Tag: catch up

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:

formaltriounderarch

– 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.

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– 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:

willsitforcookies

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?

Piper and Bailey saying bye to Daddy one morning.
Piper and Bailey saying bye to Daddy one morning.

An Update of a General Nature

One of the things I’ve loved the most about keeping a blog is the ability to go back in time, read a handful of posts, and recall exactly what life was like then. That time we did the thing. Or when the funny thing happened. Or the thing we bought. Or the stuff we said. Or the places we went, with the stuff we saw.

Thus far, I haven’t captured many memories of 2013. So, for the sake of my future self and to continue with my responsibilities as Family Historian and Archivist, the regular(ish) posting shall commence forthwith. Plus, I love my readers and they’re probably leaving me in droves by now.

You guys! Come back! Wait up!

———-

As previously mentioned, Bill turned 50 at the beginning of the month. Since nobody likes to celebrate a birthday on a Tuesday, we waited until the weekend and went up to Flagstaff for an overnighter. We left at about 9:30 on Saturday the 5th, and were comfortably situated at the bar at Flag Brew by noon with our beers and burger (me) and fish and chips (him). It was a BRISK sunny day, which gave Bill and I the opportunity to wear the Aran sweaters we got in Boothbay (Maine) this past summer (mine looks almost exactly like this one). I mourned ever getting to use them since we canceled our moving plans, but damn were we glad to have them up in Flag. The wind blew roses right into our cheeks, but we sucked the fresh air into our lungs as deeply as we could. It just smells so good up there, with the pine trees and the lack of smog. There were dogs everywhere, as is the norm for Flagstaff, and we spent the weekend wishing our own pups were with us. Which is a BIG DEAL for Bill, since he’s usually not very tolerant of dogs in non-park public places (like hotels and bars). But Flagstaff is a very dog-friendly town – excessively so, really. And none of the dogs we came across were assholes (check that – none of the dog owners we came across were assholes).

We made a brief appearance at the Oktoberfest being held in a park just down the street from our hotel, but fled as the polka band began to oom-pah. The beer line was WAY too long, anyway. We checked in at the Weatherford Hotel, built in 1898. That’s about as old as things get in Arizona, which just makes me want to pet the fascinated tourists on the head and say, “Aww, innat cuuuute.” Growing up back in Maine, I had friends in Gloucester Village that lived in houses built in the 1700’s. Arizonans don’t KNOW from old.

I do love old buildings, though. They talk to you. The creak of the doors, the crack of the stairs as people go up and down, the squeak of the floor above you and below your feet, the clang and groan of the plumbing, the way the air moves and the voices echo. It all makes me feel really nostalgic. That is, until 2:00 a.m. when the cacophony of it all keeps me wide awake. Which was the case during our stay. Our sleep wasn’t at all helped by our noisy-ass drunken neighbors stumbling up to their rooms from the bar downstairs, then holding full-volume conversations right outside our door.

“Dude, I’m drunk. Have you seen Clara?”
“She’s still in the bar.”
“Wanna go back down?”
“Nah, I can’t feel my legs.”
“Oh wait, there she is.”
“OHAI GUYS I WAS IN THE BAR AND THEN I THREW UP AND DECIDED TO COME FIND YOU. HI! HI!”
“SHHHHHHhhhh…hehehehahahahahaaaaaaaa…”

Yarg.

We’ve been to Flagstaff dozens of times, but only stayed at the Weatherford this time because we’ve eaten in its restaurant and partied in its bar, but never actually stayed in the hotel. Next time we’re going back to our old tried-and-true, the historic Hotel Monte Vista. A little further down on the “rustic” scale, but QUIETER. And cheaper.

Anyway. We pub-crawled our way around Flagstaff, caught the ASU/Princeton game at Collin’s Pub, had a couple of late-night tacos, soaked for a bit in the claw-foot tub (Me: “This is the kind of tub the serial killers always use to chop up or dissolve the bodies. And like, horror movies where the character sees the water coming from under the bathroom door, and slowly opens the door and creeps to the tub, and looks down into the murky water…” Him: “THAT’S IT, I’M GETTING OUT.”) and crashed as well as we could in our noisy hotel. The following morning we went to MartAnne’s for a couple of their crazy-huge Mexican breakfasts. I swear, EVERY time we roll out of there, groaning, we promise we’re going to order ONE breakfast and split it “next time”. And then we never, ever do. It’s a problem.

———-

My childhood friend Kim, whom I’ve known since we were both really little (like, four? and our birthdays are five days apart), is coming out to visit in a few weeks. Of all of the things to be upset about cancelling our move to Maine (and there are a LOT), not being able to finally hang out with her and her family whenever we want is one of the biggest disappointments that I’m dealing with. After catching up and hanging out for a couple of days back in June while we were in Maine, she made plans to come out and spend some time in Arizona. We have a LOT of fun planned for the handful of days she’ll be with us. I’m so excited about this, you have no idea. She, and her AWESOME parents (and yes, even her stinky little brother, who is now a DOCTOR, for the love of God… and Kim’s a lawyer, and holy CRAP did their parents do a good job) were one of the brightest parts of my childhood. Kim is one of those PERMANENT friends, the kind that’s just as close as ever, despite distance and gaps in communication. When we do see or talk to each other, it’s as if the distance isn’t there at all. Oh, I just love her.

Anyway! Bill and I are using Kim’s visit as the impetus we needed to finally fix up the upstairs bathrooms and guest bedroom. It’s not going to turn into another Home Improvement Project from Hell (Part 1) (Part 2, Part 3), thank God. We hired Re-Bath to completely gut and re-do the master bathroom, and Bill decided to tackle the smaller bathroom at the top of the stairs himself. So far he’s removed the toilet, vanity, mirror, and medicine cabinet, re-finished the shower tile, repaired all of the drywall, and painted the walls. The new vanity, toilet, medicine cabinet and light fixtures go in this weekend. Then we just have to pick out a new faucet and mirror and it’s done.

Re-Bath will be working on the other bathroom next week (I get to work from home all week, woo!). Then we need to pick out and install a new vanity, faucet, mirrors, cabinet, light fixtures, and toilet. Re-bath is just going to do a new tub/shower, tile floor, and wall treatment. THEN we’re re-painting the guest bedroom and getting some new accents to spruce it up a bit.

We’ll take a pause to let our budget recover, then early next year we’re going to spruce up the back yard landscaping (PATIO FURNITURE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD), put a back-splash in the kitchen, replace the carpet in the bedrooms, paint our bedroom and get new blinds, and maybe finally get a new couch for the living room. At THAT point I hope we’re good to go for another thirteen years, since we had the exterior of the house painted this past summer, and put on a brand new roof back in 2010. I keep telling myself that all of this work we’re doing to our home is an investment. Right now it’s hard to view it as anything other than a big ol’ financial drain.

Tell me again why we haven’t won the lottery yet?

———-

Umm, what else? My new(ish) job is going along great, and the group of people I’m now working with are awesome (not that the old group wasn’t, mind you). The new routine, new campus, and new responsibilities have served to renew my enthusiasm in the ol’ Monday through Friday thang.

Amanda is finally moving from South Phoenix back down to Chandler, five miles away from us. We are extremely stoked about this, because the neighborhood she is currently living in is unsavory, to say the least. She’s well able to take care of herself, has the dogs and a pistol, and I know that anything can happen regardless of where she’s living… but still, we have more peace of mind knowing she’s moving to a better neighborhood.

Robert seems to be doing well up in Cheyenne. We hear from him about once a week. He and his girlfriend are renting a house together, and she has a young daughter who keeps them both on their toes. He did have to go on furlough when the government shut down, as he’s in the Air National Guard and works on the base in Cheyenne. Now that that’s over with (for now!) things are looking positive for them.

Bailey and Piper are utter canine perfection. Except that Bailey still has that aggression thing toward other dogs while she’s on a leash (she’s perfectly fine off-leash, it’s weird), and Piper managed to dig up and chew through the irrigation pipe for the drip system in the back yard. But OTHER THAN THAT, they’re awesome awesome awesome. Piper is so easy to train, because she really WANTS to make you happy, and all she has to do is watch Bailey do her sit, or stay, or come, and Piper is all over it. The only thing Piper doesn’t get is why Bailey finds the laser pointer to be so damned fascinating. Bailey will chase (like, HARDCORE SERIOUS FACE chase) it all over the back yard, and Piper will hop around all, “Hey! This is fun! I don’t get it, but this is fun!” These dogs have given us all kinds of belly laughs, and there’s nothing in the world quite like being greeted by a pair of ecstatic dogs at the end of the work day.

Okay! As far as catch-up posts go, I’m callin’ this one done. Hope everyone is having a fantastic fall!