Friday, July 31, 2009

The Parade

If you ever hear me saying those words, its most likely that I am talking about The Oldtimer's Festival parade back in good ol' Fairview. I have ridden in that parade for more years than not. When we first started, Steph had a big morning getting all the horses ready as we were simply too little to be able to help. But she did it! (this year I think we are 8, 6, and 4)
We live a couple miles from town and so we ride into town before the parade. Almost inevitably, it's roasting hot outside. I remember this year being hot, and that as we were seeking shade next to the hotel, Tank really wanted my milkshake.
A couple years later, Dad debuted the "Blue Carriage." I was on the best horse ever, Buck, being an Indian. That was my favorite. I did that for lots of years.
Fast forward to this year and check out Dad here. This is Barney and Clyde, the Belgians, pulling the amazing wagon that my dad built AND a trailer behind that. Inside is my Dad's class for their 50 year reunion (37 people, I think). I can't really describe the massiveness, it was so impressive.
Here's Dad the night before the parade, if it gives a better scale to the wagon:

(yes, he calls me Shanneen.)
Steph and I aren't as awe-striking as Dad, but here we are as a regular staple in the annual parade.
and since the last pic didn't show it, you should see that me and Bud had matching braids...
After the parade, we ride home, unsaddle the horses, Dad hoses down Barney and Clyde with the pressure washer and we head inside, dusty and sweaty, to have a beer and relax for a few hours before heading out for Festival's Saturday night. ..and the horses do this:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

If I would have known it was going to be so hot, I would have stayed...

It's no secret that if there were jobs there with our names on them, John and I would pack our bags and move to Pendleton. That little town has everything that we love. On that list is the best darn city pool ever. It has waterslides (good ones), a giant pool for lap swimming and general frolicking, and a pool with a drop off slide, a diving board, and a high dive.After many trips down the slides, some swimming, some laying in the sun, and a hot dog, we hit the diving boards. I was a little nervous after not attempting this for about 20 years, but was happy that I could still do it:

I am a flipping force to be reckoned with. It made the mural nervous.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Epic Road Trip 09

I have lots to write about after the last two weeks, but to set the stage, its best that you understand the journey....

We packed our saddlebags and hopped on the bike and left Portland early one morning in the rain with our fingers crossed that sunny weather would emerge. We did outride the rain and got some muggy sun that afternoon. Unfortunately, that quickly turned into storms as we sped across OR, hoping to make it to Boise before it hit. We parked at Tonya and Brian's ten minutes before the downpour started. phew. The next morning we took off for Jackson, WY and spent the entire day being blown across the state to the extent that we now refer to Idaho as Ida-blow. We weren't big fans of Jackson, but it was the perfect place to wake up and head through Yellowstone. It was a frigid, beautiful morning as we made our way through the park, stopping for hot chocolate and pictures and when necessary, road construction.We rode out of the park and up to Bozeman, where we stayed with Brady and he joined us the next morning for the ride to home in Fairview, MT (or ND, depending on which side of the state line you live on.. I am a North Dakotan, or as we are known in grade school, an East-Sider).

In NoDak, we stayed with my parents and slept in the horse trailer. While I love to say that to see the looks on people's faces, its pretty cush digs :) We took part in the annual Old Timer's festival, my mom and I rode horse in the parade, Dad pulled his 50 year class reunion in the Belgian drawn carriage with a trailer behind it (wait til I post those pics!). We went to the river to hang with friends and family and spend some evenings with my brothers and their families. It was wonderful. Once it was time to head back west, we left NoDak and heading straight down (and I mean straight) to SoDak. We meandered through the Black Hills and stayed in Custer, where the only room left had a giant jacuzzi tub. It was sweet. The next day, we took a road we had been dying to take on the bike, past Devil's Tower.

We had 10 hours on the bike that day and were very tired when we landed in Big Timber, MT. This adorable little town had a drunk hotel owner who happily gave us a deal and handed us each a beer with our room key. We drank those beers and headed to two watering holes and had a lovely night with the locals. The next morning, we took off to Missoula to pick up the Lolo Pass through Idaho and stopped in Orofino, ID. This was another cute little town and we had super time in their bar and after following the Clearwater river all across the state, wandered along its side (or through it, in John's case) that evening.
I went for a nice jog the next morning and met up with John for breakfast and after so many long days, we needed a bit of a break and didn't want to try to make it back home before we were ready. So we took a short (4-ish hours) ride down to our home away from home, Pendleton. We love it there and went to our favorite places and ran into a bunch of our friends from there for a hilarious and awesome night. Still not ready to come home, we decided to spend one more day in our favorite town and spend it swimming at their fabulous pool. So fabulous that it deserves its own post :) Finally, and a little sadly, we made our way back to Portland. This was the most amazing journey and we had an almost indescribable good time. Also, after 3000 miles, its fair to say that we are officially bikers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dear diet,

well, here goes... I've been cheating on you. I've been on the road for a while and its not that I forgot about you, I didn't. But I have done things I normally don't do. Things like eating hamburgers and fries and pizza. and lots of onion rings. and a frosty from Wendy's. and probably about 10 pounds of potato salad. and McDonalds for breakfast. You probably don't even want to know how many beers I had. and even some pie. I know, I don't even like pie. I did make some time to work out to hopefully make up for my sinful ways but I still think I'm coming home with a couple extra pounds from my indiscretions. I would very much like to get back on track with you and go back to the way we were. I hope you can forgive me. maybe over some grapes and a water?


Friday, July 10, 2009


Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of this blog! hooray! When I started this, I decided that I was going to try to write 5 posts a week and that if I didn't have something interesting or entertaining enough to share, then I wasn't doing a very good job at living an interesting and entertaining life. 272 posts later, I'm pleased with both my life and the blog posts that I've written to describe it. However, I am going to take a break for about two weeks starting now. So if you are reading this post, take a minute and go over to the right and scroll down and pick some random month and read something that I've already written. :)

oh, and watch this:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear Zu,

I've had fish for a really long time, about 25 years. I remember once when I was about 15, walking through the fish store looking for the next fish I wanted to add to my tank and I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. It was the coolest fish I had ever seen. At first, all I could do was stand open-mouthed in front of the tank in awe and watch it swim. When I regained my senses and could ask about it, the guy told me it was an arowana, but beware, they were kind of hard to raise and they got big. (what?! They’re beautiful and they get big, how can I lose?!) I didn’t take the fish home that day, but went home and prepared a tank for him so that I could give him a happy home. Since then, I’ve had many arowanas. I’ve learned through the years how to best take care of them and give them an environment in which they can be happy. And they do get big, which is really cool.

I didn’t have an arowana when I moved to Portland, but got one shortly after I got here. I did bring with me a Ropefish and a Jurapari. After a couple years, the Jurapari started to get territorial and it was a sad realization when I knew I had to take him to the fish store and trade him. While I was in the fish store looking around I had my second experience of a fish stopping me in my tracks. It was an Australian Arowana (aka Jardini). I had only seen the Australian kind once before and that fish was $90 (ouch, I couldn’t do it). This one was $50, but with my $11 credit and a lucky feeling, I took you home. That was 9 years ago, on Mothers Day.

You were as big as my pinkie finger and when we got home, I set up the 20 gallon nursery for you to live in and crossed my fingers that you’d make it through the ever crucial first night. I cautiously looked into the tank the next morning and there you were, patrolling that tank like you’d built it. The next step was teaching you to eat. You had just used up your yolk sack and sometimes fish never make that next step to understanding how to sustain themselves. I got out the frozen worms and thawed some for you and you were all about it. You began cautiously, but soon were chomping every worm I put in the tank. You were a voracious little minnow, and often when I looked over, you were snapping at bubbles from the air stone or battling the “Reflecto-wana” (your reflection in the glass). I just loved you to pieces and you knew I was your mom from the beginning. We did have one close call in your minnow days. You got some kind of fungus on the fins and after some research, I decided to give you a salt dip to try to get rid of it. I dunked you into the salt water and you instantly turned into a cotton ball. I immediately pulled you out and dipped you in fresh water and then put you back in your tank. You were a little stunned for a few minutes but pretty soon you were swimming around as normal, looking for something to chomp, all signs of the cotton and the original fungus long gone. You soon graduated to crickets and shrimp and to a larger tank. You’ve lived in 3 houses and 4 or 5 different tanks. One of my favorite things is that you hated our cat, Lenny. Whenever that cat was near the tank, you’d rush to the side of the tank and chase him and snap at him from behind the glass. It was hilarious. It also inspired me to teach you a “trick.” I would take a towel and bring it up to the tank and move it around as you’d chase and snap at it. We were very entertaining to our guests. As you got older, you mellowed out and were content to swim around your big tank and eat crickets and just watch what was going on in the house. Most arowanas (especially jardinis) thrash and splash a lot but you’ve never been that way, you’ve always been happy and calm. You've just been a delight; a wonderful fish. In the last 6 months though, I noticed that you had slowed down a lot and in the last two months, it’s been apparent that your time was coming to an end.

That end was today.

My heart is broken. John has teased me about being an old lady with a purse full of water so that I could carry you around with me. I guess I kind of always wanted that to be true. We’ve been together for a long time and we’re a team. You’re my baby. If I live to be 90, you'll have been with me for a tenth of my life.

Ever since that first arowana when I was 15, I’ve done everything I can to gather every piece of information on arowanas that I could get. I have a book called “Jurassic Fishes” because your kind has been around since the dinosaurs. How cool is that? Also, old Asian lore believed that arowanas were the reincarnation of the dragon. That’s where your name comes from, it’s a dragon name. Also, I found old lore the believed that burying a dragon skull outside of one’s front door would protect their house from evil spirits. I just buried you under a rose bush that lives over some other arowanas before you. I put a rock with your name on it and will plant some forget-me-not seeds. Now you will join those fishes, and I totally believe this, swimming around my room at night and protecting me as I sleep.

I’m sad. I knew that this day was coming, but your 24 inch presence will be noticed every time I walk past your tank. I’m going to MISS you, big fish. I love you, you took up a chunk of my heart for a long time. I’m going to miss that big frowny face and the fact that I know that you loved me too. I’m very lucky and super grateful that I got to be your fish mom.

Good bye, big fish.

Us: 2003.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy Anniversary to us!!!

As many of you know, John and I consider our anniversary to be Memorial Day (in part because its just really easy to remember) but our wedding anniversary is today!!! I didn't know if I was ever going to get married, and was OK with that. However, it turns out that I LOVE being married!! I'm so glad that I met JJ all those years ago and am also glad that we got married when and how we did. We took our sweet time and it was totally worth it. Also, our wedding kicked ass. Slideshow this action.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Totally justified.

I drink lots of chocolate milk. like, lots. I buy a gallon jug of chocolate milk and a half gallon jug of white milk and usually the white milk goes bad before its used up. the chocolate milk never does. I've proclaimed to others that its a giant help with diets because it fills you up and satisfies a chocolate craving and a snack craving and while not really light in any way, fills the void of higher empty calorie and fat alternatives. I've also found out that it totally negates its diet help it you have it with a giant handful of Reese's pieces, but that is very delicious. Its my favorite thing to drink after a workout and I know John always tells me to have protein right after a workout and I always feel like I should have water, but I usually end up having chocolate milk. I just saw this and will no longer feel guilty about it!

I'm going to go have some right now.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

The 4th of July usually means rodeo to me, but I don't think I'm going to make it to one this weekend, mostly because its just too blasted hot. Also, I'm pretty sure I've posted this here before, but its my favorite rodeo picture. To get it, I crawled under the bleachers and was sticking halfway through a fence, balancing on my belly and using my foot to keep me from completely falling through. Totally worth it.