Friday, September 18, 2009

You are about to be craft bombed...

In my blog that is...

To get you in the mood, I thought I would post this Craft anthem.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Where to begin?

Grandma Alice and Grandma Joan keep asking if I am still blogging. I guess that's a subtle hint that I need to get something posted soon.

In response to that, I've been trying to think of the most effective way to convey everything that's been going on since May (i.e. the subject of my last blog). Suffice to say, I have been riiidiculously busy with work, family visits, friend visits, vacation, and general home improvements. I have also been attempting to follow this checklist, as promised. The status, you ask?

1. Finish knitting booties and a hat for my friend Katy's new baby, Alexis. (even though she lives in Florida and really needs sunglasses and a bathing suit)
Not finished. One bootie turned out giant, the other is still on the needles, and the hat was totally scrapped when I realized that not only does Katy live in Florida, she lives on the beach.

2. Finish Aunt Jeannie's Christmas gift.
Aunt Jeannie, I have managed to wash the fabric.

3. Send cousin Breogan his Christmas gift.
Breogan, your gift will be arriving in December of 2009. I hope this doesn't mean I am totally out of the family Christmas gift drawing because I failed to send your gift all the way to Brussels. On a related note, I entered part of your Christmas gift in the Eastern Montana Fair. If I win a ribbon, I'll send it to you.

4. Send best friend A.B. her Christmas gift.
A, your gift was also entered in the Eastern Montana. I'm keeping the ribbon I win for your gift since you made fun of me for entering stuff in the fair.

5. Send my niece the new outfit I bought her a month ago and hope that it still fits.
Sophie recieved her new outfit, it did fit, and she's about to get a whole other box of goodies.

6. File the pile of thesis reference articles in the office and the guest bedroom. And by file I mean set on fire.
"Filing" would be a bit of stretch, but articles were put into a drawer, in roughly alphabetical order. No fires as of yet.

7. Paint the new trim and old trim throughout the downstairs. And by paint I mean, choose and purchase paint and wait for my sister-in-law to get here in May.
Casey opted to play the Wii instead.

8. Run every day. No really. I swear I will.
Well, I was.

9. Read 5 new books. Only ones with predictable plots and amazing heroines who fight crime and fall in love with vampires and other men who are no good for them.
Pretty much I have read 2 new books a week since May. Its been great. I've even started a little book club. We meet once a month. None of us recommend any books by Jimmy Buffet. He has good music, but terrible writing skills.

10. Call everyone I know and NOT talk about my thesis. I'll provide topics such as "How bad has Ellie been this month? What did you have for dinner this week? Did you hear that so and so are dating/hating/mating with so and so?"
Check.

Of course that's not all. Here's a break down, in photos. I'll be quick.

I planted a garden. While I was hopeful there would be a lot of vegetables, the only productive plants have been the tomatoes and banana peppers. The squash died, the strawberries were shocked from being transplanted, the cauliflower got slugs, the cucumbers are still trying, and only one carrot is still chugging away. The neighbors cat crapped all over the place, dug up the first set of cucumber plants, all the peas, and I am pretty sure all but that one carrot. I had to put netting over the whole thing.
We celebrated one year of living in Montana by attending the world famous Bucking Horse Sale. Someone referred to it as "the Mardi Gras for cowboys." It most definitely was. This is the only picture I felt was worthy of posting.
Linda, Casey, and Josh all came for a week long visit - along with two birds and three West Highland Terriers. We took them on a whirlwind tour of Yellowstone. Believe it or not, it was the first time I had ever been there. There were lots of baby bison, and lots of rotten egg smells. There were also roughly 200 photos; here are just a few of them.

In July, I got a new bike. I still wish I had a scooter. But this is still pretty cool.

We also finally got around to painting our bedroom. The previous owners decided that doing a half-ass job of patching cracks in the plaster was totally acceptable. Unfortunately, that only meant extra work for us. We had to sand down all of the extra patching materials so that the walls would be even. They aren't great, but its a lot better than it used to be. We chose chocolate brown for three walls and a lighter brown for the funny curved wall and the ceiling. We put up new blinds and painted the trim white again.
Here is the before:

And the after.
And last, but not least, especially in R's humble opinion, we finally got a second vehicle. Granted, its only drivable by one person in our household, but its a second rig, nonetheless. Here's some of R's artsy-fartsy photos.August has been busy and exciting enough to warrent at least two seperate blogs, which I plan to write one of these days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two months later...

And I suppose I should catch up on my blog. At least to the part where I was in Arizona.

So when I left off, I was in Lake Havasu seeing my family before heading down to Tucson for my Master's defense. It was a really great visit. Well...sort of.

My sister came to the Las Vegas airport from D.V. to meet up with me and the parents. We went out to her favorite restaurant (Panera) and then over to the Cheesecake Factory for....coffee. (You thought I was going to say cheesecake, didn't you?). R was in Phoenix for work training the week prior to my defense, so he was able to head up to Havasu and meet me there for a little bit of moral support....and BOWLING!
Nothing like a little healthy competition with mom and dad to get me ready to face the professors. Did I mention that my mom and dad are SHARKS at every game they challenge me and R to? Here is a typical conversation:
Mom: "Want to play horseshoes?"
Ashley: "That sounds fun"
Dad: "We haven't played shoes in 20 years"
R: "I'm pretty good, I gotta warn y'all"
Final score: R and Ashley 2, Mom and Dad 21
Dad: "Did you see all those ringers?"
Ashley: "Yes, Dad. I saw all 7 of the ringers you got."

Anyway, after the fun night of bowling and pizza, Dad woke up with a terrible stomach ache. So bad in fact, that I didn't see him until right before R and I got on the road to Tucson. We took this picture though, just as a reminder of what I looked like BEFORE I had a master's degree. Dad looks pretty sick.So I went to Tucson, and got to see Lizzie for the first time since Thanksgiving. We did some pre-defense baking and centering. My defense was Monday at 2 PM - scattered would be a good word to describe me. Nervous. Perhaps a little high-strung. This was partially due to the fact that I did not get the last set of comments from two of my three committee members until three days before I left for Arizona. But no need to dwell on that.

After a harrowing 2 hours of discussion, questions, drawing on the chalk board, and armpit drenching sweat, I passed! Now I get to sign things obnoxiously like this: ArchaeologyAsh, M.A.

The celebration following included some of my closest friends and members of the class I started grad school with. Here I am at my favorite eating establishment in Tucson, No Anchovies, with my three favorite people in Tucson - AJ on the far left, Lizzie next to her, and Barney (also my advisor) on my right side. Sorry about the not so great picture, everyone.There was much "merriment" and BALLOONS!


But then...ominous drum roll please...Sister called R to break the terrible news that the ENTIRE time I was in my defense and enjoying the "merriment" of the day, Dad was having an emergency appendectomy.

Though I had some minor changes to make to my final draft and some materials to put away, I decided that the only thing I was really meant to be in Arizona for at that time was to go home and help take care of Dad. Mom had a few more weeks of school left and would not be able to stay home with him while he recovered. Sister had used up all of her vacation time in Hawaii the month before. R had to go back to Miles City on Tuesday. And really, when it came down to it, I would have flown out to hang out with Dad even if I hadn't already been there to do my defense.

So on Tuesday, I recovered from the "merriment," rented a car, took all my materials with me, and rushed back to Havasu to spend the rest of the week with Dad. He looked great when I got there.
I'm kidding. He was in bad shape. Do you know who makes terrible patients? Yep, you guessed it. Dads. Regardless of the pain, fever, low blood pressure and the fact that he had APPENDICITIS, Dad still would not settle down. The phone never stopped ringing, the television remote never stopped working, and he did a lot of pacing whenever he felt the slightest bit better. I continued to work on my edits, and despite the fact that he was a terrible patient, I enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with him all week. And to see my mom in the evenings after school. Its been a long time since I could spend a whole week at home.

I left Dad in Mom's care on Thursday night and headed back to Tucson so that I could have Friday to tie up all my loose ends on campus. It was a really sad day. I've lived in Tucson for 8 years (not counting this last one), and have been a student at Arizona for nearly all of my adult life. I am glad for the degree (both the undergrad and graduate), and the chance to move on in life because of them (i.e. this fabulous job in Montana), but there's still a little part of me that loves Tucson and all the memories there. And the friends. And the fact that it only takes five hours to get home.

In true Tucson style, Lizzie threw a party for me and her R (who finished his M.A. the week before me). It was 90's themed, since pretty much all of our years in school were in the 90's. What better way to celebrate the end of school than with a tribute to the decade that we attended school. We donned flannel, leggings, overalls, exposed boxer shorts and hairspray (all entirely too baggy) and listened to various grunge and punk bands (none of which we had to find on the Internet since we all still had our CDs from high school and college).
It was a great way to spend my last official day as a student.

Though quite a bit has happened since then, I am not going to be able to get to it all in this blog. I will leave you with one last picture that I was finally able to take a few weeks ago.
Sure does feel good to have that weight off my shoulders.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Still waiting for Spring...

And the foot of snow we got over the weekend is not helping it show up any faster. Anyone out there care to wager a bet - when do you think our last snowfall for the year will be?

I can't believe March has already come and gone. R and I have been keeping ourselves VERY busy and I have been a bad girl about keeping you up to date. (Though not as bad as Lizzie, who won't post a new blog.) I guess I better get you caught up, but since I am a little short on time tonight...I'll just tell you what we've been doing to our house.

One of R's best friends from college, Reginald, has been living in Billings for the last few months. He's been down to MC three times now, and we hope he can come back down some more before he goes back to Portland. One weekend while he was here, we put new baseboards down in the tv room, living room, and dining room. I think it looks awesome.

Here are Reggie and R hard at work:
The Dining Room Before:
The Dining Room After:


The Living Room Before:
The Living Room After (with lots of dust)
The TV room before:
The TV Room after:
We still have some painting to do, but it will probably wait for another weekend. We also need to put some "quarter round" at the base of the baseboards. Though our floors are awesome, they don't actually meet the walls in some places and there are a few unappealing gaps. We've pulled a few marbles and coins out of the gaps - not ours - and are a little afraid of what else we might find. Spiders? Snakes? Mysterious hairballs, perhaps?

Next we plan to paint the dining room, replace the old chair rail with some newer, wider ones, and redo the trim around the door to the kitchen. Any suggestions for dining room colors would be greatly appreciated.

Tomorrow: What we've been doing for fun...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Main Street is on Fire

A sad day in our town:

An entire block in our historic downtown went up in flames this morning, destroying at least 5 buildings and 7 business including the only fabric shop and our neighbors' floral shop. We could see the fire from our office all day - it was really sad knowing we couldn't do anything to help. Here is a video of the fire





In case the video doesn't work from the blog, here is a link to the site:
And here are some photos my friend Nina took.

And one from the local paper when the fires first started:
And in case you are wondering what it looked like before, here is a photo I took exactly a year ago when we came to Miles City for the first time to find a place to live. Everything on the left side of the frame is gone from the red sign in the distance to the Big Sky Pharmacy sign.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Can See the Light

And it has a lot fewer red marks.

So just a quick update: the latest thesis draft is back, with FAR fewer corrections and comments than the first draft. I am feeling much better about the whole situation. The third draft is due to the rest of my thesis committee by Friday. Once they have a look, I will FINALLY be able to set a defense date.

To celebrate the light at the end of this tunnel, I have compiled a short list of the things I intend to do between the final edits and defense date.

1. Finish knitting booties and a hat for my friend Katy's new baby, Alexis. (even though she lives in Florida and really needs sunglasses and a bathing suit)
2. Finish Aunt Jeannie's Christmas gift.
3. Send cousin Breogan his Christmas gift.
4. Send best friend A.B. her Christmas gift.
5. Send my niece the new outfit I bought her a month ago and hope that it still fits.
6. File the pile of thesis reference articles in the office and the guest bedroom. And by file I mean set on fire.
7. Paint the new trim and old trim throughout the downstairs. And by paint I mean, choose and purchase paint and wait for my sister-in-law to get here in May.
8. Run every day. No really. I swear I will.
9. Read 5 new books. Only ones with predictable plots and amazing heroines who fight crime and fall in love with vampires and other men who are no good for them.
10. Call everyone I know and NOT talk about my thesis. I'll provide topics such as "How bad has Ellie been this month? What did you have for dinner this week? Did you hear that so and so are dating/hating/mating with so and so?"

Ahh, I cannot wait.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ain't Wastin' Time No More...

So I turned in the 2nd draft of my thesis this morning at 6:00 AM. I'm tired.

But the good thing about being done with that is...and possibly the best thing... now I can dork around on the internet all I want. You see, the internet gets unplugged in our house as soon as we get home from work. Apparently I am good at keeping myself over stimulated with the world wide web, and even though I still managed to write 120 pages, someone in my house thought I was wasting my time.

So here are the goodies I found today.

http://fuckyoupenguin.blogspot.com/
Its got some naughty words, but totally worth the read. I knew bunnies were out to get us.

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/
The earliest blogs are the best. Terrible how right on these things are.

http://www.funnyordie.com/

Will Ferrel. Enough said.

In case you are wondering, I will begin making phone calls, responding to emails, and posting regular blogs. That is, of course, until I get my next round of edits...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sometimes, you just gotta.

So I was reading some of the blogs that my friend Lizzie reads, and I saw this one from her friend Emily.





Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

I don't know why it's so good, but it just is. Watch it all the way through if you can!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Almost...done..

So in case you are wondering...

I've been writing my thesis.
This is pretty much all I see when I close my eyes.