Winter Walk

4 02 2012

Bundled Up

Going Nuts

Lost Little Mitten (Found)


Winter Sun


I Married a Fish Biologist

26 09 2010

I was walking Charlie along the river front one recent afternoon.  At a boat put-in, we walked down the sandy slope so Charlie could get a drink of water.  To my amazement, I saw some sort of lobster creature in the shallows.

Two young men were exercising their dogs nearby.  I called out to them in my excitement.

“There’s a lobster thing in the river!”

They looked up, but didn’t come rushing over.

“Seriously,” I insisted, “You have to see this!  It has, you know, giant claws and stuff!”

They still didn’t come over, but one did respond.

“That’s a crawfish,” he said, flatly.

“Oh,” I said, filled with shame and wanting to disappear on the spot.  “Ha, ha.  I guess I don’t know my river creatures too well, huh?  Ha, ha.”

I continued my walk, and eventually came upon a group of kids playing by the water.  They looked to be about seven or eight years old.

“Hey, we found a lobster!” one of the girls called out.  “We have it in that cup over there!”


I have been visiting this town for several years, and been a resident for some time.  You’d think that in that time, some innocent child might have mentioned strange, river-dwelling lobsters on one of my previous river walks.  Speaking of might-have-been, you’d think that in my years of Girl Scouts and camping trips and summer camps, at some point a crawdad might have been pointed out to me sometime in the last thirty-some-odd years.


It’s really just the cherry on top that my husband identifies species in rivers to monitor the water quality for a living.

Luckily, he wasn’t there.

This isn't a lobster, and it isn't a crawfish, either. But it's a cool looking snake we saw in the river a few days after my lobster fiasco. "Look, an eel!" I might have said.

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.

Summer Vacation: Day 1

17 06 2010

My first day of summer vacation was not exactly photo-inspiring.  It was a cold, drizzly day that didn’t feel like summer at all.  It did, however, feel like vacation.  I have been looking forward to the commencement of my first real summer vacation for nearly three years now, all through two summers of grad school.  It would have been nice to start it off with 80 degree, sunny weather, but I’ll take sleeping in until 9 in any weather.

I made it out to the new house/construction site by 11, and walked the property in a break between showers.

The flowers spoke of sunshine, even if the clouds told a different story.

I went back to my mom’s house to recover from my excursion to the paint store and the new house.  After a hearty meal and some quiet reading time, I eventually managed to leave the house again, this time to walk Charlie.  Naturally, we ended up in a heavy shower.  Charlie cared not one bit.

The sunglasses are pure optimism; the hood, required.  I wore my jeans and hoodie in deference to the weather, but determinedly wore my Chaco sandals – we leave for Costa Rica in just a couple of weeks, and need to be sandal-ready by then.  Obviously, I could use a pedicure, too.

That’s what walking in the mud gets you.

The highlight of my wanderings was this brilliant flower:

It was just growing along the curbside, and was so brilliant it hurt to look at it.  Notice the raindrops all around.  The sky was the same color as the sidewalk, so we were just surrounded by gray.  Then here is this little red flower, just humming with vibrancy.  Amazing.

Anyway, my to-do list included writing thank you notes for my bridal shower gifts, emailing several people who emailed me weeks ago, cleaning up my wedding invite list, starting a decent summer fitness routine, finishing a book that’s overdue at the library, and catching up on several years of inadequate sleep.

Didn’t get any of that done, but at least I took care of the most important chore of my life:

Can’t wait for Day 2.

Not A Dog Fight

31 05 2010

I have been spending weekends here at the new house for over a month now, and have developed a morning routine.  I make my coffee (on the camp stove, on the grill, on the temporary stove in the deconstructed kitchen), bundle up, and take a walk around the property.

The dogs, of course, love to follow.  Inevitably, the two dogs, who mostly ignore each other, commence our stroll with thirty seconds of exuberant playfulness.  During the half-minute revelry, they pounce on each other, chase each other, and crash into my knees at bone-cracking velocities.

As inevitable as this brief interaction is, just as inevitable is it’s abrupt end.  The two dogs each find something more interesting than the other dog, and off they go in different directions.

But here is a piece of the action:

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The Worst Pet Owner in the World

25 05 2010

Yes, the title refers to me.  Charlie spent part of the weekend running around our 3 acres, but he hasn’t had a proper walk in days.  So today I took him for a walk.  With his day-old stitched neck.  In the rain.  He was wearing a pinch collar.  In my defense, the pinch collar was the only leash option that didn’t come anywhere near his stitches, I put his water-resistant safety vest on him, and he didn’t seem to mind the adventure at all.

In the end, I think I suffered the most.  While trying to keep anything from touching his stitched neck, I clipped the leash to his collar.  To the pinch collar.  To his vest.  I readjusted the vest 20 times in an attempt to get it to protect the stitches from the rain.  I took off the collar.  I unclipped the vest.  I walked with my arm straight above his head to keep the clip on the leash from touching his neck.

Charlie, meanwhile, went about his business of sniffing and peeing.  He probably enjoyed his walk more than usual, since I didn’t dare yank on his leash to drag him away from the smells.

Finally, when it began raining harder, I took a “short cut” home.  This last leg of the trip involved a frantic scramble through bushes that kept coming within one centimeter of Charlie’s wound.

So, we made it.  Cleaned up the blood, dried his fur, fed him dinner, and took note of the lesson I really hope I learned today.

Charlie, sporting a Stoneworks t-shirt to protect the stitches

Yet another effort to protect his wound from his scratching

Among the efforts to protect his stitches that were not documented in this post are the wife-beater tank top and the blaze orange safety vest.  None have been successful at anything but humiliating the poor dog.

The Chair

11 05 2010

The Story of The Chair:

Charlie, Carbon and I – now just Charlie and I – take our daily walks around the BLM land.  It’s like an extension of our front yard, and I know it well.  I take note of trees blown down, beer cans abandoned, new deer tracks.  A couple of months ago, all three of us were startled by the overnight appearance of two recliners.  They were left on a dirt track, facing the same direction, for all the world like there was a TV off in the distance.  I thought, “I need to get a picture of this!” but kept forgetting my camera.  Since our discovery, Carbon died and we bought a house.  I haven’t spent nearly as much time wandering the BLM acreage.  Today, I finally remembered my camera.  I hurried to the chairs, hoping nobody had hauled them off in the weeks since I last saw them.  Luckily, both were still there, and one was still upright and in decent shape.

I had much better shots in my head than I ended up with.  Charlie not only doesn’t know his own name, he doesn’t know certain basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “gaze into the distance while I spend three minutes madly taking shots from a variety of angles.”  I got one shot before he leapt from the chair and began running mad circles around me, his leash flying behind him.  Given the state of the chair, it’s hard to blame him.

The Chair

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