Monday, August 14, 2017

The Good Old Days

This is a photo of my brother, my father, and me at my aunt's wedding in October 1974.  I was 7 years old, sporting my Dorothy Hamill haircut.  I'm also wearing a solid 14 karat gold heart necklace that I received for being a flower girl.  I still have that necklace.

Today would have been my father's 76th birthday.  Boy, do I miss him.  

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A Little Birthday Pomp

2015: Lone House On The Prairie
2014: Squeezing Through The Backroads
2013: Waves Of Steel

2012: Forever In Bloom
2011: Ed Visits His First Warehouse Store
2010: HBD 143
2009: Eddie Hauls Laundry The White Trash Way Friday
2008: Sun Setting Over Lake Pontchartrain
2007: Sanchez. Pedro Sanchez.
2006: Remembering Those In Heaven
2005: The Line Of Gold Thread

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Comforting Souls

The monument dominating the cemetery at Manzanar National Historic Site.  In 1942, the U.S. Army leased 6,200 acres at Manzanar to establish an internment camp to hold nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.

The information on the site map states, "Catholic stone mason Ryozo Kado built this obelisk in 1943 with help from the residents of Block 9 and the Young Buddhist Association.  On the east face, Buddhist Reverend Shinjo Nagatomi inscribed kanji characters that mean "soul consoling tower."  People attended religious services here during the war.  Today the monument is a focal point of the annual pilgrimage, serving as a symbol of solace and hope."

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Get Lost In The Links

2015: Up In The Bakken 
2014: I See A Molasses Sorghum Cookie In My Future
2013: Save Fifty Cents By Staying Away From The Card Tables - Go To A Concert Instead
2012: Zero Tolerance Zone
2011: Flicker Of Hope…GONE
2010: Knee Deep In Training
2009: She Sells Seashells By The Seashore
2008: Shopping At Walmart Is The Closest Some Of Us WilL Ever Get To China
2007: Giving Indians A Bad Name
2006: Six Flags Of Horror Fly Over Texas
2005: Snake River

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Say Yes To The Dress Shopping

Today was my first outing for wedding dress shopping.  My friend Kim and I went and I tried on several dresses.

Being a plus-sized bride presents a bit of a challenge when it comes to styles, but I tried on several dresses to see which style I liked best.  I wasn't expecting to feel so pretty in them, but they really do have an ability to transform.

I don't know how many dresses I'll have to try on before I find the one I love, but I think I'm going to have a great time doing it.

Stay tuned.

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Catalina Moon

2015: A Round Town
2014: A Dark Cloud Hangs Over The Plantation
2013: I Wonder How These Longhorns Would Feel If They Knew A Steakhouse Was Named After Them?
2012: Frying Up Memories
2011: Icy Beverages, Sun, And Sand
2010: Smalltopia And Rowdy Kittens
2009: Severely Disabled
2008: Boys In Dresses
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: When I'm Done Peeing, Do I Bang On The Pipes Or Just Yell When I Need Someone To Take Me Back To My Cell?
2005: The Emerald City 

Friday, August 11, 2017

How To Make A Girl Feel Like She's On Top Of The World

So almost three weeks ago, Ed took me on a surprise trip to Mammoth Lakes, California to celebrate us being together for 13 years.  I mentioned this location in a previous post, with a promise to give you the rest of the story.

This is the rest of the story.  

We worked that day, and on the way home from our run, he said, "I know you don't like surprises, so I didn't want to tell you this earlier in the week because I didn't want you to bug me for three days about where we were going, but today when we get home, we're heading out on a trip for the weekend."  This revelation came just a few hours before we were to leave Tucson.  

Oh.  Well, of course, I had questions.  Mostly about what I should pack.  I'm a chronic over-packer, taking enough stuff for three weeks when I'm only leaving for three days.  What?  I have issues.

Mostly because depending on where we go I can't just "go out and buy something".  I'm full-figured, with a size 12 shoe, and that's just not something you find in hotel/airport/cruise ship gift shops.  I can't go buy a bathing suit if I forgot one.  T-shirts are made for average people, not plus people.  And it's highly unlikely they have sasquatch-sized sandals "in the back".  I know this.  I've traveled.

Ed said, "Bring two nice outfits, two casual outfits, sneakers, flip-flops.  You know, your normal stuff."

"Do I need a bathing suit?" I said.

"No, probably not.  I'm not bringing one." 

OK.  So I went home and packed everything in my closet.  Minus the bathing suit.

Our first night was spent in Vegas, the halfway mark, but the ride from Vegas toward California had me worried.  We were literally the only people on the road for most of the drive.  I was certain my fate was sealed.

"This is my last weekend on earth, isn't it?" I said to Ed.

He laughed.  "Why do you say that?"

"Because this is where people take bodies to be buried.  There can't possibly be anything out here to see.  Like, as a place to celebrate any kind of anniversary.  Well, unless it's the anniversary of dumping a body.  But, seriously, this is really remote."

Turns out it was the only way to get from where we were, to where we were going.  And it was worth it.
Late that afternoon, we checked into the Juniper Springs Resort.

Ed almost thought his plan was going awry because when he got to the front desk, they didn't have our reservation.  I was waiting in the car, so knew none of what was happening.  They eventually fixed it, upgrading us to a larger room.  When done, the girl at the desk said, "I hope this will work out for you."

Ed said, "As long as the room is non-smoking and it has air-conditioning, it'll be fine."

"Uhhh," she said.  "The room doesn't have air conditioning."

I would have freaked out if I heard that.  Ed knew it could mean trouble.  Me, in a room with no air-conditioning??

He said, "What do you mean you don't have air-conditioning?"

"We're a winter resort," the clerk said.  "None of the hotels up here have air conditioning.  Restaurants don't either."

When Ed told me, I said the same thing, "What do you mean they don't have air-conditioning??"  He relayed the conversation to me and well, what could we do?  Thankfully, it was about 74 degrees, not too hot, like a mountain kind of 74 degrees and after checking my weather app, I realized it would get cooler at night and the hotel provided a few fans, so we'd be fine.  This was not the time to create a scene.
The next day we went out for a drive and took in the beautiful scenery.  We were nestled at the base of Mammoth Mountain and could see the snow-capped peaks from almost everywhere we drove.  We eventually wound up at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  We planned to a gondola ride to the top of the mountain, something we'd done in other places and really enjoyed.  The place was very busy, with people in the parking lot walking around with snowboards and skis, dressed half in ski gear, half in summer clothes.  It was so California to me.  I expected to see a girl in a bikini on skis.

We got our tickets for the gondola and headed up the mountain.  The scenery was beautiful.  Snow patches here and there on the lower part of the mountain, but more snow coverage once we got to the top.  The temperature at the summit, as listed on the information board, was 65 degrees.  Heaven.
We passed through McCoy Station, the gondola stop that's halfway up the mountain, before heading up to the top.  Ed was looking cute, taking pictures from the gondola, smiling as always.  
In addition to some skiers and snowboarders, there were a lot of mountain bikers who take the gondola up and ride the trails down.  I stopped and talked to one, a girl, who gave me the scoop on what that experience is like.  A lot of fun and a little scary is what she said.  The snow surrounding the edges of the mountain with signs warning not to get too close gave me all the information I needed in regard to how inclined I would be to attempt something like that.  So not my kind of thing.  
When we got to the top of the mountain, we started snapping pictures.  The view was far reaching, snow capping many of the highest peaks around us.  There was quite a wind, but it wasn't cold.  It was ideal.  I thought we were at the very top when Ed said, "Let's go to the summit."

I said, "Nah, this is okay for me.  You go."

"No, you have to go," he said.  "We're not at the top yet."

"What?  Another little hill?  This is top enough for me.  I don't want to climb up that hill.  Take pictures, I'll look at them later." I said.

But he insisted.  So I trudged up the hill behind him to the actual summit of the mountain. He was busy setting up his tripod and I was busy taking selfies, trying to get the view behind me. 

Then he asked me to stand in front of the view so he could adjust the camera.  He kept telling me to scoot back.  Toward the edge.  I said, "Is this one of those tricks where you keep telling me to back up until I fall off the mountain?"
He said, "No.  Just stand there.  You don't have to pose.  I just need to adjust the camera."  So I did what he said, still taking selfies, but not moving from that spot.
After Ed was done setting up the camera on the tripod, he came over to me to take the picture.  I expected him to stand next to me to face the camera, but he kneeled down in front of me.  I was thinking, what the hell is he doing? 

When he reached into his camera bag, I was still thinking he either dropped something, was tying his shoe, or something.  I was confused. Then he stood up, opened a small cream colored box, and presented me with a beautiful diamond ring. 

He said, "I brought you up here because I wanted to ask you to marry me."

Turns out he was setting up the camera to capture video of this moment.


I started to cry.  I couldn't see.  I took my sunglasses off, then put them back on, then took them off again.  Wiped my eyes.  Looked at him, looked at the ring.

What did he just say?  Wait....what is going on? Is this really happening?? 

I think I blurted out, "Are you serious?  Really? Oh, my God. Why?"  Yeah, I know, probably not the thing to say.  I was really surprised.  Totally caught off guard.  Had NO idea.

He said, "Yes, I'm serious.  Yes, really.  And because I love you."  I started to cry again, gave him a huge hug, told him I loved him too, and then started to laugh.

Then I realized that I should probably give him an answer.  
I said, "Yes.  Definitely yes."

I got engaged, bitches!
This is the biggest surprise Ed has ever staged.  He's planned quite a few outings and slipped in a couple of surprises over the years.  Like the Louis Prima, Jr. concert in the park.

He's very good at keeping a secret.  This one he kept for months.  He only told two other people - my brother the clam, and our friend MacGyver.  Neither let it slip.  He picked and designed the ring himself - a beautiful oval stone perched on a stackable diamond band, knowing how much I like rings that stack.  Especially diamond ones.

My Eddie knows I love snow, cool temperatures, lush greenery, and trees.  And in order to create a special moment for me, he took me to the only place he could find, in the United States, that had snow.  Snow.  In July.

I am so lucky to have found such a good man, of good character, and superior human quality.  A man who is loving and kind and goofy and nerdy and hardworking and handsome and honest and mine.

I love you, Ed.  Thank you for this moment and all of the other moments we've had over thirteen years.  And thank you for bringing me to the snow!

I will never forget the day that Ed brought to the top of a mountain, eleven thousand fifty-three feet above sea level to ask me to be his wife.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Resting Bitch Face Is Real

2015: No Rooms To Let
2014: Beautiful Brutalism In A Bucolic Bourg
2013: Have A Little Faith In The Romantic Comedy
2012: The Perfect Volunteer
2011: The Men Who Stare AT Goats
2010: A Peek At A Working Team
2009: Alligators Are Not A Girl’s Best Friend
2008: Forget Your Cholesterol. Get A Hearing Aid.
2007: Sizzling Good Time
2006: Amarillo May Smell Like Cow Shit, But They Have Some Pretty Tasty Steaks
2005: List Of Fives

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Setting Up Your Shot In A Beautiful Setting

Ed's dad lining up the shot he'll be hitting due north, toward the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Ed took this picture of his dad on the 18th hole of the Canyon Course at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

The resort website says of the golf courses:

"Located just steps from the front lobby, Loews Ventana Canyon, in conjunction with the Ventana Golf & Racquet Club, offers two Tom Fazio-designed championship 18-hole golf courses. Both courses are designed to blend into the Santa Catalina Mountains’ natural features. Weaving through desert cacti and scenic canyons, the courses embody the character of the Sonoran Desert landscape, as well as a unique variety of desert fauna. The Canyon Course winds through the inspiring beauty of the Esperero Canyon and incorporates the massive rock formation known as Whaleback Rock."

Ed said it was one of the most beautiful courses they've played here in Tucson.

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2015: Fields Of Gold
2014: Natural Home Decor
2013: Cats In Trucker Hats
2012: Marbelize It!
2011: Inner Harbor Fixture
2010: Sandía On The Wall
2009: Big Rig Parking AT #34
2008: The Benefits Of Marriage Without The Hassle Of Dieting To Get Into The Dress
2007: Gateway To The West
2006: Taking A Lesson From An Eleven Year Old
2005: Rejoicing And Be Sad

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

In The Glare Of A Southern Sun

Seen on the streets of Tucson.

"A city of mud boxes, dingy and dilapidated, cracked and baked into a composite of dust and filth; littered about with broken corrals, sheds, bake-ovens, carcasses of dead animals, and broken pottery; barren of verdure, parched, naked, and grimly desolate in the glare of a southern sun."  
~ J. Ross Browne on Tucson

Hmm.  I'd venture to say if you wander into some parts of the Old Pueblo today, you might be inclined to say it hasn't changed much since this was written in 1864.

2013: Big Shoulders And Tall Buildings
2012: After The Storm
2005: 14,410 Feet Of Beauty

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A Royal Goodbye

photo source
I often call Ed "sweet pea".

Yesterday he left early to go golfing with his dad and when we woke up I said, "Good morning, sweet pea."

He said, "Why do you always call me sweet pea?"

"I don't know," I said.  "I guess because you're sweet, like uh...a pea?"

"Why don't you ever call me a wasabi pea?" he said.

"I don't know.  Who thinks to call someone a wasabi pea??  I guess I could.  You could be spicy.  But 'sweet pea' is cuter." I said.

He took a shower and got dressed, and before leaving leaned over my side of the bed and said, "Goodbye, penis."

I said, "What?"

And he just started laughing.  I said, "Did you just call me penis?"

He was laughing so hard he couldn't talk.  He sputtered out, "Penis.  You know, pee-nis."

"What??" I said.  Now we were both laughing.

"You know, like "your highness".  But I was saying PEA-ness." he said.

"OK, well, that really didn't come across as you intended, goofball."

He leaned over again and kissed me goodbye and said he'd see me later.

He was still chuckling as he left the room.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2016: Passing Time
2015: The Vast Nothingness
2014: An Amish Gathering
2013: Personalized
2012: Fire On The Island
2011: Harborside Education
2010: Yo, Vin!
2009: Sweeter Words Have Never Been Spoken
2008: More Proof I Ate At A Sushi Place
2007: North Sally Port
2006: Holy Cow!
2005: Wishing

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Celebrating Seven And A Half Decades

The cake - white cake, Italian buttercream filling, chocolate ganache frosting.
My mother celebrates her 75th birthday next week, but since Ed and I will be out of town, we planned a party for her this past weekend.  It was a huge success!

Forty-two people showed up and we all crowded into my mother's beautiful townhouse.  Ed and I didn't arrive home until early Friday afternoon, with the party scheduled for four.  We decided to have the party catered, so the food was going to be delivered just after the guests arrived and I did as much prep as I could beforehand, bringing all the extra tables and chairs over so things would be staged when we got there.  I wanted the arriving guests to see her house as normally decorated and then set up the tables just before dinner.

My brother handled icing down the drinks and delivering the big mother's sister.  She has three sisters - my mother is the oldest of four - the one coming was Number 3.  Although they talk or text almost every day, they hadn't physically seen each other in twelve years.

My brother and I were hoping my mother's heart would survive the shock! 

Waiting for the "surprise" to arrive.
My Aunt M is social-media shy, so I'm not posting any pictures of her here, but I will tell you that the surprise was well worth all the secret-keeping it took to make it happen.  My mother's reaction was SOOOOO cute.  She stared at first, not quite registering that her sister had just walked through the door.  Then you could see the recognition in her face.  Then, the tears.

I wish this picture wasn't so blurry, but there was so much going on and I wasn't able to fully focus because I didn't want to miss with my eyes, what was happening, so I was looking through the camera, then peering over, then looking at the camera...

In addition to our immediate family and the WOWs, my mother's new friends at her townhouse community also joined the party.  It was such a great turnout and everyone had a great time.  I think we need to have more parties!
The Townhouse Girls - Elaine, Estelle, Barb, my mother, Lynda, and Lynda's mother MaryAnn.
I'm so glad we were able to pull this off.  My aunt is spending ten days here, so they'll have plenty of time to catch up.  I think she might just consider this one of the best gifts she's ever received.  It's going to be a hard one to top.

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Makes Complete Sense

2015: I'm Always Hoping It's The Last Time
2014: Apes At The Hitching Post
2013: History On Water Street
2012: Do It Like The Settlers Did. With Whiskey.
2011: No Vacancy
2010: Imperial Sand
2009: How Many Twenty Year Olds Have A Seventy Pound Head?
2008: My First Time
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Text Me
2005: Eddie Dines Out Friday

Friday, August 04, 2017

All Kinds Of Bread And Schat

On our way home from Mammoth Lakes, California we stopped at Erick Schat's Bakery in Bishop, California.  It was bakery nirvana.
They are famous for their Sheepherder Bread.  Their website says, "The Original Sheepherder Bread® 1938 was introduced to the Owens Valley during the California Gold Rush by immigrant Basque sheepherders who missed the bread of their homeland. They shaped loaves of their traditional bread by hand, used stone ovens for baking, and produced the first sheepherder bread. Even today we shape the loaves by hand and bake in the finest European Stone Hearth Ovens. The Original Sheepherder Bread® 1938, as well as all other delicious products, are made of only the purest ingredients: Well water from the Sierras, stone ground unbleached flour, and never any chemicals. Just like our bread, our pastries are made with only the finest ingredients. Real butter, grade AA eggs, unbleached flour, cane sugar, and artesian well water."

I bought a loaf of that, and a loaf of the Chili Cheeze bread.  Both were delicious.  If the place wasn't so insanely crowded - there was a long line of people snaking through the store - I would have had more time to shop and probably would have gone home with six loaves.  Blessing in disguise.

One needs good snacks on a road trip so I also bought two oliebollen for the ride through the mountains.  They were delicious and jam packed with raisins.  
If you're in the area, make sure you stop in.  It was definitely worth it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~2016: Riders On The Storm
2015: 20 Miles From Sin
2014: Nature's Lace
2013: The Bicycling Capital Of America - Welcoming Those On Both Two Wheels And Eighteen
2012: Crossing The Mojave
2011: Justin Time For A New Pair Of Boots
2010: Miles Of Smiles, Hours Of Laughs
2009: I’m Dreaming Of Blue Skies, Key Lime Pie And Pink Flamingos*
2008: Stop Beyond The Palm
2007: Kittery Dittery Do
2006: Crab Infested Thoughts
2005: Bi The Way

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Fragrant Bouquet

My sister-in-law's mother, who lives nearby in Green Valley, often brings me basil from her garden when she comes up to Tucson to visit.

This is the latest bunch I received.  It smelled AMAAAAAZING.

Now I just have to decide what to do with it.

Pesto, anyone?

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Mesilla Valley Morning

2015: Ready, Set, Sell!
2014: Squeaky Clean Reflection
2013: Bicycles Liberate, Espresso Invigorates
2012: Playing For Gas Money
2011: Faceted Beauty For Less Than Three Bucks
2010: Triple FFF-18
2009: Hot Tuna Doesn’t Get Any Play In My Truck
2008: Corn Fed Summer
2007: Eddie Breaks The Rules Friday
2006: The Chicks Of Dixie
2005: Text Me

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Hooking Up My House Guests

I finished decorating my guest room just in time for the arrival of my first guests.

I was told the bed is extremely comfortable and the accommodations up to their Hilton Honors Diamond Status standards.  

I actually scored one notch above Hilton because this room has a row of hooks which are apparently very coveted by these intrepid travelers.  We also have super-fast WiFi.  

Now that I'm all set up, I look forward to hosting more guests in the future!

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2015: Working My Fingers To The Bone...Between Naps
2014: The Queen Of Pizza
2013: Narrowly Protected
2012: My Life Purpose In A Cookie
2011: Hay There! And Over There, And Over There…
2010: See That Shiny Reflective Thing Over There? It’s Called A Mirror. Meer. Or.
2009: There Was A Burrito Bowl Calling My Name
2008: The Charmed Life
2007: Flowing History
2006: Doors Opening And Closing
2005: No Cal