Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving at age 34 and age 20.

This was the first Thanksgiving in ten years I have not been with my or Kurt's family.  Not to mention the first in a few years we haven't had our annual Friend's Thanksgiving.  At first I was so depressed and melancholy I was having a hard time getting excited about the days off, the feast I had in store, and celebrating the best Holiday of the year (second only to Arbor Day).  I just couldn't get past the fact I would not be partaking of my friend's Sam's famous Chex Mix, my Mom's pies, or participating in the Madden Family Gala Talent Show (and I had worked up such an amazing knife throwing act).
The kids and I had the entire week off, so I had a lot of time to think about what I was missing. 

I was also remembering the first Thanksgiving I had as a married woman in Austin, Texas.  We had moved to Texas with our first born Aaron (he's actually one of our best friends and a lovely gentleman) days after getting married.  It was such an amazing adventure.  Traveling in an old bakery truck across the Western US for two weeks, sleeping in swap meet parking lots, running out of gas, told by the police to get out of Yellowstone, and watching our cat Slick walk around on his leash.  Yes, a journey that everyone takes sometime in their life.
I will never forget this trip and the time I spent with my two best friends.  

When we got to Austin we headed to an RV park, where the owner charged us only $5 a night (because did I mention it was just an old Bakery Truck).  Aaron slept outside on a huge pillow, our TV was hooked up to a pole and placed classily on the ice chest, and our spot was backed up to the parking lot of a pretty nice Italian place where people routinely gasped in disgust at our set up.  Yes we were living the good life.  We couldn't get into an apartment for two weeks.  Henceforth we rode the city buses all day long to enjoy the air conditioning, much needed tip to surviving the heat of Texas in August. 

We finally got our apartment in the hoity toity Sea Breeze complex that was placed right in front of a great little spot we called the "Drug House" and no where near a Sea.  The "Drug House" was a rundown home where people went in with TVs and came out hours later empty handed, with glazed eyes and singing versions of Bob Dylan songs.  (Mom, don't worry it was similar to Church).

We all got jobs:  Kurt - 7-Eleven, Aaron - Pizza delivery, Amanda - Drive through dry cleaning.  
It's amazing how little money we survived on.  We found furniture by dumpsters or garage sales, ate a lot of free pizza from Aaron's job, and swam in the pool.
Austin was a great really was...the library was beautiful, the buses were free if going downtown, the people very friendly, food was amazing, and the music and movie scene was everything 3 twenty year olds could ever want.  We also made some great friends (especially after I got a job upgrade to baker at a Kosher Deli).

Months passed and we settled in to a life I now realize was extremely care free.  We built a distinguished record collection, and played a ton of Atari.
The holidays came upon us and I soon realized that I am unnaturally connected to my family.  I missed them so much I could hardly get up in the morning.  I had my two dearest friends with me, not to mention a husband I adored, yet I was so young.  I had never lived 5 minutes away from my mom and dad or my wonderful, wonderful, sweet baby brothers.  God I missed them.  I hadn't realized that my crazy, loud, much too talented brothers and sisters were such a part of me and who I was.  The holidays were so lonesome.  We invited a down on their luck family to a Christmas dinner.  I'm not even sure what I cooked.  We exchanged gifts...

We moved back to Portland 4 months later.

I've grown up a lot since then.  I am still connected to my family in ways most people can't understand.  I need them in my life...they are still a part of me and who I am.  Yet, I'm more me now.  I'm also a part of my own family.  I have two of the best kids in the world, and a husband that is my best friend and whom I adore.  So this holiday season it wasn't so bad being so far away...we cooked an amazing meal, truly epic, we played board games, we went ice skating, watched the Muppet movie, and just sat and enjoyed each other.

So I probably won't move back to the West Coast in 4 months this time.  We will make sure to fly home for Thanksgiving next year guaranteed.  I have my family and friends with me all the time in my laugh, in my songs, in my head, in my heart.  

But my little family now is my heart and soul, and the adventures have just begun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wet n Wild at a Colorado Hot Springs

Oh, Colorado, where have you been all my life.  Every time we jump in the car for an adventure we end up at something so fantabulous, so unexpected, so fun I have to blog it.  Which is the American thing to do.

This was such the case when we happened upon Hot Sulphur Springs.  I woke up Saturday wanting to hike somewhere, see some nature, get us all away from our technology and jobs (Kurt has been working so much and so hard-which a proper sugar daddy should be doing).  Anyway, we did some research and decided to head on up the mountain towards Estes Park and the Hanging Lakes.  However, we hit a wall of cars right off...stop and go traffic.  So we checked our GPS for a way around it, instead kind of took a wrong turn, and found a new destination...Hot Sulphur Springs.

Beaver pond is right behind this pool.
The ride was beautiful, up the mountain switch back style.  We went through Winter Park, past ski resorts, mountain pass, through small towns (much like the towns my dad moved us too over and over again), then to the "resort."  This resort was more a backhills lodge that happened to be surrounded by various spring filled baths and pools.

I think what was so amazing was the peace and tranquility.  The natural settings, waterfalls, duck pond complete with beaver and his dam, chipmunks running around, and the hippies just added to the serenity.  Thankfully the hippies left their bongo drums at the yurt and kept their clothes on.

It started to snow while we were there, which
just made the water feel warmer.
We soaked, floated, received a natural massage from the waterfalls in mineral rich 102-108 degree water.  There are a total of 23 pools that range from soaking tubs to pools.  We tried about 10 of them.
It was hard to come back to real life.

The only thing wrong with Colorado is that our friends and family can't join us on these adventures.  I can just imagine my Dad or our friend Jason soaking in these tubs, my nephews getting along with the ski bum hitchhikers we picked up while heading to the top of the pass, and my sister rubbing elbows with the dreadlock wearing greenies.

Flights now for only $159 from Priceline!  Reserve yours today.