Thursday, December 20, 2007


A well known fact is that I like games. Just as much as I love games, I love puzzles, especially those involving words...crossword puzzles can keep me occupied for hours. So, you can only image how giddy I get when I find something that combines my love of words, love of puzzles, and my competative nature. That something is Boggle. Yes, that old childhood game has re-emerged as one of my favorite pasttimes. Anytime I hang out with Ariana (which gratefully is more and more often these days) the first words out of my mouth are not, "hi", "how's it going?" or "what's new?" It's usually, "do you want to play boggle?" I'm becoming obessed!! My heart goes pitter patter as those little letters bounce off the plastic cover while someone boggles and another person sits poised to flip over the timer. My adrenaline pumps as I search for words among those 16 little squares. I get really excited when I find words bigger than "bit" and "tin"...words that no one else will get like "lathe" and "merges". I love making fun of Gabe and his totally made up words. I get fired up when his made up words turn out to be real words. I'm not quite a pro at the game yet...not like Ariana. Maybe that's why I like playing so much...I rarely win, but I can feel myself getting close. The other day I got a score of 13! That's my highest yet...but that's average for Ariana who sometimes plays online (she's not as big a nerd as that makes her sound...really). Maybe sometime I'll attain her greatness.

Another game I love, you might call it a cross-addiction, is speed scrabble. I was introduced to the game by my roommates in LA and we could be found for hours sitting around our kitchen table, arranging and rearranging the little letters in front of us in silence except for the occassional "go" and the comparing of big words at the end of the game. I introduced the game to my family last year and brought it back again when I was home over Thanksgiving. I even got Paul into the action (I had no idea he was so competative!). The great thing about it is that you don't really keep score. Each round has a winner, but then you just flip over the pieces and start all over. So, it has an element of competition, but it's the fun kind...not the ugly kind.

Taking a cue from "Dan in Real Life", my roommate Ashley has even turned cross-word puzzles into a competative sport. We've only tried it twice and both have been relative failures since we chose puzzles way beyond out ability level...but I can see how it could potentially be really fun.

So, I hope everyone is getting their word skills honed. I plan to play lots of boggle and speed scrabble on my week off of work for the holidays. Are you ready??

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Feliz Navidad Indeed

With Christmas music and the smell of fresh baked cookies filling my house, I traipsed down the stairs this morning to put a new batch of cookies in the oven. I'm not sure you can imagine my excitement when I noticed out the back window the small white flakes slowly falling to the ground. I ran to the window like a little child and stood there watching the snow fall, glee filling my heart. I love the snow.

I'm not sure why I love it so much. I think it's partially because it reminds me of home and family. It's also beautiful and peaceful. It means snowboarding and snowball fights and snowcaves and snow angels and snow days. I doubt this snowfall will accumulate enough to actually mean any of those things, but it makes me terribly happy nonetheless.

I'm especially happy to be living in a place where it snows again, even if it's not much. For the 4 years that I lived in LA I had a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. The streets would be decorated and Christmas music was being played everywhere, just as it does in the rest of the US around this time of year. We even had a Christmas tree in our house most years. But, the sunny skies and balmy 65 - 75 degree weather always threw me off. It felt like fake Christmas. Like I was driving on a movie set and they hadn't brought the snow makers in yet. It just didn't feel right.

So, with the brisk winter air, the need for bundling up when leaving the house, the occasional snowfall, and the customary Christmas music and decorations, I'm certainly getting into the season this year. And, I'm really looking forward to going home to Colorado...the place that feels the most like Christmas to me. Feliz Navidad!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Belated Thanks

I was waiting on pictures in order to write this post. Now it's been a month and a half and I've forgotten much of what I planned to write. And, I've actually already been back to Colorado since this trip, so now everything is all muddled up in my head. But, seeing as how it was one of the best trips I've ever had with my family, I've still gotta document it for posterity's sake.

I took a nice long vacation home to Colorado for Thanksgiving and had a really amazing time. My friend Paul from DC came out and spent part of the week with me and the fam...only adding to the greatness. We hung around the house a bit, my dad bought a new car (and thus my parents no longer own twinner cars),
we met up with Paul's cousin for some rock climbing, experienced the miracle of tomato basil bisque,
visited every possible Titanic related site in Denver (bet you didn't think there were any, did ya?), met up with some friends for Woody's wings,
made a delicious Turkey dinner, and just had an amazing time together.
And so, this Thanksgiving I'm grateful for the people I got to spend it with (sorry for ending that sentence with a preposition dad).
1. I am grateful for Desiree. She is a wonderful sister and one of my best friends. She works really hard at the things she sets out to do, she knows what she wants and she goes after it, and the girl's got pizzaz. She's got a mind like a steal trap and she doesn't forget a thing (particularly random things I said 10 years ago). I am so proud of her being the first member of our family to serve a mission. She did a great job and learned so much in that year and a half. But, I have to admit that I'm also really glad to have her back so I can hear her little voice more than twice a year. Desiree has a great sense of humor and has the ability to make me laugh when I least expect it. Though, I have seen more beverages come out of that girl's nose than everyone else combined. Don't ever make her laugh when there are fluids around. 2. I am grateful for my ma. She's also one of my favorite people on the planet. She's a little Irish fireball with spunk and wit, but it comes with a kind heart. She taught me a lot as I grew up, mostly how to think for myself and be independent, and I'll be forever grateful for that. She's always been so supportive of me and my crazy whims, even though they often take me far from home. She valued her family and stayed home with us while we were young, which was always such a blessing to me. I have such fond memories of singing and making up a dance to "I've been workin' on the railroad" in our big kitchen in Connecticut, sitting on her lap and telling her about my day when I came home from school every afternoon, going for desserts at the Walgreen's diner after a day of shopping, being comforted when I had a bad day, and so many more little moments that helped to shape my life. She is a hard worker and did all she could to make our lives happy and comfortable. She's so patient and giving. She's an amazing example of strength and determination and is always so generous with her love toward me.
3. I'm grateful for my pops. I've always been a daddy's girl and I've always been his Kiddo. My dad is a solid man who's extremely bright and logical, but loves to have a good time. He can entertain us for hours with his stories, particularly the ones from his college days. Like my mom, he taught me how to be independent and think for myself. When I was growing up he would ask me questions about the world like, "how did they get the hay to grow in squares like that?" and allow me to figure things out for myself. He's never told me the answer to a riddle and always had faith in my ability to come to an answer. He taught me to go after the things that I want and how to be a good leader. He's gentle and kind and patient. He's hard working and he provided well for our family. He instilled in me an appreciation for music as he drummed out the beat on the steering wheel. Luckily now he's upgraded to some real drums. We had one of our first heart-to-hearts on the bow of a sailboat when I was a little tot and we've only grown closer since.

4. I'm grateful for Paul. We met when I lived in DC and became fast friends. Paul is one of the people in my life who "gets" me best. He's a very intuitive and sensitive (yet still very manly) guy. I always have a good time when I'm with Paul, whether we're having a deep introspective conversation about life or dressing up like ninjas and kidnapping our friend. Paul is an amazing example to me of what is means to be a good friend. He's thoughtful, kind, a good listener, and always there for you when you need him. He makes you feel good about yourself, but also tells it to you straight when you need to hear it. He's honest and open, particularly about his feelings, and has taught me how to be the same. Paul is the kind of friend that I always want to have around...I've never had a bored moment with him. He's a killer soccer player, avid hiker, and all around adventure man. I'm so grateful to call him a friend.