Monday, December 24, 2012

We're back in Alaska!  We flew in yesterday and are so happy to be here for Christmas.  The snow is beautiful and the extra long nights mean that we can enjoy all the twinkle lights even more.  And the best part, of course, is spending time with Nick's parents.  I hope it's merry and bright wherever you are and that your New Year is spectacular.  See you on the other side!









Sunday, December 16, 2012

Goodbye Cambridge

After about three weeks in Cambridge, Ohio, Nick and I were starting to get a little antsy, so we were happy to pack up and head West today.  Not very far west, only a couple hours to another small town called Lancaster, where we'll be staying while we work in nearby Circleville.  Cambridge was nice while it lasted - the downtown area has a beautiful courthouse, there are some great restaurants and all kinds of quaint, little shops - and they kind of go crazy around Christmastime.  It's home of the Dickens Victorian Village, which means that there are life-size mannequins all over downtown dressed up like people from Victorian England or characters from A Christmas Carol.  It makes for a pretty interesting stroll along Main Street.  Lancaster seems a bit more sedate thus far, but it's really too soon to tell.  I'll have to report back on that later.


  



Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy Friday!

It's getting colder here in Ohio.  Our drive this morning took us past many frost-covered fields and rock walls hung with icicles.  To commemorate the change in seasons, Nick has developed a cold.  Nothing too serious, but enough to send him to bed early.  I'm hoping I don't catch it, but who am I kidding.  Our constant togetherness has me doomed.  On the bright side, it's the weekend, and we're both looking forward to a little R&R.







Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Weekend Recap

Last weekend, Nick and I made a quick trip to Michigan so we could see my little brother, Sam, graduate from Grand Valley State University.  We spent Saturday in Grand Rapids with my family and then went back to Lansing so we could visit friends on Sunday.

After the commencement ceremony, we went out to a local brewery for a celebratory lunch and beer.  It was great to be able to spend some time with my family.  We had lots of fun playing shuffle board, catching up with each other, and passing the baby around. 





Before we left on Sunday evening, we were able to see one of my other little brothers, Brian, sing with his men's chorus in a Christmas concert.  They performed with a children's choir and some Renaissance singers (complete with costumes) who also played recorders.  Brian even had a solo (I'm so proud!).  

It was a super busy weekend, and we were pretty pooped by the time we arrived back in Ohio, but the chance to see friends and family was totally worth it.

In other news, I have a new domain name!  Now you can reach And Then Some via www.joannalewis.com.    

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pittsburgh

Today we headed to Pittsburgh to visit some of my favorite places from when I was a student there.  The weather wasn't very cooperative and our time was limited, so I couldn't go all the way down Memory Lane with Nick, but we did hit a few of the best spots.  We had an awesome brunch at Pamela's in the Strip District, hung out with the Carnegie Museum Diplodocus, and visited my favorite building on campus.

The Cathedral of Learning isn't normally this crowded, but there happened to be a massive open house going on for the nationality rooms.  We saw some cool performances, Greek dancing, Irish dancing, and Swiss yodeling, and got to visit the secret, upstairs part of the Early American room (it's said to be haunted).  The rooms are all decorated for the holidays according to their different cultures, but it was too crowded to really get at good look at them.  I'd like to go back when the Cathedral is in its normal, quiet, study mode, so Nick and I can look around properly.  All in all, it was a great day, and I hope to be able to visit Pittsburgh again soon.



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Seattle

Just a few more (ok, a lot more) photos from our trip out West last weekend.  On Saturday morning, Nick and I went into Seattle to do some fun, touristy things.  We visited the waterfront and had a great time exploring Pike's Market.





Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait




After some pretty exhausting travel and a little recouping yesterday, Nick and I are back to work in Noble County, Ohio.  Never have we been in a court house like this one.  Some kind of gas boom in the area has the place packed with landmen who are trying to get at the same information that we need.  The poor Recorder's Office that has to deal with us all has developed a fairly effective system.  Sixteen people are allowed in the room with the books for one hour.  When the hour is up, they leave, and the next batch of sixteen is allowed to enter.  The line to get in wraps around the courthouse.  When you're at the back of the line, it's a safe bet that you'll be waiting for about three hours.  So, on a good day, If you get to the courthouse at least half an hour before the office opens, you might have access to the deed books for a good three hours.  Thankfully, our fellow wait-in-liners are pretty friendly.  We're all in the same boat and there's nothing we can do about it.  Considering that we're still getting paid, even if we are just holding a spot in line most of the day, it's really not that bad.










Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Black Friday!


I am happy to report that we did the American thing this morning and went shopping.  Of course, still being a little jet-lagged and all, we really didn't want to get up early.  And we didn't actually want to buy much.  But grandma wanted to go shopping, so shopping we went.  We found her a couple of nice sweaters, had a delicious lunch in the food court, and finally left the mall with a box of chocolates for ourselves.  A couple of Nick's friends joined us for lunch, and then we all headed to the Tacoma Art Museum.  The mall was fun, but it was nice to get away from the crowds and the crazy traffic.
After leaving the art museum, we walked about a block to the old Union Station, which is now a federal court house that happens to have some very cool glass exhibits.  My favorites are the giant orange flowers.  We did a little more wandering around (despite the rainy weather) and finally ended our outing with a cheeseburger for grandma and nachos for us.  





Today was pretty great.  Now we're all pooped and looking forward to a slightly more relaxed tomorrow.  I hope your Black Friday was equally awesome!


 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In Flight


Early this morning, we packed up, drove to Columbus and hopped on a plane to Seattle.  We'll be spending this Thanksgiving with Nick's grandma here in Tacoma.  Nick hasn't been able to visit in a long while and I'm meeting her for the first time, so we're very happy to have this opportunity to spend some quality time with her.  It's been a long day of traveling, but we're glad to be here on the West Coast and happy to have arrived safely.  Have a very Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are!






Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our New Courthouse. Almost.


We received new marching orders today, so we packed our bags and headed to New Lexington, Ohio to visit the county courthouse.  This is the part of my job that I love.  Courthouses tend to be old and beautiful, full of history, and usually staffed by very friendly people.  We've seen a variety of courthouses so far, but this one is my new favorite.  It looks like a castle on the outside, and it's just as lovely on the inside.  The staff in the Recorder's Office all but invited us to stay with them when we asked about local hotels and they had candy machines in the lobby.  Wonderful.




Sadly, it was not meant to be.  Shortly after we left in search of a good place to stay, we got a big never mind from the bosses and fresh instructions.  Now we're in Noble County, where we'll actually be working for the next couple of weeks.  We haven't been to the courthouse yet, but I'm hoping it's a good one.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Recap

Sometimes Nick's work takes him to some pretty remote locations, where roads are optional and only sometimes paved.  Such was the case on Friday and our Edge changed colors as a result.  On Saturday evening I went with Nick to revisit one of those remote locations.  During the day, it has a view of an old mining area, but we were there after dark to look at the stars.  And they were amazing.  Nick saw the Milky Way for the first time, and I spotted two shooting stars.
On Sunday we drove about an hour to Columbus.  After Liturgy, we found a small place for brunch called Till.  At first, it seemed like your typical, organic, trendy cafe, but then the artwork and menu informed us that we were, in fact, eating in a biodynamic restaurant.  Oddly enough, we'd just learned about biodynamic farming, so we found it pretty amusing to be experiencing it firsthand.  Now, we still don't know a whole lot about biodynamic theory, but we do know that burying a cow's horn full of manure is involved, as well as singing to the animals while slaughtering them and planting and harvesting according to moon cycles.  Maybe there's some solid science behind it all, but Nick and I remain unconvinced.  Regardless, the food was delicious, so they must be doing something right.




Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Very Cool Denny's


Just across the street from our hotel in Zanesville, Ohio, there's a pretty cool Denny's.  It looks like an old-fashioned diner, and they have a special hobbit menu.  Awesome.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Little TLC


After pinching pennies for the last few months, I finally splurged a little bit.  I ordered an awesome water bottle from bkr (it's glass!) and squeezed in a little time for a haircut and manicure.  Now my hands are happy, my hair is healthy, and I'm that much more motivated to stay well-hydrated.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Barn Quilts


Driving around Southern Ohio and Kentucky, you'll see a lot of these big squares of geometric patterns mounted on all kinds of buildings.  One of the Brown County tourism representatives told me that they're called Barn Quilts.  Different groups (think quilting guild or arts council) collaborate with property owners to display barn quilts along a trail that leads visitors square by square through the county.  Now there are hundreds of squares across the Midwest.  I love how such a simple thing has turned into a huge public arts movement.









Monday, November 5, 2012

Day Trip


Yesterday was our day off, so we went to the zoo!  It was great to be walking around outdoors after a pretty intense week of sitting in front of computer screens.  The opportunity to unwind a little was much needed.