Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's always interesting to watch someone draw.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ruthie is coming to visit tomorrow for two whole days. Yes!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Yesterday we received a face cord of wood that was delivered and stacked just before the snowstorm came in. Today we are spending a cozy day in the living room with a wonderful fire. I love that we have a fireplace!

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I'm back. My blog really needs a makeover, in style and content, but after working all day on the computer I rarely come home and desire to spent more time staring at a screen. My eyes need a little break. Plus, it's hard to pry the laptop from Paul's hands. ;o)

I feel pretty disconnected from the world outside of Madison. And I guess, Madison's not like I really know what's going on inside the city. I really haven't been up to much since we arrived back home (it's home now, I'll admit it!) on the 7th. I haven't called family, or friends, even friends who I superly need to call. Or really communicated in a meaningful way with anyone besides Paul or Jason in a long time. Sad, huh? And it's not because I've been busy. Not really. It's mostly due to laziness. I'm still in this dull mood. I wouldn't say I'm depressed, but it's something similar. There's all these things that I'd ideally like to do, but I have no motivation to do them. I just sit around and watch the boys play video games (ie "playing cars"). Boring to me. I think it has to do with the zero exercise (besides the quarter mile sprint to the next bus stop when the 14 was rerouted around the Capitol on Friday), nearly zero friends resulting in minimal social contact, and the cold weather. I blame the cold weather because we keep our house at around 60 degrees and I usually just want to bury myself in blankets and watch movies each night and weekend. I would read, but I haven't found any engaging books recently (suggestions?).

Overall, everything is going well, but I just don't feel super wonderful. I need to be excited about something. Join some volunteer organization. Actually get up early in the morning, actually go running or walk through the beautiful park across the street. Maybe I'll do that in the snow tomorrow, with a mug full of hot chocolate in my hand, warm mittens on from my sister, and a snuggly scarf around my neck from Kate.

On the plus side, I did have a very very marvelous winter vacation trip. We drove down to Chicago the night of the 18th to drop off the white bug/beetle (I miss that car!). We stayed the night at Paul's grandparent's house and then went to the airport the next morning. By chance we were flying out at the same time as Paul's aunt and uncle, who sold their house, most of their posessions, and are now going to be living in China for the next 15 years. I don't know them so well, but it was nice to be able to say goodbye and wish them luck.

We arrived in Portland at night and spent a little time with my sister and her husband in their super home. The next day was "the big day" in my mind. The day I'd been thinking about for months and couldn't stop being giddy about. Cohen's birthday!.....or so we thought. Over the 20th, 21st, and 22nd I spent lots of time in the hospital anticipating Cohen's birth and helping his family prepare for his arrival. Nicole and Ethan did so well through labor. And Cohen finally made an appearance at 9:42am on the 22nd. I cried more than the actual relatives who were there. lol. I was so overjoyed. What an amazing process and an amazing precious boy.

Somewhere in there I found time to have breakfast with Kate, Amy, Poki and Paul at the Bread & Ink Cafe on Hawthorne. It was good to see dear friends again, even for a short time. I also got to spend a little bit more time with Kate after Christmas (I need more Kate time!), and too see Anthony for a few minutes.

Christmas was good. I really do love all of my cousins and second cousins, aunts, and uncles, even though I'm not very close with many of them. And I got a great gift from Shelley: ear warmers from jcrew. Totally something I wouldn't have bought for myself. And they're plaid (I usually hate plaid), but I LOVE them. They have shearling fur on the inside that keep me toasty warm. In general I find ear muffs to be pretty tacky, but these are about as stylish as you can great.

And? What else do I do in Portland? Why, shop of course! No sales tax, some free time with my mom, and knowing what stores I love (anyone who knows me well can guess those in a second!) = many purchases. I went to Goodwill 4 times. Twice to the retail store by my parent's house, and twice to the Goodwill Outlet where you buy merchandise by the pound. Plus a visit to the Salvation Army, Ross, and Tuesday Morning. I found some great items! Too many to list here, but two of them get special mention because I have been living in for the past week straight: Banana Republic Jeans to replace my favorite pair of jeans that I wore holes through and ripped from excessive use ($7-Portland), and a Banana Republic Wool fitted long dress coat ($8-Fort Collins, CO). Now I'm a walking advertisement for BR, but I think it's the first time I've ever bought any of their clothing--it won't be my last; they fit so well.

We gave our car a checkup and started our road trip home on December 27th. We were fine over the mountains in eastern Oregon since there wasn't too much snow (and only one crash that we notice), but once we hit Wyoming it was crazy. Cars crashed/slid every which way along the freeway. Paul was a very careful driver. We chugged along and went semi-slow. At the start of the ice we came across a crash into the median that happened only a few minutes before. We pulled over to help and luckily everything was ok but the cars, so we kept moving. Then, again, just a few minutes ahead of us was another accident: a jackknifed/crashed semi. Luckily for us it was on a rural overpass, so everyone on the freeway could exit and enter around the site. We kept moving with care, although at one point a stupid military car cut us off and we slid a bit, but gained traction just in time. If I had been driving we definitely would have stopped and waited out the storm (which would have been ridiculous since it lasted for days!) in one of the towns. The stretch between Laramie and Cheyenne was sketchy. Super sketchy. As in, seriously the-scariest-moments-of-my-life sketchy (shhh, don't say anything to my parents). Traction wasn't too too bad as long as you went no more than 15-20 mph. It was dark, but that wasn't the big problem. The problem was visibility due to snow. The blizzard was upon us and the snow was falling super heavily, perpendicular to our car. You could barely barely make out the road. It was very windy, which, visibility aside, was actually a plus because the road didn't have as much accumulation as it should have. Paul said he could see the yellow line (in the fast lane) which we were following, and I pretended like I believed him to make myself feel better. At this point we'd been driving for 20 hours straight and 13 of those were in snow & ice. Not many people were on the road, and a few cars and semis were stopped in the left lane deliberating whether to continue. I wanted to do the same, but knew that if we didn't keep moving we would be super stuck and completely snowed in by morning. So we kept moving. As we were going 10-15mph two cars passed us going 30-40 mph, which made it seem like they were going 100. Crazy and stupid! And, about 20 minutes later we passed them: they had slid into the median. It was scary. I knew they were stuck, but it didn't look like their car was smashed so I was hoping they weren't hurt. There was nothing we could do....nowhere to stop, and we only saw them for about 2 seconds with the visibility. To get to their car would have required 1)stopping in the middle of the freeway, 2)snow shoes and 3)a shovel to dig them out to even get their car door open. We kept going, even more cautiously. I believe we were one of the last cars over the pass that night, because when we joyously reached Cheyenne (the city I have never been more happy to see, on top of the fact that it houses the Sierra Trading Post Outlet Store), the freeway had been shut down going the opposite direction. That stretch should have taken only 50 minutes, but it took over 3 hours to go 48 miles.

From Cheyenne we only had 40 miles left in our trip (40 minutes on a normal day). Our destination was the outskirts of Fort Collins, Colorado, where our cousin was getting married the next day and most of Paul's extended family was waiting for us. But we were not in luck. We reached Cheyenne--and at this point I finally started breathing semi-normal again--only to be stranded there. The first set of blizzard lights weren't flashing, the second set was, but the snow/hazard gates were not lowered. We could have snuck by, but instead we pulled off to a gas station. By the time we got back on the road (this time with chains on the front tires) the freeway was closed. Luckily I found a hotel room and we had a place to stay for the night. My nerves were still so bad that I couldn't eat. Finally, the next morning (after a horrible night's sleep) we decided to get back on the road. Halfway to Fort Collins, one of our chains snapped off (our first time using it! and we even upped for the semi-expensive ones), and had to pull off into the emergency lane to take them off, but we were fine without them the rest of the way. And we arrived! In time to help set up the wedding, even. And the evening wedding was beautiful. I was so honored to be there to see Karl and Margo get married.

We stayed in Fort Collins for six wonderful days at Paul's Aunt & Uncle's house/farm. There was tons of snow. Paul's uncle started up the tractor and hooked up a sled to it for some snowboarding/sledding fun. He cleared snow and started a bonfire in the yard for a great place to sit and warm up (also for s'mores at night). In the evenings we made great use of the hot tub. We went snowshoeing in the mountains one day near Red Feather west of Fort Collins. And on the last two nights we built a HUGE igloo. It was the more gorgeous igloo I've ever seen. I can't take much credit for it since I only helped with the first two layers, but it turned out to be 12' in diameter and 6' high. We used the recycling bin as the form for the blocks. Paul & his cousins finished it around 11pm and then (on a 15 degree night) slept in it. Awesome. The next morning we had a pleasant 15 hour drive home with clear roads the entire way back to Madison.