Home Sweet Home

March 30, 2008 at 10:11 pm (My Travels)

Nate and I arrived home safely at 1:00 p.m. today after plane hopping and an overnight flight from Vegas.  Nate slept most of the way. I was not so lucky. He woke me up at 5:00 a.m. EST having to go to the bathroom. It felt as though the cushion I was sitting on was made of Arizona limestone. I squirmed for the next hour and a half, trying to find a comfortable spot, which never happened. No one was happier than I when the plane landed early.

I ended up taking a short nap at the WV Welcome Center and have slept off and on all day. I’m ready for bed now.

So, we’re up to Friday. Nate and I had a pretty laid back day with a trip to Riordan Mansion, which was about 3 blocks from the hotel. The Riordan family helped build Flagstaff into what it is today. Once you go through the tour you understand a lot more about the area and why things are named the way they are. We went on down to Sedona again, and once again could not find a place to park at the airport vortex, so we stopped by Tlaquepaque again, which is a replica of a Mexican shopping plaza, to visit Cocopah again, and I bought beads, again.

We then went back to the hotel and vegged out until sundown and then headed out to Lowell Observatory for their evening hours.  The space station flew over while we were there, and Mars, Saturn, and the Orion Nebulae were the featured sites on the telescopes. Have you ever seen Saturn through a telescope? Wow.

Flagstaff has signs proclaiming it to be the world’s first international dark-sky city. They got that right. That’s one of the first things I noticed about Flagstaff was how many fekkin’ stars you can see, just standing on a street corner, much less at the observatory, which is at an elevation of 7,200 feet. The city of Flagstaff is at 6,902.  Their dark-sky ordinances mean all of the lights have to be domed in a particular way to cut down on light pollution. Its amazing, it works, and it makes it so much better to be there, especially for  stargazers like me and Nate. It’s the only place I didn’t get any pictures. Kind of useless to try given there are rules against using flash photography at night.

Saturday we packed up our rental car, said good-bye to the room, and headed out for Winslow, AZ. We had been to Winslow previously, but only to drop off the interstate for a quick bite of food. On the way, we decided to stop at Meteor Crater. Wow. Not much to see other than a big hole in the ground, until you realize those little specks at the bottom of it are the cutout of a 6′ tall astronaut and an American flag the same size as the one on the moon.

And the wind. Oh my hell! The wind was ferocious! At least 60 mph gusts at the rim.

We then continued on to Winslow, AZ and stood on the corner. Nate looked up from reading his book long enough to snap some pictures then looked around. “Is this it?” Yep, that was it. We continued on to Homo’lovi ruins just north of Winslow. We hiked Tsu’vo trail, which means, “Trail of Rattlesnakes,” none of which we saw, although we did see an old eagles nest and some petroglyphs.

It was a beautiful day, yet still with a stiff wind, and we headed back to Barnes & Noble in Flagstaff to pick up Nate another book since he had finished “Bridge to Terabithia.” I had picked up “P.S. I Love You” when he got his book and I had already finished it (excellent book, by the way), and he picked me out a book called, “Peaches.” Although it was in the teen aisle, I have to say, it’s a very engrossing story about three very different teenage girls in Georgia.

So, we turned in the rental car, watched our last Flagstaff sunset (for a while), and now we’re home. Home sweet home.

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Trip Update

March 28, 2008 at 12:41 am (My Travels)

As I last left you in my updated post, Nate and I were heading out to Hoover Dam and Lowell Observatory. Well, we made it to Hoover Dam, along with 3000 other people. No, I’m not imbellishing that at all. We were lucky on the 2nd pass to get a place to park just to take a picture. Our return trip, with a side trip on Rt. 66, was boring and uneventful, other than seeing a prairie dog and a rabbit. We still haven’t made it to Lowell, but we will.

Yesterday we went to the Grand Canyon and hiked to the 1 1/2 mile marker on Bright Angel Trail. We had thought of going on to the 3 mile marker but weren’t sure how long it would take for us to return. The trail was extremely icy and downright treacherous in places. Crampons would have been welcome. It took an hour and a half to go down and two hours coming back up, and we took it easy coming back up. I was really surprised that the ascent wasn’t tougher. I had been told it was tougher than Potato Knob Trail at Holly River State Park in the great state of West Virginia. However, I beg to differ.

Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges. In the Grand Canyon, you deal with elevation, high temps, and arid conditions. In West Virginia, you deal with high temps and humidity. However, the first ascent on Potato Knob Trail is brutal. The whole trail is brutal and I’m sure there are trails at the Grand Canyon which are equally as brutal, especially in the summertime. I was just surprised because I had been told it was much more difficult. Or maybe I’m just in better shape than I thought.

Anywho, Nate and I returned to Sedona today and visited The Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is said to be built over the site of vortex. Nate and I had visited the vortex at Cresent Moon park and while I felt peaceful, I didn’t really experience anything profound. However, at The Chapel of the Holy Cross, I had a totally different experience. Maybe it’s the way the inside of the church is made but it was definitely a profound experience. I may have been Catholic in a previous life or maybe it was the spiritual energy. Regardless, the wait in traffic was worth it. I cried because at that moment, sitting on the pew, I knew, more than ever, there was a “God.” Whatever you believe “God” to be.

I knew I was sitting in the light of something far more beautiful and holy than any person could ever hope to attain. It made me feel weak and powerful, all at the same time. It was amazing.

We then continued on to Montezuma Well, which was once an underground cavern that sunk in and is now fed over a million gallons of water a day at the perfect temperature of 76 degrees year round. Pretty impressive. We then tried to find a few other vortexes but didn’t have any luck and decided to call it a day and stopped at Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream.  And now I’m blogging. I suppose once I upload all of the pics, I’ll ruminate further on The Chapel of the Holy Cross and my experience there.

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Sunset Crater Park with S.F. Peaks in the distance

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Nate in the “Ice Cave” at Sunset Crater Park. The park rangers said they go down there in the summertime to cool off. The underground cavern which supplies the cool air has been caged off.

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Nate and I both enjoyed the “Blowhole” at Waputaki Ruins. Yep, just a spot in the Earth that either blows or sucks air, depending on the air pressure on the outside. That day, it was blowing.

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Waputaki Ruins

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Petrified Forest (via Nate’s phone camera since I forgot mine, duh!)

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Petrified stump (via Nate’s phone camera again)

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The Painted Desert

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And more desert

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And you never know what you’ll catch a pic of in the sunset…

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Lake Meade

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Hoover Dam – Nevada Side

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Hoover Dam – Arizona side

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Overlook on way back to Kingman, AZ

We also stopped along the way for ice cream in Dolan Springs, AZ. Didn’t get a good pic of the sign though. It was a wide spot in the road on the way to the West Rim of the Canyon. We just thought it would be cool…. and I did meet Eddie. A local cowboy with a kick ass smile and very little ability to speak English. I think we could have gotten along just fine though. Meow.

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Nate would want you to see this camera phone pic he took of Shelby GT in Kingman, AZ.

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Relaxing on Route 66 at Seligman, AZ after a long day.  On to THE Canyon…

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Nate is trying to become the spokeskid for Aquafina and the Grand Canyon.

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View from Bright Angel Trail

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A Kaibab squirrel at the 1 1/2 mile resthouse. He was sneaking up over the edge to get a drink of Spring run-off.

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Nate and I at the 1 1/2 rest house.

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Ahhh, the lovely canyon and my handsome son.

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Towering canyon walls

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Snow!

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I think my son has a future as a photographer.

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Waterfall

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Look closely and you’ll see this…

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The SAR helicopter had landed although we had already left and didn’t know why it was there. We passed two park rangers who were on their way down and they didn’t know either.

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Ascending

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Nate resting… less than 10 yards from the top of the trail

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Look closely…

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And you’ll see the 1 1/2 mile resthouse

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And night falls at the Canyon

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Mather Point… on to a new sunrise

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The Peach at Peach Lane in Uptown Sedona

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Mr. Lizard welcomed us to Uptown Sedona.

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The red rocks of Sedona above The Chapel of the Holy Cross

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Purple cacti

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It looks soft, doesn’t it? No, not so soft. Very prickly.

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And close-up of purple cacti (at Chapel of The Holy Cross)

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See that great house in the foreground, with the great view of the rocks and the Chapel? Yeah. I had to get a close-up.

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Wow, do you see those four garage doors???? Wow.

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Nate got this great shot of the outside front of the Chapel. Although people were taking pictures inside, I thought it would somehow be disrespectful. Besides, as far as Chapels go, I’ve seen more ornate without nearly as much feeling.

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Montezuma Well

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The Arizona Sycamore

And, of course, there’s the inspiration I’ve received…

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Finished this tiger’s eye piece right before I left.

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And the inspiration to finish this.

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And I found some new beads at Cocopah Bead Store, the oldest bead store in AZ. I mixed them with some beads I already had and wha-la!

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And these beads I ordered as a kit from Cocopah before I got here. Both of the pieces use red jasper. The top one has Australian pearls (I think, I need to check back before I leave), and foam green freshwater pearls. The bottom one has turqoise with the jasper. The lady at Cocopah said I have a good eye for color. I took that as a supreme compliment.

And as a supreme compliment to fresh mountain air, red rocks, and spiritual experiences, I’m going to bed. Sweet dreams, my friends. And don’t forget to look in that rearview (side) mirror.

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Lean & Mean in AZ *Updated*

March 25, 2008 at 1:01 am (My Travels)

Wow, what a day!!! Sunset Crater Park, Waputaki Ruins, Winslow (for food only), Petrified Forest, and the Painted Desert. No pictures today…. too tired. However, the lean and mean refers to an amazing sight we saw while driving from Sunset Crater Park to Waputaki Ruins, one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever been on. Nate and I saw a lean furry creature cross in front of the car, which we later identified as a badger. Given they are nocturnal, it was surely a lucky sighting. And luckier for it that we weren’t any closer or it may have become roadkill.

It was a beautiful, beautiful day and we capped it off with a drive into the sunset on I-40. I’ve never seen so many stars as I have in the desert. Tomorrow… The Grand Canyon.       *No Grand Canyon today. We were unprepared and it was too late when we got up, which was 7:12 a.m.  Need gas, water, snacks, and to drive up there. I felt unprepared so we’re switching to the Hoover Dam and a trip to Lowell Observatory tonight.* 

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I Think We’ll Just Retire Here…

March 24, 2008 at 11:20 am (My Travels)

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San Francisco Peaks from Flagstaff

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Oak Creek Canyon

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Oak Creek Canyon

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Near Sedona Airport

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View from Sedona Airport

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Oak Creek at Crescent Moon Park

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Always look in the rearview mirror…

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The passenger side wasn’t bad either.

Today… Sunset Crater Park, Winslow, Homolovi Ruins, Petrified Forest/Painted Desert.

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My Son…

March 20, 2008 at 8:43 pm (Crazy Shit, My Travels, Nate)

Watches too much television. It seems as though one of Nate’s favorite programs has become, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” The true-life stories of people caught in extraordinary circumstances who come out of it alive. The people profiled yesterday were the young parents caught in a snowstorm with their infant son. I don’t remember the names but it was an incredible story for its time.

Nate takes all of this to heart and I don’t like to make fun of him, because, you know, you never really know what’s going to happen. However, I believe the best plan is to be prepared, be rational, be reasonable, be safe, and be smart. Nate’s plan is to prepare for the absolute worst.

To appease the worry-wart in him, we are now the proud owners of two lightweight flashlights, a snakebite kit, a 152 piece First Aid kit, two rain ponchos, and anti-germ tablets for fresh water. Okay, that last one, I thought might come in handy. And, I had also thought of the First Aid kit, until I realized we’re going to Arizona, not Cambodia. You know, Arizona, where they still have grocery stores and Wal*Marts.

Trust me, I talked him out of the portable showering kit, yet he talked me out of the emergency blanket. His biggest gripe… bugs. WE NEED BUG REPELLANT!!! And who knew that Arizona was the only state in the union where West Nile virus is an epidemic? Obviously my son. However, I don’t think with temps at the Grand Canyon still at or below the freezing mark at night that we’ll be eaten by an army of mosquitoes while on our three mile hike.

Maybe in Phoenix, but not in Flagstaff.

We’re also taking a compass and an emergency whistle, although I have no intentions of wandering off the path and having to plot my course in the sand by using the moon and stars. I prefer to sit with my feet up in the hotel room, sipping a beer.

I think Nate needs to join the Boy Scouts.

Regardless, as I forked over my hard-earned cash, I thought to myself, “If we need that portable shower, I’ll never hear the end of it.”

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Getting Excited…

March 18, 2008 at 7:31 am (Beading, My Travels, Nate)

Nate and I are starting to get excited about our trip. I’m working on finishing several unfinished pieces of jewelry for the trip. I totally forgot a couple pieces I had finished and a couple of pieces that I’m still working on. I’ve been doing a lot of bead stringing lately, which is unusual for me. Last night I made a shell piece, which is probably the longest and biggest piece I’ve made. Its different.

I also splurged this weekend and bought some new clothes. I broke a cardinal rule of fashion and didn’t realize it until I had made the purchases. Yeah, I bought from the Junior’s section. I’m 37 years old, but all the clothes in the Grown-Up Girls section made me feel… old.

I also bought some new beads from Fire Mountain Gems, and I’m hopeful they will get here before I leave. They should… *crosses fingers.” I’ll post more pics by the end of the week. Ya’ll have a fine day.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

March 17, 2008 at 5:55 am (Cats, Nate)

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Please drink your green beer responsibly.

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I’m Sooooo Tired!

March 14, 2008 at 6:24 am (Beading, My Travels, Work)

I got off work at 2 p.m. yesterday. First time in a long time. I came home and sat on my ass. I wanted to take a nap but I had talked to AZ and he talked me out of it. Instead, I sat on my porch in the beautiful weather, leafing through the stack of bead books I have, gathering inspiration, wishing I was taking a nap.

Work is going. I think we finally hired a bartender to replace Whiny and it couldn’t come a day sooner. Unfortunately, the GM came down with this flu yuck and she’s out for a while. Big catering on Monday.  I think I’m staying behind and guarding the henhouse.

I realized while making plans for our trip to AZ that Nate and I have no luggage. Yeah, it all burned. I’ve made do with duffel bags and such but T-Bird is going to loan us a suitcase for the trip.

I have beads everywhere in this house. In every room. Everywhere. My house looks like a disaster area again. Actually, it looks better than the disaster area last week because I’ve been working on it. The new litter box sure has helped! Speaking of, I need to empty the box again because today is trash day. But after working 10 hour days, and Nate, and my body aches… I’m pooped. Worn. Out.

My elbows hurt, my hips hurt, my ass hurts. I haven’t had much energy for beading, really, despite what I’ve accomplished lately, I should have a lot more done. The house should be neater and this Sunday will be close to the last opportunity I have to make a huge dent in it, at least to get all of the beads put up and get the kitchen in some kind of order. I have to ask Nate’s sister to come down and check on the cats and T-Bird and her old man will come down as well.

Did I mention I have no idea what to pack since there is a 20-30* temperature difference between Flagstaff-Sedona-Phoenix? Should I take my laptop? Then I would need a laptop case. Grrrrrrrrrr….  and I need some new tennis shoes!!!!

So many things to do, so little time…

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My Precious…

March 12, 2008 at 9:59 pm (Beading)

It all started with a strand of dichoric tiles… then I added some goldstone and sapphire Swarovskis…

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So, I had a couple of tiles left over and decided to use one in this, as of yet, unfinished piece…

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And I still have one tile left.

*****

This started in December of 2006! I had found a pattern for bead embroidery and started with the Eudialyte cab in the center, which I had purchased at a rock & gem show in October (2006). So, after surviving the fire and year in storage, and having all of the other embroidery taken off, and then being re-embroidered with Swarovski rivolis, I finally have this:

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Looks like crop circles, don’t it?

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And you might ask why I didn’t carry the embroidery out the full length of the bracelet, and I say, it is because this is mine and Nanner has a very small wrist so carrying out the embroidery would have been a waste of time since it looks like this on:

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*****

This is a piece I made from Bead & Button magazine, which was the inspiration for the new design for Scamp’s necklace. It’s missing part of the clasp because I was trimming strings and I kinda cut it and I’ve been too lazy to reattach it… yet.

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I know it’s tough to tell but the way the big beads and the little beads are placed in this necklace gives it a very nice, natural curve. This is a big improvement for the design and Scamp’s necklace is almost finished. It was due… December of 2006. This is what Hoss would call… better late than never.

Well, I gotta get back to beadin’. Ya’ll have a fine one.

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The Sun Is Shining

March 9, 2008 at 10:11 am (Cats, Work)

But it is still blue cold outside. Amazingly enough, we actually got a great deal of accumulation of snow yesterday. I must have chosen the exact right moment to be a half hour late for work because the hill wasn’t bad at all. It got bad though, right afterwards due to continued snowing and those blasted 30 mph winds.

Addy called in due to lower back pain (lifting trays too heavy will getcha!) so it was just me, Hostess, kitchen staff (most who live within walking distance), and the GM. Quiet day, not that I didn’t have tables but I also didn’t get slammed with people out running the roads when they should have stayed off of them. Good tippers too. One guy tipped me 40%.

I’m tired though. Hostess helped me with some of the side work, but I did the majority of it. Not that any of it is particularly difficult but doing everything, from opening my shift to closing it, plus helping clear the parking lot, paperwork, stocking the bar, up and down the steps with ice and beer with my bum hip aching (a continuation from the day before), I was pretty well pooped by the end of it all.

Luckily, Jeff made a rockin’ pork roast with corn and baked potatoes and fixed me a plate when I got to his house. Yeah, he can be a good guy, I’ve told ya’ll that. Really, he just wanted to brag on how good his pork roast was. That’s okay. Jeff’s a really good cook and I’ve told him before that he needs to go to culinary school. He never listens but I got my belly full of good food.

Then Nate and I went and picked up Cameron, the little boy who used to live next door. Except, yo, he’s not little anymore. He’s taller than I am with a deep voice and all.  They were the original owners of Hermione’s mother, and they have Hermione’s sister, Cricket, who just had two brand new kittens. We’ll be adopting the boy out of those two. He’s coal black, not a speck of white on his anywhere.

Nate wants to name him Stewie, after that maniacal baby from “Family Guy.” I said I’d rather name his Jango or Vader even, but, I’ll lose. And so our family will be complete and balanced.

Today is T-Bird’s birthday. She’s 35. She said, “Yeah, some birthday present… losing an hour of sleep!” The boys are still sleeping and the house is quiet, save the purring of cats and the sound of a keyboard. I’d better enjoy it while I can.

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