Friday, November 30, 2012

Thirty, Nerdy and Driving Day 4

We awoke to a beautiful, chilly morning in Jackson Hole and had to get started on our very long drive through Wyoming and in to South Dakota. Our next big stop: Mt Rushmore! {!!!!!}

Knowing we'd make very few stops along the way {though not knowing how few options for stops we'd have}, we made sure to eat a big breakfast {which included made-to-order donuts for Sara.}

On our way out of town, we stopped at the Antler Arch.

Jackson Hole is really pretty; I wish we'd had time to see more of it.

We drove for hours. The scenery for the first hours was so fantastic that it brought Cathi to tears. And then, it slowly became less and less, until it was flat land and hardly any towns. {We passed a town with a posted population of ten.}

We listened to several albums and I sewed to pass the time.
 Shortly after this photo was taken...

This one was taken:

Yep, Cathi got a speeding ticket...85 in a 65. Not too bad.

And about six hours later, we added another to the collection.

I was clocked at 101, but the officer {who was from CA--and moved to WY--why, I'm not sure} noticed it was my birthday and wrote the ticket for 92. What a gentleman. Not really, since I could see the Welcome to South Dakota sign from where he pulled me over...he could have just let us go. And then we could have stopped to take a photo at the South Dakota sign, too.

Who would have thought a 10 hour drive through nothing would be so expensive? Or so well-documented?

Our hotel in Rapid City was super dang awesome. Dinosaur bones on display out front? Suuure! 

The inside had been completely was really cool.

Happy Birthday sign was hung, of course.

And a few pictures were taken to document the radness of the room.

The concierge recommended a pub that had once been a fire house, so we went for some burgers. There are statues of Presidents all over old town, intending to look for Lincoln {of course}, but then Sara stepped on a dead bird, so we became a little distracted.

On the way back, we stopped at Walgreens to see if they had the Essie nail color I had been searching for aaall trip...and they did! So, clearly, Rapid City wins as the best city in South Dakota.

We climbed in bed with fresh manicures and had dreams of the Presidents we would see the next day! {Well, at least I did.}

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thirty, Nerdy and Driving Day 3

Day Three of our adventure brought us up out of Utah, through Idaho and Montana and in to Wyoming. {We didn't know it at the time, but Wyoming would be the most expensive state we'd visit.}

Our end goal was Old Faithful. Yet another item on my 30 by 30 list.

It was also the first day that it was legitimate cold. I mean, those states have a Fall that feels more like Winter {as opposed to California, where Fall feels waaayyy more like Summer}...and it was pretty awesome.

When we saw this bear outside of Yellowstone. Obviously, we had to take a photo...and obviously, Sara had to pose like a bear.

When we entered Yellowstone, we were prepared to see beautiful scenery...but we had no idea how much wildlife we would encounter! Lucky for us, Eagle Eye {Cathi} was watching from the backseat and spotted these two Bald Eagles in the trees across the street! We quickly got out and raced through the woods {before realizing we should probably be quiet} to take some photos. Sorry about the spots...still trying to figure out where on the camera they are coming from.

Three girls {okay, mostly my crazy self} can't be in the middle of the woods without taking dozens of pictures. Here is a sampling:

 Cathi's rap album cover

We crossed the Wyoming border and were that much closer to Old Faithful!

What the what? Seriously, nature. Well done. Bison + lake + Sun over the mountains + most adorable family ever with their four kids taking photos on a rock near the lake with the bison in the background = memory magic

And then there was this guy. So brave. We tried for a good 3 minutes to take a photo without him in it, but he was walking alongside of our car. Turns out, he was walking toward a herd of bison about 100 yards away and we were the dummies trying to capture just the one.

When I was in college, my mom and I went on a women's retreat to the hot springs, so I wasn't all that hopeful about the Hot Springs part of Yellowstone. Until we got there. Those suckers are gigantic! And gorgeous! And smelly. Sara had the camera, so the photos are much better than those I took earlier in the day.

We returned to the car, turned on James Taylor "Country Road" and drove the last few turns to our destination.

And, at last, we were there! We'd made it! Old Faithful!

We had made it a little too early...

We waited about twenty minutes to see her erupt. It was pretty chilly. And there was no wifi {which, for three girls on a rad road trip, we really wanted to instagram what we had seen that day while we waited to see more!}

Cathi has a video of the eruption...mostly as a cover for a way to record the conversation of the three adults next to us. Classic old people humor.

"Thar she blows." Am I right?

No trip to Old Faithful is complete without a big cup of hot chocolate. Or, in Sara's case, a heaping pile of chili fries!

We drove on toward Jackson Hole as the sun began to set. We parked for a few minutes so Sara could explore the lake and watch the sunset over the mountains. It was really, really beautiful.

We had a few more hours of driving to go--through the Grand Tetons, as we would discover the next morning. To celebrate our arrival in Jackson Hole, we sang along to a perfect Wyoming anthem: "Part Of Me" by Katy Perry.

We hurriedly unpacked the car {at this point, taking fewer and fewer Trader Joe's bags into each hotel} since it was so chilly and checked in to a really nice {and really warm} lodge. We knew it was a lodge based on the antler chandelier in the lobby.

We ate at an unexpectedly fancy restaurant across the street from our hotel and, once again, Sara's confetti table decorations scored us a free dessert!

I finished off our day by stitching a felt fire next to the fireplace in our room.
I was really enjoying Wyoming...and that would all change on Day 4.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Kind Of Hiking

Taking a little break from the Road Trip Recap...I promise there are more {and better} stories to come.

It's no secret that I'm incapable of jumping. {Seriously, if you haven't seen it, you should. I'm well aware of how completely ridiculous I look.}

However, I can jump like a freakin' pro on a trampoline. Now, I still jump safely. I mean, there's no need to go crazy or someone might break his neck.

I would LOVE to jump on this trampoline that is the length of a city block! I would be remarkably out of breath by the end {always a delight, trying to have a conversation after jumping--and laughing--on a trampoline, right? It's like the jerk who stops you at the top of the third flight of stairs wanting to ask you a series of important questions} but it does seem like it would be incredibly fun.

Those Russians...they know how to throw a party.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thirty, Nerdy and Driving Day 2

Day two of our adventure was not nearly as eventful as the first.
We drove from Vegas to Salt Lake City, stopping only for gas and dinner. {Though, the gas station near the Nevada/Utah border has quite a few stories to tell.}

I had thought that this long drive would be the start of some bickering or even starting to think, "okay, I could use a break from these two..." but we made it just fine.

We drove through Utah for hours talking about how beautiful it was. We listened to BossyPants and generally enjoyed the ride, until we began to look for a coffee shop and couldn't find one! Several Mormon anti-caffeine jokes later, we had gigantic sodas at CafeRio {which is where Nat The Fat Rat ate when she was in Utah the next day!} to make up for the lack of Starbucks in the state.

We checked in to our hotel and promptly ordered a movie and a signature Utah beer. {brilliant}

We had every intention of seeing the Mormon Temple while we were in Utah, but it didn't work out with our travel schedule. Next time, I suppose.

Next stop: Yellowstone.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thirty, Nerdy and Driving Day 1

To celebrate my 30th Birthday {in October}, I went on a road trip with two of my best friends:
eight states in six days. The photos were spread across three phones and two cameras, so the organization was a daunting task that I'm just now getting around to. And so, a full month later, here is the story of my rad birthday road trip.

I had made a list of 30 Things to Do Before I Turned 30 and in an attempt to complete as many as possible, we drove a rental car 3,323 miles to see the four sites included on my list: Las Vegas, Old Faithful, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. {I had been to the Grand Canyon before, but Sara had not, so we included it on the trip!}

The first stop was Las Vegas.
{Bonus story: The last time I had been to Vegas was for my dad's 40th birthday. I was 13. The music that was playing as we sat by the pool three days in a row {because what else can you do in Vegas at 13-years-old?} was Waterfalls by TLC and You Outta Know by Alanis Morrissette.}

We stopped at the Vegas sign before checking in to our hotel.

As his birthday gift to me, my dad paid for our hotel rooms in each city. We pulled in to the valet of the Cosmopolitan and really fought to hold in our squeals of excitement as they unloaded our luggage {and a few Trader Joe's bags filled with snacks...classy, I know} in to a beautiful hotel room with an amazing view.

We visited the hotel pool. And listened to Claire De Lune while we watched the Bellagio Fountain show as we got ready for dinner.

Sara surprised me with this Happy Birthday banner that she proudly displayed in five of our six hotel rooms {we forgot to hang it up in Salt Lake City.}

We had a delicious dinner at Top of the World at the Stratosphere Hotel. It's Sara's family tradition to cover the birthday dinner table with confetti. {She did this nearly every night at dinner, which resulted in a free dessert at most of the restaurants.}

On the way back to our room, {we had a early start the next morning} we stopped to take a look at the Chandelier Bar in the hotel.

{It took about six tries to get a non-creep to take this photo.}

At that point, I don't think we knew what to expect from the next five days, but we enjoyed our brief visit to Las Vegas so much that we couldn't believe it was only the start of our adventure. 

Next stop Salt Lake City.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, Happy Thanksgiving.

My goodness, I have so much to be thankful for: my family, my friends, my job, my name a few.

I've had such a great year so far and I believe that there are many exciting things to come in the final five weeks of 2012.

Eat an extra croissant for me today!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me

1. I had an imaginary friend growing up. His name was Peeley Herman Block. His wife's name was Penelope.

2. I can remember the birth dates of every one of my friends from Junior High. And every student ID number I've ever been assigned.

3. I drank my first glass of Orange Juice when I was 27.

4. I can't jump very high, run very fast, or whistle very well.

5. I always tell the truth. Not simply because am I a terrible liar, but I also because I believe there is always room for the truth.

6. I've ridden a horse, an elephant, a camel, and an ostrich.

7. I am in the background of an episode of Boy Meets World...wearing red plaid pants. {It was 1997, that was stylish.}

8. I am almost always reading at least three books. {two fiction: one in my purse, one in my room; one non-fiction}

9. I kinda hate Disneyland; with the exception of Mickey Mouse Rice Krispy Treats and the Christmas snow.

10. At least twice a day something brings me to tears: a story of life-change, a moment of deep insecurity, a "saw this and thought of you" gift delivery, my co-workers telling me it's almost time to decorate for Christmas...tears.

Inspired by my post with a similar title from November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Well That's A Novel Idea

Six or seven years ago, over dinner, I told my Dad of my plan to write a book.

It would be letters from the writers that made me want to read about the books that made them want to write.

I dreamed of the idea of sending letters to the authors of my favorite books {or to their remaining family members} asking them to reply with a list of the books that encouraged them to become writers. In my dreams, I would compile the wonderfully articulate, often witty, sometimes handwritten letters in a book--each laying side-by-side with an explanation of why this author {and his or her work} is included in my list of favorites. 

Can you imagine reading Fitzgerald's list of the books that influenced his writing? Or the authors that help to shape the creativity of Roald Dahl?

This, to me, is brilliance. This is a book I would want to read.

Turns out, I'm not the only one...
I saw this today on Cup of Jo: My Ideal Bookshelf is a book in which one hundred of the leading cultural figures share their favorite books.
I'm looking forward to reading through this book...and as a result, adding to my list of books to read.
And, who knows, maybe someday my literary dream will become a reality.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Project 365*

I'm ramping-up my game on the New Year's Resolution front this year. For the last five years, my resolution has been the same: to be smarter. And, each year, I think I've accomplished this. {Special thanks to Google, IMDb and my Dictionary app.}

This year, I'm planning something new...and I'm bringing it up early because I'm hoping:
... with great accountability will come great success
... that you might join me in this endeavor

A bit about Project 365.
{A working title. If you have suggestions, let's hear 'em!}

The idea would be that we would each choose one {or two. or three.} things we'd like to do each day for one year and then do just that: each of those things, each day, for one year.

My list so far {as I mentioned, I'm still working on it}
. write a thank you note
.. exercise
... blog

Now, the thought is not 'once you miss a day, you fail and you're out', but rather: if we attempt to, say, write 365 thank you cards, but only actually write and send 320--that's still a heck of a lot of gratitude.

Not shame for those days missed, but celebration for those remembered.

So...what do you think? Are you in? What on your Project 365 list?
Spread the word and keep me posted on who'll be joining me!

2013 is going to be pretty kick-a. I can feel it.

*I may have {unintentionally} stolen this title from someone. If so, my apologies...and also, could you remind me where I picked it up?