Stop licking the structural steel

I woke up this morning unable to breathe, I was totally stuffed up and my throat was dry and sore. The root cause?….I blame the New Mexicans. That’s right this morning we had mud rain…err rather we had mud rain all through the night and this morning, which apparently caused my noise to get all upidy and decide to get stuffed up. Anyway, I am thinking it is New Mexico’s fault….or I guess it could have been Nevada’s….or really any state with dry desert like conditions that cause the wind to blow and populate my beautiful clean rain with muddy sand….and no it couldn’t possibly have been Colorado’s fault. Even though we are dry and do have a few areas with desert type conditions….nope not Colorado…one of those other states. Anyhoo. So I opened my airways enough to make it to work, but then this strange metalic taste filled my mouth. Just like I had been licking on a steel column or something. Now don’t get me wrong, I just love a good steel column to lick on, but I try to only do it when I am feeling particularly anemic. No matter how much water I have tried to guzzle, this silly taste won’t go away. I went to extreme measures. Do you remember Blow Pops? Yeah it has only been about fifteen years since I had one, but apparently they still make them and a co-worker stocks them in her come-be-tempted-by-the-sweets basket. Well I figured it might help. I am not a big fan of Blow Pops. I mean they are okay, but I hate the gum. This is why I always preferred the Tootsie Roll suckers. Because it was just the best ending to an already great beginning. But the gum, stupid. Whose idea was that anyway? Well it worked for a while, but now the taste is back. Next plan of attack….Qdoba. That should do the trick…I hope.
Onto other random notes, our flagstone is coming tomorrow! Of course just in time for it to most likely rain all day Saturday and Sunday, but regardless I am super excited about it. Just one step closer in my quest for a metal porch glider. Which makes me think it is time to start thinking up my game plan. I need to research and list all the possible antique and architectural salvage places in and around Denver. Having a list and being able to elminate the locations where  a glider can not be found will make it much easier to zero in one…or at least that is what I am thinking. If there are none to be found in the vintage marketplace, then the next game plan is scouring the newspapers for estate sales and auctions, the last and final step is to start stalking little old people. I could follow them home, peak over their fences while they are busy watching The Price is Right…..this is of course the last case scenario, but still good to have a plan of attack. I was talking to my BFF’s mom about the search…don’t worry I left out the part about stalking old people…she is the one who said I could inherit her glider and chairs, but again I don’t want to wait and it just seems morbid to me. Anyhoo, she told me that her mother saved and saved to buy the three pieces. I believe she bought the couch first and then saved up $5 to buy one of the matching chairs. But by the time she saved up the $5 for the second chair the pattern wasn’t available. So the second chair doesn’t match, but I love it more because if that. I am assuming if the chair was $5 the couch was probably no more than $15. Now this of course was a time where her husband only made $25 a week or so, but still. We’re talking about one day’s pay for the chair and I am thinking he was a blue collar fellow. So in comparison that might be somewhere around $50 today. I would be a lucky duck to find a glider couch and a couple of chairs for anything less than $700. We’ll see though. Perhaps if I found the right old lady who needed some extra scratch to die her hair blue or play some slots….oh how much I wish my grandma had these types of treasures, she would be easy to negotiate with. Just have to hold out a couple rolls of pennies and say the words “Let’s go to Vegas!”. She’d be butter in my hands.


Hey Soul Sister

Have you seen the commercial for 3-D Tvs that plays “Hey Soul Sister”? It doesn’t really matter if you have or not. The point is, I love this song! Last night the commercial came on and I started singing it. Andy kind of laughed at me. But then the commercial was not enough. So I pulled out the iPod and plugged it into our stereo. Then I started dancing around and singing like a silly white chick. And the greatest thing in the world happened! Andy danced with me. Luckily he had been enjoying a couple beers, otherwise this phenomenon would never have occurred. He hates to dance….mostly because he doesn’t know how. But I don’t care if he is good or not. I just love it when he does. It makes me all giddy and happy like a 8 year old.
When Andy and I were first dating I had the balls to ask his mother what happened between her and his father. What a noisy girl I was? But I really wanted to know. I want to learn from everyone around me, which is why I am so inquisitive.
She was very nice and open about it all. She obviously didn’t go into specifics and was very respectful of my FIL, but eventually the conversation transitioned into her life after the divorce. She told me she made herself a list. A list of qualities she wanted in a partner. She wasn’t looking for someone who had all those qualities, but just someone who had many of them. Of course, noisy Natalie, asks what was on the list. One of the things was “someone who is willing to dance”. She was pretty specific that it didn’t matter if they were good at dancing and it didn’t matter if they never specifically wanted to go out dancing or whatever, just that they would be willing to dance should the occasion arise. After that conversation I decided that was on my list too. Don’t get me wrong, it would be my dream if Andy would take salsa lessons or ballroom lessons with me, or both! But I am pretty sure that isn’t going to happen, no matter how heavily I try to bribe him. But when he lets me wrap my arms around him in the comfort of our home and dances around with me, I feel like the happiest, luckiest, most loved girl in the entire world!

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Rogue Ovaries

I am thinking I haven’t actually said what all is going on with my crazy ass body. Wait let me just skim my past posts to make sure…….well not directly at least. So as most of you have probably gathered, hubs and I have been having unprotected “pro-creation” type sex for over a year now. By the way, I simply loathe the term “trying to get pregnant”, no offense to anyone. It has always sounded so ridiculous to me, like we’re chastely sitting next to one another in a formal living room, holding hands with our eyes closed wishing it to happen. What you don’t have room specific visions like this? Anyhoo, as you might have guessed, it turns out our unprotected sex is exactly like our protected sex….whatcha gonna do? Well actually what am I gonna do, you might be asking? To tell you all the truth, I am not going to do anything for the time being…..okay technically that is a lie. I am doing the whole acupuncture thing and obviously tracking the temp and all that business. So I guess I am doing something, but I meant I am, as of now, not pursuing other avenues of intervention. I did at first….which is what brings me back to my post title…I have turned into a regular Nancy Drew about all this crap. You would think there was buried treasure awaiting someone who could investigate this issue the most. I have read and absorbed so much information regarding my situation that I consider myself the foremost expert on women like myself. Notice I said “I consider myself”, you all should definitely not consider me an expert of any kind. Especially considering I have been reading so much that I haven’t tracked my actual sources. So they could be bogus. More accurately I have used my investigatory skills to find answers that have helped me to at least deal with the patience aspect of this whole thing. At first when I got off the B.C. I was like a crazy fiend. Imagine Reefer Madness only about babies (if you haven’t seen Reefer Madness you seriously need to….the new musical one. It is hilarious! “listen to Jesus Jimmy, just say no to the marihwanaaaaa”…..hahahaha it is great.) Whoa don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with pot! I was just thinking of the crazed faces from Reefer Madness where they are looking like they will kill someone to get a joint. This is how I imagined I looked when I first started my pursuit of offspring. Obviously I never seriously considered doing anything crazy, but you know when you’re at a store and someone walks a little ways off leaving their baby in the stroller? That thought crosses your mind like ‘well this would be too easy”. Again not that I would ever do it and often times I linger there for a second monitoring the baby while the parent works their way back. Like I am providing overwatch to make sure some other hormonal lady doesn’t snatch the kid. As if I am saying ‘well if anyone gets to take the kid it is gonna be me’. Yeah have I mentioned how insane the female brain is? Weird.
Anyhoo, like I said I started out being a crazy person ready to be pregnant and wanting to start filling my shopping carts with diapers, clothes, bedding, etc. I was able to rein all that in, obviously. I went to the doctor in August after I hit 63 days with no period and had repeated negative pee tests. She gave me aygestin to start my period and then brought me in on day 3 and day 21 to run hormone screening blood work. This was still the “crazy baby fiend” stage FYI. So I was engrossed in everything she told me about possibilities. She told me depending on my blood work we had a few options, Clomid being the first. She would let me try that for 3 cycles and do hormone testing at day 21 each cycle. Then if that didn’t work they would do the dye test to see if my fallopian tubes were open. Then test the sperm and all that business. The last option being moving into the more aggressive IVF options. Following each visit with her I spent days researching everything I could about these options. Would it be safe for me, the baby? etc. Just so you all know, I didn’t find anything disconcerting about Clomid….but still there was some resistance in the back of my mind. Something made me not jump on that bandwagon as much as I ached to.
Here comes the hippie….just thought I would warn you. I haven’t given up on the whole Clomid route. In fact I sort of set a deadline for myself. I would give this until July or so and if things still weren’t looking good, then I would give the Clomid a go. But there is this huge part of me that just really wants this to happen on its own…and for now that is the part that is winning. I just have this certain feeling that it isn’t happening for a reason and that I need to give my body time to figure itself out. The whole idea behind B.C., sorry to bore you if you already know all this crap, is that it replaces your body’s natural hormone production. The hormone screening showed that my body has the estrogen production down pat, it is the progesterone that it was struggling with. Thus the no period for months on end, no ovulation, etc. I read that sometimes it doesn’t take your body any time at all to remember how to produce these hormones, sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes it takes years…..and sometimes it never happens. Don’t focus on that last one okay. It will get you down. So since technically I am the one who f’ed my body up, I figure I should be nice enough to give it a little time to see if it can do it on its own. Also, there’s a lot of research on women who have been on birth control for a long period of time…well not only was I on birth control for a long period of time, but I was also on a higher dose than normal. I started on your standard dosage, but I was having two periods a month, so I got bumped up. And I stayed up. Thinking back I probably should have spent a year on the higher dose and then tried to step it down, but whatcha gonna do? Can’t take it back now.
So why go the hippie route? Well, for one, I am a big hippie. Okay maybe not a big hippie. But let’s examine the decisions I have already made towards my pregnancy and childbirth. 1) I plan to make many of my own maternity wear = hippie (but don’t worry it will be stylish…just the homemade fact makes it hippie). 2) I am going to have (nature willing) a home water birth = uber hippie. 3) Baby is gonna sleep in a hammock = hippie. Have you seen these hammocks? Research shows that the average baby sleeps through the night in less than 6 weeks because they simulate the womb. Okay I still need to research it to be sure there are issues with strangulation and such, plus I don’t want to spend money on something that they can only use for a short period of time. Not sure the weight limit. But anyway, that is my initial idea. 4) The hammock and bedding for the crib are going to be organic cotton = hippie. 5) I plan to cloth diaper = hippie. 6)  I am gonna join a drum circle….okay that is a lie. The reason I am going the hippie route for now is because it seemed a little contradictory to my decisions thus far. I mean I am going to have a home water birth, but I am going to take drugs to get things started? It just seemed a little out of place. So that was the first thought. Then there are the less rational fear thoughts. Like ‘what if I am not supposed to have children and nature is trying to tell me something….like they are gonna have a third eye….or like that chick on Total Recall with three boobs’. Again I get that is not the totally rational way of thinking, but the thoughts are there. Then there is the whole thought that what if taking drugs to get things going will inhibit me to have a home birth. Like I said, I found no research that showed Clomid or other drugs affected the development or caused complications during pregnancy, but the medical skeptic in me always thinks that it could still do something. I wasn’t able to find any research that tracked Clomid babies with C-sections or induction or other complications, and I have known several people with no complications after taking Clomid. But that sneaking thought in my mind has helped me to stay patient.
So what’s the deal with the ovaries? Here’s my “expert” hypothesis: Say the average time it takes a normal woman, who was on a normal dosage of b.c., one year to start regularly producing progesterone and estrogen That means it could take me twice as long (by the way I didn’t find conclusive evidence that it took many women a year to regulate….in fact I think the number is like 90% of women get a regular period within 3 months…bitches! But i have known a lot of women who have gone through this same thing and it seemed like some of them hit the year mark and then all of a sudden things started working….again I use “expert” loosely here people). But I am not too sure I can wait two years to see if things start working themselves out. We’ll see. I’ll decide in July. Okay so once I decided to give my body a chance, I started researching foods and other “progesterone” inducing techniques. Did you know there is progesterone creme? I didn’t either. That kind of freaked me out. So you rub progesterone on yourself? hmmm. That seems weird. I didn’t go that route. But I started looking into the healthy diet thing and the whole theory that fat increases your estrogen. Again I know the estrogen production is going fine, but maybe if I can reduce how much estrogen my body produces, by getting into better shape, then a light bulb will come on in my brain that says ‘oh wait, we should be producing progesterone too!’ (By the way, this is why I am a way funner expert that an actual doctor, because my research is peppered with random shit that my brain thinks up as well). Plus getting in better shape kind of goes with the whole not getting gigantic and huge plan. Which means the better shape I am in when I start out, the more of a chance I have at staying in shape while pregnant and not having as much work to do after the baby shows up. But I am secretly banking on that whole idea that some women who breast feed actually weigh less than they did before they get pregnant. This happened to my cousin and a couple other bloggers I’ve followed. Not gonna lie. I am kind of hoping for this. hahaha.
Whoa this is getting to be an out of control blog entry! I didn’t mean to go into it this much. But when in Rome I guess. So anyway. I am being patient and here’s where things stand. After I did the whole start my-period-hormone-screening-figure-out-my-options-and-decide-to-be-patient thing, I allowed myself to have a natural cycle that lasted….200 Days! I know it was ridiculous. That is over six months. Now first off, I totally tricked the tampon companies out of some major cash on that one, but it was extremely frustrating! Coincidentally I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility a couple of weeks before I ovulated. So I started tracking my temps just in time and part of me was like ‘this was meant to be!’. But, it didn’t work that time around. Okay, no bigs…I am sure this cycle will be shorter. So I continued to eat healthier and exercise more. Keep my stress levels low….which is so much easier with acupuncture and exercise and healthy eating. Of course I already knew this stuff, but don’t you just love it when the world reminds you that you’ve been a stressed out dumb-ass? Me too. Annnddddd…..I am still waiting. It is day 51 today and although I am still waiting for confirmation….my temp spiked on Saturday! Woohoo! Okay now obviously I am rooting for getting preggo, but in reality (i.e. trying not to get too excited) I am just keeping my fingers crossed that the temp will stay high and not drop back down and become a “false alarm”. Good news is I have a game plan should this not be it. The acupuncturist gave me some herbs to take. They coincide with your cycle, so she said I can wait to start them on the first day of my period, or try to guess where I am in my cycle and start with the coinciding bottle. BTW the “prescription” is to take 5 pills 3 times a day. That is an insane amount of pills! I am going to look like a ‘roid popper! Now, you’re not supposed to take them if your preggo, so I am kind of holding out to see whether the temp will stay high for a couple more days. But the good news is, having this “not preggo” plan, is actually making it easier on my I think. It is kind of like ‘well no matter what happens there is something to look forward to’. Obviously one outweighs the other, but the idea of having an option that might help is really making me excited. 
Seriously if you have read this entire post, kudos to you. It took me several days to write it, so I can’t imagine how bored and sidetracked you got while reading it. I will obviously keep you all posted as to what the temp does this week. I just keep telling my rogue ovaries to keep it up for 14 more days ladies!. I think they’re figuring it out though.

Hitting the Glass Ceiling

I apologize for the radio silence this past week. I had some shiznit to work out and I didn’t want to be all negative on here and bum you all out. That is not fair to you all. I have been wallowing in self-pity. In my head, I have been hiding out in bed with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and staying in my sweat pants…too bad I couldn’t really do this. In reality, nothing has changed, I have been going through the normal motions: go to work, come home, do chores, etc. I didn’t feel like sharing it with you all right away because I felt like such a dirt bag for even feeling this way. I consider myself pretty gosh dern lucky when it comes to my career, so I felt guilty feeling sorry for myself in the least bit when I know I am more fortunate than many of my friends. Okay here’s the dilly and then I will tell you my revelation.
Dilly: The week before last I had my annual review. My boss said he is super impressed by all my hard work and gave me a “exceeds expectations” rating, Awesome! He said that in conjunction with the standard annual raise, I would get an additional raise for passing my exam (YES! this is what I have been working my tushy off for!), but he didn’t have the numbers yet. So I patiently waited, going to bed each night fantasizing how much better and easier our life would get very very soon. He had said the words “significant” when referring to the raise, so I was trying to keep myself grounded. I knew it wouldn’t be millions of dollars, but I had ideas of my own as to what it might be. Well last Tuesday he had the number, it was a percentage, so not an actual dollar amount, and at first I was like “Awesome….wait how much would that be?…”. As soon as I started crunching numbers in my head the shine began to fade. I didn’t say anything to him, but as soon as I left I whipped out the calculator and figured out what exactly the difference would be. My jaw literally hit the floor, rolled out the door, and went on vacation from being in so much shock. They had to be kidding me? Really. After all that work? After giving up my life, ignoring my husband, my friends, my hobbies, everything. After all that? Seriously I wasn’t expecting them to hand me the keys to my own office or anything, but this is a pretty big deal in the world of architecture. Becoming licensed qualifies you to open your own firm, allows you to start stamping your own designs, you are suddenly legally liable for everything you do. My heart sank. Turns out instead of studying for a year straight and kicking my own butt multiple times, I should have gotten a second job, I would have been better off. I tried to pick my head up off the floor and tell myself ‘hey, mopey girl, look around, you are getting a raise when so many people you know are having their hours cut back, be grateful’. But then there was the part of me that wondered if it was negotiable and if I didn’t ask then I would always wonder if I could have asked for more. I built myself up to go in again. I was armed with the numbers I had run and I was ready to ask if this number was negotiable…..of course I was nauseated and felt like I had to pee the entire time I was working myself up to it. I hate that feeling.
But I went in there, told my boss what I had discovered. When I told him the number he was like ‘wait how much is it?’. He was kind of shocked himself. FYI, this number doesn’t come from him, this comes from the bigger boss in the office and that is a result of negotiations with the corporate headquarters. So I knew he wasn’t to blame. He told me he would investigate whether it was negotiable and then I asked him I understood if they couldn’t do more. And if they can’t do more then can he outline exactly what I can do to get up to the next level. He was pretty responsive to this, although basically what he said is the next “level” is to become a project manager and of course I don’t get to decide when that happens. That is based on the needs of the company. If they need more PMs then I get to take the training and move up. He said ‘probably not this year….maybe next year’. Damn it!
Now let me just admit that I happen to know what a coworker of mine makes. What’s worse is I didn’t find out by him telling me. It wasn’t my fault people okay! I am innocent. So I was working on the expense report of a particular project and I was tallying up what we’d spent so far, what was left, and comparing that to what we had left to do. I was trying to determine the multiplier….basically the number they bill our work out for, because I knew what I got paid. So once I figured out what the multiplier was I could easily see accidentally saw what not only my coworker gets paid, but also my boss. I have never said anything about it to anyone….until now that is. I just sort of filed it away as to what my potential might be. I knew when I passed my exams I wasn’t going to get that much of a raise, but I figured the gap between me and him would shrink a little. He has about 5 more years experience than I do, so obviously I knew I wasn’t going to be that close to his. But I still hoped to break through to a certain point.
So after talking with my boss and discovering since then that nothing can be done, I have started to realize I have hit my glass ceiling. And the thing I think is limiting me….my age. I have been an unstoppable force for the last 9 years. Pushing myself as hard as I possibly can to get to where I want to go. I have run into my fair share of road blocks, like we all do, but I have never met my actual limit. There was always something I could do to keep going…until now that is. Now I am stuck. I am at the mercy of the industrial machine. I have to wait patiently for all the gears and mechanisms to line up before I can scoot up to the next spot. It is so frustrating to be stuck. To have nothing left to do to improve my situation. What’s worse is I thought this was my break. I thought after everything this was the key to setting us free. I am tired of struggling so hard and worse, I am tired of feeling resentful of those around me who haven’t worked as hard as I have, but are doing so much better.
Revelation: I am still lucky. In the end, after all that sweat and more tears than I care to admit, I am still lucky for everything that I have. I certainly worked for it all, but I am fortunate all the same. And the lesson I learned from it: (which is most likely more valuable than any raise or credential)From now on, I will be sure to figure out before hand the reward of such endeavors because I’ll admit it, it was my fault for assuming that this was my break. It was my fault for getting so stressed out about these exams and taking it out on my hubs, not spending time with my friends, giving up my hobbies. All of that was my fault. And if I could do it all again…would I do it the same? Well here is the rub….I think I would. Despite the lack of result, in the end getting it all done in a year was probably still a really good decision. Now it is done before we started a family (though that wasn’t necessarily my plan….thanks ovaries!) and it isn’t hanging over my head. And you know what? If I had known the reward….err lack there of…before I started, I might not have been in such a hurry to get it done. It is a Catch 22 for sure. But, the good news is I can go on with my life knowing that I have done absolutely everything I can to provide for myself and my family and now all I can do is wait for my next opportunity.
So that is why I waited to write about this. I didn’t want to get on here in all my bitterness to tell  you how horrible my week had been, how disappointed I am, etc. etc. Because in the end,…well I am still disappointed…but I am grateful all the same. I may have reached my glass ceiling, but I know it is probably just one of those skylights that are on a timer. In a couple of years it will open and then I can float up to the next glass ceiling.

Big Butter Rocks my Outlook

The e-mail conversations with my brother are usually hilarious. This week I thought I would share a sparkley morsel of back and forth with you.

Yo! do you have a bike you don’t mind getting beat up a little? The Denver Cruisers are doing a circle of death half-time show at the Roller Dolls bout  this Saturday. I was planning to go anyway, do you want to do the C.O.D. with me? I have my pink road bike from when I was little. I thought about riding that. The theme is “Bad Religion”.
Would have to figure out costumes.

i have the grandpa bike-do i need some sort of weapon?

Only a weapon of God. I am assuming a bible? We could just dress normal and say we’re from Jonestown. We could stain our lips like we just drank koolaid?

that is an idea spetacularrrrrrrrrrrr……

I am super cereal.Whatcha doin this weekend? Apparently it is supposed to rain, dumb. But we were hoping to rototill the back yard. I decided we’ll make that call Saturday morning, but hopefully mother nature doesn’t decide to foil my plans. Doesn’t she know it is rototilling weekend? Hello!

thats sounds yummy. Valerie is probably gonna come over in the evening on sat for a make-out party her and I are throwing for her and I, but I’ll be playing guitar or biking until then-why? do you guys want some help?

Wait what about going to see the Roller Derby? Are you going to be too busy sucking face? Or would Valerie and you want to meet us there? N-e-whoooo. Neh, we don’t really need help, I was just thinking if it does rain and we don’t rototill then we could chill. I’ll call you. But if you happen to drink too much espresso and find yourself riding to our house, then we’ll eat lunch or something together.

i’ll ask Val, she likes to do whatever, which is refreshing from some girls who have timetables and powerpoints worked up for my free time. we should def chill, i don’t remember what you look like anymore, but i’m pretty sure you’re a white girl. did dad talk to you about a celebration dinner for your femtabulousment ? (whew, these are getting hard to come up w/!). i haven’t seem him in a while, but i’m pretty sure he has a beard…

Hahaha. Yeah I am pretty sure I am still white too. And most likely dad has a beard it is just a matter of whether he has a mullet or some other haircut. That brings up a good point though. How do you make that decision to have a beard for the rest of your life? Do you think there was a tangible point in his life when he was struggling to grow one but he was like ‘nope I am gonna figure this beard thing out because if I can’t be Chuck Norris I at least want to sport a beard like him’. That probably happened right? Perhaps we should do some research on when exactly Chuck Norris came “on scene” so to speak and then compare and contrast that with historical photos of dad and see if it was in fact because of Chuck Norris that dad committed to a beard. This sounds like a good thesis topic. Why didn’t I think of it four years ago. I bet I could have gotten federal funding from the “National Board of Chuck Norris Historical Curators”. He did mention getting together to celebrate, but he definitely is not as awesome as you for coming up with a new word like ‘femtabulousment’ to describe my achievements. When is he in Moab? Is that soon? I should probably pay better attention.
I am glad Val doesn’t have a powerpoint presentation. What a mood killer that would be. You should check her pockets for a thumb drive anyway just in case she does have one and is waiting to whip it out on you. Yikes. It might be an extensive timeline which delineates your life plan together. “….and in approximately 14 months we will open an IRA and begin investing in our retirement, which brings me to our next slide “life after kids”….here is a quick sketch of what you will look like along with a bullet point list of responsibilities, mowing the lawn, eating prunes, and sleeping in a recliner….any questions? No? let’s move on…”
Sweet. Well guess I will talk to you via telefono if you and Val decide to go to the Derby. Is she the kind of girl that likes watching other girls in roller skates and punk-rock outfits beat the crap out of each other? If she isn’t, then I don’t think I can fully support your relationship with her. You won’t be able to inherit my billions of dollars if you don’t find a girl who likes Derby-type activities.

What do you expect from a couple of kids who look like us?

Ninja Natalie

(Official Ninja Photo)

I realize it has been three weeks now that I haven’t written about our trip to Texas, but honestly I needed that amount of time to reduce the swelling of my inflated ego. That’s right people, I went to Texas ready to be schooled and laughed at by a couple of the best marksman in the Marine Corps (refer to photos). Instead each day they both told me what a good job I had done. Granted they are pretty sweet guys, so they could have secretly been laughing at me and just saying I did a good job. But I choose to believe they told me the truth and that I astonished them with my ninja skills. Now when I say I did a good job, I guess I should admit that if you are within 25 yards of me, I will most likely fatally hurt you (obviously if you are a bad guy, don’t worry buddies I don’t just shoot everyone within 25 yards of me). If you get much farther away, you may walk away with only some minor blood loss and perhaps the loss of use in your right or left arm. But I am considering myself pretty ninja anyway. Hahaha. Here are some photos of Texas. Of course I am not in any of them because I am always the one taking pictures, but I was there okay.

Andrew, aka Stotts (right), has a range out on his parent’s ranch. Lucky. It ended up being crazy windy, but it was such a beautiful few days. 
Stotts and Andy discuss the mysteries of the universe and zero the sniper rifle.
Because we’re responsible gun owners we ended each day by cleaning and because we’re in Texas we did this in the back yard….which backed up to a public green space…it is weird being somewhere that is even more gun friendly than Colorado.
Our “helicopter”. We didn’t actually shoot out of it, but the boys contemplated for a long time about rigging it up and driving around. My job would have been to make the helicopter sound. Told you I was ninja. hahaha.
Stott’s Dad’s house on the ranch. I just love Texans; they are so hospitable and friendly. If you’re friends with their kid, that means you’re family to them. Such a cool feeling of having this extended family all over the place.
This is the guest house, where Stott’s Grandma stays sometimes.
Oh yeah, and there was a lake. Seriously, I am green with envy.
So after four days with Stotts we headed up to Waxahachie to see Shelly, Eric and their nugget, Hayden. Where are the pictures of that, you might ask? Total photography failure on my part. We ended up just hanging out, going to Dallas to drive go-carts, and watching movies. It was so good to see them. Eric and Shelly lived in the same apartment complex in Oceanside when I first moved to California. Shelly was my first military wife acquaintance and quickly became one of my bestest friends. It is always wonderful when you can go almost four years without seeing someone and then you can fall back in to that comfy place as soon as you’re back together. My absolutely favorite memory from Waxahachie was when we were watching Hayden, 4, for a couple hours before Eric got home. They have one of those glider chairs that can rotate in a full circle. Anyway we were watching a movie and he was spinning the chair around, blowing off some steam. Well he got a little carried away and tipped the chair over on top of himself. Andy and I froze waiting for the wailing to begin. When I didn’t hear anything I was like ‘are you okay?’ (getting up to go over there). And he was like ‘yeah, can you help me get this up?’ sure I can help you pull the giant chair off your little body…we were so shocked that he was right back to spinning that chair again as soon as it was up. He’s a sturdy little fellow. Oh, wait, no my all time favorite memory of him was this: We’re getting in the truck to go to the grocery store.
Eric: Hey buddy, so what happened with Jason today at school? I heard he hit you?
Hayden: Yeah, well he’s been making a lot of poor choices lately.
Andy and My brains: WTF did he just say?
We were too busy busting up laughing that a four year old said something so grown-up. Meanwhile Eric, obviously the parent in this situation, keeps his cool and discusses with Hayden how he should handle this situation.
We’re going to how to figure out how to do this when we have nuggets of our own. It definitely seems to be an important quality in a parent.
It was an awesome trip and an actual vacation for us for once. It has been forever where we have actually had a relaxing, no-strict-plans, vacation. It was wonderful. I think it was also infinitely helpful for Andy. He misses these guys, more than he would ever admit. These are his brothers; actually they are probably closer than brothers. But I could see a noticeable change in him just being around these two guys. It makes it a little tempting to move to Texas….not that you could pry me away from Colorado, but it is a little tempting. I laid as much groundwork as possible to get them all to move to Colorado. But they are probably all Texans for life. Doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying. And who knows, maybe in 10 years I will be ready for a change of scenery. If that happens, I could live in Austin. Don’t worry people! I am just keeping my options open…..and I just dropped a piece of muffin down my shirt. Yay for v-neck boob tops. So I have to go retrieve it outta there. Don’t want those ladies to think I don’t care about keeping them neat and tidy.

Being Girlie 101

I am pretty sure I have mentioned a time or two how I lack the certain genetic coding that many girls seem to be born with. You know the coding that enables you to do your hair without having crazy frizz, or that urges you to keep up with the meticulous hair removal program, or that allows you to always have time to put on make-up and dress like you’re put together. Yeah that gene got a little mutated in me. I mean I do okay. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t like you’re going to spot me on the street looking a total mess… least not every day. Well I set a little not so secret goal of getting in better touch with my girlie side now that I have all this free time…..can someone show me where the free time is stored, I can’t seem to find it. Exercise 1 was to paint my nails, toes and fingers, and try to keep it up. I painted them on Sunday and they looked good for work on Monday, then Monday night I went swimming and some of the paint on my fingers chipped off. It wasn’t so horrific that I couldn’t survive through Tuesday….so I did. Then I meant to strip it off and paint a new color for today, but I ran out of time to do that last night. So this morning at 5am I decided to do a little touch-up i.e. dabbing globs of polish on the spots that were chipped. Genius! You could barely tell. Only problem was I still needed to get my lunch together and my clothes and things (because I rode my bike). Good news is, riding your bike is an excellent way to dry your wet finger nails in the morning. Bad news is, they didn’t really survive to make it to the drying on the bike ride part. My nails are definitely smudge city today. I still think they look a little better than before when they were just chipped, but definitely not the improvement I was hoping for. Oh to make my efforts even more hilarious when I got to the bus this morning, not only did I still smell like nail polish, but both of my hands were also bleeding. Poor cute man sitting next to me, looked more than a little confused. hmm what do we have here, girl in a bicycle helmet, wow her nails look freshly painted, wait why is she bleeding everywhere?. I am not assuming that is the order he thought those things. Maybe it was: girl in a bicycle helmet, holy crap she’s bleeding! at least she painted her nails to detract from the blood. Why was I bleeding? Because we raked the back yard up on Saturday and even with gloves on, I still managed to tear open both of my thumbs. Then when I rode this morning aparently gripping the handle bar encouraged those spots to crack open and bleed like it is their business. Good news, I don’t need blood thinners. It is definitely hard to show off your first attempt at being girlie when you are bleeding. Does someone have a guide book I can read to help me figure this stuff out?