New Year’s Eve

Hello!!!

I went back to Minnesota for Christmas and Rob went back to Chicago. But then we reunited in Winnemucca for New Year’s Eve. We went over to a friend’s house and played games, talked, ate, and drank. Oh, and arm wrestled…

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Melanie’s face is the best.

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Rob versus Kathy…

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And to end, some pictures of my parent’s puppy from when I visited home.

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Licking a peanut butter jar clean.

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Catch Up

Hey!! A lot has happened over the last few weeks. Here are some of the highlights.

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Me and Robman

First, my parents visited last weekend. Rob and I took them to the hot springs, drove them up to the Black Rock Desert (location of Burning Man), toured Reno and Lake Tahoe, visited Squaw Valley, swung by Unionville (where Mark Twain mined for gold once upon a time), and showed them arounf the ‘Mucc. It was really good time.

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My Dad and me along the Truckee River in downtown Reno

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Standing on the edge of the Black Rock Desert

This past weekend we had the BLM Christmas party at one of the favorite restaurants in town (The Martin). It was a lot of fun. I didn’t take any pictures, but afterwards we went to the bars. I did get one pic of a goofy spontaneous group hug.

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The next day I went to a cookie-decorating party at a friend’s house. Annie hosted the party and her husband Daniel (whom I work with at the BLM) assisted and kind of lingered on the permiter throughout the decorating. He helped transfer cookies to the cooling rack, but otherwise was hands-off. We tried to get him to decorate his moose, but he refused. It was a good time all in all. And the cookies looked great!

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See Daniel’s naked moose?

That evening I joined some other friends for a cookie-exchange party. Yeah….three parties in two days, that would be a lot for an extrovert (maybe…?). So it was an uber overload for me, but a lot of fun nonetheless, and totally worth it. I made monster cookies and my roommate, Melanie, made coconut macaroons which were yummy. Our friend Kathy bought hers and had to confess when she presented them to everyone. It was funny. We also played a fun game in which we split into three teams and had 5 minutes to blow up balloons and stuff them into pantyhose to make the best looking “rack”. We got 2nd place, but the first place team clearly had the winning rack.

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Melanie, Kathy (modeling our antlers), and myself. Photo credit: Terah Malsam.

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Kathy (2nd place) and Stephanie with the winning rack.

Other stuff that happened recently: our pipes froze. The morning my parents left the temperature had dipped to -26 degrees F. These Nevada homes were not made for that weather. We smartly left our water running overnight so we had water in the morning. But in the rush to get ready and leave for work, we shut them off without thinking to leave them dripping. And they froze between 7 a.m. and noon. Ayayay… That night Melanie and I lifted the door to the crawl space under the house to investigate.

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We placed a heater under there in the hopes that it would thaw the pipes overnight.

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Melanie thoroughly enjoyed exploring under the house.

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She saw some stuff on the other end of the house and was determined to retrieve it. We were hoping it was some cool old stuff from decades ago. But it ended up being worthless junk. We did, however, find one of our landlord’s razor blade cutters.

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Pictured above: Our findings from under the house which consisted of the razor blade cutter, empty pack of cigarettes, an ad, and a religious pamphlet.

The heater under the house didn’t do any good; the pipes were still frozen in the morning. But that afternoon our landlord crawled under there and placed a heavy-duty heater under there for a little while. He also insulated some vents under the house, which helped too. Ultimately it got the water running again, so we were pleased to take hot showers after work that day.

The duckies even got out this past weekend! They had been cooped up during the extreme cold. They didn’t even want to come out when given the option, but it warmed up to 20-30 degrees F this weekend, which was a bit more tolerable for them (and us…).

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Fred (front left), Wilma (front right), and Hector in the back.

They didn’t like me getting too close.

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And I’ll end with an older pic, but a good one. “Old” meaning a few weeks ago before it snowed. Rob and I had a lunch date.

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Weekend Things

Happy Monday!

I am back at work today and will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, as well. My weekend was a good one. Friday night we went out to eat for a couple of friends’ going-away party. Afterwards we got froyo at a new shop that just opened up in Winnemucca. It was so good! And not at all what you would expect to find in a town like this. We then met up with the rest of our friends at the bars downtown.

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It was one of those nights where I really wasn’t up for going to the bars, but we finished dinner at about 8:45 and the night was still young. So I went. And it turned out be a fantastic night. It was a perfect number of people; we shot pool, played shuffle board, and just hung out talking and drinking.

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My friend, Kathy, wore a ridiculously fuzzy-soft red plaid hat which we took turns wearing. (Me – at the bank ATM getting cash)

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(Rob – at froyo)

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Finally, here is a picture my mom sent me of our dog and the new puppy on a hike in a state park.

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All Grown Up

Our duckling is all grown up. Hector turned out to be quite the handsome drake. I said to Rob, we sure made a good-looking kid.

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Sadly, we will have to send him off. Once his hormones kick in this spring, it will be too difficult to keep both him and Fred in suck close proximity. Male ducks get competitive during mating season (like, to the death), and feeble, old Fred would be no match for Hector the Warrior – no matter that the female for which they would be competing is an old granny incapable of laying eggs and void of any motherly instincts at this point (no offense, Wilma).

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But there is a bird sanctuary in Boise I might check out and see if it’s a good fit for Hector. Though his wild instincts haven’t been totally suppressed, I really don’t think he would have a good chance out there on his own. He walks funny (aside from the normal “waddle”), and look here -  the boy has been spoon fed his whole life.

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He won’t be leaving quite yet, probably after the holidays.

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On the home front, my parents got a new puppy – a border collie/Australian shepherd mix. Because he was born on the iron range in northern Minnesota, he was named Ranger. I got to meet him when I went home a couple weekends ago for my friend’s wedding. He is a naughty little rascal, but pretty darling too.

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And totally unrelated, my roommate and I each enjoyed a shot of butterscotch schnapps and Baileys last night. Oh, man. It was good.

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Have a super weekend!

Sex Change

Not literally. But as we know it. I tell you, Hector is a “he” after all! Apparently juvenile male and female mallards look the same for the first 3 months of their lives. Male feathering doesn’t come in until month 4, and when it does, it does fast! Within 3 weeks Hector went from this.

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To this.

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In hindsight, you could see the changes coming, but we assumed “her” feathering was just changing due to the changing season. In the photo below, you can see (left) Hector’s breast feathers turning darker. (Fred and Wilma on the right.)

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So yes, we went from calling Hector a “he” for the first month, to a “she” for two and half more months, and now back to a “he”. What a sneaky little devil.

I don’t usually see the ducks everyday.  When my landlord/neighbor/coworker, Rob, came up to me at work one day and told me he thought Hector was a male, I didn’t believe it. Then later that night I peaked over the fence. And lo and behold, there were two drakes over there.

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Hector made a pretty hen, but he sure is a handsome drake.

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On the social front, I had some friends over to carve pumpkins last weekend. We drank, ate, carved, and played Cards Against Humanity. It was great. The pumpkins turned out pretty great too.

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Behold our creations: I made the rooster, and there is also a moon(?), an owl-cat, ? initials, the Donnie Darko rabbit, and a cat silhouette.

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Happy Halloween!!

Marathon Recap

Hey there!

It’s been a busy past month despite the government shutdown, which affected the BLM office where I work, as well as about 85% of the Department of Interior employees (e.g., Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management). We were all furloughed for 16 days. It’s unfortunate some are referring to it as a “paid vacation” for federal employees. They did not choose to take this “vacation”, they are not paid during it, and everyone is glued to the news to find out whether or not they need to go back to work. So it’s tough to enjoy. We were all called back to work between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. last night. Those that are out-of-town have to take personal leave today if they can’t make it back. Overall, it’s an unfortunate and frustrating situation. But, I digress.

While I was furloughed, Rob and I flew to Minnesota and I ran the Twin Cities marathon!

This was a weekend dedicated to the memory of my aunt, and godmother, Holly Scanlan. She passed away in November of 2012 after a two-year battle with cancer. She was an amazing aunt, godmother, wife, mom, friend, and a genuinely kind, loving individual, who, with all her heart, did not want to die. She put up an extraordinary fight, and we all got together the weekend of October 4-6 to celebrate her and the establishment of the Holly Scanlan Foundation.

It was an AWESOME weekend! I got see so many family and friends whom I have not seen in months, and in some cases, years. Friday night we had a dance at my parents’ house. It was outdoors and we had tents, lights, live music, beer, snack foods, and lots of socializing. Rob got to meet the majority of the Scanlans – my mom’s family. She has 10 brothers and sisters, and they cumulatively generated over 30 grandkids, so we got to see several of my many cousins.

Saturday most of the Scanlans and Scanlan-friends ran the 5K in St. Paul. A handful ran the 10K. On Sunday I ran the marathon with seven other troopers. Here we are warming up in the Metrodome, less than an hour before the start of the race (8 a.m.).

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Here I am with my three sisters and my sister’s fiancée.

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Here are Rob and me after the marathon. Rob was SO LOUD during the 5K when we were cheering on my family, and during the marathon when I ran. He just has a loud voice in general, but jeez, did he ever make an impression on my family. A loud one!

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Here is a group shot of everyone who came out that weekend for Holly! The finish for all the races was at the capitol in St. Paul. The marathon started at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, so we literally ran from one Twin City to the other! It was a gorgeous route and I would definitely run this one again.

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And here is my mom and all her (10) siblings.

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Rob fell in love with our cat. She loooooves attention more than any cat I’ve ever met. She devoured his incessant attention.

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See?

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After the marathon we went to a restaurant and had a party. We had appetizers, drinks, and a delicious and beautiful cake.

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The following week I got some duck time in.

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Fred, Wilma, and Hector hanging out in our backyard.

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I also spoiled my chickens with treats. I love those lady hens.

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