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Foto Phriday: What is wrong with this picture?

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Now, look at this picture, circa 1984. What looks out of place to you?

What looks unusual?

What looks wrong?

Dinosaur Gardens

Dinosaur Gardens

If you said the dinosaur, you are incorrect. This picture was taken at Dinosaur Gardens Prehistoric Zoo in Ossineke, Michigan. So, well, there were dinosaurs roaming all over that place. The brontosaurus in the picture happened to be drooling on me. But he obviously didn’t eat me, because I am still here.

No, what is wrong with this picture is that I am WEARING a DRESS.

And on vacation? What the f was I thinking?

I didn’t even wear a dress to my own wedding

Mr. Winkle

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I used to work at the corporate office of a now defunct book retailer. I saw lots of interesting stuff pass through that building. Some of it I even got to take home. In that building, I was introduced to Jason Mraz (awesome), Domo (so cool), and Robin Thicke (I thought he would totally bomb. Boy, was I wrong.). I fell in love with Kid Rock, Good Charlotte, Fearless, and Twilight because of that place.

But one of the strangest things I probably fell in love with was Mr. Winkle.

What is a Mr. Winkle, you ask?

Little do you now, Mr. Winkle has built a retail empire based on the hypothesis of the answer to that question.

Cat in a Dog Suit? Photo: Lara Jo Regan

Cat in a Dog Suit?
Photo: Lara Jo Regan

The first time I heard of Mr. Winkle, he was a magazine article hanging outside of the cubicle of someone in the calendar buying group. It had a picture of Mr. Winkle with a zipper on his chest, with the headline “Is It A Dog In A Cat Suit or A Cat In A Dog Suit.” (Those calendar folks always were a little off their rockers. I believe it was all the November allocation stress. But that is what made it so much fun to become a part of that department a few years later.) Next, pictures appeared of Mr. Winkle dressed as a bee, a space alien, and his impression of a nasty, mean-old squirrel were hung up on the cubicle as well.

I fell in love with that stupid dog!

A squirrel? Photo: Lara Jo Regan

A squirrel?
Photo: Lara Jo Regan

When the kind calendar folks learned of my love of all things Winkle, they made sure to save me one of his calendars every year. I sent him an email…

AND HE ANSWERED ME BACK! How great is that for a celebrity whose species is not even equipped with opposable thumbs!

Soon Mr. Winkle was also releasing children’s books. I bought the first one, then the second. I bought his four minute video. (I don’t like to do any obsession part way! See also The Wienermobile.) My peeps at work gave me the hook-up on some Mr. Winkle plush (not available in stores).

Mr. Winkle swag

Mr. Winkle swag

Mr. Winkle even appeared on an episode of Sex & The City! (By the way, that is the only episode of that show that I have ever watched.)

But in 2003, a great dream of mine would come true. Mr. Winkle’s handler and photographer, Lara Jo Regan, kept him on a short leash (pun intended). He traveled and did media appearances, but very few. So when I found out that he would be coming to Michigan, it was as if my [stalker] dreams had come true!

What is Mr. Winkle 2001 calendar Photo: Lara Jo Regan

What is Mr. Winkle 2001 calendar
Photo: Lara Jo Regan

Mr. Winkle was going to appear at the Birmingham Borders book store. Now, I am afraid to drive in big cities. I tend to lump all of downtown and the surrounding suburbs into one scary-ass mess known as Detroit. But as my husband went with me, I probably made him drive. My crazy friend went with us too, because her Winkle love also ran deep.

We were some of the first people there. The line became SO LONG behind us. Finally Lara Jo arrived. Mr. Winkle had a little leopard-print dog bed to chill in while he met his fans. He was giving out pawtographs and was available for photos with fans. No one was allowed to hold him or touch him.

It turns out, Mr. Winkle, who looks like a cross between a shaved Pomeranian and a Chihuahua on uranium has the nasty personality of both! By the time it was my turn, I was kind of scared to stoop next to him. He had snarled at quite a few folks. Lara Jo just chastised him. She was obviously used to his breed nastiness. It was still a really awesome day. I have his pawtograph hanging upstairs. I had our picture together displayed in my cubicle, alongside his annual calendars.

Mr. Winkle & Me, taken by award-winning photographer Lara Jo Regan

Mr. Winkle & Me, taken by award-winning photographer Lara Jo Regan

I am sad to say that I do not have a complete collection of Mr. Winkle calendars. But I do have his 2014 calendar hanging in my kitchen right now. It features pics from his “Nudes” collection. I am bothered that his website never gets updated. That was acceptable in 2003, not so much in 2014. Everything on the Internet says that he is still alive. He would be like 20 years old by now. I loved him, but I blame continued merchandising on his longevity.

Other weirdly adorable animals have tried to steal Mr. Winkle’s spotlight. [I will most definitely not name their names here.] But I sincerely wanted to write a post about what Mr. Winkle has meant to me, and how he will always be a “Top Dog” in my book, right behind my own dogs.

Mr. Winkle pawtograph

Mr. Winkle pawtograph

Wedding Jeans

The gazebo in the park we got married at

As a general rule, I do not wear dresses. Or skirts, for that matter. I don’t wear them on a normal day, to work, or to job interviews. The one exception I make is to wear them to weddings. Other people’s weddings. Not my own. Intrigued? Read on…(And no, I did not get married in the nude!)

My then-boyfriend and I had talked about marriage, but he wasn’t ready to propose to me yet. At twenty-four, he still felt he was too young to get married. But I was still thinking about my wedding, anyway. I was not one of those girls who day dreamed about her wedding for years and what white poofy dress she would wear. Nope. I think about high school age I decided my dream wedding would be to get married in Las Vegas by Elvis. I am still waiting for that wedding. *sigh*

So although my boyfriend hadn’t proposed to me, I was still wondering what I would wear to my own wedding. I knew a big white dress was out. I must have thought “If only I could just wear jeans”. And that is how the “wedding jeans” were born.

Reception


Do you remember how I like unusual sewing projects, such as the pharmacy giraffe, Christmas stockings, and the Werecart? Well, you can add wedding jeans to that list too. I bought all the white patches I could find. Most featured flowers or hearts. I put them on the legs and back pockets of the jeans. Then I bought thin white ribbon and iridescent seed beads. I sewed the ribbon along the tops of the pockets, and down the side seams of both legs. Then I sewed the seed beads on top of the ribbon. By hand. Sewing through a denim seam is no picnic. I bent several needles in the process.

Now, when I started this project, I kept saying I wasn’t really going to wear the jeans for my wedding. But once my future husband saw them being made and how cool they were, he told me I had to wear them. That he would make me. It is a good thing I started them like 6 months before he proposed, because I think I worked on them for a year. I had them ready a few months before we were married. My jeans were a little too big. Which was unfortunate, because I couldn’t try to wash and shrink them now, as it would have ruined the decorations. So I made a white and yellow ribbon braided belt for them. Sort of dorky, but it did the job.

Now, the hard part was finding a shirt to wear with it. I pictured something white and billowy, sort of like a pirate would wear. Not my usual style, but it was for my wedding day. I bought three different white shirts and I was unhappy with all of them. I ended up wearing just a plain white T-shirt. (I am still looking for the perfect shirt to this day. And if I found it I just might buy it.) On my feet I wore my favorite sandals–pretty basic, brown leather. In my hair, I had baby’s breath put into a half a French braid. The bottom of my hair was curled and hung free.

Ta-Da! The Wedding Jeans. (Front View)


On our invitations, we put “Casual Attire Suggested”. We had our wedding and reception outdoors in August, so it was a little warm. It was a sunny day, no rain. My husband wore a gray shirt and black pants. My bridesmaid wore a denim skirt. We got married in a city part that was just a block from our apartment. (We walked to our own wedding.) We had our reception in my mother-in-law’s backyard, with hamburgers and hot dogs. I didn’t have to worry about changing my clothes or “bustling” anything. I didn’t have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions (although I am sure that I probably worried anyway). In our wedding pictures, my husband and I have genuine toothy smiles, not the kind we usually give for pictures where we keep our mouths closed to hide our crooked teeth. All out smiles.

Wedding Jeans (Rear View)…Hey, quit staring at my ass!


My advice to anyone is to have your wedding your way. And ask for lots of help. I tried to do too much on my own. No one ever said a word about my wedding jeans. Which means either everyone liked them or knew how to be polite. What happened to Vegas, you ask? Well, we didn’t have our wedding there because my husband wanted his family to be able to come and they could not have all made it to Vegas. So my plan was that we would go to Vegas to get our vows renewed for our 5 year anniversary. Didn’t happen. But we should definitely go do it for our ten year anniversary–8/23/2013.

HAPPY 9th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY TODAY TO MY HUSBAND!

Who doesn’t read my blog, but he supports me writing it, which may be even better.

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

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