Monthly Archives: October 2011

on halloween

Me: “…and we saw someone in a full The Monarch costume.  And a Dr. Girlfriend.”

Taylor: “Yeah, you told me.”

Me: “And there were people in Spy vs. Spy costumes, too.  Those were pretty cool.”

Taylor: “Mmhmm.”

Me: “And of course, the requisite amount of like, sexy cat girls.”

Taylor: “Well, Halloween is usually a skank fest.”

Me: “Yep.  Someday I want to have a big Halloween party, and have a contest to see who can make the least skanky costume into a skanky costume.”

Taylor: “Like Skanky Stephen Hawking.”

Me: “Or Skanky Hitler.”

Taylor: “I think that’s been done before.  A lot, actually.”

Me: “Well, uh…Skanky Einstein?  But yeah, I’d like to have a big Halloween party someday.  Maybe when we have a house.”

Taylor: “We should have a Pokemon Party.”

Me: “Where people dress up as pokemon?”

Taylor: “Sure.  I could be Brock, and you could dress up like Ash.”

Me: “That would be AWESOME.  Wait, I like how you’re saying I should go as Ash instead of Misty.”

Taylor: “Says the girl going as Marty McFly for Halloween.”


Taylor: “I’m not disputing that.  What, you want to be Misty?”

Me: “…no.  Yeah, you’re right, I’d totally go as Ash.”

Taylor: “I thought so.”


Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


the women on the path

Just after his proposal, Taylor and I were walking hand-in-hand down the rest of the Lady In The Woods trail at a national park.  We had spent the previous twenty minutes babbling about weddings, about what colors, what groomsmen, what food, and we were nowhere near getting worn out on the subject.

Periodically we stopped to admire a particularly beautiful view or lush landscape.  When we passed a quiet stream winding through the moss, Taylor set down his tripod and began snapping photos.  After a moment, a couple of women came chattering happily around the corner of the path.

They were in their late fifties and wore matching white t-shirts and cross necklaces.  One had a fanny pack bundled around her middle.  The other had red, white and blue socks.

“Don’t mind us,” I said, scooting off the path a little ways.

“Oh, not at all, not at all!” said the first woman.  They stopped and looked over Taylor’s shoulder as he framed the photograph.  “Ooo-ee!” the woman cried.  “That is a fancy camera!

“Thank you,” Taylor replied.

“It’s new-ish,” I added.

“Is this for a calendar?” asked the second woman.  There was a glint in her eye as she uttered the word.  This was obviously an exciting prospect for her.

“No,” I said.  “Just for fun.”

The women both nodded sagely and watched Taylor take the photo.  I was twisting my newly inherited ring around my finger.  The adrenaline from the proposal was still running high.

“We just got engaged!” I blurted out.  The women turned towards me, their mouths falling open.

“When?” they asked in unison.  “Just now?”

“Twenty minutes ago,” I said.  “On this path.  Just up there a little ways.”

OOOOH HONEY!” The first woman screamed.  “HUGS ALL AROUND!” 

She wrapped me in her arms while the other woman seized Taylor in a bear hug.  He patted her back politely and she released him and turned towards me, wiping a tear away.

“I never met anybody who got engaged twenty minutes ago!” she said proudly.  “Ooh, that’s just wonderful.  That is just fantastic.”

I looked at Taylor.  We both glowed a little.

“Are you from nearby?” Taylor asked them.

“No, no.  We’re from Michigan!  We’re just takin’ a walk before we head back to the airport.  In fact, we ought to head on.”

They gave each of us a final hug and made their way up the path.  As they disappeared out of sight, we could hear them exclaiming, “Ooh, engaged twenty minutes ago!  Oh, boy!  Made my day!”

The woods fell silent again, and Taylor’s lips twitched.

“That was hilarious,” he said.


Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


an engaging story

Short version –

Taylor and I are engaged.

Long version –

On Labor Day weekend, Taylor and I went camping in a national park.  The landscape was magnificent in all of the proper Oregon ways, with deep, soundless forests, craggy cliffs looming over the roads, and the smell of dry, splintering trees in the last throes of the high summer.  Rivers ranged from crashing spectacles to quiet trickles.  Birds commented from low-hanging branches. Everything existed against an endless backdrop of blue mountains, like paper cutouts pasted on the sky.

I complained that it wasn’t real camping because the bathrooms were too nice.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and happily went about setting up the tent.  We built a roaring fire and tried to wait for it to reduce to cook-ready coals, as my father had warned us to do, but eventually lost patience and set Taylor’s new cast-iron pan over the licking flames. Taylor made the Best Steaks Ever and we spent the evening playing with the campfire and sitting next to each other in the comfortable stillness of the woods.  We slept fitfully on rock-solid ground, with overenthusiastic crickets squealing inches away from our heads.

We were still happy, though, and the next morning Taylor cooked eggs in a basket while I groggily stared at the pan, willing it to produce buttered toast for me, which it eventually did.  We pored over the complimentary park maps and planned four ambitious hikes.  We figured we would start off slow with the easiest one, a relatively flat path called ‘Lady In The Woods’, named after a sculpture carved into a giant, immovable rock.  I had picked it out specifically because the description of the hike had the word ‘creek’ in it, and I have a special fondness for creeks.  Streams, too.  I also like ravines, tributaries, and narrow rivers.

But yeah, I’m stalling.  I’ll go ahead and get to the point of all this.

The trail we had picked followed a little creek, only a foot wide, and it wasn’t long before we came across a tiny waterfall.  It wasn’t so much a waterfall as it was a stumble in the natural rhythm of the current.  The water just tripped a bit, and spilled over the edge of a few piled branches and then carried on, hoping nobody noticed.  Taylor set up his camera tripod and started snapping photos.  I watched him work and offered ‘helpful’ suggestions.

After a few minutes, he cleared his throat.

“I have a treat for you in my camera bag,” he said.  “But you have to close your eyes.”

He lifted my hands and pressed them against my eyelids.  I suspect he waggled his hands a few times in front of my face to be sure I couldn’t see.  I heard him rustling.

“Okay, Jessica,” I said to myself.  “You are going to open your eyes, and it is either going to be an engagement ring, or a granola bar.  If it is a granola bar, you better be sure to act super grateful that he was nice enough to bring a granola bar into the woods for you, even if you aren’t even that hungry right now, and have no place to put the wrappers.”

“Okay,” Taylor said.  “You can open them.”

Taylor was kneeling in the traditional pose, a little white box sitting in his palm.  He grinned at me.

“Um,” he said.  “So…”

I immediately burst into tears.

Taylor blinked at me somewhat nervously.  He had a short little speech prepared, and he went through it, valiantly ignoring my honking sobs.  I don’t actually remember if he ended with ‘will you marry me’, but I nodded anyway and threw my arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek.  He patted my back.

“You should, um, probably actually say ‘yes’,” Taylor reminded me.

“Yes,” I told him.  “Oh, yeah, of course.  Definitely.”

He opened the little white box and pulled out my grandmother’s diamond wedding ring, which he had gotten from my father.  He slipped it onto my finger. It fit.

And then we were officially engaged.

We went back to our campsite and ate sandwiches and drank wine out of plastic cups.  We napped and went for another hike, this one bordering a broader, more impressive creek than before.  We paused on a sandy bank, listening to the crash and thunder of a real, legit waterfall and watched the pebbles sparkle below the surface.

“Dammit,” Taylor growled.  “I should’ve proposed here.”

“No, no,” I said.  “It was perfect where we were before.  This is all perfect.”

And I meant it, with every part of my dusty, mosquito-bitten being.


Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Uncategorized