Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Final Countdown

This week marks the final week of Matt and I working opposite shifts! We have been planning all of the things we are going to do together once we finally have our evenings back. Among these include making dinner together, watching Thursday night TV, working out/running, (I am hoping Matt will inspire me to lift weights because I am doing pretty well by myself in the running department) and GOING TO BED BEFORE 11 PM! The going to bed earlier part is what I am particularly looking forward to, besides just getting to spend more time with Matt in general.
The dogs are going to be unhappy for a while. It's going to be an adjustment for them to be in their kennels during the day. In preparation of this, we bought Pongo a bigger kennel. He still has had some issues with his kennel, so we thought a bigger one might help. I really just wish we could leave them out around the house. I still think that day will come eventually. As for now, it seems I can't even leave them alone in the yard for 30 minutes!
When i got back from my run tonight, I found our neighbors' son desperately trying to grab on to Pongo while Perdi tried to dig herself out from under the gate. Apprently, a cord of wood and a large blue trash can stacked up against the gate can't even keep our dogs in the yard! They dug under the gate, moved the trash can and ran all the way around the block to our backyard neighbors' house. And this is the second time in a week it has happened. There is no containing those beagles.
Matt and I signed up to do the Race for the Cure on Sunday. We will be getting up early to run a 5k and support a good cause. I hope that all my 5k training pays off, but it will be fun to get up and join in the fun. Really, I just want get a better time than Matt. :) The thing I am most excited for this run is that the race takes places downtown at the Pepsi Center, so the trail is bound to be nice and FLAT!

Monday, September 28, 2009


A little over a week ago, I got back from a fabulous weekend in Nashville! I went out to visit Amanda, one of my very best friends from high school (and that still stands today, of course!) and her sister, Megan. They had all kinds of plans for my weekend visit. I collected lots of pictures to share since it was my first time to ever visit Nashville.

Friday, we did some sight seeing. This is one of the signature buildings in the skyline. It's nicknamed the "batman" building. I thought it was awesome and I have several pictures of it.
Another view of batman's towers. :)

This is more of downtown Nashville, where a lot of the "honky tonks" are. The Stage is a pretty famous one. I must say that all of the groups I heard playing could have fooled me for big-time country acts. Even a girl singing in a karaoke bar sounded like a pro!

Did you know that they moved the Parthenon to Nashville? Just kidding...but it's an exact replica!

These next couple pictures are of strange/interesting random things I spotted around town.

Huh? I've surely never seen a speed limit of 24 before!

A gas pump had a boulevard sticker on it!

I came home with some genuine cowboy boots. But before I got them home, I HAD to wear them out to the bars!

Singin along to some country much fun! It's fun to go out and hear some country music once in a while, but they played other stuff too!

Me and Manda...I miss her!

Megan and her boyfriend Jim were so much fun! Jim was a great sport and drove us girls around town and Megan invited all of her buddies go out with us on Friday night so that we had a big fun group! It was awesome and all of her friends are very nice...and super smart! (They are all in the doctoral program at Vanderbilt.)
Saturday, we attended a wine festival on the river. It was a gorgeous day in general...

...with the exception of some intermittent showers. Good thing we had the ponchos!

The view was incredible...the river below us and the skyline around us! And the wine was fantastic too. :)

Other highlights of the weekend were touring the Grand Ole Opry at Opryland, having breakfast with Becky, a friend/roommate from college, sampling sushi and watching line dancers and live music at the Wild Horse Saloon downtown. I honestly can't figure out how people know how to line dance. I am lucky I figured out how to do the Electric Slide! I was very impressed.

Amanda is coming out for a Denver visit in two weeks, so the pressure is on to top the fun weekend I had in Nashville when she comes out here! I am so excited for her visit. It is awesome that we get to spend a weekend together two months in a row! Thanks for a fantastic weekend, Manda and Megan!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Cute One

By popular request, I am going to post a photo from two weekends ago. Actually, I asked Matt to post these since they are on his camera/computer, but he didn't get to it before he left. In his defense, he did have to work and take care of the dogs since I was away in Nashville this past weekend. I am working on a post from my trip, but in the mean time, enjoy these photos!

Let's play a game: In the above picture, which of these "people" do not belong?

If you guessed this one, you are correct! It was the funniest thing. Pongo decided he wanted some French toast too, so the second Matt got up to clear his plate, Pongo hopped up in his chair! But he just sat there and waited, like someone was going to serve him a plate. He was very patient and polite. If he could talk, I bet he would have even said "please." I think that dog thinks he is TOO human sometimes. It's our fault...we spoil our dogs. But we do not let them sit at the table, or even eat human food for that matter, so this was pretty entertaining.

Perdi thinks she is a human as well. She curled up in the freshly made guest bed and even laid her head on the pillow. What are we going to do with these guys?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Visitors and a Legacy

It was fun to have Arlene and Ron out here for a couple days last weekend! Of course I didn't take enough pictures, but we just relaxed most of the time. They got here Friday a little before noon. It was a gorgeous sunny day, only around 72 degrees out. I couldn't stand to sit at work and since I already had quite a bit of overtime, I took off around 1 pm. We ended up taking a walk through the dog park to enjoy the weather. Perdi made us all laugh with her yelping as she chased Pongo around. She's quite loud when she gets going, but it's cute.

I made one of our favorite chicken/pasta dinners Friday night after we went to do a little wine tasting. We also had fresh bread from the bread machine, which I enjoy making but don't do enough of it!

I was ready for bed at 9:45 pm, which is pretty early for me. But after the wine and the food, my body was craving sleep! Saturday, we drove Ron and Arlene around Denver to show them where we work. We also had lunch at Pat's, our favorite cheesesteak restaurant. We watched some football in the afternoon and then went downtown on the light rail for dinner at the Chop House. It was SOOO good. Very fancy too.

They left Sunday before noon, after a breakfast of French toast. We sent them off with a bag of snacks for the road. :) It was a bit of a role-reversal, as Matt and I are usually the ones who get the breakfast and bag of food before we drive back to Denver.

Sunday afternoon, I went for a run and noticed that the tall mountains were capped with snow. It is becoming one of my favorite things to see the first snow in the mountains from town. I was very season will be upon us soon!

The other excitement of the weekend is that I won in BOTH of my fantasy football leagues. It was pretty close in one of them...but it is pretty uncommon that I win so much right off the bat. I hope this keeps up!

I have been captivated lately by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, so I thought I would write a bit about my thoughts on this tonight. I know his death occurred a couple weeks ago, but the health care debate has been raging on since then and he was such a huge proponent of health care reform.

I have never before been really captivated by the whole Kennedy family, at least not to the degree that our parents' generation was. I am mostly claiming ignorance here...I just have never done much research on the Kennedy's. Most of their tragedies occurred before I was born. In fact, I didn't even know that Ted was the youngest of the Kennedy brothers! How sad is that.

I have been learning much about Ted and the Kennedy family lately, after reading an article in People Magazine about senator Kennedy's life. He is also a pretty common topic in some of the podcasts I am listening to, which I am a couple weeks behind in. Of particular interest to me is the fact that Ted Kennedy had been a senator for 46 years. This is incomprehensible to me. The man had been in office for 20 years already when I was BORN!

I know he had many downfalls, including the whole incident at Chappaquiddick and lots of drinking problems. But I was touched to hear about his compassion for the sick and uninsured people of the U.S., and that he really got involved in health care reform when his son Ted, Jr. was sick with cancer. He met many people who couldn't afford their health care, and felt so grateful that he could afford health care for Ted Jr's cancer treatment, that he devoted the rest of his senatorial career to fixing health care in America. In addition, Ted Kennedy also helped some people pay for their medical treatments from his own pocket.

I am really glad that I have taken a few hours lately to research and learn about the Kennedys. I think I understand more about the fascination previous generations had with the family. I have definitely been swept up in it as of late. I can't help but feel that with Ted Kennedy's death (and Eunice Kennedy Shriver's death a few weeks ago), the end of a major political legacy has come. However, I do hope that our leaders continue to dilligently work on the issues with our health care system in the near future with the same passion as Senator Kennedy has done for the past 46 years.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Yale Alum

I hope you all enjoyed Alissa's guest blog. I certainly did, and I hope she comes back soon (to visit and to blog)!

Matt and I got back safely on Monday after a wonderful 3 day camping trip to the Collegiate Peaks. If any of you fellow Coloradans (or anyone for that matter) out there have not experienced this area, let me tell you that it is absolutely one of the most beautiful areas of Colorado that there is to see.

Saturday, we got to our campsite around noon and got everything set up. We had a whole afternoon ahead of us, so we decided to go for a 6.5 mile hike with the dogs. I am kicking myself for forgetting the name of the trail. It was a beautiful hike, and not overly strenuous. Here are a few pictures. Most of them are of me because Matt takes much better pictures than I do with his camera. :)

Perdi basically pulled me along the entire way. She has so much energy. But more on that in a little bit...

There was a beautiful lake at the top, but we didn't stay long because of the impending storm clouds. Even I won't tempt mother nature on top of a mountain.

Saturday night, we went to bed pretty early because we had a big hike ahead of us Sunday: Mt. Yale, elevation 14, 202 ft!

I wasn't sure if we would finish the hike because of the dogs. I didn't know if they could make it up a 14,000 ft peak. This is the top of Yale, before we got above tree line.

They have had the Lepto vaccination, so we let them drink from the stream.

As soon as we broke through the tree line, the views were INCREDIBLE. It was like we were literally on top of the world. You could see forever.

The summit of Mt. Yale, covered in clouds.

Still hanging in there after, a couple hours in.

We were literally scrambling up rocks and dirt to get to the top. It took us 4 hours, but we finally got close to the top. We still had some bouldering to do after we got to this point. The dogs were doing pretty good at climbing over the rocks, but when we got about 25 feet from the very very top, I started getting really freaked out. I was clinging to these rocks and all I could see around me was sky and mountains in the distance.
I don't usually get scared of heights, but I guess I learned that when there is nothing around to catch me if I fall, I freeze up. I know I was also worried about Pongo and Perdi falling off the mountain, so that didn't help at all.

Mt. Harvard was covered in storms. This is exactly what you DON'T want to get stuck in. Mt. Princeton looked about the same. We were lucky....Yale was clear when we got to the top. But we didn't stay too long because the storms were moving fast.
We did manage to eat a quick lunch and rest our legs for a few minutes. I knew I couldn't make it back down without some nourishment and some rest. It was an intense hike, to say the least.
Here we are at the top...beagles and all! I was so proud of them for making it to the top. I could see that Pongo was getting tired. He would sit or lay down whenever we stopped for a break. Perdi, on the other hand, pulled us to the top. Which ever one of us was holding her leash would get way ahead of the other. When we tried to stop and catch our breath, she was tugging at her leash to keep on going! I could not believe how much energy she had. This was one time I was happy to have her instead of Pongo (who is ususally better on the leash).

View looking down from the top of Yale.

Anybody know what this little guy is?

On the way down, we had to let Perdi off her leash. She was tugging so hard that she was making Matt lose his balance. She was excited for the freedom and discovered a marmont on some rocks! It was "chirping" (that's the best description I can come up with) at her. She didn't quite know what to think about this weird creature that kept taunting her. I did not want her going near it (I don't know how aggressive they are), so we finally got her back on the leash. It was still cool to get to see a marmont so close up.
In all, the hike to the top and back down took us 6.5 hours including breaks. We were so tired when we got back and immediately hopped in the tent for a nap.
I guess it takes a 1/2 day hike to the top of a 14,000 ft tall mountain to really wear Perdi out. But she was TIRED.
I am still incredibly sore from the hike 3 days later. I went for a run yesterday thinking that it would help. I didn't feel much pain during the run, but the moment I got home, the pain returned. I haven't been this sore since the first time we skiied last November. Hopefully skiing won't hurt so much now.
It was sad to leave the campsite. I couldn't help but think that it is probably our last campout of the summer. I love camping in the mountains so much. Especially in the Collegiate Peaks at 10,000 feet.
This week, Matt and I are preparing for a visit from Arlene and Ron. They will get here Friday and stay for the weekend. We can't wait to show them our (hopefully clean) house and our favorite places around Denver! Speaking of which...I better get back to the house. This is a great opportunity for de-cluttering and getting out the fall decoractions!

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Guest Blog by Matt & Laura's Favorite Guest

Hi from Kansas!

This is Alissa Millard, sister/in-law of Matt and Laura, the most recent visitor of these two wonderful people, and most importantly their most awesome and favorite guest! I don't know why, but Laura has trusted me to guest blog about my week out there. This will be fun! Coincidentally I'm wearing my Denver shirt right now.
Can you tell we're siblings?! What is Matt lookin at?
I jumped at the chance of getting a cheap flight to Denver even though I had no money to begin with! I can't pass up an opportunity to see the mountains and some amazing family. I got there on a Friday evening (not the best time to be picked up at the Denver airport by your very kind sister-in-law, fyi) and stayed until Thursday afternoon. I was treated like royalty the entire time. These two people know how to make you feel at home! It was wonderful. We had a great time doing lots of things, but to be honest we could sit around doing nothing and still have a wonderful time.

Laura took me to the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown right away since Matt was working. It was great to be down there at night and to have good conversation. Saturday we set off an adventure. I was going to really camp for the first time in my life. The last time I was out we tried but didn't reserve a spot in time. Well, the gods are most certainly against me being in their wilderness. I don't think I'm that much of a threat, but they made sure that everyone in a 100 mile radius was camping in all of our prospective spots! However, I had never seen this part of Colorado before and it was gorgeous. Pongo was a little stressed, though. I know it was frustrating and I was a little bummed we didn't get to camp, but I still enjoyed the day. Plus, we spent the night trying different beers, eating a cookie, and playing BigBuck Hunter at Old Chicago! :) Sunday made up for our disappointment on Saturday. We went to Breck for the alpine slide and a fabulous hike. Matt reminded me of one reason he is arguably (after me of course) the most awesome person I know with his freestyle walking talent. Even with a few minor trips. The drive back was especially beautiful as we all experienced Loveland Pass together. That is truly an AWEsome scenic drive.

Pongo wanted to check his fan-mail.

I always see a little bit of the little kid in Matt. :)

This was on our hike. We took a break to numb our feet in the creek.

I love pictures of the dogs play fighting! Pongo especially looks so vicious.

The rest of the week was fun because I got to be with Matt and Laura individually and together. Of course being with the puppies was great as well! I love them. Matt and I cooked lunch one day, Laura and I went out to dinner twice, and we watched some movies and TV. Laura's kickball game was entertaining and enjoyable to watch. We went on a few walks and Matt and I took the puppies to the dog park one day. They were very misbehaved for that hour! Laura usually gets the misbehaved dogs, as they are sleepy and cuddly and perfect all day, then get excited at night. Most days while Laura was still at work and Matt had left, the dogs and I cuddled on the couch together while I read - perfect!

Perdi did not want me to leave. I was sad to go.
THANK YOU to Matt and Laura for being the best hosts, as well as brother and sister-in-law. The conversation was great and so was the beer. :) I will be back soon. Until then, signing off.
Peace, Alissa

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I certainly can't let my husband out-blog me this month. He already has 2 posts in September! So I figured it was about time to get on here and write something. The thing is, the words just aren't coming to me tonight. And I don't really have a lot of pictures either. I will after this weekend though! Matt and I will be spending our Labor Day weekend camping in the Collegiate Peaks at 10,000 ft, despite many other invitations and goings-on that we could/should be attending. Sometimes, you just gotta get away. We seem to be doing that every chance we get these days! Perhaps we'll be a more social couple once we get on the same schedule.

Anyhow, I thought I would also take the time to write a few notes on my business trip to Dayton. It was a pretty routine week for the most part. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to train. Luckily, there were only three of them and one guy probably knew as much or more than I did, which helped a lot! A week of business travel was a little overwhelming, mostly because I spent so much time at work, or at least with work people. My brain didn't have much time to decompress. Also, it was really hard to eat out three meals a day for a week. My body did not like that at all. I like having the chance to eat at least one light meal a day.
Lucikly, the hotel where I was staying was right across from Wright State University, which offered a safe place to run in the evenings. Literally, it seemed there was a police car on patrol around every corner I turned. Looking back, that could have been a sign that i was NOT in a safe place. But I never got that impression, and I returned to the hotel safely each night, which I suppose is what matters in the end.

Here is the Wright State of the few pictures I had a chance to snap.
It was really pretty in the sunset.
Toward the end of the week, I almost felt like I actually worked/belonged in the Dayton office. I was so used to getting up and going to work there and seeing that group of people. I was really glad to get to meet so many of the co-workers I interact with on a daily basis via phone and/or email. It's nice to be able to picture who I am talking to on the phone now.
One of the highlights of the week was having dinner with Jaime, Andrew and Abigail on Wednesday. We had dinner at the Olive Garden, which is always one of my favorites. I can't belive how big Abigail is getting. She is talking a lot too, but she wouldn't say my name. :( I am so glad that they could make the drive up to Dayton!
On Thursday evening, we headed to a Mexican restaurant for a farewell dinner. I thought this sign was funny.
Why would they need to advertise this fact? Yikes. Well, the food and margaritas were good anyway. :)
It was good to get back to the Denver office and the familiar faces, but the week in Dayton was definitely good and productive. I think everyone is trained and on the same page, so we are ready get down to the grind and finish these airports now.
That's all you're going to get from me tonight folks! I am plum tuckered out. I'll be sure to snap lots of camping pictures this weekend and try to get them up...within the next month. :)