Monday, October 27, 2008

International Etiquette

Every month Conde Nast Traveler magazine highlights a different country's etiquette. Interestingly enough, this month it highlights the US based on guidebooks marketed to those traveling here (and on the spot interviews with tourists in NYC). You can read this wisdom here.

There are training programs here in Denver that help refugees by giving them a crash course in American culture as well as preparing them for the realities of living and working in the US. Some of it is basic, like how to open a bank account or get medical treatment. But some of the cultural notes are important too, like the American slant on personal space, being on time, standards of dress, grooming and hygiene.

The next time I'm in a major airport, I'm going to have to look at a guide book marketed to international guests coming to the US. I don't think the travel section in Borders is going to have quite the same spin.

Pondering: What if we do smile too much here?

Sunday, October 26, 2008


It's fall. You'd think the squirrels would be busing storing nuts for the winter. But no. Instead they tease my dog mercilessly. Like this one here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sad Study Skills

In the 8 years since graduating from college, I haven't had to study. I can't say that I miss it. I can leave work at work, and then do what I choose. This summer I took a conversational Spanish class. The good thing about conversation class? No real homework. This fall I'm taking a basic Spanish class. This is a good thing, since I'm lacking verbs and sentence structure, although I have basic hotel Spanish, including food/beverage, tables, chairs, and "sign here." So I'm doing a little homework. Starting next weekend, I'm taking a 3 Saturday intensive class to prepare for the PHR exam. Getting certified is a good thing, but I swear it's a money making machine for someone, since the preparation materials and the exam are expensive. The good news is that my company is paying for it. So I'm trying to get back in the habit of paying attention, reading text, and using the CD training materials. How I'm going to sit still and pay attention for 8 hours straight is still a mystery. I could have taken it last spring, but I didn't want to miss Saturdays during some of the best skiing. So here I am, in November, learning how to study again.

...And Carry a Big Stick

Another weekend of fantastic fall weather. The leaves have changed color and many of them are now on the ground, crunching beneath my feet. I took the opportunity to go to Wash Park. There's a lot going on there at any given moment including: joggers, bikers, dog walkers, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, paddle boat rentals, bikes that take 4 people and have a fringe on top, and today, a new lawn sport, exhibited in this picture. Since it was so strange, I took the liberty to modify the photo too. A group of guys with big golf clubs playing with a ball somewhere between the size of a grapefruit and a soccer ball. I think alcohol may have been involved too. Looks like a good time on a beautiful day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Missing: October 19, 2007

Last year, I didn't have an October 19. We left for Australia on October 18 and landed in Melbourne on October 20. The 19th was sucked into the abyss of the International Date Line and Tylenol PM induced sleep.

Next year I will cross the IDL again. But I won't lose a day. However, I already know that March 5, 2009 will possibly be the longest day ever.

Last Summer Day?

The weather this weekend was amazing and not what you expect for mid-October. I couldn't resist getting on my bike and riding in Cherry Creek State Park. Colorado is known for it's aspen trees. So feel free to admire our scenery.

Scenic Wedding

Yesterday two of my friends got married. The reception was at this great venue in Evergreen and it definately has Colorado feeling. As we arrived from the church, the elk came down from the golf course to drink the water. Much fun was had and friends who have moved out of state came back, so we had some reunion time as well. Nothing like seeing your pastor dance to "Thriller" to make the weekend complete.

It's Called Erie for a Reason

On Friday our plans were to include some Halloween shenanigans, including a haunted house and a corn maze (funnel cakes were just an added bonus). We went to Terror in the Corn which is near Erie, CO. I went to a corn maze last year, but it's been a while since I've been to any kind of haunted attraction. You start out on a hayrack ride and then they drop you off in the middle of the corn, and the rest of the haunted "house" goes through buildings out in the field.

They don't let you take pictures in the haunted house...I assume the flash will hurt the scary actors eyes or distract you from bodies that may or may not be alive. So instead, I enjoyed these signs at the farm along with the pygmy goats. And a funnel cake.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Political Immunity

Having a cell phone as your only phone is a beautiful thing. No one calling to sell you siding. The people and companies that have your number are those you've given it to. For the most part cell phones are exempt from telemarketers. Except during the political season. Political calls are not covered under the umbrella of "telemarketers" according to the FTC. So today when I checked my voicemail I had 3 calls from 3 different area codes. Call 1: About Amendment 48 (impact on a woman's right to choose). Call 2: Letting me know all the bad things that Bob Schaffer is doing and why I should vote for Mark Udall. Call 3: So garbled that whoever paid for the message wasted their money.

On Sunday afternoon I got a call, from a real person no less, wanting me to take a survey. Am I registered to vote? Yes. Can the Obama/Biden ticket count on my vote? I haven't made my decision yet (at least not to some person giving me a survey). Are you aware of Amendment 47 and the impact it has on firefighters? Are you planning to vote no on 47? Sorry...I'm going to vote yes on 47 since it would make Colorado a Right to Work state. Thank you for your time, this survey was sponsored by ______ (labor organization) and not by any political party.

Minor political pet peeve #2: Getting mailings to support Colorado candidates or initiatives from organizations / addresses outside of Colorado. Really, the ABC building company in North Carolina is concerned about my vote? I wonder why?

Can't wait until November 5!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lucky Old Sun

I'm no longer a teenage girl swooning over Boyz II Men or the Backstreet Boys. And with the advent of itunes, I no longer buy CD's. However, there is still one artist who I like enough that I will buy the whole album. Kenny Chesney. His new album comes out on Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it. In college my friends made shameless fun of me for my love of country music. I got my revenge on a work trip to West Virginia in January of 2000 when the only station at our work site was country and Kenny's new song was "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy." It was played so much that soon everyone could sing along "if it runs like a Deere, man, her eyes light up....."

I might not swoon, but I'll get my island-country groove on and sing along.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Scalping for Beer

As I left work today there were people on every street corner...."need tickets?" It's not the Broncos or the Avalanche, what could it be?


The Great American Beer Festival is back in town. Sold out. As I was getting on the train, the line was wrapped around the convention center. And this is for an event where you taste beer in little shot glasses.

Sorry, not tempted. Let me go home and watch the Saturday Night Live Thursday Update in peace. Really?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I wonder sometimes how new phrases come into the general vocabulary. One person uses it then it shows up in a song, movie or tv show, and eventually then everyone and their brother uses it (sometimes even your parents....shocking!) Recently I noticed in one song the phrase "it ain't trickin if you got it." Now as I listen to other hip hop / R&B songs, I've heard it in a few other songs. Will this phrase jump genres to country? Maybe not, since it's usually used in reference to black AMEX cards and not in regards to one's pickup truck. Check out where you can create a definition of your own for your favorite new word!

But every once in a while a pop music / hip hop phrase does go over to country...exhibit A, The Lost Trailers and their song, "Holler Back."

Islands Going Bankrupt

The top news story on yahoo when I looked briefly at o'dark 30 this morning was that Iceland might have to file bankruptcy. I wasn't aware that was an option for a country (even if a $700 billion bailout is). When you think of international banks on islands, Grand Cayman is more likely to come to mind. I don't read a lot of financial news, but it seems like all the recent financial crises worldwide are coming as a shock to most of the population (although a subsistence farmer in rural Africa may not care at this point in time). Why?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Think Pink

Yesterday was the annual Denver Race for the Cure. We have one of the biggest events in the country (how we were beat out by St. Louis last year is a real mystery to me). This event caters to runners and walkers and people who simply don't want to get out of bed, but would rather make a donation, sleep in and still get a t-shirt. Me, I actually got out of bed, put on some pink earrings (since I don't have other festive pink accessories like boas or cowboy hats), hopped on the train and met up with my friends and co-workers to, as we say, walk quickly for the cure.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Back to Kindergarten

I don't know the last time I was in an elementary school. You know, where the chairs are below your knees and reaching the drinking fountain involves touching your toes. Today a group of us participated in Read for the Record which attempts to break a world record with the most amount of people reading the same book on the same day. This year, the book was Corduroy, children's book about a teddy bear who wants a home. I got to read to 25 kindergarteners. I don't spend much time with kids, so when I do, I have a lot of fun. Plus I learned a new jazzy song about the 3 little pigs. What more can you ask of a morning?


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