Sunday, July 31, 2011

Scottsbluff Monument

Saturday was the first day in a long time that I could sleep in without an alarm.  Not that I typically have to get up on a Saturday, but I always feel like I'm wasting the day if I sleep in.  So, I went to bed without an alarm clock *gasp*.  No worries though, my kind elderly neighbors were up and making plenty of noise by 8am.  I don't have a clue what they do that early in the morning, but the pounding sure doesn't make for quiet rest.

I finally rolled out of bed around 9am.  Pretty good for a girl typically on the go.  E was spending the day at home cleaning and I had nothing that had to be done.  So, I decided to take a hike up to Scottsbluff Monument.  I scoped it out Friday night with a two mile walk along the perimeter and located the perfect place to park.  You know, the kind where you don't have to pay to enter the park. 

I began my excursion around 9:45.  I actually was just planning to head to the visitor's center and back-1.2 miles each way.  I started my trek in 85 degree weather and was moving along at a pretty decent pace.  The grasshoppers rustled the brush nearby every now and then and I was reminded of the snake sightings I'd heard of out there.  So, I basically jumped a bit every time one made some noise.  Eventually, I got used to them.   I was in a pretty open prairie like setting and really starting to notice the sun.  It was getting warmer. 

Fortunately, the path was headed past a small grouping of pine trees.  As I passed the trees I started thinking about the fact that this was probably one of the few areas that wildlife would have a safer place to hang out.  I walked slowly to peek into the trees and brush to see if I could see any deer.  Suddenly, I heard a hiss, rattle, and a snap...I turned to my left and about a step behind me was a snake coiled up with his head and part of his neck (not sure if that's technically what that area on a snake is called) was sticking straight up in the air.  I picked up my pace.  For a brief moment, I considered turning around to take a photo.  Probably best that I decided against it.  A biker came up beside me a few moments later and inquired as to whether or not I saw the RATTLE snake.  You bet I did!  Good thing I didn't get that photo. 

Eventually, I made it to the visitors center.  I saw a path heading up towards the monument and figured I could make it another 1.6 miles (each way) and off I went...  On my way I passed a couple about my age with a woman that looked to be in her 70's.  I figured the path couldn't be to hard if she could handle it.  I kept going even when the sweat started dripping down my face and it seemed like I was walking at a 90 degree angle.  I may be exaggerating a bit, but it was definitely going uphill.  I got to where I thought was about the 1.6 mile mark when I saw it.  The climb that led to a really neat looking cave.  I pushed on.  By the time I made it to the cave I was hot and exhausted.  I paused in the shade before making it through the cave to the most beautiful view of the city of Scottsbluff and Gering.  I decided I'd gone far enough and started heading back to the visitor's center.  Then, I saw it...a pretty blond girl RUNNING up the path.  Talk about feeling out of shape...

The descent down was a lot easier.  I actually jogged part of it.  Partially because it was such a steep incline that my body wanted to and partially because I was inspired by the blond girl.  I made it back to the visitor's center and spent some time cooling off and getting several drinks from the bubbler (that's a water fountain for you nonWisconsinite's).  I vowed that the next time I take this hike I'll bring water.  Oh!  E received a few text photos of my hike and my plan worked-he said he'll go with sometime. :)

I was very cautious on my way back past the snake sighting, but of course I had my cell phone camera ready to go.  Figures-this time no snake.  I made it back to my car safe and sound. It was 95 degrees. I plan to hike it again tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2011

An ebay wedding

I just heard an interview with a girl on the radio who wanted her wedding to be "unique, special, and personalized".  In hopes of fufilling these wants, she purchased most items for her wedding on Ebay. 
Personally, I think she was looking for some media coverage.

Call me crazy, but I'm going to be over the moon excited with my traditional wedding.  Our wedding preparation will begin with premarital counseling-with our Pastor, the ceremony will take place in a church, and it will include the usual hymns and a sermon. It may not be that unique and personalized, but it sure will be special.

Day six, near miss accident, and grandma's crew

I've almost made it through my first week at the Village.  I also almost got into a car accident yesterday.  I started to turn into the Village driveway when a car came racing up the driveway from the opposite direction.  I immediately thought "ugh, some kids need to learn to slow down!".  The best part, this driver was partially in my lane so I couldn't get into the drive and the other driver just sat there.  I actually had to back my car up to enter into the drive from the left of this car.  Then, I saw it,...the driver was a sweet looking little old lady.  When I passed her on the left she actually perked her head up (I'm guessing to see out the window) and looked to her left.  It was as if she was checking to see if I actually didn't have enough room to get into the drive.

Once I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the cutest idea on someone's car.  The volkswagon bug had a bumper sticker on the back that said "Grandmas Crew", but the best part were the four paint filled hand prints that she must have let her grand kids put on her bumper.  Adorable.

When I safely made it to the Village, I decided to go for a walk/jog.  I've increased my jogging from three to four laps around the pond.  I did eight or nine laps total in the 90+ degree weather.  At some point, I need to get a pedometer and figure out how large the pond is. 
See the pretty swans?

The white duck is clearly the leader and always first in line.  They all quack like mad any time I run walk/jog past.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Its the simple things

My fiance and I went to meet with our photographer last night.  Horray!, we have a photographer booked that I love!  We went with  Not only are they fabulous and have two photographers there the whole time, but they know our Pastor.  Actually, Pastor Strawn suggested this photographer to us as she's done confirmation photos.  She had the cutest siamese cat in the shop. It sure did make me miss our cats...
After meeting with the photographers and discussing our Wisconsin "accent" (which, by the way, we don't have the accent-everyone else does) we hit up Subway for dinner.  This is becoming quite a ritual since it's about the only place open in town after we finish meeting with the Pastor.  I don't like Subway, but I'm growing tolerant of it. 
We went our seperate ways around 9:30 and I made the trek home without hitting a deer, antelope or elk. I've heard several stories about people seeing elk standing in the middle of the road on the route I take.  When I got home I pulled into one of the parking spaces and realized just how good I have it.  It seems pretty simple, but I recall apartment complexes in Milwaukee and the small spaces that were always all filled.  I haven't had a parking issue at the Village yet.  In addition, the spots are pretty large (I'm assuming they are made like handicapped spaces).
Tonight we head back to Bridgeport again to meet with Pastor Strawn...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The First Few Days...

In preparation for our wedding, I moved into "The Village" this past Saturday.  We began meeting with our Pastor a few weeks ago.  Since we want to get married at this church, we are required to live apart prior to getting married.  Fortunately, E and I both agree this is the right thing to do and is something that is long overdue.  So, we decided that due to my commute, the best option was for me to move close to the hospital that I work at.  I'm pretty lucky to work for a company that owns retirement housing and happened to have a room available for me to rent.

It is kind of sad to move apart and somewhat lonely living on my own again, but knowing what the ultimate goal is makes the transition a lot easier. 

It's been interesting so far.  Here's a summary of the excitement to date:

The Good

  • There are three domestic ducks and two gorgeous swans in the pond in front of the apartment
  • I met my next door neighbor on Monday-Ms. M.F. seems awfully sweet and quite inquisitive
  • Utilities are included-this means I've set the central air to 68 degrees
  • The pond has a nice path around it so i've actually started running again (ok ok, I walk a lap and then jog a lap and repeat the process a few times)
  • I brought my rollerblades and hope to take a few trips to the bike path.  Of course, I'll drive there, skate a bit, and then drive back.
  • I have a patio tomato plant that is thriving on my small patio
  • My commute to work takes four whole minutes.  My previous commute was one hour and fifteen minutes!
  • We are doing what is pleasing to God, in regards to not living together prior to marriage, and I no longer feel guilty
The Bad
  • I miss E
  • I miss Callie (yellow lab), Turtle (Tortoiseshell cat), and Maize (cat #2)
  • My neighbor Ms. M.F. is rather inquisitive
The Ugly/Odd
  • I went for my jog/walk on Tuesday and listened to some sweet woman pushing a walker yelling at the Swans: "oh quack, quack, quack, how are you? quack, quack!, quack!"
  • I am currently sleeping in a twin bed.  Monday morning I rolled over.  Apparently, I forgot about how small the bed is and fell right out of it.  I knocked over a picture of E and I in the process, but fortunately (since the mattress & box spring are right on the ground) I have no physical damage.  I always wondered how someone could be so out of it that they'd fall out of bed.
I'm adjusting and really looking forward to the day when we become husband and wife.

Great News Of The Day:
I'm going to be an Aunt again and this time i'll be blessed with a little niece!!!