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


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


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 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!

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 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.


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.


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.