Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A cousin connection

The past two weeks of the journey have taken me to Köenigstein, Germany to spend with my cousin Sarah, her husband Tom and their 3 awesome kids: Sam - age 4, Vivienne - who turns 3 in 2 weeks, and Teddy - a sweet 5 month old little guy.  I'm so thankful to have had this time with them!  And I'll tell you why. 

But first, some background.

I have lots of awesome cousins but Sarah is the cousin I've spent the most time with growing up. I remember being excited to spend night after night at Grandma and Grandpa's house but it was even more exciting if Sarah was staying as well. I recall making keys from paperclips and strips of paper to play hotel, singing Billy Idol's Mony, Mony in Uncle Chuck's old bedroom, dishing up Ruffles and ranch dressing for Gramps on motorhome trips and years of horse show memories with Grandpa, Grandma and Aunt Karen.  And through the years we haven't seen each other more than once a year and maybe for just a few hours at a time. But we have a great history with each other and we just seem to "get" each other. 

Sarah and Tom moved to Germany in the fall of 2012 because of Tom's job with Price Waterhouse Coopers.  They had previously lived for 2 years in Moscow about 5 years ago and then started their family in Chicago before packing up last year. I love that their sense of adventure and passion for traveling and experiencing other cultures has not changed even with the arrival of children. This summer they spent a week in Paris when Teddy was just a month old.  And only got around using the Metro!  Impressive!

And so I shouldn't have been surprised when they proposed a weekend trip to Bruges, Belguim with an overnight in the Netherlands. Sarah found an amazing hotel the day before, they packed the kids in the car and away we went! We made a quick stop at the Haribo candy factory.  I may have been just as happy as the kids to be able to stock up on the best candy in the world. (I do believe this is at least the 5th blog post this candy has been mentioned in.  I do wish I could share this candy with you all.  Instead you will have to imagine the sweet and sour and creamy and gummy candy that I call "red rope.")

We had planned next to make a stop in Cologne but instead made a game time decision to check out the charming village of Valkenberg, Netherlands. The remnants of the Christmas market were left behind... including some awesome apple benigets and brats.  I also got my first glimpse of the famous Dutch canals. But the highlight may have been snuggling little Teddy in the Baby Bjorn all day. So sweet!  

We ventured another hour to our home for the evening at the Hotel Winselerhof  Immediately we were in awe of the grounds and started to dream up some Bed and Breakfast dreams. The grounds were made up of an old barn and stables surrounded by a vineyard. We had an awesome little family friendly suite that was perfect for the company. 

And the menu of the restaurant on the premises seemed as though the chef asked himself, "I wonder what food Ashley likes the most?  Let's put that on the menu."  It made the choice difficult but I settled for the carpaccio on focaccia, mushroom ravioli and finished with tiramisu. I do have a rule that if tiramisu is on the menu, I must order it. I know it's a cruel rule that I've made for myself. Not gonna lie, the tiramisu was far from the best but the rest of the experience was wonderful...amazing ambience, fantastic flavors and cozy company. 

The next morning we were awaken by a soft pitter-patter of rain that Sarah and I loved the sound of. Unfortunately we planned to be walking around Bruges that day... not the most fun in the rain. After an amazing breakfast spread we made the trek to a little town that I had just heard of this year when both my best friend from high school, Kristen, and best friend from college, Annie, both happened to be visitng this spring at the same time. I heard it was fantastic so I was excited to be experiencing it myself. As we arrived, the sky cleared up and as we exited the crazy high tech parking garage, we were immediately captivated. The Magisto video I made doesn't do it justice so you'll just have to visit yourself. But maybe this can inspire you. 

We all decided that 4 hours was FAR to short to experience the amazing architecture, food and ambience of this Belgium town.  But I quickly declared my misson for the day was to accomplish the consumption of the self-declared "Belgium Trifecta": Belgian Waffles, Belgian Beer and Belgian Chocolates. I had no problem accomplishing this task, even considering our time constraints. (If you are wondering, the "I'm in the best shape of my life" comment from 3 posts back has become an innacurate comment temporarily. But, I'll be working off my Frankfurt physique in two days as our trek up Mount Kilimanjaro begins. The timing couldn't be better.)  And again, I was on Teddy duty again, happily! This kid is amazing! A combined 7 hours in a car seat and 4 hours in a Baby Bjorn and he didn't make even a whimper. And Sam and Viv were major troopers in venturing all over the town. 

In the end, it would be an understatement to say that our excursion was delightful!  At the same time, I was just as delighted to spend time at home with the Ouimettes.  Living the solo life allows for great flexibility and independence. But it's also nice to be plugged into a family unit.  Sarah and Tom might not feel the same, but I came to love the routine of family life.  Breakfast for the kids, coffee for the adults. Doing dishes. Doing laundry. Coming up with a dinner plan.  Winding down the evening with a good movie and a glass of wine. And sitting on the couch. I didn't know how much I missed just lounging on a couch. It hasn't happened in 3.5 months!  That would be another to add to my list of "small things." 

And yet again, the theme that its "all about the people" holds true for these two weeks here. 

The kids sporting their snazzy North Face Jackets from Nepal!

I love that I got to experience, first hand, Sam's love for trains. He got a big boy train set, including a "high speed" train for Christmas.  On car trips, his sixth sense is spotting any train in the vicinity. And he anticipates his first job will be a train driver. Personally, I think he will be designing a high speed rail system to bring the United States up to "speed" with the rest of the developed world. I also got to experience his depth of knowledge on volcanoes and lava in a twenty minute monologue last night that was quite impressive, creative and entertaining. The kid is sweet AND smart!

I love that I got to experience, first hand, Miss Viv's "sass" as Sarah and Tom call it. "Sass" indeed. On the car ride home from Bruges, she informed all of us that she was "in charge."  There is not a doubt in any of our minds that she believes this to the fullest extent. And just when she takes the sass a bit to far, Viv turns on the "sweet" and melts your heart. She'll run up and give you a big hug, say "I Love You!" or just give you the cutest glance with her sweet eyes and mouth. Did I mention she turns 3 next month?  AND she gets to start school next month. Get ready Frankfurt International School. I know Viv is!

I love that I got to experience, first hand, what Sarah has long claimed to be the happiest baby in the world. Sweet Teddy and I bonded. I felt like I could be the most helpful to Sarah and Tom by holding him as much as possible, but really I was just being selfish. I loved his laugh as much as his snoring as he fell asleep on my shoulder. I'm so thankful to have gotten time with him, especially at this fun baby stage. I can't wait to see what he grows up to be. 

I love that I got some quality time with Tom. I know that he works hard, but I admire the way he makes the most of the time he has with his family during his time off.  It was fun to see him down on the floor with Sam teaching him how to play with his "big boy" train, naming Viv's pink Barbie pony "Pinkalicious" and snuggling with little Teddy during the Bears game... (Sore subject... Sorry Bears fans).  And when the kids were asleep, he expanded my musical library as always.  I now know about great music from Brad Mehldow, Red House Painters and Blakroc. I shared the joy of TED talks with him and he reciprocated by sharing some of his favorites from "This American Life." He also declared that 2014 would be a great year to reinstate the FIEE, "Family Intellectual Expansion Exchange" which was this amazing virtual dialog that took place among many family members by sharing thought provoking articles and then creating a platform for discussion.  (Yes, this family is perfect for me.) I'm in! Who's with us??

And, of course, I love the time I got with Sarah. Her life is full with three little ones but she manages to keep things in perspective. Despite being pulled in every direction, she manages to be a great listener with an amazing memory. She managed to do whatever she could to make me feel at home... chocolate and fresh flowers in my room, free reign to raid her fabulous closet and treating me to many of her culinary favorites.  

So yesterday, as I began to pack my bag, it hit me that this was the first stop on my journey that I was truly sad to leave.  That's not to say that I enjoyed my experiences everywhere else any less. I think it's clear that I've loved every stop on the itinerary. But this one was different.  It just goes to show that the bonds of family can run deep and that being with people who "get" you can make any place feel like home. 

Sarah and Tom, thanks for opening your home to me these past two weeks. Your extreme generosity can never be repaid but I'd hope to be able to offer my hospitality to your family for a Colorado visit when you return to the states!

Although sad to be leaving, I have a grateful heart for my blessed time in Germany. 

Oh. And I also loved my king sized bed with crisp, clean sheets, four pillows (although I could get by on 3) and a fantastic down comforter. But now... It's back to sleeping bag / sleep sack living for the foreseeable future. Such is life. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Real Christmas Spirit

I arrived in Frankfurt a week ago.  My first thought was "Wow! The developed world is so sparkly!"  That observation was enhanced by the Christmas "sparkly" decorating the airports as well.  I was missing out on the Christmas "sparkly" by spending almost 3 months in a predominantly Hindu/Buddhist country.

And my cousin, Sarah, has gone over the top in making sure that I was getting my Christmas fill.  She picked me up at the airport late last Tuesday night and Amy Grant's Christmas Album was queued to my favorite Christmas song, "Breath of Heaven."  We wasted no time hitting up my first Christmas market in Weisbaden. I was definitely put in the "spirit" here...

(And I got to share the best candy in the world with sweet Vivienne.) 

A few days later I was completely captivated by the Christmas market in Rüdesheim. The village reminded me of Vail Village and it was good to feel "at home." I especially enjoyed perusing the food huts and partaking in the amazing German culinary delights of glühvein (a hot mulled wine), brats, Bailey's roasted pecans, chocolate covered marshmallow clouds and an amazing dish of sautéed mushrooms covered in a garlic sauce. We joined Todd and Jackie, friends of Sarah and Tom and went to the Kloster Eberbach (vineyard, former convent and setting for the old Sean Connery movie "The Name of the Rose") for a wine tasting.  

For more of the action, check out this creation on Magisto!

Sarah and I spent a day in the kitchen, whipping up some family favorites of sweet and spicy nuts as well as cranberry pistachio biscottis. Christmas tunes were rocking and the Christmas "spirit" was oozing. 

A few nights later Sarah, Tom and I became gift wrapping machines while watching "White Christmas". (I won't tell you who was reciting every single line of the movie... but it wasn't one of the two chicks in the room.) Nothing like Bing to put you in the Christmas "spirit"!

On Christmas Eve, Sarah and I concocted a menu reminiscent of our Christmas Eves on the farm. I was melancholy considering this would be the first Christmas Eve of my life that I would not be spending at my Grandma and Grandpa Weaver's. But being in the kitchen with this girl, gave me plenty of Christmas memories to put me in the "spirit."

And how can you not feel anything but Christmas joy from this "bundle of joy", little Teddy?

Carolyn and Zack, please cover Huddy's ears and know that no one can replace his spot in my heart, but little Theodore is the happiest baby I have ever had the joy of being with. I'm so thankful to know him and spend sweet time with his brother, Sam, and sister, Viv who are full of Christmas energy, which I'm guessing is not just limited to Christmas time. 

Then I got to thinking... I love the feeling of the Christmas "spirit." And it seems like I'm not alone. We all seek out the "warm-fuzzies" whether it's parties with friends, enjoying our favorite Christmas carols and classic movies, setting the mood while decorating the tree and idealizing the perfect Christmas morning with the family.  But those feelings are often fleeting or the thought of these feelings don't live up to the reality. 

And then an amazing moment came from an unexpected place. Tom has done a great job of sharing the Christmas "classics" with Sam and Viv. A few days ago we were watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas."  My ears perked up when the play scene came on. My mom's favorite Christmas ornament plays this very scene and I know how much she loves it so I loved feeling a little closer to her in this way. 

As Charlie Brown is trying to figure out what "Christmas is all about", Linus enlightens him. 

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:8-14 KJV)

I believe we seek the "spirit" of Christmas for a reason. Whether we realize it or not, we were created to seek after this baby who was born in a manger who grew to become the Savior of the world and is the embodiment of the true love that only our Heavenly Father is able to show. This is a more than just a fleeting feeling that passes with the coming new year. This is where I find the meaning of my life and true fulfillment that will not pass away. 

May you know the fullness of our Father's love through the gift of his Son on this Christmas Day. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nepal: Expect the Unexpected

Ten weeks in Nepal has come to an end. I now find myself trying to boil down all of my experiences into a few coherent thoughts to share with you. This seems to be a daunting task.

My first blog post from Nepal described many of the things I experienced upon arriving in Nepal that I had not expected. I quickly learned to expect the unexpected and appreciate these unique experiences (the good, the bad and the ugly) instead of being caught off guard.  

And so if I pick up where I left off from "Crossing Cultures", I did not expect to experience the level of hospitality I felt from the Nepali people. This country does not run short on hyperbole as evidenced here...

But I truly do not believe I'm exaggerating when I say that the people of Nepal must be the most hospitable in the world.     But I'll let you decide or maybe inspire you to experience it for yourself.

When we arrived in Kathmandu on September 28, we were greeted by a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend. Literally. Shanti and her uncle Ram waited two hours for us at the airport, took us to their home, fed us and gave us a place to sleep for two days and helped us to set up our next arrangements for our time in Nepal. Let's be real. If a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend called me for some suggestions for their friend visiting Vail, I would recommend High Mountain Taxi to pick them up at the airport and take them to a hotel recommended based on their budget and share that Larkburger and Sato's are not to be missed and hang with the locals at Tuesday night Burger night at E-Town. (No, I'm not getting paid to advertise for these fine establishments, but a free meal would be awesome!)  I might suggest a few of my favorite ski runs in the winter or recommend hitting up the free Tuesday night concerts in Vail in the summer. And if you are looking for a church, Pastor Tommy and Friends at Calvary Chapel have got it going on. And then I would say, feel free to call if you need help.  To think that I would actually be your personal tour guide in all these endeavors, probably wouldn't happen.  But that, my friends, is exactly how the Nepali people roll. 

Exhibit "B":  We planned to work with First Love Ministries Children's Home. We arrived at the home in Boudha on relatively short notice and our living arrangements were not quite ready yet. An hour or so later, we were shown our room which we later discovered had been quickly evacuated by Kyipa and her sister Jamu to give us a place to stay for the night. They had moved out all of their clothes, books and other personal items your average teenager might have for room decorations in order to provide us with our own little space.  We, of course, were humbled by this hospitality, but felt, at the least, slightly guilty about displacing the girls and ended up staying at the Nobel Peace Hotel for the rest of our time in Boudha. And here we had the opportunity to experience the hospitality of Sonam, the 18-year-old front desk worker/nursing student who showed us around her town. 

A month later, we arrived in Pokhara just as the 5-day Hindu festival of Tihar was going on. On the biggest festival day of Deepawali, I was invited to experience the festival at the home of one of the servers at a bakery I happened by. Two minutes after being seated, Dim offered to take me to his village on the other side of the lake to share in the Tika (rice dyed red on the forehead) being ceremonially placed on the brother's head by the sister. For various reasons, I was not able to accept his invitation, but I know several travelers who were able to take part in the festivities because of similar invitations. 

And then there is my Nepali wedding experience!  I had tracked down a pastor for a local church who also ran a hotel I walked by everyday. When I told Pastor Narj I was looking for a fellowship to be a part of, he invited me to his church and told me to come to the hotel the next day and that I could get a ride to church.  That Saturday, I joined an amazing missionary couple from Mumbai, Pastor Karl and his wife Susan as well as Pastor Scott from Mountain Life Church in Park City, Utah and a member of his church, Sam. We had a great worship service and then I joined them for lunch back at Pastor Narj's hotel. It was there that I learned about a Nepali wedding reception taking place in a few hours. They invited me to join them. I declined as I had never been a wedding crasher before and didn't think that Nepal would be the place to start that practice. They assured me it would be fine as they didn't even know the bride and groom. An hour later I'm sitting in the spot reserved for the mother of the bride in American weddings. Little did I know that a month later I would be spending two weeks with these beautiful girls who were dancing in celebration of the marriage of one of their own from Sunshine Children's Home.

After singing and dancing to celebrate Kusi's marriage, we were fed and then taken to the home of Arjun and Asha, the amazing couple who have founded The Organization for Himalayan People, of which the Sunshine Children's Home is a part of. Arjun hosted us for tea at his home, while the reception was still going on. He was essentially the father of the bride, hosting a group of people he had never met. I was blown away!  Nepali hospitality at its finest. 

And then there were the amazing girls from Sunshine Children's Home. Upon my return from trekking the Annapurna Circuit, I spent time over the next two weeks getting to know the hearts of these sweet girls. I arrived to the home after school was done, hung out with them as they did their homework, asked them about their lives as I answered their barrage of questions about life in the USA. "Sister! In your country do students wear uniforms to school"? "Sister! In your country is everyone on Facebook"? Sister! In your country do people eat with their hands"?  When I showed them pictures of my family, there was a chorus of "coos" at how cute of a baby Huddy Bobby is and a roar of "oohs" at how pretty my mama is.  Munna taught me about threading (an amazing alternative to plucking eyebrows) and Kamana even offered to "plait" my hair for church one morning.  

I taught them how to play spoons and shared with them during their nightly fellowship time about the Fruit of the Spirit.  Their knowledge of scripture was humbling, and their hospitality right on par with the rest of their country. Shortly after my arrival they would always bring me a warm glass of water. Ashmita, Mahima and Samita proudly taught me the proper technique for eating Nepali style.  Pour a little dal (broth) on a small portion of rice, mix with your fingers, form into a glob that you bring to your mouth on your finger tips and shove off with your thumb.  Repeat until all the bhat (rice) is gone or you have been offered refills on either the dal or bhat. 

Then, as the evening ended two or three of them would escort me to a taxi waiting for me nearby. I cherished my short time with these girls and wish I had found them a month earlier!  Regardless, I've been blessed by the time I did have with Krypa, Prina, Prianka, Munna, Ruth, Kamana, Namunna, Anjali, Sunu, Susmita, Kritika, Mahima, Muscan, Ashmita, Samita, Bheaana, Neeta, Sonjun, Ashmita and Taichug.  

They are bright. (Kritika asked me to tell her about Nelson Mandela...two days before he died. If she was asking I told her she probably knew more about him than I did.  She did.)  They love The Lord.  And they love each other. And, they've told me they are praying for a husband for me.  Taichung said that when I get married, she wants to be invited because she will be praying for this.  You have no idea how this warms my heart. 

And so, I'm challenged. I want to bring Nepali hospitality home with me. If I see a tourist looking lost in the maze that is Beaver Creek or the expanse of the Back Bowls of Vail, I want to stop to help. I want to invite a new friend I meet on the chair lift to my Sunday night dinners.  And if any of you have a friend of a friend of a friend coming to the Vail Valley, I'll pick them up at the airport, well... maybe not the Denver airport but Eagle... no problem.  And if they need a place to stay, mi casa es su casa. (I wonder how that translates in Nepali?)

But if I'm blown away at Nepai hospitality from an earthly perspective, imagine what awaits us from a heavenly perspective. 

After Jesus ate dinner with his friends the night before he was to be handed over to be crucified (also known as the "Last Supper") he told his friends, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14:13)

I have tears in my eyes as I reflect on this verse. Our Heavenly Father is the ultimate example of hospitality. He is preparing for our every need in eternity. I would like to think that I will expect the unexpected when that day comes. But that too is an understatement. For I am reminded that: 

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart of man has imagined, what God has prepared for those that love him."  - 1 Corinthians 2:9

I am humbled and blessed.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Small Things

I love the small things:

Being in a country for a month and running into people you met 8 hours away. 

Keeping in touch with my new friends. 

The immediate connection of long-term travelers. 

The moment when the pashmina sellers stopped asking me: "Are you cold? Special price on scarf for you!" and started asking me my name once they realized I had walked by 4 times a day for the past week. 

Being the only westerner on the microbus and walking through the REAL Pokhara, just a few minutes from the tourist Pokhara. 

The simplicity of life yet purposefulness that the trekking life brings. Eat, walk, play cards, sleep, repeat. But constantly moving towards a goal. 

One line emails from back home. And the paragraphs my mom and Aunty Nancy send. 

When a Nepali asks me where I'm from and the smile they crack when I ask them where they are from. 

"First Time Nepal?" The more I'm asked this question, the more I realize I'll be returning someday. 

Seeing parents and siblings standing on their door stoop teaching the toddlers to clasp their hands together and greet trekkers with "Namaste!"

Adopting the Nepali way of greeting everyone you see with "Namaste" but it sounds more like "namaSTAAAYYY" as though they are pleading for you to enjoy your time in this unique little piece of the world for a little longer. 

The immediate comfort I feel when I'm greeted with "Jaymasi", the Christian alternative to "Namaste" that translates "Victory in Jesus!"

Discovering that I like my eggs "fried one side" (American translation: Sunny side up).  There is lesser room for error than "over easy."

Learning the perfect Trekkers breakfast is hard boiled eggs and chapati with honey. Thanks Ho and Ash!

Riding on a motorcycle four times in my life...all in Nepal...all coming and going to children's homes. The things we do for kids...

The perfect weather of Nepal from October to December. I've seen clouds about 6 days in the last 2 months. 

My iPhone speakers started working again after a one month hiatus. 

Eating at a different breakfast place every morning during my time in Pokhara... That's about 30 mornings. 
Finding the best vanilla latte in Nepal made by Sangmu at the Paradise Cafe. 

Getting weekly, if not more often, check-ins from my Camino Amigos on What's App...the texting app all the world uses, except the US. Thanks Israelis and Spaniards!

Earplugs and the fact that I MIGHT be cured of my 15-year dependency on white noise to sleep. 

Finding the best hot shower in Nepal. No exaggeration... It might be my best shower ever.

Beginning to be able to distinguish a British accent from an Aussie accent from a Kiwi accent from a South African accent. But sometimes I'm still wrong. 

Waiting in line with the locals at the water tap at the end of the street to fill up on safe water for the day. 

That Nepal might be the cheapest place to live on earth... Hence making the sabbatical budget stretch far... But will make sticking to a budget for next 5 months outside of Nepal that much more crucial. 

Frequenting 3 or 4 different restaurants... by noon. 

Trekking for 2 weeks out of every 4 to 6 weeks has put me in the best shape of my life. 

No longer being phased by various agricultural animals roaming the streets, but still hope I don't have to answer the question "have you been around farm animals during your time abroad?" on any customs forms. 

The sometimes decent internet connection that allows me to stream NPR's "All Things Considered" to make me feel a little at home. 

Using everything I've packed in my bag. 

The time saved by only choosing which of the three shirts or three pairs of pants I should wear today. 

Paying someone $5 to do my laundry for a week. They promise it's washed by machine and that soap is used. I'm not naive to think that not all promises are kept... But it does save me about 3 hours of work. 

The pretty decent cover band at the Busy Bee.  They don't always get the words right but the tune is pretty spot on. 

That the life I'm living this year seems completely natural. 

Reflecting on what my gifts and interests are and figuring out how to create a profession for myself that I'm not sure totally exists... yet. 

Despite my interest in current events and world affairs, being relatively unplugged makes you realize that the rest of the world does go on despite government shut-downs and failed technology.  

Taking the time to reflect on the things I love and the things I miss. 

I miss the small things:

Brushing my teeth with water from the tap. 

Waking up and not having to "get ready" for breakfast. 

Walking barefoot in my own house. 

Green salads and vegetables that don't have to be cooked. 

Cutting down my perfect Christmas tree for the 5th year in a row. 

Caroling through Miller Ranch with the Bible Study Beauties.

The Christmas spirit that everyone is sharing on Facebook... but I hope to get my fill at the Christmas Markets in Germany and sharing the season with the Ouimette family!

Black Friday... Oh wait. 

Huddy Bobby. 

The birth of Drake Douglas Leibfried  ... and missing "being there" for Gretchen. This is not a small thing... But Drake is, at a very tiny 3 pounds, 12 ounces. 

Privacy. It seems that in a place like Nepal, you are never alone. 

Sato's Sushi Philly Roll. 

Toilet paper that doesn't get wet when you take a shower, because the shower isn't actually on the wall aiming directly for the toilet paper holder. 

Throwing toilet paper in the toilet, not the trash can next to it. 

Snow. In fact... The reports of snow that has blown up my Facebook page today is probably the inspiration for this post. 

Larkburger with truffle fries and a chocolate shake... And convincing the guys at the taxi office to partake with me so I don't feel so glutinous. 

The crew at High Mountain Taxi. Have a great and prosperous season!!

Eat! Drink! dates with Claire.

Calvary Chapel Vail Valley.

My cowboy boots.

Tuesday mornings with my Young Life girls. 


Eagle Valley High School students. 

My feet before they knew what trekking was. 

My Clarisonic. 

My little home. 

Thanks for listening. The end.