It’s all about our sanity

…and the ongoing questions that surround its alleged existance.

Have you ever wondered what would be valuable enough to make you give up what few sparse scraps of calm normality still exist in your life? What would possibly make you throw yourself on the seppuku tanto of insanity?

For us, evidently, it's the glimmering hope of sanity for the next generation. On Thursday we brought home another dog.

For those of you scoring at home, that's three dogs, two cats, a guinea pig and one sad little goldfish. Clearly and understandably, your first logical question must naturally be some variation on "What the fuck?"

I don't blame you. My question exactly.

So let's backtrack a bit.

Child #1 turns 20 in a few weeks. This semester she'll graduate from the respected photography program at Central Lakes College. She has her whole life in front of her…but she's staring down the barrel of a two-year mopefest.

Her boyfriend left this month for two years for his Mormon mission. Contact is limited. (There's still a U.S. Postal Service, right?) Whether she's willing to admit it or not, she needs a trigger to get her up, off the couch and back into life.

She asked for a dog.

But Josie, your apartment doesn't allow pets. (But I'll be out of there in three months!) But when you do finish up there, you're coming right back here, aren't you? (I can find my own apartment that allows dogs!) Josie, do you have any idea how few of those there are – and how much more they cost? And besides, I thought you were applying for a scholarship to continue schooling down in Minneapolis. (I can handle it!) Say, aren't these "your" cats? Isn't that why we couldn't get rid of them?

Yeah, none of these plausible arguments were sinking in. But that's par for the course in debating with an adolescent. No surprises there.

Then she came home from her first trip to the humane society last Saturday. "I found my dog! Come on, come on, you need to come back and see her!" Of course drama dictates that, by the time we get back to the humane society, there's a young couple signing the papers and putting down their deposit to adopt "Lady" as soon as she's had her gender declassification surgery (she's not a lady anymore).

Cue the tears.

But wait, because drama also dictates that the young couple should ignore their deposit, blow off their deadline and open this dog back up for adoption.

Now what do we do?

Well, we think about it for awhile. And we weigh out the pros and the cons. And we come to grips with the fact that, if we get this dog, there's a very good chance that it's going to spend most of the next few years in our living space.

And, in the end, we decide that, even though (at least by my internal measurements) the cons far outnumber the pros, there's one big, giant pro that tips the scales. Josie needs this dog. Not just a dog, she needs this dog. She needs a six-month-old blue heeler. She needs a dog that's going to physically drag her to the door and seriously demand that she get out there and get active – otherwise she's going to have holes chewed in every item she owns.

And I guess I'm willing to risk the likelihood that she's going to chew a few of my items in the process.



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Shameless bragging

Warning: Seriously, there is nothing in this post BUT shameless bragging. It's not even funny or anything. Everybody should probably just go ahead and skip this one. Except you, Mom. You'll like this!

The American Advertising Federation – Central Minnesota held their annual ADDY Awards show the other night. (Insert your own small-market, provincial punchline here you metropolitan snob. I'm certainly not going to enable your tasteless disrespect by writing the insults for you.)

As usual, it was a great chance to get dressed up, get together with friends, and hope that some disinterested third party has decided you're better than them.

Creative Memories really did pretty well. We won a Gold ADDY for some incentive trip promotion pieces. We won a Silver ADDY for some of our illustrated products. And we won Silver ADDYs for three of our catalogs (one through Adventure). I'd have been happy at just that. (Since my name was listed as copywriter and Corinne was listed as art director on those three catalogs.)

But I was also listed as the copywriter for the Gold ADDY-winning promotional pieces Adventure did for last year's ADDY show. That was cool.

And, even better than that, this year's judges chose to give out a Best of Copywriting award. And it went to one of those catalogs.

The club just started giving out Best of Copywriting and Best of Art Direction a few years ago – with the understanding that the judges don't have to give those out if nothing rises to that level. So… It's kind of a big deal.

I won one a few years ago – but that was for our Christmas card. Which I loved. But it feels kind of like cherrypicking to win with a piece where you didn't have a client arguing with you. So I think I'm actually more proud of this one – cuz it's a bit surprising to win for a scrapbooking catalog.

(This is Corinne, I'm editing for Greg – he totally had clients arguing with him on the Christmas card. He had 1 wife and 6 kids critiquing every word he chose. Pretty certain 'puking pussies' was a point of contention for day or two. For fun, you can revisit Christmas 2006 below)



Next year? Best of Show. Who knows? Maybe it'll be for our Spring/Summer catalog that comes out next month. When I enter it in next year's show, I'm going to conveniently crease it so the judges' copy flips open to this page:

Click on image to enlarge for easy reading.



P.S. We can't forget Josie. She totally rocked the Student ADDYs with her Silver ADDY in Photography!

Damn moral dilemmas


Nice-Guy-Neighbor Pete: Did you see what happened to your mailbox?

Me: Um…You mean the fact that it was sitting on my front porch and a large percentage of the snow that should have been piled up in a nice little heap at the corner of my driveway was, instead, scattered haphazardly across the driveway?


Nice-Guy-Neighbor Pete: Yeah, I put it up there on your porch.

Me: Thanks.

Nice-Guy-Neighbor Pete: [NAME OMITTED CUZ YOU DON'T NEED TO KNOW IT AND I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE IT ANYWAY] came flying around the corner in his pickup last night at about 50 miles an hour. He lost control and took out your mailbox. Then he got out and he could barely stand. He was hung up there for about 10 minutes – rocking back and forth till he managed to work his truck loose.

Me: We've got a Piss-Drunk-Pickup Guy neighbor?

Nice-Guy-Neighbor Pete: Brian and his friends were just pulling out of the driveway. If they'd have been 30 seconds earlier, he would have hit them.

Me: It was a nice, warm Friday evening. If we'd had the kids and been at home, there's a good chance they'd have been playing in the snow pile down there. [OKAY, HONESTLY NOT A "GOOD" CHANCE…BUT AT LEAST A CHANCE.]

Nice-Guy-Neighbor Pete: I wish I would have called the police as soon as it happened…then it would have been out of my hands. He's just such an angry drunk.

Me: We have an Angry-Piss-Drunk-Pickup Guy neighbor?


Corinne: Red pickup? That's the creepy guy who waves at me every time he drives by.

Me: We have a Creepy-Waving-Angry-Piss-Drunk-Pickup Guy neighbor?

Corinne: I looked it up on our neighborhood watch list. He's two doors down from Francis.

Me: You mean Nosy-Busybody Guy neighbor?

Corinne: Yeah. So you think we should say something?

Me: Wait a minute… Two doors down from Nosy-Busybody Guy neighbor? On the same side of the street? Red pickup?

Corinne: Yeah.

Me: So the house with the Bobcat in the driveway?

Corinne: Yeah.

Me: Shit. Creepy-Waving-Angry-Piss-Drunk-Pickup Guy neighbor is Bobcat Guy? Crap.


Bobcat Guy has been my Whiteout Knight all winter long. He and his snow-throwing steed have bailed me and my sad little shovel out a dozen times. It's friggin' fantastic. I'll be down there at the end of the driveway, gamely denting the plow break bit by bit…and he'll come rolling down the street. He and that Bobcat can clear a plow break in 20 seconds. He can do the whole driveway in two minutes. It's straight-up awesome. He's been my hero.

Now that I know Bobcat Guy is Creepy-Waving-Angry-Piss-Drunk-Pickup Guy, I really don't care about paying for the mailbox. I owe him at least that much in snow removal.

But I've got to at least call him and let him know that we know what happened and it's not okay and we're going to be watching in the future. There are just too many kids in this neighborhood. (Lots of kids. Kids like Freakishly-Large Boy, Not-So-Bright Girl and the Redneck Sisters.)


Elephants of style

I found out the other day that my friend Jen considers me to be a Stylish Blogger. Now, be aware that describing me as a "stylish" ANYTHING is akin to labeling OCB as "cuisine." I'm about as fashion-forward as a Mervyn's young menswear flier.

But whatever. It's Jen's call, not mine. And I'm actually pretty darned honored that she thought of me. So I humbly accept the title of stylish blogger, along with all the rights and responsibilities that accompany it.

Those include:

1. I'm supposed to write this post and link back to Jen's blog.

2. I'm required to share 7 things about myself.

3. I've got to nominate 5 other Stylish Bloggers. (This is really starting to sound like Amway, isn't it?)

4. I need to contact those 5 bloggers and let them know they've won. (This is the one where Jen kinda dropped the ball. I just happened to encounter my name and a link to my blog while I was killing time on Mars over lunch the other day.)

Okay then. Seven things about myself.

1. I really wish I could like Led Zepplin. But I can't. Never have. Not sure why. Just don't.

2. I found a seahorse in a tide pool in North Carolina once. Not sure how cool that sounds to you but it sounds very cool to me.

3. I'm pretty sure I've got some kind of low-grade narcolepsy (but, as yet, no discernable penchant for buggery).

4. I still get Jack Nicholson and Jack Nicklaus mixed up. (This one's getting significantly less problematic as years go by. Not because I've gotten better at it. Just because their names come up less frequently.)

5. My favorite book is still the Catcher in the Rye and I don't care if that makes me a cliche.

6. I didn't start paying attention to football till I was 11. That was 1978. That means I've never had the experience of watching "my" team PLAY in a Super Bowl® – much less win one. I have no cause to think that this will ever change.

7. I need a new swimsuit and I'm bummed because the Scheel's gift card I was planning on using to buy one got ripped off last week with my wallet. (And I'm cheap enough to string this situation out until my birthday in July.)

Now for some stylish bloggers.

I actually don't read a whole lot of blogs. The ones I do have to really grab my interest. Here are 5 people with big style and huge talent. These are my elephants of style.

• Jen at My House on Mars. She's quirky, funny and, for as far off the beaten path as she manages to stray, there's always something recognizable and relatable in her writing.

• Sara at simplyneutral. Yes, I realize it's a "corporate" blog. But I still go to read it sometimes just for entertainment. Sara's that good.

• Monica at Minnesota Transplant. I just love how hard Monica makes it to categorize her blog. Sports, literature, religion, travel… I wish I could be this interesting from this many angles.

• Jim at Busy Dad Blog. You know, I don't even remember how I stumbled onto this one. But I keep stumbling back. Good stuff. And nice to get a guy's perspective.

• Jenny at The Bloggess. Um… What can I say? This is as good as blogs get, in my opinion. I'm not a big LOL guy (much less a ROTFLMAO guy), but her stuff IS funny. And crazy. Way crazy. Like, wake-up-in-a-Mexican-jail-lying-next-to-a-stuffed-wolverine crazy. You've got to check it out.

 That's it. That's all I've got. Go check out those blogs, and thank you Jen for thinking of me! I'll try and be back soon to post more cuz there was lots to talk about this weekend – from Addy bragging to bacon.

The end.

(Crap, I've really got to come up with some kind of stylish way to sign off these posts.)