Recently on Instagram.

Did you know that I did not read the October quote from Anne of Green Gables a single time this month?  Last year you couldn’t click into the internet without seeing it and this year – nothing.  So I guess I have no choice but to put it out there.  You know I have to, really.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  – L. M. Montgomery

I’m also so glad I live in a world where there is Instagram.  Can you imagine Anne’s Instagram shots?  Lots of nature photos.  Selfies with Diana.  Cooking fails.  #marillaisgonnabefurious

Here are a few of my October favorites.  As usual, I followed the Fat Mum Slim prompts for the month.

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Prompt:  B is for…
Birdhouse.

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Prompt:  C is for…
Canvas.

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Prompt:  E is for…
English mastiff.

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“Amy, please sit down.  It has come to my attention that you were absent for three days.  And your clothing carries the scent of canine.  Where have you been and with whom have you been associating?”

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Prompt:  H is for…
Hot air balloon.

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Finishing off the bottle…two ounces at a time.

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Prompt:  K is for…
Kevin and Kiki.  Of kourse.

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It’s a gorgeous fall day and my team is winning.  I’m purring like a cat in a sun spot.

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Prompt:  L is for…
Latte.

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Prompt:  O is for…
Open wide.  Does this tennis ball make my mouth look fat?

IMG_8166Prompt:  Q is for…
Quiet.  Just how Kiki likes it.

IMG_8208Prompt: S is for…
Shower.  Three Eastern NM girls at Tiff’s bridal brunch.

IMG_8211Prompt:  T is for…
Tree.  Ahh, fall colors.  How you do show off…

IMG_8226Prompt:  U is for…
Umbrella-ella-ella.

IMG_8256Prompt:  V is for…
Vans.

IMG_8274Prompt:  W is for…
Welcome home hugs.  Kiki Badger don’t care.

IMG_8365Prompt:  One.
One Kiki tongue.

IMG_8379Prompt:  Five. 
It’s the fifth consecutive year that Shawna and I have coordinated our Halloween costumes.  Mario and Luigi for the win this year.
Read about costumes of Halloweens past hereAnd last year’s efforts here

Did you dress up for Halloween this year?  What variety of pictures did you take in October?  What fictional characters’ Instagram do you covet? 

Meeting Ella.

Last week I hopped a flight to Phoenix.  Joy picked me up at the airport – with a passenger.  Her name is Ella and she is three months old.  She’s adorable.  She’s sweet.  She takes an amazing selfie – just like her Aunt Amy.

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And she’s going to grow up in Hawaii.

Can you even imagine?  Their little family is moving to, like, the number one vacation spot in the world.  Incredible.

And I plan to go visit, for sure.  I mean, twist my arm, you know?  But…it takes a few extra dollas to go to Hawaii than it does to go to Phoenix, and I HAD to meet Ella before she relocates to the Pacific Islands.

We spent the day relaxing.  It was so fun to meet that precious little baby.  But maybe even more fun was watching my good friend thrive in her new role as a mother.  Joy and I have known each other for nearly a decade now, and I associate her with my own roaring 20’s.  We had a good time, yes indeed.  Now she’s a MOM.  And a great one at that!  It was heartwarming to witness.

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I’m excited for their family and the Aloha adventure that lies ahead.  And I think Joy needs to start a blog!  All in favor say aye….

Do you have friends that you associate with one life stage who are now in another?  What’s your dream relocation spot? 

 

Sweekend.

Over the weekend, this girl took a leap.

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She {her name is Tiffany, btw} got married!  It was lovely.  I was incredibly blessed to be a part of it as one of her matrons of honor {doesn’t matron of honor make me sound so OLD?  Let’s just call it MOH.}.  Sadly, I don’t have many pictures from the wedding day to share with you.  In fact the following are the full extent of my wedding day photos:

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The lovely bride with two of her photographer friends, one of whom is pulling double duty as makeup artist.

 And this little gem shows me with my wedding hair all undid:

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What can I say?  I wasn’t snap happy for a very good reason – I was too busy.  First of all, being a member of the wedding party makes it a little harder to take the time to snap photos!  Also, I genuinely felt like I should enjoy each moment as it came and soak up time with some wonderful people, gathered together to celebrate a wonderful girl and guy.  I didn’t want to be distracted by trying to track every moment.  Three of Tiff’s lovely and dear friends had their cameras on them at all times and were in charge of photodocumentation.  One of them, Britt from The Fisk Files, will be posting a blog with photos, so I’ll be sure to link to that once she has it posted. In the meantime, I’ll try to paint a picture with words.

It was such a lovely and heartfelt wedding weekend.  On Friday I drove to Tucumcari and spent some time at my parents house in the early afternoon.  I met up with wedding folks at the church at 4:00 for the rehearsal.  Everyone was excited and having a great time – a testament to the bride and the groom and the type of people they are.

Rehearsal done, it was then time for the rehearsal dinner, courtesy of Ty’s parents at Tiff’s parents’ house.  The food was so, so good.  Fajitas!  There was plenty of space to sit and relax and chat with the sweet people who were there to celebrate the happy couple.

The time passed quickly, and soon it was time to go to the home of some of Tiff’s family friends.  The bride and her gals stayed there and we kept our lovely hostess up far too late with the very definition of girl talk.  It was a peaceful and safe and engaging conversation – one that each of us will remember and draw on for comfort and smiles in the future.

Early to rise the next morning!  Tiff had decided to do a 5K on the morning of her wedding.  She’s just that kind of energetic, folks!  Can’t stop, won’t stop.  There were around 7 of us and we each took the 5K through the countryside at our own pace.  I managed to jog the entire distance, so you better believe that’s counting for my 30-by-30 5K!  After the run, there was some tasty breakfast, prepared by our hosts, and lots of pre-wedding chatter and laughs.

Then it was time to get ready and get ready we did!  Makeup, hairspray, tasty chicken Caesar salad – I can’t emphasize enough how awesome our hosts were! – and all that is wonderful on a wedding day.  The time flew by in a flurry of activity and soon we bridesmaids were all dressed and standing at the bottom of the staircase.  As you may recall from this post, she had narrowed the dresses down to two and didn’t tell us which one she’d picked.  For a quick refresher, here are the top two:

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It was the moment of truth.  On the count of three, we turned around and the lovely bride was standing at the top of the stairs.  She chose the mermaid style gown with the illusion neckline (on the right in the above photo)!!  I was certain that she’d chosen the other dress, so I hope my surprised face is not horribly grotesque in the photos of the reveal.  Because I was genuinely surprised, in the best possible way.  She absolutely chose the perfect dress.  She was a vision.  We all hugged and posed for photos and then it was time to go to her parents farm for more pictures.

Standing in the wheat field, with little ladybugs (good luck!) crawling up between the layers of tulle, Tiffany looked absolutely radiant.  The groomsmen proved that chivalry is not dead by offering us bridesmaids a ride back to the house in their little SUV when we thought we were going to have to hoof it back.

We all made our way to the church and it was go time!  The ceremony went well (I did not drop the groom’s ring on the floor, which meant mission accomplished for this girl) and there was so much love!  And a little humor.  For example, the sweet little flower girl spotted her grandpa as she was walking down the aisle and she rushed into his arms.  He picked her up and she thrust the basket of flower petals into his hands, declaring, “You hold it!”  Then they walked the rest of the way down the aisle with him holding the basket and her flinging fistfuls of petals onto the runner.  In another light moment, the preacher paused after posing the question that if anyone objects to this union, let them speak now or forever hold their peace, and the bride’s father said, “That’s long enough!” when the pause lasted a smidgeon too long for his liking.

After the ceremony there were more pictures and then we reception-ed it up!  Lots of delicious food, dancing, and chatter filled that convention center.  There were over three hundred people in attendance, I’m sure.  The two best men and the other MOH and I each gave a speech – short and heartfelt, all the way around.  The evening passed quickly and it was such a wonderful time.

When I think back on this wedding and reception, I’ll always remember the sense of community that pulsed through the event.  The groom’s grandmother (who is 80 and an amazing lady!) made the cakes.  Some other relatives of the groom took care of the flowers.  The bride’s aunts set up five snack tables around the room.  A local 4-H club handled the tea and water refills.  The bride’s mother and some family friends did a stellar job with burlap and lace decorations.  Friends of the bride did the photography and the hair.  There was such a sense of togetherness in the event.  It was a pleasure to be a part of such a special time.

Tiff is my best friend and is the best kind of friend anyone could wish for, so it really warmed my heart to see her so happy and so in her element.  So surrounded by the people she loves.  I’m so excited for her and Ty and wish them all the happiness.

The following morning, Kevin and I went to my parents house for a little farm fun.  We rode in the back of the pick up to the irrigation ditch and did a little tube irrigating.  Kevin was a natural at getting those tubes started!

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And we hung out with the kittens.  Three weeks old and sooooo precious.

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Then it was biscuits and sausage for breakfast with mom, Dale, Lisa, and my Aunt Jewel.  Good family time!

Kevin and I hit the road after breakfast and made our way home to our sweet little Kiki cat who had been all alone for 24 hours.  Poor thing.  We napped in the afternoon, which was the perfect ending to a great and busy weekend.

Do you sometimes put your phone/camera aside at big events so you’ll be able to just watch what’s going on around you? 

Home alone.

When Kevin is out of town, I’m a big sissy.  And he was out of town earlier this week which means there were two cats in the house – one named Kiki, the other named Scaredy.

I’m not exactly sure how this happened.  I lived alone for years and I don’t remember being especially anxious every single moment of every single night.  I guess I’m just out of the habit now.

On the third morning KA {Kevin Away} I was rudely awaken by the low-battery chirping of a smoke detector.  I fumbled my way to the extra 9V batteries, located the culprit, and replaced the battery.  And it kept chirping.  I fiddled around with it, pulled it from the wall, popped the battery in and out, called Kevin, followed his recommendation to hold down the test button, winced as the alarm screeched, repeated all these steps, twice…and the little monster kept right on chirping.  As much as I would have loved to hang out with the chirper all day {sarcasm}, I had to go to work.  Kiki was not so lucky and I do believe the every-30-seconds beep drove her within an inch of her sanity.  Poor thing spent the entire day {I speculate} curled up on the boot boxes in the closet {her safe place}.

Later that day the three to five o’clock window brought lots of visitors – the cable guy {box was malfunctioning}, the HVAC guy {changeover time}, and the alarm guy {who made the alarm go off twice in his work – supplying Kiki with more stories to tell her cat-therapist}.

But what about the smoke detector?  I can practically hear you asking that question, on the edge of your seat with anticipation.

Give the people what they want, that’s my motto.

It was still chirping.  So I did what anyone would do – I Googled a solution.  “They” recommended turning off the breaker, removing the detector from the wall, disconnecting the wires, taking out the battery, holding down the test button for 15 seconds, putting the battery back in, reconnecting the wires, putting it back on the wall, and flipping the breaker back to the on.  I turned off the breaker.  That’s as far as I go, people.  Disconnecting electrical wires is on the husband’s list of responsibilities.  Unfortunately he was in Kansas and therefore unavailable for wire disconnecting.  No need though – the breaker thing worked!

For a couple of hours.  Then…chirpity-chirp-chirp.  Again. {I learned that Gilmore Girls turned up loud almost blocks the sound.  Kiki stayed in the closet.}

It was around that time that darkness fell and there was a great racket outside.  Probably burglars {or the neighbors putting out the trash bin}.

Also.  It’s October and all kinds of scary previews are on TV.

Also again.  My feet were eaten up by a mosquito {who died a horrific death shortly after the attack} and now they’re swollen and they itch something horrible.

So basically it’s all kinds of fun around here.

Have you had a run-in with a smoke detector?  Do mosquitoes love you?  Do you enjoy being home alone – or is every night noise subject to a heightened sense of scary?

Coffee date with you.

Amanda aka The Lady Okie inspired the coffee date theme of this post.  She’s written a few in this style and I adore them and her, so thanks, Amanda, for the inspiration.

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Let’s pretend that you and I are meeting for coffee, or a tea, if you prefer.  I’d have a latte, thanks, with a splash of vanilla.  We’d settle in to catch up and here’s what I’d contribute to the conversation.

I’d start by reminding you that I’m not the type to yak on and on about being busy.  Mostly because no one cares.  OR if someone does care, it’s only because they are salivating on your last word so they can tell you how much busier than you they are.  But you, my lovely coffee shop date, are not like that at all, so I won’t feel a bit guilty or apprehensive about releasing a sigh and sharing:  I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.  You’d laugh and agree and ask what’s been filling my hours.

It’s easier to say what’s NOT filling my hours.  Dusting, for instance.  And organizing the garage.  And cleaning out the refrigerator – that leftover couscous is about to walk out on its own.

What is keeping you from all those exciting activities, you ask?

Well, work is a big thing.  There are a few projects underway that require undivided attention for blocks of hours.  But I like that kind of thing to fill my day, so it’s really been fulfilling, actually.

Then there are community commitments, with their joys and disappointments and – always – meetings.  Meetings that committee members don’t show up for {at this point, you’d shake your head, mimicking my exasperation} and meetings that go on for hours.  The latter resulted in Amy (let’s take this to third person, shall we?) getting home late to find that Kevin had the audacity to do laundry and leave clothes in the dryer.  What was he thinking?  He knows that Amy is some kind of compulsive, obsessed laundry lady who must fold and put away – not tomorrow – today.  So she played the role of laundry martyr for the 10 PM showing.  Audience:  Kevin and Kiki.  As I sheepishly admit to my crazy, you’ll laugh with me.  Poor guy did a nice thing by tackling the overflowing hamper of dirty clothes and that’s how you thank him, you’d ask.  And you’re right, friend.  When you’re right, you’re right.  {Sweet husband, I owe you coffee and ice cream.  Everyday.}

I’m reading a fair amount {working my way through Maeve Binchy’s Tara Road at the moment}, and the cool weather has me craving lots of Kevin and Kiki cuddles.

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Looking ahead, as we put our next coffee date to the planner, I tell you about all of the exciting things that are coming soon:  a work trip to Santa Fe, an anniversary lunch at work for the company’s 10th year, some volunteering, a Pinterest party, a bridal brunch, a day trip to Phoenix to meet a sweet little newborn, a hula hoop dance class {for which you’ll insist on tagging along}, and my best friend’s wedding!  It’s a great life.

Enough about me.  Let’s talk about you.  What’s new?  Can I buy you a _________ {fill in this blank with your order on our imaginary coffee date}?

 

My first blate.

Blogging is such an interesting hobby.  Is hobby the right word?  I began blogging because I like to write and I like the idea of documenting some of the happenings in my world.  Most people I know in “real life” don’t know that I blog.  So I just kind of expected this little space on the internet to be something for me.

I am in awe of how much more it has become.  That more is defined by the online friendships I have made with other bloggers.  The comments and emails and snail mail from blogger friends are such a joy.  Kevin is now unfazed by the {daily} remarks about this blog friend’s vacation or that blog friend’s baby shower photos.  That blog friend’s pet and this blog friend’s recipe recommendation.  I speak of these people like they are part of my everyday – and they (YOU!) are.  We may not be able to grab a cuppa tea or a cupcake together, but the connections are real.

2014 began with me vowing to take the friendship with at least one blogger off screen and into real life.  I wanted to go on a blate (blogger + date).  Throughout the year, I showed Kevin blogs written by gals that I want to meet so that he would develop a sense of confidence in the idea that the person his wife was jaunting off to meet was not, in fact, a serial killer with a wildly fabricated website.  He begrudgingly admitted that these folks were probably perfectly nice and normal.  And as fate would have it, the stars aligned for Jenny from Jeneric Generation and I to meet in Oklahoma City.

After I dropped Kevin at the airport – he had to fly to Denver for work – I headed to Orange Leaf, a frozen yogurt place, to meet Jenny.  I arrived first and studiously focused on my Sudoku puzzle – totally playing it cool with my casual glances at the door every time someone walked into the shop.  A bit nervous, thoughts like, “Hug?  No hug?” flittered through my mind.

Jenny arrived (we hugged – it felt right) and we instantly hit it off!  She is just as smart and sweet and genuine as her writing implies.  We chatted about blogging and Oklahoma State (our time at the school overlapped by a few semesters) and moving and jobs and families (she announced it on her blog earlier this week – she and her husband are expecting their first baby!  Congrats to them!).  Then we headed to Half Price Books and managed to keep each other from buying half the store.  A fellow fan of the books, it was so fun to walk around the store and exchange recommendations.  Harry Potter was an important conversation topic, as he always should be, really.

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Three hours passed quickly in the company of a kindred spirit and soon it was time for me to head to the airport {where the plane I was on had mechanical issues and didn’t take off until two hours after it was supposed to, resulting in a missed connection and therefore, a night in a hotel room in Dallas.  Sidenote.}.

Jenny, thanks for the afternoon – I had a blast!

And I’m already plotting my next blate.  Perhaps a cross-country/continent trip is in order?

Have you gone on a blate?  What is your favorite thing about blogging? 

Stillwater {love} runs deep.

Stillwater, Oklahoma, home to OK State U, is one of my absolute favorite places.  It was there that I spent my college years, and I am always excited to go visit.  So naturally, there is an unspoken requirement that any husband of mine is duly obligated to adore and gush over the town and the campus like I do.  Fortunately, Kevin was up for the challenge.  As we drove around town and I pointed out the hot spots (“There’s the chiropractor office that I went to after a girl ran a red light and hit my car!” Etc.), he genuinely appeared to like what he saw.  Then we spotted Marble Slab.  I knew at that moment – victory was mine.  Stillwater had Kevin at Marble Slab.

We stopped into Pete’s and bought a OSU cowboy t-shirt for the gentleman and a sweatshirt for the lady.  {Thank goodness too, because we sat in the shade at the game on Saturday and the temperature was in the 60’s, so the lady was cold.}  We ate at Eskimo Joes, because that’s what you do on your first trip to Stillwater.  There were cheese fries.  And burgers.  Then, of course, there was Marble Slab.  I know the way to Kevin’s heart.

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We let ourselves into my friend Amy’s house, as she was working out of town.  She was so nice to let us stay with her.  We loved seeing her house (she just moved in!) and meeting her dogs.  They were very suspicious of us when we first arrived and she wasn’t at home yet!  When she arrived home late that night and vouched for our coolness, they decided we were alright.

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I stayed up late catching up with Amy, which was lovely.

In addition to letting us stay with her, she was also the one who hooked us up with tickets to the OSU game.  And she dropped us off and picked us up so we didn’t have to deal with parking on or near campus during game day.  Seriously.  She’s awesome, that Amy.

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We walked around campus a little before the game and I waxed poetically about how different things look now.  (Except it wasn’t poetic.  I basically just said, “Wow – that’s different.  And that’s different.  And that’s different.”)

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We met up with Lyndse and Sara.  It was nice to see them, even though it was brief!

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Both teams looked a little rough in the first half, but things picked up later in the game and Oklahoma State won.

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We walked around campus a little bit and then drove around and grabbed Starbucks with Amy.

Then it was time to head into Oklahoma City, where we were meeting up with Tessa and her husband, who were kind enough to let us stay with them.  We went to Lake Hefner Grill for dinner and it was delicious.  I’m still annoyed that Tessa managed to grab the check before me and they bought our dinner.  But that just means that we owe them next time!  I’ll get you, my pretty….

There was football and lots of attention from Tessa and Ryan’s dogs – two English Mastiffs.

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Sunday morning they (umm, the humans, not the dogs) cooked us some tasty country ham and biscuits for breakfast, and then it was time for Kevin to go to the airport (he had to be in Denver for work on Monday) and for me to meet up with Jenny.

Returning to a place you love is fun and nostalgia inspiring.  But as I think about the weekend, I’m most struck by the wonderful people who were woven into it.  Maybe it’s the people who make the place?

Do you like returning to your alma mater?