Over the past year or so, I’ve begun to doubt Taylor Swift. Her music has become more and more pop, which is fine, but then it makes me mad when she wins country awards. Not to mention she’s not exactly amazing live.
My thoughts about her changed a little bit with her performance of “Red” on the Country Music Awards a couple of weeks ago. I’ve liked the song from the beginning with all of its great color references.
Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark grey all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met
But loving him was red
Loving him was red
This acoustic, harmonized version featuring Allison Krauss and Vince Gill is absolutely stunning and I can’t get enough of it! Happy Friday!
Every year when it comes time for Thanksgiving, I feel a little guilty. Why, you ask? Well, I have almost nothing that I’m not thankful for. I don’t mean that in the spoiled brat kind of way… I just mean that I have a really great life. I’m married to be best man ever, I have great parents, the best sister ever, the cutest nieces & nephews, the best friends in the world, and just about the greatest in-laws anyone could ask for. Oh, and a kick ass dog. We’re healthy, we work hard, and we play hard. Life is pretty darned good!
One of our new traditions is to participate in the Sacramento Run To Feed The Hungry. It’s a 5k/10k fun run and walk that reached its 20th year this year.
As with every organized race, there are always some creative people in costume. There was one girl who was dressed as a turkey and had a bunch of friends dressed as chefs carrying cleavers. Very cute. This man was by far my favorite:
Might as well be comfy! The coffee mug was an added touch! The walk/run was a lot of fun – the weather could not have been more beautiful! After that we headed back to Kati’s house (someone had to cook the turkey!) and I hung out there for a bit. Then I headed over to Mike’s grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner. As always, it was delicious and I’m so lucky to have been able to spend time with both sides of my family today! I hope you all had a wonderful day!
If my father-in-law had his way, retirement would have gone something like this: quietly turn in the keys to the truck, head home, enjoy the rest of life with the family. He is an extremely private and humble man. Unfortunately for him, the family was not about to let him ride off into the sunset without some sort of spectacular sendoff last weekend.
You see, my father-in-law spent the last forty-three years as a firefighter. Not just any firefighter at that – he helped shape much of the system as it is today in Amador County. He’s sort of a big deal. And it runs in the blood – both of his sons are firefighters, as is his son-in-law. Needless to say, there were a lot of people who wanted to come out and help celebrate Raymond. Right around three hundred, to be exact.
In true Blankenheim style, we roasted a pig. And made tri-tip. And barrel chicken. Because it’s not really a party unless you have at least three types of meat. Probably one of the highlight of the nights was the Great Pig Fire of 2013. I’ve been a part of this family for five years now and have seen many a pig roasted… never have I seen one actually ignite…
Apparently no one else in the family had either… about twenty firefighters stood and watched in awe before springing into action.
When all was said and done, it was a great party for a great man. I can only hope that someday I discover I’ve had a positive impact on the lives of half as many people as Raymond has. Congratulations Raymond!
Well, the inevitable has happened. I managed to avoid it for the entire first time I trained for and ran a marathon, but no such luck this time around.
I’m officially losing toenails. That’s right, toenails as in more than one. Two to be exact. No, you don’t have to worry about me actually posting pictures of said toenails… I will spare you the gory details. Just know that there are two that are not going to be there very soon. The good thing is it does’t really hurt… they get sore, they turn colors, and well, that’s it. Maybe that’s because I’m dealing with all of the other running pains and that’s just the lesser of evils. Either way.
All of that fun stuff said, I can’t believe that marathon #2 is next week. As in 12 days away. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. Training has definitely been different this time around. I’m much more aware of my body and much less stressed about the little things. I’ve actually gotten to the point that I can enjoy the scenery on my longer runs. And I’ve figured out those terrible “tummy troubles” that I had a lot of last time. My only issue this time around (besides the toenail thing) is this annoying cold that I can’t seem to kick. Hopefully that clears up in the next few days (fingers crossed!) and I can take this marathon by storm!!!
Today was a pretty mellow day in the Blankenheim household… mostly spent recovering from my father-in-law’s retirement party. Stay tuned for a post on that once I feel a little better. This cold is still kicking my booty, so I tried to do some relaxing today. That said, I needed a little movement, so I headed out to a much neglected section of my yard to fix some sprinklers and move a few leaves. It turned out to be a pretty big pile… hard to tell in the picture because Mike was on the deck when it took it, but they came up to just above my waist.
And, once you rake up a pile of leaves, there’s only one thing left to do:
Now, mid-leap of faith, Mike yelled out something along the lines of “it might not be as soft as you think”, so I decided against the face plant. Instead, I landed feet first.
Sometimes, even when you’re sick, you need to take some time to indulge your inner child! Happy Fall everyone!
This week’s favorite song is “Royals” by Lorde. This song is almost always on the radio right now and I love it. That and Kati and I had a conversation about it in which we sang it in Chloe’s voice (which is high pitched and squeaky according to the two of us). Which was then followed by this adorable picture posted to my Facebook page along with the “Royals” lyrics. I just about died.
I know that I’ve been terrible about posting lately, but life has been super busy. When I’m not working (I spent two days in Oregon this week), I’m running (it was peak week – I knocked out 40 miles, including a 22 miler yesterday!). I know, excuses, excuses.
I did manage to fit in a concert this week – I entered a raffle at work and won tickets to see the Zac Brown Band in the Intel Suite! Obviously, I love country music, but this went so far beyond my expectations.
I’ll start with the bad part of the show… the opening act, Niko Moon. He even has a crappy web page. He’s a rocker, but not like country rock. Rock rock. Which really felt odd – in fact, there were even some boos from the crowd (who came decked out in plaid, cowboy hats, and cowboy boots). You could hardly understand the words to his songs and it completely rubbed me the wrong way.
Zac Brown, on the other hand, was phenomenal. I always judge a band by how well they play live. And man, can they play live. His band includes seven members (two drummers/percussionists, two guitarists, a violinist, a bassist, and of course, Zac Brown). Each of them is absolutely amazing at their instrument and almost all of them stepped out to play something that wasn’t their main instrument. Mid-show they did a great acoustic set that showcased their absolutely perfect harmonies. Some of the jamming they did was spectacular – not only did they play like crazy, but you felt like they were seriously having fun. And like you were a part of their jam session.
Not only did I love their music, but they did some amazing covers including “Enter Sandman” (seriously, a country band that kicks ass on a Metallica song?!), the Eagles’ “Seven Bridges Road”, and James Tayor’s “Frozen Man”.
However, their encore was quite possibly the best encore I’ve ever seen a band do. They came out and started with “Uncaged” from their new album by the same title. As that song drew to an end, it just sort of morphed into Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. Like an amazing version of it. From there it morphed into one of the fastest, most impressive versions of Charlie Daniels’ “Devil Went Down To Georgia” that I’ve ever heard. It was absolutely amazing.
I will definitely be seeing the Zac Brown Band again – they’re like the Dave Matthews Band but countrified. If they come to a city near you, it’s definitely worth the price of a ticket!
When I first heard her on the radio not entirely impressed. However, since then I’ve heard a few more songs and fallen in love with her tell-it-like-it-is style of songwriting and singing. She wrote or co-wrote all twelve songs on this album and is credited as a co-producer. She really tells the story in each of her songs, something that is really lacking in a lot of today’s pop country.
While her songs come across as fairly depressing, they’re about real life and real people. One of my favorite lines is from “Silver Lining”: “If you’re ever gonna find a silver lining it’s gotta be a cloudy day. ” Love, love, love it! Definitely a great album worth the money… can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
Favorite Songs: “Blowin’ Smoke”, “Follow Your Arrow”, Merry Go ‘Round”, “Silver Lining”, and “My House”.
Ok folks, this is going to be a long one. The last stop on our 2nd Anniversary Road Trip was Charleston, South Carolina. Our first visit was to the Boone Hall Plantation. It’s actually America’s oldest still-working plantation, functioning non-stop for over 320 years. Of course, it’s not a true plantation without the Avenue of the Oaks:
We took the house tour and then wandered the grounds.
The gardens were absolutely beautiful, even this late in the year. I bet they’re amazing in the spring!
We also had some amazing food while in South Carolina. The first night we had dinner at Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ… it was amazing. I’m not a huge BBQ or rib fan, but these were delicious. And their sides were to die for… I had mashed potatoes and mac & cheese with mine. We ate two meals at Jestine’s Kitchen – their famous fried chicken was awesome but I loved their meatloaf even more. I also introduced Mike to Cracker Barrel and Zaxby’s (hellooooo sweet tea)!
The highlight of my trip was a visit to the Magnolia Plantation Swamp Gardens. While they’re more well known for their plantation house and regular gardens, we skipped all of that and headed over to the swamp in hopes of seeing an alligator.
They had these great little walkways that traversed a pretty big swamp area. We wandered for a while before we saw this little fella
After we spotted him, we noticed them everywhere… in the water, on the platforms, on the shore. It was so cool. We also learned that the green stuff that covers the top of water isn’t algae… it’s called duck weed and are the smallest flowering plant on the planet. We saw all sorts of cool critters – head over to my Facebook page to see the rest. Ok, ok, one more of this really cute baby turtle:
Finally, we got to spend some time with my cousin, Jared. He joined the Navy a couple of years ago (just after our wedding) and it’s been a while since we’ve seen him. It was so great to give him a great big hug and to have dinner with him (twice!). See Facebook/Instagram for pics.
Just like that, the trip was over. By this point I was sick as heck and definitely did not enjoy the flight home, but we made it.
The next place we went to on our road trip was North Carolina. We headed into Charlotte for the night. Right about now on the trip is when I started to suffer the beginnings of the cold of death… the same one that I’m still battling. We got to Charlotte after dark and couldn’t believe what a beautiful city it was. I didn’t take pictures, but really wish I had… that city at night is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. We checked into our hotel and then headed out in search for food. We were given directions into “the Epicenter” – basically the happening spot of the downtown area.
Mike and I both commented that even though we’re not really “city people” we both loved it here. I’m not sure exactly what it was… there was just a great vibe. I really liked how they kept the history alive via markers.
We didn’t spend a ton of time here because we wanted to get down to South Carolina, but I really enjoyed the time we were there!