Category: Warm Fuzzy

Charlevoix lighthouse as seen from the water.
Charlevoix lighthouse as seen from the water.

Six Month Recap

You will have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a good long while (duh). I’m trying to get back into the habit. It’s harder than I thought it would be to just get started. I’m faced with the decision – just pick up from here or try to recap the last six months? Bill says he didn’t realize how much he counted on my role as family historian until I stopped blogging. I guess I might be sorry in the future that I let the last six months’ worth of happenings slide by without mention.

I also stopped writing at Beyond Megapixels and put the site on hiatus (the content and archives are still up, though). Until just a couple of months ago, I hadn’t picked up my camera since we were at the cabin in January. I’m finally getting back to photography for pleasure, but I really burned myself out on all the freelance stuff I did last year. So I’m just now coming back around to thinking about looking for some more freelance writing and photography assignments.

Yes, glaring signs of depression. I’m back on Wellbutrin and I’m working through things, and I’ve been feeling quite a bit better lately. Well, with the exception of some stuff that I’ll get into in a bit. As you (or at least long-time readers) can probably imagine, the destruction of our Maine plans really hit me hard. So it took me quite a while to work my brain back around to the realization that things, in general, are good. My life is blessed and I’m enjoying it. I love the new job (well, I’ve been in the position a year now) I have at AcronmyCo, and I got a promotion earlier in the year. It’s nice to be appreciated.

So. To get caught up, you’re getting bullets. Sorry, I know you hate that.

– Okay, let’s just get the heavy stuff out of the way first. A few months ago I went to the doctor because of a pain I was experiencing in the lower right side of my abdomen. Signs didn’t point to appendicitis, so I was advised to… ahem… “eat more fiber” and that was pretty much that. A month later I went back again. I still had the same pain, and her advice didn’t resolve the problem. So they took an x-ray, didn’t find anything wrong other than trapped gas (sorry, TMI), and I was sent on my merry way. Then during my annual physical a month later I mentioned that I was still experiencing the pain in my abdomen, and the doctor finally sat up and paid attention. An ultrasound was performed, and come to find out I have a baseball-sized cyst on my left ovary. On the opposite side of the area causing me pain. Which is a puzzler.

So, I was instructed to go to my OB-GYN for a consultation. They scheduled me for some blood work and a CT scan, and determined that the whole shebang needs to be removed. Cyst, ovary and all. It’s a complex cyst, which along with the size (10 cm) is a slight cause for concern. But the bloodwork came back absent of tumor markers, and they scheduled me with a regular surgeon and not an oncologist, so that’s good. So! That puppy is getting removed on August 20th, after which I get to enjoy a two-week convalescence.

I also had a mammogram during the course of my physical. They had an “inconclusive” result for my right breast, so I was sent to another lab for a deeper scan and an ultrasound. After a PAINFUL hour of squishing, pressing, and manipulating, the doctor reviewed the results. They found a small lump that was cause for some concern, so I get to have a biopsy on August 15th to check THAT shit out. I know they tend to be overly cautious about these things, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Still, what the fuck, body? Time for the 40,000-mile tune-up? (You know, because I turned 40 in July. Heh.)

So! Other than the bullshit of having to go through surgery, and the minor EEEEK! going on in the back of my mind, I’m confident that everything will be fine. It’s just… man. You know?

– Robert and his fiancee Jenna got married a few weeks ago, and we headed out to Cheyenne for the wedding. They asked me to be their photographer, which was a great opportunity for me to keep my camera in my hands. We were really excited about seeing our Wyoming family, and seeing Robert – especially since we haven’t seen each other face-to-face in almost two years. So, I have a new daughter-in-law and a new granddaughter! Robert’s new in-laws are lovely, lovely people and made us feel like we’ve all been a family for years.

As usual, we had a blast traveling with Amanda. She’s seriously one of our favorite people, in addition to being our daughter. We ate too much and may have possibly caused some consternation for the good people of Domino’s during one late-night pizza delivery order (I’ll only show the video to a select few). We had a lovely cook-out at Robert’s new in-law’s house and enjoyed the effects of the storm that rolled in.

Wyoming Rainbow

We enjoyed another cookout with Bill’s side of the family, though part of that visit was spent in the basement when the tornado sirens went off. I was all, “HOLY SHIT.” Everybody else was all “Eh, happens all the time.” Meanwhile, Bill was wandering around outside LOOKING FOR THE TORNADO.

Anyway. Wedding photos are here. Here’s on of my favorites:


– Bill and I went to Michigan back in June for Aaron and Michelle’s wedding – he was a groomsman and I was the matron of honor. That whole wedding weekend was AWESOME and was the reason I finally started taking pictures again. We hung out in the lakeside village of Charlevoix and their wedding was held at Castle Farms which OH MY GOD. WHAT a place to get married. We stayed together with over twenty people in a rented house within walking distance of the village. We played Cards Against Humanity every night, and frequented the Bridge Street Taproom so often that we became regulars in the short time we stayed there. The ceremony and reception were absolutely stunning – beautiful in all its details and so very much fun. It was truly depressing to have the party come to an end, and Bill and I VERY MUCH didn’t want to go back to Arizona when it was time to leave.

All of the photos that I took are here, and here are a few of my favorites from various sources (alt text indicates the photographer):

But oh... those summer nights!

By Darrell Christie Photographyt

Photo by Ray Weidman

Photo by Ray Weidman

– I turned 40 on July 20th. We spent the day at Aaron and Michelle’s, swimming and eating cake. I purchased tickets to see Jersey Boys (for the third time), and the show was last night. AWESOME, as usual. Umm… so, yeah. That’s all I have to say about turning 40. Huff.

– Michelle, Amanda, Liz (Aaron’s mom) and I had an overnighter at the Junipine Resort in Sedona in May, for a girls-getaway-slash-bachelorette party prior to Michelle and Aaron’s wedding. Our cabin overlooked Oak Creek, and it was so lovely and peaceful and quiet. I loved being able to fall asleep listening to the creek. We went on a booze-and-munchie procurement run, rocked out to a playlist with multiple personality disorder, ordered room service and teased the poor delivery boy, and caused low levels of mayhem. The trip up was marred by a fender-bender on the highway (Michelle was driving, HI STRESS NICE TO SEE YOU), but nobody was hurt and the car was still drive-able, so we didn’t let it slow us down. Then on the way BACK we discovered a branch of Vom Fass hidden in a corner of Tlaquepaque which we were TOTALLY geeked about. I thought the closest store was in Jackson Hole. So, yeah. Stocked the hell up on Sour Cherry Vodka, various whiskies and rum.

– We traded the Dodge Ram in for a Ford Mustang GT on Mother’s Day. No need for a 4×4 truck when we’re not moving to Maine and we already have a Jeep. It’s a FUN car, and it’s been so long since we HAD a car that the novelty still hasn’t worn off. Weird to have to sit down into a vehicle, rather than climb up into it.

– My niece Sable (my sister’s oldest, and only daughter) came out for a visit in late May. She lives in Maine but was on a US tour, of sorts. She models and had gigs in Boston, New York, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and California. She stayed with us for almost a week, introduced me to Vegan food that wasn’t disgusting, and just kind of chilled. On the last day of her visit she and I drove up to Sedona. We had a prolonged lunch, shopped a bit, and then I dropped her off with a friend of hers that happened to live in the area. They road-tripped it to California the next day. It was great to catch up with her – we haven’t had the occasion to just spend one-on-one time together, since I moved away from Maine when she was just a toddler. SMART kid, and having the time of her life.

– Bill, Aaron, Michelle and I got dressed up all fancy for no particular reason and had dinner at House of Tricks in early March (food decent, service AWFUL), followed by drinks and dessert at Rula Bula.


– Bill and I had a Valentine’s Day to remember. We both decided to really go all-out for each other. Bill spoiled me by having flowers delivered to me at work the day before Valentine’s, then a huge box of gourmet chocolate covered strawberries delivered on Valentine’s day. I re-created our “pizza on the roof” date (one of the first dates Bill and I had was when we sat out on the roof of my house and shared a pizza – I thought I’d written about that before but I can’t find an entry on it). I made him stay downstairs while I set the scene – a blanket, a few pillows, a dozen candles, a pizza, a bowl filled with ice and beer, a couple of snifters of whiskey, and my iPad with a new “Valentine’s Day 2014” playlist. When it was almost dark outside I lit the candles, then lead Bill upstairs. I’d taken the screen off of the window in the guest bedroom and he was mighty confused when I told him to go out the window. Then he saw what I did… and I’ll just say that it was a great surprise and a rousing success. It was a beautiful night and a wonderful memory.

– In early January we continued the tradition of renting a cabin in Flagstaff during/around the holidays. Aaron and Michelle joined us for a couple of nights, and Amanda stayed a couple of nights as well. It was a repeat of the previous visit with a lot of lounging in front of the fire, playing inappropriate card games (Cards Against Humanity in this case), eating and imbibing.

Amanda is the Dog Whisperer:


Okay! I think that pretty much catches us up. Everything else that happened is mostly minutia – work, being grown-ups, hanging out with friends and family, playing with the pups. Bill and I head to Indy next week for our annual MotoGP trip which we’re REALLY looking forward to. Long time readers will recall the dude we always meet there – though he’s put his online persona on hiatus and doesn’t use his real name on the ‘net. Didn’t get to see him last hear since we had to cancel the Indy trip after the whole Maine Moving Debacle, so we’re doubly excited this year.

Oh! And I heard from my ex-husband last week – a voicemail, thankfully, left on my work phone while I was at lunch. First time in ten years. Psycho nutjob now accuses me of stealing his identity and opening up/racking up credit cards in his name. THE FUCK? Why am I still on his radar, and why does he automatically think of ME when something goes askew in his life? Apparently I’m hard to forget.

Further details forthcoming as the situation unfolds. Hopefully, that voicemail is the beginning, middle and end of it.

Leave me comments! How are YOU?

Desert sunset
Desert sunset


It really isn’t hard to remind myself of how blessed I am. Even in the midst of a crappy week or two (and I had an EPICALLY crappy week a couple of weeks ago) I look around me and struggle to count my blessings not because I can’t identify them, but because there are so many of them.

Two in particular have been resonating with me on a near-constant basis as of late. The first, of course, being my relationship with Bill. Now, I am a great lover of romance, and the number of romance novels in my collection rivals the number of science fiction and fantasy. There isn’t a whole heck of a lot of romance between Bill and myself – for all that I love the idea of romance, my pragmatic side is in the forefront most of the time. Romance and pragmatism are diametrically opposed. And Bill is… well, Bill. A great husband, sometime deliverer of warm-fuzzy bombs, but not so much a hearts and flowers kind of guy. Which isn’t to say there hasn’t been any romance at all in our relationship, it just happened early on, during the time when Bill was “still required to impress me” (his words, not mine).

What we have is constancy. The dictionary definition is so much the desired culmination of romance, as to be romantic in and of itself:

The quality of being unchanging or unwavering, as in purpose, love, or loyalty; firmness of mind; faithfulness.

THAT, my friends, is what Bill and I have. And I am blessed beyond measure because of it.

The second blessing I’m counting today is friendship. I don’t have a vast army of friends. I have a finely distilled selection of quality friends who are ALSO constant. I don’t see them all the time, I don’t communicate with them all the time, and occasionally we fall off of one another’s radar for a not-short period. But when we do reconnect there is no judgement – on either side – about lack of communication. I know I’m in their hearts, they know they’re in mine. That’s how friendship works.

I’m feeling grateful for two friends in particular today, for no specific reason other than I love them. One is my good friend Aaron (formerly known on this site as “Archibael”), with whom I have been friends since we both started working at AcronymCo back in 1995. You may recall such epic entries as this one, or this one. If you’ve REALLY been paying attention you may recall that Aaron helped name this website. Anyway. Our friendship suffered some distance, due entirely to the fact that Aaron’s ex-wife is an unpleasant, judgey individual. She did NOT approve of my relationship with Bill, therefore cut HER friendship off with me and pretty much expected Aaron to do the same. So, though we communicated at work, had some fun e-mail exchanges and occasionally dropped by one another’s desks for a chat, we didn’t hang out. I knew things weren’t great, life-wise, for Aaron. He’s not one to burden his friends, though, so I offered him a shoulder if he needed it but that was all I could do.

Then, about a year ago, he contacted me to let me know that he was getting a divorce. Much celebration ensued. And THEN he got a new girlfriend, Michelle. More celebration ensued. Then we MET Michelle. And I met the twin sister of my heart. She has become one of my closest friends. On top of the fact that she’s awesome in her own right, she makes Aaron very happy. AND we get to all hang out together and do really fun stuff. It’s like I got a long-lost friend back, with an added bonus bestie to boot.

Last Friday we all got together to have a special dinner in celebration of my graduation. We went to a restaurant so fancy that they actually put my NAME on the menu. They’d asked when I made the reservation if we were celebrating anything, and I told them about getting my degree.


(Click to enlarge, and let’s hear it for crappy cell phone pictures!)

The food was truly exquisite, but it was the company that made it a celebration. We all got all dressed up, had a fancy dinner, went to Tonic (our neighborhood bar) and listened to a good band… it was all terribly grown-up of us. And so much fun!

So yes, I am grateful. For Bill, for Aaron and Michelle, for all of my other friends both near and distant, for my family members both near and distant, and for the online community of friends with whom I have shared so much over the past going-on-thirteen years.

Warm fuzzies for everyone!

Life is full of pretty days.

My feed reader is full of bloggers hailing from Northern climes who are all atwitter about the signs of spring in their particular locales. Snow is melting! Sun is shining! Crocuses are… croaking! Well, folks. I’ve got your “signs of spring” right here:

Ninety by Thursday. Phooey. Every year I complain that it’s too soon for it to be getting hot again, and every year I’m RIGHT.


Bill and I went out to lunch in Scottsdale last Sunday. He recalled seeing The Grotto, a little Italian place on a corner in the Old Town district with an outdoor patio. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to stuff a pancake (yes Bill, I know it’s a crepe) with a mixture of veal and chicken, then smother it in cheese sauce and spinach, should have a statue erected in their honor. Even if I could only eat two thirds of one. Gotta remember to split plates at that place.

It was a beautiful sunny day, low 70’s and breezy. When I thanked Bill for the “date” he kind of looked at me funny, then said, “Yeah, I guess this would make a good date if we were going out.” To which I responded, “We ARE going out. Permanently.” “Yeah we are!” he said, and grabbed my hand.


We adopted a new pup back on February 19th, from the HALO Animal Rescue. Her name is Piper and she’s what our vet affectionately calls a “Pocket Pit”. I call her a sport model. She’s a Pitbull, pure bread as near as we can tell, but she’s tiny. She’s probably about year old so she’s pretty much fully grown, but only weighs about 32 pounds and is quite a bit smaller than Bailey (who weighed close to 55 the last time we went to the vet). She must’ve been the runt of the litter.

She’s extremely sweet and affectionate. She and Bailey get along very well, and we’re working on teaching her manners. She has “sit” down pat, and we’re working on “stay”, “wait”, and “come”. As well as “GET DOWN” and “STOP LICKING ME.” She walks well on the leash and strange dogs don’t phase her a bit (as compared to Bailey who STILL freaks out at other dogs). Piper came to us with a tail injury which we tried to get to heal, but in the end the vet determined it had to be amputated. That happened last Friday, and now she’s suffering the indignities of the Cone of Shame. We’re ALL suffering from the Cone of Shame – it’s at shin height to those of us who walk upright, and the edge of that plastic is sharper ‘n a mutherfucker. Bailey finds the cone handy, though – she can grab it with her teeth and force Piper to do her bidding.

I’m looking forward to the first time we take both of ’em Jeeping. THAT’S gonna be an interesting day.


Apparently, 209 5×7 photos weighs 2.4 pounds.

You see, while I adore photography I very rarely have my photos printed. They adorn the Internet but not my walls. I recently got it into my head to create some sort of a photo board or collage. Last weekend I went through the photos that I’ve taken over the past several years, chose a couple of hundred of them, and got them printed.

They arrive on Wednesday. I still have only a vague idea of what I want to do with them. Suggestions?


Speaking of photography, I posted an article about spending a day with a macro lens over at Beyond Megapixels. That day was lovely, too.

And that’s all I have for today. I miss this space.

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