Highs & Lows

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Headed East

My highs have been pretty high lately.

The entire month of March was one big tidal wave of laughter, adventure, hugs, joy and success and I’m still beaming from the experience.

Alistair and I got to spend 3 whole weeks together where we were both healthy and hospital beds weren’t involved.

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My cool traveling buddies en route to Bismarck!

Loki, UB and I traveled back to Bismarck with him for my North Dakota book signing tour. Loki navigated the house there as if she had full vision- our little blind grand-dog is a trooper!

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My view, #2

Once you leave the sky-high mountains of western Montana the terrain changes.

The road becomes straighter, the sky becomes larger,  the mountains become buttes and the fenceposts get further and further apart.

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My view, #3

And then suddenly you realize you’re driving on the horizon in a straight line through the prairies.

There are few houses and few driveways.

There are miles and miles of fenceline.

There are cows, calves, horses, foals, sheep, lambs and antelope (didn’t see any antelope-lings).

There isn’t much shoulder and there’s nowhere to pull over but that doesn’t really matter because we were practically the only vehicles on the road.

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Cocoa, Fumie, Penner, Shilo and Flash… some of my ND gang

I enjoy going back to our home in Bismarck.

I love seeing our horses and chipping golf balls at Fyfe’s Backyard Driving Range and watching prairie thunderstorms roll in.

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Fyfe’s Backyard Driving Range. Pants optional.

I love how New Neighbor doesn’t disappoint me when I have to roll my eyes at least once at their trying-to-fit-into-the-hood-ness. This time NN came by to apologize for his dog going into our garage and tossing our garbage all over the place.

“I don’t know if he’s done that before…”

“Yes. Yes, he has, but Alistair never mentioned it.”

“Oh. Say, are you guys getting ready to go somewhere?”

(In my head I wanted to say, ‘no, I always wear sparkly jewelry and have my hair all styled with gobs of makeup on a Saturday on the farm…) Out loud I told him about my book signing.

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We got the BIG table 🙂 at Dunn Bros. coffee in Bismarck, ND! (photo by Rebecca B)

Selling and signing books I climbed that tall wave of happiness as I got to see so many people who have meant the world to me for many years.

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Skating world and book world combined!

My top figure skaters and their moms came down and joined in the fun. We talked skating, book-writing, jewelry, coaching, college, how mothers-always-know, and high school graduation.

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Leanna, me, Alicia & Andrea… 3 of my top figure skaters when I coached in Bismarck

Friends from the hockey world stopped by. Parents of players we had coached in both Watford City and Hazen.

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Hockey friends, Sonny, Wendy and Sherry!

Friends we have known for the 15 or more years hubby has worked at his hospital, like Geneva, who was one of his first nurses.

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Geneva, who had already read the book, sharing with me how she just started taking piano lessons!

And friends whose parents we’ve known who have grown into pretty cool adults now!

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Rebecca and Ben Brick (wedding photos in a blog from last August…)

The very next day I was off to Watford City, where Alistair and I first played house back in 1994.

It was a lovely day for a 3-hour drive on roads I haven’t traveled for awhile.

Roads that have weathered many windy winters through the “Badlands” (aka North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park).

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by The Park

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more of the jagged, craggy landscape that has been created by forces of water and wind and boat loads of time

Although the highway was the same there are things new to the area that are almost unbelievable.

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Sunday morning truck traffic in North Dakota

This is the heart of oil country now and while the jobs and money and people are there, it is a far cry from the Wild West we used to live in. Its progress, alright, but its a bit unsightly.

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The landscape dotted with ‘progress’…

And even though I have read about this growth and people told me about the development I still wasn’t ready to see the “Man Camps”… where people from all over the US have settled in row after row of RVs or box-car-like homes on fields that once housed cattle.

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Man-Camp just outside of Watford City

Once I got to Main Street, things looked more familiar and I made my way to our old house.

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Our first home together, Watford City

The house we moved to after having just met a few months prior.

The house I got my first cat in.

Where we got our first ferret.

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Gareth with Koshka and Marshal & Alistair in Watford City, 1995-ish

The house we got dressed up to go elope in when Alistair got 2 hours away from the pager.

The house where the kids came to live with us… where rugby lessons were given, hockey was played on the driveway, school was skipped for skating sessions, cookies were baked, tennis balls were thrown, dogs were walked, field trips were taken, homework was done, garter snakes and Larry the Lizard were kept and Hallowe’en Parties were held.

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The Rugby Lesson, with Scottie, coach Alistair, Whitney, um… Troy? Sean, Gareth and Mychael (whose folks, Sonny and Wendy came to Bismarck’s book signing!)

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Hallowe’en Party, 1995, Watford City

Its the house where our beloved Golden, Mitch, laid down by the back deck and died peacefully in his sleep one sunny afternoon.

Where I held him and cried my eyes out knowing I had to tell the kids and Alistair that our faithful companion was running free.

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Whitney & Mitch in Watford City

But its just a house, right?

I wiped my eyes and made it to the Civic Center for my book signing combined with a fundraiser.

The local paper had done an article beforehand and I got to see just about everyone from the good old days.

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Kira, who was one of my youngest figure skating students back in “Tiny Tots” in the then-brand-new ice rink… she has since toured with Disney on Ice, graduated college and become engaged!

It was fantastic to see everyone and share my stories with them all. Some didn’t even know I’ve become a veterinarian since living in Watford City.

How everything changes while staying the same.

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Back in shiny jewelry and makeup in Watford City! (Signing Kayla Hansen’s book while mom, Lynette took the picture)

Driving home I made a point to stop at our old farm which, happily, isn’t made into an oil field or a Man-Camp.

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View of our old quarter-section just outside of Watford City… happily undeveloped

I smiled, with tears in my eyes when I saw Mitch’s hill and the pole that marks his final resting place.

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We love you, Mitchie!

And then I smiled some more looking towards the taller hill by the driveway, where I rigged up a Happy Party one drizzly spring for Whitney and her girlfriends, complete with a watermelon-shaped cake and horseback rides on old Sonny.

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The first ever Happy Party more than served its purpose 🙂

The highs of March continued with tremendous online sales of my Chloe + Isabel jewelry, where I made my goals and earned myself some incredible bling.

I’ve been riding that enormous wave of happiness and its been a good ride.

Its been much needed and Alistair has enjoyed sharing it with me.

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Whitney & Gareth playing on one of the old cars on our ND farm back in the day

And I made the trek back to Montana with UB and Loki after they shared a fun week on the prairies, too.

Back to a home where the word, ‘attrition’ has been used too often these past few months… where it may be used again soon.

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Casey (with Cleo) this morning

Casey’s laryngeal paralysis is finally doing what I’ve feared it would do.

How can I be surprised by something I’ve been expecting for close to 2 years?

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Casey this winter

He isn’t able to go for our short walks without turning blue and gasping.

That’s not cool for him.

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My old friend, Casey this winter, “helping” me shovel the decks

If he isn’t worked up he still wags his tail, leaps and devours his food; he isn’t suffering or in pain.

But he isn’t allowed to be Casey, either.

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Casey and Dad a summer or two ago

So, unless I have to step in beforehand, I will wait for Alistair’s return this week and I will do what must be done.

Again.

Until that point you can bet Casey will be loved up the ying-yang, even if he bonks into me.

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Several years ago, air-dancing with Casey!

And I will keep on keeping-on, enjoying my high-level highs and making more adventures possible. I’m setting up an online jewelry party for the Fyfes in Scotland… talk about a high!

Mitch is going to get a kick out of Casey.

I just hope they have tennis balls in Heaven.

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High times in Bismarck with hubby

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View from the deck in ND

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Casey Fyfe, a good old boy, noshing on his kibs this morning

4 thoughts on “Highs & Lows

  1. Cindy

    So glad you had a good time this last trip. And yet so sad to know Casey will be heading to the rainbow bridge soon. One thing is for sure he will be with many loved animals and will be able to run and play. Hugs!!

  2. Its a tough one to fathom, Cindy, because he looks and acts normal… but then he crashes super quickly 😦 Probably the 2nd laryngeal fold giving in. His brain, heart and body are as good as ever, though! Thanks for your thoughts. ND was a blast this trip!

  3. Gail Isbell

    We are headed home too. Should be there tomorrow. Sorry to hear about Casey but know you know what will be best. When you write about things I can see it so clear. Take care and call me sometime. Gail

    • Hope your trip home went well! I’m back on the upswing with Casey having a terrific day today. Fingers are crossed that it was a bad hump. I know it won’t be the only one but I’m enjoying having him back to what’s normal for him. Thanks for your thoughts and yes, lets get together! 🙂

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