Monday, September 24, 2012

Surprise! The Good Kind

We finally got to go down to Florence to the Post Office today to get our PO box!  I was inordinately excited about that for some reason and I was not disappointed.  First off, it's a bright, shiny Post Office with ample parking.  Secondly, although it was bustling, the line was short-ish and quick.  Thirdly, the postal worker (who's name I didn't get, because she wasn't wearing a name tag and I forgot to ask like a jerk) was super nice and friendly (on top of being expeditious and efficient).  And finally, I/we got a bunch of fun mail!

Look at that pile o' mail!  Return addresses have been blurred to protect the awesome.
My friend, Tiffany over at Fizzy Party, contacted a bunch of my friends through Facebook to send me mail at my new address (which wasn't yet an address) and my friend, Ellen, contacted all my embroidery buddies!  I received letters, cards, postcards and little treats from Oregon, Idaho, California, Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina, Nevada, and Florida with well wishes to me, Eric and the Beastie Grrrlz for our new home and new life chapter.  I wasn't really expecting much mail at all since it was supposed to take 7-10 days to forward our mail from Portland and it had only 6 days, so to get fourteen (14) pieces of the good kind of mail was a great surprise!  I feel so loved and blessed.  THANK YOU!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The New Normal I

There are two things that I already miss about Oregon, things that are so engrained in The Way Oregonians Do Things that I keep forgetting that I'm going to have to learn new ways as I become an Montanan.

The view from the driver seat the last I gassed up before moving.  I'm not normally one to spot inconsistencies in movies, but years ago when I watched Old Joy I noticed a thing that people from elsewhere probably didn't: the main character pumping his own gas at a rural station.  The film takes place and is filmed in Oregon: GOTCHA!

Almost everyone I know who has moved to Oregon from elsewhere dislikes it, but I love not pumping my own gas.  Well, more like I truly dislike pumping it myself.  Of course, I've done it before on road trips to other states or in other countries, but I always forget how to do it so I end up standing there at the pump looking confused and probably dumb and sometimes even failing to accomplish a complete filling.

Or you can just put your completed ballot in your outgoing mail, but these are nice if you wait until the last minute.  Photo from
 The other thing I'm really going to miss is vote-by-mail.  Man, it is SO NICE to participate in democracy while sitting at the kitchen table with the Voters Pamphlet, a ballot, and a beverage appropriate to the weather and time of day.  Not only is it convenient, it helps me be informed by the facts about the measures, not just the advertising and aggrandizing.  Also, a voter can vote and mail it up to a couple of weeks before election day and stop paying attention to the ever-increasing ads for and against everything, because I-already-voted-you-jerks.

In other news: Eric has taken sick (as per usual when traveling) so our area adventures are diminished by that and its effect on dog care.  Also, I ordered our new washer and dryer yesterday from the local Sears store at the mall and they will arrive on October 6 and 26, respectively. I'm inordinately excited about new laundry appliances; I hope I don't end up missing the old ones we sold with the house in Portland.

UPDATE: I pumped my gas today!  Almost all by myself, too!  Baby steps.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Big Move

Taken at the first rest stop on the trip.  It was dark:30 when we left my mom's house, after all.  Oof.
 We're here!  We spent an uneventful 10 hours and 45 minutes on the road, the dogs slept the entire way (Delia unaided by pharmaceuticals), and we settled in to the Staybridge Suites.

I kept trying to make Delia a tidy, little bed on the passenger side.  Delia kept reorganizing it to suit her napping needs.

We thought we'd get some kind of PODS style self-load moving container for the Big Move, but it turns out that of the 20 or so companies that offer this type of thing, only one delivers to Montana!  Too expensive.  After much discussion we decided on the 20' U-haul truck.  We picked it up Saturday afternoon and started packing boxes into it.  On Sunday "morning" Eric's dudes showed up to help move the big furniture and by 1p we had that sucker fully loaded... with 3/4 of our possessions. [cussing here]  So we picked up a 14' truck Monday morning and filled that to the gills and still had some stuff.  So we crammed both our cars and then convinced our moms to put some stuff in their garages. So much for my dreams of an organized and orderly move.

The only "nervousing" parts were in Portland, Tri-Cities, & Spokane.  I can't speak for Eric, but I forgot to even be nervous when we drove them over to the U-haul in Missoula to get the towing apparatus removed this morning.

We drove through 3 states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho) and into Montana.  Eric and I both found driving the trucks and towing the cars a lot easier than we expected.  We had good weather and minimal traffic the whole way.

State number three of the day.

Still, who's bright idea was it down at IDT to put a Missoula mileage sign every 2-7 miles?  If it was part of some devious scheme to make the panhandle feel wider, it worked brilliantly.  [shakes fist at (big) sky]

So now we have have to find all the digital device chargers.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Checking Off Bucket List III

Auntie Lisa's wonderful shot of the birthday girl!

Last year we had a birthday party for Betty for her first birthday where she and played with dog family and we visited with people family and friends.  This year was Delia's turn, even though it was just one week before the big move.

Big sister Betty and birthday girl Delia looking expectantly at Grandma Pat. (photo by Lisa Leggett)

This year we held it at the dog park where the girls play every day around 4p so that Delia could play with her friends and mama and papa wouldn't have to make the house or yard presentable to guests and safe for rowdy dogs amongst all the packing.

Party Central with a donation bucket for Delia's shelter of origin, dog and people treats, favors and water for people.  Water for dogs was in a bowl on the ground. 

Of course, I started planning in March and started making decorations in April.  Which is a good thing since in May we decided to move to Montana.  Ahem.  I started with this bunting inspired by something I saw on pinterest (of course).

dog_birthday_party dog_bunting
The "Delia Head Bunting" photographed by Auntie Lisa!

My inspiration was Delia herself; when she yawns her long, skinny tongue unfurls like a party blowout so I really had no choice but to make Delia-face blowouts!  The hardest part was finding tongue-pink blowouts that weren't printed with princess crowns or licensed characters.

dog_birthday_party puppy_party_blowouts
Bowl full of Delia-head blowouts

Like any kid's birthday party, my fur kids' parties have to have favors for the guests to take home and since all dog parents know that dogs are gross and all my friends have to have a sense of humor, I used a dog treat recipe to make a real-food version of that gross-dog favorite: Kitty Roca.  YUM!

dog_birthday_party dog_treat_favors kitty_roca
Looks like that canine favorite, cat poop, but it tastes & smells like... well, not cat poop.

People guests got decorated shortbread cookies.

dog_birthday_party dog_party_cookies

And best of all, Family Dogs New Life Shelter (where we found Delia) received lots of donations!  Because Delia has everything she needs and sometimes people feel compelled to bring gifts, we suggested donations for the shelter dogs who are waiting for a home. Delia delivered them herself like a big girl!  We also donated the left-over people and dog treats to the volunteers and staff of the shelter and its current residents.

dog_birthday_party donation_station
Used one of the merchandise display buckets from Bubble Off Plumb to collect donations.  I love how I can use magnets to attach signs!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Checking Off Bucket List II

Delia took to the sand just like it was the grass at the park! She and Betty chased tennis balls with more than the usual gusto.
One thing about never have lived outside the Willamette Valley is never having lived more than a couple of hours from the Pacific Ocean.  I don't go all that often, but there is something comforting about knowing I can get off the continent pretty quickly if for some reason I need to.  Zombies don't swim, after all.  We'd known that we "should" hit the beach before leaving, but we just haven't gotten around to it so we crammed it in just a couple of weeks before heading inland.  It will Delia's first time and today is also her first birthday.

Delia seemed to like the feel of warm sand on her belly and her face.
It was beautiful at Manzanita, but windy on the beach so after about 25 minutes of fetching we gathered our things and went in search of lunch.  At first we were thinking burgers, but then we saw seafood on the menu and each realized that it was a must to eat fish on our last beach visit while living in a state with an oceanic coastline.  After lunch, we came back for more dog-fun!

Betty did not stop zooming around from the time we hit the sand to the time we left.  "Kick it again, Papa!"
It was even windier when we returned and there must have been a dozen or more kite boarders in sight.  Betty was pretty curious about those on the beach, but mostly she wanted to fetch into the incoming tide.  See all that sand on the dogs in these photos?  We brushed ALL of it off and yet ALL of it is in the car and some of it is on their couch. Hey Science!  Explain that! Sigh.

Soooo ti-ohed. 
If only Betty were able to sleep all the way home and every other time we're in the car for longer than 30 minutes.  Instead she gets carsick which makes Delia not want to be in the back seat with her, which makes Betty want to be in the front seat with the rest of the family.  We came prepared, though, and I had an entire large-sized load of dog laundry to do when we arrived home.  Poor puppers.  We hope to get some sedatives for her for the Big Drive in a few weeks.