Tag Archives: visit

2016: The High Points-Ranked

3 Jan

There was more bad times then good this year.  Or more accurately, a lot of the bad points overshadowed the good.  Or their were the normal good times, but the daily grind had a lot of negative.  But here, I have happily remembered many of the good.  From awesome to major thrill, here is my Top Moments Countdown:

Honorable mention:  The Trampled by Turtles concert with Lorn Huron as opener.  They put on a wonderful show (see review blog) but the venue totally ruined the whole thing.


11-Kelly Coffey circuit workouts/running on the trail in the summer

Cool has gained so much ground on this front, and it makes it fun, quality time instead of a chore.  It’s really nice to do it together.  And even though it was very hot (sometimes 104F) we both ran well AND had great attitudes about it.  I hope to continue our fitness stuff for a very long time.

10-Balloon Races/kayak

This went from the top spot last year to 10th!  But not because it was bad or anything.  I packed the car to the brim, but forgot one bag.  The one with all the cute outfits I had lovingly put together over the prior weeks and weeks.  It was a fun trip, as always, but even though there were technically more days IN the visit, we were way more rushed.  We didn’t even get to play yard games!  We have to plan better next time.  And some lady chastised my family when we sat down at Dawn Patrol.  Even though there’s no tickets and no seating arrangement.  She got ugly about it, saying “we’ve been here since 3AM.”  False.  They don’t open the gates until 4 AM, and shove it up your ass, lady.  I had fun, and I always love the balloon races, but we were kinda running around.  Plus, my mom was still recovering from her radiation/surgery.  And my dad was having trouble walking around so much.  We will do it better next visit!


9-Cool’s birthday in Park City

I bought Cool (and me) a massage package in Park City.  So we could try out being fancy (that’s not our life).  It was fun, but I just don’t think I’m a massage person.  Example:  They have a sign-in sheet and it asks what you don’t want in the massage.  I wrote “awkwardness.”  My gal was like, what do you mean you don’t want awkwardness?  Long pause.  What is awkwardness to you?”  Umm, THIS conversation.  And there was a hair treatment in the massage.  But that meant either you have to walk around with straight up oil in your wet hair–or shower.  So I had a weird semi-private shower, which I’m never a fan of.  So the massage was good, but I just am not going to submit myself to any more of that.  We did get to window shop in Park City and eat at High West, so that was nice.


8-getting the impossible raise

My worth ethic is unparalleled.  And my department under-pays so there is high turnover.  I ended up doing way more then my share (as I have always done) on a consistant basis.  The difference was, they keep track of checklists, so I saved them and wrote everything down.  Everyone in the company, everyone, everyone gets a standard 40 cent raise at their yearly review.  Everyone.  No exception.  But I worked more so I deserved more.  And I asked for it.  My supervisor said no no straight away.  I persisted that I worked very hard.  And they couldn’t deny that.  So the head of the department said he could try to ask for more, but it had only ever happened on very few rare occasions.  I said we could at least try, and he said he’d talk to his boss, but don’t get my hopes up.  I didn’t.  But the next week, he said I got it!  I got more than the standard 40 cent raise!!!  One of very few–nobody in recent memory.  But then, because he’s a douche and he doesn’t like me (because I caught him red-handed talking shit about me to another random employee AND went to HR about it)  he ruined the moment by saying, “You got lucky.”  No, you mother-fucker, I did not get lucky, I worked hard and earned it.  And Cool further ruined the occasion by picking one of our biggest fights ever.  So this should be higher on this list, but *sigh* other people. . .  I DID buy myself a really nice fitness tracker as a gift to me.  And it is hands free/cord free/phone free music.  Right on my wrist–with no other device necessary.

7-Zoo Brew

Best idea ever!  With or without alcohol.  The zoo put on a 21 and over event, which is genius.  I don’t always want to have kids pushing me, deal with screaming, and have little people running around scaring the animals and tapping on glass.  As long as you look at the zoo before the adults get out of the alcohol lines, you can see the animals before the adults start to exhibit (pun intended) this behavior.  It’s the first time we ever saw the palace cat out, because it was actually quiet.  Love!  And we went to the very first event, so nobody knew if it yet, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  Subsequent events were fun too, but word had spread and it was more crowded.  That May event–perfect!


6-my birthday:

I went extravegent for my bithday.  Not because it was a milestone year (33) but more because I had a job where I can take (paid) time off.  So I used it to my advantage and did bunches of things all week.  I got my hair dyed special. mussel-shooters-with-quail-egg She took the color out, then did a rinse so it was subtle, purple highlights.  I loved it!  And as soon as I catch up on money, I’ll get that again.  On your birthday you get to eat whatever you want, even if the other person doesn’t like that kind of food.  Cool is a very picky eater, so I always have to go without a lot of foods.  So I chose sushi.  The restaurant was cute, and had a mural and live music too.  I got a whole platter, which I never do, but it was my birthday, and I had to load up from the prior year of no sushi and the next year of no sushi.  And I got mussel shooters, which are fun to eat!  My actual birthday we paid for Red Butte gardens ($13/person and a total rip-off) which is MUCH smaller than Spokane’s free Manito Garden.  I won’t go back lizlard-wave-up-frontunless there’s a free day.  We went to Red Robin’s for lunch, which I wouldn’t choose, but my blood sugar got low and we had no other recourse and Cool panicked and got irritable.  Then we went to an independent theater and saw one of the films that had been at Sundance Film Festival.  It was “Swiss Army Man” see my review.  I liked it, and figured it out, so felt cool.  Then we had a Grapefruit Ballist Point beer on a patio and it was wonderful.  We had planned to go to our library’s coffee and chocolate class but some obnoxious lady sat immediately next to me, wouldn’t stop engaging me, and when she belched in my face I called it quits and walked out early.  Then sent a long complain letter to the event’s organizer–who turned out to be really, really sweet.  Signed us up for the next month’s (super competitive) class, gave me coupons for free coffee at the library shop, and gave me a birthday gift of 4 artisan chocolate bars!  Like, really sweet and very apologetic (that’s not usually my life).  Anyway, so we went to an oyster restaurant instead.  I like oysters, but found the restaurant very over-priced.  The day after my birthday, Cool had paid for an experience at the aviary.  I got to go in a private room with a parrot and a bird trainer.  The bird painted me a picture.  Well,  actually she went dab-dab dab with the sponge then looked for her food treat.  Then saw she had to dab more to get more food, so quickly dab-dab-dabbed in order to get more treats.  I got to take pictures right up next to her and took my painting by her home.  It was really neat to get up close and personal and she was a cute stuff.


5-Halloween Costumes

We loved the year we were trick-or-treating, and I’ve always loved Halloween.  But usually, one of us is stuck at work.  This year–neither of us were, so we wanted to do something really big.  A couple’s costume!  So on Sundays we brainstormed and brainstormed, and researched, and planned.  The best, easiest thing for us to do was “Lions Tigers and Bears–Oh my!”  We bought more then we wanted, and made some cool accessories.  Then, I face-paintedgracies-contest-004 gracies-contest-026my little heart out!  It took forever, but we looked good.  We had signed up for a fun-theme-run, so we dressed up for that.  And the zombies chased us.  Cool body-slammed a zombie, and outran the children.  At the end, they had voting for best costume.  Except, they forgot to call us up (they said if you think you’ll win just get up there anyway) so we had to push through the crowd–which Cool is never good at.  There was no raised stage or anything, we were just in a parking-lot, and as short people, we were probably obscured to anyone not in the front row.  And the dope-DJ who was running the thing didn’t say our name properly he called us “a lion and a tiger.”  The voting was by audience cheer.  We got second place, but after all the afore-mentioned factors, I think we were robbed!  And I think the first place winners had stacked the crowd.  So we felt we could do better.  When a local restaurant announced they were having a costume contest for cash prizes ($500 Sunday night, $500 Monday night–when it had been one night the year before for $1000) we had to try!  Even though it meant taking time off work.  So I requested a partial day off Sunday (working corporate and having not only paid vacation, but as-needed employees to cover shifts is so nice!) to gracies-contest-025get ready and go.  I did my very best face-painting work and we hung out at Gracie’s waiting for the voting.  And some ten foot tall tree man took our prize!  With some king and queen getting 2nd, and that Tim Burton wig head dude and his gal-friend taking 3rd.  Disagree and disagree.  We should have at least gotten 2nd!  So we tried one more time and dressed up for work on Monday.  Because their was a contest and a secret prize, and our boss encouraged everyone to dress up.  He didn’t encourage us for work-spirit or anything.  That douche is a nerd and his big hobby is making and dressing up in costumes–even though he’s like, 50.  He has a batman, that could legit-be used for one of the movies.  That’s how much time and money and effort he put into it.  That is an old costume of his.  This year, he was working on a Captain Sparrow costume.  Which I thought was only so-so.  How hard is it to get a mscl-halloween-contest-copydred-wig, a sash, and buy tall boots?!  So we thought we’d at least win the work contest and beat him–cause who doesn’t love a group costume?  But alas, our boss won the whole contest.  And some gal painted herself silver and wore deer antlers (big deal) and beat us for 2nd place.  We didn’t even place at all ūüė¶  So we had fun, and looked good, but this didn’t rank higher because nobody knows how to properly judge a contest, and we should have won, but didn’t.




4-my thousand day in a row mile

I ran so many days-in-a-row that I made it to #1000 this summer!  To commemorate the occasion, I made flyers at work, inviting people.  Even though I knew those duds and douches wouldn’t show, I was excited and there was an off-chance someone might share in that excitement–plus, I could get acknowledgement of my huge accomplishment, and tie it to my resume that way.  As part of the work in-a-row-2event, I made it a coin drive fund-raiser so we could adopt a bird at the aviary.  The money goes towards feeding and care and they give you free aviary passes, a plush of your bird, and a certificate.  Only my supervisor came to my mile, but I really hadn’t expected anyone at all, so that was OK. I wore my running skirt and felt awesome.  And I used our concert window chalk and painted my accomplishment all over Rusty.  On the way from the fundraiser to work, I was stuck in traffic.  I don’t use my air conditioner–ever–in order to save money, so my windows were both down.  I heard a, “I promise I’m not hitting on you.”  Firstly, I didn’t expect it.  Secondly, I thought–that can’t be for ME.  Thirdly, I was like–do I really want to engage with this?  So after a long time, I turned my head, and some guy stuck in the traffic jam beside me, asked, “Did you really run so many days in a row???  That’s cool!”  So that was nice.  While I was at work that night, our Hispanic cleaning gal brought her whole family inside our lab.  They all looked really happy, and they asked if any of us spoke Spanish–none of us do, all of us randomly speak German, if any second language at all.  Her husband had his phone and somehow conveyed that they wanted to buy a car.  I heard “Isuzu” and realized what happened.  They saw all my window paint, but couldn’t read English.  So they assumed I was selling my beautiful Rusty for $1000, and they were ready to take it that night!  I was like, “No, no,no, not for sale.”  And they looked very disappointed.  And everyone in my lab teased me that I broke their hearts for the rest of that week.  Only like 3 people at work donated to the coin drive (I TOLD you I work with duds) but 2 of them donated $20s.  So we got to adopt a bird for $50.  I chose a black vulture 1) because vultures are important to our world and Andy N. Condor has enlightened me to their cuteness and cause. 2) Little Chewy and Vader of Tracy Aviary didn’t have any sponsors for 2016, and that made me sad for them.  3)  Our lab is SO vulture!   We are the clean-up crew of the medical industry as we have to sniff out mistakes and correct them.  We deal with icky samples.  And–we’re all anti-social and sort of put-down upon by the hoity-toity management and the super-social client services and phlebotomists.   I hung the flyer, the certificate/facts, and the vulture plush in the lab.  Everybody likes it and we named out vulture plush, Culture, which is appropriate for us.


3-Brandi’s concert

Brandi always makes our list.  She always puts on an exciting show that you come away from amped up.  But the venue was awesome!  We were right in the middle of the Deer Valley bunny area, with mountains and trees all around.  And Park City is always fun–we of course snuck into their mini Arts-Fest (only for 2 min) and ate beer cheese pretzels and drank cocktails at our fave- High West.  It also made it the best time because we packed our own tailgate and pic-nic.  We had greek pitas, watermelon-rum slushees, salads and s’mores in (separate) mason jars.  It was delicious, and topped off the day nicely.  Oh, and we got the very best parking spot where we could exit the concert first, and easily, because one of the Deer Valley maintenance workers gave us a good tip.


2-Utah Arts Festival

It was bigger and better then I ever expected!  There were booths where we got to see SLC’s creative side.  The live music was cool, and we got to see Beats Antique–a legit band that made my countdown–at the end, right in the park.  The highlight of the day was getting a sampling of foods from there different food trucks.  And we came home with Rogue Bear and a beautiful pinned moth.



We wanted to do something on our holiday weekend, but didn’t know what exactly.  At that time, we lived right pioneer-days-rodeowithin walking of downtown, but lots of things were closed, and nothing pioneer-days-rodeo-2016spectacular was going on.  But they do convert the whole arena each year for “Pioneer Days Rodeo.”  We thought we’d go check it out and kill some time.  We both wore our best cowgirl outfits and walked down.  Out front we stumbled on to a signing!  It was my dream at pretty much every event I’ve ever attended to have a meet and greet with the main person, but that’s not my life.  And here, we were standing in the middle of a meet & greet, but we didn’t know who any of the rodeo people were. . .  Still, the main guy invited us to get autographs, gave us a magazine to get signed, we had hats for them to sign.  They talked, and took pictures.  Everyone was really nice!  And inside the rodeo we had a lot of fun and excitement watching all the events.  We had no idea we would like the rodeo so much!  We had SO much fun that while we were sitting in the stands, we used my phone to buy tickets for the next evening as well.


So that’s the best of 2016, and I look forward to an very very much better 2017!












Moments of 2015-Good

1 Jan

I usually like to post all my reflections by December 31st and all my aspirations on January 1st. ¬†Because of a full-time work schedule, and a holiday visit–it didn’t happen this year. ¬†I’m setting aside more time tomorrow to write, but I did want to get something up on the actual 1st. ¬†Even though I really didn’t have time because I spent the day rearranging the whole living room, organizing all the books, textbooks, class notes, and scrapbook items, and cleaning. ¬†And that was a huge project, which was worth it because it looks so much nicer in here, there is more space (somehow, even though we added a bunch), and it’s less cluttered. ¬†Anyway, so you’ll see the most important items in the countdown are unfinished. ¬†But the post has to be posted on this date, I’m hungry, and times a tickin. ¬†So I’ll edit it after dinner and after Cool goes to sleep, but for now–bare with me.

15-the relief of staying at the Missoula hotel at a halfway point in our move.

We hadn’t planned on spending the money. ¬†Plus, the cats are generally horrible in hotels, and no sleep is had anyway. ¬†But we finished packing, and loaded the Pensky in record time–like it was noon or something equally early. ¬†So we decided why stay in a dusty, empty apartment when we could just shave off some miles. ¬†We made a spur-of-the-moment reservation at our lucky hotel (lucky because they had an opening WITHOUT a reservation on Independence Day and saved me from a major allergy attack. ¬†And from camping at pow-wow in the dust (and allergens). ¬†The cats even slept a little that night and it made it a more bearable two day trip rather than one long haul.

14-getting a full-time position with a schedule that still allowed me to see Cool

You never know when homophobia will rear it’s ugly head. ¬†I wasn’t sure if any work or housing protections are in place for LGBT people. ¬†Besides, this is Utah–known for Mormons more than tolerance. ¬†Also, work has a policy against spouses working in the same department. ¬†Even though we’re not legal or married or domestically partnered in any way, if they want to make a case against you, they can usually find a way. ¬†In short, asking for an alternative schedule to SEE Cool was a touchy subject. ¬†With driving time, her job keeps her away from home from 8:15AM to 3:30PM and mine was supposed to be 4:30PM to 1:30AM. ¬†We would see each other for 1 hour each day–while getting undressed from work (Cool) ready for work (me), and eating dinner. ¬†It just wasn’t going to be enough. ¬†And especially with bipolar in the mix and needing to stay apprised of the situation, it was going to be a major hardship. ¬†I got brave and negotiated a good schedule, then it was promptly reneged (see bad moments blog). ¬†In the end, work couldn’t give that other bitch Sundays, because that left Saturdays empty. ¬†I was still not trained enough to take that day, and the other kid who could take it (and didn’t want Saturday, of course) is a lead–so he MUST work M-F. ¬†So because they couldn’t move the lead, I did end up getting my schedule. ¬†But not because they were doing me any favors. ¬†Still, I’ll take what I can get. ¬†And now I LOVE my schedule. ¬†It’s really ideal.

13-Temple Square at Christmas

temple square christmas

Who knew Mormon Christmas festivity would make my top-of-the-year list?! ¬†No, I haven’t been drinking the Utah koolade, it’s just that spectacular. ¬†Around the temple, every tree, bush, and pond is saturated with lights. ¬†There’s music and wreaths, and a really nice atmosphere. ¬†Both malls have decorations, and all of downtown is dressed up for Christmas. ¬†We took pictures, Cool stood in the middle of someone else’s marriage proposal, and we saw a fountain/light show to Christmas songs. ¬†The best part? ¬†We live within walking distance. ¬†We did not have to fight for parking or make our way through the heavy traffic to enjoy it. ¬†It’s so nice, people come from all over the state to partake.

12-exploring SLC, especially walking around the city

green haze

We didn’t move into this apartment complex to be downtown. ¬†It just so happened that the ONLY apartment in our price range that accepted pets, AND actually called us back was practilly downtown. ¬†We can walk less than a mile and be at both malls, the planetarium, the sports/concert arena, farmer’s market, the rapid transit–all downtown has to offer. ¬†We took full advantage on the warm days, and even some of the freezing ones, walking everywhere this year. ¬†And we’ve explored and taken pictures, and genuinely enjoyed this new city. ¬†I can’t wait to explore more areas while increasing our step counts.

11-getting true weekends off of work

My whole working life I worked weekends. ¬†Kennel work, of course, requires cleaning and feeding the animals. ¬†As an assistant, I had to medicate animals as well. ¬†In janitorial, those are the off-hours available to deep-clean. ¬†I’ve never had a true entire Saturday, entire Sunday off. ¬†Every weekend. ¬†So when I went to a corporate job it was a really nice treat being in sync with the rest of the world (and Cool). ¬†This only lasted for 3 months, but it was MY choice to work Sundays, and I exchanged it for Friday and Saturdays off and a late-start on Wednesday, so I’m still winning.

10-having a larger, brighter, more functional kitchen


I knew I didn’t love the galley kitchen in Spokompton. ¬†It was dark and unventilated and there was very little storage. ¬†But I didn’t really how much I hated it until I got a huge, bright, super-storage kitchen that was more open. ¬†All the kitchen stuff fits in it, AND there’s counter space!

9-getting a job in another state, before we moved

Moving is horribly stressful. ¬†And it’s expensive. ¬†I feel like it’s 2015, you should be able to secure jobs and housing online–but we are not there yet. ¬†You pretty much have to be IN the state you’re moving to in order to get the job and housing. ¬†Which is a major problme when you’re not made of money. ¬†Because where do you stay in the meantime? ¬†And how do you pay deposit and rent if you are not working (and you don’t know when you will be)? ¬†It’s very scary and logistically almost impossible. ¬†But, luckily, Cool’s Spokane company had openings within different departments in Utah. ¬†So she couldn’t tansfer, but she was pretty well guarenteed a position in the company. ¬†So she got a job. ¬†Then, they had another opening in her company, and since I have a medical background and a minor in chemistry (and knew Cool), I got a job. ¬†It was one of the greatest moments of my life because I was hired over the phone! ¬†And it was a big relief because it gave some answers to questions and a safety net.

8-the entire Christmas visit to my parents’ house–especially the owl painting.

our owls--mine, Cools, Dad, Mom

We saw my parents a third time–a record–over Christmas. ¬†It was special, because I’ve rarely gotten time off of work to go anywhere. ¬†Especially over a holiday. ¬†And Cool could come again. ¬†So it would be the biggest Christmas I’ve ever had. ¬†When I was growing up, it was just my parents and I because extended family lives in Montana where winter weather makes travel dangerous. ¬†And after I moved out, vet hospitals got busy because everyone else was on vacation so where either boarding pets or using that time to catch up on their appointments, or bringing them in for Christmas-related emergencies. ¬†So I always had to work, and be by myself over the holidays. ¬†So it was special just having the 4 of us together. ¬†But my parents had got Cool and I a surprise. ¬†And they were so excited about ¬†it. ¬†And really building up the anticipation. ¬†We were really worked up into a frenzy about what it could be. ¬†At the very end, I guessed it was a painting session, and I was right! ¬†So we were excited to try it because my parents had a good time with it previously–and you get to keep what you paint. ¬†And my dad especially was all weird when we got there, because he was actually excited to paint, and for us to paint. ¬†It’s a big deal, because he’s usually stoic. ¬†The painting process was fun, and seeing all of our creations was a pleasure that lasted and lasted. ¬†We gazed upon them, commented on their different personalities and styles, and looked some more. ¬†We rearranged them and rearranged them again. ¬†The whole thing was really the best from start to finish!

7-running on the trail with Cool

Aquarium with parents 134

Historically Cool HATES running. ¬†And she’s not fun to run with because she slacks off, complains, and just doesn’t want to be there. ¬†But this summer the stars aligned, she was in generally better shape, the weather was nice, and the trail new and beautiful. ¬†We ran almost every day together. ¬†She (mostly) actually ran, mostly without complaint too. ¬†It was a time we could work on our fitness, then we walked back to the car together. ¬†It was a really good time, being out and nature and having no distractions or screens, so we just caught up and talked to each other. ¬†It was really nice times and now that our schedules are opposite, I miss it terribly.

6-Getting to see Brandi Carlile in concert

brandi and twins onstage

Duh! ¬†Brandi always puts on an outstanding show. ¬†Even though I wasn’t in love with the new album, I loved the way she performed the songs live. ¬†She makes the crowd feel like family. ¬†She gets me jazzed up and also moves my heart. ¬†We weren’t stressed about standing in line or getting a good seat, so I was just able to relax and enjoy myself–unheard of for me.

5-Hope:  Moving to a better, cleaner city with better job prospects and working a job that might offer future (non-veterinary) prospects for me.

Spokane only offered so much. ¬†We had sort of burned through what few prospects it had and were reaching a dead-end. ¬†We didn’t want to get a Spokompton mentality or get stuck and be unable to move out, and unable to move UP in life. ¬†So coming to Utah was amazing. ¬†It opened doors and gave us options again. ¬†Plus it’s a really clean, safe, walkable city where Spokane is not.

4-getting a washer/dryer


This was a long time coming! ¬†I had been doing coin-op since I moved out of my parents house in 2003. ¬†And it sucked pretty much the whole time. ¬†Taking your laundry out of your house is a burdan. ¬†No matter the sute dorm bags, you still have to haul it. ¬†And not just out to the washer. ¬†You then have to leave the comfort of your house to change it to the dryer. ¬†That’s if you trusted enough to leave it unattended in the first place. ¬†Then you have to make a third trip to collect it from the dryer. ¬†And good luck getting it dry–it’s never dry! ¬†That costs a boat-load of money and forget any special care instructions or color-sorting. ¬†That’s just not practical. ¬†Also, think about if the cat pees on something. ¬†Or you spill something. ¬†Or after camping when everything is all icky. ¬†You can’t always go to the laundry facilities at 4AM or midnight, so you then have to store that ultra-dirty stuff. ¬†And it’s ick. ¬†So getting a washer/dryer was AMAZING! ¬†Now we are real people, and I love it pretty much every time I throw something into the laundry basket.

3-when my parents visited over the summer-especially the aviary day


It took my parents 5 years to visit me in Missouri. ¬†And we hadn’t seen them since 2010. ¬†So when they came to Salt Lake City almost immediately after we moved here, I was really excited. ¬†Even better, I had a training schedule at work that was only 25 hours per week–so I actually had time to see them. ¬†We visited the aquarium and went to Cheesecake Factory, and showed them a lot of the same sights we had just barely discovered. ¬†Nobody fought the whole time, which was a record! ¬†That hadn’t happened in forever–we had gone through such tumultuous times. ¬†So it was all really special and really fun. ¬†The best was when the 4 of us visited the Aviary. ¬†We got to feed Sun Canards by hand, watch a show, and just look at all the bird exhibits. ¬†I love going to animal places normally, and including my parents and Cool was optimal!

2-when Cool and I had the exact same schedule, and worked together

It seems like Cool and I are always ending up on opposite schedules. ¬†In Spokompton, I worked days, weekends, went to school, and pretty much studied the rest of the time. ¬†While she worked swing shift. ¬†We barely saw each other. ¬†Then, when we got here, we suddenly had the same job, in the same department, and we worked the exact same hours. ¬†We had the same sleep schedule, got to hang out together all day, then worked in the same room. ¬†I loved those¬†few months! ¬†We could do all the errands together instead of 1 person having to suffer through it alone. ¬†We could both clean the apartment at the same time, so it was faster and equal responsibility. ¬†Our runs could happen together. ¬†We had time to talk and hang out. . . ¬†Then at work, it’s independent, but we could take our breaks together. ¬†But then, Cool got an job offer doing billing in a cubicle upstairs which is more tailored to her personality, so in July or August, she went to the day shift and a different part of the building. ¬†But being together was sure nice while it lasted.

1-DMB/Hot air balloons

Reno Balloon Races 065

We visited Nevada and had a great time with my parents! ¬†My mom and I went in some historic railroad cars and got lost in Tahoe. ¬†We were both very scared (we’ve seen the helicopters searching for unprepared stupids on TV many times) and despite that, we never fought! ¬†Which is unheard of for us. ¬†Especially when there’s no buffer person with us. ¬†And very especially when we’re stressed. ¬†So that was a milestone. ¬†We also, on that trip, got to see Dave Matthews Band in Tahoe. ¬†Which our seats were in the perfect spot, and it was fun to have my mom along–since she hadn’t been to a real concert in forever. ¬†And DMB is always one of the best times. ¬†But, the very, very best time was the balloons. ¬†My mom and I had gone in 1994. ¬†And it was miserable. ¬†3 AM is too early, especially when you’re 9 yaesr old. ¬†Even though it’s September, Nevada is COLD at that time in the morning, and we hadn’t dressed for it. ¬†Also, back then, they didn’t sell blankets or sweatshirts, or warm beverages. ¬†We got starving, and they didn’t sell food back then either. ¬†My mom and I didn’t have a blanket to sit on, let alone chairs. ¬†So the whole time we were tired, cold, hungry, cold, uncomfortable, cold, dusty, and cold. ¬†It’s difficult to enjoy even the best things when you’re so physically uncomfortable–and I did not. ¬†So ever since then I wanted a do-over. ¬†I’d be prepared THIS time! ¬†But September and college in no way work together. ¬†Every time the Great Reno Balloon Race came around I was just starting school. ¬†Or in Missouri, and getting ready for the first round of exams. ¬†Or working at vet hospitals and unable to take a busy weekend off. ¬†This year, I was only working a training schedule–and they had screwed me over on that PRN deal, so I didn’t feel guilty at all taking a week off. ¬†I wasn’t in any kind of school for the first time in TEN years. ¬†We could stay with my parents so it didn’t cost a bunch of money to visit. ¬†I packed winter layers knowing I would be cold. ¬†We made our own snacks and took hot coffee in thermoses. ¬†We didn’t have chairs or remember a blanket, but everything else fell into place. ¬†I was ready to enjoy myself this time! ¬†We got a good parking spot and walked to the event, then stood/sat in one of the only empty areas. ¬†We got to see the dueling balloons in the dark, and¬†dawn patrol as the sun was rising. ¬†I got great pictures. ¬†Then, the BEST part was mass ascention. ¬†We had unknowingly sat right down in the middle of the field, so all the balloons were blown up all the way around us. ¬†We were right in the middle of the action! ¬†And I got more good pictures. ¬†It was even greater because my parents and Cool were there and everyone was in good spirits having a good time. ¬†I had anticipated the event so much, and had previously been so disappointed, that this was AMAZING! ¬†Now, I can’t wait to do it again.

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Overall, 2015 was a time of doubt and uncertainty.  But it was a very family-focused year and that salvaged things a lot.