Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A new puppy and a weird Saturday

NO WE DID NOT GET A NEW PUPPY. I am not insane, I promise.

Last week I went with my friend, Gina, to pick up her possible new addition to their little family. Gina, if you remember, owns the boxer that Bella always plays with- Dallas. Gina found a 5 month old boxer puppy online that needed a new home because she was having to stay in her crate for 8 hours every day of the week (note: HORRIBLE for high energy boxers). Gina has been wanting to get another dog for a while because Dallas needs a playmate more often than just 2-3 days a week with Bella SO she decided to have a "trial" with this dog to see how she fit in with their family. I was the support group when she picked her up for the trial. Yes, Tim and I did tell Gina was insane for getting 2 boxers.

Little boxer puppy... Her name is Millie but Gina and her boyfriend Brad have since changed it to Mollie...and have SINCE officially decided to keep her and have named her Moxie. She's all white except for this brindle eye patch. Adorable! She's also a very good dog who just needed a little bit of TLC to become a little, confident boxer. I actually see similar personalities between her and Bella. They are quite the pair when they play together... Moxie is Bella's match.

And on the car ride home... she was a little bit confused.

On Saturday morning of last weekend, at 9am to be exact, we started to hear noises outside. This freaked the hell out of Bella because on Friday night she got spooked by fireworks from a local high school after they won their football game. So she starts "protecting" our house from these noises (aka: howling, barking). Lovely. We jump up from our quiet, relaxing morning to realize that painters are here and are literally taping us inside our house. We knew that our house was going to be painted but YOU WOULD THINK that someone would give us a heads up as to when it would be done, especially if it was going to be on a WEEKEND. Um, nope. Wrong assumption.

This was bad for several reasons: a) we had to break out/break in to our house anytime we wanted to go anywhere (see picture above of a breakout) b) we couldn't get the cars out of the garage since no one gave us a heads up and c) no one had made any color choices on WHAT COLOR would be painted so it was a little questionable as to HOW the painting was beginning without a color choice.
Then it got worse. We started to hear the painters using our water again. Which, fine, if they have to but AT LEAST ASK. They had already pressured washed every house around us a couple of weeks ago with our water without our permission which is annoying. So they use our water again Saturday morning and THEN we notice that they had broken.into.our.garage. (SERIOUSLY! Who does that?!) to plug into an outlet. IN THE GARAGE (with all of our personal property, tools, and not to mention brand new cars) without telling us or asking us... and yes, there are outlets outside. UGH. So we locked their extension cord inside the garage. And then proceeded to break out/in from the house every time Bella had to pee or we had to go somewhere. Whatever. If they are going to inconvenience us, we will inconvenience them. ANNOYING. Seriously, on a weekend?! Just annoying. It baffles me. Why not do it during the workweek when no one is home?

Anyway, I digress.
Since we couldn't drive anywhere, we walked about 3-4 miles or so to Gina's mom's house (who has a giant yard) to run the big dogs with the new puppy. This wasn't exactly enjoyable as it turns out I have a torn achilles... I found out after we returned from this walk that, nope, it's still not healed and welcome to the next 4 days where I will continue to gimp around like an 85 year old lady. And resign myself to sitting on my ass and getting fat. And whine. And ice. And gimp. And repeat. I thought that an easy little walk (which was relatively flat) would be good for my foot, not to mention for my sanity because I HATE being inactive. NOPE. It landed me at an Ortho Surgeon's office later in the week to make sure that nothing more serious was wrong and I was told that these injuries can take MONTHS to heal. Areyoukiddingme?!?! Another post entirely but needless to say, walking was not the best idea that day. But we made it and the dogs played and played and played. All afternoon. While we all just chatted. It was awesome.
Here's our big girl lying with her toy on a little break from movement. She had a big day! Lots of walking then running/playing for hours.

Bella and her new buddy Moxie.

And here they are again. I think they love each other.

After all the excitement from playing we meandered our way home with one tired dog who was not too keen on the idea of walking. We got home and were just kind of hanging around and we both realize that it smells like bacon. Uh huh. Weird, since neither of us eat bacon AT ALL therefore we have none in the house. So the fact that it smells like bacon is a little disconcerting and curious. We walk around the house sniffing it out. We open the master bathroom door, which is closed, and all of this smoke and fumes starts pouring out. And now it doesn't smell like bacon it smells like fire smoke. Seriously. Crazy. We both look at each other and we are just all, "WTF?" We start feeling the walls and floors for heat and nothing. But it's smokey and we're both starting to get headaches/feel a little nauseous. We go outside to see if there's smoke anywhere around that could be coming in through the skylight. Nope. We go back in and it seems worse. Eventually the fire department along with a huge engine and full crew come out to check on things. SERIOUSLY. THIS WAS OUR SATURDAY NIGHT. Awesome.
They did notice the smell but their little fire detector instruments didn't detect anything. The only thing that any of us could assume it to be was just highly condensed paint fumes but that STILL doesn't explain why it smelled like smoke. It was the weirdest thing ever. We aired out the whole house and had no other issues but I was a little freaked out that night, needless to say.

Bella thought that she still had energy so was showing off playing with her rope toy. This was a new position I had not seen before. HILARIOUS.

But later, she conked out cuddling with us and Calvin. Tyson, the gray kitty, is very selective about when he cuddles with us. We were not graced with his presence on this night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

5 years ago today...

I have been having an internal debate for the entire month of September on whether or not I should make this post. It all started on September 4 when one of my friends up here in Seattle mentioned that it was her 5 year anniversary. And I started thinking, "WOW, 5 years ago today on September 4th, I was in Jill's wedding." And then PAUSE. WAAAAIT. 5 minutes later a freaking bomb drops... "THAT MEANS THAT 5 YEARS AGO ON SEPTEMBER 25 WAS WHEN I GOT MARRIED." (uh, the first time).

Holy shit.

And so since then, I've been silently battling myself on: do I broach the taboo topic or not? Do I keep this website contained to: what's in the past is in the past or do I just GO THERE?

Well, obviously, I'M THERE. It's my website, I can talk about what I want and since it's also my history, well, YEP, I'm just going to go there. I generally do not care what people do or don't think about what I write about, thus, the lack of ability to leave comments (I did have that function at one time). I figure, if you don't like what I write about, you won't read it. If you do, you will. Or if it's just like watching a train wreck, well, hopefully it's entertaining. And if you really have to contact me to tell me your opinion which I don't really care about anyway THUS THE LACK OF COMMENTS, you know to go to the profile section and there's a huge button called CONTACT. Everyone just went there, huh? I know some of you know how to utilize that since I've gotten the feedback.

Anyway. Point is: 5 years ago today I married my college sweetheart. All at once it feels like it was yesterday and a million years ago all in the same second. I think if I had to choose, I'd opt for the million years side of things since I NEVER in a million years would have envisioned everything that's happened in the last 5 years on that day- September 25, 2004. And as much as I love my life now, I never would have pictured it in any way, shape, or form 5 years ago- at least in the way that exists now, aside from the happiness that this life brings me. That is the one thing that I have always demanded and is part of the reason that the path I've been on over the course of these past 5 years has been what it has.

I've never really talked about getting divorced on this website nor any of that time period where I rarely posted... because I couldn't. My life was consumed by turmoil and I couldn't write about it. I mean first of all, why would I really want to? Secondly, there were two people involved and I have a little bit more class than to disrespect the other person in this situation, who I did love, will always appreciate and love in many ways, so to get into the details was too personal, too raw, was actually something that I couldn't write about...surprisingly there are lines that I try not to cross. Thirdly, it was depressing. Which leads back to #1: why would I want to remind myself- much less anyone else- of those dark days? I'm not sure that I will ever really post about it to the full extent that I could. I don't need to. Those that know me well were there with me through it, they know the intimate details, they never judged and they still are in my life at the end of the day. If you don't know the intimate details, well, there's probably a reason for that and I don't need to justify anything to you. I made the best decisions I could, I have no regrets. And I truly believe that the path that was taken has led us both to better places.

That's not to say that it wasn't difficult. It was gut wrenching, throw yourself in a hole and want to hide forever EXCRUCIATING. Especially when on the one hand you hurt like hell and then on the other hand you have to put on a brave face, like YOU KNOW you're turning your life inside out, over and over and giving up everything and YES, you know you're letting go of the perfect guy and the perfect life but really, you convince everyone that you're fine, you know what you're doing, it's the best decision, everything is PERFECT. YEAH RIGHT. And has anyone seen the rants lately on how I've been judged about the puppy? WOW, divorce is NO COMPARISON. MULTIPLE DIVORCE BY A MILLION. And then multiple it by a million again. Everyone has an opinion, everyone judges, you lose friends, you lose family. AS IF IT'S NOT ENOUGH THAT YOU'RE ALREADY LOSING YOUR EVERY DAY LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT. Even IF it's the "BEST DECISION" (my phrase of the day for a year or two there). Hey, but thanks for telling me I'm doing everything wrong. I mean, really, don't you think that maybe I'm fighting those doubts MYSELF?

There are days when you just want to tell people to fuck off and mind their own business. And you probably do. There are many days where you put on the facade that everything is ok. It's not. These are the days in which you silently battle against yourself. The days in which you just want to hit the delete button to delete the series of events that got you to that place so that you can go back to your "safe" place and live a safe, but mediocre and not 100% happy and fulfilled life forever. Somedays you manage to convince yourself and everyone else that it's all ok. And there are days where you are so scared you can barely move. Or you just want to rewind the clock so that you can just start over, erase everything, try again. You wonder, are there do-overs in life? Can I please use mine?

And then at what appears to be the end of it all, but really it's just somewhere in the middle, you look back at the really, really, awful year or two you had and you realize that your life is in shambles. TORN TO SHREDS, UNRECOGNIZABLE TYPE OF SHAMBLES. And you're not really sure what you're doing about ANYTHING, all you know is that you just want to feel ok again, to feel whole, to feel safe, loved, to know you made the right decision when daily you're reminded that you just suck and you made the wrong decision over and over and over again. And you make a million wrong decisions about EVERYTHING, because your head just isn't in life. And one of those wrong decisions hits you like a ton of bricks the one day that you realize that it's taken you 3 HOURS just to figure out how to make a sandwich and you ended up spreading mayonnaise instead of jam but you don't even notice until you've tasted mayonnaise mixed with peanut butter and YOU DON'T EVEN CARE THAT IT'S THE MOST DISGUSTING THING YOU'VE EVER TASTED. And you finally start to wake up just a little bit to realize you really need to get it together. REALLY. LIKE START LIVING LIFE AGAIN. SOMEHOW. PULL IT TOGETHER. But everything feels like a mess and so confusing and sometimes you have to remind yourself to breathe and you're just not in it.

You have conversations you don't remember, you go through the motions, you go to work and pray that you can get through the day without royally screwing up like you screwed up the sandwich, you become someone that's just there but not really there but you don't even really recognize yourself and you try to put on the act that you have it together when inside you feel like a giant discombobulated puzzle that somehow needs to be put back together for everything to function normally again in your life but you can't even tell what the picture is to start assembling it. And the one thing that you can think, you DO think a million times, the one repeating and resounding thought- WHY did I do this to myself? I had everything. What is wrong with me? Am I crazy? Should I just go ahead and commit myself to a psychiatric suite? Or was I just following my gut? How did I get here?

And you look at the wedding pictures, the total 7 years of pictures you were together, you listen to music, you hug your cats, you look around at this life you helped to create. And you cry. Silently. Privately. Behind closed doors. The tears that won't end when you're finally alone, you don't have to be strong anymore and can just allow yourself to feel the break, the pain you have inadvertently caused. But really, what did you expect? Were you really that naive? You cry until it feels like you have dried up every organ in your body and your eyes will remain swollen shut for YEARS. You cry because you did love, you did want it to work, you weren't being malicious by ending it, you never wanted to hurt anyone and then EVERYONE was affected, aside from just the two of you- partly because of what was happening to your relationship and partly because what was happening to your relationship and the resulting affects on YOU personally and your inability to be yourself and recognize yourself and function normally. You truly just felt as though something was missing, that he deserved more than you felt like you could give him and knew that intuition could not be ignored. AND IT'S ALL SO CONFUSING. WHY CAN'T YOU JUST CHANGE AND MAKE IT BETTER?

And all of a sudden you meet someone that shows you: IT WAS ALL WORTH IT. YOU WERE RIGHT. It's like a ray of sunshine when you think the sun will never shine again. You get it. You weren't crazy. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW. It doesn't matter how anyone felt, what anyone said, what anyone thought or how anyone judged you... YOU WERE RIGHT. You met someone who showed you the kind of love and happiness that you were looking for all along, without ever really being able to put your finger on what exactly you were looking for. And in return, you are actually able to give that love back in return with a force that you didn't even know was possible. You also have found out, the hard way, who your true friends really are and you love them even more just for that knowledge. At that point, you know, you just KNOW how the course of your life was supposed to go and all of this junk, it's just been an avenue to get you to where you really need to be.

And at the very end of the day, you get to tell this kind of a story, the kind of a story that never gets old, that can always be relived, that fulfills you and sustains you even on the toughest of days. And then you hear that your ex-husband got re-married and you KNOW again, a million times over. You KNOW that you did the right thing. That you are happy, that he is happy and that all of this YUCK in between September 25, 2004 and now doesn't really matter. It's a memory, it sucked, we cried but LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE NOW. IT WAS WORTH IT. We both are exactly where we always needed to be- we are both loved, cherished and have the lives that we both deserve.

And knowing that makes it so that I CAN look past the bad stuff to 5 years ago today and smile. I will always have fond memories of that day. It was such a great day- we were surrounded by tons of family and friends. And we had each other and the thing about us was that throughout the time that we knew each other, we were always the best of friends. It was a relationship that got me through my time at Graceland and my first few years out of college. I am sad that I don't still have that friendship but I am so happy for the memories that I have of it. And THAT, that is why I chose to make this post. Those memories will never die. My Graceland memories will always include him. Significant days, like today, will always make me pause for a second just to remember. I will always cherish him and the memories we made and I hope that, he too, is able to look past all of the crap we went through, the pain that I admittedly but unintentionally caused him, and every once in a while smile at all of the good that we did have.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Add it to the list called "Ways in which I abuse my dog"

So as everyone saw here, I am a terrible animal owner, irresponsible and should never have kids. To continue in the trend of not taking care of the puppy, I spent all weekend taking care of her, playing with her, and probably creating a mini boxer heaven for her.... as follows:

A couple of days after The Incident, as I will now refer to it, our breeder Sue flew into town from Idaho. The purpose of her visit was to see all of her babies that had come to live with families in Seattle. Yes, we have the most awesome breeder EVER. I'm sure she is an avid practicer of animal abuse too [SARCASM].

Below are the pictures and story of the day we spent with Sue:

Bella and I picked Sue up at her hotel early yesterday morning. After saying hi to Bella and commenting about how good Bella looks and what a happy dog she is (hard to restrain myself here from commenting....), we drove out to Snoqualmie falls. Sue has a picture on her wall of a relative by the falls and has always wanted to see them. So I offered to be her tour guide. We picked a great day for it.

Sue, me, and pretty puppy Bella at the falls.

After leaving the falls, we took a quick tour of our town and our house and then headed to the dog park where we were meeting all of the other puppies and families.
Above is a picture of all of the dogs. The puppy on the very left is Tucker- he is Bella's litter mate and brother. He was HUGE and adorable. The dog Bella is sniffing is Max, I believe. He is one of the little, little guys we saw here when we got Bella. The dog at the top is Lola. She is from the very first litter and is about a year and 3 months old. All in all, about 7 dogs showed up- all under a year and a half. It was CRAZINESS. Bella was the only reverse brindle meaning she was the darkest of the bunch and, I believe, the cutest but I am biased. I also thought she was one of the best behaved. Again, I'm biased but she did GREAT especially considering how insane it was with so many puppies running around.

And another shot of the dogs before we let them loose.

Here's a group shot after about 2 hours of playing. The dog to the left of us is Bella's brother, Tucker. Sue, the breeder, is to my right. To the right of her is Zack- he is in training to be a service dog and is Bella's half brother. The dog next to Zack is Max and then the dog on the end is Martin- both are Bella's half brothers. It was a great day of boxer fun, they played so well together. The dogs were exhausted and WOW, I was absolutely wiped. I think I was falling asleep on the couch at around 7pm... and of course, Bella had been out then for at least 2 hours. It was a good day and so much fun to see all of Bella's siblings.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The story of why we shouldn't have kids.

So. To begin.

As we were leaving for our North Cascades drive (see here for documentation of the drive), we took what felt like FOREVER getting ready. Seems to be this way ever since we got the puppy... make sure we have puppy toys, puppy bed, puppy poop bags. You know, to TAKE CARE OF HER. Because I am an animal abuser so making sure she is comfortable is just one form of abuse that I like to practice.

And then after getting things ready for Miss Bella, since it's going to be a long drive- stuff for us. Do we want to hike? Take shoes. Is it going to be cold in the mountains? Get hats. Picnic? Pack food. I mean seriously? To get out the door feels like it takes an act of god. It blows my mind to even think about adding kids to this mix. Did I seriously just write that publicly? DELETE DELETE DELETE. The thought alone scares the living crap out of me and not just for the sheer fact that it would take us YEARS to go even on a drive. And hiking? Well, ha. We'd JUST get to the hike and then have to sleep in the car because it would already be night since it would take us all day to get there, so we'd sleep in the car that night so that we could hike the next day and the next thing you know, we'd be arrested for child endangerment for sleeping in the car. And then we'd have created these people that have serious emotional issues because we'd be in prison and they'd be in foster care or WORSE! with crazy relatives (wait, did I just say that too? What is my problem today?!) And anyway, it would just be a bad, bad situation. All because of trying to get out the door to go on a hike.

I mean, it already takes forever with just us and a dog. I can only deduct what it would be like with well, you know, that word I can't say or think about because it freaks me out too much (rhymes with lids). Lucky for me: problem solved! We shouldn't have them anyway. Phew. Just when I was starting to get really freaked out.


Onto the story.

We packed everything and were FINALLY out of the house. By 9:30am. Not really a significant feat given we'd be up since 6am. But we did chill and drink tea for an hour or so. Anyway, that's beside the point. We were getting ready to take off and had the thought that it would be nice to hike. So when that happens, cue mental checklist: Hike=shoes. Check! So I get our hiking shoes which we keep in the garage and start to put them in the backseat of the car. Tim says, "Wait, no I was going to put them back here with Bella." Ummmm... dog+shoes? Not sure that's a great idea. In fact, I think that is a horrible idea. I say as much to him. He says, "well, we've never had a problem before and I think she likes to lay on them." Mmm hmm. Ok....


Crazy enough, boxers get bored (shocker). When they get bored, they chew. GUESS WHOSE SHOES GOT CHEWED?!

Yours truly, correct. If you guessed that, go buy yourself a latte.

When we got to the ranger station to pee and get maps like I mentioned in my North Cascades post, we open the trunk to tie Bella up just while we are inside. Why? Well, other than the fact that this is another way we like to abuse her (you know, taking her with us and all), we just thought we'd restrain her from eating our little picnic lunch. WE ARE GOING TO HELL. If there are any animal activists reading this, I'm sure that tying up the dog in the trunk, to mitigate her from eating our PB&J or apples OR STEERING WHEEL, while keeping the windows open on a beautiful 60 degree day in the MOUNTAINS FOR FIVE MINUTES (ok, maybe it was SEVEN minutes because I washed my hands really well) is surely a form of animal abuse.


We go to tie her up to abuse her more and what do we find? MY CHEWED UP SHOE. Well. I look at Tim. He looks down. Well. I guess I win that one. Chalk it up. I am not a happy camper.

You may think that shoes are not a big deal but here is why this is a big deal: I do not want to replace my hiking shoes. Why? Because it took all willpower I had to spend $100 on THE UGLIEST SHOES EVER. Did I say EVER? EVER. Wow, I should take it easy with the caps. They are ugly. And I never thought that I would spend $100 on ugly shoes. But WOW are they awesome for hiking. But since we don't hike everyday, they should be perfectly capable to hold up for YEARS. Even once we have kids and then try to hike but go to prison instead. Ahem, mug shot shoes? Maybe. Ok, I'm trying to stay on track. Back to story: point is- she chewed my shoes. Bad, bad puppy.

So we run in, pee, wash hands (washed them well, like I said- I'm developing a germ phobia as I get older...or maybe just because everyone I know is sick. Another post entirely) and we grab maps of the road so that we know where the points of interest/hikes are. NOTE: These maps are just sitting on the counter so we literally just grab them.

We open up the trunk to the car 6.5 minutes (average) after this. I'm sitting in the passenger seat as Tim is going to take Bella to pee too (again, ABUSE! WE LET OUR DOG PEE!) And he notices that the little brat (aka: bored puppy) chewed the strap off the whole foods bag where we had packed our little picnic. I hear him say: "WHAT IN THE HELL?"

And I jump out of the car saying, "What did she do??"

He's walking off to take her pee and I notice the strap. I say out loud, "What is wrong with her?" (Even though, as I know my dog, I know she's just bored of being in the damn car! She is a puppy for the freaking love of god).

All of a sudden (I wish there was a music function here... I'd cue it).... I hear a lady's voice (and I start to feel massive deja vu....) "Well, she's probably just mad at you for leaving her in the car."

Note here: we parked on the sunnier side of the parking lot. Why? Because it was 60 degrees on the top of the mountain which is COLD for dogs that don't have much fur. Our dog LOVES to lay in the sun. Crazy enough, we know her.

So this crazy bitch continues: (seriously, where do these people come from and how do they always find me?!) "Why did you have to park in the sun? Why couldn't you have parked in the shade?" (Note: again, 60 degrees, dog was SHIVERING from COLD because of open windows. Are you SHITTING ME).

At this point my jaw is hitting the ground, disabling my speech. I am dumbfounded by the fact that there is more than one stupid, meddling bitch in the world. I guess I should just get used to it.

I say, "Lady, it was only 5 minutes. The dog is just bored because we've been in the car all day."

She continues: "Would you leave your kids in the car?" (No, different story and as a sidenote, I don't also believe that kids=dogs OR that kids would chew up my shoes...but anyway....) "Would you treat your kids like this, HUH?? HUH?? Why are you so irresponsible?" Not sure how irresponsible comes from taking a piss for 5 minutes and dogs aren't allowed in the ranger station anyway!!!

Tim hears this going on and comes back over in my defense since I am somewhat flabbergasted by it all and I'm not even really sure what to say or why I'm getting attacked for doing nothing wrong, well, aside from the obvious animal abuse. OBVIOUSLY.

He says in a very calm voice (probably, I would guess, how he talks to his patients-especially the repeat patients who abuse the system to get painkillers), "Don't talk to my wife like that. You don't know us, don't judge us like that. We did nothing wrong."

And THEN her husband gets involved. I'm not sure of how the exact attack went from that point on other than Tim being calm and telling them to not talk to us like that and them SCREAMING (I kid you not) "DO NOT EVER HAVE KIDS. NEVER. YOU NEED TO GROW UP GROW UP GROW UP."



If anyone overheard these people, you would have thought we were taking a whip and beating the hell out of the dog. (Just for the record, unless you didn't notice, this post is DRIPPING with sarcasm and in all seriousness, we have never, nor will never abuse our animal. We love her (and the cats) like they are members of our family... which you would know just by looking at the past few months' posts....)

It's weird that we were being told to grow up when we are just minding our own business, not judging people and taking care of ourselves AND THE DOG (the insanity we possess by actually taking care of her!) while tolerating (nicely, I might add, especially when it wasn't warranted) attacks from crazy, insane, stupid people. Ahem.

And then, next thing you know, I LET THESE PEOPLE AFFECT ME. Which almost makes me more mad than anything because they were simply not worth it. I am in the car, shaking, crying. I just don't get how people can be so mean, so judgemental. When SERIOUSLY!!! Hello, don't these people read my blog? I'm so in love with that silly puppy all I ever DO is take care of her and write about her and think about her and TRY TO PUT HER AND HER NEEDS FIRST. And to tell me that I'm doing a horrible job and that I shouldn't have kids?

Oh, the tears. They wouldn't stop. I wasn't even having a hormonal week. It was bizarre. And no, not pregnant- much to these people's liking, I assume.

Like I said before, I respect people that look out for animals, I really do. But I think that there is one way of delivering a message without sounding like a judgemental whore ESPECIALLY when you only see about 2.5 seconds of our life and our dogs life. I might be guilty of judging people but I would hope that I would take a step back to think, "Maybe I'm not seeing the whole picture here." Never would I blatantly, rudely attack someone like that. I mean SERIOUSLY. I don't know where these people come from.


So, that is the story of why we shouldn't have kids. The other title would be: "Another rant on the crazy stupid bitches that exist in this world."

And pictures of our poor little abused puppy (again, SARCASM, for all you slower folks out there):

Here she is posing by her new favorite "toys."

And again..... obviously not interested in the slightest in this picture.

Daddy and Bells. Sometimes we call her jingle bells.... or school bells... or cow bells... or bell bells.

And when we do that little game of playing with her name, she starts howling. It is probably the cutest thing ever. Too bad we are such horrible puppy parents (SARCASM). Oh, and for the record, when we DO have kids, which we will, I cannot say exactly what they will be like or who they will be but I do know this: we will be the best parents we can possibly be, we will teach them to never exhibit the rudeness that these people showed to us, and most importantly- we will love them more than anything.

Friday, September 18, 2009

North Cascades Highway Drive

On yet another beautiful pacific northwest day (seriously! This weather is unbelievable) Tim and I decided to go on another drive which we haven't done yet- the North Cascades Highway Drive. Obviously, this drive is north of Seattle in the north cascades, hence the name. It's actually a loop that goes from the Seattle area, through the north cascades, around the Lake Chelan area east of the mountains, back through the central cascades and then finally back to the point where it started in the Seattle area. That was exhausting just typing that! The total loop is about 450 miles (not kidding) and we've seen all of it except for the North Cascades highway waaay up north so we decided just to drive up to that segment and spare the hours doing the entire loop. It's a pretty steep segment with serious inclines/altitudes so it's closed November through May. But, we've heard from countless people about how gorgeous this drive is, especially in the fall, so we decided to just check it out for ourselves before it closes in the winter. See pictures, below, for full detail:

Driving north on 1-5... at this point we are just north of Seattle in Everett (not the most attractive part of the greater Seattle area, as you can tell). But those mountains sure are pretty and that's where we're headed!

Mmmm hmm, puppy went too! Here she is, sniffing away. This was BEFORE she was a bad, bad puppy and AFTER I warned Tim about how she would be a bad puppy. More on that later.

Tim drove again...

The GPS shot of our trek through the North Cascades Highway.

Pretty mountains- they look so close but wow, it was a long drive to get to them! It took about an hour and a half just to get to the point where the North Cascades mountain drive actually started (even though we were already on the North Cascades loop and were seeing mountains all over).

Cool view of a snowy mountain straight ahead of us.

And in that hour and a half time period to get deep into the mountains, I was getting a wee bit bored. So I got camera happy. Here I was trying to capture those cool clouds.

Gorgeous fall colors... I love the fall! It was the one part of Arizona I never would have gotten used to.

Once we were deep into the mountains, we drove through several mountain tunnels. Gorgeous! I should note that right before we got to this point, we had drive through several small towns (again, resembling Iowa like on our drive down to Rainier). We then stopped at a Ranger station at about 500feet (altitude) to pee and get maps of the mountains/hikes, etc. I could continue on about this 5 minute stop for the next 2,000 words which would then define how Bella was a bad, bad, horrible puppy and then how we discovered that we should never have kids BUT I am just going to make everyone die of anticipation and WAIT. The story deserves it's own post. Anyway, the point is that I took the picture of this tunnel when I was in tears. Meaning, I could not really see through the blur. But it still turned out great, eh?

Several miles down the road when the tears stopped and I just started laughing about everything that had just happened thanks to my nice husband who knows exactly how to make things better, we discovered our first of many waterfalls. Awesome!

We got out at a point called the Gorge Dam... which is a dam on a pretty little alpine lake. There was a 1/2 mile trail that we walked to get some great pictures.

Us in front of the beautiful gorge lake.

A shot of Diablo lake, another alpine lake just up the road from the Gorge lake.

What the North Cascades Highway looks like when driving.... so pretty.

And another shot- everyone was right. This drive was amazing! I would recommend for anyone in the area or if anyone has the time when visiting.

Our stopping/turnaround point on the drive was Washington Pass. It was at an altitude of about 6000 feet and from this point (if we we were to keep going east), we'd go farther down in altitude until reaching the Lake Chelan area of Eastern Washington (which is the more seasonal part of Washington- and looks much more like a desert).

A shot of the Liberty Bell peak from our viewpoint at Washington Pass. There was a hike we really wanted to go on to get to Liberty Bell (as well as another alpine lake) but at this point it was already mid-afternoon and we knew we had a 3-4 hour drive in front of us to get back home. Bummer.

Another shot of the gorgeous mountains.

Timmy and Bella on top of Washington pass- aren't those mountains awesome?! It was so cool to be so deep into the mountains and see the whole range before us. I know, I am always raving about mountains lately but I swear, it never gets old to be in them, to see the different vantage points. It's all so different and uniquely beautiful.

A shot of the road below- where we came from.

Aww... perfect picture in front of amazing scenery.

And a picture of the puppy and I.

Another shot of the road that captures how truly high we were.

And, after we turned around at Washington pass, we saw many different views than we saw going up. This was one of them. We were amazed coming down from Rainier at how unseemingly steep it was going up and that we didn't notice. This happened again here. As we were going down, we noticed the incline and were blown away. It was quite the haul to wind through this highway in the mountains and it makes total sense why they would close the North Cascades Highway in the winter months. All in all, it was another successful day of seeing and exploring a part of our state that we hadn't seen before, and once again, it makes me all the more grateful that we live in such a beautiful place.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The many curious sleeping positions of a puppy.

In case anyone has forgotten, we have a puppy. Oh, wait, it's impossible to forget because I ALWAYS post about her. Guess everyone is in for another post full of puppy!

I realized that I have a ton of pictures of her sleeping- probably because that is the ONLY time that she is not moving at full speed (aka: insane bursts of energy that should not be possible for anything living). It's also a time when she is 100% adorable...unlike when she decides that she has selective listening skills TWICE in the last week that compel her to decide that she is queen of the world, doesn't have to listen to anyone, and will run off when it is her "play time" at the park. This then, makes for two very unhappy parents when the puppy (aka: Princess Bella) runs into the middle of the street at full speed. THE STREET. AT FULL SPEED. (Insert picture of Tim and I having a heart attack). She is not afraid of cars. She is not too bright in this respect.

But OHMYGOD, Mom and Dad, did you SEE that other puppy across the street? You and that ball are NOTHING compared to that. And that person running? I HAVE TO CHASE HER. GOOOOOOOO! And then us stupid parents? Duh, princess Bella doesn't have to listen so we just sit there and all hundreds of dollars in training classes, all commands, all shouts of "Bella, no!", all nice persuasion to try to get her to come (even with treats and toys), go out the window. Because she is the princess. DUH. This has happened TWICE in the past week. She has basically lost all free play privileges that she had. It's too bad because she had been so good about this up until she hit this 9 month rebellious stage where she has to test her boundaries. And she's still awesome at listening at the dog park with a million other dogs around so it's really weird.


We'll get there with her, she is still a puppy. In the meantime, all ranting aside, below are the sleeping pictures of the cute side of our pup...moments in which she often makes us laugh because of the way she chooses to sleep. Even though she has had her bad moments, generally she has been a great dog. She is super smart and she (usually) listens. She does have massive amounts of energy, but that is a boxer trait and it keeps us entertained.

She LOVES to sleep on top of or beside her toys. Toy cuddles, I guess.

This position is quite common and funny... especially if she starts to dream... and then slides off the step. We hear, THUUUUUMP. Oh, it's just Bella who fell off the step again.

Bella trying to do yoga with me... BUT, she can't stay awake. Does a paw on the mat count?

After returning from the dog park, trying to pretend like she still has energy and is playing with her toy. But nope, out cold.

And for a little mix up.....

She's awake!!

And again....

And my two loves. Bella looks absolutely thrilled at getting a big bear hug.