Monday, September 29, 2008

In Memoriam....

"She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short." - Brian Andreas

This quote is in honor of Kristine Fairbanks, a Forest Service Officer here on the Olympic Peninsula killed in the line of duty.

I have nothing but overwhemling awe and pride for the men and women who put their life at stake every time they go out to do the job they love.

For my friends who do this to protect our national parks and forests - please take care and thank you for what you do.


Remembering fallen officer Kristine Fairbanks
Brandon Wagner, 4, waves a flag from his lawn chair as a procession of law enforcement vehicles drives down Highway 101 in Port Angeles Monday in honor of slain United States Forest Service officer Kristine Fairbanks. Kristine Fairbanks was shot and killed during a traffic investigation on Sept. 20, 2006, in Olympic National Forest south of Sequim, Wash., hours before the alleged gunman was himself killed in a shootout with Clallam County sheriff's deputies.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Don't you want one of your own?

I've never really had any kind of urge to have children. People have asked me about it. Especially now that I'm getting to "that age" where apparently you need to find some way any way to have a child right now this minute or just forget about it.

After my brother had his newest child and I got to hold the little bundle of joy, several people asked me, "Don't you just want one of your own now?" This was when I pointedly handed the child over and said, "Ummm.....I have one. Thanks."

This is when they would look at me like I was a little bit crazy.

You see, I do have one. Not a child, so to speak, but a dependent none the less. Actually, I have two. The cat is pretty self-sufficient, though.

The dog, on the other hand, might as well be 2-legged, pink, and screaming for all the baby he is.

He recently got his little nose into trouble. Literally. Not sure what he got into, but it made him itch his nose so much that now it's a big, red, bloody mess and he has to wear a clear plastic head collar that makes him look like a satellite dish.

He's handling it ok. He's putting up with me shoving antibiotics and steroids coated in peanut butter down his throat. He's putting up with running into everything because he's much wider than he remembers being. He's putting up with me drugging him into stillness with Benadryl so he'll stop itching his nose on every visitor's pant leg that walks in the door and flinging bloody snot all over the place.

Pleasant, huh?

I don't think I'd be allowed to drug a child into stillness.

But I do it for the dog. I do it because I'm his mom and I have to take care of him. There are those I know who say, "He's a dog. In the wild he'd get over it or he'd die." But he is not in the wild. He is not a hardened mongrel that stalks his prey and must fight every day to stay alive.

Sometimes he snaps at moths, but that's about it.

And it gives me a bit of a purpose to take care of him. When I get home from work and all I've been doing all day is staring at the computer or dealing with paperwork or trying to figure out how to be the best boss possible (hah!), it gives me some weird satisfaction to have the dog come rub his bloody nose on me and look at me with that look that only dogs have that says, "love me love me love me love me and make my nose feel better".

It gives me satisfaction to know that even on the days when I'm not sure I know what's going on with MY life or that I can take care of MYSELF, I can take care of the dog. And he will wag his tail. And he will love me. And I will feel like something makes sense in the universe.

I suppose children might inspire this same feeling in parents, too.

I don't think it would be quite the same, though.

Kids don't have tails to wag.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reset Button

There are those days when you just need to hit your reset button. I know everyone has them - the ones where so much is building up and going wrong and needing fixing that you just need to say, "Whoa. Reset. Let's try that again."

My reset button changes all the time. I'm never sure where I'll find it. And sometimes things will build for days or weeks before it comes time for the reset button again. But, eventually, it turns up. And I can feel all the stress and trouble and pain and worry just kind of release - at least temporarily.

Today I was just walking on the beach - which I found often triggers it. But it was not a particularly nice day. It was kind of foggy. High tide. No sun or blue sky to speak of. I was walking with two of my rangers -both people that I enjoy immensely - and they invited me out "to see the pelagic barnacle log". Now who can turn that down? So I went. And this is what I saw.

It was beautiful - weird and squishy and alien - but beautiful. And I thought, "Wow. I'm glad I hang out with people that would think to show this to me."

Thanks to Ranger Pat and Ranger Steve.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Beer Butt Chicken Story

Cooking on the grill is fun. It involves fire. It usually involves meat. And it brings out the best...and the people.

Enter...."the Beer Butt Chicken".

Some of you may have cooked "Beer Can Chicken" before. It involves putting a variety of spices into a half full beer can, shoving said beer can into the opening of a whole chicken, and then sitting the chicken, which looks like it might spring up and off the grill with a resounding "OW!" at any moment, on the grill for an hour or two to cook.

We did this.

We recommend not coating the chicken with barbeque sauce first as it tends to turn into a flaming inferno eventually.

Kudos to Dylan for not dropping the chicken.

Eventually, though, once the skin is removed, the chicken turns out pretty darn good. Very moist for being a crispy critter.

And, if you have a dog, the clean-up really isn't that bad.

All in all, another successful grilling adventure.
All fingers and eyebrows accounted for.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sunsets and Sweet Potatoes

I go back and forth about whether or not I belong here.

Just yesterday on my way to work I drove by a sign that said, "Prison Escapee in the Area. Do not pick up hitchhikers."

"Hmmmm......."I said to myself. "I wonder if he'll make his way to the bus station."

My office, as many of you know, is in the bus station.


Ten hours later, I was invited down to Rialto Beach to watch the sunset. It was splendid.

The evening was completed, though, by the discovery of a dead sea lion. It was observed that the sea lion looked remarkably like a giant sweet potato - which Ian then pretended to eat.

Things balance out sometimes, I think.