Photos of Dogs

This post is as it is titled, in addition to being the 2017 Year in Review and Resolved: 2018, all rolled into one big post worthy of a nice long weekend.

First things first: let’s open up that 2017 Jar of Good Things.

good things 2017


It contains, in no particular order

  • a coffee sleeve from the famous Tattered Cover in Denver
  • my nametag and one judging form from when I judged the middle school science fair at Colorado Mesa University
  • One adult discovery pass for the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit at the Field Museum dated 12/27/2016
  • One receipt from Chang Thai here in Glenwood Springs, March 26, 2017
  • An area Rock Art Auto Tour brochure from the Moab Information Center
  • Map of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville, marked with stars
  • One South Shore timetable
  • A pair of eclipse glasses dated August 21, 2017
  • The “welcome back” note from the Grand Junction post office marking the end of my vacation mail hold, January 3, 2017
  • The Field Museum map
  • Candy wrapper: Chicago Cubbies chocolate bar from Fannie May
  • Advertising postcard from West Wind drive-in, Las Vegas
  • Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (South Shore) receipt
  • Another NICTD receipt, smaller and a different color
  • Cancellation stamp: Arches National Park, March 28, 2017
  • Interagency pass, expired 2017
  • Cancellation stamp, Arches National Park, NPS Centennial 1916-2016
  • Receipt, Next Door, Denver March 25, 2017
  • A paper describing how to do different tie-dye designs, from CMU UnityFest 2017
  • Cancellation stamps: Aztec Ruins National Monument, May 28, 2017
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Keystone Visitor’s Guide
  • Park brochures: Aztec Ruins and Chaco Canyon
  • Thank you card from two former Bridge students
  • Oddly, an essay rubric
  • Cancellation stamp: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, March 27, 2017
  • Cancellation stamp: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, May 05, 2017
  • Cancellation stamp: Rocky Mountain National Park Fall River Visitor Center, March 25, 2017
  • Cancellation stamp: Colorado National Monument, March 29, 2017
  • Camp Cooker instructions and recipes booklet
  • Business card from Hot Box Pizza, Carmel, Indiana
  • Two more South Shore ticket stubs
  • One IHG rewards club hotel key

PHEW! For as unpleasant as parts of 2017 may have been, it sure contained a lot of maps and cancellation stamps! However, ugghhh! I drove down 9 miles of unpaved road to grab a cancellation stamp at Hovenweep, and it’s NOT in the jar. Oh, well. You keep some, you lose some. I cannot for the life of me imagine that 2018 could possibly ever be as eventful as this past year was. Now to trash some of the things and file others. Read on for photos of dogs. But first, a comment about my delightful flight home on Delta Airlines.

The one thing I noticed while watching my flight on TV was how quickly one gets through the state of Nebraska while flying, compared to how slowly it goes in a car.


In other news, those of us who go home for Christmas go to see our families

and we go to see our friends.

And if we’re me, somehow we end up with those ^ four photos of family and friends, with several family members and friends conspicuously missing from the photos, and we end up taking 47 photos of…you guessed it. Dogs.

Here’s Ellie being festive with the Christmas tree, then wearing a Santa hat, and then realizing she isn’t Santa, so looking for him out the window.

Here’s Ellie in the snow.

Here’s Ellie posing and playing with her toys.

And for your final shots of Ellie, Ellie interacting with humans.

But that is only one dog! The title of this blog post is plural! Lucky for you, dear readers, my friends have dogs, too.

On December 30, Jodi picked me up in Hammond and drove through a blizzard so that we could spend New Year’s as we have for so many years now, in Michigan. We arrived safely to Dana’s house and met her new puppy, Ocean.

Our time in Michigan was the usual extravaganza of good food, media, and games. We attended Dana’s service at Immanuel Lutheran in Mt. Pleasant.

Peace board

Paul joined us on the 31st, and we got sucked into Dave Chappelle’s Equanimity and only JUST rang in the New Year. While we enjoyed the political comedy spectacle under a blanket, Ocean conked out on us, and a new year began.

Ocean hammock

Getting my cynical teenage charges to set resolutions in French has been a labor of love somewhat like pulling teeth in a village in the developing world where there is no dentist. “Why?” they say, and I tell them that the beginning of a new year is the time we choose as a society to collectively reflect on what came before and set SMART goals for the coming 12 months. They reply that nobody ever keeps their resolutions. I reply that I usually keep mine. Let’s check last year’s post and see if I’ve been telling them the truth.

My bitmoji is alive and well.

well bitmoji

I resolved to go to three places I had never been before. Done:

  1. Leadville
  2. Carbondale
  3. certain New Mexico national parks

How many new places should I resolve to visit in 2018? Since it’s been so easy these past two years, I’ll raise it to 5.

My second 2017 resolution was to beat my 2015 geocaching total. Hahaha. I blew past that resolution in July.

geogoal 17

As you can see that big fat goose egg on 2018, I’m tempted not to set a geocaching goal for 2018 (I’m bolding the number 2018 so I can find it when I look back this time next year). I *really want* to aim for 1500 total by December 31, but there’s not a lot of accessible-to-me geocaching around here, and I plan to stay put for as long as possible. That said, I’ll most likely have a summer vacation this year, so I might make 1500 my geocaching BHAG and not really resolve it.

Third resolution: finish a knitting project. Fail! Total fail. I unraveled the ONE I’ve been working on for several years, started over, realized halfway through that I had dropped a stitch at the beginning, and unraveled it again. I’ll re-up on finishing that scarf in 2018.

My last resolution was to receive 10 rejection letters. That definitely happened, but like so much in life, it didn’t happen in the way that I’d expected. Maybe in 2018, it will. Nothing so far, but the year is very young.

Secretly, I set a reading goal at which I also failed. So, I’ll keep that one as it was and hope to succeed at it in 2018. I’m on my way, as I’ve finished two (audio-shhh, don’t tell) books so far this year.

Other than those, there’s nothing new. I tried to force a naming of the year at Dana’s, but Paul suggested we save it for our discussion group and put it to everyone, online. I’m fine with that. 2017 was in fact pretty incredible, in both ways – the good way, and the I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening way.

We woke up in 2018 and watched the Rose Parade streamed on amazon. I probably could have chosen a better time to take a photo of Dana’s TV, but I didn’t, so here are some war planes (!?!?). parade

How odd that this is the world we now live in – we patch our laptops through to our TVs and stream the parade. But my friends and I are old now – a fact proven by Alex choosing for the first time (in his life, I think) to spend it with his own crew instead of ours.

For his benefit, here is your 2nd-to-last dog photo – a portrait of the dog that we all loved before we loved these other dogs, the incomparable Thatcher.

Thatcher face

We ate breakfast, and then Dana tried to get me to take the remainder of Aunt Ruth’s neighbor’s wedding cookies home with me. Instead, I stuffed them all into my mouth. Paul got into his car, Jodi and I got into hers, no selfies were taken, and the year began the way it always does – rolling beneath our tires. It’s always a good start.

We met up with Paul’s car and lingered behind him and Thatcher until we veered onto I-69 and waved goodbye vigorously.

It’s hard to catch a photo of Zelda that isn’t blurry, but to round out your virtual meeting of all of the dogs in my life, here she is sniffing my pants in an attempt to figure out where I had been for the preceding five months.

zelda sniffing pants

I made Alex promise to let me watch him play video games, and he did.

kid plays video games

How glorious it would be if all of my blog posts included photos of my favorite people playing video games. But they can’t, and so it goes. Alex claimed to want to go to bed, so he left his parents and me downstairs while he proceeded to listen to bopping music late into the night.

We ordered pizza and watched the other half of the Dave Chappelle special to end the first day of the new year. Then, at 4 am, Jodi and Alex took me to the airport, where I boarded my American Airlines flight and ended up stranded in Dallas for the entire day, rage tweeting like the president. I arrived home nine hours later than expected, and reported back to school on January 3rd.

“To stay alive,” my students report resolving, a goal that isn’t exactly lofty.

One of my instructional coaches has a mantra:

“We do the best we can until we know better, and then we do better.” They are probably not her words, but they sum up nicely my wish for myself, and for all of you, in this year.


New Year toast




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s