Friday, April 22, 2016

In Which Peaches The Cat Goes For A Walk

So, we bought a little Puppia harness a little less than two weeks ago and it seemed to take for-ev-er to arrive (it only took a week - I'm just impatient and used to Amazon Prime). When it finally did arrive I tried the harness on Peaches and she didn't love it, but put up with it. She took little mincing steps (like she was walking on her tip toes) and was a little more of a lump than usual (mostly laid down and was less talkative). We had her stay in the harness for only about an hour a day and left it lying around so she'd get used to seeing and smelling it.

Yesterday evening, after a very lazy week (at least for me), we decided we wanted to walk over to the little park that is by our house (really really close) and either hit some golf balls around or throw a frisbee. However, at the last second we decided to take Peaches with us and the would-be exercise plan turned into a walk for Peaches.

She got her harness on and we attached the leash and carried her downstairs and out the door. After setting her down she wandered a little, but seemed intent upon going back into the garage. But she'd barely been outside and barely seen anything, so we weren't ready to give up. We carried her over to the middle of the lawn in the park and set her down. From there she belly-crawled around the grass for a bit but started to relax and get more comfortable with everything. We hung out there for about half an hour, chatting with some neighbors who came out to see Peaches (Fey and K Brady - his full first name really is the letter K), and watching some small dogs pass by. She mostly wandered up and down the sidewalk by the park, but it was definitely good progress.

We walked back to our house, chatting with our neighbors (Dean and Cindy) as we went (Cindy had never met Peaches) and Peaches headed straight for the garage door. She seemed very happy to be let off the leash and just wander the garage until we came back in from chatting. And when we did come in, we headed up the stairs and called her name (with a little bag of treats), and she came right up!

So, in all respects I'd label the outing a success! And of course, she decided to cutely lay on her back after we'd taken the harness off. It was both odd and adorable.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Batesville Reunion!

This past week Jacquelyn reached out to me to let me know that Kari (another friend from Batesville who I grew up with) would be coming down this weekend from Idaho to visit. We tentatively made plans for Friday, then Saturday, considering Thursday, and then finally decided on Sunday morning at our little place.

We put together a yummy breakfast (with the help of Jacquelyn, Seth, and Thomas!) of Dutch Babies (German Pancakes), Fresh Fruit (with freshly whipped cream!), Homemade Hashbrowns (first attempt at those), Zucchini Bread, Bacon, and Juice. And it was delicious!

(We did two variations on the dutch baby - one with twelve eggs and one with six eggs - both from the same recipe. However, the one with twelve eggs - while yummy - looked nothing like the typical peaked edges of normal dutch babies. Brandon compared it to Lembas Bread (from the Lord of the Rings) - "one small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man.")

Jacquelyn and Seth arrived first with Brynley, then Kari, Fred, and Paisley, and finally Thomas, Casey, and Jacob. I hadn't seen Kari in years and had never met her husband Fred or her little girl. It was fun to finally meet them all!

We hung out and chatted for a few hours - catching up on our various adventures, took a few photos and then went our separate ways! It was a great couple of hours and it made me want to spend more time with all of them. It is so easy for us to do our thing (work, exercise, food) and then nothing else! So easy for us to be sort of anti-social. But we enjoy spending time with others and always remark on that after the fact. :)

The Batesvillians! 

So fun for our families to all get to meet!

Red Mountain

Red Mountain! Back on February 27th Brandon, Duane, Zach, Vell, and I finally went up Red Mountain. We went up at a pretty slow pace and the path was pretty hard to identify, but there were enough variations in route that we were never very worried. We got to the top with a beautiful view of the valley and could see Duane and Shauna's house below. 

After enjoying the view for awhile, we set off across the top of the mountain/plateau to try and find Gunsight Pass (where we wanted to go down). Duane and I scouted ahead and finally found the (very poorly marked!) pass. It was around this time that Vell took a little fall coming across the Plateau and scrapped/bruised his hands. Brandon and Zach were with him, but they were both a little worried about the further part of the hike/climb down. 

The path going down was barely barely a path - more just a scramble down the mountain.  We proceeded very slowly, particularly as the footing was precarious and Vell was having a bit of trouble keeping on his feet. However, even so, he was in the most positive and optimistic of moods - cracking jokes constantly. :) We came down slowly, but generally safely with only a few minor scares along the way. 

Once down Duane and I walked quickly down the trail back to where we'd parked the car (so far away - seriously!), and found a spot slightly farther down the trail where we could move the car to. I ran and got the car, called Shauna to ask if I could swing by to pick up some waters - did that - and then parked the car where we'd agreed and brought the waters up. Vell, Brandon, and Zach were slowly making their way down the remainder of the path. But they made it!

I'm pretty sure Vell had trouble moving the rest of that evening (and probably won't try that trail again!), but we had a good time and were glad that we all made it up and back safely. And best of all, now Duane can look up at Gunsight Pass from their living room and know that he's been there! We'll probably try the trail again another time in the near future. See if we can do it a little faster!

The Utah Jazz and A Few Updates

In other news, here are a few of our updates!

We've been to two funerals in the past three weeks. The first for a previous coworker (very sudden and unexpected), the second for Don Gordon. Don was Grant Gordon's (one of Brandon's best friends growing up) dad. Don had been fighting cancer on and off for more than the last decade and had finally decided that he wanted to enjoy the remainder of his life rather than go through chemotherapy anymore to add a few more months. While his passing didn't come as a huge shock, his loss was still very much felt. And his funeral was one of the best I've ever been to. Aaron sang (amazing - really) and Grant did Don's life sketch. Just those two things would have been enough to have conveyed the emotions we all felt - both the sadness at the loss of Don from our lives and the joy and happiness that he brought to it.

We work with the youth at our church, teaching the 15-17 year olds during Sunday School. It can be a challenging calling, but we like it and we like getting to know the kids. We recently received an additional calling to help during this summer's Youth Conference. It will be similar to the Trek (with Mas and Pas), but with a Book of Mormon theme instead (which will make us "Goodly Parents"). But we'll essentially be camping and in charge of directing out little "family" of eight to eleven kids. We haven't done anything like this in years and I'm actually a little excited. There will be the unavoidable cheese factor that comes with trying to create this kind of events, but I think it will be fun. And interesting to view from this perspective rather than as part of the youth.

Brandon got a new computer this week. A very nice one. He'd been wanting a new one for awhile and we'd budgeted for it because it had been on the "want" for a fair amount of time. This past week he finally made a decision on the one he wanted and went for it! After a weekend of experimenting with it, he seems very happy with it. :)

We had a Batesville Reunion breakfast yesterday and I finally went through some of the photos I've had hanging out on my computer from Red Mountain, the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the Utah Jazz Game we attended a few weeks ago. I'll do a separate post for Red Mountain and the Batesville Reunion, but here are the photos from the Parade and Jazz Game.

Shauna and Duane have come for two quick visits in the past six weeks or so. During the first one, it overlapped with the St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown. We made our way down to the Gateway Mall for the parade, found a good spot, and stayed for most of the parade (Grant and Lauren Gordon came down briefly and said hello as well). After most of the parade had passed we walked down to the Rio Grande to wander the Winter Market a bit, had lunch at the Mexican restaurant right there, and then stopped at the Siamsa (Irish music and dance) before heading back home. It was a fun little adventure!

On April 1st (a Friday) Brandon called to see if I wanted to go to a Jazz game that evening and I (somewhat to his surprise) said yes! They were free tickets from his work pretty close to the floor. And as sporting events go, it was a lot of fun! We got some CupBop for dinner (the food options inside the event center were pretty good!) and waved flashing foam wands they'd given everyone upon entry. I know almost nothing about the Utah Jazz, but it was fun cheering for them and watching the various side shows during time outs and half time. Three fans of the opposing team were sitting in front of us, which made for interesting conversation with them about their players. None of which I particularly care about, but enjoyable none the less. Of note - there was a child of about nine sitting behind us who had clearly had a thorough education on the best way to give commentary at a game. It made me decide then and there that - hypothetically - I'd like to try and teach any children we have to cheer for the team they are supporting rather than booing the team they're not supporting. 

Our Peachy Life: One Month

We've had Peaches now for a little over a month! And it has probably been one of my favorite months in our little Treehouse in Riverton.

Facts about Peaches:

  • She would excel as a tetherball player.
  • Her favorite place to sleep at night is at top of me. If I'm on my stomach, this means nose to nose with me lying on my chest. If I'm on my back, right between my shoulder blades. 
  • When I go running in the morning she proceeds to meow angrily at Brandon, not understanding why she had an awake companion for a few minutes (who then left), but is now once again alone with a lump in the bed.
  • She loves to chew on the Bamboo Palm that we've added to our plant family. As soon as I set it down next to the couch chair, she immediately started chewing on it. There's really nothing to be done about this, so it will simply be cropped more closely on the lower half and the branches that are near the arm of the chair. Fortunately, I did a fair amount of research on the plant before I got it and I know that it is pet-safe and will not be toxic to her. 
  • She meows excitedly at whoever gets home first after a long day alone and proceeds to often plop down in our laps for a little TLC. 
  • She is a very good litter box user. We have had no accidents at all elsewhere in the house. I was a little concerned about having a litter box in our small living space, but I scoop through it once or twice a day and deposit the droppings into a tuppaware (lined with a bag) that sits beside the litter box. This method of cleaning the litter box is SO fantastic. It is incredibly easy and remarkably clean, and ultimately means no litter box scent at all!
  • We had our first puke incident yesterday. I don't know if it is from her chewing on the Bamboo Palm or if she ate something yucky while investigating the garage, but it was a quick and easy cleanup and she seemed fine afterward. Hopefully those incidents will be very few and far between.
  • I took her to get her shots two weeks ago. It was a bit of a drive before we were home again, but she seemed fine for the first few hours. Later, however, she started hiding (which is uncharacteristic of her) and even hissed randomly at Brandon in the evening (also highly uncharacteristic). She probably wasn't feeling well. Twenty four hours later though, and she was back to normal. We have to go in for a booster shot in a week and I'm not overly excited. :/
  • She loves to play with the cat fishing pole we bought her. For the first few days we kept the little toy lures on the end of the line, switching things up to keep them interesting, but when one accidentally broke off, we realized that the string itself was even more entertaining to her. We try and play with her as often as possible so she gets some exercise.
  • We have a leash and harness coming in the mail (probably today!). It will be interesting to see how that plays out. We'll try and ease it onto her so she doesn't immediately hate it. 
  • She is generally an earlier riser than we are, though that has mellowed a little. Those first few mornings she started meowing around 5:00 AM and we were not excited by it. That seems to mostly have gone away. 
  • She does great with company. We had nine adults and two small children here for a little Batesville reunion yesterday and she was totally chill and social. This is not surprising, as she is generally a very laid back cat, but we were pleased that she didn't find it intimidating to have so many people in our home. 
  • She is amazingly fluffy and soft and excellent at removing any annoyances we might have with by just being so dang cute! We are very lucky in our choice of cat.
Unrelated quotes:

"I'm naked in the game." [Brandon shows character wearing a loincloth while mixing a potion.]
"Why are you naked in the game?" [This is not a common occurrence.]
"Because I accidentally sold my clothes." [Geneva dissolves in laughter.]

"Judging by your diminished physique and large forehead, you must be a scholar." [Atlantis]