Sunday, March 24, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

I don't remember when it all started but I have been a huge fan of St. Patrick's Day for quite some time.  I'm not Irish, I've never been to Ireland, and I'm a teetotaler.  But my love for the color green makes up for all of those things and so I just get REALLY excited when March comes around each year.  I think it's just a fun, silly holiday too.  I like the folklore with it all.  It's just awesome, ok?
I try to wear green every day of the month leading up to the 17th.  Thanks to my mom I have enough socks to make that possible even at work.  I heard about a 5k race at one of the parks here in town and told my friend Larissa about it.  She was really excited about doing it but then I was kind of wimping out.  First of all it was gonna cost a whole $15 - but you didn't even get a shirt (that's basically why I like to do races, or at least pay for them).  So I kind of was having second thoughts about that.  Then she found out about another one through a different gym.  Two St. Patty's 5k's.  In Williston.  I was extremely impressed.  Well, long story short, the second one was free but you could pay for a shirt (they didn't have extra's anyways).  In the morning it was like 7 degrees and I again was rethinking my desire to go.  But she was already up and at 'em so thanks to her I got out of bed looking forward for a chance to wear every ounce of green I could.

It was a very informal race - not timed, no official start or finish line - but it was fun to see people there and some dressed up.  And I was happy Williston was putting some stuff on.  Hopefully over the next few years we are here we will see more of things like this - with even better turn out and more legit!

Sunday morning I woke up to a leprechaun surprise!  I got Tanner a green goodie bag filled with green snacks and a cool green golf shirt.  He got me something I've been wanting for quite some time...
So awesome and thoughtful of him!  He's really hoping for some green at the golf course so he can be lookin' good with his new shirt!  I hope that day happens soon.  I think we all could use more green in our lives at this point!

The other great thing about Sunday morning was green waffles (except Tanner doesn't do artificial coloring so his was normal but they were both still DELICIOUS!)

Last year Tanner gave me a sweet green skirt for our anniversary - I think in hopes that I'd have a cute green thing to wear and not have to dress up ridiculously.  It didn't quite work out in his favor.  He gets a little embarrassed by me.  Don't know why... 

I didn't wear all of this to church though, just in case anyone was wondering. 

 I like to sucker other people into celebrating too as much as I can so I like to have green parties.  Our single wide trailer isn't the most conducive to partying, so I got our friend's the McBride's to agree to put on a party with me and have the party at their house.  Nikki is a master at stuff like that anyway.  I went over the week before to help make a rainbow pinata.  All things were set to go until the snow came again to Williston and cancelled Nikki's flight back into town.  Her husband Mike was still game for throwing the party so we went with it, while Nikki enjoyed warmer days in Denver ;)  There was a great turn out and we had a lot of fun!

 Getting all lined up for the pinata part of the evening.  It was a little chaotic with all of the kids but Mike handled it like a champ and the kids seemed to enjoy it.  The pinata was filled with all manner of gold chocolate candies (rolo's, kiss's, snickers, reese's cups) and looking back - chocolate all over the place with little kids warm hands probably wasn't the best idea, although it worked nicely as a pot of gold. 

The picture at the beginning of the blog is from the party too.  Nikki made that sweet backdrop so we took pictures of almost everyone's families that came in front of it.  I need more photography skills because I couldn't get my camera to compensate very well for the less than perfect lighting.  Oh well.  It was fun taking pictures.  All in auto mode.  I should start making more time to study photo and practice and such.  I'd love to get a little better.  Maybe after I've mastered spanish and memorized the piano songs I want and improved on the harmonica and so forth.  Williston isn't even bad because there's a million things that I want to do that it doesn't even matter where we are.  Now if work could just get out of the way ;)

Finally - just a little fish update.  We've had some further mishaps in our water baby world.  We lost another little blue glo fish.  And both our crabs.  Those are like the coolest things to watch.  But they kept trying to get out of the tank.  They'd spend a lot of time up at the top of our filter.  Then all of a sudden one just was dead.  Then the other day we came home and saw this...

We pushed him back in and he wandered around and did his thing for a few more days.  But then this  morning Tanner found him D-E-D dead.  Wonder what we're missing with this crustacean business.  Maybe we better do some investigating before dumping a few more in the tank. It's been a little bit sad actually.  I kind of get a bit attached to the little things. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Novice Aquarist's

I love fish.  Tanner loves fish.  We stole my dad's saltwater aquarium book for dummies quite some time ago and talked about getting an aquarium here and there since then.  Well, obviously that has never happened.  We didn't want to commit to anything while we were still so transient.  Last Friday Tanner said we should get A fish.  One.  So Saturday we went to Walmart to buy a bowl and pick out our fish.  We wandered over to the bustling fish aisle and then I heard Tanner say - we should get an aquarium and the whole shebang - or something like that.  And then I heard myself say -  okay!  And basically the next thing I knew we were throwing aquarium kits and heaters and filters and plants and rocks and gravel into our shopping cart.  We were trying to get info from a couple of the workers.  That was probably not our smartest move ever.  B.O. Moe and Butt Crack Jack were NOT the resident experts on fish.  They basically just read the labels of everything to us.  I think they meant well and did try but we sure didn't gain any valuable information from them.  Except that we needed to set up our aquarium and let it sit for about 24 hours before adding fish.

I had to sell my exercise rower to make room for it.  I actually was rather sad about that, but considering I have been using it about twice a month if that, it probably was fine to not be taking up room in our tiny living room anymore.  The gym has a couple anyway - I'll probably be okay.

So after the allotted tank equilibrating time had passed, it was time to add the fishies.  We went back to Walmart for our first batch.  Apparently you are only supposed to add a few at a time and then wait a week before adding more.  We got ten.  Six glo-tetra's and 4 neon tetra's.  Cute little things.  We also started our fish log that day to keep track of all the goings on of our new ecosystem.

We got 2 orange, 2 yellow and 2 blue.  Funny enough, I don't have any pictures of our little neon tetras.  I'll have to get some more.  It's been fun trying out some settings on my camera in attempts to capture them.

So they all seemed so very happy and all got along so great and we were happy every time we came home and no one had died.  We were starting to think we were maybe a step up from the "novice aquarist's" we once were.  Thursday we figured it was time to get some more fish. So we went to the pet store in town and picked up a few more tetra's - 4 candy cane's.  And 2 dalmatian molly's.  Apparently they are all good co-habitators and mellow fish.

Super cool.  But we noticed the candy cane's (like 2-3 times as big as all our other fish) seemed to be a tad bit aggressive.  Chasing the smaller ones around and acting like they owned the place.  Later that afternoon we came home and found one of our yellow glo's dead.  Stuck in one of the plants.  We thought maybe it had just got stuck there and died.  But then in the morning when one of our orange ones had COMPLETELY disappeared, we started thinking something was fishy.  Literally.  I had to work the next day but we decided it was time to get rid of the big ones.  The pet store said they'd take them back - but there was a miscommunication with the worker and the owner, so they didn't - so Tanner had to just flush them.  Tanner told me also that he found the mysterious missing orange fish.  Must have been stuck in the alligator mouth or something.  I don't know if the bigger fish stressed the little ones out or if they actually physically did something to them.  Either way - we didn't want all our cute little fish dying off - even if the bigger ones were super cool.  The dalmatian ones - which we have named Salt and Pepper - have been awesome.  They like to come look at your face when you get close to the tank.  They mind their own business and have been way fun.

After the flushing episode, Tanner went back to Walmart and picked up crabs.  Of the Crustacean variety, not the STD variety, which is also available at our Williston Walmart.   He got 2 crabs and a few more neon tetras that sneaked into the bag because the qualified Walmart Pet Department hadn't ever used a fish net before.  Score for us.  And also a Pleco - a cleaning sucker fish.  So all of those are now living in perfect, beautiful, happy harmony.  Our crabs are Sarge and Herm.  The Pleco is Larry. We can't tell the 8 neons apart so they don't get named.  We're still trying to remember the glo's names.  We'll get them straight eventually.

 It was funny though because when we woke up this morning we could NOT find one of the crabs.  We started thinking he had climbed up the tubing we have going into the tank and gotten out.  I grabbed a flashlight and started looking on the floor and all over the place.  Nowhere to be found.  We gave up and then  hours later he showed up.  Guess he has just found a sweet hiding spot under the ship.  Those crabs are awesome though.  They are super active and climb all over the plants and when they drop off the top they wiggle their little legs till they land.  They're all over the place.  It's just SO awesome to sit and watch them all interact and move and eat.  Relaxing and fascinating.  Such a fun new addition. We are pretty much set on our collection for now.   Hopefully we don't have any more incidents for awhile.  We do have a few books coming in the mail so we probably are going to be professional aquarists here pretty soon. Tanner even checked the water last night and after a week and several fish changes and additions and deaths - everything is still in balance.  Man we're good. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cherry on top

This last week was kind of rough.  For some reason, work went by painfully slow.  I worked Monday thru Thursday which isn't really a big deal, but it just seemed to go on forever. Plus there was just a couple hard things - that I'm not purposely trying to be vague about - just don't think they are blog worthy.  Let's just say, this weekend has definitely made up for it.  Friday I went over to help a friend make some decorations for our St. Patrick's Day party next week.  St. Patty's is my favorite holiday for some reason and has been for probably the last decade.  She was nice enough to let me suggest the party and then host it at her much-more-conducive-to-party house.  She also fed me crepes with creme fraiche and buttermilk syrup.  That could cheer anyone up at anytime!  I was planning on making crepes anyways for Tanner and I Saturday.  My dad used to make "roll-ups", as we used to call them, all the time when we were little and I realized I hadn't had them for a long time, and I had never made them.  Not okay.  She inspired me to add some better embellishments!  Friday night Tanner and I made pizza which he was a fan of.  I always love it when I nail it on dinner.  I'll eat anything - but it's extra special when Tanner can't stop eating it!  Then we went with the Merkley's and got ice cream  - another item that always seems to make me happier.  It's too bad that all the things that work best for cheering me up are food - and unhealthy food at that.  After that we went back to their house and played 10,000 and Rummikub - Tanner smoked us.  He felt pretty good about that.

We had gone to Walmart before while they were putting kids to bed to buy Wreck It Ralph.  We loved that movie.  We also got a few others to add to our growing Disney movie collection.  This is my attempt at capturing a "people of walmart".  We've seen millions of other worthy contestants, but this was the first time I actually got one on camera.  Not as good as some I've seen is Tanner's daily calendar he has at work, but I was impressed...

 Tight shorts, bright blue tennis shoes and a black rhinestoned/spike something "purse".  The real life version was better.

Anyway - Saturday started out great, as I explained a little earlier...

Our lives are definitely going to be changed for the better forever now that I can incorporate roll ups into the mix.

We spent a good bit of the rest of the afternoon working on a new addition to our home.  It's not complete yet - so stay tuned till next week and you can read all about it.  Tanner had a bowling outing with the Elder's Quorum in our ward and I had to play the piano at a baptism later that evening.  Tanner got his new best bowling score - 222.  Way to go!  We got a good bit of snow earlier this week so we were both excited about getting to go use our ski's some more, and actually together.  We slept in (glorious) and breakfast took awhile so we didn't have time to go between breakfast and bowling and everything.  So Tanner suggested we just go at night with our headlamps.  I was afraid we were gonna wimp out later, but we didn't.  We didn't go down in the trees by the river but up to the golf course.  We took Rozzi and she loved it.  There was a good bit of snow there but lots of exposed places that were really icy or just grass because of how windy it has been.  It made it interesting.  It was so cool in the dark.  The stars were awesome and it felt like we were far far away from Williston.  Not that Williston is bad - but it felt like we went on a big, grand adventure and we only had to drive 10 minutes.

That's Tanner skiing up ahead.  I took this pic with my nose cause I had gloves on and didn't want to take them off. 

I couldn't figure out how to get her eyes fixed.  I still think she's cute. 

Oh man, the flash was so bright in the darkness.  We made 3 attempts to not look so goofy, but it didn't really work so don't judge us. 
And now there is Sunday.  Just a wonderful day off.  Slept in, church was good.  Might even take the dogs for a walk.  Maybe watch Wreck It Ralph.  Hard to say.  All I know is we're gonna love it. 

Friday, March 1, 2013


Something I have been dreaming of since probably Junior High happened today and I felt the need to blog about it.  Probably not a good blog title/opening line combo, right?  Probably got your attention though, eh?

We are good friends with the Andelin's up here.  Sam works at the hospital and has done some shifts in the ER so that's how we met.  He loves golf about as much as Tanner so they were big golfing buddies last year and will be soon enough again.  Anyway - Sam's dad is a pathologist at the hospital.  I really can't remember how young I was, probably too young to think about this kind of stuff, but for a really long time during my adolescence I wanted to be a pathologist, or a coroner, or whoever I needed to be so I could do autopsies on people.  I had a strange fascination with the human body and how it works and how it malfunctions, not necessarily "death".  I still do, actually.  My childhood logic was I'd get to know all the cool stuff and do all the cool stuff without worrying about killing anyone.  I investigated it in college a little but then just ended up going down a different path.  Which I'm completely happy with, but I never got to witness an autopsy.  When I found out Sam's dad was a pathologist I asked if he did autopsies and he said he did and I told him to ask him if I could ever come along to watch.  He's asked me a few times but I always have to work.  Late last night he texted me and said his dad would be doing one this morning out in Sidney, MT (about an hr from here).  PERFECT!  I was so excited, I couldn't sleep, and even had nightmares of getting called into work and work meetings so I had to miss it.  Luckily none of that happened.

I got to the funeral home and asked for Dr. Andelin and they took me back through all the coffins for sale, into a back room where there was an older lady getting her make-up done.  Then into the very back room where the doctor was and two other men - one from the sheriff's department and the other one was the embalmer - the one who got to put back all the pieces when it was all said and done.  I don't know what I expected.  But it probably wasn't what I saw.  Just laying out in the open was a young, fit looking male.  He had been in a rollover accident yesterday morning, and pronounced dead on the scene.  I don't know if it was the sheriff's people or the family that requested the autopsy, but they were just looking to see if they would find some sort of trauma that would explain the cause of death or if it was just suffocation from him being upside down in the truck with a huge snow bank bashed in the front windshield.

I had anatomy lab with cadavers in college and have seen plenty of anatomy pictures and human bodies and even death in the ER, but it was still so weird for my brain to see him there - looking so human still - and having the front of his rib cage torn completely off of him.  Looking at his face and then down to his open abdominal cavity was tripping me out.  I was swaying between utter fascination and very disturbed during the whole thing.  It took about an hour and a half to do everything he needed to do.  I got to glove and gown up and get very up close and personal.  He was really healthy and young and had great anatomy so it was very cool that way.  It was amazing and crazy holding his lungs and heart and thinking it was only beating 48 hrs ago.  I got to cut open his kidneys and just explore everything.  Dr. Andelin was great at pointing things out and explaining what they look for if they suspected this or that.  Everything smelled weird - like strange,  horrible poop.  It seemed to get worse once he opened the stomach and all the contents of what he last ate spilled out.  They have to check the stomach to see if they've ingested pills or anything like that.  After he took little samples of each major organ and had finished examining it, everything went into a big biohazard bag.  I asked the embalmer what they did with all of it after and how they closed him up.  He said after he injects the embalming stuff into him, everything in the bag stays in the bag and goes back inside the abdominal cavity.  Weird.  He was telling me about someone down south that got lazy and would just dump the organs out into the river.  Until one day someone was fishing and thought they had caught a big fish.  Turned out it was just a big bag of entrails.  Someone got sued.

They almost weren't going to do the head, but then decided they better because he did have some facial trauma - and just to be complete.  I was happy about that.  They had to use quite a bit of force to peel back the scalp.  And once the saw came out to remove part of the skull it smelled like the dentist, but 50x worse.  The brain was amazing.  He showed me where it connected to the spinal cord and where the pituitary gland sits and you could see where all the cranial nerves came out.  He made a few slices and you could see the white and gray matter so clearly.  It was so incredible to hold that squishy thing in my hands and think - this...this is what makes our bodies work and think and move and feel.  The body is so incredibly complex and mysterious and amazing and unique!  I still feel like I'm on some weird scientific high from all of it.

I told a couple of my friends today and they asked me if things like that bother me, or make me think of death in my own life.  I realized working in this field, especially the ER has kind of made me used to death and disease and dying.  It's always sad - more for the families that lose someone.  And especially with kids or young adults that would have had a whole, hopefully wonderful life ahead of them.  But it's just a job.  Which is I'm sure how Dr. Andelin feels.  Not that I feel like we've lost the compassion but there definitely is some sort of block there that I think is necessary to do our jobs well.  Something in that squishy gray or white matter that tells me it's okay that I just did what I did and that the guy I did compressions on last week didn't make it.  It's strange.  Maybe you'll think I'm a little crazy.  Maybe I am.  Maybe my belief in the afterlife and plan of salvation makes it easier too.  It does make me so much more grateful every day that I know there's purpose to this crazy life and that there's something after here that is worth living for!