Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Right Now: September 2017

Right now

I'm listening to podcasts.   Or at least I was on my way into work this morning.   My new commute is about 20 minutes long.  Not terrible, but long enough that I need something to occupy my thoughts.  I'm not really a fan of the radio, nor am I a connoisseur of music, so podcasts have become my "go to thing".   Everything from NPR to pop culture can be found on a podcast...and the best part?  Free!
I'm loving that:   we've turned the corner from summer to Fall.  
Photo credit:  Hubby, somewhere near Ouray CO

 The furnace has been turned on, the mountains have had their first dusting of snow and we are clearly headed into a new season.  Oh sure, I'll be weary of this season soon enough, but I do love the change that comes in the weather and the mindset.  

However, before I go into total winter hibernation, I love that I spent a little time this past month with friends and the hubby.  

First up was a quick camping adventure to Canon City.   

And a chance to catch the sunset on the impressive "Skyline Drive"

  Another objective of this little get away trip was to explore the options for "boondocking".   For those not into the RV/Camping lingo, boondocking references when you camp somewhere that is free..free in cost but also free of the usual comforts such as electric hook up, water, and facilities.   There are many options here in Colorado, especially on national forest land and BLM land.  However, in this setting, those options were either off on a rugged road that was not appropriate for the RV to traverse or in a canyon where cell coverage was non existent. 

So instead, it was a night spent at the KOA, with running water, electricity and wifi! 

This past weekend, I gathered with a group of dear friends (the Vegas ladies) to celebrate some birthdays.   As is our tradition, when someone has a birthday, we all wear sombreros to celebrate.

   It proves for a very festive and fun outing, and I'm always impressed with how friendly and curious others are as we sit there with our giant hats, laughing and chatting...
I'm needing to wrap this up.    Soon the students will arrive and my day will begin.   But what a treasure this new job is, that I have a chance each morning, to savor that cup of coffee, check in with colleagues and in this case, update the neglected blog.   

I'm feeling like:  I shall embrace the words shared by a friend this morning.   In the wake of the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas Sunday night, fear, hatred and anger can become the prevailing emotions.  However my friend remarked that intentional kindness is one thing that can combat those negative emotions circling our world right now.    

"In a world where we can be anything, be kind!"

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Right Now: August 2017

Right Now

I'm listening: to my guilty conscience.    I'd rather go back to reading my latest library read, but I realize  that we are already 3 days into the next month and I've not uploaded August pics to "the cloud", nor have I tackled any of the tasks I'd promise myself I'd work on during this 3 day Labor Day weekend.   So, here we go, a quick wrap up from the Chang Gang...

I'm loving that:   the changes we've all experienced this past month seem to be working out well.

For starters, I've started a new chapter in my work career, heading to a district just north of where I've worked the past 7 years.

Overall first impressions are good and I"m optimistic that I've landed right where I belong.

 Still a nurse, still in a school, just working in a  district with different challenges, and assigned to a  school with way fewer students but with each student having more significant needs.

 Thing 2 is starting the final chapter to his K12 education...
 Surrounded by friends he's had since elementary school...
and Feeling pretty confident it's gonna be a great year..
He's also changed jobs...but so far, I've missed THE TARGET (hint-hint) in terms of snapping an on-the-job photo of the newest red-shirted cashier..

Thing 1 is also starting off on a new adventure...
As he starts classes at the local community college.  *Camera shy, this photo is courtesy of google images.

And let's not forget hubby.  While he didn't have any  back-to-school adventures, he did get to experience one of those once in a lifetime experiences when he traveled to Nebraska to witness the much anticipated total eclipse
...his pictures were pretty impressive and I have to say,  helped me appreciate that while we had 93% eclipse here, 7% really does make a big difference when it comes to the sun.

I'm needing to:   lace up the shoes and head out for a walk...just so that the next time I agree to do a 5K with my neighbor friends, I won't be so sore the day after. 

  Yep, you read that right, last weekend the ladies and I did a fun 5k called the Color Run.   

No running was involved, but we had a blast getting doused with colored powder, walking the streets of Denver and just celebrating our recent victories with getting to a healthier state of being!  

 I'm feeling like:   Time is flying by way too fast.   Especially when I realize we've gone from these little Things...
 To the almost all  grown up edition in just 18 short years...
Yep, Thing 2 had a birthday this month and by all accounts, it was a good one. 
Complete with Cash (and a PINTEREST success!)
And  hanging with friends cool enough to sport stylish party hats...
He and one of his besties are both August babies...so they decided to have a joint party..
Oh wait, this is Colorado...maybe I should be more specific...a combined party..
at least we hope that's all that happened...it was held with minimal parental supervision
And that's a wrap on August...just a few days late...until next time...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Right Now: July 2017

I'm listening to:    an audio book.

And in fact this past month, I've found myself listening to a couple audio books and pod casts.   Be it walking, camping, or playing in my craft room, listening to an audio read helps pass the time.

Speaking of time passing, holy smokes, how'd we get to the end of July so quickly?  It feels like just last week we celebrated the fourth with a neighborhood BBQ

I'm loving:  the balance in my life right now.
We took just one camping trip this month, however it was the longest of all our summer adventures..
 I've spent a few fabulous evenings in the company of friends.
 celebrating the 2nd anniversary of my 50th birthday...
to enjoying the ultimate
 Tupperware Show..hosted by Dixie Longate...
complete with adult drinks in sippy cups..

   I've done a wee bit of crafting and cleaned out said craft room, paving the way for hopefully more crafting in the months to come.  *No pictures, but plenty of planned projects pinned on Pinterest.

 I've joined back with Weight Watchers, and with the companionship of 7 (YES SEVEN) of my neighbor friends, I'm enjoying a fair degree of success in my first month back on program.
I used guilt as a motivator for Thing 1 to agree to a decent hair cut..

*Yeah, I have some mad parenting skills when it comes to guilt tripping..

as I also scored chocolate, new steak knives and a sassy card from my children.   Friends also pitched in with gifts of wine and flowers, while Hubby gifted me with an RV or new car...I can take my pick, both gifts received this past year...

Oh, and yes, we visited a college with Thing 2...
 Tivoli Center...once a brewery dating back to the 1860s..
now serves as the student union for UC-Denver and 2 other schools that share the campus space..
I am needing to:  Accept the reality that change is about to happen for all of us.  

 Tomorrow, I start a new chapter of my career, changing districts but remaining a school nurse.  The new district will be different, both in the demographics of the students I will serve to the culture of the district. 

 Same with the change about to happen for Thing 1.   After taking a gap year, he's slated to start classes in August at the community college.   I'm not quite sure he's as eager to embrace this change, he's a bit too comfortable in his current state of being.  All the more reason for him to start, for as cliche as it is, change does indeed help us all grow.  

As for Thing 2, that boy is more than ready for college and all the opportunities that await.  

Hubby, well, I can't speak for him, I'm guessing he's eager for the weather to change so he can get back to riding and RV exploring.   July has proven too hot and unseasonably humid for pleasure to be had with either of these happy pursuits.  

I'm feeling:   Ready to explore and embrace the changes that the second half of 2017 will bring to our family!  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer of Fun: Chapter 4

Utah in mid-July?   Seriously, what were we thinking?   
But fear not, there was a method to our madness.  

The BMW Motorcycle owners were having their annual rally in Salt Lake City.    While Hubby no longer considers this a "must attend" event, our friends would be in the area  and we consider spending time with them worthy of suffering through the heat...so off we went...Utah in Mid-July!

Day 1:  Saturday, 7.8
First stop was to say "Welcome Home" to our former babysitter and her lovely family.

 * Bad blogger:   didn't get a good picture of Dr. Caitlin, instead just the hubby and the daughter....and her Oma (who is our neighbor back home, how funny is that...we have to travel 150 miles to catch up with the neighbor friend?)
  For as long as I've known Caitlin, she was determined to become a pediatrician.   And so she did just that, attending med school in VA and residency in PA, she is now back home and both she and her husband will be joining the pediatric practice in Glenwood Springs.  

Way to go, Dr. Caitlin...we're proud of you and what a great example you are showing to those Things you once babysat for...set the goal, chart the course and off you go!
 How's that for a "starter" home?!   
Little Lainey announcing to Hubby "READY READY"...

In our quest to visit as many Colorado State Parks as possible, we spent our first night at James M. Robb Colorado River State Park.   While cell coverage was weak,  and natural shade wasn't as plentiful as one would like (yet, more trees than one expects given the surrounding terrain), it was very close to the interstate, affordable cost and we found this to be a good fit for our needs. 

Day 2-4:   July 9-11 
With the rally not scheduled to start  start until later in the week,  we decided to stay in the Provo area.   The original plan was to try out Utah Lake State Park but we opted instead for a privately owned RV campground near the lake.  

  Reviews of the state park included limited shade, buggy and there would be no wifi options.   Lakeside RV park turned out to be the answer to all of these worries.    The large tree provided much appreciated shade as local temps would start to climb to the mid 90s with little evening cooling off like we enjoy back home.    Bugs weren't bad since we were further away from the water.   And wifi was adequate.   

While in Provo, we  did what seems to  be a pattern to our usual activities when camping:   I spent a little time poolside, reading a book, 
and Hubby managed to capture a few good sunsets.  
When work was done we managed to take a motorcycle ride...
 In search of cooler temps

Majestic views...
and waterfalls...
Success was clearly found on all objectives!  
  I had been told that a certain Provo school has a creamery with really good ice cream.    

And yes, said information was accurate...in fact, I'd say that was the best scoop of ice cream I've had in a long time.   *Opinion is likely influenced by the hot weather and all the walking I did in search of said ice cream treat.
Day 5:  July 12

It's often been said  that Army friends never say good-bye and instead, it's more of a "see you later"...such was the case with our next stop.  Hubby's Army buddy,  El Guapo (now retired from his job in the Chicago area) and his wife  had recently decided to move closer to their youngest daughter and her two cute little ones.

Yeah, you can see what a hardship it is being closer to these little darlings...
We bartered "driveway camping"  
for side car rides...
 Seems like a pretty fair exchange, right? 
Day 6-8 7.13-7.15  Salt Lake City!
Welcome BMW Motorcycle Owners...
And Hello, Richard...
And Bridget...

Being strangers to the city, without a car, I asked Bridget if she wanted to join me on a city tour..
Expecting a regular bus, it was pretty fun to see this pull up for our trip...
On the tour we enjoyed several landmark SLC sights
From the train station that inspired
 a man named Walt to build a replica at his park in Anaheim...
To a park oddly named "This is the Place" 
where a man named Brigham upon seeing the views, 
declared to the Mormon pioneers that their journey would end in the valley below...

But the real treat of the evening was hearing a choir rehearse...
With a full orchestra in a hall that seats some 20k visitors...
I'm pretty sure had my own mom been offered a spot in the choir, she'd have converted?!

And before we knew it...our friends were back on the road...
and we tried to find cooler air...with another ride into the nearby 
Wasatch Mountains..
Wild Flowers were in bloom...
 Tourists were out in full force...
 and yes, slightly cooler temps...
Day 9, 7.16 Headed Home...
Almost home...one last night of camping at Boyd Lake State Park...where bug spray is key to surviving being so close to the lake...

All in all, it was a wonderful time spent in the company of good people that we just don't see often enough...
Until next time...See You on the Road....