Monday, March 26, 2007

Estes Park, Colorado -- Day 1

After getting 2 hours of sleep, I left my house shortly after 12am on that Thursday morning to begin my trip. I made my way north to pick up N, and we were on our way to Colorado. There are two major routes between Dallas and Denver. I chose to take us on the route that Mapquest said was about 100 miles longer, but would take an hour less travel time, due to speed limits on the highways. This route took us up through Oklahoma and into Kansas.

Shortly after dawn, we entered super-thick fog on the prairies of Kansas. I could see well enough to continue at the speed limit, but both N and I were on high alert to spot any possible red brakelights in front of us. We passed through icy patches, then clear patches, then icy patches again, and the wind was strong. After a couple of hours, we made it through the fog and turned west toward Colorado.

As we grew ever closer to the Denver airport, the 3 people who were flying in to be picked up by us began to call. J and A had arrived, but C was still on the ground in Dallas. Everyone was supposed to arrive around 11:30am and hang out for a couple hours until N and I arrived. But C's plane had to make an emergency landing 20 minutes after takeoff from DFW because there was a medical emergency on board. C told us he was still on the plane.

After more driving and looking at the snow drifts on the sides of the highways, C called us again to let us know that he had deplaned and learned that the 'medical emergency' was some 24-year old idiot who mixed booze with her migraine medication, passed out, and became unresponsive soon after takeoff.

We called J & A, let them know the situation, and they agreed to hang out at the airport terminal until C's plane arrived. We later learned they were living it up first at the bar, then at a Seattle's Best Cafe. It was mid-afternoon by this time. We'd already reached the Denver Airport, driven through it to see if there were any place to stop and eat a real meal, and found an Applebee's a few miles away. Dead dog tired, we each ordered a hamburger, I took out my contacts, C called to say his flight was finally leaving Dallas, and we decided it would be best to take a power nap. Fortunately, my front seats recline and were wonderfully comfortable. I caught about 20 minutees of true sleep and woke up feeling GREAT! I had no business feeling great, but I did. I was still tired, but I felt great.

C finally called us to say his flight had landed, but we had a heckuva time finding them at the terminal. On our first effort we drove through the Arrivals area; they weren't there. N called them and asked if they were in the right place. They insisted they were. So, I drove to the upper deck and checked the Departures area, just in case. No dice. I had N call them again, and they insisted they were at Arrivals, so I tried once more....nope. At this point N and I figured out they must be in the Commercial Arrival/Departure area, to which we didn't have access, so we told them to go up one level, and we picked up our Arrivals at the Departures area. We were all so tired we were laughing about the whole thing. C had had a hideous travel day, I was exhauted and still needed to drive the group up to Estes Park, and everything just seemed funny.

We made our way up into the mountains to the tiny town of Estes Park, had difficulty finding the Lodge, but finally arrived, threw our luggage in our rooms, and 4 of the 5 of us set off to find something for dinner. It was after 9pm by this time, and the entire town was shut down. There was one car park on the street, and the saloon was open, so we walked in to see this guy with one nasty glassy eye sitting at the bar, drinking a beer and watching some sports game on tv. The bar owner saw our pitiful faces and recommended the only place that would still be open as a possible dinner place.

So, we were on our way to Mary's Lake Lodge. We were the only people in the extremely nice dining room, though we were each of us thorougly disheveled and travel-weary. I ordered a pear and stilton salad which was refreshing and tasty. J had the seafood bisque, which he let me try, and it was delectable. I had some kind of fish for dinner, but the thing that each of us remembers is the table water. It was delicious. Cold, clear, refreshing. It was perfect in the kind of way that only something as simple as water can be. N soon became sorry she didn't attend the dinner, as that table water was constantly referenced over the next 7 days.

And so I'll close the retelling of Day 1 with the mention of that table water and all the mystic properties it held.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Will Post For Money

I apologize to all 3 of you who read this on a regular basis. I've been going non-stop since my return from Colorado and my meeting. I managed to take an hour and create photography books for my 4 friends and I using my smack-tastic mac computer. If you don't have a mac, you're wac. That made no sense. The books should be shipped to my store some time this week.

Demolition began on my cafe this morning--we're rebuilding it as a Seattle's Best Cafe, run by Borders. I spent all of yesterday getting my cafe crew to remove all food, supplies, smallwares, etc from the cafe. I am taking pictures as the process moves along. It was 1am before I was able to get home and get to bed, and I had to be back at the store at 7am to meet the General Contractor and his demo team. They made short order (and a lot of noise) tearing out the counters, shelves, and basically gutting the front of the cafe down to the tile floor. Another company came in and removed all the big equipment. You wouldn't believe me if I told you how much bake cases and espresso machines cost. No, it's more than that...just trust me, you wouldn't believe me.

I am excruciatingly tired, and I have to be back at the store at 6am tomorrow morning. The process is actually going very smoothly, and in 3 weeks, we'll have an even more beautiful cafe to replace the beautiful cafe I already had. I am sleepy.

However!---last Thursday I took home my 40 inch Sony Bravia LCD HD TV that I won in the Sony Reader contest. I need to give a shout out to the 'Sony Guy' that I spoke to at Vendor Expo in Colorado. I told him my store had won 3rd place in the contest, and that we'd all won MP3 players, and I had won a TV as well. He asked me if I had a blog, saying he'd read in someone's blog that they had placed in the contest. So.....BIG HOWDY to the Sony Guy!

The box this thing came in was huge, but I was able to put up one of the rear seats in my glorious car, and it slid in quite nicely. It did take me 10 minutes to drag/lift/pull it up to my 3rd floor apartment, however. I made a conscious choice not to look at the weight written on the box as I did so. It ended up being 33 kg, which is about 70 pounds, not very heavy really, but very awkward in the sense that I couldn't wrap my arms around any part of it to just dead lift it upstairs.

I went online and found an HD DVD player at amazon and bought it. Then I went to Best Buy and bought a nice receiver and set of home theater speakers. I was drunk with sleepiness by this time and had a heckuva time getting all the cords into all the right spots on the receiver. I still was missing one cord for the subwoofer, but I was able to pick that up today. Then I watched The Phantom Menace, in glorious surround sound with oops-my-neighbors-are-gonna-be-mad-at-me bass from the subwoofer.

I should be in bed right now. I'll try to post pictures and funny insights into my Colorado trip within the next couple of days.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Not really. I'm leaving in a Tangerine Honda Element. But I am going to Colorado, which was John Denver's favorite place, hence the blog title.

I leave at midnight tonight, pick up a friend on the way, and head to the Denver Airport where we'll pick up 3 other people who are flying tomorrow morning. Then we'll head to Estes Park.

I haven't started packing yet, which is very unlike me. This was a strategic decision, however--an effort to not forewarn my kitty that she would soon be shoved in the kitty carrier and taken to board at the vet's office. The plan worked well. She was taken completely by surprise; she had no sign of visible suitcase or packing of items to tip her off as in the past. Poor kitty. I do think it saved her some trauma, though...and it definitely saved me from having to lift the mattress and box springs off my bed to get to her.

I'll see you all possibly on March 16.

Until then...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Windows-based Attempt at Links

I pulled my old Windows-based Sony VAIO off the floor of the 2nd bedroom and hooked it back up on my dining room table so that I might compose an entry with hyperlinks. We'll give it a try, at least.

Today I went to the Carlyn Galerie to find a nice gift for my sister for her birthday. I settled on a graphite pencil in the shape of a small piece of bamboo. The entire pencil is made of graphite, so one can write with the ends, the sides, etc. Of course, it's more for aesthetics than for functionality, but it will make for a nice conversation piece at her desk at work. I also purchased a book she wanted and a CD. Her birthday is March 4th.

While I was at the Carlyn Galerie I found several glass works that I desperately wanted for myself. They were aquatic in theme; several large glass funky fish, some jellyfish glass wind chimes, and other beautiful quirky works of glass art. I have a vacation coming up next week that I need to pay for, so I refrained from purchasing anything for myself.

Also at the shop were hand crafted wooden spoons that were nowhere near the craftmanship of the spoons I saw in East Glacier Park last summer at a little shop called The Spiral Spoon. I would have bought some of those spiral spoons for gifts had I not been a person who refuses to give 'kitchen appliances and stuff' to people as gifts unless said stuff is specifically asked for.

I also went to the pet store to buy 2 plecostamouses for my tank at home. Yesterday I bought 2 blue mystery snails and one pleco for my tank at work. My leadership team is kind enough to feed my goldfish at work when I'm not there, but they always overfeed them, so algae can become a problem if I don't keep it in check.

I've been reading and posting comments on the blog of Stargate Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi here. He's a huge foodie, and he suffers people's repetitive Stargate questions well. I try to be a bit more entertaining, but mostly end up sounding like a lunatic...which is pretty much what I'm going for. He usually answers my crazy questions, though, so he must find my silliness somewhat entertaining.

I challenged him to see who could finish reading Dan Simmons' The Terror first. I think he finished it last night, and I'm not even 1/3 of the way through the 800 page book, so he wins. I'm not sure what he wins, but we'll figure out something. Speaking of reading...I need to get back to it.