09 December 2010

a year's worth of reflection

Whoa!  Another year almost gone.

Do you remember when your parents told you, "Just you wait, when you get older time will fly by!"  And you thought they were full of it?  I do.  Why are parents always right?

Anywhoooo that was not the point of this post.  Actually I thought I would make a list of things I learned this past year.  Some are life lessons, some are trivia, some are self revelations, and some are just cause I can.  Ha!

So let the review session begin!

  • Even the smallest, teeniest, tiniest bite of KFC chicken will wreak havoc on a large dog's digestive system.  This will require the replacement of rugs.  On our next picnic we will be sure to take dog treats.
  • The generalization that car dealerships are only out to screw you and try to fix things that aren't broken and not fix things that are so you have to keep going back are true.  Find a reputable mechanic not associated with a dealership.  You'll be much happier.  Trust me on this.
  • Stop signs, stop lights, turn signals, and using the left lane strictly for passing applies only to me.  Everyone else is exempt, including bicycles.  Feel free to read, text, eat, nap, etc. while driving.  I'll do my best to avoid colliding with you, but not as a favor to you.  I just don't want my day jacked up.  Be forewarned, if I buy a "beater" car all bets are off and it'll be demolition derby time.  BOOGIDY BOOGIDY BOOGIDY!
  • Even though my daughter is a "grown up" by society's standards, she will always be my "little one" and I will always be in "mom" mode.  Sorry Heather but that's just the way it is.
  • A person may occupy a certain position (as in job), but that does not mean they deserve to.
  • We need to do more camping and not let the summer get away with us.
  • Sometimes you just gotta let it go.  However letting go, isn't the same as forgetting and if negative actions are repeated, it may result in consequences.
  • There will always be idiots in Yellowstone National Park begging to be proof of Darwin's theory Survival of the Fittest.  Anyone for cruising through a herd of bison during rut in a small convertible car that makes a low pitched rumbling sound when accelerating?  How about running up to a grizzly sow and her two cubs and sticking a camera in their faces?  Why not go off the boardwalk and stroll up to a thermal feature and lean over and stick your head in for a better look?
  • Lindsay Lohan is a drunken reprobate.  Mel Gibson, Paris Hilton, Tiger Woods, and Jesse James aren't much better.
  • A town in Colorado has an annual festival celebrating a headless chicken.  Maybe I'll go next year.  I hear they serve fried chicken.  The dogs will be disappointed they won't be offered any.  The carpets will be happy about that.
  • I should have made better attempts in the past to go to Jimmy Buffett shows.  This will be rectified.
  • I would rather have a few close friends than a boatload of superficial friends.
  • When renting a car, go for a mid size or larger if you want to get up to highway speeds within an hour of entering the highway.  During a trip to Arizona over the summer, I went cheap and got a "compact" car.  It was basically a roller skate with a gas tank.  While we didn't get anywhere very fast, Heather and I did laugh a lot at how ludicrous it was to even refer to what we rented as a "car."
  • It is not necessary, and in fact is very annoying, to use the word "like" and the question "you know?" every other word during the course of a conversation.   Like If I like knew, I wouldn't be like, asking, like you know?
  • I really do like my job and my boss.
  • Having dogs really does change your lifestyle and habits.  No last minute weekend getaways for me, but that's OK.  I love The Girls and wouldn't change a thing.  Well maybe I'd change the whole chicken/carpet thing.
  • Snorting while laughing in public only makes you laugh harder.  And it's exacerbated by the type of food or drink you are consuming at the time.  Snorting carbonated beverages hurts.  A lot.

10 November 2010

worldess wednesday

27 October 2010

wordless wednesday

20 October 2010

i mess with texas

As many of you know I am not a big fan of Texas.  For many reasons.  Many, many reasons. Including but not limited to:

1) Bush 2) His son Shrub 3) My trailer trash ex-step-family

Now, having said that, I realize not all Texans are jerks or bigots or trailer trash or the village idiot or loud with BIG hair and any number of other Texas stereotypes.  I have friends that live in Texas.  I used to live in Texas.  I have even spent precious vacation time and dollars in Texas. 

But for the most part, if the state of Texas decided to secede from the good ol' U.S. of A. it wouldn't hurt my feelings in the least.  If they seriously tried to do this, I might even consider donating $$ to their cause.

For years and years Texas has had a no litter campaign with signs up and down their roads that tell drivers, "Don't Mess With Texas."  I'm not sure how successful a campaign it is, but many Texans take it to another level and it means so much more to them than trying to deter their fellow yahoos from chucking their empty beer cans out their pickup windows as they weave up and down the long, lonely, Texas roads.

After the trailer trash ex-step-family incident, I was inspired to create a bumper sticker and some magnets on the Zazzle website for Heather and myself.

My bumper sticker is proudly displayed just beneath my license plate.  I've passed many Texans while driving but hadn't noticed any reactions one way or the other, which is fine.  It's more for my benefit than theirs.  No reactions that is until this past Monday as I was leaving work.

At an intersection leaving campus I was stopped at a red light when a Chevy Suburban pulled up behind me and parked itself practically in my back seat.  In the rear view mirror I could see it was some college aged kid and chalked it up to "not being an experienced enough driver to know to stop further back."  The light changed to green and I pulled out into the intersection.  At this point the kid behind me whips out from behind me and pulls alongside me and flips me the bird.  I quickly mentally go through the drive from my parking lot to that particular intersection and can't come up with anything that could have provoked such a display.  In fact, I hadn't seen this particular car at all before the driver decided to kiss the ass of my car with his.

I gave the universal "WTF did I do?!" arm gesture as he roared past me, his bird still flying high and proud.  Then I noticed the kid's license plate.


I laughed out loud.

As I got to the next intersection the light changed to red and I saw the Texas Birdman in the left hand turn lane.  He had his passenger window down so I pulled up alongside of him, gave him my biggest smile and said, "And you, Bubba, are a prime example of why I do what I do."

06 October 2010

01 October 2010

small world

Isn't it amazing how the internet makes the world so much smaller?

A bit of history on moi.

Born in Ruidoso, NM which is ~20 miles from where I
Lived in Mescalero, NM which is ~40 miles from where I
Shopped, hung out, and cruised frequently in Alamogordo, NM which is~580 miles from where I
Ended up in Longmont, CO


Today I was reading "The Meanest Mom" blog about the reason they were "stuck" in Philadelphia.  (Have a box of tissues handy if you decide to read yesterday's post.)

Reading the comments, a woman commented that she was, "feeling very stuck in Alamogordo, New Mexico..."  Because she was from my "home" area and I'm the curious type, I clicked on her link and was taken to Darcey's blog.  (She creates some really cool cookies!)

Scrolling through her blog I found a link for "additional pictures" which took me to her Facebook page with photos of her creations; I especially like the sad faced Gingerbread Man with the missing foot.

Remember I'm curious?  I clicked on her profile link to see more about her and saw that her hometown is Longmont, CO.

Through the power of the internet, I discovered a woman who grew up in the town where I now live who is living in the town where I used to play.  Pretty cool huh?

Chin up Darcey, Alamogordo, NM is not the worst place to be, and the reason you're there may be to make people like me smile on how we may think the world is huge and vast and there are no connections, when in fact there are.  I don't know you personally, but I want you to know you made me smile. 

23 July 2010

there goes the neighborhood

Today is my birthday.  Happy birthday to me!  Happy birthday to me!  Happy birrrrthdaaaay to meeeee!  Happy birthday to me!

And in honor of my birthday we will be hosting a little thingy at my house on the 31st.  Due to a total lack of caring about (or understanding of) Christian rock festivals it didn't occur to me that on the very same day, "Heaven Fest" will be taking place.

Across the street from my neighborhood.

Right across the street.

View Directions to Peregrine Cir, Longmont, CO 80504 in a larger map

It leads one to think the City of Longmont is in dire need of money, so they rented out Union Reservoir for a one day Christian Music Festival.

Thank you City of Longmont.  I'm so looking forward to this.  I just hope I get to see eleven long-haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse micro-bus.  (let's see if anyone can tell me where that line came from withOUT using google.)

Now mind you, it's not that it's a Christian Music Festival that I'm so peeved about.  If it was a rap festival or hip hop or classical, I still wouldn't be jumping cartwheels over it.  Granted I've never been able to perform a decent cartwheel in my life, so maybe that metaphor doesn't quite work.

Anyway...  my point is, having "Thousands and Thousands of people from all over Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Nebraska and Kansas" descending on my neighborhood does not tickle me pink.

According to the City of Longmont they will have law enforcement out to direct people away from our neighborhood and the streets to our neighborhood will be blocked off.

 This makes me wonder... Am I going to be held hostage in my neighborhood?!  Will my guests be able to get in?!

In trying to gather as much defensive information as I could I visited the "Heaven Fest" website.  Wow.  It's almost as if the people attending the festival need constant monitoring.

It's a music festival.  Outside.  In July.  When it's hot.  Next to a large body of water.

What do you suppose the folks attending would be wearing?  Swimsuits perhaps?

Do you know they have a dress code for the festival? 

From the "Heaven Fest" website, and I quote,
MODESTY is the key word. While the style and fashion these days seems to be "less is best," we do not want to be guilty of causing another person to stumble. Girls: Bathing suits are NOT permitted except in the swimming area, and must not be a bikini. Tank tops are fine but bellies must be covered (even though the fashion now is to show it off). Shorts and/or skirts need to be long enough and shirts big enough. SHIRTS and shoes MUST be worn by all at all times."

Heather asked me, "Does it have a dress code for guys, or is it aimed only at women?"  Good question Heather.  I'm thinking it's aimed at women.  Men only have to show up in shirts and shoes.  No pants/shorts/swim trunks necessary.  Just let it alllll hang out boys.

Do you see why I don't go to these things?  I would be asked to leave shortly after entering the venue.

I've got my fingers crossed that the music won't make it to my house.  Just in case I'm going to stock up on copious amounts of alcoholic beverages.  Maybe Heather, Ted, my friends, and I will sit outside in our swimsuits  – the "less is best" style of course.

Enjoy your weekend!

06 July 2010

chicken man

Heather and I took a trip to Arizona this past weekend.  While it was considered a "long" weekend it wasn't long enough for us to drive there and back, so we flew.

She and I travel well together.  Mainly because we can find humor in just about anything.  Including air travel.  Which over the past few years has become increasingly less fun; although at times it can be downright funNY.

Since the airlines advise you to be at the airport the week before your flight is scheduled to depart (OK maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration) we usually have plenty of time to people watch while waiting for our flight.  (As an aside, why is it that if you are running late your flight is on time but if you arrive at the airport the requisite week prior, your flight is delayed?)

We arrive at the airport and check our bags and head through security to our gate.  While waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  We check out all the people coming and going. 

I must say there are a lot of interesting people coming and going through DIA.  I'm no fashionista but purple suede ankle boots, why-bother shorts, and purple t-shirt are not what I would consider appropriate travel clothes. 

 unless of course you're Miley Cyrus and like looking like a hoochie mama

Of course you have the folks dressed to the nines.  My guess is they read the same article I did that said if you dress up, you're more likely to be offered an upgrade.  Believe me, as a former travel agent and frequent traveler, "because you're wearing a suit upgrades" don't happen all that much anymore.  If at all.

So as Heather and I are sitting there a man walks by and she and I simultaneously jerk our heads to look at each other with the "Um... did you just see THAT?" look on our faces.  Walking by was – CHICKEN MAN!

OK, so that probably wasn't his real name.

Imagine, if you will, a super dork guy.  (Please bear in mind that this is not a put-down or meant as an insult; it is merely a description. You may not have said these same thoughts aloud, but you have thought them.  You can't deny it.)  You know the kind I mean.  Pasty white skin, knobby knees, tennis shoes with dress socks, and the just got out of bed hairstyle.  This was our man.  And our man was sporting a green t-shirt with a rooster graphic on the front. 

 this is said graphic - kinda "manly" eh?

I look at Heather and Heather looks back at me, and I ask, "Did you see the man with the co rooster on his shirt?!" 

"Yes.  Sadly, I did."

Now mind you, Heather and I have minds that tend to veer to the far left and/or right of center.  Nothing is as simple as it appears. 

A t-shirt graphic of a mere rooster can conjure many, many images and thoughts and perceptions in our slightly warped minds.  This is the sort of shirt I would expect to see on a twenty something tough guy or tough guy wannabe.  Or maybe some Aussie rugby god.  Or even a hot European race car driver. 

Daniel Conn of the ARL

Not Milton Waddams.

So after a couple of glances back and forth at each other and some "we didn't get enough sleep" simples, we kinda put Chicken Man out of our minds.  Until it's time to board.  And we realize that Chicken Man is at our gate.

Heather likes window seats.  I like aisle seats.  The gate agent has announced that the flight is full, so we know the seat between us is unlikely to be unoccupied for the flight.

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

We get on the plane and take our seats; Heather next to the window and me next to the aisle.  The middle seat is ominously empty and we comment to each other that if Chicken Man shows up to take that seat we will seriously have some problems trying to keep from collapsing into a ball of hysterics.  But we don't seriously think out of all the empty seats and out of all the other passengers, that the odds will be so stacked that we will get Chicken Man for our seat partner.

Oh, but we are sooooo very, very wrong.  It's karma baby.

I hear a small voice say "Excuse me, that's my seat there in the middle."  I look up and there before my eyes is Chicken Man's rooster.  I smile and attempt to think very serious thoughts.  VERY, VERY serious thoughts.  As I get up, Chicken Man asks if Heather and I would like to sit together (so he can have the aisle seat) but to his chagrin, we demure.

As Chicken Man gets settled, Heather looks at me over his shoulders and pulls her hoodie up over her head.  She has formally checked out for the duration of the flight.  I pull out my book, pop in my headphones and am myself formally checked out for the flight.

So we thought.

Shortly after take off, I see out of the corner of my eye that Chicken Man is rummaging through his back pack on the floor, and then he sits back up.  I don't want to risk looking directly at him for fear of embarrassing myself in some idiotic fashion (you know, like snorting,) but I can see out of the corner of my eye and sense quite a few raised-arms-over-head gyrations (applying deodorant?); vigorous rocking of head from side to side (water in the ear?), leaning head waaay back (trying to clear sinuses?) motions, among others. 

Then all motion stops and Chicken Man gets very, very still.

So I sneak a peek.

As does Heather.

Chicken Man has adorned himself with a lovely burgandy eye mask and bright (as in glow in the dark neon) purple ear plugs.

Thank you Chicken Man for not attempting conversation.  I don't think I could have looked you in the eye and articulated anything remotely intelligent without first asking, "So, what's with the cock on your t-shirt?"

01 June 2010

can't go home

This past weekend, Heather and I took a road trip to New Mexico.

It's been four years (I think...) since we had been back to the Mescalero/Ruidoso area.  It being Memorial Day weekend and all, I knew Ruidoso was going to be full of visitors.  The races started this weekend and nothing brings Texans to town like horse racing.

Well, OK, in the winter skiing brings them to town too...

I was not wrong.  For every New Mexico license plate I saw, there were five Texas plates.  Heather and I saw a whopping two – count them – two Colorado plates.

Including ours.

There was a time not all that long ago, that I considered moving back to New Mexico.  Southern New Mexico in fact.  After this last trip, I was left wondering "WTF was I thinking?!"

No, I won't be going back there.

I really dislike broad generalizations of certain groups of people, because 1) It's not fair and 2) it's usually way off base.  Having said that, from what I saw this weekend, in my opinion, Texans for the most part are loud, rude, and obnoxious. (Admittedly, a huge part of my bias against Texans stems from my stepmother's family who proved themselves to be well and truly money-grubbing-ticky-tacky-trailer trash.)

And they don't know how to drive.  Or park.  (yeah, yeah, I know, "it's a big vehicle."  So is mine but I still manage to keep it in the lines.  Just sayin' there Billy Bob.)

I've lived in Texas.  In many different cities in fact and for many years.  I never considered myself, "Texan."  I think that's something you have to be born into.

Ruidoso is a tourist town and they are heavily dependent on Texans for bringing in much needed revenue.  Texans are only too happy to do so.  But I just can't see myself living in such close proximity to all those Texans.  A plethora of different scenarios play in mind, and none of them have pleasant endings.

What struck me most about the area is that it HASN'T changed.  The same buildings are there.  Albeit a bit more tired and sad looking than thirty or even four years ago.  The names on some of the buildings have changed but there are still many of the same businesses plodding along as when I was growing up.

Frankly, I think that's a good thing – at least some of the old businesses are still making a go in the crap economy.  What I found disappointing was there weren't any signs of progress or development.  It felt as if I had been transported back to the 1970s.

The people as usual were friendly enough and seemed happy to have folks shopping, eating, and doing whatever they could to spend money.  But it just struck me as a town locked in time.  Conversations overheard indicated the mentality was still as 1970s as the architecture, decor, and hair styles.

There are a lot of good things about the area, don't get me wrong.

There is nothing like the smell of pine to take me back to my younger and much more carefree days.  Hearing the wind in the trees would lull me to sleep.  Seeing deer wandering through town and keeping the lawns "manicured" is something I certainly don't see in Longmont!

The people are friendly.  They smile at you.  They say, "thank you" and "please" and seem genuinely happy that you chose to spend some of your precious down time in their little town.

Most of the businesses are "mom & pop" businesses.  There aren't very many chain stores.  In fact, I don't think they even have a chain grocery store (Furr's and Safeway pulled out years and years ago.)  Yes, they do have a Wally World but that's no surprise.  And they have a Walgreen's but unlike other towns, they only have the one, not one on every corner.

I get the impression the town struggles with moving into the 21st century while trying to retain it's small townness.  It's hard to progress and develop without losing some of your character.

So, while this last visit made it glaringly obvious that the area is not someplace I could ever call home again, I applaud the town for plugging along and keeping themselves true to their character.  My guess is most folks were very happy in the 1970s and don't want to leave that space.  And they won't.

Here are some photos from our trip.  I snapped a few for old times' sake, since I have a feeling this was my last trip "home."  (Well, unless the pull of green chile strips becomes too much to bear.)

house where I grew up in Mescalero

New Mexico road 

Sierra Blanca view

Quintessential New Mexico house

 close up of the gate
Lincoln Cemetery grave

child's grave in the Lincoln Cemetery

wild iris on Ski Run Road

26 May 2010

cool finds

In anticipation of a Memorial Day weekend road trip I was gathering some CDs for the journey.  We always have tunage on road trips.  And road food.  Gotta have tunes and food.  Usually both categories are filled with things out of the "norm" of my everyday life.  I don't eat Twizzlers or Pringles on a regular basis and don't usually listen to Disturbed or Green Day.  On road trips though, anything goes!

Soooo... in preparation for the upcoming trip I sorted through my CD collection.  I have six CD binders.  And they are all filled to capacity.  Roughly there are over 1400 CDs in the collection.  Which means there are lot to choose from and can make decision making hard.  What sounds good on a Tuesday night might not be what I'm in the mood for on Friday night.  So I fill two travel cases with CDs.  I think this will give us about 30 or 40 to choose from.

BUT that's not the point of this post...

In rummaging through the collection I found some songs I didn't know I had.  Most of the CDs have the liner notes stored behind them with the songs listed.  This go 'round I actually took the time to read some of those to see if there was anything on some of the more obscure discs that might trip my trigger.  Lo and behold there was!

One of them is Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen."  I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to have found that song.  It came out during a pivotal time in my life and seemed oh-so appropriate then.  Yes, I know the lyrics are actually taken from a column written by Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune in 1997 titled, "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young."  Regardless of where the lyrics originated or your age, the song is oh-so apropos for anyone.

Another find was "When Will I See You Again" by the Three Degrees.  Hearing this song takes me back to my first "love."  The song came out in 1974 but I remember listening to it a couple of years later when my then "boyfriend" joined the army and moved to Texas.  He would come back periodically, but not surprisingly a long distance relationship while a sophomore in high school wasn't meant to last.

The song still takes me back to those days.  I can see myself sitting in my room listening to the song over and over and dreaming and wishing him back home.  Ah, the joys of young love...

remember 45s?!

I'm really looking forward to this road trip and hearing all the awesome tunage I discovered.  Hope Heather will enjoy it as much as I will.  Maybe she'll get a "mom" autobiography as we tootle down the road...

18 May 2010

quiz thingy alert!

Bouncing from this blog to that blog to the blog over there and back again, I found this quiz thingy on this blog, http://silly-pants-kate.blogspot.com/, and never having done any of these quiz thingies, I thought I'd give it a go.

The rules as I understand it are that you are to answer the questions below the set of answered questions, make up ten of your own, and pass it on to seven others (or do like I'm going to, and post it on your blog.)  The others answer your ten questions and send them back to you, make up ten of their own, and in about 5 years you'll probably see this quiz again and get to start from scratch! 

Ready to give it a go?  (I'd love to see your answers!)

1. What was your favorite vacation from your childhood?
Probably Disneyland.  I remember having dinner at the restaurant near the Pirate's of the Caribbean ride (this was waaaay back in the late 60's so it wasn't Pirate's of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp) I think the restaurant was called the Blue Bayou or some such.  Both my sister and I had birthdays in July, and the "cast members" (remember they're not staff or employees at Disney, but cast members) came over after dinner and dropped of a cake and sang to us.  I thought that was the coolest thing ever!

2. What is the one thing you would tell the ten year old you?
Boys will ALWAYS have cooties.

3. What is the biggest compliment that anyone has ever given you?
I've been told many, many times that I'm a wonderful mom.  This makes me very proud, but I have to give half the credit to my most awesome daughter.  She's the one that made it easy.  Now if I could just get her to do the windows...

4. Who is your favorite band and why? (Can't that be two questions?)
Wow.  Favorite band.  Really?  I have to pick one?  Nope, can't do it.  It would be almost like being unfaithful.  The CureThe Devlins.  The Cure.  The Devlins.  (Note I'm not including Jimmy Buffett - he's not a "band" although he does have one that plays with him, The Coral Reefers.)  OK... that just threw a major wrench in this whole thing.  The Cure.  The Devlins.  Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band.  The Cure.  The Devlins.  Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band.   No, I can't pick just one. 
Why?  I think it's because I like their music...

5. What bad habit or fault would turn you off someone you are originally attracted to?
Racism and bigotry.

6. The drinks are on me - what's your poison?
Cosmo, baby, cosmo.

7. Which celebrity do you really detest and why?
Sean Connery.  In an interview once with Barbara Walters he said sometimes it was necessary to hit a woman.  What a slimeball.  (His wife at the time has since divorced Sir Sean.  Thank goodness)

8. Who is your hero? (Doesn't have to be famous)
My sister, Elmo.

9. Are you a dog or a cat person?

The Doester

Izz McFizz

 Willa the Corona Kitteh

Miss Kyna

 Miss Fallon waiting for noms

10. Who influenced you the most when you were growing up? (Again, doesn't have to be famous)
It depends on the influence. Being as great a parent as possible? My mom & dad & my daughter.  Not accepting mediocre?  My mom.  My love for the outdoors (when it's warm, that is)?  My dad & Mother Nature.  My work ethic?  My dad.  My foodiness?  My mom & dad.  My love of music?  The Partridge Family & The Monkees.

OK now for my list of 10 questions:
  1. Someone hands you a cool $One Mil.  What do you do with it?
  2. What to you would be the world's coolest job?
  3. What is on the menu for your favorite meal (anything goes)?
  4. What was your favorite television program as a child?
  5. If you could live ANY where (outer space, under the ocean, in a national park, etc.) where would it be?
  6. What is your absolute, without a doubt, hands down worst travel experience?
  7. What is the one product you refuse to buy?
  8. What do you do when (you think) no one is looking?
  9. If you could choose five people to go on a holiday with (real or fictional) who would they be and why?
  10. What is the weirdest thing to ever happen to you?

14 May 2010

things to do this summer

Are you wondering what you should do over the summer? Are you looking for something totally different to do?  Are you itching to see a side of America you really had no idea even existed?

Well, then check out some of the festivals that celebrate our unique culture!

Go on, you know you want to!  Just be sure and send me a postcard.

First if anyone is interested in visiting New Orleans in July you can attend the San Fermin in Nueva Orleans.  This would be the Running of the Bulls New Orleans style.  The bulls aren't really bulls but members of the Big Easy Rollergirls.  The "bulls" sport helmets with horns and are armed with plastic bats to intimidate the hundreds of runners.  Here is a video of some of last year's run. 

Second we have the Roswell UFO Festival in Roswell, New Mexico.  I grew up not too far from Roswell and managed to avoid getting caught up in the UFO frenzy.  Honestly, I never did dress up as an outer space alien for Halloween.   Never.

As you know in 1947 a UFO crashed in the desert near Roswell.  Initially it was reported as a "flying disk," but later the United States Army changed it to a weather balloon.  There's been controversy ever since on what it really was.   You can find "real" and "authentic" photos all over the internet of the alien and the spacecraft.

 Family vacation Roswell style.

Over the 4th of July weekend, to celebrate the historic event, the city of Roswell hosts a huge festival.  It makes perfect sense that they would hold this festival on the day we celebrate our country's freedom.  Has anyone seen the movie "Independence Day"?

Next we go to our very own Fruita, Colorado for Mike the Headless Chicken Festival
Really you can't make this stuff up.

Seems back in 1945 there was a farmer in Fruita who was wantin' some chicken for dinner and went out and lopped off poor Mike's head.

Well, kinda.

He missed Mike's jugular vein and a clot formed preventing Mike from bleeding to death.  Mike was also lucky enough to retain most of his brain stem, which allowed him the pleasure of living a relatively normal - as normal as can be expected without a head - life.  In fact Mike managed to live another 18 months after his decapitation.  Now the city of Fruita holds a festival so that people can come together and remember good ol' Mike.  And do the chicken dance.  And eat...

ah, isn't he cute?!

So, go on.  Get out there and experience all the thrills, chills, and excitement these and many more wacky and fun festivals have to offer!

12 May 2010

hope you're not brown skinned

I've been thinking of how to write my thoughts on the whole Arizona illegal immigration law.  I'm adamantly opposed to my tax dollars being spent to house, clothe, feed, and medicate those who are in the United States illegally.  Period.  We have our own citizens struggling to survive.  My tax money should be spent helping them.

Frankly, I don't buy the whole, "they're stealing jobs from Americans" line of bullshit.  Honestly I don't know of one person (American that is) that is willing to work for slave wages mowing yards, cleaning toilets, toiling in 100+ degree heat planting and harvesting crops, etc.  Do you?  The majority of these jobs are filled by immigrants here legally.  Yes, there are some out there who will hire those who enter our country illegally, because they can get away with paying them next to nothing - or in some cases - nothing at all; the wages are garnished to pay for the workers' "room and board."  Slavery folks, that's what that is.

Arizona passed a law that is to go into effect in August that states:


My question is what constitutes, "reasonable suspicion"? 

Now since this is Arizona I'm going to go out on a limb and guess this law is aimed at illegal aliens from Mexico.  Granted, our country is full of illegal aliens from Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, etc.  I'm guessing Arizona hasn't attracted any of those groups, right? 


So, a peace officer can stop ANYONE they suspect of being here illegally.  That could be me, you, Chun-Ling, Anastasia, Humberto, Mehtap, etc. and ask to see proof of citizenship. 

I don't carry my birth certificate.  Do you?  I have a driver's license.  That doesn't prove I'm a citizen.  It just proves I passed a driving test.  I also have a passport, but like my birth certificate, it's not something I carry with me.  (And for some unknown reason, here in Boulder County, Colorado, my passport does not prove my citizenship anyway; although, the Social Security Administration says it does.)

I find it appalling that any state in our country would go to such extremes.  Yes, we do have a problem with illegal aliens coming into our country and draining citizen resources.  Yes, we do have a problem with illegal aliens bringing drugs into our country.  Yes, we do have a problem with illegal aliens coming into our country and committing atrocious and horrific crimes.  Guess what folks?  We have citizens doing the same thing.  Do I condone this behavior?  Not at all.  It is a problem that needs to be addressed, I agree. 

I don't agree that any state can make it open season on Hispanics.  And that folks is in my opinion, what this law is all about. 

The majority of those who work in any of our law enforcement agencies are honest, hard working, non-racist people.  They have a hard job, and I give them kudos for doing what they do to keep the rest of us safe.  However, having lived in various parts of the country, I'm only too aware of the things that can happen when someone who is not honest or is a racist pins on a badge. 

Does anyone remember the civil rights movement?  Anyone?  Does anyone remember "law enforcement" kidnapping and killing civil rights workers?

How about the policeman helping violent criminals in New York?

Or the accused child molester in Miami?

All it takes is one "rogue" cop to decide he's tired of "Mexicans coming over here and stealing our jobs" to cause a major uprising.

Yes, we need immigration reform.  Yes, we need to stop the influx of those entering the country illegally. 

I don't think giving law enforcement Carte Blanche to stop any brown skinned person with a Hispanic accent and request proof of citizenship is the way to do it.  And it will be the brown skinned people with the Hispanic accent who will bear the brunt of this.  I know it.  And you know it.

As an aside, Arizona has also passed legislation that will curb how certain courses are taught.  Arizona HB 2281 makes it illegal to teach courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group, advocate ethnic solidarity, or promote resentment toward a race or class of people. 

The only problem with this is that technically teachers could be barred from teaching about the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the attack on Pearl Harbor, etc.  All of these examples could potentially promote hatred of various races or classes of people.  (There are certain exceptions to the law, such as courses or classes for Native Americans that are required to comply with federal laws.)

 According to the Associated Press, Tom Horne, state superintendent of public institution, has pushed this legislation to limit a program in the Tucson Unified School District since he learned that Hispanic civil right activist Delores Herta told Tucson students that "Republicans hate Latinos."  (Frankly based on what I've seen so far, she doesn't seem to be too far off the mark...)

Shouldn't we be teaching our children about all cultures?  And yes, the teachings should include the good and the bad. 

I'm hopeful future generations will learn tolerance and empathy and throw off our society's growing narrow-minded, insular tactics.

10 May 2010

summer please

It's hard to believe that just a few short months ago I was writing a blog on my daughter's trials and tribulations of going off to college.

Cruising along.

Cruising along.

Cruising along.

BAM!  She's home.  She survived her first year and came out with some pretty decent grades to boot.  Go Heather!

Of course the end of the school year means summer, right?


It means since we live in Colorado we'll be kept on our toes for the next few weeks with predictions of snow.  In fact this week some areas could see one to two FEET of snow.  Not inches.  FEET!

Luckily I don't think we live in that area.  I'm hoping anyway.

Over the past couple of months, we've been getting our yard prepped for the –

*drum roll please*

– VEGGIE GARDEN.  This has entailed a lot of work, and luckily for me, most of it done by other people.

Ted pulled all the rock up in the back yard.  The plan being to make part of the back yard a veggie bed and part of it for the dogs.  I paid to have dirt brought in.  Planting dirt to be exact.  You see there are many kinds of dirt, and you have to be specific with landscaping people what exactly it is you plan on doing with dirt.  I let them know I was planning a garden, so I got garden dirt.  I'm hopeful it's dirt that is going to produce scads of vegetables!

I also had pea gravel brought in and put down for the dogs.  They weren't too keen on walking on the river walk to do their thing, and our neighbors had pea gravel put in for their dog and it seemed to work.  Luckily for us, it's working too.  Otherwise I suspect the veggie garden would not be a veggie garden.

Kyna loves the pea gravel.  She loves digging in it.  She loves rolling in it.  She loves running it.  While sitting 20+ feet away I've been dinged on the head with pieces of it while she's tearing through it.  Must think about investing in a hard hat and safety glasses to wear while sitting outside.

Ted put up fencing around my perennial beds, herb bed, and veggie bed.  This fencing was my idea.  You know to keep the dogs out of the gardens.  I didn't want something so tall I couldn't get into the beds without dismantling the fence, and I didn't want something so elaborate that it would require a gate, so I chose mini picket fencing.  It's about 2' tall, and Ted warned me it wouldn't keep the dogs out.

He was right.  Fallon steps right over it.  Next time I'm getting wiener dogs.

So, now I will wait maybe not so patiently, until it's safe to plant the rest of the vegetables and herbs.




09 April 2010

a tale of customer service

My beef this week has been with customer service.  I've noticed over the past several years that decent customer service has gone the way of the dinosaur.  Too bad some of the customer service agents couldn't have accompanied them on that little sojourn, but anyway.

Customer service story #1.
I'm part of a group of women who try to get together once a year for a long weekend away.  It started out way back when our now college aged kiddos were tots, and we would get the kids together once a week for playgroup.  As an escape from being a MOM, the group decided a weekend away once a year was in order.  So for the past 15+ (OMG It's been that long?!) the moms have traveled to various places to be non-moms for a weekend.  We each take turns making hotel arrangements and coordinating who is or isn't going to make it this year.

Well, this year was my year to do all the legwork.  Being an owner of a Starwood condo timeshare, I'm in the "gold" class of their Starwood Preferred Guest club and was "awarded" a 50% discount at any Starwood property.  

(Now mind you, I have never had issues with the Starwood Company before this.  In fact I've been treated like royalty at their properties.  Club level, upgraded rooms at no charge, free happy hour, etc.)

So I'm thinking that a nice hotel on the beach might be in order.  The group decided on Clearwater Beach, FL and I called the super-secret-only-owners-get-to-know number and made a reservation for two rooms with a gulf view.

 would be a nice view, eh?

When I called to make the reservations, the two rooms were booked with two separate confirmation numbers.  This means while I'm on the phone with the agent, one of the reservations shows up in my e-mailbox.  I noticed it doesn't say "gulf view" but "bayline/harbour view."

 not quite the same view.

Uh-oh.  So, since I'm still on the phone with the agent I ask about this and am assured we have a gulf view room but that the reservations are all showing as bayline/harbour view.  I let her know we are a very particular crowd and if we don't get a gulf view I might end up on someone's  shitlist. Well, I didn't say "shitlist" but she got the message.  She assured me we had the gulf view rooms and made a notation  in the reservation that we required gulf view rooms.

Earlier this week I decide to call to make sure everything is in order.

Gulf view?  Ha!  In my friggin' dreams.

Nope we don't have gulf view rooms.  But for an additional $35/night they can rectify this little glitch.  Needless to say, Ruth is not a happy camper.  For those of you who know me well, I don't just let things slide.  Nope, I'm going to take it up the ladder.  The agent I'm speaking with is unable to help me so I request to speak with a supervisor.  I am told, and I quote, "You're wasting your time.  They're just going to tell you the same thing I just told you."   Excuse me?!  I asked to speak with a supervisor.  Your job is not to argue with the client but to do whatever it takes to keep them as a client.  After being "accidentally" disconnected I called back and decided to bypass the agent and go directly to supervisor mode.  The new agent thought it was her duty to argue with me that she "might" be able to help me.  I assured her this was not the case and there really was no point in me wasting her time or my time.

I was held hostage by this agent who wouldn't let me speak to a supervisor until she tried to help me.  So, after explaining the issue AGAIN, I was told there was nothing she could do.

Um, Miss I-Don't-Listen-Because-It's-Beyond-My-Capabilities, didn't I just explain that to you?  What is it about customer service people who won't actually LISTEN to what you have to say?

So, onto a supervisor I go, so that I can explain the situation yet one more time.  I'm told there's nothing he can do but bump it up to the "corporate" level.  Someone will get back to me in 24 to 48 hours.

Right.  Sure they will.

72 hours later *I* call *them* back.  Guess whose issue wasn't bumped up to "corporate?"

Yesterday  I get an e-mail from "corporate" basically telling me they have no recording of the initial conversation but they would be happy to put us in a gulf view room.  At additional cost.  Really?! Oh please let me pay more for a room I already booked at a lower rate!  Please, please let me!  Let me!

Yes, I am a very sarcastic person.  But not while talking to customer service people.  Having worked in customer service industries, I know for a fact it doesn't help.  I'm very calm, professional, and tactful.

After numerous e-mail messages back and forth with "corporate" it was resolved that nothing was resolved other than I will never book another Starwood property again.  My last exchange with "corporate" came back with an auto reply that she was sorry but she would not be in the office until 12 April and if the issue was urgent to write to customer support.  You're kidding me, right?


I forward all of the e-mail messages "corporate" and I have exchanged to customer support and receive a message back.

"Thank you for your email to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
This message is to acknowledge we have received your email.
We are currently experiencing higher than normal e-mail traffic, which may result in a delay in responding to your message.
We are working very diligently to respond to your e-mail in a timely manner.
We would like to extend our sincerest apology for any inconvenience this may cause, as well as our appreciation and thanks for your patience at this time.
Best Regards,
Customer Service Department
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide"

Yes, they spelled e-mail two ways.  And my issue is still unresolved.  But I write letters.  To owners and presidents.  It's amazing the response you get then.  I'll keep you posted.

Customer service story #2.

Last year I bought a nice Weber grill.

This year the starter mechanism went out.  You know, the little doohickey you press and magically the burners light?  I have the receipt somewhere in my house papers but don't think it's still a warranty issue so don't bother looking for it.

I call Weber customer service.  The woman on the other end listens to the issue and asks if I had registered my product.  I tell her I'm not sure.  Sometimes I send those little cards in and sometimes I don't.  I do; however, have the serial number for my grill so she looks it up that way.  Nope, I didn't register the grill so she has no way of knowing if it's under warranty or not.  OK, this is my fault and I'm fully expecting to just order a new part, pay for it, and wait for it to show up.


The customer service agent (Starwood are you listening...? emphasis on SERVICE) says, "No problem Ms. Covington; we'd be happy to send you a replacement starter kit at no charge."

*blink*  *blink*

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I thank the customer SERVICE agent profusely.

Three days later the part shows up.


Customer service story #3.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered some nifty upside down growing bag thingies and various accouterments.

 Check 'em out; they're really neat!

The box shows up and I open it and take inventory to make sure everything is there, and alas there are three extra bags and three extra chains missing.

I immediately call the customer service line and explain the situation.  The woman I'm speaking with apologizes to me and says she will get the missing items sent out ASAP.

Guess what?  Three days later they show up just as promised.

Go Gardner's Supply Company!!

So, there is such a thing as decent customer service out there.  For that I'm grateful.  There is hope for us yet.

PS Juan at Buca di Beppo in Broomfield is a mediocre server at best.  Note to Juan:
1. You do NOT slap food or drink on the table as you are walking past.  Take the time to SET the food or drink down and make sure your guests don't need anything else before you go on your merry way.
2.  If the guest says the wine smells like bleach you might want to check the glasses (or have the barkeep check) to make sure there isn't an issue with the glassware.  You wasted two perfectly good glasses of wine on what could have been a very simple fix.  Never mind the rolling eyes and attitude.  The guest should NOT have to go to the bar to get the problem resolved.  That's YOUR job.
3.  Don't think I'm going to tip you 15% or 20% because that is the "norm."  I tip based on service.  You don't offer up exemplary service, you don't get an exemplary tip.  I gave you 10% only because that is what you deserved and frankly I think I was being generous.

25 March 2010

and you wonder why?!

Earlier this week I was talking to a friend about the whole single parenting thing and it got me thinking about some stuff.  Dangerous area there, I know.

Do you see a soap box in my future?

My daughter is 19 years old now, which means I've been a single mom for over 11 years.  It hasn't been easy, but I can honestly say that it certainly hasn't been overly difficult.  My daughter was one of those kids who was easy to be around.  She didn't pitch "fling herself on the ground-flailing arms and legs-screaming at the top of her lungs" fits.  Mainly she'd give me THE look and go off to her room to sulk.  There's no doubt where she learned THE look, so I only have myself to blame for that one.

I taught her manners and she used them.

I had high expectations for her behavior and she met them without question.  That's just the way it was.

She is and always has been polite and respectful, caring and generous, smart and funny.  There wasn't much disciplining going on because there wasn't much "bad" behavior to discipline.  All in all the best kid a mom could ask for.

Anyway...  This post is going to be about single dads.  If there are any of you out there (and frankly, this may apply to non-single dads as well) please take note.

If you wonder why your child has decided s/he doesn't want anything to do with you, perhaps you should reflect on a few things.

Don't make promises you can't or have no intention of keeping.  It just makes you look like a total loser.  And the other parent gets the extremely difficult and heartbreaking job of trying to make things right while doing their very damnedest not to let on that you ARE a total loser.   The hardest part about being a single mom was thinking I should try to convince my daughter that her father really loved her and to encourage her to maintain contact with him.  

For example, don't promise your child you are going to call and then don't.  There is nothing more painful to a mother than to see her child sitting by the phone waiting and waiting for a call that isn't ever going to come.  She even refuses to go outside and play with her friends because she "might miss daddy calling." Even though you PROMISE you will go get her if he does call.  After sitting and waiting for the call that didn't come, my daughter would ask me why her daddy didn't love her and didn't want to talk to her.  Then she'd go to bed and cry herself to sleep.  If Scotty could have beamed me to another location, I'm guessing there would be one less dad making idle promises. 

Don't tell your child they are the most important thing in the world to you, and then expect them to buy this load of crap when you finally get around to calling a couple of MONTHS later with some sorry ass story about how you had "really important" job related something or other going on that made it impossible for you to call.  You still managed to find the time to call the girlfriend/mom/sister/brother/friend/etc.  Kids aren't stupid.  Forgiving yes.  Stupid no.

Don't lie to your kids or withhold information.  Your relatives talk.  In fact some of them seem to get perverse pleasure in being the bearer of "bad" news.  You have a girlfriend, or in our case, a new wife, you might want to let your child know.  If you are starting another family, let your child know.  Don't wait until after the baby is born to spring it on them that they are a "big sister."  And most certainly don't tell mom that you didn't tell the child because you weren't sure how your child would react and that you didn't want to "hurt" them.  Yeah, my daughter knew she was going to be a big sister MONTHS before the baby was born but had been sworn to secrecy by her grandmother (the one who spilled the beans) that she wasn't to let her dad know that she knew.  (In fact, don't tell ANYONE anything you want kept secret from your child – because it ain't gonna happen.)  Give your child credit for being stronger (and sometimes more mature) than you think they are.

If she can forgive you not calling for months on end, surely she'll forgive you remarrying and starting another family.  Assuming she even cares at that point.

Don't expect mom to "make" your child visit you just because the judge said you get the child every other holiday.  After several years of sporadic contact, you seriously can't think your child will want to spend holidays or summer breaks with you or your family.  You're a stranger.  What child would want to spend their holidays or summer breaks with strangers?  Oh, and if you do somehow manage to convince your child to spend some of their holidays or summer break with you, take vacation time to spend with them, don't stick them in day care or send them to camp.  They didn't travel across country to be plunked into daycare or sent to camp because you couldn't afford to take time off work to spend with them (especially when you can afford to take time off work to go visit the new in-laws or take your new family on vacation to Disney World immediately after your child goes back to mom – yeah true story.)  It's called planning.  Moms do it all the time.

Remember your actions speak a whole lot louder than your words.  Children pick up on things pretty darned fast and it doesn't take them long to realize your platitudes and empty gestures are just that.  Be honest with your child.  Hell, be honest with yourself.

From personal experience I know parenting isn't easy.  And parenting from a distance is probably harder, but it's impossible if you only do a half assed job at it.

Points to consider:
  • Don't tell a child you're going to do something and then don't.
  • Don't assume children are stupid and ignorant of what's going on in your life.  Believe me there are other family members out there only too willing to spill the beans.
  • Don't get angry with the child if they refuse to talk to you or don't want to visit you if over the years you have repeatedly let them down.
  • If you are going to send birthday and/or Christmas presents, try to find out what the child's interests are or what they like.  Don't expect the new wife to come up with gifts; it's not her job.  Oh, and sorry, but a $10 Target gift card is perceived by a 10 year old as "Oh crap! I forgot about ."  You can't expect your child to believe for one second that you only spent $10 on your new children for their Christmas presents.  And seriously do you know many 10 year olds that put a Target gift card on their list to Santa?  Really.  As a further FYI, 19 year old college students don't shop at Land's End.
  • Don't expect the mom to "fix" the relationship you have irrevocably broken with your child.  Believe me after years of seeing their child disappointed and hurt, moms are probably relieved the child has finally said, "Enough!  I don't care if I ever hear from him again."
  • Don't call every couple of years asking if the child is interested in "working on" the relationship.  Leave them alone.  You've disappointed and hurt them enough.  Let them move on.  If they want to "work on" the relationship, let them contact you.  But don't hold your breath.
  • Don't equate child support to love.  It isn't.  Don't begrudge paying for some of the child's expenses outside of your monthly obligation.  You are the father.  You chose to have a child.  Be responsible.  And remember mom's probably eating thousands of dollars of expenses that legally should be split, because it's way easier than having to deal with you and your excuses as to why you feel you shouldn't have to pay.
  • Finally, don't act surprised or shocked by the lack of interest from your child if haven't taken the time to energy to prove that you really do care.  Just because the child isn't showing anger doesn't mean they care.  The opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy. 

03 February 2010

single again

I'm single again.

After five years, my SO decided to head back to Florida.   It was a mutual decision based on many reasons.  At least for me, it was based on many reasons.  I can't speak for him.

(I admit to being a bit peeved that he moved back to the land of warm and sunshine and I'm still stuck in the land of cold and snow.)

I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting when I got home and found he had finally packed up most of his things and moved on.  You notice I said, "most" not "all" of his things.

I mean seriously, did he really need to leave that ugly blanket nailed, yes, nailed, over the windows in the room formerly known as the mancave?! 

a curtain this is NOT

I wondered if this was his way of thumbing his nose at me; although, that kind of behavior doesn't seem to really fit his personality.  He knew I thought that sort of thing was the ultimate in tacky.  Blankets and aluminum foil are not appropriate window dressing.  This is the sort of blanket I carry around in the back of my car to throw on the ground for a picnic or as a table cloth on one of those disgustingly dirty picnic tables in national parks.  Never ever in my wildest dreams would I have considered it for a curtain.

Along with the above mentioned blanket, I am now the proud owner of a veritable smörgåsbord of screws, nails, nuts, and bolts. 

I also have oodles of bottles of car "stuff."  I say "stuff" because to be honest I have no clue what half of it is.  I do know that I probably won't ever use any of it and now I need to find a way to dispose of it in an ecologically friendly (re. legal) manner. 

He also left a set of shelves he fashioned himself, that while they "fit" into the mancave decor, do not fit in with my style of decorating.  I know he was very proud of those shelves, and it probably pained him a great deal that he couldn't make them fit and take with him.  My daughter and I managed to get them un-wedged (yes, I know that's not a real word) from the floor and ceiling.  They have been dismantled and are now in the garage with disposition TBD.

To his credit he did leave some things that I will find useful.  The kitchen table for instance.  It's nice to have a place to sit and eat.  The bookcase in the kitchen that holds my extensive cookbook collection.  The pegboard and pins to hold tools.  I can now put my tools out where they are handy and useful.  The sleeping bags and large coolers.  Since camping was a "him" thing, I don't see me doing it much anymore.  If I do, it will probably be in a travel trailer, not a tent, but the sleeping bags might come in handy somewhere down the road.  The coolers will be used for my many forays to visit national parks.  It's a lot more cost effective to take some of your own food for meals than to eat in the park.

He also left some pretty good memories.  And I'm thankful and will always cherish those.

Unlike the blanket. 

14 January 2010

oh, the places I've been

Over the past few months I've found some friends from my high school days on Facebook.  With lots of questions on what I've been doing the past 30 years – THIRTY YEARS?! – it got me to thinking of all the places I've lived and traveled.

In talking to several of my friends, it seems that not very many of them have traveled quite as much as I have.  And to think all this time, I thought traveling was something EVERYone did.  Apparently this is not so.  Apparently I am in the category of people known as "well traveled."

Bear in mind, being "well traveled" doesn't necessarily mean "traveled well."  I can count on one hand the number of times I've flown business or first class.  As I've gotten older I do find myself leaning towards the four and five star properties, but I have to admit one of my favorite places is the Lake Yellowstone Cabins.

They are the most basic of accommodation but the location makes up for anything I could possibly be missing.  And a little pink hotel on the beach beats a huge resort any day of the week!

So, as I said I got to thinking of all the places I've lived and visited and thought it would be interesting to make a chronological list just to see if I really am "well traveled."

Since leaving high school here are places I've lived.
  • Las Cruces, NM
  • El Paso, TX
  • Hobbs, NM
  • Spring, TX
  • San Angelo, TX
  • Polkville, NC
  • Birkenfeld Germany
  • Clovis, NM
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Valdosta, GA
  •  Lafayette, CO
  • Longmont, CO
Since leaving high school here are the places I've visited.  Some of them many, many times.  There's really no way I could list every town I've visited...  For one I seriously doubt I can remember them all, and to spare you, dear reader, from falling into a catatonic state, I'll limit it to states and countries.
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona
  • Texas
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Washington DC
  • South Dakota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Alaska
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • South Korea (and into the DMZ)
  • Germany
  • East Germany
  • Austria
  • Luxembourg
  • Switzerland
  • Czechoslovakia
  • England
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Dominican Republic
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
For those of you who are really interested you can continue reading and I'll list all the National Parks, Monuments, and sites I've visited too!
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Casa Grande Ruins
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Chiricahua National Monument
  • Fort Bowie National Historic Site
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • National Mall and Memorial Parks
  • Redwood National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Golden Gate
  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Mojave National Preserve
  • Dinosaur National Monument
  • Cache La Poudre River
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
  • Bent's Old Fort
  • Canaveral National Seashore
  • Everglades National Park
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield
  • Glacier National Park
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • White Sands National Monument
  • Fort Union National Historic Site
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument
  • El Malpais National Monument
  • Tonto National Monument
  • Petroglyph National Monument
  • Bandelier National Monument
  • Pecos National Historic Park
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Fort Sumter National Monument
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Badlands National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Fort Davis National Historic Site
  • Big Bend National Park
  • San Antonio Missions National Historic Park
  • Fort Laramie National Historic Site
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Flaming Gorge
  • Devil's Tower National Monument