Saturday, January 19, 2013

Surviving Forever 21

Clothes shopping for travel is pretty much all part of the preparing process for me. I need fresh karma free clothes. After having no luck at my usual stores, I begrudgingly entered the depths of Forever 21 on a Saturday afternoon.  I knew there would be 'tweens dressed alike, all up in my way looking at the things I wanted to see. Boyfriends with glazed eyes would block my view of the one chambray that was slightly different from the five I already had in my grasp.  Mother/daughter duo's would argue about sizes delaying my approach to the leggings I surely didn't need. If I made it through all this, and actually decided to buy some "disposable" clothes in a size XL as would surely be needed in such an establishment, there would still be the dreaded check-out.

These thoughts were quickly forgotten as within seconds I spied an Elvis Presley shirt. The fact of the matter is, I secretly adore Elvis. His story, his smile, his music, his moves, and his terrible, terrible movies. Even his sad and untimely, but glamorous demise. (Yeah, I just said that. What?!)  Without hesitation, I snatched that shirt with the image of Elvis singing sometime after he was gorgeous, but before the alcoholism had completely taken over. An in-between period you rarely see.  I would wear it with leggings, or maybe bright skinny jeans. It would be mine and I would not care if it embarrassed my friends. 

From there, it was long flowing shirts, bright flowers, a few palm trees. My second favorite find was a cream and black vintage Chanel inspired sweater which would match everything in an ironic kind of way.  I broke down and got on the chambray bandwagon because the color and price was just right. 

The accessory section lured me in, but I practiced extreme self control and only purchased two hair adornments which I fully intend to wear. Probably. 

I'm fully prepared for travel. And now, we wait. 

I managed to buy a fully interchangeable, layer-able vacation wardrobe for the first time ever. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Day at the Ranch

When my alarm sounded *Monday morning on my day off, I was in no hurry to get up. In fact, I briefly considered going back to sleep, but suspected the day ahead would be worth the early start.

We arrived at Kurt and Kristi's at 9 a.m. and after a quick stop at Cross Street Market in Baltimore for breakfast, coffee and a fresh fish as a gift, we were on our way. An hour or so later we found ourselves in Western Maryland at a cattle ranch. We slowly navigated up a driveway while curious cows casually blinked at us.

I was slightly apprehensive but curious about our adventure. After watching a few too many documentaries on the treatment of cattle and chickens, I do try to buy free range, but even then I wonder. Kurt and Kristi had told us all about this ranch where they had purchased a whole cow and wanted us to get the full experience.  We were kindly greeted by the owners, Celia and her husband along with their giant, white Samoyed dogs who lazily followed us along for the tour. It was cold, really cold, but the sun was shining and it felt good to be outside.

A gorgeous winter day in western MD. 
Celia answered so many of our silly questions like, "how much do they weight?" and was so patient with our provacotive statements such as, "his tongue is like sand paper," (Nat) and "Look!!! He's poo-ing!!" (sadly, me) while we fed the cows and even the massive bulls. I felt special when I unknowingly fed a white calf who had never taken treats from anyone including Celia before.
Casper, taking his first treat ever!
They called me the "Cow-Whisperer" and all was good until "Pop" the head bull decided he liked me too. I gave him a treat as I was about to climb back out of the fence, but he followed me. I fed him another treat, backed away and proceeded to exit again. Pop and his long horns, (NOT just a clever named) followed me along with a couple of other calves.

Entering the fenced in area. 
"Um, guys. I'm starting to freak out a little bit," I said as I gave him another treat. Kurt, helpful as ever, offered little guidance, but filmed by minor panic attack quite enthusiastically. "Stay." I said to the bull after putting another treat in his mouth. No longer the cow-whisperer, Pop moseyed on towards me some more, while some other young calfs closed in as well.

I only have a picture of me with "Pop" behind the fence, but look at this massive animal.  It looks like I'm counting my fingers to make sure they are all still there. 
Eventually, I escaped from Pop, but not from another blonde moment. Heading back to the house several chickens clucked about.  "So these guys just have free ran---oh, free range," I caught myself. Celia smirked and said that yes, they came and went as they pleased and were only put away at night for their protection from foxes and the like. Not one to quit while I wasn't even ahead, I questioned. "But how do they know to come back? I don't think I would know how to find my way home." My friends and husband thought this was hilarious as I insisted, "if I was a chicken!!!" But seriously, who knew chickens were that smart?

In the end, we learned that girl chickens can lay an egg everyday without the help of any boy chickens. The boy is only needed to fertilize the egg to make chicks.

Adult field trips are just as fun as school field trips, if not more! If I were in class the day after the trip and the teacher was asking us our favorite part, she would write down,

Julie said,  "My favorite part was when the roosters came running for the bread from Celia."

Mini Long Horns

*I wrote this last January and I just got around to attaching the photos. I had the Monday off because I was working in retail at the time. Depression was overtaking me last winter and this day was just as bright and cheerful as the photos reflect. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Maybe this time I'll be a runner, unless it's still stupid

Every few years, I decide I want to become a runner, before shortly thereafter deciding running is mindless and stupid. Unfortunately, in the last year, my near militant workout and clean eating lifestyle have deteriorated.  I walk young Brubeck a good 15 miles or so a week but that is the extent of my "work out." I also consume potato chips on the regular. (I mean, regular, regular. Everyday regular. Gasp.)

I just needed a little extra motivation to get back on track with my former figure. Yesterday, I impulse bought a pair of Nike Free Runners in the most obnoxious color I could find.  I downloaded the "Couch to 5K" app on my phone, leashed up Bruby and headed out the door.

We got through the first day. Nice and slow. You run one minute, and then walk two minutes. Repeat a few times.  My running minutes entailed dragging, encouraging and pleading with this 90 pound Great Pyrenees/Beagle mix to step up his meander to a slow trot. Let's just say, Brubeck was not impressed.

Today, we got hubs in on the action and it went a little better.  My boy would still rather stroll and sniff, but I'm hoping since the training starts out so slowly, he might ease into it...and maybe I will too.