Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Love Hurts!

My printer sent me an instant message today. To be honest, I was surprised and flattered. I had been rather smitten since I met him and it seemed that he was interested in me too. He lit up when I touched him and always did an extra-special job of scanning and copying, but today was the first time he’d ever "hit" on me. The message was brief, but suggestive. It said that he had a “special invitation” for me.

To be honest, it’s been awhile since I’ve been given a “special invitation”, so it piqued my curiosity. Being the daring girl that I am, I clicked on his message. Don’t think badly of me, I’m not one of those girls who shops on the internet for boyfriends or picks up her men-friends at the local tavern, but like everyone else, I have needs and desires.

His message was brief; “You have been given a special invitation to receive rewards and benefits”. My mind reeled. What kind of rewards and benefits could he possibly be offering?

Did he want to take me away to the islands to snorkel and and lie on the white sand while he fanned me with a palm frond?

Did he plan to take me to Paris to welcome the spring?

Did he want to shower me with gems and take me to the mountains to ski and drink hot chocolate?

Deep sea fishing in the Bahamas?

Or perhaps a safari to Africa to photograph wild game?

Whatever my printer had in mind for me, he promised that it would make using him much more enjoyable. I was lost in my romantic, and slightly suggestive dreams…clicking to read each tender message in rapid succession. How would I tell my dad, my brother, my friends? My mind reeled at the thought of my printer and I on a lover’s holiday...

Then, as suddenly as it began, it ended with these fateful words…”Please enter your credit card information here”.


Dog vs Cats

I"ve got quite a lot to do tonight to get ready to go to my meeting tomorrow. I'm going to dad's from there, so tonight you won't get anything profound (like that's something new), I'm just going to pass along this fun email I got today.

If you want someone who will bring you the paper without first tearing it apart to remove the sports section...........

then get a dog.

If you want someone willing to make a fool of himself simply over the joy of seeing you........

then get a dog.

If you want someone who will eat whatever you put in front of him and never says it's not quite as good as his mother made it ......

then get a dog.

If you want someone always willing to go out, at any hour, for as long and wherever you want......

then get a dog.

If you want someone who will never touch the remote, doesn't care about football, and can sit next to you as you watch romantic movies......

then get a dog.

If you want someone who is content to get up on your bed just to warm your feet and whom you can push off if he snores ......

then get a dog.

If you want someone who never criticizes what you do, doesn't care if you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, young or old, who acts as if every word you say is especially worthy of listening to, and loves you unconditionally, perpetually.....

then get a dog.

But, on the other hand, if you want someone who will never come when you call, ignores you totally when you come home, leaves hair all over the place, walks all over you, runs around all night and only comes home to eat and sleep, and acts as if your entire existence is solely to ensure his happiness.....

then get a cat!

And NO, the cats do not know I posted this.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Cat-astrophy in the Making...

Because I am trying to get ready for a watershed meeting tomorrow night, an administrator’s meeting on Thursday and our annual banquet on Sunday, I have decided to let the furkids post on my blog tonight.

Views and opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of the blog author.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I'm Tired

I'm tired of negativity. Life is short and time's a wastin'.

Here is the post I meant to write a few days ago; the one that was interrupted because my other "son" Val's dad died. By the way, the funeral is today, so please keep the family in your thoughts.

Black Is Beautiful!

As you may or may not have noticed, I like to take photographs. It is probably my only vice, unless you count coffee, which you can’t, because coffee is like air, or water, or food, it is necessary for survival. At least it is to my survival and this is MY story. It goes like this, I wake up, I get coffee. It’s as simple as that.

Anyway, I digress…I like to take pictures. Everything I see has a frame around it…even the toilet. I’m serious. I know there's probably a 12-step program for photoaholics, but for now I’m going to pretend like it’s a normal thing. Please play along with me on this.

Since getting my first digital camera I have been obsessed with capturing the images I see.

Last year, in July, my brother decided my camera needed to be upgraded. Let me tell you something about Mike; when he gets an idea in his head—you might as well go with it. Some might say he’s stubborn. He prefers the word determined. I am just like him.

Anyway, he decided I needed a better camera and began researching different models. He came up with three options that he felt would suit my needs. I tested all three and chose the Canon Rebel XT. The 8.2 megapixel camera and all of the appropriate accessories were purchased and I was on my way to photographic bliss. As you can see from my previous blog posts, I have made good use of it. I’m CERTAINLY no Annie Liebovitz and don’t pretend that I’m a competent photographer, I just love taking pictures.

Last weekend, well over 10,000 photos later, one of the male pins on the CF card insert slot bent.

*Gasp* I was dead in the water.

I can’t explain the feeling that came over me. Aside from bad things happening to my family or friends, or catastrophic natural or unnatural events, I don’t think I’ve ever been more saddened. I know that sounds dramatic, but I literally went into a decline.

Who knew…I mean, really…WHO KNEW that something I didn’t even do two years ago would become one of the most important components of my life?

What does that say about me? Am I a shallow person who only lives on the periphery of life, choosing only to take pictures of events as they transpire, rather than actually participate? I don’t think so. I believe that I take photos because life is precious and life is short. I take pictures because everything and everyone in my life should be honored and remembered. I take photos because the images I capture are my memories.

Once again, I digress…to put it lightly, I was down. Okay, I cried, piteously. My brother’s dog put her head on my lap and I bawled my eyes out. After my pity-fest, I surfed online to see if it was a commonly occurring problem. It was not, and it may or may not be covered by warranty. The Canon website mentioned that it could take up to 6 weeks to correct the problem.

Depression deepened. More tears were shed.

How pathetic, you might be thinking. People are sleeping in doorways and you are whining about your camera going to the repair shop. And you are probably right. If it offends you that I care so deeply about an object, I’m sorry. But you see it’s not the camera I mourn—I mourn the loss of the memories, the moments in time that will never reoccur.

My brother gets this. He UNDERSTANDS. To be honest, I think the photos I take are at least as important to him as they are to me. He gets an immense amount of satisfaction seeing the photos on my blog or my Flickr site and the latest prints of my son, his dog or my cats.

So that night, I went to bed and tried to sleep. It’s weird, but I dreamt about my camera. No kidding. The first thought that came to my mind when I woke up from a fitful nights sleep was, you guessed it, my camera.

Apparently it had been on my brother’s mind as well. As soon as he woke up he announced that we were buying a new camera. A Canon Rebel XTi, a step up from my original camera. I argued with him, telling him I could wait, it was too expensive, I could buy it myself…but it was an argument I couldn’t win. His mind was made up. The camera shop was called, the new XTi was reserved and plans were made to return the XT for repair.

So thanks, once again, to the Best Brother in the Universe (BBITU), here’s my new “memory”.

Black really is beautiful.

Because my camera was in need of repair, I was unable to download and view the majority of the photos I took at my dad’s last weekend. I had planned to insert the card into my photo printer and transfer them all to my computer. But thanks to BBITU, I don’t have to.

So now, without further adieu, I give you:

Bill, Mike, Laurie and Shasta’s Excellent Adventure

I was standing next to the Stillwater River when I took this shot. I love the contrast of colors.

This photo and several of the ones that follow, were taken at Cliff Swallow Campground, on the Stillwater River. It is about a 15 minute drive from my dad and brother's house. If you look closely, between the bits of ice, you can see a fish. My brother thinks it's a Rainbow Trout.

I have no idea what kind of bird this is. There were two of them and they spent most of their time flittering along the top of the water.

Shasta, walking too close to the edge of the river.

Shasta, falling through the ice. As you can imagine, I put the camera down and headed out to help with the rescue attempt. Mike, of course, was already on his way...

As you can tell (by Mike's dry jeans), she did not fall in the river. She would have been fine if she had, it wasn't very deep, but she did give us a scare.

We saw this group (would that be flock or gaggle?) of wild turkeys in the yard of a cabin along the Stillwater River.

This is Castle Rock. There is a fishing access at the base of it. It is about 15 miles from Nye, Montana.

Here we are, still at Castle Rock, as the sun started to set. Would someone please tell this dog that it's winter?

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Empty your mind of negativity and the universe will fill it with love, wisdom, and bliss."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Quiet Reflection

I had planned a rather lengthy, lighthearted post for today, but something happened and I'm not feeling up to it.

My son's best friend's dad had a heart attack and died today. He was sitting at the lunchroom table at work visiting with co-workers, then he was gone.

Val, my son's friend, calls me mom. I call him son. I am so sad for him.

It's time for some quiet reflection.

Be well, friends.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I’ve discovered several things in recent years.

I’m not afraid to love. I love without worrying whether or not my love will be returned. I’ve discovered that it is enough just to love.

I care more deeply about my family with every passing day. Maybe it’s because we lost mom and dad isn’t doing very well, maybe it’s because I’ve discovered that earthly life is finite. The reason doesn’t matter. I care more.

I’m more forgiving and less judgmental. Horrible things have happened to people I love. I’ve discovered that it isn’t my “job” to make the pain go away or hate the person who inflicted it. All I can do is show them that I care and listen when they talk.

I work too much. When I’m not at work, I’m thinking about work. Even when I take days off, I check my work email and call the office. I worry over every detail of a project even when it’s not my detail. I’ve discovered that work isn’t as important as life and the people in it.

With that thought in mind…

I took the afternoon off. Shasta, my dad and I drove to “The Secret Place” and frolicked in the mud. You do NOT want to see my car seats right now. But I’ve discovered that I don’t care.

When I returned, I made Lasagna, from scratch! My brother, dad and I visited while it baked. Then I made biscuits. Late this afternoon I discovered that I hadn’t even checked my work email.

My dad and our neighbor Lois have tummy’s full of lasagna, Shasta is happy and relaxed and I feel like a million dollars. I think I’m on to something here, what do you think?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Couch Blogging

Friday was HWDDD’s birthday. Despite the fact that he is significantly younger than me, the theme for the cake I had made for him was “Older than Dirt”. On the cake was a freshly dug grave, with a shovel sitting beside it. There were bones littered about and tombstones everywhere. I delivered it to his workplace and fled before he came back from lunch. I didn’t have time to take a picture. I wish I had. About 20 minutes later I received a text message that consisted of one word; “Funny”.

Around 3 pm, H’s quitting time, the phone rang. It was H, asking if I wanted to go have a drink to celebrate his birthday. I said it would be awhile before I was finished with the project I was working on, so to go ahead. I asked how he liked his cake and he said he loved it and that I had gotten him “good”. I was relieved.

I eventually made it down to the bar he had chosen. He was having a blast visiting with his friends. I gave him a birthday card from the cats, a popup one that was really cute. He showed it to everyone in the place. The card I gave him was pretty funny. I wish I could scan it and show it to you, but I’m at my dad’s so it’ll have to wait.

We stayed for several drinks. I’m not much of a drinker, but it was really fun. Some of our favorite people were there, Penny McP and her boyfriend, and several others. A very good time was had by all. We were going to go out to dinner, but both of us were full from the drinks, so we went home and had a light supper. Nothing too exciting but H was happy.

Saturday I drove to Absarokee to spend some time with my dad and brother. I’m staying until Wednesday morning. I’d probably stay longer but I need to be back for a board meeting. I am really looking forward to using some of my vacation. I haven’t really had much opportunity since work is so busy, but now that I have an assistant; it should be much easier to take time off.

Yesterday we took a nice long drive. We saw a lot of deer, some wild turkeys, eagles and mountain sheep. The mountains were absolutely beautiful and it wasn’t very windy, which was a nice change of pace. When we got back my brother and I stocked my Uncle John’s house with firewood and I did some cooking.

These Big Horn Sheep were right next to the Stillwater Mining Company Platinum & Palladium Mine, near Nye. The mining activity doesn't seem to have hurt the sheep population.

I'm not sure if you can see the sign on the archway, in case you can't, it says "Y ME".

Today I am getting the full benefit of wireless internet. I have surfed your blogs from the comfort of the kitchen table (it’s nice to be able to keep an eye on what I’m cooking for a change—the family is very thankful) and also from the deck until I froze out. For those of you who are used to lightening fast internet and wireless technology, this probably isn’t very exciting news. But out here in the sticks, this is new and wonderful stuff.

By the way, I am writing this from the comfort of the couch.

Life is good!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Introducing the Book

My brother showed me this video and I thought it was so cute I had to blog it. Mike says this guy is the fast kid in the slow class, but I think he probably works for the government.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tag, You're It!

Because I have been tagged by Disfunctional Housewife:

The game: Each player who gets tagged must write in their own blog ten weird things or habits or little known facts about themselves, as well as state this rule clearly. At the end of your post, you must choose six blogs to be tagged and list their names. No tag backs! :) I, like DH, am a tagging virgin, so be gentle with me, ok?

  1. I am reading the book "Love" by Leo Buscaglia. I think I will be a better person because of it. Thanks Vera.

  2. I rarely, if ever, wear socks that match.

  3. For the last several months, I have been cold. In fact right now I have 2 long sleeved shirts, a fleece pullover and insulated sweats on in addition to socks and fuzzy red slippers. I am also wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. The house temperature is 70 degrees. I think my thermostat is out of whack. Or I need to move to the islands.

  4. I look ghastly in the color yellow, but love it and continue to wear it.

  5. I hate styrofoam. Absolutely hate it. The feel of it sickens me and I can't stand the smell. Yes, it smells!

  6. I have always loved vegetables, any kind, any color, any shape. Except for green beans. Yuck!

  7. I have been to 50 or more concerts in my lifetime. I loved them all.

  8. I play the trumpet well and the piano poorly.

  9. My first kiss was when I was 16 years old. He was about a gazillion feet tall and really cute but he liked me too much so I quit seeing him.

  10. I can read upside-down print. Almost as well as I can read right-side-up print.

  11. I have the best job in the universe and it just got even better! I now have an assistant so I should be able to stop accumulating so much comp time! I mean it's nice, and they pay me really well for it, but sheesh, all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. (okay, you already knew this; that is why I made it #11!)

According to blog code annotated 25.4.9, I must now tag 6 people. However, I've never been one to follow the rules, so I'm just going to say, if you want to play...tag, you're it!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Of Stuffed Animals, Lamps and Cats

I know my last post made it sound as if I had no romance in my soul at all. But that isn’t really true. I’m a loving sort of person, who enjoys giving gifts and also receiving them. To emphasize this point, I am going to show you what I really enjoy getting for Valentine’s Day.

Ever since my son was young, he has given me stuffed animals for VD and Birthdays. They were usually things he picked up on road trips or won out of a claw machine. Being the momma, I, of course, kept every single one of them. The tradition has carried on for over 20 years.

Since meeting HWDDD, he has joined in the practice and has been faithfully giving me cute stuffed critters for a couple of years now. They are much cheaper than Black Hills Gold Jewelry, which I never wear, and they don’t make the cats puke, like flowers do.

Behold my collection of miniature stuffed animals, not to be confused with my collection of medium or large stuffed animals.

Another thing I enjoy buying or receiving are lamps. I’m not sure when this particular affliction manifested itself; I just know that I get a lot of pleasure collecting them. The picture below is of one that my son gave me. It wasn’t expensive; you see them every day at Target, but I like it and I especially like the way it looks in the corner by my computer desk. There’s just something about the play of light and shadow in this shot that I really like.

The final obsession I seem to have is for collecting…you guessed it...cats. I think in this case, a picture is worth a thousand words.

And that my friends, is what I enjoy receiving for Valentine’s Day. I didn’t get another lamp (HWDDD says we have no more corners to put them in) nor another cat (he thinks we've met our quota), but I did receive a very nice new stuffed miniature teddy bear.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy VD

The picture (above) was taken in October 2006. I happened to be looking out the window at work and this is what I saw. Of course I took photos. I posted it on my blog back then, but I don't think anyone with the exception of my family actually saw it. It seemed worthy of a re-post, it being VD and all.

And speaking of Valentine's Day. There really isn’t much about it that I like. I don’t wear jewelry, although it took HWDDD approximately two years and several thousand dollars to realize that fact. I don’t care for flowers, because my cats eat them and throw up. And they die (the flowers, not the cats!). How romantic is that? I love you so much that I gave you a bouquet of flowers that will end up turning brown and wilting, eventually to fall in ugly brown clumps upon your work desk? Nothing says I love you like decaying roses.

Despite my cynicism toward all that is Valentine’s Day, I ventured to our local pharmacy this afternoon in an attempt to find a suitable card for HWDDD. As the last person in town to purchase a 2007 VD card, I didn’t have much of a selection to choose from. I dutifully read through each and every card (except for the ones in the mushy section, because hey, I’m so not about that) and finally made my choice. It’s the same one I got him two years ago, but it’s so us, and he won't remember getting it anyway.

In case you're wondering, I'm the dog...

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Whoreable Day!

Since I don’t really have anything of importance to say (like that’s new?), I thought I would give you a guided tour of my office. There really isn’t much to it, but like I said, my mind is bereft of substance at the moment, so here goes. By the way, I stole this idea from Within Without over at SNIPPETS FROM SPACESHIP ORION. If you haven't given him a read, you ought to, not only is he a fabulous writer, he's also a very nice guy and pretty darned cute, too!

This is my workspace. Here is where I write grants, administer the conservation practice loan account, manage the finances of the district and my very favorite thing, write the tri-county newsletter. If you are ever in a body cast and can't reach the remote to turn on re-runs of Gilligan's Island, but can reach your computer mouse, click here to read a copy.

This is the view from my desk. Not surprisingly, I neatened up the area for this photo. Usually there are loan folders, grant invoices, 310 permit applications, legal notices, maps, irrigation designs and miscellaneous other bits of paperwork covering it.

Here is my computer alcove (I like that word, don't you?). You will notice the ever-present cup of coffee, the speakers (because I jam at work) and of course the digital picture frame my son gave me. I love that thing!

Here is a view of the rest of the office. We kind of enjoy having plants around the place, as you might have noticed. Most of them were started from little sprouts, not even 3 years ago. Our soil technician has a very green thumb (which I keep asking him to wash, because, really...ewwww).

This, obviously, is part of the outside of the building; it probably wouldn't be a good idea to show more than that. Stalkers and all, ya know. Do you see the size of those snowflakes? It snowed all darned day long, again!

I will, however, show you a picture of a house that is very near my office. In addition to being a very neat looking old building, it has a great deal of colorful local history surrounding it. Back in the very early 1900's it was the local whore house.