Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pendleton + Molly (+ Jasper)

Megan and I decided to introduce Molly the kitten (or Mrs. Weasley as we call her because we are more formal, obviously) to Pendleton. We let them see each other for a few minutes inside and then, because I didn't really like the lighting, we decided to take them outside to the front porch where Jasper the wonder dog (who now lives outside in the back yard and is loving it) couldn't hear us (we thought).

The kitty and hedgehog seemed to get along just fine once Molly realized that pouncing on him wasn't a very smart idea.
We were receiving some spectacular glares from her when this happened:
The brute jumped over the temporary side fence and almost knocked me over in his rush to get to the kitten who he just wants to love. Unfortunately, she does not share his feelings, not even a tiny bit. The poor fellow had quite a scratched up nose for a while. 

Meanwhile, Pendleton just smooshed his face down into the ground because if he can't see them, they can't see him, obviously.
Mrs. Weasley glared at Jasper some more and then decided he was not worth her time.
 Jasper still loves her.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Loch Lomond + The (Magical) Highlands

Loch Lomond is a really pretty lake. Is it famous for walks and being in songs and is located in the Trossachs National Park which we were lucky enough to drive through on our way north. It is the largest loch in Great Britain by surface area (Loch Ness is bigger by volume). Once you drive by Loch Lomond it's like you cross an invisible line and you're officially in the highlands! The hills start getting higher, the houses become scarcer.
Going north towards the highlands is like breathing a very long breath of fresh air. Something about Scotland makes my heart pound a little faster. Everything tastes better, the people seem friendlier, the air feels cleaner. Even the rain doesn't seem so bad.

 It feels magical.

Even now as I write this almost a year later, my hearts yearns for those Scottish hills and the empty highways winding by the lochs, a glimpse of a castle every now and then, the clouds casting spots into the countryside dotted with sheep.

I love that hotels in Scotland have tartan carpets. I love that they serve black pudding at breakfast (even though I don't eat it). I love that you can legally camp anywhere you want for one night. The mist and the fog, the bright sunlight, any weather is beautiful in the Highlands--to me.

This is one of my many odes to Scotland, I suppose. I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be right now.
We stopped at a spot on the road with a good sized pull-off (or lay-by if you're British) and walked up the side of a mountain for what we hoped would be a good view. We were not disappointed.
Here's the cute little pathway we walked up.
It was really windy up on that ledge. Once we got up to the top, we heard someone start to play the bagpipes. I'm not even kidding. It echoed through the valley like some kind of dream. We looked at each other and grinned with the glee that comes from the high of the best lighthearted adventure. Because is this not what one imagines will happen on a trip to Scotland? 

It's one of my favorite memories.
There was a little forest of lichen growing on the rocks. It was perfect and beautiful and almost reminded me of a fairy garden or some other such magical world.
When God created Scotland, he must have been thinking about the color green.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Beard

Forrest left the military in November.
On his last day, he triumphantly declared, "I never have to shave again!"

And he didn't. Not for five long months.
But! There was light at the end of the tunnel.

I sometimes think that Forrest was a different person with his beard. He was that guy. The guy every other bearded man takes a second look at and comments, "dude, nice beard!" Forrest grows a good beard. Head nods and knowing looks became part of our daily public life at the grocery store. Apparently beards are really cool this year because we live in Washington State and all the hipsters have beards. As I type this, I am sure that having a beard is no longer the cool thing for hipsters to own. What do I know.

Forrest actually told me that he wasn't sure he wanted his beard anymore because he couldn't wear a beanie without looking like a hipster. Is this real life? My husband, the Forrest from Tennessee who only cares about flannel shirts and Ford hats is concerned about looking too cool. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because that husband of mine is a hilarious dream come true.

I sometimes think to myself that Forrest is part of a lot of different clubs than I am and that I am simply riding along. In general, Forrest is much cooler than I am without trying. Take his Defender. Forrest's Land Rover Defender is his pride and joy. It's basically a big, slow, loud farm vehicle with no airbags or head rests. Whilst in England, he actually owned two different Defenders over the course of two years. The thing about people with Defenders is, they are all part of a group of people who talk only about Defenders. They always wave at each other when they drive by in the opposite direction. People always used to talk to Forrest about his defender while I rolled my eyes and pretended to hate it (I actually kind of like it, but the thing only goes like 50 mph). I like to think that I was semi-cool by association. Riding along on his truck coat-tails, if you will. I digress. This paragraph was kind of related because the Defender is in the photos, so.

Anyway, the beard.

Honestly, I am impressed in spite of myself with Forrest's beard growing abilities. Personally, I think he looks quite dapper with about a two-month old beard. It still looks trimmed and has a nice face shape and it makes my heart pitter-patter with the manliness that is my husband. And throw him in a flannel shirt for good measure.

After that two month mark though.. well. He kind of started looking like a Robertson brother and that is just not my cup of tea.

I took these the day before he finally got too itchy and shaved the whole thing off.


These are his contemplative and manly looks respectively. I didn't realize being manly was such angry business.
So, I've said goodbye to the beard and may it rest in peace forever. That thing is scratchy and I don't appreciate beard hairs up my nose either.

But I guess if you want to grow it back in the fall for two months, Forrest, that is okay with me.

And now we'll end with Jasper in April.
That pup..

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Petrified Forest National Park

On our way up to Washington in December, we saw an advertisement for the Petrified Forest National Park and impulsively decided to stop. You know, for a few minutes (aka two or three hours). The park is basically a big loop right off the freeway so it didn't really take us out of our way at all. We probably saw two or three other cars the entire time we were in the park. I have concluded from this and other such experiences that traveling in the winter (especially in the southwest) is totally worth it. If you're not hiking or camping, obviously. I mean unless that's your kind of thing.
First, we drove around and stopped at all the lookouts.
The views were stunning. The hills seemed to stretch on forever.
These striped hills were my favorite.
The photo below is of a log that petrified a really long time ago and remained after all the earth washed away. Later it was reinforced with concrete on the bottom.
And finally we saw the petrified forest.
Most of the petrified wood is made of quartz and it was so much more beautiful than I expected. My mom has a piece of petrified wood (that she bought, calm down) from a smaller forest in Washington and it isn't even close. It's brown.

Seriously, I was not expecting rainbows in rock form.
And then we had a lovely sunset as we got back on the open road.