Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Highly Scientific Weather Ruler

The meteorologists predicted snow.
Their prediction came true, thus providing them with job security for at least another day.   

The things I had scheduled today were canceled, so I enjoyed the opportunity to watch the snow from the comfort of my home.  In unstructured pants, no less.

I haven't been watching TV or reading the news, so my blizzard experience is limited to what friends are posting on Facebook...everything from cute pictures of dogs in the snow to someone irate that their flight has been canceled and they can't get out until Tuesday, and what I can see out my window.

How much snow is there?    Let me show you using my highly scientific weather ruler:


Happy Sunday Snowday Everyone!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trying the Whole Staycation Thing

Did you know?   The word staycation was added to the dictionary in 2009?  

To even get into the dictionary, people, and by extension the popular media, have been using the word for a while.   Just because people were using the word, and it achieved dictionary fame, did not mean that I was embracing the concept.

I'm a big fan of going, seeing and doing.   If I could swing the Eat, Pray, Love lifestyle, I would do that.   And that involves going somewhere else.  Anywhere else.   I'm not good about staying in one place.   Going to the same restaurant.   The same destination.  

Every year friends ask where I'm going.    I usually have a plan.  
That plan often involves ice cream, another continent, cappuccino and a really long flight.

Next week I'm taking 4 days of vacation.
And I'm staying in Colorado

This is a new concept for me.   I'm not sure that I've done anything this wild and crazy in the 7+ years I've lived in here.  

I love Colorado.   I've lived here longer than anywhere else since graduating high school.   Before that, my parents, like many parents, expected me to live in the same state, city, and even house that they did.   Shocking, I know!   

Lots of people choose to come to Colorado for their vacation.   When I was younger (that whole living with my parents thing), I came out to Colorado a couple different times for vacation.    It was hard to resist the temptation to vacation in central Illinois, but somehow we chose the higher road.

Next week, I'm going to enjoy Colorado, and Beaver Creek particularly, as a person who is on vacation.   I'm not just going up the hill for the weekend.   I'm going on vacation!  I'm going to stay in a hotel.  Ski.  Eat S'mores.  Sit by the fire.   Drink wine.  Go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Lounge in the hot tub.  Sleep in.

From my last visit...

All less than 2 hours from home.   No jet lag.   No exhausted flight arriving at midnight when I have to work the next day.    We may stop for the worlds biggest breakfast wrap at Two Brothers on the way up.    Right after that we may stop for ice cream and caramel corn at the Georgetown Valley Candy Company.    No one can stop us.   We are on vacation!

From the visit before that...

What's your take on staycation?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bighorn Sheep - Waterton Canyon Hike

Two weeks ago my sister and I joined a hike-loving friend in Waterton Canyon.  Neither of us had been there.  This became obvious when we asked hike-lover, "How far does this trail go?" and she said "All the way to Durango." 
Durango is in Southwest Colorado.
Durango is nowhere near Denver.      
Waterton Canyon is the eastern starting point for the Colorado Trail.   The Colorado Trail is 500 miles and takes, on average, 4-6 weeks to complete.    We were definitely only equipped for a casual day hike with our hoodies, tennis shoes and trail mix.
Let's just say that we completed the first 3.5 miles of the Colorado Trail (a big 7 miles out and back - not too shabby for a Sunday in early February).    Waterton Canyon is a consistent place to view one of the Colorado wild animal icons, the bighorn sheep.   We saw a few sheep up on the cliffs on our hike out.    The highlight was when we got to see them up close and personal.  On the way back we ran into 15 of them on the trail.   A great time to pause, pull out the camera, and enjoy the awesomeness that is life in Colorado. 
Waterton Canyon is ideal for as much fitness as you want to get.  Unless you are hiking all the way to Durango, it's an out and back.   Go as far as you want into nature and then turn around and come back. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ice Bars and Ice Breakers

Earlier this week in honor of Valentine's Day, Lonely Planet shared their "Best Worst Travel Pick Up Lines."    With that title alone, you know they will be awesome.

I Ecu-ador you?  Check. 
I'd like Dubai you a drink?  Oh yes. 
I can't help but Czech you out?  Try and stop me.

On Valentine's Day I was facilitating a training class and one group was in charge of creating a welcome and ice breaker.    The minute that one of the attendees said, "How much does a polar bear weigh?   Enough to break the ice,"  I was back in New Zealand.

We couldn't resist the Minus5 ice bar in Queenstown.   There is something compelling about pay to wear a heavy jacket and drinking from glasses made of ice.    The kind of thing that you only do on vacation. 

Can you believe we went to an ice bar? 
You know how much I love winter. 
Yeah, you can only stay in for 30 minutes so you don't get frozen. 

The minute we walked into the bar, my sister introduced herself to the bartender using that very same ice breaker.    "How much does a polar bear weigh?" (pause)  "Enough to break the ice.  Hi, my name is Heather." 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7: Denver PJ Day, Peruvian Party Pants, and One Night in Cusco

Here in Denver today is PJ Day.   Today is actually the 8th Annual Denver PJ Day.   PJ Day is a visual reminder that not everyone has a place to sleep at night - or a place to put their PJ's.    Companies participating in PJ Day make a donation to Denver's Road Home.

Today our executive committee donned their "formal" PJ's and made pancakes for all of us in the employee cafeteria.    Footie pajamas are back!!!

In honor of PJ day, I wore my slippers and my Peruvian Party Pants at work.   I'm sure that I was just as competent, and much more comfortable, than my normal business attire.    What?  You don't have a pair of PPP's?   They tend to be brightly colored drawstring pants with a pocket on the side.   Of course, you buy them in a market, so you don't exactly get to try them on.   One of my PPP's never quite fit right.   But my pink party pants were rockin' today in the back halls. 

Incidentally, on this day in 2010 I was in Peru, the land of party pants, ceviche, sangria in a box and more Inca ruins than you can shake a llama at.     I've heard that Machu Picchu is also in Peru. 

I've only seen pictures.  Other people's pictures.    There were mudslides in Peru a few weeks before we went, so MP was closed.  

The actual process of getting to Cusco involved partying the night before, eating breakfast on a beach side terrace, an on and off road adventure driving from the beach back to Lima while praying we didn't miss our flight.   Our in-country flight that cost almost as much as our international flight from Denver to Lima.    Actually landing in Cusco was such a relief that we wanted to get out and explore.

And explore we did.
Tourist photo with a llama?  Check
Visiting the famous 12 sided rock?  Check
The Plaza at sunset?  Check
First pisco sour?  Check
And then there's emoliente.    It's a drink that's "good for you" made by street vendors.   Wikipedia doesn't even have a definition in English.  Only in Spanish. 
Here you go: 
Emoliente es una bebida utilizada con fines medicinales en Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia y, en menor medida, el resto de LatinoaméricaEl emoliente es una bebida peruana tradicional que se prepara en base a granos tostados de cebada, extractos de hierbas medicinales, azúcar y jugo de limón. Es de bajo contenido nutricional, aunque puede aportar a la dieta algo de carbohidratos, minerales y vitamina C. Su mejor valor es el medicinal.

It's a medicinal drink in Peru and other countries made from barley, herbs, sugar and lemon juice.    I didn't ask questions.  I just drank it.    



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