Skip to content

2013-52 Week 24

Well that was an interesting week! We left last Thursday for my grandparent’s place in Grand Junction, Colorado to meet up with all of their children and grandchildren to celebrate their joint 80th birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary (spread out from April to June). Originally we were going to head back Monday, but Jess managed to finagle some coverage for her office and we were able to stay through when the majority of people left on Tuesday morning. I will say this, I’ve always like my family, however, I am extremely impressed that we could all go four days in fairly close proximity with not only no major blowups, but everyone seeming to come out of the experience liking each other more. And major props to my cousin Kyle’s girlfriend Jill, whose first exposure to the family was all at once (she is Canadian, so that probably helped, take that how you will).

We drove up and back, as is our wont, in a rental. Last time we did this around Thanksgiving we got a Chevy Cruze that we liked a lot for the various features. This time, however, we had a Toyota Corolla, which was nice enough, but it didn’t have some of the features we liked on the Cruze. I missed the digital speedometer and the in-steering wheel cruise control, which I could use to adjust everything in one mile increments whenever speed limit changes arose and wound up being very convenient. I have since found that ability on the Toyotas, but it just isn’t nearly as convenient when the readout isn’t digital. Another problem reared its head about fifty miles into the trip, a persistent buzzing when we went over 60 miles an hour, coming from the ceiling on Jess’ side. We had enough around Baker and decided to trade it in when we got to Vegas. Of course, this prompted the car to stop doing it around the time we hit the state line, which wound up being just as well as we couldn’t find the location the GPS pointed us to in Vegas and we didn’t want to spend too much time there.

Well, outside of our intentional side trip, that is. When we were at the Balloon and Wine Festival in Temecula we ran across a booth that was selling some really good popcorn. The company is called Popcorn Girl and they have two physical stores, one in Las Vegas. Since we were on the way through, we figured we’d stop by. It did wind up being about twenty minutes out of the way (and also sporting a missing Hertz), but we eventually found it tucked into a strip mall. In addition to our festival experience, we watched a Food Network profile on the company and found out they made a blend of their fruit flavors called Cornfetti, and it was determined that would be a fun thing to take and inflict on the family. The vast amount of other choices, however, left us dumbfounded for a little bit. We told them about finding them at the festival and were informed that, in a funny coincidence, the people just before us had mentioned the same thing and that, no, they don’t actually go to any festivals. Kind of weird, since the people in Temecula were definitely portraying themselves as part of the business, but the store employees swore up and down that they didn’t. It was still the same popcorn (verified by several taste tests) and we finally left with a giant bag of Cornfetti, another giant bag of Denver (our favorite, white cheddar and caramel – not on the same piece of popcorn), a small bag of Loaded Baked Potato (eerily accurate, but a bit hardcore), and another smallish bag of something called Puppy Chow (which had sweets and pretzels all mixed up and coated in powdered sugar, wound up being a bit too sweet at times). Loaded up on popcorn and a currently non-buzzing car, we set back out and made it to Colorado in the late evening.

The weekend itself went by very quickly, featuring many great conversations, several trips around town, a great party, and many great meals. It was wonderfully relaxing and energizing at the same time, though I don’t think I could quite do justice to everything that happened in mere words. My cousin Melissa and her parents put together two great books of pictures and letters that they gave to Nana and Grandpa, one serious and touching, the other funny “outtakes” or embarrassing pictures from various sources.

One other fun thing we got to do with our extra day was take a trip out to the Colorado Monument, a winding road through the mesa with plenty of viewpoints at which to stop and take pictures. Since this is pretty much the only part of the trip I remembered to take pictures of, I thought I should include some here.

To start with, I had a lot of fun with the panorama feature up there.







Per the results of a discussion we had (two of my cousins are still in college), if there are two people in the picture you can’t call it a “selfie”. I don’t think we figured out the term for it (I lean towards “dualie” if it’s two people), but here’s Jess and I on the mesa.

Matt Jess Mesa

I also started playing around with my camera settings and discovered that HDR, a setting that takes the picture at several different settings then averages them together for the final image, works pretty darn well.



By the way, that is a formation called the “Coke Ovens”, a name which we intended to research but never did.

I have a bunch more I’ll probably put on Facebook, but we did have one other funny story. In a bit I didn’t remember from my previous visits (which I’ll admit where a WHILE ago), there is one area where the rocks look like a mummy (well, more accurately a sarcophagus, but I’m being picky here) . . . I’ll let you judge for yourself, though that’s not the funny part.


Anyhow, that point also happens to be an echo point (as indicated by the sign), and I used my umpire voice to yell to the heavens and get a response.


Apparently my doing so caused the sky to open up, as right afterwards we got caught in a cloudburst with a cold wind. We ran back to the car in case there were any lightning strikes (not an uncommon occurrence on the mesa), which sadly ended our fun with the echoes. Appropriately, however, what were the final words echoing through the canyon as we ran away? “Strike Three!”

Okay, I lied, there was one other thing I remembered to take a picture of on the trip.


Actually from our first stop of the trip, the food court store was a little confused how to spell, apparently.

I could go on about the whole experience, it truly was a wonderful time with some lifetime memories (not Lifetime, no drama). Congratulations Nana and Grandpa for setting such an awesome example, and to my family for being so awesome.

In more pedestrian news, I have returned to a spate of doctors appointments, trying to get a handle on my esophagitis and bad knee. It turns out that after such a lovely weekend with the family I come home to find that I have been lied to all this time and that I am actually adopted. How else to explain the fact that I apparently have a mild peanut allergy when my mother eats nothing but peanut butter and jelly when left to her own devices? My visit to the allergist was largely inconclusive, but I can reassure my father with the fact that they no longer drive nails into your back to do allergy tests. Nope, they just stab the underside of your arm with a bunch of plastic needles coated in various allergens.


I have a treatment plan, however, and the doctor seems very familiar with my condition, so at least that’s moving in the right direction. As for my knee appointment, today, well I have my first MRI to look forward to now (though it is mainly to rule out the tearing of any ligaments) and it’s back to physical therapy for me. I don’t care, though, as long as I can run and do karate again when all is said and done.

Weight Low: 226 Loss: 4 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 213.5 miles (+0 miles) Last year-to-date: 183.5 miles – Words-to-date: 43774 (+2013)

Posted in Matt 2013-52, Matt General. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , .

One Response

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Mom said

    Humph. Dad showed me this a couple weeks ago, and I’m finally catching up. Refuse to hear you’re allergic to peanuts. Who stabs their arms with peanuts? Nobody! I’d say you’re safe!
    Love, Mom

Some HTML is OK


(required, but never shared)

or, reply to this post via trackback.