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Travelogue | Cows!

The weather last Friday was uncharacteristically sunny and gorgeous, not Black at all. We’d just finished cleaning up from Thanksgiving, hosted at Justin’s mom’s house, and we had the place– and her convertible— to ourselves.

We could have gone shopping, but getting jostled and trampled didn’t seem like a good time. So what do you think we did? We took that sucka out for a drive… Top down, speedometer up, scarves flying, and sunglasses on, we flew out I-90 and took the back way into Snoqualmie, through the countryside, over some fine winding roads, and back to civilization.

You never know what you’ll see out there in the sticks.What kind of cow is extra-fuzzy and has a white cummerbund? We did a Uey when we saw these weird beasties hanging out, chewing their cud like they weren’t some sort of Tuxedo Beef.

Even the brown Bessie had a white midsection, and one of the cows had perfectly round spots in her belly band. Weiiiirrrd. [FACTOID: The Internet says these are probably called “Belted Galloway” cows, aka “Oreo Cows.” It’s not the only cow breed to have some unusual markings. Did you know there is a miniature panda cow? No joke!]

Seattle cow photographer takes a photo of cows in an idyllic field. Yup.

And yes, that is a donkey. The theory goes that should a predator accost the cows, which are too stupid to protect themselves, the donkey’s short temper will save their hides. (Because “save their asses” would have been a really wretched pun.)

Well, there ya have it… By the time we were done, we’d lost most of the daylight and were all feeling seriously chilled. But we were in one piece, the car was in one piece, the house was in one piece, and it was the perfect way to spend Black Friday far, far away from the crazy consumer crowds. As hectic as life has been lately, I might need to ask to borrow that car again, real soon.

Far Away, Little Rupert

After a 900-mile, 15-hour drive split over three days and four states, we finally arrived yesterday in Jackson, Wyoming. For our week’s vacation, we’re “holed up” in a house that has more bathrooms than our apartment has rooms. We’ve always been accompanied by several friends on our yearly trips to the mountains, so it’s lonely to be by ourselves, particularly in a house this big. This is also the first summer we haven’t spent our week off at the family cabin in Glacier National Park. Instead, we’re at a new vacation home in Jackson. It’s strange to look outside and see the Tetons instead of the Rockies.

I certainly can’t complain… this house is nicer than the few 5-star hotels I’ve stayed in, and last night I woke up to the sound of bull elk bugling from the back yard.

I’m also enjoying spending dedicated time with Justin. Between starting my business and working full time, we haven’t seen a lot of each other lately–even when we’re both at home. We’re coming up on our one-year wedding anniversary, and it’s nice to reconnect away from all the craziness in our lives.

Still, getting away means leaving someone important behind… the someone who keeps us company even when we’re stressed and frantic. Meet Rupert, our 9-year-old tabby cat:

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I’ve had Rupert since 2001 and, with the exception of the 10 months I spent in Japan, he’s always been by my side. That’s almost as long as I’ve been with Justin – though Rupert and I were never limited to weekend visits.

It’s sad being without Rupert, even though I know he’d get lost and confused (and meow incessantly) in a house this size. He’s a bit co-dependent, our kitty, and he gets traumatized when we leave him. “Oh, right,” you might say, “He’s a CAT. You just think he cares that you leave.” Well, not this cat. He’s wired a bit weird. All he wants to do is spend time with us!

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Rupert does well in the car, but not well enough that we’d consider taking him this distance. That is to say, he doesn’t throw up or freak out, but he does meow plaintively the entire car ride. And we’ve taken him on 5 hour trips before. Ugh.

Rupert’s favorite thing (next to us) is talking. He will talk the ears off a rock. Whenever we take him to a new place, he yowls about, calling for us room-to-room until we personally escort him on a tour. I can only imagine the grief he’d give us in this big house.

Right now Rupert is at kitty summer camp, staying the week with Justin’s mom. He’s been to their house several times in the last month, when we fled our sweltering apartment for the solace of their air-conditioning during the Seattle heat wave. All of these pictures were taken during one of those hot summer nights. I like to think he’s frolicking just as merrily right now, while we set off for some frolicking of our own in a mountain meadow.

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Take care, little Rupert! We’ll be home soon.

On windows & doors

In life, we walk through many doors. Some close, and lock behind us. Still others sit patiently, unchanging and open, until you discover them. People often call these doors “windows of opportunity,” but walking through a window sounds like a messy experience. So, I prefer to think there are both: the doors and the windows. Doors take you to new rooms, and windows help you see the best view along the way.

This door has been right there, in front of me for years. But even if you’d pointed it out to me, which some more observant friends have done, I wouldn’t have seen it. I was too busy wandering aimlessly, as if  blind. I wasn’t ready to see the door. I was bumping into walls; facing things only as I came to them instead of seeking them out.

I was afraid that if I opened my eyes, there would be no door to see… I was afraid of being barred entry to my dreams.

But you know what? Running into walls gets pretty painful after a while. With a headache and heartache, I finally became exhausted enough that I had to stop fumbling about and sit down. While I sat, I thought. My thoughts turned to dreams, and to doors. Finally, too tired to be scared any more, I slept. And when I woke, I opened my eyes.

There, right before me, was the door.

Here I am, stepping through.

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