Family Camping Trip in the Beautiful Rockies

My beautiful Montana Mountains. One of the many places I will always call home.

There are very few years in my life where I have missed a summer camping trip. We usually take at least one, sometime around Father’s day, to unplug and get away from everything for a few days, soaking in the beauty that is my magnificent state. It’s always great, perhaps this year especially of all years. This year was especially a year of calming and healing and growing together as a family, and it was fun and distracting too.

Dad and Christian went up to

Road beyond Absarokee, MT. (Pronounced Ab-Zor-Key for those out-of-staters who will no doubt get that wrong)

the campground on Thursday night, and so I solo drove up directly after work on Friday. The campground chosen was up above the small town of Fishtail, Montana, and a decent 2 hour drive from Billings, but it was a gorgeous one and very worth it. I finished my audiobook What’s Wrong with the World by Chesterton. I disagreed with most of his points, but found them thought provoking and interesting, and a worthwhile read.

 

Emerald Lake Campground

It’s not my first time camping at Emerald. We went as kids. Besides the local reservoir it is the closest body of water to drag our kayaks too. It’s a beautiful lake, with a lot of memories tied to it. Dad told me how his family used to camp out here long before I was born, how they’d always drink Shasta Creme Soda and how jealous his brother would be if we had only been thoughtful enough to bring some creme soda with us so we could send him a picture of us all drinking it without him. (Ah, brothers)

 

Trying to be all artsy and get a picture of my kayak in the water. Not sure it quite worked.

The creek flowing into the lake. With mountains. And clouds. And blue, blue sky.

Dinner was on me the first night, chilli and homemade cinnamon rolls. Yum! Tim and Jenna showed up not too much later, and pitched their camp. We huddled around a toasty campfire and caught up, laughed, talked, and tried not to inhale too much acrid smoke. I crashed with Christian in his tent, and managed not to freeze to death, (Which always comes down to bringing a few more blankets than you think you’d need. I could have used just one more…)

The next day was boating day! Tim and Jenna have a canoe, Christian and I have kayaks, and Dad just got a pontoon boat. After a breakfast of Tim’s camping biscuits and gravy, we took them up to West Rosebud lake, which is right next door. It’s technically a smaller lake than Emerald, but it has more tree coverage and character, so it was a great place to avoid the wind and paddle around the coast.

Dad quickly got a hang of his new water craft.

Me, pre-sunburned because I forgot sunscreen on my arms.

Christian does not care that is not a fishing boat. Christian fishes in any boat.

Jenna and Tim parked their canoe and enjoyed the coast, playing catch with their dog, Paige.

Christian said this hammock was probably the best $80 he ever spent. I agree.

At that point Tim and Christian decided they should paintball in the woods, which would be particularly fun, but I was tired and Dad and I both sunburned. So we headed back to camp and did some reading. I was reading The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor. Her short stories are well crafted and unexpected. Not perhaps the happy feeling at the end type, or even full on twists and darkness like Poe, but a (good) sense of unease and thought. I didn’t read long right then, however, because I fell asleep on Christian’s hammock.

I for sure recommend you go to the mountains with a hammock and take a nap beside a burbling creek. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Dinner was brats (Grilled to get some color and then boiled in beer, chicken broth and onions for 20 minutes, which is perfection, by the way), French Onion dip and chips, fruit salad, and pork and beans.

Dad can be a reluctant selfie participant, but I make him take them anyway

Tim, Jenna, and Christian took the boats out one more time, but I hung back with Dad and we sat on the rock clustered shoreline and watched as they paddled around. He was working on his photography schools, and he was telling me he used to do it as quite the hobby and wanted to get back into it more. I worked on writing a letter to Amy.

Dessert was hot chocolate with Captain Morgan Loconut rum (Tastes like a Mounds bar, YUM!) and s’mores around the fire. I tried a few different types of s’mores for fun. Dark chocolate, white chocolate… all good. BUT! As ingenious a camping discovery as the aforementioned hot chocolate, I used dark chocolate with chili in a s’more. Oh. So. Perfect. S’mores will never be the same again.

We called it a pretty early night, as we were all a bit tired. The next morning we had more awesome breakfast from Tim’s Camp Kitchen, this time bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches with a toasted bagel bun. We really did have quite the awesome menu for this little adventure, didn’t we?

Christian and I took the kayak’s out for one last run in the morning, this time on Emerald. The creek that ran past our campground perfectly poured into Emerald lake, and we simply launched our kayaks into it and rode it down. Getting them back up was harder, and I have the bruise to prove it, but it was very worth it.

We packed up camp, and started the trek homeward. I came home and washed my car, and then crashed and took a long nap. Apparently I had some sleep to catch up on still, or perhaps didn’t do as much catching up as I thought over the weekend. But either way the trip was amazing and fun and relaxing and what I really needed.

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Bozeman Again! (This Time for Amy!)

In an unbelievable stroke of luck, I found myself last night in the company of one of my best friends in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Amy has been having adventures this year, working for a camp out in Idaho. Well apparently this camp has some connection to my beautiful state, because she messaged me telling me she would be in Bozeman for a week and is that perhaps anywhere close to Billings?

Uh, yes. So much yes. We decided Wednesday night would work for both of us, and even though I wouldn’t consider Bozeman close enough to be an evening adventure generally, there was no way it was not going to happen.

I never have enough time with this girl! But what time I do have is always such fun

I rushed out the door as soon as work was over and drove up to Bozeman. The time passed quickly as I listened to G.K. Chesterton’s What’s Wrong with the World. The book is somewhat full of generalizations and some rather dated sentiments, but between those are some really interesting and thoughtful pieces of reflection. Chesterton never disappoints.

Bozeman has a really awesome selection of restaurants.

At about 6:45 I got to Bozeman and picked Amy up at the church she was helping out at, and then we cruised around downtown Bozeman while we debated where to grab dinner. We found a place called Whistle Pig Korean, and with Amy’s love of Korean food and my own enjoyment of random cuisines, we decided that was the place. I bow to Amy’s superior Korean food, and she said it was quite good. With dinner we had a quite fascinating Barley Tea. It tasted earthy and kind of like Rice Crispys, if you could make a tea from them. That might sound weird but I actually thought it was really good.

Speaking of tea! We decided to check out Townshend’s, a cute and DELICIOUS tea shop. They had a wall of amazing smelling teas (Much better than our last tea adventures, as you can recall.) Amy got an actual cup of tea, and I got the Albert Palmer, which was mango lemonade and black tea and so so amazingly good.

(I don’t even particularly care for regular Arnold Palmer’s, so it’s not that I have an affinity for them or anything). We then headed towards Amy’s host family, where we had homemade ice cream and sat on the floor and talked for as long as I thought I could before heading for the long drive home. (As an aside, her host is so super sweet, and made sure to check if I needed to spend the night? or caffeinated beverages for the road? Or not caffeinated beverages? She was just ultimately so amazingly nice to me, some random stranger at their house.

 

I got home at about 12:30. A long evening, especially for a Wednesday. But so totally worth it. Bozeman continues to be amazingly enticing and beautiful every time I go. Amy continues to be her awesome, awesome self. I’m glad we got to adventure this week.

 

I’m still wondering why there is a creepy taxidermied bat in this store window. I should have got an up-close of it, the thing was scary looking.

 

 

The End of the Story

I have decided not to write out the last month as planned. The memory sticks painfully with me, and it probably always will. I don’t need the vivid reminder. I don’t need the rehashing of painful details. I don’t want to skim this blog in the future and remember what little bit might fade with time.

It still hurts and it still weighs down my life, but it is time to stop writing about that. Time to write about my awesome siblings and Dad, the time I spend with friends, the adventures in life again. While this blog has been a very helpful venting ground, I don’t ever want it to become a wasteland of my pain. And I think it will be nice to focus my mind on the little details that still shine bright rays of happiness into my life.

I am not done writing about Mom. She is gone, but she is still a major part of who I am. She was amazing and beautiful and wise. And I want to dwell on that, and not on her sick and suffering.

Tiny Reminders

She always did leave numerous, coffee stained notes laying around.

I was back out at Dad’s this weekend. I was handling it really well, it didn’t even particularly feel weird, until I made the mistake of flipping through some paperwork out of curiosity. I found a journal of Mom’s, one that Jenna had given her a long time ago. She had some Bible verses copied down in it, but nothing too personal. But tucked inside the pages I found a little sticky note. The top corner has my initials in it, followed by a simple comment: “my advocate – who fights for me-”

My mirage of okay crumbled. It still crumbles, every time I see the picture I quietly snapped so I would always have a reminder of it, every time I start remembering the words to myself in my head.

I have no idea why my mom thought to wright this down. An important enough detail she wanted to remember it, but also one that shares the scrap of paper with “There’s a harvest to get in this year!” written below. I am always protective of the people I love, but I didn’t know I ever did anything to make it stand out from the others who were on her side. I wonder what I did that day that she thought to make note of it. Why me out of the many people fighting for her? I’ll never know. But I am so, so glad that I could do something for her, so glad that we were close enough that we could have this connection, close enough to be equals and advocates and friends. Because she was always my advocate, always my support too.

It isn’t just little snippets of her writing that remind me of my loss. (There have been other scraps of paper, other notes, whether it was a letter to us kids or just little to do lists. They are all so her and they all really hurt). The stupidest thing is that I’ll see something, and unbidden the thought pops into my head “That outlasted Mom.” It’s terrible and such a stupid, horrible thought. I pulled out my violin today, thinking I could fill some empty, lethargic time with music. A few seconds of playing and I realized it would be hard. It had been Mom’s violin. We had learned to play together. I had played it for her the last day she was alive, because I always promised I would bring it out for her again to hear and I didn’t want to go back on that promise. She was pretty far gone by then but Roxy said she thinks she heard me. I found the rosin for the bow, the old, broken chunk that goes back however long ago when we actually played together – something past 10 years now I’m sure. And instantly “This rosin is here still and Mom’s not.” It’s not even nostalgic stuff.  “This stupid ketchup bottle,” “This notepad I haven’t used yet,” “The dang old cat is still alive, but Mom’s not.” I hate myself every time I think it, but it still comes to mind.

I think a big issue is that for some reason I feel like I should be okay now, even though I know it’s not true. I feel like I should just plow back into life and get beyond the pain, maybe it’s a lifetime of pushing pain aside that makes me feel like that. But when something comes up and suddenly I’m reminded I’m not okay. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not. And because I’m not the facade is easily broken by violin rosin and the beautiful curve of her penmanship.

Or realistically just a night like tonight, where I don’t have anything to fill my mind enough to distract me from the pain and suffering of these last few months. But I don’t know how this pain is ever going to go away so how else am I to cope than to just push it away?

By blog posting, apparently. I would apologize for gushing my pain out here, but let’s face it, that’s always been a major reason I had this blog, and there’s certainly more to come. But to have this one place where I can come to and just sob out the fears and thoughts of my innmost heart… it’s the only place I can, and it means the world to me. 

1 Week Later

It has been several months since I posted. Truth is I’ve had a lot to say, and not enough strength to say it. Easter was hard, because I saw how terribly my Mom’s health was fading. Mother’s Day was horrific, because I realized she was actually dying. 1 week ago she did.

At some future time I might try to revisit all that, to pour out so much of the fear and pain that has bubbled under the surface of my life for so long, but right now I won’t. Right now I want to just try to open up again by talking about the now and not the horrors of the past few weeks. I don’t yet have the strength for that.

This past week has been easier and harder than I expected. Easier simply because none of it feels real. It is hard to grapple with emotions when the emotions are tied to what feels like a dream. I can’t imagine the fact that my mother is actually gone. I can’t imagine not being able to talk to her again, how I can’t rush to her with my good news and bad. And so it is a vague fear of the future that fills me, but not a very precise one. Yet.

I sense a breaking in the dream coming. More and more things happen that remind me my Mom is dead, and more and more I feel the truth prick my heart with pain. I have a friend who is thinking of buying a house. Mom used to be a realtor, and I almost told her my Mom could probably offer advice on that. Someone mentions their mom in a conversation and a blunt voice in my mind rings “I no longer have one.”

Accidentally saying “My parents house,” or “I am going to visit Mom and Dad this weekend,” and thinking that those are no longer correct phrases, is only slightly more painful that actually saying “My Dad’s house,” and realizing that not only is it true, but my mind actually went to the right phrase first.

I fear so much for the future. For Dad without his other half. I don’t know that Dad has ever needed anyone besides Mom, they were always so content together. Now I worry what his life will look like without her. I worry about that big house, and the days Christian might not be living at home anymore. I worry about all my family without my Mom as our rock.

I worry about the day I get a random bloody nose or a bad flu and I can’t call her to ask her what to do. I worry about what should be happy days and wonder how they could be happy without her there to participate: holidays, when I graduate, if I get married someday, if I have kids someday.

I worry about major life decisions without her advice, I worry about struggles without her love to support me.

I wonder why she had to go through so much pain, why her body had to waste away to nothing, why, why, why…

And how in the world am I going to move on from this?

I can, for the most part, shove this all inside and ignore it, as I always have done with pain. But it creeps up and if I don’t surround myself with distractions it hits me, more persistent than any emotion I have tried to set aside before.

I wish she was here to hug me right now. She would know the right words to say.

I hope this doesn’t make me sound desperate and alone, because I have wonderful, amazing friends and family who have been so supportive of me through this. But they aren’t mi Madre, my Marme, my Mom, and they never will be.

And I haven’t figured out how to come to terms with that yet.

Bastille in Bozeman

I like taking photos of tickets with this. Something about the excitement showing in my eyes being more fun than just a picture of the ticket? I don’t know, but expect to continue to see them.

You guys! Or more correctly, you very few mostly strangers on the internet. BASTILLE WAS IN BOZEMAN! Now to translate this for you. Bastille (AKA the only band I buy every song of and adore oh so much my favorite band) not only decided to grace my beautiful state, but came to Bozeman, which is only a short 2 hour drive from home.

Now, I am not a particular fan of concerts. Anyone else I would have no real desire to see. Haven’t actually gone to but one concert back in 2010, had fun but it wasn’t exactly my thing. But I always said if Bastille even came as close as Colorado (the closest that people seem to actually get to coming to Montana some days) I would totally make the effort to go. So when Bastille announced on Facebook they would be here, I knew I’d be at the concert. I tried pulling some friends into the fun, but they, a. not having the obsession with the band, and b. protesting to the late Sunday night right before work and/or finals, declined.  I was unable to get a posse together. A solo adventure it was to be then.

My beautiful, beautiful state of Montana. I had to take several photos without looking at the camera to be safe while driving, and actually ended up with one that was decent. Yay!

I remember thinking in Germany how easy it was to find adventures, and how I really needed to make the effort to just get out and find some in my own state. Winter isn’t very conducive to traveling here, so I haven’t had much chance, and lets face it, some days I need a push. But here was my chance, and Bozeman had been one of my first thoughts for destinations all this time. An audio book on Boenhoeffer by Eric Metaxas made the drive short. I highly recommend it.

I have for YEARS heard about this chocolate shop in Bozeman. La Chatelaine Chocolat Co. Boasting of Truffles and hot chocolate made from scraps of truffles and all sorts of good things had been described to me. It was obviously the first place I went, and of course I find it closed! Sad day. But someday I will make it back up to Bozeman and get me some. An excuse for another adventure, perhaps?

“We will rule over this land, and we will call it… This Land.” “I think we should call it, Your Grave.” “Ah, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”

Nom Nom Nom

This forced a change of plans upon me. I pondered what this meant for my day for a few minutes, chilling in my car, wondering why everyone was wearing coats when I thought it was gorgeous outside even with the spattering of rain. Snacking on the way too plentiful pile of snacks I had stocked up for the short drive, and perhaps reenacting some Firefly scenes with cinnamon gummy bears? I admit nothing.

Feeling throwbacks to Germany when stores have year round Christmas sections.

The sad thing is that I had to carefully prop up my cellphone to actually make an effort to take these photos.  On a side note, aren’t cinnamon gummy bears one of the most perfect candies ever? Maybe it’s a nostalgic thing because Mom always would buy them when she was writing a book with a friend and the childhood feels of hanging out with the friends family every week are strong. But gosh dang it they’re good.

So the obvious answer was to go shopping downtown to kill a half hour or more (I may or may not have had that amount of time planned for chocolate shopping)

 

 

Obligatory wall of huckleberry products in Montana store is obligatory.

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was dinner time! Not that I needed any with the snacking I had done. But it’s the experience of it all, you know. So I headed to the highly recommended Montana Ale Works. Known, as you can imagine, for awesome beer. I am not a huge beer fan, but the food is fantastically worth going for as well.

 

 

 

 

The pomegranate mojito was fantastic. I asked my bartender what I should be getting for dinner, as I was torn between the taco and a burger. He told me to get one taco, as they were small, grab a side of house made tater tots, and a salad to round it up. I thankfully took his suggestion, and was very happy I did so. The beef taco was savory and flavorful, with a nice crunch from a cabbage slaw and the perfect corn flour tortilla over notes. The tater tots were spicy. I was not expecting the punch they packed, as people tend to oversell the heat in dishes. The jalapeno and pepper jack and divine crunchy outside with soft pillowy inside were such a perfect thing. Not sure the tots and the taco were something to pair together, but I honesty didn’t care. They were both fantastic with the mojito though.

Aaand concert time! Standing room general admission for me. And I ended up being about 12 feet from the stage. Parking was actually super easy too. Brick Breeden Fieldhouse is a fantastic venue.

Waiting, and waiting. And so excited so not feeling like too much of a wait. Read some of the Odyssey on my phone. I look like a total dork in this picture, but I was one, so all is cool.

Opening act was Mondo Cozmo. Not familiar with their work but they were fun. A little heavy on the instruments so I couldn’t hear the vocals as well, which is just a personal taste thing.

I absolutely love this picture. Great one of lead singer Dan with the blue light behind him. And actually semi okay quality with all the weird lighting going on

You are probably most familiar with Bastille’s song Pompeii, which came out about two years ago and was quite a hit. You know how usually you can overplay a song until you are utterly sick of it, but somehow there are those few golden songs you never get tired of? I never got tired of Pompeii, and when I searched out more of their music, I find I never get tired of any of that either. They don’t go the cheesy romantic way that is so overplayed nowadays, and pull inspiration from history and lore and the harder, more difficult aspects of life. Perhaps if I searched off the beaten path of music a bit more I’d find more of that, but something about this band has just always spoke to me for several years now. I was so blessed to see them live.

I even got to stand within like, 6 inches of Dan at one point, so fangirling was for sure happening. I apologize to everyone who’s toes I accidentally jumped on during the night, by the way. It was crowded and I’m not coordinated enough. I’m altogether surprised I didn’t lose my voice, what with screaming and singing and just getting over a bit of a head cold, and then driving home and singing to all their music for 2 more hours, and then getting up for work the next day after a long night. But I didn’t, and I’m super thankful for that.

See my dorky smile of happyness leaving the concert below. I still get that when I think of my adventureful weekend. So glad I took the dive to have a solo adventure. So glad I got to see my favorite band. So glad I am a dork and I let myself brazenly enjoy things that other people might not and that’s okay (thinking not so much of the concert now as I am of the afore mentioned cinnamon bear part of this post…).

Now for a 2 hour drive home. And work in the morning!

 

 

10/10, will certainly be going to a Bastille concert again the next time they’re close… or in like Colorado or something.

Hey Tweety Bird, What Do You Want?

 

Today I heard someone whistle, and the sound instantly reminded me of a meadowlark’s call. It made me realize that there are sounds that will take me back to some place, make me feel at home, and/or give me joy and calm, and the sound of a meadowlark is certainly one of them.

Some people think of robins when they think of spring. But it’s the meadowlark that makes me realize that winter is finally over. They’re the state bird of Montana, so it’s natural they are prevalent. We used to live at a place that had a giant chokecherry bush (chockecherries are certainly a topic I should expound upon eventually… I want to petition for them to become the state fruit)  and the meadowlarks would sit in it and sing all day, hopping around the field and just being so beautiful.

They have a very distinctive song. I remember my Mom once pointing out that it has the same rhythm as saying “Hey tweety bird, what do you want?” It’s one of those things that once you hear it you can’t unhear. And maybe it’s because of that that the sound always reminds me of Mom. And it reminds me of running through the fields and carving my name in sandstone formations that dotted our property or hiking up the road near the ridge line or swinging on the swing set, watching dad mow the sporadic lawn on one of those perfect, balmy spring days that make you want to take a nap in the sun.

They remind me of Montana and what it means to be carefree and they take me back to that time of innocent childhood.

It is, in short, a song that evokes the feeling of belonging, and home.

Amazing what a few short notes can do, isn’t it?

 

March 27th, 2017 – Updates

Mom had a test today.

The cancer has progressed. Obviously we had hoped that the chemo would have worked better than that. I wouldn’t say it’s a shock. But yet I feel like it’s shocked me.

Health is so incongruous. I spent part of the weekend over at my folks. Mom was feeling better than she had appeared to be for months. Still does. Yet…

~

Funny how a few seconds of tears and a few moments of struggling with a frozen computer clear your head. Those first few lines read so disjointed. Like I wasn’t quite processing, maybe. I process while I write a lot, but it tends to be much more wordy.

Does this news change much? I don’t know. My Mom still has stage 4 cancer, that’s not new. It’s still a terrible and precipitous fight for her. For us all. And we were certainly wanting some ground to be gained. But this doesn’t mean the fight is over. It just means we didn’t win the battles when we wanted. It’s a reminder of exactly how scary this all is and how modern medicine isn’t a super power cure-all like it’s easy to imagine it to be.

I don’t have a good close for this. I don’t like unwrapped up ideas. But that’s what this news feels like to me. Like I was ready for some closure but everything was just ripped fresh open again.

Book Preferences (Tagged In a Rapid Fire Post)

My dearest Amy over at Fernwehs Call has tagged me in a rapid fire Q and A about my reading preferences. As I always love to talk books, I thought I would rise to the challenge and answer the call.

ebooks or physical books?

Physical books are always my preference. I like owning them and being able to display them. I like the way it’s easier for me to get lost into the story for some reason. That being said, I have read a lot of books on my phones ereader (even back before I had a smart phone and my screen was literally maybe 2″ square) and love always having a book at my fingertips to read while waiting in line or for a few minutes here and there.

Paperback or hardback?

Hardback, mainly because they hold up so much better.

Online or in-store shopping?

If I know exactly what book I want, online. If I’m not sure, in-store. Especially used book stores.

Trilogy or series?

Trilogy. I like to get caught up in an expansive story, but I also like a finishing point. There are some really good series that keep me captivated for the longer read, but they’re harder to revisit because of the time involved.

Heroes or Villains?

Both. Any well crafted character intrigues me.

A book you want everyone to read.

Ooh. There’s books I love, but that’s not always the same thing, is it? I think I would suggest a book of short stories, not even a specific one. I think short stories are sadly underrated, and would like to see them rise in popularity.

Recommend an underrated book.

As someone who reads obscurer classics, there are so many. It’s really unfortunate so few people have read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. That book is comedy gold, and so well written.

The last book you finished.

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?

Nothing to weird. Scraps of paper, dollar bills…

Used books, yes or no?

Always and forever. Used books are a great way to try something new without much investment, to build up your collection, and can usually be found in pretty decent shape.

Top three favorite genres?

Classics. Mystery. Young Adult.

Characters or Plot?

Characters. I’ll forgive a lot of issues in a book if I simply have well written, lovable characters.

Short or long book?

Long, if it’s well written.

Long or short chapters?

Short. I like natural stopping places where I can ready a little here and there and not stop mid-action.

Name the first three books you think of.

Endurance – Alfred Lansing (I was talking with a coworker about great non-fiction just yesterday, and this book rightly came up.)

With Fire and Sword – Henryk Sienkiewicz (I once started learning Polish because of this novel. An all time favorite.)

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Profit, Spy – Eric Metaxas (Currently what I am listening to on Audible. Fantastic story about a fantastic man)

Books that make you laugh or cry?

Laugh

Our world or fictional worlds?

Our world, though a fictional one is always welcome too

Do you ever judge a book by it’s cover?

Don’t we all?

Book to movie or book to tv adaptation?

Both! I love seeing favorite stories brought to life.

Series or stand alone?

Stand alone. Or series. Or whatever book is good and awesome. I welcome them all.

In Which I Visit an Animal Crematorium (for Funsies)

Does it need a caption?


Oh, how did I get to that point? Well, I suppose because I have a curious group of friends, in both meanings of the phrase (And in the best possible ways). It was perhaps two weeks ago when Kayla, Hannah, and I had a conversation about how adults should be able to go on field trips and by such learn fun things about our communities around us. It was a smidge over a week ago when a group of us were introduced to a man named Aaron, who worked at a pet crematorium. Now, once the topic had been brought up, he politely tried to keep details from us. We had none of it, and after a half hour discussion filled with our questions and a heavy dose of dark humor, the question was broached if he ever gave tours.

It is not surprising to learn he had not done so in the past. But that would not keep him from giving us one in the future. And we all magically had the 20th off. Because holidays and also because we had plans to close the bars down on Sunday night. For funsies. Gosh I love the adventures my friends drag me into.

Sunday night was an adventure in and of itself, (and not really as crazy as you are imagining it. I had a single amaretto sour, which was very good, and laughed hysterically most of the night),and Monday we awoke a bit too early and after getting some obligatory coffee, Kayla, Lisa, Kathy, and I found ourselves entering the Pet Crematorium.

Aaron started our tour by role playing his job with us, asking about our now-deceased pet and our options for cremation. The fictional pet was named Ralph, he was a pot-smoking 20lb beta fish who died when rubbing alcohol was added to his bowl. Because why not. Aaron then walked us out past the dog park to the pond where ashes were sometimes scattered. It was a beautiful little spot, with a resident goose who was known as “The Undertaker.”

The Undertaker

 Then of course we saw the actual workings of a crematorium. We watched as Aaron took paw prints of the deceased dogs, we saw the giant freaking jet ovens and the aftermath of that oven, and the large grinders where the bones were later processed. It was all somewhat gross but in a fascinating way. And I was with a group of people who had to know everything, like what the heck the green residue on the bottom of the oven was (much googling says it’s just random minerals) which made it doubly awesome.

And then we got into a long pun filled discussion about it on Facebook, and let the whole world know just how weird we are. I wish I had more pics, but I don’t think I could have beat Kayla’s epic Snapchat story anyway.

10/10 would totally go on weird field trips again.