Thursday, August 28, 2008

Things I Learned Today

Did you hear that there was an earthquake in Vancouver, BC, this morning? It was 5.8 on the Richter scale. Did you know that Vancouver is only about 140 miles away from Seattle? Yeah...I had heard somewhere before that Seattle is technically in an earthquake area. I did not know until today that it's common enough that a lot of people in the Seattle area keep "earthquake preparedness kits" in their homes. I also did not know that on February 28, 2001, Seattle had an earthquake of 6.8 on the Richter scale! Great. I finally learn how to deal with a blizzard, and now I have to learn how to deal with an earthquake.

Also today, I learned about a job that's going to be posted in the next week or two. It's not a teaching job, but it would be working with students in a small, private college and helping them with their financial aid. I think it would be a nice change of pace, and it would certainly pay better than subbing! I have a bit of an "in," so we'll see what happens.

And of course, tonight was the event Democrats all over the U.S. had been waiting for over the last few months. Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High (not Mile High Stadium, by the way...that was torn down years ago). After listening to it, I have to say that Obama can give a good speech; you have to give him that. A lot of what he said sounded great. Now that we all know that he is, once and for all, the Democratic candidate for President, I really hope that people take the time to really find out exactly what Obama stands for and what his plans are. I don't want this to turn into a blog about politics (there are already enough of those, many of which are written by people who know a lot more about the subject than I do), but I hope that people take this election very seriously. Like I said, Obama can give a good speech. But can he really do what he says he wants to? Do we really want him to do the things he says he's going to do? And don't worry...I'll ask the same questions of McCain. I hope you do, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last Few Days

How is it already Wednesday night?! Apparently, I've lost track of time lately. Here are some updates from our lives over the last few days.
On Sunday, after church, Shawn and I had a quick visit to the Evergreen Arts Festival. It was nice to find that he and I agreed on some gorgeous pieces of art that we would love to have in our house...if we had a house. And if the pictures didn't cost thousands of dollars sans frames! Sunday evening, we went to an engagement party for our friend Justin. Justin has played rugby with Shawn since they were in college, and he was also an usher at our wedding. He and his fiance, Rachel, aren't getting married until May 2010, but congrats to them!

Because Shawn wasn't able to get home until midnight Saturday night, he changed his return flight to Seattle and stayed home until Monday night. We didn't really do much on Monday, but it was so nice to have him at home with me on a weekday!

I've been doing a lot more reading lately. (I'm sure you're shocked.) I finally gave in and began reading the Twilight series that I've been hearing the hype for lately. It's a Young Adult series of books, so they're all quick reads. The main characters are Bella, a 17 year old human girl (well, she's 17 in the first book), and Edward, a Vampire who looks 18. They fall in love, but as you can imagine...there are some inherent problems in this relationship. It only took me a few days to read the first 3 books in the series. The 4th and final book only came out a few weeks ago, and I'll probably get it later this week. It's entertaining. :)

We have seen a little progress on the potential move. Shawn and I are feeling good about the way things have been going this week. If nothing else, we received confirmation today that the company will reimburse us for all our moving expenses! I'm actually planning on going out to Seattle with Shawn next week. Based on what we've learned in the last couple days, we might actually be able to go together to sign a lease while I'm out there! It'll be like we're a married couple or something! ;)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Or Maybe Not So Lucky

I think I might have jinxed Shawn with the post I wrote yesterday afternoon.

After work yesterday, Shawn headed to the airport in Seattle. Driving down I-5, he got a flat tire. Normally not a huge deal...the guy can change a tire. But apparently he was missing some tool that he needed to get the tire off (he told me what it was...I just don't remember what he said). So I gave him the information for our insurance's roadside assistance. Unfortunately, because this was the middle of rush hour (and because Seattle traffic is always bad), it took them a loooong time to get to where he was. By the time he had a usable tire again, he had 35 minutes to drop off the rental car, get to the airport, and catch his flight. He missed it by less than 10 minutes.
After talking with the ticketing agent and explaining the situation, she assured him that he had a confirmed seat on a flight to Denver today, but the flight didn't leave Seattle until 2:25, and he was welcome to fly standby on the morning flights. He checked in to a nearby hotel, and got up at 4:00am this morning to get to the airport in time to try to get on the first flight out. He didn't make it on. He also didn't make it on the 10:55 flight. When he went to get his boarding pass for the 2:25 flight, he was told that he didn't have a ticket. Apparently, instead of reserving a seat for him, somewhere along the way his entire ticket was cancelled. He actually thinks that the ticket agent today thought that he was lying and was trying to get a flat-out free ticket.He was able to call the special phone number for Summit members (people like him with super-duper frequent flyer status), and they were able to figure out what had happened. Unfortunately, flights to Denver are at a premium this weekend (what with the darn DNC being held here starting Monday), so the best they could do for him was get him a confirmed seat on the last flight out...the one he normally takes on Fridays that gets in near midnight. Apparently, they're also working on getting him an earlier flight some other way, even if it's on a different airline. But unless they can work some miracle, my poor husband is stuck at the Seattle airport for approximately 15 hours today.Like I said...I think I might've jinxed him. Sorry, love!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Lucky Husband

Apparently, my husband is a very lucky person. Now, I'm sure when you read that, your immediate reaction was something along the lines of, "Of course he is! He married you!" ;)

However, apart from the obvious, Shawn apparently has some other good luck. A few weeks ago, he put his name into a drawing at a national electronics store. They called him today to let him know that he's won a brand new Xbox 360!
He's been wanting one for awhile now, and I keep telling him that we don't need 3 game systems. (He already has an older Xbox, and we have the Wii.) However, I suppose that if the thing is can I really object? I even bought him Halo 3 tonight as a little gift.Now if only he can figure out a way to win me a Wii Fit...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quick Updates

On Sunday afternoon, Shawn came back from his hike, happy as he always is after spending time outdoors. After taking a shower, we snuggled up on the couch to watch TV for a little while. It wasn't long before he admitted to me that he wasn't feeling that great. By the time we were in the car, heading for the airport, he was definitely sick. I knew that for a fact when he insisted he was cold, so he started blasting the the point that I had to open my window so I wouldn't die from heat exhaustion. Poor guy. :( He didn't work much on Monday, but starting Tuesday, he felt progressively better.

On Tuesday, I also realized something. Shawn, being the wonderful, loving, generous husband that he is, had decided to share his sickness with me. Fortunately for me, I don't think I was hit as hard as he was. The worst was actually last night, when I was running a low fever and was achy. But a couple of Advil did the trick last night, and I feel pretty good today. There are a few lingering symptoms, but nothing major.

In moving news...our moving date has been delayed again. I won't bore you with all the details, but basically, although Shawn is currently working in Washington, he is not yet directly employed by this company. We don't feel comfortable signing a lease until we have some definite things in writing (like a contract), so we contacted our current landlords who don't mind if we pay another month's rent. (Honestly, I don't think they'd notice if we just stayed here indefinitely and never paid anything.) However, since school is starting soon up there, I've applied to start subbing. If I can get on the sub system in a couple weeks, I'll start going to Washington with Shawn, stay in the hotel with him, and sub during the days while he's at work. It's not the most ideal situation, but at least it would solve two things. Number one...we'd be together during the week. And number two...I'd be making some money (which I won't if I stay here through September). I think that about sums up the latest in our moving news!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Book of Lost Things

On, I'm a member of a sort of online book club. Members of this group decided that in August, everyone who wanted to should read "The Book of Lost Things." It was getting rave reviews, but I didn't really know what to expect. However, when I found myself without a book to read on Monday, I went to the library and picked this one up.
I'm so glad I did! I loved this book! The main character of the book is 12-year old David, whose mother dies. She had taught him to love books, so after her death, he basically loses himself in the books. First, he can hear the books talking (usually amongst themselves). Eventually, he finds himself in a world that is basically a reality created by the books. The author blends together lots of familiar stories and fairy tales as he creates a strange, twisted world. The description in the book is beautiful. As a word of warning, the world of this story has elements of the gothic, and at times it is absolutely grotesque. The first night I read it, I found myself wishing I hadn't read it alone, at night, right before bed. :)

The story was wonderful, and the writing itself was beautiful. The author, John Connolly, describes things in such a way that the reader can easily picture everything in this fantasy world. I told Shawn as I was reading it that reminded me quite a bit of the movie, "Pan's Labyrinth." (If you haven't seen that movie, there's another recommendation for you! It's actually a Mexican film, so it's all in Spanish with English subtitles, but definitely worth the effort to watch it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hiking in the Snow

As you can tell from my last post, we had crazy weather here in Colorado this past weekend. Shawn had already planned on going on a hike at some point this weekend, so the weather didn't stop him. He headed out on Sunday morning and went to Jefferson. As you can see from the pictures below, there were about 6 inches of fresh snow that he hiked through (depending on the elevation).
This picture below is Jefferson Lake. This is the same place where Shawn and I went fishing, just two weeks before this picture was taken!
Whenever he goes out hiking, Shawn loves to take lots of pictures. He's really good at taking "artistic" pictures of flowers, which I think are amazing! If you click on this picture, it should get bigger (I think), and then you can see the brilliant detail he was able to capture! There's actually a water droplet hanging from one of the flowers.
Obviously, this is Shawn at the top of the mountain. You can see how happy he is, despite the weather that probably would've had me complaining! :)
I think these last two pictures do a great job of showing the beauty of Colorado nature and weather! These mountains are gorgeous, but the landscape and the climate are forces not to be taken lightly. Sadly, we learned that Saturday night, a family of four flying from Steamboat Springs back to Houston ran into the winter-like weather. The small plane they were flying crashed into the mountains not far from where Shawn was hiking (he actually saw one of the search-and-rescue helicopters).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Crazy Weather!

A couple weeks ago, the Denver area set a new record. We had 23 consecutive days (I think that was the final number) of 90+ degree weather. A number of those days were actually 100+. The last week or two, we've been mainly in the 80s.

However, a front apparently blew through last night. Today is August 15th. According to, Denver is currently 50 degrees. And the town where we live is currently 44 degrees. Yes, you read that right. Only 12 degrees above freezing! Actually, the mountains above 10000 feet are expected to get snow tonight.

It's also been raining all day today, which is very unusual for Colorado. Normally, if we get rain during the summer, it's just a shower or storm for an hour or two in the afternoon or evening. The rest of the day will be sunny. Today, I feel like I'm already in Seattle. Actually...I think this is supposed to be pretty normal for a winter day in Seattle...highs in the 40s and rain.

I think I'm going to go put on a sweatshirt, make myself a cup of hot chocolate, and wrap up in a blanket to watch the summer Olympics!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Old Dresser

This is a picture of the dresser that my parents bought for me when I was in, like, 3rd grade. At one point, I had the matching canopy bed, and I still have (and use) the matching desk. Now that I'm married (and almost 30...not 8), I'd really like to get rid of this dresser.

A few weeks ago, I posted it on Craigslist. I had a number of people contact me about it, but despite the fact that I described it as a "girl's dresser," they were all apparently expecting something more (wider, taller, better quality materials). It didn't sell.

Today, I managed to get it into Shawn's car. I have to admit that I was rather proud of myself for being able to get it out of our apartment, down the hall, into the elevator, out into the parking lot, and then lifting it up into the back of Shawn's SUV...all by myself. :) Once it was in the car, I called our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to find out what times they accept donations. They have closed. So I confirmed online that Goodwill takes furniture and that our local center was still open. I drove over there, only to be told that only "stores" take furniture; not the donation center (which is what we have here). I have one more local option I can try tomorrow. If they can't/won't take it, I think I'll have to resort to re-posting it on to whomever will come get it!

For a wedding present, my parents gave us this dresser from Crate and Barrel. There are quite a few matching pieces, so I'm hoping to convince Shawn that we should slowly start accumulating an actual "grown-up" bedroom set. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Finally Started

We made our decision to move to Seattle back in May. I made plans to get boxes from a friend of mine in June. I finally got those boxes about two weeks July. And now, finally, on August 12th...I have started packing! As I'm writing this, I've only packed two boxes of books so far, but hey, that's better than nothing, right? I decided to start with packing the books that are on the built-in bookshelves in our second bedroom. For one thing, those are things that I know I won't need to use in the next few weeks. For another thing, our second bedroom is currently acting as our storage/junk room! As I pack boxes, I'd like to be able to put them in that room so that they're out of the way. However, they way the room is now, there's nowhere to put anything else.

Part of the reason that I've only packed two boxes so far is that I got sidetracked. Imagine that. :) To give myself some extra room, I decided to take a few things to the dumpster (like the quilt that I dyed splotchy red a couple months ago). I also decided to finally throw out some leftover wedding supplies, like the paper and envelopes that we used for our invitations (Shawn designed them and we had a local printer print them), as well as the leftover RSVP cards we had made and the leftover favor boxes.

And then I made a glorious discovery. I knew that we had a cardboard box filled with favor boxes that had been assembled but never filled. I'm glad that I took the time to check the boxes, though...about 15 of them actually had chocolate in them!! For our wedding, each person was given a red box tied with a white ribbon. Each box was filled with 3 Lindt truffles and some Hershey's kisses. The best part of the leftover wedding favors that I didn't know existed? Lindt truffles are still good 8 months later!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Few Things

Just a few updates from the weekend. On Friday, I flew back to Denver after visiting my family. We had just crossed the Kansas/Colorado border when the pilot (or whoever it was) let us all know that the Denver airport was closed due to storms, so we'd need to circle for awhile. Eventually, we flew south to the New Mexico border before turning back to Denver. We had no other problems landing, but we were in the air an hour and a half longer than originally scheduled.

On Saturday and Sunday, Shawn and I really didn't do much. We stayed at home and watched a lot of Olympics. It was really nice to just relax and enjoy each other's company. That was probably the last relaxing weekend we're going to have for awhile! As far as the Olympics go...there are some things that I'm loving and some things that are confusing or irritating me. I loved the story about the little 9-year old boy who went back into his school after it had collapsed in the earthquake in order to save his classmates. When asked why he did it, he said, "I'm a hall monitor; I have responsibilities." I loved that American swimmer Katie Hoff proved all the announcers wrong. They kept saying that she might medal, but she'd never beat the Italian, Pelligrini. Hoff won the silver, only losing gold by .07 seconds! And Pelligrini came in 5th. And of course, there was the amazing 4x100 freestyle relay! It was an incredible race to watch, and the American team beat the French (the French team that the announcers, again, were insisting couldn't be beat). The hero was Jason Lezak (the one diving into the pool in this picture), who did his leg in a World Record time of 46 seconds! The only huge downside was the media focus on the fact Michael Phelps was part of that team. Yes, he won another gold medal...but so did 3 other guys!! And I was irritated by the American who referred to the French team as "the Frenchies." Yeah...real classy.

In non-Olympic news...if we weren't planning on moving to Seattle soon, I would be back at work today. At the school where I've taught the last 5 years, teachers had to report at 7:30 this morning. I thought about that when I woke up at 9:30 and smiled. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Hydra

When we were in college, there were six of us girls who were pretty much inseparable. The guys that we were friends with began referring to us as "the hydra." In mythology, the hydra was a creature with one body but multiple heads. The guys thought that this was a fitting name for us, and we didn't mind that it was actually a reference to a monster. :)

Over the years, most of the Hydra has remained friends. One of the girls seems to have dropped off the face of the earth (which is unfortunate, since I always loved hanging out with her), but the other five of us still talk and see each other on occasion (even though we're spread out all over the country now). My friend Jane (who I mentioned in a post last week) is one of the Hydra. This is our friend Shannon, another member of the Hydra. The baby in the picture is Theresa, Jane's daughter (and Shannon's niece...I failed to mention that there have been a number of Hydra-related marriages since college).

On Thursday of this week, the other 3 members of the Hydra got together for lunch in Ohio. Rachel brought two of her three kids with her, so after lunch we went to the school where my mom used to teach so that her kids could play on the playground. This is Rachel (not taken that day) and her son, Max.

And this is Katie, with Rachel's daughter, Lucy.

What I love about the Hydra is that it doesn't seem to matter how many months or even years pass between visits, it always feels comfortable getting back together, and we fall right back into our old friendships. I love my girls!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day of Grace

This week, I'm in Ohio visiting my family. When I come home, in many ways, things are still very much the same as they were when I lived here (although it's been 8 years since I moved to Colorado). On the other hand, some things have definitely changed. My parents still have one of our cats, Smokey. She's 16 now! Her brother, Bandit, died 2 years ago, though. Since my brother is now temporarily living with my parents, there is also a dog at our home, which hasn't been the case since I was 5. Sampson is a black lab/rottweiler mix. Despite my fear of large dogs, I have to admit that he's actually rather sweet.

Last year, my parents redid "my" bedroom to make it a guest room for a married couple (aka - Shawn and me). However, when my brother moved back home, it made sense for various reasons for him to take the "guest" room. Therefore, I am now sleeping in his old bedroom, which I have to admit is just weird to me.

Although most of the time she lives with her mom, my 2-year old niece comes to my parents' house on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, so I've gotten to spend some time with her this week. I know that I'm biased, but she is absolutely one of the cutest kids I've ever seen! My parents have recently gotten a John Deere riding lawn mower, and Grace loves to "go for a drive." When they're going slow, my brother lets her steer.
We also have been going on walks after dinner. Grace knows that we're going "to see the alpacas." Yes, she knows what alpacas are. There's actually an alpaca farm next to my parents' neighborhood. After our walk, she entertained me with playdough and I entertained her with a quarter. She was amazed that I could make it spin on the table. :)

I think my favorite thing that Grace does is play with a camera. She'll pick up a digital camera (that's turned off), look into it, and say "Cheese!" Then she pauses a few seconds while looking at the back of the camera. She then announces, "Cute!" She's obviously imitating her mom there. :) I did notice over the last couple days that Grace is definitely in the stage of repeating anything she hears. Note to self: watch what you say around the 2 year old!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gone Fishin'

On Saturday, Shawn and I got up before dawn and headed out to Jefferson Lake for some fishing. This is the lake where Shawn went fishing with his dad, but this was my first time fishing here. In fact, this was my first time fishing in years...since I was a little kid. I had a great time!

The lake itself is gorgeous, set in the mountains. We found ourselves a spot on the rocky lake shore, and Shawn got to work getting our poles ready. I have a bit of a problem with worms (ask Shawn for a funny story about this), but I had no problem baiting my own hook with salmon eggs. Shawn taught me how to cast, and I started fishing. If I remember correctly, I actually caught my first fish while Shawn was still getting his own pole ready! We lost count of the number of fish that we caught, but we agree that we each caught about the same number of fish. We ended up keeping just two fish, although there were a few others that could've been keepers.

I discovered that the chipmunks at Jefferson Lake are not at all afraid of people. You can tell that they've figured out that people fishing often have food, and they'd come within a foot of where we were standing. Eventually, the chipmunks did manage to steal our Pringles. :(

It did rain on us. The shower lasted for about 30 minutes, and fortunately the thunder and lightning wasn't too close to us. Shawn was very proud of me...I just put on my rain jacket and kept fishing! I'm pretty sure he was expecting me to start complaining or to run to the trees for cover.

Shawn also had the experience of gutting his first fish. We didn't have a chance to cook them this weekend, so I now have two trout in my freezer. Hopefully they won't stay there long. I have to admit that they're kind of creeping me out. :)
I really enjoyed fishing with Shawn, and I hope that he takes me again sometime soon!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Finally Friday!

It's Friday, and I had a great day doing pretty much nothing. :) Shawn came home late last night, and today he worked from home. I spent the day just hanging out with him, watching TV and that kind of thing.

Last night, I finished reading "World Without End" by Ken Follett. I can't decide if I really, really liked the book or if I really didn't like it. On one hand, there were a few places where I was very aggravated by the plot twists. On the other hand, I think that it's a sign of a well-written book when I care enough about the characters to actually get angry when something happens to them that I don't like. I also felt that the author was not-so-subtly including his own political opinions. Although that's not so surprising, it gets irritating when the issues he's bringing up probably aren't relevant to 14th Century England, which is when the story takes place. But Follett (or someone he paid) did quite a bit of research, so I found it interesting to see the kinds of changes and transitions people of that time may have gone through in the areas of politics, economics, and religion.

Tonight, Shawn and I bought fishing licenses so we can go fishing in the morning! I'm looking forward to going. I haven't been fishing since I was a kid. Hopefully, I'll have some fun pics to post later this weekend!