Category Archives: Family

THE HUGE BAD THING

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I’m not moving to Montana anymore 😦

I mean, I am. For three months. But after that I’m moving somewhere else. Where? I don’t know yet. Why? That’s a loooooong story. Here’s the short version: MSU didn’t give me any financial aid and because I’d be paying out of state tuition for my post-bacc program, the 4 semesters of classes would cost me over $30,000.

Ugh. Obviously I’ll write a real update on what the new plan is (or at least what it is for now, as I still have no idea where we’ll be in 4 months…) but I’m out of time and energy for a discussion of this today.

In the meantime…I’ll distract you with this!

Two Black Labrador Puppies

Running, running, running

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Remember this post? The one where I told you I was running a half marathon in March? Well, guess what? It’s March. Our run is 12 short days from now and in the past week I’ve ranged all over the spectrum from terrified to excited to terrified to slightly less terrified to resigned. The run is in 12 days and at this point, the only thing I can do about it is run. Today, tomorrow, the next day, and every day until I take a few days off right before the race itself.

And I have been running. In 2011, I took about a month and trained for a 10K. It was a lot of fun and I ran it in under an hour which I was really pleased about. And as soon as it ended, I stopped running. Not completely, I guess, but I stopped running consistently because I was tired of treadmills, I accomplished my goal and I had just met a really fun boy. But if you’ve followed my various attempts at blogging (visit here or here for past iterations of this blog, don’t be fooled by the top post being the same, they are two different blogs!) you’ve read my words “I want to run a half marathon” on and off since summer of 2010. As terrified of the prospect as I am, I’m excited that I’m finally accomplishing something I’ve thought about for so long. Ultimately, I know that just finishing will be a huge success and I don’t care AT ALL about the time that I finish with (just as long as I don’t get picked up by the sag wagon along the way).

I ran 7.5 miles yesterday. It hurt. 13 miles is going to REALLY hurt. But we’ve been training on the trails near our house, and our run yesterday had 1000 feet of vertical gain. Our race is along the Colorado River with a slight downhill trajectory the whole way. That will be nice. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to walk at all for the rest of the weekend. But I’m excited. It’s a strange mix of emotions. I’ll keep you updated.

Here's the summary of my run yesterday. Like I said, I'm not gunning for time...

Here’s the summary of my run yesterday. Like I said, I’m not gunning for time…

Also, wanna see something pretty? This was my prize after running 5.5 miles on the treadmill last Sunday. My grand plan was to run while watching the Oscars to distract myself from the pain and mind numbing boredom of running on a treadmill (we randomly got 3 inches of snow the night before) and I wanted to run 7 miles. Around mile 5 I started having some annoying pain in my right foot. If you know me, you know the right side of my body is a disaster, so this wasn’t really a huge cause for concern. But it got more and more annoying. Finally, at 5.5 miles, I stopped and pulled off my shoe. What a nice surprise! Not.

Nasty little blood blister. I guess I need to invest in some fancier socks.

Nasty little blood blister. I guess I need to invest in some fancier socks. Sorry for the gross picture of my foot…

But it’s starting to clear up and I’ve been wearing my trail running shoes on every run since then, so hopefully by race day I’ll be healed and happy!

In other news, I had my first advising appointment for Montana State University today. My adviser called to talk about my class schedule this summer and start sketching out what my 4 semester science extravaganza will look like. Yet another thing to be terrified of. Seriously, in all 4 years of college I (grudgingly) took 3 science classes (5 if you count those I did during study abroad programs – I don’t count them). And now I’m going to be taking 3/semester. My schedule is looking very packed full of lecture and lab hours, with little time to do anything other than eat, sleep, study, and play with my parents and my dog. That’s ok, there’s not much else to do in Bozeman, MT. Oh wait…

Take a look at my schedule this summer…yes, that’s right, two labs…

Ah, science classes. Whitman wouldn't recognize me!

Ah, science classes. Whitman wouldn’t recognize me!

For those of you who don’t speak Registration lingo, those classes are Intro Chemistry and Intro Physics. Two semesters of classes crammed into 2.5 months. Sounds lovely, no? Here’s the funny thing: most of the PA schools I’m looking at don’t require Physics, but because some PA schools out there do, I’m hedging my bets and taking it anyway. This is one of the most frustrating aspects to PA school: they don’t all have the same requirements. Not even close. Some schools require 16 hours of biology and 4000 hours of paid experience (ahem, University of Washington, ahem), some require 9 specific science classes with 1000 hours of paid experience, but your experience MUST BE FINISHED by the time you apply in October (to start school in June), some require the GRE, some don’t. Is your head spinning yet? Mine has been for the last 9 months. So my strategy is to take as many required classes that seem to be consistent from school to school, then add in the ones that are specific to the places I’d really like to go, and try to squeeze more in during a second summer semester at MSU. We’ll see how it goes!

And then a month went by…

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Sorry about that! I went home for about 10 days for Christmas. My parents sold their house recently and are living in a 550 square foot cabin on our friend’s farm, so internetting and blogging was not really gonna happen. But it was a great break from reality – fun to be home spending every waking (and non!) with my family. We skied, baked, watched movies, ate (a lot!), went to a play and generally enjoyed living out of town. and on the night before Christmas eve, my sister got engaged! Her boyfriend (now fiance) was visiting for a week before Christmas and he popped the question the night before he left! So excited to start planning her wedding!

Here are some photos from my time at home:

blackmore

Mt Blackmore from our Christmas tree hunt.

The Elephant Spring in Yellowstone.

The Elephant Spring in Yellowstone.

Bull elk staring us down.

Bull elk staring us down in Yellowstone.

The Christmas Spiders that are hung up in downtown Bozeman every year.

The Christmas Spiders that are hung up in downtown Bozeman every year.

huston dogs

The three dogs we were taking care of on the farm.

And then I flew to California to meet up with Kyle and his familiy in June Lake. Here I got to reunite with Jewell, visit some of my favorite places from a past life (www.bigwidewesternworld.blogspot.com) and have an exciting outing of my own!

My happy dog and I when we were reunited!

My happy dog and I when we were reunited!

We went of an a skiing adventure but Kyle's boots and bindings didn't fit together :(

We went of an a skiing adventure but Kyle’s boots and bindings didn’t fit together 😦

Kyle at the sand tufa - some of the coolest geologic formations I've ever seen!

Kyle at the sand tufa – some of the coolest geologic formations I’ve ever seen!

Down at the lake's edge...I had no idea what was coming...

Down at the lake’s edge…I had no idea what was coming…

We're engaged!

We’re engaged!

Carson Peak from the front yard.

Carson Peak from the front yard.

Deserted ski resort.

Deserted ski resort. We skinned up to the top!

Looking downhill to Mono Lake.

Looking downhill to Mono Lake. A gorgeous day for a ski!

Pub crawl shirts - June Lake The Lost Season.

Pub crawl shirts – June Lake The Lost Season.

I’m in!

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accepted

Ever since I started thinking about going back to school, I’ve slowly been chipping away at the never-ending list of things I need to do to make this all happen in a timely (5 year) fashion. Here’s the break down of my time line if everything goes perfectly:

July 2012 – May 2013: Volunteer at hospital in Grand Junction

August 2012 – December 2012: online math class

October 2012: Apply for program at Montana State

January 2013: CNA class at Western Colorado Community College

May 2013 – Auguest 2014: Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical certificate program at Montana State while working part-time at a hospital or nursing facility.

August 2014 – June 2015: Travel and work with Kyle.

June 2015-September 2017: PA school.

While it’s fun to think about, it has all been pretty intangible up until now…because on Friday I GOT MY ACCEPTANCE LETTER TO MSU!!! This time next year, I’ll (probably be miserable because I’ll be in the middle of finals) be living in Bozeman and be almost halfway through my pre-reqs for PA school! How exciting is that?! Here are a couple photos from the gorgeous MSU campus:

I can’t remember what this building is called, but it’s one of the classic old buildings on the main quad area of the campus. I think it’s mostly for registration and advising…

mccall hall

This is the brand new, super fancy chemistry and biochemistry building. I’ll be spending plenty of time in here for OChem, Biochem and other classes.

chem and biochem

And here is a shot of the welcome sign as you come into town. Isn’t it pretty?

downtown bozemanMSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

I can’t express my excitement at having this incredible opportunity to move back to my hometown to begin pursuing my dreams. It’s funny, in college you coudn’t have paid me enough money to take the classes that I’ll be burying myself in during the next two years. But now that I have some perspective on the world outside the classroom, I can’t wait to dive in to these classes. I’m so glad I decided to take a break between undergrad and post-grad education because now I know what I really want, and I know how important it is to focus and take advantage of every opportunity. This time I’ll be more than just a student, I’ll be an active participant in my education. Bozeman, here I come (in 4 months…)!

And the time flies.

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I’m surprised I’m still surprised at how quickly time passes. Suddenly it’s December, and just as suddenly it feels normal that it’s December. Normal, at least, until I look around and realize that there is no snow anywhere. Are we due for another winter like last? I hope not. Anyway, here’s the long-lost Thanksgiving post that I promised and never delivered on…

Last year, Kyle and I hosted both our families for Thanksgiving here in Colorado. Though we’d been dating for less than a year, the circumstances lined up well and we decided it would be too fun to feel awkward about. So Kyle’s mom, dad, aunt, uncle, two brothers and sister-in-law and my mom, dad, sister, sister’s boyfriend and aunt all piled into our 850 square foot house for the big feast. We had to put our couch out on the porch and rent a table and enough chairs to fit everyone, but it was a fun day with lots of delicious food, and it was wonderful to have both our families there to spend time with.

This year, Kyle’s brother and sister-in-law hosted in San Francisco. I haven’t spent much time in the city, but I’ve always heard amazing things so I was excited to make the trek. Plus, the weather in San Francisco this time of year is gorgeous. Because of our work schedules, we had to fly the morning of Thanksgiving which meant that things were happening by the time we got to their house! After watching some football and making the food assignments, we got going! Here is the weekend plan:

weekend plan

 

After lazing around a little more, we started cooking. We’d planned on a 5pm dinner, but there was lots to do before that happened. The first was figure out how to use the deep fryer:

thanksgiving boys

Here you see the boys standing around trying to figure out how they were going to measure the temperature of the hot oil without losing all the skin on their hands. The solution: a metal hanger! Meanwhile, in the kitchen we were working on mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, bacon maple brussel sprouts, green beans, cranberry sauce and bread. Finally, not too much after 5, everything was ready! Here’s a glimpse of our serving line (desserts not included).

 

thanksgiving food

 

And here’s a look at our table and the view. Kyle’s brother and sister-in-law live up on a hill almost above the Golden Gate Bridge, and from their house you can see a lot of the bay. It’s really spectacular!

 

thanksgiving window

 

What an awesome day! Afterward, we went on a long walk through the Presidio, around LucasFilm and back to the house. It was so nice to be surrounded with Kyle’s awesome family, I only wished my family could have been there too!

The next morning, Kyle and I got up to go for a quick run before we headed downtown. We crossed the bridge over to Marin and ran in the hills above the Golden Gate. The sun washes it out a little, but what an awesome setting for a morning run!

trail run city view

 

We spent the afternoon of black Friday (with about 100,000 other people) in Union Square. It was fun to walk around one of the best shopping districts in the country on the biggest shopping day of the year, but it didn’t take me long to get overwhelmed. There were police directing traffic because there were so many pedestrians! Finally, we went home and spent the evening watching more football, playing games and eating leftovers.

The next morning we got up and headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to Tiburon – the ferry dock for Angel Island. The day was beautiful and clear, with a breeze on the water. Here’s a view of the harbor.

angel island boat dock

 

Kyle and I before getting on the ferry:

angel island kyle and rosa

I didn’t know anything about Angel Island before this trip. What an interesting glimpse into West Coast history! For many years, the island served as a military camp or fort, and there are several historic buildings on the island. However, it is probably best known as the “Ellis Island of the West.” Between 1910 and 1940, Angel Island served as the immigration processing center during which time 1 million Asian immigrants were granted entry to the country. In the late 1950’s, the US military built a missile base on the island, but it was decommissioned not many years after it was built. Now the entire island is a state park and the only way you can reach it is by ferry. It’s a small island, but you can stay overnight and camp, explore the beaches and historic buildings, even take tours put on by the Parks employees. This is one of the old buildings on the island:

angel island building

And here is the view of the Golden Gate bridge. I just can’t get over how beautiful the weather was while we were there!

golden gate

 

We spent Sunday walking around the city with Kyle’s brother and sister-in-law, checking out some of the fun neighborhoods and taking advantage of the lively bar and restaurant scene that we don’t really get here in western Colorado. What a fun weekend! Did everyone else have a nice Thanksgiving?

 

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Anyone else finding it impossible to do anything other than think about family and food this week? It’s ridiculously busy at work right now and all I can seem to do is look at cooking blogs and photos from our epic Thanksgiving last year (more on that next week…). I just looked at almost every recipe on this blog and they all look amazing! How about some pumpkin tres leches cake? Or some sundried tomato basil corn muffins? Holy buckets, I could stay on her website all day. Or what about Food Gawker? I could get lost there too among the recipes for sweet potato parmesan gratin or the cranberry poached pears with goat cheese. Seriously, how are we supposed to do anything other than cook and hang out with family this week? I can’t wait for Wednesday night to get here!

Family and food!

A weekend in Salt Lake City

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Last weekend was the ONLY weekend in September or October that wasn’t scheduled with something specific. Between work, hunting and a relatively busy social calendar, the fall is a busy time for us! But last weekend the only plan we had was to find some fall. We live in Colorado, after all. Thursday night we got a call from Kyle’s dad: “Hey, I’m going to be in Salt Lake this weekend, you guys want to come out?”

So we packed up the dogs and the car and made the 4 hour trek over the mountains to go see some family. Turns out Salt Lake has fall too!

Fall color – beautiful box elders!

First photo taken looking straight into the sun.

A better picture taken in the shade with pretty leaves in the background.

Riding into a tunnel of colorful trees!

At the top of Catherine Pass

On a run through the lovely leaves!

What a fun weekend! We biked, hiked, ran, ate, window shopped and hung out with Kyle’s dad. I’ve always been a little skeptical of SLC – one of two cities in the Great Basin, a fairly prominent Mormon presence (I don’t have anything against Mormons, I just don’t like having too much of any one thing), a 3.2% alcohol limit from the tap (not an alcoholic, just love myself a good beer!), overall a lot of rules. But I was pleasantly surprised by our time there. The foothills around the city are FULL of trails – mountain biking, hiking, running. There are funny rules about even numbered days being dogs off-leash days, odd numbered days being mountain biking days, etc but what can you expect in a city? On Sunday afternoon, we went up to Snowbird for their Oktoberfest which involved a lot of beer, some delicious sausage and kraut, and a rowdy yodeling competition. But the most important thing of all happened on Saturday night after we arrived.

I found THE BEST pumpkin beer I’ve ever had. Usually pumpkin beer is disappointing. The flavor is either fake, or it’s not strong enough to carry the beer. But because I LOVE LOVE LOVE anything with pumpkin in it, I keep trying. And I was finally rewarded. This beer is brewed with pumpkin puree and pie spices that really bring out the flavor of the pumpkin. I don’t know if it was the aroma that pulled this beer together, but there was a distinct pumpkin-y character to this beer that most pumpkin beers lack. If you find yourselves in Salt Lake City in the next month or so, I highly recommend stopping by Squatter’s to taste their pumpkin beer (the salmon caesar salad wasn’t bad either!).