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Ahhhhh... Sorry for the long absence! Sometimes you need to clear your head, you know? The semester is over, the snow is falling, and I have gotten some awesome "me" time to relax, rejuvenate, mourn, recoup, and start to get my life together.

As I mentioned, the snow has finally started falling in Breckenridge. We've gotten quite a few good storms in the last two weeks which is absolutely wonderful... I almost forgot how much I loved snow! I've gotten a few pow days in already which has been great, I really needed it. Christmas morning was probably the most beautiful morning I've seen in a while.... A snowstorm had just cleared and their was a fresh layer of sparkly snow on the ground.

The Dew Tour was also in town. It was quite the show this year since Dew Tour cut down their winter stops to just Breckenridge. My boyfriend got us VIP passes for spectacular viewing all weekend, and even got us and 8 friends tickets to a sold out show. It definitely pays to work for the town!

I also added a new addition to my family, an 8 week old Chihuahua named Bear. You think that's cute, but watch out, he's ferocious! ;-) I didn't know it was possible for a living creature to be this small and this cute. He has brought a lot of joy into my life the last week and I can't wait to watch him grow. He's also a genius I might add... I got him at 7 weeks and he's already trained to go on a little potty pad.

Of course this break would be going way to well already if something weren't to go wrong... My roommate went for a night time jog up baldy with his two dogs Matix (white) and Mako. They're probably two of the friendliest dogs I know, but apparently the porcupine they tried to play with disagreed. We spend 7 hours in the doggy ER in Silverthorne. A couple thousand dollars later they pulled more than 1,000 quills out of Matix's face alone. Not to mention the quills in his neck, legs, gums, roof of his mouth... yikes. It's been almost three weeks and we're still pulling them out after they push themselves out of his skin.

I can only hope things continue to go up the rest of this break and into next semester. I hope to start posting a lot more as well. I want to thank the phenomenal and supportive staff and faculty at CMC for their incredible support and understanding. I don't know if things would have turned out so well anywhere else. CMC truly is a spectacular college. In fact, it's more than that, it's a community.



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I apologize for the lack of posting this year. A few events in my life have happened recently that didn't allow me to be as active as I hoped, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. This has easily been the most challenging semester of my life. I am embarrassed with my school performance and attendance this semester. I am normally near a 4.0 student, and I am debating dropping a few classes to keep my good GPA.

A few weeks ago I had a pretty significant arm surgery due to an injury that put me down and out for a good week or so. I got a bladder infection from the surgery, so that definitely didn't help things. As soon as I started to feel better I got an awful cold/flu. I missed quite a bit of school so I'm stressed to say the least. Luckily, I finally got my stitches out this past Monday and it's healing very well.

A week ago today I experienced one of the worst tragedies of my life. One of my life-long best friends, Tom aka "Stambo",  passed away of a gunshot wound while hunting with his dad. He was only a month younger than me when he died. The incident is still under investigation, but at this time it is being ruled an accidental death. A horrible, tragic, untimely, accidental death. Tom was easily the nicest guy I have ever had the pleasure of knowing or meeting in my life. There was such a genuine pureness about him that made him so easy to love and be around. He looked you in the eye during conversation, he cared about what you had to say. I don't really know whether it was his deep voice or his friendly demeanor, or maybe a gift he had that we couldn't see, but he had such a calming effect on any room he was in.

When I moved out to Colorado in 2009 we stayed just as good of friends. In fact, in ways we became better friends. We talked all the time, and he came out to visit often. This last time he really talked about wanting to move out. My boyfriend got him a job interview and we had a lot planned for this winter. He was excited to go to Dew Tour for his first time, he even made a reservation to fulfill a long-time dream of going heliskiing in Telluride for this February, only a week before he passed.

Tom was my third close friend that I lost this year. I was really strong when Sarah and Blake passed. Of course I was devastated, but I held back the tears, for the most part anyway. While their time here was too short, they both had the chance to accomplish a lot of things they aspired to. It's always difficult to hear of a friend passing well before their time, but Tom's death hit me particularly hard. When I heard of Tom's passing the tears instantly began to flow. I cried for 7 hours straight, and started crying when I woke up the next morning. Tom had so much planned for just this winter alone. There were so many places we talked about going that he never got to see. There are so many things we talked about doing that he never got to do.

On top of that, Tom's passing has left a pretty big void in my heart that will be empty for a long time. He was passionate about cars. He spent years building his Celica, which was admired by the local car community in Wisconsin. Whenever I had a car problem or question he was the first one to call. I remember one time I was nailing him with frantic questions when I had a car glitch, he finally sighed and said in his calmest voice "Ali, it's somewhat difficult to diagnose a car when you are 2,000 miles from it." I busted out laughing and asked him, "Well why aren't you here then?!"

Sam, Me, and Tom pretending to be tourists at the Maroon Bells this September.
Sam and Tom enjoying the view on Independence Pass this past September.
Tom working on his Celica... The love of his life.

Through all the tragedy I can say there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. And I am so thankful that my light has been by my side this whole semester. I met the love of my life and my soulmate this summer. We just got back from Thanksgiving in Wisconsin yesterday where he was able to meet my whole family. They loved him, which makes me ecstatic. I'm having a hard time getting motivated for school right now. I feel very behind in two classes and somewhat overwhelmed in the others. I may have to drop one or two, but I can't be hard on myself considering what the last few months have brought me. And in the end I know I have my rock by my side, and I know I'll come out smarter and stronger in the end. Life is very unpredictable.


Happy Halloweeeeeen!

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I know, it's been a while since my last post. The beginning of this year has kicked my butt. Now that I'm in my fourth year my classes are getting a lot more advanced and the work is a lot more intense. I've written a couple 5-10 page papers in the last week with one more to work on today. Since I last posted Arapahoe Basin and Loveland have opened for the ski season and Keystone is opening this weekend... I have yet to buy my pass, argh! I must say that the season is off to a MUCH better start than last season already. Breck's opening day is next week, maybe we'll see some pow?


Central City / Black Hawk

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This weekend my boyfriend took me to Central City and Black Hawk, two once-mining-towns that have now turned into a hidden gambling mecca outside of Denver. I had only briefly heard of Central City, but always wondered about it because of its giant welcome sign off I-70. I have to say that I was incredibly surprised, it wasn't at all what I expected!

The drive in is absolutely beautiful. The two towns themselves are nothing but historic value, with a good portion of the buildings dating back to as late as 1850! I would define myself as a history buff of sorts, so naturally I was incredibly intrigued by the countless preserved mining sites, historic houses, neighborhoods, and buildings. It's very evident that this town cares deeply for its roots, which is really great to see. It's even more great that the new casinos haven't affected the historic value, but have brought tourism in to appreciate it!

Central City: Then and Now.
Central City: Then and Now.
Black Hawk: Then and Now.
What I also really loved about the town is that the new casinos were built to look like mining buildings. They have a very rustic feel that fits in with the historic town, but also have a very fresh and classy atmosphere inside and out. We stayed at Ameristar, which is the newest and tallest of the casinos. It's an absolutely gorgeous building, I felt like I was in Vegas! It was my first time actually gambling at a casino so I was a bit nervous, but it was so fun! I kind of feel like it was another milestone into adulthood. 

The Fireside Kitchen, absolutely delicious breakfast!!
The view from our room.
The Lodge Casino in Black Hawk.
The Riviera in Black Hawk

If you live in Colorado and have never been, or plan on vacationing to Colorado, I highly recommend spending a day or two here. Whether it's for the gambling or the history, there's a little something for everyone here. I can't wait to go back.


Blake Roberts

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Blake was one of my first guy friends when I moved out to Colorado. He moved out the same month I did, and really had the same story. He was a midwest boy from Minnesota who came out because of his love for the mountains. Him and his roommates Michael and Chris (pictured below) lived in the same apartment complex as my two best friends CJ and Rachel, so naturally us three girls and those three boys always ended up hanging out. I remember times when Rachel was in the shower and CJ wasn't home and I'd catch him going through their kitchen. One time he turned around with a mouthful of orange juice and gave me the "quiet" sign before he tiptoed to the door, snatched a cookie, and booked it home.
The Minnesota boys being goofy, left to right: Michael, Blake, Chris.
He loved life, and he loved being young. It was evident by his Christmas tree made out of PBR beer cans. Or how he left his car in the parking lot the entire season because he was so proud he could walk to the ski hill and everywhere else that he said it was staying there until it got towed out. It ended up having a flat tire and needed to be dug out before they even attempted towing it out.

Me and Blake didn't stay nearly as close of friends as our first year out here, but we always seemed to run into each other. I just saw him a few days ago actually, happy and partying as always. He didn't always make the best decisions, like anyone our age. Unfortunately sometimes you can't take your decisions back.

Friday night Blake got in a Jeep with four other people, including a drunk driver. They made it up Ski Hill Rd. before swerving out. The driver over corrected and rolled the jeep. Blake was ejected... He was 21-years-old.
Blake's death put a real perspective on death... how real and sudden it can be. It takes everyone, whether you're healthy or frail, famous or like Blake, who was just one of the guys. He was so young, and had his whole life in front of him... But death doesn't care. It's a painful reminder to everyone in Breck to not drink and drive, or get in a car with a drunk driver. It's not worth your life.

Shred in peace Blake... I bet the pow is amazing up there.
Here' s a link to the Summit Daily News Article.

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