Monday, September 24, 2007

Texan Michigan

It's Thursday morning, September 6, and I'm leaving for Michigan. What's in Michigan? Well, my wonderful friend Loralee, her husband Gabe, and their very spoiled, very charming dog Sophia:
On Sabbath, we went to the Eau Claire church - and I saw Brooks, who was the co-pilot on our trip to Russia. He and his wife are getting ready to head to Papua New Guinea as missionaries, where he'll maintain the mission's aircraft....
I got royally trounced at bowling, and had fun learning how to play a cooking game on Gabe's Wii (way too addictive! but aren't you glad I unlocked so many recipies???). And Lora and I even indulged in a little house-hunting expedition. Some may wonder why we were looking at a $575,000 Craftsman-style home, but that's just because we aim high. :) Oh, and I also had another job interview while I was there...

On Friday, Lora took me to Stovers, a u-pick apple farm. And even though the mosquitos were large and abundant enough to suck half of your blood supply in a single sitting, we braved the elements and picked some delicious Honeycrisp apples. Apparently, there are apple snobs in the area who consider that variety a "tourist apple." I say they need to have their taste buds examined. :)
On Monday afternoon, before heading out of town, I stopped by again to grab some more of those delicious Honeycrisp apples off the tree....

Next stop: Calhoun, Georgia! (With a little overnight stay in Kentucky...)

Miles driven to Michigan: 629
Miles driven in Michigan: 26
Length of stay: 5 days
States my tires touched the ground in: Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan
Total miles driven: 1,702

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Texan Nebraska (and California)

On August 26, 2007, I did it: after leaving my job and telling people I wanted to take some time off to travel, to see family and friends, I was actually embarking on my first road trip. My first destination: Nebraska, and a whole host of college friends...

I stayed with Mike, Heidi, Cora and Brianna. Didn't manage to get a family photo, but Heidi and Cora were reading a bedtime book one evening:
Cora is too funny - the first few days I was there, Heidi was working. So the girls left for Grandma's house with their dad before I came out in the morning. The second morning, I think Cora was pretty sure her parents were telling her a tall tale about their visitor. I heard her announce quite firmly, while standing outside my door, "I'm going in there." But dad said no. To which Cora replied, "But Daddy, if I don't go in there now, I'm never, EVER going to see Kristine!"

The first few days I visited Allan, Wendy, Elijah, Matthew, Benjamin and Josiah. (Don't be fooled by the pink - baby Joey is just doing his best impersonation of a girl due to a diaper malfunction.)Matthew is a pretty quiet little guy at first, but I knew I'd made an impression when he asked him mom "Is auntie coming over again today? She's taking FOREVER..." Kudos to you Wendy, for raising such a wonderful family!
From Nebraska, I flew out to southern California; my uncle passed away and his memorial service was over Labor Day weekend. It was a great chance to visit with family I hadn't seen in years, including several cousins:(And just in case any of you are wondering when I'm going to grow up and get a job, I DID talk to two organizations out in California about positions they have available...)

I flew back on Sunday night, and on Labor Day we all got together for dinner at Jeremy, Holly and Abigail's house:
Some things in Nebraska have stayed the same: if you buy a car, just make your own sign to let the authorities know you're driving legally:

Miles driven to Nebraska: 621
Miles driven while in Nebraska: 416
Miles traveled by air: 1,772
Length of trip: 11 days
Total miles driven: 1,037
States where my tires touched the ground: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, California

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Temptation for the taste buds...

At my house, it's difficult to underestimate the need for something to "spice things up." My dad likes things with a kick - and I've seen my brother eat something so hot it makes him break out in a sweat (which, curiously enough, isn't a sign to stop eating the pepper juice). I even have my own rating system based on my dad's taste buds:

Dad says: "It's not hot at all..." = medium
Dad says: "It's got a little kick to it..." = hot
Dad says: "It's hot..." = I don't touch it with a 10-foot pole!

Here's a selection of items from the fridge:
See the plastic container in the front? There's a church member that makes some kind of salsa for potluck every week, with extra for Dad to take home. And I think it's really a game called "Try to Make the Gringo Cry." Because this stuff is potent, people. A few weeks ago, I was going through line at potlock and saw some tabouleh. Now, I love tabouleh. So I put a couple spoonfuls on my plate...and then realized that the little specks I THOUGHT were bulgur wheat were actually jalepeno seeds. Which means there were a LOT of seeds in that pico de gallo!

So if your taste buds ever need a workout, you know where to go. :)

Texan Albuquerque and Santa Fe

So it's been awhile since I last posted something...mostly because I discovered that socializing with friends I've seen in the last few weeks is a lot more fun than documenting it! But, since I'm about to embark on another journey, I'd better get in gear.

Last month I traveled to Albuquerque with my dad and two of his sisters. Just an overnight trip, but we packed a LOT in. My uncle has always enjoyed gardening, and my dad and his sister were picking apples, peppers, green beans, okra, cucumber, squash, and some of the best grapes I've ever had. (Believe me, if you've never had grapes ripened on the vine, you're missing out. They're delectable!) We chopped up the apples and canned a few jars, cooked up the beans and okra for supper, and brought home several boxes of fresh grapes. Woo hoo!
Monday night, my cousin and I took off to Santa Fe and I went to my first opera ever! It was a more modern staging of "Cose fan tutte" in a fantastic venue - the Santa Fe Opera is an open-air facility and they do multiple productions during a short summer season. In another life, I think I would have liked to be an opera singer. (And by other life, I mean one in which I had a trust fund to sustain me while I labored in obscurity in some European chorus for decades while waiting for my big break.) So, in real life I majored in business and sang for fun, attaining the heights of fame at Union College in the octet, Witness. Here we are, at the 3ABN studios in the spring of (gasp!) 1996:
But I, in closing a gratuitous nature shot: a New Mexican dragonfly with an inordinate amount of interest in the car antennae.

Miles traveled: approx. 782
Length of trip: 2 days
States where my tires touched the ground: Texas, New Mexico

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