Saturday, April 23, 2011

5 month hiatus

Here I will briefly cover our very busy past 5 months.
The winter saw us spend lots of time with our dog Max. He requires a large amount of exercise. Unfortunately the more exercise he gets the stronger he becomes, and the more exercise he needs. You can imagine how this cycle will continue.

This picture was taken near the edge of a cliff in the Barton Creek Wilderness Preserve. We don't trust Max 100% near these cliffs. He's pretty smart but still a bit wild.

Over Christmas Break my side of the family came down and stayed with us in Austin. They were here for about a week I think. I don't seem to have any photos documenting this trip, so if you happen to have any I would be happy to add them here.

New Year's found us in Phoenix where Leah's brother and sister-in-law Ian and Julie live with their two kids Carter and Iris. Leah's parents John and Carla were there also, seen below with their beloved granddaughter Iris. The bottom photo is of the whole family taking a walk in a nearby park.

Sometime in mid-winter we actually had a snow day. The temperatures last winter seemed to be abnormally cold. We were often wearing our winter clothes from MI on our morning and evening walks. There were a few mornings when the thermometer read 19 deg F. Below are a couple of photos from our snow day. It was amazing what 1 in of snow did to a city the size of Austin-shut down almost completely. Judging by the reaction that Max had to the snow, we are fairly sure that it was his first time seeing it.

One week later it was T-shirts and shorts time.

Leah and I decided to treat ourselves to a mini-vacation for Valentines Day. We booked a night at the Lake Travis Resort north of here a ways. It was nice to get out of town for a bit and it was very nice to be on the water, even if the water was a low reservoir in the middle of Texas.

During this time I had been busy building up a new mountain bike. My previous bike was very much past it's prime. I could happily add a ton of photos of the build-up in order from first to last but I'll limit it to 1 of the finished product. The new bike has increased my riding ability two-fold and makes the ridiculously rough trails here much more fun.

Near the end of February the North American Handmade Bicycle Show was in Austin. It was way cool. On display were hundreds of custom bikes and components. And I got to meet Dario Pegoretti, maker of, in my opinion, the most beautiful bikes in the world.

The next big thing on our agenda was Breckenridge for Spring Break, the result of a very generous wedding present from Paul and Chris Lane. We decided to drive there, about 15 hrs. The trip north was surprisingly easy. Neither of us had ever experienced anything like the desolation of far west Texas and northeast New Mexico. We stayed in Snyder, TX the first night, right in the middle of fields of wind turbines as far as the eye could see. It was a bit surreal looking driving through them at night. Each one had a blinking red light on top and the fields were synchronized.
Interesting fact, nearly 2/3 of our 950 mile trip to Denver was completed within TX.
In contrast to my high school ski trips with Chris and Tim, we only downhilled one day. The other days we XC skiied, snowshoed, hiked and relaxed. Eating was our most common activity. It was great to see everyone in Denver and spend a little time there. The trip back was a bit slower than the way up but it was worth it. We stopped at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. I don't remember the specifics but I believe the tallest dune was around 750 ft.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Other than the above mentioned happenings, it's been mostly business as usual. Leah is still working towards her webmaster certificate. Currently she is in the middle of learning java. It quite literally blows my mind, but she claims to enjoy it, so more power to her. I recently studied for and passed the math 9-12 certification test, so now I am technically certified to teach high school math, even though I have no intention of doing so. I only took the test for a grant program that Marie and I were accepted into.
On the future, I have 5 weeks of school left. We're moving into a new apartment on May 7, a two bedroom in the same complex. It is just down the parking lot a little ways actually. We are considering going to the gulf for memorial day weekend. John and Carla are planning on coming down sometime around the first or second week of June, which we are looking forward to. I will be teaching summer school from June 13-30 and then heading back to MI from July 3-9.

That covers it.

Happy Easter!

Love Jay and Leah.