|thank you dirty old rainbows for staying on my feet in, even in the water|
"You kinda look like Mary-Ann Farmgirl today - it's working for you."
So said Don at work yesterday.
I've been spending a lot of time in Canby.
And I went to my third rodeo on Friday night.
Add to that the number of times I've had Jason Aldean singing at me about driving through Indiana and mentally tempted Luke Bryan with what's left of my blue jeans, I think I've turned a little bit country.
It's fun to branch out.
And it's fun to get out and about in the world!
Of course spending time away from the computer and staring at the glowing expanses of the various Oregon landscapes has come at the price of blog neglect...
But it's been needed.
I've actually noticed a number of bloggers taking a few moments back from their computer screen to just be. And it's been nice. Not that blogging ever feels like a job, but I was beginning to straddle that line of worry-free hobby and I'm letting readers down, I need to get new posts up! (because I know you all wait eagerly for a new update, of course).
But you know what I mean.
So taking a week or so to allow for sporadic posting has been pretty sweet actually. I've gone on a few little adventures, caught up with friends, worked a lot and - wonder of wonders - caught up on sleep.
Ah. There's that peace of mind!
1. Thank you for Jared coming home safe (and thank you for all the prayers for him and the crew)! He got what he was hoping for with a full 14 day run (he was actually out for 17!) so with that he earned two days R&R. Saturday night the signal was sent up and we all convened over at the boys' place for pizza and beer. My oh my, was I happy to see that kid! I'm pretty used to him being gone for months at a time by now with a few fire seasons under his belt, but missing him never changes. After being gone for two months to the day, just to hear his voice yelling at Shamoo for letting his flowers die was enough to keep a smile on my face for the past 48 hours. And while I'm at it, thank you for the chance to make dinner for the boys again! I love my dinners with Shamoo (who, it should be noted, is becoming quite the stir fry king), but there's something about the nights when the three of us sit down to a meal and a movie with a bottle of wine that makes me a kind of happy I can't quite describe. Those are some of my absolute favorite nights and it was just sheer joy to have that back again, even for just one night. At one point, while folding his newly-washed, previously poison oak-laced laundry he held up a USFS t-shirt and smiled. "This," he said, "This is what I've worked for for the last four years." I am so proud of that guy I could bust. And now he's headed back down to his station to await the next call (and Oregon is lighting up so pray for fire, pray for him and pray for the crew!). In the meantime, while it was a little cooler today, I think you know you spend your days in the flames when you're wearing a t-shirt and a thermal in August, as evidenced below:
2. Thank you for camping on Mt. Hood! While there will be a proper post later this week to show off what heaven on earth looks like, for now let me just say that camping with Mari and Jackie last week at a location I can only refer to as "Cub Lake" was just what this lady needed. Hiking into the woods, swimming in a crystal lake, sunning ourselves on the warm rocks, and falling asleep in our little tent to the pops and cracks of a slowly fading fire under a star-filled Oregon sky... Oh yes please, and I'll have another, thank you!
3. Thank you for old friends coming to visit! Almost two years ago exactly, my friend Justin came to visit. I met Justin the first week of freshman year at Pepperdine. We had a public speaking class together and for our first "speech" we had to introduce ourselves, say where we were from and why our hometown was famous. I'll always remember his speech:
"Hi. My name is Justin and I'm from Palmdale which is famous for... Hate crimes."
We stayed friends all through school and in the years following graduation as well. So when Nathan (who just happens to be one of Justin's best friends) moved to Portland, all of a sudden the guy had two reasons to come visit again this year! I met up with the guys Saturday morning at my beloved Tasty N Sons (special of the day was housemade biscuits & venison gravy - good Lord) then cruised up the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River where we took ourselves on the Full Sail Brewery tour, had a tasty beverage at their pub, wandered over to the Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom across the street for a bite (and in my case, a pint of the IRA) then ended the day at a toy store called G. Willikers where we each bought something completely non-necessary (though it could be argued that Justin's kazoo purchase was entirely well thought out and the prickly pear lollipop I decided on was supremely satisfying) and proceed to walk down the street as the least-threatening group of people known to man. The day may have also included a "Gangsta's Paradise" singalong and a trip down memory lane to the tune of the Family Matters theme song.
4. Thank you for Jodi and Scott. My word. I just love you guys. And Brinks. And the kittens. And the chickens. Thank you for all your love.
5. Thank you for God's grace in answered prayers. In an effort to remain delightfully vague, I'll just say that when a serious bout of anxiety crept into me and threatened me to the very edge of where I wanted to be, I calmed myself and asked Him to take over - I quietly told Him that I was letting go of the wheel and asked Him to take hold... And He did. Almost immediately. The calm hit me like a storm and I was instantly swept into the promise that He will fight for me, I need only be still. And fight He did, pushing that worry from my mind and bringing me out of the anxious pit I was about to enter. Thank you, God. Thank you.
6. Thank you for a tan! Following a rather serious note with a slightly less serious note. But really, I have a tan for the first time in what seems like forever (or at least since Mazatlan in 2008) and I am practically giddy.
7. Thank you for the chance to pursue photography! I think I already mentioned this but as it were, Shamoo's brother-in-law Andrew is the special events coordinator for Cascade Aids Project here in Portland and a while back he'd asked me if I'd be interested in doing some freelance for their events. Last weekend was my first gig photographing Bat 'N Rouge (my photos are the album "Bat 'n Rouge 2012!") which was basically me getting paid to run around taking pictures of drag queens playing softball against boys in Speedos while sipping on Widmer beer and soaking up the sun. Not bad. Not bad at all. It was an absolute riot and I can't wait to shoot another event tomorrow night! OH! And it seems that with their main photog moving out of state, I might be picking up a few more jobs from them... Yeeeeeeeee!
On that note, it's time wind back down from a wonderful weekend and for the love of god get some photos posted.
(I have a couple days off here... I am out of excuses)
But I make no promises.