Friday, December 31, 2010

Hip, Hop, Happy New Year!

I hope it's wonderful & you all have someone to smooch at midnight. 

We are enjoying having some company. See you in 2011!

Joanna & family

Monday, December 27, 2010

Obligatory Christmas Post

Hi! How was your holiday weekend?

Mine was good. Much, much better than Thanksgiving.

Friday night we went to church and I was decked out in my new outfit from my in-laws. Sorry, no picture. We rushed home after the service because we were all hungry as we hadn't eaten dinner yet. Plus my cinnamon rolls were rising and needed to be baked before I went to bed.

The service was simply okay. I expect a few things out of a Christmas service; a candle light ceremony, communion and some traditional hymns/carols sung with clear strong voices. The service we went to had none of those things. To make matters worse, we got there right on time, at 6, and when we got to the door the greeters asked us how many were in our party. Three, we said and they told us it was alright for us to go in, but they had very few seats left and they had been turning larger groups away. What the what? Turning people away on Christmas eve?! Seriously? There was no room in the inn, but they at least found a place for Mary to deliver her baby. We won't be returning to that particular church.

Anyway, Saturday, Andy and Drew both had to work, but Drew only worked half a day, so he was here in the morning and Andy got to come home for a long lunch. That was nice. I wasn't all alone from sun up to sun down. And when they were gone I was a cooking fool while I alternated between listening to carols and watching Christmas movies.

On the menu: duck, raspberry relish, dinner rolls, dressing, prosciutto wrapped green bean bundles, acorn squash, hash-brown casserole and cherry pie for dessert.


It was a delightful dinner. This was my first time making duck and it was so, so good. However, if you have a large crowd it would be prudent to cook two or three ducks. They don't have a lot of meat.

How was your Christmas day? 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On the first day of Christmas

There is something I need to clear up. Christmas DID NOT end yesterday.

The religious studies major in me can't keep quiet any longer. For the last twelve days I've seen a great many "countdowns" to Christmas. I've tried to hold my tongue because I don't want to be "that guy" that spoils everyone's fun. But someone please answer me this: if the twelve days of Christmas is the twelve days leading up to December 25th, then what is the point of the Advent, which takes place in the first twenty five days of December? Why have two countdowns that overlap each other?

Don't know? I'll answer for you. The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days AFTER December 25th. They are celebrated as the days between Jesus' birth and they day the three kings (or wise men) arrived to bestow their gifts on the wee babe. That day is called Epiphany and is celebrated on January 6th.

It's true! I promise! Read all about it here.

Whew, I feel better now that I've got that off my chest.

My decorations will be staying up until January 7th.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry & Happy

I'm in much better spirit's for Christmas than I was for Thanksgiving. I still miss my family and friends back in NC, but next week we have visitors coming, so that takes the sting off a bit, and I also have lot's of things to do in the kitchen. Being down in the dumps gets in the way of my holiday baking and cooking mojo.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend, complete with wishes granted, holiday miracles and goodwill spread far and wide.



Love and blessings,

The Steele's

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dreams really do come true

I was going to write today about all the snow we've been getting, and how much I'm loving it. I was also going to make fun of my mother because I talked to her a few days ago about the uncharacteristic, extreme weather the whole state of North Carolina was slammed with last week and she said to me, "I'm just ready for it to be spring already.", and I laughed at her because winter doesn't even officially start until tomorrow. 

I was going to write about all those things until I had a phone conversations with Julie this morning.


First she told me that she was in the wine section at the grocery store today and for whatever reason she suddenly realized how much she missed me and broke down into tears. Then a woman approached her and asked if she was ok and if she needed to get help for her problem with alcohol. I'm sorry she's sad and I miss her too, but hahahahahahahaha. You can't make that kind of stuff up, and if you knew Julie, you'd know that something like that could only happen to her.

But, again, that isn't the point of this post. The point is that a little later in our conversation I was telling her about how I had taken a nice long walk on main street yesterday in the snow and really enjoying myself until the wind changed and the flakes started smacking me in the face. So, I crossed the street and changed directions to come back home and along the way I passed the town square. It isn't really a town square, it's the Frisco historical park that serves as the town square. It has a gazebo in the center of it with a gigantic Christmas tree and a full on, red sleigh in the center for Santa to sit in when he visits town. There is also a painting of carolers with the faces cut out so you can stand behind it and take pictures. And, of course, the whole thing is covered in a thick blanket of snow right now. It's very picturesque and I've been wanting to take a picture for a while now, which is what I was telling Julie, except some people had just walked into the gazebo yesterday when I was walking by, and I didn't want to be that creepy stranger taking their picture, so I just kept on walking.

That was the end of my story and as soon as I finished, Julie blurted, "You live in Star's Hollow!"

Which is the point of this post.

OH MY GOSH! I DO LIVE IN STAR'S HOLLOW!

In case you don't know what that is, it's the picture perfect, story book town that is the setting for the television show, The Gilmore Girls, with which Julie and I have an unhealthy obsession. The town has all kinds of festivals (one for every month), there is a large gazebo in the middle of town and it's in Connecticut so it snows a lot there. 

For years now Julie and I have both fantasized about how we'd like to live in a town like Star's Hollow, and here I am. I didn't even realize it until she pointed it out, but I'm living the dream, baby.

I talked to Andy and told him what she said and he even agreed, except he said our town  has more bars, which is certainly true. People here are all about the micro brew. We are certainly not in the Bible belt anymore.

So that's what I wanted to tell you. Dreams really do come true.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Photogenic Friday: A patchwork Christmas

I tried and tried and tried to post this yesterday. I had actually filmed a little video of my decorations, but it just wouldn't upload and I don't know if it was my fault or blogger's. Oh well.

When Andy and I moved in November, we left a large chunk of our belongings back in North Carolina to pick up at a later, undetermined, date. Our new apartment was unfurnished, 300 square feet less than we usually had and contained a third person. It just didn't make sense to haul all our stuff across the country to pay someone to store it for us when we could store it in NC for free. Among the things we left behind were all of our Christmas decorations. All the decorations I'd taken time to pick out or hand craft are still in their box and will stay there for another year. I miss them.

I couldn't let Christmas pass with no decorations, but at the same time we didn't really need to spend the money on new ones, especially since we wouldn't have had anywhere to store them when Christmas was over. So, I made all our decorations this year. I bought a gigantic pack of paper (180 12x12 sheets) all with different, but coordinating designs, and pulled out my Cricut cutter (I didn't bring a lot of things, but I refused to leave NC without my craft supplies). It took some time, but I have achieved an end result that I'm happy with.

When I got everything put up I looked around and realized that it reminds me of a patchwork quilt, which in turn makes me think of the South and home.

(Click photos to enlarge)

Merry Christmas banner

Cards over the window

Snowflakes!

Tiny little tree

Christmas village

The other half

If they have to be on the mantle, they have to be decorated



Update: My Christmas cards are going in the mail today. They didn't arrive until yesterday. This is the latest I have ever sent out my cards and it's stressing me out. I appears the postal service here is painfully slow, which I hope is just a result of the holiday season and not a year round problem. Look for your cards next week!

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The name game

Every now and then, Andy and I will play "the name game." It's when we throw a name out there all, "Bam! How 'bout them apples" in reference to our hypothetical, non-existent, futuristic children. We don't do it often, just whenever one of us has heard a name that piques our interest.

So, yesterday I had a name and in the afternoon I casually drop it into our conversation. It went like this:

Me: What do you think of the name Veda?


Andy: Like Darth Vader from Star Wars?


Me: No, like for a girl. Veda is a girl's name.


Andy: (in his Darth Vader voice) Veda, I am your father. No, I really don't think you want to do that.

He's such a huge Star Wars fan. I really should have seen that coming.

Oh well, mark that one off the list. At least I got a good laugh out of it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photogenic Friday: Dear Andy

My dearest husband,

Thank you for putting up the iron and ironing board last night like I asked you to. It really means a lot when you do things you say you will.


Hugs and kisses,

Wifey

P.S. I forgive you because you're coming home early today to spend some QT with me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I still have a couple more decorations to make for our apartment, so I'm not quite ready to post pictures of it.

To tide you over I thought I'd share a sampling of the lights that are up around town.

"Lighting up the town" takes on a whole new meaning around here. Lights are a big deal, especially colored lights. In North Carolina it seemed like white lights were the thing to do. That is not the case here and in certain areas it looks like Christmas threw up on the trees and buildings. I LOVE IT!

Here is the display in front of our post office.



Also, at the "front" of main street there is a really awesome display, but it's so big and it's at a large, busy intersection. I've been wanting to take a picture for a while now, but couldn't figure out how to get the whole thing in one shot or how to not get run over in the process. But last night we drove past and I had the video camera with me so I took a short video. It isn't great, but you get the idea. Notice how some of the lights "move" and the trees behind the "Frisco" sign aren't strung, but they have a spotlight that changes colors.

video

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Here We Go A Wassaling

I think I'm going to try to name every new post after a holiday carol until Christmas. Thoughts?

Things have gotten better. I'm trying to make a real effort to embrace Colorado and our time here, however long that may be. I wanted to move here, after all, so I'm just going to have to pick myself up by the bootstraps and get on with life. Being down in the dumps is just not who I am.

Part of the problem has been that I haven't really been sharing with Andy that I've been sad. One of his biggest concerns before we moved was that I would get here and hate it. In which case he would feel responsible because we moved here for a job opportunity for him. That isn't the only reason we moved, of course. There were reasons that fulled him even looking for jobs out of state, but ultimately, we weren't going to move without a guaranteed income. So I just haven't told him because I did want to make him feel responsible for how I was feeling.

But Friday, after I wrote it all down for the world to see (Andy reads this blog, but only occasionally and he reads a lot at once, so he wouldn't have seen that post yet), I decided to share a little bit of what was going on inside my head. And I felt better. He understands and he's been making more of an effort to do things with me or get me out of the apartment more, even if it's just for a few minutes at a time.

Julie sent me some fun socks & I wore them Friday to make myself feel better


Friday, Andy took a half day off work and we went out to run some errands. We opened a bank account here and serviced the truck and went to Walmart. Oh, Walmart. I have a Target now that is five minutes away and I still can't get away from Walmart. But that's alright, we found a teeny, tiny Christmas tree that is just the right size for all the extra space we don't have in this apartment. I've been working feverishly since Saturday on decorations and hopefully I'll finish today. Photo's forthcoming when it's all complete.

Andy took me to Smashburger for late lunch/dinner. It's one of our new favorites

Also, Friday night was the kick off to Frisco's Wassail Days! When we first learned about this potential move and I started looking at the area online I found the Wassail Days festival and I've been looking forward to it ever since. Basically, the whole thing is an effort to boost the economy in Frisco, specifically that of the main street that is filled with local retailers and restaurants. Each participating shop (which is nearly every one) makes their own special brew of Wassail and keeps it available to try for the whole week of the festival. Customers vote on which Wassail they think is the best and the winner get a trophy and bragging rights. It's silly an fun and there are other events going on in town all week. This Saturday, as part of the festival they are having a fund raising carol singing event in which all the proceeds go to a local charity.

I love that my town has something like this. It's pretty much right up my alley.

Anyway, Andy and I got out on Main street Friday night and walked around with all the other crazies who were out in twenty degree temperatures. We didn't try a whole lot of Wassail because Andy doesn't like it and after about the second cup I had to pee really bad. (That may be an over share, but it's the truth) We did get to see a little more of the town, it seems like we find a new place every time we venture out, and we went into a few shops we hadn't visited yet. I had fun. I'm not sure Andy had fun, but he enjoyed watching me get excited. Like a little school girl. I would be embarrassed if I didn't think the festival was so great.

 A t-shirt in one of the shops. It tickled my funny bone

Sipping Wassail (Andy bought me a mug)

 This thing was real
(PS to my Mom. This shop also has real bear rugs)


Like I said, Saturday & Sunday I made decorations. I surrounded myself with Christmas spirit, either listening to holiday music or playing movies and I made some candied pecans that were so much better than I thought they'd be. A definite make again recipe.

Yum!

On Sunday Andy surprised me by taking off another half day (he had a conference this week & didn't really get a day off, so he's been taking time where he can get it) and he obliged me by walking up and down main street again in search of fabled carol singers that we never found. We did get to try a new restaurant though, so all-in-all I'd call it a success.
 
 I can't remember this mountain's name, but it's gigantic. You have to crane your neck to see the top

 Walking back home at dusk.


Oh! When we signed up for our new bank account we got to pick out a "reward" and we got a flip video camera. It came in the mail yesterday, so expect some videos in the future!

Also, a reminder about Christmas cards. I ordered them last night, so if you want to receive one shoot me an e-mail: plannedspontaneity1@gmail.com. They are super cute this year, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Do you want a Christmas card?

My offer still stands!

I'm picking out our family's holiday card this weekend so they can arrive in time for Christmas.

If you would like to receive one in the mail email me at plannedspontaneity1@gmail.com with your mailing information.

Happy weekend!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Breath of Heaven: Trying to find my Christmas Spirit

Project 365 is canceled.

I'm sorry. So many of you have expressed a love for coming here on Fridays to see my weekly pictures, but the truth is my heart just isn't in it anymore. I don't go out a lot because I don't have a car and while I love getting out and walking around town, it's been too cold for that lately. Also, it happens so rarely, when I do go out I find myself wanting to really experience this new place rather than shove myself behind a lens. However, Photogenic Friday was a tradition here before I started Project 365, so next week I will reinstate it. I promise.

Moving on.

Lately I've been a dismal blogger, I know. I could come up with a thousand excuses as to why I haven't been updating regularly. I don't know if there is really one good one. Several times I've sat down to tap something out and the words just don't come. There has been a restaurant review post swimming around in my brain for a couple weeks now and one of these days (maybe next week?) I'll get it on here. We have some truly amazing eateries around and each time we venture out the "must try" list grows. It's going to take us an entire year to get to them all. Seriously.

But today something else is weighing heavy on my heart and mind. It's been there for a while, but I've been resisting the urge to put it out there in the universe because I don't want to come across as ungrateful.

But y'all, homesickness has hit me hard in the last week.

For the first little while everything was great. I wasn't homesick at all. I missed my family, but regular phone calls and chats took care of that. I was completely enthralled with this new home and never, ever wanted to leave.

Then the night before Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law, Lyssa, called me to wish me a happy holiday and chit chat about how I'd been doing. We talked about how much Andy and I love Colorado and I even said to her that I hadn't really been homesick. She told me about the kids' latest adventures, and then we said goodbye. After I hung up the phone I felt a little tug of sadness. I miss my brother and his family. I miss my nieces and nephews a lot, but I shoved those feeling aside without a lot of though. I'd see them again soon. That's what I have been telling myself every time I miss someone.

On Thanksgiving morning I woke up in a terrible mood. Andy and Drew left for work, leaving me to my own devices for the day. I sat down to write a Thanksgiving post and when I typed it out and read over what I'd written I sounded like a spoiled, bitter child. So I erased it and settled for something short and sweet instead. Then I cried. A little later I sent Julie a text message with holiday wishes and she sent me one back saying that Mina had kissed the phone as a way of sending me kisses for Thanksgiving. In that moment I wold have given my right arm to be able to teleport myself back to North Carolina to be with Julie and Mina and my family that day. Just one day.

The thing is, I have never been completely alone on a holiday. Andy has worked holidays since before we were married. That isn't anything new, but I've always had someone to spend time with. Until this year. I was alone from sunrise until after sunset, and y'all, that was really hard. I talked to my mom and others on the phone, but it just wasn't the same.

Anyway, the point is, that ever since that day I've been in a funk. Even when people call me to talk I clam up and don't want to chat, then when we get off the phone I feel bad because they just want to know how I'm doing and I fell like a grinch. Which is exactly what I am.

It feels like every day someone, in some capacity, reminds me how many days there are until Christmas and it's like they're saying, "This many days until you don't get to see your family, again."

And then there is the flip side, where I just feel worse for feeling the way I do.

I have never once doubted that this was the right decision for Andy and I to make. From the very first day when Andy applied for the job here I knew it was what we were supposed to do. It just felt right. Like after so long our world had been turned upside down and now finally we were being flipped upright again. I'm so, so grateful for the opportunity to be here in this place. The people are nice and the area we are in is absolutely breathtaking. Seriously, gorgeous.

Since Thanksgiving I've been listening to Christmas music on Pandora radio in hopes of digging out and dusting off my Holiday Mojo. Did you know that if you're already kind of sad that certain Christmas music can be seriously depressing? "I'll be home for Christmas" is a terrible song! What was the author thinking? Not uplifting! Not even a little bit.

Anyway, this morning I turned it on again and "Breath of Heaven" came on. It's one of my favorites. I love everything about it: the melancholy melody, the rhythm of the music, and the lyrics. Oh the lyrics. I was paying extra close attention this time through and this particular bit hit me like a ton of bricks:

Do you wonder, as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.


I'm not pompous enough to pretend that my battle is in the same hemisphere as Mary's, but the God I was raised with and the one I believe in doesn't see any battle as too small or inconsequential. I know, with complete certainty, that this is our plan, mine and Andy's. I feel like we are exactly where we belong, but that doesn't make this any easier.

I can't pretend like moving right before the holiday season was ever going to be simple. We can only do what we can to make the best of it. Which is what I'm trying to do, though some days are easier than others.

I feel better just getting this off my chest. And I have two things, at least, to look forward to this month. First, Wassail Days are starting in Frisco tomorrow. I'm so excited to go around to the shops participating and enjoy some hot wassail. Second, our friends Robert and Allison are coming for a visit at the end of December. I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am to have some familiar, friendly faces to celebrate New Year's with.

Once I heard a saying that said something about what you are doing at midnight on New Year's is an indication of what your next year will be like. Spending the night with old friends gives me a lot of hope for 2011.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Christmas card time again!

Every year since we've been married, Andy and I have sent out a photo card at Christmas. Or rather, I have forced Andy to sit for pictures and I have created and mailed out the cards.

Since we had the bunnies they have played a staring roll in our annual card. This year I've been planning the bunny's Christmas photo since September. I'm very excited.

This is the original bunny photo. The one that started it all.



One of the most important things to consider when I'm planning our card is what the design should be. I always try to pick out a design that matches the photo in question. This year I've been browsing though Shutterfly's stock of Christmas and holiday cards, and I'm having a really difficult time choosing which to use. There are so many great designs that would go with our photo this year. The possibilities are endless.

This one is one of my favorites:



If you are like me (a slacker) and haven't mailed out your cards yet, head over the Shutterfly and check out their great selection of cards. They also have photo books, mugs, calendars and a whole selection of other things that would make great Christmas gifts! Also, if you are a blogger and want to get some free photo cards, go check out their site, write a little review on your blog and go here to sign up for this great holiday promotion!

BONUS!

I've decided to share the love this year. If you would like to receive our Christmas card just send an email with your mailing information and I'll be happy to put one in the mail for you.

Send your card request to: plannedspontaneity1@gmail.com

Happy card making!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A day of Gratitude

Today I wish you all contentment in a full belly and a warm embrace from someone you love. 

While this isn't the "perfect" Thanksgiving that I've grown accustomed to in my life, and I'm not "home" with my family, I am in my new home with my husband who I wouldn't trade for anyone. And I am comforted by the knowledge that I have much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Blessings,

Joanna

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One track mind

It hasn't really stopped snowing since we arrived in Colorado. There were a couple of sunny days last week, but mostly it's just been snowy. Andy has to travel further to work here than he did in NC, so he spends every night glued to the local news before he goes to bed so he can see the weather report.

Last night, he turned on the news, and then, for whatever reason, decided he wanted to take a shower. I was using the laptop, so I muted the television, but when a segment came on that I wanted to see I would turn the sound back on. The weather was one of the segments that I turned the sound on for.

Andy came out during the segment after the weather and this is what happened:

Andy: Do you know what they said on the weather?


Me: (eyes glued to the computer screen) They're forecasting more snow.


Andy: Yes, I knew that. (pauses) Was the meteorologist a man or a woman? 


Me: (looking at Andy now) Ummmmm... I don't remember.


Andy: So, you don't really know what they said.


Me: No, I guess not.

What can I say? The laptop was right in front of me and it was way more interesting than the weather. What I do remember about the weather forecast is this: Blah, blah, blah, snow. Blah, blah, cold. Blah, blah, blah, blah, more snow.

Hopefully Andy learned his lesson. Probably not, though.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Project 365, week 46

Week in pictures November 13-19

Stream that runs behind our apartment

"This is chili weather." -Andy

Beginning of a big snow storm

 I love this hat. It was my mom's
Marathon

I woke up with a giant swollen stye

A big change from the first of the week

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Earning my stripes

When Andy and I had a roommate in the spring and summer it wasn't really like having a true roommate. It was a temporary situation & even though we told him to make himself at home, there was always that "house guest" vibe about the whole situation.

Now? Drew lives with us, it isn't temporary. At least, it isn't temporary for as long as we have this lease. He has made himself at home in every sense and so have we.

But y'all, men are gross. I mean, Drew is kind of OCD about some things and he cleans up after himself pretty well, but there are other things. I was talking to Andy about it the other day and he said it best. "It's like you're living in a locker room." Yes, that must be exactly what it's like, except we're all dressed.

In truth, it really isn't all that bad. He's a good guy and he's pretty respectful. But I will say that it's a good thing I have a dull sense of smell because I get serenaded nightly by their fart trumpets. Seriously, I downloaded the "big fart button" on my smart phone for a laugh and since we've all moved in together it has been rendered completely unnecessary. If you ever come to visit me I advise you to pack a gas mask. Maybe I'll just buy some to have on hand for unprepared visitors.

Also, Drew's sense of humor is not unlike that of a 13 year old boy. I think every man's humor development stalls out at 13, so Andy suffers from the same affliction. Except he has lived with me for four years and that has helped to curb some of the completely unnecessary, juvenile jokes. But with the two of them together it's gotten worse, and don't even get me started on how they completely ignore the don't-talk-when-Joanna's-shows-are-on rule. I think I'm going to make a sign to post over the television so when they start to giggle like a pack of prepubescent man children I can just point to the sign while simultaneously turning up the volume on the television.

One and a half weeks down, fifty and a half to go.

Oh! Oh! One more thing. Drew's sweet tooth rivals mine and there is a possibility that he loves chocolate more than I do. So even when I haven't baked anything new there is still something sweet laying around waiting to attach itself to my midsection. Also, he loves Doritos. Doritos, y'all. I only let myself have a bad of Doritos once, maybe twice, a year because I love them so much and if there is an uneaten Dorito in my presence I have to eat it. It is physically impossible for me not to eat it and I can finish a bag in under 24 hours. But now there are ALWAYS Doritos in the cabinet.

Someone please send reinforcements. Or a lock for the cabinet door.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reconnected and reacquainted

The first week here was hard. We got here on Sunday night and then first thing Monday Andy had to jump right into his new job. Also, we were both seriously screwed up with our schedules. Not only were we two hours behind our normal time zone, but we traveled across the country on time change weekend, so that put us back three hours instead of two. Or ahead I guess. Whichever, all I know is that each night around eight o'clock I would think, "Oh my gosh! Isn't it bedtime yet?"

We both spent last week really tired. Also, I've been having a hard time sleeping, which is apparently a sign of altitude sickness, but we left our beautiful king size bed back in NC and have been sleeping in the queen that came with the apartment. We are not cuddlers, and while I don't sleep as well when Andy isn't in the bed with me, I prefer to just know he's there rather than having a constant physical reminder in the form of his knees and elbows.

Another sign of altitude sickness is decreased appetite. I wouldn't say my appetite has been decreased because I've been ravenously hungry the entire past week. But when we sit down for a meal I can't eat it all. I've only been able to eat about half as much as I usually do.

All of this, plus the time and energy it takes to get semi-settled in a completely new place made last week kind of hellish. On Thursday night at dinner I looked over at Andy and said, "I feel very disconnected from you since we've been here." That statement pretty much sums up our whole first week in Colorado.

But Andy was off all weekend since his store isn't open yet and we spent two days getting reconnected with each other and acquainted with our new environment.

On Saturday we drove to down town Breckenridge and walked on Main street. I have to say that this will probably be my "go to" place to take family and friends who come to visit. It has tons of shopping and restaurants mixed in with brightly colored Victorian homes, most of which are original to that part of town. It was really an idyllic place and there is a gondola that takes you from town to the top of the slopes.

Saturday evening we spent some time on our own Main street in Frisco. We've come to realize that Frisco is more of a place for locals, which is good because when the ski season really gets started we'll be a little more separated from all the chaos. While our Main street isn't quite as idyllic as Breck's it is very quaint and we've already found at least four or five restaurants that are on our "must try" list, all within walking distance of our apartment. While we were out though, we stopped into a place that was having happy hour (side note: happy hour is a big thing here) and we had some drinks and ordered an appetizer. Fried pickles, y'all! I ate the whole basket myself and came home with a massive stomach ache. But it was totally worth it.

Sunday we slept in and then went to Silverthorne to walk around the outlets they have there. It was a really good workout. The outlet mall is comprised of three strip centers that are connected with a walking trail that runs along the Blue River. The Blue River is a popular haunt for fisherman. There were even some dedicated sportsmen out there in the twenty degree temps yesterday. Anyway, it was a nice walk and we got to see all the stores they have. Andy was glad to know that the river was there so when I decide to drag him along on shopping trips he can pack his fishing pole and when we get tired of each other he'll have something to do.

We came back home in the afternoon and I started a pot of chili for dinner. Then we did some laundry and went to check out the clubhouse here at our complex. We have a pool, sauna and hot tub, all of which we are very excited about. It's so nice to finally live in a place that offers real amenities. Andy and I both plan on making good use of the pool and hot tub. There are windows all over the clubhouse so we can watch the snow fall while we swish around in the nice warm water. Ahhhh. (There is also a stream that runs behind our apartment. We've got to get Andy a license soon, before his head explodes)

I'm afraid I really didn't get any pictures. I wanted to see what was around me with my own eyes instead of through the lens, so my camera stayed in my purse for most of the weekend. But at least now when someone asks, "So, how is it?" I can respond with something more than, "Well, I know where the post office is."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Project 365, week 45

Week in pictures* November 6-12

Snow on fall foliage. The only snow we saw was in NC

Surprisingly good travelers

1st sunset in CO
 Almost home! Going through the Eisenhower tunnel
 No center support for the clothes rod
 Huge & straight up. View out the front door
 Andy's shiny new toy**
 
Adjusting pretty well to their new home.
As always, they love looking out the sliding glass door
Still living out of boxes.
Weekend project: Fix the closet rod

* These pictures are all from my phone. I don't know what's up with the grey band at the bottom of all of them. It's new & I'm still learning how to use it. 
** Sorry Kathryn. There was no making him wait until Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"So what's it like?"

I've been asked that a lot since arriving in Colorado on Sunday evening.

And the answer is that I haven't really been out much yet. We've been unpacking (or trying to unpack) and Andy's been working and we apparently brought the winter with us because the mild fall weather Colorado had been experiencing came to an abrupt end yesterday. It's cold people.

There has been a little snow fall, that was very, very slippery. & there wasn't a scramble to instantly clear and salt the roads. In truth, it wasn't really necessary because we only got a dusting, but it's kind of different for people not to freak out about the snow. It's refreshing.

Our apartment is tiny. I guess tiny isn't the word, but it is much smaller than we're used to. Also it came furnished, which was great because we didn't, yet, need to haul all of our furniture out here. But the person who owns this unit seems to take "furnished" to mean "catch all for the shit she doesn't really need, but doesn't want to throw away." We have two linen closets that are filled with miscellaneous pillows and crappy blankets and one set of sheets even though the apartment has three beds. So, it's been interesting trying to find places to put our stuff. I think we're going to have to invest in a small storage unit to keep some of the unneeded items.

Something I didn't mention before: we have a roommate. His name is Drew and we've known him for several years. I know this is kind of shocking since I complained so much about our last roommate, but there are some distinct differences between the two situations. First is that we moved into the same space with Drew on purpose. Whereas, with the last roommate we had our own apartment that he needed to crash in for a while. It's very different setting up a new space with someone else versus being alone and then having someone new there all of a sudden. Also, the cost of living is much higher here and since Drew just moved here as well, we decided it would be best to split the cost for a year until we can all get a little more established.

So, that's what it's like so far. Andy is off on Saturday, so we're going to spend some time exploring. I'll try to have some more interesting things to report after that.

One more thing. We do have a very quaint main street that kind of looks like a page out of a children's story book. I've shared this link with a lot of people, but in case you haven't already seen, here is the live web cam that is set up on Main street. We live about a block away. If you scroll down the page there is also a web cam of the marina and Nordic center, but I'm pretty sure the Nordic center cam isn't working or turned on at the moment.

Happy hump day!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Project 365, week 44: The Farewell Edition

Week in pictures, October 30 - November 5.

Farewell, Family

Farewell, Giant Kitchen

Farewell, Bible Belt

Farewell, Friends

Farewell, World's Greatest Pizza

Farewell, More Family

Farewell, Hulk
************************************************************************************

We leave at 6 am tomorrow morning. It's sure to be quite an adventure. Andy has been giving me "rules" for the trip, because apparently I'm five years old now. Also, we are going to be in a regular cab pickup with both the bunnies, who hate riding.

I'll be chronicling our journey on twitter. My twitter feed is on the left hand side of my blog & I've changed it to show more posts at a time in case you still want to follow along, but don't want to click into twitter to read it all.

Check back for frequent updates!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Home is where the heart is

Once when I was small, maybe five or so, I remember going shopping with my mom in a nearby city. We always went out of town for shopping, because our town was so small and didn't offer a lot.

I had recently learned about people in foreign countries and how they spoke different languages. I didn't really understand the concept of what a foreign country was, and anything outside my everyday world was foreign. A ten minute trip in the car felt like an eternity. So as far as I knew, we traveled to "foreign countries" to go shopping. So, on that particular shopping trip I was surprised that the people working in the stores could understand what my mom was saying. I wondered why they weren't speaking another language.

Now I look back and laugh at how small my world was, but as I'm looking down the barrel of a complete life change, I feel like I'm five years old again. I've only ever lived here, not just in the south, but in North Carolina. I was a child in the foothills and became an adult in the blue ridge mountains. I've never known anything else, and while I'm much older and wiser than that little girl out shopping with her mother, I can't help but feel like I'm about to embark on something completely foreign to me.

Don't get me wrong, I am so excited. Ever since Andy sent in his resume and cover letter I have felt completely at peace with this decision. There aren't a lot of times I can say I have felt this way. Once was when I made the decision of where to attend college, and I felt this way again on my wedding day. But I cried when my parents left me on move in day, and I cried on and off the whole day of my wedding. These big decisions are never easy because no matter how good they are, there is always some bad mixed in. Someone or something always seems to be left behind, and I've already shed a few tears as I've been saying goodbye to so many people I love and the only home I've ever known.

A few months back, my friend Jessie asked me what my definition of home was. The first thing out of my mouth was that Andy was my home. The second was my family. Andy and my family are my home, regardless of where I am, and that is something that has been true for me since I was a child. Not Andy, I didn't meet him until I was a teen, but the people I love have always played a big part in what makes me comfortable, and to me, home should always be comfortable.

So, since I'm taking part of my home with me and leaving a large part of it behind, I guess that means I'll have two homes.

In college, I once said to someone, "I'm going home for the weekend." They laughed at me and said, "Home? You mean to your parents?" I gave them a strange look and said, "Yes. That will always be my home."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

One of my favorite holidays is here! The last couple weeks I've spent some time with my nieces and nephews getting geared up for today.

First up: Pumpking carving!

Working hard

Clown

Cat

Ghost

And a couple of videos
video

video

That was a couple of weekends ago. I also made a Halloween village for the kids to have fun with and on Friday I took it over, with some pipe cleaner trees, and let them "haunt" the village with some cute stickers I found. It was a lot of fun!

Pre-haunting

Decorating in progress

Lili played in the sticker bowl
 Post haunting

 Spooky clock tower

This tree has a bat infestation

We had also planned to let them paint and decorate the back drop to complete the look, but Veronica was under the weather and painting is really her thing right now. So, we saved her some fun for when she's feeling better.

I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween! Happy haunting!