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.