Category Archives: family

Summer In Western PA

That’s one of the corn fields on the family farm.

Today is the family get-together and I hate not being there.

I wouldn’t even mind stacking hay bales in the barn even though it’s one of the most physically exhausting things you can do.

Binks sent me this text about our cousin’s 3 year old (who happens to be the most adorable child of all freakin time):

Just took Holden to the bathroom. He asked why cats went in the litter box and not the toilet.

HAHAHA I love 3 year olds.

Also, semi-relevant to yesterday… According to Mary, there’s a Christian dating site called Christian Mingle. Bahahaha. She said that her friend signed up for it, found out that she was a 100% match with a guy she knew “to have the personality of a wall” and promptly deleted her account, stating that it wasn’t worth it.


I Will, I Won’t. I Do, I Don’t.

The wedding this weekend was insanity. It was very much a Penn State wedding in every way. My family parties so freakin hard. I miss them immensely.

Also, you can leave for a long time then come back and realize that nothing has changed and nothing will ever change… in so many ways. And that’s kind of comforting actually.

Like on Friday night when I was en route to State College with Mary and my Dad, before we’d even gotten to the Fort Pitt Tunnel, there had already been a solid conversation on brains, a chat about grad school cohorts/research, and a discussion about the people who are no longer Steelers and how Hines Ward’s retirement speech was basically the saddest thing we’ve ever seen in our lives.

It sucks how you can go home and then be even more homesick than you were before even though you just saw everyone.

Also, my school burnout is reaching ridiculously high levels. I have no idea how I’m gonna make it to December.

And this OB/Peds rotation is making me reconsider whether I want to have a family or not. Which is so messed up.

On the bright side, without kids to support, I could buy a new M3. So, then I’d be a badass surgeon with a badass car. Sounds like happily ever after to me.

I’m seriously starting to worry that I’ll never really know what I want. I’m a few weeks away from 25 and still reconsidering damn near everything about every plan I’ve ever tentatively made and every goal I’ve ever had.

I think I just actually am a noncommittal gypsy. And that sucks. Because I’m sick of being that. And I keep hoping that it’s a temporary phase. But can a phase really be a duration of 15 years?

Here’s a good example… Texas.

Six months ago, if (for some reason) I had a good reason to move to Texas, I would have gone… but I’d have been kicking and screaming the whole way.

Now, due to a series of what I’m still considering to be unfortunate events (because I still kind of really don’t want to move to Texas), Austin is maybe tied with New Orleans in terms of January plans.

Here’s why…

I still have no idea where I want to be after I graduate, in terms of potential nursing fields. And I’m kind of realizing that I probably won’t even know come December. So a nurse residency program seems like a good idea. This is basically a 6 to 52 week commitment (depending on the hospital) where you go through different rotations and get good experience in a lot of areas then decide what you want to do and if you’re good enough, the hospital tries to match what you want to do with what they need and/or want you to do then you have a job. It’s a good way to get your foot in the door if you have no experience and don’t want to work med-surg (and I know 100% positively that I don’t want to work med-surg).

Anyway, as far as I can tell from my research, New Orleans has zero nurse residency programs. The whole state of Louisiana has zero.

But Texas has a million.

And on one of my flights on Sunday, I sat next to a guy who grew up in Austin. And he made is sound slightly amazing.

So then I went on OkC to gauge how attractive/interesting/balanced guys from Austin are.

My God… they’re smokin’ hot and not crazy. And if the guys from OkC are that way, then you know that guys in real life all over the city are 500% hotter and more awesome. Because OkC is generally a baseline for figuring out what your worst options are. If those are my worst options, then I’m about to pack up and leave Mobile right now.

But then again… New Orleans is still kind of my dream, even though it never makes logistical sense. Like at first I didn’t have enough money saved to just pick up and go without being guaranteed a job. Then going to nursing school in Mobile made more sense than going to nursing school in New Orleans (shorter program, starting sooner, etc.). And now, it’s like “Oh, going to Texas for a year or two before New Orleans is probably a good idea.”

I feel like I’ll never get there. And I feel like I’m wasting my youth.

Also, Austin is still way far away from the beach. And since I’ve become a total beach bum at this point, I don’t know if I can do that.

Also, I still DON’T REALLY WANT TO MOVE TO TEXAS. But I kind of do want to move to Texas.

Ugh… it’s been like this slow progression from “Ick. Texas…” to “Oh, Texas… cool?” You can probably even track that change from my posts over the last six months. I don’t know what’s happening. My life is spinning out of control right now.

This is still relevant… 7 years later… nothing has really changed. I’m sick of noncommittal transience. But apparently, it’s the only state in which I ever exist.

So, I go back and forth forever
All my thoughts they come in pairs
Oh, I will, I won’t, I do, I don’t
I’m not surprised 
But I never feel quite prepared

Aside from flip cup and making pies, self-sabotage is my best skill.

I’m doomed to wander. Forever.

Give And Take

Nursing school is ruining my enjoyment of Euro 2012 so I’m super bitter and resentful right now.

Spain was amazing today but I could only passively enjoy the game because I was face down in a textbook.

However, I’m working extra hard to get stuff done so that I can fully enjoy the upcoming weekend in State College with my family and get extra drunk at my cousin’s wedding.

My flight gets in to Pittsburgh so late tomorrow (like almost midnight late). Then it’s a 2.5 hour drive to State College. Then I fly back in the early afternoon on Sunday… Another rushed trip home.

And I missed the fleeting excitement of the Pirates being in first place. Although, people barely get excited about that anyway because they know it’s always a short-lived occurrence.

I knew about it, of course. But I wasn’t home to experience the moment. We at least always raise our Yuengling drafts in celebration.

And I have no idea what’s going on with the Steelers leading up to the 2012 season because I’m not around people who talk about it constantly and don’t have time to keep up with everything.

Also, sometimes I get a whiff of something that kind of smells like the hospital and then I can only smell the full hospital smell until that instigating smell goes away.

My quality of life is in shambles. This better be worth it. Once I land an ER job, I’ll be ok with the suffering. But right now, everything about the nursing school experience sucks.

Two Points If It Goes Past The Garden, Three Points If It Goes Past The Boat

I hate Easter candy.

Am I allowed to say that out loud? It feels good to get it off my chest. I hate marshmallow filling. I hate eggs with super creamy rich filling. I can’t even handle the Reese’s Eggs. The ratio of peanut butter to chocolate is all wrong. And malted milk ball eggs make me feel like gagging.

I know.  I deserve to be disowned, shunned, and stoned to death.

Reliably every Easter, I feel forced to eat Easter candy when people give it to me and out of politeness, I fake the enjoyment. But then reliably 30 minutes later, I feel outrageously ill. I love rich creamy desserts. But not candy. For some reason, I just can’t handle it. It doesn’t even taste good going down.

A super rich cupcake tastes like heaven initially even if you experience discomfort a bit later. But Easter candy always sucks from beginning to end. Every year, I dread the inevitable moment when someone tries to force a Peep on me. And I politely state that I don’t really like Peeps. Then their reaction is “OMG YOU DON’T LIKE PEEPS?!” then I feel weird about having to explain or restate my opinion of them. And then I feel ungrateful… or something. It’s kind of an indescribable feeling… but I know it’s a bad one.

I don’t like Easter dinner as much either. Thanksgiving and Christmas are awesome. But Easter with its ham instead of turkey, sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, deviled eggs instead of stuffing, and bunny cake instead of apple pie just doesn’t do it for me. It’s still good, I’m not gonna lie. But I never feel like I’m craving Easter dinner whereas I think about the goodness Thanksgiving and Christmas all year long. Again, these thoughts make me feel ungrateful. Like there’s all that food buuuuut the whole time I’m wishing it was different food. Easter is a rollercoaster of id and superego influences.

And this post totally makes me sound like I’m the most negative hater of all time. But these feelings have been building up my whole life. And I just need to publicly confess them.

I do love everything else about Easter though. The egg hunts, the family time, the spring dresses, etc. Holidays are the best.

This one was spent with my Alabama family though. And while I miss my PA fam and would give anything to have been sitting at Nonnie’s table today, it was still really nice and enjoyable. A replacement family is never the same as your real family, but my Alabama family at the river is definitely way more loving and awesome than a family I ever thought I’d have after only three months of living 1,000 miles from home. I was like instantly their adopted kid and I am so outrageously grateful for that.

We had a backyard home run derby. Generally, the first time you feel the sting of a wiffle ball grounder on your palm is the moment you know that winter is officially over. I’m not sure how that really applies to Alabama life though because I’ve felt like winter was over for awhile now. I mean, I went to the beach a month ago. That wiffle ball feeling is still a good one though. It’s a good kind of pain. A competitive kind of pain. And it’s the moment when you know that you’re headed into a spring and summer full of wiffle ball sports and backyard pickup games.

This is another one of those things that makes me realize how damn important sports are to my existence. And I still feel kind of stupid about it. But sports feel like home. And I’m just instantly comfortable in sports-related situations. The whole day, I was kind of like “I miss my family. I want to be home.” But then we went outside for wiffle ball activities, I felt like I was home. Because that’s what we do at home. Competition and playing outside are part of my DNA.

I miss the WNY backyard though. I miss kicking around soccer balls with my siblings. And how we always set up the goal in front of the basement windows. And Mom would yell about how we were gonna crack the siding every time we nailed one through the cones and hit the side of the house. But I think she was happier to have us outside of the house and out of her way than she was upset about the potential damage to the siding.

And I miss how well we knew every inch of that backyard. Like where in the tree on the “baseball field” you needed to hit the ball to get a double out of it instead of just one base. And exactly where you needed to aim if you wanted to hit a ball that was just barely fair to bring the runner on third home.

There are tricks to every backyard sport. And the kids who know the backyard the best usually win. Friends from other neighborhoods never have a chance. If you’re bike racing around the house, you know what part of the slope you have to go up to carry the most momentum from going down the previous slope and where the muddy spots are during the spring. Struggling up slopes and biking through mud slow you down. If it’s your backyard and you’ve raced around that backyard multiple times, you’re a pro and you win. It’s significant home field advantage.

The kickball pitching advantage is probably the most universal. Every kid knows how to make the ball hit that secret bump that makes it spin that one way that makes it virtually unkickable. Most backyards have a secret bump between the pitching mound and home plate.

I can’t wait to buy a house and have a backyard again. And then eventually have kids. I want to come home in the afternoon and see footballs in the yard and little bean plants in Styrofoam cups on the railing of the porch. And play knockout as a family after dinner on warm summer nights. I feel kind of stupid admitting that. It’s lame and girly.

I admitted a lot of deep dark secrets in this post. The jellybeans must have been truth serum flavored but I’m not sure because usually I like to swallow them with as little chewing as possible because they taste gross.

The Purity Of The Road

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!
– Albert Einstein

Or in this case, the beautiful land of central Pennsylvania.

Penn State football is always a family affair. It’s nice to know that reliably, no matter what game you go to, there will be an assortment of relatives there.

The most perfect thing you can experience is life when you’re sitting in a fold-up chair outside Beaver Stadium on a gorgeous sunny warm October day with a Yuengling in one hand and a slice of your mom’s famous tailgating sandwich in the other, surrounded by your immediate family along with cousins, aunts, and uncles.

I cannot emphasize this enough: a simple life is the best life.

Money and power are so overrated. All I want for the rest of my existence is to be able to drive over Pennsylvania mountains and end up at Beaver Stadium to watch Penn State win a football game.

If we were Catholic and if JoePa was mortal, he would probably be adopted as our family’s new patron saint once he died.

Usually I only get to go to one game per year. Two if I’m outrageously lucky. This year, however, I got to go to three. And now I’m hooked. As with all addictions, the more you do it, the more you need it.

As I’ve probably said before, the drive from Pittsburgh to State College is both spectacular and soothing. I get all happy and dreamy.

If this was Imaginationland where everything was possible, I’d have financial backers who would pay me to travel across the USA and write a New York Times bestseller called “The Definitive Guide to Alt-Country and the Road.” I would go to amazing shows, interact with the very essence of America, and also impart my roadtrip wisdom to eager young wanderers.

For example, how to make a 2.5 hour trip when you’re so hungover you want to die.
1) Portable carby/greasy breakfast in little bites over a long period of time
2) Ginger ale
3) Windows down for fresh air
4) Big sunglasses to block the light
5) Coffee for stamina (because passing out does not have the same restorative benefits as sleep) when you’re finally starting to feel recovered
6) Subtle but good music like Ghost

I always say I’m not going to go out the night before a game because it’s critically important that I’m in tip-top shape to get the most enjoyment out of it. That never happens. Saturday morning was rough. But I left at 10 and was back to 100% by 1 when I finally got to the tailgate spot. The walk down College Ave was magically medicinal. Nothing better than being surrounded by a zillion people who love the same thing you do. And the first Yuengling I had upon arrival was magic. Sweet, delicious Yuengling.

Anyway, because I’ve been outrageously productive lately (being single actually is awesome), I think I’m going to start an alt-country blog. Being that I just now realized that basically half of everything (musically speaking) I love falls into the alt-country genre, it’s going to be a little rocky at first. More of a beta project. Very exploratory. I mean, I’ve loved these bands/artists forever, but I’m a novice in terms of how far-reaching the genre really is and what it has to offer. I don’t even know how it started or why it started or who was the first person to coin the term.

Maybe someday I can actually be enough of an expert to write the definitive guide. Gotta win the lotto first. The gas money has to come from somewhere.

Mary went to Park City this weekend. I want to go to Park City someday too.

Steelers won. Thank God.

The Village of Distant

Pennsylvania has weird town names. On Saturday, I drove through the villages of Spaces Corners, PA (that’s some meta shit) and Distant, PA. Really, I’m not making this up. They’re on 28. Somewhere after the expressway ends but before you get to Brookville.

When I got to Distant, there was this sign that said “Village of Distant” and I was listening to this song and I had one of those weird unexplainable moments where everything feels so surreal. Like you’re not even yourself or alive or something. Like you’re suspended in time. But it’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing? It’s a weird thing.

Well, I am a troubled boy
From the hills that you know
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me where to go

Well, I am a lonesome girl
From the hearth that you found
Oh, and don’t ask me
Don’t ask me how I know

Well, I am a mountain man
From the hard, jagged land
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me to let go

Well, I am an honest man
From the planes golden land
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me what to repent
What to sow

Favorite song right now. Hands down. When it gets to the part at 2:22, I feel only sunshine inside.

I think the village of Distant needs to be my home. I pretty much live there internally and emotionally. It’s perfect. I’m distant. I live in that state. I need to live in the physically village. It consists of like 10 houses. And it’s obviously in the middle of nowhere. I’m freaking out. I need that. I need the peace. Sing it, Conor.

The city’s driving me out of my mind

There’s also a village named Panic between Reynoldsville and Punxsy. I think I need to have a house there too. Panic and Distant. Two houses for my two conditions.

Doomed to be a vagabond without a true sense of home. I feel like I’m always looking for it. It’s weird because I feel at home in many places. Alfred is my home. Pittsburgh is my home. Punxsutawney is even kind of my home. What the fuck is home? For some reason, I can’t wrap my head around it right now.

I hate the idea of settling but at the same time I long for a place to do it? More Bright Eyes. Maybe I need to go everywhere not because I’m a transient non-settler but because I actually believe in home and settling more than anything so I’m desperately searching for exactly the right place?

And the truth is I’ve been dreaming of some tired tranquil place
Where the weather won’t get trapped inside my bones
And if all these years of searching, I find one sympathetic face
Then it’s there I’ll plant these seeds and make my home

Anyway, I was in Reynoldsville for a family thing which was the reason for the roadtrip up 28 to begin with. I briefly stopped in DuBois because I had to pick something up and for some reason I felt weird/good to be back in the place I was born. Like it’s that one place is where you start your whole freakin life. It all originates at that one place at that one time in that one city. I’ve never been weird about being in DuBois before. I guess I haven’t actually been there in awhile. Also, the CRAZY quarter-life crisis probably has something to do with it. And the Distant, PA thing. And too much time alone in the car. And The Ballad of Scarlet Town. And Jayber Crow. Which I still haven’t finished.

I don’t know if you can call this a quarter-life crisis anymore. I think I’m having a different crisis. A general time crisis. A serious time crisis. I’m not even stressed about time though. I just ceaselessly think about the relationship between past, present, and future and transience/permanence. I think if I tried to read Faulkner’s stuff again, I would love it. My brain is bananas right now.

Regardless of all of that, it’s amazing to be with your extended family watching the PSU game and eating good food and catching up on an ugly/gloomy Saturday afternoon.

Another thing I love about 28… the old Allegheny River towns. My love for them is related to the time crisis as well, for obvious reasons. They’re stuck. The world moved on. They were founded around now outdated economies. Although, there are some decent redevelopment efforts going on.

And the Allegheny River in general is awesome. I seriously just want to pull a Huck Finn and get on a raft and float down it. I would start at the trickling origin in Potter County (it’s like an hour from Alfred). Well, the raft wouldn’t be small enough for that. I guess I could like walk in it then wade it in then kayak in it then raft in it. Anyway, I’d obviously keep going once I got to the Ohio then the Mississippi then the Gulf of Mexico. I’m obsessed with bodies of water. They’re so powerful. You feel insignificant and that’s humbling and spiritually purifying. Rebirth.

SO TANGENTY. What is wrong with me. 28 is also super fun to drive on. So windy. So many ups and downs. And it’s in the middle of the woods. I fall in love with roads too.

Every time I get on I-80, I’m tempted to go west and just keep going and going until I get to the coast. I love it for the possibilities it presents. You can go all the way to San Francisco. And basically see the highlights of America on your way there. Thank God Desi and I are going to visit Josie in Ann Arbor in November. I need a roadtrip to a new place like none other.

Moving on to other stuff… I care too much about Steelers football. I’ve been irrationally irritated by their poor performances as of late. Particularly with the offensive line. GET IT TOGETHER, GUYS.

I also feel like Guster might take 3rd place in the “best back to back song combo” competition. One Man Wrecking Machine followed by The Captain is incredible. Ganging Up on the Sun is a good default Sunday night album. I love Guster. Truly.

More things. Mary is living the life right now and I’m jealous. This was the beginning of her weekend.

Friday night:
– play croquet at a department social
– get wasted with the anthropology kids
– make out with strangers
– climb a wall (and not remember doing it)

– run a 5K at 9AM
– move furniture into her new apartment
–  go on 4.5 hour roadtrip to Wyoming and then drive back  to Logan again before the end of the day

I never would have thought that out of the three of us, it would be Mary living the most crazy/busy/fulfilling life. Usually, Binks and I can’t be beaten in that department.

Now she and I are absolutely the same person. Work hard. Play harder. That’s the family way. I’m also entirely jealous of her experiences out west. I want to be able to just go on a roadtrip to Jackson, Wyoming like it’s no big deal. She also listened to bluegrass the whole time. That’s my girl. Every time we talk and she tells me about all her new favorite things and experiences, I’m seriously like “WHO ARE YOU?” because she’s changing so much so fast. It’s amazing. It makes me anxious/ready to move. Newness every day! I ache for it.

Her new favorite band is the SteelDrivers. I haven’t listened enough to have an opinion but here’s her review:

The violin player is crazy amazing… and all their music is very interesting. Lyrics are great but musically they go along a predictable pattern then throw something in to mix it up and bring it to a new direction. I’m so thoroughly impressed.

Also, she’s apparently listened to enough bluegrass to understand the one very important thing about it.

When bluegrass is bad, it’s the worst thing in the world, but when it’s good it’s so resoundingly perfect and beautiful.

That is the TRUTH. She phrased it flawlessly.

More music odds and ends…
– New Ryan Adams album on Tuesday! The single is pretty solid.
– I’ve been listening to the new Blink-182 album for 6 days now and I’m still disappointed. It sounds like Angels and Airwaves with Boxcar Racer incohesively thrown in there sometimes. It’s not Blink. It’s like the side projects meshed together. After Up All Night, I guess I should have known that the whole album would be like that. Oh, well. Maybe it will grow on me. They will forever be my favorite band, regardless. Tim and I took that vow so for better or for worse, Blink-182 is my #1. I kinda feel like cheating on them with the Avett Brothers. But a promise like that is something you don’t mess around with.

Songs For Staying In

Exhaustion on every level. I might not make it out for the second night in a row and this makes me feel super lame. Happy Valley is the cause. WORTH IT.

The game was a blow out. Granted, they were playing Eastern Michigan but it’s still nice to see PSU kick ass. Plus, any day I spend with Binks is a good one. He’s the best little brother a person could hope to have. When I hugged him goodbye, we realized we’ve seen each other for the last 4 weekends in a row. That never happens. Ever. I went home for Labor Day then there was PSU/Alabama then home again then the game today. And we have a family thing in Reynoldsville next weekend and the weekend after that is PSU/Iowa. That’s a total of 6 weekends in a row. Usually, we go 6 months without seeing each other. Penn State brings families together. That’s the take-home lesson from this.

Anyway, the drive from Pittsburgh to State College is one of the most gorgeous road trips you can venture upon. Especially in the fall. I-99 around the Altoona area is breathtaking. You’re basically on top of a mountain and you can see for miles across the tops of other mountains. And the big wind turbines are beautiful. RENEWABLE ENERGY! All I want to do is build a house on top of one of those mountains and live happily ever after. In my normal self-sabotage way, this made me question whether I really need to go south to be happy. Everything I’ve ever wanted is here. Maybe. I’m just doing that destructive second guessing thing again I think. Alabama/Louisiana soon, house on a mountain later. I have the rest of my life for that. Limitless New Orleans crazy times can only be enjoyed during a short window of time. Basically, your 20s. And anyway, you can’t live on the top of a mountain AND live on a body of water so that conflicts with the pier/boat dreams. I guess I could have two houses, but that seems unnecessary. I’d rather take the money I would use for a second house and do something good for the world. The best plan is probably do one at a time. Like have a mountain house then a water house or vice versa. Or move between the two. This is quickly becoming absolutely unrealistic.

I think I just love the earth.

The more I type here, the more tempted I am to stay in. Sometimes it’s just nice to chill. Obviously, it’s nicer to chill if you have someone to snuggle with. But being single has a trillion benefits and I’m more than content because being single means that there’s no mess to deal with in my life right now and that makes me feel free and happy and infinite every day. Relationships are nothing more than messes. Wow, that’s shockingly pessimistic. Bleh, what is wrong with me? I wish I could kick the negativity.

Moving on… Favorite staying in activity: watching documentaries on Netflix. I want to cancel my Netflix account so badly especially since it got way more expensive (and what’s up with that whole “splitting into two services” thing?). But I can’t. Not when it shows me a specific category of options titled “Understated Documentaries” (what does that even mean?) and I realize that I want to watch all of them.

Here’s the list:
The Warning
Mugabee and the White African
Unmistaken Child
Up the Yangtze
Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies
Russian Revolution in Color
Sound and Fury
The Listening Project
The Fall of Fujimori
High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music 

I don’t even know which one I would watch tonight because they all seem awesome.

And this is the “based on your interest in” list from the selections above:
God Grew Tired of Us **
Man on Wire **
The Cove
The Business of Being Born
Food, Inc.**
The Buddha
The Human Experience
The Art of the Steal **
Exit Through the Gift Shop

The documentaries that are starred are the ones that you absolutely have to see because they’re phenomenal.

Ok, it’s no contest at this point. Staying in: 1, going out: 0. Well, at least that’s the score for tonight. I think the lifetime total is… staying in: 11, going out: 7,381.

I hope this doesn’t become a pattern of unsociable/nerdy behavior. It’s bad enough that I read National Geographic… but documentaries on a Saturday night? Ugh.

Actually, I choose not to care. Do what you want. Be yourself. Love the simple things. Strategically, I should be out roaming the city for a potential new guy. But honestly, I’m totally content with being alone right now. And realistically, any guy I actually want to date is probably also at home watching documentaries on Netflix so we’d never find each other anyway because that’s how the universe works. And historically, finding a new guy has never been a huge part of my going out agenda. My priorities are 1) having a great time with my friends and 2) drinking. The South Side is full of bros anyway. And Lawrenceville is full of hipsters. And Greenfield is full of guys who have their shit together. And Oakland is full of college kids. And Shadyside is full of annoying guys who have their shit way together. And Bloomfield is a little crazy but it’s my favorite right now. (Squirrel Hill is weirdly ok for meeting new guys)

Plus, there’s no shame in taking it easy after you were gone all day. Especially if the next day is going to be outrageously busy as well. Premier League soccer –> Little Italy Days (I love Pittsburgh) with the Bloomfield crew –> BBQ at my Greenfield house –> Steelers game into the night (location TBD).

PS – the 9/24/11 road trip album: Ode to Sunshine by Delta Spirit. I think I listened to it 3 times because everything about it was perfect for this particular September day.

PPS – Mary’s at a rodeo. She sent me a pic of it with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. I want/NEED to go west.