Thursday, December 29, 2005

Not feeling up to it today

Well, the holidays were nice. We spent some quality time with my husband's family and made out with some sweet gifts. And, although R suffered through major congestion (yeah, he caught a cold) the 5 days we were there, he's better now. Of course, that leaves me. Oh, poor little me! I have a severe cold/flu/whatever! Complete with sinus pressure (won't my head just go on and explode already), sore throat, and achy body (why can't the cats understand that them climbing on me is painful)! So, I had partially prepared the "Head West" post #3, but now I really don't feel like inserting pictures and links. I guess y'all are going to have to wait. Oh, and I really missed reading y'all's blogs this past week, I have a lot of catching up to do! Any suggestions for what meds will help me get over this easier? I've been taking tylenol & naproxen (aleve) for the aches and headache and nyquil to help me sleep--but NOTHING is working! I just went and bought some sudafed...I have my fingers crossed for this one...
Hope to get back with y'all soon!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Head West, Young Man! Part 2

Okay, for starters, I want to cry right now! I just about finished this whole "Colorado" post then the thing froze up and lost everything!!! Let's try this again...
So, in the weeks and months leading up to this trip, we had done a lot of planning. (And, when I say we what I mean is me.) I had looked up sites of interest along our route, printed out countless sheets of information, and in the end, we decided to go “without a plan.” What we would do is drive to the first rest area with “information,” stop and pick up pamphlets, and talk to the attendant. (Some plan, right?!) We would each choose one place/thing that we wanted to see/go/do. That seemed fair.
We left NM, bright and early that morning and began our drive north on I-25. I know, interstate driving isn’t as “fun,” but we wanted to get to Montana, eventually! Well, I-25 runs on the east side of all the mountain ranges, so the whole time we had the pleasurable scenery of rolling plains, thousands of antelope (it seemed like millions), and old telegraph wires? All we could do to amuse ourselves was make up “old west” stories. “Okay, I’m an outlaw and I just robbed a bank, and I’m running from the law! Know where I’d hide my booty? Out here in the middle of nowhere! But, I’d bury it near some landmarks that I’d remember, like that little railroad bridge by the telegraph lines!”
After hours of pointless conversation, we finally arrived in Pueblo, Colorado. We stopped at the visitor’s center and chose our two attractions.

I chose The Royal Gorge Bridge. (Really, check out their website!) I found out that, at 1053 feet, this is the highest suspension bridge in the world!! We walked across it and were shocked to realize that the whole thing SWAYS in the wind!! I’m talking a good 4 or 5 inches in each direction! And some people still drive across it! And, the part you walk/drive on is made of wood planks! With gaps (as big as 2 inches)!! You can look between the boards, down, down, 1053 feet into the Arkansas River! It’s crazy when you first get on, you don’t notice the sway, but the closer you get to the middle, you start to feel it. Then your mind tries to convince your body that it’s not really moving. R said I was imagining things when I told him that I was getting dizzy from the rocking! With the ticket you also get to ride the tram. Yes, that’s a cable stretched across the canyon with a little (bathroom-sized) car hanging from it. Oh, and like 30 people crammed in! Somehow, I managed to squeeze off this picture from there. A bit of a downer, but you also get to ride the incline train. That’s a cable and pulley system that takes you down the cliff at a 60 degree angle to the River’s edge. Down there you see people on a real train, in kayaks, and floating by on rafts.
We didn’t expect to stay here long, but the park offers a lot of stuff, and we walked around for half the day! Oh, they have a sort-of wildlife zoo, too. There were elk and buffalo (and some other less interesting animals). We *had* a nice picture of R posing with a buffalo. And, when I tried to pose with it, (they were behind fences, of course) it charged at me and I screamed and jumped out of the way just in time! My perfect timing, too, was that there was a car full of people driving by at that exact time! They were all laughing and the dad leaned out the window and said “Hey! That was great! I got it all on tape!” Sure, R thought it was hilarious!

Finally, we left the Royal Gorge, and headed to R’s pick: the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine in Cripple Creek, Colorado. This cute little town is historic and fun, complete with taverns and casinos. But, we weren’t there for those. We were there for the GOLD! Up the hill from town (y’all should’ve seen us trying to find this place) was an operating gold mine! They can, but don’t actually mine the gold anymore (economically not worth it). Fortunately, we got there just in time for the last tour, and even better, we were the only 2 in our group! So, we got our own private tour of a real gold mine!
We got these jackets and helmets and loaded up in the elevator/cab/thingy with our tour guide. And he took us, down, down, down, 1000 feet down, to the bottom of the mine! Our guide demonstrated different equipment, we rode on a “transporter” (air compressed train carts), and got samples of real gold ore! Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but he even let R try one of the drills!

Afterwards, we walked around the gift shop and saw THESE! Of course, these aren’t mined gold nuggets, these are called placer gold. They were found as deposits in a river. Could you imagine?! The two "smaller" ones (in the back) are worth about $50,000 each! And, what guy isn’t fascinated with gold?!

...coming soon, Part 3, stay tuned...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Head West, Young Man! Part 1

Okay, so I've posted random pictures, but I've never talked about it. Why? I don't know, but I think I'm ready to share now.
This summer R and I took our Dream Vacation out west. Ever since I was little, I've dreamed of living in New Mexico, Colorado, or Montana (you know, some place with lots of mountains and snow). Well, I was born in New Mexico, and have visited there countless times, but now my parents live there--and while I love them very much, I just can't picture myself living so close to them. I had never been further north than New Mexico until summer 2003. R and I took a day trip up to Durango, CO with my grandparents, but we didn't get to see much (you know how old people can be). Actually, I'm kidding, my grandparents are great, we just didn't have time to see many things.
Anyways, over the past few years, R and I have gone to NM to visit my family and he's seen many of their beautiful sights. However, neither of us had been any further north. Yet, we both had this dream that..."when school is over, we want to move to Montana"... All we had were our imaginations and beautiful images from movies (see: Legends of the Fall and A River Runs Through It). And, no, I didn't have delusions of Brad Pitt and I riding horseback through the woods, or flyfishing on our private river....
So, after the wedding (in Nov.2004) we began to save, save, save. We HAD to see Montana for ourselves! Our plan was to drive to NM, spend a few days with family then drive up to MT and see what we could see in a few days. We were shooting for 2 weeks. Then, we had an offer from some of my "other" family to visit them in Wisconsin. Well, we'd never been up there, either, and it was kinda on the way, so "Why Not," we figured. That totaled our trip time-line to 3 weeks.
The day before my birthday we arrived in Gulfport, MS to pick up our rental car (come on, I drive an 18 y/o truck, you wouldn't expect us to drive that) and drop of the "kids." We had reserved a "compact" car (due to the pricing), but all they had were "midsize." Hey, I wasn't complaining (more room = more stuff). The following night, we began our trip. MS, LA, and TX are THE WORST states to drive through. MS & LA aren't really bad, it's just the anxiety of knowing that eventually you're going to be in TX & that is bad! Yeah, 12 hours from one end to the other & not much in between!
19 hours later, we got to NM. We stayed for 5 days and did the "family thing" (which included Memorial Day weekend camping, a hail storm, and a few local day-trips). Yeah, try setting up camp (tents & all) in the HAIL! In May!

Dad told us that he had been "scoping out" some local sites and wanted to take us while we were there.
One was "El Malpais" (The Badlands). This is located about an hour west of Abq (I refuse to spell that word). It is an ancient lava bed and sandstone formations. When we finally got there, it was AMAZING!! The light-colored rocks are sandstone, and all the "dark stuff" in the background are the lava flows. If you look closely, you can see 3 people sitting out on the rocks. Those are my 2 sisters & family friend. Behind them is about a 150-200 foot drop. Yes, my dad let us "play" on the cliffs!
The other place we went is called Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. Check out the website, they have many more pics than I do. In this pic you can kind of see the rock "ball" balancing on the sand "pillar." There were bigger ones, but I liked the way the clouds and sky frame this shot.

....Stay tuned for Part 2, when we travel through Colorado....

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Pictures and Good News!

I love to go outside, but mom says I have to wear my coat because it's cold.

While she freezes outside, I'd rather stay warm by the heater vent.

Hey! Take a picture of me, too!

MOM! Enough with the pictures, already!

Ooh, ooh, Look What I Can Do!

Good News! A friend of our in the city police department called the officer that gave me that ticket and got him to dismiss it! Good thing, too, because I found out that they had not changed my court date (I called 3 days after I got it, and a week before the original date--Nov2), and a warrant had been issued! Isn't that ridiculous! So for the past month I've been driving around with that over my head and didn't even know!! I guess that goes with the territory in small towns like these. So, I got a letter in the mail saying that it was dismissed and my friend (the cop) told me to keep it in the truck all the time just in case they "forgot" to put it in the computer!
Oh, and my final grades are 3 As and 1 B! That B is the biochem class that I was worried about! Now, I'm back to my stuff in the lab. It feels great to actually be doing something, but I'm sure it will feel even better when I'm finished!
We went and saw The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe this weekend, it was very good. I think R even got a little teary. It made me want to go back and re-read the other Narnia books. I just have to dig around a little to find them...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Hey, Doc, is this normal?

I saw this tag here and here and thought it was kind of interesting. So here are five of my weird habits:

1. I am completely and utterly addicted to chapstick. I cannot go without it. If I get somewhere and realize I don't have it, I must go to the nearest store and get more!

2. I can't sleep without my own blanket and pillow. I bring them with me everywhere! I usually bring my own sheets and towels, too.

3. I make lists for everything! Groceries, household chores, long-term goals, monthly budget, etc. I usually only look at them a few times, then throw them out.

4. I have an anti-foot fetish. I won't let people touch mine (except R), and I don't touch theirs (including R)!

5. I would prefer to drive, all the time. I get carsick very easily, so I like to be the one driving. Usually, R lets me, and that's great. When I can't drive the whole time (cross-country trips), I have to plan it out so I can take Dremamine, and still help with some driving.

What a Smart Cookie

Your Fortune Is
Support bacteria -- it's the only culture some people have!

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Christmas Song?

I've never seen the movie, but the music is fantastic!

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It's Christmas Time

So, I'm finished with exams, received an A in at least 2 classes (the others aren't posted yet), and we got our tree up! I know it doesn't look like much, but it's just the two of us--and we like it. Each year since we first moved in together, we've bought an ornament for each other. At first, it was just so we could build up our "arsenal" of ornaments, but then it transformed into a way to "commemorate" our year together.

These little mice in front of the house are celebrating their "New House." R gave this one to me last year--right after we bought the trailer. (He's adorable, I know.)

Homer eating a cake is what I picked for him last year. R is a complete junk food fanatic!! (Of course, he didn't think it was as funny as I did!)

This is my "Santa's Band" and Nativity Scene. Mom, do you recognize these? "Santa's Band" brought to you curtesy of my Dad. I say Dad and not Mom, because Mom would have never given them away! They are little bears that twist in sequences to play "35 Songs" on the bells. They are my Most Favorite Christmas Decoration!! (Although I can only handle so much of the ringing bells! Especially now that they're old and mostly out of tune!)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Today's Fortune

Your Fortune Is

To make a long story short, don't tell it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Easy Listening

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Feeling Shy

So, I've been at this blog for almost five months and I have a fairly constant "audience" (albeit a small one), but recently I've started to feel "shy" about sharing my blog. First off, I have to somewhat edit the topics I cover here. I love my family and know that some of them might be bothered if I wrote about certain things. But that's not really fair. It's MY blog, my journal. Of course, I did invite them here (so I accept that responsibility). I know some bloggers have "anonymous" sites, and that's fine for them. But I started this as a way for our familes to have a glimpse into our daily lives. Many more, though, just aren't concerned with sparing other's feelings (either their families don't read them, or they're "adult enough" to not care). My mom already insists that I put too much information out. And my best friend likes to read, but says that reading "other blogs" would be too weird.
The reason I'm bringing this up now is that yesterday R asked me to give the link to some of his extended family members. I don't necessarily mind, it's just that I think the stuff I write about is boring. Maybe if I had an exciting life, or an awesome job, or adorable kids it would be more interesting? But y'all do read it, and you even comment and laugh with me. So, there must be something interesting. Anyways, I sent the link, and I hope they come to visit.

I haven't recapped our Thanksgiving yet. Let's just say it was interesting. It was filled with fall leaves (finally), TONS of cooking, and one cute (crying) baby. This shows exactly the experience that R has with babies. E is quiet and still (after diaper change, feeding, and burping). R claims to be ready for a kid, but he didn't change a single diaper in the 4 days they were here! Baby cry? What? Hand him to gramma!
I say: No way, Jose! I LIKE watching movies! I LIKE eating! I LIKE sleeping! (Just give me a little more time, please!)

Wish me luck, tomorrow is my BIG FINAL (AKA "The Tough One")!!
(P.S. Mom, this was just a "break" in-between studying!)

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Special Date

Our first "BIG" date, October 1999. I bought tickets to see Alegria at the Beau Rivage for our 6-month "anniversary." The show was amazing.

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Blast From the Past

This was taken in June 1999. I was assitant troop leader for my sister's girl scout troop, and this was a trip we took to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. R is great with kids and he joined us. In fact, I think the girls enjoyed his company more than mine (he's just a big kid at heart). We look so young and skinny in this picture (please excuse the poor quality and butts in the background). I just wanted to share this to compare to our more recent pictures. This is probably the oldest picture I have of us together (we had been dating about 3 months).

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This picture was taken November 2002, on Pensacola Beach, FL. It was one of our various trips to Florida, and YES, it was cold.

I've talked about my "furkids," but I don't think I've ever mentioned this little guy. This is Birdy (I know, real original). R got him for me for my Birthday last year, he is now 1 1/2 years old, and as ornery as can be. He's very territorial (and slightly aggressive). he makes the cutest sounds, likes to sit on our heads, and plays "Catch Me If You Can" with the cats. Oh, and he likes posing for pictures.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Final Stretch and Minor Annoyance

Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of the the semester winds down I find myself facing two very serious final exams...the completion of three papers and one powerpoint presentation...and a small pile of work. What's that? Celina is actually going to do work? Yes, it's true. I've taken a long break (nearly 3 months) from the lab and now I finally have stuff to do! Can you believe it? And, what's more, I am actually excited about it! I have calculations, data input, and actual lab techniques to do. But first, I have to make it through these finals. So far today I have studied 3 chapters of Biochemistry and reviewed my old Exam 1. What of tomorrow? Ah, the possibilities are endless. On another note, I also have a "club" meeting this evening and a "group lunch" tomorrow.
Oh, and listen to this: Next Wednesday (mom, if you read this, please don't get mad) I will be going to court. It's nothing serious. See, back in October, when we were going down to Gulfport, I was stopped for "Disregard for traffic device" (read: running a stop sign). Wait, wait, let me explain. This highway runs for 120 miles between Meridian and Tupelo, MS. The speed limit is 55-70 (depending on where you are). And, there are 2 stop signs (15 miles apart) at 2 of the smallest "towns" you could imagine: Macon and Scooba (the Scooba link actually shows the exact intersection of said "violation"). Yeah, look 'em up, see if they're worth stopping for. Anyways, I've been driving this route since I started school in August 1999. That's over 6 YEARS of driving through this particular intersection. It's a 4-way stop complete with "stop ahead" signs and rumble strips. There are 2 gas stations--and not much else. Well, that fateful day R was sleeping and I was driving. Uneventful hour drive so far, stop (consider going to gas station, but decide not, and I KNOW I stopped), continue, see blue lights.

Officer: I suppose you don't know why I stopped you?
Me: Well sir, there was a stop back there, but I know I stopped.
Officer: Yes there was, but you didn't stop.
Me: I'm sorry sir, but I believe I did.
Officer: Well, I was at that gas station and I didn't see you stop.
Me: Did you see the car next to me stop? I know I stopped, sir. What else can I say?
Officer: I need your driver's license.
He took my license, went back to his car, and 15 minutes later returned with a ticket.
Officer: This ticket is for "disregard for traffic device." Here is the phone number for you to contact the courthouse.
Me: Yes sir.

I put it out of my mind for the weekend, and waited to call. The following Monday I found out that the ticket would cost $180! I also asked about the court date, it would've been the following Wed (I had an exam). I was allowed to change it for "The first Wed of the month." That's how "bustling" this town is--they only hold court once a month! So, on Wed I will be sitting in a rinky-dink courthouse with a few/bunch (?) of petty "offenders" pleading my case. It's not so much the money (although $180 is nothing to sneeze at), as it is the principle. I.KNOW.I.STOPPED. I drive a stick and I was in 1st gear. There was a car next to me, we stopped at the same time & drove off at the same time (but she pulled in the gas station). There was nobody else at the other stops, so was I supposed to count "5 mississippis" before pulling off? My theory is that "catching" people at the stop sign is their only source of city income. And, I just happened to be at the "wrong place, wrong time."