Sunday, June 23, 2013

To Vegas and Zion

Dave and I hadn't seen each other since spring break and my semester just let out, so we booked a last minute trip to Vegas to visit some national parks we hadn't hit yet over memorial day weekend.  My flight was delayed 4 hours, so I called southwest and they put me on an earlier flight.  I was at work at the time, dinking around until my 5:00 bus, but suddenly I needed to be at the airport in 30 minutes and the next bus wasn't for an hour.  I called a cab and he zoomed me to the airport for a pretty price.  The security line was the longest I've seen it in ages, but I made it to my gate just in time to fill up my water bottle and board.  I get to Vegas and grab my massive piece of luggage with all of my camping stuff in it, and head over to the United wing to wait for Dave.  Yeah, no restaurants, no nothing over there.  It's like an empty warehouse.  I should have stayed in the Southwest wing.  I ate some cookies and sat at Dave's baggage claim.  Only, he didn't come to baggage claim.  Apparently everyone on his plane got on a train that took them to the other terminal and no one was there to pick up their luggage.  So I grabbed Dave's suitcase and we met at the car rental place instead.  What's the point in reserving a car online if you have to still wait in line for a half an hour?  Dave was also starving and I calmed him with cookies.  Thank goodness for the monster cookies I made.  We found an awesome taco shop in a strip mall on the edge of town (Roberto's?) and had an awesome, super-late dinner. 

We head downtown, and due to construction, can't figure out how to get into the parking ramp, but after circling the block, figure it out.  The Flamingo didn't have the room I reserved (again, what's the point?), but put us in a huge suite.  Like, a bedroom with a huge livingroom and kitchen attached.  In retrospect, I should have just asked for a cheap room and my money back. We were only there for about 10 hours total, but whatever, it was funny and decorated old-style.

Flamingo.  Nice decor.
Flamingos at the Flamingo
Finally we could relax!  We checked out the flamingos in the morning and drove to Zion.  We stopped on the way for groceries, which was a little difficult. Camping food is always a challenge gluten free, but when you don't have any supplies from home, it's a little harder.  We went with sausages and soup and snacks.

Dave's good friend Brian and his girlfriend Kelly were making their way west camping, and were at Bryce canyon that night, so they got up early and got us a camping spot in Zion.  Good thing, because it was beyond full by the time we got there in the afternoon.  We set up our tent and the four of us headed up the canyon in their cool bus that keeps the park from having too much car traffic.  (No cars allowed!)  We hiked up to the Emerald Pools and got to see some cool pools, waterfalls, and frogs!  

Starting the Emerald Pools hike

It was hot, so it was nice walking under a few waterfalls.

A small emerald pool

Smile, boys!  (Brian and Dave)

The top pool.  Pretty awesome. 

We were there fore about 15 minutes before we found the frogs making all of that noise!

Dave leaving the top pool

One of the falls from the pools

Yellow Columbine!
 We stopped at the Weeping Rock and enjoyed some wild flowers and ferns and an epic view.
From Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock

Not sure where Dave got this coupon, but he slipped it in the picture without my noticing.

Deer!  And our campsite.
 I think we stopped for ice cream at the visitor's center and then we enjoyed some sausages for dinner and slept by the light of a very, very bright moon. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spring Semester Whirlwind

I worked most days this semester from 8am to midnight.  I worked most weekends.  I joined a gym in April and got in the habit of leaving work at least a bit earlier than I had been (leave at 6 instead of 7) so I could burn off some anxiety.  The gym did wonders.  I'm feeling great mentally and physically.  Here's a brief summary of the few fun things I squeezed into my busy semester.

Dave came to visit me for my 31st birthday and stayed for the week!  It was bliss having him back in Colorado for a while, his first trip since moving out in July for his sweet new job.  I got a gnome that my aunt painted when she was young.  It lived in my Grandma's basement and I begged my aunt to let me have it.  My aunt Dawn also sent me something super special, a painting she made when she was really young that hung at Grandma's house!  It is a girl who kind of looks like me wearing a scarf and standing in a winter scene.  It's kind of hippie-ish and I just LOVE it.  My aunt Darcy send me my Grandma's snowflake necklace!  And my mom sent me the gnome with a bunch of apple pie filling that was gluten free.  So sweet!  Dave and I had the most amazing birthday dinner, fondue!  We made a bunch of fun things we could fry up that I usually don't get to eat because they usually are made with gluten, and it was so delicious!  (Cheese curds, onion rings, and some healthier stuff as well.)

Grandma's basement gnome. 

Me!  I'm not doing the pizza wedge!  (Although I'm also on a green)

I spent spring break skiing with cousins Jennifer and Ryan and uncle Randy at Copper Mountain, then went to visit Dave in New York.  Skiing was awesome.  Jennifer is the best guide and knew how far to push me.  I finally feel like I'm a skier and not a pizza-wedge-skier. 

 I flew to New York and had the pleasure of Dave's family coming to visit us in the city!  First we got Dave's brother and sister-in-law and all of the kids.  We went to the Natural History Museum and enjoyed the dinosaur bones.    The kids took the subway, and we had a taco party in Dave's small apartment, which was hilarious with Gavin (1) walking around and Dave's place being the least baby-proof place on earth.  :)

If we put him on the bed, maybe he won't get into trouble!

Connor playing Dave's banjo.

On the subway.  Dave's sister-in-law is on the left.  She is the mother of these cute kids!
Dave and I went to Katz's deli on Good Friday thinking we'd be the only people willing to eat meat during lent.  Yeah, we were wrong.  Awesome pastrami sandwich (I ate the meat and pickles, Dave ate the bready part). 

This is a gluten free bakery that Dave found for me, Tu-lu's in NYC.  I got a cupcake and maybe a coffee cake for breakfast the next day.  YUM.  Such a treat!

We met up with Dave's friends Carly and John at the Headless Horseman.
We also found a Trader Joe's wine shop near by and stocked up (that backpack held a lot of wine!)  The next day, we met Dave's newly-wed brother and sister-in-law for brunch and a museum day.  We went to the transit museum in Brooklyn.  It was pretty cool, you could walk through old subway cars and see the funny ads on them. 

Finally, on Easter we went to a beautiful cathedral called Riverside.  Awesome architecture.  I flew home on Easter and wouldn't see Dave again until late May. 

I had some great seniors this semester that kept me company and kept me sane.  I'm lucky to work with such great students, which is the reason I'm still here and haven't gone running east just yet.