Thursday, August 28, 2008


Today I had a discussion with my boss about options for a Master's degree. I think I have found the perfect program for me at Purdue University. It is called a M.S. in Geomatics, which basically encompasses and builds on everything I do at work. The best parts are that I don't have to quit my job to do it because it's online and I won't have to write a thesis! Also, my company will be paying for most of it if I do well. I'm really glad I waited to do this, because I know I wouldn't have chosen this route if I had done my Masters right after undergrad, and this will really enhance my career (if I get accepted and complete it successfully.)
Matt starts working nights full time next week. If I start my Masters in the spring semester, it will really help keep me busy during those lonely evenings and it's something I want to do for myself and my career anyway, so it makes sense to start now that Matt and I are both settled into our jobs for the long haul.
I think I am really starting to feel at home in Denver. I love it so much out here! I love my job, my house and how active I have become. I love our weekend camping trips in the mountains and the fact that I've finally seen a tornado! Mostly, I love how many people have come or are coming out to see us! But I also can't wait until our trips back to Kansas and Kansas City in September. Have I mentioned that yet? It's going to be great to see all of our Kansas family and friends again!
I do actually have a GREAT story to tell. On Tuesday, I was introduced to the CEO of my company. The first thing he asked me was how my beagle was doing! I wondered how he knew about my dog, and apparently it's because he has seen my blog! I guess when I type anything with the phrase "Woolpert" in it, Google marks it with the marketing department in Dayton and they periodically check these flags out. (Blogger is a product of Google). Thus, they found my blog and Mr. Flannery saw my post about how excited I was for his visit. He is also a dog lover and inquired about Pongo! Yet another reason why I love my job. The CEO reads my blog! (And I read his as well.) We enjoyed having him in the Denver office for a few days. I suppose he is reading this now since I typed Woolpert again above. Hi, Mr. Flannery!
Tonight, Matt and I paid a visit to our friend Todd's bike shop in Littleton. Unfortunately, he has to close it and we wanted to see the place before that happened. We both got some new running shoes and I got a swimsuit and goggles so that I can start swimming at the rec. We got 40% off too! Thanks, Todd! I can't wait to break in my new equipment. It makes working out more fun to have new good "stuff."
Well, I have to admit that I've been so involved at work that I almost forgot that we have a 3 day weekend coming up! I did not forget that Alissa is coming though! I am going to pick her up at the airport right after I go and close my bank account tomorrow. Thanks to my cousin Anna in Nashville, I don't feel quite so bad about doing this. Apparently, I'm not the only person who has had difficulty changing information with them.
We have got some fun activities planned for the weekend including a brewery tour and of course a camping trip. I can't wait to spend the weekend with my sister (in-law, but I like to think of her as just plain "sister!").
Sorry this post is so jumpy and random. I am a bit distracted watching the DNC at the moment. I can't believe tomorrow's Friday already!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Biggest Loser

Today I started my second "Biggest Loser" competition of the year. I'm doing it through work, just my new company this time. Basically I have three months to lose 10% of my body weight. If I lose that much, I don't have to pay the $50 entry fee. If i don't, I have to pay the person who loses the highest percentage body weight the $50. On the other hand, if I lose the most, I get will make a lot of money, unless everyone loses 10% 0f their body weight.
By some miracle of the scale, I won the contest at Western Air Maps, even though we found out later that the scale added nine pounds to some arbitrary number. Apparently, my weight was under that number, so I won! I still feel guilty about that one...
Anyway, my plan is to cut out snacks, portion meals, drink lots of water and excersize at least 5 times a week. So far, it is working well. After three months though, we will see. I have a 3 mile running route which I am getting pretty good at and Matt just bought Wii Fit. Now, I don't think one can lose a significant amount of weight playing video games, but I do like that it really helps me work on balance and posture through yoga and other excersizes. Perhaps my favorite is the daily body test I'm supposed to take which tracks my weight and BMI and helps me get to my target weight. (I got to enter my own desired weight, so I entered a goal of 10% weight loss to help me through this competition.)
I also wanted to mention the DNC (Democratic National Convention.) It is a widely known fact that it is happening in Denver right now. At work, we got all these emails about traffic and security. It seemed like a big deal, and possibly a big headache with such a huge influx of people and activity in the city. So Matt and I got up a little earlier this morning in case traffic was bad. When I got to a major road close to my office, I thought I was breaking some law by being there because I saw NO ONE. Traffic was even BETTER than normal, probably because I left a little early. But still, i was amazed. (And no, I wasn't breaking any laws being on that street). Matt and I are lucky that neither of us work near downtown where the convention is taking place. They are diverting highway traffic from I-25, which is one of the worst highways traffic-wise already. I can't imagine what a pain it is to go that way!
My last rant for the evening is some trouble I am having with Commerce Bank. It's nothing serious, so don't get too worried. I am simply trying to change my name, and have been trying for 6 weeks. They have two copies of my driver's license and marriage license, proving my name change. Now they are telling me that they need the actual license from the state, with a stamp. It has taken them 6 weeks to tell me this, and I don't understand why all this is necessary when the duplicate license I have has signatures from the state of Kansas, plus our priest and ourselves. Also, in the time they have procrastinated, I have gotten a new license which they now claim to need.
The biggest problem with this is that there is only one branch of Commerce in Denver, so I can never get there during their regular lobby hours to talk to anyone and the lobby isn't open on Saturdays at all. The one time I did manage to get there, the lady I was supposed to talk to had already gone home. At this point, it just seems easier to either cancel my account and just use our joint one, or open up a new account at another bank. I am only hesitant because I have a pretty long history at Commerce and have no other complaints about them besides this.
I figure I should change this blog to Laura Millard in the Mountains. All I write about are the events in my life and I'm sure many of you would enjoy more about Matt. However, i really doubt I could convey Matt's thoughts, opinions and gripes as I can my own. It's sometimes difficult for me to get my own thoughts out of my head and on to this blog. Well anyway, I will continue to write as I have been, just hopefully a little more frequently.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Week Late

As promised, I am posting pictures from our camping trip with Jake. I realize i am about a week late with these, but our recent outing with Nick and Carlene motivated me to get these up. I didn't get any pictures from this weekend, but we had a great time as usual. My favorite part of our camping trips is driving through the mountains. Matt and I always try to take the scenic route home so that we can take in the view longer.

Okay, that's all. Enjoy the pictures!

The clouds were so low, they covered the tops of the nearby mountains.
This river was pretty cool. There were plants and trees growing on the rocks in the middle. And it was flowing pretty fast due to all of the rain. My mom would have like it there a lot.
Pongo was scared of the noise of the water. We were on a bridge, so you can't blame the little guy.

Our new tent! Jake got to break it in for us on this trip.

It was cold, so we put Pongo's sweater on him and he made himself at home in a chair in front of the fire. I really think he believes he is a person too. We treat him that way, so it's our fault!
Matt and Jake finished off the rest of the fajitas! I caught Jake mid-bite. :)
Jake in my pink chair. I think it suits him well!
He found a big boulder to climb....
and climbed it! Pongo jumped up was amazing!
This is where we camped...

It was a lot of fun, despite the rain and cold. We had some rain and hail this past weekend at Cold Springs. It was a pretty interesting and loud experience to be in a tent during hail! Don't worry, the ice turned to slush as soon as it hit the tent. We could have taken cover in my car as well.

This week, the excitement at work is that our CEO is visiting the Denver branch of Woolpert. And then, Alissa comes to town on Friday! We're glad she's going to spend her last ever Labor Day Weekend (in college) with us!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Girl's Work Is Never Finished

It's Wednesday. So far this work week, in no particular order, I have:

  • Worked 29 hours
  • Finished 2 1/2 airports
  • Run 8 miles
  • Negotiated car insurance, renters insurance and even talked life insurance with our agent.
  • Called my bank in Kansas, then the state of Kansas, then my bank again to try to figure out where my car title is and how to get it to register my car and get tags. Then I called the state of Colorado, who said I don't even need it.
  • Faxed a jewelry appraisal to my insurance agent to insure my engagement and wedding bands, only to hear that the appraisal is over a year old and I need a new one.
  • Acquired an emissions test, then a VIN Verification test, then obtainied Colorado tags for my car (finally!)
  • Acquired a Colorado drivers license.
  • Eye-witnessed my first tornado ever (in Colorado, go figure!)
  • Registered to vote
  • Re-packed two tents in their cases for our upcoming weekend camping trip with Nick and Carlene
  • Reserved a campsite at Cold Springs Campground (happily!)
  • Ridded our garage of the rest of our boxes from moving in the hopes that Matt can begin parking in there.
  • Ate the best Mexican food I have had in a long time. (And I ate so much I was nearly sick!)

It has been a jam packed couple of days. I am finally almost officially a resident of Colorado now. Now I just have to work on Matt's car. (I volunteered since there is a title/registration place very close to my office.) He did the worst part already and got his emission test done. It seems that Colorado doesn't really care if you are the owner of your car or not, as long as it has low emissions. Kansas is exactly opposite in that they require you to have the title in hand, but they have never required an emissions test. I just wanted to show the guy at the testing place the sticker on my car that says ULEV. (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle.) It would have saved some time and money. Oh well. I passed! AND I didn't have to take a written test to get my license since my KS license didn't expire until 2012. Those little things made this mess a lot easier to get through.

Well the last item in the list tonight is to go to wal-mart and get a chuck key for matt's drill (which got lost in the move) so that we can drill two holes in my front bumper and attach the front Colorado tag. I can't wait to get into the mountains this weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Our Weekend With Jake

We had a wonderful weekend with our good friend Jake, who moved back to Kansas City from Alabama just time time for our move out here. But he is so awesome that he flew out here last weekend for some Colorado fun. Friday evening, we went to the Breckenridge Brewery Bar near Coors Field. (I have already been there once with Nick and Carlene, but I thought the guys needed to go too.)

Here are Matt and Jake in front of the restaurant.

We had originally planned on taking Jake for a camping trip since we are experts on camping now. :) Saturday, we awoke to the sound of rain, overcast skies and amazingly cold temperatures for August. This is the ONLY time I have seen overcast skies out here! It stopped raining by 11 am, so we decided to pack everything and at least drive to the campground and see how things went. We wanted Jake to see the mountains since the clouds completely covered them for the first part of his visit. Now, everyone who reads this blog and lives out here in Colorado will probably think this is no big deal, but little did I know that it had actually snowed in the mountains at 10,000 ft. When I caught a glimpse of that, I was breathless. It was amazing to see completely white mountains. I don't think I've ever seen them like that.

We made it to our campgrounds in Roosevelt National Forest without any more rain. The grounds were completely deserted, and we could have had our pick of the campsites, but we set up in the one we reserved.
The rain decided to hold off until the guys had left to buy some firewood. I stayed behind with the dog to keep setting things up. There were clouds all around and they covered the tops of the nearest mountains. It started raining and continued for about 30 minutes. I took advantage of this and spent time in the tent napping. It was one of the best naps I've had...up in the mountains in the cool air and rain.

When Matt and Jake got back, we started cooking. I managed to forget the pipe that connects our camping stove to the propane tank, so we lit some charcoal and cooked fajitas and rice. They turned out pretty well, despite a slight charcoal taste. While the food was cooking, Matt and Jake attempted to start the fire, but the wood was slightly damp, so it took a while. It sure felt good when it got going! It started raining again around 9:15 so we called it an early night. Sunday, we hiked a little bit and then packed up because everything was wet. We got home via the scenic route, had some lunch and showered. Matt showed off his video games for a while and then it was time to get dinner and take Jake to the airport. It was sad to say goodbye, but in reality we could have had an extra 5 hours with Jake. That's right! His plane was scheduled to leave at 8:30 pm and was five hours delayed. Jake said he didn't even get home until 5 am! And he went to work today too! What a guy. For those of you who are planning to fly out here, United might not be the way to go. I know if you book early enough through Frontier, they have pretty good rates and nice planes.

So that is our weekend in a big nutshell. Blogger managed to load two of my photos, then refused to do any more, so I'll save those for another day. I worked 11 hours today and don't have the patience to work with it right now.

On a sad note: We found out that Bill and Barbara's dog, Snickers, had to be put to sleep on Saturday. She will be dearly missed. I can't even bear to think of losing my buddy Pongo, so I know they are going through a hard time and we think of them often. Snickers must be helping me with this post since Blogger allowed me this one last photo.

I bet she feels a lot more now like she did in her younger years! Isn't she cute? Thanks for the photo, Barbara!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Coming Down The Pipe

I am really starting to feel the heat from my new job. It is challenging in ways I never imagined. I find myself flooded with emails about jobs that are ready for me and my supervisor keeps advising me that plenty more are "coming down the pipe." I am joining that crowd of co-workers who are both early risers and late stayers. People in the main office in Dayton are starting to figure out who I am am and what I'm doing; therefore I have been recieving phone calls and emails from them as well as my superiors here in Denver. All I can say is that I love it! I love the level of professionalism that I am required to have and the responsibility that I am taking on already at work. I think I'm starting to grow up! :) And I'm ready to prove to people that I am good at what I do and can take on whatever they need me to. Having said that, I have no idea how they are going to get me switched over to classified processing when the room is finished since I am really getting in deep with this airport mapping. I definitely can't handle both!
This weekend is looking perfect. Our friend Jake is flying out from Kansas City. We have some fun activities planned, our main one being camping of course. I am a bit worried, since the weather is supposed to be in the 60's and 70's but also rainy. Normally I would love this, but camping in the rain and cold (40's at night!) will be interesting. Matt decided to set up our second tent to make sure it was clean and decent for Jake to sleep in. It's a good thing too, because we discovered that it has a funky smell from being packed away soaking wet after we lent it out a while ago. We were not too upset, as this gives us a chance to invest in a new, nicer tent. I know it will be a good investment as we have camped so much already in the month we have been here.
I just have to give some shout-outs now to a few people, because I'm not sure when I'll be blogging next with our company in town. First of all, tomorrow is Matt's grandma's birthday. She turns 92 and is one of the most thoughtful and sweetest ladies we could ever be lucky enough to have in our lives! We both hope that she has a wonderful day and are sorry we can't be there to wish her a happy birthday in person.
My Grandma Helen also has a birthday in August. I'm not sure if she reads this blog, but I have always been impressed by how saavy she is with computers and the internet, so it would not surprise me! She moved to Michigan to be closer to her family after my grandpa died in 2006, but I still think of her often and enjoy getting occasional emails from her. I don't think I ever mentioned how much it meant to me how she stood beside my grandpa as he faced kidney failure, driving him over an hour one way for treatments at a hospital three times a week. My grandpa was a hard man to keep an eye on, "escaping" to mow their lawn on his riding mower merely two weeks before he passed away! Grandma Helen is THE BEST Upwords player I know of. If anyone can beat her at that game, I would like to shake their hand! I know everyone in my family misses having her in Kansas.
Tomorrow is also Pongo's best friend Corky's birthday! Corky is Ron and Arlene's Yorkie, who had the pleasure of enduring Pongo during all of his wild "puppyness". He turns 4 tomorrow and we are very excited that he will be visiting us in a couple short weeks. Pongo is looking forward to seeing his good buddy again soon and is brainstorming ways to entertain Corky, Denver style.
And last but not least, Saturday is my friend and former co-worker Tazz's birthday. Tazz keeps me sane by sending me periodical text messages during the day while I am at work, most of which make me laugh (quietly, so I don't draw attention from my boss and supervisor). These messages usually come at just the right times when I'm stressed or frustrated and I remember all of the fun times I had at Western Air Maps.

Monday, August 11, 2008

We Should Have Just Had Bertolli!

My idea for dinner tonight was a simple frozen dinner that you warm up in the skillet called Bertolli. Well, Matt convinced me that we should get Pizza Hut because he had a coupon so we came up with the deal that if he ordered it, I'd go pick it up. I left the house feeling completely confident in my abilities of getting around in traffic and finding my way to the store. I also was going to stop by Blockbuster to pick up a movie. I stopped at the first and closest Blockbuster, which I promptly discovered is closing and yesterday was the last day for rentals. Undeterred, I called Matt and he directed me to another one, apparetly right next door to the Pizza Hut. I missed the turn, had to turn around while fighting traffic and it still took me 30 minutes to find the store! I couldn't find any good movies at the Blockbuster and chose one neither of us is really excited about. When I got to the front, the girl was too busy flirting with someone to realize there was a line of people waiting to check out. Then I went next door to Pizza Hut where they informed me that they had lost our order. BUT we'd get a replacement for free! I waited another 10 minutes, when the manager came up and found our order in about 5 seconds. I took the pizza and headed for home. By the time I got back, my two errands had taken me an hour! And the food was only luke warm by then. I thought, we should have just had Bertolli!
Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Pongo seems to think it's okay to get every single toy out of his bins at once. He just can't decide which one he wants to play with!

My first Rockies game! I liked this sign.

My ticket that I got for free. Thanks again, Nick!
Coors field! It has a little different atmosphere than Kaufmann Staduim. Almost every girl I saw was dressed up! I felt so dressed down in my jean shorts and t-shirt but that's what I always wear to baseball games.

Yeah, that's right! I wore a Royals t-shirt! Nobody said anything. By the way, the Rockies' "hot dog derby" is not nearly as cool as the Royals. It's just some colored cartoon cars racing around a cartoon Denver. I dubbed one of them "mustard" to make it more entertaining.The awesome video board. I don't know any of the players listed!

Carlene, Nick and I. Nick made a buddy with the cute elderly lady next to him. She was so cute...she had a baseball glove! The girls! We weren't quite ready for the picture. Nick clicks the button too fast! I must add that the Rockies won. Yay!

Pongo and I taking a nap together on Sunday. I think I caught up on all of my sleep this weekend from staying up late to see Matt last week when he worked nights. He's on days again for three weeks.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


As promised, I am going to write a post about the drivers of this area. This is a good time to do it because yesterday, I had a driving "first." On my way to work in the morning at 6:45 am, I was heading down Buckley Rd. and I noticed that the light was turning yellow so I slowed and stopped. I was pretty close to the light, but if I had not stopped, I would have run it. I have seen more red light runners here then I ever have before, but I didn't feel like breaking the law for one of my first actions of the day.
Anyway, the car in the lane BESIDE me felt differently. It continued on through the light and also layed on its horn at me for stopping. I know he was honking at me because I was the only other car around. The only other thing I could think of was that someone was having a medical emergency and needed to get to the hospital and the horn was a warning to the intersection in general. I don't think this was the case as the guy was sipping a cup of coffee as he tore down the road.
I'm just amazed at how much traffic there is here and how a signal to merge or change lanes means nothing. You literally have to know which lane you need to be in, find a hole and get in and stay in that lane. No one is going to let you in. Also, if you don't put your foot on the petal and accellerate as fast as you can out of a traffic light, people will either tail you too close or swerve around and zoom past you in annoyance. (I have had plenty of this done to me since my Civic is 4 cylinder and can't accellerate too fast.) Also, I have found myself going almost 10 mph over the posted speed limit and getting passed like I'm a snail. It's almost impossible to just simply try to stay out of people's way with so many cars.
They have these signs on I-25 to report aggressive drivers. Well, if every case was reported, the cops would be very busy tracking everyone down. Also, the state would get very rich if every aggressive driver was reported and ticketed. I am continually frustrated by this. I don't want to kill my car by simply trying to get to work every day.
I am not the only one who feels this way. Carlene and Nick and I have discussed this many times while camping and it even came up while we drank some beers at the Breckenridge Brewery before the Rockies game. (By the way, the Rockies won my first game!) It was a great time. I wish Matt could have been there. I will post pictures later this weekend.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Long Time Gone

After talking with several friends on the phone over the past couple of days, I realized that right now is the longest I have ever been away from Kansas before in my life! I think the time before that was the three weeks in 2006 I spent at KU field camp in Canon City, CO. I have never studied abroad or taken any trips that I can remember that were longer than 3 weeks! I never even so much as lived in Kansas City, MO! It's kind of a shocking revelation. I don't feel that far away though. Just an hour plane ride or a rather long but do-able drive and I can be back!
Other than that, the major story right now is the landscaping that is happening in our back yard. Our landlord is having a rock pathway put in from our side gate to the deck because the grass was dying there. (It's dying everywhere else too!) But this will just mean less watering. YAY! Well anyway, there is a plie of sand in our driveway, so we can't use one side of the garage or park on that side of the driveway, so Matt has been graciously parking in the street, allowing me to keep my car in the garage. Apparently, he got in trouble with the mail lady today for blocking the mailbox! Where else is the poor guy supposed to park if not on the street in front of our house? There are mailboxes everywhere.
Bill and Barbara left this morning for their trip back to KC. I hope that they made it home okay and also that they had a fun time out here. I have to admit that I felt bad for not having more suggestions of things for them to do while Matt and I worked. We just really don't know the area that well yet since the main things we've been doing on the weekends are rafting and camping. We did have a good time spending time with them though! I guess we are going to have to do some more exploring of the city and outlying little mountain towns before their next visit.
I am also getting a taste of what it's going to be like when Matt starts on the night shift at the hospital. He is doing nights this week and then he's back on days for a while. I think I'll end up working later and walking the dog a lot more! Pongo and I are going to be keeping each other in good company in the evenings pretty soon! I'm glad to have him, even if he gets spooked sometimes and starts howling all of the sudden, scaring me to death! He is enjoying only having to spend a few hours a day in his crate. He is calming down quite a bit and I hope we will soon be able to keep him out all of the time!
Today is cloudy and overcast, my favorite! They say Denver is sunny 300 of 360 days per year. BOOOO! I do love the random afternoon thunderstorms that sometimes pop up when I leave work! The Denver weather changes almost as fast as Kansas weather, even though most days start out sunny. BUT, when it does rain, i get a combination of two of my favoirte smells: rain and fresh pine. It's amazing!

Monday, August 4, 2008


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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekend Update

We are enjoying having Bill and Barbara at our house and have had a great weekend. It will be hard to go to work tomorrow. I'm pretty tired so I'll post some pictures and comment on them. That's more interesting anyway.

This is the sunset over the mountains on Thursday evening. It was so beautiful!

Matt and Pongo in Rocky Mountain National Park. We had to admire the mountains from afar since they wouldn't let dogs ON LEASHES on any of the trails. Any ideas why?

Matt went to explore the lake, but Pongo couldn't go. He is watching for Matt under the sign that says "No Pets Allowed." It was the saddest thing I've seen in a while!

Up close. NO PETS!

Beautiful beautiful mountain tops, complete with snow!

Pongo trying to "rescue" his dad.

Today, we went outlet shopping in Castle Rock, then headed to Colorado Springs. Our destination: Seven Falls. No wrestling the bears, Matt! Actually, the sign is describing some rock formations.

Overlooking the Seven Falls. We climbed 185 steps to get there!

A cute little white ground squirrel. They were very friendly.

Climbing 224 more steps next to the falls. I got my workout for the day!

Father and son!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Weekend Fun

It is official. Matt passed his Colorado pharmacy law test and he is now licensed to work in the state. I wanted to put him to work last night when we went to Wal-Mart to pick up my prescription and it took them a good half and hour to fill mine even though I dropped it off days ago. (They had some trouble with my insurance, but it is fine now.) Anyway, Matt sometimes works in the Wal-Mart pharmacy and so I wanted him to just go back there and do it. :)

We are getting ready to head out on a one night camping trip in Rocky Mountain National Park with Nick and Carlene. When we get back tomorrow, Matt's dad and his wife will be here! We are super excited for that as well. Time is starting to really fly by out here. This week passed very quickly. I'll hopefully have some pictures to post tomorrow or Sunday. I got a beatiful one at sunset last night.