Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Home Means Nevada, Part 3

There is probably no one in all of the world who loves Nevada more than our good friend and Elko native Andrea Paris Nevin. To know her is to know the tune of the state song "Home Means Nevada" (hence the name of this series of blogs) and hear her sing it to you on occasion. Here, her and I at outside of her Dad's house near Elko.

Arizona became a state on Feb. 14, 1912. I know this because I interviewed a lot of old-timers when I lived in Yuma. I have no idea what day California became a state, but I remember that it was once a state holiday from an article I saw in an old newspaper. It was never a holiday when I was growing up. Arizona's birthday (or "admission day") isn't a holiday either. Maybe they didn't want to get in the way of Valentine's Day.

Not so in Nevada. Oct. 31 is Nevada Day. That's right. Nevada became a state on Halloween, 1864. I missed the holiday last year, because even though I was here before Oct. 31, the actual holiday is observed on the Friday before that date (unless that day falls on a Friday, as it does this year.) Lots of people get the day off work, high school football games are scheduled for another day, and there is a parade in Carson City. I don't know what else goes on because, obviously, I've never been a part of it. And it looks like I'll have to wait another year to find out ... because tonight Chris and I are headed for Arizona! Thanks to the Silver State for giving us an extra day for our trip. We'll do a toast to you back in the Grand Canyon State.

In honor of mine and Chris' first year in Nevada, here are a few photos of some of our good times across the northern part of the state:

Date night at Circus Circus

Burning up the dance floor at the Paris-Nevin wedding in Lamoille Grove

Locking our love in Lovelock

Throwing away the key in the Truckee River

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Baking and Carving

Last night our friends had us over for dinner and some fall fun. We had chili and cornbread, and then the girls made apple pie and carved pumpkins while the guys watched football. This is my pumpkin:
Then today Chris told me he'd carve me a pumpkin, if I would scoop out the insides for him. If you know Chris very well, you know this is not a surprising request. Here are the pumpkins we carved today - Chris did the one on the right. It's winking at me ;)

I also made these cupcakes to take to work tomorrow. Don't you wish you worked in our office?

Home Means Nevada, Part 2

Sometimes, among Native Nevadans, there lies anti-Californian sentiments. Like bumper stickers that say "I don't care how they do it in California" and reader comments on our Web site telling other readers (those darned liberals!) to move back to California.

I resent these remarks. Having grown up just 80 miles away and in a much smaller town, I have been coming to Reno (and supporting its economy) since I was 6 years old. We always came here to do our shopping, at Parklane Mall, then Meadowood. My mom and stepdad stocked up at Costco and bought their furniture at McMahon's. My orthodonist was here. My sister and I flew in and out of the Reno airport probably three times a year to visit our dad and stepmom in L.A. We'd usually stop at Bordertown on the way home for a sandwich loaded up with so much turkey we'd take off half of it and save it to make another sandwich the next day.
Dad and Deb used to fly to Reno, come pick us up in Quincy, and bring us back to Reno for the weekend. We'd stay at the MGM, which later became Bally's, which later became the Reno Hilton, which now is Grand Sierra Resort. There, we'd swim in the pool and go bowling and me and Mena looooooved the old-fashioned candy shop. We were very sad when it ceased to be the MGM and lost the red carpeting on the grand staircase and old black and white photos of Hollywood stars. They'd take us to Circus Circus, where we'd play games and watch acrobats and have our faces painted like clowns. Once they took us to Carson City to learn about the state capitol. Sometimes, at dinner, we'd get to play Keno.

When I turned 16 and got my own car, I'd drive Mena and our friends to Reno spend our paychecks at Claire's and Contempo Casual and Hot Topic. I celebrated my 21st birthday here, and then my 23rd - because that year Mena was old enough to enjoy slots and cocktails with me and Mom.

I have a lot of Reno memories, but growing up I never thought I'd live here. I never saw much of the city outside of downtown or mall shopping, and I failed to see its charm. I somehow missed the quaint neighborhoods and local boutiques and parks along the river.

I'm glad I gave it a second chance.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I can't believe it took almost a year

I came home from work the other night and, for the first time since Chris got his 60-inch TV, he was playing video games. I'm surprised it took so long!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I wouldn't mind a $150,000 wardrobe

Dear Sen. John McCain,

I don't really have much interest in serving as vice president, but I wouldn't mind having $150,000 to blow on a new wardrobe, so I'm willing to give it a shot.

I figure I'm nearly as qualified as Gov. Sarah Palin for the job. You see, I grew up in a small town of just 5,000 people. Like Palin, it took me a little longer to finish college because I worked my way through school. I also have a degree in journalism. Heck, I was even in a pageant once.

As for executive experience, I was class president both junior and senior year in high school. Later, I was editor of my college newspaper.

I have a good understanding of issues in western states, having lived in California, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, where I was so close to Mexico that I could see it on a clear day (and actually went there a few times.) While we're on the subject of foreign policy, it may interest you to know that I have also traveled to the Middle East.

And if Katie Couric asks, I get my national and international news from reading the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post and listening to NPR. (If BBC news didn't come on at 3 a.m., I would watch that, too.)

Thank you for your consideration.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


With Halloween right around the corner, and all the blood that goes with many of the costumes, out there I thought this video was appropriate.

It's not Saw but still nice

And as the e-mail I got this in said, "you can actually hear her head hit the pole" if you turn up the volume pretty good.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Home Means Nevada, Part 1

It's funny how your sense of "home" changes throughout your life. I turned 6 the summer we moved to Quincy, and I will always consider it my hometown. But I remember a time when I was 18 and had lived in Monterey for about six months and was driving back from a visit to Quincy. The highway curved before me and I saw the ocean ahead and this feeling came over me that I can't quite explain. It was the first time since I'd lived there that I really felt like I was coming home.

I lived in Monterey for five years, then San Jose for two. When I graduated from San Jose State, I left for a three-month internship in Wenatchee, Wash. (the buckle of the power belt of the great northwest, if I recall the newspaper's masthead correctly.) I left Wenatchee on an undetermined course. My grandpa was sick, and my immediate plan was to drive to Oakland to see my sister for a few days and then to San Diego to see him. As I came into the East Bay and around another curve that put the ocean straight ahead of me, that wave of feeling came over me again and my eyes became teary. Those three months had been hard, in large part because of the uncertainty that came at the end of them. Being back in the Bay Area, with my sister, I felt a feeling of home and comfort.

I wasn't there long. The morning after I arrived, my phone rang at 6 a.m. My grandpa had taken a turn for the worse. I left as soon as I could, hoping for a chance to say goodbye. I didn't get there in time. The next few days I was busy helping my family in any way I could and visiting with relatives and friends. But when the funeral was over and everyone went back home, it hit me: I had no idea where I would go or what I would do, and I missed my grandparents so much. One of my uncles offered me a job until I found one with a newspaper, and said I could stay in my grandparents' house as long as I needed to. I wasn't there much more than a month, but my time there was just what I needed, to spend time with my thoughts and my family, visit the cemetery and carry on my grandpa's routine of spending Saturday mornings at the training track and going out to his favorite breakfast spot. I felt very much at home there.

I accepted the job offer from Yuma over the phone. I'd never been there. I'd never even heard of it before I sent in my clips. But at that point, I was willing to go just about anywhere that offered me a job as a reporter. One of the benefits was that it was close enough to drive to L.A. or San Diego to see my family on the weekends. I had a great time in Yuma. Though I don't remember ever being hit with the feeling of home as I had in other places, it was the right place for me at the time. I made wonderful friends and I miss it now occasionally.

About three months after Chris and I started dating, he joined me in L.A. for my birthday weekend. We went to a Dodgers-Giants game with my Dad and Debbie, had a night out with my college friend Becky and her friends, breakfast with Jennifer and Jim. It was a great weekend, and by the time we got back to Yuma, and I got out of my car and it was hot and smelly (you really only noticed the stink when you left and came back) I was suddenly homesick - homesick for a place I hadn't lived since I was too young to remember.

Chris and I were together more than a year when he showed me a picture of a condo project that was being developed. He was thinking of buying one, and asked if I would live with him. I thought my heart would jump out of my chest. We began looking around at other houses. And then he was offered a job in Flagstaff. I was happy for him, but I was devastated too. I wondered how we could make it work living more than four hours away from each other. I cried a lot in those weeks before he moved. And then I got a job offer outside of Phoenix, at a bigger paper, and two hours closer to Chris. The moves were good for both of us career-wise. We saw each other as much as possible in the year that followed, taking turns visiting on the weekends. It strengthened our relationship, and it was a great opportunity for me to better get to know Chris' friends and family. But it was hard on us, too. We kept an eye out for opportunities that would allow us to live in the same city, and we had some disappointments. But I always believe that everything happens for a reason, and I know now the way things happened was the way they were meant to. Chris had already bought a ring when he was offered a job in Reno. I had already decided if he was offered the job, I would move with him. He accepted the job on a Friday. Two days later, he proposed. And the rest, as they say, is history.

We are glad we made the move to the Biggest Little City. We like our jobs and have made some friends. We've experienced all of the seasons. We're closer to my Mom. We enjoy taking weekend trips to the Bay Area. But we are sometimes both homesick for Arizona ... and me for Southern California.

We don't know where the journey will take us next, but I'm glad that it is now our journey - instead of mine. Though I think it was always our journey, leading us to each other. And I know now where home really is - anywhere that Chris is.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Odds and Ends

We haven't written all week because there really hasn't been much to write about. In short, we're boring. But, here are a few random thoughts anyway.

My mom came yesterday for a short visit and we took a trip over to the Mervyn's that's going out of business, where I found a plate that is more suitable for my pumpkin centerpiece than the previously-mentioned glass bowl (thanks, Mom!) Now I just need a few more pumpkins to add to it ... or perhaps gourds or squash.

The leaves on the plate were picked off the tree outside our living room, which turned a beautiful shade of orange very recently.

As you can probably tell, the snow we had last Friday didn't really last. It's back into the low 70s during the day, and upper 30s overnight.

We had a great visit with Bill and Louise (Chris' aunt and uncle) last weekend, and it gave me an excuse to finally use my linen napkins and much-coveted pasta dishes that were gifted to us for the hitching.

Chris could care less about the table setting, but he really enjoyed the brownies.

I've been spending today alternating between watching foreign movies (okay, just one) and researching local races to decide who I'll be voting for in a couple weeks. Chris is in our guest room/his office alternating between working and watching football. It's nice that he left me the living room today, especially since I can't go anywhere - my Honda is in the shop. Again. Let's hope this is the last time for a long time.

Oh, and for those of you pondering Chris' blog post about whatever happened to Eminem, I ran across a story the other day - apparently he's writing a memoir and has a new album coming out.

So, that's pretty much it for the Gabels this week. Hopefully we'll have something more exciting for you soon!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our Weekend

Wolf Pack football. Cold. Italian Fest. Dinner with friends. Games with friends. NFL. Pretty in Pink. Dodgers win game 3. Have Bill & Louise over for dinner. Pasta. Garlic bread. Brownies. Homemade mint ice cream. Entourage. Brothers and Sisters. The End.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It was fun while it lasted

Goodbye Fall.

Hello Winter.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I guess we made the right decisions

It's interesting that Tammy and I have this blog, in that its intent is to keep our friends and family who live far away up on what we're doing. But, for the most part, we're the ones who moved away from them -- me from the Phoenix area and Tammy from California (northern and southern).

It was job prospects that pulled us away.

For me personally, none of those decisions were easy. The first to move to Yuma, leaving my friends and family for a town none of us really thought much of, then for Flagstaff, leaving Tammy behind, and then for Reno, moving out of Arizona and no longer just a relatively short drive from all those close to me.

All the time I was gone I kept an eye out for getting back to the Phoenix area, specifically trying to get back to the East Valley Tribune. I had spent time there as clerk and intern and liked the people very much.

There was a pipeline of sports staffers who had come from Yuma, as the two are owned by the same parent company, and it just seemed like a more natural jump than to the Republic.

There has been just one opening in the sports department there since I graduated. I was offered a part-time position (w/o benefits) while that full-time spot was frozen for something like 4-5 months, but with no guarantee I could move into the full-time spot when it opened up. This was in maybe late 2004 or early 2005.

Obviously, I decline, choosing to stay with the steady paycheck.

I was again approached about a copy desk position at the Trib just prior to accepting the Reno position, but after discussing it with Tammy (as she was working out of the paper's Gilbert bureau) decided Reno was where we were headed.

It is very obvious now that we made the right decision.

The Tribune announced Monday it is laying off 142 employees, roughly 40 percent of its staff, in January as part of a complete reorganization and cost-cutting move. Nine in the sports department are being let go, including all of the pro and ASU beat writers.

Judging by what positions were kept on, I believe Tammy would still have a job if we had not come to Reno.

This is sad not only for those involved, people I knew and liked as well as many others Tammy knew and liked, but for the industry as well.

The Trib's cuts, which come after much smaller others a few months prior, come on the heels of cuts at the L.A. Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star-Ledger (N.J.), Baltimore Sun, three Bay-area papers. As I searched for these, the list went on and on.

It its something gripping the industry, which is being hit hard by the economy and has yet to nail down a model on how to make money off the newspaper Web sites. Even here in Reno, there have been buyouts and a few axes since we've been here.

Don't worry, I firmly believe both Tammy and I are safe. But it has us wondering about being in the same profession at the same employer, as a couple Tammy was friends with at the Trib dealt with.

Scary stuff, but all the while proving we have, to this point, made the right decisions in our career paths.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blogging, Part Deux

I've been meaning to add another post for a while now -- despite how much all the readers out there like pumpkins and honey and baskets -- but you'll never guess what has brought this on.


With nothing else to do on a Tuesday night while waiting for Tammy to get home from work, I stumbled across these two movies: 8 Mile and Legally Blonde. Of course, I watched both -- despite having the DVR I just flipped back and forth, mostly watching the Eminem flick.

But it got me thinking: What happened to Eminem?

I haven't heard anything from him in years. He came out with, I think, one CD after the movie. I guess I could do some online research on this, but also guess I don't care that much. Just pondering his career.

Speaking of rappers, I watched a documentary on 2Pac last weekend. There wasn't much new info, but all the music took me back to a different time: high school and college. I had to go download a couple songs that I couldn't believe I didn't already have.

iTunes doesn't have "Changes," though. What's up with that?

I also sort of marveled at 2Pac in all the interviews. For being known for and associated with violence in his life, he spoke in such a calm manner that sounded highly self-aware and intelligent, and without a hint of animosity or cursing.

Well, that's all I got for now. Until next time ...

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Honey of a Day

The most obvious thing to do with overripe bananas is to make banana bread. But I like to try new recipes, so last time our bananas turned brown I made some banana chocolate chip cookies, and they were delicious. I was getting set to revert back to banana bread this weekend, when I stumbled upon this blog with a recipe for honey banana cupcakes - and we all know how I feel about cupcakes. (Not to mention, I've been a little honey obsessed ever since reading The Secret Life of Bees.') I made a vanilla frosting to go with them (I had to substitute soy milk for milk, but it still turned out great). I thought about adding cinammon to the frosting, but wasn't sure if I'd like it, so sprinkled it over half of them instead. They're slightly chewy, but really yummy, and a great compliment to the honey mustard chicken we had for dinner. (Chris even drank a honey brown beer!)

Also, on Saturday I got these little pumpkins to use as a centerpiece on our dining room table, but I feel like something is not quite right about it ... is it the bowl? I'm not sure. I mentioned this to Andrea yesterday, and she suggested I blog about it and take a poll, so ... what do you think?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Saying Goodbye to the Townhouse

When we all lived in Yuma, Benny and Michelle moved into a townhouse after another Navy guy moved out. It became the place we all hung out. We had lots of dinners, and lots of parties. Especially going away parties. I did my laundry there, and raided their fridge for Trader Joe's Truffles. When Benny and Michelle left for Port Hueneme, Jeremy and Andrea moved in. More dinners. More parties. More laundry. I still even have my key. But it seems the landlord is having some trouble of the foreclosure kind, and it looks like Jeremy and Andrea will be moving out on Monday. It's too bad we can't all go back for one last weekend of laughs.
Here's to the good times in the townhouse ...

Benny carving the turkey, Thanksgiving 2005

Dre, Me and Michelle, the same Thanksgiving

Chris and Me feeling right at home

Getting ready for Benny and Michelle's going away Pub Crawl

Chris' going away party

My going away party

Me, Michelle and Dre - Yuma Reunion, March 2007

Jeremy and Andrea

... And to all the good times we'll have somewhere new!