Friday, February 27, 2009

Crested Butte, CO

Pictured above, from top to bottom: scenic pic of Crested Butte, Deidra and I lounging at a bar at the base of the mountain, Deidra and I at the top of the mountain with Bruce (his ponytail is hidden by the toboggan), and a family picture in front of the trail map.

So I am back... we arrived back in Atlanta late Sunday night. (I was really disappointed to miss the Oscars, but I have since pushed through it) We were gone for several days. We left out on Wednesday morning at 3:45 am... to say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. If I remember correctly I spent at least 15 minutes of the ride to Atlanta expressing the fact that from this point on in my life I WILL be flying out of Birmingham because it's closer AND it is in the same time zone.

We arrived at the airport with time to spare and began our adventure. We had a lay over in Dallas, TX and arrived in Gunnison, CO at 2:15 (Mountain Time) where the rest of the group was eagerly awaiting our arrival! The airport in Gunnison was tiny- it could be compared to Alex City's airport- kind of scary. Total we had 9 people-6 family members and 3 friends. We rented a 15 passenger van- which was just barely big enough to hold ALL the luggage we had brought plus the entire group. We joked that we were on a church youth group trip to Gatlinburg, TN.

The house/cabin that we stayed in was so nice. It had just been renovated and was beautiful. It had new appliances, flat screen TVs, basically the works. The only thing it was missing was a hot tub... I mean, I was really wanting to toss on the ole bathing suit and relax. I'll get 'um next time maybe.

The first full day out there we all skied. Deidra and I took a ski lesson. We signed up for a half-day lesson, and we had the BEST instructor anyone could ever ask for. His name was Bruce... picture an old hippie with long white hair, pulled back into a low ponytail. He was so patient and kind. The lesson began at ten and by lunch Deidra and I were feeling great about our skills. Bruce loved us (who couldn't?) and invited us to come back after lunch so that he could personally take us up on the mountain and help guide us down. It was great. Deidra and I had so much fun. We had a few scary times up on the mountain, but we loved it. Deidra fell a few times and I got out of control once... I really scared Bruce-not to mention anyone who could see me. I literally almost went off a cliff.

The second day that we were there... Deidra and I embarked on the mountain alone. It was much scarier without Bruce to hold our hands. We made our way down several times and enjoyed our afternoon. We have some really funny videos from this day....

The altitude was really tough on everyone this year. I am not sure if I ever truly adjusted, and I know for sure it took Deidra way down. She was a little sickly one night... but I helped her through it. I wouldn't say that I am too much of a "rock" during tough times. She got sick and I cried... what does that mean? I just get overwhelmed with situations... and my mind begins to race... What if we have to go to the hospital? Where is a hospital? Can I handle driving the 15 passenger van? I just freak out... but I think in the long run I was there for Deidra. At least she said I was... who knows, though. She was fine the next morning and we all had to make note to drink LOTS of water.

My brother, Justin, spent his time snowboarding and he did really well. My cousins, Celinda and Leslie are truly good skiers, as they spent one season at a resort in Montana. Justin was with them one day and I think they actually conquered a Black Trail. (sidenote: the trails are labeled by color according to the degree of difficulty- Double Black=ridiculous, down to Green=where Deidra and I rocked out a.k.a easy) I am pretty sure that they didn't mean to end up on a Black with Justin with them, but they all made it to the bottom alive.

The little town of Crested Butte is oh so cute. I think you could use the word quaint to describe it. We ate at several fun places and mingled with a few locals. Before we left for our trip to Colorado, my friend Lacey told me about a website to check out. You can actually go to this website, type the name of a city/state, and it will give you random things to check out that maybe aren't common knowledge about the area... i.e. largest ball of twine. I knew before going out there that in Crested Butte there were three things I wanted to see before I left: a two-story out house, a huge statue of a night and dragon, and a house shingled with old license plates.

One night we ate a place called, Teocalli Tamale. It is a fun little Mexican place. We were told that it was a local hang out and on "powder days" they don't open until after lunch. Well, while we were having dinner I was telling everyone at the table about the random things I hoped to have a chance to locate. Needless to say, the two-story out house really sparked the conversation. We had several people at our table that didn't want to believe such a thing existed. So I decided to ask the people working at the restaurant. I hopped up and went to the counter to investigate. When I mentioned the two-story out house the guys working there could NOT believe that I knew about that. One guy looked at the other and was like "should we tell her..." and I was all, "hey...I am right here what should you tell me..." One thing lead to another and come to find out that two-story out house was right behind their building. The next thing I knew they were sneaking me through the kitchen out the back door to show me this out house. When we got out back, there it was, in all its glory. A red two-story out house, which has since been converted into a shed. The history behind it goes like this... back in the 1800's, when it was built... during the summer they used the bottom story and during the winter it would snow so much that they would have to use to top story! Pretty crazy, huh?

By the end of the trip I had found all three of the things I set out to find- the weird thing is... I don't have a picture of any of them. I guess I got caught up in the excitement of it all and didn't think to take a picture.

Colorado is beautiful. It just untamed wilderness. I totally understand how someone gets out there and ends up making it their home. The people are all so free. Everyone we meet was there for the winter and come summer they were off to a different part of the world to work a summer job... one guy was going to California for the summer to be a river guide and another lady was off to Australia to do a program similar to outward bound. It's just a way of life that one could be envious of. I sometimes think about how we all get bogged down in the routine of life. I don't know that I would ever be brave or free enough to live the life style of some of the people we met, but oh how much easier life would be.... stress free and living the dream.

Overall, my trip to Colorado was great. I got to spend a week with family and friends while enjoying some really beautiful scenery. We all had a lot of fun and are all so fortunate to be able to enjoy such a lavish vacation.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesdays with Harley

Bundle up... it's going to be cold for the next few days! As for me... I shall do the same, but I will also have on thermals, a toboggan, two jackets, a scarf and skis!!! We, as in all my first cousins and a few friends- 9 total, are leaving for Crested Butte, CO and I am really excited. I will be sure to give a full account of the events which take place upon my return.

Pictured above- Harley is sporting a puffy vest with hood. He loves it and knows that it is his puffy vest. It has a place on the coat hanger right there with all the other jackets!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Quintessential Romantic

When I think of the Valentine's Day I think of roses, chocolate, and romantic dinners. To be quite honest, I cannot think of anyone that even begins to come close to being as romantic as Pepe LePew!! He is the skunk to turn to for romantic guidance. In case you are having a tough time remembering some Pepe's great one-liners, here are a few to refresh you memory: (please use a heavy french accent)

"Do not come wiz me to ze Casbah - we shall make beautiful musicks togezzer right here!"

"I am ze locksmith of love, no?"

"This little love bundle. Now she is seeking for us a trysting place. Touching, is it not? Come, my little peanut of brittle. I will help you. Wait for me. Wait."

[after "shooting" himself] "I meessed! Lucky for you"

"How is it that she can sleep when I am so near? We must stoke the furnace of love, must we not?"

"I am the broken heart of love. I am the disillusioned. I wish to enlist in the Foreign Legion so I may forget. Take me!"

Pepe LePew is so funny to me. I love him. He is full of confidence and longing for true love. For all you boys out there looking for love, maybe you should watch a few clips on YouTube of Pepe. Learn from the master, no? "De best things in life are worth waiting for.... are they not? True love is coming..."

And for all you boys out there celebrating Valentine's with your one true love... express your true feelings in a way that would make Pepe proud!! "Kees. Kees. Kees."

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesdays with Harley

It is such a beautiful day... get outside... go for a hike, explore the outdoors, take your dog for walk. When you get off work this afternoon take in this beautiful day that we have been blessed with.

Monday, February 9, 2009

P.S. These are our donkeys...

The dark one is the jenny and the lighter one is the jack. (from L-R) Jessica, Eddie Murphy, Mel B.

Welcome, this is a Farmhouse

The pictures above are of varying locations in and around my family's farm. The farm has been a big part of my family for as long as I can remember. It was where my dad and his siblings called home, where we celebrated many holidays, and where I spent many afternoons as child lost in a world of imagination, completely content.

When we were younger my brother and I would 'ride up to the farm' with our parents to visit my Grandmother at every few weeks. Those are some of my favorite childhood memories. Sometimes we would take our bikes and spend an entire day riding around. I can remember several afternoons flying kites or hiking. I loved when Justin and I both got to take a friend. My brother always invited Matthew and I pretty much always took Deidra, and we would have the BEST time down at the creek or building a fort. Eventually, my dad bought us a four-wheeler and that's when we the real fun began. We literally spent entire weekends working to cut trails trough the woods and create "race course" so that we could time each other from start to finish. We always had a blast.

With our fun times came some scary times as well. Once, while I was racing the four-wheeler I lost control and ran right into one of the wooden fence post. I had on my helmet (I always wore a helmet b/c that was a rule and for good reason) so I escaped unscathed... but the post did not. I just knew I would be in trouble, but I played it cool and when my dad finally inquired about the broken post. I swore up and down it must have been one of those ole crazy cows. Now, I am not sure why dad let me get away with that story because I don't know of any cows that could take a fence post down like I did, but he let me roll with it so I did. It was always an adventure. The day would start out innocent enough, but we could always find some type of mischief to get into.

For the most part we have always had cows on our farm. As a youngster I loved it when a new calf was born. I wanted to pet it... or feed it... or name it. I just loved it. I did have a cow that would come to the fence and I swore he was my pet cow... I called him Norman (he looked just like the cow off the movie City Slicker's, that's why I named him Norman) and he would come to the fence and eat pellets . I loved him. I now realize that all the cows will come to the fence if you have food to offer.

Within the last few year's my dad and uncle decided to invest in a couple of donkeys. We now have a Jack (boy donkey) and a Jenny (girl donkey). We got the boy first and his name is Eddie Murphy. He's not the friendliest thing but I still like him. Then we decided to get Eddie Murphy a girlfriend. I joke that she is Mel B. (Eddie Murphy's Baby's mama in real life). They really add to the farm. I am hoping that Mel B. has a baby soon. I am really looking forward to that.... and when this does eventually happen I will probably solicit Alana and Lacey to come train the baby donkey.

We used to have a cabin on the farm that my dad, uncle, and Jr.(family friend) built by hand. It was a two bedroom cabin in the middle of the woods. Great for a weekend get-away. I am sure most of my friends remember it well. It was the location for my infamous 13th birthday. I invited 15 girls to come to the cabin for, an always eventful, spend-the-night party. It started out innocent enough but after a deep discussion about how cute we ALL thought Reggie was... it took a turn for the worst. Little did we know, the front porch swing was not made to support seven girls. When only three were left on the swing, it broke. All three girls came crashing down. We had one with a broken arm, one with a cracked tail bone, and the other had a huge bruise on her head!! My mom and her friend took care of it... got the broken arm to the hospital, doctored the two others and the party continued!
As we got older 'the cabin' became a cool place for my brother and I to host small parties with our closest 20 or so friends. Sadly, about six years ago a storm came through the area and with it came down trees and power lines. A line came down on the cabin and it burned to the ground. By the time the Fire Department got there all the could do was manage the flames from spreading. Since then, my dad, uncle, and Jr. have renovated the old barn into a new cabin for the family to enjoy!

We all have so many memories of good times spent at the farm and I can't imagine it not being a part of our lives. Hopefully generations to come will know the joy that this simple farm has brought to so many.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Best Friend

His name is Ryan and he is my BF. We have dated for roughly two years give or take a few months.... it's a little fuzzy when to actually start counting because we were good friends-then we were dating... and on top of that it was a secret for a while. We just go with it. Whatever, right?

Ryan and I have known each other forever! Literally- we didn't have a choice in the matter because our parents have been friends since their college years. So Ryan and I were tossed together many moons ago- neither of realizing that we would one day be more than just friends. I like to think it was fate. Our parents were not just friends because they had fun hanging out together... They met so that they could eventually bring Ryan and I together. That's my take on it anyway.

One might look at the two of us and think of the old saying "opposites attract." He is tall, I'm not. He is quite, I am NOT at all quite!! He is dark (dark brown eyes, BLACK hair, olive skin tone) and I am what Ryan considers "colorful"(meaning I have blonde hair, blue eyes, average skin tone). But we are really not all that different... We have a similar sense of humor, we both LOVE to aggravate just to aggravate, we're both laid back and we share many of the same hobbies.

RYAN loves:

-Auburn Football
-NFL Football (his favorite team is The COLTS-loves Payton Manning)
-High School Football... you get my drift... he is OBSESSED with football. I love when football season finally arrives because that means tailgating fun has also arrived... but I love to see football season go... because that means we don't have to spend every single weekend watching football. I have learned where random NFL Players played college ball, I know all the commentators on ESPN, and quite frankly I can talk serious football around the office water cooler because of all the knowledge Ryan has eagerly shared with me. For example, I know that Steve Young played college ball at Brigham Young, then played in the NFL for the 49er's and is now a commentator for ESPN. I'm just sayin'
-Favorite Foods are: Pizza, Crab Angels, poppy seed chicken, and Jim Bob's (and he is a huge fan of Wanda's home cooking too).
-Loves a good movie- his all time favorite is FOREST GUMP
-Loves something sweet after he eats... he gets this honest... b/c any time we have lunch/dinner at his parents house, shortly after eating his dad is offering up a little something sweet.
-Ryan loves Bo Jackson Sanford- his black lab that is technically the family pet. Bo Jackson Sanford is like 15 years old and bless his heart he can't hear a thing but loves to have his belly rubbed while laying by the fire.

I could go on and on but I won't. However, I will venture out to say above all... Ryan loves me the most... and quite frankly the feeling is mutual.

I think that we suit each other quite well. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I don't have to be the center of attention and it's okay to just sit back and let someone else do the talking, and to be honest, Ryan sometimes needs me to help ease him out of his comfort zone.

Basically we just work!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday's with Harley

"You can say any foolish thing to a dog and the dog will give you a look that says, "My God, you're right! I never would have thought of that!" ~Dave Berry

Right here I had just told Harley that work would be more fun if he could just come sit under my desk during the day.
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