Saturday, January 31, 2009

Apples to Apples

We spent the evening at Mark and Kay's house today, eating enchiladas and playing games with Cheryl, Jim, Joe, Joan, Charlie and Sandi. Good times.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Skiing Ashcroft

Pictures of cross-country skiing in Ashcroft, Colorado. Ashcroft is "Ghost Town" just south of Aspen. Very beautiful country, especially when my wife is there! :-)

This video was done with Apple's new version of iPhoto.
(Macs RULE)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow Day: 01/14/09

Woke up this morning to 5" of snow on the ground. This is a picture I snapped from the car as I was driving to work. Thankfully, the road crews must have been out all night keeping up with it, as all the major roads were easily driveable. Of course smaller, neighborhood streets were still to be done, but the snow was pretty light and fluffy, so not too bad.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Finding Jared

Many years ago, I used to be on staff at Boy Scout summer camps in Oregon. These were some of the best times of my life, and I'm sure I will write more about my experiences there later on.

During one particular summer at Camp Melakwa (which is high in the Three Sisters Wilderness area), I shared quarters with Jared. He and I were on Outbound staff together, leading groups of younger scouts on hiking trips outside of the camp. These trips ranged from short half-day hikes to other nearby mountain lakes, to the big climb up the Middle Sister, which was a two day event. Although not a difficult climb, nor requiring any technical gear, the Middle Sister offered young scouts a challenge, and the view from the summitt was always a humbling and breath-taking sight to see.

Jared and I had a mutual respect of one another, and we became fast friends. We were also both pranksters, and have each told the story of a particularly well executed prank many times over.

Although we fell out of touch after camp was over, I've thought about Jared many times, wondering in what direction life had taken him. Curiosity and the desire to reconnect finally grew too strong to ignore about two months ago, so I decided to look him up.

I figured was a good starting place, but I couldn't remember the name of the town he was from. So, I went down a list of all the Oregon cities and towns until I found one that sounded right; Lowell, OR.

My search came up empty at first - there was no Jared by the last name I was searching for in Lowell, but it did suggest one in Colorado, near where my Father-in-Law lives.

Now wouldn't that be a glorious coincidence if this Jared is the very Jared I was seeking out? A 20 minute drive from where Hannah and I would soon be visiting would be all that stood between myself and my friend that I had last seen 15 years prior.

So, I called the number. Voicemail.

Unfortunately, not "Hi! This is Jared, originally from Oregon and a former Camp Melakwa staff member. Please leave a message after the beep."

No. It was one of those generic "The party you are calling..." messages recorded by the same woman who we've all listened to a thousand times before. It seems silly that nobody knows her name.

Now, I'm not one for leaving messages on some machine, which seems ironic as I type this, as that is the exact thing I'm doing now, and with every email message I send on a daily basis...

I digress.

Over the next week or so, I called the same number time and again, sure that at some point, someone would answer, equally convinced that the someone on the other end of the line would be annoyed to the power of ten with each time my number displayed on their caller id, no message accompanying it.

Then, on Sunday night, expecting to be greeted by Lorraine's friendly voice yet again, (not even making that up), I was instead surprised by a deep voiced "Hello?"

"Hi. I'm looking for somebody by the name of Jared, from Lowell, OR?"

"Who is this?" - Confused, annoyed... I couldn't really tell.

"Is this Jared from Lowell?"


"Jared, you're talking to Brian from Camp Melakwa."

"Holy shit! How did you find me?"

After a brief conversation, explaining how I had come to find his number, and the fact that we were very nearby, we discovered that we were both planning a skiing trip for that Wednesday, Christmas Eve. It only made sense that we go together.

So, on Christmas Eve morning, we met up at a gas station, and Jared, Hannah, Mike and myself enjoyed a day of skiing, visiting, laughing, catching up, and telling the old stories that are so fondly embeded in our memories.

It feels good to reconnect with a great friend!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Guitar Hero & LCD TVs

Over the past summer, we made a visit to Michael and Susan's with our XBox360 and a copy of "Guitar Hero". They enjoyed it very much.

When we arrived during our Christmas break, we discovered that Susan liked it so much that she went out and bought a Wii and a copy of GHWT. She's a GH addict now! Family intervention, anyone???

They also got a new 46 inch LCD, which looks great. A lot of people are getting new LCDs... Michael and Susan, Mark and Kay, Lisa, Scott... As somebody who likes riding the technology wave, I'm missing this one. I feel like the last kid on the block who's parents upgraded to color tv. I'm still using the transparent overlay that faded from blue at the top to brown at the bottom!

Maybe I can win a new one from Pepsi/Mountain Dew this year.

Bath time for Maya

This is Maya. She owns the house we stay at in Frederick, Colorado. Michael and Susan are on her staff. Apparently, house guests are considered adjunct staff, brought in periodically during times of increased activity.

Case in point: as I sat in the bathroom this morning (don't ask, I'm sure you can figure it out), there was a knock at the bathroom door. Opening the door to see who could be so bold as to interrupt such a sacred ceremony as I was currently engaged in, Maya strolls in as if she owned the place! [Retraction: as previously established, the house IS in fact owned by Maya.]. She then promptly jumped into the bathtub, looked up at me and hollered out several critical "meows" at my lack of response to her request for a bath. Since I did not want to offend the high priestess, nor risk being cast out of the kingdom to roam the outer world as a undesirable, I happily obliged her request.

[Authors correction: apparently, I mistook her request. She wanted only a refreshing, casual drink of morning water, and not the torrent of bath water I so cheerfully sent her way as she sat in the tub. She demanded to be let out of the bathroom, and now I'm left here in hot water myself...]

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lunch with Laura

Today, we had brunch with a friend of Hannah's whom she's seen only one other time in the past several years. These two girls have known each other since preschool and were very close friends during childhood. Living so far away from each other though, it's been hard to stay in close contact, so spending some time with her, her parents, and her 15 month old daughter (so cute!) was a very special time.

Thank you to Ken and Maxine for a great meal!

Eric and Family

We stopped in to see Eric and Alex, and their two sons. Connor warmed up after about half an hour and loved standing on Uncle Brian's feet as I walked around the house, turning circles and "kicking" him up into the air as we went. Austin was all smiles from the word "Go", especially for Aunt Hannah. Can you blame the kid though? He has great taste in women!

Eric and Alex put off their big Christmas dinner until the day after, when we arrived. They treated us to a nice dinner with a not-quite-ham main dish, followed by all the standard side dishes. The meat is a ham, but not salt treated the way a common ham is. Everything was very good.

A special treat was had when Eric presented a plate of "Mom's recipe" fudge. YUMMY!!!

After a short gift exchange and a good night's rest, Hannah and I were off into the mountains to Copper Mountain to pick up Rocky after a day of skiing with his Dad, before continuing on to have a week at Annie's house.