Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chocolate Party

Tonight is the 4th annual Gardiner Chocolate Party. I only hope I don't go into sugar coma. Also, I'm a little worried that I won't have time to watch 4 episodes of Buffy this evening.

I'd never seen an episode of Buffy until late last week, when I discovered them on Hulu. Somehow, I missed that generation-defining aspect of pop culture back in the 90's. Well, folks, I'm making up for lost time now. I am now on Season 2 and am officially enamored of Angel. It's so annoying, though, b/c I can't gush about him to my friends b/c the show is so last decade. But let me just say...that man has such broad shoulders.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just another Manic Monday--Woah-Oh!

Ruffers kept me up pretty much all night last night. Not by snoring or running in his sleep or needing to go out every 5 minutes or any of the things you might think. No...he kept me awake by FARTING the WORST FARTS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!!!! They brought tears to my eyes even when my eyes were CLOSED!!! That dog is DISGUSTING!!!!!!

I have a new and weird love for washing dishes. I don't know where it came from, but I'm hoping it's not fleeting.

My friend Jerry and I had lunch on Friday--his last day in Bozeman. I feel bad that I didn't let him pick where we went. But I'm selfish that way. Hopefully his family is all moved into their new sweet house in Hamilton. Sounds like a great place. And it has a stream and garden and orchard on 2 acres, so if the global economy finally collapses and anarchy rules the world, they'll survive. Yay!

I found 2 people who really, really want to dogsit Ruffers since I may be gone 4 of the 8 weeks in Sept/Oct. I won't tell them about the farts.

I had to turn the heat on in the jeep on the way to work this morning, and a light to help me get dressed. It's like watching a loved one slowly die. Summer! Hang on, buddy!

I finally talked to Andrew the other night. He's much nicer than I remembered him being from those last hellacious days at work. He thinks I'll be Supt. of Yellowstone someday.

I worked 5.15 hours of overtime yesterday. I feel a combination of holy righteousness (even though I broke the Sabbath) and petulant martyrdom.

My friend Emma won Reserve Champion with her black angus 4-H steer, Julio, at the Park County Fair this weekend. I'm so proud!

I know 7 women that have either just given birth or are currently pregnant. Seriously, people. Knock it off. My clock can't take this much peer pressure.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Breaking News:

I heart The Chicago Manual of Style.

In other, sadder news, I am still in shock that Denzil and Pete's condo "set fire" and now pretty much all their furniture and clothes are lost. I weep. But thankfully, Ruby and Montgomery are ok and that's really all that matters.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Vacation, Part II

Day 2:
After a fairly decent sleep on the deck, I awoke at 6:30am to get ready to accompany Dad to town. He needed to pick up the camper for he and Mom and some supplies for the projects. I needed to rendevous with Mom and Teresa so we could go to Rapid for Savannah's baby shower.

After Mom and Teresa picked me up in Piedmont, we went back to Sturgis for the cake and then headed to Rapid City. Most of our conversation focused on Dallas' indecision regarding Harvard's request that he apply to go to school there and Hudson's dilemma over a BS or an AS and whether to stay at Full Sail or transfer to Black Hills State. Of course, I know exactly what they should do! ;)

It was great to see Grandma once we got to the apartment. Mom and Teresa had already put in a lot of work decorating the rooms and were putting the finishing touches on food and decor details. Grandma and I went to Target to get a few things and were caught in a massive rain storm! It rained so hard!

The shower was wonderful--Savannah is such a sweet girl and really seemed to appreciate all the attention and lovely presents. Her theme was classic Winnie the Pooh, which leant itself to several games and really cute decorations. My favorite was the table of different honey products where you got your name tag.

After the shower, we cleaned up and Teresa took Mom and I back to Sturgis where we picked up Grandma Murphy's car. I drove us out to the ranch and we arrived shortly before Midnight. It was a long day, but a very special one. Ruffers and I crawled back into the tent and passed out so that we could be up and at 'em bright and early the next morning.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Vacation, Part I

Yes, I started the new job this week, and yes, that's exciting. But, I'm very chronilogically oriented, so I can't talk about that until I talk about the trip to the ranch and the Black Hills last week. Which was absolutely wonderful, except for the 3 fires. More on that later.

Day 1: Saturday, June 27. Aaron got strep throat on Friday, so we decided that since he couldn't go to work on Saturday, he might as well be sick as a dog in the car on the way to South Dakota. So, I went up to Bozeman Saturday morning to help him load up the car and trailer. One thing led to another and boom...we're pulling out of Livingston (dinner at Mark's In & Out) at 6:30 pm. Yelp! We had an uneventful, yet time-bending, journey out to the ranch and didn't pull into the driveway at the house until 4:30am. That's late, Dave. Or early--whichever way you want to look at it. But boy were we tired puppies!

We slept for a few hours, although I kept waking up thinking someone was going to walk in the house and see Ruffers in there (he's contraband). I ended up getting up at around 11 or 12 and we got to work. We went to Union Center to get gas for the lawn mower. We tried to start the lawn mower (no dice...more on that later). We cleaned the battery cables on the old Dodge so that it would reliably start for the week. We vacuumed. We fixed the sink drain and got the water, freezer, stove, refridgerator, and water heater turned on. Then, we lounged. It was awesome sitting in a chair in the shade, patiently staring down the road for everyone to show up. So we stared. And stared. then we went for a drive in the old "watched pot never boils" trick. Didn't work. So we stared some more. Finally--down the hill comes Dad! Yay! Aaron jumped on his bike to race out and meet him while I ran up the hill by the garage to wave hello. It was great to see him! Shortly thereafter, Bonnie & Manda, Grandma & JoAnne showed up and it really got to be a family reunion.

Then, the unloading began. I cannot believe how much food went into that house. That's all I'm going to say about that.

That night, after sitting up talking and looking at stars (no mosquitoes!!!), I slept in my tent on the deck. It was lovely and quiet, and a good start to the family reunion.

Lessons learned:
  • Do not transport blueberries, asparagas, or cherries in a cooler that will ride on a lightweight trailer for 500 miles.
  • Do not underestimate Bonnie's love of butter.
  • When someone says they'll be there by 2pm and their last name is or ever was Murphy, do not believe them.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm all mixed up!

Happy? Sad? Anxious? Excited? Check, check, check, and check. All of the above. This is my last day as a museum technician. That's kind of sad, but also good. I can move on, build a career now. However, it's sure been fun over the last year plus to play with Yellowstone's history. Not that it's been rainbows and unicorns the whole time, but I feel like I've crossed the Rubicon here, only to leave.

I'm cleaning up my desk and it's not as emotional as I thought it would be.

Mostly, I'm just ready to get the heck out of here and get on the road for vacation!!!! The Murphy clan is convening at the ranch for a week of sunshine, work, and play. The Matts are bringing over some horses for us to ride, Dad and Aaron are bringing motorcycles, and all the "kids" will be there except for Kelli & Kathy. Of the "grandkids" it will only be Aaron, Anna, and myself. But it should be fun, fun, fun! I can't wait!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wearing the Green & Grey...

I took a break...I needed a break!

I just love paraphrasing Dirty Dancing. It makes me happy inside. Sorry if it gets old, but really, it's just part of my charm.

So...I needed a break because I didn't want to blog about my job hunt. And since that's pretty much all I've thought (obsessed) about for the last month and a half, I had to stop blogging.

However. The big news is....(drum roll, please)...

I GOT A JOB! Yahoo! I won't even have a break in service with the NPS because on July 6th, I become Yellowstone's newest Editorial Assistant! Yahoo! I can't believe it's happened. What a relief. I get to stay here. I get to start a new and challenging career. I will be working with the Comprehensive Planning office, editing plans for future changes to major developed areas in the park.'s a term position! Yipee! Health insurance and benefits, here I come! This is really a dream come true. I don't want to jinx myself, but this is just another step in the traditional path to permanency--intern, temp (STEP) for one year, and now term. Maybe, just maybe...I could actually have a career with the National Park Service.

Of course, I'm sad to leave the museum. I love working with the tangible evidence of Yellowstone's history. I love the friendships I've made here. Even though those friendships will continue since I'll still be in the park, they'll change. And change is really, really bad. At least, that's what my heart tells my more sensible brain. funding here ends in August, so this job is the best solution to my "how the heck am I going to stay here" dilemma. Now, I just have to figure out how to be a professional editor. Thank goodness for Amazon and their lovely selection of reference books.

Here is a run down of how I managed to land a job in these precarious economic times:

I began my job hunt in January, 2009 when I learned that my funding was ending at my current position. I was offered my job on Friday, June 12th at 3:30pm.

I sent out a total of 28 applications with customized resume and cover letter for each job.

I signed up for job list updates at and Higher

I stalked professional museum, heritage, newspapers, and state job lists daily, looking for jobs that met my salary and benefit requirements.

I also stalked,, and

I bit the bullet and travelled (on my own dime) 1800 miles round trip for a job interview in Brookings, SD for the SD Humanities Council. Even though I loved the job and its mission, I ultimately turned down their job offer because their salary (and benefits, or lack thereof) didn't quite meet my short- and long-term goals of a financially secure future.

I talked to friends, family, professors, and Facebook about my desire for a job.

I decided to focus my job search on a geographic area because I want to live in Montana or South Dakota. I also included UT and CO because they're close. And Texas because it would be nice to be closer to my parents. I then broadened my search out of the museum field to include project and program management. I identified that I would like to make a difference with my job, so I actively sought out jobs with the government and the Girl Scouts (weird combo, I know, but it works in my mind.)

When my friend told me about the editorial assistant job in Yellowstone, it was merely a rumor. So, even before the job was announced, I stopped in at the chief's office to introduce myself. She ended up talking to me informally for quite some time and was excited by my qualifications for the job and by the fact that I took the initiative to meet her. I kept up a casual correspondence with her throughout the hiring process and let her know that I really, really wanted this job. I took extra care with my federal application and let it sit overnight before I submitted it. I qualify for a GS-9 based on my education and experience, but said I would accept a GS-6 just to get my foot in the door as a term and to increase my chances of not getting blocked by a vet. As it turns out, I will start at a 6 and then get automatically increased to a 7 within six months.

I took examples of my writing and other projects to the interview and explained their significance. During the interview, I focused on my strong commitment to communication and education, which I feel apply to any project management or editing position. I also highlighted my experience with teams, which is important in a small office like this. I did a little name-dropping, but really focused on my own assets rather than that of my quasi-famous family members.

And above all, I searched my soul and came to grips with the idea of leaving my home and all my friends and a lot of my family if I needed to. Luckily, I haven't had to make that difficult decision, but I did a lot of mental prep work for that possibility. I prayed often, talked to my friends and family, and a shed a lot of tears. Ultimately, I'm glad I went through that experience. Hopefully, it will enable me to appreciate my new job more. I've never taken living in Montana for granted, but now I've proven to myself that I can make my commitment to my way of life last.

I have a job! Yay!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

My old blog...

I had a blog a few years ago and remembered some nice posts on it, but I couldn't for the life of me remember the address. Today, in a flash of brain activity, the address just popped into my head: It's fun to read about some of my adventures from 2005 & 2006. A lot has changed since then, thank goodness.

I got that afformentioned flash of brain activity b/c for the last 2 nights, I have gotten the best sleep that I've had in years. Literally, years. It's been amazing. I feel so alert!

Went for a hike last night after work with Ruffers. Very beautiful evening--rain storm over Electric Peak across the valley and the meadow larks were singing. We're still getting occasional snow showers, but it's supposed to be 85 in Bozeman on Monday when I meet Hali & Denzil for lunch. Yay!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


First baby bison of the year! So, so cute! It was nursing on its mama out on the football field in front of work this morning.

By the's snowing. Still/again/forever.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lazy days and Sunday...

There's just something about falling asleep while listening to public radio on a snowy grey afternoon in late April. Rain and snow in the forecast for the foreseeable future, drat. I hope we get some nice weather for the FS cabin next weekend!

Best get back to that radio...

Friday, April 24, 2009


It snowed all night. After my first hike of the year on Wednesday, where I laid on the grass and didn't even get muddy, this is what happens. You have to be strong to survive here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


It is a glorious day. I mean, the kind of day that when you walk outside the sun greets you like a physical presence on your face and bare arms and the inside of your car smells like toasted leather and dirt and the birds are making such a racket you're not sure if you love them or hate them. But mostly you love them. And the light is golden and the land around you has a newly-hatched look, even though on close inspection it's still just the same old brown hills and dusty streets. The light, after the hard glare of winter, is now a caressing, playful, friendly thing that brings smiles and the opening of both your arms and your soul. Your eyes, though, squint in the brightness, unaccustomed after the long dark winter to such plenty.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Life is so much...more open now!

Even though I have a few more edits to do on my paper, I'm pretty much done, done, done with my MA. The paperwork has been signed and hands have been shook. No more studying. No more feeling guilty while I procrastinate. No more thinking that no matter what I'm doing, it's not going to be good enough. Because, you know what? It was good enough. Yippee!

So last night I made a healthy dinner. And it was delish. I made lovely roasted asparagus w/ a divine soy/balsamic vinegar sauce. And I baked salmon in a tiny bit of butter and lemon which was perhaps the best salmon I've ever had. And then, I was going to make wild rice and a low-sugar, low-fat strawberry rhubarb crunch. Unfortunately, by the time I went to the store, took Ruffers for a walk, hung out at the football field waiting for a bison cow to give birth (which she never did and now the herd's gone, so I don't know what the heck happened), and got my act together, I didn't have time for the rice or dessert. So instead I had 2 dinner rolls w/ Brommel & Brown butter and blueberry-blackberry jelly. Kind of a starch/dessert in one deal. Life is good, good, good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alicia Murphy, MA

I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I now have a Masters in History!

This feels weird. Really weird.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Lovely, lovely day. I slept with the windows open last night and woke to a glorious morning. The sun was actually warm on my face as I let Ruffers out at around 8:00. The drive to Livingston was perfect. I saw a bald eagle, 2 ospreys on their nest, a big horn sheep ewe, 3 sandhill cranes, and lots of little baby calves. I love when calves are new--for the first few weeks they have pointy little behinds, and that silhouette really speaks of springtime, birth, and cuteness.

Brunch in Big Timber was as good as ever. And, I ate a lot, of course. But strangely, I'm hungry again already. Sigh.

There's green on the hillsides and the sky is blue, blue, blue. I came home over East River Road to immerse myself in the afternoon sunshine.

Now I'm ostensibly studying for my oral exams, which are tomorrow afternoon. I don't really know what else to study, because I feel that I've prepared pretty well. I hope this isn't false confidence. My aim is to not be cursing myself tomorrow at noon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I may be going to hell. Andrew & I just made up a story that the Easter bunny resuscitated Jesus in the tomb. Then when the rock was rolled away, Mary Magdalene and later the soldiers were awed to find only the Easter bunny, surrounded by brightly-colored eggs, in the place where Jesus had been. That's the lesser-known Easter miracle--how the bunny laid all those eggs.

Yup, sorry God. Just havin' a bit of fun on this holy day.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Highs in the happysphere!

Believe it or not,
I'm walking on air!
I never thought I could feel so free!!
I'm flyin' away on a wing and a prayer!
Who could it be?
Believe it or not...
It's just me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Ups and the Downs

Andrew gave his official resignation yesterday. He's moving on to greener pastures--literally. He'll be on a lush island just north of Seattle.

So...maybe I can get his job????

Nope. Colleen doesn't have the funding to fill the position, so that's not going to be an option.

I feel like I'm going to explode under the stress of all this. Either that or have a crying fit.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Singing out the day

Yonder come day,
Day is a'wakin!
Yonder come day,
Woah, my soul!

Yonder come day,
Day is a'wakin!
Sun is a'risin,
In my soul! that's a morning song and it's afternoon. But it just seems like a good, slow, hopefully positive tune to match my slow, kinda happy, sleepy mood. Plus, I'm leaving work in 3 minutes, so that's where the hopefully positive part comes in.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Today is much, much better

Wow. April Fool's Day really did a number on me! But after work yesterday I cleaned the terminals on my Jeep and then took it up to Livingston for a nice long drive. Dinner at Mark's made life all better again!

And Jessi just came down & gave me a check for the food that spoiled in the freezer. Yay! I won't bounce any checks this week! (Not that that ever happens anymore. But those destitute days in my early 20s have really stuck with me...)

Trying to make a really big decision, and really wishing I knew what to do.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This is just ridiculous...

I went up to Mammoth to sit in my car for the interview b/c that's where we get best reception. Well, the interview was really good. But then I went to start my Jeep and....clickclickclick. No starting. Uh oh. So, long story short, the folks at the HRC came up in the work van to rescue me, which was very nice. But then Andrew put the jumper cables on backwards, thereby potentially killing both my battery and the van's. Luckily, Ranger Keith (next door neighbor last summer) came up and jumped both the cars w/ his squad car. Whew! Hopefully my car will start again after work! I think it's just the corrosion around the battery cables that caused the problem. I hope so--a new starter is $500!

This day gets better & better!

It just gets better

Andrew and I just got into a big fight about whether or not it's right to levy a huge tax on cigarettes. I think it is. He thinks its discriminatory. He kept pulling out arguments and his final one was that we should tax government weapons b/c they kill more people than smoking does. He doesn't believe in the health effects of second-hand smoke. He thinks fossil fuels are luxuries. He doesn't think that tobacco is a luxury b/c it used to be part of soldiers' rations. I finally had to leave the room b/c I found myself raising my voice and telling him that his arguments were the stupidest things I've ever heard. When I came back in, he came over to my office and whispered "You're going down, Murphy." I cannot wait to be away from this kind of thing.

One of those days...

I hate days like this. It actually started last night when I discovered that the plumber that Jessi hired to come re-do our pipes had unplugged my freezer sometime last week. I'm thinking Wednesday. And so everything in it, including all the 4-H beef Mom and Dad gave me, and Heidi's elk meat from her folks, was ruined. Not a nice surprise.

Then this morning, I let Ruffers out, peed, and then went to let him back in and *poof* he was gone. So, I had to track him, in the new snow, in my pajamas, across the street and down a block. I only found him b/c he noticed 2 other loose dogs romping around near me. And then, when I saw him, he ignored my calls and went to play with the other dogs. I finally got him to me and flipped him over on his back and shook him by the scruff (I've read Monks of New Skete). He yelped like I was skinning him alive and ran back to the house. It's no effing wonder that he's sick all the time! Who knows how much garbage he ate on his little jaunt. Might I also add that he did the same thing on MONDAY morning at 6AM? When I was SICK and he was really SICK and had bloody diahrea the entire day? And I drove my car around the entire town, calling his name, for almost 1/2 hour before he magically showed up at the house again? He KNOWS he's supposed to stay near the house. I sure wish I could find his wireless fence collar, but I can't. And since it costs almost $150, I'm not going to be able to replace it any time soon. I'M SO MAD!

And then I got to work and realized I'd forgotten my ID badge.

And on the way back to the house to fetch the afformentioned badge, some idiot was sitting at an uncontrolled intersection. He was there before I came around a corner & saw him. He was on my right. He CLEARLY had the right-of-way. But no. He waved me through. Now, I realize that he was probably just trying to be nice, but I've totalled a car b/c someone wanted to be nice and break a traffic law. I don't want to do it again. Just obey the laws and no one will get hurt, people!

Ok. Rant done. I can only hope the rest of my day goes better. Like, for my job interview at 10:30.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I PASSED COMPS!!!!!!!!!!

Those 4 hours of frantic writing and searching my brain and then the days of second-guessing my essays are over! I've passed! Now I only have to finish my paper and endure my orals! Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let them eat CAKE when they're done with their comps!

Here's the fancy cake Denzil and Pete brought for all of us to eat on Friday. It's bee-u-ti-ful. And yummy. The flavor was pink champagne & it had a strawberry on top. Sweetpea Bakery in Bozeman, for future reference.

I lived!

Comps are over. Dinner w/ Hali, Denzil, and Pete at the Mint in Belgrade (Ka-ching!) is over. Amanda's house-warming/birthday party is over. I have a end-of-the-stress cold, even though the stress is still here. I worked on my paper yesterday, going over edits and finding more quotes to back up my broad statements. Ruffers was really, really sick all day long. I even called the vet and he prescribed Immodium for the poor guy. It's scary to see blood on the ground.

Interview tomorrow. I hope I can actually speak!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

T-Minus 1 Day...

Comps are tomorrow. Holy heck. I've been dreading these for about 2 and 1/2 years and tomorrow is the day. I am not prepared. I still have so much to read. Last night I was looking over my notes and realized I'd forgotten to re-read Fredrick Jackson Turner's essay about closing the frontier. HELLO! That's like, the most important essay in Western American History! Blurg! I am so, so dead. Plus, I had really bad stomach pains last night, so I couldn't focus very well. Man, oh man. Who's idea was it that I'd be able to work full time and finish grad school? Well, whoever it was, they were NUTS!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Note to self:

Do not order the chicken strips at The Town.

I want to die, now. Ugh.

Holy Blizzard, Batman!

Wow! I can't believe the storm western South Dakota is experiencing! It was almost 80* on Sunday and now they're in the midst of a crazy spring blizzard. It has solidified my desire to move back home to the Hills. I love storms, and we just don't get weather events like that around here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Feelin' Groovy...

I slept with the window open last night.

Yup, that's right. Of course, it was mostly to aid the carpet drying efforts in the dining room, but still. I didn't freeze to death. And Heidi and I went for a 4 mile walk last night and I was warm in my jacket. You'd never know I was in Yellowstone!

Before the walk, Jessi & I went up to Mammoth Hotel to watch the high school prom Grand March. It was so fun! I totally caught the excitement that was buzzing around the room and felt nervous and jazzed and hyped. The girls all looked so incredibly beautiful and the boys very handsome. And so young! And full of hope and expectations! Emma, who comes to help me look at bug traps at work about once a month and tells me all the details of her lovely life, looked particularly gorgeous. In the year that I've known her, she's turned into a young lady.

Studying for comps today and then going to Bozeman for a sushi party at Aaron's. Brian and Heather are here from TX and I can't wait to hear what they thought about their first experiences with snow. That's right. They're in their late 20s and have never seen snow before. Those crazy south-central Texans!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring is here!


While things are still brown here, I saw the first conclusive evidence of spring yesterday--several mountain bluebirds have arrived! I am not sure you understand how incredibly amazing that fact is and how much it makes me want to jump up and down and cry for joy.

Also, I turned the heater off in my house yesterday afternoon and haven't turned it back on again. Yes, it was warm enough under my down comforter to not have the heat on. Oh blessed day!

And, Bonnie made Easter reservations for us at The Grand in Big Timber!

Oh my gosh. I can barely breathe and I have butterflies in my stomach. All the drudgery of winter is justified in these giddy spring and summer days.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I scream, you scream...

We're going for ICE CREAM! A sure sign that summer's on its way. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last Month, in Wonderland

Jessi, Heidi, and I went down to Old Faithful for 2 nights in February. We caught a ride in the Pernod luggage coach and stayed in NPS employee housing, so the weekend was remarkably inexpensive. And mostly blissful. We had drinks and a few meals at the Old Faithful Lodge and spent time stalking geysers in the evening. We saw several go off, including Grand, which was one I hadn't seen before. Heidi and Jessi went X-C skiing on the full day that we were there but I, sluggard that I am, spent the entire day at the Lodge, sitting in front of the fire, studying. It was awesome. The only downside is that we had to ski back and forth from our little apartment. I actually like X-C skiing, except that it makes my feet hurt so bad, even after just a few minutes, that I want to fall down in the snow, curl up in a ball, and cry. Which really takes the joy out of something, you know?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bean porridge in the trash...

Icky. Icky, icky, icky!

Seldom do I made something that is totally inedible. But I spent over 10 hours doing so on Monday.

I ladeled up a nice bowl of my bean & ham soup last night for dinner, happy to finally taste it... and was revolted. I had a stomach ache afterwards. I am going to throw the entire crockpot of it away. That's how bad it was. The ham bone & cubed ham I had was from the honey-glazed ham at Thanksgiving and it gave the soup this nasty sweet undertone that no amount of salt could hide. I shudder.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The other blog obsession in my life...

Yes, is the funniest site on the Web, as I posted earlier. But my other favorite blog, which I am quickly becoming stalkerish over, is Pioneer Woman...she cooks! She takes beautiful pictures! She takes beautiful pictures of dogs and horses! She wins Blog of the Year at the Bloggies! Yay!

So very sleepy...

We had a St. Patty's Day brunch at work this morning. It was a potluck, so there was tons of food. I need a nap. Corned beef & hash, sausage, sausage cheese balls, scones, apples & carmel (my contribution b/c I ran out of ingredients last night and it was after 7pm so the store was closed), Irish soda bread, waffles...I feel like throwing up just thinking about it. But it was all so delicious.

On another note, I totally called it in my post of last week--after a weekend of good health, Ruffers was sick again in the wee sma's this morning. My bed sounds so incredibly comfortable right now...

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's raining, it's pouring...

...The old dog is snoring.

Just kidding, he's not. He's anxiously trying to lick up the broth from the soup that overflowed out of the crockpot. Problem is, it's in the back kitchen, which is carpeted. It's a hard-knock life for ol' R-dog.

It is raining, though. Snowing up in the mountains. Ruffers and I went for a brief walk around the block a bit ago and it was pretty miserable out. As only late winter in the Rockies can be. Cold, windy, muddy, and brown. Green up better happen soon. As Heidi would say, this is "slit-your-wrist weather."

I do like it, though, when it's miserable outside but inside is so nice and welcoming with some NPR, the kind light of shaded lamps, and the smell of soup that I'll get to eat...tomorrow. Actually, the wind was kinda pissy earlier and a few gusts shook the house, which is one of my favorite weather-related experiences. Such power in the wind, but even more power in the rocks and mortar that surround me. It's a small thrill to liven up a hermit-day.

I've done some studying, but as usual this semester, my brain can't really focus. I've seldom felt so distracted as I have recently. I read some of my papers to refresh my memory of the books I've read over the last two years, and was amazed at how well-written they were, full of insight and clever turn of phrases. I'm sure I couldn't put out that quality of work today. What happened to that girl?

Lucy braved the elements for about half and hour this afternoon. She's definitely not a rain kind of cat. She spent most of the day curled in her little red bed under the dining room table in front of the furnace. Sounds good to me.

And now...

Something to cheer me up:

Look at that grass! Last year was absolutely amazing out at the ranch! And the hood of the old Dodge truck, which Grandma bought just after Grandpa died 20 years ago. And the grasshopper smears on the windshield--I did my part in pest eradication that weekend. And look at that endless blue South Dakota sky. It will come again. Summer will be here.

Bean porridge hot...

I am making bean soup. I wish I could picture it, but Aaron's borrowing my camera. Figures that he would borrow my camera the week that I start a blog. Grumble. Anyway, I soaked the beans overnight and then kind of leisurely started adding ingredients this afternoon. And then...realized 2 bad things. 1. My huge crockpot is just barely big enough to hold the soup--this better freeze well. 2. This thing is going to take 10 hours to make. I started it at around noon. So I'll eat dinner tonight after I go to sleep.

Good thing I made cookies yesterday. They'll keep me going.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yummy yum yum

Heidi just came over for dinner for the 2nd Sunday in a row. Last week she brought over her homemade wild rice soup and some buttermilk biscuits that were one of the best things I've ever eaten. Ever. I mean, wow. And I made a spec-tic-tacular potato & ham soup. Topped it all off w/ a pie that Heidi's been stashing in my freezer since summer--apple & cherry w/ homemade whipped cream. It was great, but I was so incredibly full afterwards that I wanted to die.

This week I made scallops w/ a breaded topping and a creamy risotto (out of a box) (shhh...). Heidi brought devine asparagas in a foil pouch. And steamed broccoli. So much healthier and I don't want to die. Although the 5 gingersnaps I ate (made them this afternoon--Betty Crocker is absolutely genius) are a bit ridiculous.

On a related note, I got up this morning and thought...hmm...what to do, what to do. So Ruffers and I went for a long 3+ mile walk. Before breakfast. We went along the old railroad bed that runs far above the Yellowstone River. Ruffers had to be on leash b/c it's Park land, but other than that, the walk out was very nice. At one point, we came around a bend and saw, in the distance, two Canada geese walking along the trail. Just kind of poking along, looking around. They eventually left the trail when they noticed us coming up behind them (an eager dog and human walk much faster than two Canada geese). As we approached the spot they'd "ducked" out, we all scared the heck out of each other as they took off in an explosion of wings and honking. Ruffers was very excited.

After we got over the goose shock, and tired of walking along the river w/ no views of the Gallatins, I decided that we should climb the steep slope on our left and catch the gravel road that should have been just out of sight. We climbed the steep slope, and then the one after it, and came out with no view of the road. Drat! So now were were going cross country in Yellowstone. And the other part of "we" is of course the dog. Which is a species not allowed off trail. So we hot-footed it further along and I breathed a real sigh of relief when we got within 100 ft. of the road and we were once again inside the law. It actually wasn't a good idea at all to leave the nice sheltered trail--out on the exposed highlands, the wind came whipping along, bringing desultory snow. I had an earache within seconds. And, we couldn't see the mountains b/c of the low snow clouds. Dang it! But it was good to get out and we saw pronghorn antelope, elk, and a snowshoe hare. Ruffers was particularly interested in the hare. All in all, a good thing to do on a chilly Sunday morning.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Decisions, Decisions


or this...

The funniest stuff on the web...






Personal favorites: Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys and "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" Solid gold, folks.

I was just laughing so hard that Ruffers woke from his nap and came over to see if I was ok.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Goals for weekend...

  1. Study for Comps
  2. Eat ice cream
  3. Take Ruffers for 2 long walks
  4. Wash Dishes
  5. Study for Comps
  6. Listen to radio
  7. Watch some netflix
  8. Study for Comps
  9. Work on professional paper
  10. Study for Comps
  11. Make weekly trash run
  12. Study for Comps
  13. Sleep
  14. Study for Comps

(My hope is that if I say it enough times, I'll actually get some studying done.)

I heart postcards

I just cataloged 4 of the coolest postcards I've ever seen. They're "real photo" postcards, which means that someone took pictures and then stamped the postcard format on the back, and oila--you have a postcard! These were of a roof fire at the Yellowstone admin building back in 1911. The sender, Frank, was one of the firefighters & put a little "x" over himself in each picture so that Miss Frany in Tacoma, WA would know which one he was. Frank signs each card w/ "hugs", "kisses," or "love." AAAAwwww!!! Pretty cute, especially for 1911!

That Dumb Dog

After months of good health, Ruffers has slid downhill again and has been getting sick every other day for the last few weeks. Frustrating? Yes. Infuriating? Yes...especially at 3 am when he needs out. And then at 3:25...and 4:10...and 4:40...and 5:06...and 5:15. And if I leave him out, he just barks. A loud, high-pitched, panicky bark that wakes not only me, but the whole neighborhood. I am sleep-deprived and resentful. Not a good combo. At least it's Friday! Yay! Dollars-to-donuts, he won't be sick again till Monday night, just when I'm trying to gear up for the new week. Blast!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ssshhh! I'm hunting jobs!

I have had a job, of one kind or another, since I was 14 years old. I have never had any trouble finding work. And not just any old jobs. I've had some pretty cool ones. Like groom, team leader at indoor playground, camp nature specialist on Cape Cod, Electronic Communications Specialist for a non-profit, Web Coordinator for a university, and now museum tech in Yellowstone National park, to name some of the better jobs. But I've put 19 resumes out into the world, and not a single nibble. I obsess over email. I compulsively check my phone, except on the days I leave it at home in a not-so-sneaky way of reverse psychology tricking someone into calling me. I've been turned down by two, but the other 17 are silent as the grave. COME ON, PEOPLE! The closing dates have just closed on several, and a few more are coming up soon. Hopefully, I'll hear something soon. So I can stop panicking. And obsessing. And trying reverse psychology, which is just silly anyway.


Heavens, I love how self-indulgent this whole blog thing is. It's all about me, me, me. That's awesome. And if you think I'm kidding...I'm not.

Well Hello There!

Not that I reallly think my life is so epic. However, my friend Hali, after listening to me describe the horrendous search for housing near Yellowstone National Park last spring, exclaimed in subdued awe..."Alicia...your life is so epic!" (Because that's what my real name is and that's what most people still call me--Allie's just an affectation) And I haven't forgotten since then to look at my life as interesting. Because is there anything worse than boring? And I don't mean that I color my hair or body weird colors or put a bunch of metal in my face and dance by the light of the moon. I'm not that kind of interesting. But I think (hope) that my life is interesting in a American comedy/drama normal kind of way.

For instance. I live two blocks from Yellowstone National Park. I have a one-eyed dog named Ruffers (because dogs go "Ruff-Ruff"). On Tuesday, I vaccuumed both a bald eagle and a bison. The bison has a much nicer mohawk now.