A Noticed Thing

I’ve lived in Albuquerque for just over 30 years. When I drive around my city, I can reflect on the parts that bring me the fondest memories. And now that I have a child of my own, I am able to share some of those places and memories with him.

There’s a park near the mall on the East side of town where my grandfather used to take me. My mom has albums full of memories, many of which were made at this park. When I was a girl, there was a sort of monkey bars sculpted into the shape of a giraffe. I hadn’t really thought about that park in years. My grandfather passed away when I was eight, and I had no reason to visit the park afterward since I lived in another part of the city. Last spring, almost exactly a year ago, Tucker was invited to a friend’s party and it just so happened to be at that very park.

Of course I have passed by this park, now and again, through the years. I noted at some point the giraffe seemed to have been removed or relocated. I never stopped to look until the day of that party.

It was there. Tucked back in the corner of the park, off the main road. Set aside like some monument to my childhood. Before joining the party, I let Tucker climb that giraffe.

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Vacation, Here I Come

Right after I take care of a million other things! Would that I could drop everything and visit any one of these places. I seem to be leaning toward middle of nowhere!

ocean

Underwater retreat? Yes, please!

space

I can do outer space, can you?

desert

A hot, solitary desert oasis.

ice

This one is for those who run a little warm.

mountain

Alone in the woods? Sure!

beachSand and shore for miles, right outside the back door.

Grolsch Premium Lager

Today is my husband and my 1st anniversary. A year ago today we shared a lovely few hours with friends and family and celebrated our commitment to each other.

I’ve never had cause or means to have a guest post on my blog. But I thought about it and who better to proved an alternative voice to my blog than my amazing husband, Jason.

What you should know: He blogs about beer. That’s right, he’s cool like that. Should you read his blog? Heck yeah! and to convince you of that, here’s a taste (see what I did there?) of what his blog is all about.

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Grolsch has that certain kind of name. You know, a name that you pronounce the same before and after drinking a twelve pack of the stuff. It’s also probably the only beer that your dog could successfully order.

This beer came in my 18 pack of international beers. My wife asked that I review this beer to guest blog on her blog page. She’s doing the alphabetical days project. Today is G. G is for guest blog, and G is for Grolsch.

Grolsch has been brewed in Holland since 1615. Grolee, where this beer was first brewed, was known for its greenwood forests. In fact, I understand that ‘grolsch’ means ‘beer from the green woods.’ The water source for this beer has always been a natural spring, but since 2004, the water travels out of the spring and down a 7 km pipe before reaching the location of the ultra-modern Grolsch Brewery.

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The first taste of this beer was slightly flowery, but that devolved into a light, thin beer. I would believe it if someone had told me this beer was cut with water, or even club soda since there was a quality to it similar to that. When the beer was held in the mouth, it was almost astringent. When it was consumed quickly, it had almost a metallic flavor. I can’t say that I enjoyed this beer.

Would I buy this beer again? No, and I’d choose a different one if this beer had companions in a friend’s cooler. Should you buy this beer? It’s not the worst beer out there, but with so many good beers available, I can’t recommend spending your time with this one. Of course, you might like it. If you do, please tell me what you like about this beer in the comments. Maybe I can try it again paying attention to the points you make.

I give this beer only 2/5 caps.

Elephantastic

When I was in third grade, I was assigned my very first research report. It was supposed to be on an animal, and I of course chose the best animal ever: The Elephant. I can’t say WHY I love these animals. I just do. I have about 50 or so elephant-related knickknacks, figurines, plush stuffies, and statues. My in-laws have even discovered an elephant rescue near their home that they plan on taking us to when we visit them in Florida.

Elephant photo bomb:

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Some elephant rescues:

Two Tails Ranch

The Elephant Sanctuary

PAWS

Another Obligatory Cat Blog

I feel the need to write about something other than being pregnant, so this is my foray into just that.

I suppose I’m not technically a cat lady because I live in a pretty nice sized house and am married… although I could be considered for the title because there are four little animals running around this house. In all fairness, however, the hubby is a cat man (if such a term exists), and has had family cats and cats of his own longer than I have.

I like to think of my self as a cat AND dog person. While I don’t get all fanatical about my animals, I do enjoy dropping some coin for them when I can. My family’s dogs are still living with my parents. Every now and again I like to pop into this cute patisserie and pick up a few treats for Copper and Nikki.

And para los gatos? Since they actually live with us, Jason and I do tend to visit our local Petsmart often (about monthly) to get big things like scratching posts and kitty litter when we’re desperate (otherwise we try to buy bulk from Costco…there are FOUR cats, remember). Last December, after the holidays, we hit up Target and scored a ton of holiday-inspired cat toys… they’ll get them in their stockings this year.

Speaking of toys and treats for the cats, our last venture to Petsmart resulted in a new litter box (one for four cats wasn’t cutting it and we needed something to tide us over until we got around to ordering this one) and few toys.

Abner–the BIG boy–is prone to chewing on anything plush, so in order to save our baby toys and our own sentimental stuffies, we packed everything with stuffing away in the baby-room closet. This also meant that the cats had a limited supply of items they could actually play with. The result was our afore-mentioned trip to Petsmart. Random, cat-friendly items were purchased. We also picked up one of those feather-duster looking things to get the cats really active. A well-exercised cat is a calm, non-neurotic cat.

The day before yesterday, I was playing with the feather-duster toy. Ebenezer and Lillith LOVE LOVE LOVE this thing. They are very into movement and hunting. Millie also has taken a bit of interest (although she tends to enjoy tossing stuffed / rubber mice into the air for herself and amuses herself that way). But Ebenezer and Lillith go nuts with this thing. They can get some serious height…like two feet!

During this particular play time, Ebenezer was flipping and flopping for the feathers when he inadvertently landed too close to Lillith who is a definite Prima Donna. Needless to say, Lillith got P.O.ed and Ebenezer got a face full of massive Maine Coon paw. His poor little face was swollen for about 24 hours.

After checking out the area around his eye, I wasn’t able to detect any cuts or wounds, so luckily for all of us, it really was just a good wallop and not something more serious. He was walking around all that night and most of the next day pretty pathetic looking. But he was a real trooper and still more alert than his brother–by this I mean that Ebenezer is decidedly more active than Abner, even on a bad day.

As for Abner… he’s not at all that interested in the feather-duster. He responds to the jingle of the attached bell, but he doesn’t go after it at all. He’s more of an observer. Perhaps he’s rebelling since we took away all his toys. I’m not exactly sure how to get a chubby kitty to exercise if he’s not interested in anything cat-related. Although he did used to run with me in Korea when I would run around the apartment… food for thought.

Lillith & Millie
Ebenezer & Abner

Shut The Back Door

A few shots of the back yard. A work in progress. Come back next year, and it will look completely different.

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The grapes are coming in nicely.
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These are a different species of grape.
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A beautiful surprise.
Our awesome succulent display. Those dark ones in the front are from my bridal bouquet.
More succulents. I picked up the one in the planter from Trader Joe’s last year.
Not sure what these are, but the flowers close their petals at night.
Our creeper. It’s really filled out since we moved in.
Abner thinks it’s time to come back inside.

Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

The houses I used to stay in and house sit were generally vast, large, and thus quiet. As the sole living being in these houses, or at least the sole human being in cases where I was caring for various dogs or cats, I would relish in that solitude. But solitude is a funny thing.

I’m not going to say that part of the fear I feel of large, empty homes I’m inside is irrational, and part of the fear is actually self-inflicted. But I have been able to gauge when I can “self-inflict” with the least amount of trauma.

When I was in high school, I house sat for a co-worker of my mother. They lived in an upper-class part of Reno. I was excited to stay at their home because it was very pretty. The back yard was amazingly landscaped with a running waterfall and miniaturized creek bisecting it. There was a well-made gazebo and while there were homes all around, the yard was big enough to give you the sensation of seclusion; situated within the housing development, the yard still had amazing views of nearby mountains. At night, because the housing development was far from the tall buildings and hotels of downtown Reno, you could see a full blanket of stars.

So, this house had a lot of doors and windows. One night, I decided that I wanted to call my mom before heading off to bed. But before I could dial, I heard it. I did not hear the expected dial tone, but what sounded more akin to the sound of a person breathing. I hung up fast. That urban legend about the babysitter flashing through my mind. I picked up the phone again and made the call to my mom, frantic. She listened calmly, and had me call my cousin. He specialized in security alarms and told me to check the doors and windows. “Are there any open”?

Yes, there was a door that was slightly ajar, but I really couldn’t remember if I had opened it or not. My cousin came over to check it out. Walking though the house, he didn’t find anything significant and soon left. I had worked myself up for nothing. I sat down to watch some TV; a comedy if I recall correctly.

From this experience, I have found that I do tend to enjoy stories (written or visual) that elicit this intense feeling of adrenalin coursing through my veins. When I watch certain horror movies, for instance, I need to follow it up with a good comedy, especially at night, when who knows what is out there.

I mentioned that I am able to gauge in what context I can partake of these traumas (I hope you see that these traumas are really just scare tactics). As an example, I present the process I undertook in watching the movie “Silent Hill.”

Holy crap, this movie is spooky with its use of mist and off camera action. I think 87% of creepy is the anticipation of creepy that the truly great cinematographers create for us.

I was house sitting for my aunt and uncle at the time. They were leaving quite early in the day, and so I woke up early to see them off (I had spent the night). I think they left about 4:30 or 5:00 am. The sun hadn’t even risen yet. It was dark outside, but it was the kind of dark that suggested that the sun would soon be there. I watched the movie at about 5:30 in the morning, the sun still hiding behind the Sandias. I finished watching the movie when the sun was low still, so the shadows cast were still a tad menacing and frightening.

When I was 14, my family moved into our house in Sparks. I had spent the summer before watching zombie movies with a neighbor girl of my cousin. The house was situated at the top of the street which ended in a cul-de-sac. My room was at the front of the house and looked out and down the long street that lead to the house.  That first night, I had a dream. It was your typical zombie dream; hoards of freshly dead, blood-thirsty, brain-hungry zombies making their way up our street and eagerly trying to get in via my bedroom window. Lovely, right?

So now Jason and I are living in our own big, vast, and quiet house. And what do I do with my time? I watch AMC’s The Walking Dead. And this show isn’t my first to cover the idea of a post-Apocalypse world, overrun by zombies. I’ve seen Night of the Living Dead (the old ones, the sequels, and the remakes) and Resident Evil. It’s how I get me kicks, you know? Did I mention that I was a film minor in college? I even took a horror film class!

I don’t necessarily watch TWD to scare myself, while that does happen on occasion (see afore-mentioned appreciation of cinematic suspense), but I watch for the human story–the humanity (and lack there of) behind the needs for survival. This is most profound within the story lines of TWD.

But all this horror indulgence has a price. After watching a season and a half, I’ve convinced Jason that we need bars on our windows. Technically, I’m a little apprehensive of how close the house is to the sidewalk and the ease of access our house has (to me). But in the back of my mind, it’s a step closer to preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. Irrational? Perhaps. But who knows what the results and effects of biological weaponry will be.

**Question: What is your irrational fear? And how are you facing it?**