Sunday, September 25, 2011

48 Hours In Utah

McPolin Farm Park Cities, Utah

Wowzers!  My trip to Utah to celebrate the nuptials of my home girl G Money began bright and early Friday morning...  1:45 am, 2:38 am, 3:41 am to be exact, and I finally just pitched in the towel around 4:40 am...  My alarm was set for 5:30 am.  Boo internal rooster.  I hear this is what happens as you get older, however my pounding heart indicated that it wasn't merely old age at work.  I was getting espresso sized shots of cortisol roughly every hour after midnight.  Neat trick Mr. Adrenal Gland.  Neat.  Trick.

Friday morning at Austin International Airport is a busy, busy, busy time.  I almost had to push down a posse of college boys sporting Lutheran College shirts cuz they were so GD slow in the breakfast taco line.  Momma was hungry.  And tired.  Which means Momma was a hair's breadth away from killin' folk.  I was about to put the beat down on those choads until I realized I could order at the little computer kiosk.  Awesome.  And thus I was saved from being tackled by TSA and possible assault charges.  No one got bitten 'cept the most delicious bacon, egg and cheesy breakfast sammie.  Ever.  Yum.

I flew Delta which was the first time since I can recall.  Potentially the first time ever.  It was a tee-tiny fast as F-word mama jama.  I somehow managed to pack 3 pairs of sandals, 1 pair of heels (gasp), a pair of winter boots, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 cuteashell sweaters, 1 swim suit, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 t-shirts, jammies, a gallon sized plastic bag of tiny toiletries AND my blow dryer in one red carry-on bag plus a bulging backpack.  Boo yah, bitches.  Boo yah.  Yes, it may have weighed approximately 50 pounds combined but it was still FREE, so there ;)

I got a 'lil pink tag for my red roly bag when I scanned my ticket at boarding and then a fella  (I'm almost CERTAIN he said he was our PILOT)  took it from me and stored it under our plane...  (Still free!)  I hope Delta pays their pilots extra for these little luxuries.  It made me smile to myself and I thought out loud to the gentleman behind me as I'm often apt to do, "Well...  That's neat.  I wonder if it makes him fly more safely because he's seen all of our smiling faces?"

Verdict says:  No.  Or since we didn't crash, I guess he was flying safe...  Any who, all I could picture on take off  (other than stuffing a dirty gym sock in the mouth of the woman 2 ROWS behind me that we shall now refer to as the OVER SHARER) was his long curly, well groomed hair gently waving in the breeze of the pilots cabin as the g force from our 10 second take off plastered the rest of us passengers to our seatbacks.  Just as we had almost reached cruising 'tude he banked East so hard we saw all of Austin at a stunning 45 degree angle and the chick sitting next to me almost got to see what I ate for breakfast.  That take off was legit y'all.

Austin Aerial.  Stolen from the internet here:

Back to the in-cabin fiesta.  As I was trying to sit in my seat upon boarding, the flight attendant walked up behind me and NEVER SLOWED down.  Like my backpack is in the aisle.  I'm trying to sit in my seat simultaneously while trying to shove a 30 pound back pack into a 10 pound bag alcove in front of my feet.  I was trying to lift my feet that had somehow become tangled in the arm straps of the same damn  (but really well packed)  backpack and Godzilla was like PUSHING me.  I almost had to hit a sister.  No, truthfully I almost asked her if she wouldn't just prefer to jump over.  About 5 minutes later she paid me back for my dawdling by throwing her chunky elbow into the side of my head as she walked past.

Godzilla 2 - Gator 0.

Oh!  I almost forgot.  She handed me my ice water and then booty bumped my elbow so hard that I almost ended up wearing the whole cup.

The replay shows, Godzilla 3 - Gator 0.

And then there was the over sharer.  The worst 10 minutes of my LIFE was taxi, takeoff and that time before we can turn our beautiful, wonderful electronic devices back on to drown out the weirdos.  For real.  She either owns the world's oldest functioning uterus, or she has adopted children, or she just likes to spin tall tales.  She told her poor seat mate and the rest of the 44 passengers aboard our flight all about her 5 kids ranging from college age to diapers.  Activities, intellect, driving abilities, personalities...  OMG she would not shut up.

Best part?  Her soundtrack was punctuated by the smell of baby farts.  Between she and I sat a little baby with what seemed to be severe gastrointestinal issues.  And may I suggest to his parents that dairy does not seem to agree with their stinky little angel?  Or maybe it was Dad...

Any way, I do realize that my last comment has just insured that any children that I may or may not ever own will only shit outside of their diapers, in public places.  Awesome.

Landing was almost as much fun as take off...  If you don't count all the turbulence and crying from seat 14B.  No...  The ass dropping baby was sitting in 15B.  The cries seemed to be originating from my own body.

But we lived...  And THEN...

While standing in line to pick up our rental car for tooling around SLC a large fellow with very scary toes approached me.  Like, his toe nails looked exactly like shanks that he had carefully been cultivating in prison.  Ew.  Any who, scary toes was so engrossed with his phone call regarding bail bondsman, which posse of attorneys to contact and keeping his swim trunks aboard his scaly body, he failed to notice that he cut in front of Momma Hungry Bear.  In a line where I was already 12 Mormons deep, I couldn't bear  (pun intended)  to wait even 5 minutes longer to secure my ride yo, and most importantly my lunch.

After his 20 minute conversation he pocketed the phone long enough for me to say, "Pardon me sir.  I believe I was in front of you."

To which came his less than friendly reply, "I'm from Hawaii, where we just don't get in a hurry. (Unless you wanted to count his most recent and slightly frantic get someone outa jail convo.)  If you're in that big of a hurry you just go right ahead and get up here."

At this point I'm trying not to make eye contact with Crazy Island Guy while I finished a text to my mother that said, "Sweet Baby Jesus I really just went and did it now.  Don't be alarmed, but I love you very much and the man that I'm about to go hand to hand with is ugly AND smelly with toenails that should be classified as weapons."

I've heard you shouldn't make eye contact with wild animals (or was it dogs?) because it can be perceived as aggressive behavior further perpetuating dangerous "situations," if you will...  But alas it didn't seem to be helping.  All the full grown menfolk standing about were visibly and courageously melting into the concourse leaving me a lone woman on an island of self made insanity.

Mr. Crazy Pants continued his rant as I began to steam, "Know what I'm gonna do for you? I'm gonna pay all these people 20 bucks so you can go straight to the front of the line!  Right now!  I'll make that guys whole day!"

"No thanks."  I said, less than successfully biting back my sarcasm. "That won't be necessary but aren't you generous and ever so helpful?"

Crazy:  "You're WELCOME!  Glad I could HELP!

Gator:  "Yeah buddy, thanks a lot."

Crazy:  "And I hope you learned something from this conversation today.  This'll be one conversation you won't ever forget!"

Gator:  Now standing at my full height and channeling Colonel Crazy Makookoo myself, totally catching Crazy Pants off guard with my full blown death stare...  "Oh really?  And what LESSON would that be?"

Why is it that I continued to poke Mr Shanks-Fer-Toes you ask?  Who knows?  Actually, it's recently been called to my attention that I occasionally like some spicy drama, I like to pretend to be "in control" and I also like to be "right."  Laughable, yes?  But mostly I just wanted to hear this nut job's twisted logic.  It was like watching Bella smash into the side of the bed when she's launched herself too low.  I kinda know it won't end well, but I can't turn away from the horror.

Mr. Sandals-Were-A-Poor-Choice-O-Foot-Garb finished with his coupe de grace, "ALOHA!  That's what you've learned today.  You've learned to say ALOHA."

TOTALLY lame...  But an admirable recovery as I'm certain he too was momentarily unsure of the important and memorable lesson at hand.

I made my, "Hmmm, well aren't you an ass hat face," spun on my heel and left him BEHIND my cold shoulder while I palmed my tiny hairspray can for protection.  I know, I'm somewhat of a genius...  Then I used my sunglasses in the other hand to watch his reflection for any sudden movements while simultaneously giving disapproving looks to all the pussy cats surrounding me.

My excellent behavior in line was then rewarded by a FREE upgrade from a full-sized car to an SUV.  What, what?  10 minutes later I was blasting the wrong way outa SLC aeropuerte in my Chevy Traverse making the first of many illegal u-turns on red for the weekend, and in desperate search of Walmart.

My phone was redlining after documenting my air travel and my showdown at the SLC corral so acquiring a car charger was first item of business, hunger be damned.  Thankfully I had just enough juice to map myself directly to the only two-story Walmart I have ever laid eyes upon.  My goth guide at the register recommended "Alchemy" for a good cup of Joe and something delightful to nosh on, and off I went again.

Although quite skeptical that the Mormons could make a good cup of coffee, Alchemy did not disappoint.  I had a fall flavored beverage chock full of liquid life and the best hummus veggie plate EVER made.  Yum.

A fine place to rest my weary bones.

Alchemy's Day of the Dead Decor.

After refueling and recharging my weary body and essential electrical devices I raced back to the airport to collect Nina and Dub, two of my most favorite partners in crime.

After satisfactory hugs and smooches were doled out we loaded the Traverse and skedaddled on down to Sandy, Utah  (home of the Beet Diggers y'all!)  which is just south of SLC where we checked into our double sa-weet at the Marriot.  Food being the second item of order we quickly found ourselves ensconced in a cozy booth at "Healthy Tomato" or some such jazz.  They offered a salad buffet with pizza, pasta, fresh baked bread, BROWNIES, and soft serve.  Awesome.

While Nina and I chose to do a little hiking at the University of Utah's Arboreteum to work off our 'salad bar,' Dub enjoyed himself a nap-a-roosky in our sa-weet.  Nina and I tremendously enjoyed gossiping while also running from bees.  I managed to quickly roll in the verdant beauty Utah calls GRASS and Texas is now calling CHAR.  We even managed to capture some very interesting photos that will never see the light of day because my dear Nina says she KNOWS where her camera cord is for uploading, she just can't remember exactly WHERE she put it...  Boo.

Pictures in summary:

1.  Gator poses as if she is drinking from a snake which turned out looking much more pornographic than it sounds.  What?  It was a water fountain.

2.  Nina poses in the herb garden.  Ha, ha!  I said, Herb.

3-5.  We both take pictures riding a bronzed moose, which surprisingly looks LESS pornographic than it sounds.

6-1200.  Random shots of beautiful shizzle including but not limited to:  Gardens, roses, some other flowers, canyons and mountain views.

Good times.

Next stop:  The timely business of beautification, rousing Dub from his bear like slumber and a rehearsal barbecue honoring G and Hobs' imminent wedding fiesta.

The barbecue was hosted by Hobs' gorgeous sister, brother and babes at their magnificent home overlooking Lake Utah.  We watched parachute planes descend into fields of wild antelope.  Fabulous!

The antelope ran away to a safe distance, sat back and kicked up their heels with a cold one from the Wasatch Brewery and also seem to enjoy the show.  They're cool cats those antelope.  They seem completely nonplussed to be wearing out their welcome in front gardens or while nibbling away at the farmers' small profit margins.

My personal fave.

Can someone google "Antelope Management Utah," and tell me how they keep those critters from taking over the skyways and the highways?  Curious minds would like to know!

Too be continued!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Birthday Blog In Pictures

This weekend found me celebrating 31 years of AWESOME!  in Gruene, Texas with my beloved JS. 

Gruene is located just beside (in) New Braunfels, Texas and boasts good eatin', dancing and some good 'ol German history.  It's nestled right up on the banks of the Guadalupe River and draws an eclectic crowd of kids and adults alike.

Friday night we started off here at the Gristmill. 

If you've never eaten here friends, stop what you're doing and immediately drive straight over. Trust me.  You'll be glad that you did.  A piece of sage advice, dance first, eat second

If you're looking to scoot a boot at Gruene Hall, Texas' oldest dance hall, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT eat at the Gristmill first.  It is absolutely impossible to enjoy oneself on the dance floor after you bust a gut filling up on all the excellent eats here at this fine restaurant.  IMPOSSIBLE.  Even if you only ordered the salad.  Which would just be plain stupid anyway.  Leave yourself at least 3 to 4 hours post Gristmill eatin' to do anything that requires cardiovascular type activity.  And wear your stretchy pants.  Amen.

See?  Chicken wire on the windows.  Awesome.

Because we arrived in Gruene around 7 pm on Friday ravenous and in desperate need of fabulous eats, we immediately dined at the Gristmill and thus ruined ourselves for dancing.  Which suited JS just fine.  Reckless Kelly was playing Gruene Hall (again known as Texas' oldest dance hall, which is not to be confused with Texas' largest Chicken Coop) and my dear JS is not a huge fan of country music.  Instead of scooting our boots (flip flops in my case) we waddled our fat, swollen sausage-like toes over to Oma Gruene's Secret Garden for some outdoor Jazz.  Charlie And The Cool Catz were righteous with their ear splitting amperage so we quickly ambled on over to The Stone Coffee Bar. 

The manager of The Stone created this gorgeous mural on one entire wall in less than 6 weeks.  It's creativity requires everyone that enters to take a few pictures and to touch its beauty.  Incredible.

The call of a bubble bath in our giant jacuzzi tub and the need for a little sleep quickly had us shuffling toward "home." 

We stayed the weekend at the Gruene River Inn, a family owned and operated Bed and Breakfast towering on the banks of the Guadalupe.  Magical!  I could have stayed here happily for weeks.

Our balcony provided us with these spectacular views:

Saturday morning found me awake bright and early and thus I got to enjoy the glow from our beautiful stained glass window...

 With nothing but time and 31 years of age on my hands, I decided to take the old hip flexors for a spin...  Verdict says:  They're still a little sad but not completely debilitating.  After roughly 3 miles of hills and broken pavement I was limping only a little...   And some might even mistake it for swagger ;)  When I got back to the Inn JS and I shared breakfast tacos and weak coffee in the common room with some Sooner fans before we began my birthday day.

Birthday day went as follows:

Woke up WAY too early.
Went out for a jog.
Ate yummy breakfast tacos.
Enjoyed another bubble bath.
Left the Inn and walked over to the Gruene Grind Coffee Company for the "good stuff."
Relaxed into our caffeine buzz and puzzled at a high rate of speed.

I was only able to complete the border of the puzzle before
 my wing flapping demanded that we mooooove on.

Then we:
Toured the vendors at Gruene's Market Days.
Ate lunch at Adobe Verde to avoid the downpour.
Drank a marvelous birthday beverage.

Mango Margarita, yum!

Which made Momma a little cranky and then made for a really loooong and rejuvinating birthday nap!

Princess Cotton Top sleeps off her crankiness.
Note to self:  Although that new hair color is super fun...
Bleach applied directly to your forehead will in fact leave small chemical burns.  That itching she was talking about...  Is your forehead dying.  Boo Radley.

After my nap we entertained ourselves by watching from our balcony the floaters below screaming and cursing the only (and apparently chilly) rain that our hill country has seen in 5 long months.  When we were finally able to tear ourselves away from the irony on the river we got cleaned up and watched the Horns put the smack down on UCLA.  Unfortunately our Ags were only available on PPV and none of the local bars picked up the game...

...So we were forced once again to stuff ourselves (this time at Mozie's) and then we toured the town on foot.

Mozie's on the left.  Antique-was on the right.

I got to pose with George Straight at Gruene Hall. 
You should definitely be jealous ;)  Another engaging little piece of history:  John Travolta filmed part of the movie  "Michael"  here.
We found some great t-shirts at Cotton Eyed Joe's...

And then we arm wrestled over shared a root beer float here at The General Store and ate a huge chunk of the most incredible pumpkin walnut fudge ever made...

With blood sugar hovering in the thousands we sped between the live music playing at Gruene Hall and Oma Gruene's before we landed at the Vineyard.

A rose, a little wine and a bit of fudge:
A beautiful evening they do make!
 After which the following took place:

And sadly

We'll just blame it on the birthday fudge ;)

Annnnnd many more!!!!!!!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Dog Has Venereal Disease And Other Good News

Well...  It's been confirmed.  Tica Tammy is a Hoochie Mamma!

Dr. Jessica Jimenez got the results back from the cytologist and she has confirmed that Tam has TVT. 

It's a TUMOR.  No...  It's NOT A TUMOR.

Actually...  I don't know what the hell it is, however this is what Wikapedia had to say on the matter:

"Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) is also called transmissable venereal tumor (TVT) and it's only one of three transmissible cancers."  (Seems similar to HPV or genital warts in humans.)  "TVT is most commonly seen in sexually active dogs in tropical and subtropical climates."  (Yep...  i.e. Costa Rica, the land of loooove.)  "The disease is spread when dogs mate, and it can even be transmitted to other canine species, such as foxes and coyotes."  (Woe is the unknown dangers of interspecies relations...)  "Spontaneous regression of the tumor can occur, probably due to a response from the immune system."  (Insert Chiropractic adjustment.)  "TVT undergoes a predictable cycle:  the initial growth phase of four to six months (P phase), a stable phase, and a regression phase (R phase), although not all TVTs will regress."  (Boo.)  "The tumor does not often metastasize (occurring in about 5 percent of cases), except in puppies and immunocompromised dogs."  (None of those here.)  "Metastasis is most commonly to regional lymph nodes, but can also be seen in the skin, brain, eye, liver, spleen, testicle, and muscle.  Biopsy is necessary for diagnosis."  (Confirmed.)

So, it  IS  in fact a tumor...  But apparently it has a very high survivability rate.  Wahoo!  Unlike the regular old non-transmissible cancer, which would have been worst case scenario. 

Jessica reported that Tam had her very first "treatment" this past Wednesday after which she was a little sad and didn't eat well.  Today's update said she was back to her beach lovin' self and eating great.  (She is no doubt missing her lobster tail and tuna steak dinners of yore.  What can I say?  This girl knows how to get around y'all.)  Four or five more treatments should find Tam as good as new.

In other good (sad) news:  Jessica says she is talking to people that may be interested in adopting Tammy.  As much I would love Tica Tam to live in Texas, the quicker she gets a home the quicker I can rebuild my life savings...  And the longer that Bella the Barbarian gets to live. 

I think Tica Tam would miss the rain and frolicking on the beach...  Nor would she enjoy the 110(+) degrees of awesome that has been our most recent summer. 

And now I have just talked MYSELF out of living in Texas...  Who's down for moving to Costa Rica?

Note to Self:  Next time, try to bring home the baby. 
It should be easier.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

I’m Proud Of Me: No More Apologies and A Tica Tam Update

Hi, my name is Gator and I’m a total softie.  Let me rephrase.

I’m proud of being a softie.  No more apologies.

I will proudly stop my car on the side of the road to pick up mangy puppies.  I will trap hungry stray cats and try to find them homes.  After witnessing a squirrel get hit by a car and watching his little body thrash in the road until peace comes, I will cry for no less than three days and probably need a large dose of therapy.  I might even scoop up a full grown squirrel with my bare hands and a dish towel in hopes that my local vet can save him.

I am the girl that rescues abandoned kittens and bottle feeds them every 3 hours, all night long and somehow manages to convince all of my high school teachers to allow me to tote them to class.

I am really and truly over trying to save Cotton Tail rabbits (they become ungrateful mean bunnies) but I’ve nursed 2 back to health successfully and 2 unsuccessfully.  My most favorite little bunny slept in my shirt pocket right next to my heart for 4 days, nursed from a tiny bunny bottle every 2 hours, and then passed away taking a little piece of my soul.

I am the girl that ran over a cat in high school and then spent 2 months working off the vet bill.  I am the girl that rescues nasty black birds with broken wings and baby birds from hungry dogs.  I have taken in too many strays to count and then found them loving, forever homes.

I am the woman who tries the impossible, like attempting to fly a dog home from Costa Rica in one of the hottest summers recorded in Texas history, and I am the woman who is going to be proud of this little piece of good that I possess.

It’s who I am.  I really am proud of me.

I will also be proud of myself because as much as I love all of God’s little critters, I only posses 2.5 dogs. (Tam is the 0.5 seeing as she’s in CR and I’m here in Texas)  So, there’s no need to call ‘Hoarders’ just yet folks!  But perhaps we should keep them on speed dial, at any rate…

Tica Tammy Update:

Good news:  Tammy is heart worm free!!  Amazing but true.  I was 100% certain that I came home from Costa Rica with heartworms and yet some how little Tam Tam is negative.  Wahoo!  (The mosquitoes are off the chain in Tamarindo y’all.)  This makes me think that the mosquitoes in CR don’t carry the HW microfilaria, and let us all praise the Sweet Baby Jesus for that.

Tammy is still staying with Dr. Jessica Jimenez.

“Like” her page on Facebook and help me say thank you!!/pages/Veterinaria-Jim%C3%A9nez/182532835095826

Jessica says that Tica Tam is sleeping on her own personal couch at night and she is following her absolutely everywhere during the day.  Always under foot, that little Tam Tam.  She knows she’s found a good thing and she doesn’t want her people to get away.  Little baby dog wants a human pack desperately.

Bad news:  Tam has erlichiosis or canine hemorrhagic fever.  It’s a tick borne disease and it causes lots of terrible side effects if left untreated, like hemorrhage, blindness and neurological disease.  Although the erlichia is very easy to treat, Jessica also found a little tumor on Tammy’s vulva that was bleeding a bit.  She hopes that it's only a venereal disease, again easy to treat however, she fears that it could be cancer.  Tam was spayed before she was left to roam the wilds but the vet proposed that if she wasn’t spayed well, she may still cycle and that would explain a venereal disease.  The cytology results will be back from the laboratory this time next week, so please keep your paws crossed that all comes back well.

Are there any other scenarios in life where the lesser of two evils hangs on the hope that your kiddo is in fact a hoochie mamma?  I think not.

Good news:  Although Tammy’s rescue mission turned into a wee bit of a nightmare, I can quit beating myself up for doing what I believe was the right thing.  I can quit beating myself up for embracing that good little piece of me.  Tam would have died a slow horrible death on the beach if it weren’t for my harebrained scheme, the help and patience of my travelling companions and the good hearted efforts of complete strangers.  And a large heartfelt thanks goes out to JS, my best friend!

Now here’s to hoping Dr. Jessica falls madly in love with Tica Tam like I did!

Plan B includes finding Tammy a forever home in Costa Rica.

Plan C would involve inconveniencing more perfectly good strangers and asking family members of one of my dear patients to graciously lug Tam Tam home from Costa Rica when they visit Texas in November.

Plan D, and my favorite would have crappy American Airlines fly me roundtrip back to Costa Rica at no charge to fetch Tammy my own self, (when it’s a bit cooler of course) after they agree that the $200.00 voucher that they emailed me is terribly insulting and simply less than helpful in this current predicament.

All of these plans include living happily ever after.

Got your paws crossed?