, he has developed a process to dispose of the carcasses. He covers a dustpan with a plastic grocery bag, grabs a big trashbag and he has gloves. That's how often this has happened. He actually has a process.

It is sometimes hard to believe that Sophie has such a mean streak, but I've actually seen her attack a bird. She sits on the deck, looking innocent and bored. Then, when a bird swoops too low, she leaps straight up in the air and grabs the bird in her powerful bull dog jaws. It's really gruesome, not to mention a little sad. But she seems powerless to resist the temptation. She does nothing with the animals that she kills. She just leaves them in a heap on the deck for us to find. She shows no remorse. I guess that's typical of a sociopath.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Naked Jogging and Saying Goodbye

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There really is an explanation for this picture. The problem is, it may take a minute to fully do the story justice. We had pasta for dinner and that is absolutely, without a doubt, Cayton's favorite meal. It doesn't even matter what kind of pasta dish you serve, you'd just better have a ton of it, because she will go "to the pain" as Blake likes to say. Well, the natural result of going to the pain is either a tummy ache or .... Yes, sitting right at the dinner table, Cayton recycled her dinner. It rolled out of her otherwise sweet little mouth, down her shirt and all over the floor. Dinner was officially over.

I grabbed her up (my post baby gross out threshold is REALLY high at this point) and stripped her clothes off of her and set her down on the ground. As I was washing out the regurg', I heard I familiar ripping sound.

"Diaper's gone, " Blake says while still sitting at the table gnawing on something. His disaster reflexes are a bit slower than mine. Anyway, Cayton ends up running around the kitchen in nothing but a smile and some tennis shoes. Luckily, the camera was handy and I caught it. These pictures (there a few more, hahahaha) are going in the vault with the Leon boy's tea party pics. I imagine I can inflict lots of trauma on the kids in a few years' time.
So, I mentioned in my title that I am saying goodbye. Well, I am and it's a heartwrenching moment for me. I am officially bidding farewell to my loose eating habits. I stepped on the scale today. It's really embarrassing when other people at the gym walk in on an otherwise normal looking person standing on the scale in a bra and shorts crying (you girls know that you NEVER weigh fully clothed). It's just not pretty...

The problem is that I am obsessed and completely head over heels for food. I wake up in the morning and think, "How is Cayton and what am I going to eat?" I manage to at least shower and dress before I beeline to the kitchen to get some cereal or a granola bar. When that's done, I instantly think about lunch. No sooner do I make it through lunch that I start thinking about supper. It's relentless! How is a diet supposed to work when I so obviously am a food addict?

Hopefully, I will lose about eight pounds on this diet. I just want to get back to my "comfort" weight. That is the weight that I consider easy to maintain. I have no desire to lose a ton of weight just to gain it all back when I return to normal eating habits. There is no way that I will stick to a Hollywood style diet where I eat nothing but lettuce and breath mints. Like I said above, I really love food. Besides Blake and Cayton, it's my other great love.

So, if I seem depressed for the next couple of days, it's just the sorrow of having to say goodbye (for a while) to eating with abandon. Damn, this is going to be hard. I don't think cheese and wine are on my new diet...