Monday, December 16, 2013


It's very frustrating when I have this really funny story about something that happened to me at a gay bar in Denver, but when I try and tell people about it, they can't get past the fact that I was in a gay bar in Denver.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


1) Hey!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  I have no excuse for not writing more other than pure, unadulterated laziness, and trust me, I'd be ashamed of it if I didn't enjoy being lazy.  Actually, part of the issue is that not a whole lot has been going on lately.  Well, not much of note.  I've got to change that soon, though, because I hate boredom about as much as I like lazy, i.e. A LOT.  Let's see what scraps of info I can come up to prattle about!  You guys are interested, right?  RIGHT?!

2) Oh, first thing...I finally joined all the cool kids and got a smart phone.  It has a touch screen and everything!  It wasn't my idea to get one. We can thank Steve for that. I think he got tired of me complaining about my crappy, old, flip phone.  No, I'm not just saying that it was crappy because it wasn't the newest piece of technology, it was a genuinely a terrible phone.  I couldn't hear when people called, it stayed dead almost more than it stayed charged, and no matter how much I explained to people that it was a pay-as-you-go phone, I kept getting put on mass text lists where every time someone would reply to the original texter (is that even a word? Spell check says no.) I'd get charged 20 cents. Bleh.  I was actually very hesitant about getting a smart phone, because of my well documented hatred of the rudeness that seems to come along with them.  I was afraid I'd end up being one of those people who spends every minute I'm not physically interacting with another person, with my face buried in the screen. So far I'm not doing that, thank goodness.  I actually really like being able to take pictures and look things up on the fly, so I'm enjoying it a lot.  See, I can do stuff like this:

 I took that just now!  Being excited about that isn't dorky, is it?

When I first got it, I was showing everyone, mainly because they all made fun of my old phone.  I'm sure I was like a kid with a new toy, so I apologize to everyone I made look at it!  I wasn't showing off, I promise. I just wanted you to know I didn't have a drug-dealer's phone anymore!

3) Thanksgiving was wonderful, as usual.  We went to Waleska to visit the family, and had a wonderful time.  We ate a lot of very good food and had a lot of fun!  We had the traditional Thanksgiving meal with everyone on Thursday, and on Friday we celebrated early Christmas at Kristin and Greg's house with awesome Italian food and presents!

I also got locked in the bathroom. Again. Shut up!  I don't know what I did to the door, but I couldn't get the darned thing open.  That wouldn't be a big deal, but except for Uncle Garry, who was asleep in the den, and Aunt Brenda, who was asleep in the back bedroom, everyone else had gone Black Friday shopping. In the bathroom, no one can hear you scream! I knocked and knocked, but no one came to let me out. I rattled the doorknob, trying desperately to get the dumb thing to work, all to no avail.  I decided to wait it out and dry my hair, but I was starting to panic about being trapped, so that didn't last long. Luckily, though, I remembered after all of that, that they'd put a phone in the bathroom! Of course, since it was a house phone, I couldn't call and wake anyone up, so I had to do the humiliating thing and call Steve.  Normally, in a situation like this (and it's kind of sad that I have a contingency plan for such situations) I would have just extricated myself by any means and only told Steve after it was over.  However, since I love these people and didn't want to punch a hole in their bathroom door, I had to suck it up and call Steve so that he could, in turn, call the house and wake someone up so they could let me out.

The conversation began thus:
Steve: Hello.
Me: Steve, I'm locked in the bathroom again.
Steve: *Pausing for what I can only assume was internal laughter*
Me: Please call Aunt Brenda and tell her that I'm in here so that she can let me out!
Steve: But...have you tried the doorkn...

Right about then I heard someone walk by the door and I started knocking on it again and was released from the bathroom.  It actually turned out that Aunt Brenda had thought she'd heard someone knocking earlier and came to the door, but when she heard the hair dryer going, she went back to her bedroom. It was very sitcom-like.  Happily, in the end, I was freed and now Steve has an embarrassing story to tell everyone. It's all very win-win.

4) This year, unfortunately, I have to announce that Steve and I will not be attending the work party that we have attended for the past two years.  You know the one.  It's the family with the gorgeous house where I lose all of my social skills and wind up hugging the waiters and throwing food around.  I know that the unfortunate antics that I get up to, whilst trying very hard to be a normal party guest, are a source of amusement for so many of you, but we actually weren't invited this year.  Steve isn't sure if that's because there isn't going to be a party, or because they got tired of having to search the Christmas tree for the shrimp that somehow end up among its branches after I've been there.  Either way, I'll just have to be awkward someplace else.

5) Football.  I'm so very tired of football.  I never thought I could reach absolute football saturation, but I have.  I mean, I'm tickled that one of our state teams will be going to the BCS championship (because of course they are...hellooooooooo) but every time I'm anywhere these days, someone is talking about football!
I'm starting to feel like Scarlett O'Hara:  "Football, football, football.  I'm so sick of hearing the word football!  It's ruined the fun at every party this season.  I get so bored I could scream! Great God Almighty, if I hear the word football one more time, I'm going into the house and slamming the door!"

I don't actually blame any of the fans for talking about the season, of course, but I've never realized how many people have their whole selves wrapped in the team they root for! At least two men from our church actually seemed to need counseling after Alabama lost the Iron Bowl!  I haven't been anywhere in the past couple of weeks where someone doesn't start talking about it. Oh, and Facebook? Fugettaboutit. It's like sitting down to eat and instead of getting what you ordered, you always get a bowl of mashed potatoes. I like mashed potatoes, but if I get too much too often, I'm going to start gagging on them.  I'll admit, I just don't get it, but I don't blame people who do.

I suppose I could just pull out my phone and ignore everyone when this happens, though, right? : )

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I think it's hilarious that so many people I know think that it's funny and comment worthy when I wear one of my superhero shirts, or have something on me that shows that I'm a fan of some sci-fi, comic or whatever geeky thing I'm enjoying at the moment.

However, if I were wearing a football jersey, had my face painted and sat screaming at a group of college kids for several hours every week, no one would bat an eye.

This world is weird.

We're all geeks about something. Embrace it!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


OK, just in case you think I'm about to talk about ghosts,  I gotta stop you right there.  Sorry, this is about something much creepier and much more disturbing than disembodied souls.

My house is currently crawling (quite literally in spots) with lady bugs.


What the heck is going on?

See, when I think about lady bugs, I imagine cute, happy little bugs like this:

That happy little critter might come into your house, fly around a bit and then ask politely to go outside again.  Of course you'd oblige and let the poor thing out. 

No, what I came home to today was some kind of disgusting, creeping, living wallpaper pattern made of bugs. There were dead ones littering the floor around the doorway. My curtains were infested with them, and they were all over the wall and ceiling around my front windows.  I imagine that one of these vermin found a way to get in and invited all of her friends over for a house party.

Artist's Representation, of course.

Ladybugs are one of the less terrifying bugs, but there were so many of them!  Normally,  I'd run screaming from the house, throwing a hastily contrived Molotov cocktail through the window as I went.  However, I actually surprised myself this time.  I was hungry, tired, and honestly, I didn't know what to do about the sheer amount of bugs in my house.  They also seemed to be sitting very still, only on the window side of the room, with the exception of one or two brave souls that would fly around and bump their heads on the ceiling for a while until they went back and settled on the curtains again.  So I did a very Un-Kelly thing and just sat down to eat my dinner instead of freaking out.  I mean, I kept my eyes on them, just to make sure one of them didn't do a cannonball into my root beer or anything, but they were being cool and I was being cool.

After I finished my dinner, I remembered there was a book I wanted to get into, so I got it out and started reading, actually forgetting for a while that my living room was currently playing party central to a swarm of insects.  In fact, I got so wrapped up in the book that I didn't notice when the light began to fade outside, which confused the bugs and sent them all sailing through the air over to the lamp across the room. I guess I must have seen something out of the corner of my eye, because when I looked up, they were just -shudder- flying everywhere.  
In the immortal words of Will Smith in the blockbuster movie Independence Day: Aw, hell naw.

I had to do something!  I knew I couldn't just let them run loose in the house, because I didn't want one of them getting into the bedroom and hiding out until the lights go off, possibly giving it an opportunity to crawl into my ear and have babies.  Nope!  I also didn't want to just spray bug poison all over the living room and furniture, because Butler isn't very smart and he licks the floor for no reason and I was afraid he'd die.  So I did the only thing I could think of.  I got the long barreled, Dyson handheld vacuum cleaner, also known in our house as the Bug Sucker.

When you absolutly, positively have to suck up every last
 mother f***** in the room, accept no substitutes.

We didn't actually intend to use this thing as a bug sucker when we bought it, but the long reach and superior suction of this fine machine, allows us to get rid of terrifying bugs that we can't otherwise get near without screaming like little girls (I'm looking at you too, Steve.) 

I apologized to Butler in advance, because he hates any kind of vacuum, and I went into the dining room closet and pulled it off of the charger.  

I'm not going to lie: for a moment, standing there holding the Dyson, I felt a little bad ass.  I caressed the trigger, running my other hand lightly over the barrel, and giving those unwelcome little buggers the evil eye.  At that moment, I was Sarah Conner, dangit, and I was about to do some terminating!

That feeling didn't last very long though, because as soon as I walked back into the living room, they saw me and started to fly.  In return, I started running and screaming.  It was very undignified.  Butler couldn't figure out what to do.  He was torn between being terrified of the vacuum, wanting to stay there with me, and knowing that if he left the living room, he'd be forced to walk on the slippery kitchen floor, which he hates almost as much as the vacuum.  So he did the only thing he could.  He hid in his kennel and watched as I ran back and forth through the room, screaming, and trying to suck flying bugs out of the air.  

It was then that I realized that I wasn't Sarah Conner, and this wasn't The Terminator.  No, this was Ghostbusters.  I was Peter Venkman, and I was trying to shoot a flying, green blob out of the ceiling of a fancy, New York ballroom with very little luck.

I looked into the trap, Ray.

I managed to suck up a lot of them, still screaming, still running around and scaring the hell out of the dog.  I had to go outside and dump the canister into the grass, knowing that I was only giving the live ones a chance to get back into the house to torture me, but I thought I'd gotten most of them.  Unfortunately, once I got back inside, I saw that more had crawled out of the curtains to take their place.  Now I have no idea what to do, and about a billion insects are making a home in the living room.

Anyone mind if Butler and I come and spend the night?


Sunday, October 27, 2013


Yesterday was one of those days where I seemed to just be half a beat out of step with everything I tried to do!  Nothing that happened was terrible, or even remotely serious, just frustratingly annoying because I couldn't seem to get my act together at all.

It was one of those days where I had a lot of little projects planned.  You know, just a series of hurdles that I had to jump over to get ready for something else, and I just...I don't know, managed to screw up one tiny thing or another on each project.

A lot of time was spent baking for our church's fall festival.  Things started out, OK, but  I managed to under cook the first thing I baked (thankfully fixed), I had to actually leave the house and buy special boxes for the second thing (which I wasn't anticipating, and putting the darn boxes together took longer than baking and assembling the cakes and I cut up my fingers on the edges of them AND which still managed not to contain them correctly.) Those cakes turned out lumpy and weird, and I tore the heck out of them when I was trimming them.  I ran out of icing, but didn't want to go back out and buy more, so I thinly stretched what I had and it looked weird.  I thought the third and fourth cakes I made were going to be perfect, and the cake parts were fine, but I was making buttercream icing for them that I was going to tint red. Apparently, tinting a whole mixer of icing red is a darn near impossible feat if you still want to be able to eat it.  I never got it red, only pink, even after adding a ton of red coloring, and when I tasted it, I remembered that red food coloring is horribly bitter if you put too much in. More like bittercream icing, am I right? Ha!  I don't like pink, so I thought I'd just add some blue and make lavender icing, but it just turned out a weird puce color.  It was also overmixed and stiff, so I could barely pipe it on the cake.  The last cake I made, I just figured that I'd forgo the icing and bake some beautiful silver sugar sprinkles on top of it.  When I pulled it from the oven, it looked perfect.  I sat it aside and covered it with foil.  I guess I should have let it cool all the way off first, because when I went back to look at the cake, the silver (actually blue I found out) coloring in the sprinkles had melted into the cake and tuned it green in spots, and I swear it looked like moldy bread.  There was no way I could take that to church, so it just stayed home.  Oy.

I also made some chili for a chili cook off and things were fine at first.  I added some harina masa to thicken it up, but it sucked up a lot of the flavor.  So I grabbed what I thought was chili powder and poured it in.  I stirred it in, and realized it smelled weird, but I didn't think anything of it.  After a while I went back in and realized I needed more chili powder, and I grabbed the same container, only to realize it wasn't chili powder, it was cloves.  Yick.  Luckily I hadn't put in too much, but you could smell it.  So, chili fail.

I also managed to have trouble communicating with everyone. With every email and phone call I made, I managed to offend, irritate, and say the absolute wrong thing to everyone.  So, if you were one of the people I called or emailed, I'm sorry. I was just having a weird day.

None of the stuff I did was bad in and of itself, but by the end of the day, the cumulative effect just made me feel so dumb and inept, I figured anyone could be mean to me at that point, and I couldn't feel worse about myself.  I was just glad when the day was over. 

I did manage to get into bed without hurting myself, so in the end, the day wasn't a complete loss! Silver lining!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


1) You know, I had a whole rant that talked about how cynical and unsympathetic I've become since working at the church, but I deleted it.  It made me sound petty and small, and I hate that I sometimes feel that way.  People come to this church all the time asking for money and things, and a great number of those people are scamming us.  It bothers me that I haven't learned to discern between those with an actual need and those who just want someone else to pay their way in the world.  I don't want to lose my charitable heart, but every time I realize we give help to people who are just too lazy or stubborn to go out and help themselves, that part of me dies a little more.  I think I get so angry about it because I know that there is always a chance that one day I could be in the same situation as them, and I'd like to believe that I'd be less likely to scam a church for money, but who knows?  I might be just as likely to lie to a good-hearted pastor as some of the people who've come here, and that scares me.  I don't want karmic retribution to put me in that place to teach me first hand why these people do what they do, I just want to understand so I'm not fooled by it. Sometimes the world and the people in it can be awful.

2) Steve and I went camping a couple of weeks ago, but I don't think I'm going to do it anymore.  It wasn't all bad!  The cooking out and being outside was nice, and sitting around a fire and roasting marshmallows was actually fun.  I don't even think sleeping in the tent would have been so bad, had we had an air mattress or something, but it was the whole feeling dirty that sticky and smoky that I didn't like.  Oh, and also having to walk to a completely different place to go to the bathroom (although, I'm very grateful we had actual indoor plumbing nearby) was not fun.  I suppose that makes me sound like a pansy, and if so, I guess I'm a pansy!  I generally don't mind being dirty, if I can get clean again in a reasonable amount of time, but there is something about the kind of gross you feel after sleeping in a tent that just icks me out almost more than I can stand.  We had friends who were camping and asked us to join them the week after we went, but only Steve stayed to sleep that night.  I went home and took a shower!  Then this past week we went back to the campground to have dinner with those same friends (they are RV campers who can deal with prolonged camping) and that was lots of fun, mainly because we didn't have to sleep there.  Even though we were only there for a couple of hours, my hair STILL smells like wood smoke.  I can't get it out. Every time my hair gets wet, it smells like my head is on fire! Anyone know a remedy for smoky hair? I'd make a terrible outdoorsman, I think.  I'm too much of a weenie.

3) I'm so glad the weather is getting cooler!  I have so many scarves and boots and I like being able to wear them without breaking a sweat.  Of course, I think I actually started wearing them a bit prematurely, but who cares?  I looked cute!

4) Last week I was invited to a baby's first birthday party, and I went!  (Take that, people who think I hate children!)  The party was for a little girl from my church, and I really like her family.  Her parents are younger than me, but we share a lot of the same geekyness, so when they told me it was a super hero themed party being held at the local comic book store, I was all for that.  The Facebook invitation said it was a dress up as a super hero kind of party, and that everyone was welcome to join in on that.  Believe it or not, I don't actually own a super hero costume, so I figured that I would just wear one of my appropriate t-shirts or something.

A couple of days before the party I got a message asking if I'd be willing to wear the mom's full-on Wonder Woman costume.  Bless her heart for thinking I could fit into her clothes (I couldn't) so I had to say no. Of course, I don't even like wearing a bathing suit in public, and wearing that costume to the comic store would have been the equivalent of me wearing a bathing suit to a grocery store.  However, I felt bad because I thought that maybe they wanted the adults who came to dress up to add to the party.  You know, in the same way some people want clowns (shudder) they might want super heroes.  So I devised a much more modest, yet still clearly identifiable, Wonder Woman outfit.  I had star spangled pants, a red shirt with the logo, red shoes, a headband with a star, big poofy hair and bright red lipstick.  I was so adorable!

When I showed up to the party, I was the only adult wearing anything resembling a costume. Seriously, the only one.  Granted, my version of the outfit wasn't as flashy or skimpy as it would have been if I was wearing the real costume, but I still stood out a little bit!  Oh well, I really didn't mind.  The birthday girl's older sisters knew who I was supposed to be and they seemed to like it, so it was worth it!  I had fun being Wonder Woman for the evening, and if I ever think I look good enough in the actual costume, I'll even wear that! So call me for all of your super hero needs!  I do parties! :)

After the party, I stopped to get get something to eat. I ended up having to go inside, and when the guy behind the counter realized what I was wearing, he was laughing so much he almost couldn't help me.  Oh, well!

Thursday, October 03, 2013


Yesterday I stopped at Fresh Market after work so that I could pick up a few things.  I mainly needed some spinach, but I also got a couple of apples, some sandwich stuff, and some coffee.  Up until right before I got into the check-out lane, there was nothing really unhealthy in my basket. 

Since my weight loss has gone from slow and steady to flat out nonexistent*,  I usually look at the nutritional info of food I buy and I try not to get anything that isn't completely reasonable.  I say "usually" because I'm human and sometimes sister needs some potato chips or something OK?!  I'm not made of STONE!

So, I grabbed a bag of chips as well as a bag of the big, in-house made croutons to see what they tasted like. They only had big bags of them, so it was my only option.  I also got Steve some, well, I don't know what it was, but it was one of those mixed up snack things I knew he'd like from the bulk bin area. 

I get in line, totally not paying attention to anyone or anything around me - like I do - when the woman at the register right ahead of me says my name.  I looked up and it was my nutritionist!  You remember, the one who gets so excited when you're losing weight and doing well, and who looks like a punched kitten when you don't?  I say hello, and we do that whole awkward small talk thing that people who only kinda know each other do when they see each other out in the wild. You know what I'm talking about.  Right as she's getting her stuff to leave, she glances at the basket in my hand.  She doesn't say anything, of course, but I see her looking.

I swear to you, time slowed down.  It was like one of those slow-motion parts of a movie right before a bomb goes off, or bullets fly, or something equally terrible happens. 

I also glanced down at my basket and realized that all of the decent, healthy food I'd originally come in to buy was completely obscured by potato chips, a huge bag of croutons, and a vat of snack mix.  For all I know, she didn't really pay attention to what I was holding, but she IS a nutritionist and food is her jam, so I'm pretty sure she did.  When I looked back up, she was walking away, and I came within an ace of running after her and screaming "WAIT! THERE'S SPINACH IN HERE! APPLES! HEALTHY STUFF, I SWEAR!!!!!!"  Alas, she was gone, and I was left holding what looked like a 4:20 Munchy Run. Oy. I expect to hear about this at our next meeting.

So the moral of this story is: Now I have to go clear across town if I want potato chips, and Steve can buy his own damn snack mix.

*Seriously, I need to be in another wedding, or get invited to the Oscars, or something where I'm in danger of having my picture made.  Apparently, the only working motivation I have is the fear of being fat in front of large groups of people. It's quite frustrating.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


As a lot of you already know, I spent this past week attending a self defense class.  I think I told everyone I know that I was going to do it, mainly because I was nervous and didn't know what to expect out of it, but no one really knew what to tell me.

One of the members of Steve's band is a detective with the county police department, and she deals with crimes against children and sexual assault survivors, so when the county allowed them to hold a class, she told Steve that I should come.  I agreed, but as I said, I was nervous about doing it.  I have never been to anything like that before, and I am not a very strong person, physically.  I didn't think I'd be able to learn anything I could actually do. I might have even chickend out of going, if not for the fact that I work at a place where I'm sometimes scared to walk outside by myself.  I figured that whatever I could learn might be helpful.

The class was called RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) and the main purpose of the training (obviously) is to give you the skills you need to protect yourself in case of attack by disabling your attacker enough to get away.  The class was only 4 days long, but it was intense, and I'd come home at the end of the day completely exhausted.  There were 42 women attending the class, no men allowed except for the male instructors, and some of the most badass women cops and civil servants I've ever met.  What we learned was fairly easy to do, although the trick will be to remember to do it if/when you are ever in a situation that calls for it.

One thing I wasn't expecting was that I'd be in a class with so many people who'd been victims of sexual assault and physical violence.  I suppose it's almost a given that you are around people like that every day, no matter where you go, but people don't really tell you those things unless they know you very well.  To hear some of the stories of these women would just break your heart, and to watch them learning to fight back was amazing.  I've been fortunate enough so far not to have been a victim of either one of these crimes, but if I had, I don't know if I would have been brave enough to face it head on like these women did.

Friday night was the night we did our...I'm not sure what to call it, really.  Our practical exam, maybe?  It was the night we had to use what we've learned in the class against the male instructors (who were in these terrifying padded suits that made them all look like Judge Dredd.)  Not everyone who took the class came back for this part.  But those of us who went were all padded too, in helmets, elbow and knee pads, and padded gloves. We were supposed to do three different scenarios: The first was fairly tame, where we just had to break out of an unexpected arm grab.  The second was a bit scarier.  We were to be approached from behind, heckled, and then grabbed.  I'm not sure what I did, but I managed to knock the guy down and I landed on top of him.  (I'm a significant amount of woman to fall on someone, so I hope he's ok.)  I kind of just went into Spider Monkey Mode, where I managed to get out of his grasp, and because I was in the moment, I landed a hammer fist to his face cage that may or may not have been necessary.  He had to be taken off to the side and checked.  I felt bad about that.

Several women had trouble with this one, because it was too familiar to them from when they were assaulted.  Some cried until they could be calmed down, and one lady just went mental.  She ran after the instructor, beating him and screaming, and had to be pinned down.  That was the one that really drove it home to me that some of these women were really struggling with the whole thing.  I can't imagine having to be in these scenarios if they'd happened to me in real life.

Because so many of the women in the class were struggling, they weren't going to make us to the third scenario unless we were certain we could handle it.  I almost didn't do it.  Everything we'd done had caused an adrenaline rush, and by the time we had come back from our break to do the last thing, I was shaking.  However, I'd promised myself that if I was going to do this class, I was going to do it all no matter what.  I was one of 8 women who did the last part.  They turned off the lights, and we had to close our eyes.  They walked us around the room so that we'd be disoriented and not know where we were.  All three Judge Dredd guys came at you and heckled you, walking around you, bumping into you, and then one of them would grab you.  I sincerely only remember bits and pieces of what happened when I actually got grabbed, but it didn't take long for me to get lose.  I know I punched and kicked, but everything else is a fuzzy blur.  I'd forgotten to open my eyes until right before I punched the last time.  I kind of forgot what I was doing and ran after the instructor to hit him again before I remembered to run to the "Safe Zone." People were cheering for me, and that was awesome, but I wish I could remember what I did.  All I know is that by the time I settled down, I felt like I might either cry or throw up.  Luckily, I did neither.

I honestly don't think I expected to feel as weird about the whole thing as I did once it was over.  I tried to tell Steve, but I couldn't explain it well enough to make it make sense.  I'm very, very grateful to have been taught everything I learned, and I'm even more glad that I was able to use what I learned to complete the scenarios, but I think it scared me a lot, too.  It isn't just that I'm more aware that women are frequently attacked and hurt, much more often than I knew AND a lot of the times it's by people they trust, although that is terrifying enough in and of itself.  I think it also scared me that I am capable of hurting another person, and that I will do it if I have to.  I'm not physically violent, really, but when put in that position, even in the fake situations we were in last night, I just blanked out and came back to myself beating the crap out of a person.  It took me a long time after I got home to calm down from it all.  Even after I got up this morning, I was still shaky.

I'm so very, very glad I took the class, and I recommend that any woman take it if they get the chance. The RAD classes are poorly funded and have been cut back to only 2 a year, but I can't imagine many other city funded things that could do as much good as the class I was in.  Seriously, do it.

*****Earlier in the week, we had to pair off with someone to practice the moves they were teaching us.  My partner was this teeny-tiny grandmother who might have weighed 100 pounds and she was two inches shorter than me.  You've never lived until you have had to get someone's maw-maw in a headlock, and in return, have that maw-maw kick your ass.  :)

Monday, September 16, 2013


A couple of weeks ago, I kind of got conned into going to a youth Lock-In with the kids from my church.  I say conned, because I was under the impression that he would have to cancel the whole thing if he couldn't get an adult woman there as a chaperone, and I didn't want him to have to do that.  There was another adult woman there, but apparently she wasn't old enough...being almost 30 AND a RN wasn't sufficient, I guess.  *Sigh*

At any rate, Steve had already agreed to chaperone and I was there too, along with three other adults and 23 teenagers.  Yikes.

We spent the night at a local gymnastics facility, where they have trampolines, this weird pit filled with foam blocks that you can jump into, balance beams and uneven bars.  I think it's a place where cheerleading squads train or something.  I don't know, I just know we treated it like a big playground.

We were there all night, and being a chaperone meant we didn't get to sleep, so we jumped on the trampolines and used (or tried to, because let's be honest, I am not cut out to be athletic in any way) the other equipment.  It was fine!  I didn't hurt myself, turn my ankles or anything.  Considering I'd been moving around a lot, that was a miracle.  By the time the whole thing was over, I'd been awake for about 25 hours and I was sooooooooooo tired.

We took the kids back to the church and stayed until they were all picked up, and while I was talking to my coworker, I went to lean back on his door frame.  At least I thought I was near his door frame.  Apparently, in my very tired state, I wasn't standing where I thought I was, and I fell.  I tried to catch myself, but my shoes got locked together and I fell, flat over, without the benefit of slowing myself down at all.  Honestly, I think if I'd seen myself, I would have thought it was hilarious, but hitting what I'm fairly certain was a concrete floor with only industrial carpeting on it as padding, wasn't very funny at all.  I managed to get up (the way you do when you've hurt yourself and don't want anyone to know) and played it off until I got into the truck to go home, but I genuinely thought I'd broken my wrist or dislocated by shoulder, or something!  Oh, it hurt so bad!  I guess the only saving grace was that my head didn't hit the floor! Oy.  Luckily, my skeleton is made of wrought iron or something, because I was OK.  Well, relatively OK, because I still sometimes hurt from where I fell, but I know nothing is broken!

So that's the story of how I spent an evening jumping around and hanging from things without getting a scratch, but almost killing myself at the office while trying to lean against a door frame. Ta-da!

Friday, September 06, 2013


1) Out of all the people I work with, I'd have to say that the person I talk to the most often is the youth minister.  His office door is right next to where I sit, so we're in each other's line of sight almost constantly.  This means we talk to each other quite a bit, because...we're right there.

I realized a while back that he's trying to figure me out, because he's always asking me questions just out of the blue.  They aren't weird questions or anything, but they usually are completely random and unprovoked.  I'm OK with this, because I love talking about myself, as you all know. Hee!  No, really, I don't mind answering questions, I just sometimes find the questions that he asks me to be a bit odd.

Usually it's stuff like: What is your favorite book (restaurant, music, and etc.) or sometimes it'll be something like: What is the most you'd spend to go to a concert, and who would you go see?  He'll also sometimes ask if I like to do things, like play sports or skate or swim.  I know part of it is that he's trying to figure out what he can con me into chaperoning for the youth group - because I've told him I'm not interested and he finds that unacceptable!  Other times, I have no idea, because he just goes back to what he's doing, like he's got interrogative Tourettes. 

Anyway, the reason for me telling you all of that, is that no one has asked me about any of that stuff in such a long time that I haven't really been thinking about what I like and what I don't, and usually the answer to the "Do you like to..." questions have ended up with me saying no, I don't.  I mean, an unusual amount of these things he's asked me about have ended with me saying that, no, I don't like to do those things. An alarming amount of things he's asked me about, I just don't like.  I can also rarely ever think of my favorite...whatever.  It's very weird and now I'm feeling incredibly self conscious about it.  I mean, I don't care what he thinks, but it's weird to me that there are so many things I'm not interested in.  I'm not particularly narrow minded, nor do I consider myself a stale misery biscuit, but I'm beginning to wonder if I am just world weary at the ripe old age of 35!  I hope not!  I promise, I do like things!  I can't think of any of them right now, but I promise!

2)  I'm sure most of you know that I started another blog a while back.  It's called "We Review All the Things" and it was intended to be collaborative with some friends, but I didn't realize at the time that those people were very, very busy and wouldn't be able to do it with me.  It is pretty much just something I do occasionally and so there aren't that many reviews on there, and they are mostly all for food!  See, I like food! 

Well, I was looking at the stats for both of my blogs, and according to the blogger analytic (is that the right word?) chart, the newer blog of food reviews, which I started in 2011, now is within 10 views of this blog, which I started in late 2003!  I can't decide if I'm just terrible at telling stories about my life, or fantastic at reviewing food! 

3) I fell off my bike the other day and it was very embarrassing!

Steve and I have been biking with Steve's band director, Dave, for a few weeks now.  I hadn't actually been on my bike in years before we started doing this, because it's a pain in the neck to haul it to one of the riding paths, and I'd gotten a little out of practice.  Granted, I didn't forget how to ride, but getting the feel of my bike again has been a challenge.  I had forgotten that you can't just clamp on the brakes!  We were on a new trail, and there was a hairpin turn I wasn't expecting.  I tried to simultaneously break and turn, by bike locked up and flipped sideways!

It scared me more than anything.  I've been worried about wrecking since we started riding, and it just happened so fast!  Granted, it could have been worse.  I could have been hurt badly.  However, I managed to fall smack on my right buttock, and I barely even felt it! (No jokes please.)  I also managed to fall right in front of this guy and his kids.  He jumped off his bike to help me, but the only thing injured was my pride.  Well, my leg did hurt after a couple of days, but not as badly as I thought it might! 

I think I may have the wrong type of bike for me.  Steve bought it for me when we first got married, and for what I use it for it works well enough. It's just heavy and a little bulky, and I think it might be more of a mountain bike than one better suited for riding paths.  Of course, I wouldn't dare invest in an expensive, new bike unless I get way more serious about riding, and that hasn't happened yet!  However, I do look adorable in a bike helmet, so I might have to ride more just to show that off! :)

Nah, I'm kidding, I look like something horrible from Mario Kart is perched on my head.

Friday, August 23, 2013


1) I'm currently down in the basement of the church editing last Sunday's sermon video.  That is where our editing room is, but I actually convinced a lady here that they'd moved my office downstairs because I was too weird for them upstairs! Heehee.  Of course, now I'm concerned as to why she believed me.  Hmmmm.
I think I may have inadvertently gotten into something I was allergic to, or maybe I'm catching a cold, because my whole head feels like it's full of bees, and my nose is running.  I feel like complete yuck, so as soon as I'm done down here, I'm heading home instead of staying for choir practice.   It's actually kind of funny if I am sick, because yesterday I went to the doctor for a follow-up visit after my physical and I was completely fine.  It would be a great waste of a doctor visit to get sick the day after! (EDIT: Turned out I had forgotten to take my allergy medicine!  Oops.)

2) Speaking of my doctor appointment, the angry nurse was there yesterday.  She makes me incredibly uncomfortable.  I completely respect what nurses do, honestly, and I know the job is hard.  I have several friends who are nurses, and I know it takes a very special kind of person to do that job, but this lady really makes me feel like I'm not welcome there.  Maybe it's not just me she does it to, but it always feels directed at me while I'm there, so either she doesn't like me personally, or she really hates her job and treats every patient like this.  I even caught her looking at me weird when I walked out of the office (she didn't know I was going to turn around) so I know I'm not just imagining it.  I'm not going to say anything about it to the doctor, because I don't know this woman's life, and maybe she's just a surly person, but a fantastic nurse.  Her bedside manner sucks, though.

3)   Butler is finally getting around a little better than he was!  He'd been having some trouble getting around because he has arthritis in his back hips.  It was actually kind of pitiful to see him struggle to get up and then have to walk around all stiff.  We'd been hesitant to have the vet put him on what she described to us as pain killers, which we thought meant some kind of opiate, because we didn't want him to be drugged up all the time.  The last time he was at the vet, though, they told us that the medicine they wanted to put him on was an anti-inflammatory medicine, so we agreed.  Now he seems to feel a lot better and we are glad!  I even saw him run yesterday, which I haven't seen him do in a long time.  I can't imagine how bad we must have seemed to the vet when we wouldn't agree to have him put on meds to begin with, but we had no idea what kind she was talking about!

4) I wish our church was in a better neighborhood.  I know I shouldn't complain, and normally it wouldn't bother me, but now that I work here, I'm afraid a lot.  It isn't really terrible or anything, and there are definitely worse places in our town, but we've had some crazy stuff happen around here.  Plus, we have people who come by asking for money, and you can tell that some of them are tweaking (or at least high) which scares me.  I'm not worried when I'm inside, because we have a security system in place, but when I have to go outside by myself it's a little scary.  Maybe I'm just a giant weenie.  I just wish it were a safer neighborhood.

5)  I've been writing this blog entry for three days now, and every time I open up this site, I forget what I came here to write!  That isn't a joke, I honestly have things I want to say, but can't remember them until well after I log out of this thing!!!!  It's as bad as when I can't think of a word I want to say, and then I have to make hand motions and sound effects until someone guesses the word, only I can't do that online!  What is happening to my brain?!  I'll just have to start writing myself blog notes.  I give up for now.  Here's a nice picture of some dogs:

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


This is weird.

I usually do my writing while I'm actually traveling, but this time I was lazy!   I was lazy and I didn't think that with such a short trip, I'd need to write every day, so I decided to try something different this time!

Steve and I took a rather impromptu trip to the Smoky Mountains.  Well, it was as impromptu as we get, I guess.  I went to work for a couple of hours on Thursday to finish up preparations for church on Sunday, and when I got home, we headed off on our adventure!  Steve had downloaded the audio novel "A Walk In the Woods" by Bill Bryson, which was his story about walking the Appalachian Trail, so we listened to that on our drive up.  I love Bill Bryson's books.  It was a fun listen, and kind of appropriate subject wise.  It made the trip go by fast!

Instead of staying in a hotel this time, we rented a cabin from Dollywood Cabins, and after we checked in at the office, we followed a map up the twistiest, turniest, most confusing road I've ever had the pleasure of traveling.  I'm very, very lucky I didn't get car sick, because I usually do on roads like this!  We couldn't even see around the turns, so every time we had to take a corner, we took our lives in our hands.  Our cabin, named Magical Sunset (I know, it had a name,) was near the very end of this mountain road.  It was a great place!  It was built on the side of the mountain, and our whole back wall was made of windows, so we had a beautiful view.  It wasn't very big, but it was just perfect for us.  Another plus, was that we could see the nightly fireworks display from DollyWood from our balcony, which was a nice touch, I thought.  We had a hot tub outside, and a loft that had a garden tub, a pool table/air hockey table, an old fashioned arcade console, and a TV.  It was a very nice place.

Our first evening there, we pretty much just got settled.  We went to dinner, got some provisions for the house, and spent the rest of the night relaxing.  I think I might have accidentally swallowed some of the water from the hot tub, though, which I do not recommend.  Yuck.

Since we'd rented the cabin from DollyWood properties, we got free tickets into the park for as long as we were there!  We decided to go on Friday morning in hopes that it wouldn't be as crowded as it would be on the weekends.   Most of you know that I do not enjoy amusement parks as a rule, but since I'd never been to DollyWood, I was willing to give it a try.  We actually had a really fun time.  It wasn't that hot, and we got a pretty good parking place.  It was crowded, but not as badly as it could have been, and I only got slightly wet once, so most of my usual arguments against going to an amusement park were invalidated.  We mainly rode the roller coasters, which I love, but we did a few other things, too.  We didn't stay late, because we got tired, but it was a fun day. Once we got back, we spent the rest of the day just enjoying the quiet and reading. I fell asleep so hard once I went to bed that I didn't know where I was, and Steve scared me when he came to bed.  I couldn't understand why the door to our room was in the wrong place!

On Saturday we went into Gatlinburg to just walk around.  The first thing we did was stop at this haunted house attraction that Steve had been to when he was younger.  It was off the main strip, and it looked pretty impressive.  We decided to go through, and we were the only ones there!  I'll admit, I was a little worried about going through, but not because haunted houses bother me that much.  I can go through them all day, unless they have live people working inside.  I don't like places where anyone can grab you or scream in your face.  Mainly because I am jumpy and I tend to protect myself if I'm startled.  The guy at the front desk said that we weren't allowed to touch anyone or anything, which made me wonder if there were actors inside that I'd run the risk of punching by accident, so that made me uncomfortable.  We got through the first part with no problem, but the next room was very dark.  I mean, it was really, very dark.  All you could tell was that there was a central chamber surrounded by doors.  We tried the doors, and only one would open, so we went through that one, and it turned pitch black.  Honestly, we couldn't see anything at all.  I was having to feel my way along the wall, and we couldn't find our way out.  Every time we found a door, it would lead us right back into the central room.  Now, I'm sure that was supposed to be part of the fun, but we literally couldn't find the way out of that part of the house.  Steve was holding my hand, and every time he opened a door and went through, I couldn't see well enough to catch the door on the rebound, so I kept running face first into the edges of the doors.  I kept asking Steve why he'd want to do something like this, and telling him I was so mad we were stuck in this stupid room, and he was frustrated because we kept walking down the same stupid hallway in the pitch dark and not finding out way out, so when we came across an emergency exit (which was so poorly lit that we didn't even see it the first three times we went down this hallway) that he just opened that door and we went out.  I wasn't really mad that he took me to a haunted house, I promise, and I felt bad that we'd cut our visit short, but we literally couldn't find our way out of that room.  I kept expecting that a voice might come from a speaker telling us where to turn, or maybe the lights would be turned up so we could see, but that never happened.  The galling thing is that I'm positive that the teenagers who worked in that place thought we left because we were too scared to keep going, but that wasn't why!  We could not find our way out of that stupid hallway, so we just went through the only door we could find.  It was embarrassing.  Now I want to go back just too prove we aren't cowards.

We finally made it to the main street and walked down that for a while.  We visited a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum, which I loved, and spent the rest of our time just looking around.  After lunch, we drove down to Sevierville.  We tried going into the outlets, but once we realized it was the tax free weekend, we went right back out again.  Yikes.  We also stopped at the Titanic Museum.  It's supposed to be pretty great, but we just went to the gift shop since we weren't in the mood to do the whole thing.  I'd like to do that one day, but it was really busy and would have taken a long time!  Once we got back to the cabin, Steve fell asleep, but I stayed up to read and wash our clothes so we didn't have to worry about them once we got home.  That was a complete mess, let me just say.  Our cabin had one of those stacked combination washer/dryer things.  It was tiny!  I managed to get the clothes into the drum and washed them, but when I put them in the dryer, it didn't work.  It would tumble, but no hot air was running to actually dry the clothes!  GAH!  I ran them on every setting that machine had, just to see if any of them worked, but I ended up having to pull out all the clothes and lay them out on the furniture to dry.  It looked like a rummage sale in there!  By the time I got into bed, I was exhausted, but I must've had a bad dream, because I woke up a couple of hours later in a very troubled state of mind.  I don't know what I dreamed, or why I felt that way, but no more sleep for me!

Sunday we began the day with some delicious pancakes, and afterwards we came home!

It was really nice to get away and get to just do whatever, or not do one telling us we had to do something or go somewhere.  No plans, no itinerary, just fun and relaxing.  Not all trips can be like that, but I really appreciate the kinds that are.


1) Our cabin had one of those hotel-type hair dryers on the wall of the bathroom.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the cover over the intake was gone.  One morning I was using the dryer, and it sucked a chunk of my hair into the intake port.  Not only did it touch the heating element inside (shoo, burnt hair is stinky) but it got twisted around the fan and I couldn't get loose.  We didn't have a pair of scissors, so Steve had to use a pair of nail clippers to snip my hair off .  SIGH.  My poor hair is constantly getting caught in everything around me! It's making me rethink the whole long hair thing.

2) Did you know that if you sit in a garden tub while it's filling up, that your body will displace a certain amount of water?  Did you also know that if you try and get out of said tub while the jets are on, and the level of water falls just below the jets, but just above the intake port, that the jets will basically power wash the entire room?  If you didn't know that, please take this as a warning, because that entire loft got sprayed down.  I felt so bad!  Not only that, but the whole room was made of wood, not to mention the pool table and tv got wet.  Luckily they weren't damaged, but geez, we were worried there for a while.  We cleaned everything off as well as we could and had to leave it to dry overnight.

3) If you are in the areas surrounding Gatlinburg, don't be fooled by any store claiming to be an "As Seen On TV" store.  You know my weakness for such things, of course I needed to go to one of them!  Unfortunately, the "As Seen On TV" store we went to was an ex K-Mart with a bunch of cheesy souvenirs and bad t-shirts, maybe a few as seen on tv products (but you can see those same things and more at your local Target) and row after row of old, trashy, products that look like they'd languished in a storage shed for a couple of decades!  Honestly, the sign on the building had a giant "As Seen On TV" logo on it, but it was a lie! A FILTHY LIE!

Monday, July 15, 2013


1) Wow, sorry that it took me over a month to post the details of my trip out west!  It usually takes a little while because of the pictures and stuff, but never that long.  I'm sure you were all hanging on the edge of your seats and everything.  Would they stop and take pictures again?  Would they ever see a moose?!  I'm sorry for any strain I might have put your heart through.  :)

2) One reason it took so long is that life kind of got weird here for a little while.  Most of you already know the gist, so I don't need to give you the down and dirty details of it, but for those of you who I haven't spoken to, here's the Reader's Digest Condensed Version.  During Steve's annual physical, the doctor found an unidentifiable spot on his lung X-ray.  Not good.  He had to get a CT scan, which confirmed that, indeed, he had a nodule (which is something too small to be a mass, but too big to be nothing.)  Since the CT scan couldn't show them what it was, he also had to go see a pulmonary specialist who scheduled him for a PET scan, which would measure the metabolic rate of the nodule because it was possible it could be cancerous.  Also not good.  So he had the PET scan.  Now, I'm not an expert, and pretty much everything I know about all of this I found online and from what the doctor told Steve, so forgive me if I've gotten this part of it wrong.  The PET scan was inconclusive because whatever metabolic scale that it measures showed a slightly elevated level, not just in the nodule, but in the surrounding lymph nodes.  That could mean cancer, but it might also not mean cancer.  So, you know, the test was basically an electronic image of this nodule giving us the finger.  While his doctor seems very positive that it isn't cancer, due to Steve's age and the fact that he doesn't smoke, the slightly elevated test levels do not completely clear him of the possibility.  Now we have to wait another five or six weeks for him to have another CT scan to see if the nodule has spread or not.  They can't do a biopsy without cutting his chest open (the doctor's words) and since they don't have enough proof that it is cancer, they don't want to do that yet.  Also, if it IS cancer, it isn't the kind that would be easily operable and he'll have to do chemotherapy and radiation, so...yeah.  Good times.

So, since we've been dealing with the possibility that he may or may not have cancer, it's been a little mind occupying to say the least.  I'll keep you updated and prayers would be welcome! Just say NO to cancer!

3) On to nicer topics, please. 

4) Do you know that I've discovered that it takes me approximately 10 to 12 minutes to completely eat a Jolly Rancher?  That is, when I don't bite down on them, anyways.  No, really, it's true.  I discovered it a while back during church services.  I would always keep 3 or 4 Jolly Ranchers in the sound booth with me, and I realized that I was consistently going through only 3 of the candies during the sermons.  So one Sunday (with apologies to the pastor) I timed myself and sure enough, give or take a minute or so, it only takes 10-12 minutes.  That is how I started timing the sermons.  The regular sermons are only 3 Jolly Ranchers long, but if Bro. Mylon gets excited, we have a 4 Jolly Rancher service.  He's actually done a 2 1/2 Jolly Rancher sermon before, but it's rare. I told him about it, and now when we talk about his sermons, he asks how many Jolly Ranchers long it was. Nice.

I should probably be embarrassed that I've admitted this kind of thing to the public at large, but I'm not.  My name is Kelly and I time our pastor's sermons with Jolly Ranchers.

5) I went to the gym for the first time in just over two months this morning.  I'm a bit ashamed that it's been so long, but with hurting my neck, traveling, and general apathy, I've just kept putting it off.  I could tell it had been a while, because I used to be able to jump on the elliptical and go for an hour at a high level, but today I could only do about 40 minutes at a mid level and even then, I thought I was going to die.  I hate that I've gotten so behind in working out, but I think I just got burnt out on it.  I wish I could be one of those super obsessed people who have the insane desire to spend every waking moment of my life exercising, but I'm not.  I also stopped losing weight a while back, even when I was working out more often, so I think I also just got discouraged.  I mean, I know my eating habits, although much improved from before, are still not stellar, so that's why the weight is sticking around, but it's still hard to get back in the good habits when they seem to have stopped working.  Granted, I've lost a total of 40 pounds, which is great, but I still had more to go and it doesn't want to move!!!!!!  Blerg.  Anyways, so I'm hoping I can get things going again and try to hit my goal weight before I go completely off the rails.  I'm not obsessing over it (I probably should) but I'd just end up burning out that much quicker.  I wish I had a time frame, like I did with Sara's wedding, but hopefully I'll just find the right trick.  I also wish food wasn't so delicious and sleep wasn't so wonderful. We'll see!

Saturday, July 06, 2013


(Have courage, dear friends, this tale is almost over!)

5/26/2013 Bozeman, MT to Minneapolis, MN to Atlanta, GA to Huntsville, AL

We had to get up at the butt crack of dawn and get back to the airport.  I don't know why, but there was something completely disheartening about this flight that took off while it was still dark outside.  Usually I equate getting up before dawn to go somewhere with an adventure, but I was so tired that all I could equate it with this time is being water boarded.  The Bozeman airport is very nice, though, so if you've got to be up that early, it isn't a bad place to be I guess.

Unfortunately, I didn't make any fun single serving friends on the plane this time.  It was really just very uneventful.  I'm fairly certain I slept on and off until we landed in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.  That airport is just flat out awesome. It was like hanging out in an episode of The Jetsons!  At the different concourses, they have eating areas and every chair has an iPad docked there for people to use.  That is kind of brilliant, because that lets everyone check the internet/weather/news without having to drag out their own computers or tablets.  They also let you order food from the snack bars!  Ah, we live in the future, you guys!

This was the longest leg of our flight home, and I swear the woman in front of me had a complete come apart on the plane.  I'm not sure if she was scared of flying, or if she was very sir sick, or what, but she was making me nervous.  The flight was very bumpy, and I'll admit that I had a couple of moments of saying goodbye to my loved ones in my head, but this lady...oy.  She had pulled a blanked over her head and was rocking back and forth so hard that she was bouncing the seat, and she was moaning.  The lady in the same row of seats (who I'm fairly certain didn't know her, just from their conversation) started patting her on the back and trying to soothe her, all while flagging down a flight attendant for a handful of air sick bags.  I expected her at any moment to go all "THERE'S SOMETHING ON THE WING OF THE PLANE!" and have to be tackled by the airplane staff.  Luckily, we landed before that could happen.  I sincerely hope that woman just drives cross country the next time she needs to get somewhere, because that was just too much.

The Atlanta leg of the trip was uneventful (I still hate the ATL airport) and we finally got home!  Steve and I were worried that we'd miss the tiny Sunday window of time, literally only 30 minutes, that we could pick up Butler from the kennel, so I sent Mr. Lee and Steve on ahead to get him while I got the luggage and waited.  I was worried Butler would think we'd abandoned him!  Plus, tomorrow is a holiday and the kennel would be closed, and we didn't want to pay for an extra day if we could help it.  I grabbed the bags and waited until they drove to Huntsville and back, and then we went home!  I'm so very glad to be here!  I'm also glad tomorrow is a holiday and the office is closed so that I can sleep!

It was a wonderful, wonderful trip and I'm so glad I got to go!  I am always amazed at the beauty and variety of our country.  Seriously, you all need to go out there if you can!

Just don't step in a thermal area!


5/25/2013 Gardiner, MT to Bozeman, MT

I slept so hard.  I don't even remember falling asleep, but I woke up in a sort of a fort made of pillows and sheets.  I don't know how I did that!

We left our hotel and went back to Yellowstone.  When I say that Gardiner is right on the edge of the national park, I mean it quite literally.  There is a giant arch that opens the way to the park.  See?

We took some photos and then drove through to go back to Mammoth Springs.  Mr. Lee wanted to re-take some photos in that mini-golf course looking place.  I didn't take many photos there myself, but I did get a couple that I liked. This one spring (I can't remember its name) looked like a melting elephant!  I also managed to get a good shot of the place that looked gray scale.

 I'm MELTING....*elephant noise*

 OK, so not completely grayscale. Don't argue!

We also went to a part of the park just a little way away that looked like frozen waterfalls!  Basically it's just a build up of limestone deposits, but it looked like flash frozen water.  I couldn't stay there for very long because the light it reflected was killing my eyes!  It was too bright.

I've heard of hard water before... *rimshot!*

We saw a couple of bison that were just rambling right up the middle of everything.  They sincerely didn't care about anyone or anything that might have been around them.  Unfortunately, a lot of the tourists were all..."Oh, look!  A giant wild animal!  Let's get as close to them as possible!"  A park ranger had to make them move away.  I'm beginning to think that tourists, as a species, don't have very much common sense around animals.  I guess they think it's like going to a petting zoo.  I wonder how many people have been stomped by bison out there?


Next we went to Fort Yellowstone, and we stopped at one of the state park general stores to look around and kill some time.  We didn't stay long, and since we'd gotten all the photos we wanted, we went back into Gardener to look around.  We found a strip of shops to look through, and one was actually a kind of interesting antique shop/local color thing.  That was my favorite!

We finally left there and headed towards Bozeman.  We were going to make a stop and visit with a former colleague of Mr. Lee's on our way there, but we still had some time to kill.  We decided to get some lunch on the way, but there is a whole lot of nothing between Gardiner and that man's house.  We finally stopped at a picnic area on the side of the road and ate some of the snacks we'd been keeping in the car.  It was better than nothing, of course!  When we finally arrived at the man's house, we spent a couple of hours talking with him.  He worked with Mr. Lee at White Sands, back when Mr. Lee worked for the Army.  They both worked with developing lasers, and the man (I can't think of his name and I'm too embarrassed to ask since we were just there) had actually been instrumental with developing laser technology that is being used to clean ancient works of art!  He was very interesting to talk to!

After leaving there, we really headed back to Bozeman.  Apparently we had been on the far side of the town when we arrived, because it turns out it's a pretty big and busy place.  We ended up stopping at a Target to find another suitcase to take home with us.  It had been a long trip, and we'd bought some things that we couldn't fit into the suitcases we'd brought with us, so we needed an overflow bag!  That was the first time that's happened to us!  We had dinner, and then we headed back towards our hotel.  Our plane is leaving early in the morning, so we have to be as ready to go as possible before we go to sleep!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


5/24/2013 Yellowstone National Park to Gardiner, MT

You want to know something weird?  So far on this trip, I've only seen ten black people, and one of them was Al Roker.

I know that's kind of out of left field, here, but I've seriously started counting and there have only been ten!  In contrast, I've seen hundreds of Asian visitors thus far.  Honestly, like hundreds, if not thousands, of Asian tourists have been in the national parks here with us.  I've never seen anything like it.   Steve said that every time I'm in a public place and I say "Mr. Lee!" about thirty people turn around.   I hope that doesn't sound racist.  It's not meant to be, I promise.  Weird.

Anyways, it snowed on us last night!  SNOW!  I mean, it wasn't much, but it's May and it's snowing and I love it!  It was enough to powder the ground and the cars, but not enough to cause any trouble. I think I was right about the hotel staff just having a few opening week hiccups, because after we packed, Steve and I got into the van to pull around to the lake side of the hotel while we waited on Mr. Lee to check out and it took him forever.  He said that they were having some computer trouble.  Apparently they expected us to be angry, because when I went in to make sure there were no problems, Mr. Lee was standing at the desk and they were very apologetic to me.  I wasn't angry or inconvenienced in any way, which seemed to surprise them.  Makes me wonder how they'd been treated earlier on.

I went back outside and Steve and I took some photos of the lake. It was huge and beautiful.  I always love to be near big bodies of water.  The sun was out and the wind was blowing, and the whole thing shimmered. Gorgeous.  It was also freaking cold out there.

Mr. Lee finally came out and we were on our way again.  As I said, we are slowly making our way back to Bozeman, still stopping frequently and taking pictures.  Today we went to Norris, which is another place to see thermal features.

 We saw Dragon's Mouth, which was much more impressive than my pictures show.  It  was cool because it made this weird roaring sound.  I wish I'd filmed it instead of just snapping the picture so you could hear it.

 We also stopped at another look off and saw this:

 Apparently, much like the Spanish Inquisition, no one ever expects a sudden thermal feature!  

I hope no one was parked over that when it broke through.  These things are so interesting.  A sign talked about how the thermals create highly acidic water, much more acidic than lemon juice.  My first thought was that it would make a great place to dump a body.

After leaving Norris, we went through Haden's Valley, which was just gorgeous.

 We stopped next at the Upper and Lower Falls in Yellowstone and it was just breathtaking.  At Upper Falls there is a place called Artist's Point (I think) and the view from that spot is just so perfect.  The falls were perfectly framed. 

I guess we can also see where Yellowstone got it's name!

The lower falls were less impressive, but only because you were standing right next to them, but it was still lovely.  I saw this nearby:

Don't quote me, but I think it's a tree monster standing on one foot.

I might be getting upper and lower falls mixed up, so forgive the mistake if so!
We stopped at a place called the Golden Gate Pass, but I hated it.  It was impressive looking, but the wind sort of funneled through it and it was strong enough to knock you down if you weren't careful.  Falling down off the cliffs is no joke, so I just got back into the van.

Next we made it to Mammoth Springs, which I thought would have mammoth bones or something, but it turns out it was just called that because it was so big!  Apparently, a lot of the springs have died, but they can erupt just about anywhere without notice.  We drove through, and I have to admit, it wasn't my favorite spot.  It probably wasn't landscaped, but the way the driving paths were laid out made it look too much like a mini-golf course.  It was kind of cool once we got to the end.  The spring had leached all the color out of the landscape around it, so except for the sky and some orange bacterial mats, it actually looked like a grayscale image in real life.

We decided to go back tomorrow to see Mammoth Springs and look around some more.  We headed out of Yellowstone and into Gardiner, Montana, which is literally just outside of the gate.  It's a tourist town, but still kind of quiet this early in the season.  I hate to say it, but something about it seemed a little post-apocalyptic.  Maybe because it seemed kind of empty.  I don't know, really, but I was a little heebed out.  I'm sure it's really a lovely little town, but I'd feel better if more people were walking around!

After checking into the hotel, we went to dinner at this tiny little restaurant.  The guy who served us wasn't that friendly, but the food was good!  I tasted elk!  I liked it, although it was a little strange to me.  After dinner we came back to the room and rearranged our luggage.  All I know is that I'm super tired. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013


5/23/2013 Jackson Hole, WY back to Yellowstone National Park

Today has been much more of a traveling day than the others have been. After breakfast, we got Mr. Lee to take us back to Jackson Hole, so that we could visit the shops that had been closed the evening before. We looked around for a while, and then we went on a quest to find...Harrison Ford's ranch!!! Shut up! Do you really think we could be that close to a place Harrison Ford might be and not look for it? Well, we didn't have an address, just a general idea of where it was, and we think we might have found it, but we can't be sure. Of course, we weren't going to show up on the man's doorstep and ask to see him, so we contented ourselves by driving by what might have been the driveway!  :)

We then headed back into Grand Teton National Park, and Mr. Lee started driving us through what I was sure wasn't a real road. It was narrow and twisty, and seemed to go nowhere.  He finally pulled over to the side of the road to take some pictures, but Steve and I were sure we were going to be eaten by a bear at any moment.

Pretty scenery out there, though.

He finally got back in and drive us back to a real, paved road, and we stopped again to take pictures in a marshy place.  These parks have the most varied areas I've ever seen. I didn't think we'd see wetlands, but we did, frogs and all!

After that we headed back towards civilization, and we saw a huge group of people pulled off to the sides of the road. Just a little hint, when you're out here and see a lot of people pulled over, go ahead and pull over too, because it usually means there is something interesting to look at.  This time it was a giant bull moose! The one we saw yesterday was a female, but this guy was big and antlery.  We got some pictures and watched him eat.  I wanted to hug him, but the NPS frowns on that, so I left him alone.  I wonder if these animals think it's weird that humans stop to watch team eat?  I hope we don't make them self conscious.

Sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Moose.

We drove a bit more and stopped for lunch at Signal Mountain Lodge. The restaurant had big windows that lined the walls, and the scenery was awesome! Unfortunately, the food made me sick again. Seriously, two out of the three lodges we've eaten at have had food that made me sick.  Luckily I had some medicine, so I took that and dozed as we traveled back towards Yellowstone, where we'd be staying at the Lake Yellowstone Lodge.

Lake Lodge is a huge and gorgeous old hotel. Currently it's under renovation, but isn't that intrusive. I think they must have just painted the walls, because there is no art out and it looks a little bare.  We heard that they've only been opened for a week, so maybe they haven't been able to get everything back into place yet.  This lodge also reminds me of The Overlook Hotel from The Shining, but I think it's mainly a feeling about the place rather than the actual look of it.  It has a huge sitting room with enormous windows that look out on the lake.  It's a fantastic place, and I don't think it's anything like I've stayed in before. They are also serious about making sure you go see the sights! there are no tvs, no internet (except in designated spaces we can't seem to find) and we can't even get cell service.  Yikes.  My only complaint is that it's kind of shabby and a little messy right now.  Our room wasn't ready when we got here, the halls have some dirty sheets and garbage in it, and it smells like someone has been microwaving Spaghettios somewhere.  She shabby part doesn't bother me, because it is an old hotel after all, but the fact that the housekeeping staff don't seem to be on their toes does kind of bother me.  I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it's because more people showed up than they planned for and once they catch up, It will be perfect.  The messiness aside, I'm excited to be staying here.

When we went to dinner (don't worry, the medicine I took earlier seems to be helping me still) Mr. Lee found out that the waiter was studying to be a math teacher, so he asked him some math question, which sparked off a conversation between Steve and Mr. Lee, taking about complicated math stuff.  I felt completely put of the loop.  Usually they just ignore me while they play with their phones at dinner, but lack of cell service just meant that they had to think of something else that I couldn't contribute to!  Heehee!  Once we finished eating, I came back up to the room and they left to find a place to get Internet service so that Steve could do work stuff and Mr. Lee could work on some PSA stuff.  I don't mind, though.  It's peaceful and I might take a nap.

LATER:  Steve and Mr. Lee came back after a while.  They apparently had to drive quite a way just to find a cell signal. You'd think with bears and places to drown, they might want more avenues of communication available, right?  Oh, well.  Mr. Lee was ready to go to sleep, but Steve and I went into the big lobby to listen to the pianist play.  I felt  little awkward, because we both had our iPads, but no one else had any sort of device.  I felt rather gauche.  To explain, though, we were reading books on the Kindle app, so it wasn't like we were playing Angry Birds or anything.

When the lady stopped playing, that was apparently the signal for the room to empty, but we didn't know that.  I was so absorbed in my book that when I realized the music had stopped and looked up, the entire room was empty and creepy.  We went back to the room after that.  The last thing we wanted to see was whatever ghosts roam the halls of this joint.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


5/22/2013 Jackson Hole, WY

We had planned to start the day by shopping in Jackson Hole and then going on to our next place, but Mr. Lee changed things a little. We still went to Jackson Hole, just for a little while, but Mr. Lee wanted to go back to a couple of the places we'd been yesterday when the light wasn't just right to retake some pictures. I hate to admit that it irritated me! Steve doesn't really care much about taking pictures, and so when he gets interested in doing something while we're out here (and he had wanted to do this) I'd like for him to be able to do them.  Oh, well, Steve said it was OK, so what can you do? We figured that he and I would go after we'd finished with the stuff we'd planned for the day!

After we went to the places where Mr. Lee wanted to take his pictures, we had lunch at a little local stop in Moose, WY and hung out there until it was time for our raft trip!  Luckily it wasn't white water, but a sight seeing trip down the Snake River.  We met with our tour group, a total of six of us, and we were carted to the launch site and put into our life vests. I don't know if I didn't do something right, but I felt like my whole torso was getting a mammogram! I was squished.  We got in the raft and pushed off. 

This is his excited face.

This is his "Someone's Taking My Picture" face.

It had rained a bit when we were driving to the launch point, but the guide didn't think it would continue one we were out on the water, and for a little while it didn't. However, once it hit, it was scary! We were never in any danger of flipping or anything, but the wind blew really hard and it started to rain.  We all had to crouch down in the bottom of the raft until the wind died down. The guide had given us all thick green ponchos, and with the wind blowing so hard, putting them on was an almost impossible task. The guide said the squall was very rough, but it didn't keep us from seeing lots of pretty scenery and animals! We finally saw a moose!

Wet Moose!

We've been looking for a moose since we got here! I was so wrapped up in my coat, life jacket, and that poncho that I almost didn't get my camera out of my pocket before we left the moose behind. Luckily I did, but I don't think my pictures even remotely show that what I took a picture of was a moose. We saw three bald eagles, a sandhill crane, sandpipers, beaver activity (alas, no actual beavers) and another fox! I also found out that there are river otters out there, but we didn't see any. Probably a good thing or I would have capsized us all trying to grab one to take home. The raft ride was so much fun, even with the storm!  In fact, I think the storm might have made it more fun!  I didn't get to take many pictures, though, but we've still got a couple of days to make up for that.  Oh, and in the "interestingly coincidental" category, a young British woman was a member of our rafting group. She was from Nottingham, but had once lived in Texas, so she, her husband and baby had come to the US to visit with some friends so that they could meet her little girl. When she heard that we were from Alabama, she told us that they had just gone there because one of the friends that they'd come to visit had died suddenly, and they went to her funeral. I asked where she'd been, and she said Athens. She thought it was cool that Athens was my home town. So I met someone in Wyoming from the UK who had just visited my home town of Athens, of all places. Is a small world after all.

After we got back, we had dinner and then Steve and I went back to Jackson Hole to see the shops. Unfortunately the whole town seems to have closed at 5:00! Boo.  Oh well, we'll make Mr. Lee take us back tomorrow morning before we leave! We did a little laundry before going to bed, which was weird for me because I've never done laundry in a hotel.  I was afraid someone would come in and take our clothes out mid cycle and put their own clothes in, but that didn't happen.  Whew.  I'm glad. It turns out that a lot of the clothes I brought were neither warm enough or appropriate for what we were doing out here, so I was glad to get some stuff clean so that I could wear them again. 

From here on we're slowly making our way back towards Bozeman for our trip home on Sunday.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Whoops!  Sorry, you guys.  Life is getting in the way of things these days.

5/21/2013 Grand Teton National Park to Jackson Hole, WY

Last night after I got into bed, some movement caught my eye. A spider was crawling across the top of the sheet right above Steve. I jumped up and tried to wake Steve, but he didn't hear me and the spider crawled across his back and ran to my side of the bed. Steve did jump up, and Mr. Lee killed the thing where I had to sleep, and even though he cleaned it off, I'm pretty sure I had to lay back down on disembodied spider parts. Steve was oddly unconcerned*, but it took me a long time to get to sleep.

*EDIT:  Steve said he didn't remember any of this. Apparently he was asleep, even when he got out of bed.  It was probably better this way!

When I got up this morning  and got in the shower, another spider decided to get in with me! I'm about sick of this nature crap!  Luckily I didn't run screaming and nude out of the cabin. You're welcome, fellow Jackson Lake Lodge visitors!  Heehee, don't worry, two little spiders were the absolute worst that happened.

After we had breakfast, we left the lodge and headed off for another stop-and-shoot. I suppose I should explain that what that means to those of you who may not know how vacations with Mr. Lee usually work.  He is a stereo photographer, meaning he shoots 3D photos for presentations and contests. Our Pratt Family Vacations usually consist of flying out west to one of the national parks, staying in a different place every night, and spending the days driving in between destinations and frequently stopping to take pictures of scenery. It's so much fun!  Today we drove through Grand Teton National Park, winding through the valley and taking pictures of the mountains. I'm absolutely sure that the Grand Tetons are my favorite mountains. They are punch your face in beautiful. We took so many pictures, and every view was just like a postcard.  We also saw a lot of wildlife! Mr. Lee got a bit too close with some bison. I was close, but he was closer.

 I swear, he couldn't have been closer if he had been riding them.  

We also saw some little critters that might have been ground squirrels! They were so cute!

 There were dozens of them and they made this cute whistling sound. I thought they were just "talking" to each other, but I found out later that they were only making that sound because they didn't want me on their turf. It was basically critter language for "Get off my lawn!"  We saw elk, a fox, a muskrat, and an unidentified scurrying furry thing.  We really hope to see a moose!  We shot pictures for several hours, getting cold, hot and sunburned all in the same day. The weather is very weird out here. 

We finally gave up for the day and went on to Jackson, WY, where we'll be for two nights in a row! Woo-hoo!