Thursday, June 30, 2011

always look on the bright side of life

As I mentioned a few times on FB, I've been fighting a fever all week. I tried to keep it relatively on the DL... first of all, no one wants to be sick while they're on vacation. Secondly, my sister and her husband had plans to head off on their first night without kids since, well, having kids in the first place... 10 years ago. So sick or otherwise, I was not letting them back out.

I woke up today and knew I wasn't going to kick this without help. Off we went to the local urgent care facility; it's like a doctor's office that runs like an ER. After a 10 minute wait, a very nice doctor (but no where near as nice as my own family doc) saw me. "Normally I'd have waited this out, but we're traveling and I don't want it to get out of control." "Really? A fever for 3 days and trouble breathing: I think it's already out of control!" Ok, gotcha.

One script later we were out the door. Episodes like this make me think about our insurance system. I feel incredibly lucky to have the policy we do. While cost is a factor when we go to be seen, it's not a limiting one. If we need to be seen, we go. But I know that is a luxury to many. I can't imagine living paycheck to paycheck, praying no one gets sick because there is no money to pay the office visit ($104 and change for today; I paid my $15 copay) never mind any medicines. (I hate to imagine what even generic azithromycin cost.)

I am officially on the road to recovery; my sister and brother in law are on their get-away; and WB's presentation is done, to rave reviews. While this was not part of the plan, it's sometimes good to be reminded that needing medical care out of state is still less damaging financially than getting sick at home is for many.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

scenes from Yellowstone

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, June 27, 2011

{this moment}

A weekend ritual from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

bringing a pic-a-nic basket into Jellystone*

My sister's family lives about 90 minutes from Yellowstone National Park, and so a day trip in is a requirement of our visits. We entered through West Yellowstone again so we could see the swollen Gallatin River first hand. Because we spent a lot of time at Old Faithful on our last visit, we decided to steer clear of the old girl and focus our attention on other locales.

James had mentioned that the record snowfall this winter in the mountains meant more than just near floodstage rivers: the bison were out and about because there is so much snow in the forests. We were about 15 miles into the park when we saw our first herd at Madison. We thought those guys were close... until we saw the two running down the road between the vehicles. Um, yea, you guys totally get to decide when and where you go anywhere.

We checked out Fountain Paint Pots, Midway Geyser Basin, and then hung out in the Canyon region, checking out the Lower Falls and the Upper Falls. For those of you who remember my claw-like grip two years ago, you'll understand why we did not hike down at all, but stuck around at the safe distance of Artist Point.

If you ever have a chance to go, do. Even the best of pictures don't do the views justice... and mine are by no means the best pictures. There are parts of the park that seem surreal, and parts that are just magnificent to behold. It is very understandable that this place is what became the first national park. We're already planning our next trip back...

*Today's contest is an easy one: who might have titled this post? Comment away, to win a 4x6 shot of this:
According to my sister, this is the quintessential Yellowstone shot. It's of the Lower Falls from Artist Point.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

in your eyes

For the first time since flying anywhere as an adult, I shed no tears. Sure, I didn't enjoy the experience: I had to have physical contact with my boarding pass at every second (and made sure the kids knew they COULD NOT PUT THEIRS DOWN); I had to Lamaze breathe my way through some turbulance; my neck is still a bit tight where I was the monkey in the middle between WB and some (thankfully scrawny, but still) guy I didn't (and still don't) know. But, nothing was so overwhelming that it had to leak out through my tear ducts. Small steps, my friends, small steps.

There were some interesting sights along the way. There are many reasons I don't expect my children to ever take up smoking, but seeing the Room of Shame at Dulles might be the clincher. Inside the plexi-glassed walls of this small room (maybe 12x12?) were about 20 sad individuals, sitting there in the smoke filled haze, staring blankly ahead and trying to OD on nicotine.

Our stay at O'Hare was a bit more exciting, as we landed in terminal B, had to get ourselves over to F2D (which did not have us leaving security, however, so I really have nothing to complain about. Plus actually walking more than 20 steps at a time was nice, too.)* Anyhow, we got ourselves some Chili's to Go salads and parfaits, and were settling in to watch the weather in Quebec City (since that's where the plane before ours was headed) when we were relocated to F11, which is a much more old school gate. Down the hall and down the stairs we went, crammed into a huge room of our own (with NO smoking allowed, however), all of us waiting for 5 different flights. Each one would get called, people would line up and head out onto the runway to walk up the stairs onto the plane. Lather, rinse, repeat.

*Grammar freaks out there: where do I put this period? Inside the parenthesis? Outside? One in and one out? I always struggle with such details, and you know how they impact my stories...

Now, those of you who grew up playing obsessively with Little People, those airplane steps are as steep as recreated in plastic form. Going up wasn't a problem, but coming down.... I was working hard not to have my own SNL*. Actually, having come down those stairs I think Chevy may have been a bit hard on President Ford, although Ford didn't have to carry his own luggage while navigating his way down... but still, that was not easy.

*WB was having the very same thoughts as he tried to get safely to the tarmac. Ah, marriage. One mind, one soul, hundreds of bad jokes.

In keeping with the tradition, each of these posts will include a 4x6 picture giveaway: all you have to do is comment back to me (on the blog directly or on FB whenever it decides to feed in). The title of this blog is a reference to an older movie where the girl was petrified to fly, and the boy eventually goes with her on a plane, and talks her through take off. It's the most perfect movie ending, because when they get to cruising altitude and he's saying something about as soon as the captain turns off the seat belt sign they'll be safe... and the movie cuts to black with the airplane 'ding'. Earlier in the movie he'd stood outside her window, in his trench coat, playing Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes through his huge 1980s boom box. Name the movie, or the actor with the boom box, and you'll get this shot:

(And yes, I sang this song to myself, and it worked. We all have our own ways of coping... and after our layover in DC, I am thankful I use music and not cigarettes.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ready or not

We're getting ready to head off to Montana again*, and I've spent the day prepping the house and the luggage... and reminiscing about our journey 2 years ago. Then we were driving; this time we're flying. Two years ago, it was raining, and had been raining for days and days and days. Now, we've had the most beautiful weather ever. All sorts of flowers and plants are ready to pop, and it's making me sad that we'll miss it. But, as was true 2 years ago, my nephews are growing up without me, and seeing them live and in color is way cooler than seeing any old flower :)

*I know I shouldn't be announcing to the world that we're leaving, but our house will not be empty. We have a highly qualified house sitter, as well as my constable father in law coming to mow on a very regular schedule. So no worries. It's all good.

I've had a few requests to blog our trip again. I don't think it will be as exciting, since we'll get to our destination in 1/4 of the time, but I'm happy to oblige. Maybe this time the exciting bits will be when my kids take over the writing to describe my flying phobia. Either way, see you tomorrow from mountain time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

midsummer's eve

As a friend pointed out, tomorrow brings us on the downward slide towards the winter solstice. I choose to ignore that fact for a bit longer and just bask in the glory of long days and short nights. To honor the day, we used our first farm basket from Thurston Family Farms and made swiss chard artichoke dip with this beautiful greenery and
and grilled chicken and steak ceasar salad for dinner.
After dinner, the kids made the desserts they are best at:
Happy Midsummer to all... and to all a good night!

(PS: Happiest of birthdays to two of my favorite people! love you!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

{this moment}

A weekend ritual from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

as we head into summer...

Marks of authenticity.

This is not comforting today, as we head out on summer vacation. Sunshines: don't get yourselves too scarred up. I have proof that you're alive, and I truly would like it if you stayed that way. Remember, if anything bad happens to any of you... I will NOT be ok!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

{this moment}

A weekend ritual from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I got a hug from a sunshine this week. He'd gone out to wait for his bus as I was picking up. My back was turned as he came back in; I turned around to find him waiting for me. "Have a good summer Buckaroo"...

You too, honey. All of you. Have a good summer. Have a safe summer. And I'll see you soon.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Saturday, June 04, 2011

16 on 16

It's pretty easy to say "I do" that first time, especially if you're relatively young and have never lived with anyone, because you have no idea what you're promising. But that doesn't mean you don't mean it when you say it, and that it is not worth the promise.

The first year really is the hardest. Combining 2 individual lives, with different ways of making dinner and doing laundry and keeping house is not easy. If you can survive the first year, you can survive anything.

Time apart is as important as time together.

Talking is what keeps a marriage functioning. Talk about the weather, politics, groceries, or who needs to line up the sitter. But just keep talking.

You're going to disagree about things: you're separate, intelligent people. Disagreeing doesn't mean you don't belong together; it just means you have your own ideas on things, and you care enough to share those ideas.

If you're lucky enough to have kids, don't forget that your relationship needs to outlast their childhood.

Finding the line between living to work and working to live is key.

It doesn't matter if you squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom or the middle.

Do what you used to do when you were dating. That's what made you fall in love, and it will help keep you in love.

Include your kids in what you used to do, too. You'll see it through their eyes, and it will give it a whole new meaning.

Celebrate the big anniversaries and the little ones.

Don't neglect Date Night.

Be honest, but never cruel.

Passion does fade, but what replaces it is pure magic.

Friends are as important now as they were in the beginning.

While you had no idea what you were promising at that ceremony, be thankful you trusted yourself enough to know you knew what you were doing. Because you really, really did.