Sunday, December 16, 2012

The End of an Era

We have been enjoying Oklahoma immensely! It's been wonderful getting to know some of Jamie's family better... I like them all very much. =) We stayed with Uncle Jeff and Aunt Ginger for the first part of the week, spent a couple nights out on the farm, and are enjoying our last weekend in OK with Grandma and Grandpa Barsotti!

For most of the first half of the week we enjoyed quiet days in the house, listening to Christmas music and working on our various projects. I got two sets of stationery and four Valentine's Day cards designed for my new shop, Scoutaroo Paper Co., launching in January! Jamie got lots of maths done and all of his applications, except one which he is wrapping up. We even put in our resumes to a few places!
I watched the sunrise nearly every day... winter is great, you don't have to get up at 5 to see the sunrise. ;)
On Wednesday night we got to use Uncle Jeff's season tickets to see an OKC Thunder game! It was SO much fun... I really love live sporting events (watching it on t.v. doesn't do much for me but it's hard not to get into it when you're there). We barely won by 4 points; it was a great game!
0 - Westbrook and 9 - Serge Ibaka (coolest name award)

35 - Durant (definitely the crowd favorite)
On Thursday night Aunt Ginger took us down to the farm! It was really beautiful out there. We enjoyed being cozy in the house while a storm whistled and blustered all night against the house. We spent the day working on Christmas cards and watched "Interview with the Vampire."

Beautiful sunset with coyotes howling in the distance.
The house was full of adorable vintage tins & signs!
The "Cabin"... it was really nice in there. ;)
Beautiful even in winter!
 We took Historic Route 66 to get back into Edmond. We passed the famous round barn and stopped at Pops to marvel at the enormous selection of soda...

Round Barn. People build strange things.
The Pops bottle! It lights up at night apparently.
So many pretty bottles!
Our choices... A "Grown Up Soda" Dry Rootbeer for Jamie, and a "Hippo Size" Hippopotamus  Huckleberry for me!
We got to Grandma & Grandpa's house soon after and enjoyed an evening with Uncle David & Aunt April over for dinner! Later we took a trip out to look at Christmas lights... I'm LOVING the super-bright white lights this year, they're almost silvery! And I haven't seen this tree-wrapping technique before this year, it is really classy and stunning. Of course photos of lights in a moving car never turn out quite right, but you get the idea. =)

The Chesapeake Energy Company does this to all of their perimeter & main campus trees for BLOCKS... it's really gorgeous!
Purple & silver, my favorites!
These lights would change from blue to white in alternating patterns...
Now they're white! I LOVED the white... so pretty! 
And now they're blue...
We went to one of the fancy neighborhoods of OKC and saw some really spectacular lights... this one was kind of overwhelming, haha.
Today we are going to the Lutheran church with Grandma & Grandpa, which I am very much looking forward to, and then we will enjoy our last afternoon here before we prepare to get up bright & early and head to Colorado!

And thus, the Year of Vagabonding became three solid months of vagabonding. But we packed quite a lot into those three months, and we are pining for home before our next adventure.

If you would care to follow along the rest of the way, I have a blog which is part Etsy-store-blog and part life-blog. I'll be sharing the ups & downs of online businessing and whatever interesting things are going on in our lives, and lots and lots of mail. ;) Find the new blog here.

Ta Ta For Now! Thanks for following along on our adventures from the open road!

♥ Ciara Kay

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More on the 'Morrow...

...because I am lazy and I don't want to go out to the car to get the cord to get my photos off my camera.

We have had an awesome week in Oklahoma!! One big thing that I CAN share... I am starting a stationery business! It is called "Scoutaroo Paper Co." and I will (hopefully) be launching in January. If you would like to follow along with progress, art, and mail-related goodies, check out the new blog I started. I will also be making updates on the fun bits of my post-vagabond life there, so after tomorrow's post, that is where you want to be if you enjoyed this blog and would like to continue the journey. =)

We will be home in just a few days!! I wish we could just fly home, but alas, we are turtles, and we carry our things with us so the going is slow.

Post tomorrow on our Oklahoma Adventures, I promise!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

1700 miles in 72 hours

I am SO glad to be out of the car again. =P Road tripping is getting old fast. Here is our journey in pictures!

Early morning departure in New Hampshire, Jamie's favorite location so far!
Proof that I can drive stick shift. Kind of. I still stall out sometimes.
The Falls! We arrived as the sun was setting on Thursday Night. 
With Canada's ugly skyline in the back. There were casinos and smokestacks EVERYWHERE... NOT romantic at all, and kind of disappointing.
We stayed in a motel in Ohio on Thursday Night.
Blurry drive-by shot of the Arch in St. Louis!
We stayed in St. Louis on Friday night with an old friend of the family. Her son was my brother Ryan's best friend from childhood and I was good friends with her daughter as well. We had a really nice stay and I enjoyed catching up with her & taking trips down memory lane. =)

We arrived in Oklahoma last night and will be staying in various places in the Oklahoma City area for the next week & a half before we make the journey home! I can't wait! Jamie's family has the house decorated for Christmas and it brings me much comfort. We have our Christmas stockings hanging up in our car but it really is not the same. We get to go see Christmas lights at some point this week and it has been non-stop Christmas music on the radio since we arrived! YAY!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Home Again Home Again...

We will be saying goodbye to New Hampshire on Thursday morning bright & early! We really enjoyed our time here, we both got a lot of work and a lot of relaxing done, and we both enjoyed the brutal cold once we got the heater fixed, haha. I will post some of the things I've been working on later. For now, enjoy some pictures of snow! =D

Yesterday Jamie took me on a date in Concord! We visited a couple of coffee shops, went to see "Life of Pi," which was great! Very close to the book, which I loved. It was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, too. Really good CGI on the animals... there were times where I could tell it was CGI, but most of it I really wouldn't have known the difference. After the movie Jamie took me to the Barley House, an upscale version of Burgers & Brews with live jazz music, romantic! =) Except that a rare burger in NH is truly a rare burger... none of this wimpy California "rare" where it's barely pink in the center. It was RED, baby. A little too much for me, but I enjoyed the meal anyway. We haven't gone on a fancy date in a while. =)

We do have some news to announce. We are coming home! This trip was awesome... it was an adventure, it was fun, it was interesting, it was exciting, we learned a lot and we met a lot of great people. But it was also exhausting. We really missed our friends and families back home. I miss all my arts & crafts supplies. I miss having a job and an income. I even miss cleaning my own toilets. (We cleaned the house today and I actually enjoyed it, haha). Living the life of vagrants is not for us! My wanderlust is tame; an adventure here, a trip there.

So we're going back. It was still a success, even if it was cut short. We didn't run out of money, our car didn't break down, I learned to drive a stick shift (I never got the hang of starting a fire, I'm too impatient), we saw lots of sights and cities and states, and we got to know some of our relatives better! I declare this mission successful!

We have a few more places to go before we head back. First up, Niagara Falls! Next we will be stopping in St. Louis to stay with a longtime family friend before we trek down to Oklahoma to visit some of Jamie's family before we make the long trek to pick up my brother in Colorado and journey home.

I have a few more posts up my sleeve, so stay tuned everybody! ;) Thanks for reading along on our journey so far!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This is the Maine Event

On Monday Jamie and I took a little day trip into Maine! We didn't go very far (and we didn't even get lobster, poo!) but we still had a fun day. =) We got some authentic New England "Chowdah." I totally regret not getting a lobster roll... New England chowder is not the same in San Francisco. ;) Then we found a completely abandoned beach town... seasonal tourism is not in the West Coast vocabulary. =P

Lunch from Scarborough Fish & Lobster Co.
The empty pier

Very eerie... New England is full of ghosts, methinks.
We got some beautiful photos! I think the Atlantic is actually bluer than the Pacific...
We've been watching LOTS of Netflix... "How I Met Your Mother" and "American Horror Story" are the two series we're in the middle of... American Horror Story had a great start, but as Jamie puts it, it has become "Days of Our Afterlives" haha. How I Met Your Mother is pretty hilarious... we've adopted the game "Zitchdog" for our car rides. We are currently at 14-4 (Jamie's lead, no surprise, but the game is FAR from over, mwahah!)

Yesterday I FINALLY broke the slump and spit out four awesome Christmas cards, and today I finished them up at Brewbakers in Keene! =) Tonight: Netflix & pancakes for dinner. Tomorrow: more art!

I'm a bit stressed because we haven't figured out yet what we're going to be doing the next few weeks until we can take my brother home. But it'll work out... hopefully. =P

Saturday, November 24, 2012

After Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving was nice. =) Quiet, cold (heater is still acting up), delicious, with lots of Sufjan Stevens Christmas Music and many episodes of "How I Met Your Mother".


We made a 10 pound Turkey, an apple pie, cranberry sauce, gravy, brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes... all from scratch. =) Oh, and we got some local wine (what is up with East Coast wines??? They taste like grape juice!! Good thing they sell Napa wines over here).

We both missed our families a lot. =( I can't wait to come home for Christmas!!

And then there was Black Friday.

We have a Black Friday tradition. We stay home, eat leftovers, and refuse to make any transactions. I was going to write a big post about how evil Black Friday is, but luckily the internet at the house is spotty at best and it gave me time to cool off. =P

Continuing in the spirit of thankfulness, here are a few things I wrote down over the course of November that I am very very thankful for:

cold weather to usher in the holidays • my husband, who still loves me even though I'm impossibly moody • families and friends who love and support us  the ability to vote for whoever I want • cozy coffee shops to hang out in • warm fireplaces & down comforters • modern plumbing • the postal system • the enormous diversity of culture, thought, and landscape in the usa • paper products & office supplies • the internet • pets • snow!

It just started snowing... that's our signal to grab some greasy diner food and groceries, head home, and start a fire! =)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Weekend in PA (Photodump!)

[Due to the large bulk of photos in this post, I am a day late in publishing it! So this was written yesterday.] ;)

Lots to share today! I took tons of pictures and we managed to fit a lot into a very short span of time, haha! So go refill your tea or coffee, get comfy, and dig in:

This weekend I got a chance to meet one of my penpals face to face and not just in a mailbox! The Snail Mailer and I have been corresponding through the postal system since June of 2011, and she very graciously offered to host us for a bit on our travels! I'm so glad I took her up on that offer... it was great to meet her in person, and she made sure we got a great taste of East Pennsylvania!

On our way to meet up with B, we stopped in Gettysburg. We only did the self/driving tour and so got a very very basic overview of the battle, but it was still neat to see. We did check out some of the displays of weapons and uniforms at the Visitor Center as well. The Civil War is a weird war. A lot of people are really into it... to the point of glorifying it. The only glory I see is that we were somehow able to recover from it in unity, which I guess is why it is so remarkable after all.

I say, this is a beautiful place for a battle! 
Soldier Cemetery Memorial Statue

I'll mention just a few of the many things we did with B... she took us on the scenic route along the Delaware to the Ringing Rocks! A bizarre phenomenon... If you hit them they ring like they were made of metal. The weirdest thing to me was that there was just a giant pile of them in the middle of the woods. I like to think aliens did it. ;)

Jamie blends right in.
That's no ordinary pile of rocks!
We also got to admire quite a lot of junk & treasures at B's favorite consignment shop! Oooh how I wish I had a home to decorate and money to do it with. ;) The main event of the day was visiting the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works factory and Fonthill, two places built by Henry Chapman Mercer, who I consider the East Coast version of William Randolph Hearst... they both took trips to Europe when they were boys which had a huge impact on them, both came from wealth, both built crazy castles, and both were rather eccentric in their own ways. I personally like Mr. Mercer better of the two, because he was an artist who glorified the past (as I am wont to do). He was part of the Arts & Crafts movement, which was marked by its resistance to the Industrial Revolution. I see the same thing happening in it's own form today, and I find that interesting. Plus his castle was way cooler than Hearst's... unfortunately we couldn't take pictures inside the castle, but I got some of the outside and of the tile factory, which was also quite a treat. The factory still produces tiles using the same technique, just with newer firing ovens. ;)

Outside of the Moravian Tile Works
A sample of Mercer's work 
Mr. Mercer would collect old stuff and hang it on any spare surface... he also catalogued EVERYTHING, with the intent that it would be used in a museum someday.
Beautiful clay tiles!
Even the columns were decorated... Also, everything he built was made with hand-mixed cement. He had his builders use natural wood on the columns, so they had the imprint of the wood grain on them.
New tiles being made!
The outside of Fonthill, his castle with more than 40 rooms. It was a beautiful maze of color, light and art... I wish I could have explored the whole thing! Mercer had a great sense of lighting and made sure that each room took full advantage of natural sunlight.
I enjoyed geeking out over crafts & mail art with B... she has a HUGE stash of stationary, and she handed me a box and let me fill it to the brim with beautiful cards and papers! I was in heaven... She also gave me an entire sheet of this year's Christmas stamps! Wow! B is also great at reusing materials into new and awesome things and her letters are never simply paper in envelopes... each piece of mail from her is a great surprise. =) I was inspired! Another reason I can't wait to settle down... more mail! (Thanks Dad for forwarding the few pieces we do get, and thanks to the penpals who keep writing despite the delay in my responses!!) ;)

We also got to enjoy all of B's critters... her old pup Sparky warmed up to us and soon was crawling into our laps for belly rubs. Alphonse the kitten (whose name was inspired by an Alphonse Mucha envelope I made & had sent to B!) kept us all entertained... Sloopy was paranoid about us all weekend, but he did come get some scratches & pets a few times, and Micky the Matriarch pretty much sat around looking pretty, haha. I love homes with pets. <3 br="br"> Long story short, we had a great weekend! =)

Alphonse found my suitcase right away...
Sloopy keeping a safe distance.
Micky (and Alphonse photobombing)
Sparky came on all of the day's adventures! =)
And we made it to New Hampshire. So far we haven't lost any toes to frostbite, but it is threatening, haha! No snow, but we woke to a frosty wonderland nonetheless!


And so cold...

We plan to get a lot of relaxing (and a lot of art & work!) done these next few weeks! I'll try to remember to update (shouldn't be a problem since I have no schedule to speak of, woo!). Today the plan is to stock up on food, get more stamps, mail some stuff (I wrote a bunch of letters & postcards this morning... see? inspired!), make soup for dinner and be cozy.