Thursday, May 28, 2009

Political Aside

I’m going to apologize in advance for making this blog political for today. There is just one recent development I can’t help but post about. Last week, Congress passed a bill that made it a lot harder for credit card companies to take advantage of people through late fees and overlimit fees. Sounds great, huh? This bill would have been a lot better if there hadn’t been a certain “add-on” bill piggy backing on to the credit card legislation, making it legal for concealed weapons to be carried in national parks, as long as they are licensed and registered.
Now unless you are going into a national park to shoot condors or bald eagles (which is ILLEGAL!), I cannot think of a single reason why you would need to have a concealed weapon in a national park. It’s not like they are huge hot spots for gangs, thugs and violence. National Parks are set up as a refuge for endangered species and a place where wildlife can live uninhibited. Where a hunting license would be required to shoot wildlife previous to this legislation, people now have an “out” to kill any wildlife they happen upon, with the excuse of “self defense” should they be held accountable for shooting an animal. To me, this legislation is just going to give people an excuse to “accidentally” shoot wildlife when they feel threatened, thus completely nullifying the whole purpose of national parks.
Wildlife is not the only thing affected by this bill. I will certainly feel a lot more unsafe when camping in Colorado’s national parks now. Say I am hiking at dusk and someone mistakes me for a wild animal in the dim light. Or say one of my dogs accidentally gets off leash (they are allowed in the campsites, but not on the trails) and someone shoots it, thinking it’s a wild boar or something. I know, I’m being eccentric. But it is always a possibility. And why are guns allowed in the park, but I can’t even take my dogs ON LEASH on a trail hike? Maybe I should sneak that into some current legislation…
We have camped and hiked dozens of times on national land (parks and forests) and I have never felt the least bit threatened by neither wildlife nor neighboring campers. Cherry Creek State Park is filled with snakes (see previous post), but I don’t feel the need to carry a gun and shoot them. Likewise, I am glad I won’t have to worry about my dogs being shot at there. However, I will be much more on edge while camping and hiking now that I know that any person I encounter in a national park could be carrying a weapon.
It is sad when we have to attach legislation like this to other bills in order to get them to pass. This is not how bi-partisanship works. It is not the right way to run a government, and both parties are guilty of this!
I hope I have not made too many people mad with this post. You know I wouldn’t write this if it weren’t important to me. You can bet I will be contacting my Congressmen about this issue as well!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Snake Scare

Hello, all! Well this has been a pretty eventful past few days, so I have quite a long blog post in store for you tonight. Memorial Day weekend seemed to go by in a flash! All the excitement started Saturday when Matt and I decided to take the dogs for a romp in the dog park before we headed downtown to meet up with some friends and go to the Nuggets game. We were walking our normal route along a major path and I was watching the dogs run around and trying to walk quickly so we wouldn't be late meeting people, so I wasn't really thinking about much else. I happened to look down right before I was about to step on this snake! Matt caught a picture on my camera phone right as it slithered away.

I know I have sent many of you this picture and story, but I was so creeped out, I had to share it again. This guy looks deceptively like a rattlesnake, but its really a 5 ft long bull snake. Rattlesnakes have triangular heads and tend to coil (and strike) in defense, as opposed to bull snakes like this, who flee as a defense mechanism. Luckily, I realized this pretty quickly. Still, I am a little creeped out to go to the dog park now, and I haven't been since Saturday.

So on to the next weekend event: dinner and beer with our friends Dave and Mary, and our visiting friends Tyler and Jaime at the Wynkoop Brewery. (Tyler and Jaime got engaged later on Saturday night at Lookout Mountain! Congrats again, you two!) We rode the light rail downtown to Union Station again, which is such a relaxing way to get downtown.

Then it was on to the Nuggets-Lakers game. This was the Western Conference finals, so we decided to go to Game 3 while we had the chance to see a playoff game. (And it happened to be the one night that Matt didn't have to work this weekend, so we jumped at the chance.) The atmosphere was incredible...almost as intense as KU basketball, but still not quite there. Our seats were pretty much way at the top, but it was still fun and everyone was excited, no matter where you sat. The Nuggets did pretty well throughout the entire game, and then lost in the last 3 minutes. It was rather disappointing, but they won again last night, so the count is 2-2. C'mon, Nuggets!

Here we are, way at the top of the Pepsi Center. But it made for a good picture!

Matt and I spent the rest of the weekend with him working and me in a flurry of working, cleaning and yard work, with a break on sunday evening for a trip to Dave and Buster's with Dave, Mary, Jaime and Tyler. Dave and Buster's is like a Chuck E. Cheese for adults. Well, kids go too, but they kick them out at a certain time and there are all kinds of games like skee ball and such where you can win tickets. It was fun, but I sure missed my "person." (Matt)

The one picture that is missing from this blog is that of our "mohawk yard." We think that the girl who mows our lawn has decided not to anymore, because the yard (front and back) has turned into a jungle over the past few weeks. The dogs were running through grass as tall as their chests in the back yard! So we decided to be proactive and just buy a mower. We will need one anyway when we buy a house. I spent a good couple hours on Monday trying to mow everything down and was successful with the front and most of the back yard. However, the grass was still a little wet from all the rain we've been getting lately, so I couldn't get the tallest stuff mowed. So we have a strip down the middle of our back yard which looks like a mohawk! I am hoping I can get that part finished after a day of good dry sunny weather. Before I mow, I'll try to take a picture. It's pretty dramatic how much difference there is in what is mowed and isn't mowed!
And that pretty much concludes the weekend! It sure was hard getting back to work this morning, but at least it is only a 4 day week. I will end this section of today's post with some beagle pictures! Matt is so good at getting sweet photos of them.

Here is our little Pongo curled up on the deck. He has been so fun to have as company at work this weekend. I can't believe how well he behaves, especially compared to his sister!

Perdi CAN be sweet if she feels like it. Here, she is sleeping beside me on Saturday morning on the couch.

Here is Pongo giving Perdi "kisses."

Part 2 of today's blog: I couldn't end this post without saying "Happy Birthday" to my dad! And the best part is, I am getting to this post on his actual birthday! Now if only I could have gotten that darn card in the mail on time. :)
Here's what I have to say about my dad. He is one of the most kind and patient people I have ever known. While I strive to take on these characteristics myself, he makes it look so easy. I always appreciated how slow to anger my dad was while I was growing up, though his quiet disappointment was sometimes the worst punishment of all when I did something wrong.
My dad is also a very hard worker, dedicated to his business. He has to travel a lot, sometimes driving all night to get home, but it never seems to bother him because he really loves what he does. On top of his business, my dad also has multiple rental properties PLUS my brother to keep in line. Not an easy job! :)
Not too many people can say that they have biked across Kansas, but my dad has! It was always the highlight of his summer when BAK rolled around. When my dad had his heart attack in 2007, he had to take it easy on the biking for a while and I know it was hard for him not to be able to do the ride. But being at home with him was really fun for me. I enjoyed our evening walks in the off leash park (I brought Pongo home with me) and just being able to spend some time with him at home. He really takes after his dad (my Grandpa Walter) though. The doctor ordered my dad not to work for a couple weeks, but he was back out to his office in a couple days! Likewise, my grandpa refused to obey doctor's orders and was out mowing his lawn even up to two weeks before he passed away! I definitely see the determination to persevere in both of their personalities.
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful dad! Happy Birthday!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Tonight, I decided to compile list of all of the things I am really "into" lately. Here goes:

1. The Twilight books. I've been pretty slow getting through kind of got in the way. But once I start one, I can't stop reading it! Currently on book 4 of 4. And if you think that you are not into the whole "vampire" thing, think again! These books are not your typical vampire stories.
2. Starbucks Double Shot Light. Espresso and cream, I drink these whenever I need a good kick in the pants (over regular coffee) to get going with my day. They taste exactly like frapaccinos to me, but with 70 calories instead of 200, and way more zing!
3. Facebook. I'm on it every evening, you can count on it! How else is one to stay connected with 400+ people at one time! I love LOVE reading my friends and family members' status updates and I think its pretty cool that aunts, uncles, friends of my parents, parents of my friends, etc., etc., are joining up too!
4. Running. I got out of it for a while when I had that first dreadful month of school with two classes, but now that I am back up to snuff on my normal route again, I can't stop! It's officially part of my daily routine again, and I am feeling great these days, though maybe not looking it quite yet...
5. Stephanie Miller's podcast. Who would have thought that an AM talk show host could be so funny? (I podcast the show so that I don't take up oodles of bandwidth streaming it live at work.) She fits my sense of humor pretty much to a T! Progressive and quite the comedian, though perhaps a little immature at times. Yep, that's me! :) By the way, Miller is the daughter of the '64 Republican vice presidential candidate, as in the Goldwater/Miller team.
6. Denver's light rail. Well, I've only been on it once, but I can't think of a much better way to get to downtown Denver anymore, especially during rush hour. Matt and I will be using it again Saturday when we head to the Pepsi Center to watch the Nuggets in the NBA playoffs!

Addictions I'm Over:
1. Puppies. Ugh...Perdi is still putting us through the wringer with her early mornings and constant need to chew. I'm done with puppies for a long time, I hope!
2. School. Well, this is more of a forced addiction but I am happy to be done for the summer even though Purdue called today and practically BEGGED me to take a summer class. :) I would have done it too, if my advisor had ever officially approved the class as part of my POS (plan of study) and if I hadn't already convinced myself to take a break now while I can.
3. Skiing. No offense to the slopes, but I am ready for camping season, as I have said over and over. I'll take up skiing again this winter, I promise! But nothing compares to Colorado summers, in my opinion. Now if only we could find a good weekend for our first round of camping....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One Of My Favorites!

One of my favorite things to do in the evening, especially now that I am finished with my class, is to read blogs. It is like getting a much anticipated Christmas present every day when I see a newly updated blog. I am thrilled to keep adding to my list of blogs (to the right) and to be able to stay updated on the lives of so many people! Knowing how thrilled I am when those blogs get updated really keeps me motivated to stay on top of my own blog, and also makes me feel guilty when I go through long spurts without blogging.
If you follow my blog and have one of your own that I don't have listed, please let me know and I will add you, no matter how long we may be out of touch. If you already have a blog that I read, keep 'em coming! This blog post is dedicated to all of you bloggers who make my day with your updates!
I recieved some happy news today. I got my official grade back for my Purdue class and I got an A! I was on the A-B bubble before the final and thought for sure that the final would send me to the B range. But I was pleasantly wrong. I think taking this Master's program one class at a time is definitely the best idea. I have better confidence in myself and my abilities now, knowing I CAN do well in these classes. I was pretty intimidated at first. Still, I have no idea what the future classes will be like.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kansas Trip Recap

We just returned home from a fun weekend in Kansas. Poor Matt had to work tonight after getting up early and being in the car all day. It was a bit of a shock to get to Denver's 90 degree temperatures after being in the 60 and 70 degree weather in Kansas this weekend.
The main purpose of the trip was so that we could attend Alissa's graduation from K-State. However, I was able to spend some time with some of my friends and family as well. Friday night, I caught up with a few of my gals friends from high school while Matt had dinner a few tables away with his family at Old Chicago. It was rather funny, but worked out well.
We spent the day Saturday attending Alissa's graduation and the party afterward. It was great to have so many family members gathered in one place! Everything went smoothly except for the horrible mispronunciation of Alissa's name during the ceremony! Later that evening, we had dinner with my dad and brother and rented a movie from the Red Box and relaxed.
Sunday, Matt and I had brunch with Arlene and Ron at Chef Cafe. I think they have the best breakfast in town! Then, Matt and I picked up Brennan and took a long hike on the Konza Prairie and then went to see a movie in the theater. We saw Angels and Demons. I liked it even better than The DaVinci Code. Sunday night, we had dinner with my mom and finally gave her a Mother's Day present!
This morning, we loaded down the car and high tailed it back to Denver. We got back with just enough time to get home so that Matt could get the car and take it to work. I'm glad that I don't have to pick him up tonight. After getting Matt home, I drove Liz (who rode with us to Manhattan and back) up to her apartment in NW Denver. She brought home a little baby snapping turtle as a pet, so we had even more company on the way home!
Then I drove clear down to Parker (south Denver) to pick up the dogs from the kennel. I much prefer driving all the way across Kansas and Colorado to city highway driving. Whew! I was exhausted so I finished unloading the highlander, gave the dogs a bath and then took a 2 hour nap. I feel so much better now. During my nap, I put Perdi in her kennel and she didn't make a peep! She slept quietly and I did as well!
I will post some pictures soon...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Review

The past few days have gone by so fast! Our friend Marcos came out to Denver for a bike race and stayed with us, so we got to spend time with him. I didn't take many pictures, unfortunately. Honestly, i felt like I was in a daze most of the weekend. Last week was SO crazy at work. I am learning new software and trying to adjust my stereo drawing techniques, but I don't feel like I'm really getting it sometimes. Thursday, (the night Marcos got here), I went to a business dinner with the survey department and the main client for the airport project. We had surveyors in town from our offices all over the country to discuss the upcoming airport contract and they invited my supervisor and I along since we do the air survey side of the project.
The dinner was great. It was fantastic to put some faces with the people in Dayton that I talk to frequently by email or phone. Let me tell you, we have a pretty awesome group of surveyors! I was sitting right next to the client, which made me somewhat self-conscious, but we had some good conversations.
When I finally got home at 9 pm, Matt had already brought out the video games and he and Marcos were playing. I think Matt's favorite part of having guy friends visit is having someone to play video games. I'm sure none of his friends mind either, at least I hope not!
MY favorite part was Saturday night when we rode the light rail downtown and caught a Rockies game. They lost of course, but it was still fun. We went to the Wynkoop Brewery afterward and then rode the light rail back to the 'burbs. I really like the light rail! I think I will do that more often when i go downtown. It takes a little longer, but is so much faster if traffic is backed up, as it was Saturday. I also enjoyed catching up on some much needed sleep.
It was hard to go back to work today after such a fun weekend, but I felt great since I had re-charged my sleep battery. The day turned out alright in the end with a good hard run and a cool-down walk in the dog park with the beagles. They definitely were eager to get out. I threw a stick in the river for Perdi to get, as I usually do, forgetting that the river had recently flooded and the banks were eroded. She jumped in the water and went completely under water! But she's a good swimmer and she wasn't far from the bank, so I could have grabbed her quickly if I needed to. I guess Perdi had her first swimming lesson today! After that, she didn't much feel like listening to me, so she had to go on the leash.
In other news, I (successfully!) finished my first Master's class on Thursday! I really don't know what to do with myself during the evenings now. I probably should have taken a summer class, but they didn't offer anything that I needed. While it's nice not to have to worry about homework and lectures, I actually kind of miss having the distraction right now.
I do need to say HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to a few special women. To my mom, Arlene, Barbara, Grandma Helen and Grandma Evelyn: Happy Mother's Day! Matt and I missed seeing you all on your special day, but know that we were thinking about you all day and send our love all the time!
Signing off for the evening....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Ramblings

Feliz Cinco do Mayo! Matt has his first interview at the hospital today for a day position. I haven’t heard anything official yet, but I’m sure he will do great! We both really want him to get this. PLUS, he would be working with residents if he gets the job, which he would be really good at.
I have been learning a new software package at work, since we have temporarily run out of airports. I miss them! This new stuff is hard to get the hang of. But it is good to have a little break for a while. The next batch of airports gets started next month and then I’m not sure how much time away from the office I will have. There is a lot of work there. I have a business lunch and dinner with the main client for the big airport project on Thursday which I am very excited about. Hopefully some good networking will be done there. It’s always great to know who I am dealing with and working for on a personal level.
On the home front, we are going to have another friend come visit this weekend. Matt’s buddy (and mine) Marcos is going to be out here for a bike race, so he is going to stay with us. We are very excited for this. Once I get my class finished up and can get the house a little cleaner, I will be 100% ready for him to be here!
Today when I talked to Matt on the phone, he sounded a little exasperated about Perdi. She still gets into everything like a little kid. The funny thing is that Pongo was telling on her. He would go up to Matt and wag his tail, even though he knew Matt would be leaving for work soon. When Matt would go find Perdi, she would be getting into something bad. So everytime Pongo did that, Matt knew Perdi was up to something. Dogs are so funny! I love how mellow and obedient Pongo is now…he’s so much like a well behaved person. I can’t wait til Perdi gets to that point.
Well, I’d better get started on school stuff. It will be so nice to have that finished until the fall!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Picture Tribute

Just thought I would add a few pictures to bring back memories from a year ago...

Anniversary Tribute

This post is going to be a tribute to my husband and our first year of marriage, the anniversary of which we celebrated yesterday!
First of all, let me tell you the story behind the best present he could have possibly given me! All week (and probably most of April, in fact) I had been preparing myself for the fact that Matt had to work the weekend of our anniversary. He did work Saturday, and got home really late on top of that due to hospital craziness. I was hoping to get to celebrate a little Saturday night since he would be off to work again on Sunday, so I was bummed about the late hour when he finally got home.
We did get to celebrate one anniversary tradition on Saturday…I tried to re-create our wedding cake (and didn’t even come close!) because we didn’t save any of the original cake since we moved across states and didn’t have a freezer for 3 days. Anyhow, the point is that we did have cake when Matt got home. That was fun.
Wow, I am really dragging out this story. Anyhow, around 1:00 Sunday, Matt started getting ready to head for work. He did everything exactly as he always does…shower, get dressed in scrubs, pack his bag…we even discussed which flavor bagel he was going to take for a snack. He left at his normal time, and called me from the road like he always does.
Matt had been telling me all day that a surprise would be delivered to the house. I even asked him if he was really going to work, but he looked really sad and apologetic when he said he still had to work, so I believed him and thought he was having flowers delivered. While we were talking on the phone as he drove to work, I asked him what time the surprise was coming because I wanted to go running and didn’t want to miss it. Pretty soon after that, the doorbell rang and there was Matt holding a bouquet of lilies!
I was so surprised! And after it sank in that I really had the whole day with him, I cried my eyes out of course. We ended up going out to dinner at Magianno’s, a nice Italian restaurant. We also planned to go see a movie, but we ended up renting one and watching it at home. We were both pretty tired. Anyway, that is the story of the awesome gift Matt gave me. After this year and all of the time we have spent apart with our work schedules, the gift of time together was absolutely perfect!

So let me just finish this tribute by saying some of the things that I appreciate about my husband. First of all, he encourages me in everything I do, from grad school and work, to little everyday things like going out with my friends in the evening, even when he doesn't get the chance to do much of that with his friends. (Many of them work days.)
I love that he likes to do adventurous and crazy things with me, like camping, rafting, skiing and driving all night, even though he may have to miss that big game on TV that he really wants to watch. He makes me laugh with his jokes and doesn't get too upset when I make fun of his hip/hop music. :) Matt gives the BEST back massages and makes an awesome chicken burger.
Matt puts up with all of my moods and rarely gets mad or tries to "push my buttons" when he knows I'm upset. I really admire how much patience he has! But most of all, I love that throughout our entire relationship, he has always been my best friend through everything. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MATT!


I also have to say Happy Birthday to my cousin, Jaime! Matt and I now share her birthday with our anniversary, so I couldn't go without mentioning her in this post. Jaime, I hope you have an excellent month of May, as you noted in your last blog post!