Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Celebrating the Birthday Boy

This is the first year that I felt I managed to give Trevor an extraordinary birthday celebration. He always begs for a party, but most years I've just been too exhausted to think about having a party for him. This year, I promised that he could invite six kids. He invited half boys and half girls. I think this was a mistake because none of the girls attended and thus his party was kind of small. However, I didn't mind the small size. It turned out to be a lot of fun and only moments of stress.

Trevor wanted this skull and crossbones cake that he saw on-line:

(photo taken from the coolest cakes site).

As you can see, mine didn't quite make the grade. For starters, I failed to cut the skull portion of the cake to reflect skull shape (left it mostly round). Then, I decided to use wax paper beneath the cake (as seen on so many tutorials). Alas, I used large pieces and when I went to remove them, they shifted the cake so that the fragile bone sections and the right portion of the face shifted, creating a landslide of frosting (a frosting-slide?):

The two boys who came brought presents that were perfect for Trevor. One boy brought a gross zombie drink kit and the other boy brought a ton of drawing supplies (paper, clipboard, colored pencils).

The boys seemed to enjoy the simple games we planned as well. We started with a bean bag toss which we called "Haunt the Ship" (since we used the ghost bean bags we had made for his Kindergarten Halloween party last year). Trevor drew the ship on foam board.

Then, the boys played "Sink the Ships," attempting to get the most ping pong balls in two pirate ships.

I think their favorite game of all (and the one that led to some stress because the boys got pretty wound up) was the target practice game. We lined stuffed animals up on the book bar and had the boys take turns trying to shoot them down with a dart gun. Eventually, we realized that the game was far easier when we used the ghost bean bags. I think they may have beaned each other a time or two, as well.

We finished with a treasure hunt for the goodie bags.

Trevor loved the gifts he received from us, as well. It seemed like they were a bunch of little things (some even thrift store finds), but all things he loved. He was especially thrilled by the black book he received from his dad. He has shifted his artistic development from drawing skulls and monsters to a dedicated focus on graffiti writing. He watches endless You Tube videos of graffiti artists who draw in these special black books.

My gift was also extra special. I responded to a Vistaprint ad and secured 250 business cards with his blog name on them. I also purchased a pen which says "Monsters and Art - by Trev." He was thrilled to take them to school to pass them out this morning.

Finally, he's super thrilled with the Halloween door curtain:

All in all, it was a very special birthday for a very special boy!

Book Review: Cries of the Heart

My husband introduced me to Ravi Zacharias. When John was studying philosophy, he was very interested in Christian apologetics (arguments for the faith). Ravi Zacharias is one of the forefront authors in Christian apologetics.

I actually bought this book for John as a Christmas present a few years back. The sub-title is what hooked me in: "Bringing God Near When He Feels So Far." Cries of the Heart certainly reminded me of God's powerful presence in my life, even when He seems strangely silent. As the author is quoted on the back cover:

"When God speaks there are no ploys, no gimmicks. Only life-defining truth. When He speaks we will be soothed by His touch, and we will rest in His comfort, knowing that He has heard our cries and has come near in our need."

This book calls us to deeper thinking about the reality of God and His way of dealing with His creation. It reminds us that God is in control. The author has broken his arguments down into a structured treatment of our many cries and God's cry of response. The chapters treat our cry to know God, our cry to actually feel our faith, the cry for a reason in our suffering (with extensive treatment on the story of Job), the cry of a guilty conscience, the cry for freedom in what pleasure we take, the cry of loneliness, and finally, God's cry for His people. By the end of the book, the reader's faith rests more firmly on a foundation of faith in God's wisdom and strength and power.

If you are struggling with God's seeming silence, with the deep questions that come when something harmful invades the life of a loved one, with intense loneliness and disconnection from people and God, this book will certainly remind you of His love and His purpose for your life. If you are an unbeliever, it may even convince you to place your belief and trust in the God who longs to answer every cry of your heart!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Speaking My Son's Language

For as long as I can remember, my oldest son, Bryce, has loved to speak in unusual ways. When he was seven he took on the language style of the "Ed, Edd, and Eddy Show," much to my mother's consternation. I can remember one spring break visit when she would say, "I'm only speaking to Bryce ... not Edd." We have videos of him prancing around, using his Edd voice (a moronic simpering tone, if you've never seen the inane Cartoon Network show).

These voices and language styles change about every six months or so. I may have mentioned his previous "Ne, ne, ne, ne, ne" phrase, which he used ad nauseum. The little boys would use the phrase, too.

I'd say, "Time to clean your room."

They'd reply, "Ne, ne, ne, ne, ne," combined with a swinging hand motion.

Somehow the "Ne" became "Ner" and the "Ner" became a whole language with specific rules.

Here is an example, taken from a note he left near the coffee machine Thursday night:

"Lert mer slerp ern ernterl serven therter. Yer be terken mer."

It would sound exactly as it reads. He has eliminated vowels and replaced them with "er." Every word like is, am, are, was ... reverts to "be."

Thus, his message translates: Let me sleep until seven thirty. You are taking me.

What a crazy kid he is. His little brothers run to greet him at the door with a "Heller Berce. Her yer be?" His friends talk like this, as well.

It seems he infects everyone he comes in contact with. I went to pick him up from music camp this past summer and the kids he had been with for only a few days greeted me with a "Heller." (which actually, if following the rules, should probably be "herler."

We keep saying we should write down his various catch phrases (like another current one: "it be ight" for it's all right) and make up a whole Bryce Dictionary to document his unique language development for future times. At least it is documented here.

So, if yer ser herm, be sure ter ser heller!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: I Remember Nothing

After finishing Nora Ephron's bestseller, I Feel Bad About My Neck, I needed another audio book to listen to on my long drive to my book group. I was thrilled to find another similar book in I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections. This book, like the other, is full of brief essays about human experience (in this case, aging).

Although I am not in my sixties or seventies (what I assume is the target audience), I did find many of her comments to be humorous and easy to relate to. I have had my own memory issues of late, probably brought on by menopause, and chuckled as she spoke of forgetting the names of individuals she knows that she knows well.

I don't share her same views on religion, but could appreciate her humor on so many other areas of life. She shares about the attraction and eventually demise of attraction with e-mail. She talks about being divorced. She shares campy stories about what it was like to grow up in her home, with an alcoholic mother.

If you've tried I Feel Bad About My Neck and enjoyed it, you'll want to try I Remember Nothing. I don't think this second one was as good as the first memoir-essay-type book, but it was still funny in several spots. I'm pretty sure everyone could use a good laugh now and then.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Book Review: Captivating

Last year, around this time, someone recommended John Eldridge's The Sacred Romance. This year, a friend recommended John and Stasi Eldridge's book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul. These two books are very similar in their goal. They aim to direct the reader back to the lover of their soul, the Lord, and to awaken the romance between God and his beloved.

In Captivating, the focus falls on women. I can agree with the authors that the primary desire women have is to be romanced, to be desired by another. I had a bit more difficulty with the question they selected for women, "Am I lovely?" (as opposed to the man's question of "Am I enough?") I suppose I feel that I've never cared one way or the other whether I am lovely, beautiful, feminine enough or "captivating." However, I can attest that I have always wanted to be desired by another ... often painfully so.

I found a good deal of truth within these pages. The authors plead with women to recognize their loveliness in the eyes of God and to see Him seeking them for Himself. They ask women to stop attempting to avoid pain by remaining hidden or unavailable (two dances I know all too well). We desire safety and do whatever we think it takes to get it.

I loved their quote from Frederick Buechner:

"To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do - to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst - is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is far more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed."

John and Stasi encourage the reader to be authentic and to look to God to supply all needs instead of looking to the men around us or to our own ability to fend for ourselves. They write:

"We cannot have intimacy with God or anyone else if we stay hidden and offer only who we think we ought to be or what we believe is wanted."

Far too often, I fall into that trap. I play the game of trying to fit whatever mold I think is expected of me. I spend far too much time damning myself for not being what or who I think I am expected to be. Indeed, I needed their bold reminder of Satan's desire to disarm me with internal doubts. I loved this quote:

"You have an irreplaceable role to play.... Your lingering disbelief (may it be fading away) that anything important hangs on your life is only evidence of the long assault on your heart by the one who knows who you could be and fears you."

I found their descriptions of our possible interactions with our spouse to be convicting. Their prescription for arousing Adam (to be the hero that you need him to be) is simple: "Need him. And believe in him."

I found myself wishing I had daughters to share their advice with when they suggested how a young woman should behave when being courted with the possibility of marriage:

"Be careful you do not offer too much of yourself to a man until you have good, solid evidence that he is a strong man willing to commit. Look at his track record with other women. Is there anything to be concerned about there?... does he have close friends - and what are they like as men? Can he hold down a job? Is he walking with God in a real and intimate way? Is he facing the wounds of his own life...? Is he headed somewhere with his life?... Your heart is a treasure and we want you to offer it only to a man who is worthy and ready to handle it well."

The authors present the argument that a woman's femininity awakens masculine strength and, conversely, a good man's strength drives and opens a woman to be beautiful and alluring.

This book was an excellent reminder to center my heart on His love for me, while still living out the life He is inviting and calling me to.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dracula! - Book and Play Review

Sometimes I feel a gentle nudge to read a particular book. This was the case with Dracula by Bram Stoker. I had never read the book. One of the ladies in my book group mentioned that it was going to be featured on Moody Bible Radio's Mid-day Connection Book Group Discussion (now there's a mouthful!). She mentioned, several times, that the host, Dr. Rosalie de Rosset felt that the book had value because of its clear designation of the struggle between good and evil. (If you go to Mid-day Connection's Book Group site, you can listen to an audio version of the hour-long discussion de Rosset led on September 1st).

Next, I saw a coupon in a flyer for discounted tickets to see the Indiana Repertory Theatre's presentation of Dracula. I think this clinched it. I found a friend to attend it with me and dashed out to find the book at a nearby library. Although our library had a normal version of the book, it was checked out and not due back prior to the performance. Thus, I drove to the next library over and managed to snag a gigantic volume called The New Annotated Dracula, edited by Leslie S. Klinger.

I'm not sure what I think about the book itself or the annotation by Klinger. On the one hand, I did clearly see de Rosset's point that the book carries a strong message about the allure of sin and evil and the necessity of fighting it by banding together for good against the power of evil. At the same time, the story often was a bit too much for me. It was just plain creepy at times (like when Dracula is forcing one of his victims to drink the blood from a scratch across his chest and then calling her his "winepress").

As for the annotation, I am equally conflicted. It was amazing to have so many notes at my disposal as I read through the novel. However, it was also overwhelming to have so many notes at my disposal as I read through the novel! I think my biggest beef with Leslie Klinger would have to be his use of a "gentle fiction ... that the events described in Dracula 'really took place' and that the work presents the recollections of real persons, whom Stoker has renamed and whose papers (termed the "Harker Papers"...) he has recast, ostensibly to conceal their identities."

What in the world was that all about??? As I was reading the notes, I kept encountering the subtle attitude that the events were real. It was really disturbing. It was only after I finished reading the whole thing, that I went back to the editor's preface and learned about his "gentle fiction." I must agree with other reviewers, on the Amazon site, who have said that it led to a whole host of extraneous and unnecessary notations which only muddied the trip through Stoker's Dracula.

Still, I did find the notes interesting and I was grateful for an academic treatment of the novel. It came complete with maps and history and numerous interesting tid-bits. The appendices were intriguing with things like a glossary of Whitby Dialect, a chronology of Dracula, "Dracula's Family Tree - full of descriptions of various treatments of the work, and an extensive bibliography. With all of that, the annotated book topped in at 613 pages! I didn't read all of the extra notations, but I did make use of them from time to time, despite feeling bogged down.

My most positive comments would have to be reserved for the play performed at the Indianapolis Repertory Theater. They used a script, by Steven Dietz, which I found to be fully faithful to Stoker's vision and tone in his book. I will admit, I was worried that it might have been doctored to emphasize the sexuality in the novel more than was warranted. Thankfully, that was not the case.

The play was brilliant! In fact, my favorite character was Renfield (the lunatic in Dr. Seward's asylum). He provided such wonderful comic relief. He was funny and tormented and amazingly brave (at one point he fled the stage with a live rat in his mouth - yuck, yuck, yuck!). The play kept with the language of Stoker's novel. Indeed, many of the phrases, invoking God's deliverance were used in the script. The evil was opposed with the wafers of the holy communion and with a glowing crucifix. Good triumphed over evil and you left feeling glad to have come.

It was a bit too gory in spots for me. They did a fine job of realistic portrayal of the blood, but it was difficult to watch. The special effects and sound effects were stunning. At one point, Dracula appears in a mist of smoke blown up by Renfield. From my angle of seating, I couldn't observe Dracula's final desmise as he turned into dust, but it must have been convincingly executed.

All in all, I'm glad that I took the time to read Dracula, even the annotated version. I'm especially thrilled that I took a chance and attended the performance (I don't believe many modern versions of this story - like the Twilight series - render the story as faithfully as Dietz did).

I appreciated several of the lines in the playbill. The artistic director, Janet Allen, wrote:

"Stoker's ability to place our proverbial fingers on the heartbeat of the tension between good and evil, between the power of Christianity and the power of the pagan, between science and faith, between human desire and social propriety, between sanity and insanity, between our attraction to and our repulsion from immortality, all account for the edge-of-the-seat feelings we get when watching a faithful retelling of this story. If the retelling does real justice to Mr. Stoker's novel, our sense of Dracula ricochets uncontrollably between abhorrence and allure."

She was right! The tension is palpable and this retelling does real justice to Mr. Stoker's novel!

And from Steven Dietz, himself:

"Most of the characters in Bram Stoker's Dracula spend the better part of the book trying desperately - with the absolute best of intentions - to keep secrets from one another. Their reasons have to do with safety, honor, respectability, and science ... but every secret buys the vampire in their midst more time. Every evasion increases the impossibility of anyone assembling the totality of the facts, the cumulative force of the information. Secrecy breeds invasion. Darkness begets darkness. It is this secrecy among the principal characters -heightened by the lack of third-person objectivity, since the novel consists entirely of personal letters, diaries, and news reports - that is the heart of the book's unique power. The objectivity so desperately needed by the characters is handed to the reader. A trans-continental jigsaw puzzle. A myriad of disturbing clues. And it falls to the reader alone to make the connections between these events."

Indeed, evil thrives in darkness. Although the dark elements made it difficult to appreciate reading, it still felt important to bring those dark elements into the light by reading (or watching the performance). Rather than making the evil appear harmlessly attractive, evil shrouded in apparent good looks and love (as modern renditions tend to), Dietz has faithfully produced a version that shows the evil for what it is and leads the audience to desire the good and holy. Kudos to Steven Dietz and kudos to the Indianapolis Repertory Theater!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: I Feel Bad About My Neck

This little book was delightful in every way. I need more humor in my life and I enjoyed the moments laughing out loud at Ephron's witty observations of life.

Prior to listening to this audio book, I didn't realize that Nora Ephron was the screenwriter behind "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail." I picked it up because the title was interesting and the book was listed as humor. I was certainly not disappointed.

I think my favorite essay of all was one written about the rapture you feel when you find a truly wonderful book. The essay itself made me feel a sense of rapture. She nails truths so well and with fine wit! I laughed out loud at her dissertation on the foibles of purses. Indeed, I think my teenage son was probably wondering what had me tittering in the front seat. He was plugged into music, but he had to have noticed my body shaking with laughter in the front seat as we drove to his drum lesson!

If you are in need of a good laugh, be sure to pick up this brief memoir by Nora Ephron!

Monday, September 12, 2011

In Obvious Need of Some Pampering and Deals

On Thursday of last week, I headed into the heart of Indianapolis to pick up some discounted tickets I had purchased for only $20 each (a $32 savings per ticket) for the Indiana Repertory Theater's showing of "Dracula." I figured it would be a quick trip in and out and planned to return home with plenty of time to exercise and shower before picking Sean back up. Alas, things didn't go quite as planned.

When I arrived at the theater, I discovered that the box office wasn't open yet. Indeed, it wouldn't open until 11 a.m. I was pleased that I had parked in the Circle Center Mall parking because I assumed I could kill the time shopping in the mall (something I almost NEVER do because instead of being a mall-level shopper, I'm more of a Target-level shopper). However, even the mall shops hadn't opened. Obviously, Indianapolis is NOT the "city that never sleeps!"

Thankfully, Subway was open in the food court and I was thrilled to discover a wonderful promotion offering a small breakfast melt for only 55 cents. Now, we're talking! It was a delicious mix of egg, bacon, cheese and tomato. Yum!

The shops finally opened at 10 and I made a beeline to the Aeropostale store where I managed to snag a t-shirt for Bryce for only $6. Score one more deal for Wendy!

At this point, I was merely wandering around assessing the shops available at the mall. I had another half hour to kill. It had been so long since I've been in a mall, that I didn't realize how dangerous wandering can be! It seems that now there are vendors in the halls who pounce upon the wandering, ambling shopper.

Let me preface the details of this interaction by explaining exactly how I looked. I had foregone a shower that morning because I was so convinced I would make it home in time to exercise and shower later. My hair was drooping. My clothes were ... let's say not up to mall-shopping attire (although, I'm pleased that I wasn't still clad in sweats or pajama bottoms - ha).

As I ambled by, this absolutely gorgeous girl (mid-twenties, I'd say) stopped to offer me a sample of her Deep Sea Cosmetics. I took the sample (mistake number one). Then, she quickly commented (before I had time to dash off) that she noticed I wear my nails au natural (without polish). She asked if she could show me something that would amaze me. Then she asked about the last time I had been amazed. I couldn't even think of anything amazing in my life.

She pulled me over and began her spiel. She produced a rectangular buffer and began rubbing along my thumb nail while telling me loads of enticing information about her wonderful products from the Dead Sea in Israel. The girl manipulated with another tactic, asking my name so she could appeal to me on a personal level with each persuasive pitch. Internally, I was already rehearsing my no-sale mantra ("There's no way I'm spending that kind of money. I'm not even the type of woman who devotes time and energy to such maintenance").

I actually WAS AMAZED! When she finished buffing my nail, first with the blue side, then the magenta side, then the white silk side, my nail was absolutely shining ... all on its own, with no polish. I'm not a polish-kind-of-girl. In fact, to use the above comparison, I'd be a Dollar-Store-nail care patron. I can't be bothered with wearing polish and besides, when I do attempt to put on polish, one of the boys smudges them before they get a chance to dry.

Of course, she wasn't just selling the buffer tool. That would be too simple, too easy. No, they want to make money. She offered me the complete Dead Sea nail treatment kit for only $49.99, and they would throw in a second one for free. As she launched into all the reasons, I should purchase the kit, she began to apply a nourishing cuticle oil and explained how it heals cuticles without the need for the services of a manicure (as if I ever pay money for someone to manicure my nails!).

The final piece in the package was a tube of Dead Sea hand and body lotion. I have very sensitive skin. My skin is susceptible to eczema. I have to moisturize it regularly. My dermatologist has counselled me never to use lotions that come as a cream (in a tube or squirt-bottle). So I really wasn't interested in the lotion.

I tried to haggle. I wanted them to sell me the nail buffer and the oil without the lotion. The girl, (whose name I had discovered was Jila - though she was as far from a Jila monster as you could get) appealed to her boss. He vetoed the idea but joined in the sales pitch. He was sure there was someone I would need a gift for soon. I couldn't convince him that there wasn't one person in my life to whom I could reasonably give this as a gift.

What can I say? They wore me down. I gave in. I kept thinking, "I can't believe I'm spending this much money on myself!" Then I would internally argue that my life coach has been encouraging me to spend money on myself.

I shouldn't have lingered a moment in those internal arguments. Before I could pull myself away, Jila, with her exotic accent, moved right into the next sales pitch. I kept thinking, "They can tell I'm a woman who needs to spend more time taking care of herself!"

Jila put a dab of sea salt scrub into the palm of my hand, poured a small amount of water from a pitcher over it and told me to rub my hands together. Moments later, she poured water over again. Here was the clincher: she showed me the contents of the bowl (amazingly scummy with dead skin cells) and urged me to feel my hands. They were, as she said, "as soft as a baby's bottom!"

Fifty-nine further dollars later, I have amazingly shiny nails and astoundingly soft skin. I love these products. I didn't love the price (and I did find similar ones on-line for a tad-bit less), but I can't complain about the results I am experiencing. (I'm hoping it will work on Trevor's eczema, too, if he'll tolerate the beautiful smell.) My skin and nails are worth it. I'm worth it. That's my mantra, and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This book was selected for our September book group gathering. I have heard of this book. I even thought my mother had read it and loved it. It turns out my memory was wrong and she has never read it (although, she did respond favorably, expressing a desire to read it).

Alas, it won't be on my list of favorite reads for 2011. I begin to wonder if I have merely become too interested in modern fiction to arouse interest in older fiction (even the ones considered classics).

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn begins with an explanation of the title. In the tenement housing where the main character, Frankie, lives, there is a small tree stubbornly growing out of a concrete jungle. Frankie, like the tree, is poor but determined and grows into something wonderful to behold.

Some of my difficulties with the book stem from the preachy tone. Much is made about character and what a person should and shouldn't do. Religion and education are touted as saviors. Even Frankie's father's dissipative lifestyle is acceptable because he is a wonderful father and loves them deeply.

Still, I did find a few comments that resonated with me and made me laugh:

In speaking of the her desperate neighbor who threw herself at men, to no avail, and of her aunt, Sissy, who naturally attracted men's interest, Frankie observes, "the difference was that Flossie Gaddis was starved about men and Sissy was healthily hungry about them. And what a difference that made."

I thought this comment about what makes for a good husband was both comical and true:
"Jim ... was a good man. He was considered educated .... He made good money and wasn't home much. He was an ideal husband."

And finally, a quote about the dilemma the people pleasers face: "Yes, she listened to everybody's troubles but no one listened to hers. But that was right because Sissy was a giver and never a taker."

Although it was a pleasant enough story (of a girl rising out of poverty), it just wasn't deep enough or interesting enough to fully hold my attention. I think I merely finished it because it was up for book group discussion. Hopefully, our next choice will hold better promise.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More Birds

I think I am officially a "bird-watcher" now! The birds have started coming more regularly and are growing bolder.

There were some beautiful tiny yellow birds (yes, I know, I should learn the names of these magnificent creatures) on the hanging bird feeder this morning, but I was unable to catch them. Still, I caught some shots of this splendid cardinal, who settled in to feed for several minutes:

Then, I managed to capture this small house finch (I think that is what it is called) right in front of me at the window feeder. He didn't even seem to know I was only inches away from him.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

For the Birds

For Christmas, I received this Duncraft Cardinal Classic Window Bird Feeder:

A few months ago, I finally mounted it on our living room window, facing the patio near our bird bath. Unfortunately, not a bird would come near it. So ... we moved it to the window in our dining room (near a secluded corner where birds are often seen). Still, nary a taker. So ... we moved it again to a window on our porch. To this day, I haven't seen a single bird eat from it. Hmph!

Sensing my frustration, my thoughtful husband ran out to purchase another bird feeder. He hung it in a tree outside the dining room window (near that same corner). For a week, we saw nothing. We attributed it to the presence of a large hawk.

Perhaps the hawk has finally moved on. The birds are beginning to avail themselves of the hanging black birdfeeder (still no window diners). I tried to capture some photos of the spectacle with my point and shoot camera:

Alas, this camera is "for the birds." Well, it is (according to idiom) and it isn't (really). It captures sons far better than birds.

Ah well, there's not a chance in the world that a photographer of negligible talent, like myself, will be getting an expense camera with a telephoto lens. So, if any of you talented photographer friends of mine want to come visit and capture these treasured moments, you're welcome.

Addendum: We finally saw birds at the window feeder. I tried to snap a photo, but little success so far (oh for a friend to come photograph these beauties). Plus, a huge owl came up and landed on the branch right outside the window near the feeders. It was too dark to see clearly or hope to snap a photo, but it was amazing, nonetheless!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ridiculous Ads

O.K. - if you have a dog this big, do you really need to spend $50 buying him/her a ramp to climb into your pickup truck??? Seriously?

(Photo: courtesy of Tuesday Morning Indiana ad)

[ I must declare an apology: I didn't even stop to think about dogs who are lame in some way.  Apologies to any dog-owners with pets who struggle to get into a truck.]

This next one had both Bryce and I laughing. Thanks to our patronage at Famous Footwear, we received a magazine called "Mind Body Sole." Within it, we discovered a Puma ad featuring two exercise demonstrations. O.K., I can go along with the first one - Skinny Jean Lunges. But check out the second exercise demonstration called "Walk the Dog."

You probably cannot read the fine print from this picture, but it is ridiculous:

"Step 1 - Grab treats, doggie bags and leash. Secure Hobie for dog of your choosing, holding him tightly with your right hand." (Left hand is apparently poor form.)
Step 2 - Hobie at your side, walk tall, extending your left leg first. (OCD, perhaps)
Step 3 - Keep your core strong, and your pace steady, regardless of doggie distractions.
Step 4 - Don't forget to be responsible and clean up after Hobie."

It is the disclaimer that really clinched it: "Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. And your dog, to discuss preferable walking routes in your neighborhood." (proof-reader desperately needed there, but seriously now - this is ridiculous!)