September 2011


Last week I was given the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. for a work conference.  I love travel in all forms, but especially when I’m not paying for it 🙂  The conference itself was actually very educational.  I took away quite a bit of case management information that I’ll be able to use in my own job.  And I really can’t say enough good things about my co-workers.  They’re all intelligent, insightful, and just plain hilarious.  I always look forward to spending some time with them (we all work out of separate offices around the state, so we only get to see each other 4 or 5 times a year).

A few of my co-workers and me in front of the Potomac in Alexandria, VA.

It was pretty rainy all week, and I didn’t do as much sightseeing as I would have liked (I think that would require a few weeks in D.C.), but I did get the chance to go to a few museums.  I went to the Museum of American History and got to see the original Star Spangled Banner and Lincoln’s top hat, among many other things.  The next day I went to the Holocaust Museum, and that was sobering.  If anyone has ever gone there, you know what I’m talking about when I say you leave with a hollow feeling in your stomach.  They do a great job of walking you through the timeline of events, starting from how Hilter came in to power through the years after WWII ended.  I think the item that affected me most was a train car that had hauled countless people to concentration camps.  I can’t really describe the chill that went through my body as I passed through the car.  Unfortunately, neither museum allows photography inside, so there are very few pictures from my trip.  At the end of the week, I was able to stay an extra day so Eric’s parents made the two and a half hour trip up to go to the Braves/Nationals game with me.  Eric’s sister Leslie ended up finding us some really great seats in right field above the bull pen.

Denny, Lois and I with "Thomas Jefferson"

It was so great to see them (it’s been over a year since I last saw them).  The weather even ended up cooperating with us that day.  Like I said, it had rained all week, and it wasn’t looking good that day, either.  The game had even been postponed 15 minutes, but right as it was scheduled to start, the rain subsided and the sun came out.  It was a gorgeous night for a game and my Braves ended up winning (although they couldn’t pull it off for the rest of the series…figures).

The view from our seats (Chipper Jones is at bat...just take my word for it)

On top of having a great trip, we found out our conference will be in Boston next year.  I love my job.

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As I write this, I am drinking from my last jug of sun tea for this year.  I made it the other day, sadly succumbing to the fact that it was likely the last hot day of the year, and therefore could be the last day hot enough to make sun tea.  That makes me want to curl up into a ball and cry a little.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fall.  I love the crispness of the air, I love the colors of the trees, I love Halloween, I love the clothes I get to wear, and I really love football.  But in Montana, fall really only lasts a couple weeks then we’re stuck with bone-numbing, snot-freezing winter for the next six months.  A logical person would wonder “Well, why do you live there?”.  Reasonable question.  The main reason is that I love being close to my family.  They’re weird and sarcastic and hilarious.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world and it makes me happy to be able to see them often.  A close second is Montana summers.  They’re incredible. In the dead of winter, when I think I just can’t stand another spirit-crushing day, I think about hiking in Glacier, camping in the mountains, biking with Pasha, road-tripping to Missoula, checking out historical sites like Virginia City, boating, baseball games, and barbeques with friends,  and I realize that hell has not, in fact, frozen over as it has seemed for the last few months.  I just have to suck it up for a little longer and I get to experience paradise when the weather warms up.

Eric, Jaci, Scott, and I with our dogs, camping on the Boulder River this summer

The stream by our campsite in the Beartooths. I mean, come on!

Nothing better than waking up in a tent on your birthday, and then coming outside to see this. I have the sweetest fiance ever!

This past summer has been especially eventful.  So many wonderful things have happened:  Eric proposed in June, my brother got married and I gained a sister in August, we got to watch two of my favorite musicians live (and got to meet one of them, as you can read here), we got to see tons of family that we hadn’t seen for a while, we nearly ran headlong into a moose while hiking, we got to do lots of camping, road-tripping, and were generally “tourists” of our own state .   Unfortunately, there was a tragedy also.  My poor dog Charlie of seven years was taken away from us in a drowning accident a few weeks ago.  That’s been very hard to deal with, but I’ve been slowly coming to terms with it.  I guess events like that tend to snap me back to reality.  No matter what happens, life keeps moving on.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve just had the best moment of your life, or the worst, time keeps marching.  It’s made me especially grateful that everything is in God’s hands and His timing is perfect even if I don’t understand or like it.  It also makes me joyful to think that someday, when we’re in His kingdom, we won’t have to worry about these highs and lows – the rollercoasters of life.  Knowing that makes the tough stuff just a little easier to deal with.

So, here we are, with the last little bit of summer hanging on.  You better believe I will keep doing my summer things until there is no getting around the fact that I can’t walk through the snow in my Chacos.  Because that’s how I get through the transitional periods: denial.  Does anyone else have these problems?  I hope everyone is dealing with this change a little better than I am!

So wedding planning has slowed down to a crawl.  We’ve taken care of the venue, the food, the music, and the photographer.  We’re figuring out the colors and the attire.  Turns out there’s just not much to do at this point.  As much as I would like to figure out the specifics of the decor, I’ve already changed my mind at least five times (ok, ten) so it’s probably not worth my time to put a lot of effort into it with eleven months still to go.  So for now, we’re just trying to take advantage of the summer weather while it’s still here (pictures to follow…eventually).

   Despite this, I have had a growing obsession with Pinterest.  Has anybody else experienced this?  It started with pinning pictures that inspired ideas for our wedding, and has grown into a bucket list, a dream home layout, and recipe must-makes.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it would behoove you to move on and pretend like you never saw this post.  It’s addicting!  But in my defense, it’s a really great way of keeping things I like in one easy-to-access place.  Basically it’s the electronic equivalent of cutting pictures/articles/etc… that you like out of magazines and newspapers and filing them away.  So if you’re looking for an easier way of bookmarking things you like on the internet, this might be a helpful site for you.  But please don’t hold it against me if I have contributed to your new addiction 🙂

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to update everyone on some more interesting wedding stuff sooner than later.  I suppose I should enjoy this lull while it lasts.   Hope everyone is having a great end-of-summer!

Charlie watching me intently

As many of you know, this weekend I lost my dog Charlie.  What started off as an exciting day of taking engagement pictures turned tragic when Charlie slipped off a cliff, fell into the river and drowned.  It was more awful than I can describe, especially because we had to watch helplessly as it happened, and it’s been very hard dealing with the loss.  But I don’t want to remember Charlie that way.  I want to do everything I can to remember him how he was (even though it’s still surreal to talk about him in the past tense).

Doing what he loved

I grew up with dogs, but Charlie was the first dog that was truly mine.  I adopted him from the animal shelter in July of ’04.  I had every intention of adopting a rottweiler, but something about that little guy just intrigued me.  He had these eyes that would just follow my every move, so finally I asked a shelter employee if I could see him.  We went out into the courtyard and I sat on the ground.  He walked straight over to me, laid down in front of me, and put his chin on my lap.  It was all over then.  I had to adopt him.  After I had signed all the paperwork, I found out he was scheduled to be put down within the next few days, so it was definitely meant to be.

Turns out Charlie was a character. Almost anyone I’ve met in the last seven years could tell you a story about him.  All dogs have quirks, but Charlie was one in a million.  Instead of running normally, he would hop like a deer.  When he would sleep, he would always end up on his back with his mouth wide open.  He snored like an old man and often yelped in his sleep.  He didn’t care much for other dogs (he didn’t hate them, he was just disinterested in them), but he loved being around people.  When I was upset, he would always come cuddle with me.  He could hold a grudge like no other; my mom clipped his toenails when I first got him, and he hated her for a good four years after that.  We never figured out exactly what breed he was, or how old he was, but that didn’t matter.   He was my little shadow, a great hiking partner, a comforting presence when I was upset, a clown, and one of the best friends I could ask for.

Happy

It’s been comforting to hear so many of my friends tell me something cute or funny that they remember about him.  I love that little guy, and he will be greatly missed.

Charlie and Pasha cuddling