My Mom Told Me, “If You Can’t Say Something Nice…”

24 06 2010

Jason and I are planning an unconventional wedding.  It’s perfect for the two of us, as we each have our own way of bucking conventions.  Mostly, it’s been a good laugh, and we have had overwhelming support from people who know us, and even from people who don’t.

And, really, what could be more fun than a wedding inspired by a horror movie?

So I was shocked, downright appalled, hurt, and horrified to receive this RSVP card in the mail:

Really, an invitation to a wedding is not a solicitation of opinion or judgement.  Who sees an RSVP card as an opportunity to vent?

But I thought about it for awhile.  Jason Voorhee’s mother saw summer camp as an opportunity to vent (by murdering dozens of innocent people, but still…), and we are using our date of Friday the 13th as a jumping-off point for our whole wedding.

And, really, our wedding is all about celebrating the unusual, the out-of-the-ordinary, and the unconventional.  And what is more conventional than manners?  So I suppose, upon reflection, this response is right in the spirit of our wedding plans.

I was forming a variety of acidic responses to the sender of that card as I walked my dog this evening.  My thoughts were interrupted by this amazing moment:

I was stunned by the sight of this little family, not fifteen feet from the path on which Charlie and I were walking.  I snapped this shot as I tried to block them from Charlie’s vision.

You know what?

They don’t give a damn about the theme of my wedding.

And in all honesty, I don’t either.

I care about the man I’m marrying.


Where the Buffalo Roam

23 06 2010

My idea of a “present” for my dog is a shoe box with a couple of treats inside, duct-taped shut.  This can entertain us both for quite awhile.  I rarely buy dog treats or toys for Charlie, though I do feed him my leftovers (and I make sure there are leftovers every time I eat).  But while I may be cheap, I’m not above begging for my dog.

I convinced my mom that Charlie really wanted the stuffed buffalo toy at Orvis for Christmas, and being the mom that she is:

Charlie really does love the buffalo – to a degree that surprises me.  Charlie has been carrying around the same blanket for 10 years, dragging it up and down stairs, suckling and chewing on it, and generally demonstrating that he should have been named Linus.  But recently, he’s come to prefer his buffalo, which is nice.  It’s more age-appropriate.

It’s also more portable than his blanket (the remnants, now, of a twin comforter).  And since we’ve been traveling a bit, the buffalo has been in the car.  I look into my rearview mirror to see Charlie staring out the window with his mouth full of buffalo.  Cute.

Charlie loves having his buffalo everywhere he goes.  He’s also decided that he loves his buffalo so much he needs to bury it.

Seriously, Charlie?  Are you going to go back to Davis Lake next spring and unearth it after a long, lean winter?  What, exactly, is your plan here?

Now I have to spend time picking foxtails out of the damn thing because they don’t come out in the wash.  And when I try to get it away from him long enough to dust it off, this is what I get:

Maybe I’m better off with shoeboxes, a few dog treats, and duct tape.  Lots of duct tape.

Commencement of Camping Season

23 06 2010

Camping Kick-Off, Trip #1 to Davis Lake for the summer, was fabulous.  I missed my boys, though; this was my first camping trip without Carbon by my side since I’ve known him, and Jason is off with his crew this week.

Charlie, however, got right to business, terrorizing the little ground squirrel things twice as fiercely as usual in Carbon’s absence.  Here he is, trying to track one down that escaped into the rocks around our fire pit:

No worries, the rodent was perfectly safe, and laughing at Charlie from across the clearing.

We were mostly left to ourselves, with the exception of the ranger, to whom I was polite; and some yahoo geezer who drove into my camp, parked, and strode right past me to take in the view with hardly a word to me, to whom I was as rude as his silence allowed me to be.  No serial killers on this trip, which is good in the overall scheme of things, but my near-demise probably would have made a better post than benign pictures of a great sunset:

We got our favorite spot, the sun was out (except for a brief thunder shower), the mosquitoes… well, they were biting.  But not enough to chase us away.

All in all, the trip was short, but oh-so-sweet.  And the shower when I got home was almost as good.

Happy Father’s Day

20 06 2010

We miss you, Gary!

Bad Dog

19 06 2010

Jason’s parents offered their hospitality to Charlie and I when we went to meet up with Jason and his crew in the valley (

The Crew


Jason’s parents absolutely spoil Charlie, with sweet talk and chin scratches and bites of food from their plates.  Jason’s mom purchased Charlie, Carbon, and Porter each a dog bed last Christmas when they all came to stay.  They request, quite reasonably, only that Charlie stay off the furniture, though they’ve never shown any sort of anger when the rule is broken.

And, these past few days, Charlie broke the rule.

I tried, oh, I did try.

But we’re talking about a dog who has been visiting my own mother for ten years now, and still jumps up on her Pottery Barn couch every chance he gets.  He climbs up and makes himself comfortable, and looks not a whit ashamed of himself as my mom and I yell and wave our arms and tell him NO!  He goes into a death roll when I grab his collar to drag him off.

We’re talking about a dog who disappeared for a few hours last summer, and was finally found sleeping on Jason’s neighbor’s bed.  Granted, I was a hundred miles away when that happened, but I was right there the day Charlie ran into the same neighbor’s house and ate his dog’s food.  To this day, I only have a nodding acquaintance with the guy, but Charlie’s given himself the full tour of the man’s house.  And backyard, which was yet another day.

So there just wasn’t much of a chance.

I sat with Jason’s family watching a movie last night.  Although Charlie’s bed was in the living room with us, it wasn’t long before we heard the click of his nails going down the hall, a soft whump, and the jingle of dog tags.

“Charlie’s on the bed again,” Jason pointed out.

With a sigh, I went to drag from the guest room a dead weight that belied Charlie’s lean frame.

Good thing he’s cute.

Summer Vacation, Days 2 and 3

18 06 2010

When I met up with the crew, Jason was busy dealing with this little incident.

No harm done, just a little wetter than anybody realized. Two feet of mud is pretty deep.

Charlie and I headed off to enjoy the valley's greenery.

And we looked good doing it, too. Meanwhile, the crew had to work. Gotta love being a teacher, at least in late June.

We saw a little bit of wildlife. Not much sun, so this snake was moving very slowly.

On our second day, we did some more hiking while Jason worked. Here, Charlie is refreshing himself with some spring water. Just wait for the giardia post.

Here is us, not lost, which is good because I left my Christmas GPS from my mom at home.

On our second hike of the day, 13-year-old Charlie put up quite a bit of resistance. It made me nostalgic for those days when he could hike 14 miles in a day, take a nap, and wake up and do it again.

Charlie was DONE at this point. No posing for the camera, no time for a second shot or readjusted camera positioning. See how lovingly I tried to force his head into the shot? He was determined to head down the trail back to the car.

SO, I didn’t get my sleeping all day, my couch-and-book time, my chore time.  But I did get slightly better photos than I would have if Jason hadn’t convinced me to drive over here.  Although I do look good in bunny slippers.

From the Road

18 06 2010

Day 1 of my summer vacation ended with the commencement of my first trip of the summer.  Jason’s crew is training in the college town in which he lived until last September.  His parents live nearby.  While I had big plans to sleep late, lay on the couch and read, and finish up a variety of domestic maintenance tasks, Jason lured me west with talk of a river float.  The river didn’t cooperate, but I headed over the mountain anyway.  Because I do like floating rivers, but I’m rather fond of Jason, too.

The drive from high desert to mountain pass to valley wasn’t nearly as dramatic as usual, since this year’s record-breaking rainfall has damaged the desert’s arid reputation.  And the rain continued all along my drive.  It didn’t make for great driving conditions, but you have to just drink up all that green.

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