Monday, July 20, 2015

Whale of Seven Years

As of July 15, Mister Splashy Pants has been part of our family for seven years.  Seven years!  and I have rarely posted since her kittenhood.

We are far away and miss her right now, but she is certainly guarding the in our absence, and likely protecting us from unprotected upholstery*.

Happy joining our family day, Mister Splashy Pants.

*Protected upholstery has a nice layer of short white hairs upon it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

3,652 Days Down: Bring on the Next 3,653**

As of today, The Mister and I have been married for ten years.

July 2005
To my knowledge, there are no household cleaning appliances coming my way, and he doesn't yet know about all of the fantastic canned seafood coming his way once we reach Colorado (Ten, is, after all, the "tin anniversary" and Zingerman's was sadly sold out of the tins of tinned fish I planned to buy him).

Any reader of this blog already knows I think we make great partners, so I am not going to over-sweeten you with tales of how great he is.  Ask, or check out the stories or our travels and images of him and his sons if you need to know.

I'm also not going to sentimentally recall our wedding (although it was pretty great, and ended successfully with the Mister and I married).

Instead, today I am going to post a list of things that I haven't done and places I haven't been with the Mister.

The Mister and the Setting Sun, Many Glacier, Montana
June 2015
This was prompted by 1) The Mister's immediate longing to return to Yellowstone (while we were still there) as it is one of his favorite places in the world and we hadn't been in eleven years, 2) my ache at being in Many Glacier in Glacier National Park for a night. A little piece of my heart is there so why haven't we been back in eleven years?  and 3) my accompanying realization that not only have I not been back to the South San Juans since 1995 (?), I have not been there with the Mister at all.  American Basin and Uncompahgre Peak hold a huge chunk of my heart (23 days without shower or toilet paper in a beautiful part of the world will do that to you) and I want the Mister to understand why.

Ten* Little Parts of My Heart I Have Not Yet Shared with the Mister

American Basin in the San Juan Mountains; Colorado
Threave Gardens and Inverewe Gardens; Scotland
A Grove of Coastal Redwoods; California
The Alps; Switzerland, France and Austria
Tea at The Isabelle Stuart Gardener Museum; Boston
The Rugged Pacific Coast of Northern California and Oregon
Raclette and Bagna Caulda
The Mountains Around Gothic, Colorado
"Flying" through powder on downhill skis
The Great Sand Dunes; Colorado
The Georgia O'Keefe Museum; Santa Fe

I'm looking forward to hitting them all, along with many places I've never been and places I haven't imagined going, with The Mister in the next 3,653 days.  Happy anniversary Mister!  I'm glad we're married to each other.

*11 included because the food items and downhill skiing only half count.  I think the Mister has eaten these items, and we did go skiing in West Virginia, but I don't think that they occasions fairly represented the emotional attachment.

**Yes, I am nerdy enough to work out that the first ten years of our marriage include two leap years and the next ten years will include three.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Learning what it means to be our family.

I've already mentioned that we travel to give our sons a better sense of what it means to be an American (even if being an American family in Western Canada means the privilege of collectively cheering for Cameroon, Ecuador, Italy, and Germany barely registers as odd). We also travel because it teaches the boys what it means to be a member of our family.*
Inquisitive learners with life size falcon and eagle wings.
The Peregrine Fund, Raptor Center, Boise
I'd like to think that it is in their genes to be inquisitive learners who love to eat, but there are somethings that must be learned.  It may be in their roots to appreciate mountains, growing things, and all forms of transportation, but why would we leave that to chance?  Better to let the boys ride "the mule" and the water taxis with grandparents, work in a garden at every stop, and view all kinds of mountains from all kinds of angles.
It took me years to learn that not everybody who travels travels the way we do. What if my sons expect vacationing to be lazing around on a beach for a week**?  Preventative measures were taking.  My sons are learning what it is to be one of us.

Water Taxi, Vancouver
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Apparently visiting botanical gardens on vacation is a norm for us.

Lake Louise Ski Area, Banff, right before we saw
the grizzles in the earlier post
Frozen treat and Glacier National Park
Eating in mountains is kind of what we do
Badlands.  Green.  I just can't get over that.
*Disclaimer: I should be clear; we mostly travel because the Mister and I enjoy it, and also because our town can be miserably stifling in the summer and because I will get asked to work (and not get paid for it) if I hang around too much in the summer.  
**As it was, we still got asked "are we going to do anything fun today?" after visiting Devil's Tower, eating pie and ice cream mid-afternoon, taking a cave tour, and discussing pizza for dinner.









Monday, July 6, 2015

On Rhubarb and Rodents

While every trip has an official destination (the recent one was the Vancouver-Yellowstone trip), and most have some personal significance (this one was Women's World Cup - my Mother's big birthday- Mister's Parents' 50th anniversary [and possibly our 10th]), many also acquire an unofficial agenda.
Columbian on guard in Canadian Rockies
Yellowstone-Glacier 2004 (what I call our engagement trip) became the Quest for All Things Huckleberry.  Canadian Maritimes 2008 was the Where Eat Seafood in Canada trip and last summer we embarked upon "I states can be interesting" or something like that.

Uinta grooming in Yellowstone
This trip was about rodents (but then they all are) and rhubarb.  We weren't crazy about rhubarb like we were about huckleberries in 2004, but we did have  rhubarb several times before we left and proceeded to buy a rhubarb-strawberry gallete-let at the Farmers' Market in Osoyoos, British Columbia, ate the most rhubarb-y rhubarb pie I have ever experienced (along with a piece of intriguing Rhubarb-Raspberry-Jalapeno) at the Purple Pie Place in Custer, South Dakota. drank a fresh rhubarb shake in Murdo, South Dakota, sampled a wonderful Sour Cream Rhubarb pie from Broken Bow, Nebraska and there picked up some rhubarb stalks to fix into something wonderful here.  We also ate rhubarb yogurt in Vancouver, because it was something different and sorta Canadian.  Independently, my mother just sent a photograph of her third large rhubarb harvest of the season.

Notice the shoulder humps!
As for rodents, well, I would have to consult the Mister's exhaustive animal list, but it includes this Columbian Ground Squirrels from Canmore, Alberta, this Uinta Ground Squirrels in Yellowstone, and this Yellow-bellied Marmot in Custer State Park (just a few yards from where we saw his relative 8 years ago).  Non-rodents included bears (both black and grizzly, like these at Banff), bald eagles and sea otters, and big horn sheep in many places, including the verdant (!) pastures of Badlands National Park.

Prairie Dog picked up two new provinces (British Columbia and Alberta) and we probably received full value of our National Parks Interagency Pass (Rocky Mountain, Dinosaur, Golden Spike, Glacier, Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, Jewel Cave, Badlands).  Canada, along with Idaho, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota were all new for both Dianthus and Aster.
Green green badlands


Otter directly below the eagle at water line

Always up for a new adventure.
Moraine Lake in Banff National Park



Saturday, July 4, 2015

Radiant Jupiter (aka Americana Cheese Part 2)

One goal of taking the kids on a 7,000 mile road trip is that they gain some appreciation of our country, its history, and its diversity.
I really have no idea if that goal is being realized, but Aster and Dianthus do look cute next to the replica of the Jupiter from California at Golden Spike as they commemorated the May 10, 1869 "joining of a nation" on June 3, 2015. (The 119 from Omaha was absent due to scheduled boiler washing on the first Tuesday of the month.)
Happy Independence Day, fellow United States Americans!

Last year's cheesy 4th of July image can be found here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Glowing in Canada from all over the world

I couldn't access my blog while we were on the road,* so I haven't had the chance to tell you just how much this World Cup means to me, and feel I won't possibly do the subject justice in the short time between now (and afternoon crafts at the library) and the big USA - Germany semi-final this evening, but I must try.

I wrote last year about the world part of the world cup being important to my mother and me, and about how I seem to be always travelling during world cup soccer.  While I was pregnant with Aster four years ago, the Women's World Cup brought me to tears.

Turns out it still does.  Sitting high in the stands in Vancouver, I missed the big Ecuador-Cameroon handshake for peace because I was crying so hard.  Dianthus asked why I was crying and I tried to explain I was crying because I was happy, to which he replied, "I know tha-at, but why are you crying?"

Before first match, after first big happy cry.
I was crying because it seemed perfectly normal to him to have driven almost 3,000 miles to watch women from South America play soccer against women from Africa at a stadium in Canada with his grandparents.  He has no idea that lots of people still don't consider women's sports a sport worth watching.  Half his soccer team is made of girls and he passes to them just as much as he passes to the boys on his team**.  He has no idea that his grandmother played half-court basketball in her youth, and the logic that girls couldn't run the whole court would baffle him.  He has no idea that his mother, who played soccer for ten years, never dreamed of playing in the World Cup because the Women's World Cup didn't exist when she was young.  He has no idea how excited his mom was when she met his dad twelve years ago, because not only was he a soccer fan, he was a women's soccer fan (with previous world cup experience and a Boston Breakers shirt to show for it).

Because I selected the short sleeve (Ecuador) shirt,
the Mister made friends and official FIFA pre-game footage.
Dianthus was amused by the internationality of it-- that people kept taking pictures of his Dad in his rare Cameroon jersey or of our whole family sporting our Ecuador, Cameroon, Germany and Italy (not actually in the tournament) allegiances, and he keeps asking who we are for in every match (he cannot imagine why we are not cheering for Germany tonight when he has cousins who live there).  But he is not overwhelmed by the idea that these people have come together from all over the world because of women's sports.

And the very fact that this is ordinary to him overwhelms me with joy.
 *8 years of blogging with nothing other than a password and now blogger wants me to verify with a phone number from West Virginia?  We are home now, by the way.

**Which, for accuracy sake, I should add is not at all, but that will change as other teams start to learn things about defense.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tear Reduction

I was reduced to tears over shoes once again yesterday* so I can't write about that struggle yet.

So I'll end this year's official streak for stroke with a link to the 2015 Pediatric Stroke Awareness Montage (Aster is in the upper right in a middle section), which also left me in tears, but in a good way.

*It's not about the shoes.  It's about being a competent mommy.  Spending hours comparing and measuring and ordering expensive shoes only to receive them and struggle mightily to force them over Aster's newer, smaller AFO, when they clearly don't fit, leaves me in a heap of incompetent tears.