Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fun giveaway!

With it being all cold and snowy, I've gotten into the crafty mood once again. One of the benefits of scouring blogs for crafting ideas is a giveaway. Here's the latest from Tea Rose Home. You must sign up before Jan. 5 for your chance to win this removable chalk board. Very nifty design.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Doin' Fine in 2009!

Wow! What an unforgettable year!

January - At the beginning of the month I made a trip out to Grand Junction, and much to my surprise, I returned to Kansas City engaged. Yipee! As soon as I return, I put my house on the market. The next week, I made my way out to Washington, D.C., with four school groups to witness the inauguration of President Obama. Keeping track of 40 kids amongst 2 million of my closest friends in the freezing cold is an experience I'll never forget.

February - The wedding festivities begin with a wonderful shower hosted by my friends at the Independence Church of Christ. Thank you!

March - The monumental task of packing my house up begins. This month is also filled with outings with friends and visits with my family in preparation for my move to Grand Junction. There's also a shower thrown by the Hamilton church, a bridal bash with my girlfriends and the most fabulous tea party shower with family and friends that a girl could ask for!

April - The end of March and the first of April I made time to take my favorite EF Smithsonian tour group from Manchester, England, on a tour through NYC, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Once I returned, the movers were there to pack my house into a truck and drive it out to Colorado. I also had one final shower with the ladies from the Braymer community. Then I was out to Grand Junction a couple days prior to our wedding. My mom and nephew came out a day later and John's parents were out prior to the wedding as well. We unpacked the kitchen and got somewhat settled, did a little touring, and on April 11, we were married at the Gateway Canyons Resort in beautiful Gateway, CO.

May - In May John and I couldn't stay away from Gateway. We traveled down to the car show and participated in a fly out for breakfast at the resort's restaurant.

June - I started out the month with my final student tour, which was one for the record books ... sending kids home, being constantly late for appointments, no-show chaperones, etc. We ended the month my starting our journey to Texas to visit John's family, which threw us the best wedding bbq and we trekked on down to Galveston/Houston to enjoy the hot humid weather.

July - This month brought a visit from my good college friend Lisa and our outing to Arches National Park in 100+ degree heat. It was hot fun! At this point, I'm getting very nervous about not yet finding a job, but by mid-month I'm working at Sports Authority, and within another week, I'm the assistant manager at the Gap. When it rains, it pours!

August - It seems that I'm working the oddest hours, and never home when John is. By some miracle, we're able to celebrate our birthdays - born on the same day! - on our actual birthday. Donna also comes out for a visit, and we have a great time touring around town and catching up.

September - After a torturous selling process, the contract on my house is finalized, and my house is sold. At the end of the month I'm offered a job at a local marketing agency, and I can't refuse a job in my field where I can have normal hours.

October - Now that John and I are on the same schedule, we enjoy weekend treks to the national parks and fall flights.

November - I'm excited for Mom's visit. She comes out to stay with us over Thanksgiving, and I make my first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great success, but the leftovers lasted ages!

December - I'm told it barely snows in the desert and when it does, it melts in the afternoon ... We get 10-ish inches of snow Dec. 8, and we still have it on the ground and some roads. It hasn't warmed up enough to melt. As I write this, another couple inches are falling ... I'm ready for spring!

This has been a full year of amazing changes, and after writing it all down, I see that I'm even more blessed than I realize. I have an amazing family, the most considerate friends and I get to spend the rest of my days with the best man a girl could ever ask for. God is good! To happiness and health in 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

John and me vs. Mom and my in-laws ... Funny stuff!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

I'm going about this a bit backwards, but I thought I would share some of the photos of my Mom's Thanksgiving visit. It was great to see her and we got to be tourists at Arches National Park. It was a wonderful time to go to the park because it was nice and cool.
Mom blending into the landscape.

Mom and I at the Double Arches.

Making the climb to Delicate Arch, which neither John or I had done before. It was quite a hike up hill most all of the 1.5 miles and with some treacherous ledges and such. This is the hike up the slick rock portion.

This was the prize at the end of the hike. Check out how small the person is under the arch. You can't tell all that well, but the rock that is around the arch slants to the right, much like a roof and then there's a ledge. John starts walking toward the arch and I hesitantly follow. Once I get three-quarters of the way to the arch, my knees are literally shaking and I wonder how in the world I'm going to get back to the trail, but I do with my knees knocking. I will never do that part of the trail again. If you come to visit, I'll hike out there with you, but I'll view the arch from a safe distance!

Me and Mom

Me and John at the Double Arches.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Snow is pretty until you have to get out in it. John told me when I moved out here that I wouldn't need to bring my snow shovel. We'll probably purchase one today. I backed out of the drive only to get high-centered in the snow. And rear-wheel drive is not my friend... I'm doing as much work as I can from home, but I'm sure I'll have to get to the office tomorrow.
John trying to shovel the drive with a tiny shovel.

It's deep!

At about 7 a.m.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Parade of Lights

John and I just got back from the Grand Junction Parade of Lights. The downtown area is pretty all lit up, but I was a bit disappointed by the parade; it was all businesses. This photo's from the carriage ride folks.

The courthouse is all decked out for the holidays.

On our way back to the car, we walked past the wind-up Mini Cooper. Had to share!

Happy Holidays ...

From my neighbor to you. No joke, this is my neighbor's house.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Best National Parks for ...

Have you ever wondered which National Parks have the best biking, hiking or photography opportunities? Check out this article and find out. The photography at this link is breathtaking as well. No matter where you live, be sure you're taking advantage of the land that's been set aside for our enjoyment!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

8 to 5

Having a "real" job has its perks ... I know when I'm working, I have my weekends and it's stable. The down side is true travel isn't much of an option for the first year. With only three vacation days the first year of my employment, I don't see any fabulous destinations in my future.

I guess I'm writing this because I'm afraid that John and I's weekend excursions are nearing an end. Tonight we're supposed to get snow. I'm sure it will be melted in the next day or two, but it also means its sticking in the higher elevations. It makes me feel a bit claustrophobic to know that I'll be in the Grand Valley until Spring!

Here's hoping there are a few sunny and warm weekends remaining to gallivant about!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Flight

Last weekend was so beautiful! We've had some warmer fall days with just enough crispness in the air. Sunday John and I decided to fly to Moab, UT. I think we got to see the last of the colors because we've had some rain and wind this week, stripping the trees of their bright yellow leaves.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Back in Black ...

The Black Canyon, that is. John and I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth, but our Internet did. Therefore, I haven't posted recently.

Things are going well for us. A couple weeks ago I started my new job at a local marketing agency, which is great. Now John and I, in theory, have the same schedule. My first weekend off, John was on location, so this weekend, we went past Montrose, Colo., to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We figure people come to Colorado to vacation, so we need to explore it a bit ourselves.

We did luck out when going into the park. When we got to the entrance, we were told that the fee had been waived for the day because the park was celebrating its tenth anniversary being named a national park.

The Black Canyon is well named. The large canyon is never bright due to the dark shadows it casts on its opposing side. Parts of the canyon are so deep it could house two Empire State Building's end upon end.

We did our fair share of hiking while at the park. Each of the stops had the name of the point and how many yards it was to the lookout. The final point, High Point, had Warner's Trail. John's friend had told us that it was one of the best lookouts. The sign said the trail was 1300 yards ... 13 football fields one way ... We started out on the trail and got some breathtaking views, but it was quite hilly and steep, literally taking our breath away. From our pamphlet we knew there were 14 points of interest marked along the trail. Here John is happy we made it to the 14th.

The trip is always longer going out than coming back. Shortly after making it to the 14th stop we took some good photos of ourselves. We're really not that vain, but who else are we going to take pictures of?

Finally, on our way out of the park we took a drive to the bottom of the canyon, and I would say it was my favorite view. We were looking up the canyon walls, nearing sunset, and the colors were phenomenal. The road was at a 16 percent grade, but I wasn't driving, so it wasn't that scary. Here's the spectacular view of the Gunnison River and Black Canyon in fall colors.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Mature Readers

Two of my three faithful readers have suggested I change my blog's background. They've told me the color combo was difficult for more mature eyes. Well, I hope this helps. Do let me know if it's easier to read. Keeping two-thirds of my audience happy ... ~ Elaine

Wildfire Woes

The California and Utah wildfire smoke seem to be blanketing the Grand Valley. I took a picture this morning, and the haze is not nearly as bad today as yesterday. Yesterday you couldn't make out the Grand Mesa's outline. Today you can see the mountain.

Here's this morning's view with the haze.

Here's the same view on a clear day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh, Donna!

I just wrapped up a great long weekend with my friend Donna. She told me when I moved that when she found a good-priced ticket, she was coming and that she did! We gallivanted about Grand Junction, did some shopping, saw a movie, loafed around and John drove us up on top of the Grand Mesa, which is on the east side of town, and through the Colorado National Monument on the west side. Here's proof ...
Donna getting cozy with the art Downtown.

Being wary of the bears at the Powderhorn Ski Resort on top of the Grand Mesa.

Testing out the cooler waters in the Grand Mesa National Forest.

Thinking, and trying not to laugh, at the Colorado National Monument.

Being our fab selves at the Colorado National Monument.

I know you can't get enough of me and John, so here's one more to satisfy your appetite.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Town Hall Update

Yes, John did make it to President Obama's Town Hall Meeting. But first he went to the opposition rally where around 3,000 folks gathered to talk about the proposed health care reform. Not wanting to risk security issues with taking his camera into the town hall meeting, John was sure to get a photo of the ticket.

The meeting was much more peaceful than those that have been held with Congressmen around the country. John likened it to behaving yourself and acting civil when the principal was in the room, but getting rowdy around your teacher.

Both sides of the issue were discussed. Grand Junction is a very conservative town compared to the rest of the state, but I believe the President decided on making a stop here because the area has a health care system very similar to what he is proposing - Rocky Mountain Health Plans. You can read an article about it in the LA Times.

On another note, John and I decided to drive to Rifle, CO, for an evening air show. About a half hour after we got there a storm began rolling through. It cut the show short, but it made for a pretty picture. At times I still can't believe I'm living in such a beautiful place!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Today: Obama in Grand Junction

President Obama is visiting the Western Slope today to campaign for health care reform. Since this is a town hall meeting-style event, it is being held at Central High School and residents could put their name in for the chance to get a ticket to attend. John put his name in, and so did his friend Mike. Mike got two tickets, so they plan to go together. I told John to take pictures if he can.

However, there's also an air show going on in a neighboring town. The lure of the airplanes may be too much for John and Obama will have to wait another day ... Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Birthday Bonanza!

OK, so "bonanza" is a bit of an overstatement, but John and I did have a great time on our birthdays. Poor John had been working nights a few days prior, including the night before our birthday! But we celebrated that evening with dessert. I'm so glad that we're both chocolate lovers and that neither of us will forget the other's big day ...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Only in Colorado ...

Do you see a Lexus with a bike rack. Very odd, very odd. I just wish I would've had a camera ....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another Giveaway

At Make It and Love It she is giving away a great looking beaded watch. Enter today before midnight!

Musette Bracelet GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Musette Bracelet GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Over the past month I have been in a more creative mood and checking out things online, making a few things and finding that there are a lot of great sewing/crafting websites out there. Grosgrain is one of those great sites. It also so happens that they have a giveaway for a nifty bracelet. Check it out, my friends. Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blog Makeover

I found a link to free blog backgrounds. All you have to do is copy the text, go into your layout and add it to your gadget sidebar. I think it adds a bit of spice to the blog.

By the way, does anyone know how to get my banner to fit within the confines of that orange box. I have the simple blog layout that has a box at the top and I want my banner of the top of it. I shrink the image to fit and it hangs over the right side. So frustrating! I may need to change the blog layout once more, but I'm not having much luck with that. However, I did change the color around the banner from white to orange, which doesn't make it as noticeable.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friendly Visits

I've had a great couple days with my college friend Lisa. Being in the same state warranted a visit, so she made the drive from Denver. Who knew Colorado was so big? It takes four hours from Denver to Grand Junction!

Lisa said she had never been to Arches National Park, so I was glad to take her. Even though the temperature reached 101, we managed with plenty of water and air conditioning between our stops.

The most spectacular arches of the park - The Double Arches

The most famous arch in the park is Delicate Arch. It's on all the Utah marketing material and the license plate. However, the hike getting up to view Delicate Arch is not so delicate. It's a pretty steep hike, and when it's hot ... whew! I think the disappointing thing was we made the hike instead of doing the lazy man's lower viewing area and we seemed to still be three miles away from the arch. My camera was zoomed all the way in to get this photo!

Here's the little friend we made on the Landscape Arch trail. It was much bigger than a gecko, but it still seemed harmless. Here, Leezard, Leezard, Leezard ...
Finally on our way out of Moab, where we purchased ice cold beverages, we stopped at this foot bridge that crosses the Colorado River. It's a really nice bridge and trail that only adds to the charm of the area.

Monday, July 06, 2009

For the men in my friends' lives ...

Space pictures along with ... drum roll, please ... photos of the Star Wars script and Indiana Jones stuff. I don't even know what they all are, but John sure did like them.

We went to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, which has some great displays once you get past the kids play area. The one thing that creeped me out was costumed characters of Darth Vader and one of his white soldier guys. I steered clear ...

First, the Lucas Films display - George Lucas's handwritten Star Wars script. Oooo, Ahhhh
The typed script of Adventures of the Starkiller

Indiana Jones's motorcycle and the outfit worn by Harrison Ford.

At the Space Center they do have displays related to NASA. We took the tram tour over to Johnson Space Center and sat in Mission Control. It's much smaller than it seems on television.
We also stopped at Rocket Park. These rockets are massive. This is me at the bottom of the largest portion of the Saturn V. Can you imagine?
You can see how long the rocket is here. Horribly massive to get the small Apollo spacecrafts in orbit.

And finally we got to tour where the astronauts train for their missions. Our guide was the son of the upcoming International Space Station (ISS
) Commander and knew that the facility was being used for training the day we were there.
Here's the 2010 ISS Commander Mike Fossum in the Soyuz portion of the ISS. It was pretty cool seeing the astronauts using the equipment, getting ready for their next mission.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Greetings from Galveston

OK, so we're not in Galveston anymore, but I sure do love alliteration.

John and I took a week and spent our time near the beach. It was a lot of fun. I had never been to Galveston, but I sure do love the water. You could go out in the ocean and get knocked around a bit by the waves. Fantastic for a land-locked girl.
I had to include this picture to demonstrate (1) the wind and (2) the messy state my hair remained in the second we stepped foot in Texas. (I'm lovin' the dry heat of Colorado!)

When exploring Galveston, we toured the Lone Star Air Museum. John was in seventh heaven. Because Hurricane Ike had hit the previous September, only one hangar was open. But still, John loved it; just look at his smile.

And as in previous posts, I just have to share again that I would be a great airplane model ...

From air to water we then went to tour the Elissa, Texas' tall ship with a sorted past. It hauled cotton, illegal products and many other things that I can't remember, but I'm sure you can find out here. It's unbelievable the number of people that got behind this ship to restore it to it's now fit condition. It makes me happy to know that there are still folks out there that have a passion to preserve our past.
John decided to tap into his inner pirate while on board.
And since I already posted the crazy hair picture, I'll post my picture not acting foolish in the Captain's saloon below deck.

The water levels of hurricane Ike are as much a tourist attraction as anything else. Here I am near the Elissa and you can see the piece of blue tape above my head. That's the 2008 water level. The white plaque above that is the 1901 hurricane that nearly wiped out the entire city.

We then ventured over to the Historic Strand District, which is the old downtown shopping area. They had a lot of cute shops, but there were still a lot of the shops that either were closed for good or were still being worked on due to Ike's wrath. Here's where the water stood in the downtown area.
To top off our hot day, we went out and bought Blue Bell ice cream. We barely got it back to the condo before it melted, but it was deliciously cold. Well, one more foolish picture won't hurt ... and from the looks of this picture my airplane modeling days are numbered ...