Ten years ago today, 9/25/06, I first started talking to some girl I met on the internet. We were both members of a small writing forum called Liberty Hall, where you would write one story per week after looking at a writing prompt, and spend the rest of the week critiquing other stories (and having your story critiqued)–culminating in an anonymous vote for “best story” of the week.
It was a nice little community, and a great place to practice the craft of writing fiction.
I was living in St. Augustine, Florida, in a little apartment right downtown, a block or two away from the college I was attending at the time. She lived in downtown Salt Lake City.
One week in mid September, Liberty Hall’s admin decided to have a “worst story” contest, just for fun. Not to get too far into a kind of “you had to be there” story, the forum also had fake money that you earned for posting (or something). You could send and receive this forum-specific currency with other members.
I’m not sure how it happened, but Beth started bribing people with this fake money to say her worst story was the BEST worst story for the weekly vote. I don’t remember who reached out to who first, but I *think* it was me via private message, to help her bribe the other members.
She is a trouble maker, and I am an instigator, so we started scheming.
Soon after we started chatting over Gchat (Google Chat) about our bribing, writing, and other interesting stuff (where do you live, what do you do, etc).
Due to the magic of Google keeping all your chats, forever (if you allow it), I can actually read our first conversation, and see the date and the time.
I am really interested in keeping track of dates. I dunno why, but it’s something I always make note of.
The day we first started chatting.
The day I first flew out to visit her in November, 2006.
The day we arrived home in Salt Lake together when I moved in, after driving from FL to UT in April 2007.
The day we got married.
Beth says I’m only allowed to celebrate one anniversary, and so we celebrate getting married every October.
But this September 25th is a bit special, and so we’ll head out tonight for a nice dinner together.
Ten years ago I started chatting with Beth, and we never really looked back. I flew to Salt Lake to visit her November 2006, after chatting with her for 12+ hours a day, EVERY day (basically). I canceled my flight home twice and stayed until New Years. Since I couldn’t leave in the middle of a semester, I didn’t move in with her until April 2007, but we planned it that December.
At 33 years old, 10 years is almost 1/3 of my life. It’s a big deal to me. That I get to share my life with my most favorite person–that’s just the best thing.
When I went back this morning and read our first conversation, this part made me laugh and laugh:
On Friday, 9-23, the first cold front of the season blew through the west. Just a days after the Equinox there is snow on the La Sal mountains, as if Winter can’t wait to arrive.
Yesterday I drove to Grand Junction, along scenic highway 128 from Castle Valley, past Dewey, and through Cisco. The views were spectacular. Well, the views are always spectacular, but the red rock set against clouds and well-defined storm cells was extra special.
I pulled over several times to take a pic.
Like all photos of dark skies and sweeping scenic views, the picture does no justice to what the eyes see.
Still, it translates well enough, and I really love what the pictures show.
The storms on radar:
Approaching storm 1:
Storm 1 and Fisher Towers:
Looking back after driving through the northwestern corner of storm 1:
Final pic–looking back at the edge of storm 1 from Cisco, UT:
Driving toward storm 2:
Dramatic clouds looking toward storm 1:
When I arrived in Grand Junction, the storms had split and gone around the city, but the sky and the sunset were pretty spectacular. Here’s a shot from the parking lot. No filters here, it really looked this apocalyptic.
Once a week I drive to Grand Junction, Colorado for errands, appointments, etc. I love leaving the house before the sun comes up, and watching it rise along the drive. Between my house and the interstate, I typically do not encounter any other cars (about a 45 min drive)–just me, the rabbits, the crows, the eagles, the deer, and the prairie dogs.
Today there were some really interesting storms at the horizon. Once the Sun came up, they made the normally very dramatic sunrise especially interesting.
Yesterday, Beth and I drove through the Grand Mesa National Forest. The forest is 541 square miles of beauty on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies.
The day started with an intense rain storm in Castle Valley. It’s been particularly dry this year, so I’m always happy when we get a stray thunderstorm (as much as the lightning makes me [and the dogs/cats] nervous).
The rain would follow us west, looking particular scenic as we drove along I70, and as it approached the mountains we wound our way up, putting on a pretty amazing lightning show.
After we left the forest, we turned of Highway 65 for 45 1/2 road, which carried us back to I70.
This part of the drive was surprising, as it reminded us of the remote, rocky landscape similar to where we lived, but with less towering mesas and buttes. Technically listed as being in DE Beque, CO, the road twisted through well worn rocks, with homes hidden by standalone boulders and twisted junipers.
It had just finished raining, and everything everywhere sparked with the sunlight.
Before the Forest
One thing I really like doing is finding and exploring (or at least, driving slowly through) small towns in the middle of nowhere.
Cedaredge is a charming small town of ~2000 people beneath the slopes that contain Grand Mesa National Forest (fun fact, Grand Mesa is the largest flat-top mountain in the world). It has several orchards and vineyards, and we enjoyed stopping at a very lovely fruit stand that had fresh-picked apples, plums, and peaches.
When I went for a walk outside this morning, I saw the biggest bumblebee I’d ever seen before. It flew through the patch of sunflowers growing near the house, and dragged down each flower it visited. I didn’t get a pic of that bee (it moved on before I grabbed my camera), but I did stop and take several other pictures.
Here’s a hummingbird visiting the trumpet-like pink flowers of the red yucca (also called hummingbird yucca, fittingly) among the sunflowers:
We got a new puppy on Saturday. Her name is Sadie.
Why did we get a new puppy?
Well, why not? I’ve always adopted dogs that were a bit older, and wanted the experience of raising one from a pup. Also, our Basset hound Penny seems to get bored sometimes. She tries to play with Lucy, but Lucy doesn’t quite know how to play. She just stands there and wags her tail.
It’s been a busy few days, integrating her into the house.
Training her to sit, getting her used to the kennel, trying to not stop working to pet her ridiculously soft puppy face every five minutes…
I filled out the adoption paperwork last Tuesday, and met her at Petco on Saturday to make sure she’d be a good fit. We both had a long day, and a long drive back to Castle Valley.
Sadie slept most of the 4.5 hour drive home.
She’s been amazing, though.
We’ve had her sleeping in the sun room, with the doors shut to keep her from the rest of the house, since we are still working on basic ground rules (including please ignore the cats) and she has not whined or barked once. She just goes to sleep and waits excitedly when I get up for me to come and visit.
She has not gone to the bathroom on the floor, either. Amazing, for a puppy.
Sadie is getting along really well with our other dogs, a basset hound and a basset/lab mix.
On Feb 29th, 2016 I was running some errands in Moab, UT (last minute getting the car registered before it expires–no surprises there for Last Minute Markey).
As I was leaving the nursery in Moab–picking up some wonderful herbs to plant in the backyard, I saw the wind kicking up dust. I watched for a minute and it looked like it was getting more and more organized. I grabbed my phone and started to recording. I was too worried about missing a moment of filming, I forgot to not film vertically, like a dope.
The video is still pretty awesome. This thing goes from an interesting to swirl of dust to a tightly organize funnel in a matter of seconds. Very cool to watch the formation and dissipation.