Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend Events

On Saturday, Jeremy, Jeff, and I woke up and headed into Alamosa for the big Monster Mash Dash that started at 10am. It was my first 5K to ever run in costume. Part of the fun of this race was they encouraged costumes in lieu of Halloween. I was a fairy princess - kinda - and Jeremy was a ninja. It was also my first 5K since Race for the Cure in May. And my first 5K at 7,500 feet. I don't know which of these last two factors contributed to my slowest time ever, but I am pretty sure the costume only helped! :) There were about 27 participants. The weather was gorgeous - sunshine, about 40F, and hardly a breeze. I started off slowly - Jeremy and Jeff began (with the rest) at a good clip. I just figured slow and steady allows me to survive. We headed north out of town, past the golf course, hung a right down a long stretch of road, before turning right again and then veering onto the dirt trail leading to the bridge that crosses into the park - the finish line! I felt like I ran FOREVER!!! Running the country mile is a difficult thing - there are no landmarks (well, there weren't for me since I had never run this route before). The road just stretches out before you and you feel like it will never end. To top it off, there was no one running with me. I could see Jeremy up ahead quite a distance, but it was just me and the wilds of Alamosa farmlands. There were a couple points of interest along the way - the landmark to Amelia Earhart (she filled her plane up with gas at a farm here in the valley) and there was a dead deer. The other piece of excitement was wondering what people thought as they drove by this lonely girl running with a yellow fluffy crown, pink long johns, and a fairy skirt. I only hope they noted my racing bib with my number - I was an official race participant after all! Jeff blew Jeremy and I out of the water (but didn't come in first) with a time of 23 minutes and some odd seconds. Jeremy crossed the finish line at 32:10. I followed with a "record-breaking" time of 35:19. (The pic to the right is me approaching the finish line. I thought you may want to see the whole outfit - just click on it to see the close up!) It was good to know that I finished though without walking for more than five 30 second breaks. After the race, we had prizes awarded for the best costume. I won first place, and Jeremy won second (mostly because his feet were big enough to fit the socks they had as the prize). The rest of the day was spent laying around and trying to recover from the looooong run. I will try to get some finish line pics tomorrow for you.... check back :)

I did get some very exciting news on Saturday. Steph (my sister-in-law) and Luke had their baby. It was a BOY!!! I had three neices before the summer started, and now I have three nephews to balance it out. His name is Samuel Lawrance (don't quote me on the spelling - I don't have the official spelling yet). I am excited to see pictures. Luke tried to send me a pic via his cell phone. However, due to the technology here in La Jara, I have to wait until we drive to town to get this - our phones seem to only register that there are messages when we get halfway to Alamosa. UGH!

Sunday, we went back to the Lighthouse Church. It is a good church. I am trying to be open to the fact that it is just starting up. We met some more people. There seem to be quite a few people our age. One of them has the Big 10 channel and invited Jeremy over for the Buckeyes games!!! Yeah! We'll keep you updated.

Ummm.... nothing else really. I watched Premonition today. Strange, but not horrible movie. It wasn't as good as I suspected, but I wouldn't consider it bad. The gag reel was worth renting the movie for. We played Outburst tonight as a house - girls vs guys. Guys won, but the girls were one short. (Claire is out of town this weekend.) I think there will be a rematch when she returns. We are watching baseball for what feels like the 20th straight night. The Rockies are not doing so well - and part of me wishes they will just lose tonight so it will just be over. But then again, what else is really on TV??? I think that is all I can say for the day. I will leave you with one parting picture from the City Market (Kroger) parking lot today. Can you guess what animal is in season for hunting?

Friday, October 26, 2007

End of Work Week

Well, it is my first blog of the week - how unusual! I have been between the office and REA (thrift store).
On Tuesday, we had our staff training from 8 - 11am. Just like trainings at school, sometimes I wonder the value of these things. We sat for 3 hours and learned about drugs and gangs in the Valley. I am not really sure what I walked away with, but I only had to go to the office for an hour before lunch!

On Wednesday, I was given the privelege (note sarcasm) of entering all the data into the computer at REA - the same daily summary info I enter here at the office in journal form. Really, it's not bad; it is just that I enter the exact same thing two times, but one onto an excel spreadsheet and one into the accounting program here at the office. It went pretty quickly. I am all caught up except for this past week, which I need to get from Jason (asst. manager).

On Thursday, I took a group of three people from Raton, New Mexico on a tour of the programs. They have a small hunger pantry started with support of the ministerial alliance (various denominations working together) and wanted to possibly expand their services. They were basically on a learning tour. That lasted from 10 - 1:30pm with lunch at Milagros at the end. It was nice to get out of the office and talk with people.

Today, my merchandise from TTV (Ten Thousand Villages) arrived. I was not expecting this to come until next week. So, my huge advertising campaign (with one poster created) has not begun. I guess I will change date and try to get it started by next week. Steve is leaving everything up to me - ordering, advertising, running sales, changing prices, etc - hopefully, this won't flop! I could use prayer with this because it really kinda stresses me out when I think about it. I have not yet been over to look at the products or to try to arrange any type of display, so I'll let you know how that goes!

In other news, we have started watching the Red Sox v Rockies games. I'll be glad when the World Series is finished just so we can see something else/do something else. I will admit that I am more knowledgeable about baseball than I have ever been in my life. The Rockies lost 12-1 the first night (at least I think that was the score - it became a little boring and I didn't pay much attention at the end). Last night, they did better, but still lost 2-1. They are headed to Denver for the next game and hopefully that will bring them more luck. Go Rockies! - you should always cheer for the underdogs, even if they are not in the American League.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jeremy's Two Cents II


First of all I would like to apologize for the photos from Pagosa that appeared in the previous post. I didn't know that Erin was going to put my those on the www for the entire planet to see, and actually it must have been something in the mineral springs that even let those pictures be taken in first place!!! Have no fear I have attached a censored version for that is safe for the kids, and those sensitive to whiteness (I spent hours and hours on it as you can tell). Don't worry the snow is starting to fall, and the temperatures are starting to drop here, so any photos without many layers of clothes will be few and far between. Actually we did have a really good weekend, though Erin would say I was in a crabby mood after watching the Indians Saturday and Sunday nights. Unfortunately it was a feeling as Cleveland sports fans, we have grown accustomed too. So as we say every year...wait till next year!!!..and how about those Buckeyes!!!
Things with my job are still going pretty well. I had a good conference in Breckenridge earlier this month. I met lots of people and learned all kinds of things about watersheds and different water issues that are occurring all over the state. Nothing too exciting has been going on, most of the field work is done till spring, so lately I have been working on more office things (helping with reports, the website, etc.)
I think Erin mentioned we are still looking for a church here, hopefully we will find something soon. Our unit is unusual in that there isn't a local church that we are associated with, so we have to search for on our own. If you have recently moved, you know that whole process can be quite tiring. One thing for sure is that there aren't many strong churches here, seems everyone that we have attend has been struggling in one way or another... so you can be praying for us for that and for all the churches in the valley on a whole.
Thank you for the emails and blog comments (even if they were about my appearance in the hot springs...or about how my fantasy football team is doing..you guys are just jealous) and feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call. We definitely miss visiting with and seeing everybody.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend Events

We were supposed to go visit my aunt and uncle, but plans changed. Bruce (my uncle) was having difficulty with his back because of painting - back stuff must run in the family, huh? So, Sherry (my aunt) said she would give us a call when they were back in Colorado. Jeremy made alternative plans for Saturday for us since the family plans fell through.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning (6am) to go be a part of a hot air ballooning crew. Jeremy's boss (Mike) and his wife (Gigi) are both hot air balloon pilots. They needed to do 3 take-offs and landings each to keep their licenses current. Jeremy, Emmy, Claire, and I rolled out of bed and went to help. They take off near the Spanish Peaks, which is about 30 minutes west of Alamosa. It was really a cool thing to be a part of. The first thing Gigi said during our "training" was - "Hot air ballooning is an inherently dangerous sport"! Made me feel pretty comfortable with the events that were to unfold that morning :) Jeremy helped hold the throat of the balloon open to "blow it up" with the cold air from the fan (see picture to top left). I helped hold the grounding rope at the top of the balloon to slowly let it rise in the air; if there is not enough tension, the throat of the balloon will burn from the flame and be ruined. Mike and Gigi did their take-offs and landings. They then took up two other crew members for a short ride. When they landed, we told Claire and Emmy they could be next (figuring we would go after them or come again). They went up higher than the others and came down harder than the others. They had a pretty rough landing, skidding across the ground curled up in the basket. This picture shows what we saw when we made it to the grounded balloon, which was slowly deflating in the open field. (Note there are three people in the basket - look carefully for all their heads, or hair!) Because the wind was predicted to pick up at 9am, we didn't re-inflate the balloon to take anyone else up; Jeremy and I will just have to wait until next time. We went out the the crew and the pilots for a great breakfast in Monte Vista. There were some neat people that came to be a part of the crew. We are realizing that around here people live a long way away and consider it no big deal to drive a distance to get to work, activities, or church.

Claire, Jeremy, and I went on from there to Pagosa Springs to use the free tickets I had to Springs Resort. This is where lots of people go to enjoy the natural hot springs. It seems to be a pricey resort in general; tickets just for the "hot tubs" were $17 a day. They had many pools fed by the hot springs and nestled alongside the river. Each pool was labeled with a nickname and the approximate temperature. We started in the 102F pool, moved to the 103F pool, and settled at "Clouds in my Coffee" pool with 101F water. We liked this last pool the best because it set higher than the other pools, and we were pretty much alone to talk, soak, and observe other guests. I personally thought all the pools were very hot! I sat with a majority of my body out of the water most of the time, but it was also relaxing. Before we ended our time at the pools we tried the "Lobster Pot" pool which has a heat estimated to be 113F. I could only put my feet and calves in before removing them quickly. It felt like I was being boiled! Claire and Jeremy submerged themselves up to their chest, but then didn't move because it stirred up the water and made them too hot! I included a pic of Jeremy in the Lobster Pot with the sign in the background. We left after showering. Showering was pretty much a futile thing though because the smell of the sulfur had soaked into our skin - even today I still smell it on my body! We traveled home via the southern route through Chama and then to Antonito and La Jara. The Chama-Antonito route is a spot for a tourist train. The aspens, had they not already lost their leaves, would have been gorgeous! It definitely would have been a more colorful route than the train we took to La Veta. Because of all the hot water soaking, our muscles felt like jelly as we rode home. We drug our bodies into the house at 6pm and felt like it was bedtime. Jeremy turned on the Indians game, hoping for a perfect end to a great day. He was fed up by the end of the first inning and resorted to watching the Michigan (yes, you read that right) vs. Illinois football game by the 4th inning.
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No big news for Sunday. We went to a new church today - Lighthouse Christian Church - that meets in the Senior Citizen Center. We enjoyed the pastor's message and met a very friendly younger couple. It is a faction of the Alamosa Christian Church that Jeremy and I had visited two weeks ago that had just lost their pastor. This is the only thing that holds us back from really liking this church. It is hard to believe how often churches split for reasons that can seem so minor to outsiders; was the issue so big that healing couldn't take place? I don't know what the issue(s) were, but it is just saddening to me. If we were to go, I think that I would like to know why they left because I want to know what it was they believe so strongly in that they would pull away from their church body. I love being a Christian. I am thankful for the grace of God. I appreciate the diversity within the Christian community. I value the Mennonite example of service and peace. But I wonder at the devisiveness of Satan. I question the example we set when we, as Christians, cannot resolve our differences - we may not fight wars with weapons, but we can certainly leave wounds among brothers and sisters. I praise God that He is bigger than what we can comprehend and that when we fail to love, He does not.
*
Oh yeah, and it snowed here - real snow flurries, some even sticking to the ground for a brief period of time. I'm planning on running (or walking, whichever I can do) in the Monster Mash Dash (5K) sponsored by La Puente next weekend. Hopefully, I am not running in snow! I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Week Continued

This week has been pretty uneventful - even just the daily life stuff has just happened. I imagine I should just be thankful. So, I am. I worked all afternoon on Tuesday getting an order ready for Ten Thousand Villages (TTV for short). I looked through ALL of their products. They have a lot of stuff!! I chose enough things to total out to about $2300. I thought that was pretty good, although only halfway to my given spending limits. We'll see how this sells and order from there. I have been trying to think of ways to bring people back to TTV. I may have a Grand Re-Opening Event or something. I only have about 9 days until the merchandise arrives, so I better get cranking on my ideas. I have it on good authority that they hired a manager for REA (thrift store); he'll start in two weeks. He is working in our food bank right now. I really like him - plus, he is a neat freak and has good ideas for REA. I look forward to working with him.

This weekend, Jeremy and I are going to go visit my aunt and uncle (Sherry and Bruce). They are building a cabin here in Colorado. I think it is about 100 miles north of where we are. It will be fun to see the cabin and to be able to hang out with them. Sherry said there are some slick spots because both there and here IT SNOWED!!!! Apparently, it is sticking up there; here it just dropped some flakes/sleet yesterday. We may continue on to Colorado Springs to visit Mike and Anja (friends from Columbus), but it depends on how much time they have available. They are flying out here for some events with other friends and only for a short time. It will be good to see them, but if not we look forward to catching up when we come home at Christmas.

I really have very little else to say. I am needing to eat breakfast and then scoot out the door for work. Hopefully, work will be enjoyable today - or busy so the time goes fast. Hope you are all having a great week. Write a comment or send a snail mail letter. We would love to hear from you ... and I will write back :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Work Week # 8

I am not really counting the work weeks - I just know what week it is because the title from the week before comes up when I start typing. It is nice to know how time is progressing. Last week of work went very fast; I am hoping this week does as well. I was at REA (Rainbow's End in Alamosa) all day today. I did the daily summary - the thing I enter as journal entries at the office. It was all new and I made many mistakes! I corrected them and tried to create a clean copy of data for me to read back at the office. The day went quickly. I was at the cash register all day. It was good because it was busy. So busy that I hardly had time to eat lunch in between customers. People are friendly that come in. I made deals with some for purchases that they brought to the counter - ie I only have $3, can I have all these things for that amount? or If I buy 3 pairs of shoes, can I have a deal? It is fun to feel like I can do those things to help people. Someone mentioned today that the store looked clean; I said we were trying to clean it up. I am glad someone noticed the efforts. That is about for tonight.

Jeremy has been religiously watching the Indians games now that they are on Fox. He stayed up the other night for the 11 inning win - not nearly as late as some of you may have! Right now we are watching game 3. He loves the early start time - today's game started at 5pm, I think. Anyway, I say (for Jeremy) GO TRIBE!!!

Weekend (non) Events

The weekend was very relaxing. We didn't have any plans for the first time in awhile. On Saturday, we ran errands, and we went to Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge for a bbq Jeremy had heard about from a co-worker. What he didn't know was that the bbq was actually the Kids' Crane Festival. So, when we pulled up, the parking attendant asked if we were here for the Kids' Crane Festival. We said we guessed so, but we didn't have any kids. Oops. Fortunately, we saw his co-worker and adopted her kids for a short period of time, and I helped out a woman trying to balance children and multiple plates of food. We also were going to make paper cranes so that we actually participated in the events, but instead we just helped peel crayons for kids that were coming to color the cranes. All was good.

In other news... I don't really have much to say about what we did because we did nothing - yea!! I just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. This has been on the bestseller list at some point, and I just never got to reading it. So, I found it at Rainbow's End and bought it for $0.50. It is a great book. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. It is about a white girl in the 1960's that ranaway from home with her African-American "nanny." It tells of their time they spent with a family of sisters, one of whom was a beekeeper; they were their house of refuge. It has lots of great lessons. When I finished it, I had nothing to read, so Claire offered me a book called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It is a good book so far. I am almost 3/4 of the way through it. It is about two Chinese girls during the period of time when footbinding still took place. It is very educational, but the story line is great. I could never have lived in a time like that or with the rules the "worthless" women had to live under.

Church... our church "shopping" continued. I really don't enjoy doing this. It feels like if we don't choose a church, they weren't good enough. In reality, we have enjoyed parts of all the churches. We need to find a place where we feel "home." We attended the Mountain Valley Church. It is a non-denominational church housed in the historic Baptist church building. The service was fairly long and the congregational sharing was very emotional - which in some ways was nice because I like that people feel safe enough to share deeply. After church we attended the potluck put on by the Deacons. I quite enjoyed the potato soup. What we didn't realize was that by going to the potluck, we were also attending their quarterly business meeting. It was a bit strange to be involved in those workings of the church and not know how to politely leave. I don't know where we will go next week. The churches in this area are, in general, very small - 20-50 people, children not included. There seems to be a lot of transition - in pastors, in the congregation's ability to fund the church, etc. I think that if some of the churches just combined, things may work in their favor... but that would mean compromise of the denomination... ???

Friday, October 12, 2007

Visit from Family (10/11)

We had our first visitors today. My grandpa Jantzen and his wife, LaVona, came to visit. They live in Oklahoma. They traveled through the panhandle on Monday, stayed overnight in Guymon. They continued onto Taos and stayed overnight there. They went browsing at the art galleries there. Then, on Thursday they left to come see us. They traveled over the Royal Gorge Bridge. Grandpa had been there before, but he was impressed once again with the canyon that is just there in the middle of flat land. I have not been there yet. They arrived about 3:45pm in Alamosa. Jeremy and I met them around 4:15pm. We chatted for awhile, then took them to La Jara to see the house and main street. We returned to Alamosa to see our workplaces. Grandpa said it was nice to see where we were at, so he could picture us here. We went out to eat at Calvillo's. (I think that is how you spell it.) It is a highly recommended Mexican restaurant here in town. It has a gigantic buffet that is delicious. Not only do they have lots of traditional Mexican entrees, but a salsa and taco bar, a salad bar, and a fruit and dessert bar. De-licious!!! We were all suitably stuffed when we left. We went back to their hotel room and talked til about 9:45pm. They are night owls!! Jeremy and I made it home by about 10:15 or so. We packed our gym clothes, so we could make it to the gym Friday morning by 6:30am.


At work today, I threw out 4 shopping carts of cheesy or damaged picture frames. Then I finished the project that I had started yesterday. The area, although it still has a lot of trinkets, sure looks much better. I put all the picture frames out on display that could stand. The rest of them I put in crates and set out below. I would have taken a picture, but as always, I forgot to take the "before" picture, so the "after" picture wouldn't have much impact. As I dumped frames into the dumpster, a lady kept trying to take them out of my cart or the dumpster. She said, "Let me look through these first." I said, "Ma'am, I have a job I need to get finished. These frames have been sitting inside the store forever, and there are still more in there. You can go in to purchase some." I am not sure if that was very nice, but I thought it was rude that she would dumpster dive while the store was open. Anyway.



Jeremy worked on his website today. I think that he is pleased with how it is coming along. It is not yet published/posted, so I have yet to see it. We'll let you know when it is up and running, and you can see his work. Take care.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Work Week #7

Well, here I am in the middle of another week of work. I have gone to Rainbow's End (REA) most afternoons this week (well, Monday, I did take the afternoon off). It is quite a challenge. I organized the purses - and threw about 20 away. I separated the cards into the card rack, so that it would be appealing to people. Cards aren't really a big seller there, but at least it looks like a nice area now. I saw some cool, old-fashioned baby announcements... not that I need them anytime soon! Today I started to rearrange/organize the trinket section. There are a lot of candleholders! There was also a lot of junk; I threw out at least 4 shopping baskets full of stuff. (The dumpster divers will love me!) I worked for at least 2 hours and am only about halfway done. My hands get dusty and dried out - hazards of the job, I guess. I think I will go back to finish that section up tomorrow.

I received a letter from my mom with pictures of my new nephews - the ones born right before we left. They are super cute! Cale is so big; I can't believe it. Paxon looks like a little man; he has lots of dark brown hair with a few curls started. It is amazing how fast they grow and change. I look forward to going home and seeing them in person at Christmas. I can't wait to see the next arrival - Luke and Steph's baby. We are waiting to see if it is a boy or girl; I like that they wait for the surprise effect of it.

Jeremy said he is almost done with the visits to sites to do surveys. There are only two sites left. At one site, the man told Jeremy's fellow surveyor never to come onto his property again; Jeremy is trying to decide if this means him as well. The other site apparently has some killer mules. I mean this literally. They will attack. Someone saw them attack a calf and carry it off. I advised Jeremy to save his life and not visit that one either! We'll see what happens.

The house participates in the Care and Share program. It is a place you can order food in bulk packages for very cheap. The rest of the house is excited about these Godiva French Vanilla latte drinks (24 for $2.70). We also have enjoyed the order of Ghiradelli chocolate chips we ordered (16 bags for $1.62). And 120 packages of Austin sandwich crackers for only $4.32. It is amazing how much this helps with budgeting. Jeff is still calculating our money from last month to see if we stayed in our food budget. We tried, but who knows until it is calculated.

I was thinking about something. Are you really being a generous person if you expect something in return? This is what I mean... If I make a meal for me, and someone in the house asks to have some, should I willingly share even though I know that I will never have a meal in return, have to do all the dishes, etc? If someone asks to borrow something, should I loan it to them even if I know that they won't do anything to return the favor or thank me tangibly? I guess I am just struggling with whether I am being selfish or if there is a common courtesy out there that should be followed. If you have any insight, please feel free to comment. I don't have the answer, just the questions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Columbus Day

I don't know how many people actually get Columbus Day off, but Jeremy had that option. He woke up and went to the gym with me at 6:30am, and then we both headed to work. I wrote 19 thank-you notes and then was very bored - no mail to sort, no bank run for Rhonda, nothing. Jeremy called and said he was going home at noon. Rhonda told me to just go with him. I called to check with Jason at Rainbow's End to see if that would be okay or if they were really busy. He said it was so dead that he had probably only sold $15 worth and Bill (in the Boutique) had probably sold $1. So, I was able to go home! It was great. I think anytime you get to cut a work day short and just do whatever you want, it is great. Jeremy took a short nap while I made lunch for myself. Then, he looked up another geocache to go hunting for. It was a gorgeous afternoon, not nearly as windy as it has been. We went down to Antonito (about 15 miles south of La Jara). Rhonda had told me of a recycled castle there. So, we found this recycled castle. It is pretty cool to look at. I took some pictures, but I don't think they give the whole picture. Jeremy was sitting in the car - embarrassed - while I crept up for closer pictures. Then we headed east on some road (Road G) until it came to the Rio Grande river. The river was beautiful with the sun glistening off the surface, and the way it carved its place in the land. The picture (above right) is of the river, the bridge, and Mt. Blanca in the background. It is amazing how massive Blanca looks even from so far away. It is so difficult to capture this open land on camera. In addition to this, there are petroglyphs from the Indians of long ago. There is a sampling to the left of what we think is a lizard. We came to this conclusion when we saw lizards hiding in the cracks of the rocks nearby. This bridge picture to the right is for Mike - the bridge inspector. It creaked a bit when we drove over it, but I am thinking it is safe.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Weekend

So, I am going to blog while I have a chance, and when I get home, I will add the pictures to this entry.

Saturday, Jeremy and I took the tourist train to La Veta (pronounced La Vee-ta, not like the Spanish pronunciation... nothing seems to be pronounced "correctly" around here). La Veta is a small town over the mountain range to the east. We went to see the fall colors. The fall colors around here are green (evergreens), gold (aspens), and a little sprinkling of red if you are lucky. It is still pretty - just not Ohio colors. We had decided to go on the weekend train because 1) we don't work on the weekend, and 2) it is pulled by a steam engine which we thought would be neat. The train moves at a pace of 6 mph - actually, I don't have a clue how fast it goes, I just know it seems like I could've run just as fast as we were moving. We realized how people in the past could actually jump on and off trains or hold them up and rob all the passengers. The first part of the ride on the way out to La Veta was pretty boring because it is what we see everyday (see picture above left). Once we finally started climbing over the mountains, the scenery was much better. I caught a picture of our train moving through the fall colors. I jumped off the train to get the picture and just hopped right back on; it was no big deal... just kidding! We went through two tunnels during the ride which were kinda fun to think that you are going through a mountain (see third pic on right). When we arrived at La Veta, the main street of town was filled with booths and people. It was Ocktoberfest in La Veta! It was nice to have booths to look at, but not so nice to fight through the crowd. It is not like there were that many people there, but there seemed to be since they were all crammed into 3 blocks. We ate at a small sandwich/bakery shop and purchased some local honey. We watched some men in lederhosen playing instruments and singing Johnny Cash songs (see pic on bottom right). We boarded the train about 2 hours later for a loooong ride back to Alamosa. It took about 3 hours to get to La Veta and 3-1/2 hours to return to Alamosa. Jeremy and I were both getting a little bored on the way back - after all, we had already seen all this once. Lucky for us, Beulah Bible was sitting behind us and was exceptionally friendly. We learned she lives right on 285 - the road we take to work everyday. Also, she invited us to church - one of the Baptist churches in town - and to the Gideon's meeting on Monday night. (Isn't it so cool she is a Gideon and her last name is Bible!?!)

Jeremy was excited to make it home from the trip to see his first OSU football game of the season. It was, for the first time, aired on regular TV. So, he witnessed OSU beat Purdue, and he got to know the players. I made pizza for the occassion - pizza and football... is there any other combination? :)

Sunday, we went to a new church - Alamosa Christian Church. It was a nice service. There were probably between 30-40 people present. Apparently, they are going through a transitional period. This was their first Sunday without a pastor. A man from the church must have volunteered to preach. He did a nice job presenting a message. I am not sure if we will return; it is difficult to be a part of a transition if you aren't already a part of the congregation and have the big picture. But it is not completely out of the picture either.

Jeremy, my little sports-a-holic, watched the Browns lose to the Patriots - although he loves the Browns, it wasn't as disappointing because Brady is his fantasy f-ball quarterback and the Patriots defense are his defense in the fantasy f-ball league... so it worked out to his benefit in the end. Then, he and Jeff (after watching A Few Good Men with me) went to Wagon Wheel restaurant to watch the Indians lose to the Yankees. Jeremy decided that they lost because he actually watched them play; he says he will not go to watch tonight, but I am sure it will be on play-by-play on the internet with commentary by him.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tuesday 10/2

I can't believe it is already October! I have finally decided that fall has arrived in the Valley with cold morning and evening temperatures (in the 20s). Daytime can be nice - 70s and sunny, or quite chilly - 50s/60s with clouds and a breeze. I have decided that I will definitely be bundling up in all my layers come winter time!

At work, I created a flyer with the menu for Milagros Coffee House and upcoming events in October. Randall (the manager) said that it turned out well - for my first attempt at advertising, that was good to hear. I dropped them off at local hotels today, and tomorrow his staff will take them around downtown. Hopefully, it will help promote events. What events? Well, we have sushi night this Friday; Randall rolls sushi for people from 11am - 7pm. Then, there is customer appreciation week; people can get 6-in subs for 2.99 and 16-oz lattes for 2.49. Finally, the big event of the month - Semi-Annual Charity Seafood Buffet. The menu includes things like ceviche (google that to find out what it is), fresh oysters, jumbo shrimp, more sushi, etc --- all of this is delivered from the gulf. The tickets go for $50 (which is a little out of my price range!) and are used to raise money for La Puente. It sounds delicious!

Jeremy is in Breckenridge at his conference for the next few days. It is a little strange not having him around. I talked to him, and he sounded like he was doing just fine without me though! I suppose being in a ski town will do that to him. He said it was VERY cold while he was walking to his car tonight. He didn't bring his heavy jacket there; I hope he doesn't freeze. Apparently, this afternoon they listened to 4 different people speak about the same three topics from different points of view. He said that part got pretty boring. He was able to meet some people his age that he will probably be working with some this year. I am happy for him.

Claire (my housemate) wanted some ice cream after dinner tonight. The only car we have available is the one she can't drive because she needs to learn to drive stick shift. So, I offered to ride with her to the grocery store in town, and she could learn to drive a manual at the same time. So we left at about 7:45 for a mile drive to the store. We returned at 8:45! :) It was so fun. She actually did very well. She would often propel us quickly forward - too much gas when starting up. When she had to turn her first corner at a T-road, I told her to go slowly and turn the wheel so we didn't wind up in the ditch. We made it successfully. The only other time that was a bit stressful was when we stopped at a stop sign and a car pulled right up on her tail - so close we couldn't even see headlights! Unfortunately, there was a small incline at the stop sign, and Claire was very worried about rolling backward into this person. I told her she would be fine - just give it enough gas. That she did!! We squealed our tires and smelled the rubber from the take-off. The driver of the other car was irritated and continued to ride our butt. We pulled over after a block and let him go around. It was a great experience to teach someone else to drive stick. The car we are learning on has over 200,000 miles on it and a very forgiving clutch. I am sure we will be trying again later. That's it for now...

Monday, October 1, 2007

Jeremy's Two Cents

Well we have been here for a little over a month and Erin has FINALLY let me write a blog!!!! jk. She has been doing a great job of keeping everybody up to date about the goings on with us, our travels and everything in the Valley. I know everybody's probably been anxiously awaiting my first entry so here it is! Let me tell you the hardest thing for me in the valley is that for some reason, nobody cares about the Buckeyes, Indians, or Browns!! Erin and I almost got kicked out the Wagon Wheel, which is La Jara's local sports bar/banquet hall/Mexican restaurant/antique shop/all around local hangout place, when we inquired about watching something besides the Broncos. But hopefully they will decide to air some Buckeyes games here soon.

Anyway, things here are going good. Contrary to popular opinion we have been working, and it hasn't been all fun and games, hiking, going to plays, cookouts etc. A little about what I have been doing here, as most of you know I am working with the Colorado Rio Grande Restoration Project. One of the things I am working on is coming up with an Acronym so it's not long to write/type.... so if you have any ideas forward them our way...or we might start calling it CRGRP. Right now I am the only full time person working on the project; we are housed in the offices of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District offices, where my supervisor Mike Gibson is the Manager. (See attached picture...yes that really is my desk, I expect something similar at Zande when i get back!!! :-) ) Mostly I have been keeping busy monitoring recent stream bank stabilization projects that our non-profit has helped to fund, so it has been great to get out and enjoy the river and the mountains while the weather is still pretty good. We did see some snow on some of the peaks the other day, and everybody here is telling us the weather will break any time now. Some of the things that I will be working on later include helping develop a water quality database website for the project, which I will know more of what that means after I go to training in November, and also some community education stuff...including a website...when that finally comes together we will be sure to let everyone know so they can check it out. One exciting thing is I am headed to Breckenridge for the next several days for a Colorado Watersheds conference. I am looking forward to it; it it should a be a great time learning about Colorado water issues and also meeting with people. It would be even nicer if the conference was in January, and included several days on the slopes, but I guess this will have to do. I do need to make a clarification, in one of Erin's early blogs she said that I met a U.S. Senator...that wasn't quite accurate, it was a Staff member of a U.S. Senator, and a staff member of the U.S. Representative. It is definitely true that they take there water issues seriously here, when they only get about 7 to 9 inches of precipitation a year. I have been very fortunate, the land owners that I have met have been great stewards of their land and interested in doing what is best for the river and their communities. Well that's about it from me for now, just wanted to thank you all for your prayers, I can say we really have been blessed by our time here so far and hope that we have been a blessing to the people here. I will try to blog a little sooner next time :-)