Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week In Review: Denver! Pt. 3

It's Saturday and I have a few moments of downtime (both small miracles!) which mean one thing: It's time for the Week In Review! (And, yeah, it's been two weeks again, but who's counting?)
  • The most exciting thing that happened last week was that all of us USC volunteers were scheduled for a retreat in the mountains. It might surprise you to hear it, but...we were not excited. It was going to include a 3 hour drive (which turned into 4), meant leaving at 8am, and even though it included taking Friday off work, we were sure it would include non-stop programing from our directors. 
  • We grumpily packed our bags, got in our cars and proceeded to have a wonderful, relaxing weekend. 
  • It was beautiful! This Texas girl still gets very amazed by the mountains. Aspen trees are also turning into my very favorite trees. 
  • The only downfall of the retreat was the fact that one of our fellow volunteers got sick during the first night. Poor her, we thought. 
  • We came home and, one after the other, all got sick. 9 out of the 10 of my housemates (myself very much included) got the stomach flu. 
  • I continue to love my new room. I'll try to remember to take a couple of pictures sometime (now that I finally have pictures hung up!). 
  • I have an entire wall of bookshelves--which normally would make me swoon. I still like them, but it also makes me a bit sad because I got rid of, gave away or packed up all but about 20 books. 
  • The weather here has been very bi-polar. Everyone told me that it would get hot/cold/hot/cold here, but I wasn't expecting all of those things to happen during the same day. It's also true that the sun is very hot here--even when it's cold out, if you find a spot of sun to stand in, you'll be ok. 
  • Many afternoons around the church office it is just the secretary, the sexton (janitor/groundskeeper) and myself. They are both at least 40 years my senior, but the bright spot in some of my afternoons is when the three of us all sit on the same bench in our courtyard taking a smoke, coffee, and sun break (respectively). 
  • Friday afternoon, when I was hoping to catch up on office work at the church, my plans were distracted by a good ol' fashioned chickin' pickin' party. A group of Methodist women wanted to come by and help prepare food for our Monday feedings. Several tons of chicken had been cooked previously in the week and these women came by to pick it all off the bone and chop it up. Somehow they even pulled our famously grumpy music minister out of his office to play old hymns while we worked. 
  • I finally got to see Stacey and Brad this week for the first time since my move in day. David and I went over for dinner--and it's amazing how quiet and homey it feels to eat dinner with only 3 other people after a couple of months in my house. It's also so fun to have old friends in town--especially when they are as hilarious as these two. 
  • November is coming! Who knows what that means? I'm getting ready to get my NaNoWriMo on!

OK, pictures--mostly from the retreat:

A shot from the drive up. It rained on us most of the drive through the mountains, which had me a bit stressed, but, when the clouds rolled out, it was beautiful. 

Right before this we saw two elk (?). One of which ran in front of a truck then clothes-lined itself on a fence wire. Ouff. 


Rainbow Trail Lutheran Encampment

Unlimited hot tea, a porch swing, Aspens and a view of the mountains--It was a good moment





I stayed a optional second night. That meant I had Saturday evening and all of Sunday to do with as I pleased. I took a solitary walk..

found a stream...


and an Aspen grove...


found a chair...

And actually read (imagine that!) for a while. I get so little time to read anymore (or,  you know, would just always rather sleep) that I gave up on the novel I was reading in favor of rereading some of my favorite short stories. 


Sunday was a completely beautiful day. I soaked up some sunshine...

read Phillipians by a noisy stream...

And then walked a labryinth (which I had been wanting to do for a while now!). 

A beautiful weekend! Even if it did get us all sick...! : )


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Week In Review! Denver Pt. 2!

It's been another two weeks in Denver--and they have been jam packed. Jam packed with adventure, heartbreak, meetings and, as of the last two days, snow! So, here we go--the week (ok, it's been two) in review!
  • Remember how I had a horrible tree mural and Cookie Monster blue shag carpet in my walk-in closet sized room? Not anymore. One of my housemates had a massive room and didn't like it. So, we switched! Now we are both happy campers. (And, she painted the mural and psychedelic dresser within 48 hours of being in there. She's got way more energy than me!)
  • I continue to love my jobs. The stories I hear though, at my afternoon job especially, continue to break my heart. We had a guy in who couldn't come up with the three dollars he needed for the copay on his heart medications. He'd gone without for two weeks before he found us and came in. (He said it might as well have been three million dollars because he couldn't come up with it on his own either way...) There was another guy who had recently become homeless and because of all the rain had found shelter for the last few nights night...in a port-a-potty. 
  • Fall was beautiful for a few days. Then, after an 81 degree day, winter rolled in. Friday I woke up to snow. Flurries have been falling on and off since. (Brrr!!)
  • UnderArmor cold weather socks continue to be my best cold weather friends. 
  • As much as I love my jobs, I love the weekends even more. Last weekend David had cooked up some kind of a surprise. It had been on my calendar for a month, but I still didn't know what it was going to entail until I arrived at his house last Saturday. We drove out to a state park in the foothills, had a picnic lunch and then went horseback riding! I did not see that coming! David later had a lesson to teach up in what is the beginnings of the mountains, so we headed up there, had some coffee, and spent the evening there. While he was working I had a walk around town and wrote some postcards. It was absolutely what I needed to get me through the next crazy week. 
  • Last Saturday eased some of the restlessness bubbling up in me. Horse back riding somehow reminded me of Moroccan camel rides (except way more comfortable!) and the little mountain town was giving me flashbacks to both Boquete, Panama and the mountains of Cyprus. Sunset walks and postcards just set the travel mood even more. 
  • This weekend we took things in a completely different direction. We found a free jazz concert with a famous local band playing at a Methodist church down in Littleton. We thought it might be fun. (And, since it was free we were more than willing to take the gamble!) We walked in through snow flurries to find A) warmth (both of our houses and both of my jobs are so cold!), B) lots of old people (there were about 125 people in there. I think we were the only ones who weren't grey headed), and C) lots of fantastically ugly sweaters. The whole evening was great fun. The band was good, and really got rolling at the end--and the old folks were loving it. Orthopedic shoes were tapping all over the place. The grandma in front of us was especially getting down. 
  • Two separate couples stopped to tell us that we did not old enough to be there--which just tickled us even more. 
Some pictures from the last couple weeks:  

I remembered to take a picture of our house. 10 of us live here and there are also offices for our directors. 

Horses!

Stables in the foothills. We weren't that far away from town or a freeway, but it still felt like we were in the middle of Wyoming. 

I did not fall off! : )

Our horses: Sky (David's) and Shy (mine). Not really sure why mine was named Shy. It certainly was not shy about stopping to eat, pooping at will or passing gas when others were near. 

It was a beautiful area. 


Up in Evergreen. (Seriously, it reminded me of both Boquete (remember?) and the Troodos Mounains (see here)).


Some fall trees

And sunset walks



Back in the work week, I decided half way through Monday (that had already involved staff meetings and inventorying more than 500 vases and other random things we sell) that in order to make it through feeding 1000 people spaghetti and then through an additional 4 hours of afterwork Urban Servant Corps programing I would need a boost. I made a lunch time stop at Starbucks while switching buses downtown. 

It was a good call because I found plenty of messages waiting for me when I got to my afternoon work site...

There's a saying that there's only two things in life that money can't buy: Love and homegrown tomatoes. I'm obviously a very lucky girl to have both. 

Friday morning at the bus stop!

The snow was beautiful...even if it had me worried that it was getting so cold already.

Totally


And finally, this evening even my Under Armor socks weren't quite cutting it. It was time to bust out my socks knitted by a Bosnian nana. David brought them back for me this summer and I've been waiting to rock them ever since.