Monday, September 28, 2015

a bit of perspective

Jack and I spent last week in Yellowstone with Stu and his family.  It was awesome.  Lovely.  Brilliant.  Beautiful.  Inspiring.  Fun.  Entertaining.

I was going to blog about the trip last night after our eight-hour drive home, but I was too tired.  Today I'm glad I waited.  I had a post in my mind that included talk of doing work/working while on vacation in the most amazing place on earth.  Also words about numerous calls and texts about issues with Jack's mom.  Perhaps more words about sickness--colds and other more worrisome ailments--while on vacation.  And maybe even other words about the way vacations can seem chaotic and frenzied.

But today, with the perspective of a day apart from all of that, the things I remember are these:


ice cream at Old Faithful



family hikes to waterfalls

mud pots, hot springs, and geysers, including the ever-dependable Vixen geyser that gives a swell performance every 3-5 minutes, ending with the sound of hot water flushing, draining down into the earth

Jack and I exploring Mammoth, the perfect example of the ongoing change in Yellowstone.  Also a great closeup of my sunglasses frame.

and the animals, oh the animals--seriously who doesn't love a baby bison?  Just ask Ellie.  She loves baby bison.

and the birds--ravens everywhere along with geese, ducks, swans, and so many others.  Did you know ravens talk in more than just cawcawcaw?  Yes, they have a warbling throaty sound too.

 and elk, elk, elk--close, far, bugling madly

because we were very lucky and because we got up early, we saw a bear go over the mountain

and because we were even luckier, we watched a black wolf run across a valley with a magpie nagging and pestering him (or her)

 (not the badger we saw but a good internet representation)
we came across a badger--she (or he) about to cross the road as we rounded a bend but changing her (or his) mind and turning back up the mountain, scuttling under logs and around sage and disappearing before we could get a good picture to share.

we were literally on the range where we said give me a home, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play, because they were playing--tag, I think


 and this, this is the way my face looked and the way my whole self felt for almost the whole glorious time.

Monday, September 14, 2015

a little fire, a lotta party

A couple of days ago, Jessie asked if we were going to celebrate her birthday on Sunday.  I said, "of course.   Dinner?  Dessert?"  She said she'd like pot roast with potatoes and carrots and onions and brownies with ice cream for dessert.  And I said, "of course."  And I thought, whatever she wanted, she could have for her birthday.

Yesterday morning, I got up early to start the pot roast cooking all day in the oven.  I poured a little bit of oil in the big pan, tossed in the roast(s) and turned on my gas stove.  I seasoned it and thought I should lift the slightly uneven-bottomed pan to spread the oil around the roast so everything would brown evenly. 

And that is when I learned that hot pan + oil + gas flame = FIRE!!!  Sparkly little flickers that quickly flashed into a ball of flames under my stove hood.  YIKES!

I let go of the pan, took a step back, then reached back to turn off the burners, and by then, the flames were gone, leaving a bit of sooty blackness behind on the cabinets by the stove and the wall behind it.

Again.  YIKES!

After catching my breath and surveying the situation, I relit the burners, finished browning the roast, peeled and cut up the potatoes, onions, and added them, the carrots and a bit of water to the pan, covering it all and setting it carefully into the preheated oven.

At some point before the completion of these tasks, but after the flames were gone, the smoke detectors started beeping so I opened a window and the door even though there really wasn't any smoke to be seen.  And then I scrubbed off the sootiness and then sat down to think about what had just nearly happened.



After such an intense beginning, it seemed only right that the party later in the day would be a little chaotic, but in a much less frightening way.  Almost everyone came over, everyone who came laughed and talked and enjoyed the others and the food.  After the dinner eating was done and cleaned up, and after the singing and cake and ice cream serving was completed, I tried to get a few pictures.  As I said, it was chaotic, which is why these pictures seem totally appropriate.

Sweet Gwen slept through the eating.  Jack had to take a breather and go outside to eat his brownies and ice cream.  But it was all good and so nice to have almost everyone together.


And tomorrow is my girl's birthday.  I hope she has a great day.

Friday, September 11, 2015

if you had a day off

Wouldn't you want to spend the morning with this darling girl?

I had to lay her down for a minute to go to the bathroom.  I'd forgotten about being a mom with that dilemma.

She is a moving, smiling sweetheart.

And oh my those baby toes.

She was my sunshine today too.

Sweet Meredith was very excited to see me.  Obviously.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

i saw the eye doctor today

Hahahahahahahahahaha...I'm so funny!

Seriously.  I visited with the eye doctor today.  He gave me three options:

1.  Steroid injection into the styes.  [Read: benign-sounding term for a shot--with a needle--into my lower eyelid--hello(?) right by my eye.]  I explained another eye doctor tried that last time I had one of these monsters and I ended up with a huge black eye and the little white bump that won't go away.  He acknowledged the little white bump is a scar from the steroid injection so it's likely that scars are my body's response to steroid injections.
2.  Lance those monsters.  Whaaa???  [Read: pull back my eyelid and, well, I can't even bring myself to type the words he used, it makes me feel a little sick to think about it, but realize that if number 1 is bad, number 2 is worse--way worse.]  He acknowledged this would be "pretty uncomfortable", which in non-doctor speak means he won't feel a thing but it's going to hurt like hell to me.
3.  Continue the steroid drops twice a day for a month and come back if the monsters are still there and we'll engage in further discussion about number 2.

He assured me these monsters "almost always" resolve given enough time.  I asked what he'd do if we were talking about his mom's eyelid and he paused, thought for a brief moment and said he'd go with number 3.  So we are.  I decided right then to avoid needles and other sharp cutty things around my eye from here on out.  I may have fallen for that needle thing once before, but not again.  No way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

donut falls

Yesterday morning, Jr, his friend, Joe, and I hiked to Donut Falls.  I'm pretty sure I've been there before, but it was years ago. 

We had this idea that it would be good to be out in nature early in the day.  And it was beautiful.  

Yeah, I still have the stye-Popeye thing goin' on

Even if it was crowded like a mall, like a massive family reunion of many separate families, lots of kids running everywhere with nobody holding anybody's hands and people scrambling up the falls making it impossible to get a good shot of only Jr climbing to the donut

It still felt really good to be outside moving around.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

my weekend plans

All day on Friday, people kept asking if I had plans for the holiday weekend and I said we would be around since we just got back from Washington.

I knew this was the six-year anniversary of Stu's liver transplant, which makes this weekend always somewhat emotional, but I had no idea I'd get to spend happy time with all of my kids and all of their kids.  But we did.

Love them all so very much.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

me 'n my new boots

They arrived while we were in Washington.  And here they are--

(yes these pictures were taken in the restroom at work because it has a mirror...)

up close:

 can you tell?  I love, love, love them