Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tickle->Bug->Shudder->Spasm Reflex.

I'd say most people learn the Tickle->Bug->Shudder->Spasm Reflex at a young age.  The reaction is almost identical among all homo-sapiens.  One feels a tickle, automatically imagines the bug most likely to be the culprit of the terrible sensation, shudders and reflexively kicks, flicks, flings or whips the limb or body part where the sensation was felt.  It is a learned behavior, though the insect (or arachnid) that teaches each person this behavior is different from subject to subject.  For my husband it is spiders (Tickle-> SPIDER -> shudder -> spasm). For me it is cockroaches (Tickle-> COCKROACH ->shudder -> spasm).  It takes only one encounter with an insect to ingrain this reflex into a person for life, and years of therapy and self-degradation to rid oneself of this reflex.

As I mentioned, the culprit of my imprinting experience was a cockroach.  I believe I was in first grade at the time.  I was wearing my super stylish ked slip-ons (my go-to school shoe for 12 years) when I felt a tickle in the arch of my foot.  What was that crazy sensation?  I tried tapping my foot on the ground a few times, swinging it wildly under my desk, but nothing seemed to be helping.  Finally I slipped my shoe off to investigate.  Nothing seemed to be on my foot.  I ducked under my desk and tipped my shoe over trying to get a better look inside when a giant 3-foot cockroach crawled out of my shoe.  It stared up at me for about 10 seconds as if to say "that was the worst experience of my life."  I stared back in horror, hopefully broadcasting a similar sentiment.  I watched as it scuttled out from under my desk and across the classroom floor.  The rest of the school day was spent imagining tickles under my foot, thoughts of cockroaches, involuntary shudders and spasms as I took my shoes off over and over to investigate their contents.  From that moment on any tickle I felt, anywhere on my body was automatically associated with a cockroach.  

The problems with this reflex are: 

1) it isn't remotely helpful for survival.  Any poisonous insect that is close enough to tickle has probably already killed you, and any amount of spasming isn't going to reverse that.  
2) it isn't remotely subtle.  If you have this reflex in public everyone will notice you.  It includes giant gestures and often girly squeals.  You are now the embarrassed center of attention. 
3) it isn't remotely accurate.  99 X out of 100 there is no bug.  You have just shuddered and spasmed (and possibly wet your pants a little) in public over a stray hair, a falling leaf or some d-bag tickling your neck with a cattail.

Realizing that it would be better for my social standing to lose this reflex for life, I went through countless years of trying to overcome.  Every time I felt a tickle and automatically squealed and spasmed I would berate myself.  I would point out the leaf or raindrop that had startled me so, and lecture myself on the improbability that every tickle I ever felt for the rest of my life came from a cockroach.  Over the years I made incredible progress.  And today, I triumphed.

As I stood at the counter, dishing leftover dinner into a tupperware, I felt a small tickle on my toes.  "COCKROACH!" My mind screamed frantically, but my training prevailed.  I didn't shudder, I didn't spasm.  I finished what I was doing and then calmly looked down to investigate what had tickled my baby toe.  

A half smooshed cockroach perched there, antennae flailing wildly.  


I think I literally went into convulsions trying to get that thing off my foot.  When it was finally flung away I unrolled half the paper towels and rolled the thing up into a ball and shoved it into my trashcan which I then tied up and took out to the dumpster.  I came back in and bleached my entire leg.  And yet I still feel it perched there.  ***sob!!***

The Tickle->Bug->Shudder->Spasm reflex.  1% accurate.  100% necessary.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My day at Chick-Fil-A. In which I lie, steal, cheat and lose.

For those of you unfamiliar with Chick-Fil-A, it is not pronounced Chick-fil-uh.  It is like, Chick-fillet.  It's a play on words because they are chicken fillets.  You know, clever. And if you don't know how to pronounce fillet you are on your own.

So anyway.  I decided to treat myself and my children to an afternoon of yummy fried chicken and sunless indoor play (it is crazy hot here.)  My husband warned me that Chick-Fil-A on a Saturday at noon would be a mad house (Lubbock loves fried chicken.) but I insisted it wouldn't be THAT bad.  I was so confident, in fact, that it wouldn't be so bad that I forwent a shower this morning and left the house in my pajama shirt.  I did put a bra on (achievement!).  So we drop Brett off at work and wander over to our local friendly Chick-Fil-Uh.

The second I pulled into the parking lot I knew I had made a terrible mistake.  The drive-through line was wrapped twice around the building.  There was a steady stream of people going in and out the doors.  If only I'd had a survival mode, I would have driven home right then and there.  But I had told my kids we were going to go play.  Turning around now to save my life would most definitely destroy my sanity.  There really was only one option.  Time to brave the chaos.

So the line is crazy long and my kids are already egging for the play pit.  I release the reins and let 'em go.  I get in line.  I am that annoying lady in front of you in the line who doesn't realize when it moves forward cause she is so distracted by something else.  I am trying to see my kids in the play place.  You keep asking me to move forward.  You are annoyed.

I finally order and move out of the way.  One can't wait for one's food, you have to move to the side and let 7 other people order until they finally frantically scream your name, begging you to come claim your stuff so they can start harassing other customers.  I wait about 5 minutes when someone small starts to tug on my pant leg.  It is Juliet.  "I have to go to the bathroom" she says, and then before I can grab her she darts away between the milling masses of people.  She's run the wrong direction from the bathroom, back to the play place, and now I have to hunt after her all the while worried that our food order is going to be given away to someone else if I don't hear them frantically shouting for me.

"Juliet!  Get your shoes on, the bathroom is this way!"
"I don't have to go"
"You just told me you did."
"Well I don't."

Now I am that mom who yells at her kids in public and, oh please tell me you didn't, but oh yes I did, I start counting to three.  I can feel "tacky" sticking to me like bad wall paper, but I don't have time to fool around.  I have to get this kid in and out of the bathroom before my number is up.

Where is Bensen in all this?  Oh who knows.  I'm sure he is still in the restaurant somewhere.

So I get Juliet in and out of the bathroom, and back to the play place in time for Vik-ee to hollah "KRISTIN? KRISTINE? KELLY?" It looks like what I ordered so I jump on it like a vulture onto carrion (whatevs, vultures totally do jump).  I peak in.  I forgot to order a fruitcup in lieu of waffle fries.


"I'm missing a milk," I tell Vik-ee.
"Oh I'm so sorry.  Here it is."
"Also I ordered a fruit cup with one of these kids meals."
"Oh, sorry about that."

Free fruit cup.  I am a terrible person.  I honestly in all honestness meant to say, "I forgot to order a fruitcup with one of these kids meals" but somehow the 'forgot' got lost and 'order' picked up a different suffix.  I walked away from the register in a daze, stolen fruitcup in hand.  What kind of person was I becoming?

There are no free tables in the whole restaurant.  I'm feeling a bit frantic, I need to put this food down somewhere and make sure my kids are ok.  I turn this way and that, and come face to face with a crying barefoot Bensen.  A very nice lady is holding his hand trying to figure out what to do with him.  "He's mine," I say, trying to balance my tray of food and cigarette in one hand while I grab for him.  "Sorry, and thank you."  The table next to me is miraculously emptying.


I see an old lady with a handful of napkins eyeing it though I pretend not to see her. Before she can make a move I plop my baby right in the middle of the table before it's been fully evacuated, and actually scoot the fleeing families tray off the table with my own.  Luckily the dad is a ninja and catches his tray before I make a real spectacle of myself.  I see tears well up in the old ladies' eyes and try to suppress a smug look.

I open the pilfered fruit cup and hand Bensen a fork.  Juliet, also barefoot, walks over to the table and we sit down to a nice meal together.  The youngsters pop in and out at will, heading off to play and then coming back for a few quick bites.  I flip through the current issue of "Guns and Ammo" idly twirling my mullet through my fingers, debating on letting it grow out or shaving it short again.

"Kristina, is that YOU?" I look up, it is one of my friends.  Not a Betty from the double wide trailer type of friend -- you know, a friend you are comfortable inviting over at any time cause you know she won't judge you cause her parenting style is as bad as yours if not slightly worse?  No, she is more of a June Cleaver type of friend.  One of those moms who has two kids but still looks 20.  Her hair is as long as mine used to be before I got frustrated and lopped it all off, but it is cute and styled in a way my hair could never even dream of being the cheap knock-off version of (wow did that sentence work?  I hope the sentiment did at least.)  She is cute, cool, poised and confident.  And to make it even worse, she is NICE, so you can't even hate her for being so obviously better at this than you.  And that is when I realized.

I AM THE BETTY FROM THE DOUBLE WIDE TRAILER FRIEND.  With my pajama shirt on, my unkempt hair, my barefoot kids, my stolen fruit-cup, and my old-lady's-dream crushing ways.


"I'm sorry," I reply to the lovely June Cleaver.  "You must have mistaken me for someone else."


"Kristina, you're so funny.  It's nice seeing you!" The angels practically whisk her away.  

*for those of you worried about the stolen fruit cup, I did actually pay for it.  What can I say, my parents raised me right.  I cannot steal, and I cannot tell a lie.  Well, I did totally steal that table from the old lady.  So I guess they just mostly raised me right.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mixing my lives--- NOOOO!!!!

So I try not to post my photography business stuff on this blog because this is my family blog (ie the place where I rarely talk about my family cause I'm a narcissist) but I took my niece's bridals a few weeks ago, and since she is my niece I didn't post a gallery for her to order from, and since there wasn't a gallery there was no way for my mom to see her pictures. Or any other family member that was interested. So sorry for all those who are UNinterested.
And for those who are TOTES interested, check out my facebook page! KrisKris Photography

Saturday, August 20, 2011

seven hundred and twelve photos later. . .

it's national photography day! That really has nothing to do with this post, except that photography made this video possible. hurray!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New York, Anniversary, Jimmy Fallon, Awesome

Of course there's two sides to every story and today I'd like to talk about my New York trip and weigh the good with the bad in a segment I call "Pros and Cons".

Pros and Cons by The Roots

Pro                                         Con
 Seeing Times Square for the first time                    In the pouring rain, lugging a suitcase 
                                                                     and walking 2 blocks in the wrong direction.            

The weather was beautiful when we landed in New York.  It was nice on the bus from the airport, it looked great as we headed down into the subway station, and it was pouring when we walked back out of it.  We bought 2 $3 umbrellas which during our trek to the hotel managed to keep us dry from the shoulders up.   After our misadventure in the rain (walking 2 blocks in the wrong direction and passing a different subway station on our way to the hotel) Brett was banned from navigating.  

Luckily this was the only time it rained during our trip and later we were able to enjoy Times Square in freshly ironed clothes.  

Pro                                         Con
 Eating the best barbecue New York has to offer           which isn't quite as good as Texas
                                                                             barbecue.  Which is where we live.   

It was our first night, we were hungry, and it was close by.  It was very good, but it seems silly in hindsight to go all the way to New York to eat something you can pay half as much for in your home town. 

Pro                                         Con
 Getting VIP tickets to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon          realizing that VIP is an acronym
                                                                             for Very Inferior Peon.

I do not want any panties in a bunch over this, I am 100% incredibly unbelievably wonderfully totally inconceivably grateful that I had a guaranteed seat to LNJF.  Omigoodness, BEST ANNIVERSARY EVER.  I was surprised how many VIPs there were at this show.  In our line we were about the 30th and 31st person.  There was another line that got in before us -- by the time we got into the studio it was already half full.  At this point I was feeling even more grateful we had gotten tickets, because by the time the poor sad-sack standbys shuffled in they had been waiting in lines for HOURS, and then watched the show from the hard wooden benches in the back.  Not to mention the even sadder-sackier standbys who stood in line for hours and then didn't get a seat!  I was sittin pretty 6 rows back.

our awesome wristbands
and the tshirt we couldn't afford to buy

Pro                                         Con
Jimmy Fallon is my best friend.                          I am not even a blip on Jimmy's Radar.

Omigoodness, Jimmy came out of the curtain and pointed RIGHT AT ME!  His eyes bore into mine and I could clearly read in them, "I know you, we are one." A thrill ran up and down my spine. Goosebumps!  (Brett swears he was pointing at him, and apparently he had the same internal reaction.  Whatevs Brett, I am clearly Jimmy's BFF).  That was my moment (and probably every other person in the audiences' haha), because other than that first exit, there wasn't much more rapport with the audience. I was a little disappointed because honestly when you watch Jimmy on SNL and LNJF for years you really start to feel like he is your bestie.  He is funny and unassuming and just a real cool dude.  So I think deep down you think yeah, Jimmy is my friend.  But when it boils down to it this is a guy who sees a new studio audience every day, face after face after face.  Having a personal relationship with each and every one of them would be exhausting.  Especially because many of them are probably freeeeeeeeaks.  But I admit I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more give and take from Jimmy with the audience.  I understand where he's coming from.  In a, 'I am not a tv personality that weird girls fall in love with and weird dudes want to kill' kind of way.  

I know you can't tell, but his arm is raised and pointing right at me.  Or Brett.  or the dude sitting next to me. Connection is in the eye of the beholder I suppose.

Pro                                         Con
 Seeing Jimmy Fallon's Beautiful Face              Seeing Jimmy Fallon's beautiful behind.
                                                                       (A pro in any other context)

So at the end of every show Jimmy runs up and down the aisles shaking hands and signing autographs. Brett and I were poised and ready to shake his hand when Doofenshmirtz back there ruined it aaaaaallll.

Jimmy had run up the other aisle and was coming down ours.  Just as he was about to reach our row, Heinz Doofenshmirtz stands up and hands him this weird who knows what the heck it is T-Shirt.  Jimmy is all, "oh wow, thanks Doofenshmirtz.  I will now show this weird-A t-shirt to the camera as if I am going to treasure it rather than throw it in the goodwill bin the second I get off stage. Have fun seeing your t-shirt on a bum in two weeks."  So Jimmy takes 2 steps forward to do the camera shot of the t-shirt, and totally and completely bypasses our row.  We were left standing there with our hands extended like Sad-Sackians, watching Jimmy continue to shake everyone elses' hands but our own.  The couple sitting next to us didn't seem that broken up about it.  So we kicked their shins.  

Pro                                         Con
Lots of Nookie                                                         Too much Snooki

Don't worry, I won't go into detail.  Let's just say that 5 years of marriage and 2 nights without children is a great combo.  We had a gorgeous, quirky hotel in the heart of Times Square.  I thought I would die in its elevator a couple of times, but as you can see, still here.    Snookie brought us slippers, and since my mother taught me "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," and I occasionally follow that advice, I will say no more about it.  We do love the semi-hideous, totes-comfy slippers though.

Holy Geez girl, close your mouth!

Joe Buck, a previous unknown to us sports-dummies, was actually an incredible guest.  We liked him a lot.  Jimmy also mentioned their movie Fever Pitch which we had actually watched the day before, so we felt pretty cool.  Then Tig Notoro did stand-up (instead of a musical guest) and she was HILARIOUS. Jimmy was cracking up during her bit, and it was really fun seeing him being entertained. The Roots were also totally and completely unbelievable, as usual.  In spite of Doofenshmirtz and the notorious Shake Shaft, the show was easily one of the best moments of our married life.

So, for all of you that helped make that happen,

For everyone else, you suck.  Hahahaha, just kidding.  We love you too.  We pretty much love everyone right now.

The Whole she bangs, she bangs. Sorry, unrelated Ricky Martin moment.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Worst case scenario

So Brett was a little embarrassed by my smooshy (his word, not mine) anniversary post ("C'mon Kristina, no one wants to read that") So it is time to go the absolute opposite of smooshy and talk about what I painted after I produced those one of a kind, collector's itemish works of love art.

I tend to get carried away sometimes.  See, we got these awesome VIP tickets to late night, and ever since then my mind has been working a mile a minute on possible amazing scenarios that could occur while we were in New York.  I dream up awesome wedding crashes (which my honest husband refuses to even think of doing, BTW) or our hotel finding out it was our anniversary and comping our stay, or running into Jerry Seinfeld on the street, who then invites us home for dinner because we are just that cool and he wants to be BFFs forever (Best friends forever, FOREVER.)  Less dramatic scenarios include meeting Jimmy Fallon before/after our live taping, or getting a free tour of NBC universal studios.  But the point is, these kinds of things don't generally happen to regular ol' folks like us--and the more I dwell on what awesome stuff could happen, the more my hopes are raised that something totally awesome will happen, and the more I'm let down when only normal cool stuff happens (like attending a live taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  HELLO!)  So to try and bring my expectations back down to a normal, reasonable level, I thought up the worst case scenario.  Cause if you are prepared for the worst, the ok seems pretty cool.  And the water colors were still out, so why not paint it, ya know?

New York City Trip: Worst Case Scenario

Brett woke up just as I was adding the final touches to the gangbanger who was running off with his bloody dagger and our fat wad of cash (we're high rollahs).  As you can imagine, he was quite horrified.

Kristina (guesturing to Lovey art pasted all over the walls): I painted you happy anniversary pictures!!
Brett (pointing in disgust at the gangbanger running off with his dollahs): What is THAT.
Kristina: A gangbanger running off with your dollahs.
Brett: Why would you paint that.
Kristina: I don't want to be disappointed on this trip so I imagined the worst case scenario.
              Then I painted it.  Obviously.
Brett (blinking in disbelief): That is so wrong.

At this point Brett sits down at the kitchen table where Juliet, Bensen and I have been happily painting for the last hour, picks up a paintbrush and hammered out this little beauty.

New York City Trip: What would actually happen.

I guess I forgot to take into account Brett's mad Jiu-Jitzu skillz.  I stand corrected.

Thank you note.

Thank you, Browning Logo, for looking exactly like a man on fire.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Anniversary by Watercolors

I was going to write out this really long sappy Anniversary post but honestly I'm not feeling very long and sappy.  So instead I'll talk about water colors.  As a happy 5th anniversary I let Brett sleep in this morning (seriously, kid was in bed til 10:30.  I didn't mind though).  So while Brett was sleeping the babies and I decided to water color, thus my new header, in honor of our 5 year anniversary until we get to actually celebrate our anniversary in NEW YORK CITY!

These are fully accurate representations of actual moments of our life together.

Scene 1                                             Scene 2                                               Scene3

Scene 1 depicts the moment that we knew we were in love.  We held hands and gazed over the San Francisco skyline and imagined our future life.  My eyes filled with tears as I painstakingly added every detail of this scene, from our hands clasped tightly, to our eyes - young, vibrant, and full of the hope of a loving and fulfilling life in each others' arms.  The love we felt was nearly palpable, and I believe that anyone who sees this work of art will be able to literally feel the love in the air, floating between us as though it were a giant voluminous red heart.

Scene 2 depicts what was written upon my own heart as I woke this morning, reflecting on the last 5 years I spent with this wonderful man.  Sweet and solemn, I could hardly put into words what I was feeling, so turned instead to paint and brush.  Although words and images will never be able to justly express the wonderful sentiment of five happy years together, I believe this scene is as close as art can ever come.  When I see it I am filled once again with those feelings I had this morning, and hope that others can understand just exactly what I wanted (but feel I truly failed) to say to my dear sweet husband.

Scene 3 depicts August 12, 2010 - an average day in the life of Brett and Kristina Foutz.  As I think is fairly obvious by our body language, Brett has just returned home from a hard day at work, to a sweet hug, kiss, and floaty heart from his wife of 4 years.  We stare lovingly into one another's eyes, reliving the triumphs we have enjoyed over the last few years, and looking forward to what lies ahead.  Love is in the air, every where I look around.  Love is in the air, every sight and every sound. And I don't know if I'm being foolish, I don't know if I'm being wise but it's something that I must believe in and it's there when I look in your eyes.

I know it's hard to believe, but I am planning on letting these babies go.  We are holding an Art Auction to raise money for our New York trip.  Bidding starts at $1,000 OBO.  Please leave your bid in a comment on this blog post.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

I dream of Jimmy (pronounce it Jeemy so it becomes a cool 1960s pop culture reference)

So I'm not generally an obsessive person, but ever since we got those tickets to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon I've been a little obsessed (in case those last few blog entries weren't a tip off).  We have been off the charts googling for a hotel that will fit our budget and also be clean.

they really want to overlap, they just can't seem to get there.

I've been googling for fun 'off the beaten path' stuff to do in NYC -- I've already been to a lot of the big tourist places and Brett just isn't touristy.

And of course, Jimmy.  We are freaking going to see Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  I am so beyond excited about this, and feel like I have to get all the way caught up on my Jimmy Jargon.  There are so many SNL clips I've never seen, a few Late Night episodes I've missed, embarrassed to say I've never seen Taxi OR Fever Pitch and holy crap I am a google stalker!  This concentrated Jimmy Obsession has really worked a number on my brain, and it has been manifesting in a crazy reocurring couples date night dream.

They usually start just after the taping of Late Night when Jimmy is running up and down the aisles giving high fives and handshakes when he inexplicably stops right in front of me (and Brett, who is wearing a thundercats T-shirt, and I am wearing my wedding dress) and asks, so, you guys want to hang out tonight?  And I of course reply, "sure, we are in New York City but the only thing I want to do while I am here is have an awesomely tame game night!" Jimmy of course thinks this is a fabu-idea and we are magically transported to what I think is the 'living area' of our high class hotel room (this is when I start realizing I am dreaming because obviously we could not have afforded this hotel IRL).

Jimmy has brought his wife along (who is sometimes the lovely Nancy Juvonen and sometimes the equally lovely Denise Fallon) and we are sitting around the table playing Jenga (do people actually play this game any more?) when someone knocks on the door and low and behold, Tina Fey heard we were getting together and thought she'd stop by with Rich (shoot, I know his name is Jeff but she's the one calling him Rich so we all go along with it.). Sometimes it isn't Tina Fey who stops in.  Sometimes it is the New Kids on the Block (the 90's version)  one time it was A.D. Miles (we didn't let him in though, not sure why) and one time it was our good friends Spencer and Allison which clinches it for me that this is NOT a prophetic dream because although everything up to this point is believable, Spencer and Allison's surprise visit to NYC during our anniversary trip just isn't.  So there ya go, I cannot see the future.

So Tina and Rich come in and Brett bumps the table spilling Jenga tiles everywhere which was okay because no one cares for Jenga anyway and did Tina remember to bring Monopoly?  Someone suggests charades which to my waking mind seems like a fabulous idea.  But by the time I yell out "Lord of the Rings!" I'm back in Lubbock Texas tangled up in a sheet and accidentally elbowing Brett in the face.

I think it's time to lay off the google for a while, but not before I create this awesome composite of what dream couples game night looks like.