Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Road Tripping (Bike MS Style)

Last weekend was the 2009 Bike MS. It's not a first, but rather a second for me. Last year, after being involved as a volunteer in 06/07, I "manned" up, got a road bike and started to train for the insanity of voluntarily riding 150 miles in 2 days. I felt my training for this summer was not up to par, based on 1) the crazy Denver weather and 2) being out of town a lot. However, it was a success, I made good time on Saturday, crossing the finish line in Ft. Collins around 12:30 and then got to enjoy our fantastic team tent: the Hotel MS 150. Sunday morning, the attitude changes..."let's get on the road, because there's no other way back to Westminster except to hop back in the saddle..."and it was hot. I have some funky tan lines. But at least now my legs and knees feel back to normal and I'm ready for a holiday weekend of fun.

So, since the ride and the route weren't different, it's not new, but....

#42 Tried Lamar's donuts for the first time (nothing like wine, a donut and a grand bed after riding 75 miles...Rebecca told me I deserved it, and she's right!)

#43 (more in the ewww category) Stayed in a nasty old dorm at CSU. This is my fault for slacking in making my reservations, but I guess living in LAR at U of I (which is over 50 years old) gave me higher expectations....really who gives college students tiny desks with rocking chairs?

#44 Eating grilled cassava root with spicy Peruvian sauce (rocoto?).

Looking forward to this weekend, where I will actually get to experience, for the first time, one of the listed events in Party Across America, by going to Summerfest in Milwaukee with my sister!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Lonliest Number

I was reminded that I forgot another novelty on our trip to South Dakota last weekend. I've been to some small towns, and I think the record low on a population sign was 5.

On our way home last Sunday we saw a sign (a green town sign, paid for by the taxpayers) for a population of 1. I think the place was called Lost Spring and I'm not sure if it was in western SD or eastern WY. In any case, it should be classified as new thing #40.

#41 Participating in Denver's Bike to Work Day yesterday. This is an official event with breakfast stations, media coverage, raffle prizes, etc. I even got a free pair of socks at the 9News station. I'm hoping if I get my act together (planning ahead and all) I can bike to work one day a week this summer. Gives my car a rest, burns calories and provides plenty of fresh air!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Road Tripping

I took a road trip this weekend with a friend to go to a wedding in South Dakota. I had forgotten how much I enjoy road trips (which are different from get in a plane trips). You have the chance to stop at any roadside attraction (Chugwater Chili Coookoff anyone?) that catches your eye. You play the license plate game. You get wired on caffeine. It's been years since I've been in Wyoming and SD and I remembered how beautiful it is. I now want to plan a weekend trip back to Yellowstone (one of the happiest places on earth). Also....got some more new things taken care of.

#32 I rode my bike to work for the first time last week. This was a practice run in preparation for Bike to Work Day this week. 15 miles each way, it's great exercise and is almost all on bike paths.

#33 Tried the "World Famous" cinnamon rolls at Johnson's Corner (on I-25). I've had better.

#34 Met someone who unicycles.

#35 Dining in Custer, SD including Pizza Works and The Purple Pie Place. It's the most purple building I've ever seen and serves pie and ice cream. Yum!

#36 Attending a wedding in South Dakota, including the following new things: attending my first outdoor wedding, in a camp ground, where Frisbees were the party favor, ladder golf was played, the brother was one of the bride's attendants, the bride and groom took pictures jumping at the bounce house, and the bouquet was given to the couple married the longest. It was beautiful and great fun. Congrats to the Fultons!

#37 Seeing the face of Crazy Horse. The last time I was at the Crazy Horse Memorial was in the early 90s and even though it had been in progress for almost 50 years, not much was defined. The face was revealed in 2008. Now they are working on the horse. This project is not funded by federal or state funds, so you need to go yourself and help them out!

#38 Learning what the 4 presidents on Mt. Rushmore stand for. I feel this piece of US History passed me by, but fortunately there are park rangers to help me with this. George Washington: Birth of the Nation. Thomas Jefferson: Expansion of the Nation. Abraham Lincoln: Preservation of the Nation. Teddy Roosevelt: Development of the Nation.

#39 Tried Pepsi Throwback. Made with 100% natural sugar. I deserve it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Working for Free

Although many people think that they work so hard and so long that they're practically working for nothing, British Airways has reportedly asked its employees to work for free. Well, technically they are offering associates up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave (or the opportunity to work for free). Unlikely that anyone will work take the work for no wage option, but unpaid leave, if you can swing it financially, offers some unexpected freedom that you might not normally get working full time.

I don't know about other countries, but I know where I work we can't allow our employees to work off the clock for fifteen minutes, much less 4 weeks.

It's a good question to ponder. If your employer told you that you were going to have the month of August off as unpaid leave, what would you do with the time?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Adventures Up North

In typical style, I took a short trip over the weekend. This time I flew to Wisconsin to celebrate Dad's retirement. Although Wisconsin in and of itself is not new, the following items can be added to my list in the past week:

#23 Eating Elk. I have tried all kinds of game and exotic creatures (springbok, kangaroo, crocodile, warthog, maphone worm), but had my first elk burger on Wednesday.

#24 Seeing a stage performance of Rent. Awesome.

#25 Having cheesecurds within 2 hours of landing in Wisconsin

#26 Trying a local Sturgeon Bay coffeehouse: DC Brews home of the Lug Nut Latte (hazelnut and peanut butter) as well as a ridiculous chocolate frosted cinnamon roll.

#27 Celebrating the retirement of a family member. Hard to believe dad worked for 35 years and now is, in theory, at leisure.

#28 Hearing someone give a speech in honor of my Dad

#29 Participating in any activity in a Yacht Club. We have no yacht (no boat at all) but celebrated at the club. And the youngest 4 attendees at this illustrious gathering closed down the bar....at 9:45pm.

#30 Teaching my nephew to play bocce ball. He likes to throw things. It was a good time.

#31 Had my first Culver's Butterburger.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Slacker Tendancies

I feel like I've been slacking in proactively seeking out new things this to do this past week.

#17 I started a new position at the end of May. I am now the Associate Relations & Training Manager. I've been a training manager before, but AR (aka the fun stuff) is new and I'm excited to spend more time doing it. Time to say sayonara to worker's comp!

#18 I've committed to getting involved with the "makeover" of the Denver Illini club. I haven't been participating in the past, but now's my chance!

#19 Hiking in Evergreen - Elk Meadow. Yes I hike and yes I've been to Evergreen, but this was a combined effort of 7 people and 3 dogs. It was a part of Jeffco open space and great!

#20 Volunteering for a big community festival (People's Fair). I love to go to big festivals and eat my body weight in funnel cakes, but this time I helped educate people on what could be recycled. And the people watching was not to be missed. Cut off jean shorts, leggings and big earrings that read "SEXY" says it all.

#21 Bratwurst and Monopoly night. Add a few margaritas and it's a delicious and fun combination.

#22 Actually being where a tornado touched. For many June 7th's growing up (my sister's birthday) we spent time in our basement in Wisconsin because of tornado warnings. Yesterday I was relaxing at Barnes and Noble in Southlands when they warned us to stay away from the windows because of the weather. The hail lasted forever, but I thought that was it. Only once they started evacuating the shopping area for a possible natural gas leak (something else new), did I see all the leaves, broken trash cans, jacked up restaurant umbrellas, etc.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

History Repeating Itself

I originally had a blog on Yahoo 360 for the specific purpose of sharing my fabulous and detailed travel journal from Southern Africa with others who were on the trip with me. Then last year I decided that blogger was a better and easier choice (which is true). Sadly Yahoo 360 is closing and I was able to download my blog into a completely useless .txt format which is not able to be directly imported to Blogger. However, I can and will move the posts over sometime this summer, as it's entertaining to see what you thought and wrote when you were "younger" (almost 3 years ago). Not quite as entertaining as breaking out my journal from my trip to Egypt in 98, where I scribed riveting commentary such as "JFK is big, but not nearly as cool as O'Hare," "I felt conspicuous in the Cairo airport" and "the trick to haggling - act aloof and start low" (although that is still true).

Ahhhh...strolling down memory lane. Thankfully I write it all down, or my travel memories would be something like "Didn't we see that famous building?"


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