Thursday, October 28, 2010

Culture and Class

Dallas has culture to offer. We were so lucky to join Bill and Barb to the Dallas Opera last night. I love an opportunity to get dolled up. After raiding my friend Tracey's closet (for the dress), getting some patent leather pumps at Ann Taylor, and a few hours with the curling iron, I think I looked the part of an opera attendee.
Don Giovanni is a womanizing murderer. The sets were amazing. My favorite scene was when Zerlina is begging Masetto for forgiveness. The humor surprised me. It never occurred to me that Mozart might try to make his audience laugh.
I'm so grateful to Bill and Barb for introducing us to the art of the Opera!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Visiting the Sidwells

Stephen Sidwell is one of Joe's good friends from BYU. They worked at Outdoors Unlimited
(the BYU bike shop) together, and did a lot of mountain biking together. After they both got married, life has pulled them to different states, but they still keep in contact. These last few
days we had to opportunity to make the trek to Fort Collins Colorado for a visit. Stephen is a dentist, and graciously offered to give us some much needed dental care (the kids don't have
insurance, and our insurance is pretty crappy). So Thursday we spent all morning at
the dentist office.Friday and Saturday we were able to play. The kids really wanted to see the "snowy
mountains". We did an amazing 4 mile hike along several mountain lakes.

Photo by Krista
Joe carried Winter when she got tired (Photo by Krista)
Krista was my photography buddy
Final destination: Emerald Lake (photo by Krista)

Saturday morning Joe and Stephen went mountain biking. After that, we all headed to the pumpkin patch.
In the afternoon, the Sidwells had a cubscout meeting, so we took our family on a fun bike ride along the river.
We finished the day off strong, with dinner and PF Changs. Why do fun times like these have to end?

Our love for Colorado

Joe and I love Colorado. We've loved it ever since we first vacationed there in 2001. Still in college, we had some extra time one weekend (or maybe it was at the end of summer break). We rounded up a few friends, and drove down to Durango in Joe's 1976 Jeep Wagoneer. The Colorado Trail was our destination. The Colorado Trail (CT) is broken up in 20 mile sections. Joe and his brother Mark were going to ride a section, and then my friend Jessica and I were going to walk the next section.

The first day, while Joe and Mark were riding, the rest of us (Jessica, and maybe Soquel too) drove the Jeep 14 miles up a 4x4 trail. At least..... that's what I think happened. But at the same time I think maybe Joe helped set up camp first, and then we dropped them off to ride. Anyways..... As Jessica and I were waiting, and waiting, and waiting... we were getting kind of nervous. It gets quite cold at night at 14,000 feet altitude! Finally, after dark, Joe arrived, alone. Mark was having a hard time, and they were both getting hungry and cold, so Joe rode ahead to get some supplies. After assuring us he would be extra careful, Joe drove back down the trail to find Mark. Mark had wandered off the trail a little, and was huddling against the cold, but luckily they had CV radios. It wasn't until about 11pm that they finally made it back to camp.

The next day, we were supposed to move camp, to the next section. However, when Jessica and I had been trying to get a hold of Joe and Mark with the CV radio, we had somehow "broken" the Wagoneer. Being stuck at 14,000 feet with a broken truck, we did the only thing we could think of: hitch hike. We were lucky it was hunting season, and to find a ride down in a pickup truck. We made it to the auto parts store, and back to the beginning of the 4x4 road with the help of a cardboard sign that said: Purgatory (the name of the ski resort, plus a fun play of word)

Making it the next 14 miles to camp was a little more difficult. Some good samaritan in a Jeep offered to help. We flew up that mountain so fast, I was certain we would fly off the side of the mountain! Back at camp, we tinkered around with the new auto part, only to find out that we had bought the wrong part! So next it was Mark and Soquel's turn to hitch hike down the mountain. At the end of the day we finally got the Wagoneer running again, and were set to go.

Being 4 months pregnant wasn't going to stop me from hiking 20 miles at the top of the mountains. Jessica and I had a great day walking, and singing, and freaking ourselves out about mountain lions. However, as the light started to fade, we started getting really tired. The peaks we had to scale just kept coming and coming. There seemed to be no end. And to make matters worse, I started having (what I now know) Braxton Hicks contractions (at 4 months!!) And then it started to rain as well. Luckily Joe, and Jessica's friend had started to get worried about us, and were walking towards us from the end of the trail. That night we tried to cook in our tent, and almost set it on fire.

This trip is one of our favorites to think back at, probably because of all the mishaps. We love the scenery and the weather. It's where we'd ultimately like to end up living.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Proud or Ashamed

I can't decide which one of those words best describes the circumstances surrounding this photo
Ashamed; because today was the first time these strings were plucked in 9 months
Proud; because these strings were plucked today.

There are no good reasons why this instruments has been sitting in a corner, under a cover for so long. It's not that I don't like to play. Somehow, that big black elephant sits in the room, and goes unnoticed. Sometimes, all it takes is a request at church for a musical number. I am grateful for those requests, because I'd hate to think how long it would sit untouched if it wasn't for them.

Since the length of our move to Holland is so uncertain, and the cost of taking the harp so great, we've decided to leave it here, and reassess towards the end of Joe's school. If we find a good job in Europe, we'll have it shipped over. If we move back to the US, we saved ourselves a bunch of money and "just" a year without playing. But on days like today, I wonder whether I'll regret this plan..

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Old identity

Somehow the day ended 30 minutes ago, and I didn't post a picture. So maybe we can just pretend that I'm in California, and it's still Saturday....

This morning I helped mom paint the living room for a few hours, and then I hit the outlets with Winter for the rest of the day. My wardrobe has seriously diminished over the past few years. Living in Texas, where it doesn't get cold, and living out in the country when the only day I don't wear jeans and t-shirts were Sundays, made it easy to save money by not buying new clothes (except for an occasional $5 shirt). Now that we are moving back to Holland, I get to
take back my old identity. The one who wore stylish clothes, and make-up daily. The one where high heels and cute sweater greatly outnumbered ratty old t-shirts and crocs. I'm ready for that change!

Joe's cousin Bethany introduced me to Ann Taylor while we were vacationing in Branson. At first I thought those clothes were too dressy/fancy for me, but today I was loving their offerings. I found some great black slacks (which have been missing from my wardrobe for way too long), wool trousers, patent leather high heels, and dressy sweater. I also bought a cute gray wool peacoat. However, later when I was in the J Crew a few doors down, I fell in love
with another wool coat. This one black, and longer, and cuter, and of course... more expensive. I decided that the only sensible thing to do, was to buy that one too, and let my MIL help me decide which one to keep. By the time I made it home to model the coats, I had successfully convinced myself that the extra $40 was worth it for the one I really love. After all, I know I'll wear that coat for at least the next 10 years (speaking from experience).
So here it is, for the picture of the day. Don't pay attention to my unmatching pajama pants, or tired hair and face. Look at the fabulous lines of the coat!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Religion talk

Why is it that when I talk to a non-member about my religion, that I get so nervous? I know all the answers, yet sometimes it's all really hard to explain. Tonight I had a great discussion with my new friend Diana and her husband about the gospel. I'm mormon (as most of you know) and have been all my life. In high school, only about 3 members attended my school. Maybe I didn't talk about my religion, or most people just didn't care too much. Then of course at BYU, 99% of the people I was in contact with, were also mormon, or knew a lot about the church already. Moving to Boise kept me safely in my bubble.

Here in Texas I've mostly stayed in my bubble as well, until I moved back to Plano a few months ago. I've made several new friends through athletics and school. Diana came to book club a few weeks ago, and since then we've gotten together a few times and really clicked. Another new friend I've made is Lupin from the bus stop. Her son goes to school with Ginger, so we see each other twice a day, every weekday. Lupin is Muslim. She's the first Muslim I've really gotten to know, and it's been very interesting becoming more knowledgeable about her religion.

All of these religious discussions have made me more aware of the beliefs I have, and how they are similar or different from others. It has also made me realize that I should be able to more easily answer the common questions non-members might ask me, since they are usually the same. Hopefully tonight I didn't come over as a complete schmuck, and was able to explain my beliefs in a sensible manner.

Girl outing

Joe took Sterling on a boy outing - camping with cubscouts - so I took the girls on a girl outing. First we went to the movie theater with Winter's friend (and mine) from Gymnastics. Then dinner and finally some more playtime at Diana's house. What a great evening out!
Winter and Rachel

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Make due

When you can't do it the normal way, you make due with what you Do have

The kitchen outlets are still turned off, as the backsplash tile isn't completely finished yet. So when I went to plug in the mixer when making great grandma some pogacha, I had to find an alternative. The dining room had the nearest working outlet. Sure, the mixer had to sit on the ground, but it did the job just fine.

I really like the way Angela described the way to put the ingredients together for the pogacha, but a few of the measurements were off a little, so I'm reposting it here -with the changes- on my blog (also, so I can easily find it in the future)

Micah's Pogacha

Soak 1 cup white raisins in warm water
Soften 5 tsp yeast in 1/2 c warm water

Add the following ingredients, in the order listed, into a 4 c measuring cup:

1 c boiling water
1/4 c shortening
1/2 c sugar
2 t salt
1/2 c milk
3/4 t lemon extract -- 0.75 teaspoons... not 3-4 teaspoons... which is what I did... oops!
If you don't have lemon extract, you can substitute with lemon juice
4 drops yellow food color

Next step:
  • Get out two bowls and 4 eggs.
  • Stand by the sink
  • Crack first egg, drop white into sink and the yolk into Bowl #1.
  • Repeat with egg 2.
  • For third egg, drop yolk into Bowl #1 and white into Bowl #2.
  • For fourth egg, crack entire thing (egg and yolk) into Bowl #1.
  • Take 2 T from Bowl #1 and add it to Bowl #2.
Add contents of bowl #1 into the 4 c measuring cup
Set bowl #2 aside (will be used later on to brush top of loaves)

Add warm water to the above mixture to make a total of 3 c

Add yeast (with its water) to the above mixture. Add 3 c flour. Add about 3 c more until dough is soft and holds together. Knead 3-4 minutes in Bosch or other mixer.

Add raisin (without its water), and stir gently until mixed. Cover and let rise til double.

Form into 2 round loaves in sprayed pie pans. Let rise again. Brush top with contents of bowl #2. Split top in thirds using sharp knife.

Bake 20 minutes at 375. Then bake 20 more minutes at 350.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Texas State Fair

Riding the dart to Fair park with grandma
A merry-go-round is all a Ginger needs to be happy
We should all have this same expression when we're about to eat "fried chocolate"
Going up in the big Texas star Ferris wheel
Smooth rider
Pink cars also make Ginger happy

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Landform Map Project

Sterling has received his first big project of the year. He (and parents) has to make a 3D landform map. This map has to include a myriad of landforms such as mountains, plain, lakes, oceans etc. At first I was determined to hand the responsibility of this project over to Joe, but today it seemed like the perfect excuse to get out of sitting on the couch for conference. Instead, I used my new computer, and listened to a live audio stream. To me, it's actually easier to focus on the conference talks when my body is occupied with something else. When I just sit on the couch to listen, my mind often starts to wander.

The instructions said to build the landforms out of a home-made dough, on a piece of cardboard. Being the perfectionist that I am, I decided we could make it stronger by using a piece of fiberboard for the base, and using little wooden blocks to make the base for mountains and hills. It worked great, and it became much easier to build tall mountains. We also used 3x the amount of dough called for. Phase 1 of the project is finished: the basic shape of the landforms. The next phase will include painting and labeling. But we'll have to be patient, and wait for the dough to dry completely.

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