Operation Selfie Spoof

As someone who has a face better served by the back side of a camera, I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around this whole selfie thing.

Seriously.

Talking to my friend Lee-Ann, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who thinks the selfie thing is a bit odd.

So this weekend I threw down a selfie spoof challenge based off of actual selfies we’ve been visually assaulted with on a variety of social media platforms.

Below, you will find our interpretation of what selfie-aholics really look like to the rest of the world.

Classic Duck Face

Classic Duck Face

Magazine cover contour doesn’t come naturally to us average looking folk. It doesn’t to the girl on the magazine cover either. A makeup artist spends hours using special makeup to create those killer cheekbones. For the rest of us here in ‘Merica, we’ve got the Duck Face.

I just wanna be a walrus

I just wanna be a walrus

For some, selfies are a way to… get in touch with nature. Here, Lee-Ann gets in touch with her inner walrus-her spirit animal.

Contemplative Nature Selfie

Contemplative Nature Selfie

For others, we like to uh… smell the trees and contemplate the green things a little deeper. Note the downcast eyes, and elongated jaw for dramatic, artistic effect (and the illusion of cheekbones).

Glam Shot

Glam Shot

Lee-Ann got her eyebrows did, and experimented with a new shade of lipstick. When such events happen, the world of social media must know! Check out that sexy, come-hither expression!

When sexy glam doesn't work for you...

When sexy glam doesn’t work for you…

… you turn to the kitchen gadget drawer for help. Note the egg-beater in the hair. I also added the popular I’m-sticking-my-tongue-out-so-I-can-lick-you-through-the -screen element. I saw several tongue selfies this weekend. (Does this look give me cheekbones?)

Does this make my butt look big?

Does this make my butt look big?

No comment. Trust me, it’s best not to comment on such selfies. If you value your friendship and/or life.

Fire Hydrant Selfie

Fire Hydrant Selfie

Everyone who is anyone takes picture of themselves wrapped around a fire hydrant. Get with the #selfietrends people!

My ride is cooler than your ride.

My ride is cooler than your ride.

“Look at me! I am driving a super expensive super cool thing with wheels! And you are not!”

I am here and you are not

I am here and you are not

Enough with the foot selfies already! Isn’t the picture alone proof you were there? No one wants to see your gnarly feet obstructing the view of a beach. So here’s my butt to prove I am standing in front of pretty mountain scenery. Because without it, no one would believe I was there.

Frenetic Coffee Fiend

Frenetic Coffee Fiend

I dare you to count how many people pose with coffee mugs in their profiles.

Don't hate me cuz I'm artsy

Don’t hate me cuz I’m artsy

Can’t forget the reflection in a random car window selfie. Just. Can’t.

I love my cat

I love my cat

Me an’ my cat. I guess the open mouth pose is another attempt to create the illusion of cheekbones where there are none. What is really looks like, is the person is trying to catch flies.

If you want to see how it all went down in real time, check out #selfiespoof on Facebook. Feel free to add a few of your own satirical interpretations.

Coming soon on Joy in the Litterbox:

The strapped-in-my-car video. Because no one who is anyone will take you seriously unless you record your video in your car.

Still fangirling over C. J. Box

C. J. Box talks about his new release, OFF THE GRID at the Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming

C. J. Box talks about his new release, OFF THE GRID at the Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming

I GOT TO SEE C.J. BOX TONIGHT! I TALKED TO HIM! HE SIGNED HIS BOOK FOR ME! OH. MY. WORD!

Okay, let’s back it up a bit.

I first heard of C.J. Box a few years ago on the Hugh Hewitt show. Hugh is a reader and interviews authors regularly. I don’t remember which book released, but I remember being captivated by the idea of a game warden sleuth. I read a lot of mysteries and have seen a variety of heroes, but a game warden?

Two years ago, we went camping in the Medicine Bow mountains of Wyoming. During that time, we explored the small town of Saratoga. In one of the historical sites, there was a book store bursting with C.J. Box novels. My mind shot back to the interview on the radio.

One of the women who worked at the museum said C. J. used to live there and work for the newspaper. All the copies for sale were singed! I bought a few.

Then last spring, we moved to Wyoming. What a better way to get to know a state than by reading about it in books by an author who lives there.

I read every Joe Pickett novel in existence over the summer. Didn’t get much writing done but…

Mr. Box shot up to the top of my favorite author list alongside Michael Connelly and Lee Child.

And tonight?

Tonight he kicked off his 22 city book tour in his home town of Casper, Wyoming. AND I WAS THERE FOR IT!

I got to meet C.J. briefly, and ask questions.

He gave me a gold nugget in an answer to a question I posed about his writing process. (Writer friends, you’ll get why I geeked out over this? Yes? Non-writers tend to stare at me slack jawed, mumbling, “so what?”)

He has 15 (?) books in his Joe Pickett series. He does not plot out ahead of the book he is currently working on. He has ideas, but does not plot ahead.

Why?

He said he believes in putting everything you have into that current book. Don’t hold anything back. In his opinion, plotted sequels feel forced and the author may hold back too much from the audience leaving the reader unsatisfied. But, if you put everything into the book, it is rich. And you just have to figure out how to do the same with the next one.

For me, this was affirming as well as good advice. I have friends on best-seller lists who plot. Seriously plot. That is their process and it works for them. They’ve lovingly tried to encourage me to create detailed outlines.

A page and a half was the best I could do. I mean, I don’t know what kinds of shenanigans my characters will pull! I know the main points, but everything else?

Anyway…

To hear someone who was #2 to Harper Lee with his last book, Endangered, say he writes organically… well… it made my heart happy.

So here I am geeking out. Waiting until tomorrow to go pick up my signed copy of Off the Grid at Wind City Books tomorrow (release date is tomorrow, so books sold could not go home with us tonight).

With a new Joe Pickett novel in hand, I will be off the grid myself tomorrow. I can’t help it. The books are THAT GOOD.

 

 

Your brother is not for dinner!

Have you ever caught yourself saying the oddest things? Things if overheard, might land you in the loony bin (if loony bins still existed)?

No, you can’t eat your brother.

Why are there footprints all over the stove?

Hey! Stop throwing litter in your food!

Drooling on your brother won’t make me change my mind about you eating him.

The dog needs his face.

How did you get up there?

Why are you in the dishwasher?

Stop looking at your brother with hungry eyes.

My face is not a chew toy!

Wait. Did you just put your butt on my toothbrush?

Get out of the birdcage!

Your brother is not on the menu.

Get your butt off of my face!

How am I supposed to brush my teeth with you in the sink?

Both of you are in the sink?

Why do you insist on sleeping in the sink?

Seriously, you can’t eat your brother!

 

 

IMG_0614

IMG_0829 IMG_0863 IMG_0868 IMG_0873

 

The W in Wyoming stands for WIND

And it’s not wind, it’s WIND.

While I told people I was moving to Wyoming, they said, “I hope you like WIND.”

When I moved to Wyoming, people said, “There are two reasons people leave Wyoming. Winter and WIND.”

I had no idea when they uttered the “w” word, that it was in all caps.

Whenever the RV rocked and rolled as if it were on the high seas over the summer, the seasoned Wyomingites said, “This is not the WIND.”

When I had to keep both hands on the wheel to keep my car in the correct lane on I-25 they said, “This is not the WIND.”

In early November, at church, I had to throw all my body weight against my car door to get out. Let me tell you I’m amazed my organs are intact due to the fact I could only get about a two inch clearance. Then I had to lean forward at a 60 degree angle to not get blown away. it took three people to heft the church door open. My hair did acrobatics. My clothes were practically turned around… an old cowboy smiled at me, nodded, then said, “THIS is the WIND.”

Here in Wyoming, we need a durable wind sock.

Here in Wyoming, we need a durable wind sock.

Here are things that set Wyoming WIND apart from wind.

WeIn WY, the wind doesn’t howl, it roars.

The best trick for cleaning out your vehicle is to park facing East or West, open all doors at once.

Wind speeds match or exceed highway speeds.

It’s not uncommon to see birds flying backwards.

Patio furniture? Better be anchored into a concrete slab, or someone in Montana will find a nice surprise in his front yard.

Wearing a skirt in WY can be immodest.

Chicago don’t know WIND.

The only places windier than Wyoming are the top of Mt. Washington in NH, and the Aleution Islands in Alaska!

But pictures say it all. Enjoy!

Found the memes on good ole Google.

Not a garbage can is upright.

Not a garbage can is upright.

Today, we are at a level 4.

Today, we are at a level 4. And ours are the huge city cans!

Frosty bites it.

Frosty bites it.

Every day is a bad hair day... unless you declare the WIND blown look to be fashionable!

Every day is a bad hair day… unless you declare the WIND blown look to be fashionable!

Carson sports the WIND blown look better than I.

Carson sports the WIND blown look better than I.

Whenever the WIND blows, the tumbleweeds hold a convention.

Whenever the WIND blows, the tumbleweeds hold a convention.

images-4images-3And from right here in Casper near my son’s school…

 

UnknownBut you know what? I’ll take the WIND any day over Denver traffic :)

Make room in the litter box!

Not long ago I lost two of the dearest loves of my life. Chloe and Esau. They were my baby cats.

Esau and Chloe were inseparable. I was lucky if they made room for me in bed.

Esau and Chloe were inseparable. I was lucky if they made room for me in bed.

Esau, a Maine coon, was our firstborn. John and I got him right after we were married. He was a social cat, craving attention. Whenever we traveled, or were gone for many hours, he’d get sick. So, at the age of four, we adopted him a sister: Chloe.

Chloe was a feisty tuxedo. Her full name was Chloe Squeaky Purrbody. You could have long conversations with that cat.

Those cats were in my face 24/7. I could not even shower alone. Esau loved being steamed and Chloe loved being with him. Their lives and mine were so entwined.

Chloe passed away about a week before Christmas this year. She was only 12.

No matter what I was doing, Chloe had to be ON it.

No matter what I was doing, Chloe had to be ON it.

Esau joined her in February. He was 17.

Grief hit me in ways I never imagined.

When we moved into our new home, my husband decided it was time for a kitten.

I hedged, claiming we should wait until we were unpacked and organized. I wasn’t sure if I could do it again. I’d loved so deeply and lost so hard, I wanted to just keep the pets we had and get on with life.

Last nigh,t my friend who was my neighbor at the KOA, texted me saying she trapped two tiny, starving kittens   under her rig. Two. Not one. I knew deep down they needed to be together. I asked if I could go see them.

Seeing how scared and traumatized they were, I could not walk away. Someone needed to love them. That person being me. I brought them home.

I’ve only adopted shelter cats. They are already socialized and up to date on shots etc. Wild

New babies huddled in the crate, wondering if I was going to eat them.

New babies huddled in the crate, wondering if I was going to eat them.

kittens are out of my experience.

Pushing through the front door, I shielded them from Psycho Dog and put the carrier in our bedroom. John, curious, pulled the cardboard box out. The tiniest kitten erupted out of the box and shot across the room to hide under the bed table. John crawled on the floor, trying to grab the kitten. We tore our bedroom apart trying to capture that little black ball of fur.

Finally he grabbed it, but like a wet bar of soap it shot out of his hand, into the air, and skidded under another piece of furniture.

My gut clenched. What was I getting into? How in the world could these hellions become snuggle pusses?

When John got a hold of the kitten, it screamed and hissed and squealed as if its limbs were being torn off.

Great. Can’t even touch the things! I doubted my decision to bring them home.

Today I took them to the vet. Found out the fluffy one is a boy and the teeny one is the girl. She only weighs one pound. Vet figures they are about 5 weeks old and healthy.

In the office, I learned how to grab them by the scruff. When I did that, it was like someone hit an off switch. Each kitten went from hissing to flaccid. I was then able to hold each one. And when I did… they melted against me. I even got each one to purr!

It’s going to be a long road to gain their trust and to make them feel safe, but I know it will be worth it.

I said I’d never have three cats again.

Oh well.

Time to make room in the litter box!

 

Wanna seal a deck?

Trillions of those stick things in the railing made me crazier than I already am!

Trillions of those stick things in the railing made me crazier than I already am! This is just the back deck! It’s big. Very. Big.

Holy cow.

Seriously.

Who knew sealing the back deck and front porch would take FOUR FULL DAYS?

I’ve painted a lot of things in my life. Rooms. Ceilings. Porches. Exteriors of homes… it takes time. It’s tedious and your feet end up with ladder rung imprints for about two weeks.

But sealing raw wood on a deck and porch?

First off, there’s those little one inch wide stick

Front porch with a gazillion more stick things. I won't talk about the battle with the lawn sprinklers.

Front porch with a gazillion more stick things. I won’t talk about the battle with the lawn sprinklers.

things that are part of the railing. There are MILLIONS of them. Each one has FOUR sides. Two sides are between two other stick thing-a-ma-bobs. Which means you have to torque your wrist at some weird alien angle to get the stain on.

When I found out the builder didn’t seal the wooden structures and that I had to do it, I thought, eh, I could knock out the back deck in an afternoon and the entire front porch in a half day.

Bwahahaha!

Who was I fooling? I hallucinated I lived on Planet Home Depot!

Hey, did you know wood is thirsty? It sucks up that oil-based sealant like a dehydrated camel with a bad case of here-jeebies.

I dipped my brush, skimmed off the excess, then pulled the brush over the wood surface.  One trillionth of an inch into said brush pull, the sealant disappeared!! Brush dry! Wood looked like it never met my brush.

After a while, I slinged and slopped that oily stuff all over those stick things. (My husband, who is an architect, has a special name for them, but they are evil and don’t deserve such a fancy sounding name.)

Not only was wood finally covered in sealant, but I was as well.

It didn’t smell all that great.

Neither did I.

So… six hours later… I was only 3/4 of the way done with the railing on the big deck. That does NOT include the stairs.

Sore, slimy and somewhat defeated, I stared at the deck as the coolness of the Wyoming evening crept in gumming up my stain. I wanted to cry. How many days was this gonna take?

Four full days later I was done. My dog is lucky to be alive.

So is everyone else in my house.

But it’s done.

I think my family owes me. Like, a really nice dinner out? Maybe a trip up to the Winchester Steak House in Buffalo?

What do you think?

Mom, that’s not a car, it’s a boat!

I crashed my 2013 Nissan Rouge a few weeks ago. While it’s being repaired, I am grateful a couple from church  loaned me a car to use during the weeks mine is in the shop. What did they loan me?

A Lincoln Town Car! Circa 1991!

The Poly Shiner which cruises the streets of Casper like a mattress on wheels.

The Poly Shiner which cruises the streets of Casper like a mattress on wheels.

I tell ya, they don’t make cars like that anymore.

And roadways, driveways and parking lots are not designed to accommodate such vehicles of luxury and… length.

What’s it like driving a 1991 Town Car in 2015?

Imagine driving a mattress down the highway. That’s right… a mattress! Take the thickest, comfiest mattress known to man, add wheels, power steering and brakes. Bumps? What are those? Curbs? What? Where? Did I really run over a moose?

Didn’t feel a thing.

Seriously, it’s one big squishy ride unlike any modern car I’ve ever ridden in.

The Town Car came to me while we still lived at the KOA. My neighbor walked around her camper and eyed the car. She smiled. “You know, that thing is about three quarters the length of my rig!”

Sure enough it was. In fact, it was several feet longer than the GMC Yukon she just bought to pull her rig-which she and her family live in full time.

I slowed down to a stop at a red light. The front of the Town Car even with the SUV in the next lane. Let’s say I was seated where the cargo area of that thing was. I couldn’t wave at the driver if I wanted to. However, I could get away with picking my nose if I wanted to. I didn’t. Ew.

I wonder how many Smart Cars could fit inside the Lincoln?

The trunk is so huge, you could fit a small village inside… think how many bodies it can hide? That is, if I was a murderer…

Which I am not!

My son, Kyle,  decided the car needed a name. “Mom, that’s the Poly Shiner.” He hopped off the bottom step of the motor home, backpack slapping his spine.

“The what?”

“The Poly Shiner. Like, it’s what a pirate would name his ship. And that car is as big as a ship. We can be pirates and raid. You know, like for treasure and stuff?”

Suuurrrrreee. That car is so ubiquitous…

A week ago, I went to Vitamin Cottage to get some groceries. There was only one spot available. The trunk end of the Poly Shiner stuck out into the drive lane of the parking lot, I had the nose over the concrete thingy at the front end as far as I could go without putting the car through the building. Pulling out was an adventure. I had SUVs on either side of me. Large ones. The width of the drive lane in which I needed to back out was half of the length of the Shiner. It took me ten minutes of creeping forward, adjusting a hair, pulling back until I could get that thing out.

No one could get around me.

By the time I extracted the car from it’s space, traffic was backed up onto the road for at least a block as cars waited to get into the parking lot.

Talk about embarrassing. Casper is a small city. A very small city.

At least no one got a ding or scratch. Go me!

I haven’t been back since.

And then there’s the power steering! I could turn that car with my nose hairs, that steering is so silky sensitive. When I drive my husband’s Juke, I feel like I have hang on the steering wheel with all my weight to turn the car, and it’s the size of a VW bug! Not to mention I weigh as much as a VW bug…

They just don’t make cars like that any more.

And they sure don’t make roads and parking lots to accommodate.

Which makes driving it a high sea adventure!

The jury is still out on conducting raids. Not sure what I’d raid for. Chickens? I’ve always wanted some.

Oh, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the comments to work on this blog. Believe me I tried. But alas, WordPress refuses to cooperate. So comment on social media and share with friends!

Firey Wyoming Sunset

The lack of imagination. Can it destroy freedom?

I have a theory.

I know, dangerous, right?

Anyway, when I took my dog for his morning constitutional, I got to thinking. Is it possible the lack of imagination among the masses could bring about the downfall of our free country as we know it?

I’m sure you’re wondering where the heck that came from, or who thinks like that?

Well, I do.

Ever since I was a small child, I imagined. I imagined all day long and all night long. I imagined I was a doctor. That my bike was a horse. I imagined the woods surrounding my college were actually in Siberia. I imagined characters and a plot to fill a novel.

Imagining is inherent to me. Like breathing. I think of Craig’s List and imagine a gazillion ways a serial killer can use that site to lure prey.

I lie in an MRI machine and imagine a rogue technician using the scanner as a murder weapon.
And then I hear colleagues in education lament the lack of imagination in today’s school kids.

I see adults’ inabilities to spend 30 seconds away from their portable device.

Look around you. our culture is dependent on something else to occupy their minds. They cannot imagine.

Or, few can.

Which bring me back to my theory.

It takes imagination to see where current events in the United States are taking us. In most cases, the circumstances do not prompt the pain and discomfort brought about by the long-term effects of varying decisions, so one must sit back and imagine how things could go.

And that takes time.

And for some, effort.

Is it possible that so many are caught up in the comfort of the moment they fail to imagine what could happen? Or just don’t care? Or have a “well, that won’t affect me” type of attitude?

Does it take imagination to look at history and see how dictators and tyrants rose to power and extrapolate that into the political decisions of today?

My theory is that the lack of imagination is one of the contributing factors to the crumbling state of our nation.

If you don’t think it is so, are you free to express an opinion that is contrary to the Popular Opinion of The Day?

Imagine if things flipped and The Other Side was in power. And took your voice away…

Can you?

Does it change your perspective just a little?

Imagine.

My Wild Wyoming Adventure

A lot has happened since the last post.

The contract mentioned for the house in the previous post was salvaged. Those buyers got their dream home.

And we get to build ours!

Okay, so not exactly a dream home, but it is new and will not be held together with duct tape.

I’m gonna skip the verbiage and let my pictures speak for themselves. You can follow the adventure on Facebook with the #MyWildWyomingAdventure.

We are living in a Class C RV that a dear friend is letting us use.

Following home. Leaving Denver behind.

IMG_1518

Our home until mid-September

IMG_1521

The Bar Nunn KOA is where it’s at!

IMG_1566

The strawberry moon rises over the long grass prairie in Bar Nunn.

IMG_1587

Building a house is fun! We love to go see the progress every few days.

DSCN0957

Carson is having a blast becoming WyoDog.

DSCN1016

Voices of the past whisper in my head. Countless stories beg to be told. I may cross over to the dark side and write some historical fiction!

I am excited about this new life. I am loving my new state. And will be catching up on the author part of my life now that we are “settled” in for a while.

 

Exercising faith

 

This is the house we may be able to get if things work out. But it's not up to us, is it?

This is the house we may be able to get if things work out. But it’s not up to us, is it?

My entire world is suspended. It’s like everything is moving in slow motion if it’s moving at all. At the same time, it’s screaming along like a fully-loaded freight train without breaks on a steep descent.

Doubting.

A cynical attitude.

Pessimism.

Those are life-long habits I’ve honed over the decades. They follow me everywhere I go.

Deciding to move to Wyoming not knowing how things would work out has been the toughest decision my husband and I have made in our 17 years of marriage. This new plot-twist in life is forcing us to examine our thought patterns and thinking habits. It’s forcing us to exercise our faith in ways we never imagined.

At first, things felt surreal.

Like a foggy dream.

Tuesday, a contract was drawn up on our house. All it needs is a closing date.

Yesterday, John took away some pretty large items with lots of memories attached. The purging process has begun.

We lost Chloe in December.

Esau a week and a half ago.

Change.

Obstacles.

But I am determined not to doubt. John and I made a pact that if we chose to move, we would trust God completely. We would not pray and then doubt God would answer. We agreed to trust Him to answer in His way.

How am I doing?

Well, truth is, I am numbing out. I’m not allowing myself to think or feel much. When doubt crept in I watched multiple episodes of Downton Abbey.

I researched graphic design principles of novel covers.

I asked God to help me not doubt.

I know some say it’s important to be expectant. To decide things are going to work out a certain way… I’m not there. And I’m not sure if my expectations are real or true.  I need to focus on not doubting.

Yesterday we were supposed to find out if a  spec home would go on the market. The contract fell through on the other buyer’s end. We were hoping to go up to Casper today to see the house and start paperwork to secure it.

This house is a deal.

Ideal.

Similar to what we have, but brand new and not a single swath of duct tape in sight!

Under budget.

Next to a river with bike and walking trails.

I would be content there.

The seller and real estate agent are giving that other buyer every chance to save their contract. Now, it will be end of business day, Friday before we know anything. At best, there is a 50/50 chance things would work out for us.

In the shower, I struggled with how to pray about it. What if the other people were praying to get that house? What if they are trusting God to come through for them? After all, the house is build to their specs. Not mine. How can I pray for that house to be mine?

I can’t.

I have to let it go.

Soap in my eyes, I told  God that if getting a contract on their current home and getting into that house would draw them closer to Him, then they should have that house. John and I will have to trust Him for another one.

And that is hard.

Because it would mean more suspension.

More waiting.

More wondering

As time ticks forward.