Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Letter: 2008

‘Tis the season of giving and receiving. Yet we are foolish to believe that this is the only season for such expressions of love and generosity. For Mike and Melissa Harrington this has been a YEAR of gifts received and given. There is much to be thankful for as one sits down to remember the joys and the blessings that have been received in the year Two Thousand Eight.

We have received the gift of relationship.
As husband and wife
As son- and daughter-in-law
As cherished friend
As co-worker

We have received the gift of memories.
A year together; travelling, staying, playing
A spring break tradition of being at the Harrington cabin, enjoying fireplaces, outdoor activities, fellowship and great food
A woman beloved by all, who has left us lessons to learn even after her last breath
A community of friends that challenge, encourage and even entertain us, leaving us with the best sort of memories

We have received the gift of employment.
As paraprofessionals at Elementary Schools
As Pizza Delivery Man
As Independent Let’s Do Tea Consultant

We have received the gift of knowledge.
To live in Financial Peace
To discover and use spiritual gifts
To make new things, from hand-bound journals, to fresh cows cheese, to homemade carrot cake
To teach, to sell, to be and to love; to make time for others and to leave time for ourselves

We have received the gift of Joy.
By teaching children in public school and Sunday school
By having friends over regularly for Settlers of Catan and/or tea
Be being able to freely give of our time, home, talents and money

We have received the gift of great stuff.
A bike rack for the 1st Anniversary
A high-quality camera via monetary gifts for graduation and birthday
A slew of Pampered Chef products via monetary gifts for a birthday

We have received the gift of adventure.
In Couchsurfing, the process of inviting strangers into our home, to eat with them, to explore with them, and to provide a bed for them
In snowshoeing and exploring the winter wonderland of Laramie, Wyoming
In owning a car as a ‘Harrington’

We have received the gift of Peace.
In our finances
In allowing our physical bodies to truly rest with some frequency
In knowing Jesus, whose birth we celebrate and to whom we choose to Thank for all the gifts, those mentioned and those left on our hearts and minds.

May this Holiday Season leave you with surety of the many gifts you have received and the gifts that you have given, especially that of your friendship and love. Trust that you are a gift in our lives no matter the distance whether in miles or years. May you and yours forever enjoy the gifts of this season and the year to come.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lessons from the Couch: November '08

November found the couch with a little more down time but nonetheless, the Harrington's had two significant visits for the eleventh month of the year.
Tuesday November 4: Matt en route to California

"Today is a very important day to me, the night of the most important election in the history of the world. Every American will remember where they were and what they were doing on this historic evening. I will remember that I was in Laramie, Wyoming with 3 new friends, Mike, Melissa and Mark...I will also remember listening to John McCain make his concession sppech and then listening to Barack Obama accept the nomination as President of this United States. We listened on Radio, so much nicer than television...It is interesting to me that my gracious hosts, being from Wyoming and voting Republican, and myself, environmental activist and door-to-door Obama compaigner, were together for this occassion...It does not matter who is president, it is up to us to make our world how we want it to be. One way to do this is to have good people around, so thanks for the couch but more importantaly thank you for spending this evening with me, I'll never forget it. Always remember, whenever in doubt, 'Yes we Can'."

Tuesday November 4: Mike and Melissa

What We learned:
  • Share things, like music - whatever you have.

  • We are not the only ones with bad car luck.

  • Apples and Peppers make for delicious Pizza toppings!

Tuesday November 25: Mandy Litton (Friend of Melissa)

"Thank you so much for blessing me with a place to sleep. I love to see where you are in life and how much you seem to make of each moment...I think your generosity is admirable and something I wish more people showed. Thank you both for making me feel welcome. It's great to see God use people. I wish you both the best..."

Tuesday November 25: Mike and Melissa (mostly Melissa)

What we learned:

  • Some friends need no re-introduction, even after 5 years

  • You can make someone's day by offering to go out to breakfast while still wearing pajamas

  • There is always time for Christmas decorations!

  • There is also, always time for knitting!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lessons and Stories from the Couch: October '08

October proved yet another exciting month of couchsurfing for Mr. and Mrs. Harrington. Not only was the Harrington Family blessed to meet and greet new friends, but they also had the privilege of welcoming family into their home and onto their couch.

Friday October 3 and Tuesday October 7: Tom Harrington (Father of Mike Harrington)

"Thanks so much for the hospitality!! The salvaged salmon surprise was wonderful, the 'settlers' humbling and the time spent with both of you priceless. It is a joy to see you two together and sharing your values and discoveries. Together you are better than each separate one! Continue on in your journey with love, understanding, and always together."

Friday October 3 and Tuesday October 7: Mike and Melissa

What we learned:

  • Goat cheese is pretty amazing!

  • Family ties are a beautiful thing - there is always love to receive from a Father

  • Teriyaki marinade + Salmon Fillets + Blackberry Preserves = One DELICIOUS dinner!

Sunday October 12: Maryanne and Helen (Sisters Extraordinaire)


"Other things we'd like to Mention:

1 - The bathroom scale is really cool! (I want to weigh myself.)

2- We'd like to be honorary sorority sisters! (Sorry Mike-no boys allowed.)

3- The totem pole in the living room is also really fascinating. We'd borrow it and take pictures with it in neat places if it were smaller.

4-As the sole Wyoming natives we've met, you guys are #1 and #2 BEST! (You vote on who is which...) (this may be a trick!)

5- Anyone who likes Harry Potter is "a-okay" by us!


Sunday October 12: Mike and Melissa

What we learned (and enjoyed):

  • An Obama bumper sticker was surprisingly welcomed in Lusk, WY

  • 'Maryanne and Helen are America (and you can too)' - That's their Blogspot and basically our inspiration to do a good "across America road trip".

  • Animal hides are not for everyone.

  • A little blue VW bug is NOT a buffalo's best friend!

Tuesday October 14: David from Northern Ireland

"I really enjoyed your warm hospitality, friendly welcome and a good chin wag. The elk and mashed toties rocked, I loved a good home cooked meal, and I'll look at elk in a different way now, thinking 'I know how you taste mister!'...You're very welcome to come stay on my Irish Potato farm and experience delicious roast potatoes and some of mum's home cooking, if you make it across the pond anytime."

Tuesday October 14: Mike and Melissa

What we learned:

  • Around the World Tickets!!! They exist. They save you money. They help you travel around the world!!!

  • We will definitely enjoy South Africa when we make it there.

  • Nothing beats meat and potatoes for dinner!

Sunday October 19: Harland and Brenda Allen

"Thank you for letting us sleep double in a twin bed. It was wonderful time meeting your journey group. Dad had a great time carving a pumpkin with Melissa. As always we enjoyed our conversations, laughter and time together."

Sunday October 19: Mike and Melissa

What we learned:

  • Packing peanuts are worth a U-Haul

  • E-bay continues to be a booming business for the Allen family

  • Again - family ties are a beautiful thing!

Perhaps the most resounding theme for the month of October was the presence of family. From visiting with our own family members to spending time with a couple of sisters travelling across America, the Harrington's were encouraged by the love that family provides for one another. It is their hope that readers of The Harrington Times will find valuable time to spend with their families and friends as the weather cools and the holidays approach. Until the end of November - that's Lessons from the Couch.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eppson Center Oktoberfest

On October 25th Michael Harrington’s clogged nostrils were overwhelmed by the smell of saurkraut as he and his lovely bride entered the Eppson Center for Senionrs to enjoy an Oktoberfest lunch and craft fair.

Upon entering, the Harrington’s were amazed at the amounts of crafts that were filling the center. Everything from wooden children’s toys and knitted accessories, to photographs and jewelry were present in the crafts section the festival. For lunch the Harrington’s had a brat with sauerkraut, some scalloped potatoes, and a small gelatinous apple crisp desert. While eating, they were entertained by a, 4 person Oompah-pah band. That’s right…OOMPAH-PAH band. Perhaps the only thing missing from this Oktoberfest was a large quantity of german beer...and possibly some lederhosen.

Throughout the entertainment, Mr. Harrington caught himself reflecting upon the people all around him. He was amazed at the simple abundance of history, stories, wisdom, and other experiences that all the elder people around him had stored up. Hopefully, in the future, when more time is freed up, the Harrington’s will be able to find a way to feed off this abundance. They also look forward to creating thier own wealth of experiences and wisdom to share with others when they enter their golden years.

One thing’s for sure, they will definitely be participating in more Eppson Center activities in the future, for the shear entertainment of it all, if nothing else.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

23 Years, 4 Months, and 20 Days

On the night of August 26th, 2008, Michael Harrington was working a typical shift at Papa John's. On what would have probably been his last delivery of the night, at around 8 o'clock, it happened. While traveling North on 3rd sttreet back to Papa John's, a young lady traveling South on 3rd street decided she wanted to begin traveling East on Grand Avenue. That is when the the fates of Michael Harrington and the young lady collided, along with their vehicles.

Fortunately, both owners had insurance coverage, so it was up to the policeman and the individual insurance companies to decide who was at fault. Of course, there was confilicting versions as to what actually happened that night. The young lady claimed that she had a yellow left hand turn signal, while Mr. Harrington claimed he had a full-blown green light. This resulted in a search for witnesses. After talking to a few eye witnesses, including one young man at the Grand Avenue Pizza pizza shop locatated at the corner of the intersection, things started to lean in Mr. Harrington's favor. The policeman later issued the young lady a left turn violation, and went on his way.

When Mr. Harrington was questioned about the witnesses, he replied,

"At first I was a little concerned about the policeman questioning an employee of the competition. I felt that somehow, someway, this wasn't going to end up working in my favor, but I'm very happy that it did. You can have your suspitions of the accident report. Call it whatever you want, Pizza-Bias, the understanding of the situation of someone else in the pizza business, or just dumb luck. Whatever the case, the young man at Grand Avenue does nothing but exemplify the pure character of those in the business. That being said...keep supporting your local pizza shop, if it's not Papa John's, then it better be Grand Avenue Pizza."

Mr. Harrington has now been through 5 cars in his 7 years of driving. The chance that he will break his 23+ year accident-free record is likely, especially if the record is reduced to the amount of time he alone has been driving. The chance that he will be through another 5 cars in the next 7 years, however, is much less likely.

When asked if this accident has caused him to reconsider working at Papa John's, Mr. Harrington replied,

"Not really, I'll be here for a long time yet."

Pizza produces passion.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lessons from the Couch: September '08

September brings with it the routine and predictability of school, schedules and work. With this change, Mr. and Mrs. Harrington have found their couch to be less occupied. Nonetheless, they have enjoyed welcoming in a few strangers and a precious little pup.

Excerpts from the Guest Book -

Wednesday September 3, 2008: Craig, Kristen and Nigel en route to California

"Thank you so much for letting Craig, Nigel and me stay with you tonight. The enchiladas verdes were incredible! The blueberry tea was delicious, too; it really hit the spot before bed. Nigel loved your cute little yard and also enjoyed sniffing every square inch of your apartment. We enjoyed chatting with the 2 of you & Mark, particularly about the body farm...

Our first couch surfing experience has been great."

Wednesday September 3, 2008: Mike and Melissa

What we learned:
  • Little dogs can be easily overwhelmed by a "large" yard and forget how fun that little racket ball is to play with
  • Trust your instincts: just because you haven't prepared a dish before doesn't mean you shouldn't try it out on guests
  • Always take your camera to big or strange events plus the packaging of some random food product
  • Eat Tofurkey and see Craig
  • Invite Mark over and you're sure to learn something new and slightly disturbing (i.e. The body farm).

Saturday September 20, 2008: Bryan en Route to Kansas/Eastern Europe

"Thank you very much for your hospitality and for the meal, games and the experience of dumpster diving. May God bless you guys. If you are anywhere near Europe I will probably be there so let me know and maybe we can meet over there."

Saturday September 19, 2008: Mike and Melissa

What we learned:

  • It's never too late to lay off the sugar a little (and, Mike is not the only one who can sit and consume an entire quart of ice cream).
  • Emu makes a fine replacement for hamburger meat.
  • Settler's of Catan unites many.
  • Live in Europe. Volunteer. Teach.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Let's Do Tea: A Catchy Phrase and a Successful Business

March 2008 marked the beginning of a new business venture for Melissa Harrington. Having gone to a tea party in February, Melissa rediscovered a deep love for loose leaf tea and began exploring the option of running her own part-time business. A few days after her first tea party, Melissa had signed on as a consultant in the almost five year old direct sales company, Let's Do Tea. Her kit arrived a week or so later full of tea, tea pots, scone mixes, and tea accessories that intrigued and excited Melissa. Within the first month, Melissa had sold over $1,000 in product and earned her kit back for free. Now, six months later, Melissa continues to sell Let's Do Tea products and conduct tea parties in the homes of family, friends and tea lovers.

When asked why she chose to start up with this company as opposed to any other direct sales company Melissa replies, "Let's Do Tea stands firm in their desire to reach into people's homes and inspire hospitality. Let's Do Tea is more about selling a lifestyle of hospitality, time for ourselves and for others than it is about selling tea and teapots, although they offer a fine selection of them all!" She also mentioned the support of her husband and their own personal desire to express a deeper sense of hospitality to those around them. Since starting her business, Melissa and her husband have began hosting couchsurfers and often have friends over for tea, dinner and tea, or games and tea.

Within her business, Melissa has discovered that many people are unfamiliar with tea but find they love it! She has discovered that people prefer tea in the Fall and Winter months although many will contentedly drink coffee all year long. She has also discovered that everyone still loves the idea of having a tea party, there is something classic and nostalgic about gathering around with a cup of tea and meaningful conversation. Melissa has also learned a lot about setting goals and working within ones strengths and passions in order to find success and more importantly to enjoy the work one does. She looks forward to one day being able to survive on her tea income alone, if all goes according to plan, her business will be self-sustaining by the time her and her husband embark on parenthood.

Melissa is confident that she will be having, on average, one party a week as long as school is in session and the weather is cool, just one reason to love living in Laramie, WY. She looks forward to spending more time with family and friends and meeting more of the wonderful Laramie-tea-drinking-community.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Marriage: A Celebration of the First Year

On September 7th, 2008, the Harrington's rejoiced in having made it successfully through their first year of marriage. The Harrington's started celebrating this milestone on the night of September 5th at Lovejoy's Bar and Restaurant in Laramie, WY. After browsing the Farmer's Market, Mike and Melissa sat down to enjoy a hamburger and sandwhich together. The celebration continued into Saturday the 6th as Mike and Melissa made a choice to rest and relax in celebration of what was generally a busy year. The morning was slow-paced and calm. Melissa enjoyed down town, Mike enjoyed reading and resting at home. As a gift to Mike, Melissa generously agreed to joining up with some friends to watch the Air Force v. UW game on television. Enjoying wings, beer, football and friends, the Harrington's began reflecting on the many joys of the past year. Saturday night, the Harrington's dined out again, this time at Anong's Thai Cuisine. Here they discussed some of the highlights from their first year in marriage; including:

  • Couchsurfing

  • Seeing a Bear

  • Mike finishing school

  • Melissa starting a tea business

  • Cross-country skiing in the Big Horns

  • Taking the Dave Ramsey course

  • Learning about pet peeves

  • Overcoming

  • Getting great neighbors

  • Holidays together as a couple

  • Sharing space...

The following, September 7th was the actual anniversary date, yet with church and a meeting the celebration was more inclusive of others while still being relaxing. The top of the wedding cake came out of the freezer and made it's appearance, Mike played Settler's of Catan and Melissa began reading The Time Traveler's Wife. Overall, the weekend was all that the Harrington's could've hoped for and they go forth confident that this next year of marriage will hold many joys, celebrations, a few trials and another summer full of weddings.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gratitude Journal

This week the Harrington Times brings you a recommendation, straight from 519 E. Clark:

Daily, recount all that you can be grateful for. Write down at least five things daily, that bring you gratitude. Remember there are always things such as food, shelter, loving family, loving friends, etc. to be thankful for even if the day has not played out as you had hoped. Call this daily recording, your gratitude journal.

For more on this idea and many other great recommendations for day to day living, check out Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lessons from the Couch: August '08

The month of August ushered in new couchsurfing experiences including the Harrington's first ever, real-live couchsurfing as surfers and not hosts, experience. They hosted two surfers a total of two nights gaining new stories, increased friendships and of course new lessons.

The Schulze/Hartwell Wedding provided the perfect occasion for Mike and Melissa to experience the other side of couchsurfing - being hosted. They could not have asked for better hosts or a better location. On the outskirts of Jackson Hole, WY the Harrington's found themselves in a quaint, simple log cabin alongside Jeff. Although wedding activities had the Harrington's occupied for the majority of their two day stay they brought home a handful of lessons.

Friday August 1 - Saturday August 2, 2008: Mike and Melissa

"What we learned:
  • Piece of mind has no price
  • Travel/Backpack Europe - it's a great way to make new friends and experience hospitality.
  • Brett Favre is to GreenBay Packers what the Grand Tetons are to Jackson Hole."

Sunday August 3, 2008: Cristin from New York en route to Burning Man Festival

"I feel much better after a nights rest and the tea! You both have a warm and good vibe and maybe another time we will meet again and spend more time together."

Sunday August 3, 2008: Mike and Melissa

"What we learned:

  • Burning Man is for Artists, something maybe like the Rainbow Gathering
  • Melissa does not have a strong Taurus personality
  • Tea should be experienced; steep once - notice flavor, color, etc. steep again - notice flavor, color, etc. steep again - notice flavor, color, etc..."

Late August 2008: David and Katie

"We are proud to be the 1st people you actually knew who crashed on your couch (well actually floor). Thanks so much for letting us stay with ya. It was good to see ya before we leave for China. Good luck with everything and God Bless!"

Late August 2008: Mike and Melissa

"What we experienced/learned:

  • Healthy game of Settlers of Catan (for Mike)
  • Cheap pizza makes newlyweds joyful!
  • When preparing to live overseas for a time it appears necessary to visit family and friends before departure, therefore, do not fool yourself into thinking that your travels begin the day of your flight, they begin many days before that!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Getting Personal I: An Excerpt from the Journal of Melissa Harrington

August 16, 2008

A recent, perhaps even lifelong struggle of mine has been body image - believing I am beautiful. Seems there is always someone thinner, more tone and in shape, smaller rear, larger chest or just plain more attractive; within my range of vision. Some days, I see myself as an attractive being, but in those moments my attractiveness usually comes at the cost of others and their beauty as I turn a critical eye at what I "have" that they "don't have." None of this I'm proud of, none of it brings me joy or builds me up or allows me to extend love and grace out into a hurting world - but it is the truth of who I am.

I've tried to "learn" and "experience" my worth in the eyes of the Creator, recognizing that I am an image bearer, the "crown of creation." I've tried to extend that to my brothers and sisters, recognizing that they too bear the image of pure beauty and magnificence. I've tried working out more, eating less or eating "better", buying clothes that are more "flattering to my figure", etc. Occassionally, such changes serve me and the world around, but more often than not, I'm left feeling crummy about my beauty and the beauty of others.

Recently, I've been reading some works by Rob Bell. He's great, he gets me thinking. I was reading Sex God the other day, I don't even know what specifically he was talking about, but the gist of what he was saying was - give thanks, be grateful, show gratitude - for EVERYTHING. I started thinking about this in context of body image - what do I usually think in regards to my physical (and even emotional, mental, spiritual) body? While hiking, I've been thinking - I don't like the look of my legs. Too short. Too stalky. Too this. Too that. Not enough of the good stuff. So, here is the new approach, give thanks...for my legs! What do I love about them? What can I appreciate about them?

For me, it plays out like this:

Thank you for my legs God. Although I could tell you the way I wish they were shaped, I'm going to thank you for what they are and what they have done.

Thank you for squirming, crawling, and walking.

Thank you for legs that took me to loving embraces of family and friends.

Thank you for legs that have ushered me into classrooms, to be educated.

Thank you for legs that were graceful enough to dance, strong enough to kick and brave enough to travel.

Thank you for legs that have made it to the Jr. Olympics.

Thank you for legs that have travelled through the states, Spain, Ireland, Morocco, and Southeast Asia.

Thank you for legs that have stood firm.

Thank you for legs that have failed me, so I could discover Your strength and the strength of others, learning that I cannot do this on my own.

Thank you for legs that have enjoyed peaceful walks in unknown neighborhoods and downtowns.

Thank you for legs that lift me off the ground in moments of excitement.

Thank you for legs that have bounced children.

Thank you for legs that have ached after a hard day of working or riding a bike a few blocks.

Thank you for legs that have climbed rocks, Cloud Peak and many a staircase.

Thank you for flexible legs, legs that enjoy stretching.

Thank you for legs that walked down the aisle, to a committment that surly surpasses anything else this world could offer.

Thank you for my legs and the legs of my neighbors.

Thank you that our legs are not the same.

Maybe I don't think I have the most sexy and attractively shaped legs, but goodness, these legs have carried me throughout the years. I have been loved and cared for by many regardless of how "imperfect" I've decided my legs are. Who am I to be critical of these legs that have seen and endured so much? What about my torso? What gratitude can I bestow on behalf of my torso? Great meals, enjoyed with friends. Laughing so hard I feel the beginings of a six pack. Internal organs that keep my body functioning properly. And what of the arms? The embraces, the cheering, the swimming, the running. And the face? What of the face? The smiles, the tears, the songs we've heard and the songs we've sung, the sunsets we've seen. So much to be thankful for.

Oh world, friends, brothers and sisters, what is it that you can be thankful for? What about your legs? What about this body that isn't anything like what you see on the cover of a magazine, what has it done? What offers you common ground and brotherhood? What sets you apart, your legs apart? Why should we all give thanks for you legs?

Fort Robinson Provides Fun and Games for Family Reunion

It's possible that Ft. Robinson has never seen a more rowdy bunch than that ushered in by the Cushing Family Reunion. The weekend of August 15th through 17th rounded off the Harrington's tri-state journey and visits with family. Ft. Robinson Nebraska became host to Melissa Harrington's maternal family line which is infamous for many things, uninteresting is not one of those things.

Grandma's danced wildly about, children played with bubbles, aunts painted faces, cousins served drinks, children ran and played, buffalo was stewed, songs were sung and family was reunited. The weekend was full of child-hood stories and creating new stories to be shared at future reunions. Stories of Mrs. Harrington and her fear of a specific balloon was quickly shared with her husband. Stories of Mrs. Allen and her distaste for women as a young child were also shared. Mr. and Mrs. Harrington were held prisoners by a five year old who must have been a third or fourth cousin, once or twice removed. The weekend was full of adventures and fun, leaving all the family members anxious for our next reunion...or perhaps not, as the reunions were changed from happening annually to occurring bi-anually.

Mr. and Mrs. Harrington throughly enjoyed trying decipher family lines and how they were related to those other than grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Their only hope now is to remember all these relational ties and names until the next family reunion comes around. Until then, we will remember our direct relations and go to Mrs. Allen for further explanation regarding the more distant relatives.

New Home Sweet Home

On August 13th, Mr. and Mrs. Harrington visited the new home of Mrs. Harrington's parents, the Allen's, in Sturgis, South Dakota. Although the trip was short, time with the Allen's was greatly enjoyed. The whole family enjoyed an outing to Deadwood, South Dakota for a hamburger, mini-golf, go-karts and playing the slots. As usual, the Allen's came out ahead after a few hours of gambling whereas the Harrington's just barely came out even. Mini-golf was of course the highlight for Mr. Harrington as he impressed his lovely bride with his putting abilities. Mrs. Allen wowed us all with two holes-in-one and Mrs. Harrington simply looked good and played poorly.

As is habit, Mr. and Mrs. Allen left Sturgis early the next day to attend an Auction and acquire some great new furniture and goods. Mr. and Mrs. Harrington enjoyed sleeping in and deer-watching from the front window of the new home. The Harrington's are excited for the Allen's as they continue to make the new home comfortable and adjust to the beauty of the Black Hills. Mr. and Mrs. Harrington look forward to future visits, enjoying the serenity of the area and exploring the many caves and wonders of South Dakota.

Big Horn Backpacking Trip Proves Restful

A true wilderness area - Big Horn National Forest.
On a tranquil and beautiful Monday morning Mr. and Mrs. Harrington continued on their tri-state journey, entering the wild of the Big Horn Mountains. Setting off with intentions of climbing Bomber Mountain, the Harrington's soon discovered a deeper need for rest, relaxation and re-energizing. Making their way to Misty Moon, about seven miles in from the trail head, the Harrington's set up camp, enjoyed homemade minestrone and laid their heads down for a night of well deserved rest. Upon waking in the morning, Mr. and Mrs. Harrington concluded that Bomber mountain would always be there and in these days, what they sought and needed was restoration and relaxation - what better place to recieve such things than in the presence of 13,000 foot peaks?

Napping on the trail.
Resting included reading and meeting up with Father Harrington and Sisters Harrington (not to be confused with Catholic nomenclature - this is in reference to the actual father and sisters of Mike Harrington). Both Mike and Melissa were able to finish some reading (Harry Potter and Three Cups of Tea respectively) and enjoy the peace and solitude inherent to Cloud Peak Wilderness Area.

Reading and Resting at the base of Bomber Mountain.
The majority of the Harrington Family posing in front of last years accomplishment - Cloud Peak.

Bomber Mountain maintains its spot on the list of things Mr. and Mrs. Harrington would like to do together. But, for now, they desire above all else to maintain sanity and prepare for the upcoming work year. Bomber will remain and one peak, Cloud Peak, has already been conquered (Summer 07).

In Conclusion, Mrs. Harrington explains, "Relaxation and restoration are necessary components to a healthy lifestyle, that's what we recieved in those three days in the wilderness."

Bluegrass Unites Friends and Family

On August 7th, 2008 Mike and Melissa began a tri-state journey of visiting family and friends and enjoying the great outdoors. First on the list of destinations was none other than Ten Sleep, Wyoming; home of the infamous Nowoodstock Bluegrass Festival. Attending the festival for the thrid year in a row, Mike and Melissa were not disappointed with the showing. With about a dozen bluegrass acts including Ten Sleep's own Jalan Crossland, the festival is always an enjoyable and relaxing time down by the Nowood River.
The Jalan Crossland Band - Our Favorite

As always, Mike and Melissa enjoyed spending time with family and friends at the Harrington cabin, five miles east of Ten Sleep. This year they not only enjoyed the company of parents Tom, Patty, Harland and Brenda, but also a surprise visit from Pam and Steve out of Esterbrook, WY. The festival offered them a great selection of music to enjoy, entertainment and reuniting with good friends. (Not to mention, Mike was able to complete two more books from the Harry Potter series).

Dancing at a bluegrass festival - doesn't get any better!

Mike and Melissa look forward to next years banjo pickin' and guitar strummin' goodness at Nowoodstock and invite all friends and family to join them. For more information you can visit

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

August 5th, 2008
Laramie, WY

For better or for worse, it’s finally happened.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 5th, 2008, Michael J. Harrington cracked open the first page of the well known Harry Potter book series. Although eleven years have passed since the books were originally published, this hasn’t stopped him from beginning to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book of a series of seven. The first book, written by J.K. Rowling, was published in 1997 and has formed a world wide fan base since. When asked why it took him over a decade to join the Harry Potter movement Harrington thought,

“For the longest time I’ve been the type of person to disassociate myself with large, popular groups or movements. This is how I have been reacting to Harry Potter for years; not interested in being categorized into some group, but rather wanting to simply be an individual. However, Harry Potter has plunged itself into pop culture, becoming like Andy Warhol’s paintings in the 1960’s, something that future Trivial Pursuit questions will be written about. I decided that I had to get involved.”

but actually said:
"I dunno. The time has come."

Unfortunately for Harrington, he hasn’t been able to completely isolate himself from the Harry Potter happenings. His sister, Katie, whom he lived with for a year in college, is an avid movie enthusiast. She has been collecting the Harry Potter movies, and as a result, Mike has seen the first four or five movies. This will undoubtedly skew his perception of characters and places as the books are unraveled. It may even give away a few of the major plotlines. His hope is that he will be able to make it through the first five books and into the last two before any more movies come out, that way he will be able to read the last two books without them being spoiled. When asked what he thought of the Harry Potter series thus far, Harrington simply replied,

“I've read over 200 pages of the first book in the first day, I think that means I’m hooked and can’t stop now.”

All of us here at the Harrington Times would like to wish Mr. Harrington the best with his future reading plans. Stay the course, Mr. Harrington. Stay the course!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lessons from the Couch: July '08

The month of July, was for Mike and Melissa, the beginning of their adventures in couchsurfing. This month they hosted a total of three couchsurfers a total of five nights. The Harrington's learned many things as did those who slept on the couch. The following are excerpts from the Guest Book that relate the lessons learned by couchsurfers and Mike and Melissa as well.
Friday July 11, 2008: K.K. from "The North"
"Things to consider after this visit: ugly/tacky sweater parties and full body dumpster dives."
Friday July 11, 2008: Mike and Melissa

"What we learned from K.K.:
  • Listen. Observe. Enjoy.
  • Old German textbooks are definitely worth 50 cents."

Monday July 21, 2008: Phil from North Carolina

"Things I have learned and received today:

  • Minestrone can be made extra yummy with green tea.
  • Altitude makes yummy bear that smells more than tastes, like banana.
  • A sister with a bike and a nearby residence is a lovely thing.
  • [Southeast Asia] is a perfect place to begin a journey with one's perfectly chosen mate for life.

Monday July 21, 2008: Mike and Melissa

"What we learned from Phil:

  • Serve people everywhere you go.
  • Travel by car and bike.
  • Buy corn, cabbage and onions in Nebraska as a "thank you" gift for couchsurfing hosts.
  • Start an online business so you can work and travel w/ less hassle.
  • Simplify.

Melissa, Phil, and Mike enjoying breakfast before Phil's departure.

Sunday July 27 - Wednesday July 30, 2008: Sarah from France

"I felt here like at home and that is the best feeling you can have when you're travelling...I have really appreciated your conversations, the way you show me how beautiful the mountains in Wyoming can be, and the fact that you make me meet some of your friends."

Sunday July 27 - Wednesday July 30, 2008: Mike and Melissa

"What we learned from Sarah:

  • Enjoy your food. Experience the meal. Slow down. Stop counting calories.
  • The purpose of couchsurfing is to adapt to your host, live life the way your hosts live life.
  • Le Mans, France is home to an impressive car race.
  • America does not have the proper flour for crepes.
  • Greyhound is always late.

Sarah, Melissa and Mike at the Trailhead for Medicine Bow.

Mike, Melissa and Sarah at the top of Medicine Bow Peak

Saturday, July 26, 2008

HR Camp Provides Relaxation and Random Conversation

On a warm summer day in late July, Mike and Melissa made their way up to old stomping grounds - HR Camp. Looking forward to visiting old friends and spending time in a place of beauty, Mike and Melissa took a little detour on their way to Worland, WY for family visits and wedding attending. Within the boundaries of their old "summer home" Mike and Melissa were able to reconnect with staff friends, camper friends and meet new friends. They were impressed, once again, by the beauty which is possessed by this place and in the deepest corners of their hearts yearned to wake every morning in a place a beautiful as this. While being overwhelmed by beauty and awestruck at the Creator's work, Mike and Melissa also stumbled upon a conversation that had them bursting at the seams and rolling in the aisles. The conversation began simply as a question of desire, a desire to know: what if horses were gerbil size?

"What if horses were gerbil size?" quickly turned into, "what if gerbils were horse size?" Now, consider for a moment: cowboys riding gerbils, knights riding gerbils, children riding gerbil-centered carousels at the fairs...the list goes on and on. But when we put greater imagination into these images you see the short legs of gerbils carrying royalty, rodeo-stars - imagine a "bucking" gerbil, would 8 seconds still be a challenge? And what about the gerbil wheel? Would it be left behind for the gerbil-size horses or would it be enlarged so that rider and horse-size gerbil would run circles for entertainment and exercise?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fun for All: Mud Volleyball and River Floating

The weekend of July 19th and 20th proved a fun, exciting, dirty, and wet time for Mike and Melissa Harrington. Visiting Melissa's parents in Wheatland often holds many great adventures and rewarding experiences, this past weekend was no exception. Saturday morning began the fun with pre-game mud-stomping. The game for which they were preparing is none other than, mud-volleyball. It is a game of skill and finesse, athleticism and balance, but mostly is is a game of good-humor and humility. The mud is unforgiving as Mike quickly learned and experienced quite intensely by the end of the game as his eyes worked vigorously to expel the dirty matter clumping in them.

Mud volleyball, summer '07

Things continued in the spirit of fun the following day with a float trip down the North Platte River. Putting in at the Guernsey bridge and taking out before Whalen Dam, Mike and Melissa enjoyed four hours on the river with friends and family. By the end of the day, Mike and Melissa had also picked up on a couple new facts involving none other than Chuck Norris. For example, did you know, when Chuck Norris does a push-up, he doesn't push his body up - he pushes the whole world down...?

Mike and Melissa will anxiously await next years weekend 'o' fun with the Allen and Lambert families and hope that many others will consider joining in the fun, games, mud and water!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Recent Purchase Leads to Beautiful Photos

Monetary gifts are often given when one celebrates such milestones as marriage, birthdays, graduations, retirements, holidays etc. This year, Mike Harrington benefited greatly at the generosity of friends and family as he celebrated his birthday in April and his college graduation in May. Understanding the value of saving money, Mike was able to hold on to his birthday earnings and graduation earnings while "shopping" for the perfect gift; a camera.

For many months now, Mike has grown a desire to have a quality camera, so that he may perfect his photography skills - friends and family say, "he has a great eye for photos," now he has a great camera for photos. Mike shopped online, compared products, prices, and did some number crunching - in the end, he chose a Canon EOS 40D digital camera to be his first photography partner. With great appreciation extending to family and friends, Mike now presents some of his most beautiful and outstanding photos, ENJOY!

Field of flowers: Vedauwoo recreation area
Rock and Flowers : Vedauwoo recreation area
Hawk in the clouds: Vedauwoo
Chipmunk Posing: Vedauwoo

Janayah, child of friends Tony and Mellany
Peeking Through: Backyard of 6th and Clark
Joy-filled: LaBonte Park, Laramie, WY
Potted Flower: Corner of 6th and Clark
Cowboy Sunset: Laramie, WY

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Couchsurfing: Not Only for Deadbeat Sons and Daughters

July 12, 2008
Laramie, WY

Today we interview Mike and Melissa Harrington in regards to their first experience hosting a couchsurfer acquired via

Harrington Times: Please begin by explaining for our readers what is couchsurfing and how did you find out about this extravaganza?

Melmik Harrington: Well, couchsurfing is exactly as it sounds...minus the surfing. People from all over the world create profiles on, this includes information regarding likes, dislikes, location, couch availability etc. From there, when one is preparing to travel, they search the website for a home and a "couch" to sleep on while travelling - escaping the cost of a hotel room, meeting new friends, and getting the opportunity to know the local culture, hang out spots, and customs. We found out about this activity through a good friend of ours Andrew Prior, later that afternoon we had created an account and began searching for a couch!

HT: When was your first couch-surfer hosting experience?

MH: Our first hosting experience was just last night, Friday the 11th of July. A girl by the name of K.K. was making her way to the "farm" in North Dakota from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She chose our couch, regardless of the fact the we had a garage sale the next day and would likely be waking her up early in the morning.

HT: Have you ever been hosted as couchsurfers?

MH: We have not yet officially been hosted as couchsurfers, but are looking to contact a couchsurfing host in a few weeks when we take a trip up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to attend the wedding of a dear friend.

HT: Are you nervous about opening up your home to strangers or entering the homes of strangers?

MH: There a few things that can cause some nervousness, but overall we trust that we are just as safe in the home of a stranger as in a hotel. We also considered the type of people who must be willing to enter such agreements, we concluded, they must be people like us if we are considering such an adventure.

HT: What was the best part about hosting this particular couchsurfer?

MH: K.K. has a very gentle and kind spirit. She was eager to get to know not only the two of us but also our upstairs neighbors and their guest. She was grateful and flexible! Not to mention, she happily filled out a page in our NEW guestbook - we had a very great first experience!

HT: Any other comments?

MH: Family and Friends, don't hesitate to create an account on, it's a great way to meet new people and save some money. Also, don't hesitate to give us a call, email, etc to reserve our couch - we'd love to have those closest to us sleep on our couch and fill in a page or two of the Guest Book!

HT: Thank you for your time and information. May you have many more couchsurfers come and enjoy your company.

Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

On July 12, 2008 in a small town known as Laramie, Wyoming Michael J. Harrington along with his bride Melissa R. Harrington began a blog. The blog was set up via an internet resource, blogger. Impressed by "blogging" friends Micah and SaraJane, Emily and Heath, Matt and Jon; Mr. and Mrs. Harrington felt it was high time they too began keeping a record of the more exciting events from their day to day lives. When asked about blogging Mr. Harrington replied, "I don't think I'll do a lot of it personally." This leaves Mrs. Harrington to the task of keeping her family and friends up to date regarding the fun, zany, joyful, interesting and new events happening in the Harrington household. When asked how this makes her feel, Mrs. Harrington replied, "I'm pretty excited, I really like writing and am looking forward to a new way of keeping loved ones informed." Blogger is available for use by the general public and can be accessed through the world wide web at

May family and friends anticipate future posts and stories that will grace the 'pages' of The Harrington Times.


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