Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Visit from Friends and Sugar Gliders

When we left Laramie, we left our apartment to a great, kind and wonderful couple, Nate and Lisa. The beauty of life resulted in their having the perfect job opportunity to re-locate just as we decided to return to Laramie, meaning we had the great opportunity to live in our old home. Unfortunately, we didn't have an opportunity to meet with them as our transition times didn't quite overlap. Fortunately, the lovely couple came through Laramie on their way to celebrate Thanksgiving in South Dakota.

And while this lovely couple hasn't expanded their family with tiny tots, they have recently brought a couple of sugar gliders into their life. Wanting to understand these little creatures, the Harringtons, SJ, Micah, Nate, Lisa and a handful of others all enjoyed a meal together before eventually heading down into the basement where the sugar gliders were unleashed from the safety of the pouch and allowed to glide here and there, land on every available body and even managed to drop into a vat of apple cider vinegar. Regardless, the little creatures were a constant blur of motion quit literally gliding from one place to the next, inciting squeals and laughter from all the bystanders/participants.

Always a joy to visit with old friends and remember just how beautiful our community has and always will be.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Death of a Car

Sometimes you enjoy concerts and quick vacations and these things let you know that you have a beautiful life.

Sometimes, your car dies on the side of the road and while you question whether or not life is always beautiful you're amazed by the blessings of friendship and family.

Friends who leave their desk and work obligations to help you navigate the death of your hardly-month-old-car, bringing you oil and oil filters, following you to make sure you're safe, and when you die again, sticking around, calling tow-truck companies and making sure we have somewhere to go.

Family who welcomes you into their home, last minute, bakes you a pizza and gives you a nice warm bed for a night while you try to figure out where to go from here.
So you spend a day watching Sesame Street and communicating with mechanics just to discover that the engine ran just enough without oil that the car is now and forever toast. The afternoon is spent making arrangements to get back home and get to work and figure out to discard this hunk of metal which just a day before was your mode of transportation.
And you end this segment of life, these concerts and vacations and car troubles still surrounded by family and receiving a ride from the same friend who helped the night before and you choose to believe that, even in these less than pleasant moments, you live a beautiful life.

P.S. Always, ALWAYS check your oil. We recommend you do so every time you fill up the gas tank.

Quick Trip: Phoenix, AZ

Since receiving tickets for Leonard Cohen prior to returning to the USA and having a job stateside, the Harrington duo was pleased to discover the weekend of the Leonard Cohen concert would be extended two days thanks to Parent-Teacher conferences, an obligation for teachers and parents, but not for paraprofessionals. Knowing that, if they were in the land of kimchi with a long weekend, they'd be sure to go somewhere and do something, the couple hit a few flight search engines and soon realized that Phoenix was beckoning them forth. Not only were tickets affordable, but the couple had a small handful of friends living in the city of warmth making the decision to purchase all the more easy.

So, after a cold, cold nights sleep in the Subaru, the couple checked in, disappointed to learn that Spirit airlines carry-on requirements were quite meager and the large bag to take-along the laptop (for NaNoWriMo) would cost an extra $40...bucking up and paying the outrageous fee, the couple was soon scarfing down breakfast, warming up and making their way to the gate.
Upon arrival at the gate, the couple soon learned that their flight was delayed by about two hours, longer than the anticipated flight itself. Always attempting to make the most of every situation, Mike continued reading while Melissa added to her NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) story about Lady Annyeong (a story which would not find it's conclusion in November as hoped, but has, at the very least, been started). The couple also spent some time eavesdropping on a group of hockey players who'd spent a wild week or so in the Rocky Mountain city of Denver and had a series of conversations regarding missing teeth and drinking beyond their fill. Also stuck in the airport, the same crew of men decided to attach a dollar to a string of floss and see how well they could prank passers-by, turns out they could do it without much trouble and brought loads of laughter to otherwise annoyed travelers.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Concerts and Chilly Nights in the Subaru

While living in South Korea, the Harringtons awoke one morning to discovered they had been tagged in Tom Harrington's photo, a photo of concert tickets for the great, talented and aging-yet-impressively-young-at-heart-and-soul Leonard Cohen. Tickets proclaimed they were for a show on November 3rd which assured the Korea-living couple that they could in fact attend this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Fast forward a few months as the Harrington duo has begun settling in and adjusting to "new" life. The concert, and the anniversary of Tom and Patty, was approaching and the Harringtons were soon setting out for Colorado for what would become a long weekend of travel and adventures starting with a lunch date in Wheatridge with Melissa's Grandmother, Luella. Grandma, Mike, and Melissa all piled into the Subaru and enjoyed lunch at Texas Roadhouse followed by a trip to Lowe's to pick up some items for Grandma Lu. After installing a lamp and super gluing some items at Grandma's house, Mike and Melissa headed up toward Loveland, Colorado to watch the CSU v. UW (Border War) Game in one of Mike's cousin's Man Cave (complete with projector, bar, couches and shuffle board).

Monday, December 17, 2012

An Apple a Day

When the Laramie Farmer's Market came to an end late in September, the Harringtons bought a case of apples with high hopes of creating a completely from scratch Hard Apple Cider. After three weeks, the apples had sat around long enough and Melissa had discovered a clever use for the apple cores and apple peels which would otherwise be discarded. So it was, on a calm October Evening, the couple set about peeling, coring and juicing apples all with the goal of creating home made hard cider and home made apple cider vinegar.
Mike has done plenty of apple cider batches before, however the completely from scratch batch was a lot of work and didn't yield nearly as much hard cider as simply using 100% Apple Juice from the grocery store. Nonetheless, the experiment gave the man an opportunity to experiment with allowing wild yeasts to do their thing and also see and taste the difference of hard cider from store-bought juice versus fresh apple juice.
As for the Apple Cider Vinegar, Melissa simply followed this recipe from Hip Girls Home and learned that a) home made cider is an incredibly easy endeavor, b) the hardest part is patience and c) once it's finished, it's the most delicious thing EVER! (well, maybe not ever, but it's definitely a hit in the Harrington household.

Since returning from Korea, the Harringtons began drinking an Apple Cider Vinegar Elixir which contains about 2 Tbsp. ACV, 2 Tbsp. Apple Juice, Water, cinnamon and honey to taste. The purpose of this drink, as explained by upstairs neighbor and friend SaraJane is that it: prevents acne, helps regulate blood sugar (meaning you don't starve between breakfast and lunch), regulates movements of the bowels and helps ward off various germs and bacteria. Having enjoyed such an elixir with store-bought ACV, the Harrington duo has now transitioned to taking a shot of home-made vinegar every morning because it's just that good and, honestly, beneficial in the ways it claims to be.

If you've got apples and time, ACV is a project you should definitely consider taking on!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

That Time the Man Won Everything

Once upon a time, the man quite literally won everything. The first and most important element to the man's winning streak was his commitment to listening to radio, that's right the radio! And not just listening to the radio, but listening to AM radio and calling in during the SportsLine Live Radio Talk Show. A few nights and days of listening to AM radio and participating resulted in the Harringtons having 4 tickets to the Boise v. Wyoming Football Game, two free coupons for Boomer's BBQ and two tickets for Dracula at the Gryphon Theater!
So how did the the variety of activities play out in real life?

First of all, the Harringtons were able to attend a Football Game on an incredibly cold October afternoon. Highlights of the game-day included receiving a free pink towel, scarfing down a Philly-cheesesteak, sitting next to good friend David and sister Katie AND seeing sister Luella and her boyfriend Robbie for the first time since returning to the states...all the more exciting when that pair...isn't really a pair and there's new life being formed and ready to enter the world come April. Oh...and there was football ^_~

Following the game, the couple was able to soak up more time with Luella and Robbie and a couple of their friends for dinner at Applebee's which was filled with laughter especially after we all took a moment to view this video...hilarious (although a bit of very inappropriate language...mute maybe...if small or sensitive ears are near by):
Next in line for 'free things' redemption were the tickets for Dracula which was to be performed at Laramie's Gryphon Theater, the same theater where Mumford and Son's went 'unplugged' this past August. True joy was had when the Harringtons realized they were encouraged and allowed to purchase an alcoholic beverage to enjoy during the show, so it was, the couple sipped a Micro-brew and glass (plastic cup to be honest) of Chocolate Wine while taking in the talent and entertainment that was a Steam-Punk Dracula performance courtesy of Albany County Theater.

Finally, the final award of coupons for Boomer's BBQ was just recently used on Thursday evening and had the Harringtons drinking a local micro-brew (from a can!) out of Pinedale, named after the Wind River Range, chowing down on artichoke dip and out-of-this-world BBQ Pulled Pork and most importantly, topping the whole thing off with a serving of warm Bread Pudding complete with a whiskey sauce made from yet another local craft: Koltiska. If you haven't been to Boomer's, you are sorely missing out and need to go there whether you have coupons or not!

And that, dear readers, is the story of the time the Man won everything and the results which were enjoyable, delicious and oh-so-memorable.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just a few Reasons to Love 519

On one side of the coin, you have the Harrington's hearts beating in South Korea, desperate for reminders from that beloved land...and then you have 519 which was, is and in truth will forever be a home for the Harrington duo. The basement-apartment-that-faithfully-served-as-home to couple from the first days of their marriage, through the first three years, through college graduations, first jobs post-graduation, Easter dinners, CouchSurfers, Potlucks, cups of tea, dumpster diving adventures and creations, the making of big decisions and daily decisions, 519 has housed a lot of the Harrington's love, life and heart.

And while, in many ways, transitioning back into Laramie life and American life in general has presented a handful of challenges and left the Harringtons unsure of future direction, 519 continues to hold plenty of lovable elements and endearing qualities.

The Harrington's love 519 on this go around because...

  • they still managed to get a rocking couch to fill the living room
  • they get to share it with their mutt and watch her learn to befriend larger, more powerful mutts
  • the upstairs neighbors have faithfully shared food and conversations
  • the upstairs neighbors also have an adorable little tyke who brings life and energy to every room he enters
  • the little tyke is a lover of snow and has no problem peeking in windows wearing wolf hats and tiger mittens (coincidentally, gifts from Korea)
  • there are many friends who remember the location and can easily drop by to say "hi"
  • the kitchen is perfectly quaint and homey and inviting, everything a obsessive cook and baker longs for
  • the location is the perfect walking distance from campus and down-town
  • the house-mates remain steady and fantastic, just as they were when the Harringtons left them
  • it's home...perhaps not the same as it once was, but home nonetheless, forever and for always.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Moments you Need when Your Heart Beats in Two Places

As the Harringtons have settled into Laramie/Wyoming/American life, they have been blessed to re-enter life and relationships with all the fantastic people they left behind in 2010. However, each day has also reminded the couple just how deeply they were incorporated into Korean life and community and how that place of their hearts and souls is adjusting and aching and wanting to be as full as it was just a few short months ago.

Fortunately, the inconvenience of miles and time-zones has only stifled the frequency of interactions and reminders of Korea and the Harrington's Korea family. Smart phones have brought the Harringtons numerous reminders of faces and places the couple loves. These reminders are a sure fire way to bring a smile to the faces of the Harringtons if not a few tears to their eyes.
Not only do beautiful reminders of life 'over-there' show up via Kakao Talk, but they were ready and waiting for the Harringtons here in Laramie as well. A handful of Korean middle school students, a Korean-Japanese restaurant ran by a sweet Korean family who understands our love of their foods and traditions, gifts of choco-pie from parents of Korean students and a Korean grocer a few hours away are enough to bring ease to the Harrington's hearts.
These are the ways the Harringtons remember and remain connected. The way they honor where they have been and who they've shared life with. The way the thrive in a land that feels more foreign than it ever was and than it has any right to. The way they move confidently forward, aware that forever and for-always their hearts will beat in two places.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Culture Shock for Puppies: Snow-Days

True to Wyoming fashion, the first snow came heavy and early, hardly a month into fall (although, the exact time and date seems to slip my mind). While the Harringtons were thrilled with the arrival of a wet, heavy snow which gives the whole town a quaint, peaceful, curl-up-with-a-good-book-and-mug-of-hot-cocoa feel, Lady Annyeong was a bit shocked to say the least. Now, it is not uncommon for snow to fall in the land of Kimchi and this Wyoming snow-fall was not the first snow Lady Annyeong had ever seen and experienced, however, Daejeon, South Korea never saw a snow quite like this, meaning Lady Annyeong was a bit shocked. Initially, the little three-legged mutt refused to enter the winter-wonderland, but eventually, she felt the stirrings of cabin fever and realized she had no choice but to enter the beautiful, white landscape.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

An Eerie Family Reunion

Like being able to go to Grandma's house, one of the great joys for the Harringtons has been the ability to go meet up with family at a moments (or more) notice. On a mid-September Saturday, the Harringtons caught a ride with Katie Harrington and made their way down to Eerie, Colorado for a Rigg-Cousin Family Reunion.

As is typical to family reunions, this one was laden with a table full of food including grilled burgers, brats and hot dogs accompanied by fruit salads, crab-apple butter and bread, cake, chips, amazing salsa and queso dip, oatmeal creme pies and much more to keep the hungry attendees well cared-for. Typical to a Rigg reunion, the event also included an athletic event for family members, young and old to participate. The game? Kickball. The teams? Worland vs. the World. That's because some Riggs have strong childhood ties to Worland, Wyoming whereas the rest of us...well, we're just more worldly ;) (And now you know who wrote this piece, eh?).
Aside from top-notch foods and a rolicking good game of Kickball, the evening included meeting the newest addition of Twins, courtesy of Chris and Tara, watching the new generation of Rigg-lets care for one another, having the sweet eldest daughter/grandchild of the Rigg family run with Lady Annyeong, gazing upon a most gorgeous sunset and sending our love on the tails of balloons to Father/Grandfather/Brother/Son/Uncle Rick who continues to inspire and direct this clan of loving, gracious and athletic family.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Relief is the Arrival of Boxes from Korea

Five boxes were shipped from South Korea to Laramie, Wyoming. On a true-to-form ship the boxes were tossed, mangled and forced to endure a wild series of hardship while floating across the big, wide ocean. Fortunately, the trip eventually came to an end with less-than-sturdy-and-complete boxes being delivered to Laramie, Wyoming ready to spill contents which would and will serve as eternal reminders of the life and times the Harringtons enjoyed in South Korea.

And how do boxes look after such hardship....a little rough we'd say!

Stories from the Couch: Room-mate for a Week

Every once in a while, a Couchsurfer comes along that melds into your daily life so flawlessly, easily and flexibly that as his plans change and his car needs repairs you don't even hesitate to welcome him to continue on with crashing the floor, dumpster diving and being "that guy" who would fit a sitcom so perfectly well. For the Harringtons, that Couchsurfer arrived early in September and spent about a week joining the couple for all manner of activities from dumpster diving, dinner in 519 Kitchen, attending fundraisers (with nearly endless supplies of micro-brews, bluegrass music and Laramie CS'ers), attending Homecoming parades and games, rescuing friends who were lost in the woods and complimenting tons and tons of dumpstergourmet delicacies.
Ross was truly the type of guest that every host (or at least the Harrington hosts) love to meet. He was able to chat about just about anything whether deep or entertaining, thought-provoking or laugh-inducing. He shared honey from out East, shared his efforts in diving and washed dishes day after day. He joyfully went out on his own every once in a while, leaving the Harringtons to take care of any other needs they may have had. Not at all imposing and entirely gracious, Ross was a great way to break into CS hosting on the US return.


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