Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekend Recap and a Welcome

Our very good friends from Milwaukee came to visit us on Wednesday. It was WONDERFUL to see them all again. D&K and their four girls ranging in age from 16-6.

The two oldest girls Mo and Mal stayed with us. And they are wonderful!

Mo and Mal accompanied me on my lunch with Nettie. And then we walked around downtown St. Paul for a while. Which was followed by a trip to the Mall of America. And boy did we have a great time.

We had a big get together for dinner Friday night and then Saturday everyone came to our house for breakfast. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, and coffee cake. It was simply fabulous.

We have also discovered that Lily and Caleb have come a LONG LONG way. And they were SO good about having all the people in the house, and they were SO good with the little one that we know that D&K can stay with us the next time they visit. We only limited the number of people because we weren't sure how the puppies would do with a crowd and with a little one. But they were fantastic. So, good to know, we can have company!

And the BIG BIG news for my family: I am an Aunt! Ava Marlene was born on Friday. Isn't she beautiful????? I will have better pictures tomorrow. It was one of the funnier phone calls. My dad called in tears and all he choked out was "She's perfect" I think he also managed to tell me E was ok and he hung up. Only to call back about 10 minutes later: "Ok, let's try this again but with less emotion"

I love my dad. He's the proudest Grandpa ever.

Today it is snowing! We drove in to work in blizzard conditions. Oh goodie. What the heck happened to spring. This is SO wrong. So very very wrong. Sigh........................

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Put on those BLue Suede Shoes and Listen for a change

So, be honest now, how many of you have had this kind of conversation?
Airport Security: "Oh, California eh? Nice to get out of the cold for a while.."
Newt: "It sure will be."
Airport Security: "Ok, well, you just need to keep out your boarding pass for the security line you can put your license away. Have a great flight."
Newt: "Yeah, you too."
I have become SO lazy in my listening skills. In my courtesy skills. And in putting some thought into what comes out of my mouth.
I hang my head in shame.
It's not a hard thing to do. Just slow down a bit. Actually listen. And actually put some thought into what we will say next.
Why don't I listen? I mean REALLY listen?
So, that folks is my new goal. I'm going to work on my listening skills. And I'm going to take an extra split second or three to formulate a truly polite and truly sincere courtesy response.
Cause right now, I'm a slacker and it's gotta stop.
OH OH OH - on a totally different topic.
We brought the girls home last night that will be staying with us. They walked into the house and got through the ENTIRE night without Caleb or Lily fear barking.
AND THEN - when their mom came to get them this morning there was complete silence in my house. Kelley actually got in the door. And even got to pet Lily. And not one peep, not one bark.
I can't begin to tell you how good that made me feel.
Puppies are making progress. Big progress. I was so proud of them I could've burst.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I don't have a picture of the place but we grew up with a store called Treasures and Junk just down the street a ways. We would go there as a family and wander around. This lamp has been in my family since I was just a wee lass. My dad saw it in one of the little stalls and thought it was really ugly. And each time he passed it he thought it just got uglier. But at some point it went from ugly to sold. And it has been a treasure for my family for over 30 years. It is the single most valued, treasured, and sentimental item for our family.

Another piece of Junk that was turned into a family Treasure

I got this piece of junk for dad one year and now it is considered a treasure.
Here we took two pieces of junk and turned it into a treasure. A flamingo tree topper for a plain glass tree.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Chaos Reigns

The house that Newt built was turned on it's side yesterday. Ok, not literally but something new passed our threshold and let's just say that chaos is a mild description of our life right now.

Her name is Pearl. She's a 60+ pound black lab. She's well behaved, well trained, and sweet as pie.

My dogs are not. They are noisy, barky, territorial, and not well trained or well behaved.

I told my brother in law he was risking getting his dog "broken" but he brought her over anyway.
They put their house on the market today.

The hubster offered to house her while they try to sell their house.

So, she's trying to deal with all this strangeness. She's trying to cope with having four dogs barking at her, all of them capable of walking right under her.

She's trying to figure out what a cat is but they won't stick around long enough for her to find out. So they take off, and she gives chase.
As I said, chaos.

Before I head home I will take a couple or 10 of tylenol, I will grow some patience. And I will head into the house with a smile on my face. And if all goes well, no one will die tonight.
Ok, I kid. Honest. No dogs will die. Or cats for that matter.

We just need to adjust.
The following photograph is of Lily before her world got upended and Pearl came to stay.
So, I ask you, is she not the cutest puppy in the world????

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring is here - NOT

So, I'm working from home today because we have snow. Blowing, gusting, falling snow. I tought I saw on the calendar that yesterday was the first day of spring. But someone forgot to mention that to Ol' Mother Nature.

So, needless to say my shoes are slippers and my company is dogs not co-workers.

If the weather gets better I'll be meeting Girl J later on today. But until then, I'll be working on some training materials and watching Dresden Files on DVD.

So first, the cute pictures, and then we'll follow it with some snow.

Before she flipped belly up they looked like a mirror image
Sleeping Beauty
Sophie being too cute
Awww mom, no more pictures.........
The snow is sticking to the screen

The front yard and houses across the street
Our backyard - snow is sticking to the power lines
Snow is sticking to the telephone pole out back in the alley
And snow is sticking to the neighbors fence - kinda pretty eh?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Picture Fiction Challenge

Picture Fiction Challenge is brought to you by the amazing, handsome, and oh so creative REH also known as the Madman. The challenge is to write a story based on the pictures we are given. The above picture represent the photos chosen for this month's challenge.

Photographer to the Stars

I am a wildlife photographer for the stars. Not the skinny mindless ones that grace the entertainment world but the real ones, the hot hydrogen gas ones. I was picked for the first long distance mission. I’m still not sure why or how it happened but suddenly I found myself working for NASA and heading out on the greatest endeavor man had ever set out to accomplish. The “One small step for man” kind of thing but on a much bigger scale.

Our journey began with a bang, lots of music and celebration. But not long after our send off we settled into the quiet vastness of space. Very vast and very empty space. I can’t even tell you how many books I read.

But after two and a half years of a great deal of darkness we arrived in the most promising galaxy for life. And life we did find. Large, amazing, unbelievable life.
And though we could see semblances of an earthen counterpart everything we witnessed was strange and wondrous.

I took over 500,000 photographs during those years. My journal would make Audubon and Darwin cry. I had to find a way to describe what the photos were and where they were from. Entries like: “Gross red mushy thing found in the great swamp like area of XB911” or “Icky crawly thing living in disgusting smelling pit” And then there was the oh so girly “Cute fuzzy creature with big eyes that just calls out to be hugged and loved and taken home” My editor is still not sure what the hell to do with the journal. He would have published it as is but was afraid that NG would loose it’s credibility.

Sometimes I had to pinch myself to make sure this job, this adventure, was real. But other times I would have given anything to be back home photographing tigers at play in the wild. Under all the excitement, the newness, the discovery and wonder, was a great deal more empty time and space. It can be so lonely out there. So very very lonely.

I was amazed at what I missed, coffee, M&M’s, pizza. Oh god what I wouldn’t give for a vente mocha. Ice cream, burgers, fries. Not to mention shoe stores, movie theaters, the smell of popcorn. Crickets, I miss the sound of crickets at night.

It’s been 32 years now. We are just over 18 months from earth. The return is bittersweet for us all. So much will have changed. And the greatest part of our life will be over. And all of us will be coming home to fewer family and friends. So many are gone. So many we never got to say goodbye to. All we will have are our stories, and our memories. And even those aren’t as reliable as they used to be. We joke that space has made our minds soft. How far from the truth are we?

When I get back the first thing I will do is go to the beach. Feel the sand between my toes. The sun on my face. The wind in my hair. And I will sit there until the sun sets, until the crickets come out. And I will breathe deeply the life on earth. And I will remember. And I will be thankful for all that I have been given. For all that I have seen. And then I will get up, brush myself off, and wonder what is next.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Happy WWC!

So, the shoes are Foreign. I bought them when I was in Germany. It is a brand not available in the US and more importantly they are Italian made. So they are truly foreign. Bought in a foreign country and made in a foreign country.

Now, I would guess 99% of my shoes are foreign made but so is way too much of everything we buy. These shoes though are my one true pair of completely and totally foreign.

And you get a cute gratuitous picture of a Domestic mutt. Ha ha, got them both in in one picture.

And here are a few more. You know perfectly well I can't stick to just one or two. Actually, you would be amazed, I only have three WWC's this week.

Domestic tabby

Foreign and Domestic
Ok, I wish you all could have been there for this one. I was heading toward a shopping center in Northridge, CA to get some See's candy for a friend here in Minnesota. This car pulls in front of me and I started to hyper ventilate with excitement. I'm talking to myself in the car "Oh my god, oh my god, look at that, a cowboy in a Honda. That is SO perfect for WWC. A domestic cowboy in a foreign car." So then I dug out my camera and followed this guy no longer going in the direction of the shopping center. Yes, I became a WWC stalker. I had to follow him till we hit a red light or a stop sign or something so I could get a clear shot. Well, I failed on the clear shot, his head wasn't cooperating, but you can see the cowboy hat and the Honda symbol!

And last but not least some gratuitous shots of last nights snow storm. Well, actually the end result of the storm. Not really a storm. But I have to shovel it all none the less. As with every time the Hubster goes on a trip we get a lot of snow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Photo Monday

The weekend was a quiet and relatively uneventful one. Went out with Girl J on Sunday. Helped us both get our minds off the sad stuff in life. Ok, so, my hubster being out of town isn't quite close to what she is dealing with, ok, not even in the same ballpark, but we are good therapy for each other.

The nice thing is that her son was given 2 weeks leave by the Army to come home and get his dad's funeral and estate taken care of. And I think she said the Red Cross helped to get him home.

One of the less pleasant parts of the weekend was the start of the annual spring poop scoop. Yuck! Every year I swear to myself I will go out with the dogs and pick up as it falls. But then as winter rolls around and it's 20 below I loose that urge to stay on top of things.

Oh well. Life goes on. And it only takes me a couple of weekends to get it all cleaned up. I can only get so much as not all the snow has melted and some of the ground is still too frozen.

This is what happens when I finally clean off a horizontal surface in my house:

And this is a lazy puppy enjoying the sun:

This is Lily doing her best superman impression:

And this is Lily with the waggly tail saying hello to Dad:

And this is Socs and Sophie having a snuggle:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Suffering the Sunday sads

Sunday Morning.

Hubster left for Germany last night.

I've been cleaning up the house. We are having company in a little over the week and it would be nice if we had a few clean surfaces.

Found a copy of our wedding vows. Got all mushy reading it.

Then this came on the Ipod. And I got even more mushy and sentimental. This song is what I gauge all love songs against. For me, it's perfect. And I love it. Always have. It struck a chord in me and has never let go. To me, it symbolizes everything about love. And the feelings we have. I would dance forever with the hubster to this song.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Quickie

Ahhh, home sweet home.

The best part about coming home: Hubster, happy pups, and our bed. I love our bed. I hadn't slept well all week. But last night, I was dead to the world.

The other cool part about homecoming: 40 degrees or so. I actually sat outside at the airport while I waited for Hubster. It was glorious. A little on the cold side, but glorious none the less. I sat on the rock bump (should have taken a picture) and read till he came.

The only complaint was having to smell this while I waited. Gross!

My last meal in California:

I did get way way too close to loosing that tasty burger on the plane ride. (TMI!) It was a rough ride as soon as we began our descent and till after we landed. I was green and not happy. The only thing that kept me from grabbing ye ol' blue bag in the seat pocket in front of me was the two cuties I was sitting next to. No way was I going to loose it next to Abercrombe and Hollister. HELL NO!

I do have my old lady pride ya know.

Last thing I need to have go out on the pool boy rumor mill is that I get airsick.

It will make it that much more expensive to find one when I am good and ready to have one.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


This is for Nettie. Who didn't expect it to hurt so much when he died.

I'm so very sorry honey. It's ok to hurt. It's ok to grieve. 20 years and 2 children later........

I hope the days get better and brighter. He is at peace now. Something he couldn't find in this life.

You don't get over it
you just get through it...

you don't get by it
because you can't get around it

it doesn't get better
it just gets different

grief puts on a new face.

Wendy Feiereisen

Thank you Christy for posting this.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random Wednesday

First off, important business: I created a link list for WWC folks. If I missed you please let me know in the comments. I tried to find as many WWC'ers as possible.

My room is directly over the hotel pool. I’m on the 7th floor. I have the strongest urge to make a high jump right into it.

It looks so cool and inviting

Tonight I will go exploring

I have visions of Claim Jumpers dancing in my head

Some times I have to remind myself to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.

I really hate when people start throwing hissy fits over nothing

But suddenly the whole company has to drop everything they are doing to pacify someone’s unwarranted paranoia and fear

Yeah, I know, that’s life. But still, it irritates me.

I have a lunch date with two of the people from our Calif. Facility

One of them has the same last name as me

So everyone has decided we are brother and sister

He actually looks more like my family than my real brother

So we joked that they were switched at birth

My poor real brother doesn’t know that I have traded him in though

And actually I love my brother too much to do that

I’m wearing a top today that shows a little too much cleavage

And as Nettie and I saw at the mall one night there is such a thing as too much cleavage

The two ladies walking behind us agreed.

We all had to whip our heads around to see if we saw what we thought we saw.

I have been having trouble staying focused lately

Thus random Wednesday

Last night I was channel flipping

I didn’t even stop long enough to see what was on

I did watch the pay per view previews

I could rent Sweeny Todd

I’m half tempted

Either that or Golden Compass

I’m addicted to Post-it notes

I have stacks of them all over my house and office

Yet I hardly use them

I also am on a constant search for the perfect pen

When I think I have found one, I quickly grow tired of it

And start my quest again

Does that mean I have an office supply deficit disorder?

Is there a pill for that?

I miss my pups

So I was petting the picture of Lily on my computer screen this morning

I stopped after I looked at the screen and said “Mommy misses you yes she does”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Ok, I love my family, I love my job, but if I have to stay in California much longer I might just kill someone. God bless all of you who live here. I don't know how you do it. I don't know how I did it for over 20 years. I don't know how you all don't go postal around here.

So, speaking of living in Calfornia for too many years, how many of you out there know what an E ticket ride is?

Hats off to Marmalades. Excellent place to eat on Ventura Blvd. Loved it.

And hats off to DSW for having some snazzy shoes on 80% clearance. Maybe you'll see them in tomorrows post..................

And now, WWC - some times on the road I can score some really good WWC's and othertimes, not so much. This is one of those times. So I apologize now for the lack of creative umph.
See, I told you it was lame

Monday, March 10, 2008

Notes from sunny CA

Well, it was a fantastic weekend of family. Nothing exciting, just good quality family time. And that is more important than anything in this world.

My boss and I went window shopping on Rodeo Drive last night. We fell in love with a pair of sandals that were a mere $795.00. We considered splitting the cost and sharing custody since we wear the same size shoe.

The people watching was FANTASTIC!

The oddest part of the night was that we kept seeing a group of people walking around and one of the men in the group was carrying a big fuzzy blond clown wig. No idea why, they looked so ordinary tourist.

Then this morning my boss told me that some guy in a blond wig robbed a jewelry store and then was shot by police. This was in a different part of Los Angeles.

Total coincidence but how odd is that?

Speaking of odd - I hope I never get so desparate for a job that I have to do this:

And now for some family pics

My Aunt and Uncle with my parents pups - River and Othello
Me, my dad and my mom

My Aunt with LilyLily hiding under the couch