Sunday, October 25, 2015

Silly Things

Sometimes, it's the silliest things that can make me nostalgic. Take, for instance, this shower head. It finally gave up the ghost and I'm pretty sad about it. You see, I bought that shower head when the kids were little. With three kids as close in age as mine are, it was far easier to line them up in the bathtub and hose them off with the shower head than to draw baths for them.

I bought this wonderful Waterpik in 1996 and it has moved with me ever since. No matter how many moves the kids and I made, the first thing I did was remove the old shower head and replace it with this. When we moved out, I simply put the original back on and the landlords were none the wiser for it.

Even after the kids moved out and Jay and I moved to Small Town, Colorado, the shower head moved with me.

I replaced it Friday with a new one that I already hate and I haven't even used it yet. I went with an economical version, but in installing it I realized it wasn't going to cut it. I'll use it, but only until I can buy a real Waterpik to replace it with. I should have just dished out the money in the first place instead of being a cheap ass.

In the meantime, I'll mourn the loss of the one item I've carried with me since the kids were babies.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 30

It was very hard to get a picture of the Colosseum, as it is always swarming with people. It looks like a busy anthill with ants scurrying here and there.

We did a self-guided tour and I was awe-struck by the fact that I was standing in a stadium with so much history. Even with so many people around, I could help but feel touched by the events past. We opted not to do a guided tour, but now that they've opened the underground chambers and passages to tour groups, I will definitely be doing that next time around.

Rome was an exciting, beautiful place to visit, but my inner country girl will always feel more at peace in the wide open spaces like Tuscany or in the small villages surrounded by nature like Cinque Terre.

Friday, October 23, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 29

Nebalee, Deejo, me

All girlified: Staci, Robs, me, Nebalee, Sue

Me and Robs both in dresses - it was an event!
I love my family and my girls. Love them. A year or so after Hall and I broke up, Brandy and Justin got married and I was invited to the wedding, along with Nebalee and Deejo.

Our break-up was awful and it took me years to get over it, so Brandy's wedding fell smack-dab in the middle of my mourning period. Because I love Brandy, I wouldn't have missed her wedding for anything, even if that meant seeing Hall and his fiancee for the first time since our very bad break-up.

My sibs and my girls rallied around me, knowing how difficult it was going to be and I ended up having the greatest time ever. Yes, Hall and the soon-to-be Mrs Hall were an annoyance, but we managed to avoid each other and still have a great time.

Because of my crazy work-out schedule (and probably some stress too), I had lost 24 pounds since anyone outside of my girls had seen me. Perhaps one of the best parts of the whole night was seeing the look on Hall's face when I walked in with my posse sibs and my girls. I never thought I was "girly" enough that I would derive pleasure from rubbing the fact that I was doing okay (even if it was a lie) in his face. Turns out I was wrong, I totally loved that feeling. It was so worth the "die, bitch" looks I was getting from his fiancee, who happened to be a member of the wedding party.

(Yes, Robs and I wore black to the wedding, not for any malicious reason, but because we were only going to buy ONE dress and it needed to be multi-purpose. What's more multi-purpose than a little black dress?)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 28

I didn't get heavily into shooting until after Hall and I broke up. I knew how to shoot before then, but once my stalker issue was resolved, I stepped away from the shooting lifestyle and learned to enjoy the soccer lifestyle, but I always missed it.

After we broke up, I stepped right back into the shooting world and began shooting competitively at our local defensive pistol matches. Neither Staci nor Robs are shooters, but they are always up for a challenge and agreed to join me at one of my matches.

I can't believe that it's been almost twelve years since these pictures were taken. I was so tiny back then and in the best shape of my life. Besides shooting, I was playing on four soccer teams a week (three indoor teams with Staci and Robs and one outdoor team), and working out six days a week. Being in that kind of shape certainly helped with my shooting skills, and while I would definitely consider Staci and Robs novice shooters, their athletic ability really helped them out at the match as well.

This was such a fun day and I'm forever thankful for my girls who wholeheartedly support me in anything I want to do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 27

Both of these were taken at Highgate Cemetery in London on our first trip to Europe. I never had much interest in history, but this cemetery was really eye-opening for me. There are grave markers that are older than our country! These pictures don't do it justice - the cemetery (the East one, at least) is breathtaking. It is surprisingly peaceful and full of life.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 26

My ex-husband and I bought a house in Loveland shortly after Monster was born. We couldn't afford it, not even close, but his parents' friends were selling it and his parents decided to buy it with us.

This picture of me with Dr. Michael Charney was taken at our house warming party. Doc was one of my favorite instructors at CSU - so much so that I became one of his many teaching assistants. He was a world renowned forensic anthropologist, and I fell in love with the field of forensic anthropology the second I stepped into his osteology class. The second semester, I took his facial reconstruction class and my fate was sealed. I had to work for him, and I did until the day he died and then some.

I had the pleasure of learning from him for three or four years and was convinced that if I didn't get into medical school, I would end up in his field. I expected him to live forever and just assumed that he'd be around to help me in my career. Unfortunately, he was not immortal and died in the hospital of pneumonia. The team of TAs finished teaching out the semester, which just wasn't the same without him.

The kids loved visiting his lab, a small A-frame on CSU's campus. Rows and rows of skulls lined three walls of his office, the fourth wall was shelves loaded with boxes of bones that the families' of the deceased had donated. You would think, being surrounded by all of those bones would be creepy, but it wasn't. It felt like being among friends, strange as that sounds.

Bonus picture: this is on my cabinet at work.
You can see in the bonus picture, the rows of skulls lining the wall behind Doc. He left instructions - and made them well known - that his bones were to be articulated (wired together) and sent back to CSU. Doc's office, the A-frame, has been turned into a storage shed or something, so he now keeps someone else company all day long. He now permanently resides in an office, posed the way he often sat in real life.

Monday, October 19, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 25

Creepy, muddy lane and the Scooby Doo gate

This might just look like a long, muddy road, but it leads to one of the most haunted castles in Europe. Chillingham Castle was a must-do on our first trip as a group across the pond.

The plan was to take the train from London to Alnmouth and then take a cab from Alnmouth to Chillingham. We noticed that one of the stops along the way was in Newcastle, and Hall was a die-hard Newcastle United fan, so the two of us decided to get off at Newcastle so we could go see St. James' Park.

We hopped off at the stop, planning to catch the next one through and meet up with everyone else at the castle. However, we did so without checking the train schedule. Turns out that the train only stopped at Newcastle during commuter hours, so we  were stuck in Newcastle until the end of the work day. This was back before cell phones were readily available and had decent international service, so we had no way of telling the rest of the group that we would be hours behind them, not just one hour. We walked around St. James' Park and enjoyed the day in Newcastle before hopping the first afternoon train to Alnmouth.

I don't recall how we managed to arrange for a cab in Alnmouth, because my memory of the station is just a stop in the middle of nowhere. I do remember that the cab from Alnmouth to Chillingham was not an actual nightmare, but neither of us could understand a single word the cab driver said and he apparently could barely understand us. We did understand when he pointed out Alnwick Castle, where they filmed Harry Potter. Those were about the only words we understood, "American Filmn Harry Potter". No, that's not a typo, he said filmn.

The gate at the end of the long, muddy lane in the picture is what we came to call the "Scooby Doo gate", full of creaks and groans just like the cartoon.

Shamelessly stolen picture of the creepy bridge on the grounds

While Brian and I were cooling our heels in Newcastle, the rest of the group took a tour of the castle grounds. I loved the picture of the creepy bridge so much that I stole a copy of it from someone (either Squid or Robs).

Being the off-season for tourists, the castle wasn't exactly bustling with activity and there was no food to be found, so the caretakers sent Hall and I into the next village to find some food. The rest of the group had given up waiting on us and had already gone on ahead.

The mile and a half into the village was the longest mile and a half I'd ever walked. It was like we'd been transported into American Werewolf in London, and I'm not exaggerating. It was dark, drizzly, and there were a bunch of noises we didn't recognize.

Unbelievably, we found the rest of the group in a restaurant in the village, just getting their dinner. We happened to look through a window of a restaurant and there they were! I was never so happy to see familiar faces in my life.