January 31, 2009

A favorite thing...

I really love tea, and the one I am super lovin' right now is Bigelow's blueberry harvest. OMG. It is so delicious and...blueberry-y.

And look what I'm drinking it from girls! The travel mug Cindy and Linds C. made for me as one of my going away gifts. I drink from it all the time!

January 29, 2009

Cheytown Bruisers

That's the name of the volleyball team my friends Matt and Molly put together for a bunch of us at work.

Since I've never really liked volleyball, I opted out of playing and for cheerleading.

Our first game was last night and we...sucked. We got CREAMED with scores of 25-8 and 25-17, the last of which was not a terrible showing. The other team was giving us pointers, and when the games were over the refs told us we could stick around to practice - which would help a a new ref practice too. Clearly, practice makes perfect...

My cheers sucked too. I really need to work on some clever ones for next week! I'm contemplating adding music...

The team...
We have matching shirts, compliments of Matt who is our office graphic designer. We also have nicknames, which were picked carefully (and evilly) by our awesome co-captains. I'm Skiddles! (exclamation mark included)...

The ball stuck behind the big rolled up curtain. Yeah...that was our fault...

Me in a classic cheerleader pose, with "Mustard Gas," a.k.a. Casey, behind me...

Ah, here we go...something we're GOOD at...

January 27, 2009

Winter wear

We've got lots of snow and cold, cold wind in Cheyenne right now.

So, yesterday I decided to pull out my Valenkis Rus boots - the Russian-made wool boots I bought in D.C., but rarely had an occasion to wear out there. I love these things, but also think they kind of look like hooves, making me feel somewhat like a centaur when I wear them. I also think wearing your pants in them like this gives them a rather Russian flare...

And obviously, when interstates are closed because the wind is blowing so hard snow is drifting (and pelting you in the face like shot) it's a good idea to walk to work and back, right? I had to stop at one point to fashion a make-shift facemask out of my scarf.

Coming in from the cold...

Welcome to Wyoming

The governor's travel and tourism (T&T) conference and tradeshow has been going on the past few days here in town. The event basically brings vendors and writers from the industry together to show off their "wares" and talk Wyoming tourism.

I went early yesterday afternoon to meander through the tradeshow. I picked up TONS of Western reading material so I can find cool things to do, and had fun drinks from liquor vendors - which makes this tradeshow particularly fun!

The night was capped by a reception and banquet with food made by my friend Annie's brother - he's the chef at the Little America hotel where the event was held.

As an event that highlights Wyoming's T&T industry the food played to our strengths: there was a fried pheasant appetizer, elk quesadillas, duck (instead of ham) salad in little pastry shells, and big hearty buffalo prime ribs for dinner. We sat with sales folks from Backpacker and American Cowboy magazines and enjoyed our fine Western fare.

Throughout dinner there were little presentations like the First Lady speaking, and an award presented, and a rodeo video that showed interviews with big-time Wyoming winners and Chris LeDoux, all of who talked about the sport, and what it meant to be a rancher and to live in Wyoming.

The feeling of pride I get at very Wyoming events like this - and other random times - reminds me I did the right thing in moving here and am in the state I'm supposed to be.

January 25, 2009

Cap Grille here and there

I went with my friend Brandon to the Capitol Grille tonight for a beer. There's a Cap Grille in D.C., that I never really warmed to, but I really like the (unrelated) bar here.

It's part of the Historic Plains Hotel downtown, which is full of cool old tiled floors and neat Western-y furniture.

The bar is seldom packed (unless there's an event like the Wyoming Press Association), and you kind of feel like you've got the place to yourself - and that you can really get to know the bartenders. However, my only complaint is the service isn't as stellar as it should/could be, given that there are rarely enough people there at once to overwhelm the bartender's time.

Here are a few pics from the bar and, while I'm at it, the hotel.

Walking in from the hotel lobby...

The bar and restaurant. Ok, not the best picture, but you get the idea. You can see Brandon in the red vest trying to pretend that I'm not taking a picture...

The cool old tiles and booths in the Grille...

If you look closely you'll see the address is 1600...my old D.C., apt. building number! It was meant to be...

A mural painted on tile above the salad bar...

The cool stained glass ceiling in the hotel lobby complete with buffalo chandelier...

Part of the hotel lobby...

The "branded" tables in the lobby and the piano that plays on its own. I'm sure there's an actual name for those...

The front desk in the lobby. You can see the restaurant entrance in the back. I have no idea who that man is...

Some Western window art...

Cool tiled picture on the sidewalk outside the hotel...

January 21, 2009


A giant jackalope on top of a taxidermy business in Cheyenne...

I guess this means they must be real!

January 20, 2009

It happened again!

I was sitting on my couch about to go back to work when my screen door suddenly opened.

At first I thought it might be my dad who is in town and who tried to call earlier. Maybe he was back early from his business meetings in Laramie and was coming by the apartment?

But there was no hello or anything, so I got up from the couch and in my entry way stood a large man who just kept walking in.

I said, "Um, hi. This is my apartment," in a what are you doing in here tone of voice.

He just looked at me, looked at my living room - yes he was that far in - then said, oh, laughed, and left.

For a split second I thought he was going to make his way all the way into my living room. The thought actually crossed my mind I might be able to take him - if I had to - because he was older and wearing an oxygen tank and tubes.

This is the second time this has happened! I don't get it - there is nothing - absolutely nothing - that indicates my apartment may also be a business. Where is this confusion coming from??

January 19, 2009

Mimosa Monday - bringin' it back

My friend Dave R. and I started this great event several years ago in D.C., called Mimosa Monday (MM). Any time we'd have a Monday off for a federal holiday, a big group of us would get together at someone's place for a potluck brunch and pitchers of mimosas.

We kept it up for a long time. But inevitably people started to get busy, started to move, or started to make a little more money to travel with on long weekends, and MM started to fall by the way-side.

But in it's glory days MM was a big deal. There would easily be at least 15 people at each one - and sometimes parents, hanging out, eating tons of breakfast food, and drinking pitcher after pitcher (from our special MM pitcher) of mimosas until the early afternoon.

When someone DID move, they took the MM tradition with them. We've had MM from L.A., and NYC for example.

Today...I brought it to Wyoming. Linds, Jonna, April and I had our own little MM this morning at Jonna's place. It was small, but it was fun, and importantly, it was back.

The menu: Two kinds of frittatas, yogurt with tropical flavored granola, bananas, and english muffins. And of course a big pitcher of mimosas!

Jonna with frittatas fresh from the oven...

Me mixing the magic elixir...


January 18, 2009

"Press"ing matters

The Wyoming Press Association's winter conference ended last night. It's basically a time for papers and PR people to mingle, "network," and, well, drink.

There are lunches and dinners with speakers like the governor and Tracy Ringolsby, a baseball writer originally from Cheyenne, an awards banquet, seminars, and...drinking.

The opening reception was Thursday night at the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle's printing facility, which was a really cool place to have a reception.

Coming up to the Tribune-Eagle printing facility...

Rolls of printing paper...

A close-up...

Papers printing. You can see on the left how fast they're moving...

Papers really bookin' it on a conveyor...

The room where they sort, stack, etc. the papers. The papers hang from those caterpillar-looking conveyors...

Looking out at the papers moving on the conveyor...

Looking up to where we just were...

A stack of finished papers...

What WPA is really about: the guitar night sing-along and drinks...

January 17, 2009

State of things

I've been a little behind on the blog because the Wyoming Press Association winter conference is going on and I've been busy with that.

One thing I wanted to comment on a few days ago was the governor's State of the State address. I've been really excited for the State Legislature to get going - even though I'll have really nothing to do with it.

But having it going on while I'm just a few blocks away makes me feel a little like I'm on Capitol Hill again - with one big exception: There are no t.v.'s at each of our desks for us to watch what's happening on the floor.

I was thinking about that as I sat at my desk with my headphones on listening to the governor give his address via Wyoming Public Radio. How different from what I'm used to!

When Congress is in session staffers Hill-wide each have a t.v. tuned in to the floor. You watch debate, look for your boss, read what each piece of legislation is about...but in Wyoming, to see what's going on you just show up. Anyone and everyone can just show up.

So, I sat at my desk listening to the governor, imagining what it all must look like, which really I didn't need a t.v. for. I guess once you've seen one State of the State/Union you've kind of seen them all.

January 14, 2009

Breaking news: Winter is cold

I am watching Dateline right now and have to comment on one of their "major" stories: the frigid temperatures sweeping the nation.

It is very curious to me how this is a major story - as if cold and wind weren't normal conditions in several parts of the country during the winter months.

In Cheyenne, for example, we've had -36 degree temperatures, and frequently I see wind warnings for gusts of 50+ mph. Numbers that, according to Dateline, put us colder than a meat locker or the top of Mt. Everest. And, I'm sure, if any place but Wyoming saw wind like we do, hurricane evacuation plans would be quickly acted on.

And yet, we are completely overlooked.

I guess there's nothing newsworthy in something so every day.

January 12, 2009

Let the sun shine...

I have discovered, after being home sick all day lying in my bed, that this is the last place someone should be around the 2 p.m. hour.

This is precisely when the sun shines bright and directly on your face.

Lesson learned.

January 10, 2009

Inaugural - times two

Everyone knows of the upcoming presidential inauguration, but very few know there was a second inaugural event this month: that of using my snowshoes.

Linds, Nate and Sam H. and I went snowshoeing today. It was the first time the snowshoes I bought about a year ago touched "real" snow.

We took the Corner Mountain trail in Medicine Bow National Forest just west of Centennial, Wyo. It was cold and windy and consequently a short trip. It didn't matter - at least I got them out and I was so excited! So much so that I told Linds and Nate I felt like I should crack a bottle of champagne over them.

We followed up the trip with lunch at the Beartree in Centennial, which is quickly becoming a must-stop when I'm out that way.

This was just the first of many outings I plan to take.

The trailhead...

The Hoyts...
Me and Linds...

Me - the happy snowshoe-er...

January 9, 2009

Some things just won't change

The Wyoming State Legislature starts up next week and I'm pretty excited. That's dorky sounding, I know, but I'm ok with it.

I had my first taste of our state government since beeing back on Thursday at SLIB, the State Loan and Investment Board. I was there for work and was reminded how "small town" our government is. SLIB is made up of the governor and the other four statewide elected officials, i.e. the secretary of state.

The governor shook everyone's hands, everyone knew each other, and heck, at one point the state superintendent even got up and poured coffee for the other officials. Aren't there usually people that do that for them? Oh yeah, not here.

I was also excited to be "back in government." As I told one friend that day, I just love "being in government." I like the process, and the discussion, and being knowlegeable about what's happening that effects people's lives. It's dorkily interesting to me.

So, as I also told this friend, I guess you can take the girl out of government, but you can't take the government out of the girl.

January 7, 2009

West Meets East and Vice Versa

My old junior high/high school friend from the West, who now lives on the East Coast (and who I've been reunited with via facebook) has two blogs I have started reading and really like:

A Happy Knitter and Mama Eats Her Peas.

This happy knitter/mama was one of my first friends when my family moved to Colorado right before I started seventh grade, and who again was one of my first friends on facebook. We were rather inseperable there for a while, and I'm glad we're back in touch!

Check out her Happy Knitter site ASAP... She has a give away going on for some really cute scarves, hats and...a bikini!

January 5, 2009

Walk This Way!

(Yes, you're supposed to hear Aerosmith in your head as you read the title.)

I braved the cold (hurricane-like) wind today and walked back to work from lunch. Walking to work more is a New Year's resolution of mine. I'm trying to treat it like D.C. - where anything but walking isn't an option.

On my walkabouts there is one thing I've noticed: my pedestrian etiquette has changed. Meaning, I have some.

In D.C., you cross outside the crosswalk, you don't wait for walk lights, and you yell at cars, cabs, messenger bikes and anything else that doesn't ''yield the right of way." Ok...I still (somewhat) do all these things, just to a much lesser and cognizant-of-my-behavior way.

What is really noticeable, however, is the respect DRIVERS give to PEDESTRIANS here. They wave at you to "have the right of way" at a stop sign. They don't try to pressure you to run-or-be-runover at an intersection you are crossing where they want to turn either left or right. And, remarkably, when there is a crosswalk (and no lights to dictate what to do) drivers heed it. They heed it!!

I was reminded of this at the unlit crosswalk in front of the Capitol tonight. One car coming from my right saw me at the crosswalk and slowed well in advance to let me cross. Another car, coming from my left, came charging down the road, but once aware that there was a pedestrian came to a stop.

I gave a thank you wave to that one because they could've easily charged ahead, but instead followed the rules and stopped. On countless, truly countless occasions, I risked life and limb trying to cross my street in D.C. at the appropriate cross. And, on countless, truly countless occasions I dared cars, Metro buses, bikers, cabs, and whatnot to plow me down - playing "Frogger" and daring them to not stop.

You know, I'm getting pretty used to not yelling both ways before crossing the street...

January 4, 2009

Planty Gets Some Lovin'

This may be one of my most favorite pictures ever:

My nephews hugging and kissing Planty.

Somehow, I have no idea how, they understood Planty as a plant with a personality. They treated him as if he knew what they were saying and doing...

Which, of course, he does.

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Last night I got all dolled up for a New Year's Eve hotel party in Laramie. I hauled out my best D.C., party dress, my highest silver heels, slathered on a bunch of go-out make-up and hit the town.

I had so much fun!

Below are some photos from the night. I hope to have a few more to share from another friend's camera soon:

Bringing in the new year...!

Basmati, the band that played all night. Nathan (on the guitar by the back up singers) rocked it out...!

My new friend Matt...

Me with Matt's date Winter in our fabulous dresses...

My old buddy Ralph. He used to make sandwiches for me at Washakie, the campus cafeteria. He's great...

Happy New Year...!

This picture cracks me up. I thought the hat made me look like the Tin Man...

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