Road Trip: Day Three

I have flown through Denver dozens of times and once had to spend the night due to a flight delay. However, I have never really BEEN to Denver (or Colorado in general!) So finally I made it. For real. I had a meal downtown and walked around the 16th street mall. So, now what do I have to say about Colorado?

1. They are worse drivers than CA, NV, UT or WY (but better than LA or FL!).
2. It is warmer here than in all the other states I have been through (the record was NV at -1 degree; it is in the 30s in CO)
3. There are a lot of bums downtown.
4. The mountains are BEAUTIFUL!!! but Denver is not as close to them as I thought it was.
5. There are a ton of towns with the name "springs" in the name. 

Also, let's not forget Wyoming. I thought it was flat; it is not. There are mountains and rolling hills both! It is beautiful. I only just skimmed the bottom edge of it, but I can't wait to come back when it is warmer and I have more time and go hiking, see Yellowstone, climb the Tetons and explore!

Today's stats:
Favorite license plate so far: Wyoming
Highest point: 8,640 feet
Number of pumps of chocolate in my Venti mocha this morning: 3
License plate from farthest away state: Alaska! My first one ever! (does anyone else play this game?) 2nd place: Florida (that guy must be freezing up here!)
Cost of parking for two hours in downtown Denver: $2.00
Miles remaining: 700

A couple of questions for you, readers: Have you ever taken a road trip? If so, where? What is your favorite place? And where's the coldest place you have ever been? The highest?

Today's trip: Rock Springs, WY to Denver, CO (a little bit of a detour to Denver, but I heard it was worth it)

Here are today's pictures. I noticed I have a lot of "road" shots, but hey, it IS a "road trip"!!! These were all taken in Wyoming. There is no snow in Colorado so I wasn't as photo crazy. 


Road Trip: Day Two

I woke up, walked outside, and my nostrils froze together. Once I checked the weather, I realized it was because it was below zero outside. Luckily it was not snowing anymore, but the roads were a little icy at the beginning. I went from Elko, NV to Rock Springs, WY today.

A few stats:
Number of White Pickup Trucks spotted: 456 (thats just an estimate)
Cost of full breakfast, including large coffee (at crappy casino cafe): $6.00
Number of times it snowed: 3
Average duration of snowstorm: 1 minute
Top Speed Limit: 75 mph
Number of states crossed: 3

Here are a few photos from today! I love the way everything looks covered with snow. It is white + another color. California was "black"; Nevada is yellow, Utah is red. I mostly drove through Wyoming in the dark, so I will have to think about that more tomorrow.

Elko, NV

near Wendover, Utah

near Skull Valley, UT

near Skull Valley, UT

near Skull Valley, UT

Salt Lake Marina, UT
I am having a great time listening to bad 80s music, singing at the top of my lungs and contemplating life as I stare at the back of the big rig in front of me. Tomorrow I will head towards Denver after exploring what Wyoming has to offer (it is surprisingly NOT flat, like I pictured!)

On Facebooking

okSo I am going to TRY to become a separate entity on Facebook. If you don't use Reader, this may a good way for YOU to keep up with my blog!

Here is a widget that links to it so you can see if you like it:

Travel Spot

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B is For Borrowing

Sara did my job for me and put up a bunch of photos from Thanksgiving. There is even one of me making stuffing (or dressing, if you will) and Dad apparently showing me where the turkey's neck or other hole is. Also on her site is Mom massaging a turkey and a bunch of shots of various items of food going into people's mouths. Anyway, instead of me uploading a bunch more photos.....please go to her site to see our family photos! (in the photo above, thats Sara on the bottom, second from the right, in case you didn't know). Thanks Sara!!

Road Trip: Day One

Today I traveled from Quincy, CA to Elko, NV. The beginning was a little rough, as it had snowed all day yesterday and then got down to about 27 degrees last night, so the road was a layer of ice. For those of you in flat places with straight roads, consider yourself lucky. The first two hours was an icy, windy, uphill, downhill, slippery road. Once I got to Reno, I stayed on Highway 80 the entire way, so it was mostly clear except for a little snow around Emigrant Gap (about 6000 ft).

Day 1
Some stats for today:
Cups of coffee: 5
Number of times I stopped for gas: 1
Number of times I stopped to pee: 6
Number of danishes I ate, thanks to the Blairsden Bakery: 2
Miles driven: 371

Here are some photos. By the way, none of them are black and white, but I love how the snow and dark trees make them LOOK like they are! 

Near Graeagle, CA

Graeagle, CA

That ICY curve before Williams Loop.

Graeagle, CA

Bathroom stop, somewhere in CA

Bathroom stop near Winnamucca, NV


F is For Family and Other Random Thoughts

Well I have a lot to say, but unfortunately have not had the time nor the internet to post it! So, for now, I will give you random blurbs.

-When I first got here, I spent some time with K's family, both new and old. It was great to see her and A, to meet the new baby and to see my other set of parents. We ended our visit meeting my Mom and Dad at Brocks in Yuba City, where we gorged ourselves on banana splits.

"grandpa" Dad

- Dad put me to work sheetrocking the garage. He always manages to put together a "To Do" list for me when I am home. Actually, it is nice to be home long enough to actually be able to help him with it! Usually its just a weekend here or there and we barely have time to see each other, never mind accomplish any tasks.
After sheet rocking the ceiling

 - I met N's new baby. He's very quiet, just what I like in a baby. We had a great dinner with them, got to see another one of my sets of "parents" and to meet the new fiancee!
C and N
- I went to NYC and MA. There were a few fall colors holding on and they were really cool to see, especially in Central Park. I ate a lot of pig at the annual pig roast and had a great time hanging with Mr Lovely's family, as well as my own, who I met up with for breakfast at Cape Cod.
Goats at the farm
Brooklyn Bridge, NY
Mystic, CT

 - Then I came home for Turkey Day!! We had a great time with the whole family, mostly on my Dad's side. We played many games; I beat the boys at cribbage; I had wonderful chats with my aunts, uncles and grandma who I don't get to see very often. It was great. Here is a photo of the family doing what my Dad makes us do (as always!), which was to "act silly". I think Uncle J (middle top) is the winner in the silliness category, with Aunt D (wine glass in hand) as a close second. What do you think?
Acting Silly!
So, sorry I bored you by putting EVERYTHING on the same post, but I am not sure when the next internet opportunities will be, so I am covering my bases! I do have so many ideas about what to write, all the time, but after a few minutes, hours or days of not putting it down on paper, I forget. Once I am at the computer, I forget. Hopefully I will remember some more and I will be near the computer and I will be able to get them written down.

Next up -- I am driving from Quincy, CA to Des Moines, IA to see my best HS buddy, Red! My journey starts tomorrow! I am very excited to be alone in the car with my loud music and to see my friend, who I have not seen in a LONG time (since last Christmas I think).
Here's to a month full of great friends and family and Fun! For pictures, see my flickr site.


Ten on Tuesday (2)

10 on Tuesday 11/16/10

Sorry if the formatting is messed up; I am sending this from my phone. Speaking of that, does anyone know of a convenient way to blog on blogger from your iPhone? If so let me know! 

This is volume 2 for me of Ten on Tuesday, inspired by Chelsea at Roots and Rings rootsandrings.wordpress.com

1. What is your favorite breakfast pastry?
Bear Claw from the bakery in Blairsden

2. Were you ever in a Thanksgiving or Christmas play?
Yes, every year from Kindergarten to 6th grade. I was an elf, a tree and even a donkey one year. I was so embarrassed. 

3. What is your favorite clothing accessory?
Scarves and Shoes. I collect them. 

4. What is your favorite item of clothing?
My running shoes. I've really missed them. Okay and a comfy pair of jeans. Dress them up or down. Love it.  

5. What is your favorite color and why?
Well I always say blue but in photography terms, it's definitely red. 

6. What is your favorite type of Christmas cookie?
Russian kisses. 

7. What is your favorite scent (food, perfume/lotion)
Baking cookies or bread, fresh shower soap scent, grass, lilacs, wisteria, fresh brewed coffee... The list goes on. 

8. What is your favorite household cleaner?
Scrubbing Bubbles. Works like a charm. 

9. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? And what did you actually grow up to be?
I wanted to be a Vet or a Marine Biologist. I have a degree in Kinesiology but I work for an Architecture & Engineering firm. 

10. What is the last song or album you bought?
Bought? Haha. I can't remember. Probably something in 2002 or 2003. 

The Joy of Cooking

I got home on Monday night. By Tuesday at noon I had made an apple cake, almond cookies and chocolate chip cookies. I hadn't realize how much I missed doing domestic things! And it's the kitchen I missed most of all. I like to cook; I like to putter around getting things ready; I don't even mind doing the dishes. And no, we don't have a dish washer. Well we do actually and it's name is...Me.

I've been extremely busy since I've been back. Aside from cooking the above mentioned items I also made a successful chicken pie (with crust! I'm a little surprised and proud it turned out okay), helped build a lumber rack (yes my dad put me right to work), sheetrocked the garage (another one in dads to do list), gone through my mail (ug 6 months worth of junk) and tried to get some organizing done of things long since forgotten.

It's nice to wear clothes that haven't been worn for the last six months, to sleep in the same bed for several nights in a row and to putt around getting organized rather than stuffing your clothes back into your pack, putting on the same dirty holey outfit and climbing on a smelly tiny bus.

It's nice to be able to bake cookies even though I don't even want to eat them instead if trying to figure out if I am going to eat at that chutney restaurant or make a pb&j sandwich.

It's nice to sit on the couch in a warm room watching The Great Race for the hundreth time, the whole family shouting "push the button Max!" along with Jack Lemmon (if you haven't seen it, it's an oldie but goodie. It's very silly).

It's nice to have my computer and my big camera (I really missed the big lug), to take a million photos of a bug without making anyone wait for me and  to sort my photos right away.

It's nice to visit with friends who I haven't seen in so long and to hug their new babies and to laugh with them and to feel like I never left.

It's nice to be able to pick up the phone and call people whenever I want and we can talk for a minute or an hour or forever.

It's really nice to be home.


Go Home!

All I have to say is....2 days until I go home! Yay. Cookies beware, I am going to cook and eat you.

Today we are in Hong Kong. First, we spent a quick two days in Guangzhou, China, where all we did was walk around looking at lights and dried snake skins and mushrooms. Actually that is a lie. We also ate 3 big macs and a S load of meat on a stick. Funny story - I wanted Cantonese food; I have been dying to try the "real" Chinese food. However, Mr Lovely was dying for a burger. So, we spotted Micky D's and we decided HE would get a big Mac and then I would go get Cantonese. He went to the counter and returned to the table with this story:

Him: I want a number 3
The sweet little 15 yr old cashier: Number 3?
Him: yes, and an apple pie
Her: hm?
Him: number 3

The girl gets the manager.

The manager: yes?
Him: number 3
Manager: 3?
Him: yes

Then he comes to the table with....you guessed it, THREE Big Mac Meals! Three. So I ate one.

Then we walked around and found the best place EVER. Chicken on a stick. Octopus...ON A STICK. Little balls or wieners on a stick. Little balls not on a stick. And so much more. The next day we tried them all. Octopus wins, hands down. 

Now we are in Hong Kong, eating more delicious food and seeing the sights (ie a TON of shopping areas). BUT, in only 2 days (Sunday) I get on a plane and fly home. I am looking forward to being home for a while. Family, friends...see you soon!

30 Days Of Gratitude (Day 1 to Day 5)

Scarlet at Nutwood invited everyone to do a November challenge for Thanksgiving. It is entitled 30 Days of Gratitude. Her she challenges us to: "write a sentence, tell a story, take a photo... blog it, tweet it, facebook it, journal it, scrapbook it... share your gratitude daily or summarize it weekly... invite your friends, your family, your neighbors..."

I probably won't do it every day but instead in 5 day spurts. So, since I am already behind, I will do day one to five today. I am grateful for so many things. This year I have been very lucky -- I have about a million things I could mention. But here are the first five for now.

1. I am grateful that I have the support of my family and friends, no matter what I do or where I do or how long its been since I have seen them. Working apart from everyone and then traveling the rest of the time means I don't always see everyone as often as I would like but they are always there for me, both literally and figuratively, when I get back home. Speaking of that, I will be home in 2 days!! I can't wait to see everyone SOON!!!

2. I am really fortunate to have been able to travel to so many great places. I feel that it opens up one's mind and makes one see how the other side, every other side, lives. I think it makes me more tolerant of others (except when they cut in front of me in line) and gives me a different perspective on things.

3. This year I have had the opportunity to learn to take better photographs (and I'm still learning!) I have had great people to help me learn along the way, both on the internet and in person. I am also grateful for the people who wait for me when I take multiple photos of the same flower and the same bee.

4. I am grateful to not have been unemployed (at least not when I wanted to be working.) I have some friends who have been trying to get a job for months. It's not easy.

5. Thank goodness my family has had good health (my grandma had a little heart thing but is doing great now!) My grandfather always used to say that being healthy and wise were the two most important things (the other one was wealthy, but that was always third).

These are my first five things I am grateful for. For now.


Ten on Tuesday (1)

Chelsea at Roots and Rings does a fun Tuesday questionnaire called Ten on Tuesday. I thought it was fun and you can do it too. I am a week behind her, but it's probably for the better since I can't always count on internet access. If you like the list, you can click on the linky thing at the bottom (this is my first attempt at this so bear with me) and link yourself so people (and me!) can see who else does it. Also, please leave a comment letting us know you did it as well!

Here is my first list.

1. What is your favorite decor item in your house?
I don’t have a house. Right now I am traveling and let me tell you, if I have a hot shower, I am really, really, REALLY happy. So, screw the couch; give me a shower and a non lumpy bed. Oh, and a blanket that doesn’t smell like pee. 

2. What is your favorite hair product?
My favorite WHAT? I am sorry, but hair I have, product I do not. 

3. Are you a good dancer?
Nope. I am white. Need I say more? The stereotype is true in my case. 

4. You get some good news, who’s the first person you call?
My Mom and/or Dad, K, Red or Mr L. It depends on the news. 

5. Would you rather take pictures, or be in pictures?
Both. I love to take pictures, that is for sure, but I am not afraid of being IN pictures. Why not? When I am old and wrinkly I will look back and say, wow, what a good looking young thing I was. It would be sad not to have pictures. They are my memory, since mine is so bad. 

6. What is your shoe style?
I am traveling. I have to carry EVERYTHING I need on my back. My shoes are hiking boots and Reef sandals. At home, I have a job in damage assessment, so usually its work boots or sneakers. I am not very glamorous. 

7. How often do you eat out?
Right now, every day. But its cheap. Normally, I cook about 5 or 6 days a week and eat out once or twice. I am always on travel status, even with work, so it is nice to get out of my hotel room for a change (and to make new friends at work!)

8. If someone has food in their teeth, do you tell them?
Yes. Or if their bra was showing or they had toilet paper on their shoe. I would rather have 2 seconds of embarrassment than….who knows….minutes, or HOURS. 

9. Do you fold your underwear? 
Yes, when I am home. When I am traveling they get kind of rolled/folded (and put into a Ziploc freezer bag with all the air squeezed out. I am weird like that. 

10. Milk, dark, or white chocolate?
Dark. Or none. I am not a big fan of sweets. 

Happy Tuesday! Do this list on YOUR BLOG. Don’t forget to link!


That's Classic

I love to read. When I have the chance I can read a book a day. Most of the time life does not accommodate that however. When I am at home, working, trying to work out, blog and have time to sleep, the reading tends to wane a bit. However, I am always looking for new books to read and time to read them. Jess, one of the bloggers I follow, suggested Booksfree, where, like Netflix, you can get as many books as you want per month for a set fee. I personally usually just go to Goodwill and get the 50 cent paperbacks. I will read pretty much anything. When I travel I read whatever I can trade at the book exchanges, which are sometimes pretty slim pickings. To see some of the really bad books I have read over the last 6 months, you can go to my Goodreads page. I also just started using LibraryThing, which even lets you get free books to read as long as you do a thorough review.

What I really would like to do is try to read more classic books. Since I am traveling it has been really hard to get good books, or any books in English for that matter. Mr. Lovely bought a computer, so I decided to downloaded the Kindle for PC, which you can download to your computer (without having an actual Kindle) and then get FREE Classic (public domain) eBooks from Amazon which you can then read right on your computer. However, I have not really been doing it. It is a pain to open the computer just to read a book. I just haven’t done it.

In trying to find out what classics I should read, I found a list on the internet at the Cincinnati Library website to give me an idea of what I am missing and what I realized is I have actually read a few of these books, more than I thought I had. Out of the 40 odd books on this list, I think I have read 14.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Do you have any you think should be added to this list? Which is your favorite? Do you have any book lovers tips?

All Quiet on the Western Front 1929 by Erich Maria Remarque
Beloved 1987 by Toni Morrison
The Best Short Stories 1945 by O. Henry
Brave New World 1932 by Aldous Huxley
The Call of the Wild 1903 by Jack London
Catch-22 1961 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye 1951 by J.D. Salinger
The Complete Sherlock Holmes 1936 by Arthur Conan Doyle
Crime and Punishment 1886 by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Cry, the Beloved Country 1948 by Alan Paton
Don Quixote 1612 by Miguel de Cervantes
Ethan Frome 1911 by Edith Wharton
Gone with the Wind 1936 by Margaret Mitchell
The Good Earth 1931 by Pearl S. Buck
The Grapes of Wrath 1939 by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Heart of Darkness 1902 by Joseph Conrad
Invisible Man 1952 by Ralph Ellison
Jane Eyre 1847 by Charlotte Bronte
Lord of the Flies 1954 by William Golding
Moby Dick 1851 by Herman Melville
My Antonia 1918 by Willa Cather
Native Son 1940 by Richard Wright
Nineteen Eighty Four 1949 by George Orwell
Of Human Bondage 1915 by W. Somerset Maugham
Of Mice and Men 1937 by John Steinbeck
The Old Man and the Sea 1952 by Ernest Hemingway
Pride and Prejudice 1813 by Jane Austen
The Red Badge of Courage 1895 by Stephen Crane
Robinson Crusoe 1719 by Daniel Defoe
The Scarlet Letter 1850 by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A Separate Peace 1959 by John Knowles
Silas Marner 1861 by George Eliot
The Sound and the Fury 1929 by William Faulkner
The Stranger 1946 by Albert Camus
A Tale of Two Cities 1859 by Charles Dickens
Tales 1952 by Edgar Allan Poe
Tess of the D’Urbervilles 1891 by Thomas Hardy
Their Eyes Were Watching God 1937 by Zora Neale Hurston
To Kill a Mockingbird 1960 by Harper Lee
Uncle Tom’s Cabin 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe
War and Peace 1889 by Leo Tolstoy
Winesburg, Ohio 1919 by Sherwood Anderson