Too much has happened since my last post to play the catch up game, but here goes:
I got more comfortable in my new job and new home (which are not so new anymore), made it home for Christmas for the first time in years, got engaged, planned a wedding in five months, lost my grandfather, was properly exited out of singledom with a bachelorette party in New Orleans that made me realize I’m too old to eat ice cream for breakfast, and got hitched surrounded by a bunch of people we love.
I left a lot of things out, but those are the important ones.
Good Lord, that’s a lot of change in a short time. Truth is, I’m still wading through it and I don’t think I’m 100% on the other side of any of it. And part of me doesn’t want to be.
Our wedding weekend was so much fun and we’ll never be so surrounded by so many family and friends at one time again. I wish I could relive it. It’s still hard for me to believe my grandfather died. He was a constant and very present force in my life. I wish I could relive some time with him too.
I’m pretty good about moving forward, but totally suck at looking back. I have to consciously make an effort to stop and remember where I’ve been. My biggest personal goal for the rest of the year is to properly reflect on all these things and the ones yet to happen by journaling more, carrying my camera with me and occasionally posting here. That’s right — I’m going to post more often than every 10 months. My mom will be thrilled.
I got busy.
I know that’s not a good excuse.
I moved across the country, started a new job, and covered a presidential election. If that weren’t stressful enough, Josh didn’t find a full-time job until September and my new doc informed me my hormones were all out of whack.
The last eight months haven’t been the smoothest, but I wouldn’t trade them for easier ones.
We feel at home in the Midwest and love Columbus. I’m settling fine into my new beat. The variety keeps me busy and interested and on my toes, which is really all you can ask for in a dream job. Josh found a great job that uses his skills as a photojournalist and a manager. He also benefited from the presidential election, shooting dozens of events for Corbis Images.
Now that the election is over, we’re looking forward to finishing decorating the house, making weekend plans and just taking things a bit slower.
I’m in between jobs, literally.
Feb. 7 was my last day at the Casper Star-Tribune. I start my new job reporting Ohio government and state issues for the Dayton Daily News one week from Monday.
I enjoyed my time in Casper. Like I do with everything, I tried to make the most of it. I met hardworking and passionate journalists and people — it was a great place to do journalism. I left with few regrets, many good memories and a stronger sense of myself and the work I can do.
The new job is a good move for me personally and professionally. Josh and our little dog are moving with me to Columbus and we’re looking forward to learning a new city, a much bigger city.
Before Christmas, I wasn’t too bummed about spending it away from home for the third year in a row. I survived (and enjoyed) previous Christmases spent skiing in New Mexico and feasting with other journalist orphans in Casper. The actual holiday stretched weeks, brown boxes from friends and relatives arriving weeks before the holiday and into January. I made it home for Thanksgiving both years with some good luck and a one-way ride as far as Colorado from my sister.
Thanksgiving at home didn’t happen this year. Plane tickets were expensive, my sister’s schedule didn’t align with mine and Josh’s dad, stepmom and stepsisters decided to drive to Wyoming for the weekend. I hosted my first Thanksgiving and proved once again I am my mother’s daughter.
We served way too many appetizers, including $40 worth of cheese, and enjoyed leftovers for a whole week afterward. We drank wine and played games and watched movies. We were too full for dessert (pumpkin-apple and French silk pies, a la mode) but ate it anyway.
A few weeks before Christmas, I found out family from Virginia that I hadn’t seen in years were driving home. I scrambled to find a plane ticket: $650-800 to fly out of Casper. Flights from Denver were a little cheaper, but I couldn’t afford booking a $350 ticket in the case I-25 closed and I never made my flight. And I didn’t have $800 for a guaranteed flight.
So Christmas at home didn’t happen, again. We ended up driving to New Mexico for a long weekend with Josh’s family. Of course, Nola came with and she behaved so well during the 10ish hour car ride.
And when I called my mom’s house where everyone was gathering on Christmas day, no one answered the phone. I called three cell phones before my brother answered, roaring laughter in the background.
They were doing the white elephant gifts, he explained. Apparently, in the Christmases I missed, my family started a new tradition. At that moment, I made a vow to go home next year, no matter what, even if it is only for two days.
Although I’ve done a good job of finding family around the holidays to celebrate with, nothing beats going home.
Two weeks ago, this little one entered my life. It’s hard to imagine life without her.
We named her Nola after New Orleans, something we always agree on. The name seems to suit her well. She’s sweet, loyal and, as demonstrated by more than a few spills, extremely resilient.
She’s part maltese, part poodle — 100 percent love.
We have a lot in common. We both love peanut butter, Motown and falling asleep on the couch to the evening news.
We searched Wyoming shelters for small dogs all summer. We fell in love with a dachshund, but someone else adopted her before we could. We found dogs in Colorado shelters, but they didn’t adopt out of state.
My mom’s trusted breeder in Illinois happened to have four puppies available when I visited home in September. When I held Nola, she got scared by a sound from another puppy and burrowed her head into my chest with a wimper. I was sold.
My mom drove her as far as South Dakota, and I drove more than 600 miles each way to pick her up. On the ride back, I let her sit in the passenger seat. She climbed into my lap and stayed there until I had to get gas in Rapid City. She felt safe with me. And I didn’t feel so alone driving in the dark.
She’s taught me a few things in the short time she’s been here.
- Patience is something I work on every day. The dog has taken it to new levels. Nola turns into super-hyper puppy for about an hour every morning, and I feel like I’m at mile No. 10 of a half marathon with Josh.
- Confidence is built on a series of experiences. We’re working on her confidence to squat and do her business outside despite barking pitbulls, strong winds and strangers passing by on the sidewalk.
- Sometimes, we need a little help — even when we know we’ll succeed. Nola can get off the couch, but often she will sit on the end and whine for someone to pick her up and put her on the floor.