Friday, March 23, 2012

Cat Show

This weekend is looking to be a busy one, so I figured I’d do a quick update on last weekend’s activities before the Jayhawk Mania begins in a few hours.

Last Friday – March Madness begins! We watched the Jayhawks, of course. The reality of living in an SEC town has never felt more evident then now. I’m not even sure they know what March Madness is down here. I do know that LSU spring football has begun. Ahh- the differences between Kansas and Louisiana continue. 

Please, no pictures.
Saturday was wonderful because we had no plans. We vetoed the St. Pats parade (which is supposed to be amazing down here) because we … well, we just didn’t feel like it. However, when we were looking at the weekend calendar, there was one thing we could simply not say no to—a cat show. Now, most of you know that I have two cats. The furry loves of my life. However, I’ve taken great measures to not be a crazy cat lady. You will not find any sweatshirts with cats on it in my closet. But, much like a car wreck, we couldn’t say no to watching what, we hoped would be, one of the strangest sub-cultures we’ve ever encountered first hand. So with the drum-beat theme song from the “Dog Show” skit on Saturday Night Live in our heads and hopes that we would be encountering endearing feline fanatics similar to those canine crazies in the great Christopher Guest movie, Best in Show, off we went to Gonzales, LA.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.
First, we paid our $5 to enter, which was followed by a hand stamp of a cat! Awesome!!!  Let me set the scene- The cat show was taking place in one of those big metal buildings you find at any decent fair grounds. It had four aisles of tables holding up the fabulous felines in their amazing abodes. Not your typical kennel that I use to transport mine to the vet. NO- these were like mini tents with clear plastic sides so you could see the cats in action. And by “in action” I mean curled up and sleeping. Some of them were awake and trying to catch a feather on a stick that their owners were waving frenetically in their faces. 

I do think I should be honest and say that I did find myself geeking out a little. I mean the cats were so cute. There were old cats and young cats. Short and long hair. Even no hair- which oddly enough, Brian seems to like. They even had a curly haired cat, which according to his adoring owner is the most rare cat in the world. And I, of course, now want one.
After strolling up and down the aisles (and realizing that I may have a slight cat allergy), we headed over to the judging area. There were four. The cages were set up on tables in a horse shoe with the judge in the middle. Each cat sat in their cage, staring down the competition. Some were talking trash, trying to intimidate the cat in the next cage. Some were grooming, knowing that their time to shine was coming. And others just lounged back with a slight air disdain like that of … well, a cat. 

If he would have fit in my purse and if I didn't think his owner would tackle me before I made it to the exit, #90 would be my cat right now.
As we were watching the judging, the owner of the curly haired cat came up and stood next to me. He, too, had curly hair. Silver and styled in a modified mullet. It must be the kind, mid-western vibe I gave off because he started confiding in me. He had two cats in the competition. A father and a son. But the son didn’t have a chance against the father. The father had won several national championships. The owner went on to tell me that the judge does not know that though. It would not be right. They can’t have any pre-conceived notions about the cat. We watched the judge remove the “son” cat. Black and white with curly hair, he was adorable. Looked like a winner to me. She placed him on an elevated table. She held him on his chest with one hand and petted him down his back to the tip of his tail. He was handling it like a pro. It was at this point that I imagined my cats being judged on a table- out in the open. It would go something like this- the judge, after opening the cage door, would have to place half their body into the cage to reach my cat cowering in the corner. Once they had dragged Rosie/Simon out of the cage, meowing and hissing, the cat would have climbed up the judges shoulder and made a leap for freedom. At which point, we’d be off to the races with my cat doing their best impression of an Indy car, running laps around the building. Not pretty. 

So, just the fact that cat was standing still meant they got my vote. Once she evaluated the son, it was on to the father. Again, curly hair but this time orange and white. He did have the bored look of a cat who had been to this rodeo before. I didn’t notice a huge difference in the judges evaluation between the son and the father. But their owner whispered to me that the judge was clearly more impressed with the father. Once the judging was complete, the judge consulted her notes, gathered the ribbons and placed them on the appropriate cages. This is clearly the cats favorite part because now they have hanging ribbons on the front of their cages. Let the shredding begin! But wait- something was amiss. The owner was craning to see what ribbons had been placed on the cages of his cats. He informed me that he needed to go to talk to the judge because she clearly had made a mistake. Uh oh. Looks like the son had finally eclipsed the father. Brian and I decided to take our leave at this point. We didn’t want to be witness to what was going to mar a beautiful day of judging. 

What I need to avoid becoming.
We made our way out… until I saw the humane society table. NOT FAIR!!! They had kittens. Gray ones. They rubbed their little heads on my fingers poking through the bars. Brian started slowly making his way to the exit. I know it was the smart thing. We just moved here. We are getting ready to head up to Kansas for a few weeks to get hitched. We already have two cats and if I added one more I think I would officially cross into the crazy cat lady category. One last note- they did have a “house cat” judging category. Rosie’s training on the leash begins next week. I’m kidding. Maybe. (I took lots of pictures but the stupid app I used on my phone isn't giving them up. Sorry.)

How do we top last weekend? Two words- crab boil. We’re heading to Thibodaux for an authentic Cajun crab boil- with crabs that have yet to be caught. My cats are going to be so jealous. 

Go Jayhawks!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's official....

I am a Louisiana resident.

After 3 very frustrating weeks (which brought me to the brink more than once), the Louisiana DMV has deemed it appropriate give me a Louisiana license plate and driver's license. Yes, it is possible that my procrastination led to some of the stress of having a car with expired tags for a couple of weeks. But I also found out that Kansas does things differently (shocker) when it comes to car titles, so I was at the mercy of two governmental agencies and their ability to communicate with each other. I will say, all of the people at the DMV in Baton Rouge that I dealt with, over the course of FIVE visits, were very friendly. I do think they need to update their website because the process to register an out-of-state car is quite a bit different (and more expensive) than they lead one to believe.

So here she is, my car with a LA tag. It just doesn't look quite right. But never fear- that Jayhawk isn't going anywhere!!!!

Go Hawks! (and Norfolk! How great was that!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Going Home

It’s Pi day and I’m celebrating by baking… Mocha double chocolate chip cookies. You celebrate your way and I’ll celebrate mine. 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been meaning to sit down and update but for some reason have not been able to make myself. 

A stoller. On top of a car.
A lot has happened since last I posted. I went back home to Lawrence and had my wedding dress fitting (where after many prayers the night before and no carbs for two days- it fit like a glove! Whew!), solidified reception details, got an AWESOME chest cold, ate at Bo-Lings- TWICE! Hung out with my nephew and nieces, got to spend a lot of time with my mom (including a 7-hour search for the right strapless bra- good times!), worked on crafty little wedding details, saw a stroller on top of a car on Mass St. (no worries- there wasn't a baby in it.) and last but not least- had the most amazing bridal shower. 

Cute decorations!
Yummy food!

Cutting the cake under the watchful eye of my niece.

Mom and I

I honestly hadn’t really thought of the whole bridal shower “thing” when we decided to get married. There were actually quite a lot of “bridal” things I forgot about until reminded by mom, friends, sister-in-law, helpful vendors. So I really didn’t have any idea of what theme or type of shower I wanted. When I found out that Ashlee and Becki (because I’m really not a fan of the terms “matron of honor” and “bridesmaid”, I’ll refer to them as my bridal entourage) decided to make a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” shower, I realized my entourage is even more amazing and creative than I already knew them to be. 
Becki, Ashlee, me and Mark
Michele and I

It was a small affair held at my parents house. Becki and Ashlee truly out did themselves with the decorations and food (Ashlee’s husband, Mark, assisted as he is a very talented pastry chef and isn’t too bad with the savory items either. Stop by TheMerc and check out their bakery. All of that deliciousness is because of Mark!) My wonderful future mother-in-law sent up a King Cake for the occasion as well. 

It was really nice to see my friends and get dressed up in our little black dresses and wear tiaras (yep- I made everyone wear one- sue me- I’m only planning on getting married once and I’m doing it up right!) Becki even put together a “Brian and Heather” trivia game. Trivia! She knows me so well!


I only lost it once. Among all of the amazing culinary tools that people were generous enough to give us, there was a gift that made me realize how much I love and am missing Lawrence. My thoughtful friend Michele hit the nail on the head with Jayhawk and sunflower candles from Waxman Candles and a Lawrence, Kansas brick. It was perfect. 


As I was trying to go to sleep that night (I had not yet taken the ever-so-effective Nyquil), I was trying to understand why Michele’s gift had made me cry. It dawned on me that I am finally from somewhere. All my life when people have asked me where I was from, I would always answer “Nowhere. I’m an Army brat.” Even after having lived in Lawrence for close to 20 years, I never claimed it as it being my hometown. Now that I’ve left, I’m more from Lawrence then I’ve ever been. And when people down here ask me where I’m from, it doesn’t even dawn on me to say “nowhere”. I am quick to answer “Lawrence, Kansas.”  Not Kansas, mind you. Lawrence, Kansas. There is a difference. 

I was home in Lawrence for 10 days. It was a nice long visit. I got to hang with my friends and family. Get me a dose of snow for the winter (of course I would come home during the one week of cold weather they had in Kansas this winter.) But 10 days was also a long time to be away from my Louisiana home and Brian (and the kitties). As I was waiting for my plane home, I realized that I was pretty lucky. No matter if the plane is landing in Kansas City or New Orleans, I'm going home.