Monday, October 3, 2011

The Middle

When I moved to Portland five years ago, a friend of mine referred to the area of the U.S. from whence I originally came as "The Middle."  I thoroughly enjoy this nickname, as it reflects the way the coastal residents of the U.S. probably think of the vast expanse of land between coasts.

One of the main purposes of my trip home this time was for a very important event happening in The Middle: my older brother's wedding.  So, after a few days in Portland, I began the journey toward the Great Plains of Oklahoma, making a stop in the beautiful Rockies in Colorado on the way.  

I have the loveliest group of girlfriends from college, and we make it a point to meet up for a reunion once a year.  Since we live in four different states (and now a different country), the reunions take a little planning and effort.  We reunited for weddings the past three years.  However, without a wedding this year, we chose a destination in the middle of everyone, which happened to be a very beautiful place - Boulder, Colorado.  This worked out perfectly, since it was on my way from Portland to Tulsa, and a short flight for the rest of the girls as well.

(Bonus: Mexican is one of my favorite genres of food, and Colorado is known for its delish Mexican food.)

So, we all flew to Denver, and stayed one night there before heading to Boulder the next day.
What do you know?  The Taste of Colorado food festival just happened to be going on in Denver that weekend (no, we did not plan this fortunate coincidence).  Here we are, taking a break between samples.  I'll take a moment to introduce you to all of these lovely ladies...from left:  Denise, Jamie, Mica, and Joan.  

Pearl Street Mall in Boulder.

A walk along the Boulder Creek trail.

The Boulder County Farmers Market - so wonderful!

Incredible tamales at the Farmers Market.

The Flatirons.

I love Celestial Seasonings tea, and luckily I can get it here in Oslo.  The factory is in Boulder, so we got to take a tour and drink free tea on the last day of the trip.  We also had to wear hairnets in the factory...the picture of that is actually frightening, so it won't be shared here.

I really love these girls.  Even with the distance between us, and the fact that we all have pretty different personalities, our reunions always feel like we haven't missed a beat.  Joan made a good point this trip when she said that it's almost like a sisterhood of sorts.  I suppose that's bound to happen when you live together in college, away from home, and spend so much time together before you start your adult lives.  Thanks for such a fun trip, girls!

After Colorado, I headed to T-town to spend time with my family before the wedding.  I also went down to Dallas for a day to see Ken and his parents.  (Ken traveled to Dallas to see his family for a bit before coming up to Tulsa for the wedding.)  I got to see a few good T-town friends as well, between everything. 

With Mom at the wedding.  The venue was indoor/outdoor, and the weather was perfect.

Ken and Dad.

My fun cousin, Steph, and my big bro, Chad.

Rhonda and Chad - hitched!

Visiting Ken's parents in Dallas - we had a really fun night out.

Ken and the ever-enthusiastic Andy at a BBQ at Sean and Heidi's house (thanks for having us, Sean and Heidi!).  Fun fact: Ken is actually modeling a pair of skinny jeans that Expert Snowboarder mailed to Sean.  The bottom half of this pic was disturbing, so it was cropped.

The good ol' Golden Driller and a pretty Okie sunset on my last evening in Tulsa.

The Middle definitely treated me well, and I'd like to thank my awesome family and friends from down yonder for a great time! 

Moments of Zen:

1.  The absolutely amazing weather in Colorado and Oklahoma that week and a half.  It was perfection.
2.  Crab and shrimp enchiladas at The Denver Rio...mmm.