The Girls

The Girls
Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
Our mouths are full of lunch.

That's my bro's girlfriend LaRenda and my ALMOST EIGHTEEN sister Jenna and well, the always fabulous, me.

The Koskies

The Koskies
Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
Me and the boy cheesin' it up before I knew what I was getting myself in to.

Kyle and Larenda

Kyle and Larenda
Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
My brother and his lady working away.

Prepping to leave

Prepping to leave
Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
This is some of the fam: Mom and Dad, and my ALMOST EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD sister Jenna and her boyfriend Cody.

Cody- we're watching you!


Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
This is the captain of our ship. What mighty fine captaining he did. We only flipped once.

Post-Canoe Stress Disorder

Moan. Groan. Ouch. Ohhh. Umm, I hurt.

My whole body is aching from Sunday's canoe trip. My back, shoulders, neck, ribs, chest, stomach. I've got a bruise on my knee from where I slipped and whacked my knee on the steel seat in the boat.

My thoroughly uncomfortable bed doesn't help the situation. I guess this means I should do a lot more of this so these muscles get used to it.

Tuesday... back to work... picture of OU folks partying w/ Christian Slater (Jim's new best friend) over at Jimmy C's.


Not Your OARdinary weekend

The clock struck 5 on Friday and my tail went sailing out of the office. Say-hay-ling out. Not that the week was bad. I actually had a pretty good week. But, it was Friday on a holiday weekend. Bye bye.

Shelton and I got packed and got out of town. We headed to Joplin to my parents' house. My dad had a pretty big Memorial Day celebration going on at his cemetery on Saturday. They did a civil war soldier's funeral re-enactment. Pretty impressive turnout. All the actors were in full dress, folk band. It was really interesting to see.

While there my brother was yee-haw dancing to the folkband. Goofball. He lost his balance and dropped like an anvil to the ground. We all just sat there, we being my family, laughing. We then realized he'd been "down" for a while. Turns out he banged his ankle up pretty badly. We took him to the hospital as it was swelling and he was in pretty bad pain. The X-ray showed that it was not a break, no more than a sprain.
Baffled me because Kyle heard a loud pop when he fell. Word to the wise- turns out that sound is a good thing. It means there is no break, it means that the tendon tore.

After that we all went back to the house. We fixed a monster dinner of ribs, potatoes, corn on the cob, bread... you get the idea. The whole nine. It was deelish. We all sat outside on the patio, had dinner, told stories, laughed- it was awesome.

During dinner Jenna mentions that she is going canoeing for her 18th birthday next week (sigh, yes, i said EIGHTEEN!) We all start talking about how NONE of us have ever gone canoeing and at 9pm last night spontaneity snuck up and bit me in the butt. I don't let that happen very often. I mean, we have calendars for a reason... if it's not on the calendar, it's not supposed to happen.

Anyhow, the whole fam packed up at 9 o'clock this morning, headed to Elk River for an afternoon of canoeing. Mom, Dad, Shelton, Myself, Kyle and his g/f LaRenda, Jenna and her new b/f Cody. What a growing little bunch we have become.
Good-ness gra-cious. I have not had that much fun, serious good time all around fun in Lord only knows how long. We had 4 boats, 1 for each couple. For the most part we did alright. I think Shelton and I sailed most of the river backwards.. we just could not get flipped around.

Speaking of flipped, TWICE- count it TWICE, we had near death experiences. Our canoe collided in a strong current with mom and dad's canoe. The canoe got sucked underwater. All of our belongings went floating everywhere and innocent bystanders (camping drunks) had to rush over to SAVE OUR LIVES!!! Ok, not quite that dramatic, but without their help we would have lost a canoe and a lot of stuff.

We managed to make it down the 9 mile route in 3 hours. Stopping once for a little picnic and rock skipping. We managed to avoid nasty sunburns. Shelton is a little pink and my lips are pretty burnt, but all is well. Shelton and I headed back to Wichita when we returned to Joplin. We showered, ordered a pizza, and watched reruns on ABC.

This weekend was surreal. I don't remember the last time I enjoyed my family this much. All of us, as one group. It was really fantastic. I'm glad I took a camera because today's memories are definitely worth holding on to.


Gladys says, "Something ain't right!"

Shelton decided it would be a good idea to play with the mommy pigeon, who I have named Gladys. I say, either hate them and let them be, or hate them and just get it over with. As filthy and gross as they are, and as much as I want them off of my porch, i still have a heart and I still don't want to treat Gladys and her brood badly.

So last night he shooed her out of the nest while my Aunt Felicia cheered him along. Insanity I tell you. In her absence, he added an egg to the nest... a chicken egg... from our fridge. Just for giggles, right?! Ok, ok, I laughed a litle bit because it did look funny... but I sincerly felt bad for Gladys.

When Gladys returned she was incredibly hesitant about hopping on that new egg. See, there is a noticeable size difference. For those of you who have never had the unbelievably awesome opportunity (not) to see a pigeon egg up close, it is really no bigger than a whopper easter egg candy (yum). So the egg Shelton added was significantly larger... and much colder. After some serious investigation she did what any good mother would do and hopped back in the nest and continued roosting.

So now we have three eggs and a little boy who likes to play. According to my pigeon egg research, we've got t-minus 14 days to hatching.

Until then, here are some pigeon fun facts:
> They mate for life
> The male and female sharing duties in tending to the eggs
> The male, as well as female, lactate when the eggs hatch
> Adult pigeons can have over 10,000 feathers
> Pigeons have been known to live for 30+ years
> Hundreds of years ago, their droppings were used to make gun powder


The Calm Before the Storm -OR- The Calm After the Storm

The weekend is winding to a close. That means Shelton and I are sorting through the dirty and clean clothes to see how long we can make it before the absolute final day we have to do laundry. That means we are getting ready for really the only 3 hours of TV we watch during the week- Home Makeover, Housewives, Gray's Anatomy. We are squabbling over what we will have for dinner- tonight I think it is Jack Daniel's grilled marinated chicken with veggies- Yum!

This weekend was the Shelton's first home in 2 weeks. We had plans of looking through trip pictures, catching up on sleep, and catching up with one another. But family comes first, and I needed to be with them this weekend.

I've always been very vocal about the quasi-dysfunctionality of my family. We are far from the Cleavers. But this weekend all 5 of us sat down and took big, giant, huge steps towards fixing that. A lot of healing was done this weekend. A lot of mended hearts and scars. I'm excited for this new chapter in my family's lives. It will take time, patience, and hard work by each of us. But I don't think we would have accomplished what we did this weekend if each of us hadn't been ready to take these steps.

So tomorrow starts a new week. A new week with chaotic schedules, chores and work. And a new week for my family. To each of you, I hope it is a good one.


I'm such a sucker

Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
Just a couple months ago these little shoes started popping up everywhere and I thought, ugh! how terrible! Low and behold, I purchased a pair yesterday.

I'm a sucker for a good trend.

Whoever came up with this million dollar idea is sitting pretty. They probably cost a nickel to make and I paid a lot more than that.


Welcome home!

Shelton and his family landed in OKC at 11:30 last night- an hour behind schedule, but that is quite an adventure and I'll let him tell that as a final post on his site.

It is so very nice to have him back. There are a lot of fantastic photos and we will being posting on Shutterfuly for all of you to enjoy.

Brothers from another mother?

Brothers from another mother?
Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
This is my brother Kyle and Shelton.


And then there were two

My hussy pigeon laid another egg last night. There she sat, all proud of herself this morning, with not one but TWO eggs. I'll try to get pics up soon. My computer brain has been in Israel.

Shelton returns this evening. So, there will once again be TWO of us. I am so excited I can hardly breathe. It will be such a relief to see him walk off of that plane. If you've been keeping up with his blog, you'll see that he really has had the most incredible trip. He had not one negative thing to say about any aspect of it the entire time, I'm very thankful for that.

And finally, tonight I get to have dinner with TWO of my favorite people- Patrick and Whitney. It will be really nice to see them. We always have great stories to share.

Now let the TWO day countdown to the weekend begin...



Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
I hope you have a fantastic birthday Patrick. Let me know how 24 is, since mine is creeping up!

Also, BIG GIANT CONGRATS go out to Patrick who was accepted to the OU College of Business Master's program. You're gonna be awesome... good luck!

Love you kid! I'll see you tomorrow night for dinner!


No Room at the Inn, Lady!

So apparently our apartment complex is the Wichita Conservatory for Pigeons, aka Rats with Wings!! I hate them. They are gross and foul and I don't really care for any species of birds, but I especially hate pigeons.

These things live on our patio and I'm constantly shooing them away. They poo all over everything. Just grossy-Josey.

Last night this one pigeon was sitting in this hanging flower basket and wouldn't leave. I'm yelling and waving my hands and clapping loudly at her- nothing. Finally she flies away. So my Aunt and I are looking at flowers in the basket, or what's left of them, no vegitation happening whatsoever.

I look down, and that little hussy left an egg!!! SHE WAS LAYING AN EGG IN MY FLOWER BASKET ON MY PORCH!!! I took pictures of the egg and a little while later she flew back and HAS NOT left that basket since. I even took some pictures of here sitting on the egg. I will get those posted tomorrow, the cord is at my office.

So now I have to wait for the right moment to snatch that egg and get rid of it. I'm scared that she has laid more since last night... they don't typically have just one??

On another pigeon note, I would really appreciate some advice on how to rid my porch of this nasty things. Please post in the comments section your tips (you don't need to register, just post anonymous). My suggestion was to cover the porch in mouse traps... but Shelton said I'd be responsible for cleaning up dead birds.... UMMM HAIL NO! Then I thought, well, I'll just put a bowl of bird seed out there and put some poison in it... Shelton thinks they are too smart for that. So, let me know if you have a better Pigeon Prevention Plan, PPP.


Consider this a collage of thoughts

I couldn't really decide what I wanted to post this evening. A lot of things going on, random things I've seen, so I'm just going to break down in a li'l list.

> I bought the new Dave Matthews Band CD last night, "Stand Up." Yes, I bought it, as in paid legal tender in a retail store. I know this hasn't happened since about 2 or 3 summers ago when I bought the most recent Chili Peppers album; I burn the rest, so bad. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up. Granted, it could be a recording of Dave grunting and I'd think it was magical. So in short, I like it. It seems to be a lot more instrumental than a lot of their stuff, a lot more piano and they've added mandolin to Boyd Tinsley's repotoire.

> Every morning I drive West on Central to get to work (that doesn't mean anything to most of you). About a mile before my turn on to Washington, there is a little plasma donor office. Ok, I know this is going to sound terrible but I really hope I never need a plasma donation. I wouldn't drink water after anyone standing in that line, let alone their plasma. I like to think that well-nourished, healthy individuals are pouring their plasma out for the masses. Instead, it's, well, the not so well-nourished and unhealthy individuals standing outside this place just WAITING for the door to open at 8 to get their money. It's kind of like the first time you walk in to the kitchen at a fast food place... you'd just much rather not know where it's coming from.

> Today makes twice in the past week that I have managed to put my underwear on inside-out. I know guys probably don't have this problem but I know the girls do. What is my problem!? It's not like I'm in a blindfolded race to get these things put on in the morning!! Anyhow, I never know I've done this until I go to the bathroom, and you're sitting there and look down and go, Oh Yeah, I needed to be reminded that I'm a little slow sometimes.

> I think I want pizza for dinner. Hmmm.

> Shelton comes home in six days. He has posted some new photos on his site, again the link is on the right, at least it should be. www.shelfish.com
We have now reached that mark of- we've never been apart this long before. All the cliches are true: distance definitely makes the heart grow fonder and you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. Luckily we get to talk using this free online phone service called SKYPE every night before I go to bed/as he is waking up AND during my lunch each day on IM. I'm very thankful for those 45 quick minutes or so that we have. It has calmed my nerves to a manageable degree and I can actually function during the day.

> I have not one single plan for this weekend. Not one. I don't know if that is good or bad. I'm going to sleep in and just take it easy. Probably go rent some cheesy chick flicks. I don't plan on washing my hair, a hat is going to have to do it. Underwear on the correct way? That is questionable.


Same song, different day

I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to go back to work. Those warm fuzzies wore off about 8:45 as I checked 65 EMAILS!!! Once I mowed my way through those it was on to the PILE of work that my AE had left on my desk w/ cute little stickies on every single one that said, "Let's discuss."

I think I had my bearings back by 10. But by then, OH MY GOD, it was so hot in the office! We have a gaping 900 sq ft hole in the floor that opens to the first floor where the doors are standing open. Basically, our AC can't keep up with trying to cool both floors while the heat and humidity rush in. I mean sweat and frizz city. I went to Hell in a Handbasket during lunch (aka Walmart) and bought a fan. It's a cute little booger. About 3' tall and soooooo cool and breezy. Totally worth the non-expensible $12.

I hit up the Chipotle for dinner. Damn, I could eat that stuff every single day. Very hard to believe they are owned by McDonalds (there's a fun fact for the day).

Well, 7 more Shelton-less days. So far, so good. He'll be home a week from tonight, so ready.


There's no place like home, Toto

I have landed safely back in Wichita. The first two hours in the door was met with serious frusteration and coaching from my brother to fix my internet connection and Apple Airport Express (which is about the most worthless piece of shit apple has ever put out).

In any event, the flight back to OKC was smooth. Patrick picked me up and delivered me back to my car. A special shout out to Patrick because... he was accepted to OU's business school Master's program yesterday!!!! Congrats!!!

I drove out to visit with Shelton's grandparents. They are always a real treat to chat with. They are full of really great stories. I also left with a new set of sheets for the bed. Fabulous!!

I then did a little shopping at some stores only available to me in OKC- Ann Taylor Loft and Ross. I left with some very cute stuff, very ready for summer.

I made it back to Wichita 19 Dave Matthews songs and 2 hours later. A perfect, perfect evening drive. Barely put my foot on the break once.

I got my first live phone call with Shelton today since they left. I was totally impressed with the clarity of the connection. I've had international calls before with a terrible delay and echo, but this sounded like he was in the next room... too bad he wasn't. He sounds great, enjoying every minute. He is still posting on his site every day.

Well, I just hopped out of the shower and wiped out my dinner of cashews and water. I'm going to go unpack and iron something for tomorrow.

Yummy! Yummy!

Oh my freaking goodness!! I have waited since last August for what happenend last night. I got to eat at my absolute favorite Dallas restaurant, Hook, Line and Sinker. It's the ratty, hole in the wall restaurant that serves the BEST, absolute BEST catfish and fries under the sun. I pounded my way through 5 filets... one of those was for you Shelton as requested. The meal was followed by cake batter w/ oreo ice cream at marble slab. Ahhhhh. Did that and spent the evening w/ Shelton's family here in Dallas. Always a fun crew.

I'm flying back to OKC today on a little bitty plane and then from there driving back to Wichita. I should be back in Wichita before dark, at least that is my plan.



Just an update, I talked to Shelton about 3 hours ago (2pm here, 10pm there). They are there safe and my stomach has FINALLY stopped fluttering for the first time in 24 hours. They were settled in their hotel, had just finished dinner, and Shelton was looking out over the Mediterranean from his hotel balcony. Lucky boy.

There is a link to his site on the right, he has already posted once and will keep updating throughout the trip... if you're interested. So far, everything sounds wonderful. He did leave out the part where the lost one of his two suitcases at Newark though. Luckily he made it with the one that had the toothbrush and underwear.

Calming Down

Yesterday was just a really insane roller coaster. The morning was met with chaos in the Koskie house as everyone dashed to finish their packing. Shelton was such a ball of nerves, as was I, so the two of us just sat and stared.

We left for the airport at noon for departure #1, Shelton. They did the whole passport thing and checked in for the flight. Then we all sat around and chatted for about an hour- then it was time for goodbye. When we first arrived at the airport Shelton and I had a good cry together. Just sad we weren't taking the trip together. Then I was so good saying goodbye to everyone in the security line. All up until I got on the escalator and headed down. I cried off and on for like 4 hours.

I had dinner with Patrick at Zios and we had a lovely time catching up. Miss him.

Patrick delivered me back to the airport where I sat alone at the airport bar with a beer and cried AGAIN and SOME MORE.

Flight to Dallas was uneventful, just the way I like them. Got a call that Shelton and family had made it to Cincinnati where I then learned that they had all been searched at OKC. Bags completely emptied, nearly everything but their underwear came off. Then I got a call that they were safe in Newark and set to embark on the 13 hour flight to Tel Aviv. By my calculations, they won't be there until 9pm tonight (there time, they are telling me they should have landed at 3pm, which was about 4 hours ago. Haven't gotten the "all clear, safe in Israel" call yet. But it's coming and until then I'm still praying hard.

Today is going to be a great day with Christie; manicures/pedicures, shopping, food... Sweet!



Readers Digest Version

Very busy being that Shelton and his family leave for the airport is T-Minus 3 hours. So here is the skinny on the last couple of days:

> Closed on the house yesterday. Dropped a tear. Excited to be done with all of that. Hand hurts, too much paper.

> Had lunch at Bison Witches AND Rusty's Custard for lunch. SWEET!

> Bought a new jacket. It's cute.

> Had dinner w/ Paul and his family last night at Shogun. He's graduating today. Congrats to you Paul!!

> I'm having dinner with Patrick and possibly Whitney tonight. Always excited about that, I love them.

> Tomorrow is Mother's Day. All you slackers go get yo momma some love.


Leaving on a jet plane

Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
All my bags are packed
I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin'
This early morn
The taxi's waitin'
He's blowin' his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could cry
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe I hate to go

Well, tomorrow after work we head for OKC. We close on the condo Friday afternoon at 2. Then graduation dinner for Paul (YEAH!!!) with his family (and his aunt who is THE CFO for Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma, so excited!!).

Saturday we head to the airport about 2. And then his family sets off for THE most anticipated and exciting vacation ever. They are Israel bound. They fly to Cincinnati, Newark and then 13 hours to Tel Aviv. Then it's like a 2 hour car ride to Haifa/Mt. Carmel and from there 12 days of bliss.

I'm so excited for them. They have been waiting to take this trip for over a decade. My prayers every night for months now have been that God provide them the safest of flights and that the memories last a lifetime, I hope you have the same prayer.

I will be flying to Dallas a few hours after they depart for a few days with Christie and some of shelton's family.

You guys, have an incredible time. I can't wait to hear the stories.


We now have an employer-imposed fitness plan

Apparently to be in advertising you have to be fit and trim. I can't think of any other reason why we now need a sweatband and water bottle to get down to our creative and production department.

Our office just moved into 6000 extra sq. ft. As I said, prod and creative have moved downstairs. One glitch, THERE AREN"T ANY STAIRS! They are currently jackhammering a 900 sq ft hole in the middle of our office to put stairs in. That will take a week or so. In the meantime, we have to go to the emergency stairwell, down 2 flights of stairs, out the back door in the alley, back in to the building. It takes forever, is so inconvenient, but I guess it won't last forever. So instead of taking each job back to our traffic manager as it arises, I now let them sit until it's time to take them down. And then I make an announcement that I'm going downstairs if anyone needs to send me down with anything.

Today starts the, "Seriously, pack your bags or you'll be naked" countdown for Shelton. We leave for OKC in 2 days and then he leaves for Israel on Saturday, I leave for Dallas. We have bought all the toiletries, electrical converters, snacks and magazines. Now he needs to pack his clothes! I'm not doing it this time, not gonna do it. He is taking all of our suitcases though. So how am I supposed to pack for dallas???


I should buy stock in Kleenex

Could I please cry a little more?! It's like my eyes, my very own eyes, invented tears and I'm trying to let the whole world know it. Yesterday was like sob-fest 2005.

Exhibit A
We watched Friday Night Light, true story of a Texas HS Football team. I'm telling you buy the 4th quarter in the state finals, I'm sitting there bawling like a baby. I'm a sucker for high school athletes who give it their all.

Exhibit B
Shelton and I are discussing his trip to Israel. And I starrrrrt bawling. Not because I'm scared. I'm not scared at all, got over that a long time ago. I know Haifa is safe and wonderful and I'm going to be sitting here in Kansas, where it's well, safe. No, now I'm just depressed that I wont' see him for like 14 days and that my cry-baby self decided not to go. Damn it! I really want to go now. Guess I better suck it up because there is a better chance of my becoming a man over the weekend than there is me getting on that plane Saturday.

Exhibit C
Three words: Extreme Home Makeover. Seriously, you'd think someone had just sawed my very own arm off and then beat me with it. I cry from start to finish during that show. It is non freaking stop. By the end, my shirt sleeves were so wet I could have washed dishes with them.

Exhibit D
Gray's Anatomy. Have you got in to this show yet? Well, you're SO missing out. Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, That girl from Old School, the girl from My Father the Hero... the list goes on. LOVE IT.
Well, on last night's show, they were able to save this man with Parkinsons so he could stop shaking and walk his daughter down the aisle. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? Here we go again, bring on the whale tears.


Merlot No-No

You'd think I'd learn. 1 glass of Merlot, tasty. 2 glasses of Merlot, happy. 3 or more glasses, bad-news-bears.

We had dinner with my AE and his wife last night. Fabulous dinner of filet and asparagus, grilled mushrooms and potatoes and cheesecake... and merlot.

So, this morning, my head is pounding as if those people still lived downstairs blasting their bass. I had ca-razy dreams last night. All a result of the drank too much merlot.

We had a really good time. It was nice to see my boss man loosen up a bit, and his wife is just the sweetest. Always enjoy her. We played a couple of games after dinner. I know, I know, could we be more married?