Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Two More Weddings

This year was ringing loudly with wedding bells. I made my way back to Kentucky for 2 weeks to catch up and get down. And it was nice to be home for my birthday...26...ahhh! Ok, that's not old, still plenty of time to do lots of stuff. So my mom and I went down by the Ohio River to some pumpkin patches and picked some very cute ones for all the neighborhood kids to carve up. It was nice to be home for my birthday and favorite holiday and spend it the way I did when I was a little kid!

But the real reasons for the visit were my cousin's wedding Saturday in Indiana and then a quick sprint back home for my good friend's wedding back in Northern Kentucky on Sunday.

Mandy is the first of the cousins on my mom's side to get married, so we were all excited to enjoy in a country style wedding! And I'm not kidding- look at the cake! Tractors, horse drawn carriages, hay stacks and corn stalks were all proudly involved in the ceremony! My Uncle Keith actually fattened up the 2 pigs they butchered and we ate for dinner! We all boogied on the dance floor, but my mom and I had to cut out early to drive 4 hours back home so I could get a rest before participating in Nicole Spaulding's wedding the next day. (Pictured below are my cousins on the Freed side!)

So now back home in Kentucky, I drove to Nicole's house in the morning to help her get ready. Now Nicole and I go back quite a ways. I remember attending her 6th grade CO-ED (!) birthday party and creating our own glamorous Spice Girls tapes in her living room. We've had a lot of laughs along the way and so I was honored to participate in such a big day (and excited that our bridesmaid attire were reasonably priced cute little black dresses from The Gap...Nicole usually picks out my clothes anyway whenever we shop =0) ) Her wedding was typical Nicole style: trendy, simply and a whole lotta fun. She had a local bar band play at the reception and we all enjoyed the delicious pumpkin cupcakes loaded with icing! Her husband, Andrew, was the main attraction showing off all is fabulous dance moves on stage!
It is such a thrill to see people you've grown up with and loved your whole life to find such a special someone. To be involved in the beginning of that huge commitment that is marriage is a great honor and is wonderful to witness. I hope everyone finds their happiness in something bigger than oneself...whether that's in a commitment with another person, a place or a way of life. Cheers to finding peace, happiness and challenges that result in a stronger and more experienced you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Summer is Over...Here's the Recap!

So summer is officially over and a swarm of great memories were made! I finished up another season at the golf course at the Resort at Squaw Creek. You'd be surprised at how many strange things can happen while playing golf, including two Asian women mistaking the gas pedal for the brake pedal in a golf cart. They rolled the cart down a steep hill and bailed out along the way while the cart continued to pick up momentum and slam into a valet parked car...everyone survived.

The bike path I take to work will soon be closed as soon as the snow storms roll in. The pedaling mode of transportation definitely kept me in shape, so now I'll just have to crank it up on the slopes!

Many hikes were taken all through the summer, most of them with beautiful overlooks of Lake Tahoe. July and August are our money making months, so my downtime in September and October was spent exploring the area by myself or with my friends. Luckily I didn't run into any bears!

Kayaking is also a popular activity on beautiful Lake Tahoe, and I'm lucky enough to have a good friend, Katie Kueber, who works for a local company. Bored one day, we decided to take a few kayaks out for a spin!

We also got in a bit of mountain biking to explore some areas more quickly. Katie (my roommate) and I never really know where we're going when we ride, but we always pop out somewhere we recognize and so are able to make it back home. After this particular ride we saw our friends floating down the river (which is another summer pastime) and so we joined them for some cruising and a much needed soaking of the muscles in the Truckee River!

Camping is very accessible throughout the area. We didn't take as much advantage of it as we should have, but a few of us managed to hike down to Chimney Beach to enjoy a full moonlight walk and a beautiful sunrise in the morning.

My buddy Jonny is a rafting guide for a company that my friend partially what does that mean? Free rafting on the Truckee River for Kim! I also had the opportunity to go wake boarding with my friend Heather on her family's boat. It was the first time I had ever been and I got up on my second try! I couldn't believe how blue the water is off the shoreline and I also can't believe how sore I was the next day. =0)

And of course we did the normal summer activities such as chowing down on a good barbecued burger, swimming in the lake, enjoying a good book at the beach, celebrating the 4th of July with fireworks, star gazing and living up the night life! Our softball team had a losing season (again), but it was still a blast!

So the summer has treated me well. It's my favorite time of year due to all the different activities you can enjoy everyday. Before I know it, it'll be time to haul out the skis, snowshoes, and tire chains! Until then, enjoy the beautiful Autumn and keep in touch!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Papa Joe's Visit to California! October 1-6, 2008
So my Dad flew into Reno to visit his daughter in California for 6 days and it was a whirlwind of adventure! We went straight to Yosemite (after we got my rattling muffler fixed first...I swear I was going to get it fixed soon!) We camped at a great sight in Crane Flat within the park and took on Yosemite the easy and mellow way. We spied climbers on El Capitan, ate a relaxing lunch on
the river and then drove up to Glacier Point to get an amazing view of Half Dome. The sun was starting to set and we booked in on a short hike to Taft Point to get a view of El Capitan (right most cliff in the photo). I raced to the railing to see into the Valley when my dad yelled out, "Kim, you're on a ledge!" The meager fence was not enough to keep us on the edge. After the sunset we hiked back to the car in darkness banging sticks on rocks to keep the bears away. Always an adventure with dad...

After 2 nights in Yosemite, we drove to Hetch Hetchy, a controversial damn that lies within the National Park created to supply 2.4 million San Fanciscans with water.
If we hadn't just left Yosemite Valley, it would be a wonder in itself, but it seems to be a mini version compared to the enormity of Half Dome and El Capitan. Still a beautiful place and still a controversy to environmentalists and conservationists.

We then drove through the gold mining bonanza area and toured the little towns of Columbia and Murphys. Columbia's old town streets are still intact with horse stables and historic buildings and remains the modern main st. and downtown area. And Murphy's was just as aesthetic. We then headed over the darkening mountain passes via Hwy 4 when the lane narrowed to a car and a half width and the rain started in. It was an intense drive and we missed seeing the West Shore of Lake Tahoe in daylight, but it was nice to finally get home and get a good night's sleep. We needed it for the race we had entered into the next day...

We both entered into the 5K Exterra Trail Run race with my friend Kyle. We had to run over logs and cross streams in the midst of rainy weather, but it felt great afterwards! Dad won 1st place in his age bracket and I got 4th. We ate a big breakfast afterwards, checked into the Resort at Squaw Creek (where I work) and swam in the heated pool to relax our muscles.

It was a different perspective being a guest in the hotel I work at, but we got all the perks from
knowing everyone! We had an upgraded view of the valley (seen as the fog lifts from the golf course), received free room service. got half off at the spa (which we decided was still too expensive) and free golf! And I got to use the facilities and walk around in the fancy bath robes the Resort provides! It was a relaxing stay! We then went to my favorite Italian place called Lanza's and indulged in some wine tasting and delicious food!

Sunday, Dad's last day, was set aside for a visit to the Donner Memorial Museum located in Truckee, about 10 minutes away. Dad has read a lot about the tragic fate of the Donner Party, and seeing where they actually camped and the pass they just couldn't get over gave a whole new perspective of the struggle for survival. Shown is the tent site of the actual Donner Family, which was located about 5-7 miles from the rest of the party's cabin sites near Donner Lake. It's a pretty humbling experience to read about such an ordeal and then see the reality of where they lived.

Anyway, we ate at the local hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint and then managed to get in 6 holes of golf at the Resort. Dad was hitting well with the forgiving rental clubs and the extra distance that comes with the thin air in the high altitude. We had room service breakfast in the morning and then drove to Reno for the departing flight.

What a wonderful trip. It was so great and important to have my dad meet the people I am around everyday and experience the beauty and excitement of Tahoe and its surrounding areas. This trip is a recap of all the fun, but also an advertisement for YOU to come and visit! Take care!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monterey Trip

Monterey Peninsula
September 17-19, 2008

Work is slowing down quite a bit on the golf course and I had 3 days off in a row. I thought a little independent vacation to the coast would be a nice change, so I packed up and headed to Monterey Peninsula, about 5 hours away. I found a centrally located campground atop a hill near downtown Monterey and began to explore the area. I went down to Cannery Row, where not surprisingly, sardines were canned back in the day.

The great thing about Monterey Bay is all the Marine life. There are tons of little tide pools filled with starfish, sea anemones (which I accidentally mistakened for dead jellyfish, but they moved when I touched them), seals, sea otters and sea lions. There is so much life here and when the ocean moves in and out, it's as if the water is breathing life with every surge. *Look at the seagull; it's about to swallow a starfish whole!

At dark I headed back to the campsite and listened to my headphones when an angry couple ignorant of camp etiquette decided to fight for a half hour. But I still got up early the next day to head down the coast to Big Sur.
Big Sur is a beautiful scenic drive on Coastal Hwy 1 of rocky cliffs, dramatic views and winding roads. I continued on it for about 25 miles and found a nice state park to wander on. I even ran into some people from Cincinnati and we talked about home for a moment, which is always nice.

I discovered a little homey hippie place called, "The Henry Miller Library." It included an amazing collection of books on philosophy and psychology and is run by an open minded liberal group of employees. I bought a book entitled Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, which
reflects upon the psychology of belief systems and why they are needed in society...can't wait to read it!

I then treated myself to a nice little restaurant set upon the sea bluff overlooking the beautiful ocean and horizon.

I tried to navigate the famous "17 Mile Drive," but got lost due to detours and lack of a good map. So I missed out on seeing the famous golf courses, including Pebble Beach, and although I threw my clubs in the trunk before leaving on a whim, there is no way I could play any of the courses in this area! So instead I headed into the charming (and $loaded$) town of Carmel.

Carmel is very unique and has a bit of a European feel to it. There are a lot of wealthy citizens, however, and the whole of Monterey was way more populated and busy than I expected. An old man in a nice red Mercedes shook his fist at me when I thought he would let me merge in front of him. Kim, you're not in Tahoe anymore! But overall people were friendly and I managed my way around.

After Carmel, I happened upon a free night at the local Art Museum, which served up drinks and hors d'oeuvres. They had a nice jazz band playing and I felt very cultured!
I then headed back down to Big Sur during sunset to the Henry Miller Library to participate in a little film festival. They ended up showing about 6 or 7 independent films from Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, France and the US. They had a great set up and I met a lot of friendly people. It was definitely worth the drive!

I saved the main attraction for the last day: The Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's world famous and a beautiful place to visit. They have an excellent sea otter exhibit and the best part is you can learn about the ocean, and then go to the viewing deck to look out a telescope and see it all for yourself! My favorite exhibit was the kelp tank. It's very soothing to watch the plants sway in the currents. I just missed the Great White shark that was kept in captivity there for a few weeks. She wasn't feeding, so they released her about 2 weeks before I got there...oh well, there was plenty else to see! I'll just post some of my favorite photos from the aquarium...ENJOY!! (PS- look closely at the sea life camouflaged into the rocks!)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Emerald Pools

AUGUST 25-26, 2008











LIFE IS SO GOOD! One of the best camping trips EVER! Keep on truckin' friends and always always always take advantage of the beautiful things that come your way EVERYDAY! xoxo-Kim

Friday, August 8, 2008

2 Weddings and a Baptism

JULY 24th-27th, 2008
I'll start with the latest wedding in the wonderful world of Durango, Colorado (and what a different world it is). My old roommate, Kristy Wasserbach, married her perfect match, Matthew Bruce and man did they have a Colorado wedding! But first, I met my old college roommate Andrea and her boyfriend Omar at Denver airport to begin our adventure.

We rented a compact car (awesome gas mileage!) and headed South toward Wolf Creek Pass. We stopped quite a bit along the way and found this weird little place called "Tiny Town." It was just this miniature mountain town with an old mining mill and a train that went around it. Strange but interesting.

We made it to Durango 7 hours later just in time for Kristy's bachelorette party where I got to see many college friends I haven't seen in forever! We went bar hopping and managed to catch Durango's "Fiesta Days," which basically means all the cowboys are out with their cowboy hats, flannel shirts, and tight jeans. And man can they two step! The rest of the girls went camping after the bars, but Andrea, Omar and I went back to the hotel room to rest after that long drive. We had a big day coming up riding the old coal train from Durango to Silverton.

This train ride is in the "Top 1,000 Things To Do Before You Die," so we had to check it out, and they weren't kidding- it was beautiful!

This train has been running on coal for 125 years and was originally intended to transport valuable ore from Silverton to Durango. I don't know how they managed it, but the tracks are right along the edge of a gorge in the San Jose National Forest. It took 3 hours to travel 50 miles, and I got a little nauseous, but it was so gorgeous!

Here, Andrea and I are attempting to make a symbol for Colorado, but we're a little backwards. Behind us is the little town of Silverton nesteled in the valley of some amazing mountains. I bought a straw cowboy hat in a store we quickly ran into to because shortly after this picture was taken it started pouring down rain!

Anyway, onto the real reason we're in Durango...the wedding!

I have to say, this was the most creative and unique wedding I have ever been to. Kristy is an outdoor goddess and her wedding reflected just that. Her wedding dress included material from her visit to Thailand and her bouquet consisted of flowers that each of her girlfriends and bridesmaids had picked out themselves. My pick was an Iris and Andrea's was a rose.
Matt and Kristy made their own vows, which were beautiful, and the wedding was small and intimate.

The reception was a few hours later, so we stopped at Coldstone's and a pizza place to pass the time, which was an excellent idea. When we got to the reception, I was blown away! It was on her dad's business partner's property which happened to be in the middle of some huge red cliffs and a wide river. The white tent was set up right next to the river and was absolutely stunning. We decorated balloons to tie to a duckie (an inflatable kayak) that was to be the bride and groom's exit from the reception. We also tossed a frisbee, played with the local dog, enjoyed delicious elk for dinner and danced the night away.

So Kristy and Matt made their grand exit via flickering lights aglow from sparklers. They got in their duckee and paddled away, but of course Kristy fell in the water a bit (luckily she had changed first). We all wished them well as they floated away. But wait, the trip isn't over yet...

Now for the road trip home! We went the long, scenic way via Red Mountain Pass (the scariest
pass in the world!) There seriously is no shoulder on this pass, but it is gorgeous. We ate breakfast in the little town of Ouray and continued on into Gunnison where we stopped at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I hadn't been there since I was a kid, but it's exactly how I remembered it. We even took a picture exactly where my sister and I stood about 17 years ago. Weird when you think about life like that.

We also visited a Dairy Queen along the way and stopped at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, which basically is a garden of large red sandstone rock. Then, surprisingly enough, I found out that my dad was actually in town helping my step-mom and little sisters move into their new home in Castle Rock. So Andrea dropped me off at their new house and my Papa Joe actually took me to the airport to catch my 9:00pm flight. I felt like I was in college again visiting my old stomping grounds.

Colorado is by far my favorite state with its clockwork afternoon storms, various land formations and completely dramatic mountain ranges. I had the time of my life with the people I love and enjoy. What a wonderful trip!

July 16-21, 2008
I went back home to Kentucky to attend my cousin, Missy Yeager's wedding. I hadn't been home in a year since the last wedding I went to, and it was nice to be back although I didn't see nearly as many people as I would have liked. My mom, Shelley's boyfriend Stu, and I drove up to Ft. Wayne, Indiana to attend the wedding and I'm so glad I came home for it. My Uncle Tom was so appreciative to see that Shelley and I had traveled so far for family and even made a comment in his toast about it. It was very touching.
Then of course we danced the night away and I'm surprised no one fell in the pool located near the dance floor. It was a very short trip, but reinforced the importance of family and making an effort to be there for them. Sometimes when you live so far away you forget what's going on in
everyone else's lives everyday. It's so important to keep in touch and keep the connection. And of course it was nice to be home to see my best friends, Erin and Nicole, and to see my awesome dog Mazy (and eat amazing Graeter's ice cream). Oh, and see the midnight showing for Batman =0)

June 21, 2008
Well, I'm a Godmother to my younger half-sister, Kelly. She's still a little young to be getting into philosophical conversations about life and death and what it all means, but I'm very honored to guide her in the future! So I flew to Mason City, Iowa to be with my dad and the fam in that part of the country. There is something warm and peaceful about the cornfields of Iowa, and it was great spending the time with family. We passed the time eating dinner and chatting on the back porch, jumping on the giant trampoline, and rocking out to Guitar Hero.

The Baptism was short and meaningful and the girls were patient with it. I can't wait for Kelly to get a little older so we can have a few religious conversations =0)

The next day we took the speed boat out on Crystal Lake and did some tubing and football tossing near the shore. It was a great time with the family and I'm very thankful to be so involved even though we all live so far apart.