Sunday, August 31, 2008

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Part 2)

Some comparisons of city size. . .as of July 2007:

Moorpark, California: 36,199
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho: 42,267
Spokane, Washington: 200,925
Boise, Idaho: 202,832
Los Angeles, California: 3,834,340

That gives you an idea of Boise in relation to Moorpark, where I used to live, Coeur d'Alene, where I now live, Spokane, the nearby "big city," and Los Angeles, the area where I grew up. While Boise is significantly smaller than L.A., I felt like it still had a "big city" feel that Spokane does not have. It is the state capital, after all!

For those who don't know, Coeur d'Alene has the most lousy mall I have ever seen in my life. . .not that I've seen a lot of malls, but a one story mall can't be that great! So when I heard that Boise had lots of shopping, and a "real" mall, I thought that sounded awesome!

After lunch on Sunday we once again got in the car, and this time we headed for the mall. On the way to the mall, however, we stopped at Barnes and Noble so Val could check out the book sales and I could spend the last of a gift card I had. I used my gift card to get Josh Groban's Closer CD, which I have been wanting (unfortunately I had to wait until I got home to listen to it!), and I also bought a planner for school that is pretty cute, if I do say so myself! Val found some books, too, so I would say it was a successful stop!

Eventually we made it to the mall where we saw all sorts of stores that we don't have in Coeur d'Alene (and some we don't have in Spokane, either)! Michelle and I were excited to go in Mervyn's and we had high hopes of finding something cute, but unfortunately we were both pretty disappointed with the store by the time we left it. We continued to explore the rest of the mall and Val and Michelle found some good buys. Michelle was excited about the Disney Store and Val insisted we just had to go in the Hollister store to feel their clothes and "smell the smell." I will say the clothes felt soft when I touched them, but the store was a bit weird because it was not lit very well. . .and since Hollister is very much a "California-wear"/"surfer" style store, they had lots of surfing-related stuff and then two TV screens showing webcams of beaches in Huntington Beach, CA and I think one in Virginia somewhere. Apparently the Hollister scent is unique and all the clothes are sprayed with this scent, which I thought was odd. But now I can say I've been in a Hollister store! (yay?)

We found all sorts of fun stores to check out, and eventually we were ready for dinner. We decided to treat ourselves to the Cheesecake Factory, since we don't have one of those in CdA and we heard it was good. It was! We actually opted to share three appetizers between the three of us instead of getting dinners because we knew we wanted cheesecake and we knew we weren't hungry enough for huge dinners plus cheesecake. So, we split potstickers, mini burgers and a quesadilla between the three of us, and then we were so full after that, that we ordered a piece of cheesecake to-go and took it back to eat in Val's room. The food and the cheesecake were delicious!

Sunday night we couldn't stay up too late because school started early for Val on Monday morning and she had to take me and Michelle to the airport before heading to school! So eventually we said goodnight, and settled down for the night. 6am (which was 5am our time!) Monday morning came far too quickly. . .and Val's "Grease" alarm clock nearly made me jump 10 feet in the air when it started to sing. . .loudly. We got ready and were ready to leave about 30 minutes earlier than we needed to be, so we sat around and talked some more.

Michelle and I had about 2 hours to "kill time" at the airport so we wandered around and looked at every gift shop and explored the other levels. Then we decided to just sit down and eat cookies while reading books as we waited for our plane. The flight home went well, even though I hate flying, and before we knew it we were back in Spokane, Washington. It was 90-degrees and sunny in Boise when we left, and we came home to 65-degrees and rainy in Spokane. What a difference!

School started for us when we got home. It was a bit hard for me to get into the "school mode" after spending the weekend playing and having fun. . .but I managed!

The trip was fun, Boise was awesome, and who knows. . .maybe I'll go back someday!

Val, me and Michelle
I Luv You Girls!!!!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Part 1)

In 1863 the town of Lewiston, Idaho became the capital of the newly-discovered Idaho territory. On December 7, 1864 a resolution was passed by the Idaho Territorial Legislator to move the capital from Lewiston to Boise. In 1865 the move was made and Boise is now the capital of the state of Idaho. On August 22, 2008, I visited Boise.I really hadn't been anywhere other than the northern part of our state. My friend Val is going to school in Boise, and when she asked my friend Michelle and I to drive down with her and spend a weekend exploring, we jumped at the opportunity!

It was certainly a looooong car ride, but fun in its own way. The poor car probably had way more stuff in it than it ever should have held, but it did a good job getting us from home to Boise safely. The drive took us about 9 hours, including time for lunch in the parking lot at WalMart in Pendleton, Oregon. It was a beautiful drive! Instead of driving straight down through the middle of Idaho we went over to Eastern Washington, down through beautiful Eastern Oregon (Oregon is one of the prettiest states I've ever been to, I have decided!) and eventually we re-entered Idaho, changing time zones somewhere along the way. We even passed the "45th Parallel," which meant we were half-way between the equator and the North Pole. :-)
The three of us are very good friends and we have been for about 4 or 5 years, and so even though the drive was entirely too long and a bit cramped, we enjoyed the time for "girl talk" and singing along to the Phantom of the Opera and Enchanted soundtracks, and whatever Val had on her iPod, including some of David Archuleta's studio versions from American Idol. :-)

We arrived in Boise and unloaded Val's stuff. She is staying with her cousin and his wife, so Michelle and I helped her arrange stuff in her new room. After dinner and unpacking we eventually went to bed, where Michelle and I, sharing an air mattress in a guest room, talked late into the night. Yeah, we're girls. :-)

Saturday was spent exploring, but our main mission was to visit the Boise State University campus and find all of Val's classrooms and pick up her very-expensive-and-overpriced textbooks. I found the campus facinating to explore because it is so different from what I am used to here. I hadn't been on a large school campus before, so it was interesting! The campus at Boise State is beautiful with lots of old red-brick buildings.

After exploring the school and finding all the classroom buildings were locked, we ventured across the street to eat lunch at Baja Fresh, which is somewhere I have not eaten since I was visiting California in 2005. No, we don't have them up north -- but we should! My tostada was delicious.

One thing I *really really* wanted to do in Boise was see the state capital. I have seen (but not been in) the California state capital in Sacramento, so I thought it would be neat to see the Idaho capital in Boise! Unfortunately we could not go inside as they are doing renovations that will not be complete until 2010 or so, but the outside was amazing.

Hot, tired and thirsty we headed back out of the city to do some shopping in nearby Meridian. Old Navy was a stop at the top of my list, but, unfortunately, I did not find anything this time. We also went to Marshall's, which is another store I haven't seen since California, and then we visited Ross and, of course, WalMart. After eating dinner at Pizza Hut and driving by one of the Boise Great Harvest Bread Company's (unfortunately it was closed!), we headed "home" to eat some fruit we bought, and to rest. However, we had spotted a little gelato and frozen yogurt shop down the street, so we eventually headed back out for ice cream before it got dark. The ice cream store was right next door to Kohl's. . .so of course we had to stop there, too!

Eventually we did decide to call it a night. . .but oh, we had a fun day!

. . .to be continued. . .

Meet Me At The Fair

We came home from Leavenworth on Wednesday -- which happened to be the opening day of one of my favorite summer activities: The North Idaho Fair and Rodeo. While it was obviously not possible to go on Wednesday, I was able to spend a good part of the day at the fair on Thursday. This summer I did an internship with the children's department of the local library, and so I spent Thursday morning at the fair helping the library with a kid's booth. We had three crafts for the kids to do -- they could paint, decorate a treasure box and make a kaleidoscope. It was fun, but it would have been even more fun if the weather had chosen to cooperate! Instead of sunny skies and warm weather that should be expected at the fair, we experienced torrential downpours and hurricane-strength winds. Okay, so maybe I am exxagerating a little bit, but not by a lot! If you click on the picture, it will make it bigger and you can see all the rain pelting the fair! That's the library booth I took a picture of.

Instead of waiting out the oncoming storm under our little tent-sheltered-by-a-few-haybales, I ran over to the nearest building -- which happened to be the cow and pig building. So, I spent 20 minutes in the barn with the cows watching and listening to the sound of the rain, hail and wind. Oh. . .and it was pretty cold, too! But. . .it was fun to spend time with the library at the fair -- and I got in for free, so it was pretty awesome!

The weather stayed damp most of the day, but I went back to the fair in the evening anyway. This time I went with a couple friends from work. Which was awesome. Of course. :-) We walked around the entire fair, looking first at the Home Arts building (and admiring the amazing quilts and clothing items that had been entered). We wandered next over to the photography rooms so that we could see how my entries did. Yes, that's right. . .I entered six photographs in this year's fair. I did not place with any of them, but it was fun to see my photographs on display. :-) We got caught in a rain storm once or twice while walking between buildings, but it wasn't too bad. There was an amazing rainbow at one point. After looking at my photography we headed to the Culinary Arts building to check out all the cookies and food items my mom had entered. She got second place for her Rhubarb-Mixed Berry Pie. :-) And she placed with some of her other entries, too. There were lots of other things to see, too: chickens, roosters (the one in the picture practically posed for me to take his picture!), rabbits, horses (including some AMAZING draft horses), cows, pigs, and my least favorite: the reptile room. Ick. Look at this creature I got a picture of. The picture even freaks me out!! :-) There were also some beautiful flowers and vegetables on display. It was quite late by the time we finally finished looking at everything and walking around the carnival part of the fair (I refuse to ride those rides, though!).

I sure do love the fair, and I can hardly wait for next year!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Leavenworth, or Bust!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was able to go on two vacations this summer. . .in a one week period! It was a busy week, but I had an absolute blast. Of course, as you might have guessed, I took an overabundance of pictures on these various adventures, and I thought it might be fun to share some pictures with you all, as well.

The first part of the week was spent in Leavenworth, Washington with my mom and grandmother, who was visiting from Missouri.

Leavenworth is a small Bavarian village nestled amongst the mountains of central Washington. It is north of George, Washington (yes, that is a town!). It's about 4 hours away from CdA, so it was a decent drive. We arrived in town and promptly checked into our hotel room which featured a cute little teddy bear sitting on the bed. I immediately fell in love with said teddy bear, and being quite tired I promptly fell asleep on the bed.
Yes, I adopted a bear from the hotel as a Leavenworth souvenir. :-)

We did a little bit of shopping on the first day, but not too much -- we wanted to save some for the next day! See, Leavenworth is full of stores to shop in. . .and so it was great fun! Eventually we saw all of the stores on the main street in this cute little town. There were some interesting stores! One store was a nutcracker store. . .and boy were there a lot of nutcrackers!

We did a lot of window shopping, eventually buying a few things. We ate some interesting cuisine, and I tried Italian gelato for the first time. It was really, really good. I tried blueberry and pink guava. Yum!

On Tuesday evening we put on some warmer clothes, grabbed our blankets, and headed into the hills to watch an outdoor production of The Sound of Music. The show was excellent, with the cast singing from the hills as was appropriate to the story. The music was, of course, amazing, and the play was well acted and produced. They performed to a full house, even though there was a sprinkling of rain during the second half of the performance!

Do, a deer, a female deer.
Re, a drop of golden sun.
Me, a name I call myself.
Fa, a long, long way to run!
So, a needle pulling thread.
La, a note to follow So.
Te, a drink with jam and bread. . .
. . .and that will bring us back to Do!

It was a fun trip, and I was grateful for the chance to spend time with my mom and my grandmother. I think we all enjoyed the time away! :-)
On the way home we stopped at the Liberty Orchards factory to find out how Aplets and Cotlets are made. Aplets and Cotlets are basically a version of Turkish Delight. The process was pretty cool to watch!!!

Leavenworth is a beautiful town, and my pictures could not begin to do it justice. . .I enjoyed going there and seeing the town!!

What I Did For My Summer Vacation. . .

It's official.

Summer is over. School started on Monday.

Yes, it was a bittersweet moment to walk into my first class of the semester. On the one hand I am excited: this is my senior year in college, and if all goes according to plan I should be walking across the stage to receive my diploma on May 3, 2009 (which is in less than 250 days, by the way!). However, on the other hand, going back to school means that I have less free time, I can't work as much, and my life is consumed by something known as classes and homework. Now, don't get me wrong. . .I enjoy school (as much as I might whine, complain, and cry about it at times!). . .but homework gets frustrating (and sometimes boring!) at times. . .and I will admit it:

I am one of the worst procrastinators in the world.
(don't comment on that!)

Yes, folks, it's true. I, Laura, am a procrastinator. For example, I am writing this blog entry when I suppose I should be reading all about the wonders of communication research. Can you see why I put it off?! :-) Anyway, all this to say that one of my goals this semester is to stay right on top of things so that I don't maintain my procrastinator reputation. :-) (disregard the fact that I say that every semester!)

This semester I am taking 12 credits: Senior Research Project, Mass Media, Leadership and then I am getting 3 credits for being the Activities Chairperson for the Associated Students of Lewis-Clark State College, Coeur d'Alene. Pretty nifty, huh? That title makes me sound all official or something like that. . .anywho. . .

As I said at the beginning of this post-that-didn't-quite-go-the-direction-I-intended-it-to, summer is over. However, I am quite pleased to inform all of you wonderful readers that I did enjoy the summer a LOT! I was able to spend lots of time with friends -- I spent time with friends at the lake, at the park, at the fair, in the car, while eating ice cream, while playing Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Sports, and many other places with many other activities!

Of course, some of the highlights of the summer occurred within the last week! You see, that is when I was finally able to go on vacation. Let me point out that I rarely go on vacation, partly because it can be expensive, partly because I have to have a place to go and people to go with! Well, this summer it worked out for me to go on not one vacation, but TWO! The fun part is that they both occurred in the SAME WEEK! It sure was fun taking the week off work and exploring places I had never been before. . .but I won't share all the details. . .I have lots of pictures from my two adventures, and I will write separate entries for each trip!

Oh yes. . .I also entered six pictures in the county fair this year. I didn't place, but that didn't surprise me because photography is a highly competitive category with some AMAZING entries! It's mostly just fun to enter the pictures and see them at the fair!

Well, I think that is all for this update. . .thanks for checking in to my blog. . .and I hope I will be more consistent in my updates, now that school is in session and I might have something interesting to blog about! For now, it's off to the books, so that I will have time to spend hanging out with friends, hopefully in the near future! :-) See ya!