Saturday, September 27, 2008

More vacation stuff

Sorry I didn't get right back on here to finish my vacation tale, but I am still trying to get into the swing of the "blog" thing. Besides, I am sure no one reads this anyway.

So, where did I leave off? Oh, yes - the end of Day One.

The next day, Monday, we just hung around Billings. Everyone was tired, and Sis normally gets up at 4am everyday at home, so I sure as heck wasn't going to begrudge her some sleeping in time. We had a very late breakfast - OK, it was brunch - at Sis's favorite restaurant, the Cracker Barrel. She always cracks me up because she can never remember the name - it usally comes out as Chicken Barrel, Chicken Biscuit Barrel, or similar. I think she keeps confusing it with those Chicken in a Biscuit crackers... Anyhoo, she was thrilled and Hannah was thrilled and they both spent lots of money there. Hannah got a really pretty watch where you pick out your band (purple and white stones w/silver accents) and the face and then you just hook them together for your own personal look.
Then we went to my office and they got introduced to all the guys. A good friend of mine from the Portland office had flown out to cover for my first week off and it was awesome to see her again. Then we went to Hobby Lobby and cleaned out their scrapbooking section. Sis and Hannah wanted to keep scrapbooks of their trip - Hobby Lobby is now my best friend, wondering when this wonderful red-headed woman and her credit card will be visiting me again. Hannah also got a little silver cowboy hat to attach to her new watch. Super cute!

After that we kind of drove around town and I showed them the sights. We stopped and had ice cream before dinner (BEFORE dinner? shut up - we were on vacation!!) at the local 31 Flavors. I haven't had ice cream there in years and it was SSSSSOOOOOO GOOOOOD!! I noticed the front of my rig looked a little fuzzy, and it is because it was PLASTERED with bugs!!!
It was so disgusting!!! It was hilarious!!! I don't know how people at the neighboring coffe/cafe were able to eat! Sis wanted to have Famous Dave's BBQ for dinner, but we just had ice cream, so we drove around to find a suitable place to stake out the sunset. We drove up through and around my neighborhood while I was telling Hannah how we have Pronghorn Antelope that wander through the houses out here. Just as she was saying how cool it would be to run across one in someone's front yard, we came around a corner and saw:

I managed to pull up to the yard where they were eating cherries from a tree, and we got these pictures - please to enjoy:

No, the first one is not photoshopped to look like she is saying OH! She was chewing and I just held my finger down on the shutter - I love it!

So, after that we drove over by the airport to a subdivision called Rebergh Ranch where there are lots of beautiful homes. We found an empty lot and parked the truck, then waited for the sun to set. Sis caught these great pics:

As we drove out of the area and were almost back to the highway, Hannah spotted this guy and took a great picture with Sis's camera:

We went on to a lovely dinner and then home for sleep.

More about the rest of the trip later.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Post Vacation Blues

Well, vacation has been over with for a week, and I am totally bummed. I had an AWESOME time with Sis and Hannah, and had a great week in Portland as well. But, it sucks to come home to a completely empty home and a job that totally bites. I miss my family sooooooo much!!! I still don't want to move back to the big city; I just wish they could all come be with me here. Sigh...
OK, well, Sis and Hannah's trip on the train was great. Sis of course wound up with the only seat on the train that wouldn't recline and the foot rest would not come up, but Hannah was a good sport and traded seats with her Mimi when she couldn't stand it any more.
Our Hannah on the train

The train left Portland at about 4pmish on Saturday 8/23 and then went into Vancouver to pick up a few more passengers. Then they headed east along the Columbia River Gorge. Here are a few gorgeous pictures Sis and Hannah took along the way:

The train made it's way to Spokane at about 1:15am where they had a lay over for about an hour and a half. Then a train from Seattle hooked up with them and away they went, further east through the night. In the early hours, the train rolled into Montana and Glacier National Park.

Now, I pride myself on being really good with directions; I can read a map and can tell which way is north, south, east or west; I can go somewhere for the first time in the dark, then find it again three years later in the daytime. So, surely you can imagine my complete surprise when I discovered that I took a wrong turn in Roundup and went 150 miles to the east when I should have been almost to Malta, 200 miles to the north. I could NOT believe it!!!! I had to call Sis on her cell (fortunately she was in range) and tell her that I would be, oh, two hours late picking her up. Hannah said I was fired. Fortunately, Sis and Hannah both were really good sports; especially since the Malta train station is really just a wooden bench with a roof and a bathroom. There was no where for them to go, it was 103 outside and about 110 inside the little station house. Hannah had brought her portable DVD player and they passed the wait by watching a movie and soaking their hair and shirts with water when the heat just got too much. Here is the train station and some pretty sights from the trip home:
All tuckered out and getting ready for adventure!

More about our adventures tomorrow.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hurrah!! VACATION! Hurrah!!!

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow... Sissy and Hannah arrive tomorrow via Amtrak. I am sooooooooooooo excited!! Have I mentioned how excited I am? Just in case you were wondering, I am very excited. My house is still in complete disarray, and it is 7pm. I have been trying really hard (no, seriously!) to get my butt in gear to get the house cleaned up, but I just can't find the shifter. I am stuck wandering around the place in first gear, talking to myself. I spent an hour going around town trying to find one of those big glass jars with the spigot on it to make sun tea for Sissy because it's her favorite. Guess I am a little late in jumping on that summer culinary bandwagon. Even Wal-Mart doesn't have any. CRAP!!! Can you make sun tea in a cookie jar? Oh bother.
Ollie is finally getting her furniture. She flew to Sacramento last week to supervise the loading of her possessions onto the moving truck. I was very proud of her for flying down there by herself; she is terrified to fly and it usually takes a lot of alcohol to get her on a plane. But, this time she had to have enough wits about her to not leave her purse and carry on behind on the plane as she is wont to do when in a red wine stupor. I wasn't able to go with her because of my pending two weeks off from work (did I mention that I am on vacation, and that I am very excited about it?) and the fact that all the money i have is going into said two weeks off. The moving company is now trying to jerk her out of an additional $200 bucks; good for her, she is sticking to her guns and having none of it. Did you know that if you scream, "I HAVE RETAINED AN ATTORNEY" on someones voice mail, they call you back really quickly? Hmmmmmm...
Well, here are a few of the fun things that Ollie and I did this summer: we went to the stock car races out on the highway to Roundup; it's about 18 miles or so outside of Billings. It was very loud and TONS of fun!! We got to scream and yell our bloody heads off and let out lots of stress and aggression. No one got hurt or went to jail. Score!
Ollie checks out the action pre-race
The track is out in the middle of nothing
But it sure is pretty out in the middle of nothing!

It was nice to see that Sponge Bob was represented

A fabulous sunset was a nice touch.

We wanted to go to the fair this year since it was about 20 degrees cooler this summer than last, but they still pick the hottest bloody week of August to have it! I just cannot handle heat, so I am kinda left out of that kind of stuff. I hope that one day when i loose these two extra people hanging off of my skeleton that the weight loss will help with that; but i have been prone to heat stroke ever since i was a child, so i may just be one of those people that never really gets to enjoy that kind of thing. Anyhoo, we did go opening night to see Bill Engvall. OMG - he was a hoot!!! He is just as funny in person as he is on TV or DVD; no swearing or talking about sex just to be dirty, and he has been married to the same woman for 25 years. He is very humble and down to earth; we were waiting for the elevator to take us up to the main level and a guy was talking to some of his friends about Bill (everyone calls him Bill; it's totally fine and cool). He had flown into Billings earlier in the day and asked this guy to show him around the fairgrounds. They set out in a golf cart, and the guy said that not one person that asked for an autograph or photo op was turned down. He was very happy and gracious to everyone, and loved to talk to all the little kids. He did a bit in his show about turning 50 and getting his first colonoscopy; i thought i was going to pee and pass out at the same time. It was a great evening. Ollie and i decided that we would go ahead and go out to the fairgrounds since now it was dark out and wouldn't be nearly so hot. I was totally jones-ing for a tater pig and deep fried chocolate covered twinkie. I don't normally eat that kind of stuff in public, but hey it was DARK - no one would really be able to see me!! When we finally figured out how to get out of the Metra Arena and out to the grounds, it was spitting a little rain. Ollie had just spent three hours in her unairconditioned bathroom straightening her hair, so we decided not to venture any further. We merrily returned to the Arena, took the elevator up to the main floor, where i proceeded to eyeball the four - yep, four - flights of stairs to get up to where we parked. Out of the corner of my eye, i could see all the Metra personnel taking bets and running through their CPR lessons in their heads. I managed the first two flights without stopping, then it took me another 10 minutes to climb the last two. The 15 mile hike to where i parked the Rodeo on the side of a hill was a breeze after that! But, all in all, it was totally worth it.

Well, i guess i had better wrap this up. I have managed to get some laundry going while my pictures for this post were uploading; you may applaud.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's gettin' warmer...

Well, it's starting to be that time of the year here in Billings. We are pretty sure we've finally seen the last of the snow and the thunderstorms are starting to roll in every evening. Monday night Ollie and I met up at the movie theater to see The Happening (I'll give you a non-spoiler review later). When we came out of the theater, this huge thunderhead was building in the distance.

The picture really doesn't do it justice; suffice it to say, it was bloody huge. I love a good thunderstorm; the more lightning and thunder the better! I just hate to see the lightning start fires that result in people losing animals and homes. But after living for 15 years in the Pacific Northwest, I am tired of rain that just hangs around and doesn't do anything but make me miserable. If it's going to rain, I want it to STORM! Make it worth my while, don't waste my time by hanging around all freaking day just spitting at me. Do it, do it with attitude, and get lost. Yeah. Anyhoo, it was too far past Billings for us to get anything out of it. That is typical of a lot of the weather here; 85% of the time it comes at us full bore, but then it splits up and goes north and south of us. And to the northeast of us, they usually get nailed!

Tonight they keep butting into the TV with the EBS telling us about severe thunderstorm warnings; they interrupted Hell's Kitchen five times, and now they keep interrupting my new favorite Britcom "Not Going Out". It's extremely irritating because the storms aren't anywhere near Billings, and the weird tones that they use and the guy's voice that narrates the warnings are both extremely loud and just that side of creepy. Ah, the inconvenience of safety. It's like having to take your shoes off at the airport.

Ok, so, The Happening. The previews at the theater a few weeks ago had me jumping out of my skin with anticipation. I am a pretty big fan of M. Night, and it seemed to me like this movie was going to be in the same vein as Signs, which scared the crap out of me - and I loved every second of it. This movie, well, not so much. It was very good, and very well acted, but it just left me...I don't know...wanting more of something. I don't want to say much about it, because with his movies any stray comment can be a spoiler, but the R rating was definitely for the gore content. No sex, no bad language, but I found the scene where the construction workers are falling from the sky to be particularly disturbing. I was still very happy to have turned over my hard earned money to see it and all in all I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

oooooooo - I just saw lightning! Can't hear any thunder, but if that's all I'm going to get, I'll take it.

Gotta dash - Absolutely Fabulous just came on.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm baaaaaaack...

Wow - I had no idea how long I had been away! Several things have happened since my last blog, although not that much really.

If you are wondering how my lithotripsy went, it went pretty well. The second time. Yep, $16,000 a piece and I had it done twice in 30 days. The first time, the stone basically broke into three large pieces, and none of them were small enough for me to pass. So, they did it again, this time blasting them REALLY hard, and the results were five large stones and a whole sandbox full of gravel. Here are the five largest:

Ewwwww!!! I know. But hey, blogs are for sharing, right? Right! When I took them in to the doctor, I told him that I was thinking of having them polished and made into a ring or necklace. They sure were expensive, and painful, and I thought that I should at least get to show them off. Pfft.

At the end of November, just around Thanksgiving time, Ollie got her own place. She has a great job now and a cute duplex apartment. She doesn't have any furniture yet though! Well, she did order a couch, and she does have a lamp, and two twin size mattresses that she was sleeping on when she lived here. All the rest of her stuff is still in storage in California. We are still trying to work out a plan to go get the stuff, but with gas prices at insanity, who knows when she will be able to afford it!

Well, that's all the new stuff there is; told you it wasn't much. As for future stuff, Sissy and Hannah will be coming out for a visit the last week of August, then I will be going back to Portland with them to stay for a week. I AM SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!! So is Sissy and Hannah. They will be coming out by Amtrak, and neither of them has ever traveled by train. I have taken the train from Portland to California several times, and I just love it. I cannot wait to see them!!!

Well, ta-ta for now.