Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coyotes, Straight Hair and Medical Terminology...Oh My!

We live in a fairly small town. According to the sign, there are 8,350 people who live here. We love it! Well, there could be a few more restaurants, but that's another story. We also love where we live. While we have neighbors on both sides, there isn't anything behind us but a green belt. I love the trees and birds! We also hear a lot of coyotes howling at night, which almost always wakes me up.

So, since Brent has been working weekends lately, I've been doing a lot of reading. I was on our back deck doing just that when I heard something. I had just seen the neighbor's cat who we have dubbed Garden Kitty since he likes to sun himself on the rocks by our garden. So, I thought the noise was just him. Then I see something out of the corner of my eye and what is is? A coyote in our backyard. It just sat there and looked around for a minute then disappeared back into the green belt. I wanted to come in and get the camera but I was sure that I would scare it away if I moved so I just watched it. It was only about 50 feet away. Very weird.

Yesterday I went to get my hair done. You have to do that a lot more when you have short hair. She asked me if I had always had curly hair. I told her that when I was younger it was curly in places and straight in places but as I've gotten older, it's gotten A LOT curlier. She was excited about that because her daughter's hair is kind of curly now and she wants it to be curly when she gets older. Then she asked me if I liked my hair. I told her that I didn't like it when I was little. It was a fro a lot and I just looked like a rag-a-muffin. Then it used to bother me when everyone else could choose whether they wanted straight hair or curly, but I just got curly. I mean, we couldn't even straighten my hair. (Just ask Courtney. She worked on it for like 2 hours and it went back to curly in less time than that.) I think my hair stylist took this as a challenge because she did this...

It just looks weird. I kept seeing myself in the mirror and thinking, "Man, who is that?" It does look cute though. I thought I might do it every once in a while but when Brent saw me, he said:

"Weird, I don't like it."

I'm so glad he loves me for who I am. The curly hair is so much easier! And I do like it now. If I could get rid of the white, we might talk, but the curly is awesome!

I've been doing classes to become a medical transcriptionist since January. Most of these classes have been, well, I'll just say it - BORING! I know how to use a computer! I've NEVER LIKED ENGLISH and could care less what an adverb is. (I know what an adverb is, I just don't like having to label it.) At any rate, I was getting a little discouraged.

But now I've started Medical Terminology. I know that I'll be able to remember how to spell all these words some day. I'm really good at memorization, but it is still a lot to remember! I am no longer bored with my classes, which is nice, but I'm having to concentrate a whole lot more than I have since I graduated from college. I know I can do it, I'm just a little afraid there will be a test when I'm trying to get a job and I'll fail.

Ok, I need to stop worrying and get back to studying! What does myocardial infarction mean again?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What I Learned at Camp

As I said, I spent a few days at Girl's Camp last week. This is the first time I have EVER been to camp, so it was an eye opening experience. I learned quite a few things.
1) You really start to miss your couch after sitting on hard benches for a week.
The inner tubes became really popular. After the first day of sitting on the hard benches, I know my bum was tired.
2) Regardless of what life brings, somedays you have to dance.
This is our sweet little girl with down's syndrome. She loves music and loves to dance. She also had some tough nights and days. But...despite it all, some days you have to dance!
3) Making your own lunch on camp stoves can be exciting.
Ok, so teenagers can't show excitement about much. I was just proud of myself for not playing with the matches - I'm a pyro - or burning off my eyebrows!

4) An air mattress is a must to sleep on while camping.
When I was first called into YW's, I was in my early 20's. I would snicker at the ladies complaining about how hard it was to sleep on the ground and how much medication they were going to take to camp. Now that I'm a bit longer in the tooth, I'm understanding what they meant.

5) Chipmunks love hot chocolate too!
The chipmunks at the camp were so excited to see us. I only left this cup on the ground for about a second, and I was still sitting in the chair. That's brave!

6) Rope swings look more fun the second way.
I was trying to get a picture of someone swinging off the rope swing into the REALLY cold lake. One of the YW volunteered. I missed the first picture - stupid tree, and this is the second try. Sorry! This wouldn't be such a funny picture if she was hurt, but she's ok. And the third try...
Now that looks like a lot more fun!

7) Ear plugs are now on my needed list for camp.
I thought I could sleep through anything after sleeping with Brent for almost 11 years, but I was proven wrong. Ear plugs made it so the girls didn't see my really mean, totally tired side. It's not a nice side.

8) Chipmunks have a sweet tooth too!
After telling the girls at least 150 times not to leave food out or in the tent, one of the girls left their chocolate bar out and in exactly .5 seconds, the chipmunk had stolen the chocolate bar, opened the top and started to eat. Chipmunks need chocolate too sometimes.

9) You need good leaders at camp.
This is Sheri. We've been working together for 2 years now, a lot of that time just the two of us. We have a lot of smiles and laughs together! It makes the sleepiness and craziness that much better!

10) Any skit that ends with the girls making a temple is a good skit.
The point of our skit was that the girls were trying to go to the temple, but they kept getting tempted. The theme of our ward was transformers, which is why the "bad guy" has on a transformer mask. The YW group made it to the temple, even with all the distractions! Good job girls!

11) Sleep deprivation makes for silliness to abound!

12) Chipmunks sometimes need drinks too.

These chipmunks were very well trained after being around hundreds and hundreds of Girl's Camps. One actually chewed through a girl's bag to get the candy inside. I mean, we did say no food in the tents, but...

13) It is easy to remember the Lord at camp.

Between having time to read your scriptures and ...being surrounded by so much beauty, it's so easy to be thankful!

And the last thing I learned at camp...

I really like these crazy, sometimes whiney, sometimes funny, all the time great YW that I have the opportunity to be with!

If you ever get a chance to go to Girl's Camp, you should totally go. Just remember your air mattress, pain medication, ear plugs and sense of humor! It's a lot of fun!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mount St. Helen's

Hello all. I'm back from Girl's Camp and I've survived...mostly. I'm one of those hugely dorky people that NEED, REQUIRE, whatever word is more emphatic, at least 8 hours a sleep a night. I did not get that at camp, so I've been napping since I got home to catch up. Because of this, I haven't downloaded my pictures yet, but soon.
On our way to Mount St. Helen's, we stopped in Portland at the International Rose Test Garden. Right up my alley. There were SOOOO MANY roses there. It was almost too many roses. But ... this picture is just too awesome for words.

Our last stop on our trip from the beginning of July (I really need to blog more) was Mount St. Helen's. We stayed in Kelso which is about one hour South of the mountain. If you ever go to Mount St Helen's, the best film about the eruption is at the Forest Learning Center, not the Johnston Ridge Visitor's Center. The best thing about the Visitor Center is that it's the closest you can get to the mountain.

It's kind of amazing to see how much of the mountain is gone. I can't remember how much, but it was a lot. It's still really desolate around there and the eruption was in 1984.
We went hiking along the ridge of the Johnston Ridge. (Does that sound as weird as I think it does?) Anyway, it was nice and cool when we started, but got hot fast, so we didn't go that far. I don't know if that's steam coming out of the crater or just dust. The mountain "woke up" about 2 years ago. It's been fairly active since then.

This display cracked me up. Notice the phrase at the bottom. "ASH IS NOT ALL BAD." I'm really not ALL bad, just mostly.

There were a lot of t-shirts with "Got Ash?" on them. Brent wouldn't buy one. He's such a spoil sport.

It was a fun little vacation for the two of us. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Columbia River Gorge

Ok, so next week is Girl's Camp. Ahh! And I've been fighting off a cold this week, since I'm going to be in the cold next week, so my week as gone very quickly. I have been meaning to blog, just happens.

Anyway, after our family reunion, we took the long way home and stayed a couple of nights in the Columbia River Gorge at a lovely B&B. Well, the place was lovely, but the food was...hmmm...weird. I will admit that I'm one of the pickiest eaters you will ever meet, but I'm pretty sure tomatoes, broccoli and red peppers are not breakfast material. Whatever happened to good old French Toast?

Since the Gorge is best described with pictures...
This is Horsetail Falls, the first one we saw this trip. The lighting was PERFECT for the picture. The thing I like about the Gorge is that most of the falls are right next to the road. It makes it fun for a long trip where you can hike to other falls, or a short drive through when you can just look as you go past.
And the most famous falls of the area...Multnomah. It is very pretty. I really want to come down here in the winter and see it all iced up. Don't you think that would be pretty?
This is Bridal Veil falls, one of the ones you have to hike to. The hike in is great, all down hill, but the hike out .... It was worth it though. Very pretty!
In Hood River where the B&B was, there was a train that took you up to the orchards above the gorge. It reminded us a lot of the Heber Creeper in Utah. The only bad part of the trip was that there were a lot of cottonwood trees with their cotton flying everywhere. Sneezy central!
That in the distance is Mt Hood. Another one of our Northwest volcanoes. The trees are apple trees. Imagine this picture in the spring. I think we might have to do this again next year. :)

Some of you may not know, but Brent LOVES sushi. He loves real life raw sushi, sashimi, nigiri, whatever he can get his hands on. He's gotten me to eat some of it, but mostly the cooked stuff. So, we're in this tiny town of Hood River, Oregon, the kite-board and wind-surfing capital of the world, and we're looking for somewhere to eat.

Brent: You know what I really want ... sushi.

Ashley: We're in Hood River, there's not going to be a sushi restaurant.

(We turn a corner)

Ashley: Oh look, a sushi restaurant.

Not just a sushi restaurant, the best sushi restaurant that we've ever eaten at. We ate there both nights we were in Hood River. And, I even ate some of the raw stuff. It was SOOOOO GOOD. If you like sushi and are ever in Hood River, Oregon, go to Sushi Okalani. YUM!

We ended our Gorge excursion at the Vista House. Isn't it beautiful?

And, since Brent's mom always says that I don't take enough pictures of us, and to prove that we were actually there, here you go.

The Columbia River Gorge is great! We had a great time. We wouldn't recommend the Villa Columbia B&B, but only because the breakfasts were strange. Other than that, it was a great little jaunt. Next, on to Mount St. Helens.