Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We're so excited!

We leave tomorrow afternoon to go to Albuquerque. Our flight home leaves on Thursday, December 20 at 8am. Please pray for us as we travel. We are so excited to come home and see family. Hopefully, we will see many of you as well. We plan to be at Salem Mennonite Sunday, drive down to Columbus (maybe Thursday the 27th), and visit with family. Our blog will probably not be updated until we return (the 3rd). So, enjoy your break from logging in to the site, but mostly, have a great Christmas!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

weekend events

On Saturday, Jeremy and I went to the Outreach Christmas Party at the Shelter. (Outreach is a program of La Puente that helps people with their utilities, rent/mortgage, and medical bills.) I had no idea the way the party works, except there was a meal, Santa was there, and we give gifts to everyone. When Jeremy and I arrived, there was a really long line of people outside the shelter waiting to go in - some were waiting in T-shirts, some in shorts, some with coats, some with no hats, many with little on to save them from the 7F temperatures we had at noon. You can see Lance (La Puente's executive director) trying to get people to "sing Santa to the shelter." We waited for at least an hour to get in because they would take a small group at time to get in line to talk to Santa - everyone who talked to Santa received a gift. In front of Jeremy and me, there was a young woman who was expecting a baby girl in 3 months and her 4 (?) year old son. The woman had no coat on - sweat pants and a t-shirt only - and the little boy's teeth were chattering uncontrollably. He had on a coat, shirt, and athletic pants. I gave him my little stretchy gloves, while I held a cup of hot chocolate to stay warm. When I asked where her coat was, she simply said she didn't have one. I went into the shelter where I knew there should be a small donations of coats we had received the other day along with hand knitted hats someon had donated. I brought out a coat (which was too small to zip around her pregnant belly) for her and a knitted hat for the little boy. That helped some, but it was just so bitterly cold! Once inside, we had a great meal of ham, potatoes, broccoli, and homemade pies. Also, there was brief entertainment as Lynnea's (office accountant) daughter did the snow queen dance from Nutcracker. It was fun to sit and eat. We met Larry who had recently moved to Almosa area after buying some land and a trailer. He said it was very cold, and he would probably be going back to Florida soon. I never found out what brought him here in the first place.

On Sunday, the unit house had our Christmas Dinner. We invited Alice, Andy, Isabel, and her husband (I don't really know how to spell his name; I'll have to ask) over to eat with us. Each house member made something to contribute to the meal - Emmy, mock tirimisu dessert; David, spinach/artichocke dip with chips; Jeff, mashed potatoes; Claire, a fancy salad; Jeremy, honey glazed ham; and me, zwieback (rolls). Jeremy worked very hard on his ham, and I was very impressed. He studded the ham with whole cloves and basted it with the honey glaze every 20 minutes while it was in the oven. It was a big hit, as were all the dishes. The meal and the company were fantastic. I am full and hope to recover before feasting again when we get home.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

snow

Today the fog was thick until about noon. The trees were beautiful. It looks kinda like when you have an ice storm, but they are just laden with snow. I tried to take some pics; I don't know if it does it justice. It was also very cold - and will get colder... -10 on Friday night, I hear. When the sun started to peek out, the trees began to snow. It was such a cool thing to watch. Instead of melting off the trees as I remember seeing in Ohio, the snow just continued its fall to the ground from where it had rested briefly on the branches.
Tonight, we went to Jeremy's work's holiday party at Trujillo's restaurant in town. It was fun to meet the people that are on the board. There was a very entertaining older couple that sat beside us and acted like they had known us forever. They made me laugh and smile so much that cheeks hurt.

work week

Just a quick catch up...

Monday - I worked at Hunt Ave Boutique. Because it was a bit snowy, I figured it could be a slow day; however, I sold twice as much as I did last week! Plus, my new order of Ten Thousand Villages stuff came in. So, I had fun unpacking all of that - it is like my birthday when that stuff comes. I ordered a hammock chair that I love. I hope someone else loves it, too. :)

Tuesday - Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. We got quite a bit of snow over night and the wind was blowing it around viciously. Although we all were up and ready for work, we decided not to go in - SNOW DAY! I baked cinnamon rolls. They were the best I have ever made (almost equivelent to my mom's!). I was glad the altitude didn't ruin them.

Wednesday - I was at the office all day. Lots of people have mailed monetary donations come in the last few days, which is great, but it also means that my hand will be hurting from the hours of writing thank you notes. It was nice to catch up with Rhonda after our weekend and snow days. This evening we had Jason and Patricia (our pastor and his wife) over for supper. It was fun to talk with them. They are a fairly young couple (30s) with 4 kids and one on the way. They sent the kids to the grandparents' house, and came over for a night "alone."

I think that is it. We are counting down the days to coming home. We leave on our flight ONE WEEK from today. I am so excited.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Skiing!!!!

Wow! I don't know if any of you Ohio skiers have skiied anywhere else, but Rocky Mountain skiing is a whole different ballgame. Crested Butte Ski Resort (see the resort from the slope) is having a promotional ski free from Nov. 25 - Dec. 15 where your lift ticket is free. (After Dec. 15, it is $80 for an adult lift ticket!) We thought this was a great deal and made the long trek north on Sunday as a unit. We had to go over Monarch Pass which was a bit snow covered and made the trip longer because of we had to drive slower. That is the problem with living in the Valley - everywhere you go, you have to go over a pass. We left at 7am, arrived around 11:45, got our (free) lift tickets, ate a sack lunch, rented skis, and were on the slopes by 12:30pm. Jeff had skied back in high school and was very unsure about trying again. Claire hadn't skiied since high school either, but was more enthusiastic. David and Emmy had come to Crested Butte with their friends on the Sunday after Thanksgiving; there was very little snow and only 1% of the slopes were open for skiing. Jeremy and I had skiied within the last year somewhere in the midwest. The mountain was beautiful (see left). It had been snowing - there was about a 46 inch base with about 6 inches of powder that had fallen the night before! I have never seen that much snow. We hopped on the lift and headed up, up, up. The first time down the green slope (called Houston) was pretty slow going as we taught Jeff and Claire the basics, and I relearned them myself. David (pic to right) tried to ski off trail in the deep snow - unsuccessful on attempt #1. Jeremy (pic to the left, looking frantically for his buried skis!) was also unsuccessful in the deep snow when trying to follow David (whose second attempt was successful). Emmy and I were the only ones to remain upright the whole way down; although, I did almost topple trying to ski and laugh - two things I can't do at the same time. The next time down a different green slope Claire had a memorable run. She was flying down the slope so fast and a little out of control when she lost control, hit the deep snow and came inches from the trunk of an Aspen tree (see pic to right). Later, Jeremy, David, Emmy, and I went up on the highest lift. It went so high; I thought I might throw up! When we got off the lift, I realized that I would have to ski down. We started on a pretty steep blue slope, which I wiped up 2x on (no one has a pic of this, since I was the one with the camera). Then, we ended with a pretty easy green called the Yellow Brick Road. I was mostly scared of being hit by the crazy people coming down the black diamond and double black diamonds and taking me out on the way. We made it safely to the bottom, but my legs were burning by the time we got to the bottom (about 20 minutes down on skis). I included a picture of me with my awesome ski goggles on. It was an amazing day of skiing. We wrapped up around 4pm, the slopes were closing, and the sun was going down. It felt good to take the ski boots on and head back to the car. We had supper in Gunnison, drove slowly back over Monarch pass, and trudged through the front door at 9:30pm. I fell into bed and didn't wake until Monday morning for work.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Charity Ball

Every year for the past 17 years, Valley Wide Health Care Systems has put on a charity ball which raises money for La Puente. We were able to attend this one. La Puente board members helped pay for tickets for the La Puente volunteers, and we bought a ticket for Jeremy. I mentioned before the grizzly bears that had been painted by local artists. This is where they were on display, and then auctioned off. On Thursday, Jeremy and I helped set up the 30 live Christmas trees to decorate for the Enchanted Forest theme of the night. When we arrived Friday night, it looked wonderful. You can see where the bears were "corraled" in the picture to the right. They auctioned off each bear in the center of the dining room after dinner. It was kinda exciting - like Salem's Thanksgiving Day Auction on steriods. The lowest costing bear was about $4500. The most expensive bear was done by a Native American artist and went for $20,000! The small bronze bear that was the orginal before the others were made went for $10,000. They estimated that $116,000 were raised for La Puente. It was a great time, and fun to dress up a bit. We're going skiing (hopefully) Sunday; I'll write more then.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Work Week #15??

Who knows which week this is.. I just can't think of a better title. I have stayed up later than normal the past two nights and am a grump because of it. (Let me just point out that late for me is past 10pm. I am definitely an early bird and not a night owl!)On Sunday, we stayed up playing a guys vs. girls game of Outburst II. The girls won; this was round 2 and we had lost the first time. There are some really hard categories in Outburst! This time playing the guys were stuck with a lot of hard topics, last time we were; so I think it's all fair. Then, last night we opened the game called What Were You Thinking? We didn't really play it because we didn't like the concept or the fact that the fact or fiction category didn't give the real answer, which means you never really knew if you were right or wrong. We did read the "would you rather.." type questions. This lasted for quite awhile, but it was entertaining to learn about each other.

Work has been good this week so far. Hunt Avenue Boutique was a little slow as far as customers, but better than last week. There were two women that came in to specifically look at Ten Thousand Villages (TTV) stuff. I thought that was exciting - it was also a first. I learned from TTV that I cannot put their logo outside the building, on ads, or use if for publicity because it is trademarked. Hopefully, putting their name in my blog will not get me in trouble. I guess that surprised me because I thought they would want their name out there as much as possible, but maybe our store doesn't meet their standards... who knows. I am just naive when it comes to this business stuff. I went to the college class on Marketing and Research who had done a project for Milagros. I thought they did a great job. I walked away well-informed. Lance (the director) walked away very enthusiastic and churning up new ideas. We'll see what happens with all our new information from the college classes (advertising and marketing/research).

Jeremy is working on some report to the board. He is also trying to come up with the best way to take samples and how to record the data effectively. I think it sounds pretty intimidating myself. I don't understand it completely either, which is why I just wrote two sentences!

This past weekend we house/pet sat for his boss. They have a beautiful southwest style house with a big TV and cable. They also have two dogs and three cats and a very specific routine for feeding them. It was a relaxing weekend, but also a learning experience. One of their cats had to be given a pill. Unfortunately, she wasn't a cat that would just eat anything. (She had had chemotherapy and food didn't appeal much.) So, we had to hold her, tightly wrapped in a towel, pry her mouth open, and toss the pill in, massaging her throat until it was swallowed. It took us almost a half hour the first night, but by the third night we had it down to under 5 minutes. It ws good to be around animals again and to have some time to ourselves. It was also fun to live in the "city" of Alamosa where things are easily accessible. Living in La Jara, you have to drive at least 25 minutes to get into town. This, I realized, probably saves us a lot of money spent on eating out, random shopping trips, and other miscellaneous spending. We are back in our unit house and doing great. We made french toast and bacon for supper last night - I love breakfast for supper. That is about because I am starting to ramble. Have a great Wednesday/rest of your week. Until next time...

Sunrise

I will write more - maybe tonight - but the sunrise was breathtaking Monday morning and I thought I would share it with everyone. This is what we saw on our way to the gym. Blanca's Peak is now covered with snow and it is the mountain you see in the picture on the bottom left.