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!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

According to someone else's plan....

I'm in DC enjoying adorable little babies. So while I made it to this lovely city... well my bag didn't.  So here's the story since I really was prepared and thought this out but the best laid plans....

So I packed my bag so that I could carry my bag on. I was thinking that I don't want to chance them loosing my bag on the way to DC since I packed  all my cold weather gear that I love. So my connecting flight to Dulles was um a little small of a plane. So they were doing the whole planeside checkin thing.  Which as a concept wouldn't be that bad of a thing except for the plane was oversold. Now please note the plane was filled with high schoolers a few couples and about 3 United employees. So they were asking for one volunteer. I didn't... and I waited and then they announced that they were going to randomly select someone if no one volunteered. And I looked at a couple of those wide eyed high schoolers, felt bad, and volunteered. So while I got a free ticket out of it they didn't give me my bag back... they said it would be waiting at Dulles for me.

Nice flight to DC sat next to a cool guy from South Beach FL who was flying in for the inauguration and we chatted a good bit. Got to DC all prepared with my transportation plan... and my bag wasn't there. Not only is it not at Dulles- well no one knows where it is. So I've got one light fleece and my wimpier gloves and it's a good thing I'm staying with my sister so now I'm borrowing things. Seriously... my week wasn't crazy enough?

Tomorrow I'm hoping to wander DC a little bit and I'm not planning anything b/c plans get waylaid.  If my things don't show up I'm guessing there will be a Target/REI run inserted into this vist ;-) Oh well could be worse- the girl in front of me at the luggage claim line had her dress for one of the balls misplaced. If I end up buying more cold weather gear at least I can now use it in my normal life, right?

Furniture and boxes

Well I got most of my stuff... the legs are missing from my dining room table, a box of art books (mostly given to me by my Dad) are missing, a few other things dissapeared and a couple of things got broken. BUT...  If you think about it my stuff was moved 5! times so it's not surprising.  All I am thinking about is that I have furniture and once  I get back from DC and start unpacking I'll be all settled in. 

The movers were awesome- not as impressed with the company in general .  Once it started getting to the end of the day yesterday I was just so worn out. I caught the Goodman's basketball game at Good Sheppard (Jr High basketball games are very interesting) and hung out with them for dinner. When I got home I couldn't keep my eyes open so I was in bed by 8pm... yeah, not normal. 

I'm sitting in DIA waiting for my flight to La Guardia and then DC. I didn't get much sleep so I'm hoping to crash out on the plane. I got here insanely early for my flight so I'm just enjoying the wi-fi. I'm trying to figure out how to get closer to where Alex and Marty and the boys live so they don't have to drive out to Dulles.

Yay inauguration adventures!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Actually starting to believe I might get my furniture...

Guess what? I actually started getting ready for the movers tomorrow... apparently I'm starting to believe they might come. Of course I had to call THEM after  4pm today to confirm that they would be here between 0900 and 1100 then 1 hour after I called them I got a gal calling me from the company asking if I would take a survey about how my moving experience was.... well I told the gal I would love to take the survey but they wouldn't give me my stuff yet so the move was not complete... she's calling back next week :-)

So I've been dancing around my place with my ipod on twirling around to Devotchka and my playlists actually starting to think about where things will go and what I'm taking this weekend to DC. I assembled my drying racks for clothes down in the utility room, unpacked the camping gear and moved it to the camping closet... I even unloaded 3 out of 4 of my suitcases hanging things in the closet and trying to come up with a short term strategy for the closets in 2 different rooms and where things go till I get my furniture.  Things are starting to get more normal there is fruit (from CA, seriously) on the counter, MetroMint water in the fridge, and I'm doing laundry.

Now they didn't get a permit to move my stuff in... how do I know this you ask? Because they didn't mark off any parking areas on my street. Too bad for them someone has been horribly parked in front of my place for around 3 days taking up the 2 spots in front of my place so I guess they will have to carry things farther. Meh- their problem since it's 5.. count 'em 5! days late. Ah, if I wasn't laughing so hard I'm sure I'd be more ticked off- but at this point it's just comical.  Now if they don't show up tomorrow morning I am not going to be as chill about the whole thing.  All I need to do in the morning is put my wonderful pink camping chair and sleeping bag down in the camping closet and deflate the air mattress and then I get couches!!!! Ok they really are just things but I've been staring at this lovely empty space for over 10 days and have been imaging x will go here and y will go there and I am so eager to just live in Denver and really kick off this experiment.  While I've been getting to know Denver coffee shops and restaurants and have been meeting nice people it will be fun to be able to invite people over to my place to hang out once I unpack.  So... it's late and I need to go put things in the drier and on drying racks.  Take care you all and send good thoughts that tomorrow will go at least partially according to "plan"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No stuff... maybe Friday?

I'm learning not to hold my breath here. The latest is that they will deliver my stuff Friday... which since I am supposed to leave Saturday morning makes for a not very relaxing time frame but I'll take it if they follow through. Delivery date January 5-11... yeah right. Oh well I am learning my neighborhood and finding things to do in the evening. No TV, limited internet, and lots of exploring places to eat.

Work is going good and while I don't have all of my logins just yet I saw a fun GISy demo today so it made me smile- yay maps! Apparently I'm doing some sort of software testing tomorrow so I guess I'll learn the general software a bit more.

I'm done with work for the day... need to find the nightly adventure...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Notes to self...

Note 1- Wienhards Root Beer acts really strange at elevation- and I now live at elevation (exploding foam has been consistent on every bottle  in the 6 pack... you'd think I'd pay more attention by now)

Note 2- Buy a snow shovel tomorrow b/c after snow sweeping for about 30-45 minutes I really think the shovel will be quicker... but my path is at least clear enough that if tomorrow's weather forecast happens to be right (BIG if) then hopefully the sunshine will melt the little bit left before the movers theoretically come

Note 3- Begin inauguration research... ok this one I can do now so signing off....

It's Monday!!!!

So I woke up on my lovely new airmattress. Yes big sister, it does make the world a happier place. Since my stuff will arrive on someday later than today or tomorrow it is making life more comfy till the magical day I actually get my stuff. I'm all for camping but after 5 nights I realized I'm not 18 anymore and comfort makes for a happier morning.

I looked out the window as I was getting out and saw the beautiful sight of... about 3 inches of snow. Oh goodness... snow. I mean I live in Denver and all, but did it really have to go from the lovely 50 degress of yesterday to a snowy morning where it took me 15 minutes to clear my car? Oh and as I was clearing my car I watch 2 cars sliding arround stuggling to get up the hill in front of my house- now that's confidence building. Luckily my darling little station wagon (a Subaru what else?) performed lovely and got me safely to work... verrrrry slowwwwly and hanging out in the right lane of course. Let's hear it for the reverse commute and the more open streets! When I got to work a few people were dilligently checking my cubicle and calling me to make sure the CA girl made it in and I was very proud to say I didn't even slide into a single intersection on my way in- whew!

As soon as I finish my forms I am heading out to go home... clear off the car and enjoy crawling along the pretty white roads. It really is gorgeous even if it's intimidating right now- I do lovve that All Wheel Drive though :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yeah, no furntiture for me Sunday.

No  furniture tomorrow. Indefinate delivery date. Delivery apparently requires a permit from the city... which they haven't even started asking for... why you ask? Well b/c apparently there is no way to simply park- one must request a permit to legally block the parking spaces in the area according to the nice policeman the mover talked to. And why on earth was this not handled when I scheduled this a month ago? Well... dang it, I don't have an answer to that one.  

So now I have an unknown (hopefully prior to Friday) delivery date on a work day and I have meetings scheduled every day and it might be Monday or it might not but we have no idea when.  I must remember I violated the law against planning and have now incurred the wrath of Murphy. 

My oh so mature response to this phone call I recieved during dinner???? I ordered cheesecake. 

I am praying that I get my stuff prior to next weekend... I'm flying to DC to go to the inauguration ceremony... good thing I packed my warm clothes with me in the car... 

Ah... the weekend

Tomorrow, tomorrow... I get my furniture tomorrow.  It will be a little less than the normal easy b/c apparently they do not allow big trucks on my street- but why would it be easy? So we'll see how it gets handled.  

At the moment I am sitting in the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park looking up at the mountains of the Rocky Mountain National Park.  I didn't get a real early start today so I figured I'd take a drive, check the area/route out and gather maps and such so next time I'll actually go to the park. In the meantime I've been walking all over this gorgeous hotel with stunning views. 

Last night I had dinner with one of my friends and then when I realized I wasn't tired enough to crash I headed down the block to the local bar- apparently a Denver institution according to folks I met. I ended up hanging out till closing (thus the late start) and met a few people and  exchanged a couple of phone numbers. Denver is an amazingly friendly town. 

Well it's getting to late afternoon and I want to get down through the foothills in the light of day so I should be off.  I'm definitely coming back to Estes Park in the next couple of months- maybe a good snowshoeing expedition ;-)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


OK maybe traveling, ending old job, loading up stuff with movers, driving cross 4 states, visiting with relatives, starting new job and immediately trying to piece together the political background on the project I'm working on (the equivelant of a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle) and waiting for my new stuff while living in my new place with a folding chair and sleeping bag is a little much for a 2 week timeframe... OK well so far I've done all that in around 10 days so I think I hit the need a breather moment. Yes, yes there are those of you out there thinking- I told you so. But c'mon is the timing ever easy or right?

I'm looking for a moment of normal- a familiar couch to curl up on or my artwork on the wallls.  I finally found a spot in my house where I can find the wireless  so at least I have a connection to the outside now.  I'm hoping my stuff comes Saturday now since I didn't hear from them today. It's all going to work out wonderfully... it's just been the feeling of limbo for a bit now and I'm so close to being settled in a bit and I can almost feel it but it's just out of reach at the moment so it's been a long day.  Deep breath, drink some OJ (still looking for a good grocery store for fresh veggies and fruit), go to sleep and maybe by the end of the weekend I'll have my stuff. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hanging out at the bar....

Really I walked around a mile tonight trying to find a place with wireless and food- only found one coffee shop with wireless and no food nearby so I'm hanging at a restaurant bar eating a salad and finally finding some wireless. Work is entertaining and most of the day  has been getting the back story on the project I'm working on and getting all the forms/permissions/training done.

Yesterday was a very strange day- dropped Mom off at the airport (she made is safely home), went to work, met my landlord, did a walk through of the place, dropped by Devon's to pick up my pink folding chair, and then tried the coffee shop down the block- great tea but no wireless. Slept in my new place for the first time but I'm camping out with a sleeping bag on a pad and a camping chair in the back bedroom. 

Today was work (I can't wait for my furniture this weekend) and normal stuff till I got home. So my landlord told me he was getting the locks changed this week due to the last tenants being less than favorites. So I got home today after going to Safeway and thought- well I guess he's doing that tomorrow till I put the key in the door... and it didn't work. Um... there weren't notes on either door so I called my landlord and he said- the keys are in the kitchen next to the sink. Yeah... I couldn't get to the keys cause the door was locked. Luckily the spare key/neighbor/landlord's place dance worked again and I got my new keys. 

I do have to say though I have a great landlord- he's fixing all the little things I pointed out, calls me back, and showed me all the odd little quirks of the place. Well I have a few more things to check out while I have an internet connection so I'll check in again later. Take care all...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Moving right along...

As Kermit would say- things are moving right along... My first day of work was paperwork and meeeting people.  It was just one of those comfortable things-  a tree's worth of paper, good people, cubicle farm, and I even got my computer  today with ArcGIS on it! Yay to the mapping power.

Tomorrow Mom flies home to San Diego and I start staying in my cute and relatively empty home. Take care,

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Settling in

Well it's been a full day and I'm sure the week will get busier but we're staying in a nice Cherry Creek Marriott for 2 nights so I'm listening to my ipod music while typing on wireless. Today we stopped by the duplex and put my plant in the window, checked a couple of things that I need to go over with my landlord, and got clothes for work tomorrow. 

Work- I am going to head out to the Federal Center in Lakewood CO tomorrow and show up to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) for my new job. It'll be fun to learn what I'm doing, see my old friends, and meet new people. It is trippy to think I am working at the BLM again but in a good way.

Oh and today was family fun as the moms and us kids (with thier kids) all met up at a Starbucks. It's good to meet folks from around here and relatives are always especially nice. 

Signing off for the night- take care 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

We define slow moving vehicle... and so we live in the right lane

We made it successfully down the hill to Denver today.  After a great morning getting a tour of Vail and Beaver Creek from Mark and Erin we headed out of Vail with it snowing and the roads relatively clear.  Heading onto the freeway on unplowed roads with a few inches of snow I learned a little bit about how my Subaru handles and what anti-lock brakes feel like... just to test it. Everything worked flawlessly except the speed. Note to those looking at Subarus... yes, the extra oomph in the engine is worth it.  My little legacy complained a bit up over Vail pass at over 10,000 ft and then over Loveland pass and a few other times too. We hung out maxed out at 45mph and it felt like the OLP Texas St challenge of trying to make it up to the speed limit. The roads cleared of snow entirely after Loveland Pass and since it was getting towards 3pm we joined the ski traffic of all the resorts headed back to the city.  It really was just a bit over 2 hours so not bad at all. 

Got to the rental duplex and tried to work the lock box that I think origionally came with the place back in 1910- no luck with the code but luckily my neighbor helped me obtain the key from the landlord via a cellphone and spare key adventure. The bikes are mostly put together again and living in thier new home known as the garage. The plant is alive and happily awaiting his new kitchen home in the window and all the boxes and bags are in from the car. 

Mom got in touch with my Dad's cousin Bette Ann and met her for dinner at a local diner. There was some string of exchanging phone numbers and calls by the parental age group to make that happen so thanks to all.  Mom and Bette Ann compared notes and mapped out thier kids as well as described thier respecive towns.  It was fun to meet/catch up with family that I haven't seen in about 14 years and tomorrow we're meeting even more of the extended family that lives out around Denver (the Cavenaugh side of the house I believe) for coffee. 

Tonight we hung out with the Goodmans and are crashing here for the night since we came down a little earlier than planned. Tomorrow I'm going to give Mom a tour of Denver and we'll settle down in the hotel for a couple of nights. 

I'm tired, a bit sore, happy, and very excited.  Monday I'm going to try and narrow down the window of when my stuff is coming so that I can come up with a game plan so that it can be changed by things beyond my control. Tonight it's snowing and Lakewood/Denver looks pretty.

It's snowing

Did we really think that we could have escaped a January drive across country without driving in the snow at least part of the time?  We've awoken to a nice blowing snow starting to cover the car. Putting the bikes on the car should be a little more challenging than in San Diego- ok not really challenging necessarily but definitely cold. 

I'm hoping to check out Vail a little before we head down. It's going to possibly snow in Denver today in which case I'm guessing one of my first Denver purchases will be a snow shovel. We'll be heading down today instead of Sunday.  

Adventures abound...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Made it to Vail!

Hundreds of miles later and we made it safely to the Vail area... staying at my cousin's in Edwards Colorado (thanks Mark and Erin!).

Will post more later but the drive was stunning through Utah and we detoured down to Moab for a short trip.  I got mom out to Arches NP and we even went for a short walk to stand under an arch. Will try and post pictures tomorrow.

We are thinking of heading down Sat night b/c snow is expected and the end of the weekend is coming with all that holiday traffic.  A short tour of Vail is scheduled tomorrow and it's less than 120 miles left to make it to Denver- my legs will be happy to be walking not driving. 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

564 miles and one lost wheel...

We are safe and sound in a cute little b&b in Cedar City, Utah.  We've traveled about 650 miles (we added about 50 miles going through Mojave National Preserve) and have had a gorgeous day in sunshine and approx 60 degrees.  We are officially on mountain standard time (MST) and I still need to adjust all those clocks.

Traffic was light most of the way and the new year has started off well. We stopped for lunch at a stunningly restored train station at Kelso in the Mojave NP  and had lunch and then saw one of the densest known Joshua Tree forests.  Joshua trees always remind me of  trees from Dr. Suess' illustrations.  The short drive though the corner of Arizona was wonderful with rocks jutting up and roads thrust down into the canyon bottom.

Oh are y0u wondering about that lost wheel in the title?  Well let's just say that while the bike racks on my roof rack are very sturdy (as evidenced by the previous night's adventure witth the garage door) well... the front wheel holders didn't work out so well.  The crazy thing is that we NEVER heard the runaway wheel (luckily the one without the disc brakes) or anyone honk or any feedback.  Yup we discovered the wheel holder was still there but the city wheel ran away. The mtn bike wheel wouldn't stay upright so it joined us in the car.  I'm going to have to review the wheel set-up when settled in Denver.

Other than that little adventure it's been a nice drive. Tomorrrow is onto the Vail area hopefully with a little detour into Arches National Park.  Nighty night time... must sleep lots of driving to do!

Did you dare even think the words.... according to plan?

I was packed. It was 8:57 PST and 3 minutes till the new year on the east coast and the car was packed except for my stained glass window. My bag for the next 4 days was in the room with the computer bag. My new cell battery was in, the camera was charging... I was sitting with mom on the couch trying to find a channel playing NYE stuff. Seriously- me? The eternal packing at 2am person to catch a 6am flight? I dared to think the words wow- this is going according to plan.

Then I went to get something from the garage and when I went to close it... well it wasn't closing. Turns out the disengage thing for the garage door had hooked on my bike handlebars on top of my car. Turned off the garage door opener, went to move the car, and as I'm backing out of the garage I hear a crunch... my car cleared on the way in- I mean no problem cleared it.  Moved the car forward and felt that spinning feeling... that spinning of oh how bad is it? Are my bikes damaged? the bike rack? and even more important... the garage door?

The bike rack on my city bike dented the garage door. Then starts the game... OK let's get the bike rack off... why is it sticking out so much (oh cause it was nearly ripped off the bike)... why won't it come off? Did you know when I was packing I found the directions to this particular bike rack (and I remember thinking... wow that's easy to remove... funny those directions are somewhere packed with all my bike things and figuring out that easy trick seemed harder now). So take the bike off, realize the secret to removing the rack is leverage, repack a little, move the car, on second try garage door works and still seems weatherproof though a bit dented. Deep breaths as I'm doing this lovely show for my poor mom (whose garage door I dented) while trying to maintain my composure and appologize. 

Now see... this is more like moving :-P

Stained glass is mostly packed. It's nearly midnight and that new year is looking mighty promising as long as I remember not to plan.