Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend Reflections

Well my week was basically taken up with my trip to St. Louis for work. It was a good trip and just in case you missed it, you can read the recap of the trip here.

I arrived back in the town where I live Thursday evening and basically unpacked and rested Thursday night. On Friday it was back to work. I felt like I spent the whole day chatting with people in my office… but for the most part it was not social chatting. After being out of the office it was good to catch up with everyone and find out what they had been working on during the week. Friday night I chilled at home and did some things around the house.

On Saturday morning I got up and ran errands and went over to my grandparent’s old house to paint more ceilings. My arms are still sore but the ceiling looks a ton better. My brother and dad came in while I was there after arriving home from their trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the EAA AirVenture event.

So this week I am thankful that all of us (me, my dad, my brother and his girlfriend) had safe trips to and from our destinations. I am thankful for all of the cool things I got to see and do while in St. Louis. I am thankful for my mom who kept my doggie while I was gone. I am also thankful that my summer travel season is nearly over.

I hope everyone else had a great week. Go on over to Judi’s to read about everyone else’s week.

St. Louis Trip

My trip last week to St. Louis turned out to be a great trip. I typically dread trips for work because they don’t allow any time for fun. However, this one was different. I’m not sure why… possibly because of my flight times… possibly because my constant whining about never getting to do anything fun has caused the folks that I work with to loosen up. :-) Regardless of what it is, it resulted in an enjoyable trip.

On Sunday I left for the airport at about 5 AM in order to catch the only flight to St. Louis that day. That put me in St. Louis by 9:30 AM with nothing to do. I was at the hotel but it was too early to check in. I had no car so I was somewhat limited to the things that were within walking distance of my hotel. Fortunately my hotel was in a great spot and so I took the opportunity to walk down to the arch.

The night before (Saturday night) some folks got stuck in the arch for a couple of hours but I decided to take my chances. I went on in and bought my ticket to go up in the arch, the ticket to watch the movie about the building of the arch and my ticket to take a one hour riverboat cruise. First was my movie… as a Civil Engineer I found it totally fascinating. After that it was my turn to go up in the arch. I didn’t find it scary at all and the view was amazing. Here is a view looking out the small windows at the top of the arch. The tall round shaped hotel in the foreground is the hotel I stayed in all week. The Cardinals stadium is just behind it.

After I got down from the top of the arch it was almost time for my riverboat cruise. It was a nice and relaxing ride that allowed me to get some pictures of the arch like the one below in my Photo Hunters: Creative… Revealed post.

When I got off of the riverboat I still had a little bit of time before I had to meet up with the people from my work. I decided to walk over to the courthouse where they held the Dred Scott trial. For those of you who have forgotten your history lesson, he was the “famous” slave who sued his owners for his freedom. The courthouse was gorgeous. Here is a picture of the rotunda area.

On my way back to my hotel I got this great shot of the courthouse with fountain in the foreground and the arch in the background.

Later that afternoon I finally got checked into my room. The rooms were very modern looking… a little small but plenty big for one person. Given that the hotel is cylinder shaped, the rooms were rather pie shaped… which was a bit odd. The view out the window wasn’t anything great… just a view of the interstate and a view of the right half of the arch if you craned your head way to the left. Here is a picture of my hotel room… it’s somewhat difficult to tell that the room was pie shaped.

Sunday night and Monday were boring work stuff but Tuesday night myself and two of my colleagues were able to go to a Cardinals game. They played the Cubs and they lost but I really enjoyed the game. The stadium is absolutely beautiful and there is nothing better than enjoying a nice summer evening at the ballpark.

For Wednesday night I had quite a treat. When I arrived at the airport Sunday morning I saw an ad for something called “The Muny.” I had no idea what it was or where it was but I saw that they were doing the musical, “The Pajama Game” that week. As a big Harry Connick Jr. fan I really wanted to see it. No Harry wasn’t in it in St. Louis… but he starred in the revival on Broadway last year. So after doing a little research earlier in the week, I found out that The Muny was reachable via their subway type system and so I decided to go.

I didn’t get to take a picture of the stage but it was amazing. It was this huge outdoor theatre that held about 10,000… and it was phenomenal!!! The actors and actresses were fantastic and the whole thing was such a treat. One of the supporting actors was Joe Farrell who was the host of Trading Spaces: Family a few years back. He had a great voice as did the rest of actors and actresses… most of them had been in things on Broadway very recently but were spending their summer in St. Louis. The four block walk back from the subway station to my hotel in downtown St. Louis at 11:30 at night was a bit scary but I survived and it was worth the risk.

Seeing the play did make me sad that I didn’t get a chance to see Harry Connick Jr. in it on Broadway but I was so glad to get to see it in St. Louis. It now goes in my list of top four favorite Broadway musicals.

So that was my trip… I definitely enjoyed the city of St. Louis more than I thought I would. Thanks for indulging me by reading about it.

Photo Hunters: Creative... Revealed

Well Lauren was the closest on her guesses of what the Photo Hunters photos were actually pictures of.

Lauren guessed Photo #1 exactly right... it was the St. Louis Arch with the sun shining off of it.

Photo #2 was in fact a picture of a bridge as Lauren suspected. It was a closeup of some of the trusses in the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.

Thanks to all of you who indulged me by looking at my "Creative" artsy photos. I guess my background in Civil Engineering allows me to be fascinated with large structures such as bridges and arches. :-)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Photo Hunters: Creative

I tend to take random "creative" photos from time to time so I thought I would share two of those pictures with you for this weeks theme of "Creative." See if you can figure out what either or both of these pictures are of.

Here is "Creative" Photo #1:

Here is "Creative" Photo Number 2:

Leave me a message if you think you know what they are. For more Photo Hunters participants, visit TN Chick.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Greetings from St. Louis

I know I promised to post my Weekend Reflections on Sunday, but I was having Internet issues and wasn't able to do that. Last week was a busy week but a good one. I was very thankful to be home all week with no travel and thankful to make as much progress as I did at my brother's house.

Things here in St. Louis are going pretty well. The work part of things is not all that exciting but I have managed to squeeze in a few fun things as well.

I was very brave and went up in the arch on Sunday morning. I didn't get stuck and there was an amazing view. Tonight we are going to a Cardinals game and I am thinking about ditching my group and going to see a play at the outdoor amphitheatre in town on Wednesday night. They are doing "The Pajama Game" and somehow that sounds more fun that eating at the snooty revolving restaurant on the top floor of our hotel.

I am ready to get home but I am here until Thursday. I am currently booked to come back Thursday afternoon but I am currently debating whether I want to take the early morning flight. It's awfully early but I would get home about five hours earlier.

I will post some pictures from the trip once I get home.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What I've Been Up to This Week

As I said in my one sad post from earlier this week :-) this is the first week I have actually been at home and in my own bed and my own office all week in quite some time. So I took it upon myself to try and make some progress at my grandparents old house. It is the same town where I live and I lived there for six years rent free while I was in school. My brother lives there now but he will be moving shortly and we need to sell it.

As is usually the case, I tried to do more than I could possibly get done but I did make some progress. I cleaned and cleaned... some of the stuff probably hadn't been cleaned in 10-20 years! I bought new curtains for three rooms and cleaned windows to the extreme. I also cleaned my old bathroom and installed new hardware there.

Here is my favorite accomplishment. This is the dining room at the start of the week. I had already taken down one of the two curtains when I remembered to take the picture.

Here it is today after my brother moved all of his junk out... after cleaning the window... Scooba-ing the floor (think Roomba that mops tile and hard wood floors)... cleaning the baseboards... putting up new curtains from Target... cleaning the chandelier... borrowing a rug (that is somewhat too small) from my Study... and borrowing my brother's Ferrari print (because it matched the color scheme). It didn't take a huge amount of work but it looks a ton better.

I am officially threatening the life of anyone in my family who messes this room up! :-) I spent today painting... and I may fire myself as a painter. It did not go as well as planned. I was hoping to show you a picture of my old room with it's newly painted wall (an accent wall painted with Ralph Lauren River Rock paint) but it is going to need a second coat.

The giant living room is on it's way as well. I painted the ceiling (which took a whole gallon of paint) and replaced the curtains today. I'll save the before and after of that room until it's a little more complete.

I'm exhausted and have to get up about 4:30 to get on a flight to St. Louis in the morning. I will post my Weekend Reflections tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Did you know the popcorn bag has a warning in Chinese?

At least the Publix brand popcorn does. I was eating a bag of popcorn for dinner last night... for the fourth night in a row... and I noticed that there was a warning about the fact that the bag contained potentially hot contents in English, French, Spanish and Chinese. I can't say that I've ever noticed that before.

I know I promised to blog more this week... but I have barely had time to turn around. This is the first week in at least six weeks that I have been in the town where I live for the whole week. I will be gone again for the next two weeks, so I have been trying to be very productive this week. Every day after work I have headed over to my grandparents old house (where my brother currently lives) to do things around the house. He moves out in a few weeks so we eventually need to sell the house. I have been cleaning, straightening, replacing curtains... just generally trying to make things look better and move things along. Hopefully I will have some before and after pictures for you eventually.

I have worked until 10 or 11 every night with no break for dinner... so by the time I have gotten home I have been too tired to cook or stop to buy anything. Therefore I have eaten a bag of popcorn and a coke for dinner. What a healthy alternative!

Hopefully my eating habits will improve next week while I am in St. Louis. I hope everyone is having a good week and one that is slightly less busy than mine.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Weekend Reflections

I have not been very bloggy lately but I am going to try and do better this week. It has been a summer full of travel and this week was no different. I fortunately was able to spend the week in my hometown with my parents… so that made the travel not nearly as bad.

Sunday morning I was in the town where I live but on Sunday afternoon, Brun and I headed to my hometown. On Monday I had meetings for work in my hometown and then Tuesday through Thursday I was working in Selma for my fifth week. Only one more week to go… but that final week has been delayed for a couple of weeks. On Friday, I had meetings in my hometown. Friday afternoon was not what I originally planned and resulted in the first tow truck ride for Brun, mom and I.

The three of us eventually made it back to the town where I live. Saturday morning it was off to the Hallmark store for ornament premiere weekend… yes that’s right… Christmas ornaments. This is when Hallmark releases most of their ornaments and offers lots of incentives for you to come in and buy your ornaments early. My mom has always collected ornaments and now that I have my own house I collect them as well. We both bought an embarrassing number of ornaments. I love Christmas, so I don’t mind getting in the mood early.

After we finished up there we did a little more shopping and headed to my brother’s house (which is actually my grandparent’s old house). We picked bunches of blueberries and did a little work around the house. Eventually we are going to sell it so I am going to do some more work around there this week. Saturday night my parents headed back to my hometown with Brun in tow. I fly out to St. Louis next weekend for work… so I went ahead and sent him back with them. I am really going to miss him this week.

So this week I am thankful for a lot of things. I am thankful for good fortune related to the tow truck incident. I am thankful for the fact that I am nearly finished with my busy summer travel schedule. I am thankful for my parents… who not only take care of me but do such a great job taking care of my puppy.

I hope everyone else had a great week! For more Weekend Reflections, visit Judi at Mommy of Two.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Brun's First Tow Truck Ride

I haven't blogged much in the past couple of weeks... simply because there hasn't been much going on. Things have been busy... but just the typical work and travel routine I have been living this summer. Apparently I should never complain about the same old, same old because tonight I definitely have something to blog about.

This is my old car getting pulled onto the rollback this evening.

This is Brun who was scared to death of the rollback.

Let me back up for a minute and tell you how I got to this point. I have been working from my hometown and in Selma all week this week... and tonight, my mom, Brun and I were planning to head back to the town where I live. My dad headed up here yesterday and we were supposed to meet him this evening. I went to pick my mom up from work about 5:15 and a few minutes before I got to her office the car started making a terrible noise. Mom and two other folks from her work (Brooke and her boyfriend Charlie) were standing outside and apparently they could hear me coming.

The four of us (minus Brun... who was sitting in the back seat chillin out on my pillow) started investigating the problem. We checked lots of fluids and levels and eventually determined that it seemed to be very, very low on oil... so low it was reading empty on the gauge. Charlie was sweet enough to crawl under the car and potentially ruin his shirt in an attempt to see if anything looked unusual or loose. Dad had just changed the oil Thursday so we thought he might have forgotten to tighten things properly. It wasn't loose... and after several phone conversations with my extremely patient brother we decided that we needed to go get oil to add to the car.

Charlie and Brooke (who are 18 or 19 years old and certainly had better places to be on a Friday evening) were sweet enough to take me to the parts place while Mom and Brun waited outside for us.

When we got back we added several quarts of oil to the car but when we cranked it we realized oil was pouring out. After some more conversations with my brother, we decided to give up and call a tow truck. When I called the tow truck company that my mom's boss recommended, I asked if the dog could go with us. The dispatcher didn't know and said she would have to check. The answer to this question was a deal breaker... but she came back a couple of moments later and said "yes... but he will have to ride in the car." While that wasn't ideal I decided we could roll the windows down enough to get a breeze and he would be okay.

We finally got Brooke and Charlie to go on with their plans for the evening and we waited for the tow truck. It came very quickly and when Phillip our tow truck driver arrived Brun became a nervous wreck. Every noise the truck made scared him to death! He cowered behind me, pulled on his leash trying to get as far away as he could and even tried to jump in the garbage can. :-) As Phillip observed this behavior he told me that Brun could ride in the cab of the truck with us. I was so relieved to hear that.

Phillip got the car loaded up and the four of us (Phillip, Mom, Brun and I) all crowded into the cab for the ride back to my parents house. This ride was certainly a first for Brun and it was actually the first tow truck ride for mom and I as well.

So... all's well that end's well I suppose. We did finally make it back to the town where I live. We had to swap cars and were greatly delayed for our original ETA... but no real problem there.

While it is a bit early for Weekend Reflections... today I am thankful for a lot of things. I am thankful that Brooke and Charlie were so sweet and helpful. I am thankful it wasn't raining or dark when this happened. I am thankful that we discovered the problem in a parking lot as opposed to on the side of the road with no cell phone coverage. I am thankful that I have another car to drive to work next week and I am thankful that the nice tow truck driver allowed Brun to ride in the cab of the tow truck.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

When I grow up...

Leslie tagged me for this meme earlier today. The question is: If you had the opportunity to do a 1-year internship in a company or field completely unrelated to your current career or specialty, what would be your top 5 choices?

1. A PR Representative for a NASCAR team - for several years I have always thought that this would be one of the coolest job in the world

2. A singer on Broadway

3. A photographer for a travel magazine - I have always said that if I had all of the money in the world and could do whatever I wanted I would sing or take pictures...

4. An intern for Southern Living magazine focusing in decorating... not because I have these skills but because I need them

5. Intern for Anderson Cooper 360. I'm not sure I would want to go to some of the dangerous places that Anderson goes but working on the show would be awesome!

And as Leslie said, we really need to open a doggie day care one day so we can quit our other jobs and play with doggies all day!

I am not going to tag anyone else for this one but let me know if you play along so that I can read your job choices.