December 29, 2006
Holy cow, sounds like Denver is about to get hammered again. Bad for people who are scheduled to travel (and want to reach their destination--I, for one, might be excited to hang out in Seattle a while longer), good for skiers. Wish I was up with my friends Jen and Jeremy in Nederland, just a hop, skip, and a jump from a ski area. I still haven't tried out my 'new' skis, which I bought off Jeremy.
Still, I certainly can't complain. I made it home for the holidays. Sort of. Close enough. After shopping with my mom yesterday, I'm thinking this might be the way to do it--we're getting in on the after-[normal-people's]Christmas sales in buying our Christmas presents. Perfect. Still, I'm not much for shopping, and yesterday kind of drove me crazy. We managed to pull through with breaks for food and a bookstore (that doesn't count as shopping).
Tomorrow, friends Sue, Michael, Michael, and David, and li'l baby Verl, are converging on Seattle for New Year's, and I get to celebrate Christmas Eve. Big excitement! Think I'll get a kitten for Christmas...? (It's been almost two years since I was last in Antarctica, and I'm still obsessed with kittens....)
December 27, 2006
Home for the (Belated) Holidays
I'm home! And it's raining. Okay, big surprise.
I got in last night after getting through the airport swimmingly. The beauty of carry-on only. My flight was delayed a little over an hour, but after being delayed for several days an hour seemed like nothin'. The flight was uneventful (except that I was in a row with no windows--very weird, and I felt a little like I was back on a military plane heading into cold regions. We could have been going anywhere--I mean, how can I tell? I imagined as we were descending that we were heading for Mars....) and my folks picked me up at the airport. What a nice arrival. All surprisingly smooth, given what I expected.
So, I am now safe and warm at my childhood home and am anxiously awaiting Christmas on Saturday. What? You say Christmas was.... ? No, don't be silly, Christmas hasn't happened yet. It's Saturday morning, and don't even hint otherwise. Next thing you know, you'll be suggesting that a fat man in a red suit can't fit down the chimney. Sheesh.
December 25, 2006
Christmas 2006, Take One
Meeeeerrrrry Christmas, everyone! Hope this finds you all well, wherever you are. I, I will remind you, am still in Boulder. Alone in my own apartment listening to the radio, which frequently treats me to a nice Christmas song. I have water on for tea and a big stack of books beside me—sketchbooks, journals, novels, how-tos, a dictionary. Because that’s the kind of dork I am. Not my usual Christmas, but I'm over my Christmas expectations and I feel pretty good about it right now.
Tim made us all brunch, I drove home, and then to really get my day going proceeded to take a nap in the warm sun directed right at my living room futon. I haven’t left the apartment since then, except for trips to the laundry room downstairs. That’s right, I’m doing laundry on Christmas day. So? I even contemplated working, but brushed that thought aside. Instead, I've talked to a few friends to wish them Merry Christmas and have done a bit of reading and have updated this silly blog on storm stuff.
This is what the sky looked like tonight:
Hope all have had a lovely Christmas holiday.
I'd like to especially send a Merry Merry to my Antarctic friends, if any are reading this, because I failed to send a greeting out ahead of time. I love and think of you guys, especially at this time of year. Hope you've had a good one. Warm thoughts.
December 24, 2006
And Then it was Christmas Time
I continued my social trend through the weekend. Ryan helped me dig my car out, and Larry came to hang out in Boulder. Actually, we were going to go see the black hole movie at the IMAX in Denver, but it wasn't playing anymore :(. So we had drinks with Nancy instead. Then I went to a Christmas party with Larry and we closed it down. Suffice to say that I was not without things to do being stuck here in Boulder this weekend.
And then came Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve didn’t feel like Christmas Eve, but it was a nice day just the same. I gathered my ski gear and stopped off at Whole Foods for some treats and headed over to Laurie and Tim’s, in Lyons (just north of Boulder). We drove up into the hills to ski (me) and board (them), with the idea that we’d hike up and carve down. I imagined we’d be alongside a road, not ideal but easy access. I was wrong. We walked (them, on snowshoes) and skied (me) and walked and skied and walked and skied, while their dogs ran and ran and ran and ran and ran (up and back and up a ways and back and up and then back again), and never even made it to the base of the bowl. We were exhausted. Laurie’s back hurt. My feet hurt. Tim was getting frustrated. Where’s that darn bowl? This is pretty and all, but it might be time to turn around.
It’s good that we turned back when we did, because the sun was going down. Not dangerously so, but enough that there were mild sunset colors for us to gaze upon as we glided out. The trip out was lovely. The sky, and the rocks, and the snow, and the trees, and being able to glide and glide and glide…. I was shocked when I saw the truck. Shocked, and nothing less. A little disappointed, too. So soon? Most of the way up, I'd been fantasizing about the cheese and hot drinks and hot showers and couch and such we had waiting for us at home, but this ski out was really fun. Down really *is* faster than up.
We got home to their place and took those hot showers and baked the stuffed brie that I had brought over and heated up the Italian rustic bread that I brought over and opened up the olives that I brought over and proceeded to stuff ourselves while working on a puzzle. Then we all lamented over stuffing ourselves, because we had no room for dinner. Everything that I had brought was just supposed to supplement what they already had. Finally, around 9:30, Tim cooked the scallops. And wow. I am now a scallop fan. I’ve never been a scallop fan, but now….if everyone could cook scallops like Tim did, I’d be eating them all the time.
And then we indulged in everyone’s favorite Christmas Eve tradition—watching “Dodgeball.” AND eating apple pie and ice cream. (I got the apple pie for free because the cashier at the very very busy store didn’t want to figure out the cupon. Hooray!) The movie reminded me of my crush on Vince Vaughn, so I floated on thoughts of him into my soft slumber….. Or, maybe it went more like: lay down, think “I think—,” sleep.
December 23, 2006
The Denver Dump: Part 3
The Dump was well over by Friday, but the effects still remained. I continued my solo apartment-stint through the morning, but by the early afternoon I was ready to get out. The streets were mostly clear, but there was still a good deal of slush, and plenty of snow where the plows hadn’t made it, so I decided to bus it. I headed downtown. I wouldn’t be able to do much in the way of Christmas shopping, but at least I would be getting out of the house.
I went for my usual favorite destination: The Boulder Bookstore. I did pretty well, too—only half of what I got was for me. After shopping, I spent several hours in the coffee shop next door, and met a lovely Belgian mathematician with whom to chat. I showed her my new pop-up book that Santa will be giving me, about Everything. It starts with the Big Bang and moves on from there. She pointed out that the Big Bang is not necessarily believed to be the start of the universe anymore, but whatever. Details. The pop-up book kicks butt, and will be good inspiration for one of my own I’d like to write and put together.
I met my friend Ryan for dinner and thus re-entered a world of socialization. I had kind of forgotten that there were still people doing normal things like going to parties and such. For me, it had just seemed like the world had shut down and wasn't going to start up again until after New Years. Isn't that what happens? It kind of traumatized me to think otherwise, so let's not talk about it.
December 22, 2006
The Denver Dump: Part 2
My flight was still on when I checked Thursday morning. About a half an hour later, however, it was not. Bummer. Shortly after I found out, I got a message from my mom saying that she had seen it already as well, and not to worry, that they wouldn’t have Christmas without me and that we would just celebrate whenever I could get in. Thanks, Mom. I thought I’d be the one comforting her.
I joined the throngs of people dialing and redialing our airlines, getting busy signals after making our ways through the messages and automated systems. My average call time to United was about 2 minutes. This may not sound like much, but it’s a long time to wait to get a busy signal. Tara had been able to re-book for Christmas eve, which at first sounded horrible but came to sound like a steal. Nicole was told she would not be able to get out until the 25th, the day she was planning on coming back, so she just cancelled. Tim rebooked for the 26th. Laurie, like me, had not been able to get through.
I took a break from calling to take advantage of the snow. Some of my friends had ventured out of their houses the night before by ski, so I figured I’d do the same. By the time I put on my skis on Thursday afternoon, after the snow had stopped, the from-doorstep conditions stunk. I learned that I live farther from the closest open space than I thought, so I gave up after taking my skis off for multiple street crossings, walking stretches of shoveled sidewalks, and too much gas-huffing along the slushy roads. The snow had not only stopped, but the sun had come out, the temperature had risen, and things were melting out like crazy. That’s Colorado for you.
When I got back, I finally made it through to Travelocity. The man who took my call said his supervisor would call me back within 4-6 hours with my flight options.
Several hours later, I started in on United again. I eventually did get a ring tone, and then a real live person, and then a real chance to rebook my flight. The soonest I could get out was the 26th. Actually, the guy first got my hopes up by saying there was a seat available on the 25th. I don't know whether that flight filled up while I was on hold or I had just misunderstood his Indian accent, but when he came back with the 26th ('25th or 26th?' I had even clarified several times) my spirits dropped. Poo on him. (Because it's all his fault, of course.) I thought that I would have a good attitude about the whole thing and that my mom would be the disappointed one, but I found that night that I was grumpy before going to sleep, what with a family Christmas postponed and modified and possibly abbreviated, and even maybe without a brunch. (We talked about doing Christmas Tuesday night after Aaron got off work, which wouldn't be until about midnight.) Plus, what was I going to do for Christmas here? Some friends were in town, some friends were out, but either way it was likely to be anticlimactic and/or give me the feeling that I'd already celebrated Christmas, so why celebrate again at home?
Grumpy, grumpy. Stupid storm.
December 20, 2006
The Denver Dump
I'd think that once I was actually in the country, it would be pretty straightforward to go home for the holidays and have a traditional Christmas with my family. Well, I made the effort, but Mother Nature did not. She said, how about a little snow? Or, a lot?
Word of the storm came to me on Tuesday. At around 4 PM, my supervisor said there were 10-16 inches of snow forecasted for Boulder starting that night at midnight. Soooo, I said, I might just be working from home tomorrow. I gathered what I needed and stopped at the store on my way home. Two lunches and a dinner, I figured, since I was scheduled to fly home Thursday evening, but I got a little extra just in case. You never know.
I realized there were a few things I wanted to take care of in the office on Wednesday after all, so I called Nicole, friend and coworker, to ask for a ride. Call me in the morning, she said, and tell me whether you think your car will make it. (My car, poor thing, isn't much for snow.)
Nicole called at 8:30 on Wednesday. There’s no way I’m letting you drive in this, she said. Yes, it had snowed. And it was still snowing. And, as they say, it didn’t show signs of stopping. A blizzard warning for the area was in effect, and Nicole said she’d been checking e-mail all morning to see if the president of our organization had sent out a message canceling work, but no luck. So we went in. A block from the office, I got a call saying the office had been officially closed for the day. Sigh.
Nicole and I did a few things at work, spending less than an hour there, and then came home. I spent the next two days straight in my apartment.
That first day, I watched two movies and did a puzzle. By the end of the night, word was that DIA (Denver International Airport) was closed through the next evening. Friends Nicole, Tara, and Tim’s flights had been cancelled, but I had scheduled my flight for 7:30 PM, thinking I would work most of the day before leaving. So, my flight was actually the first United flight still scheduled to leave. There was hope yet. I just might, I figured, be one of the lucky ones.