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!