Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wishful, but Thankful

As Monday looms, I can't help but wish we had another week like this one planned:

Heading out on our trip:

The sunrise, greeting our journey:

Facing my demons, having a blast, getting pretty damn cold:

Cozy, cozy. Lazy, Lazy. Colbert, Colbert:

More cozy:

A. finally holds The Delightful Little M. after I insist he won't break him:

Dog Party 2008 (notice Belle's raised back hair. Dork.):

More Dog Party 2008, plus the good, good people in my life:

Belle taking a break and getting some shelter from her oh, so faithful A. Also - A. is such a cutie pie:

Catching a reinactment of the Pony Express in Iowa:

The contented drive home:


Yesterday, getting ready for the day was effortless. The covers on the bed simply needed to be pulled up and the bed made itself. A. had a fresh pot of coffee brewing by the time I made it to the kitchen to cook my morning muesli. Everything I wanted to pack in my lunch was within easy grasp in the fridge.

As I was about to walk out the front door I saw my first Mountain Bluebird of the year through the window. I was elated. I drew my hands up around my mouth as I gasped in delight. From across the room, A. figured out exactly what I had sighted that lifted my spirits so. The day I sight my first Mountain Bluebird is my favorite day of the year.

The little bluebird was investigating the two new bluebird boxes we put up in the front yard a couple of weeks ago. He checked them out tentatively, first from a nearby bush and finally peeking his head inside.

Spring is coming.


I took my time driving across the prairie on my way home from work. The faintest, faintest tinge of green was barely visible, punched up a bit by the purple mountains in the distance. The sun was still up, the wind had calmed down.

I stopped to pick up the mail. Our first set of Rockies tickets of the season were the only thing waiting for my hand.

Spring is coming.


This morning, the light coming in through the window was eerily blue. It was bouncing off of all the freshly fallen snow covering the ground.


I buttoned up my wool coat and tied on my scarf to brace against the cold wind and crunched through the snow that didn't manage to melt today.

But, spring is coming.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seven Days, Six States, Four Dogs, Three Friends, Two Cats, One Baby, One Sister, One Lake

I took all of last week off from work to GO ON VACATION! My friends were
shocked and also thrilled that I took an actual vacation. Other than international trips, no one could remember me ever taking a week off just for the hell of it. It was so freakin ' refreshing! Relaxing. Comfy. I understand that people take time off from work regularly, whether to travel or relax at home. Now I understand why!

We drove through a couple of states to the Lake of the Ozarks in
Missouri and hung at a friend's parent's lake house. It was chilly but still warmer and SO MUCH LESS WINDY that here at home that it was pleasant to be out and about. We went boating and I got up the nerve to ride the wave runner -- in my winter coat and hat.Hee ! I can be such a chicken/dumb shit/pain in the ass/mental case, though. I get nervous about something, anything -- in this case taking the wave runner out by myself and looking like a fool/ending up in the COLD water -- and then I freak myself out over absolutely nothing. For once, though, I noticed the totally absurd string of irrationalities flying through my brain and decided that the voice in my head simply wasn't telling the truth. That I did not need to believe that voice, just because it sounded frantic and concerned. It was just being manipulative and mean. So I told that voice to shut the fuck up and climbed on the wave runner. And it was fun. I even managed to hit the gas on the thing TWICE, but otherwise, puttered around the lake at an idle the rest of the time. (I can't swim, so there was at least one rational concern in the back of my mind.) It took me three drive-bys to work up the nerve to aim the machine at someone else's dock and driving it onto the lift. It just didn't feel natural to aim a water craft at land and metal and wood, you know? In the evenings when it wasn't raining we hung out in the hot tub until we were shriveled to half our normal size. The other evenings were spent eating barbecue and bullshitting around a fire. I didn't think about work or read anything for my thesis, but worked on word puzzles to pass the time. I completed this puzzle from Shauna, too. A. didn't work on school stuff, and it was absolutely DIVINE to not worry about a thing for a few days.

The dogs loved! LOVED! LOVED! Missouri. So many smells! Belle stuck her face three inches deep into all of the rotting leaves and sniffed and snorted until her little heart nearly burst from joy. Buster napped in the stench. They had to get the stink of the bath I gave them before we left off of them. Stupid dogs. I love them!

Then we drove to another state to cuddle with Delightful Little M. again! Oh, he is so precious, you guys. (Both he and T. are doing well, though T. wants some sleep pretty desperately. R., the papa bear, is still relatively well-rested for the time being. This will all change when T. goes back to work, I am sure.

I always thought people were absolutely FULL OF SHIT when they said baloney like, "Oh, they grow up so fast!" and "I wish they never grew up." Whatever! Quit blowing pink elephants and bunnies and unicorns up my ass, is what I want to say to those people. If I find myself becoming a mother (Oh, GOD) I am positive I will be counting down the damn minutes to the monkey's 18th birhday. Erg.


I found myself feeling very concerned that Delightful Little M. would be all grown up by the time we arrived. Unreasonably and inconsolably concerned. Then I saw him, and he is still tiny but not as tiny as he was three weeks ago. No! I found myself,
saying out loud to anyone who would listen, "Oh, I wish he wasn't growing so quickly! Wouldn't it be lovely if he could stay this small for a little while longer!!? I hope he stays a little boy forever!"


The next day, A. and I headed a couple of hours east to yet another to to see Black Sheeped and her cute hubby, The Lumberjack. Her two giant dogs and our two stupid dogs ordered and re-ordered their pack for a day straight, with obnoxious amounts of sniffing and a few growls on the part of my inconsiderate dogs. I think Buster and Monk would have fallen totally head-over-tails in love if Belle hadn't been so goddamn jealous. Monk and Cab were so, so generous and opened their home and their play time to my dogs and my dogs were a bit snooty. Stupid dogs. Monk is the sweetest damn dog in the whole world. His silky ears are to die for. And Cab is a GIGANTIC PUPPY, with an open heart just ready to love and play. So sweet! BlackSheeped posted a bunch of pictures here. I'll post a couple later.

It was so, so good to see Black Sheeped . I know she is upset that her hairdresser didn't give her the cut she'd asked for, but her hair is still absolutely darling and so goddamn cute on her. She has irises starting to come up in her flowerbed. Her house is comfy and welcoming and sweet.

I feel an comfortable connection with her, and I wish we could have spent many more hours chatting and laughing. I am going to suggest that we ditch the men the next time I visit so we can have some quality girlfriend time. (And there will be lots of visits! She is SO CLOSE to where my sister, T. and Delightful Little M. live!)

She showed me her studio, and it is such a good place. The bright yellow floor is awesome in the fullest sense of the word, and she seems happy with how the room is organized. It is really inspiring to see her dedication and enthusiasm for her work. She is so funny and kind and smart. Jeez. She has her hands on some great resources that I can't wait to see incorporated into some pieces in the future.

I regret that we didn't spend more time together when she lived here. But I am so glad we've kept in good touch.

It was a great trip.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Just a Note to Say...

...that A. and I are hitting the road again first thing tomorrow (Saturday) morning. We will be traipsing around this fine country of ours for just over a week.


I am planning on bringing my laptop (who's battery has crapped out and so am hoping for ample outlets along the way) and will try diligently to get caught up on all my blog reading. I will also try to write wonderful posts that make all of you REALLY JEALOUS that I have been hanging out with this girl.

Ta ta!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Radius of My Heart is 800 Miles

My sister, T., had her darling, darling little baby boy on Thursday, February 28. I didn't dare post about anything until she delivered him and I knew they were both safe and sound. I just didn't want to temp The Universe to fuck with her, you know?

Soon, this darling little face found it's way to my cell phone:

Welcome, Delightful Little M.!

The next morning, A. and I loaded up the dogs and hopped in the car to head up to the wedding that I thought was a week later. An uneventful and pleasant 11 hours later, we arrived. We saw A.'s cousins and aunts and uncles. These are some of the kindest, most genuine people I've ever had the good fortune to know. It was freezing outside but so, so, so warm inside the house with everyone. Everyone - I mean everyone - congratulated me on being a new auntie as soon as they saw me. The bride even congratulated me in the receiving line! Seriously - I am so grateful that my family extended through A. are so wonderful.

His cousin M. got married and there was laughter and dancing until we were out of breath and dresses and shoes that hurt.

Then, because I was just beside myself to see T. and The Delightful Little M., A. whisked me south 500 miles. We stopped quickly mid-way through and saw my step-brother, C., his wife, and their new one-month-old boy and two-and-a-half-year-old boy. (Sorry, no pictures. C.'s job is such that pictures of him and his family on the web is a big no-no.)

Finally, we made it to T.'s. And there was more laughter, and happiness and I was out of breath again - but because this little guy took my breath away:

Holy cow, you guys. My little sister had a baby. And he is tiny. And he has tiny eyelashes. And he squeaks. And farts. Needless to say, there were tears, too. I had no idea being (a full-blooded) aunt could change the world so quickly and so dramatically.

(What a funny angle. I look like I have very large, very long legs. I do not.)

We finally pulled ourselves away from The Delightful Little M. and my sister, her hubby and my dad to head back home. We stayed in yet another hotel. The dogs loved, loved, loved it. There are so many mysterious sounds in a hotel hallway! And we are all together in one room, so it isn't nearly the anxiety-ridden experience that the kennel was (for me and for Buster).

We crossed paths with hundreds of thousands of snow geese and sandhill cranes as they migrated north.

It was a good, good trip.

And! Now we are off to see The Delightful Little M. AGAIN and this wonderful woman next week. I can't wait.

Just look at those wide-open eyes!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No, I am not dead. Also: I Kick Ass Sometimes

As for the utter and total lack posting as of late:

Work is kicking my ass all over this dusty, windy state and I am working on a post that involves pictures and that always slows the process down.

On to the gloating:

I just scheduled a maintenance appointment for my little car. I was NOT PLEASED with the quote I was given. I worried about it all day.

So, I called back.

And I asked Mister Mechanic Man to list everything that was included in this little appointment and give me the individual costs for labor and parts.

And guess what? The math didn't add up. Surprised? Oh, no? Well, then. Anywho, I SUCK at math and even I could tell that $270 does not equal $170.

I may still be getting completely hosed, but at least I am getting hosed by $100 dollars less.

Holy cow, I am strutting around like a proud freakin' rooster right now. Take that, Mister Mechanic Man!

P.S. If any of you feel like you need to tell me that in no way, whatsoever should any maintenance appointment still cost me $170, please do so kindly and then tell me how to barter this down further. Thanks!


Post with pictures - soon, I promise!