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Apparently it is NaBoloPoMo, yeah, I didn’t know what that meant either until I looked it up. National Blog Posting Month, where folks challenge themselves to blog everyday to get [back] into the habit of it. I’m not sure I can come up with something worth sharing EVERYDAY, but I can go for 2-3x week (at most).

Sunrise in Boulder, CO

Between my new job, (which I started after returning from Labor Day/Rosh Hashanah week Boulder, during in the middle of the High Holidays), commuting, and general house chores I am exhausted most of the time. Thankfully the major holidays are over and things have settled down to our new normal. We attend Segulah Minyan every other week, and blob out at home and maybe stock up on local produce and other items at the farmers market on the alternate weeks. Ben has been keeping me sane by packing my lunch every morning, otherwise I’d be spending all my hard-earned on lunches (plus I’d be breaking my personal policy of not eating out more than 1x week).

Here are a few photos from our week in Boulder. It was SO nice to spend time with friends (and their baby bellies and babies), as well as have some time with Ben where I didn’t feel like I was keeping him from work or where either of us were competing with a laptop for the others attention. Sometimes we have trouble putting our gadgets down, it’s a work-in-progress.

Yom Kippur was a Segulah Minyan event, at a rented church social hall in Sheppard Park/Silver Spring. Services were great and I actually felt present for most of them, but it really punctuated how much we miss CBS in Boulder. Speaking of Congregation Bonai Shalom, the synagogue was CRIPPLED by the flooding in Boulder in mid-September (it started 2 days before Yom Kippur, which was thankfully held at nearby Naropa University’s East Campus). Reading the news out of Boulder in mid-September was terrifying and sad. If you have any pennies to share, I’m sure Bonai would appreciate them (instructions on how to donate via email or phone are on their website).

You’ve already seen our photos of the AMAZING sukkah Ben built on the patio, and my friend Jennifer came down from NY for the day for the first day of sukkot (we dwelled with dinner, brunch over the news paper in the AM, and general lazy lounging in the afternoon after a nice walk exploring my neighborhoof) before she had to head back to the city for work the next day. Boo. We don’t see each other enough. I guess I need to take a turn and go to New York again!

What else is going on….

Weight Watchers as a program is great, but my progress has been glacially slow. lately I’ve either hit a plateau or gotten lazier at tracking than I thought. Blergh. Soon it will be cold enough to blame it on heavy winter clothes, but that trick only works once!

Now that we’ve moved past the craziness of ALL the Jewish holidays feeling like they are ALL AT ONCE (it always feels like that when they swallow Shabbat whole, or turn it into a virtual 3-day chag), and I’ve gotten more used to my 8 hour + lunch day, things are settling down.

In more upbeat news:

In late September we helped my friend Andrea, from way-back-when at IAC, move from her temporary furnished apartment into a gorgeous flat in Adams Morgan. She’s pregnant and her husband was traveling for work and Ben and I didn’t want her trying to unpack without help! We also explored her neighborhood a little (all new to all of us) and ate some awesome falafel and fries for lunch and pizza for dinner, YUM! It was the first real fall-weather day we’d had and it was crisp and beautiful. It was a bit of a shame we spent it unpacking, washing bedding, installing a new printer, and buying what felt like ALL THE THINGS at Target, but it showed off how great her apartment is that the windows really let in the light and air and it was still nice and quiet even though she’s 1/2 a block from a major urban shopping/dining area (think Pearl Street in Boulder). I’m kinda jealous.

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WBF was my roommate my first year at boarding school. We both started living with weird/crazy roommates and worked with 12 other girls to coordinate an unprecedented 9 room, 12 girl switch-a-roo. We were the only ones where neither roommate ended up in the room they started out in. We bonded over Pink, Garbage, No Doubt, and other late-90s girl rock.

We got along like sisters, arguing about stupid stuff and doing little things to taunt each other sometimes. It was kinda awesome. We chose different roommates for our second year at school and then went off to different places for college (me to CCPA and her to USC). I visited LA for one spring break, and later Austin when WBF was in law school at UT and I was finishing up school in Boulder. She planned my bachelorette party (pole dance lessons, followed by pizza and cocktails, and tickets to a cabaret show), it was awesome but poor WBF was really sick and I think she actually skipped the cabaret show. Oh well.

We were all hale and hearty for her wedding this weekend!

And then my camera ran out of batteries and the photographer seemed disinclined to take any photos that didn’t have both halves of the couple in them. I’m vain and hopefully I’ll get to see how my outfit came out in photos! I think the dress I wore was out of the closet for it’s last time, it was almost too big/baggy but I ate enough tacos in 2 days to remedy that…. Back on track now that I’m not longer in tequila and taco land, just in time for the A-RTS festival in my neighborhood and Cinco de Mayo this coming weekend!

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When I was in Boulder, and between jobs, I would bake a lot, volunteer with our CSA, volunteer at our synagogue (before I worked there), and blob-out (like I’m doing now).

Now that we live so close to my parents, I can tag along with my dad on business trips! Woohoo! In February I went to NY with him for 36 hours. This time we went to Philadelphia for 24 hours. It was too short of a trip to meet up with anyone, but I did get to visit some smaller museums and go for a lovely walk in the sunshine, The NEW Barnes Foundation Museum and the Academy of Natural Sciences, while my dad was attending a lunch meeting at the Museum of Art (yes, with the Rocky stairs).

Neither museum permitted photography, but I did take a few snapshots while wandering around outside. If you’re ever in Philly, the new Barnes museum is GORGEOUS!

I could get used to this not being lobster-red after spending an hour outside at mid-day thing. No wonder visitors to Colorado always end up sunburnt, the sun is so much friendlier here!

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Here’s the day-by-day of how our 10 day road trip from Denver to DC went:

Friday, December 28th: movers were 2 hours late, they got the truck loaded by 4 PM, we went out for pho, and then vacuumed and cleaned up a bit before we went to Becca’s for shabbat.

Saturday, December 29th: lots of nothing, Netflix, sleeping, and sitting in front of Becca’s faux fireplace, then we met up with some friends and went to Domo for dinner (where I had the BEST ramen I’ve ever had).

Sunday, December 30th: unpacked and reloaded the car, ate pie for lunch, and then got the tires checked at Costco before hitting the road around 1 PM. It started snowing around 8 PM, so we drove until 11 PM Central Time and stopped overnight at a highway hotel Junction City, Kansas because the snow was supposed to be worse the next day.

Monday, December 31st: It took us almost 5 hours to drive the remaining 3 hours of our drive to Leeland, KS, where Ben’s aunt lives. After a disappointing lunch we went to Whole Foods to stock up on ingredients and then visited Ben’s grandma for a bit. Then we blobbed out on the couch, made ourselves a big pot of pasta and some salad, did some laundry, and went to bed. We’re exciting people. Also, it was 12 F outside.

Tuesday, January 1: Had New Years Day brunch with Ben’s grandma and her friend at their retirement home, then hung out with his grandmother for a bit and went into Kansas City for the afternoon. The intention had been to go to LegoLand, but apparently you need kinder to go there, so we got our tickets refunded and wandered around the skybridges and visited Union Station where they had an awesome Lionel Trains exhibit about all the different gauges.

Wednesday, January 2: We hit the road around 10 AM after cleaning up the kitchen and reloading the car. Ben dropped me off at Walgreens to get a flu shot while he went to buy stamps at the Post Office. It’s a good thing we didn’t go very far though because I realized that I’d left my phone, plugged in and charging, in the kitchen at his aunt’s house. Oops. So we went back and picked it up before heading having lunch at a old timey bakery/cafe (Dave’s) in Independence, MO. Then we spent the afternoon at the Truman Library. Then we drove to St. Louis, stopping for dinner at Panera somewhere along the way. We used a Groupon I had for a convention center hotel that included parking, welcome drinks, and breakfast in the morning.

a funky church in Independence, MO

a funky church in Independence, MO

Thursday, January 3: Breakfast wasn’t exciting, but it was included in our Groupon so we made the best of it. Then we bundled up and walked over to the arch. It’s gorgeous! The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (museum) was OK, but I wasn’t into it. Frankly, I think the flu shot was making me feel like crap so I did a lot of staring at things without reading them and sitting on a bench with my brain turned off. Ben did most of the driving. After checking into IndyHostel, in Indianapolis, Indiana, we had dinner at Napolese, which was amazing (and not just because we were hungry).

Friday, January 4th: We met up with a classmate of mine from Interlochen for brunch at Zest, it was yummy! Then we hit the road and drove for a few hours, starting a new audiobook, Argo. We stopped in Columbus, OH for ice cream at Jeni’s and met up with a friend from Chicago, his wife, and their new baby. I had 1/2 a scoop of some AWESOME cherry chevre ice cream and 1/2 a scoop of cherry lambic sorbet. I think cherries make me think of warm weather and it was too cold to snow outside. We slogged on towards Pittsburgh, stopping no where memorable for a roadside dinner. Not the shabbat we were hoping for, but it gave us more time to listen to our audiobook!

Saturday, January 5th: We’d called ahead to one the of the synagogues in the area that had seemed worth visiting, to see if anyone might have hosted us for shabbat, the person who answered the phone had no idea what to do with that question and I was so shocked by her lack of welcoming that I forgot to leave my name and number. Oops. Instead, we had an AMAZING brunch at Square Cafe and the went to the Andy Warhol Museum, which is in what used to be a Jewish neighborhood that is now mostly black. Dinner was disappointing Chinese food downtown, about a mile from the convention center hotel Ben had found us a good deal on.

Pittsburgh Platform Plaque

Pittsburgh Platform Plaque

Sunday, January 6th: We had a quick breakfast at a bagel shop downtown and then we took the light rail to the the Carnegie Science Center. We spent most of the day there, then took the light rail back to the hotel, went to a bizzaro Turkish/pizza place, walked in and then left, then picked up some sandwiches for dinner, went back to the hotel and blobbed out to watch the season premier of Downton Abby on PBS.

Monday, January 7th: Ben paid and exorbitant fee to get the car out of the garage (stupid weekday vs. weekend pricing), and we headed off to Johnstown, PA, where we’d meant to go to the Johnstown Flood Museum, but it was closed (in spite of their website and the sign on the door saying that their open every day but Thanksgiving and Christmas Days). We wandered town for 20 minutes, got back in the car and drove in alternating shifts to my parents’ house, getting to Gaithersburg (where Ben will be working) around 5 PM. The rush hour traffic at that hour is heading OUT to the suburbs, not into the city, so we didn’t have any issues getting home in time to meet up with my dad for dinner.

Post Mortem of our trip: I think we’re foodies.

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Sadly, Mike’s Camera is low on everything  in preparation for their annual inventory. Thankfully, they were willing to charge the camera’s battery for me, on the charger for their floor model! They couldn’t sell me the charger, but will call me when they get more in.

Here are the photos from our Wyoming road trip. We drove from Thornton (where I work) on Friday, to Rawlins (via a pit stop at the Sierra Trading Post, in Cheyenne), and then on to Jackson on Saturday. Visited with Ben’s younger sister, Emma, on Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning, and then stopped at “points of interest” along the highway en route to dinner in Fort Collins, CO and then home to Boulder.

In Rawlins, we stayed in a cute little B&B in a big old house (Ferris Mansion) and had AMAZING carmel apple french toast for breakfast. I ate like a starved woman, tea, 2 glasses of milk, 3 eggs, and 3 or 4 pieces of french toast. Then I had 1/2 a salad for lunch at the Bitter Creek Brewing, in Rock Springs. I wish we could have sampled some beers, but we still had 3 more hours of driving after that (it was supposed to be 2, but we got stuck behind an aggressively slow truck). We tried to stop at Bitter Creek again on the way home, but they’re apparently closed on Sundays. :( We ended up at a taco place by the interstate after driving all over tow looking for something non-icky to eat at 2 PM on a Sunday.

It was a LOT of driving, but less than 3 tanks of gas round trip (about 1000 miles, or 2.5 tanks of gas)! No one ever had a driving shift of more than 2.5 hours. There were lots of potty breaks, ice cream breaks, sun chip breaks, and more potty breaks (we bought 3 lbs of wildflower honey at one pit stop, postcards at another, and some local honey caramels at yet another pit stop). FYI, Wyoming’s roadside merchants are much more “general store” than the ones in Kansas, those were 7-11 meets tacky-tourist gift shop.

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What an awesome weekend! I have mild wedding envy.

Andrea’s family rented out Elm Court, in Lenox, Mass. for the weekend. It’s a mostly renovated Vanderbilt mansion in Western Mass. While we were there, they also arranged for a private tour of The Mount, Edith Whorton’s estate.

There was a beautiful welcome dinner (we got miserably lost and missed the rehearsal beforehand) that Andrea’s mom catered herself. Yum! We musicians had a giant slumber party in the unfurnished rooms in the attic. Not giant really, only 4 per room, but that made for 3 quartets worth of musicians (though Andrea’s little brother and my Ben were the only cellists and Ben doesn’t really play anymore). The wedding was Saturday evening and the Edith Whorton tour mid day Saturday (while Andrea and Franto went looking for a Massachusetts notary) and then I helped do the bridal party’s makeup before rushing to get myself pretty. BTW, wearing only spanx and a bra in a public restroom while doing hair and makeup is a great way to meet new people…. I’m glad that Andrea’s friends are so helpful or I wouldn’t have been able to zip up my own cocktail dress!

Below, I’ve posted a gallery of 50 photos my husband and I took over the weekend that I think sum up our weekend in Western Mass well.

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We took WAY too many photos to upload them here, so please check them out at:

http://ducksandbooks.irave.com/honeymoon

**UPDATE**

iRave seems to have fallen off the face of the planet, our honeymoon photos can now be found on Flickr.

Part 1: Denver -> Salt Lake City  on Amtrak

Part 2: Salt Lake City to Emeryvill/Oakland, California on Amtrak AND San Francisco -> Vallejo on the ferry

Part 3: Sonoma and Napa Valleys, California

Itinerary:

Tuesday,8:05 AM Amtrak from Denver -> Salt Lake City arr. 10:30 PM

Wednesday & Thursday, explore SLC (see photos, they’re self explanatory)

Thursday night, overnight train, 11:30 PM Amtrak Salt Lake City -> Emeryville, CA arr. 3 PM

Friday, ice cream after getting picked up at the train station with M. Barrere, take the BART into San Francisco, check into hotel, dinner with M. Coblenz and L. Chikofsky

Saturday, 10:30 AM ferry to Vallejo, pickup rental car, wander into the city of Sonoma and do arts and crafts at the art museum, and check into the hotel where we were upgraded to the Elite Concierge section of the hotel so we got free breakfast, wine & appetizers in the afternoon, and dessert in the evening (which we turned into dinner).

Sunday, visit wineries! SLEEEEEEEEEEEP, tasting Andretti, tasting and binge buying at Hagafen Cellers, lunch at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, dessert at Three Twins in the Oxbow Market, wandering downtown Napa (which, btw, is mostly closed on Sundays), then we were blobs in the hot tub and ate leftovers and hotel dessert back in our room.

Monday, SLEEEEEEEEEEEP, winery tour and tasting at Valley of the Moon Winery, tasting B. R. Cohn Vineyards and Olive Oils (he’s the manager of the Doobie Brothers band), back to Sonoma to hang out in an indie bookstore and have dinner at Sunflower Cafe.

Tuesday, Jelly Belly factory tour, we missed getting into the Travis AFB Museum by 5 minutes, then we took the Budwiser factory tour just to see what it was about. We tried to order Chinese delivery, but no one delivers in Napa! More dinner out of appetizers, wine and dessert/pears at the hotel.

Wednesday, we picked up a picnic lunch at Whole Foods before heading out to a tasting and self-guided tour at St. Supery, picnicked by the pygmy animals and wandering the grounds before sharing a tasting at Raymond Vineyards, hung out for a few hours to watch the sun set from the Calastoga Hot Springs and Spa (daypasses = amazing deal!), and had  dinner at the Calistoga Inn

giant wine bottles @ Raymond

Thursday, ferry back to San Francisco, lunch at Gott’s Roadside in the Ferry Building (we snuck in a Maui Brewing Co CoCoNut Porter to split, it was the PERFECT accent to poke tacos and an ahi burger), took the BART to SFO, saw Air Force One, and flew back to Denver! (I left my awesome black hat -see above- on the plane, sad times.)

Friday, groceries and furniture shopping (no, we didn’t buy anything), breakfast for dinner (sweet potato hash, tofurky breakfast links, and an egg each)

Saturday, BLOBS with nothing to report other than fewer things to catchup with online. Ben made butternut squash soup for dinner.

Sunday, more furniture shopping, Ben went to work for 4 hours while I worked on cover letters. I made a sauteed veggie/quinoa thing for dinner. It was OK.

Now, Ben’s back at work and my job is back to applying for jobs and trying to keep the house from getting too messy. No more wedding planning/management other than working out the final budget (it’s looking like we’re WAY under our allowed amount) and writing 2/3 of the thank you notes (Ben volunteered to write them to his family members). I hate job hunting.

grapes, take on our honeymoon in Napa/Sonoma, CA

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