Friday, June 26, 2009

DONE! Amen!

Much to my complete amazement, I am still alive! I survived both plane rides and the Metro -- and the marathon wedding with all associated drama.

It was a little tense in DC because for some unknown reason(s) the bride's mom appears to be the only person on earth who does not see how incredibly charming Kim and I are -- okay, so they could be others but they were not present and ignoring us. Consider that there were just six in our little DC party (bride, groom, parents) so having one pretend like two of the others simply did not exist -- well, a little tense, as I mentioned.

But the amazing thing is that -- for once -- Kim and I looked like the really excellent, nice parents who were being good sports no matter how lost we got, how hot we were, or how badly we were being ignored. Our reputation as the meanest parents ever has now officially been ruined!

I spent a lot of time considering how being polite is such a gift to everyone around us, and reflecting on how it is a conscious choice to be a good sport. And I was reminded how easy it is to allow the moods of others to control us -- but that is also a choice. Kim and I made the choice not to be taken down any dark, angry paths but rather to give Jake and Cassie the gift of peace :)

And so Kim and I enjoyed our family and our friends and celebrated the creation of a new family. Here are some pictures from the ring exchange ceremony in Utah yesterday.

Jake, Cassie, Kim and me.

Cassie finally got the ring on Jake's finger but I suspect he will never be able to get it off!

They had most excellent ring favors at the ceremony -- oops, I mean wedding gifts -- personalized water bottles! That is way better than a tin of mints!

Cassie's dad drove the newly married couple off in the BrideMobile.

And now the Montana branch of the family is back to life in the middle of that Robert Duncan painting that is our new life, and Jake and Cassie are in Hawaii starting their new life together. There is such hope and joy in beginnings -- today starts one for you as well so enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reporting Live from DC

Greetings from Washington DC! Here is a summary of the past few days...

1. Today while waiting to go on a tour of the White House I saw Nick Jonas. If you are like me, you are probably not completely clear who that is but he is a famous teenager who happens to have Type 1 diabetes, which was the reason he was there.

The President was meeting with kids who live with that terrible disease -- there is a meeting of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in town. I found this very ironic -- my son, Galen, has had this type of diabetes (Type 1) for almost five years.

I bet Marti's girls will be impressed that I saw Nick Jonas and maybe Cali's daughter also -- nobody else probably cares :)

2. Kim and I were on the metro yesterday at the same time that the terrible metro crash happened; luckily we were on a different train. Nine people died -- very, very sad and scary.

3. Yesterday we visited Maya from the F litter (aka Darby) and her parents, Karen and Mike. Maya looks just like Asia (full sisters, different litters). It was great to see all of them and meet Cindy, who let us meet at her lovely home in King George, Virginia.

4. Tomorrow is the day that Cassie and Jake begin their two-day wedding; the ceremony is at 11 and then we will have a quick lunch and off to the airport so that we can get back to Utah for Part 2 on Thursday.

I thought you might enjoy some pictures...

Cassie and Jake waited in line for two hours starting at 6:30 a.m. to get us tickets to go to the top of the Washington Monument -- YIKES! It is HIGH! Here are a couple of pictures from the top -- in one you can see the White House and the other you can see the Lincoln Memorial.

The Monument from the ground...

We went to the National Cathedral -- here is a shot of the beautiful stained glass window.

And here is the outside view of the Cathedral.

And here are Jake and Cassie inside the Cathedral.

Kim and I.

Here is Maya -- isn't she lovely?

I think we have walked 100 miles in the past few days but it has been fun. Tomorrow is (GULP) the plane trip -- think good thoughts.

I hope you are enjoying a lovely week!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

From Above High

I just thought you might like to know that there is WiFi in the air. Yes friends -- I am in the plane. Did I ever mention that I prefer driving? Or biking? Or walking? Or having a root canal?!

I pretend I am in a bus, which works nicely until there are bumps or Kim makes a remark about the clouds -- one should not be looking DOWN on clouds.

Why didn't Jake and Cassie just elope?!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Post

It is early Saturday morning in Utah -- the day we fly to Washington DC, much to my consternation. As I was relaying my fear of flying to one of the hospice patients, she pointed out that I was not afraid of flying but rather I was afraid of crashing. This is so correct, and reminds me of the importance of perspective. As long as the plane flies, I am not afraid -- I need to remember that.

Last night we enjoyed a little puppy party with Rainey (aka Toronto) and Joan, Liz, Sam and Tara (aka Geneva), and our most dedicated non-berner puppy friend, Cali (aka Cali ;). I thought you might enjoy seeing pictures this morning...

All Zoey wanted to do was play a nice game of fetch but like Sydney, Tara had to spoil the fun. Here they are in a standoff.

And then the snatch...

The fight...

Tara gets reinforcements...

And finally emerges victorious!

We were really struck with how much Tara and Sydney look alike -- here is Syd...

And here are the sisters...

...sharing a kiss.

And cute Rainey

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and think uplifting thoughts for me (as in lifting the plane up!).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Picture Perfect!

This morning is so lovely that I had to take a few pictures just to document that what I am saying is true -- this is a beautiful place!

The sun is just coming up -- so this is the east view taken from the front yard with Asia, Zoey and Syd playing.

This is also taken from the yard but is facing more southeast -- our property ends at the start of that pond. It is a wonderful area for wildlife down there.

This is a southern view with my jumps up to practice agility with Cadi and utility with Halo.

And finally, this is the western view -- my favorite. This is what I see when I look out the kitchen and dining area windows.

Camp Montana is open and ready for visitors! Have a lovely day :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer Evening and Plane Scared

Montana is really an amazing place. We live in a valley called the Bitterroot, and there are mountains on two sides of us. A river runs through the middle of the valley, and really -- it is just incredibly lovely.

I am enjoying my last Saturday here for a couple of weeks. Next Saturday at this time I hope to be safely landed in Washington DC where we are going for Part 1 of the Jake/Cassie wedding. I H-A-T-E to fly and have felt dread about it for weeks -- sigh. But what can I do?? I am resigned to my fate, whatever that is -- if only I drank...

So we (hopefully) arrive in DC on Saturday with Jake, Cassie and her parents. The first ceremony is on Wednesday and then we hop back in another one of those @#$% airplanes and go back to Utah (I hope and pray) where Thursday includes a wedding breakfast for immediate family, another ceremony, and a very large reception (thank goodness we have the groom!). The Montana branch of the family (Galen, dogs, cats, and me) will then come back up to this beautiful valley.

Do you have any recommendations for "must see/do" in DC? I would love to hear them!

In the meantime, here are some pictures from our relaxing Saturday in Montana where our feet on firmly on the (lovely) ground...

This is Asia working on her gardening.

Seriously -- how cute is this puppy?! This is, of course, Sydney, doing what she does best -- looking adorable.

Here is my Bernese Mountain Retriever, Zoey -- look at how happy she is to be playing fetch with her ball!

Zoey wants to know if you still think she has big ears?

Or light eyes?

I hope you are enjoying a lovely June weekend, free of airplanes and other scary things.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Zoey's Response

Here is Zoey's suggestion for a picture:

I told her that she really does not have big ears or light eyes but is just so beautiful that we are trying to find the perfect look!

I have decided to send two pictures (#1 and #2) from the original set and the flower picture to the guy designing the ad and let him make the choice since none of us seem capable (and Zoey's suggestion is not appropriate!). I will share our concern that the flower picture seems to make her eyes look lighter than they are, and let him know that the #1 picture got the most votes. We can all be surprised together at what he decides!

If you did not check out the baby bear pictures at Lynne's blog you definitely need to do that as they are adorable!!

Let's all refrain from sticking our tongues out today -- unless someone really deserves it! If caught, you can say what my daughter did when she was little and I caught her sticking her tongue out at me, "I'm a snake" ;)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What a Tough Crowd!!!

Okay, so the yellow flower picture was not a big hit -- how about this one (with the leash photoshopped out)??

Thanks!!! We will get this right eventually :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Let's Try Again!

The voting for the Zoey pictures was so even between three pictures that I was prompted to try again -- I want a picture that is a WOW picture for almost everyone who sees it. So, how about this one? Is it a "WOW!" or "Keep Trying"? Cast your vote -- please :)


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Word of the Day

I may have mentioned that I was going to work very part-time for a local hospice -- well, their regular social worker abruptly quit about three weeks ago and so I am now working there more than very part-time. While it adds a wrinkle to the already wrinkled fabric of my life, what a blessing it has been to once again work with the dying. There is nothing like sitting at the end of life to remind us about the things that really matter -- and more importantly, about the things that really don't.

The work has reminded me that the life I live now will one day be my past. Some of the people I work with have no regrets and look back on the past with the satisfaction of a life well lived, and others feel differently. It has made me consider how I can live life backwards, or mindful that I am creating my future self's past.

One thing I have been reflecting on is a definition of success. I have never been one to care much about money, status or "stuff", and so I have been thinking about how I will define whether my life is successful or not -- do you ever think about that? The cool thing is that we each get to define "success" for ourselves, and it is perfectly wonderful if your definition is different from mine. What matters is not that we share a definition of success, but that we celebrate whatever another considers successful.

And with that, I share what I consider a successful weekend even though no titles were earned. Cadi and Asia were both in the Montana tracking test today. Yesterday I spent the day with one of the judges plotting tracks -- I was a tracklayer for the TD part of the test. It was pouring rain and I went through two sets of boots and clothes, and was still chilled to the bone. But today was nice -- overcast, cool and no rain. And the scenery -- it was simply breathtaking.

None of the nine dogs entered in the test passed. There were five entries in the TDX portion and I had two. Asia was first and she made one wrong turn but otherwise ran a stunning track -- I was SO proud of her. It was not an easy track but she gamely went through woods, over logs, and up the mountain to find all of her articles.

Then it was Cadi's turn and in my mind, I saw her in the crate in that pool of blood after her surgery. I remembered that panic and being just convinced she would die. And then I was looking at her as she barked and pulled on the tracking line, anxious to get going, in the most beautiful place -- and I knew that no matter what happened, I had all the success I needed at that moment. No title could ever represent greater success than just being able to enjoy that piece of time with that superb dog in such an amazing setting. Yes, we failed to get the TDX -- she made one mistake -- but we succeeded in so many more important ways today.

This is me and Cadi on our track -- I know it is hard to see but look at that scenery!

Driving home yesterday I stopped the car to get this picture of a bald eagle -- isn't it majestic?

And after I had finished today I saw this bird, and thought how appropriate it was to see a bluebird of happiness right after I had finally gotten a chance to run a TDX track with my sweet Cadi-Bug.

I took some other pictures in the yard this evening -- here is Mrs. Maize.

And this is Halo.

At the test today, someone commented, "there is a lot of her" about Asia, our plus-size model. She is not fat at all and is, in fact, in great shape but yes, she is definitely not petite. Maybe we should call her, "Amazon Asia"? ;)

These are some pictures of our very not Amazon-ish Sydney. Doesn't she have a lovely head for being just six months old?

Zoey thinks she is a retriever. She will happily fetch for as long as one is willing to throw, and she nicely brings whatever it is back. She doesn't require a treat for this -- her eyes just light up when she sees I am going to throw it yet again! Here are some pictures from our game tonight. In the first one she is escaping from Syd, who was chasing her -- in the second picture you can see why she might want to avoid Sydney!

Thanks for visiting us. I hope you are able to feel successful in your life, and if not, maybe it is time to re-evaluate how you define success... The tracking test could be seen as a failure -- I choose to see it as a wonderful success. The word of the day -- perspective :)