Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all!

Blogger doesn't seem to have any cool fonts. That's too bad.
We hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nothing Much

There's not a whole lot going on in our household right now. Brent's busy with work and I'm busy with Young Women's, so we're just plodding along. We were going to have a Halloween dinner with Ryan and Marcela on Saturday, but Ryan had to work, so that was cancelled.

Tomorrow night is Trunk or Treat at the church, so we're looking forward to that. Hopefully Brent won't make anyone cry this year!

As you may or may not have noticed, Brent now has a blog. So, click the link and see what you think. (Wow, I'm a poet and I don't know it.)

Have a Happy Halloween! Only one more holiday to go until I can play non-stop Christmas music. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ashley's Very Non-Politically Correct Tirade

The other day, I got online and was greeted by the headline, "Albus Dumbledore is gay." I clicked on the article and read about how J.K. Rowling had told an audience who asked who Dumbledore's true love was that he was gay. The article went on to say that on most of the fan sites, people were saying that they always knew this and were so glad that she had admitted it.

I have a couple of things to say about this.

The first is: What book was I reading because I didn’t get that at all. I love the Harry Potter books. We own all 7 of them and I've read all of them at least twice. I am so impressed with J.K. Rowling and the world that she created. I've always loved Dumbledore's personality. In fact, I have really disliked the new Dumbledore in the movies. He kind of ruins it for me, but that's another story. I must not be too good at "getting" things when I read a book. I have a hard time seeing things that aren't there. If the page says they went to Diagon Alley, then they went to Diagon Alley...I don't try to look between the lines. So, I was completely caught off guard by this declaration. I just don't understand what hinted that he was gay. My gay-dar must be in the shop!

I have always had a problem with not "getting" the point of a book. I hated reading when I was a kid. I especially hated my 10th grade English class. We read a TON of short stories that year. One of them that I liked when I first read it was The Rocking Horse Winner. I have no idea who wrote it...that was too long ago. It was about a little boy who would rock on his rocking horse when things were bad. I related to this because I used to go to the horse pasture when I needed to cheer up. This all came crashing down when I went to class to discuss the short story. This story was not in fact about a boy riding his rocking horse. It was about something much more - disturbing? I won't go into it because it still really bugs me. But, needless to say, What short story was I reading because I didn't see that!

I was somewhat vindicated when I took a children's literature course in college. My professor was this really cool ex-kindergarten teacher who could remember EVERYTHING about EVERY book he ever read - kind of reminded me of Brent's mom. I wish I could do that. I have a hard time remember what the book was about a week later. Anyway, my professor was really big on not telling you what you should think the book was about. He felt that any interpretation was ok. As long as you read the book, he was happy. He even told us of an interview he had ready with Natalie Babbitt, the author of Tuck Everlasting. (Would you choose to live forever?) The interviewer was asking her about the man in the yellow suit. He wanted to know what exactly the yellow suit meant. Was it because the man was a coward? Was he color blind, what? Ms. Babbitt replied that she needed a color with two syllables and no one wears purple. People had read all this into the color of the man's suit. And she hadn't thought about any of that when she was writing the book. It still makes me smile!

The second thing that bugs me about this whole revelation is – WHAT DOES IT MATTER? Does it matter that Dumbledore is gay? Not to me. But, I never wondered either. To me, Dumbledore’s job is to help Harry fulfill his destiny. Nothing more. I never thought, “Hmm, I wonder what Dumbledore’s back story is.” That’s just not how I read books. And, apparently, Gay Right’s Activists are saying that this is a HUGE step towards being accepted. So, basically, now that we, as the general public, have been tricked into liking a gay person, we will now accept your lifestyle? That’s not how I read books either.

Let me just say this, I don’t want this to be some big political discussion. If I learned anything from my Grandpa it is to not argue with anyone about their basic beliefs. He always did and you learned early on that you should just keep your mouth shut. It’s too emotional for most people. I was just so amazed at the reaction this revelation caused that I had to share. I will say this, as I get older, I get more and more conservative. That’s as far as I’m going to go.

Am I going to throw away all my Harry Potter books and never speak his name again? No. I still love the books. I don’t really think it matters. I’m just going to go about reading my books and seeing the words how they are written on the page and not trying to read anything else into them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It Was a Dark and Stormy Day and Night

Hello all! Yesterday was a very stormy day here in Western Washington. It poured all morning. It rained about 1 inch - that's 1 foot of snow for those of you in snowy climates. And then the wind started. It was very windy from 1:30p to 8p. The gusts got as high as 62 mph. Our power flickered a couple of times but kept coming back on, so I thought the worst was over. I was wrong. At 4:30p, the power went out and stayed out until about 2am.

The ferry that Brent normally rides home was too small to get through the rough waves, so he had to take a bigger one. They were even talking about canceling all ferry service to Port Orchard and busing everyone home. It was crazy!

Kitsap County was hit the hardest. They said on the news that 26,000 people were without power last night. About 10,000 are still without power. We're really glad to not be one of them.

We also really thankful that we didn't have more damage. One of my dahlia's got blown over and broken and there are a couple of largish branches that came down, but nothing hit our house, so that's good.

Needless to say, it was a dark and stormy night. We cooked dinner on our camp stove and played some Skipbo. It's really quiet and dark when there aren't any lights around. It's funny how much you come to rely on something! You don't realize how much until it's gone!

Have a good day! Hope the weather is better when you are!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Family Day 2007

On Saturday, Brent’s work had the first Family Day since September 11th, 2001. I wanted to see what Brent’s desk looked like, so we signed up and went. One of the most exciting things, for most people, was that they were letting people tour one of the submarines. I didn’t really want to go on the sub, but a WHOLE bunch of other people did. Brad’s dad, grandpa and brother-in-law came to see the sub. Unfortunately, they would only let people 8 years old and up on the sub, so we got to watch Chloe and Kyle while they were touring the sub.

They wouldn’t let you bring cameras on base, so I have taken it upon myself to draw from memory what we saw. You’ll be amazed by my artistic ability, I know it!

We decided to take the foot ferry across Sinclair Inlet to Bremerton. A lot of other people decided to do that too, so we missed the first ferry and had to wait ½ hour for the next ferry. I was just happy that it wasn’t raining or windy. When it gets windy by the water, it gets COLD! So, I wasn’t grumbling with the rest of the people. I was looking on the bright side. It was REALLY foggy though. You couldn’t even see to the end of the marina. That was a lot of fun!

We finally got on the ferry and made our way across the inlet. As we were nearing Bremerton, I could see something in the water. It was sea lions feasting on salmon. They were having a grand old time! I tried to depict this with my beautiful drawings, but I couldn’t convey what the scene was like. The day before I had picked Brent up and heard sea lions. I couldn’t see them, but now I think that they were in mostly the same place, making a lot of noise.

As we’re pulling up to the dock, I see all the people in the park right next to the dock. I didn’t think much of it, that is until we got near the gate to the base.

The line was HUGE! It took us about 1 hour to get through it. I don’t think anyone expected this long of a line! It was kind of crazy. But, then again, it wasn’t raining or windy. And, the sun was starting to peek out from the clouds. A great day here!

We’re waiting and waiting and who do we see walking up the hill – Ryan, Marcela and Reyes. They had been waiting for awhile and were giving up. It was just too long of a line. We talked with them for a minute and said good bye. We weren’t going to give up. Not when we had waited this long.

Finally, we get through the gate! We had to stop and get a snack for the rest of the day.

I have to say, I wasn’t that excited to go. Other than seeing where Brent’s desk was, I didn’t really care. But then you’re walking down this road with HUGE buildings all over, BIG old cranes and submarines in dry dock everywhere and it is kind of cool. Some of the buildings are really old, so that’s kind of interesting. It was built in the early 1900’s, so there’s a lot history there.

I have to say, this is one of my best pictures. On the right is a big building. On the left is a HUGE crane and there is a submarine in dry dock below it. I’m such an artist!

We went to some of the shops and they were giving out things. The sheet metal shop gave out these:

And the machine shop gave out these:

I thought that was kind of cool.

The whole time we were in the line to get in we joked about it being like Disneyland only without a cool ride at the end. This was more true once we found the line for the submarine tours. I think EVERYONE wanted to go on the sub! It was crazy.

We got there just in time to get Chloe and Kyle from Brad before they got on the bus to the sub. I don’t think anyone was expecting such a long line to get in.

We took the kids to Brent’s desk. He works in a warren of cubicles. It’s kind of depressing. He really needs some pictures in his office. But, it was nice to see so now I can imagine what he’s doing when I’m on the phone with me. (Normally it’s working and kind of ignoring me, but that’s another story.)

Then Brent thought it would be cool to go on the roof of his building and look around. He was right. It was cool. You could see most of the area from there. And by that time the fog had cleared up. Kyle liked playing in the mud and being able to get out of the stroller, so we stayed there for a few minutes.

We went back where we were going to meet Brad et al and no one was there. We waited and waited. We later found out that there was an alarm for a Freon leak in the sub so they had to shut it down for a while. It was such a fluke, but it would have been nice to know.

We did get to go to a couple other shops though…

Chloe played tic-tac-toe with a diver at the Dive Shop.

When we went to the foundry, the guy opened the furnace. It was really hot and we were far back. I would hate to work there all the time!

It was getting to be the time when they wanted all non-military types out, so we left Brad a note, hoping he would find it, and made our way back to the gate. Kyle loved going under the big cranes. “Here we goooooo!!”

Then we let them play around while Brent went back to find Brad. Brad was very apologetic. It was just a bad situation, but he did offer to take us to dinner at Anthony’s. We couldn’t pass that up. It’s the best seafood place around! Thanks Brad! We had a good time!

All in all, it was a great day!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'm Such a Softie

I have a confession to make. I get overly attached to strange things.

I am totally attached to this weird guy that I met in Logan 12 years ago…
Just kidding Love. You’re not that weird! And I really like your quirks. (By the way, this picture is from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It was really cold that day and Brent’s ears were cold.)

I would love to own a goat. When I worked at the zoo in Utah, I loved the spring time because that was when all the baby goats would be born. They were so cute.
How can you resist this? They would chew holes in your shirt, but they were still great!

I got attached to this strange animal when we lived in Utah…
I call him a strange animal because he didn’t really act like a cat. Oh, this is Frank. Frank would NEVER leave you alone, he was CONSTANTLY making noise, he was just a weird cat.

Frank came to be our cat in a somewhat interesting way. One morning I wake up to a cat meowing. I look out the window and here is this cat that’s making all this noise and looking cute and hungry. So, I call my Grandma – whose house we’re living in – and ask her if she knows anyone who has a white cat. “Nope, but don’t feed it,” she says. “Oh, I won’t feed it,” I promise. Then I call Brent to tell him about this weird cat that’s hanging around. “Whatever you do, don’t feed it,” is his answer. “Of course I won’t feed it,” is my reply. So, I hang up the phone, look out the window at this poor defenseless cat, and promptly get some cat food and feed him. I’m such a softie.

Frank drove Brent CRAZY! Frank would sit in our window at night and meow. I could say, “Shut up Frank” until the cows came home and it wouldn’t make any difference. All Brent had to do was say, “Frank” and he was off the window in a heart beat. Frank also liked to “feed” us. We took care of him, so he felt like he needed to take care of us. I would often come out and find a dead bird, mouse or rat on our back steps. How nice of Frank. And, Brent would never clean them up – “It’s your cat.” What a non-softie. I sometimes miss Frank. He was kind of fun to have around.

About 8 years ago, we bought our first new car. And since then, I have fallen in love with it…
My little car is so cute and red. We’ve always been really good friends. It has gotten me to all the places I wanted to go, along with all the places I had to go. But, alas, it is now broken. One of the hoses has a hole in it and it can’t be driven until it is fixed. This is very sad for me. I can’t wait until it is feeling better and we can get back to driving a little too fast and listening to music a little too loud.

I would love to own a Jersey cow. I mean, how can you resist?
Ever since I saw City Slickers, I have loved these cows. They are just the cutest, dumbest creatures! Everyone should have a pet cow!

My all time favorite movies, ever, is Overboard.
I have seen it at least 200 times and I still laugh my head off. In fact, I might watch it this afternoon.

I love working with teenagers…
I know it’s crazy, but I just love these girls. They can be surly and annoying, but they can also be sweet and fun. I’m sure one of the reasons I like them so much is the fact that I only have to see them twice a week and I’m not their parent.

One of my all time best friends, ever, was my horse Sar.
Wasn't he a cutie? He was the sweetest thing I have ever known. I thought it was so funny when Brent came along that Sar got jealous. If Brent and I were in the paddock and got too close for Sar’s liking, he would come between us. When Sar died a couple of years ago, it was one of the hardest things for me. How is that for being overly attached to weird things?

I talk to my plants and am sad when they die…
Perhaps it’s because I am an only child and used to being on my own, but I have a tendency to talk to my plants. I don’t just say “hi”, I have conversations. “I’m sure you’re going to like it here, what do you think?” If people listen to me, I’m sure they think I’m crazy. I’m not crazy, just really weird.

And finally, the whole reason for this diatribe. A little while ago when Brent was in Wisconsin, I had an unusual visitor. When I got up in the morning, there was this weird looking cat on our deck. She was a calico, but where the black should be were stripes. She had a cataract in one eye and was really skinning. “Oh no,” I thought, “Brent’s going to kill me.” Because of course, I was going to feed this cat. I mean, seriously! I was already attached. She had been on my deck for at least 2 hours, how could I not be attached? But, I decided that the right thing to do was to at least talk to Brent about it. So, I wait with baited breath for his call. “Guess what, there’s this funny looking cat on the deck who really likes me. What would you do if I fed her?” To which Brent said, somewhat dejectedly, “Whatever you want to do.” HOORAY! I rush out to tell this Poor-Little-No-Named-Slob that she will no longer be a Poor-Little-No-Named-Slob, but ... I can’t find her. I take this rather hard since I get overly attached to strange things, but eventually decide that it’s a sign and I just have to get over her.

So, what do I find this morning waiting for me…
There she is again, trying to tell me that we are going to be super best friends. Or so I thought. She didn’t hang around for that long this time. So, I guess we’re just going to be friends from afar and she will continue to be called the Poor-Little-No-Named-Slob cat. (Have you ever seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s?) She will join the likes of Garden Kitty and Fuzzy Garden Kitty. Ok, so I get a little too attached.

I told you at the beginning, this was a confession. If you're going to confess, you might at well go all out. I feel so much better now! Don’t stop being my friends just because I’m weird. At least I'm good for a laugh.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dinner with the Fam

About a week and a half ago, we went to dinner at Ryan and Marcela's. Before they went to San Diego, we would have dinner at each other's house once a month. We had a hard time getting going again, but now we're up and running.

It was so much fun to see them. We haven't seen them since Reyes' first birthday party. We sat and talked by their new HUGE tv. :) Here are some pictures from the night.

Reyes loves the camera. But, she likes to make this face when she sees a camera. I couldn't get a picture of her without her eyes are scrunched up. Silly.

Isn't she getting big? She is really starting to show her personality. She brought me my shoes and put them on me. She was also trying to play with Brent. She would bring him a toy and see if he would play with it with her. When he didn't, she'd bring something else...etc...etc... It was cute!

We had a great time with you guys! Hope it was fun for you too!

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Joys of Living in the Northwest

We love living here in the Northwest. We love all the huge trees! We love the weather...even the rain isn't too bad. You get used to it. We especially love that it doesn't get that hot in the summer. And if it does get hot, it cools off in a couple of days. We love all the different plants we can grow. I'm especially excited about our dahlia garden. It will be awesome when it's full.

But, I don't love the slugs! Where I grew up, slugs were there, but they weren't really a big deal. They were about 1 inch long at the biggest and they didn't really eat a lot. Here is a slug I found on our lawn the other day....

Just in case you can't see the ruler too well, that slug is at least 5 inches long. FIVE INCHES?? That's crazy! These stupid slugs can completely eat a dahlia plant that is about 1 foot tall overnight.

So, the next time you're thinking that slugs are a problem, just remember us up here in the Northwest with our granddaddy of all slugs and count your blessings!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Visiting the Family

As I said, our Yellowstone vacation ended in a trip to Utah to meet the newest member of our family - and the first "real" nephew - Jayson. Here's an ok picture of the little guy. He's way cuter than this. My camera has a red light before it flashes and it just fascinates the babies so I have a hard time getting really good pictures of really little ones.

I did take a cute one of Jayson and his big sister Rylee, but you can see up both their noses so I decided not to include it.

We got to Utah Thursday afternoon after getting stuck in a BUNCH of traffic because of road construction. I was always the one driving when we got stuck in yucky traffic. It was my unlucky time.

We spent a great evening with Brent's mom. It was fun to see her and catch up.

I spent Friday with my mom at Swiss Days in Midway. It's kind of a tradition for us. We had a great time. Well, except for the fact that it was soooo hot that I thought I would die! Then again, that made most of the people leave. Next time I'm going to be like the old ladies in Hawaii and take an umbrella.

Brent spent the day with his sister Julie. He picked her up from the airport and then they had the whole day together. This doesn't happen too often with them, so it was fun for Brent. I hope Julie liked it too.

Friday night, Brent met me and my parents at Carver's for dinner. It was yummy and fun to see them.

Saturday dawned and I wasn't feeling too good. So, everyone else got in the car, picked up Jared and Katie from the airport and went on to Ikea. Ikea isn't a store, it's an experience.

Jess, Rylee and Jayson came out that afternoon, so we got to spend some time with them. Isn't Rylee cute?

Apparently, Rylee is kind of naughty! It's just funny when it's not you! :)

I handed the baby to Brent, who doesn't really love babies, but... I'm just like that. It was so funny - Brent had his ankles crossed and Jayson's feet were crossed the same way. I didn't get a good picture of that, but here is the one I did get.

Jayson seems to realize that Brent is going to be a good friend when he gets big enough to play with.

Sunday was Jayson's blessing. It was a great morning. And when we came out, it was pouring, so we felt right at home. We ran to our car and got our umbrellas - Washingtonians are always prepared - and helped people get to Jess and Sean's. Sean made super yummy hamburgers and we had a great time just talking.

Little Miss Tayler was so excited to have so many people around to perform for. She called her mom "Little Bunny Foofoo" once. (Ok, I have no idea how you would spell that, but hopefully you understand.)

But, the time came for us to start heading up to Boise. Our vacation was coming to a close. As we were leaving, I got this cute picture of Jess and Jayson. If I was better at Photoshop, I would take out the cars in the background.
Then, all of sudden, we realized that there were a lot of the family there that day, so we had to document it. Just imagine Jenny and her family and Ryan and his family there and that's everyone! :)

So, we were off to Boise. It was a fairly boring drive, but we were excited to see the Moore people!!

When we got there, we watched those little kids perform for quite a while. Jen kept saying that they were acting like they never got visitors. It was funny!! They had to show me their trampoline and how fun it was. I took this opportunity to take some pictures.

I love Meg's face (the one in the orange shirt). She's the only one in focus. I love how cameras work sometimes.
Emmy is getting so big. She is a lot like a teenager now. We just sat and talked. It was so cool! Em and I have always been close. She was born a month before we got married. We have always had a good time together.
Ah Meggy. What can you say about her? She's a cutie! She's getting so old too. She's just fearless. I wish I was more like her!

Alyssa is getting so fun. She just jabbers and jabbers. When we were leaving, Emmy said she was going to come with us and Alyssa kept saying, "You can't take my Emmy!" And I said, "Do you want to come too?" To which she replied, "Do you have a car seat?" At least she will be safe.

We had to have a scrunch picture. I introduced those girls to the fun that is scrunch pictures!

These guys are good little posers. I didn't tell them to do this. Good job guys!

It was tough to leave, but we had to show that we really were there. If it looks like Brent is restraining Meg, he is. She was in a weird mood.

We had a great time with the family! We need to get together more often! Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

yEllOwStone naTional PArk

So, at the beginning of the year, we realized that Brent would only have to take 4 days off of work in order to get 9 days if we went on vacation at the end of August. Since this was our 10 year anniversary week, we decided we were going to do something fun. Where to go? I wanted to go to Yellowstone - I don't really know why, just wanted to - and Brent wanted to go to Glacier National Park in Montana. I read a little about each of them and we decided on Yellowstone this year. It was also a good time to go to Utah to meet our new nephew, Jayson, so going to Yellowstone cut down on the driving a bit. (More on Jayson tomorrow)

Anyway, I took nearly 400 pictures in Yellowstone, so here are the highlights. We spent two full days in Yellowstone. We decided that if you want to see everything you need at least 3 full days in the park. We had great weather and it was not that crowded. The guy at our motel said that the week before Labor Day is the best time to go to the park. It's always really quiet. Then it gets busier again in September. Yeah us!

We stayed in West Yellowstone in a little cabin. And when I say little, I mean little.
The bed was situated so whoever was on the wall side had to climb over the other person to get out. The manager kept asking us if it was too small for us. It was cute and we weren't there to hang out in the cabin.
Welcome to the Park. Apparently someone got a little close to this sign, but it was the only one in West Yellowstone and we wanted the picture. So, we are trying to ignore how crooked it is. Let's all pretend together.

We saw a lot of wildlife, which I always love. The first day we saw a badger ambling across the road. That was interesting. We saw a TON of bison....
a whole herd of elk, one big male up close and another male hanging out on someone's lawn...
we saw some deer up close - close enough to hear one making funny noises. I don't know what that was all about...

A moose and her baby...

And...a chipmunk...
We also saw a lot of geysers. A lot of the area looked like Volcano National Park in Hawaii. I guess they are both volcanoes, so that makes sense.
Castle Geyser went off while we were waiting for Old Faithful. It was still erupting when we go there.
Clepsydra geyser that has been going off continuously since the 1959 Hepkin Lake earthquake.

And Constant Geyser that isn't constant, but still easy to see erupt.

And, of course, we saw the granddaddy of all geysers, Old Faithful. Twice, actually.

While we were waiting for the eruption, there was this very loud child who was tired of waiting for this geyser. He was funny though, "We've been sitting here for 1 hour waiting for this 'faithful' geyser that's never going to erupt." He got a couple of chuckles from the surrounding people.

We saw some beautiful waterfalls...

The first night we were in West Yellowstone, there was this glorious sunset. You can really tell why they call this Big Sky Country!

Yellowstone is an amazing place! I'm so glad that it's a National Park so it will always be protected! I'm going to finish this LONG blog with a couple of pictures. One is of the beauty that its Yellowstone. The other one is the beauty that is The Lintons!

More on our road trip next time!