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Thursday, June 26, 2008

A little R & R

I haven't worked since Saturday. Its been great just being home, catching up on things, and relaxing. Not exactly a vacation, but just as nice as one. I spent a lot of time with Shawn. My mother came to visit, which was awesome. And I spent a lot of time with Shawn's mom and sister. It was great to be around so many people that I care about, particularly my mom. We had my dress fitted. It was awkward initially, but when everyone saw me with my dress on they exclaimed how beautiful it looked. I felt so pretty and absolutely enjoyed all the compliments. (who wouldn't?!) When October comes I am sure the feeling will be indescribable. My mom took lots of photos, but I have to wait for her to send them to me.

Besides all the family moments. There was an awesome rainbow after a nasty storm. In fact at one point it was a double rainbow. I, of course, went nuts taking photos. Not often do you see something that spectacular.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Puppies?

Well I have a boy and a girl beagle and for a reason neither of them are fixed. Puppies. About a month ago Bonnie was in heat, but I didn't think she got pregnant. It was only her second heat and not always does it happen right away. For weeks she didn't look any different. But now that I think about it she did throw up a couple of times in the morning after I fed her these last few weeks. Dogs with morning sickness? I never knew there was such a thing.

In the past few days she has all of a sudden taken on a more round shape. Since there are no pregnancy tests for dogs I am assuming that perhaps she really is pregnant. I have to schedule a vet appointment now to confirm and make sure everything is going to go smoothly. But if my calculations are correct she should be having puppies in about three weeks, maybe four. Beagles only gestate for roughly 60 days. So short! What we will do with puppies until they reach eight weeks I have no clue, but I am hoping some friends and family will be interested in giving any little baby beagles we happen to be blessed with a good home.

Here's the momma to be!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

First Wedding Hiccup

Well, after being engaged for 10 months I've finally had my first official wedding "hiccup". Probably the long stretch of ease in planning is due to the fact that I haven't been incredibly over productive when it comes to doing things. Now that the date is a little less than four months away things actually have to be done, which leads to the potential for all one's hard work to be undone and scrambled, as I found out.

The dress fitting.
Like any small town everyone knows someone who can "give you a deal" or has a specialty. I've been referred to people for everything from flowers to hair, but most I have not followed up on... as I mentioned... I haven't been overly productive. Shawn's mother decided to insist I use her friend as the seamstress to fit my wedding gown. I agreed, mostly because I do not know anyone up here and she was also pretty insistent. So I called and made an appointment... June 25th at 11am. I made that appointment over 2 weeks ago. Since then I told my mother of my plans to have the dress altered and she insisted on coming up just for the occasion. Mothers are just so insistent! So my mother booked a plane ticket for a one day trip just to see me in my dress having it pinned up and measured. My future mother in-law also insists on coming, as well as my one bridesmaid that is up here, Shawn's sister. Its turned into quite the event, with lunch to follow after.

Today I was half asleep on the couch when the phone rang. In all honesty I thought it was Shawn's mother and decided not to answer. I was too tired and lazy for conversation. If it was important she would leave a message. Well a message was left, but it wasn't from Shawn's mother. Turned out the number belonged to my seamstress and the message she left informed me that she had to or wanted to cancel our appointment next week or move it earlier. EEeeek!

So my mother is coming all the way from Maryland. My future mother in law took off work. My bridesmaid canceled plans in order to come and the lady wanted to change the appointment. To top it all off I had a dentist appointment to have my wisdom teeth examined just two hours before the seamstress appointment. I had to make the dentist appointment over a month in advance and can't afford to move it because my teeth are starting to bother me. What was I going to do? I couldn't get a hold of her all afternoon. My anxiety increased as time passed. What if I had to tell my mom not to come? Should I find another seamstress and make an appointment as a back up? Would Shawn's mom and sister be mad if they ended up using a personal day for nothing? If it had to be rescheduled would anyone come the second time? How could I come earlier and still make my dentist appointment? I was so worried, but decided not to dwell on it... at least until I got a hold of her.

Finally, late tonight, I got in touch with my seamstress. She wanted to work at her other part time job that day and wanted me to switch my appointment to another date or time. When I explained my mother was coming she seemed irritated and then asked how early I could move my appointment. I then had to explain my dentist situation which was not what she wanted to hear. To appease her I said I would try to be there around 10am. Hopefully I will have plenty of time for the dentist prior.

At least the worst possibly outcome didn't happen. My mother is still coming, along with everyone else. It was just a little hiccup. Not exactly what I had planned, but not a disaster either. If this is the worst thing that goes awry with my wedding than I will be completely happy, but there is so much left to do!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And the Thunder Rolls...

Not often in Vermont do we get to experience severe weather. When it arrived the other day I was actually more than excited. All day we had a tornado watch and severe thunderstorm watch. I waited patiently for the afternoon when I knew the storms would come from the west and finally reach me. When they came I excitedly grabbed my camera and headed out for the hills, literally, to photograph the sight.

As I stood out in the open it was awesome and even scary at times. Being so exposed to nature feels as if in a small way that you are testing God, or at least facing him. I was humbled and full of adrenaline all at the same time.

When lightning began streaking over my head and the edge of the storm approaching with torrential rain I finally decided to hightail it to a safer location. Once the storm passed over I went down to the lake and photographed the storms as they headed further towards the east.



I am still, by far, an amateur photographer and am learning how to optimize all the settings on my camera. Sadly, most of my pictures turned out blurry and out of focus. That is most unfortunate because storms like these do not happen often. Even if the photos did not turn out as great as I would have hoped at least I had a great time getting them.

...and just because I like to show off here is another photo with more lightning. The strikes are off center which, given my tad bit of obsessive compulsiveness, bothers me. I like the top one better. But of course you can have your own opinion!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Relay for Life

This weekend one of my shifts at one of the various ambulance services happened to be during the Relay for Life. I had never been before and had no idea what I was in for, but I was not keen on spending my entire night out of a warm bed. My partner was participating and insisted that we go down as soon as I came on shift. I was reluctant, thinking an evening of TV and relaxation was better than some crowded fund raising event I hadn't raised any money for. Besides, as horrible as it sounds, I --thankfully-- do not personally know anyone who has died from cancer. Even a kid in highschool who died from cancer I can't recall ever actually meeting. However, the guilt of not going and watching TV instead was too great so I went down.

When I got there it was not what I expected. I still had the mindset that I was going to stay only for an hour or two and then head back. There was at least a thousand people there, possibly more. Way more than I had expected. Once we got to the track I was also amazed. It was a tent city. People had pitched tents in the middle of the track to sleep in and along the sides of the track on both sides were tents with vendors offering items and services for a donation. A stage was set where live bands played all night long. There was a spaghetti supper offered. Every hour there was an theme or event that went on around the track. It was impressive. The air was carnival-like and it was warm enough to remind you of the fourth of July, except there were no fireworks.

What there was were thousands of little paper bags with candles in them lining the track. Each bag had the name of someone who had died, was fighting, or survived cancer. Most of the bags I noticed were the names of those who had died. I didn't recognize a name, which actually made me realize how lucky I am. But seeing all those bags with all those names humbled me. So many people affected. I spent most of the time walking around and around the track. Occasionally listening to the cover bands that were there and borrowing $10 to get a professional massage that was awesome. Yes, there was even a masseuse there.

At midnight they hold a relay race where teams are formed and the goal is to run as many laps as you can in an hour. Somehow I was elected to be part of the relay team and because of that I stayed at the track until midnight. Once the time for the relay came I was pumped. It had been years since I ran a 400m sprint, but I was eager to see just how good I was going to do since I run frequently. Our team ran 34 laps total in an hour. The winning team, a bunch of state finalists in track, ran 54 laps. Show offs. I was completely happy with my 400mbest time of 1:45. Here's a photo of our exhausted relay team:



After the relay I went back to the base exhausted and tired beyond belief. What I was so reluctant to participate in had actually been a lot of fun. It was not what I had expected and I felt guilty for being so against going later. Maybe next year I will sign up and actually participate fully. Just because I don't know someone with the cause doesn't mean its not a cause worth fighting for.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lawn care misadventures

Today the sun is finally out and its HOT, like summer hot. After a week straight of rain and this sudden burst of warmth and sunshine our yard is beginning to look like the start of a forest. The grass is out of control and the bugs are worse. As I mentioned before our lawn mower is out of service so I had to resort to other methods. No one has a push mower nearby to borrow that is functioning. I found out we are not the only ones who are in the same predicament with an out of control lawn and no containment methods. With no mower I decided to venture into a more extreme version of grass mowing... the weed whacker.

I am, by far, no master when it comes to mechanical objects and had never used a weed whacker before. Now I was not only about to use one, but going to use one for a use its not exactly meant for, lawn mowing.

At first I was unable to get it started. I had to phone a friend, Shawn, in order to even figure out how it operated. When it actually revved up and started going I was ecstatic. Everything else had to be easy...right?


Well here is what I learned today. All the HARD way...

- Absolutely under no circumstances should you touch the spark plug once it is turned on. You get electrocuted.

- Do not wear flip flops. or Shorts. Ouch. Dress appropriately at all times, even if it is 90 degrees.

- Wear gloves unless you like blisters.

- Mosquitoes are not afraid of the weed whacker and when you are using it your hands are not free to swat them away. *itch itch*

- Changing the string is something I still don't understand, but apparently I did it correctly without any instruction and no one lost a finger or an eye. yay!

- Weed whackers require a 25:1 gas to oil ratio which apparently I do not know how to mix or fill once it runs out. Now the weed whacker won't start, thus ending my learning experience. darn.


The yard looks marginally better. I only use the word marginally to make myself believe that all my efforts were not in vain. When Shawn finally comes home Monday I think we are just going to have to buy a lawn mower and do things the real way. At least I know how to use a weed whacker, sort of, and learned many valuable things along the way. haha.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Where has all the sunshine gone?

Its rained or been cloudy for the last four or five days in a row. Before that we were blessed with several weeks straight of perfect temperatures and clear skies. You can't expect such weather to go on forever and I don't mind the rain, but the extremes of the weather pattern is rather annoying.

Speaking of extremes our weekend/next week forecast seems to be. Temperatures are forecasted to be around 90 degrees. For Northern Vermont in the first week of June that is pretty extreme. Even July and August temperatures aren't that hot on average. Most of the extremely warm days I will be working and wearing a dark blue shirt with dark blue pants. If anyone remembers my sixth grade science fair project (for which I got an Honorable Mention and still have the ribbon!) I proved that dark colors absorb light and become hotter than lighter colors.

All this rain followed by the fore casted high temperatures also means legendary bugs. Bugs up here are already unholy. Right now you can't step in grass or brush without stirring up a swarm of several dozen mosquitoes. Good luck going for a walk because chances are you will be attacked by hundreds of black flies (like gnats). There is no real way to control the population, but mowing the grass helps. Unfortunately right now my mower is inoperable and I do not have the mechanical skills to fix it. We have to deal with the six inch high grass and bugs for now.

Oh spring! We all hope for the snow to melt quickly and green leaves and grass to return, but, just like the snow, its not all pleasant.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Moose!

Anyone that knows me or has visited my house knows that I have a fascination with moose. A lot of the furniture and decor in my house is moose related. Thankfully I live in a log cabin where such a decor theme fits on beautifully. I even have moose themed plates, bowls, and silverware thanks to my "in laws" this past Christmas. Almost every time I go shopping and see a new moose stuff animal or beanie baby I try and buy it. None of the ones I own are the same. You would be surprised how different stuffed moose can be!

I remember my first time seeing a moose. When I first came up here I would drive and drive around swampy places just hoping to see one. The first time I saw one was in the fall. It was a calf (a baby moose) that ran right out in front of our vehicle as we drove down a dirt road. Before I even realized what it was it had vanished into the woods. Now I see moose about every time I get in the car around dawn or dusk. It is nothing to see a half dozen or more along side the road. Despite seeing them so much I never get tired of it.

One of my favorite things that Shawn and I do is get in the car and drive around looking for moose. We don't have to go far and usually see quite a few, especially this time of year. You never know if you are going to see a big bull or a cow with a calf. Usually when you slow down to get a good look at them they run off. Last night one little moose, who was probably one or two years old, stood and seemed not to mind us watching him.




Moose, one of the many great things about living in the Kingdom of the Green Mountain State.