Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Toes in the Sand

This last weekend, I got to spend a much needed weekend in the sun in California.  I've needed a vacation for a while - but more than anything, I've needed some time in the sun.  This winter has been especially rainy and dark and as much as I love Seattle - there is a time when it starts to wear on you.  

I left on Thursday - it couldn't have been more horrible timing with my Grandpa going into the hospital.  I spent a lot of time on the phone with my family trying to decide if I was going to go to Idaho to be with him or keep my vacation plans.  These are, of course, the worst kinds of decisions to have to make as there really is no right choice.  After a conference call with my dad - we decided that I should still go to California.  Although there will some people who would argue that I made the wrong choice - I know that it was the right thing to do for me.  That being said - I probably wasn't the best version of myself on this trip.  

California is where my oldest and longest friend lives.  I have been friends with Diana for as long as I can remember - I literally can't remember a time when we weren't friends.  Her family has been my extended family and I'm glad I got to spend this weekend with them.  They don't care if I'm off my game or a little less social and smiley than normal.  

I headed to California with certain hopes for this trip.  And although I had a blast - it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for.  But... sometimes that's how the chips fall and I'm trying to be okay with it.  While I'm bummed about certain things - I'm thrilled that I got to spend time with Diana and her family, especially while I was going through everything with my own family.  Sometimes, when you can't be with your own family - you get lucky enough to have the next best thing.  

Santa Monica Pier 

At the Getty Villa

Huntington Beach
Because wine in the sun is better than wine in the rain.
#letmetakeanotherselfie (but this time I'm wearing a hat) 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The World Is Just A Little Bit Smaller

This weekend, the world lost someone who I was pretty sure was going to live forever, probably out of pure stubbornness and refusal to die.  My Grandpa passed away early on Friday morning.  He was the last of my grandparents still around - and that is inexplicably sad to me.  While I know he'll never get to see some of the awesome things left to come in my life - he was around for some of the cooler things that have happened in the last (almost!) 30 years.  

Grandpa and I have gotten pretty close in the last few years.  We talked every couple of weeks - sometimes longer, sometimes less - but nothing was better than this year when the Seahawks swept the Superbowl.  Grandpa (a lifelong Cowboys fan - even if 'that quarterback ain't worth nothing!') acquiesced that he could go for the Seahawks and even found the perfect hat: 
I didn't even send it to him.  I swear.  
Even though he was totally wrong about the score (31-17 Broncos) - I think we talked four times that week to debate the game and what we thought was going to happen.  

Grandpa had been there for almost every significant moment of my life.  High school graduation, high school sports (he even stood in the stands and yelled 'Run Forrest Run' at me when I did track - because that wasn't horrifying or anything), college graduation.  He made a trip over from Idaho to meet Will when we had our meet the family/engagement dinner.  He instantly liked Will and let me know that it would be acceptable for me to marry him and have him be part of our family.  When Will passed away four months later - Grandpa came to his memorial in MT.  I don't think that he really knew what to say - he just hugged me and then tried to get me to eat.  And eat.  And eat.  I think that's the way that he was able to show me he cared - by feeding me.  After, he called me a couple of times a week, just to check in and make sure I was okay.  I was obviously not okay - but having him call meant a lot.  Probably because I don't think he'd ever called me directly before - ever.  I was actually surprised that he had my number.  We had always talked when I called there - one of those 'check in with your elders' kind of things.  

Dad and I took a quick trip there this summer - I really wanted a chance to see him at home and have always thought that it's important to make the time to see family.  Life can get so hectic and so busy, but as his death has reminded me yet again, you never know when someone isn't going to be there.  I'm really grateful that Dad and I took that trip - not only did we get like 13 hours of daddy/daughter time time in the car (where he realized that I'm slightly less patient in the car than I was at 10 years old and that I will tell him to drive faster) but Grandpa got to show me around the house, show me his shop, and just generally show his granddaughter off to his friends.  All things that I think are more important to grandparents than they would ever admit out loud.  

It had never crossed my mind that my Grandpa wouldn't be there to see me walk down the aisle, or to have kids of my own.  He's been a constant fixture in my life forever - and he taught me how to fish (AKA letting me cast into the branches over and over and over again until he just started giving me the crappy lures because he knew I was just going to lose them anyways), and taught me to shoot (and discovering that although I'm right handed - my left eye is dominant which makes for a complicated aiming situation).  

Thank you Grandpa for the life lessons - especially: 'don't drive drunk', 'Run Forrest Run', and 'Romo sucks'.  You will be missed and loved every day.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A St. Patty's Day to Remember

Okay... in all fairness.... today isn't actually St. Patrick's Day.  But it was the St. Pattys Day Dash and that's practically the same thing.  We signed up for the 5K a couple of weeks ago and it was finally time to actually do it.  In the pouring rain.  And the cold.  Ugh.  Nothing screams 'Yay! I'm going to run a 5K' like rain and wet.  

Big bow ties?  Winning.  
So... confession time - we didn't actually run.  Except for the last 10 feet over the finish line.  We walked (but at a pretty quick clip!), drank our coffee, chit chatted, and gawked at costumes.  There were a lot of people in tutus.  And let me tell you... tutus droop in the rain.  

Best costume I saw?  Guy in a rainbow tutu and suspenders.  And that's it.  

Biggest perk of the race?  The beer garden.  I mean... do people even run 5Ks for any other reason??  

When there is drinking and revelry - there is also lots of left over plastic keg cups.  Therefore, there is also drunken artistic shenanigans.  

And I shall leave you with this.  Happy St. Patricks Day.  Wear your green tomorrow or I shall pinch you.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Truth About Shelter Dogs

We all know that for the last six months, I have been having a bit of a love affair with my dog.  Like the 'who needs a boyfriend when you have a dog' kind of love affair.  I have taken hundreds of pictures of her just being adorable and spent countless hours having doggie play dates, snuggling on the couch and just being ridiculous.  But what most people don't know is that my dog, Grace, is a rescue pit bull.  She's a mix of something else (probably lab) and I could have her DNA tested to see exactly what she is - but for the most part, she's a pit bull.  If you look at picture of an American Staffordshire Terrier - it's my dog.

Look how cute (and how pissed) she is. Go Seahawks!  We all wear jerseys in this house.
I've had a couple of friends lately who are looking to get dogs and I highly recommend for them to get a shelter dog.  I don't have any problem with purebred dogs that you get as puppies - my parents have always had labs and they are amazing, amazing dogs. But for me personally, I'll all about the shelter dogs.

Here are some things you can expect when you bring home a shelter dog: 
    • They'll jump all over you when you come home - even if you were only gone for 15 minutes.  Dogs have no sense of time, no way to read a clock and they are just so excited that you came back.  Shelter dogs have a reason to be excited - they were most likely left somewhere and their people never came back.  
    • They'll follow you everywhere and be unhappy when left alone.  Probably because they were left alone in their past life most of the time.  
    • They won't take treats in a polite fashion - most likely because no one has ever given them treats before.  If they were especially unlucky - they didn't know when their next meal was coming and it will take a while for them to realize that you'll always feed them.
    • It may take them a little bit of time to trust you - you don't know what their lives were like before.  Be patient.  It will happen.  
    • They will be amazing dogs. Even the 'aggressive' breeds are amazing.  Any dog can be taught to be aggressive but all the pits that I've met are more likely to roll over so you can rub their belly then to growl at you. 
    • They'll take over your life.  And your couch.  And your bed.  And you will probably step on one of their bones when you get up at 4:15am.  
    • They will love you more than anything else in the world.  Not only are you their person, but they know that you rescued them.  And if you are lucky, they will rescue you too.  
And for the people who didn't want my sweet dog or thought that she wasn't good enough or well-behaved enough or whatever.... thank you. She's a pain in the ass.  She eats my shoes.  She's peed and pooped and thrown up on the carpet.  My cats refuse to come out from under the bed when she's around.  But she also sits at my feet when I work.  She sleeps with her head in my lap.  She licks my face when she wants to get up in the morning.  She knows all my deepest, darkest secrets and I know she won't tell.   

Seriously.  Shelter dogs.  They will love you unconditionally because you are their person. And I am by no means saying that other dogs won't - not at all.  But I just look at the animals in the shelter or in rescues and it breaks my heart.  (And yes... there is a good chance that I've been sitting at home all day feeling crappy and watching a marathon on NatGeoWild that included at least one ASPCA commercial every 30 minutes.)