Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Winds of Change

Dear Readers,

It seems it’s time to address yet another extended absence. Over the past few months, there have been several major life changes which have left me ill-equipped to fully immerse myself in the creative process.

As you know, Murphie Bunn passed away in late January. Then, in early March, Dadda left us, too. Sometimes relationships just don’t work, no matter how much you love each other or how hard you try. To answer the first question everyone seems to ask, yes, all of the critters stayed with me. Dadda still comes to visit sometimes and helps with veterinary expenses when they arise. 

Needless to say, life has been full of difficult circumstances to which we are all still trying to adapt. 

I previously discussed trying a few new approaches and content styles for 7.6 Lbs of Awesome.  Now that we've lost three characters, (Screamin’ Shaman, Murphie Bunn, and Dadda) I think it’s time for a completely fresh start.

In fact, I believe it may be the only way 7.6 Lbs of Awesome can continue. The past has passed, and try as you might, you can never really go back to it. Our lives have changed, so the presentation of such must change as well if we are to move forward.

Perhaps the one good thing about living alone is that there is suddenly more time to pursue other endeavors. That being said, I have decided to learn web development, as well as the entirety of the Adobe CS6 software suite. 

My intention is to completely revamp the overall look and feel of 7.6 Lbs of Awesome. I still have a new character to introduce, but before I do that, I am going to completely rebuild—I am going to lay a brand new foundation for our fresh start.

I will be working to design and build a new custom website, and I also plan to learn Flash animation, so actual animated cartoons may be in the future for 7.6 Lbs of Awesome, depending on how that particular initiative progresses.

You may also see a shift in the style of my content. My next plan is to invest in a graphic design tablet. My ultimate goal is to provide more content and entertainment for you on a more regular basis, and the key to accomplishing that will be the simplification of both process and style.

Plans for the store and charitable donations remain on the long term agenda. Perhaps we will celebrate the launch of the new site with a grand opening!

Not to worry, though—you’ll still be able to find us. I will set up redirects to the new site once it’s built, so in a way, you will always be able to find us here, right where we began. 

Good things are on the horizon. 

Warm regards,

AKA ‘Mama’

Sunday, February 3, 2013

In Loving Memory of Murphie Bunn

With our heads bowed and our eyes filled with tears, we share with you some heartbreaking news.

Our beloved Murphie Bunn has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  She passed away peacefully in her sleep, suddenly, unexpectedly, and without warning sometime during the night of Wednesday, January 30th.

Cunning and crafty as she was, Murphie was one of the sweetest souls we have ever had the priviledge of knowing.  She had a kind and noble heart, and she was a dear friend to all of us, especially Jo.  Her sudden passing has been difficult for everyone, particularly for little Jo.  

She was his best friend, and he took it upon himself to look out for her and care for her.  They had such a special bond, and he loved his bunny so very much.  It's the first time he's lost a friend.  He doesn't understand this, and there's no way to explain it to him or make it easier for him.

Murphie Bunn was laid to rest in the forest behind our house on Thursday evening, with Mama, Dadda, and little Jo in attendance.   After the funeral, Dadda carried her hutch out to the storage building behind the house.

One of the most heartbreaking things we've witnessed was little Jo, looking rapidly back and forth between her empty hutch and her resting place, as he began to put the pieces together that he would never again get to play with his beloved friend.

Murphie, wherever you are, we hope that you are safe and happy.  We hope that you are merrily frolicking and clicking your heels through sun-kissed meadows of abundant greens.  We hope you have everything your heart desires and more.

You were a special soul and a dear friend.  You were a bright light in our lives from the moment we met you to the moment you left us.  We only wish that you had been given more time.  In your life on this earth, you touched many hearts, and you were loved by many friends.  You will be fondly remembered, dearly missed, and always loved.

Rest in peace, dear friend, until we meet again.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods

Every year, Mama takes Beaker and Jo to Grandma's house for Christmas to visit with their cousin, Gidget, a little Jack Russell terrier. 

Dadda usually comes, too, but this year, he went to visit his family instead.  Mama's new job gives her more time off, so we had a much longer visit this year. Here are some pictures and a recap of our holiday trip to Grandma's house:

December 22, 2012:  Bye-Bye, Dadda!

Dadda got on a plane and flew halfway across the country to spend some time with his family for the holidays.  It made Jo very sad, so Mama gave him an early Christmas present to cheer him up.

It was a little stuffed dog that barks "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".  Jo loved it, but Mama decided pretty quickly that it would not be coming with us on the 5 hour drive to Grandma's house.  One cranky, bratty chicken would be loud enough.  We decided we should take a much quieter corduroy monkey with us instead. 

December 23, 2012:  What is Mama Doing?!

Mama spent the day cleaning, packing, and finalizing arrangements for everyone who wasn't able to travel to Grandma's house this year.  Jo wasn't quite sure what to make of it.  Beaker was displeased.  

December 24, 2012:  The Journey Begins

Mama woke up that morning and packed some of their things in the car.  She planned to leave early, but the trip was slightly delayed because Beaker needed to lay an egg.  Shortly before lunch, once Beaker was finished, Mama put Beaker and Jo in their beds in the back seat, and began the 5 hour drive to Grandma's house. 

Jo likes the car and travels well.  He only had to stop to potty once, and he was smart enough to scratch on the car door to let Mama know.  He spent the first half of the ride looking out the window, and he settled into his bed to relax for the second half of the trip.

Thankfully, Beaker slept most of the way and only fussed for the last two hours of the drive.  

We finally arrived and Grandma and Gidget's house, and after a round of joyous greetings, we settled in for a nice long visit.  Beaker fell asleep early, but Little Jo didn't sleep a wink.  There were too many new smells to explore...and Grandma was up late that night cooking a turkey in the kitchen.  Who could sleep at a time like that?!

December 25, 2012:  Merry Christmas!

On Christmas morning, Mama dressed Jo up as Santa!  

After not sleeping the night before, though, Little Jo was pretty tired and passed out on the couch on Christmas morning.  

After Jo took a little nap, it was time for Jo and Gidget to open presents!  The 'cookies' Mama gave them were a big hit.

Cousin Gidget liked the gingerbread man the best.

They each got crunchy rawhide treats, which were also shaped like gingerbread men.

Jo was especially happy about his!

Jo loved all of his new Christmas toys.  He gathered them up and hoarded them on top of the couch for the rest of the day (and the whole rest of the visit.)

Beaker got a new fleece blanket for Christmas.  She's quite fond of it.  

After all of the presents were unwrapped, some very sleepy puppies curled up with their new gifts for some much needed naps.

December 26, 2012:  A Cranky Chicken and a Case of The Grumps

On the morning after Christmas, Beaker got up, had breakfast, and then proceeded to walk around the house and yell at everyone.  

She needed to lay an egg, she needed to do it now, and she was NOT happy about it.  She was in an unfamiliar place, she couldn't find her usual spot, and she didn't feel comfortable laying an egg just anywhere!  

Mama put her in her bed.  Beaker threw a tantrum.

She tried to get under the tree, but there wasn't enough room.  Beaker threw a tantrum.

She walked down the hallway and took a left, just like she does back at Mama's house, but instead of her usual spot, she found a dog crate.  She walked inside the crate, laid down, and decided it simply would not do.  

Beaker threw a tantrum.

Ultimately, she decided that her bed really WAS the best place.  Finally, she laid her egg, and all was right with the world...  

...for a time.

Beaker's issue may have been resolved, but Little Jo also had a bad case of The Grumps that day.  

He didn't know where Dadda was, and he was upset about it.  He missed his friends.  He hadn't gotten nearly enough sleep since they'd arrived at Grandma's house.  He had reached the end of his little rope.  He had had enough...and he was one grumpy little boy because of it.

He growled at Grandma's kitty and chased her.  He tried to steal Gidget's crunchy gingerbread man rawhide treat, and they got into a fight over it.  He even snapped at his Aunt's great big boxer mix, Fiona.  

Little Jo was all out of sorts.  Mama had never seen Jo behave in such a fashion and put him to bed early that night.  

December 27, 2012:  A Peaceful, Quiet Day

Mama went out shopping with Grandma and left Beaker and Jo at the house with Cousin Gidget.  Beaker enjoyed a peaceful day snuggling with her new blanket.  

Jo hung out with Gidget, who still hadn't quite forgiven him for trying to steal her crunchy rawhide gingerbread man.

December 28th:  The Cranky Chicken Strikes Again

Beaker got up, ate breakfast, and walked around the house yelling at everyone.

Then she laid another egg.

December 29, 2012:  The Last Day at Grandma's House

We had a relaxing day and enjoyed the last part of our visit with Grandma and Gidget.  Jo chased Grandma's cat again. 

Dadda returned home.  He and all of our friends will be there waiting for us when we drive back tomorrow!  

December 30, 2012:  The Journey Ends

Beaker got up, ate breakfast, and walked around the house yelling at everyone.

Then she laid another egg.

When Beaker was finished, Mama packed the car, they said their goodbyes to Gidget and Grandma, and they began the five hour drive back home.

Beaker was not happy about it and was a little brat for the whole drive home.

First, she started yelling--not the typical cranky fussing, mind you, but the full-fledged "BAH-GAWK-bock-bock-bock-bock-BAH-GAWK!!!" cry of loudly as she possibly could.  

This continued for a good 30 minutes, until she eventually got hoarse and stopped.

Next, she bullied Jo right out of his bed and chased him into the front seat.  She then moved to the middle of the back seat and claimed the whole thing for herself.  She would not allow Jo to come back there at all.

There was nothing Mama could do about it while we were driving 75 mph on the interstate, so she and Jo shared the front seat and made the best of it.  

Jo recognized their neighborhood as soon as they pulled into it.  Much to Beaker's dismay, he started jumping all over the car and falling all over himself in pure excitement.  By the time they pulled into their driveway, he was ready to burst.  Mama let him out of the car, and he ran to the house as fast as he could, overjoyed to be reunited with Dadda and all of his friends.  

Mama unpacked the car and carried Beaker into the house.  She fussed for the rest of the night.  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Beaker, Jo, and All the Rest of Us!  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Many Faces of Mojo

A collage of photos from 2011-2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Letter to Readers

Dear Readers,

As you may have noticed, 7.6 Lbs of Awesome has been on an extended hiatus.  In truth, this leave of absence has gone on much longer than I ever intended.  I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that Beaker, Mojo, Murphie Bunn, and Bella the Fail Dove are all alive and well.

Why haven't I posted anything in ages?  Well, the short, simple answer is that I got discouraged.  My last few posts weren't really that well received.  Maybe the format had gotten stale.  Maybe I was the only one who actually found them amusing.  I'm not sure what happened there, but either way, I decided to step away for a month or two.

I never intended for the break to last 8 months, but as John Lennon once said, life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

At any rate, things seem to have settled down a bit and 7.6 Lbs of Awesome is coming back!  I have several new ideas and even a new character to introduce.  ;)  For the first little bit, I'll probably experiment with a few new concepts, and I would love to have your feedback regarding what you like...and what you don't.

Here are some of the things I'm considering:

  • Posting actual photos of the characters to give people who visit the blog without looking at the Facebook page, Twitter, the About Us tab, or the Meet the Critters posts a way to know that the characters and events are real.  The truth element is, in my opinion, part of what makes 7.6 Lbs of Awesome special and unique.
  • Creating shorter, more concise stories (as opposed to the 16-17 frame behemoths I was churning out for a while there) to help keep things fun and fresh.  
  • Giving the animals 'voices' to make it easier to follow the stories and relate to the characters.  
  • Creating an eBook series for children.  I think the overall artistic style of 7.6 Lbs of Awesome lends itself well to that medium.  
  • Adding a store and donating proceeds to an animal rescue organization at the end of every year. Products would include things like mugs, t-shirts, calendars, etc., that feature the characters of 7.6 Lbs of Awesome.

What are your thoughts on some of these ideas?  Thumbs up?  Thumbs down?  Let me know what you think!  What would YOU like to see?


aka 'Mama'

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Four Seasons of Jo

Jo is a dynamic little dog whose hair ebbs and flows with the changing seasons.

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