Thursday, November 20, 2014

Happy birthday, Jasper!

It was my puppy's first birthday this week.

If we're being technical, Jasper is not my dog, per say. True, I did pick him out of his litter and true, I did give him his name. I also basically raised him which is what happens when you're unemployed and stay at home all day. I might also be his favorite human (except Forrest.. he really loves Forrest), but I did not pay for him. Jasper belongs to my parents, but I feel that he is more like a family dog in that I did live under the same roof as him at one point. So anyway, Jasper is my pup.

What follows is probably more pictures of a puppy to dog transformation than you ever really wanted to see, but I cut it down as much as I could and I figured if I can't post them here, then where? So here they are: Jasper's first year of life. 8 weeks to one year.

It's unbelievable how fat he was. His belly almost dragged on the ground. We had to teach him how to eat hard food because the first time we gave it to him, he stared at it and whined because he was so hungry but wasn't sure what to do. We also had to teach him how to walk up and down a step. Watching Jasper build up his courage to take a flying leap down the one step leading from the kitchen to the back door is the cutest thing I have ever seen.
He learned how to sit and stay really quickly (like a few days after we got him) and he was so good at it. He was much better at it then than he is now. He's a snotty teenager now.
I made him sit and stay a lot (probably daily) so I could take his picture. He's such a proper puppy gentleman in the left picture. And a bear cub in the right picture.
This was before he could jump up onto the porch. We had to lift him.
This was the cutest ear phase where his ears were constantly changing from day to day. One ear would be up and the other down, the next day they would be folded over each other.
This picture is so hilarious to me.
And then all of a sudden, Jasper's ears GREW. One day he was a puppy, the next: batdog.
And then his fluff filled out and he just became handsome.
And then we left all summer and Jasper got fluffier and fluffier.
Jasper is such a good dog. I know that everyone thinks their dog is the best, but really, he's always so gentle and doesn't even care when we put him in footie pajamas. He's a winner. Happy birthday, pup!

Friday, November 14, 2014

October + November

It's Friday! And I don't have anything due on Monday so that means I can have a fun weekend and I can actually spend a little bit of time doing things like editing photos and such. This post is a little bit all over the place, just a fair warning.

 I suppose I spoke too soon when I spoke of getting into a routine in my last post. Blogging has been the last thing on my mind. I haven't opened Lightroom in weeks and I feel a twinge of guilt every time I read someone else's blog because I feel soooo lazy about finishing some edits and writing a few paragraphs. Instead, I have been doing homework, studying, watching Gilmore Girls, and am still trying to get this apartment in some sort of order while not eating macaroni and cheese for every meal. Forrest has really stepped it up in the dinner making department and I'm sort of ashamed at my myself but also very impressed with homemaker Forrest (who is also taking full-time classes, might I add).

This week has been the first actual cold week this fall, meaning it actually dipped below 50°F during the day and my car windows almost frosted up. It's been really sunny, which I suppose makes up for my frozen hands and nose in the mornings.

So on Veteran's Day on Tuesday, Forrest and I went to the zoo! For free! I knew that marrying a veteran would pay off one of these days. We also went to Dick's and California Pizza Kitchen and got a free carwash, but that's beside the point (my meals were not free). This is the first Veteran's Day that Forrest has actually had off in the last seven years where he could actually enjoy the fruits of his labors. Not a lot of free meals for American veterans in England, you know (although Nando's (my most favorite chain ever with like 400 locations in the UK) gave us 20% off which we found kind of strange, but you know!)

Zoo photos:
This wolf reinforced my belief that Jasper is part wolf. He's a big black wolf-dog and I wish he had a white fluffy wolf friend.

So it was about 30° during our zoo expedition plus wind chill. And it was really crowded! I wasn't expecting so many people to be there, but it was still really fun. Forrest always makes fun of me because of how excited I always am to go to zoos, but I can't help it. I just love them! We had a great time.


Also, I wrote this part below about four weeks ago and promptly lost interest so I sort of finished it above and now my life is mostly caught up:

We finally FINALLY got our shipment of everything we've had in storage for the past year last Friday. Going from around 1500 square feet to less than 600 is quite a change, let me tell you. For instance, we no longer have an entire room to devote to empty boxes. We have about double the amount of closets here (2) but are missing 100% of wardrobes (2) we gave away in England. So by my count, we're down one closet.

But to be fair, at least our dryer is no longer outside in the shed and our washing machine isn't located in the kitchen.

Our movers did such a good job with our stuff. So far, everything I have unpacked has been completely intact (ha, rhyme) and we aren't missing anything. Except for one inexplicable spoon. I have no idea how we're missing one spoon because I watched the moving man wrap them all up individually, so unless he slipped it into his pocket when I wasn't looking as some sort of practical joke, I have no idea what to say about it. If they sold individual spoons, I wouldn't even care. But since all of our silverware came in sets of five, I will forever have an imbalance in my cutlery drawer (and in my heart).

 I suppose I could purchase another set and donate away the butterknife, fork, smaller fork, and big spoon? Really, the little spoons are the best part of the whole set and am I completely ridiculous for thinking about this situation this much? I can't even tell anymore.

But really, if you're ever in East Anglia and need to hire some movers, Arrowdene did a great job. They didn't even pack our garbage (which they tell you to watch out for in Air Force out-processing, so..).

So I really forgot about a very silly amount of things that I owned. Opening boxes was sort of a high for me. And now that everything is unpacked and scattered around in a general mass of clutter, the high is gone. Except did I mention that we have couches now and somewhere to sit besides the ground or in camping chairs? And why didn't we get rid of more stuff before we moved?


And that concludes my past thoughts on moving. Here are some pictures of the giant cemetery across the street and of trees and sunflowers that I took in October!

Update: We got rid of a lot of junk (ahem, Forrest) so our apartment is now easy to navigate and I haven't tripped over a box in weeks. In fact, we only have one box left to unpack (mostly filled with boring paperwork). We spray-painted our ugly filing cabinet last weekend at my parents' and left it in their garage to dry (sorry, Mom and Dad) so hopefully we'll be box-free by next week.

Also, is this not the strangest location of a mushroom you have ever seen?
I thought so. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Eilean Donan

Today it was 73 degrees. SEVENTY-THREE. I mean, this is Seattle, not San Diego we're talking about (which is actually probably closer to 93?). I couldn't even feel the air today when I went out. This has been the perfect fall. We've had the windows and sliding door open in our apartment for days because it's too hot in here, which I realize is a silly thing to say about October, but there you have it. It's colder at night; we have a fan in the window to blow in the chilly night air. It's just a little crisp.

This chilliness sort of reminds me of Scotland in midsummer. I think I wore shorts during three summers in England about as many times as I have just this month alone. It's sad, but that's the British summer for you and at least I wasn't wearing a scarf, is all I have to say.

On our way from Fort William to see the famous Eilean Donan Castle, we noticed a large pull-off with a lovely view. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that there were thousands of rocks stacked up in small towers along the road. We thought we'd give it a try, and I added to a tower. I've tried looking up the meaning of the cairns, but apparently, one doesn't exist. It was a bit puzzling, but we moved on and speculated along the road. (UPDATE: After talking it over with Forrest, we both definitely remember there being some sort of marker or signpost dedicating the spot to fallen soldiers or something similar with each rock representing a service member. So there you go.)

This place actually reminds me of how we used to stack up the smooth stones along the Oregon and Washington coast when we were camping or visiting there. I don't know why we did it, but it was amusing. Perhaps there is an innate longing buried deep within the human soul to not leave a stone unstacked.

So, I stacked up some rocks. And onward to Eilean Donan!
I found these baby stalactites amusing.
After realizing that this was one of the only interior shots I have of the castle, I grew puzzled until I realized that photos are indeed forbidden indoors at Eilean Donan. There are several floors that you can go up, including the main hall, a few bedrooms, and the kitchen (which had all sorts of fake food displays which were fun and interesting).
The castle was so beautiful. It's not hard to see why this is the most photographed castle in Scotland.
I sat reminiscing today about all of the adventures we had in the United Kingdom during our time there. Our one-year mark of being back in the states is coming up next month and it's hard to believe that it's been so long since I've seen the people who made up most of our life for those few years.

Forrest and I sit and talk sometimes about what we miss the most: Indian food (for him), old estates (me), and all of our friends. I know we're going back someday. It's much too important to us. 

Until then, I'll keep going through our pictures and posting them here so that I'll always be able to remember.