March 6, 2006

Maryland, Moving, Christmas & Boston

smoky mountain stream

Yet again several busy months have passed since my last update. Spring is in the air here in Tennessee, especially this week as the temperature climbed to 70 degrees and many trees and even some flowers have started blooming. It's hard to believe that it has already been a year since I started my current job at EPB Telecom. I am still enjoying my work where I've been learning more new things and keeping busy with plenty of interesting projects. Outside of work I've still been spending time with Brenda and enjoying lots of fun activities with our young adults group from church.

A couple of weeks after I last wrote Brenda and I traveled up to Maryland to attend Jesse & Tara's wedding in West Virginia. We enjoyed a nice weekend of visiting with family and friends including a mini family reunion after the wedding ceremony.

At the end of September both Brenda and I moved out of our old apartments. Brenda moved into a duplex with a new room mate and I moved into an apartment just down the road from her new place.
fall in the smokies
We had a busy moving day getting everything loaded and unloaded for Brenda, her roommate and I. Thankfully we had lots of help from our young adults group and from my grandparents who brought their trailer down for the day. Brenda and I are each enjoying more space in our new places and we are both closer to our jobs now too. It's nice to be able to leave 15-20 minutes later and still make it to work on time.

In October we enjoyed some fun weekends including a visit to my grandparents house and a young adults camping trip to Fall Creek Falls. While camping we also took a couple of hikes including one boulder hopping hike up a stream to a waterfall. Two of us swam in the large pool at the base of the waterfall but the cool water convinced the rest of our group to stay dry. We especially enjoyed seeing some nice fall colors but
unfortunately I forgot my camera so didn't get any pictures that weekend.

The last Sunday in October we went to the Chattanooga Air Show. At the air show we had fun checking out a pair of Harriers and many other planes up close before the show started. For the main show they had biplanes, helicopters, a jet engine powered truck, various historic and military aircraft and finally the blue angels for the grand finale. It was really fun to see such a wide variety of planes and watch their acrobatic performances.

November started out with Trudy & Wesley's wedding and then Brenda's birthday. For Brenda's birthday I took her to the Melting Pot in Knoxville
stunt plane in a dive
where we had cheese & chocolate fondues. It was the first time for both of us to eat at the Melting Pot and we really enjoyed it. Later in the month we went to Gatlinburg with some friends from church. We all stayed in a nice log cabin and went hiking, played miniature golf, rode go carts and visited some outlet shops. On the way back Brenda & I took the long way through Smoky Mountain National Park where we saw some fall colors. We also stopped in Cherokee for supper on our way back. For Thanksgiving I went down to my uncle & aunt's house in Birmingham while Brenda flew out to Washington State to spend time with her family.

To help get into the Christmas spirit we first attended a Christmas concert in Collegedale on the first of December. On the first weekend in December we went to an EPB open house Christmas party at the downtown office building on Saturday night. Later the same evening we met up with some friends and watched Polar Express 3D at our local IMAX theater. The next weekend on Saturday night we attended a formal EPB Telecom Christmas dinner which was held at a very nice ball room perched on the edge of Lookout Mountain. We enjoyed great food and excellent views of Chattanooga and the
blue angels
surrounding area from big picture windows. On Sunday we went to a free Michael Card Christmas concert and then visited Rock City's Garden of Lights the following Wednesday. I had never been to Rock City before so it was fun to follow the garden trail through the crevices and over various bridges. We also enjoyed seeing the waterfall and the views of Chattanooga from the overlook. The weather was pretty cold so we definitely got our money's worth with the free refills of hot chocolate. For those of you who aren't familiar with Rock City, it is a tourist trap that is advertised on "See Rock City" signs, bird houses and most famously barn roofs near highways across the US. Although it really is quite touristy it was fun to see all the pretty Christmas lights.

gingerbread house at rock city
At the start of our Christmas vacation Brenda and I drove up to my grandparent's house where we had supper with my grandparents, sister, aunt and my other grandmother before heading to the airport to pick up my parents. The next day we all drove down to Birmingham, Alabama where we spent Christmas weekend with my aunt and uncle and a family of five who are living with them right now. The family is from New Orleans and they lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. After Christmas in Alabama we drove back to my grandparent's house just in time to meet more family arriving from Ohio. We then spent the week and New Year's weekend at my grandparent's house where we celebrated Christmas a second time. In between visiting and eating excellent food we got in several games of croquet, ping pong and dominoes.

In January my parents, sister and Oregon grandma were still around for a while so they all came down and stayed with me in my new apartment for a few days. It was really
frozen white cedar swamp
nice to have enough extra space for company. My parents were still around on and off for most of January so we got to see them a couple more times before they headed back to Cyprus to start packing up their stuff. They are moving to southern California where they will be starting new jobs in April. The last week of January I went to Atlanta for some work related training and then on the weekend we got together with some friends to cook and play games.

We took two main trips in February, the first of which was to visit my former neighbors Bryan, Penny & kids near Athens, Georgia. It was a short trip but it was fun to catch up with them a little bit and to play with the kids some. Our second February trip was to visit Graham & Amber in Boston. The original plan was to go snow skiing, but the weather didn't cooperate. For several days before we arrived and on the day we had planned to ski temperatures at the slopes were well above freezing. After much deliberation we ended up driving out to Cape Cod instead of skiing. Although the weather had been too warm for skiing, the temperature dropped rapidly while we were exploring the Cape and the wind was blowing at 30+ mph. We didn't take any long
cold picnic
walks on the beach, and it started snowing while we were there. We had a great time though exploring the Cape by car and braving the cold weather to briefly visit several beaches. It was interesting to watch the snow accumulate and paint the sand dunes white. Instead of taking an extended walk on the beach we took a hike along a boardwalk in a White Cedar swamp. Thanks to the trees the trail was sheltered from the wind and the frozen, snow covered swamp was very peaceful and white. On our way back to Boston we stopped at a nice picnic area which of course we had to ourselves due to the cold weather. We sat close together as we ate our sandwiches and we were all glad to get back in the warm car at the end of our meal. It was below freezing and still very windy for our picnic and some of the veggies actually froze while we were preparing and eating our lunch. For the rest of the weekend we spent some time exploring Boston and visiting with Graham & Amber. In Boston we went on a tour of the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") which is the oldest commissioned warship afloat, walked part of the Freedom Trail, watched ice skaters on the Boston Commons and
old ironsides
enjoyed a panoramic view of the city from the observation deck on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower. Unfortunately our flight was delayed Sunday evening so we didn't get back to Chattanooga until after 3am. We both had to go to work on just a few hours of sleep and it took several days to feel rested again. Overall it was a great trip though and we really enjoyed spending time with Graham & Amber.

Last Sabbath after church I went on a hike while Brenda rested and then on Sunday we attended Lawrence & Mildred's wedding. Yesterday after church we had a young adults potluck, went on a hike to a quarry and then spent the evening hanging out with some friends who came to visit from Virginia.

Well, I think that's about it for now. The rest of this month will be pretty busy as we are planning to go camping next weekend and then take a couple of long weekend trips after that. I will try to do better and have a new update posted before 6 months have passed again.

Until next time,


Posted by andrew on March 6, 2006

Hello, I'm considering relocationg to Guam and I would love to get in touch with someone that knows the Island and can get me some current realistic info. Please, if you have a chance, send me an email and I'd ask you few questions...Thank you! Devona,

Posted by: Devona on June 19, 2006


Please see the direct emails to get some questions answered. Thanks for the comments and sorry for the delay in responding.

Posted by: Andrew on August 26, 2006