Colorado Sunny in the Sky

I’m actually writing this a week and a half after the fact (7/13), but I’ll do my best to make it interesting.  This should have had a post per day really because quite a bit happened.  But here-it-goes…

Friday (7/1)
We got up early (~6am) and took a Southwest Boeing 737 to Denver. The flight was pretty uneventful aside from the take off and landing which I always enjoy. I listened to about 110 minutes of The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris while Caitlin and Lorelai slept. The Denver airport was a new experience. They have trams to get from the gates to the baggage claim where we had to go to a separate claim for our car seat; no sign or anything. We waited about fifteen minutes before someone came along to tell us. We waited about an hour for Jessi and Michael to pick us up in their Subi (Subaru Legacy); during the wait Lore danced, ran around, asked loads of questions, chased flies, and acting the way you’d expect a three year old to act after a flight that lasted multiple hours.

Aside from having to sit longer the drive from Denver to Buena Vista was nice. We chatted about various things that I don’t really remember; catching up and me asking about the surrounding landscape mostly I think. It was hard not to notice the number of gun shops and liquor stores.  At one point during the trip I read something that said, “The second amendment is what makes the others possible.”  True statement.  I slept and Lore had fun randomly waking me with pens and other methods that amused her. We stopped by an old western looking hotel in Fairplay/South Park City for lunch, I had a BLT before making it to our temporary lodging.  They had lots of Kenny and the western-type merchant district; besides that it didn’t seem very South Park-esk… perhaps if they imported more snow and a talking towel.

After passing it a few times we found our lodging place tucked away off the road leading to BV.  It’s a decently sized yellow house with a deck wrapping around the second story.  There were several entry ways on the deck partitioned off a couple bedrooms at a time so separate groups could inhabit and depart individually.  The down stairs had a couple more rooms off of the communal kitchen area.  One of those was the room Lore, Caitlin, and I shared.  Outside the communal kitchen there was a barbeque, a patio table & chairs, and about 5m² of synthetic turf to goof around on without dealing with the dusty desert.  Beyond the turf was a rock planter bed, a bit of dirt with a ants going about their anty business and a steep hill laden with shrubs and woody plants going down to the fast flowing Arkansas River.  The Hartkop parents, Tom and Mickey, were already there waiting for us; they inhabited the other room off of the kitchen.  Lindsay and David came an hour or so later.  We mostly played with the “dragonballs” Jessi got for Lore in between vegging with a drink in our hand and getting various elements of cooking equipment to work.  The igniter on the propane barbeque didn’t work so David had to get under the burners to light it manually and the oven flipped a breaker which is behind a locked door.  It also didn’t take Caitlin long to lose one of the dragonballs to the river.  Delicious ribs, spaghetti, salad and fruit were prepared by Mickey and helping hands.  Lots of talking happened before heading to bed.

Saturday (7/2)
I got up with the sun, showered and went outside to avoid waking anyone else.  I spotted two antlered deer which were already running from me.  Wandering around I saw an old military convoy truck, cacti, weird dirt mounds that I presumed to be evidence of moles, and a little rabbit.  It was pretty spectacular to see the rolling and rocky mountains raising up in a 360° display.  Five or six swallows were darting up and down the hill leading to the water catching bugs.  I was sitting and watching them on a large rock bisecting the planter-bed when Tom let Lorelai outside to find me.  After getting her dressed I took her on the meandering route I took over the surrounding desert-ish field of sparse, sharp little plants.  Then we ate a bit and played with balls and couch pillows as people started waking up and coming down for the Solar Roast coffee that Tom put on.

People went various places while Caitlin, Jessi, Lore, and I went in search of a park for Lorelai to play in.  We got a tour of the little town before settling for a tree-shaded little play structure and swings.  Taking a path across a water channel we got to play on some boulders too.  Before too long we met up with Michael, Tom, and Mickey of which Michael was in search of a deli that sold an egg sandwich with croissant as bread.  No such sandwich was found so after Tom and Mickey went to meet on of Tom’s old college buddy’s the rest of us went to a steak house and had various foods other than steak.  Jessi, Michael, and I tried an amber beer from Colorado’s Dillon Dam Brewery… the dam beer was tasty and good for a couple chuckles.

After lunch the Subi took Lorelai and I back to the lodge for a nap.  People went to the store or something at some point.  David had his Canon EOS out snapping photos and eventually ended up showing Lorelai how to take pictures with it.  Some time after waking and playing with the balls some more I think guitars were brought out.  I got to act like a guitarist, even though I was mainly playing bass lines and power chords, as Michael led the way with what chords he knew and Tom followed along on his banjo; yeah, dad would fit right in with this back porch melody tinkering.  Eventually Lindsay and Mickey’s food concoctions came out for us to eat.  Chicken, corn on the cob, a green salad, a noodle-ish salad with artichoke hearts and (I think) a good amount of vinegar.  If it was vinegar that’s probably why I had a couple helpings.

After dinner I got to help finish off Tom’s Jagerita concoction, Jagermeister with margarita mix blended with ice, that got left in the freezer from the night before.  After that was some fruity pink thing with tequila. We did various things vegging and talking.  Caitlin showed Tom Weird Al’s I Perform This Way video and a couple others while Lindsay was off on the planter bisecting boulder braiding Lorelai’s hair.  David was wandering around with his camera and I think Michael was in Tom’s room softly playing on a guitar.  Jessi and Mickey must have been cleaning up because I recall them coming in and out here and there.  I also impressed Lorelai with how high I could through the dragonballs and catch them.  Eventually the eight and a half of us eneded up in the 8 person hot tub chatting about life, business, and acting silly until it was time to head to bed.

At some point in there I was watching an ant carry a crusty worm for a while when David came along and we talked about various nerdy things like the roaster he’s designing and some other stuff I don’t remember.

Sunday (7/3)
The next day Michael, Jessi, Caitlin, Lore, and I headed to Pueblo not too long before noon.  The mountains were amazing as the route we took (HW285-50) went along the river.  More sleeping and being awoken by Lore.  We took the spine of a mountain along Skylinedrive which looked over HW50 on one side, Cañon City on the other, and had a great view over miles of land stretching to peaks of the Rocky’s.  Stopped for lunch at Pizza Madness in Cañon City before later arriving in Pueblo, dropping our things off and chilling for a bit before going to a 4th of July party with friends of Jessi and Michael’s.  We were shown the layout of their home and their gardened yard area.  Very nice place you have here.

That party started outside with tables, lawn chairs, and potluck type foods laid out.  I met the hosts Cain(?I think) and Jenny. There were others there but I don’t really remember their names.  While hanging out winds started picking up and throwing stuff everywhere so we all moved inside.  Caitlin and Jessi went to the video store while everyone was in turmoil.  Michael, Cain, and I sat in the kitchen and chatted about stuff.  Lore was going between the guy and girls groups.  I think the girl group had some science tarot cards or something; I’m not sure what that was about because I only glanced that way to check on how Lore was doing while paying attention to Cain and Michael’s conversation about plants.  Eventually Caitlin and Jessi came back with movies and we headed back to the home to watch Battle for LA before heading to bed.

Monday (7/4) – 4th of July
Another long and busy day.  I woke before everyone, showered and got ready.  Lore and Michael woke at some point.  I put a Aristocats on for her and drank a french press with Michael. Michael took off to do business stuff at Solar Roast.  Jessi was awake at some point and I helped her get the kitchen ready for breakfast.  I dried dishes and cut up watermelon.  She did everything else including the preparation of eggs, bacon, and other fruits.  Lorelai was well into Singing in the Rain by the time we ate and Caitlin got up.

Jessi and I cleaned, corked, and packed a cooler while Caitlin prepped herself and Lorelai.  The cooler didn’t fit in the Subi’s trunk.  So Jessi put the stuff in a bag.  We went around Pueblo getting shown the sights and stopped at the downtown Solar Roast location to meet with Michael.  We sampled some wares, which were very tasty, while being shown the layout and the present roaster that David designed and built.  Eventually we went away, came again for Michael, then headed up to Bishop’s Castle.

The drive was pretty, as usual.  Bishop Castle was pretty cool.  We explored the main portions of it and traveled up the highest tower.  I had Lorelai firmly in hand because she didn’t want to be left behind.  Caitlin didn’t mind being left behind at all… she pretty much insisted upon it.  The meeting hall was the most impressive part; the steel, glass, and wood work Jim Bishop was capable of made an impressive display.  The dragon head coming out of the front of the building was pretty radical too.  We stopped by the gift shop to fulfill some requests as well as getting Lorelai a red gem and myself a globe pencil sharpener.  The lady at the cash register was nice to us when we came up a few cents short; after walking away I vowed to my comrades to donate $50 to the place but upon reflection (which may have actually been something pointed out by Michael) she probably just didn’t want to deal with the card charge.  I plan to donate, but just a more meager amount to compensate our shortage of cash and the awesomeness of the location.  There’s a lot to say but most of it you can get from wiki.  My impression of it was wonder and curiosity.  Jim Bishop is a dedicated fellow and I admire him for his individuality and resolve to maintain his freedom despite government objections. 

Heading back we had lunch at a road-side restaurant, I had another BLT, then went back to Solar Roast to buy coffee for people back home and let Michael get his car.  Lounged around back at the house.  I got to lay in a hammock for the first time ever… so could have fallen asleep rocking in that thing.  Jessi helped Lorelai make a path rock with her hand imprint in it.  We went inside and watched The Town to avoid the mosquitoes.  It was a pretty good movie, one of those worthy of watching if you’ve already seen the block-buster movies.  Tom, Mickey, Lindsay, and David happened by for one last interaction.  After the movie it was time for bed.

Tuesday (7/5)

We all got up early, packed up the rest of our stuff, and said goodbyes to Michael. Jessi, Caitlin, Lore, and I stopped for McDonald’s on the way to the airport.  We talked and Jessi told us about a couple things along the way.  We said our goodbyes infront of the big tent airport, I hadn’t noticed how tent-ish DIA was when we arrived.

Caitlin went to get us food while Lore and I hung out and watched people, planes, and a moth similar to the ones we were chasing the night before.  Boarded the plane, took off, landed in Reno where people departed and others boarded, we took off, and eventually landed in Portland.  My mom picked us up and drove us home safe and exhausted.

Birds and the bees – note: msg me to get prefered

Well, Caitlin’s announced it and my sister is raving about it so I may as well put it out there for anyone who happens by my site. Last Monday (3-12-2007) just after getting in my car after work Caitlin called me to let me know that she just took a pregnancy test and it showed as positive. A lot seems to have happened in a week and a half. I’ve been ecstatic, worried, stressed, or all of these at once. I even cried in sheer relief and happiness at one point; and I haven’t cried since around 2002. It’s been pretty intense.

My strongest feeling toward the matter is happiness, believe it or not. I’m going to be a dad. Caitlin and I are creating this person who we’ll raise, nurture, mentor, and provide for. I can’t wait to meet them. I can’t think of a greater tangible reason for getting up and going to work, doing taxes, and finding another job. The motivation is wonderful.

I’m also stressed and lacking some sleep for the same reason. There are only a couple more things I can really accomplish before it’s just throwing resumes at job postings by the handful week after week. I’m pretty confidant that Comcast will call me back for the com tech job, which would be awesome. At least half again what I’m making now plus better bennies. But I have to assume the worst. Our baby isn’t going to wait for the perfect job, so I can’t either. If anyone sees anything entry level or computer related that pays above $15/hr throw me a line.

It’s called moving up, but I’m moving out

That’s right. My mom and I are parting ways. We gave a notice to the apartment people a couple weeks ago. So we’ll be out in mid-October. I’m moving in with Jessi and Luke for a couple months. Once I get a two or three pay checks from my new job (they pay once a month) I should be able to get my own place. I’m pretty excited. Just wait and see what setup I’ll have for my computer/entertainment center/work station. I have something brand new and never seen 😉

In other news, I may be going out to watch a band in P-town somwhere. Rachel invited me last night, sounds like something to do. Anyway. Back to work…

I’M SO BORED!

I’m at my sisters house right now. House/cat sitting for their cute little kitten, dogberry. I know what she’s talking about in her last post when it comes to feeling awkward using other peoples things. All I’ve used since I’ve been here is the TV, computer, oven and toilet. It’s fairly nice to be out of my house, actually… I’m afraid that it’s even more dull over there.

The quick scoop on my situation is that ENU let me go and I’m waiting for my next job to pick me up. I’ve been told that i got the job, and not to worry. Apparently they’re waiting on my DMV records. But I hate waiting like this… I’m used to working 40+ hours a week plus another hour a day worth of driving… when I usually get home my day is GONE. Now that I have a few days to my self I find myself sitting around watching TV for lack of anything else to do. Luckely one of the channels had four episodes of Star Trek TNG. I’ve got to get those DVDs when I get money… they don’t make TV like that any more. I totaly redid my MySpace profile with CSS and stuff. I was so bold as to e-mail a couple old high school aquatences that I barely knew for the hell of it.

Ahh… it’s nice to be out of the house… have I said that? I can’t wait until my mom can get a job and move out… Yeah, if you’re coming in from MySpace you heard right. I’m living with my mom and I’m making the only money right now. I mean… I love my mom and all, she’s forked out her portion to keep me alive all these years. But at the same time, this is my time to fly… I can’t help but feel a little disapointed when I find my wings but I can’t leave the nest. Who knows what the future holds… maybe something will pop up.

For the Record

This is quite an update. I worked on it off-line before posting. It’s long. It’s spell checked. I decided to write it for my memory than for others to read. So it’s a little long winded and detailed. Read on if you dare 😉

Well, I woke up on Saturday and found Anna sitting by the fire. She’s one of the few members in my extended family whom I know well enough to hold a conversation with. She, her sister Laura and Laura’s BF came in late the night before while I was sleeping. They’ve always been fun to tease and talk to. Jose and Liz (couple) were also sitting there. Jose is hilarious, he’s an older guy (50s+) who is good natured and full of mischief. Always a pleasure talking/listening to him and/or Liz talk (and banter). Good, light-hearted people. Jose was my un-official companion for the morning as we made our rounds.

Now Saturday is the main event of our family reunion. It starts out with the cooks of the family making breakfast. My first stop was at Betty-Jeans who had French toast, biscuits, bacon, and eggs with cheese. Busy woman. She usually had a score of kiddies and a puppy named Tank in her tow. Tank gets the cutest dog award for the reunion, a golden retriever/lab mix with a calm/playful temperament. They’re a family I met just this time out. Next Jose and I visited my great aunt Lina (another character you can’t help but love). She made up pancakes and gravy. There were a few other camps with food, but I didn’t know the family members presenting. Really it didn’t matter much since I was already stuffed to the brim after two outings.

While sitting, talking and eating with various people Emily and Jessica showed up, all grown up and beautiful. Jessica also brought her cheerful roomy, Mallory. Emily and Jessica are extended family members that my sister, whom I’ll call Jessi, is close to. I never really had much contact with them in the past. People were introduced to Luke one at a time. Mallory was introduced to me a couple of times.

Not too long after Jessi, Luke and I went on a little trip. We walked up a path running parallel to the river. We passed the ‘cave’ and went to the cliff and climbed down. After such we proceeded to swim, crawl and walk back down river, over rapids and boulders. It was a gorgeous outing. Luke found a little waterway that went under the road. It was enjoyable and awesome but it seemed to take forever (hour and half). I couldn’t swim much longer than a stretch at a time by the end; my arms were completely out of energy. I think it will be a new tradition as long as the reunion is held at Cascadia.

By the time we got back everyone was already eating the second phase of our Saturday tradition, a massive potluck where every Jeffery family member brings on a dish or two. There were four picnic tables worth of food and deserts, a most welcome sight after the long swike (swim+hike). I gathered a plate and sat in the sun in front of my aunt Patty, she showed up while the Swanson’s and I were swiking. An older missionary talked about an experience he had in a far away place with rock solid gypsy boys. How now one would pay them any notice except him and these street hardened boys shed tears when he left them. It was a good story and he had an interesting way of telling it.

More talking and hanging with family members ensued until one by one everyone went down to visit the river. Here we go again. I walked down to the smaller swimming hole with Dad and Lisa. It was crammed packed with a Mexican family; there must have been at least forty of them. Dad jumped in. I soon followed with a deep dive, I was going for form and control, but I ended up smashing my left fingers into a rock, causing them to throb at me in annoyance. It could have been much worse, lucky me. After a while the crowd encouraged us to move to the other swimming hole again. It was completely vacant, but shady. I dove in with a little hesitation. COLD. After getting used to the water again I made my way across the river to a large rock with a rope going up a slanted side of it. I climbed it without much trouble and wound up looking down at the water 25+ feet below.

This rock and I have a history. Two years earlier, when there wasn’t a rope, it took me 15 minutes or more for me to jump off the stupid thing. I was just standing on the rock shivering and petrified. Finally I let gave my legs that reluctant instruction and I went into the water without any further complications. I think I remember Laura being angry toward me for that, she was afraid for me and didn’t want me to die.

This time it didn’t even take a minute. I was nervous, but I was up there and there was no other way down. It’s funny how a persons mind can change in two years. Dad followed my lead and jumped. We both slapped our hands pretty hard, but other than that came out able bodied. Luke climbed up to a lower jumping area and stood there for a while because he’s afraid of heights. In that course of time someone from Betty-Jeans family went up to the top and jumped. I gave in and did it again after encouraging Luke to make the plunge. It was a good swim, didn’t take too much more energy.

Everyone made it back to camp safe and sound. Soon after changing Luke and I started up another game of Pigs and Chickens. Jessi invited Emily, Jessica, Mallory and their brother Skyler to play. Dad and Lisa also joined ranks. While the game unfolded I got to know the girls and Sky a little better. Emily won the first game with little competition and was eager for a second. Everyone stayed for a second except Lisa. I won that one with some stiff competition from Luke and Skyler.

Once that was over Jessica, Emily and company had to depart for home. While Jessi was saying her goodbyes Luke and I got pulled aside to play horseshoes. Luke and I played against my dad and my uncle Mike. We won the first. They won the second two.

Finally Saturday has come to an end. Now it’s time to update about recent events.

What a beautiful weekend this was!

It’s been a short-crazy weekend. Don’t know how much I’ll get in, I’ll try to keep it too the point. It started Thursday night while I was at work. Jessica called me and asked if I wanted to take off THAT night because Luke wanted to get away from it all ASAP. Of course I said ok. So I scrambled all my things together in about a half an hour, causing me to forget all my toiletries and a number of other things that made me go, “Oh yeah.”

Got to Cascadia park about 10pm and set up camp in a single camp site. In the morning we broke down camp enough to put the tents on top of the car and let Jessica drive while Luke and I rode on the trunk holding the tents. We drove over to where the group camps were and figured out where we were supposed to be and pitched up. More people moved in… then we moved camp again to be closer to family we knew. It turns out that 109 people showed up. There were a couple friends and foregn exchange students, but the vast majoraty were descendents/relatives of my grandpa and his two brothers.

Friday I helped others set up. Sat around talking and joking with family. Went down to the bigger water hole with Dad, and Lisa(dad’s GF). COLD. We swam up to the shoots, were the rapids shot out a stream of water deep enough to swim in. Went back and Jessi/Luke were coming down. Swam around a little more. Went up and ate chicken/potato salad/grapes in the g-parents trailer. Dad’s cousin Jerry came with her new hubby John. We played Pigs and Chickens, a dice game Luke bestowed on the family. It was my first game, and I won. Yippy me! Then Jessi, Luke and I hiked to ‘the cave’ which turned out being more of a rock face that sloped inwards. We followed the trail the rest of the way to the cliff and hiked down, across the river and into someones back yard… so we hiked back with a little light to spare. It was a good day 🙂

I’m going to stop here… I’ll pick it up later. Nighty

Oh Me Oh mY

Yeah, Jessi’s wedding thing went pretty good. My slide show thing turned into two slide show things, one looping on each of my monitors at the reception. A monitor for wedding/hunymoon/couple pix. Another for the Kid progression pix. Met friends and family from long past. All n all things went off without too much fuss. And it was fun. That’s the key.

Sunday I hung out with my dad and g-paw for most of the day. It WAS fathers day after all. Lindsay came along with me. She’s a nice girl you may have heard me talk about. What can I say, I’m rather fond of the girl. Jessi and Luc showed up part way in too. Ate steaks, played Uno. Went to Batman Begins, just lindsay and I.

OMG! Batman Begins! See it! Good! Yes yes… go you must.

Lindsay ended up staying through Monday and leaving on Tuesday(she came down on Friday). She’s in Medford now 😦 Teleporters. I’m telling you… there’s a huge market for teleporters… like from Star Trek… beem me to Medford please!

Umm… oh, I got an e-mail from Phil yesterday. Phil is my contact for that job that wants me to get certifications. He let me know what tests I need to pass… so I’m sorta swiching my focus there… but it’s basicly the same… only harder. I may just goto Borders every night until the books are read. Make some kind of routine for myself or something. I NEED TO MOVE ON! My current job is working on imploding I think… I’ll tell you more about that once I can conferm 🙂

I must go place now. There… over there. By the water despensing jug. *wink*

Horray for CAKE!