Sunday, December 25, 2011

Year in Review - 2011

So 2011 wasn't my best year for blogging, in fact I posted once until now. However I don't want to give up on blogging I like to get little updates from friends and share a few pictures from my life and what I am up to. So I am taking the time (while working over the Christmas weekend) to post a glace at 2011 for me. Nothing big but as a quick way to get caught up so I can continue to post from the present and not get overwhelmed with what I didn't get done.

Last year ended with an amazing trip to Spokane for Kurt's wedding and then traveling with two of my best friends to catch a cruise out of LA. We were able to visit friends along the way and stay at the "Bro-mansion" out in Claremont.

The cruise was so much fun we went down the Mexican Riviera and had so many laughs along the way. Falling out of THIS boat actually, zip-lining through the canopy or Puerta Vallarta, eating guacamole, and watching some awesome and not so awesome entertainment.

Then I moved down to Utah to live with my cousin, got a job at a drug and alcohol rehab center for adults and moved in with this house full of girls. It is so fun to come home and have great people to talk with, play games, or go for a hike with. I feel very blessed.
(Picture taken from recent Christmas Party)

Then in April when Joe and Damon were visiting from med school we all headed down to St. George with some new friends to go canyoneering and I got to climb down these canyons and repel from this huge rock face. It was a little scary but very fun.

I visited Arizona for spring training and a friends wedding and we were able to attend all the festivities and still meet up with the boys at the Cubs game!

We stopped by Horseshoe Bend on the way home which I'm pretty sure has to in some way be part of the Grand Canyon.

Later that summer I ran in an Epic Relay Race that went 205 miles from Layton, UT to Jackson Hole, WY. We ran in teams of 12 and it was so fun I'm so glad I was able to run with friends and the race was awesome, not to crowded and some beautiful scenery.

Then I flew up to Juneau to visit Hana who worked their this summer and finally saw some of the inside passage of Alaska. We had so much fun and went to the glacier everyday naturally!

I think I wore Red to my first football game ever because Amy got a job up at the U! And I told her I loved her more than any team so I would always support her - plus I couldn't let her lose her season tickets. They are intense about it!

And we got to spend some time hiking up some of the SLC canyons and near our house, this waterfall up Big Cottonwood was a great little hike one evening.

And to top it all off we even saw a moose on the way down!

And in December I traveled down with Kaiizen to Mexico one more time to help with the Christmas trip with the orphanage. Josh is moving to California so things will change (they have been changing for a while now) but Kaiizen will always be in motion in some way or another. This was just a great way to see the kids and spend time with great friends.

And a few things I don't have pictures of for one reason or another that are still noteworthy:
> I bought a car (Honda Civic) back in February and it is running great.
> I'm starting an application for a Masters in Teaching program for fall 2012
> I was able to stop and visit friends along my trip and some even came to visit me (Amy Lou I don't know how I don't have pictures of our trip did we only use your camera>)
> My little brother got married - this one just happened so no pictures yet

I'm sure I'm forgetting tons of things but I think this is enough for a glimpse at 2011. I hope all my friends and family have been blessed this year and that 2012 brings you blessings and joy.

Love you all,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where? And Where Now?

Where have I been? - absent from blogging for a while yes, I just didn't make the time not that I didn't have the time that's for sure! I have for the last few months actually been spending some time with my G-parents. It has been great I was learning some cooking skills, oil painting, how to be a card shark, crocheting (sp?), and just having a good time overall. However it's hard for me to sit still and I had taken a part-time job as a nanny but lets be honest I felt like I wasn't progressing in life at all which I've been trying to think more about.

Then I got this lead for a job from my brother filled out everything, had a great phone interview, flew out to Chicago and thought I was for sure on my way to being a full on Adult. Unfortunately the company wasn't ready to move forward with me at this time. TRUTH: I had prayed that if the job wasn't right to NOT let them offer it to me because it was too good to pass up and I would for sure say yes.

Now I'm just trying to pray for understanding at this time in my life as to where I should be and what I should be doing? I'm headed down to Utah because it seemed the most obvious place of friends, family, and job opportunities for the time being.

But now I face this dilema - and please feel free to comment WHAT DO I DO NOW? I am trying to look for full time "settled" jobs and feel like maybe moving every 6 months is not what I should be doing anymore. At the same time I love working in Alaska it's beautiful, it's good money - but I've already done it twice now and I feel like I've had a good run and would not regret leaving it for now and what it's been. I will be 26 this Spring so what do I do now.

Family + Football = Forever?

After I got back from Alaska I spent a bit of time visiting my family in their new home. Then Dad got the great idea to drive down to Utah for a little football. It had been a while since I watched a game at the stadium but it was fun to visit campus and cheer on the Cougs!

Alcan - we meet again!

For the third time thus far I was able to drive the Alaska - Canada Highway! It is beautiful but what a different trip this time. We slept in the car every night - sorry Benji the first night I picked a terrible place and we were woken up by these loud groups of people that we were afraid were going to steal something from the back of the truck). But of course once we got into Canada first chance we got we bought ourselves some Wonderbars, this same gas station said they didn't have these back in April - lame.

We just drove through the day and it was beautiful - luckily we only went 65 mph so that the car wouldn't break down again and we got great gas mileage but this FAKE cop car cut out did give us quite the scare still. We had to turn around to get a picture!

Of course we saw lots of animals on the way

We finally got to milepost zero

And in quite the oppostie of last year when it was warm and beautiful most of the way down - this time we hit snow!

The waterfall was pretty but freezing!

The Columbia Icefield wasn't as beautiful because there wasn't really a contrast in the landscape.

And Lake Louise was all clouded in, I tried to describe it for them but they promised they'd come back too.

But even so the trip was still completely beautiful and we were blessed to have the opportunity to drive it yet again!

Turning Out the Lights in Alaska!

My very last week this summer I was assigned the longest tour. We literally were the last ones from our company still working and the last ones to leave Fairbanks, AK - so it's essentially the tour the turns out the lights. My boss was so nice to pair me the last week with my Tour Director B.F.F. and it turned out to be the best way to end the season and one of my favorite tours.

We had a boat tour the first day in our itinerary and the weather was beautiful (the last time it was pouring). Still no whales but it was so nice to be on the water with unbelievable clear blue skies.
Then after we got back to the lodge my roommate came down to visit and we drove to the Exit Glacier right there in Seward which was beautiful and I can't believe I had never taken the time to go before.
One of my last train trips I was on with one of my favorite conductors and finally got a picture with my own camera (we joke about how many pictures there are of us floating around peoples photo ablums in their homes across America).
Mt. McKinley was out and stunning the whole time (the last time I had seen it from Talkeetna was over summer soltice when I was with Laura the last time - she must be lucky).
We saw the Northern Lights both nights we were in Denali because it had actually gotten dark at night - our groups saw tons of animals in the park, and best of all we had the BEST groups EVER. They were so nice and everybody from both busses got along great with each other and were just truly appreciative oh how much they were blessed on the last week of tourism. It was an amazing way to end the summer!

Riley Creek Bridge

I am "one of THOSE people"! The kind that had been given great opportunities to travel and visit places all over the place and do some really cool things but I totally take for granted the areas that I live. My friend A.L. got so mad at me when I lived in Utah for over 5 years and had never been to Moab (finally went with her), Zion's or Bryce Canyon (still never been).
Alaska was kind of the same way I see a BIG part of it - but it's usually the same part all the time and I can get in the habit of not making an extra time to get out and explore just for myself. But the fall colors were too perfect and with some great company we had a great hike down by the Riley Creek.

Helicopter Flight in Fall

I was on tour in Denali on a hold over day just after the height of the fall colors and a tour director was able to get on a helicopter flight in the morning while I helped some of her guests with their excursions so she offered to return the favor and I put in a request - luckily after the weather cleared they were flying and had one spot left so I literally jumped at the chance and I'm so glad that I did, seriously one of my highlights of the summer. (The pictures don't even do it close to justice)!

Alaska State Fair

Of course we had to go out an afternoon to Palmer, Alaska for the State Fair - my ulitmate favorite are the giant vegetables they grow with all the sunlight that they get during the summer. (unfortunately the family musical group that I LOVED last summer didn't make it back - tear!)

We then had to get some fair food and take some pics in the cut-outs provided (oh we went to the lumberjack show - Yo HO - it was the same as last year I didn't take any pictures).

Finally we went into one building after looking at the art displays and animals too and I leave for a few minutes to go to the bathroom and when I come back all the boys have been enticed to try this muscle stimulator machine. Later they got talked into this meditation booth as well (I think I watched the vit-a-mix demo while I was waiting - and the guy was creepy), I was afraid if I left them again they might join a cult - But you know the usual fair experience.

All by myself - SURPRISE!

So I picked up a tour where it was only going to be a one bus move so I was going to be the only tour director on our pattern - not really a big deal except that one night I would be all by myself at the Alyeska Resort (no other tours were there and my bus driver left too). Luckily my roommate and friend Hana had the night off so she drove down to stay with me and we got ourselves tram tickets up to where the ski lodge is! Nice to kind of be a tourist while your on tour and thanks Hana for coming to hang out!

We took the tram up to go for a little hike - who knew it'd be dangerous!

Thanks for driving down Hana - view of glaciers and hotel below!