Saturday, December 22, 2012

Montana Vacation - Day 5

Woke up again at our usual time of 8am, took a shower and then made some biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

I recently purchased Downton Abbey seasons 1 & 2 on blu-ray and wanted to introduce Chris to it. So we started with season 1 episode 1 and he enjoyed it, though he complained that he normally doesn't watch drama because it stirs up the emotions. We continued to watch the first four episodes of season one. While we watched we made some yummy fish and rice for lunch.

Took a break to go out to JoAnn's to pick up some replacement material from my stocking fiasco yesterday. When we left the apartment it was lightly snowing. At JoAnn's we pick up the geeky prints but they have so many awesome prints that Chris and I purchased 17 different prints at 1 yard each. We now have a ton of material and are thinking of making pillows and other easy to sew things.  Afterwards we went to Target to get Dexter season 1, since I'm sharing Downton Abbey with Chris he wants to share Dexter with me. So he purchased season 1 so we can watch it later. After Target we to went to Albertsons to pick up some ingredients for dinner tonight.

Believe it or not I tried egg nog for the first time and am now completely addicted. Gonna try some different flavors next. (actually did this yesterday but forgot to blog about it, hence different t-shirt)

When we got back home I popped some popcorn and Chris and I strung some out for our Christmas tree. I had more patience with this task then Chris.

After all the drama we watched today we wanted a change of pace and I got to see Anchorman for the first time. This is one of Chris' most quotable movies and he wanted to share it with me. I actually liked it. I thought it was going to be more slapstick then it was. It wasn't crude like most of these new comedies. Of course it was way over the top but that made it even funnier. I'd give this movie a B-

We wanted to finish Downton Abbey season one today so we watched episodes 5 through 7 and finished off the season. During this time Chris made some home made meat loaf which turned out great.

Once Downton Abbey was complete it was late and we watched regular TV for a half hour before calling it a night.

The snow had stopped so I didn't quite get the White Christmas that I was hoping for but it does look like it's going to snow tomorrow and Christmas eve.. so there is still hope.

I know I say this at the end of each blog post but it's very true.. I had another fantastic day hanging with my best bud and I can't wait to see what we do tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Montana Vacation - Day 4

So today is the End of the World... well according to the Mayan calendar. And there are even folks out there who actually believed this but most saw it as a joke and we got to see lots of funny pictures and comments on Facebook and Twitter.

Chris and I woke up at our usual time 8am-ish, took showers and then ate breakfast and got ready to start our day.

We headed out to several people's houses that Chris was going to purchase stuff off Craigslist from. First up was Skis, Chris has been wanting to find some nice skis since he's been going snowboarding/skiing more and more. We got to the guys place,  he was very nice (you never know about Craigslist people). Chris checked out the skis and liked them so he purchased them. Afterwards we headed over to another guys place to check out a kayak. Again since Chris has been in Montana he has been taking up activities suited for living in Montana, like snowboarding, skiing and white water rafting. Again like with the skis Chris checked out the kayak, loved it and purchased it. I have to admit the kayak is pretty sweet. We strapped it to the top of his car and headed back to his place.

We dropped off the kayak in his garage and then headed to the theater to see The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey. Chris had not seen it yet so of course we had to go see it asap. This would be my fourth time seeing it in the theater. We saw it in 2D which would be my second time seeing it in 2D. Still loving it and I'm happy to say that Chris enjoyed it was well. He did take issue with one event that happened at the end but I informed him that that is how it happens in the book which seem to placate him.

After the movie we headed out to lunch, Chris wanted to try a new Chinese place, I'm not one for trying new Chinese places because you never know the level of vegetables used. Well I have to say that this was some of the best Chinese food that I have ever had. Both Chris and I really enjoyed this place. I told Chris I would want to come back to this place again before I leave but of course he said he has another place he wants to try.. so will see if we eat at this place again before I go.

Our next stop was Wal-Mart which I would never go to during Christmas time but Chris found out that I had never seen Anchorman and Chris being Chris had to get a copy so we could watch it. We picked up the blu-ray from Wal-Mart and headed home.

We spent the rest of the day working on making geeky stockings. We had purchased material from JoAnn's a few days prior. Sewing sounds easy enough but man it's not. We had construction paper and cut out our patterns. It was tough making a stocking shape even though I know exactly what they look like. Once the pattern was cut we laid out our material... I was doing a Star Wars one and Chris was doing a Star Trek one. We traced out the pattern and I cut the stocking shape out of the material. We had two different pieces so that front design and back design would be different. Well I cut my two sides out and realized my fatal mistake. I didn't flip the pattern when cutting out my second piece so I had two of the same sides which made my two pieces useless. So that was it for me, I didn't have enough material to cut another out so I had to set my aside (until I could get more) and we focused on Chris' as he didn't cut out his second side yet but even if he did he would have been fine as he did flip the pattern even though he didn't consciously think of it. So we both focused on getting his done and after an hour Chris' geeky Christmas stocking was done and it looked AWESOME.

Afterwards Chris had to go to work so I decided to catch up on some blogging but he wasn't at work for long so I didn't get much blogging done, instead we watch "This is 40" before calling it a night.

It was another awesome day here in Montana with my best bud.

Something I forgot to mention in yesterday's blog post. While walking back with our Christmas tree Chris gave me some sad/bad news. When he was transferred to Montana in April we thought he could put in for another transfer in 3 years (which is horrible already) but come to find out he can't even be considered for a transfer until he puts in a full 4 years here. :( so he can't even consider coming back to California until 2016. This news hurts my heart.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Montana Vacation - Day 3

Woke up early and made some breakfast for Chris and I. We had a long drive ahead of us today. We were going to the Lewis and Clark National Forrest so we could cut down our Christmas tree.

When Chris mentioned that we could cut down our own tree I was excited. I never done anything like that and figured it would be a once in a lifetime kind of thing. But I got to thinking about killing a live tree when there are already so many that are cut down and waiting to be purchased at tree lots. But it was only $5 for the tree permit and Christmas trees on lots go from $25 to a few hundreds and as I mentioned it's a very unique thing to be able to do.

The forrest is about a 50 minute drive east of Great Falls. It was a nice drive, Montana is very flat at times but then you drive into large mountainous areas. There were a bunch of very scenic landscapes along the way. As we entered the forrest we started looking for trees.. there are a ton of rules that go along with cutting down our own tree. We took this side road as one of the rules is that you can't cut any trees 100 feet from a main road. Well this side rode took us well out of the forrest and into the flat lands. We were literally in the middle of no where when we decided that it would be best to turn around and get back to the main road. About another mile down the road was another side road but this one looked more promising. The road was completely snowed over as we made our way deeper and deeper into the forrest. We got to a point where we couldn't drive anymore so we parked and continued on foot. We looked around the area that we parked but couldn't find a tree that we liked. So we decided to walk down a snow covered path. We were about a half mile from the car when Chris stopped and said.. "OMG we should bring the saw with us" then we joked about pulling a Griswald. Chris ran back and picked it up and we continued walking down the pathway. We walked for about 45 minutes before we finally found some decent trees. We really couldn't find any full trees so we started looking for nicely shaped trees instead and found two that we really liked.

We opted for one that was a bit taller then we wanted but we figured we'd just trim it down when we got it home. So we took turns cutting the tree down. It was actually pretty easy as the base of the tree was very small in diameter. Once it was down we trimmed down the stump to less then 10 inches (one of the rules) and then carried the tree back to the car. Chris went to pull out the tree permit which you have to attach to the tree but it wasn't in his pocket. Yeah it fell out somewhere along the way. He retraced our steps while I tied the tree to the top of Chris' car. Luckily Chris found the permit and attached it to the tree and we made our way back to the house.

We put the tree in Chris' garage and went out to lunch. Chris wanted to take me to this Mexican restaurant that he really likes. It's a build your own burrito, taco, etc kind of place and I have to say, though the food is super fattening it was some of the best Mexican food I've ever had.

Once back at Chris' we went to put up the tree. It was still about two feet to tall so we had to cut it down a bit. It took some effort but in the end we got it up and standing straight. Next was the decorations. We started with lights and then moved to bulbs. We then did some geeky ornaments and finally finished it off with candy canes. Both Chris and I are very pleased with the end results.

Chris had to go into work for his 3 1/2 hour shift and I watched some TV. We ended the night with watching TV and chatting.

It was another fantastic day in Montana. I'm actually liking the cool crisp weather, there isn't much snow at this moment but it's suppose to snow over the weekend. Got to do a very unique thing with my best bud.. yeah that's a great day in my book.

Check out pictures from today HERE

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Montana Vacation - Day 2

Woke up in Montana.. yay. Chris wanted to take me out to breakfast to one of his favorite place called Tracy's. The breakfast was very tasty and I'm sure full of calories. Afterwards we headed to Albertson's to pick up some groceries. Chris has been super busy with work so he had nothing in the house. We also had to pick up a turkey and all the trimming for our Christmas dinner. Spent about $260 on food which hopefully will last my two weeks here.. but I doubt it.

After grocery shopping we headed next door to Target to pick up decorations for the Christmas Tree. Chris doesn't normally do a tree but since I was coming down to visit I insisted so we had to go pick up lights, bulbs, ornaments and all things associated with a Christmas tree.

We then headed over to Joann's to find some fabric to make our own stockings. This was an idea of Chris' and I love it. We are going to make some geeky stockings for ourselves. Joann's had a ton of very geeky fabric... lot's of Star Wars and Star Trek. It was extremely tough picking out just two prints, one for the front and one for the back. There were so many prints that I now want to make pillows and other cool geeky things with them. We may actually go back and buy more material to make more things while I'm on vacation here.

Afterwards we went to a sporting goods place called Scheels to get a Christmas tree permit so we could cut down our own Christmas tree. It only costs $5, which isn't bad for a tree.

We planned to go out and cut done our tree today but time got away from us and we had to drive at least an hour to get to where we could cut down trees.. so we opted to just come back home, unload everything and watch some screeners that I had brought. We watched Wreck it Ralph, which we both had seen in the theater but enjoyed it so much we wanted to see it again.

Once the movie was over Chris had to go into work for 3 1/2 hours and I hung out at his place catching up on my blog, doing dishes and watching some Friends and Big Bang Theory.

Chris got home around 11pm and we hung out for an hour or so chatting. Chris got a package from our friend Robert so he opened it before we called it a night.

Lot's of fun today.. one thing I love about hanging with Chris is that we can be apart for three months and it only takes a matter of an few minutes and it's as though we've never been apart. I haven't been here in Montana since April but being here now it doesn't feel like I ever left.  Looking forward to tomorrow... what do we have planned.. I have no idea.. but whatever it is I'll be doing it with Chris and I can't ask for anything better.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Montana Bound Vacation - Day 1

Woke up early today and immediately jumped on editing my next MASH 4077 Podcast. I had to get this episode done before I leave for vacation as it's due to be released on January 1st and I won't be in town for that. I recorded and edited for the next four hours until it was done and uploaded.

Jes was taking me to the airport (Burbank) but first I wanted to take her out to lunch to thank her. We had lunch at Chili's and then she dropped me off at the airport at 2:30pm. My flight was set for 4:30 so I was there two hours in advance. I had checked in online but I did have a bag to check so I had to stand in line for that. I stood there for about fifteen minutes before someone came to the counter and started checking in bags.

Once my bag was checked I had to get though security. I gave the guard my driver license and he looked at it for a few minutes, he asked if this was me. I said yes and he said.. well you've changed your hair, gained weight and are now wearing glasses. I told him that the picture is 20 years old but that I had my passport if he wanted to see that.. which of course he did. Lucky for me my passport picture looks more like me. I think it's time to update my DL picture.

The rest of security was a piece of cake and in no time I was waiting to board.  This flight was from Burbank to Salt Lake City.. The hour pasted by in no time but we were still not on the plane and we were to take off in a few minutes. They never mentioned a delay but it looked as if our plane hadn't arrived yet. So we waited another ten minutes and finally the plane arrived.

I was worried because my layover in Salt Lake City was only 45 minutes and if I was going to be any later I might miss my connection flight. Once on the plane loading took a while and there seem to be even more issues which delayed us even more.  We were finally off and it seemed like we were in Utah in no time. When we landed I had about 15 minutes before my next flight and lucky for me the gate I needed to be at was extremely close so I got there in a few minutes.

The next flight was from Salt Lake City to Great Falls, Montana and there wasn't a single issue.. got on the plan and this time didn't have anyone next to me. The flight was actually ahead of schedule and we got to Great Falls about 20 minutes early. This flight was so short.. I mean you climb for 30 minutes and then fly at 30,000 feet for 15 minutes and then start descending for the remaining 30 minutes and it's over.

I texted Chris as we were taxiing to the gate and he said he was on his way. By the time I got off the plane and was going down the escalator to the baggage claim area Chris came walking through the front doors with a big smile on his face. I gave him a quick hug as I was getting off the escalator and walked over to the baggage claim area. There I gave him a much bigger hug and then proceeded to rattle off a bunch of our friends names who asked me to give him a hug as well.

It was so great seeing him, it's been 3 months but it's felt like forever. Chris and I talk almost everyday but there is nothing better then being face to face.

It was cold in Montana.. about 15 degrees.

We picked up some Taco Bell and went back to his place and ate, chatted and watched TV for a few hours. I gave him the gifts from Jes and Olivia.. then Chris had to go into work for an hour or so. I watched some TV and finally went to bed around 1:45am and Chris got home about the same time.. said good night and made some plans for tomorrow.

So excited that I'm here and I can't wait to spend the next two weeks with my best bud Chris.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas with the Family

So my friend Jes is staying with me for the week while she looks for apartment to move into early next year. Also my bestie Josh crashed last night as it was very late when the Hobbit ended and he lives a few hours away. Jes was already out looking at apartment so Josh and I hung out for a bit before he headed home.

I had to get to CVS to pick up some medicines that I'm going to need while on vacation. I can't believe how busy CVS was midday on a Monday.. was in line for almost a half hour before finally getting out of the store.

My big plans for the day was to spend Christmas with my family since I'll be out of town starting tomorrow and will not be here for the Holidays... so today I am going to my Mom's and then Brothers (Dad). 

If you read my previous tweets you would know that I am having Jeep problems. But before I left I checked my oil and it looked to be perfect but I was still having issues with my oil pressure gauge. Traffic was horrible and it took me 2 and a half hours (normally an hour and a half) to get to my moms. I watched the oil gauge the entire time and it was all over the place. There were times when my oil pressure got so low that my check engine light would come on. I was on pins and needles the entire time and even considered turning around and going home. But I wanted to see my family for for Christmas so I took a chance.

Got to my mom's and my step dad wasn't feeling well and was sleeping so my Mom and I went out to Denny's for some lunch. Had a great visit, we chatted about everything. That's one of many things I love about my mom is we can talk about anything.. and most of the time we do.

We got back to her place and exchanged gifts, she loved the pictures of Kenobi (grandson) & Molly (granddaughter) that I gave her. We visited for another hour or so before I had to leave. I left her place a little after 4 and made my way over to my brothers. Once again my jeep was okay but I was worried the entire time. Took some toll roads to avoid some of the traffic. Got to my brothers around 5:30pm. Brother, sister-in-law, nephew, niece and dad were there as well as Lora's sister. I had asked dad if he could make us some Christmas dinner (Turkey). He was glad to so by the time I got there dinner was almost ready. We ate and it was excellent, we then exchanged gifts.

The best part of the gift exchange was watching my nephew and niece open their gifts. I got both of them clothes (at the request of their mom) but I did get Molly a birthday gift (toy purse) and a doll which she liked. Kenobi was super excited to open gifts and to my surprise he was actually happy with the clothes. One piece of clothing that he really liked was his Superman footie PJ's with a cape. He had to put them on immediately and run around the house for the next hour pretending to fly.. it was pretty awesome.

Played with both my niece and nephew for another hour before calling it a night and heading home. Once again I stressed out about the drive home but I made it home safely. This will be the last time I drive the jeep.. it will now just sit there for the two weeks while I'm on vacation and when I get back I'll be looking for a new car.

Not a traditional family Christmas but it was good to see everyone. I'll miss them this year as I spent the last 41 Christmas' with them.. this will be the first year that I'm not with them. But I'm going to be spending my Holidays with one of my favorite people in the world.. so it's all good. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Movie Marathon - Day 2

Guest remaining, Jes, Dallas, Aaron, Anthony, Michele, Josh, Anne and Brett. We started the day with some biscuits and gravy for breakfast. We then continued the Christmas Movie Marathon with one of my new modern classic favorites.. "Elf". Dallas had not seen this one so it was fun introducing this movie to him.

We then moved on to another modern classic Christmas movie that I got a screener for this year "Rise of the Guardians"  I love this movie and I've seen it I think 5 times over the past month and it never gets old. Only a few folks have seen it so it was cool to be able to share this great movie with everyone.

During Rise of the Guardians Jen joined the party bringing our number to 10. After the movie we headed out to lunch and went to Islands. This group hasn't been to Islands in a while because the group was getting just to big, but since it was smaller this time we were able to return to our old stomping ground.

When we got back home, Anne and Dallas packed up and left while Anthony and Michele took a nap. The rest of us diverted from the Christmas movies and started watching more of my screeners. First up was Cloud Atlas, I've seen this a few times and it gets better with every with viewing and I'm happy to say that everyone enjoyed it.

After the movie, Anthony, Michele and Aaron left for the evening. Leaving Jes, Brett, Josh, Jen and myself to end the Christmas Movie Marathon with my new screener of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

It was a great way to end what was truly a wonderful Christmas celebration with friends. It goes to show that having fewer people does indeed make for a more enjoyable party (at least for me). We also didn't drink hard alcohol, only beer and wine and very little of that as well. It was a great weekend of board games, cards, movies, food and friends.

Thanks everyone who joined me this weekend; Josh, Will, Jen, Jes, Dallas, Anthony, Michele, Luis, Teresa, Aaron, Jennifer, Brett and Anne.

And Merry Christmas to you all...