Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blazing into the Unknown

Me and Ken got bruised, scraped, scratched, and tripped last weekend in Wolverine Canyon. Have you been? It's like going to a different country. You do no feel like you are 20 minutes outside of Idaho Falls. Ken talked me into going on a "nice, easy hike" with some of his clients. Bill and Karen hike a lot and I figured if they say it's nice and easy it probably is... because they know what tough is. Uh... I struggled. Maybe if you were Wolverine it would have been nice and easy. But I'm Patty Cake.
We started about 9:30. Going up. Straight up. It is a mile to the top. I was assured that all the steep comes at he beginning. They weren't kidding. There wasn't a trail. There wasn't an easy way up. It was intense. It got my heart pumping and reminded me how good it feels to be alive.

We reached the top and spent awhile looking around. I couldn't help but notice that a trail didn't appear at the top. Sad. We walked along ridges of mountains and I called every one's attention to the fact that this was very Sound of Music.

(Climb Every Mountain!)

The ridges stopped abruptly and there was only one way down. Straight down. Scary, straight, steep, down. Bill and Karen, being pros, practically tip toed down the mountain. I fell, slid, tripped, surfed, careened, laughed down the mountain. I dislodged a rock and knowcked Ken on his rump. It was work. But it was so challenging and different it didn't feel like I was hiking. I didn't feel my thighs burning (until later) or the sweat dripping from my face. It was a blast.

I was at the top of that mountain, there.

We hiked until the cows came home. It was the perfect end to summer.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I love to drive up by the windmills.

They are hypnotizing.

And beautiful.

Showing Off

Say "no" to Muffin Tops and Cuppy Cakes.

Say "yes" to modest prom wear. (check out that supa-model hair.)

Say "yes" to friends. (if they are making good choices)

Extra, uber, over-the-top thanks to our stake for putting on a spectacularly cheesy fashion show and for Shanny and Aubs for modelling.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Birds and Beasts Were There

Being born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA I had no idea that there were still fairs. I thought fairs were from a previous generation. A Charlotte's Web generation. So when I married Ken and "Fair Time" came around I was in for quite the sugary treat. I was hooked from the first time we went and saw the animals.
When we were little there was a park about 15 minutes away from our house called Round Hill Park. It was a Sunday afternoon outing for my mom to take me and my sisters there. She would have us wear our dresses (big-time Sunday rule) and bring our journals (big-time Sunday rule). There were 4 or 5 towering old red barns. They each housed different animals. Sheep, cows, horses, pigs, and then chickens and bunnies shared one. I remember one time there were little lambs there and we got to feed them a bottle. It was incredible. So, on these Sundays, we would walk around and look at all the animals and then go sit by the lake and write in our journals.
I've loved farm animals ever since.
I've gone to the fair and done the rides, and done the commercial booths, and done the games, and done the drawings. That's the minor leagues. Now I go and spend nearly all my time in the smelly barns. Admiring the animals. I love the littler kids that are around the barns. Their faces are sparkling with pride. And they ought to be. This year's animals were fantastic.

Momma Cow and Baby Cows... and a cow wearing a pink shirt. Some camera angles.... ouch.

his sheep kept eating garbage. But look at that thick thick wool. Ready for winter!

This beast is mine! Hands off!

These goats were so funny. I'd tell them I was going to take their picture and I could swear they would pose when I counted to three.

Then this little guy looked like he was going to walk right over the fence. He just put his hooves in grid by grid and would rest them over the top. I thought him and Rusty would make pretty good friends.

There was a free petting zoo at the fair too! It was free! If you wanted to feed the little critters it was 25 cents for like a sacrament cup of food. But we hawked up the 50 cents and fed all the animals that no one else was feeding. I always feel bad for those animals. There was an ostrich or something there and Ken decided to be brave and feed it. That bird was a really strong pecker. Ken jumped every time the bird went in for some kibble!

We both fed the llama. It grunted. A lot. And really pigged out on my food! It ate almost the whole cup. Arghhh. Set limits, llama! Limits!
And I tried to feed the goats but none of them would come over to me. I tried to get tips from this little girl but she wasn't talkin'.
I love the animals at the fair.
I also love corn dogs, gyros, slushed lemonades, tiger ears, funnel cakes, and cinnamon almonds. All of which I partook of.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Results Are In

My results weren't as good as we all hoped and wished and prayed they would be. After 6 months of harsh medication and anticipation the results came in that the tumor had shrunk. It shrunk 3 mm on the biggest side. The other sides went down a little less. I know I should be happier but, to me, this really sucks.
The accountant in me figured out the percentage of each sides decrease. The highest percentage was nearly 33%. I should be hootin' and hollerin' but I've been a bit of a shut in this weekend. Rephrase: I've been a total shut-in this weekend. I keep thinking 33 is just 7 more than 25. And 25% is not a lot. (See above spreadsheet for visual reference. The lilac is the steady progress I thought was being made. The magenta is where we are.)
My doctor wasn't thrilled with the results either but it is what it is. My body is taking longer than most other peoples do. This damn tumor is fighting. But so am I! I was so ready to hear that it was gone. That I was done. That I wouldn't have to take that medicine anymore. I built up my own hopes. But the doctor was as optimistic as I was on Tuesday when I had my appointment with him. He thought if there was anything it would be the size of a grain of sand. I'm learning that doctors don't really know all that much.
So, I've been praying harder than ever that Dr. Shepard will come to my rescue and bring McSteamy to scrub in.
All in all. I'm no worse off. Just please prep your bathroom with some matches and a can of freshener if I am coming over.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

MRI #2 Harry Potter #7

This morning I went in for my second MRI. This is to test to see if the medication that I have been taking (that has caused endless stinky nights in the bathroom) for the last six months has done anything besides cause running, panicked trips to the bathroom. It was the exact same procedure as last time. Same guy and everything. It still sounded like someone was shooting machine guns at me and I still felt like I was squished into a tiny tube. However. I felt like I was only in there for like 10 minutes! The time flew by. I was still in for 65 minutes... with the intermission for the needle poke and dye to be injected. But, man! It wasn't bad at all! I think this is because I already know there's a tumor in my head. They can't really give me any worse news, right? I mean, seriously. If it's still there... I'm not any worse off. And if it's gone... then upward and onward! So this morning felt more like a relaxing morning off work than a medical procedure. Tomorrow, I should get the results.

This morning I also started Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. How I have waited for this day. I succumbed and have read the entire series again. It so much more insightful the second time around. I really appreciate Ms. Rowling's writing. The series in so intricately tied together... it's genius. My love for Ron Weasley has grown and grown and I am not looking forward to some of his decisions in book seven. But I know I'll love him all the same (and more) after I am done.
Look at that tough guy!
On the second-go-round I noticed that things that bothered me the first time (including whole books) I really enjoyed this time! It just made sense. I didn't like Goblet of Fire the first time... but this time. Wow! What a critical piece of the story! AND I didn't like that Harry and Ginny get together in Half-Blood Prince the first time. But this time.... it was charming. Truly meant to be.
So I am finishing up the series right now with Deathly Hallows. Very much looking forward to it. And I feel like I am finishing up a series in my life with the tumor. Very much looking forward to it. I am ending two chapters in my life simultaneously. It feels really symbolic somehow.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Every morning for the past, I don't know, 2 weeks or so Ken and Rusty have played this game with me. They think it's so funny. I hate it.
Normally, I get up first and shower and get the house moving along- feed Rusty, put him outside, eat some granola, start fixing my hair,- and then when I'm about half way done I go in and wake up Ken. He'll stumble out and take over the sink.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago Rusty started coming outside our bedroom door in the mornings before the clock would ring and just kinda grumble around. Moan a little, sigh... he's very verbal for a canine. Ken thought it would be okay to let him come in a LAY ON THE BED until I got up. I am against this idea 10000000%. (Yes ten-million percent.) But Ken (the softie) rolls out of bed and opens the door enough to let Rusty in. Rusty doesn't just curl up in a little ball and sleep for the last half hour he's supposed to.
He puts that cold, wet nose in my ears. He paws at the covers until they come off. He tries to burrow under me to lift me up. He walks along my back and legs. He'll nustle under the covers that are by my waist now and push them to my feet. He makes it so miserable to be in bed that I have to get up.
Ken just giggles. They've taken to doing this every day.
I've tried just laying there in the cold. Uncovered and being pawed at. But Rusty won't have it. He'll start growling at me.
Who owns who, right?