How is it June 1st already?!?

Wow, June 1st...how has half of the year flown by already? As I changed my calendar this morning, I noticed all of the fun stuff coming up over the summer and came to the realization that it will be over before I know it!

On my calendar:
-Carrie Underwood concert tonight (I know, it's country...but the ticket was only $10.)
-Fireworks orientation on June 5th
-Trip to Phoenix for Whitney's wedding, June 10th-13th
-Brian Regan comedy show on June 25th
-"Eclipse" midnight showing on June 29th
-Selling fireworks with Mom and Dad from June 26th-July 4th
-Trip to San Francisco, July 21st-24th
-Volunteering at Jaialdi on the Basque Block, July 26th-August 1st
-Possible trip to Spokane, August 6th-8th
-Volunteer at Winefest, August 13th

And I'm sure I'll have lots more coming up also!


The last 6 months...

Wow, I guess I've been slacking on updating my blog! Here's a short list of what I've been up to:

-I went to Ireland and London in December. We climbed to the top of Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, sipped Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, shopped in Limerick, and flew to London for about 8 hours to take a double-decker bus tour of the city. We had a great time, although I don't think I would ever want to drive again...the roads are really narrow and it's hard to drive on the wrong side of the car on the left side of the road!

-I turned 26 on December 17th...it was an interesting birthday! We flew home from NYC, but on my flight from Minneapolis to Boise, we were diverted to Rapid City, SD for a fuel stop...apparently there was major fog and the pilot thought we would have to reroute to Salt Lake City instead. We made it to Boise and attempted to land, but there wasn't enough visibility. So, our plane circled southern Idaho for a while and managed to land. As soon as we got off the plane, they canceled all incoming and outbound flights. My mom was on a different flight and got stranded in Seattle for several days. It was crazy!

- I went to Orem, UT, for a few days in January to visit my Utah family. Kelsey and Murray let me crash at their place, and we had a lot of fun. I've never laughed so hard at Murray dancing to Lady Gaga!

-February was pretty uneventful. No date for Valentine's Day, unfortunately.

-I went on a road trip to Blanding, UT, in mid-March to visit Angie and her family. The 10 hour drive wasn't much fun, but it was fun hanging out with Angie. We stopped at Arches National Park and hiked to Delicate Arch, which was an INSANE hike! Then we ventured to Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges National Monument and Goose Necks State Park, which were all pretty cool. I also got to visit with Kelsey, Murray, Dylan, Emily and Aunt Cheryl on my way through Orem.

-Not much going on in April, thank goodness! My bowling league ended and my team won first place, which was pretty exciting. I got $70 in winnings!

-I've got 3 trips in the works: Phoenix in June for my friend Whitney's wedding, then San Francisco in July with my friend Tina, and the big trip of the year is to London and Paris in October with my friend Heather. I'm racking up some frequent flyer miles!

-Oh, I got laid off from Sam's Club in January. They decided to close the store due to poor sales, and it was sprung on us unexpectedly. I did get 2 months of severance pay, but I do miss the extra money.

-Hmm...what else? I'm volunteering with the Basque Museum and Morrison Center for the Arts. The Basque Museum has a few major events coming up this year: Jaialdi and WineFest. July and August will be pretty busy with those activities! I have my volunteer orientation for the Morrison Center in a couple weeks, and then I'll start helping out at the various shows that they offer there. I'm super excited that Wicked is coming there for a week next year, but they have several big things yet this year.

I think that's about it! I'll try to be better about posting on here!


14 days and counting!

So I'm super excited because I leave for my trip to Ireland in just 14 days! How did the time go by so quickly? It seemed like December would never get here, considering that I booked the trip in July. And now, I'm realizing that I need to start packing! We've had a few minor changes to the itinerary...Air France cancelled their flights between Paris and Shannon, so we've been changed to Aer Lingus, which is actually a direct flight from NYC. My dad has decided not to go with us, given some recent back pain (which makes him VERY hesitant to fly 14 hours), and so he'll be the official dogsitter while we're gone. And since we'll no longer be travelling through Paris, I found a great deal on RyanAir to go to London for a day...so I'll be travelling through 3 states and 2 countries on this trip! (Unfortunately, all of my connecting flights are through states that I have already visited, so I won't have any new states to mark off of the map...so I still have 24 states to visit.)

I am looking for any recommendations that anyone may have for items to pack, since this is my first big overseas adventure....any suggestions?


P.S. Given the scenery of Ireland and London, I've decided to hold off on sending Christmas cards this week...and will instead wait until I return from my trip so that I can order some of those cute photo cards from Sam's Club to send out to everyone.


News, news and more news!

No, I haven't forgotten my blog. It may seem that way, but it's been a busy couple of months! I went to Yellowstone for a weekend with Kelsey and Meghan (which was rudely interrupted by the arrival of President Obama...nothing like road blocks and cancelled tours to make the trip a downer...) and have been working my tail off at the Sheriff's Office and Sam's Club. But, that's not that thrilling to talk about.

I guess I'll start by discussing my upcoming vacations...yep, that's plural. Apparently I've decided to rack up quite a few frequent flyer miles this year, and have another three trips before the end of the year. (I should note that I'm flying on six different airlines...I don't want to be too partial to any one!)

Trip #1: RENO
So I'm sure everyone knows of my everlasting fanaticism towards Rob Thomas, lead singer of matchbox twenty...heck, I wore a cast for a week just for a chance to meet the guy! He released another solo cd back in June, and made plans to go out on tour this fall. Unfortunately, his tour was not scheduled to come to the thriving city of Boise, so I had to venture out a bit to see him. The closest place within driving distance was Reno, NV, which is a mere 7 hour drive. Not ideal, but it sounded like fun. Two of my friends, Kelsey and Meghan, decided to tag along, and so we've made plans to embark on a girl's trip. We booked a room at the Peppermill in the luxurious Tuscany Tower, and after some deliberation, have decided to fly to Reno. (The hour flight is much more appealing than a 7 hour drive...) We'll be in Reno from Friday, October 16th through Sunday, October 18th, and we're stoked to see Rob Thomas! (Okay, I'm really the only one that is super excited.)

Trip #2: Phoenix/Mesa
Several months ago, my friend Whitney announced her engagement and began planning an October wedding in Scottsdale. As one of my few high school friends, I was excited for her and agreed to do my best to try to come to the wedding. So, she sent me the date and I started scouring the web for a cheap flight. US Airways went to battle with Southwest in a huge fares war, and I managed to book a direct flight for $140 roundtrip. (This is a FANTASTIC deal; it's usually about $230+ to fly from BOI-PHX.) So, I booked my non-refundable flight and spread the news that I was coming back to town. Unfortunately, a couple months ago, Whitney sent me a message stating that the wedding was rescheduled for next June...so it's now just a social visit to see friends and family, and I'll be making another trip to Phoenix again next June. I'm excited to see my grandma and aunt, as well as some of my old friends in the valley. I'll be down there from Thursday, October 22nd through Monday, October 26th.

And trip #3: New York, Ireland, London and Paris
I know, this is a huge trip for me. I've always wanted to go to Europe, but no one really seemed interested in going...that is, until I found a deal for airfare, 6 nights hotel and rental car to Ireland for less than $700 per person from NYC. Yep, you read that correctly...6 nights. So, I begged my parents and coerced Meghan into going with me! It's going to be a whirlwind trip. Here's the lowdown: Meghan and I will fly from Boise to Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines on the night of Monday, December 7th. We arrive at LAX, will have to leave security to check our bags with our next flight on Virgin America Airlines (since Alaska Airlines doesn't transfer them for us), and go back through security. We're taking the red eye flight from LAX to JFK on one of Virgin's awesome moodlight planes. (You've gotta check out their website at http://www.virginamerica.com/ to look at the planes...so sweet!) It's a redeye flight, so we'll arrive in New York at about 6am on Tuesday, December 8th. We'll meet up with my parents there, spend the day sightseeing and stay overnight in the city that night. Then, we fly from JFK to Paris (CDG airport) on an Air France redeye flight that leaves New York at 4:50pm...arriving in Paris around 6am. We have a couple hours layover there, and then fly from CDG to Shannon, Ireland, arriving there around 12:15pm. We'll pick up a rental car from the airport, and make our way to the Adare Manor, which is the awesome hotel/castle that we're staying at. (However, we're not staying in the main manor; we have a 3 bedroom villa home on the resort.) You can check out the hotel at http://www.adaremanor.com/. We're planning to tour around to see the Cliffs of Mohr, the Waterford Crystal factory, Dublin and all over the country. I don't think we'll venture towards Northern Ireland though...still a bit unsettled up that way. At this point, we're also planning a day trip to London. There's an airline in Europe called Ryanair that offers ridiculously cheap flights to neighboring countries. Flights from Shannon to London are about $20 USD roundtrip...yes, I said roundtrip. It's unbelievable. Strangely enough, it'll cost more to take a train from the airport into downtown London than it costs to fly there. But, I'm thinking that a double-decker bus tour would be a nice way to see the attractions in our short amount of time, so that we can at least say that we've been there. Then, back to Ireland. We leave Ireland on the morning of Wednesday, December 16th, and connect through Paris, where we have a 7.5 hour layover. I think we're planning on taking the subway into the city, then trying to see at least the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomph and maybe the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, if time permits. Then we'll be taking off from Paris and flying back to JFK, where we arrive at 7:05pm. We will stay at a hotel near the airport before flying back to Boise on Delta Airlines on my birthday, December 17th. Our flight gets back into Boise around 1:40pm that day, so we'll have some time to rest. I'm actually going to work on Friday, December 18th...jetlagged and all!

That's pretty much the latest news here! More later...with pictures from my trips!


Washington DC in July...

As most of you know, my best friend Angie lives in a middle of nowhere town called Blanding in southeastern Utah. Instead of making the ten hour drive to see each other, we've gotten in the habit of planning girls trips to somewhere that neither of us has been before. (It's much more fun, trust me!) So, for our summer girls trip, we decided to go someplace on the East Coast. Boston and DC were our top choices, but when Angie found out that her friend Camille would be spending the summer outside DC with family, and we could stay with them for FREE, we decided to plan a trip to the nation's capital. Our only problem? We would have to visit in mid-July, which is typically the worst possible time to visit DC due to heat and unbearable humidity. But, we decided to go for it. After scouting out a cheap ticket, I arrived at Dulles to be met by Camille, Andrea and Christina, two other friends from Blanding. We travelled to Lynchburg, VA, for dinner before driving to Brunswick, MD, to our 'bed and breakfast'...aka Camille's dad's house.

I had done some planning ahead of time, and arranged tours of the Library of Congress, US Capitol, Supreme Court and the White House through Senator Crapo's office. So, for our first day in DC, we took the Metro into the city to check out the Library of Congress. It is unbelievably gorgeous! (Fair warning though, we did have some "National Treasure 2" flashbacks while viewing the main reading room.) We tried to get library cards, but apparently there are some pretty harsh regulations to get a card there...never mind that it's a public library!
We were also able to visit some of the Smithsonian museums that day: the American History, Natural History and Air & Space Museums. Talk about some incredible stuff, especially for a history buff like myself! Here are some of the MANY pics that I took:

The next day, we ventured to Baltimore to check out the waterfront area. We bought tickets for the Water Taxi and rode around for a while, and shopped in the touristy shops there.

Blogspot is taking forever to post the pics...I'll have to finish the story later!

Orem in June...

Well, I'm a couple months behind on updating the blog. I started out the summer working a four-tens schedule at work, which gave me two three day weekends a month and a four day weekend a month. I decided to venture to Orem, UT in June for my first four day weekend to hang out with my Utah family and to go to the Kelly Clarkson concert. I was supposed to fly out on a Wednesday night, but after sitting at the airport for a few hours, my flight was cancelled. (I did manage to get 5000 Skymiles and a $50 voucher though!) I was able to make it out on the earliest flight on Thursday morning, and the gate agent even upgraded me to First Class, which is definitely the way to fly...if only I could afford to fly that way all the time! I was met at the airport by Aunt Cheryl, and we ran a few errands that day before meeting up with Kelsey and Murray that night. I camped in Kels and Murr's guest room by the aquarium, and enjoyed playing Xbox with Murr, even though he totally killed me in every single game. We went to the Kelly Clarkson concert in Orem at the Utah Valley University baseball field, and had pretty good seats, even if we did get rained on!

Aunt Cheryl, Emily and I ventured to Sandy to the Nordstrom Rack store, which proved to be a very dangerous place...at least to my debit card. Dyl, Em, Aunt Cheryl and I went to Chik-Fil-A for dinner on Saturday night before watching "New in Town" at their apartment...Dyl, the Minnesotan Spanish was fantastic! By the time Sunday rolled around, I wanted to stay longer...but I'm sure I'll be back to visit again soon!


The latest with me...

Hey all--

So I haven't been updating on here nearly as much as intended...but truthfully, there hasn't been much to write about!

Work is going pretty well, but I have to question the hiring ability of our HR department...they just hired a part time girl for my office who supposedly has cash handling experience, but I'm thinking that she may have embellished the resume just a bit. My patience has definitely been tested, and I think there's still a lot of training to do before she'll be working independently. I'm still at Sam's Club part time, and was excited to get our yearly Sam's Share bonus last month.

I did venture down to Mesa, AZ, last month to visit friends and family. Angie and I went down to hang out in warm weather for her spring break, and indulged in pedicures, highlights and waxing. (Yep, we go on vacation to get beautified...gotta love it!) We stayed at Aunt Sue's house, which was undergoing some flood repair, so it was kind of like camping indoors. I went to dinner with the Van Voris family, saw Whitney, Kristen and some other friends, and even went to a Twilight midnight release party! It seemed like I was on the go from the minute I got there, and I think I could use a true vacation to make up for that hectic one!

I'm in the process of planning another girl's trip with Angie for an East Coast adventure to Boston. We're looking at using her parents timeshare in Boston sometime in mid-July and spending about 5 days checking out the sights and lounging on a beach near Cape Cod. I've been studying the Fodor's Boston 2008 guide from the library, and scouring the web for any good deals on airfare. I'll keep you posted on my travel plans!

At this time, I have decided not to enroll in classes at Boise State University this fall. I met with an advisor to determine what classes I would need to take, and the problem is that I would start my first semester of student teaching in Spring 2010, requiring me to work at a school for 3 days per week. Therefore, I would have to quit my full time job and work at a part time job, and try to make enough money to cover the mortgage, bills and health insurance, since there's no compensation for student teaching. And pay tuition, since BSU didn't offer me any scholarship funds. I don't think it's feasible to try to get that second degree right now, so I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing.

Hmm, what else? I'm super excited for summer gardening, and have already planted several tomato plants indoors. (I went a little gung-ho when planting seeds in the peat pot greenhouse...I may be selling tomato plants pretty soon!) My strawberry plants are coming back in full force, and I bought a beautiful hydrangea plant for the front yard to replace a dead daisy tree. I will start watermelons sometime next month as well.

I have been trying out online dating, and have been on 4 dates thus far. Nothing particularly promising at this point, but I guess it's a good thing to be getting back into the dating world again. We'll see what happens...

That's the latest here! :)


A Chukar on my house!

So Idaho is known for its abundant wildlife, and apparently some wildlife have found refuge on my house...chukars! (I had to Google it too; I had no idea what it was!)

Here's the official Wikipedia description: "The Chukar, Alectoris chukar is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds." Apparently they like to hang out in rocky, steep and open hillsides. (Not sure how my roof fits that description, but okay.) Chukars travel in groups of 5-40 that are called coveys. As far as I could tell, this was the only one on my roof, but I did see some others down the street.

Neat, huh? I'm happy to provide my roof as a Chukar rescue!


Garlic Knots!

Okay, so if you've been to New York, chances are that you've had garlic knots and know how fabulous they are! If not, you'll want to try these anyway. I'm completely addicted. And I think you'll be addicted too!

To make your own garlic knots, you'll need to hit the grocery store. (I got the best stuff at Winco.) Here are the ingredients:

- fresh pizza dough (the Leonardi's dough ball from Winco seemed to work best, but you can use the 'canned' refridgerated dough, i.e. Pillsbury)

- olive oil

-crushed or minced garlic, the kind that is sold in the jar


-margarine or butter

-Kraft Parmesean/Romano blend cheese

-parsley flakes

-marinara or pizza sauce (I like Francisco Rinaldi original spaghetti sauce best!)

To start, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and use a cooking spray to lightly grease your cookie sheet. Roll out your dough on a floured countertop (be sure to flour the rolling pin too!) into a rectangular shape, about 1/2" thick. Cut rectangular strips from the dough, about 5 inches wide and 1.5 inches long, and twist each strip into a 'knot'. (See the photo to get an idea of what it should look like!) Place each knot on the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Use a basting brush to coat each knot with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on top. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, and set timer for 12 minutes. In a small saucepan, melt about 3 tablespoons of margarine or butter, 2-3 tablespoons of minced or crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons of the Kraft Parmesean/Romano cheese, a dash of parsley flakes and another dash of salt. Keep warm on low heat until knots are done baking, and then use the basting brush to coat each knot with the garlic mixture. (You can also toss each knot in the saucepan, but I thought that was too messy!) Heat some of the marinara sauce in the microwave, and use it to dip your knots in!
Trust me, you'll be addicted in no time at all!


Sheena...a BSU Bronco?

So I graduated from college a few years ago...wow, almost 4 years ago now. And well, I really haven't used my degree at all. (Not that it bothers me that much, but I'm not thinking that my current career is something that I want to continue doing for the next 31 years.) After some thought, I've decided to go back to school this fall to pursue a second bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. I had always said that teaching was my second choice of a career, and the best teachers that I had were my 4th, 5th and 6th grade teachers...so that's what I'm going to try to do. I have applied to Boise State University for the Fall 2009 semester, and plan to take 9 credits each semester. I'm crossing my fingers that I may be able to get some sort of scholarship money, so wish me luck on that! I'll keep everyone posted with the latest school news.


So the mummy wrap is not a hot look for me...

So it's been a week or two since I last wrote anything on here, but a lot has happened in that time! I went in this past Monday (12/29) to have Mohs micrographic surgery. What's that, you ask? Well, it turns out that all of my sunbathing (ha!) in Arizona left me with a mole that had some of those nasty c-cells in it. And with the mole being on the left side of my head, on my scalp...well, the dermatologist decided to be nice and not just gouge a big hole in my head. So, I had this fancy, LONG procedure where they slice and dice a bit of skin...well, I'll spare you the details. After I spent several hours in their office, they stitched me up with 18 (yep, I said 18) stitches. 3 of those are deep stitches that will dissolve, but 15 of them were 'baseball' stitched on the side of my head. And because any cuts on your head bleed more...I was sent home with my head in a mummy wrap. (You'll notice that there is no photograph accompanying this post...as it says in the title, it's not a good look for me!) I wish I was kidding, but no, I really had all of my head wrapped (the only open area was from my eyelids to my chin). I did get to shed my wrap after 48 hours, but it still has to be bandaged twice a day. And by notice of the evil doc, I cannot use ANY hair products for at least another week. (If you know me well, you'll realize how much this freaked me out...I had to box up the volumizers, hairspray, etc. and send it to my parents' house.) Yeah, so try covering a 1" x 2" bandage when you already have fine hair, and can't use any hairspray...after a small meltdown and trip to check out hair extensions, I think I'm dealing with it. (My mom talked me out of the $70 hair extensions for now.)

That's the latest with me...


The anxiously awaited Christmas letter...

Well, as you can tell, I did not post my annual Christmas letter on the blog on December 15th. Why, do you ask? It seems that other pressing events have prohibited me from sitting down to write the annual run-down of what I've been doing all year (read: these activities involve black light mini-golfing with friends for my birthday, shoveling snow, going out to a movie...) I apologize for that, even if I did have a bit more fun with those!

So, I'm going to try to write this all really quick...

I'm still living in Meridian in the same house, though I did embark on some small home improvement projects this year and have more planned for next year. In August, I decided that the golden oak cabinets in the house were just not going along with my color scheme. Much to my father's dismay, I thought that painting was a great option. After a trip to Home Depot for sandpaper, primer and Behr Kitchen & Bath sateen paint (and a DIY lesson from a 'weekend home makeovers' book), I tackled the master bath cabinets to change them from golden oak to dark espresso brown. They turned out great! I'm plotting to paint all of the kitchen cabinets next, but I think that will wait until spring. And next on the agenda is tiling the master and guest bathrooms.

As for work, I'm still at the Ada County Sheriff's Office, though I did get a bit of a promotion/transfer in May. I was offered a position in the Finance Office as an Account Clerk II. Basically, I pay all of the bills for the jail, medical unit, records and civil departments, and about 15 other departments. I audit a lot of reports, prepare bank deposits and more. So far, it's been a pretty good move.

Sayde is still doing well, and has assumed the position of snow removal supervisor. (Boise has been experiencing snow storms for the past week and a half, and Sayde helps with the shoveling of snow.) She wasn't thrilled when I went on a few vacations this year, but she did get to stay with my parents each time.

And I did go on several vacations! I went to Phoenix in the early spring to visit some family and friends, and then went back again in June to visit my best friend Angie before she moved to Blanding, UT. A few days after I returned from that trip, I went to Pocatello, ID for my grandma's 80th birthday party. (And yes, we did put 80 candles on her cake!) I was able to spend some time with a whole bunch of relatives, which was a lot of fun. In July, I helped my parents run a TNT Fireworks tent and sold a whole bunch of fireworks for 10 days, but was I glad when it was over! Angie and I took a trip to San Francisco in mid-October for a girl's weekend, and toured the whole area. (We definitely took advantage of our free trolley rides using our CityPasses...up and down the hills, day and night!) Then, my grand finale trip this year was to New York City as a little birthday trip for myself. My aunt Sue went with me, and we were able to see the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, Times Square, Chinatown, the World Trade Center site, Wall Street, Fraunces Tavern, Federal Hall, the Broadway show "Wicked", watched Gossip Girl being filmed, and I was even seen on the Today Show! It was a lot of fun but I was a bit glad to get home to my family and Sayde.

Well, I think that covers the major highlights of the year. If I think of more, I'll add another post on here!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year,

Sheena and Sayde

P.S. Please come visit us anytime!