Just Another Monday Evening

25 07 2017

Mondays get such a bad rap.

Please don’t do that in public…

Every once in a while, Monday tries to redeem itself. Today began as most of my other summer Mondays began: rather insignificantly. I slept in a bit, had a bowl of cereal, took the mutts for a stroll. But then my Monday stopped its ordinary trajectory as I packed a small suitcase and a bag for Simba, loaded the new RAV, and headed south. J had an overnight trip for work, so I hit the road for Bend.

I made it to Casa de Davis, home to my friends MAsh who happen to be traipsing around Peru for the summer. I got Simba settled in and made my way across the west side of town to a little restaurant patio in the Northwest Crossing neighborhood. Several of my gal pals gathered with me for awesome food, drinks, and catching up.

friends for dinner, Washington Dining and Cocktails, Bend OR

You’re right, Monday, these ladies DO make everything better!!

We all used to work together for a tech company in downtown Bend but have since found other pursuits. Strangely enough, the CEO of our previous company was sitting at the table right next to us! He very kindly sent us a round and stopped by our table to say hello. I haven’t lived in Bend for 6 some-odd years and I still bump into old acquaintances every time I visit!

Time with these 3 awesome women would have been enough for me to call Monday my favorite day. Bend, however, had more in store for me. It had apparently teamed up with Monday to really knock my socks off. They really succeeded…

Back at MAsh’s house, I decided to take Simba for a nice long walk. Being in the PNW, I still had daylight despite the hour approaching 9. We walked through the neighborhood and down to the Old Mill District. Trying to keep Simba out of trouble, I didn’t notice the impressive show in the sky right away. I actually noticed the people first – everyone had turned towards the setting sun and everyone was taking pictures. Everyone. Children, dog walkers, cyclists, staff from the restaurants – EVERYONE. I finally realized why.

central Oregon summer sunset Bend OR

Yep, ok, I’ll stop and look, too.

The scene was quite incredible. The fiery colors in the sky were breathtaking, framed by the Three Sisters mountains and reflected in the waters of the Deschutes River. Ducks paddled and dove in the river, though there was an interesting hush over everything. The typical bustle and noise of the Old Mill was still for a moment while we all took in the amazing sight.

sunset over Old Mill, Bend OR

Bend, I really don’t need that much convincing to want to come back….

Continuing on our way, Simba and I finished our walk, circling by way of the Colorado bridge and admiring the changes since our last visit. This tunnel, for instance, didn’t exist when this area was my old haunt:

tunnel under the Colorado bridge, Bend OR

So many colors! (Yes, this is my favorite shirt…)

For such a quick trip, I’m heading home in a reflective, grateful state of mind. Grateful for the amazing people I have in my life, grateful for living in such a cool place, grateful for the ability to travel around, grateful for the mutt snoring on the floor next to me that accompanies me on these adventures.

Touche, Monday – I hereby declare you my favorite.

Let me just leave you with a picture of a snoring Simba. 😀

Boy, o boy, I wonder what adventures await us on Tuesday!

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I Lost My Heart In Oregon

21 02 2015

Ah, Halmark Day… the most manufactured holiday of all. A celebration, supposedly, of love that has turned into yet another marketing campaign. BUY BUY BUY! Ugh.

Thankfully, J and I are in agreement about this, so we ignored the holiday as usual and took a little mini-vacay down to Bend for some much-needed quality time with friends. And by ignoring all the V-day mumbo-jumbo, we had a weekend full of love and friendship and happiness. Best.Ever.

Friday night was Girls’ Night for me – a movie and margaritas with some of my favorite ladies. My face hurt from so much laughing, and my soul felt recharged from the great energy of such amazing woman. Girl power!

Then Saturday was our double-date with MAsh and the great outdoors. I have to admit I’m pretty sad about the lack of snow and winter, but the Central Oregon sunshine is tough to beat. We drove up to the trail-head for Black Butte and started climbing. It didn’t take long for me to fall behind the group – the views were worth slowing down for!

3 Sisters from Black Butte, Sisters OR

Broken Top and the 3 Sisters, sun tanning in February

Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon

From this side, we see Mt Jefferson, then Mt Hood, and if you squint you might see Mt Adams teeny tiny to the right of Hood!! I CAN SEE ALL THE WAY TO WASHINGTON!

We took a rest and a snack break once we reached the top, and of course we took more pictures….

silly on Black Butte, Sisters OR

J, always improvising, testing out his new selfie stick….er, selfie log??

friends on Black Butte, Sisters OR

WE’RE JUST SO EXCITED TO BE HERE!!!!

After our hike, we roamed around Bend on foot. The Old Mill District was all a-buzz with the craziness of WinterFest (despite the lack of winter…) and our stop at Crux Brewery found quite a party. We drifted back to MAsh’s house for dinner and board games, and fell asleep that night with dreams of mountains and sun beams dancing in our heads.

We started off our Sunday the best way possible: awesome yoga class followed by the sauna to really get those muscles relaxed. Then, because this is us we’re talking about, we undid all that wonderful work on our muscles, and went for another hike. This time, we headed down a river canyon, following the Deschutes River to Steelhead Falls.

hiking along the Descutes River, Steelhead Falls OR

See the tiny little hikers? That’s us!

Living in the Columbia Gorge, we’ve seen our fair share of falls. Doesn’t matter – Steelhead is an impressive beast! Not super tall, but so much water!

Steelhead Falls, Terrebone OR

Steelhead Falls

Steelhead Falls, central oregon

Waterfalls (and each other) make us happy

Gorgeous day with incredible friends, my happy mutt, and my dashing beau. This hike was one of the very first hikes J and I did together when we were first dating. We hiked by this tree and my memory flashed – I remembered how muddy the trail was, how warm the sun felt, and that tree…the tree whose branches provided shade while J kissed me like a girl ought to be kissed.

I’m not a fan of this over-commercialized farce of a holiday, but I am a fan of love. All love, all forms of love, all faces of love. And on this day after Valentines, enjoying the outdoors with my buddies, I basked in the love around me. I lost my heart up here in the Pacific Northwest – gave it away gladly. I gave it to the mountains, to the forests, to the sunsets, to the rivers, to the waterfalls, to the coastline, to the lifestyle. By some stroke of luck, I found a man to entrust with my heart, and then a mutt who stole the last few bits.

Good thing hearts are such unique organs – we can keep giving of them and also filling them, yet we never run out, we’re never too full. Sharing our hearts just seem to make them bigger, and even though they can be broken, add more love and they will always mend.  The pieces I’ve left elsewhere are in good hands, and I have plenty more for the people and places I’ve yet to fall in love with.

man and dog at Steelhead Falls OR

What a lucky gal I am ❤

Valentines Day doesn’t hold much meaning for me, but, cheesy as it sounds, I’m head over heels for love. My goal is to acknowledge and appreciate the love in my life every single day.

Also, J’s new nickname is JBoo…

😀

top of Black Butte, Sisters OR

Feel the love, yall!

 





We Ride for FREEDOM!!

5 07 2013

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!!!”
Ok, Braveheart was about a bunch of Scots fighting for their lives, rushing out to battle to die for their freedom.

We were a bunch of sweaty Americans on bikes, dressed in various versions of patriotic attire, riding into downtown Bend to join several thousand other silly people doing the same thing – but still in the name of FREEDOM!!

The Bend 4th of July Freedom Ride has become an iconic event for the city. It is not organized, it is not authorized, it is not condoned by the city, but it is recognized. So recognized, that an estimated four THOUSAND folks showed up last year to loop around downtown and end in a huge pile of partying in Columbia Park. Unorganized.

You can imagine the disruption this causes. Locals know better, but Bend is overflowing with tourists in the summer, and that many bikes completely fill down town. Traffic grinds to a halt, cars get stuck in the middle of it, and pedestrians hoping to cross the street are just out of luck. Police are powerless to stop it, and know they would cause a city-wide riot if they even tried.

4th of July Bend Freedom Ride 2013

And this is an unclogged section! Ride for freedom, ride for MERICUH!

Despite my years in Bend, this was my very first Freedom Ride – YAY! J and I drove up for the occasion, dog and bikes in tow, and prepped for a day full of bar-be-ques, people watching, bike riding, and celebrating our great nation with our great friends. And celebrate we did.

First stop: my sister’s house. J helped her put her bike together, then she and I rode over to my bestie’s house followed by J and Simba in the car. My bestie’s momma is in town visiting from Texas, and she definitely won both Best Dressed and Best Bike. My sister was rocking her Rosie the Riveter outfit, and Ash had found a super patriotic vest to go with her cowgirl hat. I didn’t have much for an outfit, but I did get my hairs did just for the 4th.

4th of July outfits, Bend OR

Us gals during the pre-funk party, gearing up for the REAL party! E-Dawg was best dressed, with Rosie Riveter next to her. A in her patriotic vest next to me and my new hair do. We are READY!

After some ridiculously delicious food, and after the whole gang had arrived, it was time at last to head down to the festivities. We sunscreened up, filled the water bottles (hydration is important people), and mounted up. Forward! For Freedom!

Bend Freedom Ride 2013

Mounted up and ready to go!

The actual ride itself is pretty short and only takes as long as it does because the congestion of bikes causes stop-and-go travel. It’s amazing how this non-event has become well-known enough to draw a crowd just like the actual parade. Music comes from all directions: boom boxes in bike baskets, phones held in the air, the dude playing Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled solo on the street corner. People are shouting, whooping, hollering, singing, whistling, chanting.

And the costumes! People wore flags in various ways, wigs, costumes, tutus, bikinis and paint. I saw one woman in shorts and stars painted over her nipples, nothing else! Tons and tons of girls wore just their bikinis, or shorts and the top. Thank the heavens I didn’t see any naked dudes, but I did see a few in their skivvies. We even knew one of these such dudes!

4th of July costumes Bend OR

I think he feels quite free, wouldn’t you say?

We wandered the park at the end of the ride for a while, gaping at people and running into all sorts of friends. I loved being unrecognizable in my sunglasses and hairdo. Made me feel sassy and incognito! Justin has planned to wear his cowboy hat, but when offered this fabulous fro, how could he resist? I almost fell off my bike laughing when I heard him exclaim behind me how nice the wind felt through his hair!

Freedom Ride Bend OR 2013

I want to wear my blue do every day, and doesn’t J look devastatingly handsome in that mop of curls?!

After spending the afternoon with the Freedom Ride crowd, hopping from party in the park to party on the bridge to party at Riverside Market, we finally dispersed. Cops were cleaning up the last of the riff-raff in the park and it was time to eat again. Lucky for us, another of my amazing friends in Bend had invited us to their post-ride bar-be-que. Two in one day? You bet your star spangled banner!

The rest of the evening was spent on the back deck of our friends’ house, rehashing the events of the day. I stuffed myself with more deliciousness, loving the time with friends we don’t see often enough. We sadly had to hit the road to come home and missed the fireworks show, but I think that was a-ok with Simba. He was a nervous wreck just from the backyard fireworks of the neighbors!

This was definitely the best Independence Day I’ve had in a crazy long time. I loved every single minute and was so sad to see the day end! Thank you SO much to all the friends that put us up, fed us, invited us to various festivities, and let us be part of all the shananigans. Yall are the best.

Anyone else participate in the Bend Freedom Ride? Something similar?! Something better?!?!

 

😀





What could possibly be left?!

27 02 2013

Oh man. I did it again. Will I never learn? Someone needs to teach me to take it easy. I’ve had yet another weekend of so much fun I can barely move. That’s good, right?!

Since moving to the northwest, I’ve tried all sorts of new sports, leading me on all sorts of new adventures. The winter sports have been the most … challenging. Snow and cold really change the game. This weekend tested all my abilities and threw me right off the comfort cliff.

Friends of ours rent cabins up at Paulina Lake outside of Bend, OR, every year for an event they’ve dubbed “Cabin Fever”. Paulina Lake is tucked up in Newberry Caldera, on top of what used to be a massive volcano until is blasted and collapsed itself to pieces. Now, just the base remains, filled in with a couple lakes and cinder cones from pretty recent lava activity. The nerd in me rejoiced at getting to spend the weekend in the caldera of a potentially active volcano. The jock in me (whom I’d never met until recent years) slapped the nerd me in the face and took over as soon as we pulled into the snow park and caught glimpse of the weekend toys: snowmobiles.

J had managed to borrow not one, but TWO snowmobiles for us to play with ride, and another Cabin Fever friend agreed to haul them for us. (J needs to buy a truck. Pronto.) We were a little late to the game, but arrived just in time to help load the sleds and journey another 3.5 miles or so up to the cabins.

J and I had one cute little complication: Simba. My adorable mutt was stoked to be out with us, playing in the snow and making friends with another dog, Snacks. Well, he was stoked until the first snowmobile revved to life. Then he was terrified. We had no idea how we were going to get him up to the cabin. Finally, J cut my engine and told me to scoop up Simba and get on behind him. We managed to make it all the way up with that poor dog curled into a ball, squished in my lap between J and I. J and another friend went back down later for the other machine. I’m not sure Simba has forgiven me for that ride yet…

dog on a snowmobile, Newberry Volcano, Oregon

What a little trooper! He managed to curl up in a ball in my lap. But the weekend of playing in the snow with us made it worth it!

Our group of 17 had a duplex cabin and settled in. What an awesome group of people!! That first night, J and I shared dinner duty with our friend Cassidy (everyone had a meal to help with) and we whipped up a couple pots of spaghetti.  Much booze, laughter and hilarious stories accompanied the meal. We played card games, we colored with the kids, we bonded over wine and conversation as one group went for a little night ride. So good.

friends at Paulina Lake cabin, Oregon

That’s not coffee in those coffee mugs. Such a rough way to spend an evening…

Saturday morning kicked off with a walk for Simba with two fabulous little girls accompanying us. Simba really loved the extra attention. After breakfast, we dug out the sleds and turned the hillside next to the cabin into a Wild and Crazy Hill of Speed. The “adults” had just as much fun shooting down the hill as the kids. Several folks caught some nice air, and there might have been an incident with a tree… I haven’t had this much fun on a hunk of plastic since I was a youngster!

sledding Paulina Lake, Newberry OR

Up the sled hill!

Simba thought the sled hill was actually for him, and he raced up with the sledders as fast as he could, then bombed back down at top speed, flying through the air off the bumps and barreling head over heels through drifts. He was in doggy heaven.

dog in snow Paulina Lodge, Newberry OR

OMG this is the best ever! Look, I’m the fastest dog in the world!!

J decided it was finally time for me to try out my sno-mo (that’s what the cool kids call them). We would go on a super mellow ride, he said. We wouldn’t do anything crazy, he said. We wouldn’t even go that fast, he said. Five of us hopped aboard our fun-machines and after a two-second tutorial, we were off! I was a little nervous at first, but I’ve spent lots of time on four-wheelers, and how different could this be? We were just on snow instead of dirt. No big deal. We got to the road and I followed behind J. I got the feel for the throttle, figured out how the turning worked (mostly), and assumed J wouldn’t take me to anything I couldn’t handle. As I relaxed, I found courage. One straight stretch found my speedometer reaching for 60mph!!! Oh yeah, momma like to go FAST! We found a meadow where we played around in the trees, practiced our turns, and sprayed snow all over the place. We finally turned back up the road and I assumed my first ride was almost over.

Then came the detour. A trail had been cut through the trees for the power lines and was just wide enough for sno-mos to fit. We flew up gnarly inclines and launched over rutted-out bumps. Mellow?! Not crazy?!? Slow?!?!?! I know better than to listen to J on this sort of thing. And it was insanely fun. One bump had enough speed behind it to send me and the sno-mo through the air – and I was hooked for good. I was laughing and shrieking the whole time, having the time of my life.

snowmobiling Newberry, Bend, OR

Look out, here I come! VVRROOMM!!

The rest of the day was rather mellow for me. I was exhausted from not much sleep the night before and now from zooming around like a crazy person in the snow. My thighs were on fire from couching with my butt up off the seat for the bumps. My cheeks were super wind-burnt from lack of a bat claw (it’s actually called a balaclava but I can’t pronounce that well) to protect my face. And I ate boo-coos of soup and meatballs for lunch that sent me in a downward spiral of lethargy. So my girl Gail and I cuddled on the couch, me with my knitting, her with a book, while two of the kiddos napped in the bedroom. It was quiet and delightful. Then our girl Carrie came over from the other cabin and we popped open more wine and hit the cards for some ridiculous Nerts. (Best game ever.) Another lovely evening, more delicious food, and we all turned in early. A group had managed to squeeze in another ride up to Paulina Peak and a couple of them even did a little back-country skiing while they were up there. Talk about really getting the most out of a place!

Sunday we had to pack up and leave. J and I left first since we went so slow with Simba, and got loaded up. Then we snuggled Simba down in the car and dashed off for one last ride. I was the only one who hadn’t seen the falls yet, and, well, I have a thing for waterfalls. Then we got there (by way of super-fun trail) and I was even more amazed: my first FROZEN waterfall!! Well, partial frozen. It was absolutely amazing. And my camera was dead so I can’t show it to you.

Back at the parking lot, it was time to go. We were all tired but happy, sad to go but thankful for the fun. We hugged our good-byes and headed off our separate ways.

So now my question is this: what can possibly be next?! What crazy winter activities still await? Surely there isn’t much left…..so I thought until I asked Google. Apparently, there is plenty I have yet to try. What shall it be: heli-skiing perhaps? Maybe a little ice climbing? How about ice skating down half-frozen rivers?

Who knows. But I’m sure it’ll be awesome.

😀





Weddings, Love, Torture and All That Fun Stuff

12 08 2012

Two down, one more to go. Let’s face it people, we’re elbows-deep in wedding season.  At some point, all my friends will be married and there will be no more nuptials to attend…right?

Ok, so I do actually like attending these special occasions, mostly because I really do like my friends. They’re good people. And celebrating is always a good time. But this last wedding was a bit different. I was a bit more invested.  And let’s face it, after two weeks, I still feel like I’m recovering. Now that is the sign of a roaring good time.

On July 29th, my best friend said the magic words and swapped jewelry with a man she now shares a last name with (and who happens to be her best friend – I hear this is a good thing). It was magical. And there is not one ounce of sarcasm in that statement. So magical I bawled like an infant and was holding her bouquet along with mine, so all the tissue I shoved into the front of my dress did me NO GOOD. (Ok, maybe a little good in that it helped me fill out the dress….)

Being in my late 20’s, going to weddings seems to be as common as going to the bar (ok, not quite, but then I might be a lush). But this wedding, this particular one, was captivating. The simplicity, the uniqueness, the atmosphere…even as I type this all I can think is that there are no words to describe it. I”ll try anyway.

Simple – yes, yet elegant. We bridesmaids were barefoot, and the bride wore Toms! But her dress was incredible, accentuating her tall, lithe figure, everyone’s hair looked gorgeous, our sunflowers popped against our green dresses. We stood in the grass next to an adorable pond and squinted into the sun. But the atmosphere, the air around us – this is what perplexes me the most. Who ordered the shimmer? How did they get those little twinkle stars stuck in their eyes like that? And how on earth did they manage to electrify the air with emotion, anticipation and *gasp!* so much LOVE?!

You may or may not have met my best friend or her new husband, but it’s completely obvious even to strangers what a match these two are. Their self-written vows about sent me straight to sob-ville. Watching them on a normal day you can tell they’re just crazy for each other. Watching them on their wedding day was like looking up “Match Made In Heaven” in the dictionary and seeing a picture of them instead of a text definition. The ceremony was the kind of thing that could make even a bitter, cynical old grouch believe in love again. It seeped from them, covering everyone and everything, making the whole place sparkle.

outdoor summer wedding kiss Bend OR

The Big Kiss – can’t you see the MAGIC?!?!

Had enough of the sappy part yet? Too bad. Just kidding, I’ll move on to How We Tortured the Texans.

The Bride and I are pals from college, back in Texas. So her nuptials were also like a huge family reunion. We share a lot of friends, so her saying “All my friends from Texas are coming!!” meant that all my friends from Texas were coming! (A lot of these friends don’t actually even live in Texas any more, but we’re all from Texas, so we classified the whole bunch as Texas regardless of current residence.) They started trickling in the Wednesday before the wedding, and the shananigans just got crazier every time more arrived!

The first thing you need to know about Texans: they don’t walk. We could be headed to the 7-11 on the corner of our  block for a slurpee and we would jump in somebody’s truck to get us there. In Bend, Oregon, people walk or bike absolutely everywhere. Texas was not pleased when they discovered our evening bar hopping consisted of walking from bar to bar. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if we were starting in downtown, but we started at 10 Barrel brewery, which is a good 5 or 6 blocks from downtown. At least none of the girls wore stilettos! And the Bride kept consoling them with “Don’t worry, it’s only about 2 blocks.” Texas now thinks everything in Bend is two blocks apart. The Groom figured out that he could just clap as we walked and Texas would follow the sound. It’s now the running joke that you just need to clap and Texas will get up and follow you….

Possibly as revenge, we also managed to get kicked out of 3 bars over the course of their visit. Well, kicked out of 2, and we pissed off the bartender at another so that she would no longer serve us, so we removed ourselves. These were not fancy bars that we weren’t properly dressed for and were asked to leave because the boys wouldn’t tuck in their shirts – no, these were the low-class, seedy dives where we didn’t even know it was possible to get kicked out of. We’re that good. (One of the guys commented after that they were trying to get the Bride kicked out of Bend so she would be forced to return to Texas. That’s what awesome friends we have! 🙂 )

Texas is also not the most outdoorsy bunch. “Outdoorsy” to them is floating the calm, warm waters of the Comal River with a cooler and tube shoots, or laying on a boat on Town Lake. So we introduced them to Oregon “outdoorsy”. First up: whitewater rafting. Don’t worry, no one died. The faces were priceless, though, the first time they felt the frigid temperatures of the Deschutes River. The guide told us we were in a deep, calm spot so we were welcome to jump out for a swim. The Groom (and Oregon native) immediately did a nice little hop off the back of the boat. One nice, big Texan squealed like a little girl when he was splashed and refused to so much as touch the water. Then the Bride pushed her brother overboard and others finally took the plunge, even the Bride. However, when the Bride needed assistance back into the boat, her darling brother picked her up by the back straps of her life jacket and the back of her shorts and hauled her back in the boat. Not humiliating at all…

white water rafting Big Eddy Deschutes Bend OR

Texas in a BOAT (*No Texans were injured in the making of this photo.)

The next day, we headed back to the river to try out stand-up paddle-boarding. This is huge in Bend right now. You basically stand on a big surfboard-looking contraption and paddle around. How hard could that be? Pretty frikin’ hard when you’re going upstream against a pretty mean current, not to mention just finding your balance to stay on while paddling at the same time. But we soon got the hang of it and had a pretty great time.

paddle boarding Deschutes Bend OR

A little unsure as the dudes explained what to do…

stand-up paddle boarding Descutes Bend OR

We GOT THIS!

We floated on the high of our accomplishment to another brewery for food and beer to revive ourselves, then jumped on our afternoon activity – CyclePub! Texas had never seen such a contraption (it’s basically a cart of sorts with 12 seats where each person has to pedal. Spin class with booze) and the novelty of it had everyone initially stoked. The hills, however, soon had us huffing and puffing and accusing the Bride of trying to make us all lose weight for the wedding. But the blaring tunes and hot bartender kept us going, even after we accidentally broke a chain and then required the assistance of the driver on a set of pedals to get us up a gnarly hill. Go Texas, go!!

CyclePub Bend OR

We did it guys! Let’s go nap.

After such an exhausting day, we really needed a nap. But there was no time for such nonsense! Back to the bars! We did make this night fairly uneventful and turned in early – we were too sleepy to get into any fun. Saturday, we had tentative plans for more exploring, but Texas had had enough. Everyone lounged, relaxed, did their own thing. I wandered over to the house where the Bride’s family was staying and kidnapped her brother, cousin, and niece for a nice walk. Before long, the day was almost gone and it was time to get gussied up for the rehearsal dinner. The Groom’s parents planned a great event in the beautiful Mountain Room at the top of the Deschutes Brewery. (This is Bend, people, of course everything is at a brewery!!) Amazing food along with these amazing people, lovely views accompanied by lovely music – it was a spectacular evening. Several of us girls used to all work at Best Buy together in college, where we not only started amazing friendships, but turned those friendships into family-ships. A photo-op was totally called for…and in true old school Best Buy style….

Mountain Room Deschutes Brewery rehearsal dinner

Always inappropriate, always misbehaving, always fabulous

Of course, we couldn’t call it a day after that lovely dinner, so we took our hawt selves downtown once again for more raging. We played pooled, we danced, we got asked to please get off the table, we got separated, we got escorted “politely” out the door. So fantastic. Texas really knows how to throw down, and this night was no exception. Thankfully, all us ladies still managed to make it to our brunch Sunday morning where we were getting ready. The Officiant, a close friend of the Bride and Groom’s, opened her house to us and laid out all sorts of fantastic food and beverages. Spoiled us rotten. Slowly, we transformed from a haggard, hungover, cranky group of hot messes into a beautiful, excited, fancy group of giddy girls crying over the Bride in her dress and laughing at the antics of the little flower girls. We headed to the park for some pictures then loaded into a limo for a calm cruise around town before the wedding. So amazing.

The fun was not over after the incredible ceremony. Oh, no, the real fun had not yet even begun! We boozed it up while chatting and waiting for dinner, then stuffed our faces with more delicious food. Then came the music. We all cried when the Bride danced with her Daddy and laughed when the couple pulled out some awesome moves for their own first dance. Then we hit the floor to cut a rug alongside the newlyweds to some rockin’ Texas country, booty music, and line dancing. Many Orgonians looked utterly confused by the foreign dancing, but we soon pulled many of them out there with us and melded our styles into one big party. I don’t know that I’ve ever had that much fun dancing – and I love to dance!

Monday was a sad day, as friends started drifting back home. Our crazy reunion was over, a new group forged to include spouses and new friends. We were so full of the wonderfulness of having us all together that we would just sit and grin at the remaining faces, spontaneously hugging to make sure it was real. We always know our friends are out there – we talk and text and facebook-stalk all the time. But that physical togetherness just doesn’t happen often enough. I know everyone thinks they have pretty great friends – you wouldn’t be friends with them if they weren’t pretty great, right? – but I can’t help but feel deep down that my friends are just, well, way better than yours.

😀

Seventh Inn rafting Deschutes River Bend OR

Little pieces of my heart are scattered across the US with these amazing people





Puppy Love

16 06 2012

Eight days all by my lonesome and I was seeking company in anything I could find – Spartacus my Beta, Babs my bamboo, Larry the spiders, and my baby plants coming up in the garden. I wasn’t lonely, I wasn’t bored – I enjoyed the me time, the quiet, the introspect. Then I enjoyed some rockin awesome girl time with my new Washington gal pals. First was Wednesday Wine night, then my friend’s bachelorette party over the weekend. Holy Moses we had a great time!

I’ve never had a problem doing things on my own. I’m super social and love being with people, but I can totally hang with just me, too. However, these are the kind of times when I really feel the hole, the gap in my little my family. That’s right – I need a dog. Don’t get me wrong, I love Spartacus, and he loves being an only child, but there’s only so much you can do with a fish.

Unfortunately, my landlords aren’t keen on my acquisition of a canine. (Long story that I’d rather not get into…) Sad news. Thankfully, most of my friends have dogs for me to play with whenever I want. Then Monday, we filled up two empty spots of my little heart – we hit the road for Bend.

After my week alone, I now get a week with my fabulous friends, crazy coworkers and sassy sister. I get to go into the office every day and have coffee dates and lunch dates and after-work-drink dates. It’s actually a bit overwhelming to suddenly be surrounded by so much activity.

The best part: my bestie is letting us stay at her house – they aren’t even here! Her and her fiance are in L.A. visiting family, so she just gave us her keys, her car and her guest bedroom. And as an added bonus: she left my niece for me to hang out with!  Ok, so part of the deal is actually that I’m babysitting. But you don’t understand, my niece is the coolest, cutest, cuddliest sweetheart on the planet. Her name is Osa, and she’s a 120-pound Saint Bernard.

Saint Bernard by Deschutes River Bend OR

Enjoying the sunshine out on a walk

I love her like my own. Sure, she might be a touch high-maintenance. Being pure-bred, she has a few health problems. Her pill schedule is impressive. She has special food, special powder for her food, special pills for her digestion, special pills for her thyroid – I’m telling you, impressive. But she takes it like a champ. And you just can’t resist that face! (Especially when she pulls her favorite move and shoves her entire head between your legs…)

Saint Bernard best friend love

Spooning with Osa on the floor – she was in absolute doggy heaven

She’s a crazy good buddy for walks through the gorgeous Oregon outdoors. I even convinced her yesterday to take a jog with me through Shevlin Park! I promised her a little dip in the creek and she relished it completely, slurping and snorting her way through the shallow water. After soaking me with a nice shake as though I went swimming with her, we continued on. I swear she loves the beautiful high desert forest as much as I do.

hiking with Saint Bernard Benham Falls Bend OR

Took a nice hike down to an amazing waterfall on the Deschutes River – she loved it!

I know some people aren’t “dog people,” which I can respect. But I still think these kind of people are loony-bins and I wouldn’t trust ’em! Dogs bring so much joy to life; they give all their love, loyalty and devotion to their People. They gladly give you as much slobber, fur and piles of poo as you could possibly want! (Saint Bernards are extremely generous in the poo department…) But despite that, Osa is 100% part of the family and I miss her like I miss any of my other friends. (In fact, I miss her quite a bit more than some of my other friends…) We’ve been through a lot together, and she’s not even my dog!

lava flow in Descutes National Forest with Saint Bernard on train tracks

Action shot of me attempting to get her to pose with me…it didn’t work well. “Sit!”

But holy cow does she make me want one all my own. Osa needs a cousin! Guess I’m just going to have to move….





Wrapping up 2011

29 12 2011

Can you believe 2011 is almost over?  Done-sies, the end, fin, gone, OVER.  Crazy how fast it seemed to fly by….

By the way, Christmas was good!  How was yours?  Were the halls decked with holly, and twas the season jolly?  Better yet, did Santa bring you all that your little heart desired?!  I came pretty close.  J and I made the trek back to Bend, of course.  Ashlee always jokes that I didn’t actually move, I’m just commuting.  I’m starting to believe her.  I’m also beginning to think a pilot’s license and a private jet would be terribly handy…

Anyway, Christmas in Bend was pretty awesome.  We stayed with my sister this time, although she had to work both Saturday and Sunday, which was a bummer.  Ashlee let us hang out at her house as much as we wanted, and we spent a good amount of time with her and her Momma.  Both of them feel like family to me, which really helped ease the pain of not being with my own Momma on Christmas.  So a great big shout-out and thank you, Momma Ellen, Ashlee, and Morgan, for including us and letting us have “family time” with yall.  It’s a big deal to me, even if I’m terrible about expressing it.  And don’t worry, folks!  I am heading down to Texas to see Momma and Daddy for a belated Christmas at the end of January.  “Christmas” to us is a very flexible holiday and hasn’t landed on December 25th in quite some time.  It’s more about the ability to get together, to eat and laugh and talk and eat and drink and eat; to catch up and pass around pictures and hug a lot.  We really don’t even do presents anymore.  I’m heartbroken that Brea won’t be able to go with us this year.  Circumstances have made it pretty impossible for her to be able to afford a plane ticket, which just makes me outrageously angry at everything – the circumstances themselves, myself for not being able to buy the ticket for her, the government for not being able to fix the economy, and Al Gore for obviously causing global warming.  But that’s life, and the world will continue to spin.  It still sucks.

Back to Christmas, I was tickled pink to get to see my best friends and stuff our faces with Nicole’s heavenly homemade cookies while chatting.  J and I got a wild hair and went to the movies on Christmas Eve and saw Sherlock Holmes 2.  (Its pretty good, you should go see it.)  We did presents with Brea that night since she worked Christmas morning (angry face) and took nice long walks in the lovely Bend weather.  A few gifts here and there, lots of laughing, lots of eating and drinking and merry-making.  You know, all the things Christmas should be.  Delightful.

Up next: New Year’s!  I’ll admit, I really like this time of year.  Not the party and ball drop and staying up past my bedtime – I’ve never had much luck with that part.  I’m more partial to the introspective part, looking back over another year gone, looking ahead to new adventures, new plans, new anything!  I love the fresh feeling of waking up January 1st, the feeling that a new slate is before me, ready to be filled.  Of course, I’m fully prepared with countless pieces of scrap paper and sticky-notes proudly listing goals, projects, ideas, places, sketches, dreams and plans.  I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  I can’t get into the tradition.  Resolutions are too confining for me.  To me, a resolution is something you want to change – lose weight, spend more time with the family, stop picking your nose – and that has negative connotations to my brain.  I don’t want to resolve to do anything.  I just want to plan and dream of all that I could do.  Besides, lets me honest, who ever actually follows through with their resolution?  I much prefer my to-do lists.

Looking back is entertaining, as well.  Look at all we’ve done, what we’ve accomplished!  Due to my unnatural obsession with lists, I like to bust out a blank page and jot things down – new friends I’ve made, new places I’ve seen, new skills I’ve learned, new schemes I’ve hatched.  I’ll even throw in things like projects I never finished, people I’ve lost touch with, items that never received their scratch-through on the to-do list.  I get a real sense of relief by doing this, by reminding myself that I’m not a wart on the face of the planet, stagnant and ugly.  No, I’m living as I want to, most of the time, taking a stab at all this journey has to offer.  And even when I don’t do all the things I want, or forgot to finish something, or never gathered the courage to tackle that belly-dancing class, I can still see that I am moving, pulsating with life, challenging myself to push my own limits.

And that makes me feel good and alive and excited!  I can’t wait for another year to forge ahead, see what experiences I can rack up for next year’s lists.  How utterly awesome to have so much before us, the choices and decisions and unexpected! I can hardly wait to get started!

Oh, and we’re going up into Canada to Silver Star Ski Resort for a little mountain action to ring in all this excitement.  My new snowboard is at the shop right now, getting a nice wax job.  (Not me, just my board.)  Don’t worry, as much as I hate it, I did buy a helmet for this year and plan to at least take my wrist brace with me.  I’ll try real hard to keep all bones intact and other injuries at bay.  Cross your fingers for me….

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?  Do you make new year’s resolutions – what’s yours for this year?  And do you have any plans for the big transition to 2012??  (I really do want to know!)








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