Friday, May 30, 2008

Tagged Again!

I was tagged by a friend of mine, so instead of trying to come up with my own creative topic, I figured I would take this opportunity to fill out the "tag survey." Here's some information about me:

Maybe I should – clean the apartment before Shawn comes home this weekend.
I love the smell of – wet paint, coffee, Safeguard soap.
People would say that I- am nice?
I don’t understand why – some students don't even attempt to pass my class (sorry...yesterday was the last day of school and grades were due today).
When I wake up in the morning – I love looking out my window and seeing green trees and sunny skies!
I lost my willpower to – cook when I'm alone.
Life is – unpredictable.
My past made me – grateful for lots of things...especially my wonderful husband!
I get annoyed when I – am stuck behind a really slow driver.
Parties are not a good time to – be tired.
Dogs are –cute, but kinda scary at the same time.
Cats are – wonderful, loving, and comforting.
Tomorrow is – Saturday. And apparently we're going to go watch rugby.
I have low tolerance for – people who are rude.
I’m totally terrified of - encountering a mountain lion while I'm alone.
I wonder why I thought my life would be – "normal."
I always knew I would –be a teacher.
Never in my life have I – eaten sushi.
High school was – generally a good experience, but I wouldn't want to relive it.
When I’m nervous- I chatter and eat/drink anything that happens to be in my hand.
One time at a family gathering – why am I blanking on this one?
Take my advice – if you have to talk someone into marrying you, that's not the person for you!
Making my bed- is easy.
I'm almost always – up for watching baseball...or sleeping.
I’m addicted to – the message boards on the knot and HGTV.
I want someone to – pay us for all the "stuff" we'll want to get rid of soon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Bucksnort Saloon

On Sunday, Shawn and I decided to make a visit to the Bucksnort Saloon after our hike. Shawn had taken me there once before, about three years ago. It's a little restaurant in a place called Sphinx Park, which is in Elk Creek Canyon. To get there, you start in Pine, Colorado, and go south. The road is paved for about 2 miles, then it turns into dirt. After a couple more miles, that dirt road starts getting very narrow! It literally follows Elk Creek, so the entire road is very windy, and in places it's very high with a sheer drop-off on one side. Most of the houses on this road are tiny, made out of pine logs and perched on the rocks. Many of them require that you drive across a rickety bridge to access the house.
Once you finally get to the Bucksnort, you quickly can see from the outside that it's an unusual place. Fortunately, there are quite a few people who have posted pictures online, so here's a good shot of the building. The building is over 100 years old, and as far as I know, the restaurant is the only actual business in the neighborhood. The back of the restaurant has a porch that overlooks the creek.
Inside the Bucksnort, it's obvious that this is not your typical American restaurant. First of all, the place is only open during the warmer months (too hard to get to it when there's snow), yet it attracts lots of people. When we went, we had forgotten about the fact that it was A) Memorial Day weekend, and B) Sunday...which means that there were lots of guys on Harleys and wearing leather chaps. We sat at the bar (really the only place to find two available seats); the bar stools were literally tree stumps that had been shellacked to make them smooth.

When Shawn first told me about this place, he mentioned our favorite feature. You know how lots of bars/restaurants have mounted deer heads on the wall? So does this place. And about 10 feet to the left of the head, they also have the deer's butt mounted on the wall.
The walls, ceilings, rafters, you name it are covered in graffiti, pictures, napkins, dollar bills, etc... Since they don't have a computerized system for taking orders, the ladies just write your order on a "guest check." The duplicate copy goes to the kitchen. The original copy gets tacked to the wooden bar with your first name on it so that any of them can add to it at any time. While we were sitting there, Shawn made a very astute observation. He said, "This place really is just one big box of kindling, isn't it?" Considering it's a fun place to go with really good burgers, let's keep our fingers crossed that no one ever lights a match inside!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our "Wild" Weekend

Shawn and I had a great Memorial Day weekend. On Friday night, I went to the Rockies/Mets game with a group of friends. We had a great time, especially since the Rockies won in 13 innings! I didn't get to see the 13th, since I had to leave to pick up Shawn from the airport. On our way back through town, we met up with Jarid for a little bit, which we normally don't do. But it felt like being back in college again. :)
On Saturday, we mostly just took it easy. We did go to the house of one of my colleagues for a little party. Her house is up in the mountains, at about 10,000 feet of elevation! The house was gorgeous, and Shawn was in love with the view from the porch. The road getting there was a bit rough, though! There's no way my little car could've made definitely need 4-wheel drive.

On Sunday, we decided to go for a hike. We left early Sunday morning, and before we'd even gotten out of town, we stopped the car to take pictures. What caught our attention was a white deer! We thought it was albino, but after getting a good look at it, I noticed there were a few little brown splotches on its face. I guess that makes it "piebald." This isn't "our" deer, but it looked something like this.
We also saw a fox right next to the little group of deer, so we were able to get some good pictures of him, too. Then, towards the end of our hike, we saw a family of marmots. One of them let us get within about 10 feet of him before scurrying into his hole. Again, this isn't the one we saw, but this is what a marmot looks like.
We attempted to summit Mt. Sherman, but frankly, I'm just a bit too out of shape to summit a fourteener in the snow. So we made it to an elevation of almost 13,000 feet before turning around. I was VERY tired by the time we got back to the car! It's a bit disappointing, though, getting that high but not making the summit. I think that this is one mountain we'll have to try again sometime this summer.

Friday, May 23, 2008

3 more days!

I have 3 more days of school left with the students!
Tonight, I'm going to the Rockies/Mets game with a group of people. It's actually going to be some rugby players and their wives/girlfriends. Shawn and I bought a pair of tickets, but now he's not going to be home in time, so another one of our friends is going to meet me downtown to use Shawn's ticket. After the game, I'll go pick up Shawn at the airport to officially start our weekend together.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

4 More Days!

I have 4 more days of school left (at least, with students)! Although the end of the school year can be a bit crazy, I enjoy it. This is when I'm just wrapping up my final units and getting ready for final exam. In my mind, a great way to do this is to show the movie that's based on the novel we're finishing up. With my 9th graders, this means showing the 1962 movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird. This movie won 3 Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Gregory Peck), and it was nominated for a total of 8 Oscars. Considering that I show this movie to three different class periods, it's a good thing that I love listening to Gregory Peck talk!
With my 10th graders, I'm showing the 1975 movie version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I had never watched this movie until I showed it last year, but I like it. This movie won 5 Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture, and it was nominated for a total of 9 Oscars. In a fun little side note, this was one of Danny DeVito's first films!
A lot of my students seem to think that if a movie was made before they were born, it is automatically "old" and, therefore, not worth watching. I love that both of these movies tend to shatter those illusions for many of them. I also love that many of my students acknowledge that the book is better than the movie. :)
Once we're done with the movies, all we have left is the final exam! Then we're done for the summer!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our Sunday

On Sunday, Shawn and I had a few things planned for ourselves. Then we found out that Jarid and Sarah were free all day, so we agreed to spend most of the day with them. After going to Mass, Shawn and I first stopped at the mall to check out cell phones plans. We think we know what we're going to go with, but we didn't actually get new phones or sign up for a new plan. Maybe next weekend.

The main highlight of the day was supposed to be the Denver Art Museum. An exhibit has been there since February that I've been wanting to see. It's the "Inspiring Impressionism" exhibit, and it closes in Denver this next weekend. We weren't able to purchase our tickets online because we're out of printer ink (and it had to be "print at home" will call option). We met Jarid and Sarah in the parking garage and headed inside. However, we were informed that the exhibit was sold out for the rest of the day (they only allow a limited number of people inside at every admission time).

Since we were already downtown, we agreed to go to REI next. I needed to pick up a pair of shoes that I had ordered online and that arrived there last week. Shawn wanted a new backpack. He ended up getting this one (Osprey Switch 26) basically for free using his 2007 REI's great being a member of a co-op!Since we missed out on the art exhibit, I had the idea to go to the Downtown Aquarium. I'd never been there before, and Shawn hadn't been there since it had been remodeled. It was really cool! Not only did they have lots of different fish, but the whole building has a cool design. I'm always amazed to see just how many different creatures live underwater on our planet! So many different colors, patterns, body structures.After the Aquarium, Shawn and I took Jarid and Sarah out to dinner at the Squealing Pig, a really good Irish restaurant. It was Sarah's graduation dinner, and we all ate way more than we should have. My favorite dish there is the Shepherd's Pie! After dinner, Sarah and I walked a block away to get gelato......always save room for gelato! :)
After dinner, we went back to their house to play the Wii for a couple hours. And that was our jam-packed Sunday!!

(P.S.- Only 6 more days of school for me!!)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Crawfish Boil

Shawn and I actually had a pretty packed weekend these last couple days. I figured that I would spread it out over a few blog posts so that I actually have something relatively interesting to write about for more than just one day. :)

On Saturday, we went to a crawfish boil! One of the guys on Shawn's rugby team has moved here somewhat recently from Louisiana. As a sort of "end of spring season" party, he decided to throw a crawfish boil. He actually had the crawfish shipped in live from Louisiana. Similar to lobster, a crawfish is still alive when it's put into the boiling water. When it's done, it looks like this:

Shawn was definitely the adventurous one between the two of us. He jumped right in as soon as a pot of crawfish was dumped onto the table. Apparently, he had no problem breaking the little in two, peeling the shell (and legs) off its tail/body, and eating what little meat was to be had there. He even went a step further and "sucked the head."

I, on the other hand, was more than happy to avoid the piles of boiled crawfish. I'm not a big fan of seafood to begin with, but I particularly have trouble even swallowing anything that looks like it was recently swimming. Shawn was nice enough to peel a crawfish for me and bring me the meat from the body, so I am able to say that I did at least try a bite. I'll admit...what I ate wasn't bad. I just know that it would've made me gag had I seen its body first. So all I saw was a small piece of meat that looked something more like this:

So that was our Saturday afternoon/evening. It's slightly ironic, then, that we ended up going to the Downtown Aquarium on Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Countdown to Summer!

I'm a teacher. I'm the child of two teachers. I was taught well...keep a countdown to summer. So, including Friday, May 16th....there are only 9 days of school left!!!At least, there are only 9 days with the students. Teachers have 11 days. But I'm okay with that! I'm just really looking forward to summer. I always wonder if students realize that most of their teachers are just as excited (or more excited) about the end of the school year as they are?

And this summer...I'm not taking any classes. I also don't have a job this summer. I believe that this will be the first year since 2004 that I won't have somewhere that I have to be on a regular basis! The summer is actually mine! I can concentrate on just being a wife and on building our life...more info to come on that! :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Meet our Pets

I am very definitely a "cat person." I love cats. Unfortunately, my little girl, Isis, had to be put to sleep in August of 2006. I still miss her sometimes. :( And unfortunately for me, Shawn is very allergic to cats. So until we decide it's worth it to spend $3000 to buy one of the genetically-altered, hypoallergenic cats, we will have no more cats. Shawn is definitely a dog person. I have agreed that once he and I actually live full time in the same state, we can look into getting a dog. Here's hoping that happens soon!
In the meantime...we have fish. The tank actually originally belonged to Jarid, and it was passed on to Shawn a few years ago. It's pretty big, but I'm not sure what size. 30 gallon? We do have a fun variety of boring old gold fish for us.

We have a couple rasboras, which are pretty mellow. We have one "mutant" fish left. It's basically a neon orange. Then we have 4 silver hatchets. Sometimes the hatchets just float there, almost motionless. Other times, they zoom around the tank so fast it's hard to keep your eye on them. Unfortunately, these little guys do occasionally like to jump, and their body shape makes it easy for them to "fly" out of the tank.
We have loaches, but we're not sure how many. The "problem" with loaches is that they love to hide. The oldest one, the kuhli loach (striped), will often go months on end without ever being seen, and then we'll catch a quick glimpse of him as he moves around a rock. The golden dojo loach is a little more sociable, and he tends to hang out in weird places around the tank.
Then we have two ghost catfish. They're pretty much clear and love hanging out in the shadows of the tank.
The coolest fish we have, though, is hands down the black ghost knife. This guy can grow up to 20" long; ours is about 7" right now. It's actually found in rivers in South America, and it is characterized by one long fin that goes down the length of its stomach. It can swim forwards or backwards, and will even swim upside down! It's almost blind, so it searches for food by sending out little electrical pulses.
Now, the question will the heck do we move these guys if we end up moving to Seattle?!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Myanmar Cyclone

I've known my friend Greg for about 6 years now. We've worked together at the Pepsi Center Box Office for 6 seasons, and we also worked together for 2 seasons at the Coors Field Box Office. In 2007, he and his wife took a trip to Myanmar. From what I remember, they just wanted to go somewhere different, and they also collected lots of little things that they took with them to give to people that they met. I remember that Greg was really moved by his experience in Myanmar, particularly by the people that he met. More recently, he and his wife took a similar trip to Peru.

After these two trips, Greg decided to quit his full-time job so that he and his wife could start a non-profit organization. "Sense the World" was born earlier this year, with a goal of delivering donated goods related to the senses (hearing aids, glasses, toothpaste, etc...) to third world countries.

Obviously, the country of Myanmar was recently hit hard by Cyclone Nargis. Greg was able to make contact with his friend who is the director of a daycare/school in Thanlyin. These pictures I'm including were sent to Greg from his friend in Myanmar. This is what used to be part of the Daycare:

This is what used to be the Daycare/School's kitchen:

I'm sure everyone has heard about the difficulties in getting any aid into Myanmar. Greg is hoping that he'll be able to use his connection in country to get some aid to Thanlyin relatively quickly. The Denver ABC affiliate ran a story about Greg's organization that you can read here:

For more information, or to donate to their cause, check out their website:
Also, if you and I are "friends" on facebook, ask me how you can add "Sense the World" as a cause on your facebook page.

Friday, May 9, 2008

More Travel!

I was really bummed tonight to learn that Shawn missed his originally scheduled flight home from Seattle, which would've given him an 8:10 arrival. Instead, he'll be arriving around midnight.

Instead of sitting around moping, I decided to do a little research for our next big trip! In June, we'll be heading out East with Jarid and Sarah. The plan is to spend a few days in NYC and a few days in Boston. We currently have 4 tickets to a game at Yankee Stadium (had to do it this year, since this is the final season there!); Shawn and I are also planning on getting tickets to a game at Fenway.
Tonight, I was mainly checking out transportation options. We're trying to spend as little as possible on transportation, which I'm discovering is a bit difficult, considering our destinations! We had thought it would be fun to take a train from NYC to Boston, and then just rent a car in Beantown. However, that's looking like it's much more expensive than we had thought it would be. Fortunately, there's a Thrifty (actually, two of them) in Manhattan, so we'll probably just rent a car there and drive to Boston.

Once we get the details down about how we're getting where at what times, then it'll be time to decide what we'll do while we're there! That might prove to be the truly tricky part...getting 4 people to agree on what to do when! At least we have the baseball games decided on (and a tour of Yankee Stadium), and I know that both Sarah and I really want to go to the Met. We're both big fans of Impressionist paintings, and she's never been there.

If anyone has any suggestions for things we should do or see in either city, let me know!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Vicarious Living

For whatever reason, I've recently become addicted to HGTV. Even if I'm doing other things, I have that channel on in the background (like right's "Spice Up My Kitchen"). Shawn will even occasionally humor me and let me watch HGTV when he's home. Although I do enjoy the design shows, the ones I like most have to do with buying a home. There's "My First House," "What's My House Worth?," "National Open House," "Hidden Potential," "Designed to Sell"...and those are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head.
We don't own a house. We never have. We'd like to. :)

Right now, we're renting a condo. It's a very nice condo, and frankly, it's ridiculously inexpensive for the town we live in. However, I pretty much filled the place when I lived here by myself. Now that Shawn has moved in, we're overflowing. I find myself watching these shows on HGTV and fantasizing about moving. Sometime relatively soon, we'll be making some major decisions. We may end up moving to the Seattle area. I have to admit...just in case, I've started looking online at places to rent. If we stay in Colorado, we'll probably be moving "down the hill" to make for an easier commute for Shawn. Just in case, I've started looking online at places to buy.

I'm excited at the prospect of moving somewhere soon that will be "our" place! In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through my friends. A couple of the Knotties have recently bought and moved into new homes. I love looking at their pictures. Another Knottie is moving to Boston soon, and I'm looking forward to seeing her pictures. I just have to tell myself that it'll be our turn soon!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Knottie Friends

Shortly after Shawn and I became engaged last April, I joined I was already familiar with some of its features as a wedding-planning website, and I quickly discovered and got hooked on the "message boards." Although I started using the "Colorado" local board pretty quickly in order to ask for recommendations for things like a reception venue or a photographer, it took me a month or two to find and begin posting on my "wedding club" board.

The Knot wisely began special message boards for people (mostly women) who were getting married in a certain month. That way, when we had a question, we knew that there would be a good likelihood that some other "knottie" on the board was also trying to figure out the same thing. We tended to plan our weddings at more or less the same pace. We were going through a lot of the same frustrations at the same time. The message board was a place where we could share our little wedding-related victories, even when other people really didn't care anymore. :)
Now that the weddings are over, there is a group of us that still post just about every day on the message board. We've shared married frustrations and celebrations. We've given "knottie vibes" for job interviews. We've looked at online pictures of new houses and given opinions about new hair styles. We've brainstormed ideas for Valentine's Day gifts. One of the Knotties is moving to Colorado this weekend...and I'll admit that I'm excited to meet her! When Shawn and I go to Boston this summer, he's given his okay to plan a meeting with a few Knotties who live there. Because even though I've never met any of these girls, they have become my friends. Especially considering that Shawn and I met online, I don't think it's that weird! :)

Apparently, there are plenty of others who feel the same way I do about this. In fact, the New York Times ran an article about this very phenomenon this weekend! Read this article to see that I'm not alone with my Knottie friends! :) Click here!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Our Weekend

Shawn and I just spent a whirlwind weekend in Oakland. I flew there from Denver; he flew there from Seattle. He had carefully planned our flights so that we would arrive within 15 minutes of each other, but all that got thrown out the window when I discovered that my flight would be leaving Denver about 90 minutes late...due to bad weather somewhere out east that delayed the plane from leaving Orlando before it came to Denver!

We eventually both got to California, and Shawn's brother was nice enough to come pick us up. Shawn's 7-year old nephew was a trooper and tried to come meet us at the airport, too. But when we got in the car, he was so soundly asleep that I don't think a train could've made him wake up.

I'd never been to California before, so I was a bit surprised by a few things. First of all, I was expecting it to be really sunny. Frankly, it wasn't. Don't get me wrong...I did see the sun! But it wasn't bright, clear skies like in Colorado. It always seemed a bit hazy to me. Also, I always pictured California as being pretty flat. It's not! At least, not where I was. I was very surprised to see how hilly it is. (Of course, now that I think about it...that famous Hollywood sign is on a hill, isn't it?)

Our weekend was filled with somewhat random things. On Saturday, we went to watch Owen at karate practice. Then we all drove to an organic farm and picked strawberries. Saturday night, we spent time dipping said strawberries in chocolate. On Sunday morning, I had a glimpse of Berkley when we went to church for Owen's first communion (the main reason we went out this weekend). Then we spent Sunday afternoon at the first communion party. I don't think that either Shawn or I have spent much time around large groups of little kids, so that was an experience for us. I'll have to save some of those stories and experiences for a later blog. But I will comment...I was amazed to see how quickly any attempt to enforce rules went out the window when a pinata and candy is involved!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Quick note

I am currently doing what I told myself I should never do...blogging from work. But frankly, I shouldn't leave here for another 5-10 minutes, and there's nothing school related that I think I can get finished in that time. So instead of starting something new, I figured I'd do this.

Shawn and I will be in California this weekend. His nephew (and godson) is receiving his 1st Communion on Sunday. We had talked about heading out to visit his brother and family at some point this summer, so when we heard it was 1st Communion time, we figure that was a good "excuse" to go. We'll both be flying in tonight from our separate cities, and then flying back to our separate cities on Sunday. It'll be nice to spend some time with Shawn's family, and I've never been to California, so I'm looking forward to the weekend.

I know that I recently mentioned on here that I get motion-sickness very easily. This morning, as I was getting out of the shower, I decided to be smart and take my Dramamine right then. See, the drug stays in my system for about 24 hours, so I knew if I took the medicine before leaving for the airport, then I'd be groggy and tired (and, frankly, cranky) for most of the day tomorrow. By taking the medicine early, I figured that would alleviate the grogginess tomorrow. Unfortunately, I didn't consider the fact that instead of being tired tomorrow, I've been dealing with Dramamine-induced grogginess and tiredness all day today! It doesn't really help that my students were taking quizzes and having reading time all day today, so my room has been really quiet. I'll admit...I've had a hard time staying awake!

All I need to do now is go home an finish packing, then head to the airport. Once I'm on the plane, I can sleep. At this point, I'm really excited about that! :)