Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rainbow connection

A couple weeks ago we were having thunderstorm after thunderstorm and, consequently, more double rainbows than I've maybe ever seen.

Here are some photos of one of the brightest rainbows I've ever laid eyes on...

I mean, look at this! It's like being face to face with Roy G. Biv !

I nearly expected this car to come out rainbow colored on the other side of the bridge...

Pot o' gold...?

Friday, June 26, 2009

I-80 eye opener

I've come to the conclusion that the towns along the I-80 corridor in Wyoming get a bad rap.

Sure, they're not seated at the base of some majestic mountains. And yes, it might be dry and flat and empty...but really, my recent trip to Rawlins, Green River and Rock Springs wasn't so bad.

My CEO and I spent Wednesday and Thursday in this area for work looking at economic development projects my office has been in involved in. I was really quite surprised.

Rawlins has a cute little Main Street with an awesome coffee shop called Huckleberry's that serves up smoothies, coffee drinks, sandwiches, and delicious bagels from Wildflour in Lander. (I also toured the old state pen, which was very interesting - and very creepy at the same time!)

Rock Springs has a few good looking restaurants, and the Hampton Inn in Green River was super nice!

What really made me change my perspective on the area was the drive down Wild Horse Loop. I've never seen a wild horse and had images of witnessing a herd of snorting stallions galloping across the prairie filled my head. Nada.

Instead, what Bob and I did see was a breathtaking view of the valley. The landscape there is truly interesting and pretty. Take a look...

A view of the hills...

Note the mountains behind. Beautiful...

Ok, not related to mountains at all, but this was in a museum in Superior, Wyo., and I want one. Want.

Just a cool shot at dusk on the Wild Horse loop...
The next morning I decided to go on a walk up a trail v. going for a run. This is the view UP the trail...it was really that steep...

This is the view of what I had just climbed. I decided to turn back because I really didn't want to go down the hill on my butt...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"You are an obsession..."

There are some foods right now that, in the words of the 1984 Animotion song Obsession, "I will have you, I will find a way, and I will have you."

Those foods are fruit salads and chicken thighs - but not mixed together, mind you!

Hardly a day goes by that I don't have a fruit salad. They're so refreshing, and perfectly sweet and tart, and filling, and healthy, and delicious!

And chicken thighs...oh man. Several years ago I stumbled on a recipe that called for chicken thighs. I made it and there was no going back. Recently, however, my taste for them has become almost insatiable. They are SO amazing and juicy. And their flavor is to die for. Lately, I've just been dipping them in various rubs or bbq sauce and throwing them on the grill. I can't get enough!

So, what's in my fruit salads?

1 fat-free plain yogurt cup with any mixture of fruit I want. I've been using various combos of strawberries, grapes, bananas, peaches, and raspberries.

"Like a butterfly...a wild butterfly..."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Game nights

I am not a vegetarian. Not by a long shot. I'm also pretty adventurous with food and think I've been fortunate to have tried lots of different things.

But this weekend there was a first:


I'd always wanted to try bear, but was hesitant because I'd heard it was really greasy. But at a BBq Friday night I had my first bite of bear in burger form and it was great!

The meal was rounded out with antelope kabobs, and at another bbq on Saturday I had deer sausage.

I guess you could say I'm "game" for pretty much anything.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wrong W state?

It rained consistently for three weeks or more here - and it wasn't our typical summer afternoon thunderstorms either. It was dreary, overcast and cold, making me feel as if I'd been transported from Wyoming to Washington!

I think it's starting to break, though. We've gone from Seattle-like weather to our typical bright and sunny skies with passing showers later in the day.

I've actually spent time outside lately without a jacket on!

It's only June 18 afterall...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Change of direction

Something has really stood out to me recently: The way folks give directions here.

On the East Coast, where there are precious few mountains to serve as a reference, everything is about lefts and rights. The only time I consistently used cardinal directions was in giving an address because D.C., is built in quadrants: NW, SW, NE, SE. Same addresses can be found in several quadrants, so specifying is usually necessary.

In the West, however, people say things like, "Go east down such-and-such street, then go north on this-and-that street and you should see it on the west side of the road."

It makes sense to me, but it took a bit to get readjusted to this way of direction giving. Correctly positioning myself on map to get a route in my head just took a moment longer.

I'm pretty used to it now and find myself using a blend of the two. Regardless, I don't think I'll get lost either way.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Long weekend

I have spent the last four days with Brandon running Wyoming HOBY, a youth leadership conference for high school kids going into 11th grade.


It was fun - BUT - I am so incredibly happy to be home right now. I'm tired. I need a personal foot masseuse, and I really want an adult beverage - I'm not going to picky, it can be of about any kind.

It's been a while since I've done a program like this - about nine years? I was an orientation program coordinator at UW about every summer I was there, and I oversaw the orientation program at Casper College, which was one of the duties of my first "real" job.

I spent nights in the dorms, ate at the cafeteria, did endless cheers, walked millions of steps backwards giving tours and making sure my group was still in tact, acted in skits, and generally made a spectacle of myself. I was (and pretty much still am) very good at that! And I loved it.

But this year I have mixed feelings. It just seemed extra long. Maybe it was the staying in dorm rooms (which takes you back a ways!), or the fact this was my only real weekend to myself before every weekend is taken and my summer's gone. It probably had a bit to do with the fact that I don't know this program, and had no idea how to run it...

But then, I get such a feeling of excitement about getting the kids to learn something. About getting them to discuss bigger ideas and issues.

I also really love making programs and events run. Brandon and I were given the reigns for the weekend from the person who planned it (who ended up having another obligation), so there were bound to be some glitches. But between Brandon and the old orientation leader in me it was all ok.

So...was it worth it? Well, to listen to the students with their parents I would say it was.

But I'm still about to have me a cold one.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Second Life"

People can give me crap about being addicted to Twitter, but so far I haven't seen any reason not to like it. I get interesting information, learn about new things, and "meet" cool people who I might not have a chance to otherwise "know".

I'm just a very social gal. And while I still very much appreciate meeting and knowing someone "in person", I just enjoy being social in lots of different ways.

That's why I so readily agreed to meet up with @TheHollyLane yesterday when she asked me last week if I'd like to get together for coffee. She's seemed so cool online, and it sounded like a great way to meet a potential new friend in Cheyenne!

We went to my beloved City News and what I expected to be an hour long conversation turned into over two! We talked about work, living in Cheyenne, being Twitter and blogger addicts, I got the story on how she and her husband met (and it's a good one!), we talked about mutual friends and how we hoped to meet up again...

She's every bit as cool in person as she appears online and is very genuine and fun. And she treated to coffee! How nice is that??

Check out her blog here. She's got some great stories and you'll love reading about her life as a cowgirl!

And next time, Holly, drink's on me!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wyoming Gothic

This weekend I'll be participating in HOBY, or the Hugh O'Brien Youth leadership camp for high school students.

My office runs the Wyoming program and somehow I went from casual volunteer to pretty much running the show.

My title is Big Mama, something I'm not sure what I think of. There's also a Big Daddy, who is my friend Brandon.

We had to have our picture taken for the program and this is what we decided on...

It cracks me up!!

Wyoming Gothic

Monday, June 8, 2009

And the law won

After making my way home from Jackson, Wyo., on Saturday I still had it in me to go down to the Atlas Theater downtown Cheyenne for a little CD release party I was privy to.

The Law North of Crow Creek, a band of prominent lawyers in town, was having a little get together to play for their friends.

Justice Hill, who Linds H. works for, invited me to go a few weeks back. I didn't want to miss out - no matter how long of a day it had been!

They are pretty darn good, playing lots of old cowboy songs and some covers. And they're so funny! They had the crowd cracking up between songs.

They're a modest band that has a good time playing. If you're ever in Wyoming Home in Cheyenne you can pick up one of their CDs!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Branding iron

A couple weekends ago I went up to Jonna's family's branding outside Kaycee, Wyo. I've always wanted to go, but was never back in the state when they did it. This year I wasn't going to miss it!

I didn't have a job except to take some photos. I do have a bit of a branding resume though: My family helped our friends in Gillette, Wyo., brand for a few years and I got assigned to the "castrating crew." I was the insecticide and blood clotting powder-girl. Sounds pretty glitzy, huh?

For those who aren't up on their branding practices I was the girl who, after the, ahem "deed" was done, ran up and sprayed insecticide around the area then dumped blood clotting powder in.

I wanted to try other things after a few years of this prestigious job and got moved over to ear tags and vaccines. It just wasn't as exciting.

And my old role made for a much better story for all my East Coast listeners.

How about some nice, warm-up pics first...

This is Banjo. Check out his tongue! He just keeps it hanging out like that most of the time...

A new-born ranch kitten...

Jonna's dad Wayne...Kissing calves...

The cattle coming in...

Ok, enough of the sugar coated shots. Let's get down to the nitty gritty: The irons used to burn out any horns...

Jonna's brother Nathan roping...

I've titled this one "Kicking and Screaming"...

See that bucket there? It's called the "nut bucket." I'll spare you the close up photo of what's inside...

Lots of activity...

And that, folks, is how it's done.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A couple days worth

I've been on the road for several days.

It started on Friday when I went to Kaycee for Jonna's family's branding. I got back on Saturday, but was busy, busy getting ready to leave for this week's work trip around the state. Photos on the branding are still forthcoming, so stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, I'm up early and have a few minutes (and wireless service at the Bear Lodge, but no cell service) to try and catch this blog up. I'm blogging from my work account this week, so you can follow along on some things there (www.wyospace-wyospace.blogspot.com).

So far this week:

Matt and I have covered a lot of miles. Day one was Cheyenne to Alcova, then to Glenrock, then to Sundance where we spent the night. We conducted a few interesting interviews and had lunch at the Paisley Shawl in Glenrock, which I had heard great things about from a few trusted friends. Turns out there's a reason I trust them! The place was nice - much fancier than I expected. And our sandwiches were amazing: chicken with slabs of smoked cheddar and avocado was my choice.

We also stopped at the bar in Bill, Wyo., (population one, I believe) for a beer on our way to Sundance. I've passed by this place truly countless times on my way home to Gillette and back when my parents lived there. I always wanted to stop, but was on a mission to get off Hwy 59, so would keep truckin'. It was fun! I had recently read about the bar in the book Jukeboxes and Jackalopes by a Wyoming author. Matt and I had one beer then got back on the road to Sundance.

I'll have a story later on the lady we interviewed yesterday morning for our Agtivities magazine. Her name is Pat and she was the neatest, coolest lady. I loved her. I want to be her.

We also interviewed the mayor of Gillette yesterday afternoon after having lunch at the old Goings Hotel downtown. My dad's office used to be above the Chophouse restaurant downstairs and we'd have dinner or wine there from time to time. It's a nice place too and I'd definitely recommend it if you're ever in that neck of the woods.

Matt and I are supposed to be taking pictures of some of Wyoming's Main Street program communities, but it's been raining since day one. Rainy, drippy skies don't make for good photos of what are supposed to be vibrant, cute downtowns, so our plans to capture Buffalo and Sheridan were put on the back burner.

We did, however, spend some time in Sheridan last night. If you've never been to Sheridan's downtown, well...you must. It's EXACTLY what a downtown should be. It's so cute, with so many great restaurants and bars and shopping, and it's got it goin' on! It was bustling with things to do - and it was a Tuesday night. We had dinner with my friend Jesus and his family at Oliver's, a nice restaurant I've always wanted to try. It was great.

Then it was up the mountain to Bear Lodge at Burgess Junction. This place ROCKS. My friend Candice's husband's family owns this and the Arrowhead Lodge. It's so pretty and relaxing. As a matter of fact, Matt and I are having breakfast in the "great room" right now.

I don't have access to many of my photos right now, but I'll load some later.

Keep checking back here! I might be a little slow in posting, but I'm still around!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Proud to be an American

I was standing in line at Wal-Mart yesterday wearing an old USO (United Service Organizations) tee I had gone for a run in. I got the shirt after helping fill care packages at a USO event with my boss on Capitol Hill a few years back.

A man standing in front of me suddenly asked if I worked for the USO. I told him no and casually explained that a group of friends and I had helped at one of their events.

He told me he was a soldier that had been stationed in Afghanistan in '05. As the soldiers were heading out, a line of USO workers handed each of them a care package. He said it made all the difference and he really appreciated it.

He then stuck out his hand and said, "Thank you."

He said thank you to ME.

I shook his hand - and my head - and said, "No, thank YOU."

Right then, it was his turn in line and with a question for the pharmacist they were off looking for what he needed in the aisles.

I picked up my prescription and as I turned we caught each other's eye. I smiled and waved and took for the door.

Then I remembered the back of the shirt says in very large letters, "DO STUFF FOR OUR TROOPS".

I'm glad he saw that. Reminding people about our troops is one of the very reasons I love wearing that tee.

Moments like the one in line are all the other reasons...