Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On (and Off) the Road Again

So here's what we actually did on Memorial Day......

"Can babies vomit inside the uterus?" Abby asked as I coaxed the Jeep slowly through another rock field on the mountainside high above the Stampede Valley. We were on a quest for the top of Verdi Peak, just 6 1/2 miles from the crossroads which we'd reached by way of Dog Valley and a few seemingly endless dirt roads through the wilderness. The beautiful scenery below us was tainted somewhat by the constant rocking of the Jeep on the the rough trail.....
I assured Abby that an unborn child has an undeveloped inner ear and no equilibrium - after all, they live upside down half the time, right?

Earlier that afternoon, after a disappointing start to our outing (vast burnt acres of scrubby brush), we discovered the beauty of Dog Valley. Who knew that just over the hill from Verdi (which, contrary to its name, is surely the brownest spot in Nevada) we would find a lush green valley with actual water flowing through it? Abby ran into the fields to snap some flower shots, while I checked the maps to figure out which trail to take next. The maps were a little confusing and some of the roads appeared not to be marked, so we had to get a little creative.

We should have simply headed back home after a little exploration and a few pictures, and maybe we should have turned around at the tight spots (Abby drove while I bent branches out of the way). But true to our nature, we were lured by the altitude and the intrigue of Verdi Peak, and though six and a half miles isn't far on the freeway, it's a little longer at five miles per hour. Enough said. Oh, except that we never actually reached the top, even after an hour's climb up the rocky road, because there was still too much snow at the top to drive through. If only we'd learn to apply the Christchurch resolution.....

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day

I don't know how to explain my feelings about America but I think a lot of people find themselves in the same place I am. I like America, I'm thankful for America, I'm thankful for the people who have given their lives, or their livelihood, to provide a safe place for me to live. But I don't often think about the military, I don't announce myself as American when in another country, and I don't wrap myself up in political battles. Memorial day is not a time to remember the military for me, it's a time we get off work. But I wish I wasn't so shallow.

This year I watched 60 minutes' show on injured veterans. I was amazed at the courage and allegiance of our soldiers. Although one injured soldier was using his platform to stand against the war, which is his right, another impressed me far more. Edward Wade, suffering with brain damage from being blown up, was asked if we should be in Iraq. He paused for a moment, his answer causing conflict inside him. But when prodded again to be honest, he replied, "Honestly, we should be there because the President has made that decision. "This man sacrificed dearly for the authority and cause that pushed him. And it was real sacrifice, he gave even when he didn't think it was such a good idea. I was humbled.

I wanted to write down this lesson so that I'd have to think about it. Maybe it also applies to you. But I have to ask myself, why am I so cowardly, why don't I willingly sacrifice for the leader I've been called to follow? And I'm not talking about the President since I'm not in his army. I'm under a much bigger Chief.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Congrats to Taylor

Although it's packed with filler, Tim and I always make sure we're up to speed with American Idol, even if we don't watch the whole thing. We've been rooting for Kathrine. She's georgeous, seriously can sing, and doesn't seem to be an airhead - what more could you ask for? As far as we can tell Taylor was picked by America because he was the underdog - but does America do kind things like that? So we still don't know how he won.
Did people think he was cooler then Chris? Sexier then Kat? Maybe America was looking for something uncool to be the next cool. That does sound cool. He's a good guy, good singer, very charismatic, I'm happy for him - but he's just not what you think of when you think American Idol and I want to figure it out. I mean, is it just me or does he remind anyone else of Edgar in Men in Black? You know, "It's a pet...a.. pet cat!"

So why did you choose Edgar...I mean Taylor?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I just want some dinner

Last Saturday 7-4 my job was sleeping. I did it well. But around 5 Tim and I knew we needed to get out of the house. We couldn't decide what to do, I could still barely lift my arms, so we just clipped a few coupons and headed out the door in hopes of exploring a new restaurant, walking downtown, or seeing a movie.

First we went downtown. We have a $100 gift certificate at a restaurant we'd never heard of thanks to some of Tim's relatives. We found it, nice, but we left the certificate at home so we'd have to go back later. We continued touring downtown having heard a lot of new, cool things are popping up down there. We figured we might find some golden nugget or use one of our coupons to a casino restaurant. We didn't see anything new, same smokers and traffic I grew up with 20 years ago, so around the block we went and out of the downtown area.

Our next coupon led us further down South Virginia to Stinger's Good Time Bar and Grille. I'd never been there but vaguely remembered it being next to my favorite steakhouse - Outback. The outside didn't look good but it was actually quite ornate compared to the inside. It was obviously more of a bar then a grille. There was not a soul in the dark joint...but there was a bathroom I could use.

So we then decided to ditch the car and go on foot to another restaurant - which one? We didn't know, we just started walking, looking, and trying to remember where something good might be. I suggested a retreat to Burger King and a movie but to no avail as they had painted my Burger King yellow and named it Philly Cheese Steak Something. So we kept walking, the side walk ran out, Tim like the knight he is offered to push me in an abandoned shopping cart, and we saw in the distance a Chevy's. We thought that should work. But first we literally ran into an Applebee's. The Spirit had spoken, my feet stopped there.

Fortunately they had a great little steak with garlic parmesan shrimp and a house salad that was souped up with all the extras. We split the meal making our own coupon price, had a nice walk, and went back home with a movie rental. I thought for a second the night was going to be a typical Morton disaster but it ended quite well! For some reason we thought you should know. And maybe we should ask, do other couples go out like this?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Okay...Accolades and Pottery

When I said in the last post we accept "accolades only please" I was trying to display my captivating writing skills. The whole truth is that we actually accept accolades and pottery. At the show we successfully traded this picture for this handmade pot with our neighboring exhibitor. The guy was very talented and he kept coming over to our booth saying I had nice composition - maybe he was hitting on me - anyway, Tim struck up a deal and we brought home this pot: retail value $65!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Pick a Title

As the sun rose over the horizon and the blue water rose in the sani huts our hopes of fame and fortune, no matter how small they were, only sunk deeper into the depths.

It had been a long day so we started thinking about titles we could use for our next blog post. You can pick your favorite and maybe it will also help you understand how things went.

"So now we're invisible" In reference to the fact that people walked by without even turning their heads to see if we were selling drugs or not.

"I guess I'll go pee now" In reference to the frequent visits to the sani huts by the pregnant lady and that fact that there was nothing else to do anyway.

"I don't know what I'm doing - Part 2" In reference to the fact that we don't know what we're doing.

"Hey how are ya" In reference to our sales tactic (a quick greeting and then a back away) that didn't work but we just kept saying it.

"Well that wasn't a waste of time" I think I was being sarcastic.

"People who hate beautiful things" In reference to the masses who stepped into the booth to say our pictures were great but their actions showed they obviously weren't into great things.

"Money not taken here - Accolades only please" I'm sure you get this one.

So we bombed...but Tim says the customers were the failures - they failed to buy. I think this may not be the correct avenue to get our photography to the world. If you saw how many people had their shirts tucked into their shorts, pants a little too long to be crops but not long enough to be pants, and so many varieties of wicker hats you might understand more how we just didn't fit in there. I can't judge their hearts, I'm sure they are all great people, but I'm also sure they want a picture of a cowboy matted in green and framed in wood to go over their green and maroon rounded sectional couch. Now the question is, are we willing to "whore" ourselves out (quoting my oldest brother) to reach this market or should we stay true to the pictures we shoot and the classic white mats and black frames we use to display them? Either way, I now think we have been inducted into the world of the artist...and the artist has it bad.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Flying to and from Portland this last weekend I got a little frustrated. I don't usually get so harassed by security. I'm a light packer that always flies right through. On the way there I flew alone (Tim had to drive a work truck to Portland to sell) on the way back we were together, both getting harassed. But getting harassed with a friend is better - at least we could kiss in the clear bullet proof holding tank. (I'm serious)

Here's my journal entry from the first traveling day.

I know there was a time when I used to like flying. That time has passed. It was really just security that ticked me off. I accidentally left an old, fake, swiss army knife in my purse. The smallest scissors and dullest knife on the planet. But of course 5 alarms go off, the search begins, the lecture follows: I'm now a criminal "wasting tax payers money because hazmat has to come destroy this item". Is it only me who sees that this is a swiss army knife? It's not a chemical weapon. So then get this. He continues his lecture and tells me the better thing to do would be not to bring it in the terminal but to leave it in an ashtray outside so at least someone could get some use out of it. If I had brought in something actually dangerous should he be telling me to leave it where any 5 year old could pick it up and stab his little friends? I apologize then for almost bringing a "weapon" on a plane under the supervision of a 26 year old pregnant lady with no mark on her record. Next time I will litter my weapons on the street outside the airport for any child or drunk to use so that I don't waste things. I'm sure I'm the illogical, dangerous one - me and that 85 year old grandmother getting frisked next to me.

I don't want to be mean to the people doing their job but is this not maddening sometimes?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Live from Portland

I have yet to see it rain in Portland.
This being my third visit to the city, I am frankly disappointed with the hot and sunny weather I keep seeing. As if we didn't see enough clear skies and sun in Reno. Why do we even come here?

For a baby shower, I guess. To see our newest nephew. And to play Settlers of Catan late into the night; to watch my brother-in-law come unglued when he loses to his wife.

That's right, Abby's first baby shower is today. And I'm here because I couldn't spend another night away from her. A Portland baby shower took her away from me once and I won't let it happen again. But will I be at the actual shower? Heck no. Dallas and I will be far, far away, perpetuating the vague confusion in our heads about what actually happens at a baby shower. My wife can't believe how foreign the whole concept is to me. And I can't understand what she tries to tell me. Are there guns there? Airplanes? No? XBox? No? What in the world do you women do together for hours?

Later this summer we will attempt a co-ed baby shower in Reno. We've had a number of conversations about how to market it to guys (we only expect married guys to come with their wives, so that's a little easier, but not much): barbecue meat. Play volleyball. Include dangerous games involving zip lines, darts, and/or water balloons. Don't talk about babies at all. Should work - we'll see.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I don't know what I'm doing

So I have this nice rock/water picture but I can't print it right. The expensive shops do it too brown or too blue. Walmart does it perfect but glossy and too small. What is a girl to do? Well, I changed the color a bunch of times today and am having them reprinted until I find one that works. Yes, there should be an easier way. This was fun when we were taking pictures but it's not anymore. I buy a bunch of crappy prints and Tim spends hours in the darkroom to get four pictures developed. No one leak this to the City of Sparks Art Department. They still think we know what we're doing.