Wednesday, August 12, 2015

That time I became an English Rose; though exceptionally wine sodden and noticebly wilted.

I’ve lived in a couple of different provinces in Canada, numerous states ranging from New York to California and several in between.  I even spent a week sleeping on a beach in Mexico.  My point is, I get around.  North America, that is.  This May, I finally ventured out of my comfort continent.

Erik and I whisked ourselves across the pond to The Lakes District in England where we joined his family who all flew in from PA.  We stayed in the most charming 5-bedroom cottage called Ings, right outside the village of Threlkeld.  I feel like I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have visited so many amazing places in my life.  But this place?  This place most definitely makes the top 3.  I don’t have the mental capacity to consider the other 2 right now so don’t bother asking.


This is the wasteland we encountered every morning when stepping out the back door.

The odd little creatures wandering past the kitchen window to keep me company while washing dishes. 

Apparently these are called sheep and we were there during  something called lambing season.  Previously, my only real experience with them involved mint jelly.

Never again.  Seriously.  After seeing these adorable little bouncing bundles of fluff, as delicious as they are, I simply can't do it.  I would never make it on a farm.  Or an apocalypse. 

There was a pub we frequented often for dinner that was within walking distance using the footpaths that cut through numerous fields.  Fields that had been frequented by a plethora of those bouncing bundles of fluff.  Fields that had accumulated copious amounts of sheep shit.

That little white dot right in the middle?  The cottage Ings we were staying in.  Adorbs.

Which clearly called for an investment in plaid adorableness in the form of wellies.  Which I insisted I would continue to wear regularly once I returned to my dry desert of Utah.  (It's been 3 months since my return and I'm not even sure where they are.  Shhhh!)

After dinner and drinks at the pub, while stumbling our way back to Ings, Jean (Erik's Sister who I absolutely adore and will go along with pretty much anything she suggests) insisted we should all go for a hike up the "mountain" we'd been looking at all week.

Yeah.  That's the "mountain", straight ahead.

Superb idea!  Jean, her boyfriend and I were the only three to think it superb.  So off we went!

It was not a superb idea.  

We had to stop every 5 minutes to catch our breath.  About halfway up (though that's probably being optimistic) Jean threw herself on the ground, gasping for air and insisted she tasted blood.  

We did not conquer the mountain that day.  Or ever.

But!  There was this!! 

And this!!

But best of all?  THIS!!!

My favorite part of each day, was gathering around the big wooden table upstairs by the fireplace after dinner.  We'd all have our favorite beverage of choice and we'd play games.  The first night, we made the mistake of breaking out the UK version of Trivial Pursuit for Kids.  I don't think we'd ever felt dumber in our lives.  Unfamiliar with British terminology or pop culture, none of us were faring well.  When it was my turn and I got the question, "How many years are in a decade?", I was so used to getting everything wrong, not to mention I was half a bottle of wine in, I panicked and could not, for anything in this world, remember the answer.  

I was soon vindicated from my solitary stupidity when the fact that I'd misplaced my drivers license came up.

Me: "It's no big deal.  I'll just get a new license once I'm home."

Erik: "You do realize that means waiting in line for a minimum of two hours at the DMZ."

Me: "UGH.  I know!  Except for that bit where I'm not going to ANY Koreas."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cancer and Rain Clouds. They're Both Stupid.

My Dad has cancer.  Oh.  Maybe I should have eased that into this post a little more delicately.  But I don't feel like it.  They found it in two places and he just finished the round of tests to see if it's spread to his bones or organs.  Now we're waiting for the results.  So that's fun.

I was on my lunch break when my Mom let me know the results of the biopsy had come back and that it was in fact, cancerous.  I had actually forgotten all about it because it was never really an option that my Dad would have cancer.  We're not that family.  We don't get serious illnesses.  Dementia, Alzheimer's, sure, those a-holes are inevitable.  But my parents need to live long enough to get them.

Back to work I went with a blotchy, red face.  When my coworker asked if I was okay I was really good about holding it together.  I lasted a whopping .001 seconds before my chin quivered, face crumpled and the flood gates opened.  So that was fun too.  

Anyhoo, since then I've been doing a really great job of not thinking about it.  Coworker asked the other day how I'm doing with it all.  I told her just fine.  There's no reason to get upset about something that may or may not be worth getting upset over.  Until I know something factual, it's not an issue.  She said that was a really positive and healthy way to view it.

It's called denial.  And last time I checked (which, let's be honest, is never but still pretty sure I'm right) denial is never a positive or healthy way to deal with things.  Which may help to explain the little black rain cloud that's been looming over my head and following me around like an annoyingly shitty shadow that only serves to make me think I'm stubbier and rounder and fluffier than I really am.

After being fired in October, I went to visit my Sister in Nova Scotia which turned out to be the best trip I've ever had there since visiting as an adult.

  I started a new job in December which pays more than I was making at the place that canned me and gave me 4 weeks of vacation right off the bat.  10 days of which I'll be using this month for a vacation in England.

Once I get back from England, I'm trading in my jeep for a newer model.

I've recently gone back to school and just finished my first class.

I still have the best dog any girl could ask for and many people in my life who love me and I love them.

All of these amazing, happy things to have going for me.

And yet...

This damned little rain cloud refuses to stop growing.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bitter Is The New Black

So, I got fired.  Two weeks ago.  From a job I've had for 7 years.  I was summoned to the conference room on the top floor where they gave me the news.  I listened to what they had to say and didn't question, argue, or most importantly, cry.  I declined to sign their paperwork and was then escorted out of the building. 

I've often wondered what people do all day if they don't have a job to go to.  I don't think I've ever been busier.  I'm not exactly sure how I ever got anything done when 8 hours of my day was spent in an office doing work for other people.

Today, I slowed down.  I had lunch at the park with a good friend while we played fetch with Milo and just were.  I declared I was going to spend the rest of the day there, at the park, with my dog.  Which of course I didn't because there were multiple things at home that I needed to get done.  None of which I did.  I got home, sat down at my computer, and then made the mistake of thinking.

My first job ever, I lied on the application and stated I was legally of age to work there.  I wasn't.  I was 15.  I've been working ever since and have never been fired from a job in my entire existence.  I think today it finally hit me.  This was a job I actually took pride in.  ME.  Taking pride in something rather than my usual apathetic, sarcastic dismissive self.  I KNEW I did my job well and it was stressful and difficult and caused me to wake up in the middle of the night and gave me an ulcer and an innumerable supply of cold sores and half my hair is now white.  As frustrating as the position was, I felt good about what I did there.  And now?  I'm unemployed!  I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around this fact.  I had to file for unemployment.  As in, I'm getting free money for doing nothing while I search for another job.  Which I'm ridiculously grateful for.  And feeling ridiculously guilty about.  Though I haven't taken the time to work out why.  Being busy has kept me from having to actually process everything that's been happening.  But it's caught up with me today.  And it's brought me to tears. 

I'm posting this entire mess in an effort to purge some of this bullshit I'm feeling.  I'm hoping getting it out will help me move forward.  Does that actually work?  I was supposed to go see Thriller tonight at Kingsbury Hall at the U of U.  I decided instead that I didn't want to leave the house again today.  So I didn't.  Instead, I decided to wallow.  Wallowing sucks.  It's self-indulgent and pathetic.  But today, I needed it.  Or wanted it, I suppose is more accurate.  Plus, it's Monday.  And Monday's just suck in general.

But OH!!!!!  Oh guys!!!  On the upside?  I received this heartfelt card from my former employers.  Two days after being fired.

 They're pretty thoughtful like that. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Reunited And It Feels So Good!

The internet is a funny place.  It’s allowed me to connect with people across the world I would never know existed otherwise.  It’s like a virtual Pandora’s Box except there’s good mixed in with the evil.  However, once Pandora’s Box has been opened, there’s just no shutting that little Mofo.  Once you’ve allowed some internet tomfoolery to enter your life, it’s like cyber lice that no amount of head shaving can vanquish.  I could never have imagined that innocently agreeing to meet up with a couple of fellow bloggers 3 years ago would turn out to have such severely detrimental and far-reaching consequences.  And so, it’s with a heavy heart filled with shame and remorse that I shall relay the story of The Burners.
This August was the 3rd year in a row that Brett and Rich have driven through my lovely Salt Lake on their way to attend Burning Man.  The first two years were pleasant enough, appropriately tame and all parties involved left with their dignity intact.
This year however?  THIS year?  *deep tragic sigh*
THIS is the kind of shit that went down this year.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let me tell you a bit about these two.

I still have no idea what either of them really do for a living because we never seem to get around to talking about that.  We stick to the deep, meaningful life discussions that involve things like...balls.  And naked karaoke.  And...whatever.  My POINT is, it doesn't matter what is discussed.  If you ever have the opportunity to hang with these two, do it.  You won't immediately regret it.  They both have this way of making ANYTHING fun.  They're two of the most accepting people I've ever been lucky enough to know and I've come to love these idiots dearly.

We met up at the bar Piper Down again.  Brett, Rich and their beautiful blonde companion, Allison.

Brett had another couple of friends show up but I can't recall their names so we'll go with Blondie and Blondier.  Or, as the night progressed, Drunky and Drunkier.
I brought my own blonde backup in the form of my friend McQueenie.

So we've got the two veteran Burners, a whole lotta sexy blondeness, and then me.  The red-headed step child let out of the attic for this very special occasion.

We ordered dinner.  Poutine and scotch eggs for me.  I'd never tried scotch eggs and was clearly not drunk enough to enjoy them as I imagined they're meant to be enjoyed.  Unless they're like the Scottish version of brussel sprouts in which case, why are they even on the menu?  It's a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried.  On this night, a lifelong conviction I'd always held dear was shattered.  Deep-fried does not guarantee automatic enjoyment.

I KNOW!!!!!

More drinks were ordered, shots were consumed and dancing by Drunky and Drunkier commenced.
It was with a mixture of annoyance and jealousy I watched them dance with the tight lipped smile of a woman whose version of dancing involves someone yelling for a wallet to be shoved into her mouth to avoid biting off her own tongue during what is clearly an epileptic fit.

Dancing was eventually terminated when the bouncer made them sit down.

At one point Drunky started slanting towards the floor while in her seat then jerked upright with a sloppy sideways smirk.  Brett looked over at me with a grin and said, "She just mentally fell".

While they continued their feminine hijinks, I worked on removing the judgmental stick that had somehow wedged itself up my ass and tried to focus on the conversation.  We got back to talking about the trip.

The ride they purchased for the trip was a '96 El Dorado RV they fondly named, The Goat.  Allison began to wax poetic about how impressive the size and girth of The Goat was while Brett piped in with, "We're really into goats".
Brett and Rich have always talked about what an amazing adventure Burning Man is and how everyone should have the chance to experience it at least once in their life.  I asked Rich why his wife hasn't ever joined him on this marvelous enterprise to which he replied, "She hates dirt".
They showed me a picture of the layout of the camps and discussed how their setup was conveniently situated between the Thunder Dome and the orgy camp.

And it was at this precise moment my life took a turn for the worse.  Rich stated, rather than asked, saying I was going to Burning Man.  Being trapped in the desert for a week surrounded by oddly dressed strangers who seem to have a penchant for blind acceptance and love for their fellowmen, sounds like some kind of fresh new nightmare specifically designed for my own personal circle of hell.  So naturally, I agreed.  In the form of a stinky pinky swear. 

And now, just thinking about this poor life promise I’ve made, I can feel my soul drooping within me, draining out my ass.  That anal leakage?  Oh, just my soul. 


Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Week Baby Stella Ruined My Life

I know it's been 17 years since I last posted, and let's be honest, it will probably be another 17 before I do it again, but in my previous rambling, you may or may not remember this little girl...

This little bundle of fuzz is a spitfire swirled into a tornado, mixed with a big glass of stubborn.  This is the little girl Erik (aka E1) adopted after meeting my pup, Mr. Milo, and falling in love.  Naturally.  

This was the first time they met and the very first time he got to hold her.  Since day one she's adored him and she's had Erik wrapped around her little waggly tail ever since.

Milo and Stella were the twins of the litter but couldn't be any more different when it comes to their personalities.  The first day I met Milo, he snuggled his little head into my neck and that was that.  He's my little mellow Milo.  Stella on the other hand, has more energy than can possibly be contained in that one little body.  I once had her on my lap and she was so excited she was whimpering and licking and waggling and when it finally got to be just too much, she flipped herself over onto her back and started doggie paddling the air.  She's an effing weirdo.  And I love her.

As does Milo.  They're lucky enough to live conveniently close to each other and get sibling play dates together at least once a week.  When Erik travels out of town, puppy slumbo time!  They go to their vet appointments together and even got spayed, neutered and micro-chipped together.  If, at any point so far, you've rolled your eyes even once, it's totally justified.  The ridiculousness of it all has been recognized and then just as quickly discarded ages ago.  In fact, when I think of the hundreds of dollars I've already spent that could have gone towards new shoes, I kind of want to staple myself in the head.  Until I look over at that sweet little face and then I just want to snuggle it until he sighs his deep, martyr-like sigh and I know he's had enough molestations for the moment.

Little Miss Stella has led a charmed life during her first 7 months.  She's been happy, ridiculously loved and never gone a day hungry.

And then she had to go and try to ruin it all.

A play date had been scheduled.  Milo and I picked up Stella and I drove them up Millcreek Canyon that allows dogs free reign off leash.  Both pups have always been amazing and come when I whistle or call them by name.  They absolutely love this canyon.  They tore through the snow, high marked the sides of the hills before tumbling back down and tag teamed any other dogs roaming the trails.

On the way back down, a skier swooshed past me and got in between me and Stella.  He could see he was scaring her so instead of trying to pass her, he loudly swished to an abrupt stop.  That sound was all that was needed and Stella bolted.  I sighed and grumbled and Milo and I took off running after her.  The trail curves quite a bit.  She was fast and already out of sight.  Assuming she'd run back to the car, I wanted to catch her in the parking lot before she decided to head down the road.  It was already getting dark.

Finally huffed my way to the parking lot only to discover Stella was nowhere to be seen.  A woman sitting on her tailgate said she'd been there for the last 30 minutes and hadn't seen her.  The first whisper of worry hissed through my heart.

Milo and I head back up the trail and I bellow her name while squinting into trees through quickly fading light.  We hike all the way back to where she initially bolted and back down to the parking lot, calling for her the whole way.

By now it's completely dark and I'm without a headlamp.  I pile Milo into the jeep and have to drive halfway down the canyon before I can get cell service all the while peering into the darkness and cursing my eyes for playing tricks on me. My heart is pounding, I feel as though I'm on the verge of losing it and briefly wonder if this is what a panic attack possibly feels like.

Erik answers and I completely break down.  I have to pull over after blinding myself with the torrent of tears. 
"I've lost Stella!" I belted into the phone.  I had to repeat myself 3 times before he could understand what I was saying through my hysteria. He said he was on his way.

I called my Erik and blubbered the situation to him.  He grabbed the headlamps and headed up as well. 

After the 3 of us searched for what felt like an eternity, we called it quits and drove off the mountain without her. I don't remember how many inches we got that night but it snowed.  A lot.  And I cried. 

The next four days were torture mixed with smatterings of marvelous.  My friend Specialized printed off tons of flyers for me to put up and even put some up himself.  My sweet friend Tara made her own posters and plastered them all over the canyon in the spots I'd missed and nearby areas.  So many people offered to help search for her.  I posted her picture on every site I could think of and by the end of it, her picture had been shared over 1,000 times by absolute strangers.  Calls to animal hospitals, vets, and daily walk-throughs of the shelters produced nothing.  I was reduced to trolling Craigslist looking for the thieving wretch who stole her, ignored the fact that she was chipped, and decided to sell her for meth and/or blowjobs.  Because just the thought of her still being lost up in the cold and snow with nothing to eat was more than I could stand.  I was absolutely useless at work.  If anyone even glanced at me sideways, I'd burst into tears.

On day four, Erik (E1, Stella's Dad) had to leave town for work.  He debated cancelling but had worked hard to get the contract in the first place.  There was nothing more to be done and I promised to continue to check the shelters every day and return to search the canyon.

I sat at my desk and continued trolling Craigslist.  And then my cell rang.  A number I didn't know.  Normally I'd decline those but my cell was on Stella's posters.  A hiker had heard barking up a steep incline near a picnic area.  He gave precise locations.  I wasn't optimistic but it was a lead.  I called my Erik since he has the flexibility of working from home and off he went to search.

Thirty minutes goes by and it's another number I don't recognize.  I answer it and the first thing the woman says is, "I think we've found your dog".  My heart starts galloping in my chest and I feel like I can barely form the questions.  I want so badly for it to be Stella but what if it's not?

"Is she wearing a blue Kong collar?"

She is.

"Does she have one blue eye and one brown eye?"

Sure does.

At this point, all my amazing, patient coworkers who have been dealing with my random bawl fests sporadically throughout the week, have all popped up and are peering over the cube walls with hopeful, questioning expressions.  My boss, Cathy, has come out of her office and is standing next to my wall. 
As soon as the woman assured me it was the pup I've been searching for, I completely lost it.  I started sobbing, couldn't even speak, and handed the phone to her.

Cathy made the arrangements to meet up and since I'd carpooled that day, she bundled me into her jeep and went tearing down the freeway while I latched onto anything I could with a death-grip wondering if the next corner would be the one we roll.

I tried calling both Erik's.  Mine was still searching the canyon with no reception.  E1 was still on his flight.  I left mine a message letting him know what was happening.  I didn't leave E1 a message just in case there was some huge cosmic screw up and it wasn't really Stella.

It was Stella.

 I'm not sure who was happier to see who.  Cathy managed to snap this shot amidst the chaos of one of Stella's angels holding her LOST flyer.
After running from the skier, she'd made her way up an incredibly steep hillside with a cliff drop off on  the other side.  She dug herself a little burrow and hunkered down.  From the first callers description, Erik was able to find where she had been but she'd already been rescued by the time he got there.

The couple who rescued her, heard barking.  The husband hiked all the way up to where she was, scooped her up and headed back down.  Stella slipped out of his grasp about halfway and ran back up to her bunker.  This dear man trudged back up to get her again and they managed to carry her to their truck.

After more tears, awkward hugs that the couple didn't especially want but I couldn't help myself, and many thank yous, I jumped in the back with Stella while Cathy ferried us home.

On the way, I snapped the photo below to send to E1 with the caption, Someone wants to say hi.  On our way home now.

He got it while walking through the airport terminal and broke down weeping.  Geez.  Get a grip big baby.

Sometimes, just sometimes, people don't completely suck and miracles really do happen.