Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Boxes and Phone Calls

This morning, a friend of mine brought over boxes...lots of them! He and his wife moved here about a year ago, and they had never gotten rid of all the boxes. So I am now the proud owner of dozens of boxes, including 7 wardrobe boxes!! It's probably a bit pathetic that I'm so excited over having wardrobe boxes. Of course, this now means that I really have no excuse for not packing for our move!

I also spent a lot of time on the phone this afternoon. I called my dad to tell him that C.C. Sabathia took out an ad in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer, thanking Cleveland, the Indians, and the fans for 10 great seasons. I thought that was pretty classy. Our "quick" phone call turned into an hour-long chat. :)

Then I called my friend Jane. I miss Jane. I wish I lived closer to her and her family so that I could see them more often. She's one of my best girlfriends from college, and she's one of the sweetest people I know. She and I don't talk nearly as often as we should, but every time I do talk to her, it feels like we're picking up right where we left off the last time. Although she'll be the first to tell you that she's not perfect, I wouldn't mind being like her when I grow up. Even though she's a month younger than me. :) This is Jane and her godson.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Afternoon Tea

This afternoon, I spent few hours with Sarah and her mother-in-law, Claire. Sarah and I had been talking for awhile about going to "afternoon tea" sometime this summer, and Jarid asked if we would consider inviting his mom to go with us. Of course!

So the three of us went to the House of Commons in Denver. We each had a pot of tea, and we shared a huge stack of finger sandwiches, miniature scones with cream, petit fours, English "biscuits," and even chocolate covered strawberries. It was wonderful! I even decided to broaden my horizons and tried a couple sandwiches that I normally would assume I wouldn't like. I have to admit that the cucumber sandwich wasn't too bad, but I didn't love the texture (not sure what else was on it...cream cheese, maybe?). And I actually liked the curried chicken sandwich! Honestly, though, everything I ate was good.

After tea, we stopped by the Savory Spice Shop. Just walking past, you could smell all of the wonderful spices! When we went in, we were greeted by a worker who explained that we could smell and taste every spice or spice blend in the store. They have things in the store that I didn't know exist. I believe that they grind most (if not all) of the spices there in the store, so everything is super fresh, and they also have created a lot of various spice blends. When you know what you want, you can just tell a woman working there, and she'll put the amount in a bag or a bottle for you. In this area, they also have recipe cards that you can take that explain good ways to use that particular spice. I'm not a cook, but this store made me want to be one. We also found out that the store will be featured on The Food Network next Tuesday evening! It's on the show "Road Tested with the Neelys", which airs at 9:30pm EST.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Weekend

The original plan for this weekend was that Shawn was going to come home a little early Friday night (8:30 as opposed to midnight)! Then we were going to go fishing on Saturday morning, followed by dinner with a group of ruggers (actually a fundraiser). However, Shawn decided that it would be a better idea for him to stay in Seattle this weekend to get a lot of work done. That meant that I, of course, would be home alone for the weekend.

Frankly...I didn't do much. I met a friend for dinner on Friday night. I then finished reading A Long Way Down. Good book. You should read it. On Saturday, I slept in late (imagine that!). I decided that I didn't really want to drive 45 minutes by myself for dinner, just to have to drive 45 minutes back up the mountain. So I stayed home. On Saturday, I read The Scarlet Pimpernel. Yes...the entire thing. It's only 264 pages, and it was an easy read. If you haven't read it before, I also liked this one. I had no idea what to expect from it, but it was a good book (set during the French Revolution) full of action, suspense, and even a little love thrown in there.

Today, I went to church. I stopped by the library to pick up another book. This one will most likely take me much longer to read than the last couple have. It's Ken Follett's World Without End. I read The Pillars of the Earth during college (long before Oprah made it popular), and I loved it. This book is the "sequel" to Pillars, although it's set 2 centuries later. I started it tonight, but it's a bit intimidating with 1014 pages!

I also watched HGTV's Design Star tonight. Yes, I've gotten sucked into designing "reality" TV. I think I'm voting for Matt. He's a Colorado boy, after all. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Blessings" post ammendment

My brother informed me that perhaps my "Blessings" post didn't make as much sense as I thought it did in my head. :) So here's a little extra explanation.

The character in the book really did wonder if, for every unhappiness, there was an equal but opposite unhappiness. For example, someone could be unhappy because they were estranged from their children. On the opposite spectrum of that, though, this character was unhappy because she felt "trapped" by her severely mentally and physically disabled son.

So in my post below, I listed some things that make me "unhappy." But when I consider the "opposite unhappiness," I am very grateful for the things that I have and can experience...even though sometimes I'm not thrilled with the current circumstances. For example, I miss Shawn during the week. The opposite unhappiness would be someone who's unhappy about not having a spouse at all. So I'd rather have my wonderful, loving husband but miss him during the week as opposed to not having him at all.

Make more sense, Brent? :)


Last night, I was reading my book (A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby), and one of the characters said something that made me think. She was wondering if it's possible that for every unhappiness in life, there's an equal but opposite unhappiness. I started thinking about some things that bother or irritate me and wondering what the "opposite unhappiness" would be. When I started thinking like that, I realized that I have quite a few things to be thankful for. Here are a few:

1. I'm afraid of encountering a mountain lion while I'm hiking in the park near my apartment. I am blessed to have lived in such a gorgeous mountain community for the last 5 years! I am surrounded by God's beautiful creation, and I have the privilege to enjoy aspects of nature that most people in the world probably never get to see. The fact that mountain lions even live here is amazing to me.

2. I miss Shawn during the week when he's working in Seattle...or when he doesn't come home on a given weekend (like this weekend). I am blessed to have a wonderful, loving husband! I love talking to him and spending time with him, and he always makes me feel special and loved.

3. I'm stressed and a bit nervous about our upcoming move to the Seattle area. I am blessed to have a husband who is dedicated to providing for me and our future family. I am also blessed to be in a situation where moving to be closer to where he works is a financial possibility.

4. I wish I were more physically fit and at least a few pounds lighter. I am blessed to have enough food to eat every day! There are so many people in this world who don't understand what "healthy eating" is because they simply have no choice but to eat whatever small bits of food they can find.

5. I hate all the horse poop that I have to walk over/around on the trail when I hike. I am blessed with the physical ability to hike those trails! I am capable of putting on shoes, going outside, and walking around with nothing to assist me. I am also blessed with living in a safe area where members of the community look out for each other, and where I don't live in fear of being kidnapped, raped, or shot at if I'm alone.

6. I spend more time than I should online, and I get irritated with myself for that. I am blessed to have internet access in my home, which allows me a much easier way to keep in touch with family and friends who are spread out all over the country! I am also blessed to have so many friends that I want to stay online chatting with them and sending them things!

7. I am irritated by certain politicians and political agendas. I am blessed to live in a country with a democratic process! I am blessed to live in a country where we are allowed to disagree with our government and politicians, where we can argue with others about what we believe would be the best course of action for our nation. I am blessed to live in a country where we can do these things without fear for our lives.

8. I am irritated by the "slanted" media coverage of so many things. I am blessed to have received an education that allows me to critically view/read/listen to the media and reach my own conclusions. I am also blessed with the intellectual capacity to think and reason for myself.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Brief Updates

Nothing majorly exciting is going on these days. But today I met one of my knottie friends, Sheri! We had a long lunch at Applebee's. Since shopping at the outlet mall got rained out, hopefully we'll meet up again for that before Shawn and I leave for Seattle. This is Sheri and me.

Tonight, I finally finished reading Love in the Time of Cholera. I don't care that it's on the list of "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die." I don't care that Oprah chose it for her book club. And I don't care that it is now "a major motion picture." I didn't like it. Next up is a book I picked up from the library this afternoon: A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. This is the same guy that wrote High Fidelity. I really liked that movie, and I'm hoping that this book will be a major change from Cholera.

Finally...I'm pretty sure that I heard a mountain lion tonight! I've heard this same noise outside my apartment before, but I've never seen whatever animal is making it. I found videos online that have mountain lions screaming (thank you, YouTube), and I'm almost positive it's the same sound. I would link the video that has the best example of what I heard, but frankly, the pictures that are on the video are a bit too graphic for my blog. (If you really want a link to the pics of a lion eating a freshly killed deer, let me know and I'll send it to you!)

Sights to See!

There are two new things to see in this area these days. The first one, I have to admit, I haven't yet seen. But I want to! On Monday, I stopped by the post office, and I heard that there was a moose in Evergreen Lake that morning! Now, I've seen a moose in Colorado before, but that was in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is A)quite a bit further north and west from here and B)a national park! However, here's a picture of Evergreen's very own moose!

If you click here, you can read the article in this week's Canyon Courier. According to the article, the moose was in Elk Meadow Open Space Park on Sunday morning. That's where I go hiking all the time!! In fact, at 10:45 (the time the moose was spotted), Shawn and I were just about to drive past the park to go to church. Who knew we could've seen a moose?! I'm definitely going to keep my eyes open for this guy during my hikes from now on...and I'm taking my camera with me!

The second thing I actually saw tonight with Jarid and Sarah. Have you ever seen a giant creamery can? you have!

This is Little Man Ice Cream, and the three of us went there for dessert tonight. The ice cream is so good!! Tonight, I had cookies n cream, and I also tried some of Sarah's peanut butter gelato(so good!). If you click here, you can go to the store's website, which explains that they use all natural and organic ingredient whenever possible in the ice cream they make a block away from the shop. The website also has more pictures (including the making of the giant can) and even a video you can watch. If you find yourself in Denver anytime soon, you've got to see this in person! And of course, eat the fabulous ice cream (or sorbet...or gelato).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Good Reads

When I was a kid, I loved to read. I remember going to the library and checking out a huge stack of books at one time. Often, I would finish reading the books within a few days. I went through my Sweet Valley Twins phase, and for a few years, I wanted nothing more than to be a member of the BabySitter's Club. In Jr. High and High School, I loved my English classes (even though I was honestly always better at math). Senior year, I took AP English Lit in addition to Senior English. So it was probably no surprise to most people who knew me that I decided to earn my Bachelor's degree in English Literature when I went away to college.

Like most people, though, the reading that I did in college was almost exclusively the reading that I was assigned for class. Of course, when you take 3 or 4 literature classes in one semester, I'm not sure you really have much of a choice! I just figured that I would start reading "for fun" again once I started teaching. teaching really gave me lots of "free" time! In my 8 years of teaching English, the vast majority of the reading that I've done has either been the reading I've required of my students, or the reading that's been required for my grad classes.

This January, I decided that my new year's resolution would be to read more for enjoyment. I think I've done pretty well with this goal! Most of the books that I've picked have come from friends' suggestions and titles that I've read about while browsing various sites. Over the last few days, I've discovered a few new sites that I'm excited about!

First is I only joined the site a few days ago, but I'm already loving it. It allows me to keep a list of the books that I've read, and I can review the books, too. I have "friends" on this site, and they can see my reviews of any books that they might be thinking about reading. The site also lets me keep a list of books that I'd like to read. This feature is great because I always find myself at a loss when I go to the library or a bookstore. I currently have 17 books on my "read" list (14 of which I've read since January!!), and I have 13 books on my "to be read" (TBR) list. I'm currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera, which I have to admit I'm not really enjoying very much. If you're reading this blog post and you're on GR, feel free to add me as a friend! :)

I've also added a couple of blogs to my links list. Both of these come highly rated, and I'm excited to get into the larger world of book discussions online! Once we move, maybe I'll even find a book club. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Moving postponed!

For awhile now, we've been planning on leaving Colorado on July 31st. However, to make a long story short, Shawn is still waiting to get the paperwork finalized for his "new" job in Seattle. We really didn't feel comfortable signing a lease or putting other money down on moving when we don't have some of the specific details figured out with his job (such as his salary!). So I had Shawn call our current landlords, who are the most laid back people ever (we've actually never even signed a lease!). I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they had forgotten that we were planning on moving. They let Shawn know that they have not re-rented our apartment yet, and we were more than welcome to stay "as long as we want."

So after talking about it and weighing the pros and cons, we've decided to wait until August to move. Although I'll admit that I was really looking forward to ending the commuting lifestyle in two weeks, I think that this was the best decision for us. I know that Shawn will feel better having the job details finalized before we actually start spending the money to move. And this will make our lives a little easier by giving us more time to do what we need to get done around here (like pack!). This also gives us the chance to see our friends a few more times before we leave, and Shawn is hoping it'll give him time to get in a fishing trip and another good hike. This is also going to give me the opportunity to go home and see my family this summer. Since the wedding, I've only gotten home for a quick weekend, and I thought I wasn't going to make it this summer. But I've already bought plane tickets to go home the first week of August.

Of course, once we made our decision, things started moving at Shawn's job. :) He was able to talk to a couple people and get some of the information that he needed. The job has really been created just for him, and it's received approval from the "higher-ups" at the company. He's filled out the paperwork that he needed to do. We're now hoping that everything is going to move more quickly. And our new "official move date" is mid to late August. :) We've agreed that we won't wait until the end of the month if we don't have to. So...we've got at least a couple extra weeks to enjoy our wonderful life in Colorado! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

One more day in Beantown

Let's be honest. These days, my life isn't very interesting. I sleep a little later than I should, go for a hike (I'm trying to add running to that, a little bit more each day), spend time with my knottie friends, read, think about moving, and talk with Shawn. I run errands. I occasionally see friends. Last night, I did a little shopping. That's about it. Since I don't have much to blog about tonight that's much different from the last few days, I figured I'd blog about our last day in Boston (since I apparently forgot to a couple weeks ago).

Our last real day of vacation (not including our travel day) was the day that we walked the Freedom Trail. If you haven't been to Boston, they've very conveniently created a walking trail throughout the city that leads you to all the major historical sites. We actually did buy a book so that we'd have a better idea of the significance of all these places, and it included a map. However, there actually is literally a red line that you can follow, starting in Boston Common.

I won't mention all the sites that we saw (there are a lot), but I'll mention a few of the highlights (in my opinion). I did learn on this trip that Paul Revere did a LOT more than just warn the colonists that the British were coming. It seemed like everywhere we went in Boston, we were told that "Paul Revere did this or that." We did see his grave, as well as that of Sam Adams. We saw Faneuil Hall (sorry if I misspelled that), and we saw Paul Revere's house. We even paid the $3 admission to go inside. :) Shawn and I had lunch at the Bell-in-Hand Tavern. It was started by the retired Boston town crier in 1795 and is the oldest tavern in the United States.

We also saw the "Old North Church," which is where the lanterns were lit to let the colonists know if the British were coming by land or by sea. We saw "Old Ironsides," the famous ship. What I didn't know is that it's still a commissioned U.S. Navy ship! It's still sailed around the harbor once or twice a year (I believe it's done every 4th of July). After going on the boat, we walked across the river to Bunker Hill. There is a memorial there commemorating the famous battle, and we all climbed the 293 steps to the top of the momument!

I did learn a couple interesting things on this day that really aren't historical at all. First of all, I hate the streets in downtown Boston. I realize that they were probably the original footpaths and cart trails from centuries ago. But now, they seem to have all these completely unnecessary twists and turns, and one street will have 3 different names, depending on which block you're in! Occasionally, you'll be on a one-way street that will suddenly turn into a one-way going the opposite direction! In addition to the streets, Shawn and I also learned that the Charles River is apparently full of jellyfish. Who knew?!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Carrie to the Rescue!

This weekend, I made plans with Jarid and Sarah for today. They were going to come up here around noon, and we were going to spend the afternoon hiking together. Then we'd go get food, and Jarid was going to grill us something good (he's a much better cook than either Sarah or I). While we ate dinner, we were all going to watch the All-Star game together.

I got a call around 11:45. Jarid's car had overheated trying to get "up the hill" on I-70. Carrie to the rescue!! I put on shoes, grabbed my purse, and headed to the store to buy some coolant. I drove down I-70, turned around, and met them on the side of the interstate. Unfortunately...his problems are apparently bigger than just being out of coolant. He's pretty sure there's a leak, but the coolant also isn't going into the's just sitting in the reservoir. So I headed back home, and they headed to the next exit so they could turn around. They only got about halfway to the exit when the car overheated again. So now they're doing the "let it cool, drive until it overheats, let it cool again" routine all the way back home.

So...I went on a run/walk to get some physical activity in today. Now I'm waiting to hear if they're going to come back up the hill later this afternoon in Sarah's car. If they don't want to do that, I'll go down to their place. I need to pick something up at REI anyways. Either way...we will be watching the All-Star game.

I have to admit...I get excited for the All-Star game every year, and almost every year I'm disappointed. You'd think that it would be an amazing game to watch, since it's 2 teams compromised of (theoretically) the best players currently playing baseball. But a lot of the guys are afraid of getting hurt during the game, so they sometimes don't play their best. Or it ends up just being a pitcher's duel (which, frankly, isn't all that fun to watch). It's changed a little bit in the last few years, now that the game actually "means something." The winner of the game (American League or National League) gets home field advantage in the World Series. That can definitely be a big deal!!

But this year, I know that I'll get to watch my Indians play in it. Grady Sizemore is getting to start in the outfield, and Cliff Lee is the starting AL pitcher!! Woo hoo!! It's always nice when my team gets some positive national attention!! :-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend update

Shawn and I had a good, but busy, weekend. I spent Friday evening comparing the various apartments we've looked at. I think we've narrowed our choices down to one, but Shawn is going to look at one more place (a townhouse) today or tomorrow. So hopefully we'll have a lease signed within the next couple days!

On Saturday, Shawn and I got up early and headed down to Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The main stadium here is for the Colorado Rapids (Major League Soccer), but there are about 20 "satellite" fields that can be used for soccer, kids football...or rugby. We went down for a 7's rugby tournament. We were there all day, and Shawn got in a couple games, which made him happy. After the tournament, we went to church and got ourselves dinner. Then we headed over to the Blake Street Tavern, where the ruggers held a going away party for us! We had a really great time, and we stayed out until the place closed at 2:00am.

On Sunday, after sleeping in late, we made our first trip to Shawn's Aunt Kathy and Uncle Rich's house. Shawn's had a bunch of stuff stored in their basement for years now, so it's time to clean that out. We loaded up his car, and then headed home to unload it. It was this weekend that I learned that Shawn has 4 33-gallon Rubbermaid containers filled with comic books! Now that I know he has these, I'm thinking that might pay for a nice little vacation sometime soon. :) Or, if we're really lucky, a down payment on a house! Wouldn't that be a nice surprise? :)

We went back down to Kathy and Rich's to get the second load of stuff (fortunately, we got it all in 2 trips). We also had dinner with them. It was nice catching up with family before we leave!

This weekend, I sold 2 books on! I took those to the post office today, and this evening I started posting some things on craigslist that I'm hoping we can sell and get rid of before we move. Wish me luck! :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Keeping Busy

If all goes as planned, 3 weeks from right now, Shawn and I will be at least half-way to Seattle! Moving day is definitely coming up quickly! Here's a quick update on some of the things we've been doing this week.

First of all, we still don't have a place to live! So that's top priority, in my mind. :) I've been scouring the internet, and I've sent Shawn to look at a few places. I was getting excited about a 3-bedroom apartment that was actually a little cheaper than some other places we've been looking at, but when Shawn went to see it yesterday, he let me know that it had a "scuzzy feeling" to it. Not what we want. :( After checking out a couple places today, though, Shawn let me know that there is a unit available in one of our "top 3 apartments" that we chose back in June. It's a bit smaller than I was hoping for, but I think we can make it work. If nothing else, we can rent a storage unit (again). He's going to look at one more townhouse on Monday, so I'm hoping that we'll be able to make a definite decision early next week!

It's also been my job to figure out "how" we're moving. I got an estimate earlier this week that basically let us know that we can probably hire professional movers for not much more than it would cost us to move ourselves! Shawn is very happy to hear that (since he'd be doing the vast majority of the heavy lifting...let's be honest)! Hopefully we'll book them early next week, too.

I've also been scouring the apartment, looking for "stuff" that I'd rather get rid of instead of lugging all the way to Seattle. As some of you know, I've had a wedding dress (never worn) hanging in a closet for the last 5 years. A few days ago, I shipped it off to Brides Against Breast Cancer. Click the link to read more about this great organization! I've also posted a number of books on ebay...we'll see if any of them sell. They're mostly textbooks or "teaching" books, so this might be the wrong time of year to sell any of them. I've taken pictures of various pieces of furniture that I'm hoping to sell via Craigslist. I've shredded 3 garbage bags full of old receipts and bills (which I'll now take to be recycled), and I took 2 bags of clothes and shoes to Goodwill this afternoon!

So...I've been a bit busy this week. Something tells me I'm just going to get busier over the next 3 weeks, though! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I created this using Wordle. It's the words to I Corinthians 12:31-13:8a, which was one of the readings that we used during our wedding Mass. Click on the image to see the full-sized version!

Hiking in the Mountains

Shawn loves the mountains. I honestly think that he would be perfectly content just living on the top of a mountain for months on end without ever seeing another human being (well...maybe he'd like to see me up there with him sometimes). Before I met Shawn, I was not what you would call "outdoorsy." much has changed in the last 3 years! :)

Our first ever hike together was on July 4th, 2005. The trail that Shawn took me up (near Breckenridge) has become our favorite trail. It's absolutely gorgeous, and it's not quite as crowded as a lot of the mountain trails in the area. We've now hiked this trail on the 4th of July 4 years in a row.

A lot of people will hike this trail as far as the waterfall, which is beautiful. This year, though, we've had so much snow that the waterfall was still partially covered! The snow made a sort of bridge over the waterfall.

Lots of people will also make it as far as the "lower lake." It's a great spot to stop and have a snack, and it does give a great view of both the valley and Quandary Peak.
Shawn and I keep going, though, to the upper lake. One of my favorite things about this trail is the abundance and variety of wildflowers! Normally, we bring a book with us to identify all the different flowers that we see. This year, though, again because of the snow, there weren't nearly as many flowers as usual. I bet this trail will be amazing in about 2 more weeks, though! And once the site decides to cooperate, I'll upload a few more pics from our hike!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fenway Park

As I mentioned in a previous post, the main motivation for going on our NYC/Boston trip was baseball. I thought it would be really fun to get the two most historic parks in one trip. So we did Yankee Stadium with Jarid and Sarah, and then Shawn and I did Fenway Park together when we were in Boston.

Our Fenway night started off with a bang...a huge thunderstorm! Because it was raining so hard, we decided not to leave as early as we had planned. I just didn't want to deal with driving in that storm! Unfortunately, the weather made normally bad traffic even worse. Even though we were only staying about 10-15 miles from Fenway, traffic was literally stop-and-go the entire way into the city. It took us about 2 hours to get there and park the car! Fortunately, the rain also delayed the start of the game, so we really only missed the first inning and a half.

The stadium itself was great. Even Shawn was impressed with the entrance on Yawkey Way. Per my friend Kurt's instructions, we bought a bag of peanuts from a street vendor before going inside.
Turns out, we had to walk to the other side of the stadium to find our seats, but we didn't mind. I bought a "Fenway Frank" (which reminded me a lot of a "Friendly Frank"...), and then we started the looooong climb to our seats. We were definitely in the nosebleeds for this stadium visit, but it was still a great experience. I'm willing to chalk it up to the group of people we happened to be sitting near, but I was a bit disappointed by the Red Sox fans. Most of them really couldn't seem to care less about what was happening in the game until the 8th inning, when the Sox came from behind to take the lead. Then everyone was really into it.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I'm glad that we did it!

Monday, July 7, 2008


We're moving to the Seattle area in less than a month! I think that both Shawn and I are a little nervous about making such a huge move. It seems like there are so many things that could potentially go wrong! The fact that I don't have a job and we haven't found a place to live yet probably isn't helping. :) When I was in Seattle, looking for apartments, just about every place I looked told me to call them on July 11th to find out what they'd have available for an August 1st lease date. So hopefully we'll have something figured out within the next week or so!

While we're waiting to find an apartment, we're trying to figure out the details of the actual move. We have an overflowing 2-bedroom apartment, and we also need to get two cars to Washington. After running some numbers yesterday and today, it's beginning to look like it might actually be cheaper to hire professional movers instead of trying to do it all ourselves! So one of my jobs this week is to find and choose a moving company. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

I'm also starting to go through the apartment looking for things that we don't want to bother moving all the way to Seattle. So far, I'm planning on getting rid of a wedding dress (not the one I wore in our wedding), an old dresser, an upholstered chair, and possibly a desk. I'm hoping that Craigslist will soon be my friend! :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gloucester, MA

After spending a few days in NYC, the four of us rented a car and set off for Massachusetts. We stayed in a hotel outside of Boston, which ended up working out really well for us. The first day there, we decided to head for the coast instead of the city.

Our main stop for the day was Gloucester. If you've seen the movie A Perfect Storm, you've seen Gloucester. This is the town where the fishermen live. We first stumbled onto a little beach. There were a few kids playing in the water, and I took of my sandals and walked in. That water was cold!! I can't imagine actually trying to swim in that!

In the main part of town, they have a couple statues in honor of the fishing tradition of this area. There is a statue that honors the fishermen, specifically those who have lost their lives at sea. There is also a statue that honors the wives and families of the fishermen, who wait and watch for the men to come home.

My favorite part of the town was the pier. It's built out of huge pieces of granite extending way out into the water. One side of the pier acts as a breaker. The other side is basically a wall, and people fish off of this side. There are also crab pots in the water, and lots of little boats on this calm side. On the end of the pier is a lighthouse and foghorn.

Before we left the town, we had lunch at a local restaurant (seafood, of course). Especially after a few days in New York, it was really nice to spend time in such a relaxing place! On our way back to the hotel, we drove through Salem, which is, of course, remembered most for the witch trials that took place there in the 1600s. Having taught The Crucible for a few years, it was interesting for me to see the town. I have to admit, was a bit creepy, the way they exploit everything "witch" related.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Yankee Baseball

The idea for our NYC/Boston trip was mine, and the entire motivation for going was baseball. For a long time now, I've really liked the idea of trying to see a baseball game in every Major League park. However, I've never really put much effort into doing this. Until this summer, my grand total of stadiums was...two. Jacob's Field in Cleveland and Coors Field in Colorado. I used to have Pittsburgh on my list, but they tore down Three Rivers Stadium and I haven't been back to Pittsburgh since.

2008 is the final year for Yankee Stadium. I really wanted to be able to say that I had been to that park, where so many amazing people had played and where so many historic events had happened. So that's why we did our trip this year. Since Jarid is a huge Yankees fan but had also never been to the stadium, he and Sarah jumped at the chance to come with us.

Bright and early on Sunday, June 22nd, we hopped on the B-line and got off at 162nd St/Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. We got there before the gates opened, so we had plenty of time to wander around and watch batting practice. I have to say...Yankee Stadium is ugly. No offense to any Yankees fans. It's just what happens when the last major remodel to the stadium is in the 1970s. The inside looks a lot better.

In the middle of the game, there was a 56 minute rain delay. It was actually rather entertaining to watch the grounds crew struggle with the tarp since the wind was blowing it so much. Fortunately, our seats were under the overhang for the upper deck, so we stayed dry even though people 3 rows ahead of us were soaked.

After the rain, the sun came out and the game resumed. We were able to see Ken Griffey Jr. hit home run #601, which was nice to see. I was also pleasantly surprised by the Yankees fans. They were really into the game from the first pitch. They were cheering for a Reds' out in the first inning like it was an out in the 9th. The Yankees ended up winning, 4-1. And I'll admit...I didn't even mind that they won. :)

On Monday, we went back to the stadium for the tour. We were able to go into the press box, and we spent some time in Monument Park. There are plaques and monuments to lots of great, old Yankees players, and there are even plaques for each of the 3 popes who have said Mass in Yankee Stadium.

After Monument Park, we were allowed to walk around the warning track to the Yankees dugout. I was surprised that they let us sit in there! We don't have any pictures of it, though, since Shawn's camera died while I was taking pictures in Monument Park. I'm sure Jarid and Sarah took enough pictures for all of us, though! :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Battery Park and the Brooklyn Bridge

After visiting Ground Zero, we headed down to Battery Park. We had already decided not to visit the Statue of Liberty since we'd all seen it up close before. When we got to the park, the line for the ferry was huge! It must've been at least an hour or two long, just to get on the boat. That's especially amazing since we heard that the statue itself was closed that day! But we could see both the statue and Ellis Island from where we were.

After getting lunch in a shady "Beer Garden," we began the walk back up towards the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked through the South Street Seaport, which was nice, but I would've been more impressed if the stores had been local shops as opposed to national chain stores. We also stumbled across a free show of old police cars, which was interesting.

Sarah's one main request for the trip was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, since her great-grandfather (?) helped to build it. I would've enjoyed the walk much better if it weren't so hot out that shade on the bridge. :) (This is a picture of Jarid and Sarah on the bridge.)
Once on the other side, our goal was to find an ice cream shop that Sarah's dad had told her about. Apparently, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is a popular place! The line was way out the door, but we were all able to get a scoop of ice cream. While we ate, we had great views of the city. This particular pier is apparently a popular location for the views, too, as I counted no fewer than 7 bridal parties stopping here for pictures!