GUESS WHAT?? I have some trips to relay to y'all, finally!! I know you've just been dying to hear about our adventures...
First, my friend Lisa and I attended our second scrapbooking retreat in Estes Park. It's a huge house in the mountains, not too far away from downtown Estes. We arrived on Thursday night and left Sunday afternoon. We got a lot of scrapbooking done, got to roam town (where I bought more crazy socks, my newest collection), met some new ladies and had fun with the "regulars". It felt SO good to get away and actually get some cards and layouts done. Sadly, I have no photos. :(
Next, I had to go to Monterey, CA, for work. Rough life, right? Especially when this is the view from the hotel courtyard where some meals were served:
I flew out on a Monday, arrived at noon before almost everyone else, and spent the afternoon editing a proposal, then wandering the streets. That morning, I left snowy, cold Colorado and arrived to 80 degrees and perfect sun. The "downtown" area of Monterey is Cannery Row, famous back in the early 1900's as a huge sardine fishing and processing area. Now it's a bunch of shops and restaurants.
Most of the stuff is kindof touristy, but I found another SOCK SHOP! How fun are these, seriously?? They coordinate so well with my Estes Park sock collection which at this point includes Denver Broncos Superbowl Champion socks, peacocks, buffalos, several cat pairs, wildlife, bats, owls and Penn State.
That night we had a Moravia reception when I finally got to meet my boss as well as all of my colleagues. It was great to finally put faces to names, especially since no one looks like their Skype pictures!
The next day was all meetings all the time. But they were on a wide variety of topics, updates from groups and plans for the future, so it was insightful. Great food too. At night, we were treated to open admission to the Monterey Aquarium as well as a lovely three-course dinner. By then (only one full day mind you) I was done with social interaction so instead I wandered on my own and rather enjoyed staring at the cuttlefish, jellyfish and more...
While this next trip actually happened in May, I'm documenting it here because we just came back from it. JC had go to to San Francisco for work the first week of May, and for the first time ever, I was not busy! So I went with him! With his flight being free, as well as the very posh Hyatt Regency, I'll take it. Here's the view from our hotel room (no idea what that weird Minecraft statue is in the foreground):
The best part is that my friend Dana from college lives in the area and was also free to hang out!
So we took a morning flight out, met up with her, and spent the day going to "not your average tourist sites". After a great lunch, we went to the Giant Camera. It's a huge camera obscura left behind from an amusement park on the cliff. Weird, interesting, and entirely random.
But JC went outside and stood in the path of the revolving lens so we caught him on the large cement form inside! He's the person on the right in the beige shirt.
Right next door is the ruins of the Sutro Baths, a private bath house from the early 1900's. As close to ruins as we're gonna get in the US.
Next stop was Loved to Death, a two-store set selling macabre stuff. Like, braced baby shoes from the polio era, French tomb plaques, two-headed animal skeletons, you know, the usual. I ended up buying a gorgeous octopus tentacle necklace. No it's not a real tentacle, but I wouldn't put it past them!
Then on to the Wave Organ. Built in 1986, it's supposed to play music when at high tide the water rushes into the tunnels. But all we heard was gurgling because the tubes are eroded and broken. Turns out, this mishmash of stone and cement comes from a demolished cemetery! No wonder I liked it so much.
After that, it was off to City Lights Bookstore to get some reads, and an awesome Mexican dinner. Whew! On Monday, JC and I walked down to Fisherman's Wharf on our own for some yummy seafood and--WAIT FOR IT--more socks, ahh!!
On Tuesday we met up again with Daner for an amazing three-course meal at Chiaroscuro. It was very upscale until we showed up, but the manager working that night appreciated our cluelessness and had a blast with us. I had an octopus salad, brisket ravioli, and three cheeses for dessert. YUM!
Here are a few other highlights:
The art in the Hyatt lobby that changed colors every few seconds.
The giant coffee cup at illy that I wanted to take home.
Creepy faceless statues atop a building.
And, of course, hilarious cable car signs.
For these and other photos, please check out my complete San Francisco album.
So...in other news, I did my possibly last two shifts at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in April. On the first day, Animal Care, it was a blinding blizzard, snowing sideways. While it was cold and yucky, it didn't stick to the roads, thank goodness (because it was 70 degrees just two days prior). So that was super awesome freezing outside yet AGAIN. They actually let us go home early, but not without first feeding the alpacas. While some of the other volunteers cleaned poop and raked hay, I got to feed the fuzzy guys some sweet grain from a bucket. It took all of my strength to muscle away the greedy piggy ones!
On my last and final Education shift, finally it was not a blizzard or below 40 degrees. Well, in the morning, it was cloudy, super windy, and thus, frigid. After lunch, the sun came out and it was rather nice. But at the end of walking/standing for 7 solid hours, and doing three times the amount of steps that usually makes my foot hurt, it felt like I smashed it with a meat tenderizer.
Therefore, between being extremely busy and not being able to find the time to volunteer the two days a month, getting sick of being out in the elements (imagine me burning in 7 hours of straight sunlight when it's 100 degrees outside?), and my foot hurting, I've done my mandatory 6 month commitment and am putting it on hold. I might find a local cat shelter to volunteer at instead that would allow me to still be giving back to animals, but maybe in shorter shifts, during weeknights, with less of a mandatory commitment. We shall see.
For now, I need to get both my foot and my schedule back under control! I've been so busy that I'm no longer finding time for things like scrapbooking, reading, life coaching, etc. I'm glad I volunteered, and don't regret it, and have some fond memories of it. Who knows, I can always go back...
BETCHA CAN'T GUESS WHERE WE'RE GOING NEXT...