Saturday, August 12, 2017

2017 Road Trip

We took a nice long road trip for vacation this year.  Below will be lots of pictures....
We traveled a total of 2723 miles.
Our car reeks of sweat.

 A general idea of everywhere we went.  This doesn't include all of our random side trips...

 Grand Canyon North Rim.

 Marble Canyon.

 South Rim (still a novice at using a fancy camera, sorry, not sorry.)

South Rim

South Rim with humans

 Meteor Crater (definitely not worth the money)

With Cody at Meow Wolf, a very cool place.

 Meow Wolf (Santa Fe)

Sandia Peak

 Sandia Peak

Nuclear Science and History Museum

White Sands
 White Sands
 White Sands
 Instagram fancy picture of White Sands
 Bowling the Moon
 Jumping the moon
 It was not cool there.  We were sweaty all night.
 Sunrise meant we could leave, because they open the gates!

 Carlsbad Caverns.

 Carlsbad Caverns.  This is the remains of a 90 foot ladder back in the early 1900's when they were exploring this place.  Imagine swinging on this in almost total darkness...

Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Springs 

 Mesa Verde is all burned up on top.

 But the homes are still intact and cool.

 The tours involved small spaces/crawling, and large ladders on the cliff.  I hate heights.

 Fiery Furnace.  We took lots of pictures to make sure we wouldn't get lost.  Can you see the small arrow we're supposed to locate?  (Jake is pointing to where we came from, in case we need to back track.  The Ranger had very little faith in us figuring it out...But we did it!  Proved that man wrong!)

 The prayer rock? High five?

 Delicate Arch.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Storytime: The Unicorns

I have not written anything in a LONG time.  I haven't even written a single post about Jake.  Well, for those of you who have no idea about my life, since my last post, I met Jake in February 2016, married him in February 2017, and now it's been six months since we've been married.  We have a tradition: every night, one of us has to tell a story (we alternate every day).  We like to remember silly stories we told each other (especially when we're tired).  However, many of these stories are already lost to memory.  Therefore, I will try to chronicle them here, for us, when we grow old and senile.  There will be grammatical errors, made up words, and inconsistencies.  All raw stories tend to have flaws...

The Unicorns

This story is the story of the unicorns.  As told by Natalie.  The listener, Jake, drew this picture as he listened.

I'm sure you've looked many animals on this planet, and thought, "hey, that's cool!"  Or you noticed that something is missing: the unicorn.  I'll tell you why the unicorns are missing (even though they are the national animal of Scotland).

Long ago, there were no animals on the planet.  The people who lived during that time were incredibly bored: there were no dogs to play with, no horses to ride, no lions to run from.  So the people decided to create animals.  They created hundreds of thousands of molds of animals.  There were two of each kind, so they wouldn't have to make them over and over (the animals would reproduce).  There were all kinds of molds, beautiful molds of elaborate horses, dogs, colorful birds, (and of course, unicorns).  There were grotesque molds, such as the banana spider, slugs, and fish that look like poop.

The people went looking for spirits to put inside these molds and make them come alive.  They went to Spirit Land and asked different spirits to come and be different animals.  The world became more interesting.

One week, the people found the perfect two spirits to be unicorns.  But alas!  Some jealous animal saw the unicorn molds and smashed them to smithereens!  So the two noble spirits told the people they would be ok with a different shape.  But nothing was left.  Just leftover rejected body parts here and there.

The unicorn spirits asked the people to put whatever they had together, and they would be happy to frolic around on this earth.  The people found two leftover otter bodies.  They found eight webbed feet.  They found two beaver tails.  They found two duck bills.  They also found something rather cool: two spurs.  They smashed all these things together, and created what we call a platypus.  The unicorn spirits were pleased.  Sure, it wasn't as beautiful as a unicorn body, but you have to admit: the platypus is pretty awesome.  The boy unicorn got the spurs, which released a powerful venom if needed.

And that is why the platypus secretly has the charm and powers of unicorns.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Post for a Dear Friend


Congratulations!  I don't remember when we became adults.  I was thinking back on our friendship: how did a witty musical cellist become friends with a nerdy tone-deaf swimmer?

I remember seeing you for the first time in 7th grade in Mrs. LaFlamme's class.  Our first seating chart was alphabetical, so Lauren Eddington was in front of me, and you were on the other side of the classroom.  Our lovely English teacher made us do some type of speed-dating-get-to-know-you activity, so I did talk to you in those first days in middle school.  I also remember being impressed with your vocabulary skills--you were constantly finding movies that had characters say one of the current vocabulary words.  One of the first ones you shared was from Shrek.  The vocabulary word was "orthodox."  The scene you showed was after Shrek saved Fiona, she talked about something being "unorthodox."  I thought you were so cool for watching Shrek, especially since our friend Amber highly disapproved of that movie because of the flatulence.

7th grade was also the year of 9/11.  We got to write essays about it in English.  Yours had a cool quote from Big Bird.  I was jealous of how smart you were to use quotes.

I remember in 8th grade, I didn't see you much: we had only one class together in Mrs. Abercrombie's.  We had to come up with a flag and a cheer for our group--we were in the North for the Civil war.  I made the flag, and you came up with the cheer: *clap* "Slavery: not cool--cruel."

Ninth grade is when we really hit it off.  We have the Beatles, math, and Mrs. Yates to thank for that.  We finally started realizing that we were oddballs in middle school, and that's ok.  We'd meet in the library before school started, got excited about Redwall and did math homework.  We would talk about current events--I still remember the morning after they found Elizabeth Smart.  We were so happy--it'd been so long, and we thought she was never going to be found.  We made fun of all the girls who would hang pictures of their celebrity crushes in their lockers.  I decided to put pictures of Pippin up in mine (the popular celebrities were Legolas, Draco Malfoy, Zac Efron, etc.).

When the weather got warmer in the spring of 9th grade, we'd take walks outside, and talk about our plans and the future.  I can't remember what we planned.  I do know that my life has never gone as I planned, and I'm perfectly ok with that!

High school/college-we went to different high schools, but still managed to hang out on weekends, talking through the night.  I love that we can talk about anything and everything.  I love that even if we don't see each other in a year, we just pick up right where we left off.

Brittany, I've never seen you so happy and content as I've seen you today.  Your wedding was beautiful.  In the short time I've known Peter, I know he's wonderful.  I'm so glad you two found each other.

I know you're worried that you might become "one of those couples" that never really interact with their single friends again.  I'm here to tell you, no worries!  I'm still here, and whenever you want me to come hang out, I'm down!  We've been friends for a long time.  And we'll be friends for a much longer time hence.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Dear Students

To my cute (yes, you are all cute) students who have successfully found my blog (I should have never mentioned it, my fault):

Most of the posts you find here (if you ever read them) will be quite boring to you.  You see, in my teen years, I didn't have a cell phone.  MySpace didn't even exist, let alone Facebook. To communicate with friends, I would email them.  Then this new trendy thing started up: blogs.

These posts are basically status updates.  That are really long.  And boring.  You have been warned.

If you are looking for somewhat amusing posts, here are a few (yes, I'll find the embarrassing pictures for you):

The Twilight Post
My First Marriage Proposal

And let this be a lesson to you: stuff you write in the great void known as the internet will come back to haunt you. Think about what you write before you send it out to the void. I obviously didn't do that.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Ricky had rats, and Lindsey had parakeets growing up (there could be more, but I don't remember very much from such a young age.  The only thing I remember about Ricky's rats is that I had his black and white one on my lap, I had the chicken pox, and there were pink foam curlers in my hair.  I wasn't comfortable with the rat, so I squeezed my temples with the backs of my hands in distress.  I look up, and mom snaps a picture.  That picture is still around somewhere.)

I had a bunch of different pets, and I've found I'm successful with only one kind: hamsters.

My very first pet that I bought with my own money (ok, I swam for them, but hey) was a Russian dwarf hamster.  I named her Frisky.  I didn't know she was a she until later.  She was your typical grey hamster, and she loved grape nuts.  She'd stuff her little cheek pouches to the brim with those grape nuts, then I thought it was hilarious to sometimes press on her little cheek pouch, and she'd spit it all out.  It's amazing how much stuff would fit in her mouth!  Frisky had a friend, I don't know if I ever gave him a name since Megan thought the hammies were cute, so she got one too.  He was creepy, white with red eyes.  

He and Frisky got busy and had lots of little pink jelly beans.  Babies.  They looked like little fingers.  Quite ugly, actually.  I think I had hamsters for about 6  years.  Babies, babies, babies.  The only two hamsters I really remember since the original pair was "runt."  Runt was the runt of the first litter of babies.  I gave him to my cousin, Sarah, who didn't want him anymore after a while.  When I got him back, he was HUGE.  He was a fat one.  The other hamster I remember was Fang.  His teeth didn't line up like hamster teeth should, so his teeth never stayed ground to a decent length.  His bottom fangs would grow so long, they'd be almost cutting into his eye.  I remember Mom and Dad having a system of holding him and clipping his teeth with toenail cutters.  He never got to be a normal sized hamster.  I'm sure he had problems with eating, thus always being a bit scrawny.

See?  I know a lot about hamsters.  I should just stick to those.

My second type of pet was a dove.  My friend Lauren had a dove, and it made the most charming coo-ing sounds, not annoying and screechy like Lindsey's parakeets.  I couldn't stand having it in my room because it was ALWAYS watching me with a beady eye.  I remember he would get out of his cage, and when you tried to catch him and he got away from you, after landing somewhere else, he would let out a chortling sound.  Like he was laughing at you.  
Well, one day he was out of his cage, the room door was open, and the back door (to the great outside) was also open.  Bye bye birdie.

When I was 16 and could drive, I really wanted a pet chinchilla.  But they were out of my price range, so I settled for a little bunny instead.  It was so stinkin' cute!  And stinky.  It got to the point that we all decided that little bunny should stay in a cage outside.  One morning, I decided to go check on Thumper, only to see that Dax (a German Shepard dog) was hungry and decided to eat Thumper.  The most heart-wrenching part was realizing that I was literally 30 seconds too late.  If I had gone out 30 seconds earlier, Bunny would still be in his cage, and not having his bones crunched by Dax.

Enter cute Scooter.  Last December, I decided I really wanted a dog.  Or roommates.  Something.  So I happened to swing by PetSmart, where a really cool organization called Rescue Rovers was holding an adoption event.  He was there, cowering in a cage, not happy with all the commotion.  All the other dogs were yapping, jumping, doing everything to get my attention, but he was simply watching me with big  yellow-ish eyes.  I decided to take him home.

He had a hard time adjusting.  He's a timid dog, probably didn't have the best life in New Mexico.  Or at least, he had a good life roaming the streets until he was caught.  He's a great walker, and loves the outdoors.  After realizing that I'm not the ideal owner for him, I decided to take him back.  But Mom said "but he's such a nice dog!  Let me keep him for a while!"  So he moved to Mom and Dad's.  He loved going on walks with them.  I felt bad, because I'd only visit on the weekends, but I was still his favorite.  Poor Mom, she never felt that was quite fair.

As Scooter got more comfortable with his surroundings, he started to get more confident.  And some...undesirable behaviors emerged.  Namely, biting.  He bit a neighbor walking down the street.  He bit my dad's friend, and actually broke skin.  He nipped at children running around the yard.  And this always happened unpredictably.  The situation had to be perfect, and he would randomly bite 1 out of 20 times.  Not easy to train.

Well, last Sunday, he did his last bite.  He bit Ricky pretty good.  With little kids often over, we decided that Scooter needed a different home, one where he won't bite little children or make my stress level hit "high"whenever there were a lot of people around.  

I took him back to Rescue Rovers (who were very nice and understanding about the whole thing, btw).  The foster who took him in knows dogs very well, and so far, Scooter has been adjusting really well, getting along with the other dogs, and enjoys swimming in the doggy pool.  (I think it's so cool they have a doggy pool.)  I will miss him, but I know he's in a much better situation with someone who knows what he's doing.

I already miss him.  So, I'll stick to hamsters. They don't selfishly take a little piece of my heart.

Friday, June 05, 2015


I'm trying out new hearing aids.  I've had many pairs of hearing aids in my lifetime.  But I should start from the beginning for those of you who don't know me very well.

Q: How did you lose your hearing?
A:  By being born.

Q:  How much hearing loss do you have?
A: About 60 percent?  I'm not sure.  I'm in the 'profound' loss range if that means anything to you.

Q:  How did your parents know that you couldn't hear?
A: Well, when I wasn't talking or uttering anything coherent by the age of 3, they knew something was up.  I was also a bit crazy (still am).  And a nice lady from our neighborhood taught me some sign language, and I became a sweet normal little girl.  Then it clicked.

Ok, back to the point.
New hearing aids.

Before my new hearing aids, hearing aids were simply devices that are made of hard plastic that you wedge into your ear so that it sits next to your eardrum and blares sound into your ear like a microphone.  (Ok, I know it's more complicated than that, but we'll just keep it simple for all those who are not HOH [hard of hearing].)  Since my first pair, at the age of 3, hearing aids have come a long way.  I'm always conscious that I'm listening with a hearing aid, knowing that everything I "hear" isn't quite...natural sounding.

How do I know this?  Secret confession: I often take out my hearing aids in the car, turn the volume all the way up, and enjoy my favorite songs with my natural ears.  It sounds totally different.  Hearing aids can do only so much.

Hearing aids are also very convenient when you don't want to participate in a conversation or listen to a crazy hectic loud crowd--simply turn them off and enjoy the silence.  And I mean absolute silence.  Not one hint of a murmur or sound.  The only way I can describe this is that my ears feel like black holes of nothingness.  And you start to "hear" imaginary sounds.  But that's another story.

New hearing aids: I don't even realize I'm wearing hearing aids half of the time.  It sounds that natural.  Then I panic, worrying, "oh, I'm not even wearing them!  That's why everything sounds so different!"  Then I remember, "oh, yeah.  These are new cool hearing aids."  Not only do they sound better, but if I'm in a situation where I don't really want to listen...I can just tap a cool magical button, and I'm immediately listening to music on my phone.  In my ears.  No one else can hear it.  I can also talk to people on the phone directly through my ears.  So I'm often seen talking to myself.

So remember when I said as a child I was a little wild?  Well now, I'm just insane.  No one can see (hear) why I'm banging my head, busting a random move, or talking to myself.  My hearing aids are pretty hard to see...

I can already see how this will be fun.