Saturday, August 30, 2008

Introducing Kaleb

We recently traveled to Florida to meet Tony's new nephew Kaleb. He was only 2 weeks old when we arrived. We had a great time meeting the little guy and spending time with Tony's brother Shamus and his fiance Ariel. We also got a nice little 'mini-vacation' because Shamus and Ariel live about 10 minutes from Daytona Beach. We stayed at the Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Shores and I highly recommend it. It was the only 4 Diamond AAA resort in the area. We can't wait to see little Kaleb again very soon.  He was so tiny and adorable and next time he will have grown so much.  Tony made note of how big his hands and feet were, knowing that he inherited his athletic ability. Maybe he will be a Volunteer in the future..

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I am 32 today. Wow...32! I guess it should feel different..but I really don't. Although 32 is more 'into my 30's' than 31. But I'm inspired. Hillary's speech last night at the DNC was amazing. I really admire people like her that can really get a crowd going. But the speeches before her were a little on the BORING side. There are those that should speak to a crowd and those who shouldn't. I was talking to the dogs while Tony was finishing up some work. I looked over at Lennox and said "Do you want to vote for Barack Obama??" He lifted up his head and perked up his ears. I was thinking, wow, he's really been listening to all this hype. I looked over at Lane, who was doing his best John McCain impression, white(pale), wrinkled, asleep on the couch. Said the same to him, he didn't move. So I said it again to Lennox, "Do you wanna vote for Barack Obama?". He then jumped up off the couch and ran to the door. "Tony, watch Lennox, he is really political this year!!" Tony then squashes my "dog is the smartest dog ever'" moment, "It sounds similar to "Do you want to go for a walk". Lennox loves walks and is majorly overdue for one!! Yes, I hear it now..Barack=Walk. Oops..well I still think my dogs are the best ever! 

I'll be spending my afternoon with some other wonderful dogs at the Humane Society today. I'm bringing them lots and lots of treats that Shannon and Andrea have given me to donate. This should be fun...then Tony and I are out on the town this evening..

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lennox and Lane Need to be Calendar Boys!!

Ok, so it's that time....
There is a contest going on here in Memphis for the cutest dog(s) and we all know that Lennox and Lane deserve that honor!! My favorite organization that I volunteer for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County is having a 2009 Calendar Contest. You can vote for only $1 and give to a wonderful organization.  And...get Lennox and Lane in the calendar!!! 

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have BOTH of my babies in the calendar!!

#174 is Lennox and Lane hugging on the Persian Rug
#175 is Lane looking so sweet, coming home from a trip to Knoxville
#176 is Lennox giving his best Pit Bull Smile for the camera

Thanks in advance!!! I will post their gorgeous pictures later....Vote as many times as you like!

Happy Birthday Jekia!!!

Just wanted to give Jekia a birthday shout-out!! We are exactly one day apart! Here is Jekia with her beautiful daughter Mikenzie! I miss them both! 

Birthday shout outs to Greg Wolf and Leslie Johnson also celebrating birthday's today!! 

Friday, August 22, 2008

Orange Blazers to Greatest American Dog...

Football season is almost here and I am totally ready. Now don't get me wrong, I like every other "True American" have been staying up late and falling asleep to the Olympic coverage.  I think I"m going to be sad the see the closing ceremonies. Track and Field is my favorite,  so I'm glad that has started up. Love some Michael Phelps, but enough is back to football. I see that my 'throwback' Vol Hostess blazer is making a comeback. I know Bruce Pearl sported a similar one, but now according to the UT Alumni emails, you can have your very own. So much for me saving my old one for the memories. Yes, you too can have your very own UT orange blazer for $229 and as an added bonus you get a nice navy blue one, I guess if you are coming up to a game with the Vol Navy or something it might come in handy!!  I've included an order form, so you all can order yours now, hurry only 10 more days until the season starts! While I was a Vol Hostess (for 6 years!!) we got away from the orange blazer thing and went for some terrible sweater that looked like a varsity cheerleading top. Thank goodness I can wear lots of fun orange in my style since those Vol Hostess Days. We are really looking forward to the Letterman's reunion for the home opener. I feel like I was part of the football team when I was in school, since so many guys on the team were my close friends then I got to relive it when Tony was in school. Remember I was leaving college and all those crazy times..... then I meet Tony and start it all over again! That's how I stayed so young, living college again through him. 

Well My 32nd birthday is in less than a week. Whew! 32 just feels...older...And I really felt old when Tony said last night,
 ya and I have 3 more y
ears before I'm 30! Ugh, thanks..we celebrated Jessica's birthday at Blue Monkey this month and Alane had a birthday last week in Knoxville. So I'm in good company for August Birthdays. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE to celebrate my birthday. Since I moved to Memphis  7 years ago, I've had a fun girl's night on the Thursday around my actual 
   birthday. I was always Tony-less on my bday's bc Tony was always starting the football season. It's actually nice the since the past year 
that I get to celebrate with him, but I haven't gotten away from still doing a girls nigh
t, they got my through a lot being alone! This year we are going to Mollie Fontaine Lounge. I can't wait!!!!
                                               Something else great we did on the  date of 8.8.08 was going to Katie and Michael's wedding, it was a lot of fun!!..not to mention delicious food! A couple weeks before they had a super-fun Mexican Theme couples shower..we
 all had a blast...and you can tell in the above picture!

Lane and I have enjoyed watching Greatest American Dog. Tony and Lennox really haven't gotten into like we did. Lennox doesn't watch TV. He has more important things to do, like relax on the couch. I'm not
 sure who we are rooting for, but I think Lane wants to jump in the TV and play with the other dogs sometimes. Not sure yet who we are rooting for, but it might be the Boxer, Presley.  I can't imagine Lennox or Lane on there doing all the tricks and such they have to do...I consider them The Greatest American Dogs...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

JazzerDog, 2 Dogs 2000 Miles, Paw Prints

I am very lucky to say that I am (part) sponsor of a BuddyDog. These dog statues were named after Buddy, a 3 legged dog that lives at the Humane Society. He is the "official mascot" of the Humane Society after being adopted out 3 times and returned all 3 times. This is the 75th anniversary of the Humane Society in Memphis and to celebrate 75 groups/individuals were given the opportunity to sponsor a BuddyDog. I am sure many of you have seen the Pandas in Washington DC, the cows in TX ,etc, etc.  5 of us (Loren, Regina, Courtney, Julie W and me) went in and sponsored a BuddyDog. We got paired up with an incredible artist, Besty Bird. We came up with a theme using her style, but each of us getting to put a signature item on Buddy.  Loren wanted her cat Twinkie, Regina wanted her boat, Courtney wanted a martini glass and Julie W. got a religious fish. What did I get...???..A POWER T! Love my Vols and since everyone in my family went there and Tony and I met there, it is significant.Go Vols!! I think we are going to go around town and find all the BuddyDogs and get pictures with them. JazzerDog resides at Cordova Jazzercise until she will be auctioned off again on November 8, along with all the other BuddyDogs. I hope she gets a good home.  Andrea, Kelly and I ran the Fayette County Dog Daze 5k a couple weekends ago and met Luke Robinson. Luke is doing something amazing for a wonderful cause. He is traveling from Austin to Boston with his two dogs, Murphy and Hudson. Their walk is called 2 dogs 2000 Miles. Murphy and Hudson are Great Pyranees.  He is bringing awareness to cancer in animals. According to his website, they want to rid the world of disease. When we spoke with him he was telling us how behind cancer research was in animals and really wants it to get on the cutting edge. His website has a sweet memorial to all of those lost to cancer. Nashville girls, check out his website, he's there next! He was so interesting to meet.  I guess I was so inspired that I ran my best time at a 5k and broke my end of the year goal. I ran it in 30:41. I was so pleased, but of course that was the first 5k for Fayette County and they didn't have it recorded, no pictures, nothing, just my luck, huh!? Ok, scratch that, I just found it on their site and it says someone named Kembree Dardshan ran it in 25:54, wow, even better! Although that is impossible and incorrect! That night Tony and I attended the Paw Prints Gala celebrating 75 years of 2nd chances. Held at Temple Israel it is the annual fundraiser for the Humane Society. We had a lot of fun. I was in charge of the volunteers that night, I love to help out and met a lot of fun people. I also monitored the silent auction and while doing that , bid on SEVERAL items. Tony helped check in the guests, when he got done, he was bidding on items as well, all for a good cause right? Well we ended up getting 4 items: An original Disney sericel of Mickey and Pluto, Mickey is holding a genie lamp, so of course I wanted that, a canceled check by Alex Haley that was framed and signed (Tony wanted this and we were the only people who bid), a photography session, and a size 13 shoe autographed by Dominique Wilkins and Mike Miller. Ok, so the shoe has cause some controversy. Again, we were the only people who bid on this shoe. While we bid, Commercial Appeal writer Michael Donahue comes over and takes all kids of pictures of us...I mean like the paparazzi. I felt like we were on the red carpet. Asked us who we were wearing, etc, etc. Tony had on all name brands, I had on some random dress I bought in the Dillard's juniors department about 2 years ago that was off-white and I have never worn it. Mainly bc it is white and you cant wear that to weddings, and that's all we do these days! At least my shoes were bebe and I got to sound fashionable. So we thought wow, there will be some big write up. Nope!! Small picture in the CA, not the best of me, but in the article its ALL ABOUT TONY, not me, Kembree, Volunteer of the Year for the Humane Society, running around all night helping with the event, encouraged Tony to come, etc, etc, No, just all about Tony, Seattle Seahawks and how the Mike Miller shoe is in Tony's trophy room! We didn't even KNOW Mike Miller had signed the shoe until after we 'won' it. Dominique is in the HOF! The caption under the photo says "At Paw Prints, Tony Brown was high bidder on a basketball shoe autographed by ex-Grizzly Mike Miller. With him in Kembree Darakshani" It should continue and say ..who was Volunteer of the Year at the Humane Society as well as Wednesday Group Leader and volunteers at every event to benefit the Humane Society. I know I"m full of it! Well at least we made RSVP

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

8 Great Years!

I know I am behind on things going on in my life, but I am going to catch up and be current soon, that being said..I couldn't not post something about my anniversary with Tony. We met 8 years ago on July 18. We had a weekend of celebrating this year. On Friday, the actual date, we went to Itta Bena downtown. Itta Bena is the small Mississippi town where BB King was born. Its a newer restaurant, less than a year old. They don't advertise, its strictly word of mouth. It actually in the same building as BB Kings, but there is a separate entrance. We made reservations, I don't know why bc there were only about 4 other people in there when we got there and about 12 in there total when we left. The service was great, the food was excellent, I just think next time we will go a little later. After that we did something we never do-hang out on Beale Street! We made our way down to Ground Zero, decided we would come back later..then to the Westin bar. Love the Westin hotel, so new and contemporary. From there we walked down Beale and watched all the street entertainers, the flippers, the singers..went to Rum Boogie for a little while to hear a Stax cover band, walked down Beale again and I pooped out! The next day I ran another 5k for the Make a Wish foundation and that night was Earth Wind and Fire. The Botanic Garden is an awesome outdoor venue. We saw Al Green there last year. Its so fun to bring your own food and drinks, grab a blanket and a lawn chair. We went with Cedrick, significant bc Ced actually is the reason Tony and I met. 8 long years ago, Ced called me and told me that he and Jamal were having a party in Gatlinburg and to come and bring some girls. I did, everyone else hooked up with someone and Tony and I were left..the rest is history..more than I feel like typing right now, but nonetheless that's when I met my Freshman to be Tony Brown. Did I mention I was graduating with my Masters the next month??...anyway back to current time and EWF! Kelly and her aunt had tickets and we shared our blankets with them too. Made for a fun evening! EWF was a lot of fun, they did all their hits...September, Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star, After the Love is Gone, Reasons..I could go on and on, they have so many hits! We were all up dancing. Yes after going through about 4 bottles of wine and at least a case of beer, everyone was dancing. Here's to 8 Great Years..and many more to come! 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tres Jazz New Orleans

I Jazzercise. I know, if you haven't been to a class in a few years, you may not have the best impression of Jazzercise. Olivia Newton John, "Let's Get Physical" video is what most think is Jazzercise-esque, with all the cheesy workouts. (I loved it in 1982 by the way, loved me some Olivia too) Leotards, tights, leg warms, head bands-not anymore! I started taking classes with Regina over 3 years ago. But going to a Jazzercise Convention!? I don't think I would have ever thought!!! But..I attended Tres Jazz , Jazzercise's National Convention held every 5 years. I am one of the youngest in my Jazzercise group, but I've learned age is all in the mind. These ladies are in great shape and for the most part know how to kick it!  If you don't know Jazzercise is an hour long class of 'dance-aerobics' and weight training. They use all the current music  and change it up every 3 months or so. But enough of that, let's get to New Orleans. First off we rode the Amtrak train. I did this once before with my family when I was about 5 years old. I think we went from LA to Chicago or something crazy like that.  And I think I made a friend on the trip, but that's all I remember..Well this time, we went from Memphis to New Orleans. We were all so excited to try this out. There were 9 of us on the train, and another 3 meeting us in New Orleans from Cordova Jazzercise. Well all of a sudden we start to hear about this sink hole that was causing problems at the downtown station. Well sure enough, it didn't get fixed. Amtrak charted a bus (a nice motor coach) and drove us about 15 minutes away to an 'undisclosed location' and we hopped on the bus from there. Let me tell you, its way nicer on the train than a plane, unless of course you get upgrade to first class a lot. You have so much room, you can walk around, there is even a dining car you can hang around and order food in. We did that almost the whole way down, that is, hang out in the dining car. Ok, so after about 8 hours on the train, ya, about 2 hours longer than in car, we arrived in New Orleans. We checked in the Spring Hill Suites (highly recommend it for a Convention Center hotel) and were on our way. There was an opening class, some of us did it, Courtney, Regina and I did some of it, then did some shopping. Courtney was our dining concierge and made our reservations for the trip. NOLA was our first stop. It was great, I would for sure recommend it. Food was excellent, atmosphere was lively and the waiters were fun and flirted with us. What more could you want? I had the red fish which was the special and loved it. From there we walked around Bourbon street had some hurricanes and danced in the fun corner bar, don't remember the name. We also looked around the voodoo shops, thinking we needed a little voodoo action. The next morning we were all up bright and early and did 3 classes in a row. Butts and Guts, Boot Camp and Street Jazz. Street Jazz was the worst class I did. It was 'supposed' to be a street hip hop class..nope, it was a choreography class for beginners, slow beginners..and to top it off Tim Roberts, the street expert, announces one of his fave songs by Missy Elliot, you know Missy who just released this album, ya like 4 years ago...sorry but I am a major music snob and like all my stuff current, especially for an advertised 'street' class-more like the street in front of a day care.  Lunch that day was per Regina's suggestion..Mother's. It was fairly crowed, we had to wait in line for about 10 minutes, but got in and well, I tried to order. Outside Mother's it says they are world famous for the Baked Ham. Well of course that's what I would try. Um, no Ham. Ok, well let's see I like turkey is it good? Yes, so I ordered the turkey. Got to the table and Bree (coincidence) our server (that you don't tip by the way) informs me that they are out of turkey, but do I want ham, bc she could get me some? WTF? Where is this ham coming from, who cares at this point, bc my picky self didn't care for much else on the menu. Nonetheless my ham sandwich was good and we were off to more Jazzercise action. Dancing Abs was our choice for the afternoon..loved that class, so much more hip than Street Jazz..I decide that I love Young, she had instructed Boot Camp and kicked my butt, and also did Dancing Abs, which I loved!! Love some Young!!! We were done after Dancing Abs, 4 classes that day was plenty, plus we had a busy night. I had made friends over email with Susan, Donte's attorney in New Orleans. She invited us to her house for some cocktails before the Jazzercise Opening Night Concert.  Susan and her husband Al live in a 100 year old home in the French Quarter. It is one of only 2 in the Quarter with a 'dog trot' splitting the center of the home-Gorgeous home!!  They even shared their Hurricane Katrina stories with us. From there we went to our Opening Night Show. It was okay, I swear Jazzercise hyped this up so much and recommend "Vegas" type attire. We got there after walking through the convention center for like 20 minutes and it was so not "Vegas" style entertainment. The highlight was the cute Cajun violinist, Amanda Shaw who has a very up-tempo style. She was very cute and we got a picture with her tiny, exuberant self the next day at the EXPO. If you get a chance to see her somewhere, go, it will be an entertaining experience. After the show we went to the Bombay Club. Al, Susan's husband recommenced it. They brag about their inch thick book of martinis-which they did have. It was a lounge type place with a lounge singer, but the crowd was a little older..let's say they probably heard Frank Sinatra sing in a place like this LIVE. I had a great salad, and a few really good martinis. Saturday brought another day of classes, we did Dancing Abs again (remember I love Young), and Italian Jazzercise. Lunch was a suggestion from Randy who didn't attend ( we still don't know why, he would have LOVED it), Napoleon House. Had the famous hot Muffaletta here and a Pimm's Cup drink. Loved this place! I would forsure go back. After lunch we did Boot Camp again, the Men's Instructor Class and Party Jazzercise. Ok, the Men's Instructor Class was by far the most fun. I swear these ladies thought these guys were the Chippendale's or something. Screaming, Ooohing, trying to touch the guys, all while they are teaching. The Japanese ladies will probably have the whole thing on You Tube soon, bc their entire group filmed it. But.. there was this girl that kept getting in our 'dance space', let's call her Dill Weed, bc she sure smelled like it, well Dill Weed, you could tell she didn't get out much, she kept taking pictures of the guys and when we moved she stood in place, hence we were practically running over her the whole class. Somehow she kept popping up in front of us although she didn't start there. So irritating-and that smell-eww!  I think these ladies should have taken a better look bc these men, most of them at least, were more interested in each other, versus any of these ladies. That night Courtney picked another awesome spot, the Hookah Cafe. Before the Hookah Cafe we made a stop at Cafe Du Monde for some beignets and cafe au lait, always a must when visiting New Orleans. The Hookah Cafe was fabulous, the food, the drinks the hookah pipes. Loved it. I had the wonderful filet and we had the bellydancer  hookah (pina colada, strawberry and vanilla). We had a great time and Loren, Nicole and Regina got to hookah for the first time, I think I got them hooked. Fred came and met us out too, I think he liked the place too, even being a local. The next morning we got up and went to Cafe Du Monde again, can't get enough of that place. Regina, Brenda and I went to the closing class but didn't feel like partaking, just wanted to see all the new routines that Judy Sheppard-Missett (founder of Jazzercise 39 years ago and in the top picture with me) and the taping team were doing. We were ready for the train ride home, this was perfect, after an exhausting weekend it was nice to relax on the train. Overall the convention was lots of fun and I might be back for the next one in five years. 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Let's talk about it..

So, much going on in the world, I just have to talk about it. Ok, what about this lady cloning her Pit Bull, Booger? I have mixed thoughts on this. There are Pit Bulls all over the place, they are one of the hardest breed to place and a breed that is not for everyone. Raising two of them, I don't know how this lady is going to raise 5 of them after mortgaging her home. Heck, Courtney and I played with about 20 puppies of all shapes, sizes, colors, breed-mixes yesterday at the HSMSC. On the other side of the coin, I love, love, love my 2 boys and if it wasn't as expensive as $50,000, I might consider it. But of course I think there needs to be breeding/spay/neuter laws and all that so there aren't shelters full of Pit Bulls and others. Thank God, I volunteer at a place that gives all breeds a chance. But wow, I cant believe this has been done, but how damn cute are those puppies!?

Ok, gotta talk about Brett Farve. I'm happy for him if he's happy, but gosh its been nonstop on ESPN all day! I just wonder how long it is going to take him to learn Eric Mangini's intricate offense, and can he do it with another team? I'm sad he wont finish his career as a Packer, but if he didn't put it all out there last year and he still has some left, I totally welcome him back. Tony has had to explain it from a player's prospective.  But the Jets!?! I've never followed them. I've followed almost every other team, but not them. 
Of course this year I'm watching the Brown's. The Jet's play the Brown's tonight, I wonder if Brett will travel to Cleveland, I doubt circus. Gosh Brett looks like my friend Steve Boucher so much in this picture...crazy!?

Ok, the local news has been all about Morgan Freeman. He had a car accident, almost died, now its out that he is going through a divorce, poor guy. Most importantly he needs to get his butt out of the MED and get good medical attention. Love his new Ground Zero downtown.

I am LOVING the whole Anderson Cooper v. The Lohans! Ha, a serious journalist who travels all around the world to cover stories and who watches all the craziness of reality TV! Love it! I have watched Living Lohan and agree how silly it is and Ali does look about 42 years old, poor thing!! And it is funny how everyone on the show is always talking about Lindsay, but she's never on there! The Lohan's should be happy someone like Anderson Cooper is even talking about them! I cant wait to hear what he thinks about LC and The Hills.  Speaking of mindless TV, I can't WAIT to see who wins So You Think You Can Dance. I have been addicted to this show every week and my money's on Joshua, but I love all four! 

Monday, August 4, 2008

Our anniversary with Lane, its been 1 year!

Well it was a year ago that we decided to foster a little puppy named Lane. I had been volunteering at the Humane Society for 6 months and 4 little Pit Bull puppies caught my eye. It is protocol to keep puppies in the 'Not Ready' area in the back on the Humane Society until they can be spayed or neutered at around 3 months of age. Actually all dogs are kept in the 'Not Ready' area until they are spayed or neutered and then can be in the main kennels up for adoption. Lane's siblings were Kelly, Wrangler and Tuff. 2 were fawn with black masks and the other was brindle and looked just like Lennox as a puppy. The 4 were named after characters in the movie '8 Seconds'. Remember, Luke Perry starred in it, he was a cowboy named Lane Frost. Anyway Lane being solid white with pink skin and a pink nose stood out to me and I kept telling Tony to come see him. We talked about getting Lennox a playmate, he was 3 years old and if we were going to do it, we needed to do it soon. The thing is, we weren't sure how 2 male Pit Bulls would be together. Lennox had some interaction with other dogs, but most people aren't too keen about you bringing over your Pit Bull to play with their dog. Lennox was so curious about all the dogs in his obedience class, it was more like social hour for him. So we thought if we fostered Lane we would  be able to see if it worked without a total commitment. Tony really made it all up to me, I just was really drawn to Lane, he was just so cute and little. Lane and his siblings were dumped off at the Humane Society on July 4th so when we got Lane, he was about 11 weeks old. Lane and Lennox met for the first time in the play yards at the HS and Lennox didn't pay much attention to him at all, so all was a go! It was okay to take Lane home. Lane wasn't all that well from not getting that great of care when he was days old and we had to bring back to the vets to check him out. Lorie was very helpful, she herself has over 15 Pit Bulls and encouraged us to try it out. Her males all get along for the most part although she said there are some fights, as with any group of male dogs. Lennox had one, 'show him who's boss' moment and after that, Lane had learned to respect his older brother.But Lane officially has never completely backed down, just has that respect for Lennox. We knew they would get along.  So after Lane was neutered I went in and officially adopted him and Lane became a Darakshani-Brown :) We thought about changing his name to something catchier, most people consider Lane a name for a girl, but Lennox and Lane sounds so cute together, and it just fits him. Now, a year later I cant believe we almost didn't get another dog. Lane is so much a part of our family and has been a great playmate for Lennox. Dogs are pack animals and really need interaction with others. If you are thinking about it go to your local Humane Society or rescue group and foster puppies and or dogs, try it out, you don't know what you are missing..and by fostering it can be temporary, although I'm glad Lane is with us permanently. Its funny to look back at these pictures, Lane is a lot taller than Lennox now and even out weighs him, his pink nose has now turned black and he has hundreds of spots on his pink skin although his fur remains as white as ever, and thicker than before. We are now not even sure that he is 100% Pit Bull, the thick fur and taller lankier body confuses us, but nonetheless we lover our Laners