Monday, June 30, 2008

Visiting Ground Zero

On our second day in NYC, we all decided to spend most of our time in the lower part of the island. We took the subway to Chinatown (accidentally) and wandered until we found Little Italy. We stopped at a cafe at 10:00am for coffee and was great!

Our next stop was Ground Zero. We were almost to the site, when we happened to walk past a church. Something caught my attention, and once I realized what it was, I called everyone back to see. Tucked away on a small street on the side of an unassuming church is the steel cross that was found amid the wreckage of the Twin Towers. Apparently it will stay at this location until the WTC Memorial is completed, and then it will be moved there.

We walked around 3 sides of Ground Zero. They've done a lot to try to make sure that visitors can see the site without turning it into a circus.
On the south end, there is a Fire Station with a bronze plaque on the side of the building, honoring those who lost their lives on September 11th. Next to the fire station is a small WTC museum and gift shop. The shop sells things like WTC wristbands, children's books about the day, books, and tribute photos. All the proceeds of the shop and the museum goes to the September 11th families fund.

It's still a little sobering to see Ground Zero, but I'm glad to see that they're rebuilding. It also seems that the city is doing a lot to make sure that the victims and heroes of September 11th will always be remembered and honored.

The Met - sort of

Last week, Shawn and I flew with our friends to New York City. We took a red eye flight, so we arrived at our hotel by 8:30 on Friday morning. We left our bags at the hotel, got some breakfast, and started walking. We started on W 32nd St in Manhattan, and we walked all the way up 5th Ave to Central Park. After wandering through the park, we hit the one place Sarah and I really wanted to go to...The Metropolitan Museum of Art, aka - The Met. Sarah and I both really like Impressionist Art, so most of our time there was spent in the European paintings rooms. It was wonderful! I could spend all day staring at one or two Monets or Van Goghs, and here I was able to see painting after painting.

After we had lunch in the museum's cafeteria, we went up to the roof, which I hadn't been up to before. Right now, there is an exhibit called "Jeff Koons on the Roof." So we were able to see a few interesting sculptures, and we were also able to get a great view of Central Park and Manhattan.

The sculptures were definitely different. This picture is basically the view of Central Park and a sculpture called "Sacred Heart" (I think).

My favorite up here is the "balloon dog." I have no idea what the sculpture's actual name is, but it really looks like a gigantic, shiny balloon dog. In the second picture, you can see Shawn taking a picture of himself in the reflection of the dog.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm back!

Shawn and I have returned to Colorado after a fun but exhausting trip out East! After the Rockies/Indians game last Thursday (let's not talk about the result of that series), I went with Jarid and Sarah to the airport, where Shawn was already waiting for us (having flown in from Seattle about an hour earlier). We caught the red-eye to LaGuardia, so we were in New York by 6:20am on Friday! In our three and a half days in NYC, we walked through Central Park, went to the Metropolitan Art Museum, had coffee and canolis in Little Italy, went to Battery Park and saw the Statue of Liberty (just from the park...didn't take the ferry...HUGE line), walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and got ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, saw a game at Yankee Stadium, and took the Yankee Stadium tour. I'll give details on all those in later blog posts.

After our Yankee Stadium tour on Monday, we had a bit of an adventure finding the rental car place. What are the odds of there being 2 Thrifty car rentals in Manhattan on opposite sides of Central Park with almost identical addresses? But once we got our car, we headed out for Boston. We really only had about 2 days in Massachusetts, but we spent some time in Gloucester and drove through Salem. Shawn and I were able to see a game at Fenway Park, and we walked the Freedom Trail. We had lunch at the Bell-in-Hand Tavern, which claims to be the oldest Tavern in the U.S. It originally opened in 1795. Shawn and I also met 3 of my friends from the Knot, which was a little surreal, but fun! :)

Yesterday, we made a quick stop to see Jarid's great aunt in Lynn, and then we drove to NYC. After getting dinner, we all headed out to LaGuardia for our flight home...and of course discovered that our flight was delayed by over an hour. Shocker. We landed at DIA at 1:30 in the morning, and by the time Shawn and I actually got home (since we had left our car at Jarid and Sarah's), it was 3:30am.

Over the next few days, I'll get our pictures uploaded and give some more details about various parts of the trip.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Two posts in one afternoon! Wow. :) I finally figured out how to get pictures off of Shawn's camera, so I wanted to post a couple of these before I forget.

This is the white deer that Shawn and I saw about a month ago in Evergreen. You can see the "normal" brown deer off to the right of it.
This is one of the goats that Shawn saw on his hike on Sunday. When the saw the mountain goat on the trail, he sat for awhile to watch. One of them just meandered over to him, and was only about 2 feet away! To give you some perspective, Shawn didn't use the zoom lens on either of these.

Game 2 Wednesday's game was better than Tuesday's. But we still lost. :( Our pitching was obviously better this time, and there were some great defensive plays. Now if only we could get some offense going...

I took my camera last night, so I have a couple pictures to post. I'm not a big fan of taking "action shots" during a game, though, so these were just pictures of the team warming up. I think that's my favorite part about where these seats were...I was sitting really close to where the Indians were warming up. I was actually sitting in my seat when I took these...I just used the regular zoom on the camera. We were 6 rows off the field last night. The guys in the pictures are Grady Sizemore and Casey Blake - probably my two current favorite Indians.
I'm definitely getting in lots of baseball in a short period. I went to the games at Coors Field on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I'm going again tonight. As soon as the game's over tonight, I'm headed to the airport, where we're catching the red-eye to NYC! We'll be seeing game at Yankee Stadium while we're there, and then we're also going to Boston. We'll get a game at Fenway, too! I'll have to post pics of those games/stadiums when we get back.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Game 1

Last night was the first game of the 3 game series here in Denver between the Rockies and the Indians. Of course I went! A friend of mine was able to get me free tickets, so I was sitting in foul territory in left field, four rows off the field. It was great! I met up with a couple friends before the game, and while I was walking around Coors Field, it was so nice to see so many people wearing Indians gear!! It was like a little slice of home. :)Unfortunately, Paul Byrd, our starting pitcher, didn't have his best night. The guys who were sitting behind me were also Indians fans, and I overheard one of them say at the beginning of the game that Byrd would either throw a shut-out or would blow up. Apparently he chose the latter of the two options.

Fairly early in the game (the 3rd inning?), I saw my first ever inside-the-park home-run! I've been a baseball fan since I was a little kid, and this is the first time I've ever seen one (at least in person...I think I might've seen one on TV last year). The bad news, though, is that it was hit by one of the Rockies. :( Grady Sizemore misjudged the flight of the ball, and instead of catching it at the wall, the ball took a bad bounce off the centerfield wall. For some odd reason, the left fielder didn't go over to back up the play, so Sizemore had to chase down the ball himself. By the time he got it, Jeff Baker was already rounding third.

Oh well. As any fan of the Indians knows, you win some; you lose some. I'll be going to the game again tonight, sitting in pretty much the same spot. It's Laffey vs. Francis, so the Indians have a pretty good chance...Francis hasn't been great so far this year. I'm going to try to go a little early tonight, wearing my jersey and waving the rally towel that Mom and Dad got for me at one of the play-off games at Jacob's Field last year. Maybe I can get an autograph or two. :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Catching up

On Saturday, Shawn and I drove down to Olympia. He played in a 7's rugby tournament with a team from Seattle that he's been practicing with. I'd never watched a 7's game before; it was interesting. Basically, it's the same as a regular rugby match, except that each team only has 7 players (instead of the normal 15). Also, a half is only 7 minutes, so the games move really quickly. I was very proud of my husband...he scored a try in the last game that he played in! He even kicked and made his own conversion (basically a point-after kick, just like in football).
We came home Saturday night, and on Sunday, Shawn did his traditional Father's Day hike. When his dad was alive, the two of them would climb a mountain on Father's Day, so now he is continuing the tradition on his own. This year, he did Gray's Peak, one of the two 14ers I've actually summitted, too. He got a few amazing pictures (including a close up of the friendly mountain goats he came across!), but I can't find the cord that I need to be able to get his pictures off his camera. Hopefully I can post those soon! The picture here is from Gray's Peak is the one on the left, and Torrey's is the one on the right.
Today, Shawn went back to Seattle and I'm on my own for a few days. Today, I did practically nothing. I slept in really late (after taking Shawn to the airport, I went back to bed). I finished my book. That's about it. :) I need to make myself a to-do list for the rest of the week, because I really do have lots of things to get done in the next few days! I have tickets to the next 3 Rockies games because the Cleveland Indians are in town! I'm excited for Indians baseball! :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nothing Exciting

The last couple of days haven't been very exciting. I've been monopolizing the hotel lobby's computer during the afternoons, checking out the knot, peer trainer, blogs, and even a little school-related work (editing my unit for the online course I've been writing for the district).

Yesterday, I looked at a couple more apartments. At this point, we've decided on our top 3. We know that it's a little too early to actually fill out applications and put down deposits, so we'll wait until the beginning of July. At that point, we'll see which of our top 3 choices have units available in our price range. Maybe that'll make our decision for us! And if none of them have anything available...well, then we have lots of other places that we've recently looked at that we can start calling, too!

Today, I'll admit that I've been fairly lazy. After taking Shawn to work, I ate breakfast, got on the treadmill, and hung out online. Then I met Shawn for a quick "lunch" at Starbucks. After coming back and showering, I've been online most of the afternoon (at least some of that actually was work, so I don't feel too bad about it).

I've also been reading a book off and on all week. It's The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It's pretty good. It's the story of a missionary family who went to the Congo in 1960. The story is told through the eyes of the preacher's wife and 4 daughters. It really makes you think about the good intentions that people have that go terribly wrong. It's a good blend of religion, culture, and humor. For example: "More and more, mistrusting his interpreter, [the Reverend] tries to speak in Kikongo. He throws back his head and shouts ["Tata Jesus is Bangala"] to the sky.... Bangala means something precious and dear. But the way he pronounces it, it means the poisonwood tree. Praise the Lord, hallelujah, my friends! for Jesus will make you itch like nobody's business." This section is told through the eyes of the preacher's sarcastic, disabled 15-year old daughter. It's not a fast read, but I'm enjoying it so far.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fit before 30 I will be 30 in 4 months and 16 days. I've recently decided that I need to get into shape, and I decided that turning 30 is a good occasion to get ready for.
Last week, my friend Kate and I met a couple times to hike the open space park near our condo. Hopefully, we can get into the habit of doing this, as it's a gorgeous place to be and a good workout. This is mainly walking/hiking and a bit of trail running. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I'm afraid to go out here by myself, as I'm terrified of seeing a mountain lion.

Today, a group of my friends decided to start our own private "team" on I'm excited about this! It's a way for all of us to help each other get/stay motivated as we watch what we eat, get stronger, and overall become healthier women. The site has message boards, a place to log what we eat and how much we work out (which is public, by the way, so our "team" can help check up on us), and articles for tips on getting healthy. It also has a place to find out the nutritional information for all different kinds of food.

This week, I'm living at the hotel with Shawn. While it's great to have maid service cleaning up after me, it makes it a bit more difficult to stay healthy. Although I started my morning with french toast sticks and sausage at the free breakfast, I made up for it by doing 45 minutes on the treadmill. I also ate a Lean Cuisine panini sandwich for lunch instead of getting fast food.

As I count down the days to the end of my 20s, I'd really like to have some goals to aim for. I would like to be able to run at least a 5K (some of my friends have suggested a half-marathon...we'll see how my knees hold up!). If you have any other suggestions for goals I should aim for, feel free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Finding an apartment

Part of the reason that I came out to Washington this week was to look for a place to live. We're still kind of toying with the idea of finding a place to buy, but since we don't know how long we'll be staying here, the thought of being locked in for at least a few years is a little scary. So I'm pretty sure that we're going to end up renting for a couple more years until we move back to Colorado.

On Saturday, we found Place #1: the Avalon at Brandemoor. It's really close to Shawn's job, which is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it would definitely save on gas money; he could walk or ride his bike to the office if he wanted to. On the other hand, the complex is right on a busy highway. There are certain times of day when I'm assuming it would be nearly impossible to make a left turn out of this place...and Shawn's job and the Interstate are both to the left. It's a very new building, so the finishes are all very modern. The units that we're looking at would be bigger and nicer than where we live now. The place also has a great clubhouse, with pools, a hot tub, fitness center...all kinds of things. Although we may find it easy to do things on the property with others who live there, there's really nothing close by in the way of restaurants, coffee shops, or boutiques. There is a huge mall a few minutes away, but that doesn't exactly have the "small town feel" I was hoping for.

Yesterday, I literally got myself lost looking near Kirkland, and I found Place #2. It's only a couple miles from the Juanita Beach area that Shawn and I liked so much on Saturday. Lots of cute little shops, restaurants, etc nearby. Easy access to major highways. The main draw to this particular complex is the outdoor space. The apartments are on 42 acres, much of which is available to residents (which would be great for Shawn to run sprints). There is also a pool, hot tub, and club house with a sauna, fitness center, racquetball court, and tanning bed. This place is also very pet friendly, with no weight restrictions on dogs (which makes Shawn happy). However, the major drawback here is that the buildings are a little older. The units we're looking at would be a little smaller, and the finishes are definitely older.

We're still looking, of course. In fact, there's a duplex we'll hopefully look at later this week, and today I was exploring (and really liked) the town of Edmonds. We really might be running into an issue of finding too many places that we like!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weekend Update

On Friday, I flew out to Washington state instead of Shawn flying home to Denver. I'll be out here for the week. On Friday night, after picking me up from the airport, Shawn and I were pleasantly surprised to see that there was actually a gorgeous sunset over Seattle! I don't remember ever seeing enough sun to get a good sunset here. :)

On Saturday, we thought about going whale watching. Unfortunately, it's apparently a popular thing to do this time of year, so the place we want to go through was booked solid this weekend. Actually, that's not entirely true. The company decided to do a 9:30am trip on Saturday instead of their normally scheduled noon trip. (They had a wedding to go to...nice thing about owning your own small business!) But by the time we knew that, there was no way we'd have time to drive up there in time to catch the boat. And the Sunday trip was booked. Oh well...there will be whales another time. :)

So on Saturday, Shawn and I spent some time in Kirkland. I really liked the town! It seems more like the kind of place we'd like to live. Specifically, we really liked the area of "Juanita Beach." We actually looked into a really nice apartment. Although we would love to live there, we've decided it's out of our price range. So instead, it's now my mission to find a place that's the size and price of the apartments we found in Lynnwood, but in Kirkland instead. Preferrably near Juanita Beach. Wish us luck. :)

On Sunday, we spent a couple hours at the Pike Market. I never really get tired of going there, even when it's crowded like it was yesterday. Shawn and I have agreed, though, that if we ever lived there, we'd get really fat really quickly! There's so much good food to buy there! We limited ourselves yesterday to a salmon sandwich and clam chowder (just for Shawn...for his lunch), a big bunch of fresh grapes, some fresh pears, 2 cheesecake truffles, a miniature peanut butter/chocolate cheesecake (cheesecake was from "The Confectional"), and a canoli. We also found a great store that makes "Hand-made, recycled home decor." We want to remember this place so that we can buy some things once we've moved out here. Our favorites were a set of bookshelves and some lamps made out of bamboo and cloth.

That was pretty much our weekend! Shawn's back at work this week, of course, so I'm on my own during the days. We'll see what I can find to keep myself busy. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Four Things

This was actually an email that my dad sent to me, so instead of sending it out to people via email, I figured I'd use it as my blog post. So...four things about me that you may or may not have known in no particular order.

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1) Worker at a seasonal ice cream stand: $2.00 an hour, baby!
2) Waitress at Friendly's
3) Telemarketer for O'Neill's photo studio (I was fired after 4 days of no sales)
4) Box office worker at Coors Field (my last season was the year before the Rockies went to the World no ticket perks for me that year!)

B) Four movies I would watch over and over
1) The Castle
2) Pretty Woman
3) Hitch
4) Princess Bride

C) Four places I have lived
1) Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
2) Evergreen, Colorado
3) Steubenville, Ohio
4) Navan, Ireland (only for 6 weeks, but I say it counts)

D.) Four TV shows that I watch:
2. House Hunters
3. What Not to Wear
4. Heroes (when I remember it's on)

E) Four favorite places I have been
1) Venice, Italy
2) Ireland
3) The top of Mt. Bierstadt (over 14,000 feet)
4) Jamaica

F) Four People who e-mail me (regularly):
1) Dad
2) Lis
3) Shawn
4) :)

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1) Bacon cheeseburgers
2) Belgian waffles (preferrably with a side of bacon)
3) Potatoes...done in almost any style
4) Potato chips

H) Four places I would rather be right now
1) in Seattle with Shawn
2) Jamaica
3) Italy
4) Ireland

I) Four things I am looking forward to this year:
1) moving to the state of Washington
2) visiting NYC and Boston with Shawn and friends! And seeing a game at Yankee Stadium and a game at Fenway!
3) seeing more Impressionist art
4) starting a new job...whether it's teaching or something else!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Busy Day!

I've had a wonderfully busy day today! I started by getting up at 7:00 (which is amazing considering that I'm NOT a morning person). I met my friend Kate in the parking lot of our condo, and we headed out for a morning hike. She likes to run on the major downhill portion of the trail, which I always thought was odd. But after doing it with her each of the last two quads are killing me!! Apparently, it's more of a work-out than I gave it credit for.

After our morning exercise, I showered and headed out. First stop was Jared, where I needed them to rhodium-plate my rings. Apparently, the guy who cleaned them for me last week forgot the rhodium, which left them looking yellow (instead of silver, as white gold should look). Then I went to REI and bought this cute bag I've been thinking about getting for a couple weeks. Should be perfect size for traveling...I hate large bags, but it's big enough to hold a book or a subway map.Then I met Jarid and Sarah for lunch at their favorite place, McLoughlin's. Great burger. Then the 3 of us went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We went for their "Gold" exhibit, but when they learned I'd never been to the museum, we all agreed to check out other parts of it, too. The special exhibit was pretty good; the rest of the museum was okay. I'd love to go back with Shawn sometime, who probably has more appreciation for things like space and nature. :)Once I came home, I started multi-tasking. I made myself dinner (reheated chicken from last night and freshly steamed broccoli). Then I watched the hockey game (boo Red Wings!!), kept an eye on the Indians/Rangers score online (yay Indians!! 15-6 in the 8th!), chatted with my knotties, and worked on the online application for my Washington state teaching license. Unfortunately, the important task was the license application, and I seem to be having issues with their website. It's only been letting me submit a page or two at a time, then I have to log off, log back in, and forward through to the page I left off on. As of now, all I have to do is officially review what I've entered and submit the darn thing...and I can't get there. That's frustrating. But at least I know that I can submit the rest of the paperwork in person...I'll be in Seattle with Shawn next week!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Vote for Steph!

A friend of mine has a beautiful engagement story. She was invited to go to Italy with her now-husband's family for spring break last year. While there, he proposed while on a gondola ride in Venice...and the gondolier took pictures for them!

She's entered the picture and story in a contest to win a scholarship. So...please vote for Steph! You don't need to register to vote. Just follow this link, and click on "vote for this entry." We think that she also gets more "points" if you leave a comment and/or rate the picture.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Last Day

A couple of weeks ago, Shawn and I made the big decision to move to Seattle. He's been working out there since November of 2005, and we're ready to finally live in the same state the majority of the time. I officially resigned from my teaching job a couple weeks ago, and today was my last day there.

I wonder if teaching is different from other professions when someone leaves. Wednesday and Thursday of last week were our final exams, so I said goodbye to my students then. But then I was still at school on Friday, cleaning out my room and finishing my grades. Since the English department at this school is really close (I think we spend more time together outside of school than most teachers do), we all went out to lunch last Friday. One of them bought me my lunch, and we all sort of said goodbye. One of my friends headed out to Kansas yesterday (where he's taking grad classes this summer), so we said our "official" goodbye.

But then, the rest of us were back at school this morning. I finished putting a few things in a box, and I did my official "room check out" and turned in my keys. It was a little weird closing my classroom door for the last time. It's been "my" room for the last 5 years, so knowing that would be the last time I'd close that door was a little strange. I didn't let myself linger, though...I knew I'd get overly emotional and start crying. :)

We also did our end-of-the-year breakfast, which is typically when the school also says goodbye to whoever will not be returning in the fall. It felt strange that I was one of the ones going up to get my "Matt Clagett original" ceramic bowl (one of the art teachers makes awesome pottery).

I don't think it's really hit me yet that I'm done. Right now, it just feels like I'm done for the summer, just like all the other teachers. The difference is just that I won't be going back. It probably won't really hit me until August 11th, when all my friends go back to their jobs, and I'm settling in to a new place in Seattle!

Well, whether my brain has grasped it or not, it is the end of an era. A lot has changed in my life over the last 5 years. And now I'm no longer a Cougar.