Friday, December 11, 2009

the epic journey begins

we leave bright and early tomorrow morning for our big road trip. we are heeding the call to go west! most of the next three days will be spent in the car, but we have a few exciting points along the way. we are going to stay one night in las vegas, which should be interesting at the very least. we wanted to go to a show, like circ de soleil or blue man, but we were clueless about how expensive those can be. i am sure we will be sufficiently entertained by the lights of vegas and the (minimum) 70 degree temperature increase the area promises.

then we spend a week in the bay area with laura and kevin. in reality, i will spend the week with them and brandon will spend his week with geology folks at the AGU conference. he keeps worrying that i am going to be bored, but i know that is impossible in the company of laura!

turns out harvey is the most expensive part of our trip. (is anyone surprised by this? no, didn't think so.) finding a place in vegas that was eager to have a  dog to stay the night caused the hotel price to rise quite a bit. and then in cali we are going to board him, luckily with people that seem normal and not too out of touch with the animal-human division of privileges. however, bay area boarding rates are out of this world. if anyone is at a juncture in their life where they don't know what to do with themselves, it appears that a lucrative option would be to open a boarding facility in san fran that charges slightly less than $50/night. you would be overwhelmed by business!

Monday, December 7, 2009

the joys of laundry day

we love our little house, we really do. the one downfall: no washer and dryer. (okay, so there are two downfalls as there is also no dishwasher, but we are dishwashing pros so we get by). anyhow... the lack of w/d leads us to the laundromat. i have noticed that i used to go more frequently, about every week and a half. lately, i have been pushing it to more like three weeks (or until we just don't have any more socks or undies left). yesterday we both realized we had nothing left in the way of undergarments so i loaded our bins and headed out the door with pockets full of quarters.

i learned a bit while i was there:
1) going to the laundromat on sunday is an awful idea. everyone else is there and the football game is on so it is far from quiet.
2) talking on your cell phone might not be the best idea, as everyone can hear everything you are saying (see below).
3) folding 7 loads of laundry by yourself is a daunting task.
4) if you are going to own fitted sheets, you should really make sure you have a partner there to help you fold them.
5) the key to surviving without a w/d is to own multiple sets of sheets. this way you have that glorious clean-sheet-sleep, without having to go the laundromat once a week.

the laundromat shows limited discrimination (aside from the "haves" and the "have nots", i suppose), so there is always someone entertaining to watch or a phone conversation you are forced to overhear. this weekend in particular there was a young man who received a call from his mother, who accused him of getting a DUI. the conversation went like this:
no mom, i don't have a DUI.... no, i have never had one... what are you talking about?... do you really want to go there? do you want me to print out my criminal record?... just listen to me, i have never had a DUI!...
kind of makes me wonder what his little brother told his parents! however, it was nice to know that the person i am sharing laundry-folding tables with does not drive intoxicated. his conversation got funnier though:
so mom, i woke up this morning and the dog was acting to weird. stumbling around in circles and looking really confused. i put him outside and he just kept falling down... yeah, so i called the vet and she said it was an extra $100 for weekend emergency visits.... anyhow, i took him in and $350 later she told me he was drunk!
so maybe the dog is to blame for the DUI?

Friday, December 4, 2009

late arrival

yesterday my brother alex turned 17. it has been so much fun to see him find what he is naturally talented at. he is brilliant, so school comes easily to him. he has always been pretty good at video games, but it wasn't that exciting to see him spending his days inside.

this summer we traded him kayak lessons with current for helping us at a big 4th of july event. i wasn't sure if he would like boating, but he and his friend sam both took to it naturally. they were fearless and willing to do things in their boats that still scare me.

it has been great to see him work through challenges with kayaking and come home with war stories. each time we talk on the phone now he has some exciting boat adventure to tell me about. i am so proud of him for the effort he puts into this passion and can't wait to see where paddling takes him.

he is also a wonderfully thoughtful brother. he always thanks me, gives me a hug, and tells me he loves me whenever the opportunity comes up.
he has always been the one making smoothie messes in the kitchen, staying up late reading an exciting book, and "just looking" at breakable things.

spending time along side him in a kayak on the mckenzie last summer was one of my favorite memories. my face hurt from grinning so much and i am sure everyone on the trip got tired of hearing about how proud i was of him.

happy birthday bubby! 
we love you!

the human icicle

it has been cold here lately. i mean really cold. for instance, since tuesday we haven't seen a temperature in the double digits. mostly we have been seeing negative numbers on the thermometer.
i had to take a rushed shower yesterday and blow dry my hair quickly. i didn't have enough time to make it totally dry, but figured it was close enough. i rode my bike to campus (slightly terrifying given the snowy/icy roads, but way quicker and since i was late i had no choice). as i walked up to the glass door of my office building, i noticed in the reflection that my hair was white. i felt it and it was frozen. around the back of my head i had two clumps of frozen icicle hair. i was a little scared to touch it for fear that it would all break off. the thought of me being a human icicle kept me laughing most of the morning. guess i am going to have to plan ahead in the morning to make sure my hair is fully dry.
my grandma used to always freak out if we went outside with wet hair (even in july), insisting that we were going to catch pneumonia. i can only imagine if she saw my frozen hair!

today is the last day that my assignments are due and therefore what i consider my last day of school! we have a break for over a month, which i am excited about. i will keep working at the VA next week, but no school work to deal with when i get home!
we are driving to the bay area around the 13th for a geology conference brandon is presenting at. we get to stay with my lovely friend laura and her boyfriend kevin. i am excited to spend the week in san fran and the other cool areas around there. mostly, i am excited for good food and laughs with laura!
we have to board harvey (because laura has cats and is in a place that isn't doggy friendly). theoretically it is no big deal to board him, but these bay area dog owners are nuts and spoil their pooches. this means the boarding places all offer a bone on the dogs' pillows, a blanket turn-down, and puppy pedicures. at the tune of $60 a day!!! all i want is somewhere that will feed him twice a day, give him a place out of the rain, and not make me fear that he will loose his eyes (like a place in laramie is known for). sometimes simplicity is just too much to ask for.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


this has been the week of mistaken purchases. first, i bought chicken, thinking i was getting an awesome deal on a bunch of poultry i could freeze for future use. however, the good price was because it required minor surgery to remove the skin and bones. my price savvy euphoria faded quickly as i set up a butcher shop in our kitchen. i guess the experience made me realize how convenient those boneless, skinless, individually-wrapped chicken cutlets really are. now i know.

i also bought some wine in a rush (same shopping trip--it was a flop). i came home to relax after a tough week and savor my wine... bleh! i didn't check the label and ended up with a type of wine that is super sweet and so not my style. i scoured the internet in search of some way to redeem my mistake. and this is what we treated ourselves to tonight:

mmm, delicious roasted pears, braised in butter, honey, and sweet wine. 

we saw julie and julia this weekend, so perhaps that influenced by creation (and my reckless use of butter!). regardless of the inspiration, i am glad that the wine didn't go to waste.

hiking on zicam

brandon and i have both been fighting off colds, but the sore throat stage took over yesterday and this morning we woke up feeling awful. we thought maybe a bit of fresh, 20 degree air would do the trick so we went out for a hike. it is that challenging time of year where there is too much snow on the ground to mountain bike but not enough to ski. so we settled on a hike in a new location.

we had a nice hike, but kept it short because we were both worn out quickly. harvey was appalled that we got back in the car so soon, but we don't have his limitless energy.

on the drive out, we spotted these fellas. at first i thought, "that is a huge horse." then i noticed horns and didn't know what to think. it took a couple of seconds before moose finally registered. they were really dark and furry, all ready for winter, i suppose.

we had a great thanksgiving with candace, kim, richard, and adorable miss scarlett. scarlett wasn't too trusting of brandon and would stop dancing or singing if he was looking her way. they are teaching her early that boys are trouble! it was nice to be with people from oregon when home feels so far away.

Monday, November 23, 2009


i started my training at the veterans hospital today. i am going to be working as a social worker in the mental health unit. for the next two days i am just training (which thus far equates to filling out 50 pages of forms and taking online modules about computer security and diversity).

for a rural area, the hospital does a lot and actually serves a lot of people in "VISN region 19". we learned a lot about the (negative) history of the VA and how the whole system changed for the better in 1996.

everyone in my social work program is required to do a field practicum placement, 16 hours per week, usually unpaid. i landed this sweet gig for my internship and i am getting paid! wohoo!

my one fear? that my vocabulary is going to be taken over by acronyms (see title).

the front is the original building--with an floor added on and a labyrinth of new wings extending out. still a cool building to look at though!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

practicing the holiday

last week was brutal (see post below), but i realized that i have to shake off the badness and see the good. after all, thanksgiving is just around the corner. shouldn't i get into the practice of being grateful before the turkey is on the table?

1) thanks to my mom for helping us with our car towing fee. you are the best!

2) thanks to my friend sadie for baking brandon and i a gluten-free peanut butter pie. delish and totally out of the blue. brandon even said, "now, why did she bake us a pie?" just because she is awesome!

3) thanks to the shirleys for inviting us to be part of their family for thanksgiving. this will be the first thanksgiving holiday we won't be with our clan, so thinking about just the two of us was strange. now we get to see that beautiful scarlett girl and spend the day with wonderful people.

4) i only have one weekend of class left! a lot of assignments and projects, but still, only two more days of sitting in the classroom.

5) i start at the VA hospital on monday, an opportunity i am so excited for. i know it is going to change and challenge me.

6) we are being better dog owners and harvey is, in turn, being a better dog.

this list is mostly for me, a way to chronicle the blessings in my life and remind me that there is a lot of good around me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

my regular view

too bad this isn't a photo of harvey, but pretty dang close!

Friday, November 13, 2009

i'm not even superstitious

what a week this has been...

1) my flight back from oregon was delayed by nearly four hours. i missed my connecting flight to denver, my bags didn't make it on the plane i was switched to, and i got an earful about how teen mothers are turning this country into a socialist nation by my neighbor on the plane. oh yeah, and the shuttle company i coordinated two months prior to drive me from DIA to home had no record of my confirmation number or name. a miserable travel day to say the least.

2) i spent this afternoon writing a paper. through a strange and convoluted chain of events the way i saved the paper was as a temporary internet file. i spent hours trying to find the finished copy and eventually called campus IT, only to be told that this was one of the ways to royal mess up on a PC and that there was no way to recover my paper. so i rewrote it. all six pages.

3) we went to a geology party tonight. when we arrived there was 8" of snow on the ground and i had to ride in the back (again, through a convoluted chain of events), so when we arrived i didn't get out on the passenger side in order to notice that we parked in front of an unplowed driveway. two hours later when we went to our car to drive home, our car wasn't there. a couple of people from the party said they saw a police officer out their earlier and a tow truck just took it away 10 minutes before. so we walked 15 blocks home with the crock pot of soup we took to the party, in 8" of snow. and we can't get the car until 9 tomorrow morning, at the earliest.

4) we got home from our unanticipated walk to find that harvey had jumped up onto the kitchen counter, retrieved a full loaf of my gluten-free bread and ate half of it on the living room floor.

i am not even superstitious, but i really hate friday the 13th.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

the scariest thing we know...

a dog!

halloween unknowns

i had grand visions of wearing a super-cute flapper costume of sara's for halloween. trouble was it required a slip of some sort underneath and all roads coming and going from laramie have been closed for days. of course laramie had nothing helpful to offer so i was at a loss for a costume, with a geology department halloween party only days away.

brandon was asking me one night this week what i thought he could be with all the hair he currently has (i classify his current style as "hippy mullet"). all the shaggy hair made me realize he would be a perfect jermaine from flight of the conchords (one of our favorite shows, thanks to logan & alyssa). this didn't solve my costume dilemma, but at least he was set.

when we went to the salvation army to find some sort of jermaine-style coat, we came across a PERFECT denim shirt. after a bit of photo research, we are pretty certain that jermaine actually wears the same shirt in various episodes. a few hangers down from the levi-dream-shirt, we found the ultimate bret animal sweatshirt. it was settled, brandon was jermaine and i was going to be bret.

once brandon had the shirt and glasses, all that remained was the sideburns and he was a spitting image of the kiwi.

granted i could have gone as mel, the new zealand band's only fan, but that outfit was too frumpy and not as funny. besides, the sweatshirt was too good to pass up...

i struggled with what to do with my hair, so i opted for the headband after this photo:

all-in-all, brandon's outfit was perfect and he resembled jermaine in an uncanny way. i wasn't quite as perfect at bret, but despite the obvious factors working against me (long hair, being a woman, etc.) we pulled off the duo pretty well.

sadly, we were about 3 for 20 in terms of people knowing who we were. i think we might be a little ahead of the times here in laramie, but next halloween there are going to brets and jermaines on every corner, vying to be as cool as us.

Friday, October 9, 2009

winter time, and the living is easy

harvey and i had a date with a friend and her dog tonight.. harvey decided to lap up her glass of red wine however so i am waiting for the hiccups to commence, dumbo style. he managed to indulge in a few sips without spilling a drop if you can believe it!

after we left the house we quickly realized that winter has set in on us. oh boy. not sure i am ready for the snow just yet. harvey doesn't care, provided that the frisbee is still in action.
brandon is gone yet again this week, therefore a few tests of my single-hood have ensued. first obstacle being a low bike tire. i went to fix it and whoa, ripped the metal end off. i searched through the leaves (prior to the snow falling), but couldn't find it. guess i am gonna need a new tube. luckily logan took it upon himself a number of years ago to train me how to change a tube. i am gonna have to put those skills to the test tomorrow, although with all the snow maybe riding my bike isn't the best idea.

at this point, i think i have substantial evidence to correlate brandon leaving with snow falling. it just always happens that way. must be his warm personality keeping the cold at bay!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the debate rests (maybe)

since we got harvey (almost a year ago!) we have speculated about his "other half". we knew mom was australian shepherd, but dad, he could have been anything. so we have googled various mixes of australian shepherd and not really been sure of anything. at first we all thought blue heeler, but then his legs got too long. lots of people have suggested lab, but i haven't thought that could be because he is the WORST (i mean this in terms of all the dogs of history kind of worst) swimmer. he just claws at the water hoping for it to harden and mimicks drowning. this makes me think no lab blood possible.

anyhow, the other night through a random internet bunny trail i came across the wikipedia site about australian kelpies. i let out a little gasp, because i felt like i finally cracked the code! the pictures showed the exact same body type, tail, head shape, and coat. the coloring didn't match up perfectly, but we know he got the blue merle color from his shepherd blood so we could account for that.

then i went on a quest for photos of australian shepherd-kelpie mixes. and tonight i uncovered the golden photo:
no more harvey, the ambiguous breed! we have got him pegged!

this one totally looks like him in action:
and lastly, if only we could teach him to do this! i am sure if there were enough sheep around, he would do it just to be a nuisance.

Monday, October 5, 2009

shrub like rasta

last friday it was 32 degrees and sunny; in brandon's mind, this equates to the perfect day for mountain biking. he got back in bed after checking the weather and as soon as i cracked my eyes open he began negotiating about what it would take for me to be willing to go riding. it sounded somewhat miserable, but he was obviously desperate for time outside on his bike. i gave in and we were off into the cold, crisp air.
when we got to the trailhead there were cows grazing everywhere, a species harvey had not yet been introduced to. the hair on his back immediately stood on end and he let out a few scary, big dog barks. the cows were unfazed by this little "hank the cow dog" look-a-like and went back to their food. occasionally on our ride we would come across a lone cow and harvey would dutifully protect us until we were at a safe distance (i.e., make a total jerk of himself barking up a storm while the cow took no notice of either harvey or us).

i had an intense fear brewing that i would come around the corner at full-speed and plow into one of the cows. what an obituary that would be: death by cow! therefore, i rode a little tentatively until the last segment when i let my fears go and plowed on ahead through the aspens.
harvey and i were racing through the single-track and came around the corner to another deadly scenario: an ice-covered bridge. i slammed on my breaks before i hit it and slid off the trail into the bushes. these are the reasons you ride tentatively when it is freezing outside!

it turned out to be a great ride and left all three of us with the wonderful feeling of proper exhaustion for the remainder of the day. probably the last ride before the snow hits hard, as it is supposed to do this week.

we noticed this little plant growing in the back a couple of days ago. ever since, all i can think about when i see it is rasta! so i revised the buffalo soldier lyrics to say, "shrub like rasta" and i find that song is stuck in my head all the time. silly song for a silly plant, i suppose.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

good answer

last night i made a dinner i had been thinking about for a couple of weeks. i was imagining a sort of mushroom stroganoff and thought the night of our "big storm" would be a great time to make this winter meal.

sadly, the meal turned out more like mushroom and onion gravy over pasta. blech! i reverted back to my childhood ways and spent more time picking out the onions that didn't get fully sautéed than i did eating.

i was so disappointed that it didn't turn out well. i have been on a good role with cooking lately, creating things from scratch that have turned out surprisingly well; therefore, it was due time to have a total flop. never-the-less, i still felt like a kitchen failure.

brandon ate his meal and when i apologized half-way through for how repulsive it was, he said, "it's okay. thanks for trying something new."

i was floored by how spot on his response was. it was just what i needed to hear! i knew the food was gross so i didn't need to hear the words from his mouth and feel worse. his answer made me feel so validated and appreciated that i was okay with my failure.

good answer there brandon!

Monday, September 28, 2009

another september celebration

matt, my mom's husband and our step-dad, celebrates his birthday today. i have a great photo of him from our thanksgiving feast last year but i can't find it anywhere on our computer. luckily my mom has a framed copy of it, but it is driving me nuts that i can't blog with the photo of matt in his element in the kitchen.

he is a wonderful guy who serves people in quiet, thoughtful ways: cooking incredible gourmet feasts, washing dishes so my mom and i can catch up on the couch, taking care of harvey with a minutes notice, making refreshing beverages appear in your hand before you even knew you wanted one, and helping people re-roof their houses (so that isn't literally quiet, but he does things like this without expecting recognition).
he also makes my mom really happy, tells ridiculous and corny jokes that make us all cringe before we chuckle, loves his three dogs in a way that would make the "dog whisperer" proud, and looks out for the four of us kids (including brandon) in practical ways. he always responds to my cooking question texts immediately, knowing that i am in the midst of a kitchen crisis, and without fail says, "thanks for calling" at the end of each phone conversation, even when he is the one who calls.

being a step-dad is certainly not easy and rarely offers much recognition, but he does his primary job excellently: he loves our mom and we are so grateful for that. though we don't say it as often as we should, we love him too.
we hope you have the happiest of birthdays and know that you are appreciated in all little and big ways!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the culprit

here it is folks: the screw! if life could stop testing my mental capacity and strength in adversity while brandon is away, that would be great. haven't i passed that test already?
maybe all these things are just to make me miss brandon and the practical ways he shows me love. i do, i do!

regarding the pumpkin: now all the stores are out of real pumpkins too! i was going to go way above and beyond and boil/puree my own, but i can't even do that. guess psyllium husks are going to have to work! i am telling you, there is something shady going on with pumpkins, at least here in the square state of wyoming!

**4:05pm: here is what i found on the pumpkin shortage: bad weather means not enough ripe pumpkins for canning and libby's only cans once a year so they don't have enough quality gourds to work with at this time. some flimsy promises to see the pumpkin next week, but i'm not believing it.

canine companion

brandon is off counting fish and measuring gravel, so that leaves harvey boy and i to our own devices. we got home about 11:30pm on sunday from taking brandon to the airport and went straight to bed. we woke up the next morning to find: SNOW!

my brain did not register this and tried to think of alternative explanations, but sure enough, it was snow. in september. agh!
i realized after i woke up that i had to be at a meeting in 12 minutes so i flew out the door and peddled through the pelting snow to campus. i made it to the meeting on time and tried to catch my breath.

then i came home and immediately took harvey for a walk. he was acting a little weird, but he tends to be bizarre so i didn't think too much of it. when we got home i realized why he was worried: he had eaten the majority of the bathroom trash! the mess he left behind wasn't too big, but i can't imagine his gut feels good.

after that i was washing the dishes and dropped a glass--of course it shattered all over the kitchen floor! harvey left it alone (sensing, i am sure, that he was already on thin ice so he better listen to my "sit! stay!" commands.) i am so glad we don't have kids because i am still finding glass shards, even though i thoroughly cleaned.

(side-note: i haven't broken that many dishes, but the few times that i have have been when brandon is out of town. i kinda want to research that strange phenomenon!)

after that incident, i decided to brave the whirling snow flakes and set out to find some canned pumpkin, the magic doggie laxative. i went to three stores, finding empty shelves where the pumpkin should be, until finally i asked. according to the annoyed grocery store clerk at albertsons, no one in wyoming will have canned pumpkin. for who knows how long. they have "temporarily discontinued it". what? who discontinues canned pumpkin in september, with halloween parties, thanksgiving feasts, and even christmas dinner that all necessitate pumpkin pie coming soon? i am confused and sensing that there is something major brewing in terms of an e. coli pumpkin contamination scandal.

so it was an eventful monday. i am hoping that all the silly little slips are over with for the week, although i fear i may have to take harvey to the vet if he doesn't process some of this garbage soon. oh boy!

**10:15am: just now i went to the car to go run some errands and heard weird noises as soon as a i started driving. i turned off the radio and heater, but the noise persisted. oh yes people, i had a massively flat tire! we are talking driving on rims, so luckily i realized it before i drove more than 200 feet. i am just glad it didn't happen while i was along the freeway on sunday night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

ode to a great

tomorrow my brother officially closes the chapter on being a kid. 18 is a grey area, but 19, no that is clearly man status. and what a man he has become! 

when people ask me what i did with the last year i mostly reply with, "i shared life with my family." to be in central oregon was one of the best decisions we have made, especially because it meant we got to spend time with ross in his senior year.
i love this photo of the two of us. even when things are hard in his life, he still loves his big sister unconditionally.

we also got the chance to go bouldering with ross a few times, mostly last fall when harvey was little and adorable. it is so fun to see ross problem solve and work out his routes.

(the shoes that are in the background of this photo were a constant source of frustration that day, as harvey kept sneaking up the rock to nab them and would then take off running with his loot. oh harvey boy!)
i love the brotherly concern he has for brandon in this photo. what a guy!

quite appropriately he was named mr. congeniality in the mr. shs pagent. i was so glad the judges saw in him what all of us do: he is a compassionate person who wants to make sure that others are taken care of and happy.

this spring ross, his friend christian, harvey, and i went on a camping trip. (this was the trip harvey got really sick on.) it was crazy and not at all what any of us expected in terms of weather and camping locations, but we have many treasured stories and jokes. he was so patient with harvey and his incessant need to be near ross at all time and he was considerate of me not wanting to stand in the rain and fish. thank goodness for jordyn and her wonderful influence on his life.  :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

reminder: 11 more days

today was my first day of full-on weekend classes. strange that we have "been in school" for three weeks and only now really starting? yes. strange that my schedule is exclusively on the weekends? also, yes. strange that i sit in the same basement classroom from 8am-5pm saturdays and sundays? again, yes.

it is, for lack of a better word, a strange program, set up for those who live outside of laramie and/or those who work full-time to be able to attend. and indeed, there are people who work full time and commute in for our weekends. i can barely handle working 10 hours a week for the university and living 7 blocks from campus, so i shake my head in disbelief at the reality the working commuter students face.

it was a draining day and i still have much reading to do before i pick up for another day tomorrow. but i really like my classmates, i know i am in the right field, and for the most part what we are studying is interesting.

however, i will fall asleep tonight with the glorious reminder that i only have 11 more days of these classes and this schedule this semester. that feels strange indeed!

(note: i am not wishing the days away, rather just reminding myself that i can handle this craziness.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

new friends in new places

this weekend we cancelled our plans to go to jackson because of the insanely long drive and the fact that i am going to have to drive 2/3 of the same drive this week. with a last minute call to our ft. collins friends doug and liz we had alternate plans and began packing for a camping trip in the colorado mountains. there were 10 people and 3 pooches total and all of us had a great time. we found a wonderful campsite and enjoyed running from the ever-shifting campfire smoke, eating fire-cooked meals, and swapping stories. doug and liz have superb friends so it was easy to have fun.

we went on one short hike on saturday afternoon, realizing about 1 mile in that we were started from the wrong trailhead and that we were a good 8 walking miles from the lakes we were hoping to reach. oh well, my legs and lungs were ok with the modified hike we took instead.

the next day we set out on an epic hike to "bag some 13ers" as the colorado folk put it. there is this strange drive to conquer mountains in this state and although 13ers (peaks that are =/> 13,000 ft) aren't as cool as 14ers, you still get some recognition for hiking those. i'm certain they are all a strain on my respiratory system! anyhow, foreboding rain clouds and burning lungs forced us to modify this hike as well, allowing us to let go of the need to stand on top of the surrounding peaks.

it was a gorgeous basin and we all got to a nice lake at about 12,500 ft where we enjoyed our picnics. half of us then decided to head down before the rains and thunderstorms caught us, the other half decided to press on to the saddle and see the view. i, being in the former half, enjoyed the conversations i had on the way down and then opted to check out aspen with one of the couples. we didn't fit in with our grubby hiking clothes and matted camping hair, but we had fun saying "aspen" in a snooty voice and laughing at the fur clothing we saw parading the streets. we also indulged in a little espresso, which happened to be the best espresso any of us have ever had. leave it to aspen to have that claim!

on the drive home today we went through steamboat springs, which is a town we really liked. i think we will end up going skiing there a few times this winter. they have a gluten-free pizza place so we indulged in that and checked out the whitewater kayak park.

we are home now and i must pry our new laptop (wohoo!) out of my hands and go take a shower. although there is much homework and reading that i have to finish tonight, a nap just might be my first order of business.

Monday, August 31, 2009

our little laramie abode

i finally got around to taking the pictures of our house.  it is very comfortable, but when i look at it the photos, i realize how much my design eye is lacking.  oh well, we are happy and cozy.

a little art to tie us to the northwest.  the artist is from whidbey island--i treasure her work!

we love the light in the living room!


the intricacy of old houses makes me happy.  gotta dig having a place to put treasured pictures and precious rocks!

our sanctuary of a bedroom.

our kooky little kitchen.  surprisingly, i find having the fridge up on this shelf thing is very helpful!  i am using things in the crisper drawer way more often, which means we are actually eating our vegetables before they go bad!

we have the rest of the photos up in our picassa album, which you can link to here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

stolen entertainment

my friend paula (who writes about things that made her smile today) had some of the following on her blog. i feel compelled to give her credit, even though the list is really just open on the web for anyone to find. anyhow, these things not only made me smile, they made me chuckle out loud.  a few even made me laugh out loud. without further building up of said list: 

Random Thoughts from People Age 25-35

★ More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

★ Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you’re going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you’re crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

★ Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn’t work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ’s. We just figured it out. Today’s kids are soft.

★ There is a great need for sarcasm font.

★ Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

★ I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

★ The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

★ I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

★ Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.

★ Whenever someone says “I’m not book smart, but I’m street smart”, all I hear is “I’m not real smart, but I’m imaginary smart”.

★ How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear what they said?

★ I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

★ Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using ‘as in’ examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss’s last name to an attorney and said “Yes that’s G as in… (10 second lapse)… ummm… Goonies.”

★ MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

★ I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

★ Bad decisions make good stories.

★ Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I’m from, this shouldn’t be a problem…

★ Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don’t want to have to restart my collection.

★ There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

★ I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

★ I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There’s so much pressure. ‘I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren’t watching this. It’s only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?’

★ I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What’d you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

★ I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

★ I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it’s on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

★ Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

★ I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

★ Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn’t know what do to with it.

★ It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

★ I wonder if cops ever get annoyed at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit?

please share in the comments section the ones that made you chuckle as well because you caught yourself doing or thinking the very same thing!

Monday, August 24, 2009

last few lazy days

we've been enjoying a week of settling in, which means a lot of stir-crazy feelings for me.  i am so used to working, studying, or at the very least doing something every day!  once the house was in order though, there wasn't a whole lot on the agenda for the week.  we managed to fill it with a hike, two mountain bike adventures (to two different riding areas, no less), and a camping trip.  we are loving laramie and quite happy to be here, although our lungs are adjusting a little slowly.  :)

harvey had a little adjusting to do also, as we were accustomed to just letting him outside when we was getting rambunctious or otherwise annoying us.  however, for most of last week we didn't have the freedom to let him out without running the risk of having a pancake for a dog. brandon built a much needed fenced area for locking harvey up.  or for providing him with adequate grounds for romping around in. whichever way you prefer to look at it...  our attitude about it changes frequently.
he also went camping with us in the medicine bow national forest and we chose a nice dispersed campsite away from all other signs of civilization where he could run and jump and chase critters.  he was quite content and so were we.  the picture above is now one of my favorite of harvey and that i have taken yet.  it is out of focus and not perfect, but it captures that moment well.
this lake was so peaceful and seemed like the perfect swimming hole for harvey.  instead it was a quicksand trap along the banks.  with each step he took on what looked like solid, albeit muddy, ground resulted in a thrashing panicked attempt to prevent being sucked in.  i mostly stood by and laughed until i realized i was going to have to share a tent with the muddy mongrel.  oh yeah, that.
this last picture is entirely for kemi.  she bought me that snazzy backpack (which incidentally matches my favorite sandals perfectly). today was the first day of school so i had to get a commemorative photo. it was a good day, although this week i am in one class for 6 hours each day, 5 days in a row.  then the class is over.  whew! talk about a whirlwind and heaps of reading.  i feel content and happy with the program and the route i am taking though.

i'll try to get pictures of our little house up soon.  i have been waiting for the sink to be free of dishes and all of a certain spouses' piles to be put away, but that isn't too realistic.

now that i don't work around food every day i am enjoying being in the kitchen again.  the kitchen aid mixer has actually been utilized every day so let that be an indication of my cooking and baking zealous.  the elevation has made a few of my culinary endeavors less than perfect, but these high plains and i will learn to work together soon.