Saturday, July 28, 2007

Facebook is dangerous, addicting and wonderful

In the past week, I think I've spent over 6 hours on Facebook. This doesn't include time spent on the site for my graduating class, time spent on MySpace, and time spent with Cafe Mom (yeah...thanks for that, Bluejeangirl!).

In my well spent hours, I have sent and received flowers and other items for my garden, found old friends from The Other Seminary, found out that John and I are wayyyyyy too similar, and learned that there are far too many fun timewasters on Facebook.

I need a life....or at least some friends in the same town.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Why I Love Buffett Concerts

  1. Nobody thinks twice of offering an upset woman a ride when her husband is flipping out.
  2. Neighbors in the jammed post-concert parking lot are more than happy to pull up an extra chair, grab an extra dessert, pour you a cup of coffee, and invite you to sit down and chat as if you're an old friend while you all wait for the traffic to clear.
  3. If you find a dropped cell phone on the stairs, the person who dropped it is fairly sure that when they call, you'll be willing to find them in the overly-crowded mass of people and return it.
  4. A guy you meet in the will call line is more than willing to give you his extra backstage passes when you tell him the story about how your connection didn't come through.
  5. Sitting in the lawn is a positive, fun, joyful experience full of people who want to set the rest of life aside for awhile and enjoy the experience.
  6. Being a parrothead means using your husband's backstage pass to take the nice lady next to you to the backstage bathroom so neither of you have to wait in line.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Come Monday, It'll Be All Right?

24 hours ago: Waiting for Jimmy Buffett to come on stage
23 hours ago: Soaking in every moment of a great concert

12 hours ago: People watching with Rab on the Magnificent Mile and watching the sleepy city begin to stir
10 hours ago: Having a great breakfast with friends

4 hours ago: Looking at and attemping to avoid the stack of bills on the dining room table
3 hours ago: Sitting in the ER with Minky who had ripped his toe apart with a stick (all will be ok)

I want to go back to Margaritaville!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Minky Adventures

Yesterday, an hour or so outside of Portland, Minky became a bit stir crazy. He asked for a pen and, assuming the best (what's wrong with me!), I gave him one. By the time we arrived at Rab's mom's, Minky had completely covered himself in ink - arms, hands, shoes, legs.... at least he's been swimming non-stop since we arrived. I'm sure the chlorine will eat the ink away. Click on the photo below to get a sense of the event. The shirt was particularly fitting that day.

Today for lunch, Minky decided that instead of a slice of cheese pizza or a peanut butter sandwich, he'd have a slice of peanut butter pizza. Yum.

Pictures from the Trip

For some reason, posting pictures to the last post became tricky. Instead, here are some pics and links from our adventures thus far.

Our Trip So Far (pre-accident!)

We set out Tuesday for our 3 week family vacation. After an appointment in the big city, we headed North to see Mark and his 3 legged dog, Pogo. On the way there, our brakes began to make ungodly noises but we made it there safe and sound. The boys were so thrilled to see the duo and they sheepishly presented Mark with a copy of Uncle Jim’s song, “I am a Three Legged Dog” just for Pogo. What a wonderful night of catching up as well as simply enjoying each others' company. It was great to reconnect.

Wednesday was 4th of July. We determined that we’d might as well continue the drive to Custer, South Dakota as planned, regardless of the strange brake noises. Of course, the noises became more and more ungodly as the day progressed. But we didn’t let it dampen our spirits or our plans. Instead, we wound our way around South Dakota in true tourist style, stopping at the Corn Palace (corny and cheesy), Wall Drug and the Badlands. At the Corn Palace, we spent more money on two servings of Dippin’ Dots than on lunch for the whole family. As we ate, though, we got to hear one gift store worker talking to our cook/cashier/waiter/new friend. The worker shared her tale of disbelief at tourist antics, telling us how one woman asked to go through each box in the store in search of the correct sized T-shirt for her overly indulged child. The lady looked for over an hour and finally found the shirt.

By the time we arrived in the Badlands, the boys were ready to get out of the van and move. Luckily, the Badlands have ample room for rogue children. What an amazing sight. When we finally reached the end of the Badlands road and found ourselves in Wall, South Dakota, Minky was on the verge of an over-tired, over-hungry meltdown. Needless to say, the Wall Drug experience left me yearning for drugs – Xanax, Valium, any form of sedation would do…

After 45 minutes of nail biting indecision in the gift store, Minky chose a sligshot and Sony picked out a pirate super ball that lit up when bounced. We were on our way, squeaky brakes and all. We arrived in Custer late Wednesday night, after an adventurous drive through Custer State Park where Rab drove 35 mph and I hollered “left” “right” “two on right” “up the hill” as I spotted deer after deer alongside the road.
The next morning found us with a very full agenda, a limited amount of time, and a hostess from Heaven (HFH). I had stayed at HFH’s hotel a few weeks ago when I came to Custer for Small Town Girl’s ordination. HFH is an adorable lady and it was wonderful to see her again. Rab and I asked her for suggestions on mechanics, preferably one who could help us that day and she suggested two. Rab called the first one and the owner was currently out of the office. The person Rab spoke to was not sure if they could squeeze us in. Rab called the second shop, DJ’s Service and connected with Ski the magician. Ski said he could help us out around 4pm as long as we picked up the parts and brought them with us.

Given the choice between relatively flat roads toward Rapid City and the twisty, windy roads of Needles Highway and Mt Rushmore, we decided to visit Reptile Gardens and Bear Country before taking the van to Ski. Both venues were wonderfully touristy and full of animals. The boys loved them. Afterward, we headed back to Custer and Rab dropped the boys and I off at Flintstone Village. I’d love to say we stopped here for the kids’ sake, but I must admit this stop was all for me. Luckily, the boys humored me and managed to have a great time at the most wonderfully cheesy stop of the trip. It was awesome! It is probably a good thing that Rab went to Ski’s while we played in Bedrock. I think the village may have been just a touch too tacky for Rab. But, again, I loved it!

Rab had his own wonderful experience with the van. Ski not only fixed it in less than an hour, he also charged us the “friends and family” rate because Rab had mentioned that he’d hoped we’d make it to Oregon where my dad’s shop could fix the brakes. Then Rab found out that DJ’s Service stands for “Doing Jesus’ Service.” Ski, it turns out is an angel as well as a mechanic.

Thursday afternoon and evening came to a close after a trip through the Needles Highway, the Custer State Park Nature Loop and a 10:15 pm drive by of Mount Rushmore. At the Nature Loop, we were able to experience a herd of bison as they crossed the street and headed to wherever bison head at the end of the day. Listening to them grunt and snort and talk to one another was somehow holy and magical. It reminded me of the experience of listening to whales. It was truly incredible and awe inspiriting.

Friday morning, we headed to Mt Rushmore, which was actually cooler than I’d anticipated. If you ever go there, take time to walk down to the Artist’s Studio where there’s a large model of the original plans, a ranger talk, and a great bookstore. That one stop was the highlight of the stop. After our patriotic experience, it was off to Devil’s Tower in eastern Wyoming. The pictures made it look like a big giant rock in the middle of the prairie. I went along with the plan because Rab seldom asks for any particular stops along the journey. After 17 years of being married to this fairly consistent, easy-going guy, I saw no need to argue with a detour to a big rock in the prairie. Besides…it allowed us to use our National Park Pass once again thus making the $80 purchase even more worth the price.

It turns out that the Big Rock in the Middle of the Prairie actually was pretty cool. It too had a holy quality to it. For many, many years, this rock has been the subject of many legends. Many of the stories involve the idea that a bear created the rugged sides of the rock. Speaking of bears, our day ended with a climbing drive up 10,000’+ Bear Claw Pass, a winding, twisting, turning highway leading to Cooke City, Montana and the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone. I think I’m glad we drove the pass in the dark of night – some of the postcards for the Pass have the words “Don’t look down!” on the pictures. It’s a pretty sharp, jaggedy and cliff-like road.

We spent Friday and Saturday night in Cooke City, Montana. The place gets approximately 220” of snow a year –definitely not the place for me! In the summertime, though, it is lovely and bustling with visitors. It seemed like everyone we saw had a dog and Minky needed to introduce himself to each of them (the dogs, that is). He had pictures taken with the largest (a St Bernard) and the smallest (a dachshund) dogs of Cooke City. A few more pictures with other people’s pets and we could make it into a calendar.

Yellowstone was amazing. There really is no way to briefly describe the experience. We saw loads of bison, many magpies, lots of ground squirrels, a lone coyote, and a fair share of elk and deer. At one point, we were within about 30 feet of a grizzly (EEK but COOL!). The falls and springs and Old Faithful were all wonderful. I only wish we’d had time to simply be in the moment rather than going from one sight to the next to the next. There were glimpses of peace and serenity, mostly sprinkled alongside Minky’s borderline fits and quick lunches of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit.

Your Yellowstone Trivia for the Day

Driving through Yellowstone National Park, I exclaimed: “Look boys – there’s some bison!” TT responsed: “Hmmm…looks like buffalo to me.” Funny enough, just that morning, Rab and Sony had read the “Yellowstone Trivia” on the restaurant placemat. According to the as-reliable-as-the-internet placemat, there are only bison in North America – buffalo live in Africa and Asia. Also on the placemat, the only crown jewel from North America is a Montana Sapphire.

Minky's Take on Monty Python

As we were driving, TT exclaimed in Monty Python style, “Bring out your dad! Bring out your dad!” We all began laughing and TT responded, “Honestly, that’s what I thought they were saying the first time I watched it.”

Monday, July 09, 2007

Family Vacation Adventures

Last night's plan had been to update you on our cross-country travels. But instead of sharing stories and insights about seeing Mark, visiting the Badlands and Black Hills, experiencing Yellowstone (complete with a grizzly sighting!!) and the Grand Tetons, today's post is brief.

We had a bit of an adventure last night in Twin Falls, Idaho. The plan was to stay the night at the Holiday Inn Express. Twin Falls has literally quintupled in size since the last time we were here 3 years ago, according to an officer we spent time with (foreshadowing...). In all the new roads and congestion, I got turned around and a bit lost so I turned off the main drag to do a U turn on a side street when CRASH! A motorcycle that was right behind us went strait while I turned. As far as we know, the guy is doing well. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance as a precaution. The kids are fine and so is Rab. I messed up my left elbow a bit, am hurting, and was pretty shaken up last night. I'm so held in the arms of grace I can't believe it.

Anyway....we'll arrive in Portland tonight (Monday) and look forward to a restful time and hopefully quick repairs of the van at Artistic Autobody. Thank God for USAA insurance - they make stupid mistakes so managable. Thank God for kids who were extremely obedient during the hour after the accident as police took statements and pictures and as ambulances and fire trucks sirened to the scene. Thank God for a husband who was compassionate, tender and loving about the whole debacle. Thank God for the hotel clerk who found us a room when the whole city was booked. Thank God for Fred Meyer nutrition section that had all the items in stock that my sister told me to buy right away (and thank God for sissy too).

This morning I am thanking God not only for the everyday blessings and everything listed above, but also for the relative health that all involved are experiencing. I continue to hold the motorcyclist and his now damaged but previously beautiful bike in my thoughts and prayers and I'm thanking God that nothing more serious occurred. After the accident, pondering that possibility was the scariest part of the whole thing.