Monday, December 28, 2009

Violations of personal space...

What is it about today (Sunday) that has gotten perfect strangers to feel that touching my head is a totally acceptable practice? OK to be fair I at least know the second time this happened it was someone mistaking me for someone else...

So I was sitting in the airport at Reagen (DC area) watching the Broncos play (I do cheer for them as a team as long as they are not directly playing the Chargers). And someone pats me on the top of the head. As I moved myself up in the seat (oops- caught slouching) I started to turn myself around for some bizarre reason expecting to hear a parent telling me to sit up. I heard a female voice apologizing so I said- no worries and didn't even bother completing the turn around- meh. Life goes on.

So a few hours later and I am in the plane sitting next to the sweet family I was on the same plane with flying to DC. That's besides the point but an interesting coincidence.

So as I'm reading my magazine, listening to XM on United, and generally zoning out someone reaches over and does that scalp rub/scratch/play with hair move known throughout the couples circles as a way to get your honey to pay attention and not startle them. So I turn my head around and up I'm sure with a total quizzical look since there are only a select few people I'd ever expect to inititate that type of touch with me and as far as I can recall none are on the plane.

The poor man who thought he was touching his wife's hair was startled and seriously apologetic. I said no problems and no worries. Turns out we both have dark brown hair and she's sitting directly in front of me. But it was a move that affected me- I wanted it to be my honey when I turned around. I wanted it to be someone who knew me. I wanted that touch to be something besides the mistake I knew it was.

I am someone who spends 90%+ of my time in hotels by myself. I have become totally comfortable driving 4-6 hours in country never before seen in daylight by myself and only having a destination and a rough idea of the path. I know on days I want to have conversation I eat at the bar and on days I want quiet I sit at a table... either way I bring reading to dinner every night I travel. I stop to take pictures and note things to pass along to coworkers, family, friends, and post in blogs. I use the "Frontier" gate to terminal A just to look at the art and walk a bit farther in the Denver airport. I know where to get the Jamba juice, Starbucks (only 1 in DIA), best bagel, and microbrew beers in DIA (which is the Denver International Airport).

I have not traveled with anyone besides family (Mom and brother) in a flying situation for over 5 years. In the past 5 years I have flown to more places than my previous lifetime accumulated.

So it startles this lone wolf traveler that I do want it to be someone I know when I turn around. I am surprised that I do get lonely when I travel. I try and make this adventurous life full of moments to enjoy and learn something about every destination. I have my good night call and live an amazingly blessed life- and even then I guess sometimes I want another half- a person to sit besides me on a flight.

So with all that duly noted and observed I think I'm going to try and get the little guy across the aisle to smile at me again. He's a very well behaved 18 month old with a great smile :-)

post script aka P.S.


I would just like to state for the record that the Holiday Magic exhibit is very worth a wait. We spent 30 minutes or so waiting in line at the Botanical Gardens... Let me amend that- at least 1-2 members of the party at all time stood in line and the rest of the time adults were trying to keep the two little boys entertained, moving, and happy.

Then we headed into the exhibit of amazing little model structures made from natural sources such as sticks, pine cones, leaves, etc. The houses/ships/furniture were all built from these plant components. Then the real reason we were there- the model trains running through these little tableaus. The boys enjoyed the trains almost as much as their dad :-)

The whole exhibit was enjoyed by all and I could have spent over an hour just staring at all the details. I think I absorbed about 10% of the artistry. So for future reference if you are in the DC area during the holiday season (Nov to mid Jan) make it a point to travel over and see the Holiday Magic display... it is worth it even if there is a wait.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Slight sightseeing...

When in Washington DC it's always good to get out to see a few of the sights (even if for an hour). So this week was really baby centric seeing as my nephews are still being counted in the months these days...

BUT we did knock out a couple of museums. One of the most awesome things about DC is the fact that so many of the museums are free. Which makes it great for strollering though since you feel no obligation to stay and get your money's worth.

This week there was the National Building Museum and the Smithsonian American Indian Museum.

The National Building Museum was great in that it has an amazingly large space in the building- lovely for children to stretch their legs. There is also a great playroom (shoes must stay on, adults accompany children, no food... the norm). The playroom has all sorts of blocks, books, toys, and even a story corner. It's a great place from at least 1-8ish.

The Smithsonian American Indian Museum is architecturally fascinating building. There are no right angles in the walls of the building. Now in the interior with things such as elevators there are right angles but they are few and I think try and be far between. The exhibits are very well done and are quite artistic from the display of the arrowheads to peace symbols or guns. I was particularly interested in a necklace that my sister and mom pointed out... it was made of grizzly bear claws. It was a very unique piece that was interesting both from the amazing number and trying to imagine how many grizzly bears it was composed from as well as the aesthetics (it did look in it's own way- beautiful). We didn't have a significant amount of time to wander but we did cover most of the 4h floor as well as some of the 3rd. One can get an interesting amount of information in an hour or spend multiple days delving into each drawer with multiple artifacts and screens and screens of information.

On another note- an intended excursion was to see the Botanical gardens with some train display but the drizzle and the long line convinced us babies would not be excited about the waiting. But the display is on till January 10th so maybe the boys will still be able to view it.

Also we drove by the Einstein memorial a couple of times this week- one of my favorite memorial sculptures in all of DC and well worth the scavenger hunt to find it.

Well tomorrow I am home again to Denver and have a couple weeks for local adventures before the next random location.... Buffalo, WY! Stay tuned ;-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Belated NV wrapup... and in DC

So last I posted I was writing from Tonopah NV- then my friend joined me on the road and my extreme attachment to all things digital was paused. Instead of focusing on my digital life we headed out for beers and margaritas in the evening and talked about our jobs and real lives. Upon arriving home I was spinning in a flurry of activities until right about now... which means I must be on the road :-)

So back where I was.... in Tonopah with the temps at 7 degrees and snow on the ground. After wrapping up that real job thing of teaching we headed down to Beatty. We dropped off my rental car and headed out to see Death Valley National Park. It's the kind of place I've always seen signs for and wanted to at least see it.

So two non-desert type people head out to the National Park known for it's extreme desert qualities. I have to say it was a day with 55 degree temps- so cold but not horrid compared to our previous time. We were driving in my friend's truck which made for off road capabilities or at least dirt road driving. I must say for a National Park it was one of the least signed National Parks I've ever seen... there were interpretation signs but not as much road/directions.

I once again justified my purchase of the Federal Lands Pass last year since it was a $20 entrance fee park. I obtained my typical lapel pin and passport stamp (oh yes, I am THAT National Park geek). We even got out and walked to an arch. It was not a typical hike in that it felt as if we were treading rocks- feet sinking into the shale- at every step.

I also visited the lowest point in the US... and a few years ago I visited the highest point in the lower 48 at Mt Whitney. These two points are from what I can tell less than 100-200 miles apart. Well I could just google it now but I'm being lazy so as my dad used to tell me... "You look it up" and you can get back to me on that. The lowest point is in an Alakali flat. If you stand at the little sign in the Alkali flat the soil is all crusted and cracked and I know there is a technical term for that in my soil science book sitting in the basement but I'll go with it was just interesting to soak in. It was an odd experience to turn around and look up at the mountain of rock jutting up into the sky across from the parking lot and see a sign up there- "Sea Level" 258 feet above me. Now I lived near/at sea level most of my life so the idea of being below that was just... strange.

Death Valley to me was a completion of understanding East side topography (by this I mean the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains). It was a place I could not picture and wondered about. Now the sky was cloudy and grey so I can't say that it was overwhelmingly beautiful or anything but I do realize how it could appear with a blue sky above or wildflowers blanketing areas. When we were there it was desolate, unsettling, fascinating, and extremely worth it. I needed to see and comprehend it. I may go back again and hopefully visit the north end of the park with the dunes and such. But I do have to admit it's not on my top 20 list... but I'm also not too much of a desert person in general.

Once we were done at Death Valley we had dinner in Beatty and tried a few local bars- with the smoking in bars it was not our particular scene. Next day brought a totally rainy version of Vegas so hikes were cancelled, dog was stashed in a room, and the strip was explored. Please note for all people missing the Hawaii ABC store- there is one on the Las Vegas strip.

At home life proceeded to be crazy and now for the holidays I am in DC with family. Not sure if I'll head out to any sights or make it to some relatives to visit (seriously the snow here is impacting travel still). But if I do see anything new, unusual, or simply am in a writing mood I'll update you... till then :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tiny Tonopah

So I will admit I have had very limited time/energy to explore the town of Tonopah. So far I have spent lots of time at the office and eaten out a couple of times- but unlike my normal travels I have taken to eating in a bit since I have a microwave and fridge here. I think it's the biting cold air... the air is the type that by the time I got from the rental car to the hotel lobby my nose already hurt. I have taken the opportunity to look outside a few times at the amazingly blue sky, the mountains dusted with a dry squeaky snow, and the nice little small town.

The area has mining hints to the town of Tonopah. I haven't had time to explore the little shops (and unfortunately probably won't). But the people are amazing in this town. I've been welcomed with hospitality and tried to learn to adjust to the slow pace outside of the city. I realize my impatience level at little things and my expectations of efficiency that do not match up with the typical pace in a place where people go to take care of their horses at lunchtime (the water is freezing).

So while I haven't had the opportunity to explore as much as I would like to but I think it's a lovely place to stay a bit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

snowy southern NEVADA...

oh wow... today encapsulates the word Monday. I must say that the little things weren't much as I flew into Las Vegas from Denver. The guy got me safely from home to DIA without any incident... but you know the airport is getting ready for a bad morning when you see at least 3-5 tow trucks staging on Pena Blvd.

I was very excited to venture over to my favorite burger In-N-Out... for all those not from the true western states (CA, NV, UT)it is a burger joint with a cult following and "secret" menu. But as a total bonus today the random In-N-Out that I choose happened to be next door to the corporate offices and included a store.

Then I headed out from the urban center out to rural Nevada of Tonopah. Now this is the first time I've explored the area from Las Vegas up to the Highway 50 corridor. Now there really is not a significant amount of infrastructure as you head north on 95. There was a traffic jam for a bit near Indian Wells (overturned SUV) but it cleared out quickly for our northbound side (luckily).

There is something about the vast emptiness of the wide open desert that I find soothing though I have heard some feel it is unnerving (I can empathize but not relate on that one). So I am relatively used to the wide open desert and have driven across California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah at times by myself and at times with a companion. I've driven through most of the weather I've encountered when I've been in more populated areas so today brought a bit of tension as I had the opportunity to drive through the open unpopulated desert with rain, hail, AND snow! At times visibility dropped down to a half mile or so.

The sights were stunning as for most of the time the tops of the mountains were shrouded in clouds and where the clouds met the ground was a dusting of white on the dark mountains. As I rose higher in elevation the snow became thicker and dusted the Joshua trees. Joshua trees always remind me of Dr. Seuss books and to see dark shadows of Joshua trees framed against graying mountains with a dusting of white on the ground... it was like a surreal painting suspended between serenity and melancholy (not in a bad way but in the kind of way where you can sit next to your grief and feel it but not have it be overwhelming). Then the clouds started lifting a bit off in the distance and the sunbeams came down from the clouds and caressed the earth lifting the mood of the landscape.

So after a bit I made it through the weather and into the little towns. I stopped at a neat little spot in Beatty to stretch my legs a moment and pick up some nuts- pistachios and raw pine nuts. Now I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with the raw pine nuts but I just couldn't resist ;-) The prettiest town I drove through was Goldfield- the architecture was old west but unfortunately as I drove through quickly a number appeared to be vacant buildings. I made it to Tonopah as night descended so I haven't seen the town in daylight yet.

So far my impression has been wonderfully nice people, cold cold air, a few inches of snow (which at around 6030' elevation is not that out of the box), and wanting to just rest. So I shall explore and observe more tomorrow.

Till then... adios from the snowy desert

Friday, December 4, 2009

Things of home...

I really think that the way to stay sane when on the road is to have at least one night where it's almost a normal night. So last night I luckily had the opportunity to enjoy dinner with a friend and his kiddo. It's great to catch up and have a normal night of pizza, beer, and socializing. It reboots the week to keep on teaching.

After my class was over tonight I took time to relax and visit my favorite restaurant in Boise... The Bungalow on 13th. It's a place where the food is simple and delicious. Tonight was comfort food... mac n cheese with bacon and chicken- ok I did have a salad to try and balance it out. For anyone traveling through I highly recommend it- plus the house wine hasn't disappointed yet. After dawdling over dinner for a couple of hours I finally retired back to the hotel to go through the routine once again... packing packing packing...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Basque in Boise...

After teaching all day I really didn't want to head out. I was melting onto the hotel bed... trying to get up the energy to move and explore a little bit more of Boise. Thanks to a recommendation from a friend of a friend I discovered something I never quite registered... there is a Basque history in Boise.

When I think Basque I think Alturas, CA or Reno, NV (which I admit may not be in other's thoughts but hey it reminds me of the the Basque fire guys). I don't know how in my days of walking downtown Boise the Basque connection just eluded me. But tonight it was dinner at Bar Gerinka. I had the lamb grinder and the house special red wine. For a fussy meat eater I was thrilled with the sandwich. The bread was fresh, the meat was lean and the veggies were grilled just right. The fries accompanying the meal were so-so but I can forgive that because I had the chocolate pudding. Wow. Yup, red wine and house made chocolate pudding won the night.

It was the kind of dinner where I just wanted to keep ordering things so I could enjoy reading my paper and chilling out. I definitely recommend Bar Gerinka for those exploring Boise.

I do have to say in the clean cut town of Boise it was relieving to find a place with scruffy beards which reminded me of my wilderness/river ranger friends. It was a nice break from my normal assessment of Boise which is a lovely outdoor town made for married couples with darling little children. Of course as I walked back to the hotel there was some sort of event going on and there were a plethora of little ones traipsing all over the sidewalks. It was a nice evening to explore a little and I look forward to tomorrow night :-)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Boise... a start

Wandering through the streets to find dinner... okay not really wandering since it was a very directed walk to a yummy dinner and a very needed pint. I indulged in Tablerock's Winter Cheer (reminded me of an old fave... Pyramid Brewery's Snow Cap). It was an enjoyable time with Monday Night football playing and finishing up the Sunday NY Times.

I find that I am more willing to walk down city streets than pass by natural geographic features. I got my reservation in my typical Marriott chain hotel and I realized while I was reluctant to cross over a river at night or wander down a greenbelt surrounded by tress... well I am perfectly at home walking down a busy street with cars whizzing by. The urbanite in me appreciates these places where I can stay in a comfy place and still access the amenities by an easy stroll.

Tomorrow is a bit of adventuring as I have received a few random recommendations from a a friend of a friend and I look forward to new places to love in this nice town. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Local Travels

I've been at home for a couple of weeks now... I haven't been traveling farther than a 25 mile radius from Denver and I'm loving it. I have another week here prior to starting the travel life again for a couple of months.

But this post is about local travels- most have been in the Boulder area. So a couple weeks ago when I got home I arranged to go hiking with a friend and my guy. I was not in the mood for research so I just started driving. We randomly ended up at the National Atmospheric Research Center which just happens to be a trailhead- who knew? We stared at a few very well labeled trail maps and I made the command decision to head up to Mallory Cave. It seemed like a bit of topography and the ability to do a bit more hiking if we wanted.

The Mallory Cave hike is a lovely hike up Dinosaur Mountain past a number of rock climbing spots (including a couple of rock climbers up there). The trail is a bit steep but in a good way. As we ascended up we passed by a few spots of snow in the shady areas and a couple of muddy spots though the trail overall was dry. At the top of the hike was a little placard saying Mallory Cave with an arrow going up the rock. Um... the scrambling looked OK to me but my cohorts looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe it was the dad teaching his 2 girls to rapel from the top of the area I wanted to scramble. Needless to say I was alone as I headed up the rock though I had 2 very nice observers to take pictures of me. I didn't find the cave since the last bit was out of sight of my backup. Plus I was starting to get worn out so I headed down the rock while the going was good. After lunch we headed down- the sights are great looking out over the Boulder area. Next time I'll bring another crazy person and make it all the way to the cave.

This past week I ended up venturing out to Boulder again with a few friends for a different hike. We hiked Mt. Salinas which as one of our troupe noted... well is a bit on the steep side ;-) It's approximately 1500 feet elevation gain over a couple of miles up and over rocks and water bars. There were a number of runners on the trail but once again the trail afforded lovely views of the Boulder area (and the haze enclosing Denver that day). But since this was a peak hike instead of just up the front of the iron mountains there were some views heading out west into the mountains. This trail was much busier than the Mallory Caves trail but everyone and all their dogs were polite and did the give and take of moving around on the trail.

After the hike we headed down to Boulder for an excellent lunch at the West End Tavern- pretty much all the food was great. My personal fave was snacking on the mac 'n cheese. My sandwich was great- it's always iffy to order fish when so far inland especially a coastal fish like mahi mahi but it was awesome and the fries were amazingly perfectly salty without being too greasy.

So next time you need a short jaunt from town I highly recommend a Boulder excursion with maybe a little scrambling up boulders thrown in...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Preparing for the road again...

This morning I discovered a wonderful Large cup of coffee for the grand total of $1... wow. Other than the Einstein's "refills" I can't remember the last time I've paid that little for a large coffee.

I wandered the town a bit before a nice dinner on Main St. The walk was nice and I made it to the top of a hill where I could see for miles. I did notice a number of more Victorian style houses instead of the smaller post-war or bungalow types. It is interesting how the spatial distribution of development might have a bit of a pattern... I would be interested to see what would happen if you took 30 cities... 10 each of 3 varying sizes and see if there is a pattern for development based on age of the buildings.

Well this will be a short post for I need to plan my drive for tomorrow... from Alturas to Reno to Denver... I am looking forward to my burger fix at In-N-Out and being home :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A small town...

So what defines a small town? It's walking down the street and realizing that people store their cut firewood in the alley accessible to all- oh and tools are stored outside. It's the fact that random people wave at you as you walk down the street. Heck I went into a post office and there was a bell to ring for service... no one to watch over the counter because they were busy out back. And the Post Office really is on Main Street. It's the small coffee shop that accepts only cash (though I must say there are plenty of places like that in Point Loma where I grew up).

It is a different reality in a small town. People notice as you walk down the street and talk to you exuding a vibe I am not accustomed to. I have to say I know I'm used to moving faster and sometimes my impatience slips through. There is not a single chain restaurant in town that I've found. The railroad tracks go through the center of town and the BPOE lodge was built in the late 1800s and stands just as firm built in rock.

It's a different place, pace, world and I am privileged to get to experience it for a week....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Throughout the US and into my own

As the year has evolved I have had the chance to explore some random places... places that 160 characters can not adequately describe as I update my facebook status. So I am attempting to revive the blog as a travel blog instead of a chronicle of establishing a life in a new state. Now this isn't the type of thing that is going to necessarily give you the hot spots to explore on vacation but mostly the unexpected places and things to love about this lovely country I am blessed to live in and work for...

I am currently in Alturas California which is a small town in North Eastern California- closer to Oregon and Nevada than any major city in California. I used to come up here for work occasionally and I do enjoy visiting. It's the kind of city that you need to remember to bring cash to buy a cup of coffee and a homemade english muffin.

This evening I went for a walk around town- it's the kind of place where within 15 minutes I walked to the edge of town and checked out some cattle. Then it was a walk through the neighborhood passing by the Catholic church built in 1883 and the little houses. The deer were wandering through the town eating on the lawns. The quail scurried through the streets fluttering around every corner. It's a darling place with some decent places to eat and a Rite Aid to rival most Targets.

The road up to Alturas was a nice meander through Northern California starting in San Francisco to wander Union Square, chill with the kid, through Sacramento (a lovely town and where I grew up so much), a visit to the UC Davis campus and then I was on my way. On the drive up I drove through Lassen National Park- a magnificent place that gets much less press than it should. But the lack of press means it is a gem with relatively empty trails and sights to stun you into silence. I managed a quick 3 mile hike down to Bumpass Hell and back... a little gem with volcanic history and bubbling mud spewing out sulphuric smells. During the hike I had over 45 minutes on the trail without seeing a soul and I realized I have become one of those people I always envied- the single woman confidently venturing out on a trail enjoying nature... it's a good life.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

martinis and satisfaction

2 pomegranate martinis later into the evening I am realizing that I am learning to live life despite any fears. I have reached the point where I am doing the things I want to do from watching an amazing sunset to walking to a restaurant instead of driving.

In general I tend to try and deal with issues and other people before the fun stuff and up until the recent vacation times that meant not as much fun stuff was happening. Today I managed to make time to ride my bike. Now I did a little bit of single track and not a ton of crazy stuff but the amazing thing was there were other pressing agenda items and I stopped, left, and biked for a bit. It was the one thing I wanted to do and I finally just did it. This is the summer for living life instead of waiting for it to come up to me.

You know it's been awhile since I've written anything longer than a facebook post. I think with the ever connectedness the amount or quality of information being dispersed (at least from me personally) has declined. I want to be inspired to write again. I want to spend time walking and capturing the emotions of life. I want to be so wound up and excited about life that I stumble over my words when I post here and I can not sleep till I type again.

But I am tired and it is time to sign off for now... take care you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Who to trust?

There are the moments in your life when you wonder who do you trust? Who do you trust with your innermost feelings when simply uttering a word will reduce you to tears?

Which friend do you pick to share the disappointment of your day or the shock of learning that people can be cruel? Who do you burden with the thoughts that you can't make exit your head without articulating them with words?

In a day in which feeling pursued delved into simply disappointment that being a decent person is not enough to shelter one from accusations that can not be disproven. But it is in those moments that you learn how true friends can come through. Through the fog of lack of function you see people sympathize, tell the truth even when the truth is not being sought, and take you into their home to feed you and build you back into the one who laughs.

The friend is the one who sees past the outburst of angst to the terrified skittish thoughts you are trying to mask... past the appearance of strength to the truth. Being competent and functional is not enough to protect one from false accusations. But it is enough to have people who trust you, who believe your word... even when they are not the deciding factor in the final say. The true final say is between the universe and I. As I try to pursue "do good defeat evil" and for the greater good of the order I have found my zealous spirit flagging. I finally felt like I rediscovered the zeal for life and instead I got knocked off my trail. But I will pick myself up, I will dust myself off, I will brush the gravel out of the scrape on my shin and stand firm.

I will look for God in the small things once again and say my prayers hoping that God sees my future in a similar way. For we pray not to change God but to change ourselves.

And in the end it is the ones we trust to hug us at the end of the day- the ones who hand us a book from the Dali Lama at the end of the night titled "The Art of Happiness"... I will stand tall because it's the right thing to do. I will resist because by giving in we validate bullying and that's wrong if you are 5 or 45. But at the end of the day the measure of how I'm doing is not my OPM file but the friends whose child wraps her arms around my middle upon seeing me with a grin across her face. While I look forward to enjoying my tasks and rediscovering my passion again... well in the meantime this journey has taught me what true friends are and what is truly important in life... the hikes, the amazing vistas, the books that soothe the soul, and most of all the love that pervades this life in so many ways and iterations.

It's been a hard week, I need to pack, and this is Sierra Point typing something that I could not keep contained in my head. Good night.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

a brief note

As you all can tell this blog is next to retired these days. Life is busy with work and travel and trying to find time to simply make a life. 

So I'll keep the blog up for I believe in the ability to become re-inspired but for the moment this blog is packed up in the closet...

take care all 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Back and processing...

I'm back in Denver after a long trip through Snowbird Utah --> Soldonta AK --> Homer AK --> Seward AK --> Anchorage AK --> Fairbanks AK and now back again.

Some of the highlights- the Norman Lowell gallery north of Homer, the Bear Valley winery in Homer (raspberry wine that tastes like alcohol soaked raspberries... so yummy), Moose's Tooth pizza in Anchorage, Chena Hot Springs... hot springs- need I say more, generous collegues who invited us to dinner at their house and cooked the most amazing salmon I have ever tasted, seeing Mt McKinnley, and just the overwhelming beauty of the state of Alaska.

The couple of weeks on the road were packed full of a million little adventures. Wildlife sightings included bald eagles, moose, a bear, caribou, and so many birds. The mountain ranges were awe inspiring, the random lakes frozen over and then the rivers with ice blocks on the edge were facinating. 

All in all there were so many people to meet and things to think that I could go on for hours. But my constant running about wore me out so I've been sick and silent for a few days as I've been all worn out. Till later....

Friday, May 1, 2009

In Alaska...

It's a mountain year- I've moved to the foot of the Rockies, been chilling at Snowbird Utah, and now I'm in Alaska about to head off on some scenic highway to who knows where... Later this summer I will go out to the Sierra Nevadas. Life is about mountains this year... suggestions for next year's theme are being accepted now...

This will be short but I am not sure when I'll get internet again. It's been a long day and I'm going to go grab some dinner and head off driving to explore. So off I go into the wild of AK.. just me, two computers, lots of outdoor clothes, and a few books. I'll muse later :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Amidst the mountains...

It's been awhile... there has been a bit of drama in the last couple of weeks. Life is upended in some ways both little and a bit more. Life is not anything torterous or horrid- just altered. 

I am back on the road again. After having a realtatively low travel life for the past 8-9 months it's back to the frequent flier life. I'm at a conference now up in the mountains and while I'm in the middle of tons of people it's wierd not to have a tether to a home. It makes it a bit lonely. As tonight was a meeting night for most- I'm taking the night off from people. 
Life is overall good and this week I remembered why I made this life change. It's good to hear people think I belong in the fed circle in the resource management world. Listening to the rumblings I have heard a cautious optimism creeping into our vernacular that I haven't seen in years. I have heard a change in tone from management in just the last few months I've been back. 

So there is optimism in the air which is starting to seep in a bit. So to wear off the lonley I am going to go work out staring at the snowy mountains. Life is a bit of a mixed up new normal but it seems to be sorting itself out. Tomorrow I present and I am starting to find that I can only control so much of the process and I must grant the rest back to the universe...

To my friend... thinking of you during the river at the rapids point... take a breath during the eddies and know we've got your back when it hits the rough patches.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Seriously what did I do to deserve bad karma these days? Who in the universe did I offend or treat so poorly to have these moments all condensed into a couple of days- the never ending little moments that when isolated are not even minor bumps in the road but when strung together seem to inundate me at every turn.

It's the little things- the boss breaking into a conversation with a friend I haven't seen for over 2 years to tell me- there are major problems come to my office immediately... and it's just scheduling issues we've known about for weeks and brought to management's attention at least once. It's amazing how different the reaction is when another manager brings up the same issues. 

It's the system going down when I'm in the middle of developing a project... it's the essay question phrased just so that I can't reuse content that I've already written and will have to start from nearly scratch... It's the letter from the moving company that they really did loose my things and for the last time they are not looking anymore....

It's nothing big and nothing monumental but it's the little things that add up to wanting to curl up in a safe place to be told that everything is all right... so when things go topsy turvy and the safe places are gone - well what is the reaction?

Honestly I think the reaction is to run- to somewhere different to somewhere with sights you haven't seen to start working on that over stimulation of the brain in a way other than by the little trials and tribulations of the day.  It's the desire to go shopping for a new gear toy to take pictures of the new places and to focus so solely on experiencing everything around you that you replace the experiences within you for a short duration of time till things die down a bit.

I have a few more days to be an adult and do all those supposed to do things before I escape to the road for 2 weeks. I might get a camera to better capture the adventures of the summer- um retail therapy I'm sure. Who knows what the future holds? So far every time I think I get a sense of it- well I get turned on my head. So what is there to do but jump into the river- feet pointed downstream- cold water rushing me along- and hope for an eddy to rest but be prepared for the rocks none the less. 

So universe... send some good karma my way would you? I promise I'm being a good person or at least really trying these days...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Unanticipated changes...

So this will be rambling tonight- it's been a long weekend and not in the happy go lucky way that has defined the Denver experience so far. Nothing life ending but simply altering...

So there are certain things that are not within the control of an individual- and one of those is relationships. Relationships involve more than one person so they by definition can't be controlled by one person. So as you may have guessed the new guy is no longer my guy. No horrid story here just a realization that the end destinations apparently are on different continents. 

So just lots of thinking this weekend and lots of walking though an event in Denver exploring historical hotels. Walking resets the brain a bit and the stained glass distracted me in all the gorgeous light. It was nice to have a sunny day again after a few days of gray and slush- I really needed the sun.

So I'm sure it will be the normal crazy week and then Sunday I leave for 2 weeks.... so I'm not sure if it is more distracting to be on the road or at home... who knows- I guess I'll find out, right? So I'm sure it will get better and I'm sure life will go back to a new normal... and till then life moves on and I keep rolling with it. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's raining snow...

So it's a snow afternoon- forget the conference calls, the meetings, and the schedules because it's snowing :-) So I visited friends at the next building over (they apparently hadn't been told they could go home yet) and had lunch with a friend. Really I'm supposed to be more productive right now but I'm just plugging into the world from a snowy respite in the coffee shop. 

I have learned to LOVE my snow boots as my feet are warm and I had a lovely walk to the coffee shop- even in the ankle deep slushy snow. Now I'm sure my jeans are very mad at me and will have to be washed now... but my feet are dry. The inches are starting to pile up outside and I sit here cozy in the center of a city. Spring keeps trying to stay and the 60 or 70 degree days are interspaced with these snows. The tulips and irises and coated in snow as they try and persevere through the intermittent weather. 

There have been moments in time where I mused to journals, significant others, friends, or family... now I type out loud to this site exposing my thoughts to random individuals that I may or may not know as I journey through this always unexpected life. For as I plan things change continuously.  So as spring keeps trying to peek through and I keep trying to see where this journey of life will take me... who knows what the end result will be but I'm curious to find out :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Persuing dreams...

I'm not sure how well you know your parents... but do you know your parent(s) as individuals or a parental unit? I discovered after my Dad passed away (about 4.5 years ago) that I knew my parents for so many years as a couple, as a unit, and not necesarily as the individuals they were at that time. I think it's one of those things that when you find a bucket list that one of your parents wrote it opens your eyes to them as those individuals in college, before they met, when they were young professionals... you know as people not entities in our lives.

So one thing my mom has talked about is going to Alaska... I am going to Alaska to teach for work and once I realized a frequent flier trip with the airlines is the same to go to DC as it is to go to Alaska I thought.... why not use some of those oodles and oodles of miles to go for fun?

Today I bought 2 tickets to Alaska. I've always wanted to go. Mom has wanted to go for years. So I'm taking my mom for her birthday. This is the year to stop wondering and simply start living... There are many things on my list of things to do but when two people have the same thing on thier list such as explore a massive state- well I encourage you to persue that dream. My younger brother might even join us if we are lucky. So he's to new adventures...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

There reaches a moment...

There reaches a moment when you know you are at the spot just now in the universe that you are meant to be in... there reaches a time when you are comfortable in your own skin... and I have reached the moment when I can feel that my life is how it should be for a moment. 

As I've been walking down the street tonight in Washington DC from meeting up with a girlfriend of mine- on our way to dinner we stopped at an incident. We believe the response was a highrise suspected smoke but as we stood there watching the response- checking the apparatus- watching the response and discussing the likely call type based on the response and the difference between urban and wildland fire fighting. You know- normal chick talk. But the lights were calming in that hey it's situation normal- emergency responders are responding way.

After dinner as I was walking back to my hotel I felt at home... at home with walking through DC in a black suit with stockings and heels on. Seriously I never thought the day would come that I would walk down the street in DC in a black suit. But it fit and it's right for right now. And though I am definitely enjoying my time in DC I am looking forward to heading home to Denver. I am looking forward to the next adventure wherever it may be. 

I remember once upon a time being a nervous traveler- I mean always having to know where I was staying and what my schedule was and have a plan of action. Now I wander through life exploring as I head along and wanting to just live the moment. Yesterday I wanted to destress a little (just b/c I am where I am supposed to be doesn't mean that my job is any less stressful or easy) so I ended up walking 6 miles or so. I'd wanted to walk to the Jefferson Memorial the last couple of times I came to DC and just hadn't... so I just decided to and did. I don't think back in my late teens I saw the exploring in the same way I do now and I don't think I had the same level of confidence in myself. It is a blessing to be able to explore the city, see a friend for dinner, visit my sister and her family for the weekend, and teach during the week. 

So I'm rambling here but I needed to type tonight... I needed to try and quantify this peace that I found for a moment this evening as I realized- I may no know where this path is taking me next or how the bend is curving- I know I have a support structure behind me- I may not know what I am supposed to be doing in life- I know where I am is not where I will end up- I know I am supposed to be here at the moment though I do not know the lessons I am supposed to be learning from this moment in time. But I have faith that if I can quiet the noise and get in tune with the forces out there I will be able to clearly keep heading in this correct direction. 

Time to crash now for it's late... night.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I have discovered facebook... and it is a black hole...

So you may have noticed a lack of posting lately... there are a couple of reasons: 1. My job is being challenging and who just wants to bitch about work 2. Life is turning more into a normal life and less (at the moment) of crazy new adventures... but in the past couple of weeks I must admit that a good deal of it has to do with the fact that I have been experiencing the facebook draw...

So it's been great because now instead of just seeing what my family is doing (seriously I think my first fifteen facebook friends were family) I am now reconnecting with friends from Jr. High, High School, college... everywhere. It's facinating to find that the guy I am dating worked for the same organization that one of my best friends from jr high now works for (and it's a relatively small organization). It's also fun to see pictures of friend's kids and be able to share my little adventures in Colorado with folks who I otherwise don't spend a lot of time talking to.

But right now is the slight calm before the storm- work has been crazy busy getting ready for our insane travel schedule. But I do have to say that with the help of Google calendar (it has to be color coded for me to get it) I have managed to figure out a tentative schedule that is sending me to Washington DC, Snowbird Resort in Utah, Alaska (Anchorage and Fairbanks), Idaho (Boise), Nevada (Vegas and Reno), Gunnison CO, and I think I unfortunately am going to miss Wyoming. But all this.... before the end of August! So the traveling adventures will start again :-) 

I am looking forward to the adventures but I also am trying to make sure there are a few personal adventures thrown in the mix. So far the guy and I are trying to think of someplace fun to explore in CO but the biggest challenge is finding time between our scheduled travels... in the meantime life is turning more towards a new normal...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Winter had a comeback....

Did you know they really do have these things called snow days? I had only read about them... Guess what I was doing on my very first snow day? Ski lessons! I took my very first ski lesson (after going skiing around 10-15 times in my life). Let me tell you... ski instructors are so much more informative than guys you're dating who ski black diamonds that take you sking with them to the top of the hill to start out ;-)

So we went from 75 degrees to so much blowing snow they sent everyone home from work... all in 4 days! 

The ski lessons were facinating... never realized what I was doing on the slopes or better yet- why. The only bad thing about the day was getting body checked by some guy. I was coming up to a turn a bit away from the trees when I felt a slam into my back and a sudden acceleration.  I looked down and saw skis on either side of me, felt somone pressed up against me and looked up to notice the tree truck we were speeding towards... so I looked towards my right saw snow and dove into it. Turns out this good skiier came out of the trees, was skiing backwards (on a green slope  mind you) and when he turned around I was there. Other than being really startled and a bit of a sore back I ended up just fine. Plus at the end of the day I acutally knew a bit more about the slopes...

Well this week will be crazy and then it's off to DC... teaching and playing with my nephews!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The universe is cruel and Bekins is incompetent...

It was a long day today and so when I wearily walked up my steps I was cautious to find a box on my front stoop. Then a gasp... wait I had a box Bekins lost during my move. Then I went to hopeful and dropped my stuff before I even opened the door and was on my knees opening the box with a FedEx label from Mississippi....

My heart sank as I realized that not only was it not my stuff, but there was no note, no communication from the company (so not a shock- I mean really you have to read back to the begining of January to remember how silly it got) and really I had given up on the box and even the momentary hope was hard to come down from. 

So now I had a box of someone else's personal items- photos, a bible, an angel figurine, and more personal things that were keepsakes of a family member remembering someone gone. So given a box of personal effects with no information of where it came from or who it was going to... how long does it take to finding the most likely owner?  Total around 45 minutes- 1 email, 3 phone calls, and a number of google searches later I figured out the box was from the mom's estate that one of the kids was shipping by following a few clues. 

I mean yes, I know I could just call Bekins- the moving company that totally miscommunicated to whoever sent this to me what I am looking for (not a single scrapbook with newspaper clippings, pencil art drawings, or art history book) and did not apparently look hard enough to find the name to send  it to the correct person. At this point it's a mission- I want this person to get thier things. If I don't get my things at least someone can be reunited with sentimental items. 

Advice for those moving- put your address in the box, write it on the box, and then put a unique color tape across the box. If you have 2 or 3 boxes you really want to get... prioritize them and then FedEx them- keep in mind FedEx uses barcodes and scanners while moving companies use little stickers. So right now we have my move touching San Diego, CA- Denver, CO- Minnneapolis MN- San Jose, CA- Philidelphia, PA- Jackson, MS- and antidoticaly Iowa, New Mexico, and the  story is not over yet... I should map it...

Snow... hope for snow...

It's been a long week and it's Tuesday. Work is chaos and I'm trying to hold onto hope while feeling very frustrated at all there is to do and the lack of time to do the multiple things in. While I know the group goals and priorities it just seems like that is how we got into this mess... head down and ignore the giant pretty purple snuffleupagus in the room. If I only do what is required (like I admit I should) it would not be the best thing for the community I spent years working with and want to get back into. But if I address the issues and work on the solutions it is good but not always something that I have authority to truly delve into like it should be done.

So I feel like I'm back at the airplane hanger in college pulling out the baling wire and grabbing the duct tape in the shop the night before the Picnic Day parade (UC Davis- Go Ags!). It's the old well if I have 8 hours of work and 6 hours to do it in... yup I can figure out a way to get it done. I guess if the people at the top were cheering the whole time it would be easier... instead it's the occasional- well aren't you psychic? No? Really? Well you should be. I need a cheerleader... oh heck I need to just go to the mountains and enjoy more snow and that will cheer me up. Winter storm advisories right now and it was 75+ last Sunday. Colorado is keeps me on my toes.

Don't get me wrong- it's not all bad- I'm getting to play with some seriously cool technology and making maps occasionally (even if it's just for demos) and next month I'll be going to Washington DC (c/o work) and playing with the most adorable babies ever- my nephews!

It's the little things in life that make everything worth it... and the little guys are definately among those kind of things.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring is here....

Spring in Denver is different than I'm used to. First-off there are little bulb flowers such as tulips and crocuses around before the trees are even budding out. I've never  seen so many bulb flowers just randomly planted around. The trees are finally starting to leaf out though. I guess in San Diego there is more dedication to plants with year-round bloom so the annuals are not as prevelant.

Yesterday I went snowshoeing with they guy and I was snowshoeing in my normal hiking outfit. It was craziness as I even had to reduce some layers (have you ever tried to pull off 2 layers of pants over your boots behind a rock and get re-dressed in less than 2 minutes... while tryinng NOT to sit in the snow?). By the end I was hiking in a shirt and light hiking pants which were luckily water repellant seeing as I ended up sliding down the hill a bit on my bum due to the occasionally slushy snow. No fleece for me yesterday- of course the guy was in shorts but he's crazy like that. We were exploring an amaing trail in Rocky Mountain National Park and I am becoming more and more of a fan of the place everytime I go. We ended up taking the long route driving back down 7 and 72 which was such an amazing drive... even found a darling Catholic Chapel seemingly in the middle of a river area at some random retreat center. The stained glass was stunning and the location was head turning.

Today has been wandering around in shorts and sandals (though rumor has it the snow will come later this week). I actually met a couple neighbors as I sat on my porch stoop eating some fruit and reading the NY Times. Ah Sundays are magnificent... I've done most everything on my to-do list except for the 2 things I really need to do but are not as fun as e-mails and updating my blog...

Last week was crazy with teaching and stress and rewriting what at times seemed like the universe. This week should be calmer and hopefully I'll be a bit more plugged in. By the way after hanging out with my high school sweetheart's best friend for a night last week as he passed through town...  I fully endorse facebook as a way of finding people you would otherwise never find :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

San Diego dreaming...

Okay so that was a long pause on the Portland thing- I met washington office folks, and management folks, and drank a lot of microbrews. Rouge River Brewery won as the favorite  of the week. Oh and the young planners wine party was quite the entertainment on the 22nd floor of the hotel... lots of wine a little bit of candy (gummy bears go amazingly well with a good red wine from the Willamette Valley). 

Oh and my presentation went quite well- a few bigger wigs were there and I stayed up way late fixing  up my demo and dialed into the office. I think the perfect presentation mix for me is about 3-4 hours of sleep, a large mocha, and some serious pressure... it makes me all relaxed, happy, chatty, and when it's GISy stuff- well I just had a blast.  A few people even said they enjoyed my presentation so that was really nice. 

After the Portland trip I headed down to San Diego to visit Mom. Ah sun and gorgeous weather make for a lovely weekend. We gardened- I was thining bushes and mom was taking care of the roses. I also pruned the lemons- I mean really when taking off one branch that is sky high means taking off 15 lemons in one fell swoop... yeah it needed thinning. But I went to the old haunts having real TJ style mexican food and fish sandwiches. I do love the San Diego cuisine. 

Oh and I did stop by the movers- nothing like showing them the three (mind you conflicting) manifests. They were impressed with my knowledge of tracking packages and how things work and my persistance. Did I mention the 4 page documented telephone logs that I've been keeping? I even got a tour of the lost and found section of the warehouse. Unfortunately no matter how many prayers I said I didn't find my box. The manager sent out an e-mail to some higher ups to see if they could help me but I'm truly loosing hope. Something wierd happened- paperwork doesn't match up and someone has a box that no one else cares about but me.  So say a prayer or send out some good vibes to the universe...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Presenting on a national stage...

Have I said it lately.... I have the job of a peon but the tendancy to think in national implementation scope kinda ways.  I had at least 5 washinton DC officey types at my presentation today and I think it went rather well. Someone asked me my position on the project and it was funny to say- just a trainer.  But I get to play geospatial so it was nice to give a rah rah spatial presentation today  and it went over pretty well...

Well I just realized I'm missing a presentation I'm supposed to be in so I shall update later :-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

On the road again....

I'm traveling for work... wow it's been awhile since I was packing up the laptop to head to DIA for work. Actually it's only been about 3 months but a lifetime  has occurred in the last 3 months. It was nice that I got a ride to the airport- thanks hon! Yesterday was wandering around Portland enjoying the shops, seafood, and Powells. Yesterday I already ran into someone I knew from my former BLM life so it's great to think I'm around my element. 

Today was walking around to grab breakfast and coffee from some local stores- why hang out at the hotel when within 5 bloccks there are so many great places.  Now the pre-conference has kicked into gear and I've been having fun editing graphics- gotta love implementing new logos! Luckily for this graphics challeged person there is Snag-It which has tons of power but for me it's graphics editing for dummies. 

I don't present till Thursday so I won't start getting stressed till later in the week. Then on Friday I'm flying to San Diego for the weekend- yay home home and hanging out with Mom! 

By the way sorry about the petering off of posting... it's been a crazy week between catching a couple of nights of the Banff film festival, hanging out with the new guy, and trying to get all that work and life stuff done...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Moving update...

So I'm pretty well settled in now. I just now got my dining room table legs from Bekins (yup the seriously sucky I'd NEVER reccomend them moving company). Only 4+ weeks later and they finally got around to fedexing the dining room legs. I mean seriously people you had them at the warehouse just sitting there? 

Unfortunately it appears that amongst the 12 other things they really did loose was a box of personal papers, things from my dad, and origional artwork by me and my friends. They lost it before things even got loaded up on the truck to be moved to Denver... so in December. I'm shocked, appalled, and finally coming to terms with it being permanently gone b/c the company really isn't helping me out here. 

But what do you do, eh? At this point it's say a prayer to St. Jude.

But regardless life is going really well. Work is chaos getting ready for a conference next week in Portland and then I'm going to stop by San Diego on the way back to Denver to enjoy a little sun, sand and walking with mom. The next couple of nights are going to be checking out the Banff film festival one night with a chick friend the next night with the guy. Saturday I'm planning to check out a new restaraunt with resteraunt week. There is so much to do here I don't want to leave the town.

Well I'm supposed to be finishing up a chapter for work tomorrow so I really should go... things are happy... 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The moments where life happens...

It was wonderful... I know this sounds silly but you know when you are observing something and you take that little moment to step back and pause and look around and think- this, this is what I've been looking for... Last night I was in the kitchen putting something on a plate when I looked out through the house and I saw a house full of people- I mean over 10 people in my house drinking, eating and talking. Towards the end of the night we all were sitting around in chairs, on couches, and I even occasionally found a spot on the floor just  talking. 

People liked the food, there was more than enough to drink- folks were gracious enough to bring lots of things so no one went hungry. A couple of folks showed up early to help (thank goodness b/c I was being a bit of a spaz trying to get the casserole in my world's slowest oven) and once folks started showing up everything was in full swing. Earlier in the day I had gone to Pier 1 and Target and aquired some basics... like glasses. The minor things I didn't have many of. I also found this neat candle holder thingy that fits in the fire place (a lot easier than shoveling ashes and a nice soft light) and it was exactly what I had pictured. 

So to my friends that came- it was the  most perfect house-warming party that I could have imagined... thank you. To my friends that helped set up- you kept me sane. And to the serious angels that had every dish washed, all the food put away and table tops cleared before I could even start to lift a finger... well I'm beyond lucky for meeting such good friends.

It's a crash weekend with errands around the house, leftovers to eat, and possibly checking out some live music tonight. Well off to laundry I go...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Keeping busy...

Tomorrow night I am doing one of those things I meant to do the last 3 times I've moved... I'm having a house warming party. People are bringing things, heck people said they'd come! Here's the kicker... I even have a date to my very own party. It's a strange world I'm enjoying here in Denver- I am enjoying my life. 

So wish me luck I haven't actually had a group of people over to my house in years and years and years so I hope I prepared enough but a  couple of the girls are coming over to help me set up and another volunteer said he'd show up to help too... it is one of those moments where I am doing one of those things I always said I'd do...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Denver is for walking...

It has been a lovely sunny day starting with sleeping in, trying out a new church (nice mass but a few too many grey hairs for me and bit too much organ music for me), and walking around till I found a place I wanted to have brunch. An afternoon of reading the sunday NY Times while eating out or sipping caffine at the local coffee shop means one thing- normalicy. I have reached a new normal as I walk through the town to cruise around Wash Park with a friend to talk boys and stretch our legs or a walk over to the local diner to catch dinner and talk life with a new friend. Now granted walking takes a bit more preparation now... I need to remember to wrap the scarf around my neck, toss the gloves in the purse, and stuff a hat into my pocket and put the jacket on PRIOR to going out the front door... but this city inspires me to stretch my legs and venture out. I want to be out and about instead of wanting to curl up at home. Tomorrow it's snow shoeing with a co-worker and her friend. I'm hoping for happy snow and as I'm thinking about that I better be off to adjust the straps on my snow shoes for my boots and get things prepped...

To those who have been pinging me- I'm sorry I've been bad at my typing/texting/calling and general contact but it feels like I've gone out every single night/day this past week. I swear I'll re-boot and re-engage :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

snowy days....

Finally... finally I have been to Rocky Mtn National Park. Today I drove up with a friend to the park and we set out on a lovely hike. REI was having a snow shoeing event so I got to try out some cutting edge high end snow shoes I've been looking at for awhile. It was a blast and we both really enjoyed the tromping through the snow. Last year I went snow shoeing and I was amazed at how a little knowledge and better gear (better gloves, more layers, better shoes) makes such a huge difference. We drove a bit through what I'm pretty sure is the southern route of the park and I definately think this place will be a new hang-out. 

The wildlife viewing was really cool at the park. We saw tons of Elk (at least 2 herds) and some big horn sheep. I was really bummed that my camera had already ran out of batteries on the hike up. Next time...

Oh and I went to the Devotchka show Friday night with Mike... ah- they are a Denver insitution for a reason- everytime I see them I like them more. It was a great night and I can't wait till they play again. The show is more art experience than concert- I love it.

It's a Denver life for me these days...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Walking through the park...

It was going to be a quick walk to the coffee shop to meet up to talk about venturing out into the snow this weekend. Ended up that the Daz Bog we wanted to meet at closed at 6- seriously what coffee shop closes at 6pm? 

So I started walking and as I headed over to meet up with my friend I walked across Cheeseman Park... now I'm sure it was a silly thing to do but there is nothing like crossing the grassy park in the moonlight with lights keeping the meadow awash and clear. There were a few people walking around but it wasn't crowded. It was just neat to walk around in the evening through the city and while aware it was just comfy. 

The days stay sunnier later and every day has a moment to enjoy...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A slight pang...

So a former co-worker of mine came through town on his way to a sales demo... we grabbed dinner with a little talk of my new job, a little talk of the old office, and a bit of talk about fun cities.  There is a little pang of missing the sales and PM gang... wanting to feel the rush of dealing with software I know so well instead of starting back at square one learning new software.  Now granted... I don't miss the everyday work or the old boss at all...  I also realized that I'm finding a home here in Denver- I'm finding things to do, meeting people, enjoying the weather and I'm finally not toally freaking out when it snows. 

I miss my mom, the farmer's market, and the sight of the ocean. But each day as I drive to work I love seeing the mountains and the people here are wonderful. So it's getting closer to home and I now have my "home home" (as we used to call it in college) to visit again. I'm going to hopefully take a trip out to San Diego in the next month.  Just the thought puts a  smile on my face... both that I am enjoying Denver so much and that I will get to see mom and home home soon. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's raining...

I forgot how nice the rain can be... by that I mean rain is such nice normal weather- plus it smells so nice when it rains. The best of both worlds- snow in the mountains and rain where I am. 

The class I took this weekend was great. It was fun to work through developing an exercise and trying to understand how this region does emergency services and learning thier challenges. It's kinda cool to get a little bit plugged into the local community.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Does it ever recede...

This weekend I decided to expand my horizons a little... in a mass e-mail in the last week or so I noticed an advertisement for a free class teaching exercise design for homeland security. So I keep thinking I'm just going to hug the trees and stick to the whole NEPA thing and then what do I go and do? I sign up for a class  that's Friday night, plus Saturday and Sunday from 8-5.  Then here's the other thing... I'm actually having fun. I mean I'm hanging out with people designing a functional exercise to test a small town EOC with a F-2 tornado. I mean it's exciting and entertaining and damn I thought I was over that whole gee order out of chaos thing...

The class is interesting, the people are cool, and while it's a whole lot of time to invest for one weekend- well it just validates to me that while there is a ton to learn I really do have a good deal of knowledge about various things. So who knows what the future will bring- but I'm not over this whole wildfire thing though it's no longer all consuming it's still facinating. I know, I'm rambling today.

Have to get up early for class and I'm going to go attempt  to program my new coffee pot...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Moments... it's in the moments

So today was a day of doing lots of little things that have been building up- the little things that when added up seem insurmountable... so I suspended the daily responsibilites in order to take care of all those little things that have been tabled for e-mails and phone calls and meeting upon meeting.  So I went to Ace (nope.. the hangers won't work... that darn stained glass window is being a bugger) and the DMV and got my license and just took some moments to mellow.

It's been a strange week with tension due to the changes in the project and it's just been getting to me.  I needed some moments of normalacy :-)  Though there was one moment today that was anything but normal... As I walked into the office to  turn in some paperwork for my registration four guys were exiting and were gracious enough to hold the door open. I smiled at them and said thanks as I walked in. Then one of  the guys came back through the door and asked for my number. Now he was cute but didn't seem my type. So I declined and he persisted and I just kinda looked at him and it struck me he had a bit of a young face and had to ask... how old are you? 

He looked at me and said- 23. I said in that case I am sorry there is no way I will give you my number. He asked my age (definately older than him) and I told him and though he was startled he said it doesn't matter.  Actually the words were more like "that don't matter I'm a grown a$$ man"- ah be still my beating heart right girls? He persisted for a bit more jsutifying that over 21 is all that matters but there's no way  I was giving him my number :-) 

So all in all an entertaining day and a nice looking guy younger than my little brother tried to pick me up... too funny. Well I should be off to crash- you take care.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I think I relate to the squirrel... but which one?

So it was a lovely Sunday morning and I was driving to mass... I was amazed at the great weather (if I wasn't meeting a friend for brunch I would have walked) and admiring the day- blue sky crisp day with a bit of warmth. Then a couple of squirrels darted into the road-  one booked it to safety. I braked as the other one ran right in front of the car but instead of keeping the crazy run in front of my car going the little guy stopped right in front of my tire. I really like animals but I refuse to endanger humans for the little varmin with fluffy tails. So I am sorry to say that since I couldn't swerve to the on-coming traffic and I wasn't going to stop totally b/c of a car behind me- wellI said a prayer for the poor little departed guy at mass.

So today I went to work and learned that the team I work with is now being supervised by another person. It's not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing- just a very unexpected change. After spending an hour on the phone with the moving company trying to chase things down I wasn't ready for another shock to the system. It's not every Monday staff meeting that the immediate organizational structure changes in a extreme and nebulous way. Well... it's one of those roll with it moments. But seriously- can we stop the constant changes in life for a week? Possibly?

Who knows where the path will go... regardless it is a ride worth taking and the trick is to just keep running forward and resist the urge to stop scared. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

From 60 to ???...

Today was gorgeous- around 60 degrees with a clear blue sky.  I hung the last of the framed pictures to hang and then went walking... and walking... and discovering. A couple hours of cruising around wearing a t-shirt and yoga pants. I made it over 20 blocks away before I started heading back home It was exciting to shed the layers even if it was just for an afternoon. It's supposed to get cold again tomorrow.

Oh and this evening as I moved something I bumped my stained glass window with my head... and it fell. Luckily when I bumped it with my head I reached up to stabilize it so when it fell I was able to catch it. So while it didn't break now I need a new strategy to hang the window... just when I was finally done hanging things ;-) Deep breath... adjust plan... and be glad for the little blessings in the day.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


So I've found my new entertainment... I'm taking winter lectures at REI.  So most of you know I'm not the best at walking into large groups where I don't know anyone but I've been exploring Denver all week checking out group activities.  So far I've learned about avalanche beacons and snowshoes. It's been quite informative and a lovely way  to spend an hour or two.  It's fun to meet people with similar interests- and hey I'm going hiking or snowshoeing on Sunday with a gal I met so now it's good to be getting outdoors again.

So I've started an internal debate- I have come to the conclusion that the government is for me but then comes the question... what level of the organizational structure is the most fun at this particular moment in my life? So there is the field level... the benefits of a field office are getting to actually touch the ground, do some real analysis, providing support to field personnel, and the occasional field work.  Then there is the regional office- with exposure to the field occasionally but at the same time you are rolling things up to a regional level, providing support to technical users, and representing the oraganization at higher  levels. Then there's the national level- you get to consolidate efforts at the  regional level but you are a bit more removed from the field. Now there are really cool projects you can participate in that have wide spread effects at the national level too.  

So there's benefit to each level and fun to be had... but it's interesting to try and think- if given the choice of any what would I do and why?  At this point in my life is is better to be exposed to things on the ground or the regional projects... do you get pigeon holed as a techie more at a higher or lower level of the organization? There is always the ability to work in neat side interests and there is opportunity at each moment but which opportunities would fit better in the long run? I have a job and I'm good with where I am... but I am looking at things in a career sense again and it's fun to explore the thoughts

Hmmm.... things to think about- field, regional, national... what are the various skill sets and what makes the wheels spin in my mind and where can I make the most difference? 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A nearly normal day...

My day was nearly normal... ok I'm still not used to the whole shoveling snow at night, brushing the snow off the morning and scraping the car in the morning thing.  I can't wait to get my  insulated boot since it's been in the teens the past couple of days.

But I packed a lunch, went to work, grabbed dinner and hung out at the Mercury Cafe checking out the lindy hop session.  It's a bit different style of dance than I've tried before so I want to check out some lessons.  The place has a fun vibe and all sorts of people  so this could be a fun hobby. 

Short post tonight... take care all :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the inauguration

I promised I'd say something more... I spent the weekend unpacking and need some down time so this will be a long post telling the story of the crazy day of the inauguration...

So we started out the day getting ready before the sun came up.  We all drove down 50 to Roslyn to park the cars and get on the bikes to head over to DC.  As we neared the exit to go to the parking garage... it was blocked off. Um... OK. So we are in the cars now in a line of not moving vehicles getting routed off on some ramp going nowhere. So there was the pause... the guys pulling out their cell  phones to revisit the plan... and then the idea hit... jump the median. Luckily it was a small median but we whipped a U-turn and took the first exit off the highway and were on our way again to the open parking garage.  The nice cops watching must have been laughing.

We parked the cars and put the bikes together and started assembling the 5+ layers.  Once we were all geared up from head to toe with only our eyes uncovered. We headed across the closed bridge into Georgetown. The streets held the occasional car but on the way in it really was mostly taxis, limos, and public safety vehicles. The sounds of the streets for the day really were sirens as ambulances bustled around and the police whooped to clear out the way. Traffic was relatively light but we mostly stuck to the sidewalks.  Once we got within a mile or so of the National Mall the traffic started getting heavy. It was one of those moments I always read about in books, saw on tv and pictured in the movies... riding our bikes single file through the traffic- sliding by the nearly parked traffic including buses. Marty led the way and Jeff took up the rear as we dove through the thick of it. We rode by crowds of walking people and so many street "vendors" who were hawking their wares it was stunning. I'm not sure if a single one had a permit but everything looked the same since it was my 3rd day on the national mall.

We finally made it to Jeff's friend's place and parked the bikes. At this point it was hot... in that I'm going to be freezing as soon as my body realizes how much it has been sweating way. So we left the bags- shoved all the snacks/hand warmers/supplies into our many pockets. with 2 layers of fleece a jacket and a couple of other layers the pockets were plenty. We headed down the street anxious to get into the line. We started following the signs which seemed a bit bizarre to me b/c I thought we had to head south but they directed us the same way as the guys. Then as we got close to the security check points for the gates the chaos took over. We left the guys to find the purple line and we girls headed for the silver section that we had checked out the day before. We asked a local PD who directed us along where the signs were going... which still seemed odd to me but we started ducking through lines. Except we ducked through like 5 purple lines. I figured there must  be multiple security areas or someone had designated feeder lines b/c I was trying to have faith in the system but really... it looked like no one knew what was going on and there was no overall directing going on by anyone in uniform that I saw. 

We girls got closer and closer to the area we were being directed towards and it was odd... there was a blocked road to the right  then as we moved forward it was a wall... like the on ramp/off ramp to a highway kind. On the left was a tall building that looked locked. As we started to turn the corner there was  a crowd standing and cheering at a TV camera with no law enforcement presence. It just screamed to us confined area/tons of people/BAD idea.  We retreated a half block or so and moved to the sidewalk.  It looked like the area we were being directed to was the 3rd street NW tunnel. We realized we needed to be on the other side of the mall and that following the signs and directions provided was not a very bright idea. So we looked at each other and did the oh goodness they're opening the gate soon and we're not in line yet we better scoot. 

We weaved through the getting frustrated purple lines ducking around people. I led the way relying on all those skills I learned in Jr. High crowds (see mom I did learn something in public school!). Plus, I'm taller so I'm easier to find in a crowd. We headed up past the Capitol  building again and then started our way around at least 2 blocks out. As we headed down 2nd St NE we turned down D St. When the crowds started getting thick we started realizing that every time the crowds thickened there was no telling why they were waiting or if it would move again. We passed by Orange and Blue lines which seemed confused but a little less confused than purple and yellow on the other side. We realized that people were avoiding the natural hazards- trees, rocks, bushes so we tried to stick closer to them. After getting stuck a couple of times in seemingly unmoving crowds we managed to get to the start of the silver line. The line didn't seem to be moving much if at all but we needed to get to the end of the line so we started moving faster. We ran into members of the general public who stated cops told them to enter at the silver section- we mentioned it was tickets and moved on.  We abandoned the walking for jogging... I really can't remember the last time I ran- years at least since the high school cross country days but I was keeping up. Every time we noticed a narrowing in the street and the crowd stopping we would duck a block over and continue shadowing the line. After mapping where we traced the silver line... once we ducked under a street overpass that almost looked like a road block but we never showed a ticket... the line extended over a mile long and when we found the end of the line it was circling a block.  We went around the last block and the line looped into itself. We were standing there a bit flabbergasted. At that moment of course we ran into someone Susan knew.. Dr Z and his daughter. We were discussing this odd line arrangement and you could hear the confusion brewing when one of those people with little red beanies who apparently were volunteers started directing people down Independence Ave.  So here we were at the end of the line that was crawling along... all one mile or so of it for the silver section and we were being directed to totally bypass the line and it was after the gates had opened... what to do?   

As people turned on their heel and headed down the street we decided to follow directions ;-) So as we are cruising down the street my sister calls and I briefly answered and let her know we were getting closer and it was chaos and we weren't in yet. Sometime after that moment my cell phone "flew like it fell from a helicopter" and hit a very nice 8th grader who turned it over to her teacher (who later called my mom who gave him the number where I was staying and we arranged to return it the next day). But back to the story... I warned you it was long...

We ended up making it to security... please note not a single person looked at or checked our tickets in any sort of significant way though we occasionally held them in our hands.  We walked up to the security screeners.. um pretty sure it was TSA... as we walked up Susan had a plastic bag in her hand with our food- the directions stated no bags and only snacks. As we walked through there was no noticeable scanning equipment and both Susan and I had cameras on us. Hers was actually IN her jacket pocket and she didn't even need to take it out. I guess they figured we were too far away to do anything b/c all I had to do was unzip my 2 jackets and they patted down my waist but it was nothing compared to a normal airport TSA basic inspection and they didn't even check my ankles really which having hung out with a number of cops I know is kinda a basic check.

So we made it through security and into the big section of the silver but not the part closest to the reflecting pool where we wanted to be. So we found the cross over walkway and started lining up with a small group of people. The gates had been closed for a little bit and were being managed by a Border Patrol law enforcement guy. At one point the gate opened and the crowd surged forward and the Border Patrol guy quickly closed the gate leaving us 3-4 people from a 8 foot chainlink fence with about 50-100 people behind us. It was one of those oh goodness moments... lodged in a crowd trying to get through and when the gate closed I heard a "rush the gate" and lots of booing- granted most of it was from some high school boys. So those of us with calmer heads let them know they weren't helping and got them to calm down. Unfortunately the law  enforcement officer was very soft spoken so none of us could hear his instructions when he did say anything so all directions through the crowd were done by that old game of telephone- repeating  the message to the next person in line. It really looked like we weren't going to get across which since we could see so much room across the street in the gated area just seemed wrong.  Then fate intervened and 2 wheelchairs were directed to our gate. Now mind you they are trying to get up to the gate so for them to move forward we had to move back, for us to move back tons of people had to move and it was difficult to say the least. But luckily the law enforcement guy decided to let the wheelchairs through and then us but only if we promised to move slowly... apparently there was a trampling earlier in the day in the area with a minor injury. So the wheelchairs were let through, the kids behind us stayed quiet and we made our way very calmly across the street to the better side where we realized quickly that the reason there was so much room was that people had basically smashed the dividing fence between the grassy area and the reflecting pool down. In all the other areas the gates were chain link fence, metal waist high dividers, and metal mesh... here it had been plastic which looked like fencing used to capture snow drifts that wasn't even waist high. Needless to say it was easy to get over the trampled fence so we walked closer to the reflecting pool... then we noticed people were walking around the reflecting pool so we decided to follow suit. 

We ended up in front of the Ulysses S. Grant memorial just across the street from the blue/purple section. We were in the rowdy section and if they all had tickets I am one amazed person. People were draped across the statues and lined up everywhere. We ended up standing amongst some bushes under the theory of the day- the closer to nature we are the less likely people will try and get closer to us. We broke out the hand warmers and had our sandwiches while waiting for everything to begin. The many many layers worked out well for us- I really appreciated the USAF military issue thermals and camo gortex pants I borrowed from my gracious sis. GSA got that gear right. 

The highlight of the inauguration- Obama's speech. I am not sure who he intended it for or what he wanted to say exactly but what he said spoke too me and it was neat to see the hands waving up on the podium and hear the words. During the actual swearing in we could see the colors moving around and the people so while we were about a quarter of a mile away we still could see what was going on a little bit. 

The hmmmm factor of the inauguration ceremony- the booing. I mean it we were in the rowdy section. Neither of us gals are fans of booing and being surrounded by it was a bit unnerving. They booed the wives of Bush and Cheney (which seemed very low class to me) and the first Bush... I think they meant to boo the second one. Oh though I couldn't help when after they figured out the current Bush was on stage they sang the Nah Nah Nah Nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey goodbye song. Seriously how high school?

Everything went pretty well (besides the booing) until after Obama's speech. No one really had and order of proceedings so most people thought that the ceremony was over- also the  next thing up was the poet and they had turned the sound down or speakers went out or something b/c we couldn't hear her. My personal guess is that they turned it down for Obama's booming voice and forgot to turn it up. So for the poet, benediction, and then the closing song people were streaming everywhere and it was really hard to hear. People were taking pictures and chanting Obama and walking around. Once the ceremony was over we started our way back to the meeting point. It was people people everywhere. Oh and when the helicopter with the former president flew over everyone waved a very happy good-bye and cheered. It is the dawning of a new age and we are excited about the new leader.

As we walked back we laughed at the signs for the colors realizing how poorly  the ticketing section was working.  We did not hear a single megaphone the entire time. There were no directions for feeding the entry points or any officially flagged areas for people to line up. The lack of direction seemed stunning since we come from the incident management background and have seen the direction of numerous people before. It seems that the 240,000 ticketed people were expected to mostly direct themselves to the entry points. We finally reached the guys and learned to our horror that they were not able to get into the purple section. The gates  closed 20 feet in front of their faces and they were unable to get in.  There were thousands of people who did not get in... Luckily for us the guys waited for us to get out to sheppard us back to Virginia. The guys agreed with our assessment of the lack of guidance to the gates and the mingling of the general public added to the chaos. We all think they might want to consider hiring concert organizers next time... we didn't hear about any major problems on the rest of the National Mall but really the National Park Service was in charge of that part so it was a bit of a different flavor.

We met up again at the house where we stashed the bikes. We started up the hill to Georgetown passing by the insanely crowded metro stops and passing the areas they were setting up for the evening balls. We cruised up the streets with people walking around and made it back over the bridge to Roslyn. We went to the parking garage and noticed that the garage door was shut. Um.. and for awhile the gate wasn't opening with the pass card- what was that about plans? The poor guys were dealing with Murphy all day.  Luckily we made our way in at last and got the cars so we didn't have to do to plan b as the guys called it- calling the wives.  

It was an amazing crazy complicated day. By the end we got Susan off to the airport after about 25 wrong turns (who let the map makers loose in a city of road blocks?) and on her way back home before bouncing to another town. I was dead tired and packing for the next day of finding lost cell phones and getting home traveling by foot, bus, metro, airplane, and driving a car. The guys while frustrated at least were rationalizing that they didn't invest major money into the excursion- only time. It was so worth everything- I was compelled to go- I made my flight arrangements the night of the election and I am excited about the direction this administration is taking us... I enjoyed the new Secretary of interior's address to the employees and as the year goes forward I look forward to discovering what things will come up in the new year...

I've unpacked all but 2 boxes now, most artwork is hanging on the wall thanks to a little help from my friend, and the plumber finally got the plumbing fixed and I am getting ready to drive to work in the Monday morning snow... for some reason it seems to snow on Monday. So it's time for me to crash I spent much more time writing this than I meant to but at the same time I thought it was something some of you might get a kick out of reading.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Running on fumes...

I was told my last blog sounded a bit inebriated. Nope... just exausted ;-) 
I meant to just update pictures and sort files and blog tonight but instead after leaving work a little late I stopped for dinner and upon coming home started looking for something amidst the boxes. Well about 4 hours later I've unpacked/sorted about half of my belongings and other than the lack of artwork on the walls this place is starting to look like home. The kitchen is entirely unpacked and the artwork is spread across the floor so I can decide what goes where. I still have the office and bedroom but the storage downstairs is sorted and I have the things I want to bring to my office for tomorrow so it can stop being a blank slate and start looking like me.

If I can get the bedroom and office done this weekend I will be a very happy girl. I'll have to call in reinforcements to help do picture hanging and all but hopefully someone will be around this weekend. 

Beyond dead tired, have meetings all day tomorrow and need to sneak time to call movers... my dining room table legs are apparently in Minneapolis and the box of artwork and books maybe in Iowa and who knows where my vaccum is.... hunting my belongings through the U.S.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We followed the line and it ends in a circle...

This  was in terms of activity close to if not THE craziest day of my life. This will be short b/c I need pack for my travels tomorrow but I wanted to let you know a little about the day...

We started out prior to 0600 getting geared up and headed down to Roslyn, VA where we parked the cars and got on the bikes. We biked from the VA side over the bridge and through Georgetown all the way to the other side of the capitol... bobbing and weaving through people and unpredictable traffic. People everywhere...

We walked from a friend's place where we stored the bikes and backpacks to where there were supposed to be entrance lines- as in A line PER color... The 
chaos in the ticketed section was unreal. There were multiple lines per color weaving around, the signage was seriously lacking and sometimes downright wrong, people clogging the streets, and the officers while well intended I think they were giving wrong direction or at least repeatedly poor directions.  We ran/walked for hours (no kidding) and ended up at the end of the line for the silver section which was... circling around the block  (I'm not kidding). The line had no end, seriously.

You think that was bad? The guys didn't even get INTO the purple section. The guards closed the gate on hundreds to over a thousand ticket holders who had all been there prior to the gate opening.  The guys were less than 20 feet away from the entrance when this happened. Luckily they were kind enough to wait for us b/c we would have had a really rough time making it back without them- they rode lead and tail and watched out for us non-city riding folks. 

Other highlights- losing my cell phone, getting trapped near a chain link fence for awhile, escaping the chain link fences, hopping barriers for safety, the dissolving of the silver section, being within a quarter of a mile from the inauguration (you CAN identify Obama  in one of our
 pictures- based on clothes/shapes of course), crowds crowds crowds, and the absolutely can this day get any crazier moment... sliding accross the reflection pond on the ice! 

I will try and post pictures and actual stories over the next few/couple of days but my system is crashing due to overload so I might be simply curled up for a bit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Things are looking up...

This will be short I need sleep...
Susan made it into town, Rita made it in last night too, I got my luggage!!!!, wandered around DC again, might snow tonight, supposed to bike in if plans go good... cute babies are very distracting.

Scoped out inauguration places and it was crazy busy in DC today.

Will send more tomorrow but I think we're all geared up for as the random lady at the capitol said today- there is no bad weather only inappropriate clothing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wandering DC....

Hanging out in DC today has been very entertaining... I picked up my tickets for the inauguration- Silver!!! Yay... now we've got the figuring out of  the traveling to- let me tell you it won't be Metro after seeing the Metro lines today after the concert. Speaking of which I saw some of the rehearsal stuff as I wandered around the capitol building. I also decided at the last minute to check out the concert at the Lincoln center. Awesome vibe and time and a very happy crowd. I made it through the crowd to almost the WWII memorial. Very cool to hear Obama and Bono and the whole celeb crowd. Nothing like walking the streets with a hundred thousand or more of random people... 

Very cool day and I'm hoping to get my luggage tomorrow. Seriously, I miss  my luggage. Luckily I have a very awesome sister who has allowed me to borrow her hat, scarf, gloves, jacket, etc. etc... so I was nice and bundled up while hiking the National Mall.  Oh and once I finally decided to head out of DC I went to take the Metro and found a station with about 1,000 other people (I heard later it was closed due to too many people) so I ended up heading back from whence I came and walked across the bridge- nothing like walking across a freeway at night to try and find a place to get picked up- the nice local police (by the way the law enforcement has been awesome to ask questions and very friendly) recommended the Iwo Jima memorial... So I walked down the freeway off ramp and crossed the highway and met my sister on the Virginia side.

Tomorrow will be more laid back and then Tuesday will be all sorts of crazy fun again!!! The vibe in the city is great and this was SOOOOOO worth coming!