5 things I’m loving right now

  1. love-handThe beautiful weather we had during most of the weekend. Spring time in Colorado is glorious.
  2. Having my mom around after my neck thing last week to take care of me. Is there anything better than having mom look after you when you feel poorly?
  3. Having a restful weekend after so many weeks of running around, feeling busy all the time. It’s nice to just scale it back now and then.
  4. A huge church full of people using the Wham City Lights app. The app, essentially, lets the crowd become the light show as their phones flash and change color to the beat of the music. It was so cool!
  5. Being back home so I could do some good meal prep for the week. I loved spending time with my little brother and his family and then time with my folks, but I’ve come to really like spending Sunday afternoon/evening prepping healthy meals for the week. It makes all the difference when it comes to eating well.

Wherein the trip goes up in flames. Literally.

So, last Friday was a day that will go down in infamy in my family and will be the topic of conversation for many, many, many years. It will go down as the day we set my little brother and sister-in-law’s yard on fire.

The day started with Logan and I going to visit the historical site of Jamestown. Nothing super crazy. Then we headed home to get some meat smoking and grilling for a little BBQ with some of their friends.

But, before we go there, I have to explain what happened in the interim. My little brother was sporting an epic beard when I arrived. I mean, strangers commented on the regular. But it was time for it to go, but not without some amusement first. So, we carved a magnificent Fu Manchu and some bushy sideburns into that mess for giggles.

Then Logan decided to start up the smoker in the backyard for some ribs. Their house is less than a year old and there’s no deck yet, so he placed it on the grass, which is dry, dry, dry and hasn’t started greening up yet. Nicki and I suggested he move the smoker to the driveway, since the grass looked like tinder just waiting to combust.

About mid-way through smoking the ribs, the heat in the smoker was dropping and we couldn’t get it back up by just adding more coals and wood chips so Logan decided to heat up some coals on the grill in the backyard and transfer them to the smoker in this little gadget he has for such things. A few minutes after adding the new coalsĀ  a couple of construction workers working on a house behind them come tearing around the side of their house yelling, “FIRE!”

We look around the house and sure and shit, the yard is on fire and spreading quickly. “Call 911!” Logan yells to Nicki while he grabs a hose to hook up to the spigot. I go out back to see what’s up to find a good seven or eight construction workers out there shoveling dirt on the grass from the dug-out foundation behind the house in an effort to save the new fence from going up while other guys are moving toys and furniture, slapping the ground with shovels, and dumping Landon’s bubbles on the grass. It was a scene. But it was quickly under control, thanks to these guys who were likely thinking, “Shit! We just finished this house! We DON’T want to start over!”

When it became apparent everything was going to be okay, Logan and I took one look at each other and burst into laughter. The kind where it’s hard to breathe. I mean, what else do you do in a situation like this? Nicki’s at the backdoor with Landon, who’d been abruptly grabbed out of his crib lest the back of the house go up in flames, on the phone with 911 shaking her head at us, clearly unamused.

I turned to Logan and said, “Dude, the firefighters are going to show up and here you stand in shorts – nothing else, holding a beer and a hose with that ridiculous facial hair. You look like a damned hillbilly!” That set off a whole new round of laughter as did our thoughts on the conversations the construction workers would all be having that night at home. “So, let me tell you about this stupid gringo who set his lawn on fire today…”

The upshot is that the firefighters told us that burning the grass likely did it a favor – it’ll come in greener and more lush now. In fact, they were headed over to the local horse track to do a controlled (ahem) burn for that very reason. After they left, Logan and I joked we should burn the other half of the lawn for a more uniform look.

For the next few days, every time I looked out, I’d laugh again. What a couple of bozos.


No idea what’s on Landon’s face, but I love how the dog is laying in the burn area
like, “What? I don’t see a problem.”



Confession Thursday

  1. Confession While visiting The Holocaust Museum in DC, I realized that when I’m emotional about something, I place my hand (generally my left hand) over the middle of my chest.
  2. Speaking of hands over hearts, while watching a wreath ceremony at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery I was dismayed by how many people did not remove their hats and place them over their hearts while Taps was being played on a bugle. So disrespectful.
  3. I’m headed into another big neck procedure today. The last time I did this it was a quick snowball into a very difficult time in my life (a break-up, a big move, etc.). I’m hoping that being in a better place in life mentally, and emotionally will work in my favor.
  4. I didn’t fall off the wagon entirely during my vacation, but I certainly didn’t eat great, was terrible about drinking water, and didn’t exercise. And it showed. But, after being back on track for a few days, all of that damage is gone. Just another reason why I love AdvoCare!
  5. Lately I’ve been really stretching myself outside of my comfort zone in so many ways. I’m glad I’m going this and glad for the lessons it’s teaching me. But it ain’t easy some times!

A glutton for punishment

During my trip to Virginia, I knew I wanted to get up to DC to take in a few sights. Logan was nice enough to oblige and drive up there with me and hang out for a few days to show me around.

There are a TON of things to see and do up there, but I knew we’d only have a few days and I didn’t want to make the whole thing a mad dash, so I chose a few things to see. The Holocaust Museum, The Vietnam Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery. You know, all the happy stuff.

So we headed up one morning to DC to go to The Holocaust Museum. Now, the first chunk and last chunk of the main exhibit is, honestly, a tad boring. It’s all the politics and whatnot that lead to WWII and such. Not terribly enthralling, in my opinion. But the middle chunk will tear your heart out.

There comes a point where you have no choice but to walk through a cattle car used to transport Jews to concentration camps over the very track that car ran over. All original stuff. I got mid-way through that cattle car and teared up thinking about 100 people crammed inside headed to certain death. For the next 30 minutes, it only gets worse as you walk through a room of shoes taken from the concentration camp prisoners, and past photos of piles of their hair shorn off, and watch very graphic video footage taken by the allied forces after liberating several camps. Yeah. Intense stuff. And so, so, so important to witness. I did my best to watch all of the video footage as a way to pay homage, but it just got to be too much at a certain point.

Then we drove to Baltimore to stay the night near the Inner Harbor. Why Baltimore? Read this to find out. We walked around, ate some crab cakes overlooking the harbor, drank some beers, and just chatted for hours. It was awesome.

IMG_20140409_192224The next morning we drove back to DC and went straight to Arlington National Cemetery. The cherry trees were blossoming, the sky was blue, and there was a nice breeze.

Now, I was prepared for Arlington to be large, but not that large. The gravity of a military cemetery that huge is, well, huge. We were fortunate enough to get to see two wreath ceremonies bookended by Changing of the Guard ceremonies at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was so cool to watch these guys. The discipline is amazing. Logan was able to tell me quite a bit about what’s required of these soldiers, but a bit more research yielded this article, which really highlights just how difficult and painstaking their post is.

Next we walked over the Potomac to see the Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial, The WWII Memorial, and the Korean Memorial. They’re all relatively close together, so we figured why not?

IMG_20140409_201433The most powerful of all of those memorials, for me, was the Vietnam Memorial. As you walk up, it seems almost bland, or boring, or nondescript. But once you get up close to it and realize how tall it is at its apex and how many names are etched in the granite, the weight of that hits you and takes your breath away. The other memorials are cool to see, but there’s something about the simplicity in form, and yet the huge impact of the names, that makes the Vietnam Memorial something special.

And then it was time to head home and relieve Nicki of a toddler constantly saying, “A Auntie Annie go? A daddy go?” (Meaning “where did Auntie Annie and daddy go?)




Pulling off a good prank

I don’t really try to pull pranks on people all that often and I’m generally not all that great at it. Although, this long-standing scenario is pretty impressive, I think.

Anyway, as I was headed out of town to visit my brother, I decided to send a funny photo to a friend to try to cheer him up. He’d pulled this sucker on me a few months back, so I knew I couldn’t get this past him, but I knew it would at least get a chuckle.

And then I decided to send the photo to Logan to see if he would buy it.

So, here’s the photo:


That’s my tongue acting as my upper lip with my lower lip
all pooched out so I look like I had a bad round of lip injections

And here’s the text exchange:

Me: So, I did a dumb thing and got lip injections. Just a heads up… (with photo attached)

Logan: April fools was on the first, Annie. Nice try.

Me: It’s not a joke. You’re so insensitive.

Logan: For reals?

Me: Yeah. I hope they go down at some point here soon. Such a bad, bad idea.

Logan: When did you do this?

Me: A few days ago. I knew I’d be a little swollen, but this is insane. I feel like a f-ing clown.

Logan: Whelps, I don’t know what to say.

Me: See you soon and you can kick my butt for being so dumb.

Logan: Will do…

As all of this is transpiring, I’m laughing hard enough to draw attention in the airport. I almost caved immediately, but decided to try to convince him just to see what I could get away with.

As he exits the car when he picks me up, he says, “You don’t look all that ba…oh! F*** you!” Gotcha!

Apparently this photo yielded hours of conversation for he and his wife Nicki. They questioned whether or not it was Photoshopped. They looked up pictures of fish with ridiculous mouths as a way to come up with a new nickname for me. Nicki mentioned the scenario to her mom and they all agreed this was VERY unlike me and that they were shocked! Logan contemplated driving by me at the airport and circling around to proclaim, “Sorry, I didn’t recognize you!”

All along Logan keeps saying to Nicki that while he’ll resort to his known nature at some point and unleash holy hell on me by making fun of me for my bad decision, he wants to exercise restraint at first in an effort to be sensitive and test out the waters because I seem to be really upset about the situation. Aw, sweet guy – up until the moment that he would, indeed, have been an epic brat had the situation been real. I know him too well.

Bottom line, I’m pretty proud of this one! As was he. Sucker.


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