Sunday, June 12, 2011

Onward and Upward

Hi people.

Change is a-comin'. Can you feel it?

I want to keep this as short and sweet as possible. Celebrating is the plan here, not dwelling.

After a lot of deliberation, and hemming and hawing, I've decided to shut down Planned Spontaneity. 

For a while now it just hasn't felt right.

In the beginning, more than three years ago, this was a place for me to keep family and friends updated on what was going on in my life. Then the accident happened and this was a place I came to collect my thoughts, express how I was feeling and heal.

Now, I just don't know where to take it and I feel like it's served it's purpose and run it's course. I need to move on, literally and figuratively. These past two years are never going to disappear and I don't want that, but I do need to fully step into my new life.

Andy and I have some big plans for our future, so it's time for something new.

Out with the old blog, and in with the new one.

What? You didn't think I was giving up blogging all together, did you?

Haha. Fooled you!

I've already started blogging at my new internet home. Also, now I'm a dot com, so my url is a whole lot easier to remember (and spell). The new blog is called Average Joanna. It's still a work in progress, so be patient with me while I attempt to pretty the place up.

Head on over and see what's new. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Your support has meant the world to me and I'm certain I would have come through this differently without it.

Hugs and Love,
Joanna

Friday, June 3, 2011

I've got a feelin'. Woohoo.

Yeah, so that Black Eyed Peas song is old and tired, but I couldn't help it.

A long time ago I wrote a post about my old Jeep and how I knew it was getting tired and worn down and would need to be replaced. I wrote this post before the accident, obviously, but now I can't find it. In said post, I talked a lot about how I shop for cars. I shop based on how I feel about a particular vehicle & in this mysterious post I embedded a video from a Gilmore Girls episode where Lorelei has to shop for a new car and she can't find one because none of them "feel" right. Exchange the name "Lorelei" for "Joanna" in that scenario and you've just gone car shopping with me.

For two years now I've need a car of my own. When the accident happened we owned three cars already; my Jeep, The Hulk, and Magnum the truck. With two cars left and no room in the budget for a car payment we decided it was in our best interest to just keep the two cars we had left and make it work. When the time was right (read: when we settled with the insurance company) we would get a new car.

The past two years I've spent a lot of time researching and looking and wishing a dreaming. Honestly, if I had what I wanted, I'd have my old Jeep back. I loved that thing and I would have driven it until the wheels fell off.

Alas, that was not to be. Accepting the inevitable, I whittled down my choices and this past week we went shopping. A couple of days ago I made a purchase.

Before I show you what I got, I have to tell you just how far this "feeling" thing goes with me. Last Thursday we test drove a car that was, for all intents and purposes, identical to the car I ended up purchasing. The test car was really nice and would have probably served me well for years to come, but it just didn't feel right. I felt like I was driving something that belonged to someone else. So I worked with the dealership and we found one that looked just right on paper. It came in on Tuesday and you guys, this is my car. It feels like it was made for me. It's perfect.

So, here it is. The replacement for my other perfect car.


 It's a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I love it.

Along with that car, we made another, smaller purchase. The Hulk has certainly seen better days and Magnum the truck has been having more and more break downs. It became clear to us a while ago that Andy was going to need a new car too.

The dealership just happened to have something on the lot that met all of Andy's criteria, so we got a new toy for him too.



It's a 2005 Grand Cherokee.

Some my say buying two cars at once is overkill. You know what I say to those people? When you live through the same hell we have for the last to years, then you can pass judgment on what we do.We deserve this.

If I could go back and choose my path, I would gladly give it all back. I'd give back all the pain and heartache and frustration if I could have my old Jeep and my old life. Andy feels exactly the same way.

While these new cars don't erase everything that has happened, they certainly don't hurt.

Happy weekend! I'm certainly going to enjoy mine!

P.S. For those of you wondering why the hell we bought two Jeeps. We've always owned two, with the exception of the last two years. Since we started dating, we've each had a Jeep. These two are numbers 4 and 5 between us. We're Jeep people. It's just what we like.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Grateful for the journey

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

I've finally settled back in at home. It's nice to be back with Andy, even if it isn't so nice to be back in Colorado. Though, I have to admit that the weather has been absolutely beautiful lately. We even have some humming birds zipping around outside our windows. Spring is finally here & if the weather were like this more often, I could probably put up with the crappy people a little better.

In my last post (a week ago, sorry) I whined about my trip home and then told you that I had some good news to share. The day has finally arrived and I'm ready to write about it.

It's been a long time since I've written anything about my accident. This is due, in large part, to my need to just put it all behind me and move on with my life. I can't change what happened to me, but only accept it as part of my reality and use it to improve my day to day. So that's what I've tried to do.

Except I haven't been able to completely put it behind me.

In all the things I wrote about my feelings, physical and emotional, concerning the accident, I only briefly touched on the financial ramifications of this disaster on our lives. It's been rough. To say the least.

For two years we've had an outstanding insurance claim. The thing that I wanted most, to move on, could never really happen until we could settle with the insurance company. That couldn't happen until I could heal. Last July I was finally released from all my doctors. After that I just needed a few follow up dental appointments to determine my future care, and we could finally begin to close this giant door in our life.

Several months of waiting, and back and forth. Phone calls and emails and question after question after question relating to my recovery and current health.

While I was in North Carolina all the waiting and communication came to a stand still and I went to mediation to settle the claim.

It's over.

Two little words. That's all I could get out before bursting into tears that afternoon when I left my lawyer's office.

In mediation the mediator, said something to me that keeps running through my head. "You've been through a lot and you need to be compensated. The only way to do that is with money."

I understand that, from the perspective of the lawyers and the insurance company, this was a simple business transaction. It's the world's way of trying to make a wrong, right.

For me, it's so much more than that. While money makes the world go round, it doesn't make me or break me, and how do I a put a dollar amount on the last two years of my life?

No. This was less about compensation than it was about closure and being able to start the final healing process.

I could say that these last two years have been a nightmare. There have certainly been nightmare like times, but I feel like so much good has come of it too.

I've grown up more in these last two years than I ever did in the previous twenty seven. I see the change in myself and recognize it for the blessing that it is. I've never felt more grown up, and that doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I'm chronologically older. I'm better able to appreciate a situation, good or bad, for what it's really worth and how much of my attention and worry it deserves. I'm grateful for that knowledge and for the strength I've gained through all this turmoil

My husband and my marriage have never been more precious. We meant our vows when we took them, nearly five years ago, but I don't think either of us expected just how soon we would have the opportunity to test that sincerity. I'm grateful for that and for the knowledge that as long as Andy is by my side I can tackle any obstacle.

I'm grateful for all my friends and family that supported me, and Andy, through all the pain and heartache. These people have a new importance to me now, and they are more dear than ever before. You're only as strong as the people around you and right now I feel like a fortress, impenetrable and unyielding.

Most of all I'm grateful for my life and the opportunity to live it. That's just what I intend to do.

It's over, and I'm grateful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The long journey home

And I do mean long.

I got home late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. That was not the original plan.

Saturday, I woke up at 8 and got everything ready to go. Julie and I loaded up the car with my (gigantic) suitcase & headed to the airport. After a tearful goodbye, I headed to baggage check and then to security. All those things went smoothly and I got to my designated gate around 10 am. My flight was scheduled to leave at 11:40. I was flying to Minneapolis where I would meet a connection to Denver.

Right around the time we should have started boarding there was an announcement. The Minneapolis airport was having a small problem with a power outage & my flight had been delayed 20 minutes. No big deal, and because of the power outage in Minneapolis my connecting flight would be delayed as well, so no concern there.

A few more minutes pass. We should be boarding the plane to leave at the delay time. Another announcement, the flight has been delayed another 25 minutes, but so has my connecting flight, so again, not a big deal.

12 o'clock rolls around and we start boarding the plane. Everyone gets on, gets comfortable and the captain comes on the intercom. Due to the severity of the power outage in Minneapolis they've had to shut down the airport for a short time. My flight is canceled.

Fantastic.

I get off the plane with all the other passengers and get in line to talk to an agent. Several people started calling Delta customer service to reschedule their flights, but even if you can talk to a real person and get your itinerary changed, you still have to stand in line to get your new boarding pass. I opt to just stand in line because talking to customer service on the phone usually makes me want to throw my phone against a wall, and I was already in a terrific mood.

It takes a while, but finally I get to the desk and the nice lady helping me gets me on a flight to JFK in New York where I then would fly to Denver. That's fine. Whatever gets me home. I take my new boarding pass and give a description of my checked bag so they can transfer it to my new flight though I only had a small hope that would actually happen.

It's now 1 pm. My new flight doesn't leave until 4 so I set out to find something to eat. After eating and resting a few minutes and letting my phone charge at the Starbucks kiosk, I decide to go find my new gate.

It's now 2 pm.

I go to the TV screens that display flights and their information. I see the gate and the time my flight should leave and then all the way to the right is flashing in bright red letters, "Now 5:05." What. The. Hell?

When I walk to the gate and read the display, sure enough my flight is now scheduled an hour later than originally planned. Which means that if I stick with that flight I would have exactly five minutes to get off the first plane, make it to the new gate in JFK and onto the plane before they shut the door. So, basically It's a given that I would miss my connecting flight.

I walk around until I find a desk with an agent. They're helping some other woebegone travelers so I commence waiting.

When I get helped it just so happens that the person helping is the same one who rescheduled my flight a couple hours ago. She's very nice and gets me on to another flight and once again, takes my bag description to have it checked onto my new flight. Yeah, right. Not a chance in hell that bag is making it to Denver the same time I do. I asked if there was any chance there would be a delay with this new flight, no was the answer and I'd been upgraded to first class for both flights. Well, that was something.

My new flight takes me to Atlanta where I have a three hour layover and then board a second plane to Denver.

Let's take a moment to count all this up. At this point it's roughly 3 pm. I've spent all of 5 minutes on an airplane, 5 hours in the same airport, and been booked on 6 different flights for the day.

The flight to Atlanta wasn't scheduled to leaved until 5:15. Lot's of time to kill and I spent most of it on the phone complaining to various family and friends about my ordeal.

Eventually the time did pass. My flight was uneventful as were my three ours in the Atlanta airport and my second flight to Denver.

My plane landed at 11 pm and, of course, my suitcase didn't, so Andy and I spent some time while the nice people at the airport found it (New York) and scheduled it for delivery to me.

We got to the apartment at 1:30 am (3:30 am eastern).

But I'm home and my suitcase made it to me this morning at 5:30.

Hopefully in a couple of days I can tell you about some exciting news I have. I'm not pregnant, sorry. However, still exciting news, and this particular news has been a long time coming. 

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Half over

I've been in NC for 10 days. I have 10 more to go.

Clearly my trip hasn't made me any more enthusiastic about blogging. In my defense, it took a week to get rid of the jet lag. It was horrible. Also, part of why I'm here is because Julie needed some help with someone to watch Mina. I know that sounds kind of strange, because aren't there babysitters in North Carolina? Well, yes, but Julie is having to deal with some family things right now and will be for several weeks and Mina hasn't spent entire days with baby sitters ever. So it just made sense that if her world was going to turn upside down for a few weeks, at least she should stay with someone she knows. Hence my three week trip to North Carolina.

Anyway, I have some free days and some things planned the rest of this week. Hopefully I can get some pictures taken and at least post those to the ole blog, if nothing else.

I hope you're all having a wonderful May!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

NC bound

On Saturday I'm flying out of Colorado, and away from the winter that will never end, to a land of green grass, warm temperatures and flip flops.

I'm going to North Carolina for a nice long visit. A three week visit. I'm excited for many reasons that I'm sure I don't really need to list, but I'm also a little sad. Andy and the bunnies are staying in Colorado.

I feel kind of like a hypocrite because I've been aching to go "home" to NC for months now, but honestly home is where my husband is. So, while I'm sure I'll enjoy myself immensely while I'm in the South, it's going to be a bitter sweet trip. Hopefully my friends and family will keep me entertained so that it passes quickly and I can come back to my love soon.

Also, this trip could mean one of two things for the blog. Posting could be more sparse (is that even possible?) or I could be so inspired by my return home that I bombard you with posts about the wonderful time I'm having. We'll see how it goes.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's never going to end, is it?


 
Photos taken today, from our porch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Just putting this out there

It seems like my blog directly reflects my life. Duh, you say, but I'm not just talking about the things I write about on here. I'm also referring to the things I don't say, i.e. my silence.

When things aren't so great I tend to shut down on the blog and if you look at my posting (or lack of) over the last couple months you can tell that life isn't exactly stellar right now.

I've said before that we hate it here, but I can't put into words just how stiffing this place is.I can't speak for all of Colorado, but as for the area we're in, it sucks. Or rather, the people suck. Some might say we're just homesick.

Yes and no. I think this goes beyond homesickness. No amount of time spent here is going to make the community more welcoming to us. It makes me sad and more than disappointed that we feel this way. This move is something that Andy and I have dreamed of for so long, and it's painful when dreams come true, but turn out to be something less than imagined.

I could go on about this for a while, but Andy and I have rehashed this so much in our day to day lives it seems pointless to do so on here. And getting on here every day to write, "We hate it here," "This place is terrible," "Why did we think it was going to be so great," whine, whine, whine, is just not my style. We made a decision and we're going to live with it until we're ready to make the next move.

And now I'm going to do the thing that everyone says they hate when bloggers do it. I'm going to tell you that we have made several decisions about our future, but I'm not going to tell the internet about it. Not yet. We need to put some things into action before I talk about what we're going to do and where we're going to go next. So, sorry. You'll just have to wait. If anyone still reads this thing.

On the bright side, the warm days (if you call 50 degrees warm) are starting to outweigh the cold, so maybe I can take some pictures to put on here that aren't mountains covered in snow. Here's hoping.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April is the best month

Oh, hey! I'm not dead. Isn't that great?

So, it's April. I love this month, and not only because it's my birthday month. This Sunday, the 3rd, I'll turn 29. Lately I've been thinking a lot about getting older, and I've come to some conclusions. But more on that later, because right now I'm going to tell you something else.

Today is April Fool's Day. Did you now? Has someone played a prank on you?

I hate April Fool's Day. I'm usually a very practical person and it really gripes my bottom when someone tricks me. Also, I have a very transparent face. What I'm thinking shows very clearly on my money maker, so I'm not good at lying. In order to pull off a good prank you must be good at telling lies. So, the "Fool" part of April 1st is not my favorite, but I'm glad it's April.

In honor of this most horrible holiday, I thought I'd tell you about a little conversation I had with Andy earlier this week. He wasn't trying to trick me, but the outcome of the conversation was something completely different than what I had expected at the beginning, so in essence, he fooled me.

Anyway, we were sitting in the living room. He was watching something on television and I was looking at something on the computer, "window" shopping, no doubt. Out of nowhere Andy pipes up and says, "Do you know what I wish someone had told me about us getting married?"

Danger! Danger! Tread carefully!

What on earth have I done wrong? We haven't even had so much as a petty argument in a while, so I really had no idea what brought this on. Not that we needed to be in a fight for him to think something like this, but it's generally the disagreements that make you wish someone had prepared you ahead of time how to deal with it.

There was no getting out of it, though, so I girded my loins, prepared myself for the worst and asked, "No, what?"

You'll never, ever guess what he said. Prepare yourself.

"I wish someone had told me ahead of time that I was supposed to say something at our rehearsal dinner. I would have like to have had time to prepare something." He said.

WHAT?! What on earth made him think of that?

There were a couple of reactions going on in my head after I heard that little bit of loveliness. First I thought (and said), "Oh my gosh! Get over it already!" You see, we have been married for just over four and a half years now, and in that time whenever someone brings up our wedding or he hears the words "rehearsal dinner" he goes on and on about how he had to give a speech that night and no one had told him and why hadn't they told him because he didn't mind having to do it but he would have liked some advance warning so he would have been able to think about what to say, and for the love of mercy, build a bridge, Andy!

My second reaction was to realize that after all these years the worst thing he can think of about our marriage, the thing that blind sided him the most, was something that happened before we were even married. Really? Nothing else? So I asked, "Is there anything about actually being married that you wish you'd known?" He said, "Nope. I think it's been pretty normal."

And you know what? I think he's right. I don't know about normal, but there haven't really been any surprises. I mean, there have been some unexpected things that life threw at us, like job loss and in particular my car crash, but those could/would have happened with or without us being married. All-in-all though, I got what I expected out of marriage, and I guess he has too, so far.

We're happy together. As a bride you have so many expectations and big ideas of what it's going to be like once you're married. Now, four and a half years later, being happy seems like a pretty big accomplishment. At the end of the day, that's the most I ask for and need. Being happy with my husband makes all of the other inadequacies that life throws my way seem less important. I expected so much, but got exactly what I needed. It's funny how that works, isn't it?

Happy April!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lucky charm

Several weeks ago my mom called me and told me that she and my step dad were going to get a puppy. She also said that they wanted me to name the puppy. A tall order!

Saturday morning she called me again and said they had brought the new puppy home that morning & it was time for me to pick a name. She took some pictures of the new little love and sent them to me. I ran through several names in my head and called my parents to ask their opinion. After all it is their dog, and I can't meet her in person to get a sense of her puppy personality.

In the end, we settled on a name that correlates with her coming home date. St. Patrick's day is this Thursday and it's one of my favorite holidays, so I picked a name that reflected that.

Meet my new puppy sister, Clover



(Something is wrong with the time stamp on my mom's camera. She took these photos on Saturday 3/5, but for some reason it says she took them in the future on 7/3. Oh well.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Here is a list

Hello, from the great frozen tundra!

It's March! Already! Where did January and February go?

I started writing this post two days ago, but it was Andy's day off and after I typed out the first couple sentences he came in the room and distracted me, so I lost my train of thought and gave up.

Anyway, this is what's happening:

  • Wednesday was so warm you didn't need a jacket. Yesterday the temperatures cooled a bit and last night it started snowing. It's still snowing. 
  • My fingernails have grown out too much. They're so long that it's making it hard for me to type this. I'm too lazy to do anything about it. 
  • There has been a problem with Andy's truck. He's been able to drive it, but it didn't have heat, among other things, and he was finally able to find the time to fix it on Wednesday. (Why didn't we just take it to a repair shop? Because labor fees here are twice what they were in NC, and a repair that cost Andy just under $100 to do himself would have cost over $400 at a mechanic. That's why.)
  • I love my bunnies. They are so cuddly and lovable. Even though Brunswick wakes me up every morning before 5, and Milton can make some of the biggest messes you've ever seen for something so small. I love them anyway. 
  • My birthday is 30 days away. I'll be 29. The last year of my twenties.
  • The last day Andy's store is open is on my birthday. He's started counting down the days. Which is convenient for me since I usually count down to my birthday anyway. 
  • We hate it here. HATE. Andy has started calling it Winter Disneyland and saying, "People don't live in Disneyland." Which is true. They visit Disneyland and then they go home to reality. Except this is "home" for us right now. I use the word "home" loosely because we are going to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as possible.
  • It doesn't rain here. Ever. I knew this before coming. Most of the precipitation comes in the form of snow and the rest of the year it's sunny and dry. All that sunshine sounded like a great idea. I miss rain.
  • Today is my niece's second birthday. I'm not there to make her a cake. That makes me sad.
  • We have made some decisions about what our next move will be. I'll share that will you as soon as we have a solid plan in place. Until then, I'm going to bide my time in this miserable place. 
Happy weekend!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The honeymoon is over

Oh, hi! Our computer has had a virus. Andy just found time to fix it last night. Yay, fixed computer! Here's the real post:

So when we first moved, there was certainly an adjustment period.

Once we were settled and developed a routine, I was quickly charmed by our new home. It was good & we were as happy as we could be with such a whirlwind change. Robert and Allison visited and we were heartened by friends and the knowledge that once we formed a community we could really make a home here.

However, as time went on it became clear to us that this was not a place to build a new home. There is no community to be had. It isn't just us either, we've spoken to several others, of varying ages and circumstances, who can't find a niche here either. More and more we feel justified in our decision to move, again.

In all this though, I've been trying to enjoy the time we still have here. It is beautiful, after all, and the only thing to do is make the most of the situation.

Until yesterday.

The bunnies were completely out of pellets & Brunswick was begging like he'd never done before. He clearly thought he was going to starve to death, despite the hay and vegetables I kept shoving in his face.

My options were to go myself on the bus or wait on Andy to get off work and go to the store. Andy's shop has extended hours for the holiday weekend and he doesn't get home until nearly 8 o'clock after a 13+ hour day. It hardly seemed fair to ask him to make a stop, plus, like I said, Brunswick thought he was starving.

So, yesterday afternoon, I bundled up and headed out. There is a bus stop at the end of our street, so I didn't have to walk far, but the wind was so strong, and I was being pelted in the face with snow because of it. I had hardly gotten out of our complex parking lot before my instincts told me I should turn around and just give Brunswick some more carrots. I didn't though. Stubbornly, I trudged on because I'd made my mind up and I was going to go to the store.

I got to the intersection and all I had left to do before I reached the shelter of the bus stop was cross the street. It's a three way stop, there were two cars at two of the stop signs already and the other had a mini van approaching it. I was a pedestrian and everyone had to stop, so I proceeded to cross the intersection.

The road was icy and I was walking carefully. Suddenly, the approaching mini van, not yet stopped, honked it's horn at me. I looked the driver in the face and mouthed, "You have a stop sign!" She proceeded to roll through the stop sign, stop in the middle of the intersection, roll down her window and say, "I know! I'm sliding & I didn't want to hit you." The wind was still blowing and I was frozen so I just said ok and continued walking to the bus stop. However, I would have liked to point out the following things to her:

1) If she hadn't been going too fast in the first place, she could have stopped at the stop sign that I know she saw because it was a straight stretch of road and the stop sign has FLASHING RED LIGHTS ON IT. If you drive on ice like you do in normal conditions, of course you are going to slide. (That idea doesn't seem to have sunk in with a lot of people around here. Even the ones who have crashed multiple times.)

2) Clearly she wasn't sliding too bad since she managed to stop her van in the middle of the intersection to explain why she honked at me.

3) If she had hit me, even though she was so courteous as to honk at me, it still would have been her fault for driving like and ass on the ice.

Ahem, moving on. I stood in the bus shelter listening to the wind and waiting, thinking that any moment the shelter was going to fall apart and collapse on me. At least, that's what it sounded like. I'm not kidding when I say the wind was brutal.

The bus came, I got on, it was packed with skiers going home at the end of the day. I did manage to find a seat, so I took it and proceeded to thaw out, until we got to the bus station where I had to get out again and brave the arctic tundra.

The bus station is behind the strip mall where I needed to go. I started walking and for the most part there was fresh snow that had been blown onto the roads and parking lot, so it wasn't too slippery. Until I got to the back of the strip mall where it was a giant ice rink. Walking very cautiously I proceeded, but when I reached the corner of the building my feet flew out from under me and I fell, hard, onto my right hip. The impact jarred me hard enough for my head to bounce off my shoulder.

Right then and there, my love affair with winter ended. I don't mind the cold & I love the snow, but now? I'm over it. I'm over this town. OVER IT!

I stood up and continued on my journey, completing my shopping and my trip home without incident. The wind was the worst part. Also, five pounds of bunny pellets doesn't sound like a lot until you have to carry it across town. My arms feel like jello.



It doesn't really occur to you how much you use your right knee and hip until every move you make causes them to throb.

So, to summarize this post: OVER IT!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweet Potata


 Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

To start your weekend off on a good note

Something for your listening pleasure:



I'm currently obsessed with this song and listen to it about a million times daily.

Adele's new album comes out on February 22nd. I think I found my valentine's present (to myself since we don't celebrate V-day).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Suddenly it's Thursday

At the beginning of every week I intend to post something, but Mondays are one of Andy's days off, so I spend my time with him. Then I spend Tuesday and Wednesday doing... well I'm not sure what I do with the whole day, but clearly I don't make the time to update my blog. The next thing I know it's Thursday and the week is mostly over and I haven't written a thing. I have things to write about for sure. On top of my list is my review for Black Swan that I saw several weeks ago and an update on my healthy eating and weight loss.

I could also tell you about what it's like grocery shopping here. Seriously I could make an entire post out of it. I don't know if groceries are more expensive here because of our location and it takes more man power & fuel to get them here, or because this is a resort location and they charge more simply because they can. Either way groceries are freaking expensive. I'm talking one package of bacon being the same price as three packages back in NC. Yeah, we don't eat as much bacon these days. But this past week it's like the grocery stores got the memo that people actually live and work here and they need to have proper sales from time to time. We spent just under $50 and got enough groceries for at least 5 meals and then some. That bill included 5 lbs of chicken and 8 lbs of ground beef! It was like Christmas!

But I digress. Today I'm going to give a little update about how we're doing because people have been asking since my little emotional explosion last week.

I can tell you this now, because Andy has told the necessary people at work, but we aren't planning on staying here another year. By here, I mean in the Frisco area. We do still plan on being in Colorado, but in another part.

To clarify a bit, when Andy accepted this new job and we moved, we did so with the knowledge that his position would be seasonal and further employment would depend on his performance during this first ski season. I'm not telling you this because things haven't gone well, in fact Andy's store consistently out performs the other stores in the district. The fact that Andy's job is seasonal is important because it makes our decision to leave easier. He isn't committed to something full time/year round (yet) and so by pulling out early it allows his company to easier be able to choose who they want to keep on. We both feel that it would be unfair to lead them on, hence him telling them already that he's made a decision. Of course, Andy's company has stores all over the state (and even in some surrounding states), so there is the possibility that he will just apply for transfer. But at the moment, that is one of the many possibilities he's looking into.

So, what lead us to this decision? It's something we've both been thinking for a while, long before Andy's frustration with his coworkers. I think, in the end, that is the straw that broke it for him, but there are things outside of Andy's employment that have made us want to relocate.

Mostly (and this is the deciding factor for me) the culture here is all wrong for us. I don't mean the difference between the south and the west. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few people here who are originally from the south, and everywhere else in the country. I can count on one hand the number of people we have met that are actually from Colorado. Which isn't really a problem, it's just kind of odd. The biggest issue is the "party" or "vacation" lifestyle that people seem to lead here. People work, certainly, but it seems they only work to pay the bills. No one cares about getting ahead, saving for the future, buying a home, not that anyone could because the average cost for a 1000 sq/ft condo is about $250,000. Perpetual vacation is at the top of everyone's list, and while vacation is fun, at the end of it I'm ready to get back to life, calm and steady.

All this has made it very difficult for us to make any friends. Granted, it takes me longer to make friends anyway. I tend to be more cautious and reserved, only making room in my life for people I feel deserve my time and devotion. Andy makes friends more easily, and usually can make a buddy pretty fast. I think in general men are like this because their gender makes it easy to have several friends you don't need to devote a lot of attention to, but that is another post, for another day. The point is that Andy has been working for three and a half months, and has had a lot of interaction with people in his store and in the sister stores within the company. He has yet to find a single person he can relate to. That isn't like him, at all.

While the place we live in is surely beautiful, and has the quaint small town America feel we love, that isn't all we need. Everyone needs a community. Even the most desolate of places can seem welcoming and cozy if you have some friends to share it with.

And so, all these things together have lead us to the decision that we need to cut our loses and move on. It's been fun, but this is truly a vacation town. I would love to come back, but only for a visit.

Where are we going? There are a few places we have in mind, one in particular. Until we make a solid decision though, I'm going to keep that to myself. There are some loose ends to tie up. Andy needs to finish out his season. We have a year lease with Drew, so if we decide to move before next October something has to be done about that. Also, we're hoping to travel a little in the spring. Including a trip home. Right now we're both jonesing for the welcoming embrace of the south and our family.

So that's where we stand now. I'm not sorry we moved here. It's just one of life's experiences to tuck under our ever expanding belt. Live where you are and learn more about yourself and then move on to something else, hopefully better. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Please, please, let it be over soon

If there was any doubt that February was the most shittastic month, this week has erased it.

First, there was the heat issue. Tuesday afternoon the repair man came and got our heat running again. Which is great, except that it doesn't seem to be very effective. Here's the thing: on Tuesday the temperature never got out of the negatives. I think the high that day was -1. So cold that every time you stepped outside and took a breath your nose hairs instantly froze. On Wednesday morning, when Andy drove to work the temp was -32. You were at risk of frostbite after being outside a mere three minutes. Public schools were on a two hour delay because of the temperature, not snow or inclimate weather, it was just. that. cold.

All the while the new motor on our heater has been running non stop. I'm not kidding. It hasn't turned off since he hooked it up Tuesday afternoon. And it was just last night when the thermostat in our apartment barely reached 70. It's been hovering between 65 and 70 all week. We aren't sure if it's because the temperatures have been so cold, and the apartment was kind of cold to begin with and the new heater just hasn't been able to catch up. Or if it's because it's a less powerful motor & can't heat the apartment effectively. It's only a little over 700 square feet. We aren't asking for a miracle here, just a warm place to live.

So, yeah. We're tired of being cold. Seriously.

But that isn't the worst thing that's been happening this week.

Andy has been very stressed out at work, and not a normal level of stress. Everyone's job is stressful, even if they love it. I can't/won't go into a lot of detail because 1) it isn't my job and 2) the details aren't anyone's business, but suffice it to say people are being selfish and childish and need to put on their grown up underwear and realize that they are in the real world now & not everything works out perfectly all the time.

OK, that was me, venting. The thing is, Andy is running one of the largest stores in the area. That, alone, comes with a large amount of stress to get it right and to make all those customers happy. When you add childish and petty coworkers on top of that, you get a very stressed out manager & husband. Which, in turn, stresses me out. I hate that he is going through this right now. I especially hate that I can't do anything about it. My personality is much more confrontational than Andy's, and all this week I've been wanting to march myself down to his store and tell a select few people just what a bunch of petty assholes they're being and to build a freaking bridge already. It's probably a good thing that I don't have a car right now.

I'm sorry I have to be so vague. The mature thing to do is not tell the whole story, so that's what I'm doing even though I'd like to give specific details including full names and addresses, but I will refrain.

The tip of the iceberg though, was a text message that Andy sent me this morning. It said a great many things, but the statement that stood out to me was, "I'm can't stand how grumpy I am every day."

Now, let me tell you that Andy can put on some serious grump. He is no stranger to the bad mood, and he has certainly had jobs in the past that put him in a horrible mood for months at a time.

In college, he was a resident assistant (we both were) and his first year was spent in the worst building, on the most difficult floor. If there was a rule, his residents broke it. By the end of that year he was unbearable to be around. His entire person exuded  bad mood vibes and it was contagious.

A similar mood presented itself last year during ski season. He was carrying one of his coworkers, and had been doing so for well over a year. He was exhausted and angry that he was doing all this extra work while this other person was simply permitted to show up (sometimes) and still get paid. Again, he was unbearable to be around. Nothing was so welcome as the end of ski season 2010. Our household took a huge sigh of relief last spring.

The thing is, Andy has never been so disgusted with work that he was bothered by his own bad mood. He's never gotten tired of himself. So, something has to change. Although I don't think it's going to happen this ski season. At this point it would be unwise to make a staffing change because the season is more than half over.

I guess the best we can hope for is that the next two months pass quickly and with little incident.

Also, that this godforsaken week be over, post haste. I'm not even sure it would benefit from a do-over. It just needs to end, and hopefully next week will be better.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The most exciting thing that's happening

Hello, February! January is the month of new beginnings. March is the month of welcoming Spring. So what is February? It's the month of survival! It's cold and unwelcoming, and though it boasts Groundhog day, President's day and Valentine's day, February still seems to be the most lackluster month in the calendar year. Poor February.

I was on the phone with my mom last week and she commented on my lack of blogging. Mostly she wanted more pictures. I told her the truth: I haven't taken any pictures because I don't do anything. Andy is in the middle of his season and doesn't have a lot of time to spend with me. On his day's off he's tired and I feel bad asking him to go, go, go with me all over, so we mostly stay home. I'm used to this, but in NC I had a car and a working knowledge of the area I was in. It was easier for me to get out and about and do things on my own. Here though I'm car-less (for the time being) and it takes an eternity to go anywhere on the bus. Plus there are only so many places I'm familiar with and feel comfortable going alone. We've only been here three months, after all. I have a feeling in a couple more months there will be much more to tell. Ski season is always sort of a slow time for us.

Anyway, there is one thing that has happened. Our heat broke.

Last Monday I woke up and had to force myself out of bed because it seemed extra chilly in our room. That's not unusual. Our bedroom always runs a few degrees colder than the rest of the apartment. Except when I came into the common area it was cold too, and that is not normal. The heat usually works overtime and I'm hot in the living room. I looked at the thermostat and it said 65. Again, that's not normal. I turned the heat up and nothing happened. I knew something was wrong, but waited until Andy got home so he could investigate. (That was his day off & he'd gone out for the morning, but came home at lunch.) He did some poking and prodding and determined that the motor was broken.

We contacted the property manager & after a quick look to make sure he knew the problem he called the repair man and ordered the part. This was Monday, the part and repair man should arrive on Wednesday. In the mean time he gave us three space heaters (one that was broken), plus we had one of our own. They worked pretty well because the apartment isn't large. Also, we are surrounded by other units in a concrete building. We're pretty well insulated and when I started to think about it, I had actually been a little chilly for two or three days. It's likely the heat had been broken for a while, but it took some time to realize it because the apartment holds the warmth so well. Go figure.

Wednesday came and so did the repair man, late, of course. He took one look and told me he was pretty sure the motor wasn't the only problem. Not one to give up easily, he took everything apart before he made his final diagnosis. Indeed, the motor wasn't enough. More parts had to be "tracked down" and another appointment would need to be made with the repair man once the other parts arrived.

Now, all this was fine. We had the space heaters, the apartment holds heat well and the temperature had taken a sharp turn towards "warm" for several days. It was like a tropical heat wave here last week. If you consider 40 degrees warm, and we do after averaging in the high teens to low twenties for weeks. So, not big deal about the heat. Except yesterday the temperature dropped again. The high was in the teens, plus there was more snowfall, and today the high is forecasted to be just over 0.

I realize that no one is really to blame for our heat still being broken, but at this point I would really appreciate some haste in getting it fixed. Not to mention that it's cold enough now that the space heaters need to be constantly running which 1) makes me nervous and 2) causes the breaker to flip regularly, annoying.

Yesterday the property manager stopped in to say that the new parts and repair man should be here today. I hope he's right. In the meantime, I'm going to put on an extra pair of socks.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Food for thought

When a food item is pickled in a brine we call it by it's name, but add "pickled" to the beginning. Such as: pickled eggs, pickled beets, pickled pigs feet, etc.

However, when cucumbers are pickled we don't call them pickled cucumbers. We call them pickles.

Why?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This one is for Julie

I've been thinking for several days now that I should really post something because the post at the top of the page for over a week has been a picture of Andy's disgusting, improvised dinner. Then yesterday Julie posted on my Facebook wall confirming exactly what I was thinking. So, for her I'll post something new because I need to and I've been meaning to post this for a long time.

When Robert and Allison were here a few weeks ago, we were cruising through Wal-mart and found a clearance gingerbread village kit. Allison and I thought it looked like fun and so I bought it for us to put together one evening.

We were so busy the whole time we didn't get around to constructing the village. I took some video of the construction, or rather, I had Drew take some video, but the evening quickly went from silly to inappropriate, so I'm not going to post any of the video. Sorry. You'll just have to use your imagination and look at the pictures.

Laying out the panels for each house

Well on our way to a fully constructed village

Decking the halls

Fully constructed and decorated with sugar




Something funny: Drew, who is somewhat challenged in the kitchen, said something about molasses while he was filming us putting the houses together. When I asked what he was talking about he said that he was referring to the "stuff" we were using to build the village. He thought it was molasses because he knew that was used for gingerbread houses. I guess he wasn't too far off. Molasses is a main ingredient in gingerbread after all.

Also, these things are NOT tasty, in case you were wondering. I recommend making some gingerbread to eat while you're doing this kind of kit because it's kind of like eating cardboard smothered in sugar.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I can't win them all

I may be making an effort to eat better, but I can't force Andy to do the same.

This was his dinner tonight:


Contents: Ramen noodles, canned chili, cheddar cheese and sour cream.

We have real food in the fridge. He ate this by choice.

When he gets a stomach ache tomorrow he's going to have to go somewhere else for sympathy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tis the season to blog about health and weight loss

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I'm not a dieter. I believe that diet is what you eat. Plain and simple. If you are eating food on a regular basis, regardless of what that food is, you are on a diet. I'm a cheerleader for the "eat what you want" movement. However, I believe that if you're going to have an open and unrestricted diet you need to be aware of what is going in your mouth and attaching itself to your midsection.

It's pretty simple. All you have to do is look at the food pyramid. I'm not a fan of counting calories or fat grams, but if you just pay attention to that pyramid you see that the largest sections on it are for vegetables, milk products and grains (carbs! you should eat carbs!), with the fruits section not far behind, but slightly smaller because of the sugar content in fruit.

I'm not trying to be preachy, you can interpret the pyramid any way you choose. I'm pretty sure they have an interactive pyramid now that allows you to customize it to your own lifestyle and needs. However, when I look at it and think back on the last two months, I know I have failed miserably & my body has been letting me know it.

Y'all, there are so many restaurant options here. I mean, on our main street alone there has to upwards of 15 places to eat. I haven't counted, but that is a low estimate. I'm not talking about chains, oh no, we aren't big fans of chain restaurants in our house. We like cute little hole-in-the-wall, undiscovered, but incredibly tasty places & this town is riddled with them. In the last two months of living in Colorado we have eaten out more than we did in the previous ten months living in North Carolina. Not only is it sucking all the money out of our bank account, but it's sucking out all my energy as well. Then throw in all the restaurant food with the rich & unhealthy, albeit delicious, food from Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you have a recipe for a very unhealthy me.

It has become very cliche for people to start watching their diet in January. How many of you made a resolution to make 2011 the year you take off those extra pounds and finally start eating right? There is a reason the number one new year's resolution is to lose weight & get fit. It's because we have spent two months over indulging and generally feel like crap because of it. If the new year started in September after we were all fresh off the vacation bandwagon the number one resolution would be to wear more sunscreen.

Anyway, the point is, if you listen to your body it will tell you what you need. And what I need is more vegetables. I said so to Andy a couple weeks ago, "I think I need to eat more green things. I haven't been eating enough vegetables." This was confirmed for me on our latest trip to the grocery store when I kept going back to the produce section because as I shopped the aisles of prepackaged and prepared foods I kept thinking of another fruit or vegetable that sounded so good to me I had to have it rightthatsecond. Honestly, if I could have, I would have just gathered up one of everything in produce and started eating it right there in the store. If that isn't a cry for help I don't know what is. A plea from my body to stop shoving all that crap inside.

Then, one day last week, I was watching a morning show on television and they said that statistically every woman gains an average of eight pounds over the holiday season. Eight! Pounds! And I'm pretty sure I'm above average. Of course, I'm above average the one time that isn't a good thing.

That brings me to the second part of the number one new year's resolution, exercise. Or if that's a dirty word to you, movement. You don't have to sweat like a farm animal to exercise, just get out and move. Pull your rump up off the sofa or out of your desk chair and take a walk. Take advantage of all the winter sports that are available. Too cold for you? Go window shopping at the mall. Just move your body, that is the most important thing and the first step in making exercise a habit.

I'll be honest. My life has been dismally lacking in exercise lately. When we first got here it snowed non stop for about two weeks. I don't run in the snow. Mainly because I've had a broken ankle once and that was once too much for me. I tend to go cautiously and not tempt the conditions when it comes to outdoor exercise. However, Andy and I did walk a lot when we first moved because every where here is so walkable. So I didn't feel so bad about the lack of running.

Then Andy's job started to get more demanding. It took him some time to hire the rest of his management team, so he had to fill in the gaps. Then the first busy spurt hit with the onset of the holidays and he had to be at work for all that. Basically he was lucky to get one day off a week and he was so tired all he wanted to do was sleep. We only have one car and I'm not familiar enough with the trails around here to get out on my own yet. I've started to venture out more and more, one day walking my legs off around the local outlet mall, but mostly I've just been sticking close to home, and my sofa.

But lately I've been feeling like crap and I haven't had to search too hard to figure out why. Not to mention that I haven't really slept well since we moved. A friend suggested I try yoga as a sleep inducer. At this suggestion I remembered that I have a PM Pilates DVD that is actually a good little workout and has always worked to lull me off to sleep. I pulled it out on Friday and the last two nights I haven't had any trouble sleeping. It's been great.

So, yeah, not only am I guilty of slowly killing my body with take out, I've been doing it with laziness too. I'm not sure what the point of this post is other than just putting it out there. If I admit it to someone other than myself it makes me feel like I can't keep avoiding the inevitable. Also, I want this to be an encouragement to all of you who did make a resolution to change yourself this year. Even if this has been your resolution for the past five years, let this be the year you stick with it.

I wouldn't say that I have made a resolution or goal to change my diet and start exercising. I was a vegetable freak before, trying my best to make sure that Andy and I both ate something green daily and peppering in other colors in as wide a variety as I could get him to eat. Also, I know I have exercised on a regular basis before. That isn't something new to me and I know I feel better when I do it. So I guess I need to resolve to get back on track. Yeah, that sounds right.

So here's to making 2011 our healthiest year. Happy resolving!

UPDATE: I took a walk on Main St. this afternoon & counted all the restaurants. There are 21. Plus one tea bar, one coffee shop and a natural foods market that boasts a deli. So if you count those 24, and not a single one is a chain. Crazy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Awesome

After we watched the fireworks on Friday night, we decided it was time to head home, but first I wanted to stop and see the chocolate alpine village. I had read about it on the resort website and thought it might be fun to go check out. A whole village made of chocolate? Who wouldn't love that?

I love baking and candy making and one of my favorite things on television is anything pastry related, so I was really excited to see this thing. Chocolate is something I have only dabbled in and it never ceases to amaze me what people can do with it. I had an image in my head of what the village would be like. I mean, I knew it would be really cool to see little houses and things made of chocolate, but nothing could have prepared me for the awesomeness that it was, or the scale at which it was executed.

Every time I looked I saw something different. I was completely blown away. Awesome is the only way to describe it. The whole time I did my best to act like the 28 yr old that I am, but inside? Inside I was jumping up and down, just like a kid, yelling, "OH MY GOSH! WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT?! HOLY CRAP! THAT'S ALL MADE OF CHOCOLATE!" Every time I looked I saw something different and honestly I could have stood there for several hours taking in all the details.

I can't really describe it all. Luckily we took a lot of pictures and I even shot a little video in order to show you the moving (MECHANICAL!) train and gondola. Also made of chocolate.


"This is so awesome!" That's all I could really say for a few minutes.

Click photos to enlarge. 


 







Awesome.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A rediculously long post about my hair

It's been a year since I chopped my hair off. 2010 was the year of the pixie and now I've decided to grow it out again.

For a while I toyed with the idea of going even shorter. A la Emma Watson's new doo:


I love, love, love this hair cut. Andy was less than enthusiastic when I asked his opinion, but you know what? It's my hair.

Ultimately, I have decided to put this uber-short style on the back burner. You see, last spring my hair developed a new identity called "getting older" and it has caused me to rethink my hair choices. What started out as three gray hairs on the top of my head has multiplied and spread to other parts of my cranium. I studiously refused to pull out any of my grays, and threatened bodily harm to those who tried, for fear that pulling them out would cause more to appear. Alas, my tolerance of the original squatters did nothing to deter others from joining the party.

What does all this have to do with cutting my hair or growing it out? Well, I'm just not ready to start coloring my hair. I like my natural color and while there are a couple specks of silver in it now, there aren't enough for me to consider covering them up. With a short cut like the one above, though, you can see every.single.hair, including the gray ones. It's a lot easier for a gray hair to get lost in longer hair. If it's short? There's no covering the gray unless you're using color from a bottle.

My decision has been made and my last hair cut was three months ago. Usually, if I were going to keep up my pixie, I would head to the salon about now. Instead I've been having battles with the flat iron every morning trying to work my shaggy mop into something respectable. A couple days ago I knew the battle was over and I was going to have to get a trim. If you've ever grown out a pixie you know it takes regular trims to keep it from looking like you've turned into a character from Fraggle Rock. With my trusted hair dresser 1600 miles away, in North Carolina, and my hair staging a revolt every morning, I had reached a crossroads; deal with the mess until it got a little longer (possibly another three months) or fork over the cash to someone I've never met who could potentially ruin all my hard work.

It would have caused me physical pain to pay $50+ to someone for a trim. And then what happens if they suck and screw up my hair? Generally I don't trust a new stylist with a lot of layers & if my hair has anything right now it's layers, upon layers of hair. On the other hand, it was in no shape to grow for another three months untended. Something had to be done, as I was looking more and more each day like I had a mullet. In truth, my hair is healthy and only needed an inch taken off the bottom in the back. Just to make it look a little more like a bob and less like a grown out pixie cut, which is exactly what it was. I would have just done it myself, but I'm not a contortionist and I can't take my head off or turn it around, so I was at a loss.

In a moment of desperation last night after dinner, I bought some trimming shears and a mirror. Then we came home, I gave Andy a quick tutorial on what to do and I turned him loose. I enlisted the help of our house guests and roommate to make sure it was straight and that he wasn't cutting large chunks out of the back of my head.

After it was all over and I could breathe again, I looked in the mirror and you know, he didn't do a half bad job. It got the extra inch off the back and while it certainly isn't a pro job, it will pass for another three months until my hair has more growth and I feel comfortable letting a stranger cut it.

Have you ever grown out a pixie cut? How did you deal with it & keep yourself sane?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Predictions for 2011

Happy New Year!

Wow, yesterday was a whirlwind day, to say the least. I was going, going, going from sun rise to well past sun set, but it was so much fun and well worth the exhaustion.

Several years ago I read (or heard of) an old wives tale that what you do on New Year's Eve is an indication of what the upcoming year will be like for you. On New Year's Eve 2008 and 2009 Andy and I spent a quiet evening alone in our apartment in North Carolina. We were living in a town we loved and knew well, somewhere we had made a home and community for ourselves. There were any number of people we could have spent time with, but we chose to just be a couple, not a group. It was cozy with our fire going and the curtains flung wide so we could watch the midnight fireworks display from the comfort of our sofa.

I can certainly see some truth in the New Year's Eve superstition. We haven't been alone for the last two years. I don't mean that. We have always been surrounded and bolstered by our family and friends. However, we've been on a journey these last two years in which we were sort of alone. Despite all the support in the world, these years have been a test and trial that we could only tackle together. Each of us experiencing it from a different perspective, but still being the only person to know what the other has experienced. I don't mean to say that our loved ones haven't been there with us, but Andy and I are the only two people who have lived this nightmare, day in and day out, for two years.

I don't mean to be pessimistic. The whole point of this tirade is to say that in the last couple of months we've been able to see a change. There is some hope - a small light at the end of the tunnel, and as the new year grew closer I started to feel more and more peaceful about it's coming and excited about the possibility of a new beginning. I don't expect 2011 to be free of heartache or hardship, but the older you get the more you realize that both of those things are just a part of life. I just have this feeling, deep down inside, that this year is going to be good for us.

So, if New Year's Eve really is an indication, and we spent the last two years surrounded by love, but ultimately alone, then 2011 should truly be a landmark year for the Steele family. Because NYE 2010 couldn't have been more different than the last two years, nor yet any year since we've been married.

All day yesterday was spent with old friends in this new place we call home. I think that will be the tag line for 2011: "Experiencing new things and places with old friends." I like it.

Our friends Robert and Allison came into town on Thursday and they are staying with us until Tuesday. I can't tell you how nice it is to see some familiar faces.

The morning started with fresh brewed coffee & warm cider, from scratch breakfast including spinach quiche and sweet potato hasbrowns. The in between was a blur of activity and I'll have to let the photos do (most) the talking for that. We ended at home, in our pajamas eating leftovers and drinking hot toddies. We watched "When Harry Met Sally" (my favorite NYE movie & a yearly tradition), which ended exactly at 10pm. At which point we said, "Happy New Year, East Coast!" and went to bed because we were all exhausted from the day.

Here are the photos (most of them) from the day. Some are kind of grainy and poor quality due to the fact that it didn't get out of the negative temps yesterday and we were just trying to take the picture as quickly as possible, sometimes shivering.

Micro brews are a big deal here, so on top of the list was to go to some local pubs and try out a couple of the local specialties. 

First was Dillon Dam Brewery, named after the dam, which is huge and if you ever come to visit me I'll take you over the dam road, which I have yet to get a satisfactory photo of. The view and the ride are really something to behold. I guess the beer is alright too...




Next, we dropped Robert and Allison at the Backcountry Brewery in Frisco. Andy and I went home for a little rest before the evening's festivities. 

The resort did a 6:30 fireworks show and a later show around 10. We opted to go to the earlier show to help avoid the crowd and because we didn't really want to stay out too late. 
We parked across the highway and walked through this underground tunnel. The mural was all the way through the tunnel and in the stairwells leading up to the resort.

The fireworks were set off on the lake, which in the winter serves as the ice skating rink. 

There were several ice sculptures around the lake. Andy was making fun of me at this point for taking so many pictures & acting like a kid in a candy store, but this is all new to me. I'm still kind of a tourist and in a way it feels like we're on a really long vacation. So, until it sinks in that I really live here, I plan to enjoy everything around me.

Santa's sleigh made of ice. I wasn't going to sit. Jeans aren't water proof and it was something like -10*. No amount of long underwear was going to make me sit on that block of ice.

These were in front of the sleigh. The trees are carved from ice too, in case you can't tell. 

We tried to warm up around one of the outdoor fire pits,
  
but eventually gave up and went into one of the shops.

I fell in love with this purple tree.

 We were going to ice skate, but it was kind of expensive. If we'd been willing to spend a couple hours on the lake it would have been worth it, but like I said, it was so, so cold and we just weren't going to fork over the cash to call it quits after 10 minutes. So we just hung out in the shelter next to the lake and watched the fireworks display. 
 



  Here's a video I took of the fireworks. You can hear the carols playing over the loud speaker. That was a nice touch.


Once we got home we started a fire and just relaxed. It was a really nice way to end the evening.
 

There is one more thing we did at the resort before coming home to relax, but that deserves a post to itself. I'll get it up soon.

I hope you all have a joyful new year!

P.S. My resolution this year is to just enjoy life and to make the most of what this year has to hold.

P.P.S. The red hat I'm wearing in these pictures was my mom's hat from the 70's. I always get compliments on it and it just goes to show that if you wait long enough, everything comes back in vogue.