Wednesday, August 27, 2008

San Diego

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to go on a business trip to San Diego and I brought Chris and Mavis along. I took an extra couple of days and we had a great time seeing a few sights despite the fact that I got so sick with a sinus infection I had to find a doctor while I was there. I wasn't about to miss San Diego so towards the end Chris just propped me up in the convertible we rented and we kept going. I took tons of pictures except for the day we went to Coronado Island. We forgot the camera that day. I was too tired to throw fit for Chris to go back and get it.

Mavis had her first trip on an airplane. She was so good, nobody even knew that we had her with us.

We went sailing in the Bay at sunset. Mavis even had her own little life jacket (it's under the fuzzy blanket - got a little chilly for a doglet out on the water). She loved sailing - even fell asleep towards the end and snored.

Chris got to steer the boat.

We went to the dog beach at Ocean Beach. Mavis is NOT a fan. I made her go anyway.
Can you see the pout?

We stayed at the marina on Harbor Island. This was our backyard for 5 days. Mavis got spoiled with the regular walks and the yachts and all. She will tell you that she deserves better than our ho-hum life. I will tell you that she lives better than lots of kids do. Oh but we love her though. We made lots of good memories.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie...

You will soon witness a miracle. (in Renate's cookie)

You will make a change for the better within the year. (in my cookie)

Hmmm. Good news, and they seem to go together. Heads up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Finally saw the owl I've been hearing.

I was having a glass of wine in the back yard this evening (a lovely Syrah/Grenache Rose to be exact) when I was surprised by the treat of seeing the little owl that I've been hearing lately. It was just dusk so I still had light to see. He's an Eastern Screech-Owl, the reddish brown variety. As he was first perched in our pine tree about 20 feet up, I went under the branch and we just looked at each other for about 3 minutes of pure wonder on my part. Then he flew to a higher branch for a moment, then over to the cypress tree, and on out for the evening hunt. I wish I could turn back time and have my camera at the ready. It was nice though to just have the moment and not be distracted with trying to get a good picture.

I love my backyard. I'm grateful for the escape it provides.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Excuse number 47, plus I'm just weird about death.

Warning, this post is full of run on sentences, poor punctuation, and a disclaimer about my psychological condition. Also, I am very tired.

....another reason I've been focused on other things besides writing, we buried a loved one on Monday. I wasn't going to write about it, but now that it has opened a very large can of emotional worms (that still sits open in the middle of the living room floor) I feel compelled. Unbelievable behavior by someone on the day of the funeral (this is me not writing about that either) has been a recurring topic which has led to Chris and me discussing our wishes for what will happen to us and how that day will go. Chris has entertained the thought that he wants to be cremated, I want to be buried in my favorite comfy clothes and a soft quilt. I KNOW that I'll be gone. I have serious beliefs about what will happen when I die, and in my brain I know that I won't give a rip about the box or the outfit or the blanket. I'm just WEIRD that way. I have a vivid imagination, and it is the biggest tool I have in the box when I go to deal with stress. I can sit on a patio and pretend that I'm on vacation when escape is impossible. I have imagined at funerals that the one I'm saying goodbye to is really just having a nice long sleep until we all see each other again in heaven. (here is where I'm going to give you the disclaimer..I am in therapy, I know I need it, please don't tell me that I do. We're working on it) Ok, so I don't deal with death very well. As Chris and I have discussed this over the last couple of days I've let him know that my vivid imagination plan at his funeral (if he goes first, we're placing bets) will be shot to hell if he is cremated. What, what on earth tell me, will work for the image of him being all burned up in a furnace? It's hard to sleep when you are jumping around in the fire and are reduced to a pile of ashes. I can't begin to imagine a pile of ashes waiting for me to get there so it can wake up from a long sleep. So, Chris has promised not to be cremated, but only if he can be buried in his Capt Kirk outfit. We deserve each other. (in therapy together by the way, we're working on it). AND he is has this thing about being buried under dirt. He wants to be put in a drawer, above ground. I guess we should be shopping for side by side spots at a mausoleum somewhere...unless therapy is extremely successful, and then we might shop for matching urns (that would be REALLY good counseling, I'll tell you what). I will draw the line on outfits though. He hasn't asked yet, but I can hear it coming. I won't be wearing a Lt. Uhura outfit. Sorry honey.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

April is Home!

April is home and I couldn't be happier! Thanks to all of you who have kept her in your prayers while she traveled India and Malaysia. She's had so many stories to tell - there's just not enough time for all of them. We've had some good chats over coffee and are now packing her up to move off to Tennessee later this week. I guess I'll just have to spend some quality time in Nashville soon so we can finish catching up. Darn the luck.

I have not forgotten you.

I've been on vacation (kind of), and on a business trip (kind of), and camping with the whole family (kind of). I'm dying to get down to business and share all of it here - but the laptop has been on the fritz, along with my head (which has a serious cold). I'll be back soon to tell you more about this

and this.

I promise.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Update from April

Got a phone call from April this morning. After more than 2 months she's back in the USofA. Even though she's not HOME yet, good to know she's back on the home soil. We'll get hugs and all the stories on Thursday. Just can't wait!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

Live, think, and act for today. Tomorrow might be too late.

The fortune cookie speaks! Reminds me of something I've read in the Bible..."Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

I'm sitting up and paying attention to this one.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Deep Thinking From the Backyard

Sitting in my backyard tonight, I am reminded how God works in the little things. I guess, if you consider Twitter and blogging the little things (I do, compared to lots of things). I have experienced His love over and over again both in what I've read and the souls I've met thus far. The comfort of this backyard is one more little thing - but giant blessing I have been given. It's cool, the sliver of a moon is out, and the tree frogs are seranading us. How fortunate am I that I'm allowed to experience all this.

I've only been doing this (blogging, Twitter) since June, and already I've found kindred spirits. For me that's rare. Even had the blessing of talking with one over the phone recently when I reached out in her time of need. I have plenty of "times of need" believe me, but I do seem to get some of that met when I reach out. I've enjoyed a pen pal of sorts from India - a crazy good gifted writer who never ceases to make me smile. All of this has been such a great open door for me. I said early in June when I started this thing that it was a new season for me. This season continues to bloom. In so many ways. There have even been some blessings under my nose that did not come to light until I stepped out on this ledge. I asked April, on the only phone call we've been able to have this summer, "do you think God uses Twitter, and blogs, to do His will?" I wish you could all know her. She said "uh, YES" in only that way that a 20 year old completely in tune with Him could answer.

Tonight I'm thanking God for those moments, the kindred spirits, and the road ahead. I've had the chilled feeling that the winds of change are upon us in this house. I will embrace each blessing that comes. Here, there, or anywhere. There, I said it. God, bring it on. Open the doors.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Girls Weekend Away, Mission Accomplished

I recently spent a long weekend away in Austin with Pamela, my BFF. We spent Saturday evening with her family, including my God Children Madeleine and Lanegan. I can't begin to tell you how precious these 2 little ones are. Old enough now to be little people and really coming into who they are. Madeleine a little Diva, and Lanegan a sensitive, bright young man. It just kills me that I can't see them more often. Sunday morning, with little more than 24 hour just to ourselves we set out for a day and night on the town, just like old times. We visited old haunts, had talks that will forever remain in the vault, a couple of great meals here and here, and some good old Austin fun.

We stayed at the Austin Motel where we lounged in the pool. I highly recommend it if you are not high maintenance, enjoy a retro experience, and don't insist on room service. It's a really cool (and affordable) place in the heart of our capitol city.

Another "put up your feet" photo for my collection.

Later we took in some music (Hey Bale!) at the Continental Club. The band was incredible, some of the members having played in the past with the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens just to name a few. I was even persuaded to go one round of swing dancing - if you know me well enough, then you know that Val doesn't dance. It was too much fun. (Seriously, we had TOO much fun, I'm getting a little old for the good old days) We stayed up late (REALLY late), and got up early, but I wouldn't have changed that for the world.

Thanks Pamela for a wonderful girls weekend away. If you guys end up going straight from Turkey to Italy, and don't come back here first, then I will have to find my way there just to get our fix. I'll keep my fingers crossed for Italy (I know it's what you want:). It will be a good excuse for Chris and me to do some globe trotting!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Someone I Admire

One of the many special dogs rescued in Tennessee last month. All pictures in this post by Bernie at A Place to Bark with her permission.

I have been following Bernie on Twitter, and reading her blog. You can follow her here. I REALLY admire her, and just want to say it out loud here on my blog! If you are the least bit inclined to support a good cause for the humane treatment of animals, her shelter "A Place to Bark" is a great place to support. It does my heart good to read and keep up with what she is doing. She recently volunteered at the big puppy mill rescue in Tennessee. You can read about that too on her blog. Here are a before and after picture from one of the many many dogs rescued. All I could think about was my dog Mavis when I saw this little one on her blog.

Anything we can do to prevent this kind of mistreatment will help. Volunteer, donate money or supplies, even talk about it to others. I for one am going to do my part. Won't you too?

Thank you Bernie!

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

Two small jumps are sometimes better than one big leap.