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Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Update (Beware--it's long!)

After taking a long hiatus from blogging, i have so many blog ideas. We have had so much going on since my last post over a week ago.
This year, we spent Christmas away from Kansas for the first time ever (that I know of). My family drove out here to spend the holiday with Matt and I. I really appreciated this because Matt had to work every day this past week and I would have been so lonely without my family. On the same note, I hope that Matt working Christmas wasn't too hard and lonely on him. It's a hard time of year to have to work so much!
Tuesday, I got home from work and errands and baked, baked, and baked some more. I made ginger snaps, peanut butter cookies with Hershey's kisses, and apple pie, butterscotch oatmeal cookies, chex mix and chex Muddy Buddies. My family got here right as I finished up. I know they had to battle snow and high winds to get here. The odd thing is that Denver didn't get more than a few flurries here and there, even though we were in an 80% chance for snow.
Wednesday, my mom and I stole the Highlander and went shopping. We went to Cherry Creek mall because it was a little tamer than the other one I went to. (Less kids running around and no adults on roller skate shoes.) I finished up my shopping for the most part.
We got home and made our Christmas Eve tradition meal: chili and cinamon rolls. I'm not sure how or when this became our traditional meal. I got to use all of my new china and crystal, and the table looked great! I was so proud.
When Matt got home, we opened presents. It was really late when we went to bed and I had to get up early before church to start get the turkey in the oven. Luckily, my mom got up and helped me with that one. I was so tired that I took the turkey out of the fridge and looked at it and thought "What am I supposed to do with you?" Mom took over and rubbed it down with sage and oil and butter. It turned out beautiful and delicious.
We managed to get Christmas dinner on the table after church in plenty of time for Matt to eat before heading off to work. This was somewhat of a challenge because I was trying to combine both ours and Matt's family traditions, which meant turkey and Honey Baked ham, adding green bean casserole and making corn, rolls, mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. Matt was the only one to have a piece of the apple pie. He ate like a champ! :)
I took a nap, then my dad and brother and the dogs and I went for a walk through Cherry Creek State Park. The lake was frozen and Brennan walked out on the water! Dad and I were scared for various reasons. He couldn't watch!
Friday was sad because everyone was leaving. Matt went to work and my family left in the midafternoon. The house felt so empty after that so I put the dogs in the kennel and went for a drive. I passed the dealer where we bought the Highlander and saw Matt's old car on the lot. It looks good, but I couldn't see a price on it. I didn't want to drive in to the dealer to check, so it will remain a mystery. Still, I miss that car and it wasn't even mine!
I found a few bargains at some stores but wasn't in the mood for shopping so I went back home and slept and slept and slept. I slept so much I scared myself. Saturday, Matt had to work AGAIN so he could have the 2nd of January off. I took the dogs to the dog park after he left. Pongo had a blast but Perdi had to stay on the leash because the big dogs would scare her and she would run off. When we were alone, I let her off and she chased Pongo all around. She came back when I called her, which is a great sign for such a little puppy. After that, the dogs got to go to Petsmart and get some treats since we were running low. What spoiled dogs we have!
Sunday, we planed to go skiing, but Matt was so tired and we thought it best that we all just rest that day. We did end up going to the dog park again, and this time Perdi spent most of the time off leash. She and Pongo played chase through the bushes by the river and had a grand old time! They were so tired when we got home, which gave me a chance to make some more turkey noodle soup. (Matt didn't get any the first time.) I must say, the second batch was much better. It is a great way to use up leftover turkey! All you need is chicken broth, cut up turkey meat, carrots, celery and a bit of basil, bay leaves and parsely. Throw it all in a crock pot and let it simmer as long as you like. I added some large egg noodles and it was fabulous. I love love love turkey or chicken noodle soup though. It has always been a favorite of mine.

I can't believe how fast 2008 has gone. This has been one of the most exciting years to date.
This year:
-We got married
-We honeymooned in St. Lucia
-We moved to Colorado
-I fell in the Arkansas river a couple times
-We started this blog
-We spent many weekends camping in the mountains
-We both started new jobs
-We brought a second beagle into our house
-I got accepted to grad school at Purdue
-We learned to ski
-We bought a new SUV
-We had SO MANY wonderful visits from friends and family and look forward to many more.

What a busy and wonderful year! We look forward to continuing to keep you all up to date on our lives on Mountain Millards for years to come. With any luck, the upcoming years will be as wonderfully exciting as this past year has been and we will have great stories to share. If I don't get another post up before 2009, I hope you all have a wonderful new year! We will see some of you soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Late Again

I am one day late with this post, but trust me, I was so tired last night after skiing that I wouldn't have been able to form a coherent sentence.
Yesterday was Barbara's birthday, and since I have been TRYING (I emphasize that word) to write a few nice words about as many people as I can on their birthdays, I really feel bad that this is a little late.
Like myself, Barbara is a (semi) recent edition to Matt's family. She and Bill were married in the spring of 2006 and I was one of the lucky ones who got to be there. Ever since then, Matt and I have been treated to nothing short of wonderful hospitality and excellent meals every time we are over at their house, even when we have two ornery beagles in tow!
Barbara is very dedicated to her family and her students. It is always fun when we are all together at birthdays, holidays or just ordinary gatherings. My favorite was the "Cars" themed birthday party we attended this past March. Barbara has done a great job raising her three boys, Tim Brett and Jon. All three are polite and helpful all the time and I love being a part of such a large family when we are all gathered.
I love that Barbara is passionate about participating in the fight against breast cancer, which is something that hits very close to home in my own family history. She and Bill were also some of the first guests we had out here in Colorado and we hope they return anytime they can! (We have a better guest bed now!)
Barbara, Matt and I both hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Police Gathering

I am pretty exhausted tonight after taking dinner to Matt and the pharmacists at the hospital, then fighting massive crowds at the mall just to get a few last things for Christmas. I'm done except for Brennan, who can't seem to figure out ANYTHING (besides a car) that he wants for Christmas.

Since my creative juices will soon give way to useless rambling, I will tell this story. Matt let me drive the new car today because he knew I would have shopping and errands to do, plus I could get it ready for skiing tomorrow. While I was picking up the orders for the pharmacists at Chipotle, I noticed a few police cars parked outside the restaurant. When I had paid for everything and left Chipotle, there were three policemen gathered in front of the Highlander. Here is the conversation that followed:

Officer: "Maam, is this your car?"

Me: "Yes, is there a problem."

Officer: "What kind of gas mileage does it get?"

Me(baffled): "17 in the city, 23 on the highway."

Officer #2: "Is this the Rav4?"

Me: "No, sir. It's a Highlander."

Officer #3: "Oh yeah, it's the one that's built on the Camry chasis."

Me: "Actually, it's the Avalon now."

Officer: (Eyes wide) "So it's bigger than the old ones?"

Me. "Yes, I suppose so."

Officer: "This just might be my next car when my Camry dies."

Me: "Your Camry will never die. Trust me."



So they were just discussing the car when I got out there, but I figured that with my luck and new cars, they would be writing me up a ticket or something! This was the first casual and fun conversation with a policeman that I have had in a long time. I told Matt this story and he said he would have been freaked out if he had seen that many cops around the car. I took it as a compliment if they liked it that much, even covered in dirt and road chemicals as it was at that point. (I ran it through the car wash tonight because I am told by many people that the mag chlorite they put down out here really can do damage to a car.) I hope we made a good choice of car...after all, it seems to catch the attention of policemen, which is not ALWAYS a good thing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December is Full of Birthdays!

Well I promised a new car post, but this is much better. Today is Alissa's birthday, and even though the day is almost over, I am going to dedicate this post to her. Alissa is one amazing person. She is passionate about everything in her life from school and AKPsi to love, friends and family. Again, I am fortunate to now officially be included in the "family" section of that last sentence.
Alissa is one AMAZING photographer. And not only that, she is organized with her photos and shares them for all to see. This is a stark contrast to myself, who can barely manage to even get a rough set of wedding photos printed! Anyhow, I always love seeing the photos she takes.
Alissa was among the first visitors we had out here in Colorado. She has no idea how much her trip helped ease our transition out here. She even flew us our favorite beer in her suitcase! She is also a wonderful "aunt" to our beagles and their tails are always wagging when they see her.
Imagine this: having a pair of twin older brothers and being the lone younger sister. I don't pretend to know much about being in that situation, but I can imagine it may have felt a little bit like being a "third wheel" at times. Well I just hope she knows that she is never a (now) "fifth wheel" when we are all together. Wherever we are, no matter what we are doing (family gatherings, weddings, dinners with friends), etc...it is always more fun when she is there.
Matt and I really wish we could be in Manhattan on Friday to join in her birthday celebration. It is hard missing out on things like this now that we live so much farther away. We can't wait to see her on our trip to Kansas in a couple weeks!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALISSA!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Through Someone Else's Eyes

I decided to watch a movie tonight while waiting for Matt to get home. However, I was just on the phone with my mom and I think she could definitely use some cheering up with all the stress she has in her life right now. So I decided to watch Love Actually through her eyes since I've seen it so many times. I am going to do this and see if I should recommend it to her as a cheer-up kind of movie, which is definitely what it is for me. It also really gets me in the Christmas Spirit. I don't know if she even has enough time to watch a movie nowadays, but my family is coming out for Christmas in two short weeks, so I may MAKE her sit and watch this with me, if I approve of it as I watch it this way. It really does add a new perspective on the movie for me as well. And still, it is making me teary eyed and goose bumpy even after the umpteenth time of watching it. It's definitely a new holiday tradition, started many years ago in college with a wonderful awesome friend. You know who you are. :) Okay, it's Anne!
I'm ending this post now because I'm getting scatterbrained and missing out on some of my favorite parts of the movie, but here's my holiday challenge for you all: watch your favorite movie through someone else's eyes and see how your reactions change with a different perspective.
NEW CAR POST COMING SOON!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Picture Hiatus


I haven't posted any pictures for a while, so I thought I would do that tonight. However, when I looked through my most recent ones, all I could find were pictures of the dogs (big surprise!). I realized that we didn't take ANY over Thanksgiving, at least with my camera!

We got Perdi her own bed. Here are the dogs sleeping in their beds.



Every once in a while, everyone will settle down for a nap. Here, even Matt indulged.

We have noticed that Perdi likes to "bury" things. This really intrigues us, since Pongo never did it. The vet gave us the "all clear" to give Perdi flat rawhides, which has been a livesaver. She chews them down a little and then buries the rest. She buries them under the couch, in her bed or Pongo's bed or under the Christmas tree. Tonight, she buried one in her kennel, which I'm going to take as a good sign. It is so funny to watch because she digs a "hole" with her paws, inserts the bone, and then covers it with air dirt until she is satisfied.




Oh, those eyes! She is getting so big!
Today, I must end with a birthday comment. Matt's mom is celebrating her birthday today and what can we say to truly portray our appreciation of everything she does? Arlene is always patient, happy and in a good mood. She always has a joke to tell to cheer us up or break the ice and she is always there to lend a hand with anything. She puppysat Pongo many times, even during his puppyhood, putting Matt and I at ease knowing that he was in good hands instead of his kennel.
Arlene is a wonderful cook and is always ready to prepare a meal for us, whether we live 10 minutes or 10 hours away. Her dedication to her family is unwavering and I am so lucky to have gained such a caring and supportive mother-in-law in May when I married Matt. These are just my own observations. I'm sure Matt has much more he would add if he were home to blog.
Happy Birthday, Arlene!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dissapearing Dog and Other Ramblings

It snowed so much here last night that this morning when I took Perdi out (after she slept ALL NIGHT!!!) she disappeared in the snow as soon as she was out the door! I'd say we got a good 6 inches and that was the non drifted snow. It's a good thing she likes to be outside, snowy or sunny. However, Perdi really drove me nuts last night. She told me she needed to go out, so I opened the door immediately and she did her business. Not a minute after she got back inside, she went on a blanket. Ah, I guess its one step forward, two steps back with her. Still, she is really learning to go to the door and let us know, which is so exciting.
Work was really crazy today. I'm still trying to keep up with the airports, and we are getting work in the secret room too. My supervisor lives in Colorado Springs at a much higher elevation so when it snows, he has problems getting to work and didn't make it in today. Of course, everyone else in my work group had just finished a big project and needed to get started familiarizing themselves with the new software in the secure room, which wasn't set up yet. Yipes! We had all kinds of trouble and I was the only one who used the software before. It was definitely a balancing act to figure it out. I called everyone I could, including the Dayton office, my WAM co-workers, and finally the software company themselves. I finally got somewhere after that. It was a long day.
I was amazed this morning as I slowly drove to work in the 6 inches of snow on the street at how snow doesn't seem to tame the crazy driving out here. While my car seemed to want to lose control at the slightest tap of the brakes, others were careening wildly in and out of my lane. If I needed my space driving before, it is 10 times more true in the snow when I am less likely to be able to stay in control of the car if I need to brake quickly. Am I missing some Denver memo? I drive in low gear in the snow...that doesn't seem to be the cure, though it does help a lot. Anybody have thoughts on winter tires? It has been suggested to me a couple of times...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Skiing: Awesome and Painful

I've been meaning to write this post for days. Matt and I had our first ski trip this weekend. It was so much fun and I can't wait to go again. Yes, it was painful but let me explain. We got up way early for a Saturday (5:30 am), got dressed and left the puppies in their respective places. We met up with Dave and Mary at 6:45 and headed to Breck. The drive wasn't bad, not too much traffic. But when we got there, it took us 45 minutes to park!
We got to the top of the mountain just in time to start our day of lessons. We started with the very basics: sliding around on one ski, going up a magic carpet (mini lift that you stand on) and stopping using "pizza." (pointing your skis together) Before lunch, we were already up the lift to the bunny hill. At first, I wasn't really concentrating on turning myself to control my speed, rather, I used the "pizza" all the way down. That got really exhausting and my teacher made me follow him to see how I should be doing it.
I didn't mind his hints at all, but he seemed to feel the need to babysit Matt and ski with him all the time, giving constant tips. Matt and this other girl (who was REALLY struggling) were lumped together in the same group, and I thought Matt was doing a lot better than to deserve that.
One funny story is that right after we got off the ski lift the first time, we had to ski around a curve to get to the learning slope. Well I got going too fast around the curve and couldn't stop so I flung myself into a snowdrift. At least it was a soft landing! I seemed to do fine during the lessons, but when it came time to go down the actual full bunny slope, everything left my mind. I would get going too fast because it was a lot steeper than the learning area and so I would just fall. This probably happened 6-7 times! I was really frustrated but I know i'll get it. Needless to say, I was the last one down the mountain.
Now for the pain part: falling didn't cause it. My calves were so sore yesterday that I didn't even want to walk! Even today at work, I was drawing funny looks. I have never had that sore of muscles, not even in track! I am feeling much better this evening. I think part of it was that I was dehydrated.
Matt and I were so tired after that trip. I especially felt bad for Matt, who worked Thurs. night, got up early Friday to work the day shift so he could go to my Christmas party Friday night. We got up early Saturday to ski and really put our bodies through a lot. I spent Sunday cleaning the house and doing laundry while Matt hung Christmas lights. Then we went out for dinner and did some shopping and bought a real live Christmas tree. The tree is really tall and beautiful and we got a great price on it because they had discounted it for a "bare spot" that you can hardly notice. This is the first year I have had my own real tree! We have never really had the room or money before. It smells so good too. We still need to decorate it and the house, but I'm just happy it's up and the house is clean.
Right now as I type this, I have two sleeping dogs beside me. They are tired from their trip to the vet, where each of them got a handful of vaccinations and ear swabs. Perdi has gotten rid of her ear mites but now she has yeast in her ears. We have to wash out both of their ears with a perscription solution to make sure that everything gets taken care of. Not fun. Here's a tip for all of you Coloradans: if you get homesick and want to talk to someone from Kansas, go to a vet. I think they are all K-State grads, since it has such a good vet school, and they are all Kansas natives as well. It makes me feel a little closer to Kansas when I go to the vet with the dogs.
Now it is snowing like mad outside. I hope Matt gets home safely. We will have at LEAST 4 inches of snow by morning, but that's the conservative forecast. Like I said, it is really coming down.
We are negotiating with a Toyota dealer on a Highlander this week. I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jumpy

For some reason, I am very jumpy tonight. I don't know why I'm so on edge, but I have been very productive tonight, despite this fact. I decided to try a brand new recipe since I already had most of the ingredients. I have been watching a show on TLC called "17 Kids and Counting." It is crazy how many kids are in this family but they are so resourseful and live without debt! (They make their own laundry detergent.) The other night, the mom was teaching the young boys how to make Tater Tot Casserole, and it looked really good so I tried it.
Mine turned out very well, although it is almost the same thing as Shepherd's Pie, sub tater tots for mashed potatoes. Yummy! I hope it reheats well for Matt. I feel silly cooking for myself but he really enjoys having leftovers. I also baked a loaf of pumpkin bread, so the house smells delicious. It was just a quick bread mix, but I figure we can have it for breakfast on Saturday on our way to Breckenridge.
It snowed all day long today in Denver. It's not the same snow as in KC. Now I know what they are talking about when they say "fresh powder" in referral to the ski slopes. It is much dryer here than KC, so the snow is little powdery flakes. It is very easy to shovel because it is so light. I cleared the driveway, sidewalks and deck in about 20 minutes. Pongo and Perdi helped me, except Pongo got cold and sat shaking by the front door until I was done.
The one problem with the snow was that I misjudged how long it would take me to get around, and I didn't leave work early enough to get P & P to their vet appointments. This really bummed me out because I wanted to get it taken care of and I left work early, but the vet understood and we rescheduled for Monday. It works out better because they get to see the vet I took Perdi to last time. I really like him and the practice as a whole. It is quite a bit farther away, but they do a really good job with the dogs and we are on the same page as to what meds P & P should be on. (a.k.a. Heartworm preventative all the time). Now if only I could find a good dentist...for Matt and I of course!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Constant Battle

I don't know how you moms out there do it. I am in a constant battle to keep my house clean and I don't even have kids. I don't know how so much STUFF can just accumulate so quickly and I just can't seem to get organized. Our Dyson is in constant use and no matter how often I vacuum, it still faithfully fills the canister every time. It makes me wonder how much good our old vacuum even did. But with two dogs coming in and out of the house, it sure is nice to be able to know I am not wasting my time with the vacuum anymore.
Perdi is getting so big. We will have had her three weeks on Friday. She is beginning to tell us when she needs to go outside (instead of us just guessing and putting her out). She still has the occaisional accident. It is fun to watch her personality emerge. Yesterday, she ate her dinner and decided that she wanted more, so she carried her bowl to me. She did it with Matt again this morning.
I also replaced her "snuzzle buddy," which I burned in the microwave before we left for Thanksgiving. It is essentially a Beanie Baby filled with buckeyes that you can heat in the microwave. I do this at night so she feels like she isn't alone. She was so excited to have that thing back! She carried it to her bed, then into her "new" crate (she graduated to a bigger one yesterday as well).
I updated my Facebook status to say that I wish Perdi would sleep through the night. Well she almost did! I had to get up at 5 am to let her out, but that was it. I was a little bummed because I get up at 5:30 and it seemed silly to go back to sleep after that, but overall I had to be pleased. I think the bigger crate had a lot to do with it. She only wimpered three times before bed, then fell asleep. It is such a blessing to be making progress with her. She is still howling every time I get home though. I'm not sure if she just starts up when the garage opens of if she just cries for 4-5 hours. I guess only Pongo knows that.
I am excited for the Woolpert Christmas party on Friday. I am not sure what to expect or what to wear, but I know it will be fun and a good opportunity to get to know my co-workers even more. I always look forward to events that take place outside the office. This is something I really miss about WAM still, though I know I have mentioned that before.
And the last bit of news is that Matt and I have planned our first ski trip for Saturday. We are going up to Breckenridge with some friends bright and early Saturday morning. There has been a lot of snowfall this week, so we are going to take some lessons and maybe try an easy slope. I am so glad that my first skiing experience will be at Breckenridge!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I am finally getting to my Thanksgiving post. It seems, as always, that there are a million things to do when you get home from travelling. Unpacking, laundry, catching up on sleep... I have to admit, I was a bit stressed about travelling with two dogs, one being a two month old puppy. First and foremost, I have to thank every one of our hosts (Dave, Sheila, Mom, Dad, Bill, Barbara and Arlene) for putting up with us! We were a bit high maintenance with our brood of dogs this time around. THANK YOU ALL!!!
We had a great weekend, despite spending much of it on the road. We were lucky in that we got to see many of both of our families and have three official Thanksgiving meals. Needless to say, I am back in the routine of running again. I don't want all of that food to catch up to me! I have been giving the dogs "the slip" so I can get out and run on my own. Today, it was warm so I left them in the back yard to play. I don't think they hardly noticed my absense. Ahh, I regress.
So we spent four days in Kansas and each night, a different bed. Wednesday night, we stayed in Kingman. I always love getting out into the country. It is so beautiful and reminds me of the summers I spent on Grandpa's farm when I was little. We spent Thanksgiving catching up with the Goverts, which I always love. We have such fun family gatherings. The dogs loved it too...they got to run around freely in the afternoon and were even treated to a tour of the farm in the back of a Gator cart.
We drove to Manhattan Thursday night and Matt and I stayed at my dad's training center on our air matress. Pongo did not want to go to sleep that night and it drove me crazy! We went out to brunch at the Chef Cafe, a place that recently re-opened in downtown Manhattan. I used to go there with my parents a lot the first time it was open. For some reason, all I remember is the applesauce. I used to get some dish with applesauce, which I loved. Well, the menu has changed a little, but the food was still great and the coffee even better!
After brunch, we packed up again and hit the road, this time to Kansas City and Thanksgivings #2 and 3. Bill and Barbara had a wonderful meal Friday evening. It was fun with everyone there, both her three sons and their guests and the Millard kids and Mary Anne and Gordon (Matt's aunt and uncle). Much of my time was spent outside with Perdi. I really didn't want her to have an accident, because all of the tavelling must have been really confusing for her when she is still learning in her own home environment. She and Pongo both behaved relatively well. Perdi still struggles with being quiet in her kennel when left alone, which is embarassing. We had a great evening all in all, and Alissa was so nice to let Matt and I stay in her room Friday night. It was the first good bed we had stayed in and it felt so good. (Night #1, cheap motel. Night #2, air matress.)
Saturday, we headed across town to Arlene's house for our third and final Thanksgiving. What a great day! Catching up with family, fabulous food, a spectacular win for KU football and we played a fun new game called Apples to Apples. I imagine we'll need to get that game for future camping trips.
We also got to see some good friends (Anne, Jake, Marcos) on Saturday evening. Arlene and Ron were so nice to watch Perdi (and Pongo) for us for a couple hours. I was worried because she can be a pill. I think I worry too much. With so much going on that day, I slept GREAT that night. Perdi did us a favor and slept for 6 hours straight. I tell you, puppies are almost as much work as I imagine babies are!
Sunday morning, Pongo decided to be a pill. Sometimes, his nose just gets the better of him and Arlene was cooking bacon...I am naive in the fact that I expect Pongo to be perfect now that we have the puppy. Is this what it's like when you have a second child? Anyway, we had to keep an extra eye on him, as discipline did not seem to effect his determination to get bacon. He is such a great dog 99% if the time and is really great with Perdi now. He checks on her when she's sleeping and comes to get me when she is getting into something he knows she shouldn't be. Dogs are so strange with their personalities! They are truly small people trapped in a dog's body.
We made one last stop before we started our long drive back to Denver. We introduced Perdi to my cousin Audrey, who really really wants a beagle puppy but is allergic to dogs. We didn't stay very long but it was still wonderful to see them again.
I think I'll end this long post by saying what I am thankful for. Again, I am very thankful that it worked out for us to be at every family gathering and see so many loved ones. I am thankful for safe travel and my wonderful puppies who kept us company. But most of all, I am thankful for 4 whole days with my husband, free of crazy work schedules. Of course this list is incomplete. I could go on and on, but I have lost my creativity after typing so much. It's bedtime for me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good and Timely News

Well Matt certainly has taken the reigns with our blog lately. I love it. I love reading what he writes about our lives from his perspective. I hope he keeps it up.
I am very happy that this week is only 3 days long. I can’t wait to travel and see so many of each of our families. I can’t believe how well everything worked out, trying to organize 3 different Thanksgivings. Matt and I are going to be stuffed with food by this weekend. I am excited about driving and not having to limit what I bring back. It would be nice if we were making the trip in a nice new Highlander…but we are not done looking and test driving yet and my civic will really save us on gas. Plus, we want to compare prices in the Kansas City area. I am looking forward to heading to the Honda dealership to look at the Pilot.
Anyhow, I promised good news so here it is. Today I was officially accepted to Purdue University for my M.S. in Geomatics! My heart was beating so fast as I opened up that email. (Yes, it’s email now instead of the old fashioned mailed letter.) I instantly relaxed when I read the first word: “Congratulations.”Mixed in with my excitement is fear. I hope I can be successful with this program. I’ve seen some of the textbooks, and they look eerily similar to my meteorology texts with all of the frightening equations. It is also a distance program, so I will be responsible for downloading lectures and homework. I won’t have the professors available in person to ask for help. It will take a lot of work and focus on top of a full time job that already requires that of me. I think Matt and I better raise our coffee budget.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Update

Just a quick post about the weekend.

I am getting excited for thanksgiving break and seeing family and stuff. I have had a good amount of time off of work now and am going to be able to use it to actually go home. Plans are to see Lor's family first in Kingman and then head to KC for my family. It will be fun and filling as I'm sure we will get lots of food. Hopefully we can see some friends somewhere along the way.

This weekend we were just kinda lazy. It was fun. We did manage to do some research and test drove a couple of cars. It takes a long time to do that when the sales people talk a lot. We are looking at something a little bigger (SUV-type) so that we can have room to travel from here to the mountains to home with the dogs and other large objects (i.e. skis).

We started with Toyota because we have friends with the 4Runner who just love it, so we wanted to look at that. While we were there we wanted to look at the Highlander also. Both of the cars we liked. I think if we had to decide right now, we would go with the Highlander because of a bunch of little things; things like having a third row seat, and the fact that it gets better gas mileage.

Other than our trip to Toyota, we just hung out with friends and played with the puppies, who can never get enough attention. I am excited this week for all the sports stuff that is on (KU basketball Monday and Tuesday), so I will probably be busy watching that. I'm sure we will have more posts after thanksgiving, but since we will be out of town we will probably not do one between Wednesday and Sunday. But who knows. TTFN (tatafornow).

Puppy Picture:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Return of the Matt

So, this is Matt again. It had been a while (ok a really long time) since I last blogged here for y'all and thought I would start up again. I will try to do more regular posts to give everyone my point of view on the world as well as some more pictures that, at this time, are only on my computer.

First things first, the puppy!! Perdi is soooo cute. I know Laura felt bad a little bit about getting another dog cause we had it so good with Pongo, and he had it so good with us, but now he has a buddy to play with. They are really cute together, whether they are just laying there or chasing each other in the back yard. The thing that gets me about Perdi is her eyes. She has these bright green eyes. I just melt when she looks at me all tired with her eyes. Here is a pic that I took to demonstrate:



Here is another one with her just being cute, same day:








And now an obligatory picture of Pongo being cute. This is when we were driving with Susie to the mountains. I just love the picture and am glad I was in the backseat to take it. Pongo likes to face the back of the car between the front seats. Here you go









So now that i have mentioned the puppies, what else is going on. Well, I am working a lot and I like it for the most part. Sometimes it is really busy (it has been this last week), but if everyone helps out a little bit, it is not too bad. I think that when more people help, it really brings the staff together. There is sometimes a lack of cohesiveness between the staff, but when everyone is working on the same thing (like checking medications for the hospital for a 12 hour period) it brings everyone together.

I really like making interventions on orders that make a difference. It makes me feel like I am really there for a reason. When the nurses and medical residents make my job difficult or don't understand what I am talking about I feel as though I can't fully do my job. Just the other day, I was telling one of my managers about a situation that arose that I tried to make an intervention on, and she was really impressed. This happened in front of the residents who were impressed (as they should be because I'm awesome *wink**wink*) and they said that I always caught stuff. Made me feel like I was doing a good job. Eh, its the little things that count right?

The residents that I work with are pretty cool too. They work a ton and I do not wish to be in there shoes. Since I have worked with them, it made me realize that I did not work enough with the pharmacists at Children's Mercy. I did eventually get to know them, but I think I would have had more fun had I worked more with them earlier in the year.

So the other stuff that has been going on is that Laura and I are getting ready for ski season. We have our skis rented and are in the process of getting all our gear. I'm pretty excited to learn how to ski and I think it will be fun with Laura. I'm really glad that we got a good phone plan together with text messaging cause that makes my days better. When I can text her when I need something its great. I wish I wasn't as busy at work because I would talk with her more, especially since its night, but I try to talk as much as I can. Maybe with the next schedule I will land some shifts that have better hours so that I can spend some time @ home @ night with her. I think I would like that :).

Finally, I love sports. College basketball has started and I'm already eating it up. I can't wait so see how my Kansas Jayhawks do this year after losing a starting five that won a national championship. On that note, as I said earlier I will post more, but I will also be starting my own sports themed blog with my opinions and insights into as many sports as I have time for. It will most likely have a bunch of stuff about KU, but seeing as I graduated from there, it should. I will post a link in the comments and will put it in a post later. Talk to you all soon and comment, comment on our blogs (especially Lor's). Adios and Aloha.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Puppy Dog Tails

Life is certainly more entertaining these days. I am so proud of Pongo for getting over his jealousy and becoming a great "big brother" to Perdi. I have received some great tips from friends and the internet today for crate training and Perdi is already making good progress even though she is still a bit young to be left in the crate for significant periods of time (aka, an hour) but she is just starting to understand that she can go in there and hide from Pongo. He sometimes gets a bit too rough with her. We'll see how tonight goes, sleeping wise.



She's chewing a puppy approved bone.




Sleeping in the sun.


I'm still contemplating options for thanksgiving. My mom sarcastically said we certainly picked great timing to get this dog, with the holidays coming up. She is right, of course. One of my co-workers offered to watch Perdi, which would certainly make things much easier. The only drawbacks are that she couldn't meet all of her Kansas relatives and we also risk losing whatever progress we have made with her training at that point. We will definietely bring Pongo back with us. I can't believe we'll be leaving in a week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Girl

Well call us crazy but we brought another little beagle home to join our family last Friday. Her name is Perdi (to go along with the 101 Dalmations theme) and she is a dream to train so far compared to Pongo. For example, she sleeps in the car instead of panting wildly. Her biggest downfall is the crying (shrieking) at night. It gets better each day though. So we are going through the stresses and sleeplessness of puppy training again. I think this must be like what having a second child is like. Luckily, the weather is cooperating wonderfully for potty training.



Pongo is sharing his things well, including his water bowl. At first, he just wanted his space, but he is warming up to her and even plays with her quite often, even though she is so small.


I love having a girl dog! Here, I have her dressed up in a little pink hoodie. I know she'll grow out of it, but I wanted to have a keepsake of her size when we got her.



Almost everyone I have asked advice about beagles on has told me that they are much better in pairs. I can NOT imagine training two at a time, so I'm glad we waited until Pongo is fully trained to do this. I am hoping that when she gets older, Perdi will help Pongo get over his seperation anxiety. I'm sure it will either help or get twice as bad. I guess it's a bit of a gamble. I'm hoping I'm a little wiser this time around with the training. We are going much slower with the crate. Do any of you beagle owners out there have any suggestions for crate training? So far, we are just feeding her in her crate and giving her treats and a stuffed Kong with the door open. She sleeps in the laundry room, so she is not spending significant amounts of time in the crate yet. I'm hoping we can make some progress by the time we leave for our travels next week. Yikes!

Anyway, for those of you who think we are nuts for doing this, I was feeling the exact same way as I lay awake listening to her cry the first couple of nights. But I have Pongo to prove that things get just better with patience. So if anything, this dog is giving me a lesson in patience, which I need to be reminded of every day.
In the world of work today, I attended the Pecora conference (a remote sensing conference) and got to spend time visiting with some of my former co-workers. It was so cool to see them and a little weird to be in the same room as old and new co-workers. It was also great to get away from the desk for a day!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Hike, Kansas Style

Here are some of the pictures from our latest trip back to Kansas.


A view of the plaza from atop the Intercontinental Hotel. (That was where the wedding and Sunday brunch were held.)


Ahhh Kansas City, we miss you!

Sunday evening's hike on the Konza Prairie with my family.

My camera is horrible at night, but I thought this picture of my mom was cool.

The brother and I.


Posing with my husband. I LOVE THIS PICTURE.


I still love the view as much as any out here in Colorado.



Yikes, a HUGE wolf spider! I almost stepped on it.

Crossing the bridge, no more than three people at a time as the signs warned.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Automatic Bathrooms

Here’s a new topic, strange as it may be: automatic toilets. We have them at work, and while I understand the idea behind them, I think they are dumb. Maybe it’s just the ones I deal with every day, but these things are so sensitive that as soon as I am one second from sitting down, they decide to flush. Not only is this a waste of water, but it’s annoying, especially if you really have to go to the bathroom. I’d rather just use my foot to flush…
Now I am a good girl and wash my hands after I use the bathroom. But some of the ladies in this office building crack me up. They won’t even touch the door handle after washing their hands. (Sorry if you are one of these people.) I hate germs as much as the next person, but the reality is that they are everywhere. We are constantly in contact with them and no matter how many precautions we take, they are going to get on us unless we live in a bubble of Purell. Using the handicap button to automatically open the bathroom door is silly. And it leaves the door wide open for an extended time, taking away the privacy of the bathroom, even though there are still the stall doors. I admit, I am shy in public restrooms. So it’s hard enough to go there, especially with the main door wide open!
On to other topics: Matt and I rented our skis for the season. We have our first date set for skiing in a couple weeks, in which we plan to spend a lot of time taking lessons. I really want to buy some ski pants. You know, the kind you used to wear when you were a little kid. The kind with the straps that go over your shoulders to keep them up…hopefully we can find some on sale. I think we missed the big ski sale already at Sports Authority. Honestly, we have no idea what we need and will just learn as we go. We did get some good thick ski socks though, so that’s a start. At least all of the resorts on our ski pass are open now. We definitely have a choice of where to go. I am very excited about this and other things that will be coming up in posts in the near future…

Thursday, November 6, 2008

General Post

Yep, that's the most creative title I could come up with today. There really is no theme to this post so I guess it's fitting. I feel like I always talk about the same things anyway. I am in a major posting rut with new stuff to say. Anyway, here goes...
I can’t believe it’s November already! The Christmas decorations are going up and it’s getting colder, yet I have not seen or heard any songs or commercials via TV/radio. Perhaps this is because I don’t watch nearly as much TV as I used to and I listen to talk radio almost all day. I read a lot at night for fun. I am going to miss that if/when I start school again. I still haven’t heard anything, but it’s only been 5 days since the application due date. I hope I can finish the Twilight series before then. I am on book 2 of 4 and can’t put them down! I’m sure many of you know what I am talking about.
I am anxiously and selfishly awaiting the upcoming weekend. It’s going to be a Matt/Laura weekend unless we get any invitations from friends. We don’t have any major plans other than movie-going and KU Basketball watching. I also plan on doing some cleaning and organizing. The Halloween decorations still need to come down! We have had so much going on lately with weddings and visitors, for which we are very lucky. I would not trade that for anything. In the past few weeks, I have been able to shop and do girly things and explore Colorado and see family and friends whom I miss dearly. I’ve had so much fun. I’m just also looking forward to having my husband to myself for a couple of days.
Work was much easier today after getting so much sleep last night. I am on a good pace with the airports and have saved myself from working nights alone so far because of this. It is strange going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark now. I am having problems deciding what to do with my running habit. No matter what time I leave work, it is dark when I get home. I hate running by myself in the dark, but I also refuse to give up now. My three saving graces are that Pongo is a good running companion most of the time, there are many others out running and walking when I am, and our neighborhood is very safe and well lit in most areas. Still, I asked Matt to get me a little hand held bottle of pepper spray just in case.
I suppose I ought to join the gym near our house. Running a million laps around an indoor track is just so boring and offers no hills or changes in scenery and I can’t take the dog. Swimming is an option I am considering. That may become my winter activity. I sure will miss running my route though. It’s like an old friend. I always know what to expect.
I have some beautiful Kansas pictures to post soon. If I get motivated, they might be up later tonight or tomorrow. Also, I plan on doing a photo purge of pictures from Matt’s camera. I have a CD full of those just waiting…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Huge Helping of Sleep

This week has not been the best for sleep, at least in my case. I realized it is not a great idea to start the week by hopping on a flight from KC to Denver on Monday morning and then jetting straight to work after that. We had to get up at 5 am Kansas time (4 am Mountain). I could barely make it the 8.5 hours I spent at work that day. Tuesday was normal, sleepwise, which meant I still only got 6.5 hours of sleep. Any progress I made was all for naught though yesterday night. I stayed up past midnight watching the election results. This was my own fault.
Tonight I got home and immediately fell into bed. No running, no dinner, NOTHING. It felt SO GOOD. I did worry Matt by not responding to texts or phone calls for 4 hours. But sometimes, you've just got to turn everything off in your life and let your body get what it needs. In my case, a huge helping of sleep.
Matt and I had a wonderful weekend back in Kansas. We were attending a friend's wedding, which was not only beautiful, but one of the fanciest weddings I've ever been to. Sunday, we were able to drive to Manhattan for dinner and some Kansas-style hiking with my family on the Konza Prairie. Being in Manhattan made me feel like we haven't even moved, although we have now lived in Denver for 4 months! It was so great to see both mine and Matt's families and I am happy we are able to get back two months in a row. We will be making the drive back to Kansas for Thanksgiving. This will allow us to take Pongo, as well as bring back as many trinkets from KC as we desire. It is hard to try and fly everything back, but a 1.5 hour flight sure is appealing over a 9 hour drive! I can't imagine how Karen and Valor (the couple who got married this weekend) will get all of their wedding gifts back to Seattle via airplane...
When we fly to KC, Matt and I usually opt to fly Frontier just because it's direct and we've never had any problems with them. Their planes are nice and I like the LiveMap, which tracks where you are in the sky. Our most recent trip began Saturday morning, Nov. 1 (Matt had to work Friday night). When we arrived at the Frontier ticketing counter, we were appalled to realize that we had to pay an extra $30 to check both of our bags. Apparently, Nov. 1 was the FIRST DAY that they began adding this charge for every checked bag. Great timing! It seems like the airline industry is getting a little out of control. It seems like they should encourage people to check bags so that there is less in the cabin, allowing people to get on and off the plane faster. However, I wish they would just add $15 to each of our tickets! I hate paying even more at the airport. Okay there, I'm done whining! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Photo Explosion


Girls' night out in downtown Denver. We opted for Rock Bottom Brewery. So fun! We need to have more!
Elk in Estes Park. Amanda and I stopped for some pictures after shopping all afternoon. There were tons of them!

Amanda with Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park in the background.
Same picture, just me this time. We had trouble finding someone to take one of us together. Sorry for the shirt, all you McCain supporters! I guess it's no secret who I voted for...
Walking around at a stop in Rocky Mountain National Park. I think we both had a little altitude sickness. We went up higher than I ever went before. There was snow by side of the road. A horrible picture of Casa Bonita. Trust me, it was over the top with decorations, a live Mariachi band and tables everywhere!



We got to see the cliff divers as we ate. Like I said, over the top but so much fun!


Skip to this past weekend. This is the one picture I have of Toddtoberfest. Notice our awesome hanging skeletons and other decorations. By this time, we had abandoned our costumes.
Susie, I need that 3 Amigos picture! It is so cute.

A cold lunch on the trail at Camp Dick in Roosevelt National Forest.

Pongo was cold and shaky. Matt tried to warm him up.

Awww, a picture stop in the woods. Pongo has an evil eye here. :)


Susie's arch nemesis mud patch. Here, we were hiking back, but on the way there, she had an unfortunate mishap involving this mud bog and her shoes...

Matt demonstrating his freestyle walking. It really cracked us up!



Pongo has some fascination with climbing boulders. The bigger, the better. Here he is at the top of one he conquered.


Just a couple months ago, we were here with Jake. Now, there is ice in the river!


Pongo's new favorite spot to sleep during the day: atop an empty TV stand in the sunshine.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Get To Know Me Some More: An Email Tag From Alissa

Welcome to the new 2008 edition of getting to know your family and friends.

This is my rule (I changed them from the email): Anyone who reads this blog must start their own and make this their first post. They must also send me a link to their new blog in my comments section. :) Harsh, I know. Anyone who already has a blog is also welcome to fill out this survey. I tag you all!

1. What is your occupation right now? Photogrammerist and hopeful Master's student

2. What color are your socks right now? not wearing any, but I should be. It's cold...

3. What are you listening to right now? dogs barking in the neighborhood.

4. What was the last thing that you ate? Taquitos. I got home late and needed something quick for dinner.

5. Can you drive a stick shift? No

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My dad and Matt.

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Most definitely...she's my sister! :)

8. How old are you today? 25 yrs

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? KU Basketball

10. Favorite drink? Cherry Limeade

11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Highlighted twice

12. Favorite food? El Mezcal's white cheese dip

13. What is the last movie you watched? Nights in Rodanthe

14. Favorite day of the year? New Year's Eve

15. How do you vent anger? Run.

16. What was your favorite toy as a child? Cabbage Patch Kids

17. What is your favorite season? Fall in the fall, spring in the spring, summer in the summer and winter in the winter. I love them all.

18. Cherries or Blueberries? blueberries

19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? I'd rather everyone follow MY directions. :)

20. Who is the most likely to respond? I'm going to say Jaime, since she responds to other tags.

21. Who is least likely to respond? Probably almost everyone else since I made some pretty tall orders to fill.

22. Living arrangements? A house in "suburbia" as my brother calls it, with my husband and dog!

23. When was the last time you cried? At the end of Nights in Rodanthe

24. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? Don't know. I'm not sure who all reads this.

25. What did you do last night? Slept like a log.

26. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? Plain

27. Favorite dog breed? I'm a bit partial to beagles. :)

28. Favorite day of the week? Friday at 10:45 pm or whenever Matt gets home.

29. How many states have you lived in? Two. KS and CO

30. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds.

31. What is your favorite flower? Roses

Submit Button

Tomorrow I will hit the "submit" button for my Master's application. I am terrified of this button. After I click it, I will hold my breath for a few weeks until I hear back from them. The letters of recommendation have all been written. My resume and statement of purpose have been attached. My GRE scores are in place. Why can't I hit the button? I think it's because I know what I am potentially signing myself up for . Goodbye free time! I have enjoyed you so much.
In other news, our latest weekend visitor left this morning. My good friend Susie (from meteorology school and beyond) was here for 4 days. She helped us plan and decorate for Toddtoberfest, which went fabulously. It was great to see everyone, even though it was a somewhat low key version of previous Toddtoberfests.
We also took Susie for a hike in Roosevelt National Forest, one of our favorites. We packed a picnic lunch but it was COLD when the wind blew so we made lunch a short stop. Susie and I also went to see Nights in Rodanthe, a movie based off of a Nicholas Sparks book. I have to admit that it was a bit cheesy. The romance seemed forced and some of the dialogue cracked us up. Yet I still cried at the end...
I am always sad to see our vistors leave. When people visit out here, it is so nice because we get to spend lots of time together instead of an evening gathering every now and again as it was before we moved. I am so proud of Susie for everything she is going through right now. Her husband, Ted is in Iraq. I have several other friends (Stephanie!) who are or have been in this situation and I see how hard it is for them over and over. I am so so so grateful for everything those troops are doing, even during the times when I don't necessarily agree with the war. Having friends describe what their husbands are going through really put things into perspective.
I promise TOMORROW: A huge pciture post of Amanda and Susie's visits.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Refreshed

I just woke up from a much needed 2.5 hour nap. I was so tired tonight that I even skipped running today. I am really struggling with the sleep schedule of Matt being on nights. Usually I am motivated to stay up late to see him when he gets home because it's the only time we have to talk person to person during the week. If I do manage to fall asleep, I am awoken by a jumpy barking dog when Matt does get home and it's really hard to fall asleep again after that. It is a dilemma.
My work wants me to move to the night shift for a couple weeks. This sounds like a perfect solution to our schedule right now and it was something I had initially hoped for. However, I am having a hard time being excited about it right now. I am a creature of habit and have a great routine to my day. It will all get thrown out when I go on the night shift. I do have quite a few things I am doing in the evenings now like rec volleyball and professional societies. I am having a hard time knowing that i will have to abandon my dog in the evenings when he has always been here for me. I won't be able to listen to the radio programs that get me through the day and make it go fast. But most of all, I don't want to do this because I will be the ONLY one on the night shift. I will have to spend the evenings BY MYSELF in a dark office suite. And trust me, that freaks me out. I know, I sound like a big baby. It's only for a couple weeks. I guess I'm just dissapointed that I'm not getting enough done, even though I'm putting in so much effort.
We are also trying to get organized for Toddtoberfest this weekend. It's an old college "tradition" where we celebrate our friend Todd's birthday, hence the name. Since Todd and quite a few college friends live out here, we decided to continue the tradition. And an added bonus: my friend from meteorology school Susie is coming out this weekend! Again, I love having visitors!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Fun

I always mean to update my blog so much more often and then DAYS pass and I realize how bad I am at keeping at it. Matt and I are on day 7 of his 10 day work marathon. He had to work 10 days straight but he gets Thursday and Friday off as well as the weekend. I still have to work though, so it's more like 12 days of us chatting when we can. At least our cell phone plan has unlimited texting. We are really taking advantage of that, but I hate that our source of communication has through two cell phones for this long. I especially don't like talking on it at work because I feel like I disturb all of the people around my cube. Ahh well, this is just me being frustrated. We are both very happy in our jobs and when we get time together, it feels so much more special.
Well Liz and Amanda gave me a nice break from my self-pity this weekend. We had a fun night in downtown Denver on Friday. Well, I hope Liz did. Amanda and I tried to set her up with the waiter, who was lavishing attention on her. It was great. I hope we only mildly embarassed her. :)
Saturday, Amanda and I drove to Estes Park to shop and explore. (Liz had already planned to go to the KSU-Colorado football game). We saw elk all over town. They were just randomly walking around in herds! We also drove up into Rocky Mountain National Park. Admission to the park is $20. We paid with two fives and 10 ones (because we didn't have a 20) and the ranger was super annoyed. I used to think people hated when you paid with change. Apparently, now 5's and 1's are not acceptable forms of payment.
When we got back to Denver, we fulfilled our five year quest to eat at Casa Bonita, a Vegas-like mexican restaurant. And by Vegas, I mean over-the-top decorations and entertainment. We tired to eat at this place at our infamous 2003 road trip to Colorado Springs, not realizing the restaurant was in Denver. We were both stuffed already, but they made us both order a dinner when all we wanted were margaritas and cheese dip.
Sunday, Amanda had to go. She had to drive all the way back to Wichita. Matt and I spent a few hours together. He surprised me by taking me to a pumpkin patch and we bought 3 awesome pumpkins. But then he had to leave for work. That was hard. I distracted myself by watching Season 1 of The Hills, an MTV show about rich girls living in LA and all the drama they go through. It is so fully to see how spoiled and superficial their lives are. Man I'm glad I don't have that much drama in my life.
So tonight, I moved on to Season 2. I guess I'm addicted. Pongo has not left my side. I think he likes the little chihuahua on the show. Or rather, I think he just likes the big comforter we are curled up under. I love this time of year and the chill in the air. The trees are so beautiful!
I have pictures to post from the weekend but I will save those for later. That way maybe it won't be 5 days before I post again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Busi-ness

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind. Work has been crazy, especially now that I have a goal to meet on percentage completion. Its frustrating that I seem to be the only one making the numbers go up, but I'm sure there's a good reason. I know my hard work is being noted though.
Last night, we won our rec volleyball game. I was ecstatic! The team we played had a couple of really big jerks. One guy decided it was good sportsmanship to call balls in that were on our side AFTER we called them out, just to try to throw us off. Come on, this is rec volleyball. It's supposed to be just for fun. But I found myself getting really bothered by this team and the way they were acting. It made the win feel so good.
Today I worked over 11 hours and then headed downtown for a Photogrammetry "Rogues" meeting. It's really just a social networking group that gets together once a month. I made some great contacts out here in Denver. It was also eye opening to see so many people looking for jobs. Hiring seems to be on a freeze now, and I was surprised at how many people have applied to my company that haven't heard anything. It made me feel so lucky and grateful to be employed where I am, at a great company where I love what I do. So many people have it bad right now with this economy. I try not to bring politics into my blog posts, but I have to say that something has to change with the economy. The government can't keep spending money the way they do and expect everything to be okay. I watch the stock market every day and it makes me sad. I've already lost 6% of the money I've invested in my new 401K since starting my Denver job. Surprisingly, my WAM account is doing okay. I must have invested that more conservatively. Oh well. I just rolled it over to my new account so I'll have to decide how to diversify it safely again. I feel somewhat informed after a well-timed meeting last week.
Well, Matt and I did our part to stimulate the economy again. I already mentioned that we bought a new bed, which was a necessity. This week, we were digging around in our safe and discovered some gift cards to Macys, so we are the proud owners of a DYSON VACUUM! I'm so excited not to have to put it on my Christmas list and I can ask for something fun. This thing is so cool...it pivots on a ball and still has awesome suction. Every review it got was good. It will be nice to clean the house and know that it's not happening half-way. This thing will get EVERYTHING up out of the carpet.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blizzard Gettaway

It's hard to believe that another weekend has passed. It seems like I spend all week counting down to the weekend, especially nowadays since its when I get to spend any substantial time with Matt. We had planned to camp one last time for the season because most campsites close at the end of October. Of course the weather promised rain, snow and cold temperatures which NEVER happens unless I want the weather to be nice (example, Jake's visit in August). So we nixed our camping plans and did what anyone would do in the snow...headed up the tallest peak on the front range, Pikes's Peak!

That's right! We put our lives in the hands of the cog railway conductor and headed to an elevation of 14,110 feet! I thought the storm had blown over because we were less than 3 miles from the top and no snow in sight! Then it started. When we left the train, winds were blowing at a constant 40 mph and gusting at 70. Snow was pounding into our jeans. This was the view:
This was the view from the window of the train car. ICE.
We were at the top just long enough to get some homemade donuts, a cappucino to warm us up, a bottle of water to keep us hydrated and two squares of Pike's Peak fudge. Mmmm. A nice healthy snack. :)
This is a horrible picture but I had to try to take it out the opposite window from where we were. It is the storm after it passed over us and decended into Colorado Springs. It was just rain down there, but we obviously got to see a different side of it at the top which was amazing. It was fabulous to see how huge the storm was from above.
Things cleared up again on the way down so we still got some amazing views.

I need to get this picture to Brett and Kelly (Matt's cousins.) The yellow trees are Aspen trees and they are so beautiful, just like their daughter Aspen. We have also really enjoyed seeing pictures via email of their new daughter, Cheyenne. Anyway, the Aspen trees just made us think of them.

I should backtrack a little but I really wanted to get the pictures up of our trip. So back to Friday...I finally had a chance to hang out with my new co-workers outside of work. It was really fun to see a different and relaxed side to everybody as well as meeting spouses and even a baby! We went out to celebrate the going-away of the one and only other Jayhawk in the Denver branch at and Irish pub called Lansdowne Arms. He is moving to North Carolina! Tarheel Country...that's got to be hard for a Jayhawk!

I still don't know everyone super well, especially if they work in the other "wing" of the office, but I still had a great time. I really enjoyed scaring Mike (in the survey department) into thinking I was out of work because of him. He has to get the airports through survey before I can work on them, so it's fun to make him think that they are slacking. I wish we did more social things like that sometimes. I really enjoyed getting to know people outside the office setting. It also gave me something to do instead of hanging out at home by myself on Friday, for which I was grateful. Pongo was not quite as appreciative. He had to be in his crate a little longer than he is used to.

I hate this, but with the weather the way it was this weekend, we HAD to turn on the heat in our house. I thought we could tough it out, but it got down into the 50's inside the house, so we caved in. We still only set the thermostat for the low 60's though, so our bill shouldn't be horrible. It tooks like things are going to warm up for a while. It's a good thing because my friend Amanda is coming out this weekend and we are planning a trip up to Estes Park for some shopping and who knows what else. I think the last time we were in Colorado together, we were stuck in the blizzard of 2003 (it was like Pike's Peak except worse and were driving home in it). Matt is working, so it will truly be a gals weekend. I love having visitors!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Tag and A Funny Story

Jaime tagged me again, hence my second post of the day. :) Check out her answers too! http://jaimeschechter.blogspot.com/



Here are my seven random facts:

1. I don't like to clean that much but I have this strange enjoyment with doing laundry. I only like to do it if there is a lot to wash. I think it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I am finished.

2. I have an obsession with Maurices clothing. Probably 1/2 of my wardrobe was purchased there. It fits and its just my style.

3. Running has become a habitual part of my day. I have a hard time talking myself out of it. A few months ago, it took tremendous effort to to talk myself IN to it. I don't know what I'm going to do when winter gets here.

4. No matter what, my mood is dramatically better on rainy and overcast days.

5. Three months ago, we moved from KC to Denver and I still don't feel like we're close enough to the mountains.

6. I still can't believe that the #1 item on my Christmas wish list this year is a Dyson vacuum. (What happened to rollerblades and Cabbage Patch dolls?)

7. I drink 2 to 3 liters of water each day. Is there such thing as too much water?

I am going to skip the last step of the rules because I don't really know anyone who reads this blog with a blog of their own, besides Jaime and Anna and they have both already been tagged.

And here's my funny story as promised. Of course its about my dog because he is all I blog about. :) Pongo has apparently decided that our back yard isn't big enough. So he's been pawing a loose board in the fence aside so he can hang out in our next door neighbors' yard! Apparently, he's paid them numerous visits already! He went straight over there today when I got home and let him out. I heard him howling but it was too far away so I knew immediately what he had done. How embarrasing! I think he just wanted me to meet those neighbors and the guy (Jim) was very nice. Even so, Matt will be nailing the loose board in place tomorrow. Mischievous little dog...

Vet Dilemma

Yesterday, I took Pongo for a trial run at a local vet. Matt read mixed reviews on this place and I have to admit that I was not impressed. I guess I really got lucky in Overland Park. I needed a vet immediately when I got Pongo because he had worms and parasites so I took him to a vet across the street from my work. They were WONDERFUL.
The issues I have with the new vet are as follows. First of all, they told me that Pongo doesn’t need to be on heart worm guard pills anymore which immediately sent up a red flag. I think I’m just overly worried about this issue since Pongo had every kind of worm imaginable as a puppy. They also said he doesn’t need to be on flea and tick meds anymore because it’s too dry out here for fleas. While this makes sense, I also worry about mosquitoes which seem to be in abundance here as well as ticks which are possible to come in contact with when we camp.
While eliminating all of his meds would be a lot cheaper, my gut feeling tells me it’s a bad idea. We will probably lay off the flea and tick meds in the winter, unlike last year. They do make him itchy and they are expensive. But as for heart worm, I refuse to take him off that, especially since it doesn’t have bad side effects for him.
My other issue with this vet is that it took him a while to come up with a reasonable dosage of Benadryl for Pongo’s itchy skin when Matt came up with it immediately. (We’ve been giving him Benadryl all summer.) I guess that just got on my nerves a bit. I have trouble accepting advice from this guy, even though he is from Wichita and went to K-State. I do like that he is from Kansas.
The last downside is the expense. For a heartworm test, 6 heart worm pills and a vet exam, our bill was $109.00! A bit outrageous to me. Our old vet usually would waive the vet fee for something like that.
There are many other good vets in this area, including one called Alameda East, which TLC featured in a television series called “Emergency Vets.” They chose that place because of its reputation of good vets and interns. We might check it out.
I also wanted to use this post to brag on my awesome husband a bit. Yesterday, he let me take his car to work so he could get my tire looked at. It has been getting low very quickly to the point where I would have to fill it with air twice a week at the gas station. I used to work near a Firestone which made car repairs easy. Now I find that my car is getting neglected due to my schedule and no convenient mechanic nearby.
Anyway, Matt had the tire repaired and then drove to my work, brought me lunch and we switched out cars again. I was very appreciative of that. It’s so nice not to have to worry about that tire anymore!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sleep Changes

After 5 months of marriage, Matt and I officially graduated from our full size bed this weekend. It was a necessity. We finally had some free time together and decided to spend it searching for that perfect mattress and bedroom set. We still haven't settled on the furniture aspect, but the new mattress is glorious! To go from a full size to a king size...you can imagine how much more room we have now. The other cool part about it is that we finally got to open up, wash and use our new bedding that we got for the wedding. Since we registered for king size everything, we hadn't gotten to use it yet!

In all actuality, I think I sent my body into shock by switching to a nice mattress and nice sheets all at once. I basically had a little trouble sleeping last night. So did Matt. We figure it's just because we haven't molded out our spots in the bed yet. Also, it smells kind of funny because it's new.

Nothing fancy yet...except for our pretty new comforter! We even forgot to put the dust ruffle on, but we figure we'll do that when the furniture comes. As you can see, Pongo has made himself at home already.

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I have also come to realize that there is never a dull evening when I run. For example, yesterday I was running along, listening to my iPod and completely in a "zone." Suddenly, I heard a voice say "hello there." I litterally screamed out loud. A biker was alerting me that he was going to pass me but he was only a few feet behind me and I jumped out my skin! I really wish the cyclists would use the bike path that parallels my running route just across the street. It's much wider and safer for everyone.

And then today, I passed two young girls who were walking in the opposite direction as me. One was probably 9, the other 14. The older one was smoking and telling the younger one to never never never do it. Wow, she was really leading by example on that one. (I'm being sarcastic.) That really angered me.

And of course there's the usual obstacles such as the dreaded Tuesday-Thursday sprinklers to dodge and the swarms of bugs that gather at dusk (I think they're mosquitos) where I have to hold my breath as I run throught them or else risk inhaling a couple. That normally happens somehow anyway. It is always interesting, but I love observing everything as I run. It helps the time go faster.

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My last story of the day involves my commute home today. I am usually a pretty passive driver, but it's really hard here. However, I rarely am provoked enough to use my car horn. Today a car decided it was tired of waiting on traffic and just pulled out into my lane. This was on a major road where the speed limit is 55. So I was driving along when this guy pulled out and I had to really slam the brakes hard to keep from hitting him because there was someone right next to me in the next lane. I used my car horn. The worst part was that he had an accelleration lane to use to merge but he didn't bother with it. We all have our bad driving moments. I know have...but that was ridiculous.

The scariest thing is that a trend in Denver is for people to follow really close behind you (so that there is no space for another car to cut you off). The car behind me would have slammed right into me if he hadn't been able to get into the next lane quickly. I really hate driving here sometimes which is why I still get up really super early for work so that I can drive in "lighter" traffic. I just wish people weren't so aggressive. I'm one of those people who really needs to just have my space when I drive.

Well that's my last rant for the day. I'm two recommedation letters away from finishing my Master's application to Purdue.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Drinking Water

Here is something that really scares me: I have a pink water bottle that I take to work every day. I used to take tap water with ice in it to work but noticed that the bottle started smelling really funny, even after I had just washed it. In an experiment, I washed the bottle, took it to work empty and filled it from the water cooler or filled it with cold water from our Brita water pitcher at home. It NEVER smelled funny after that.
Carlene's boyfriend Nick has explained many times how east Denver (where we live) gets the recycled mountain water after it is used by those in west Denver. After my experiment, I will never drink from the tap again. I am not really sure how it passes inspection, but I wonder if the city is so desperate for water that relaxes water testing sometimes. I also went out and bought some new filters for the Brita because I'm sure our current one is close to its limit of nasty particulates that it has faithfully filtered for us.
I think the Brita was one of the best purchases we have made out here. We always have fresh filtered cold water whenever we need it and we don't even have to use the ice from the freezer either because the Brita water is already is already cold.
On the same note, I don't understand why we water our lawns with the same water we drink. Does the grass really need "pure" clean water. I think it would be great if there was a way to collect "gray" water such as water used in showers and baths as well as rain water from roofs to water the lawns. I have actually seen this done before in individual households. In Denver, this would put water to double use and help resolve the impending water crisis. It is a very serious problem here, as it is in many other cities. However, I realize a gray water system would probably be impossible, as the whole city sewer system would have to be re-piped as well as the plumbing in each house, since all used water goes to the same place currently. It's probably not the best idea to water lawns with toilet water.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Official KC Post

Tonight on Mountain Millards: the official Kansas City post, complete with my limited selection of pictures. Before I start, I just want to say that Matt takes way better pictures than me, so I really need to find an easy way to get his pictures on to my computer. I wanted to find a good picture of the bride and groom to whom we owe the pleasure of our trip back to KC, but every single one I took was blury. Grrrr.
The past weekend was a haze of wonderful people, fun times and perhaps a little too much sleep. The hardest part was getting through the Thursday night before we left. I had to take Pongo to the kennel by 6:30 pm Thursday because we had to leave home at 5:15 the next morning so I lost my evening buddy. It was really hard. But like I said yesterday, he quickly made friends with the biggest dog there so I figured he wasn't bad off.
It is strange driving to the airport and actually parking our car there instead of being spoiled like we have in the past and having someone drop us off and pick us up. Our flight was uneventful except that when I booked the tickets, I checked the "window seat preferred" button so Matt and I both had window seats, which meant we weren't assigned to sit together. On the way to Denver, the girl in the seat next to me didn't mind switching. On the way home, however, there were sets of twos already in both of our rows.
After we got picked up in KC by Alissa, we headed to Nebraska Furniture Mart to browse matresses and bedroom sets. NFM is our favorite store by far because they have the best prices and best selection. We even found a set that we liked that was reasonably priced. Unfortunately, it costs around $500 to ship to Denver, so that ruled out our option to buy there. But at least we got an idea of what we like and what we can expect to pay. I can't wait for a new BIGGER bed.
After that, I had the pleasure of spending a couple hours at Western Air Maps (my old job). It kind of felt like I had never left except someone else is using my computer now of course. They even let me go in the secret room and participate in our old daily tradition of the birthday game. (The KC Star has a list of celebrity birthdays every day, so one person gives clues and everyone else tires to be the first to guess the celeb birthday.)
Of all places, they wanted to have lunch at Taco Bell. But that was fitting because that's what we would have normally done. I'll say it again...I really miss those folks. They are so awesome.
That evening, we headed to Leza and John's rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Then Matt, Mark, Talicia, Alissa and I met Jake at Old Chicago for a couple drinks. Our favorite waitress was working and she still recognized Matt and I and was happy to chat for a while. Friday was an awesome day filled with awesome people.
Unfortulately, Saturday started off wrong. Matt and I ended up sleeping until 11:30 am! It really was a combination of things...lack of sleep all week, 4 hours of sleep the night before, our phones being on silent and Matt covering up the digital clock on the VCR so it wouldn't bother us. Well, we pretty much messed up the lines of communication between everyone on going over to Matt's dad's house for lunch. We still got there a little after noon but I just felt awful just the same. I told myself no matter how tired I was, that I would make the most of the weekend. Well that went down the tube pretty fast.
After lunch, it was time to get ready for the wedding! Leza looked so beautiful. She and John were so happy and they had the cutest kiss at the end. Leza is taller than John, so she bent down so he could kiss her! I was a little nervous because I had a reading part and get really nervous with a lot of attention on me, but all went well.
Here are some pictures of the reception:

Larry (father of the bride) is really getting his groove on out on the dance floor!


Arlene and Alissa doing the YMCA.


Sisters!
All of the Millard children.
The original 3 Millard children. :)

Sunday, we spent the morning with Matt's grandma and the rest of the weekend guests before heading over to see Anne at her new house! She has the biggest back yard. It was fun to see Casey running all around it. We had pizza for lunch like old times and watched the first half of the Chiefs-Broncos game. The chiefs won their first game of the season, which makes it a little easier to be a Chiefs fan in Denver since they beat the Broncos.

Anne took us to the airport, but on the way, we stopped to buy some Boulevard beer. We really miss that out here in Denver. We got two six packs and after they were packed, my suitcase was barely under the weight limit. It seems silly to fly beer back to Denver, but it's totally worth it.


Corky the Yorkie in his bed.


Anne and Casey in Anne's new house!

I took out my book to read for a bit once we got through airport security at KCI. Somewhere between there and boarding the plane, I realized I lad left my book in the terminal. I was crushed! All I was looking forward to on the plane was an hour and a half of good reading time. And to make matters worse, Matt and I couldn't trade seats with anyone this time.

Pongo was very happy to see us when we got home. Our friend Carlene did us a HUGE favor by picking him up from the kennel so that we didn't have to wait until Monday morning. Matt and I watched our recorded Thursday night TV shows and by that time, I was tired and went to bed. And so concludes our weekend. And then I went to work on Monday to find lots of new airports waiting for my attention...just when I thought I was getting caught up. :) Serves me right for taking a Friday off work.