Counting Sheep (or maybe bugs)

This was taken last night of my little Monsoon sleeping.  She sometimes looks so comfy that I wish I were small enough to cuddle in next to her.  She actually pulled this blanket off the sofa and made it her own.  She has a way of doing that with quite a few of my things.  I did however, take back the gym bag she was using as a condo.  😉

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(Wo)man vs. Mountain

After a month of being away from my weekly ass kicking hike I decided to head back to Shaw Butte with the same girlfriend I work out with regularly.  Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. 

Although temps were over 100 degrees, the humidity has definitely been very high over the past few weeks.  The desert's weather has definitely changed here.  Gone are the days of with-out-fail dust and thunder storms in the afternoon. 

Anyways, I knew last night would be tough but thinking that I had to start somewhere after being away, I plugged on ahead.  Although it's tough, it is such a beautiful hike.  We could see the monsoon storm clouds coming down from the north; a shield of gray dropping from the sky over a nearby neighborhood.  Someone was getting pelted.

At first I was thinking, this isn't so hard.  Must be because I'm no longer carrying around 20 extra pounds.  However, when we reached an area with a steep incline near the top, the sun unleashed its full fury on us.  My stomach was starting to turn.  I stopped for awhile to rest and hoped that the nausea would pass.  After a few deep breaths it did.  We continued up.  Then my girlfriend starts telling me about after a marathon she completed how sick she got.  She started to describe it in detail which was really more than I needed to hear.  I'm thinking, why is she telling me this knowing how nauseous I just was???  Apparently thats all it took for me to hurl off the side of the mountain.  Luckily there were no other hikers near us at the time. 

I stood for awhile contemplating returning to the bottom or continuing on to the top.  Actually after that I felt much better.  She confessed a few minutes later that she decided to tell me about her own hurling experience because she knew that I'd feel better after I hurled myself.  Well, thanks. . .I think.

We made it to the top and sat for awhile.  It felt like the temperature dropped about 10 degrees which was a welcome relief.  The breeze blew cool, too, which is a nice change from the 'hair dryer on high' breeze we usually experience.  The sunset was spectacular.  It sunk into the western horizon casting a red glow on the roofs of the buildings below much in the same way the sunlight sparkles off the ocean at sunset.

There is so much natural beauty to experience there that it makes the hike worth it despite the heat and how yucky I felt on the climb.  No matter how long I have lived here or how long I will continue to live here I will always be in awe of the desert. 

Tomorrow night we'll return for another butt kicking hike.  The sky is like a kaleidescope this time of the year.  Depending on the setting sun and the monsoon clouds one never knows what feast Mother Nature has in store for the eyes.  

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Happy 7th Birthday Monsoon!

Happy 7th Birthday Monsoon!  My little one is another year older today.  Here are some pics of her I've collected:

 

Beds, not just for humans anymore!

 

"Thanks for waking me up.  This had better be good!"

 

"Did you remember to pack my plaid jumper?"

 

Bellying up to the bar.

 

"You blinked.  I win!"

 

"Would someone with opposable thumbs help me out here?"

 

 

"It's a tough job being so cute."

 

I'm grateful for my pets and grateful to have another year with Monsoon.

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Tales From The New Scale – (6)

"Ohh, now there are two!"

 

"I kinda like the new one.  It has shiny stuff on it."

Well, last night's weigh-in was a complete success.  :)  Thanks my friends, for your encouragement and advice after last week's disappointment.  Zak Klemmer, thanks for the breakfast suggestion!  I did try it.  Here are the current stats:

This week: 3.8 lbs.

Total: 9.2 lbs.

To go: 10.8 lbs.

Almost half way there!

As mentioned before, Monsoon loves to sit on the scale.  Yesterday when weighing myself I was actually up a pound.  Then I felt a cold little nose on my ankle.  I wasn't alone on the scale apparently.  Guess the queen was not too happy I was on her new "throne."  ;-) 

 

 

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The Basket List & Other Ramblings On Friday

I've decided to entitle this 'The Basket List' because I think it sounds better than 'The Bucket List' which brings to mind a big boring plastic bucket.  –To me it does anyways.

Last Fall I started keeping a list of things I wanted to try in a wire-bound notebook.  My best friend turned me onto this idea when she suggested that we meet in Chicago and see a taping of a final episode of Oprah.  While I'm not a big fan of Oprah, the thought of spending a weekend in Chicago with my best friend is really appealing.  I heard they have really good pizza there, too!

 

Here is item #5.  I've always wanted to see Monument Valley.  After reading about the new hotel in that area that is located on the Navajo nation, it was an instant add to The Basket List.  Last night I made a reservation and I can't even begin to describe how happy I am to be going to this beautiful place!

 

Its become quite popular so we won't be going until the end of the summer.  But that's okay.  It will be something to look forward to.  I believe this picture may have been taken from the balcony of one of the rooms.

For more info on the hotel, go here.

 

Another girlfriend of mine who has encouraged me to stay active this past year and a half has suggested that we take her mountain bikes out for a spin tomorrow morning.  Now, I have not ridden a bike in at least 20 years.

Although we had agreed on keeping off any mountain trails, and sticking to the paved areas around the canals, I'm still

having misgivings about the whole thing.  The picture to the right was my only thought.  I could only picture the bike somehow speeding out of control with me on it, which of course makes no sense.  However it still conjured up an image in my mind that somehow I'd be plowing through a park frantically ringing my little bicycle bell while folks darted out of the way from their picnics and Little League games.

I will be the first to admit that I have an overactive imagination.

Given the sheer amount of errands I need to run tomorrow I have had to back out of this.  (Yay, all picnics along the canal are now saved!)  I opted for kick-boxing instead which will place me in the vicinity of said errand running (Little Leaguers everywhere are rejoicing, I'm quite certain).

One of these errands involves the purchase of a bathroom scale.  The one I had is no longer working and even the purchase of a new battery did nothing to get it to show some signs of life.  Monsoon, however, has taken a liking to this scale and I will often find her perched on it like she is some high and mighty queen.  I'm not sure what her strange affection is to it.  I hope she won't take it too hard when it is replaced tomorrow.

It is Friday.  Now I will leave you with this final message:

 

Have a nice weekend, all!

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Monsoon Mischief

Here's my little munchkin, Monsoon, curled up in her sleep sack. 

Although sleeping seems to be priority numero uno these days, she's gotten a bit fiesty in her old age. 

She's had me wrapped around her little paw since day 1.  Sometimes I'll be hanging out in the Girl-Cave just watching tv on the fainting sofa when she decides she must be up there too.  Although she is quite capable of getting her little fuzzy butt up there herself, she's decided that its much more fun to have Mom do it for her. 

Despite my encouragement of "Come on!  You can do it!"  she gives me this look as if to say "I'm too little. . .oh, this is so hard!  Can't you help me?  I'm almost seven years old you know!"  Yes, she's got me under her paw.  I lift her up and scratch under her chin.  She closes her eyes to half mast and wraps one little paw around my forefinger. 

The 'can't get up on the fainting sofa' bit is all an act.  While I get ready for work in the bathroom I will suddenly hear some serious scratching sounds coming from the aforementioned fainting sofa.  She is digging so furiously into the back of the cushion that she doesn't notice me approaching.  I remove her from the sofa, give her a stern 'No' and return to the bathroom.  You see, its just a game.  Two seconds later she is at it again.  Don't know what she thinks is down there.  Weasel Wonderland?  This goes on for several more times until finally I learn to say nothing while removing her.  This apparently takes the fun out of it if you are not yelled at.  Oddly enough I learned this trick while watching that show with the British nannies who subject themselves to young American hellions.  Who would have thunk that it works on ferrets, too.

I often come home to see her asleep in the wierdest positions in her ferret condo.  Hind legs are flat on the floor, then her back is twisted so she is bent completely in half, and her front half is facing up with her paws standing straight in the air.  Not sure how she does it.  If she were X-rayed this is what I'm sure they'd find inside:

 

 

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The Lessons of Lost Luggage

I've posted this picture of Monsoon in my suitcase a couple of times now.  It hit me the other day that there is a correlation between Monsoon and this now misplaced piece of luggage.

At the end of April, Monsoon had what should have been the first part of a two part surgery to heal her of adrenal disease.  Mid-morning the vet called me at work to let me know that he had run into complications.  He only gave Monsoon a 50% chance of making it.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  She and I had been playing on the bedroom floor only a few hours earlier.  I was not ready for this. 

I grew up Catholic.  Believe me, I fought it tooth & nail.  For a child with ADD it was nearly impossible to sit through an hours long Mass.  I went to bed many a Sunday night without dinner.  In time I found faith on my own terms.  After receiving that call from the vet, I headed home, as I did not want my co-workers to see me crying.  I cried all the way home.  It has been years since I picked up my rosary beads.  In the past six weeks I have said the rosary twice.  The first was for Monsoon.  At one point in my life I had memorized which mystery to say on what day.  I struggled to remember but made it through.  I layed in bed staring at Monsoon's empty cage while praying and crying at the same time.  I heard something fall on the floor.  When I finished praying I saw that one of the dried roses I kept in a sconce on the wall had fallen to the floor.  I knew at that moment that my prayers were heard.

 

Being at home and all, I decided to make dinner for Ruben for a change.  I dried my face, pulled myself together, and headed out to the grocery store.  I could see monsoon clouds gathering at the eastern horizon which is usually indicative of a big storm.  It was only April and we don't see these type of clouds until mid-July or so.  I took this as another sign that Monsoon was going to be okay.  Monsoon did pull through.  The vet refers to her as his 'miracle baby.'

Recently I have spent much time bitching about my lost luggage to anyone that will listen.  I went back and forth in my mind on whether I should again pick up those rosary beads and ask for some divine help with this as there are many other matters that need more attention.  I did pick them up.  I struggled through the mysteries that I was suppose to recite before each decade of the rosary.  It was Monday so if I'm not mistaken, it was the Joyful Mysteries (I think).

As the week has moved along, and still no luggage to be had, I started to really think about things.  In the photo at the top are two things that I have prayed on.  One of course being much more important than the other.  I have allowed myself to become a complete bear when thinking about this luggage not being around.  I feel like a dork being the only one dressed up at work today when everyone else is in jeans.  I trust, however, that the luggage is just misplaced and it will make it's way back to me eventually.  When I think of Monsoon and how I almost lost her, losing a suitcase full of clothes doesn't seem so bad.  If I had to choose, the choice would be obvious.  When a life is lost, it doesn't come back.

In my late 20s I had a roommate in Boston who moved in with me after losing everything she owned, including two precious cats, in a fire.  Her room was right under mine and many nights I'd hear her crying through the floorboards.  There are horrible floods in Iowa right now.  Four boyscouts lost their lives in a tornado.  Oh, I could just go on and on.  Losing this luggage has really placed things into perspective.  Everything I had in that suitcase can be replaced.  Of course it is a nuisance and an inconvenience.  –But we made it home from vacation in one piece.  Monsoon survived major surgery.  Her vet told me later that her chances of surviving it were actually only 30%.  She beat those odds.

Things could have been so much worse in both situations I mention here. There is hope.  And faith is hope and trust in the unknown.  I will remain hopeful.

–But man, will I miss those brown ankle boots.   

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