Saturday, June 29, 2013

With apologies to his mother in-law...

For some reason, A came up with his top three favorite things in life last night. When we were done laughing about the list, he ranked them. 

Sex. (With which he rolls in our whole relationship so no worries that I'm getting skipped over in this deal.)

Guns. "I couldn't live without my guns." It's true. There might need to be a 12-step program formed if he ever has to give them up... Well never mind. He'd move to Alaska or Canada or Siberia before he gave up his guns. 

Pizza. It's been months since we've had any pizza and it's no wonder it made the top three out of the old "absence makes the heart grow fonder" phenomenon. 

For what it's worth, I suspect that the Mustang he's planning to buy soon will quickly overtake pizza in the third position when pizza is no longer on the no-fly list. 

I also suspect that numbers 1 & 2 are locked in for life. 

Note: CPIL - your favorite son in-law apologizes if his mentioning guns on the list offends you. Ha ha. :-)

Friday, June 28, 2013

The way life should be...

Yes, I enjoy spending time in Maine where the motto is "The way life should be" but I'm actually referring to my life. In my home. With my husband. 

The path to where I am in life was anything but straight. I never was one of those people that set a goal and headed, entirely undistracted and un-diverted, directly to that goal. No. My goals were always abstract enough that there was no paved path to reach them. 

Somehow in my deep self, I always knew that I wouldn't find true love until "later in life" (34ish it turns out) but I always knew that I would. I never knew who it would be or if I would recognize him immediately when he came into my life but I knew he'd be there at some point. I never knew exactly what our life together would be like but I knew that I'd know it when I had it. 

I'm there. Despite the unconventional start to our (adult) relationship (remember that we grew up together and then didn't see each other for 20+ years), i.e. Fall in love over the phone, then reunite in person. Buy a house together, then get engaged. Get married, then continue living 300+ miles apart for a year. Take custody of his child, and then, at long last, move in together. Despite all of that, I'm sure of the fact that I've achieved my goal of knowing my happy life when I found it. 

When we were planning our wedding, I asked my dear friend for a suggestion regarding a wedding song. She picked the absolute perfect song for us and each time we hear it, we are compelled to call each other or hold hands... And more often than not, my eyes tear up and I can barely sing along. It's called "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts. Every single line of this song feels like it was written for us! The lyrics go like this:

"I set out on a narrow way, many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms

This much I know is true

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent, just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost, and give it back to you

But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there, you understand 
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms

This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

But now I'm just rolling home into my lover's arms
This much I know is true

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you"

I consider it to be the absolute greatest gift on earth to marry my very best friend who is truly my perfect partner. It's an honor that even after almost ten years together, we both still put spending time together at the very top of the list of things that are most important to us. It's pure joy that in nearly a decade of life, love, work, raising a child, family, successes, failures, etc we are still growing and evolving at the same pace and in the same direction. 

I didn't know what shape happiness would take in my life but it turns out that it comes in the simplest of things like hoping it rains tomorrow so my best friend/perfect partner/true love and I can hunker down at home and relax together.  It's the way MY life should be. And it is. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Alaska... Take 2.

Two years ago A and I made what we thought was the trip of a lifetime to Alaska (my 49th state visited). We had the great fortune of my brother being a part-time resident of Fairbanks which allowed us to borrow his truck for two weeks and make a 1,300 mile loop dabbling in some of the most incredible surroundings I've ever seen. 

When we were planning the trip, we said "We need to see as much as possible because we may never get back there again." After we arrived and started our journey we said "We need to make a list of all of the places we will see NEXT time we come here." After nearly two weeks on the road and barely scratching the surface of things to do, places to see, and experiences to be had, we started looking at real estate brochures for a "summer place". After arriving home, we have talked more and more about it and both agree that we could see ourselves spending summers "working" in Alaska once we retire in 12 years. 

A few days ago, as we were presenting A's 80 year-young aunt with her Alaska-themed birthday gifts in preparation for a three-week trip she's taking there next month, A's mother made a comment about wanting to go to Alaska with us. The next day she said it again to A while they were cutting wood. She was totally serious. A came home and asked me if I'd like to go back again next summer... Um. Yes!

We had been planning on our next "big trip" being to Ireland but when your husband says he'd like to do a trip with his parents and fulfill one of their dreams before they get too old to take or enjoy a trip like that, you readjust. 

So... less than two years after we were last planning our "once in a lifetime trip to Alaska", we are in the early stages of planning our next trip there!

We, of course, have many places that we would like to see again and many places that we didn't get to last year. I think that with a year to plan, we will surely be able to come up with a bang-up itinerary again! And I'm really looking forward to it!

But... 2015 WILL find me on the Emerald Isle come Hell or high water! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Recreation Majors do this...

And think it's (kind of) fun...

Last week at my "summer job" (a company that rents vacation essentials like bikes, linens, toys, beach gear etc) I got to inventory the toys that go in the "Box 'o Fun" that people can rent for their little ones. I counted, repaired, and sorted toys ranging from See 'n Say's to kitchen toys leaving the toy pictured above for the very last. 

We didn't have many "mainstream" toys when I was a kid. (We had farm animals, ponies, dogs, bikes, skateboards, and room to run - no need for much plastic crap.) So looking at a laundry basket full of Mr & Mrs Potato Head parts was a little overwhelming. I don't actually remember ever even playing with M/M PH at friends' houses so I wasn't even sure what parts they were supposed to have. So when I finally had no other toys to inventory... I just started sorting - lips with lips, left arms, right arms, pink tongues, red tongues, earrings (yeah - who knew potatoes wore earrings?!), purses, sunglasses, feet, teeth... And so on. It was kind of a gruesome forensic study of the child's toy!

Once sorted I just made sure that each head had at least one of each item. In the end, I ran out of right arms and eyeballs so I had to stop. I mean... who wants to put together a Potato Head and find it's missing a vital part?! I managed to put together 17 whole sets before returning the remaining body parts to a large bag to be saved for replacing parts. "Parts is parts" - the old chicken nugget commercial kept coming to mind as I loaded the bag...

So, for all the people that used to ask me how my degree in "recess" is treating me, I'd say "Just fine! Did you get to play at work today?"

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Graduate...

My friends on Facebook are all posting pictures of their kids graduating from pre-K, kindergarten, 6th grade, 8th grade, high school and so forth. So I thought I'd post a picture of our little graduate - Glacier. 

We spent five weeks attending a basic obedience class with Joe the Dogman and she learned a lot! More importantly, WE learned a lot!

The next step is getting her out in public more where people can pet her and greet her and she just gets used to strangers (that we accept) petting her. She's MUCH better than she was but there is still room for improvement. 

Nonetheless, we are proud of our little graduate!

P.S. The cap is photo-shopped on her by the dog trainer. :-)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Getting healthy...

I recently developed a weird twitch in my left thumb when I inhaled. After 2-3 days of not going away, I went to see our new doctor. He quickly ruled out ALS, Parkinson's, and MS (phew!) and said he thought I might have a pinched nerve in my neck. 

Since I go to a chiropractor's office every week for our weigh in, I decided to ask him about it and he recommended coming in for a thorough consultation. 

We went this morning and because it was on the heels of our weigh in, A was with me. He and the chiropractor are now buddies (lots and lots of gun talk) so he sat in the room while I had my appointment. I'm pretty sure that after seeing me twisted up like a pretzel and hearing my neck pop like fireworks, he won't be signing up to get on Dr. Brian's table any time soon!

During the assessment, Dr. B looked at a variety of things including tenderness, flexibility, weight distribution etc. At one point he had me "try to" touch my toes and I bent right over and touched them without a problem. He was surprised at my flexibility and I said "It's the yoga." He said, "Oh good! Do you do it regularly?" I said, "No." Paused for a few seconds and then added, "But I think about yoga a lot." 

We all busted out laughing hysterically and it took a few minutes to get it back together. I knew what I meant but hadn't said however the way it came out was too funny to try and re-write. 

Once we regained our composure, he confirmed that I DO have some compression in my spine, tilted pelvis (thank you hip surgery etc) and a vertebrae in my neck that is pretty far out of alignment. That explains a LOT! I'm hoping that my series of adjustments over the next few weeks will not only alleviate the weird thumb tremble but also put an end to what seems like a lifetime of headaches. I think A was relieved to hear about the alignment issue because he worries about my nearly daily complaints of headaches ranging from mild to raging. (Stress is always to root of the really bad ones.)

So... My mind is pretty healthy (except for the terminally bad sense of humor) and now my body is catching up! I'm hoping that some good spine health (think about what the spinal column does to literally support every organ, muscle, limb etc of our body), weight loss, and increased aerobic activity will stave off that danged impending hip surgery... But we will see how that goes. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My bike... A continuing love story...

I don't yet have a picture of my bike. The recent rains have kept her cooped up in the shed except for two rides we did last weekend. She's almost completely outfitted now that she's got a mount for my iPhone (for trail maps!), a water bottle bracket, and a detachable basket. One last item we need to add is a kick stand. It will lose a few more "cool factor" points for having a sissy kick stand but... After the shame of a basket, it'll probably survive the indignity of a kick stand. 

As with most purchases, I labored over which basket to buy. The rugged metal basket looked hardier and had handles so you could detach it and carry it around - say... At the grocery store. But ultimately I chose the collapsible nylon basket with handles AND a drawstring top. Being able to stow it when not in use and secure items in the basket should I take a tumble were the final selling features. 

On Saturday we decided that we needed a few things at Stop & Shop and since it's only a few miles through the woods, we would ride our bikes. Great idea until we realized that the item we needed most weighed about 15lbs and might make navigating the wooded trails a tad tricky. Intrepid bikers that we are (cough!), we bought the items, loaded them directly into the basket while in the store (I love the "you scan" gun thingy!) and decided on an alternate route home along the power lines to the backside of a neighborhood, then a quick stint on the main road and then up the hill/dirt road to the back entrance to our neighborhood. 

It was a good plan until we ran into "The Great Lakes of Cape Cod"! The recent rains had left HUGE puddles along the power line trail that, at first, we bumbled along the edges of while I worked out my arms keeping my basket upright. Then I just went for it and rode straight through them... Thankful that none of them were actually a sinkhole or pond and that they were only ~4-6 inches deep at the most.  

It was worth it and we had fun!

The next day we loaded up the basket (perhaps I should name the basket... Any suggestions???) with my on-call books (another 10lbs), a towel, on call phone etc and set out for Mystic Lake. 

Mystic Lake is very close - maybe 2 miles - to our house as the crow flies. During our big "walking several miles every night" kick, we used to drive over and walk Brody through the neighborhood (and talk about how we'd get voted out the first summer if we lived there because of our refusal to manicure our lawn and gardens to perfection) often parking at the lake parking area. 

This time we checked out Google maps and spotted a path that leads from the end of a dead end dirt road not far from our house, around a cranberry bog and up onto Mystic Lake Drive. Aside from the poison ivy we managed to narrowly avoid and one surprise patch of deep sand that tried to swallow my front tire, it was a lovely ride ending at the lake with a little wading, beach-sitting, and peaceful catching up. Perfection!

So... The love of my new bike continues. My butt bones aren't in total agreement yet - more like a love/hate relationship with the seat - but they'll get there... if it ever stops raining!

Rain... And more of it...

It's done nothing but rain for what seems like weeks. The brief moments of sunshine pass so quickly that I can't even get a pre-planned sun action plan in motion before the clouds set in again. I don't like to complain about the weather because that really doesn't change anything. Instead I'll complain about how bad our constantly wet dogs smell these days. (Glacier recently started going to work with me a few afternoons per week and I swear the smell coming from under my desk was not my feet!) Complaining about their pungent odor could actually bring about change. Well... Probably not. We prefer to bathe them in the outdoor shower instead of the bathroom and there's no point in that considering the current conditions. But it could happen. 

We (my handy husband) installed a dog door the other day. It took about 32 seconds for Brody to figure out how to use it. It took Glacier slightly longer but a peanut butter treat helped speed up the learning (I'm probably a bad parent for bribing her with food... She'll have to take that up with the vet.). Now that she knows how to use it, she's in and out constantly!

Glacier never  seems to realize (unless it is raining so hard that it's raining up) that the weather is anything less than perfect. She will go out in blazing sun, driving snow, drizzling rain - she doesn't care. We will often find her sitting in the middle of the yard in the bitter snow while Brody, who has twice the fur coat she's got, presses himself against the door begging to come in. 

The new dog door has given Glacier exactly what she wants - the opportunity to come and go as she pleases, hang out outside for as long as she wants, and the immediate ability to respond to any squirrel interlopers. 

I may have to install a video camera so I can capture the moment when a squirrel has made its presence known and the response team tries to funnel out the dog door at the same time. There is an amusing yet brief certain amount of negotiating that happens when both are stuck with heads outside, butts inside, and shoulders locking them in place until one gives in and backs out enough for the other to slide through. For the record, Brody is usually the gentleman in this situation as Glacier's terrierist side has kicked in and negotiation is the last thing on her mind.