T h e   J o u r n a l   -   M A Y   2 0 0 7
Home | Current | Archives | 2007: May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan    

29 May 2007   Nearly completed (T-94)

The 5-day Memorial Day weekend I just had was not exactly relaxing, but productive for sure!

Besides hanging out w/ friends at night, most of my weekend was spent working on the bathroom with Dad and Pat, so my 'vacation' was much more work than even my real 'work' is. Which leads me to explain why I was so damn tired at work today and why I came home and just passed out. But I'm awake now and before I return to sleep, I wanted to post my complete picture set of my bathroom renovation, from beginning to end. Okay, the true end has yet to be reached (the whole replacing the lights and putting up the shelves) but those pictures will come soon enough. I'll also get to posting pictures from the Royal Gorge which I visited with Dad and Pat on Thursday. Get this - this upcoming Friday I'll be riding down Pikes Peak with my Dad on bicycles. This should definitely be interesting as long as the weather holds out, which it usually does until the afternoon. I hope I can take lots of pictures from that, as it should be amazing.

Alright, so here's my photos from the bathroom project:

The Lisa Dr Master Bathroom Renovation Project - May 2007

You wanna know what the catalyst was that actually got me working on this? The damn towel bar. Last weekend, I had just finished drying off after showering and when I put the towel back on the rack, the bar just fell off the wall. I couldn't snap the bar back on (although I know what I was doing wrong now), so I was like, Fuck It, I'll Just Buy a New One... and that my friends, is the starting point of this whole endeavor. For now I was thinking, hell, I'll get the towel bar that will match what I've been planning. But now that I had gotten one piece of my new bathroom, it was time to just go for it, and with a long weekend approaching, what better time?

And to be honest, I've been planning how I wanted this renovation to go for a pretty long time. You can see past journal entries with my drawing proposals, and I think the final result is pretty close to those. And because of my hours and hours of hanging out at Lowe's researching what I wanted to install, the only time I really spent this weekend was fortunately on installation and not what I wanted to do. Except for the walls - I still hadn't figured out what I wanted to do with that until that afternoon.

I definitely couldn't have done this without my Dad (and Pat) so much thanks goes to them for helping and doing so much on this project. Plus, the books below were INVALUABLE to my efforts and I heartily recommend them to anyone else considering some DIY work:

- Popular Mechanics' Moneysmart Makeovers: Bathrooms (This book is an AMAZING resource for all aspects of this project - got this for 75% off at Barnes & Noble's discount rack; best deal ever)
- Stanley Complete Plumbing (helpful for figuring out the nuances of plumbing, pipes, etc)
- Stanley Complete Tiling (essential for making decisions on what to use for my floor, installing, removing fixtures, etc)
- Lowe's Complete Guide to Paint and Color (extremely helpful for painting techniques)
- DIY Channel 10 Weekend Bathroom Makeovers (great for ideas and instructional how-tos on certain techniques)

With all the reading I had done for this project, really I was mentally ready. But my biggest holdup had been fear of actual execution - but as you'll see below, that quickly went away. Especially once you've completed 'Demolition Day'. You're committed at that point!

24 May 2007 - My Bathroom before the renovation

That's my ghetto-fabulous little Master Bathroom
View of the mirrors
There's the vanity
Looking at the nasty linoleum floor
View with the wooden shelving unit gone
Preparing for demolition day

25 May 2007 - Demolition Day

Dad arrived in the morning to help me tear all the guts out of my existing Master bathroom. The first goal was to get rid of the vanity/sink combo. What a bitch that was. First, we discovered that the existing vanity had a back wall and no big holes for the vanity to allow the supply valves through. So we had to cut those out after first trying to disassemble them. That was a lot of effort but fortunately, it did come out eventually. Also, while I went on a Lowe's run, Dad got the mirror off the wall without shattering it (which was one thing I was sure would happen!). While that may sound like not much work, it in fact took from 9 to Noon, at which point Dad went home. I then proceeded to take the toilet out, which went much easier than I expected thanks to all my books. Then the REALLY fun part occurred: taking the linoleum out. It was easy enough to peel that stuff off, but it was the remaining adhesive that was the real beyotch. I did get adhesive remover (like wallpaper remover), but you have to cut through the paper so that the remover can soak through. After cutting at the floor like a mental patient, I then let the remover soak for an hour, then it was scraper time. Thank God I had bought that scraper or else I would have left my back and vertebrae back there in agony. After many pauses to pick up all the pieces, my wooden subfloor was finally cleaned off and ready for tomorrow's fun: Putting all new tile back down.

I duct-taped the HELL out of this mirror preparing for the shatter that never happened
An emptied out vanity cabinet
Picture of the piping for future reference just in case
My Dad affected by the sewer fumes, presumably... (I see where I get my weird faces from)
The vanity and sink are outta there
You can see how the mirror had been glued up
The baseboards are gone and the toilet is next
More baseboard removal
The toilet tank taken off...
...and at it's new home for the next few days
The toilet bowl lifted off the ground with the sewer plugged up
There's the wax ring that keeps your bathroom from filling up with swamp gas
It looks worse than it really actually is
Peeling the crappy linoleum up...
...but leaving a whole lot of adhesive behind
HAHA! Take that adhesive.
The floor is cleared off for tiling goodness
Me and Jeremy at his and Jeff's hot tub - much needed after the work from that day
One more picture

26 May 2007 - Laying the Tile and Getting the Walls Right

The next day, Dad and Pat and the dogs all came up promptly at 0900 (to be known as the start of the work day from here on out this weekend). Today's fun was to be focused on getting the room's floor and walls worked on as you can't really put all the other items in until those core functions are taken care of first. Obviously the first thing to do was to get the floor put in place. I had chosen to go with individual vinyl tiles for my floor as it was one of the easier things to do-it-yourself and not too expensive nor does it take a lot of work and time to install. I had definitely considered going the ceramic tile route, but my only holdback on that was all the necessary prep and post work needed for a proper tile floor. Getting a concreteboard subfloor, properly mixing the mortar and applying it properly, placing the tiles without fucking it up, letting the mortar set, then mixing and applying the grout, cleaning that all off, sealing the floor properly....yeah, maybe one day. But not this time. With vinyl tiles, it's all about laying an adhesive primer on the floor and then laying the self-adhesive tiles on the floor in the right place. After that, you're done. Sweet. So that's what me and Dad did, with Dad becoming an expert tile cutter in the process. That did take a few hours, and then Dad and Pat went home for the afternoon.

At this point, I knew I had to still figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my walls. I had always envisioned a split-wall design with a chair rail being a breakpoint for the walls, but I just couldn't find the right color. I initially envisioned a solid color for the blue lower part of the wall, but none of the blues I looked at meshed just right with the blues on the tile...but that was because there are two blues on the tile and trying to pick just one is nearly impossible. Then I thought maybe I'd tile the wall up to the chair rail point, but like I mentioned above, tiling takes a LOT of work. It looks great, for sure, but that's if you know what you are doing. I don't, at least with tile just yet. But with paint and color, I certainly do. So while wandering around Lowe's for inspiration, I actually did find it - at the faux finishing section of the paint aisle. I found a few ideas immediately right there, first with a metallic finish that I thought would be cool and then a secondary stippling idea that I wasn't too impressed with but I took home anyways just to consider it. At home, I realized the metallic idea, while cool, just wasn't right for what my bathroom tiles had in them. Then the stippling idea took center stage - and I then saw that it matched the pattern on the tile perfectly. So back to Lowe's I went and got those supplies (the base paint, the translucent glaze and a stippling brush) and applied the base coat that afternoon. You had to let it dry completely before putting the glaze on, so off I went with my friends that evening to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3!

Perhaps Dad is reacting to the adhesive smell?
Me hard at work tiling the floor
I LOVE tiling
All the full tiles in place
Now the fun part with custom-cutting tiles to fit the small areas
The base coat of Midnight Blue satin paint up and ready
A slightly lighter view
Getting an idea of the color with the tile floor
Where the new vanity would go

27 May 2007 - Finishing the Paint and getting the vanity/sink ready

My faux finishing needed to get completed before we could do too much so that was what I got knocked out of the way first - going to town on the blue base coat with the Bluebell glaze on a stippling brush. I made sure to practice my technique on those parts of the wall sure to be covered by the vanity, so I think that by the time I got to highly visible walls, I didn't do that bad a job. I'm sure experts would agree that my end result is not exactly what stippling is supposed to look like, but I like the end result and it looks freakishly like the blue pattern in the floor tiles, which is what I was going for. So score one for me!

After that was done, then it was time to determine ideal placement of the vanity with the sink on it, and to also get the baseboard and chair rail replacements, which is what Dad and I spent some time at Lowe's accomplishing. Once we got back (Lowe's on the weekends is certainly more crowded than on weekdays and evenings, let me tell you), Dad was able to show me how to successfully use my brand new jigsaw to cut pieces of baseboard and install them (even using a finishing nail set!). They went home and I ended up finishing most of the baseboards, securing the vanity to the wall, installing the new Delta faucet to my sink, and mounting the sink to the vanity and wall. Finally, I was able to succesfully reattach the toilet to the floor and have it work again, without leaks. Sweet. After all that excitement, I went over to Jeff's for Game Night, which involved a great round of Uno Attack! (I have yet to meet someone who after playing this game didn't Love it) and a game called Shout at TV which I rocked at. We even played a second round in which 7 of them played against me and I still won.

My stippling efforts done - I like it!
Where the vanity would go
My window seat slash tool bench
First piece of baseboard installed
The sink and faucet are one
Vanity in its new home
With the sink now in place too
Baseboard behind the toilet installed...
...because it was time to make the toilet work again
Final piece of long baseboarding installed on the towel wall
Detail of Toilet and Sink
There's my tool bench again
Grimacing Susan at Game Night
Dallas loves game night
Dave and Jeff getting some snacks
Jeremy, KD and Eric eagerly await Uno Attack time

28 May(+) 2007 - Finishing Touches

Day 4 of the project found me ready for it to be done. It was very cool to have done this on our own, but after a certain amount of time, I think I was ready for a break but I also knew it had to be done. Regardless, I probably wasn't the most happy person this day; grouchy may be more accurate of a term. Added to my mood was the fact that I hadn't connected the faucet correctly to the sink (it leaked the first time) and that we had to get more plumbing stuff as the supply lines from the old faucet were too short for this one and we had to get more drain pipe. Luckily Dad knows a thing or two about all this stuff and was able to get it all working wonderfully. Sorry for being a jerk that day, dad! After all that fun, including hanging the new mirror (which went pretty easily as it had one of those self-leveling hanger bars), Dad and Pat left and I did some of the easier finishing touches, like putting up all the new chrome fixtures and painting the upper walls white (turns out that while I thought the original color was white, I was wrong - in fact it's quite obvious now that it was a very off white/brown color; who knew?). All that remains now is for the lighting to be replaced and for my shelves to go up. I think I've found a place for my vertical shades-of-blue harbor painting as well. Sweet.

Anyways, here are photos from what my bathroom currently looks like (sans new lights and shelves). Expect to see the 100% completion pics sometime this upcoming weekend.

Working on the fun plumbing aspect of the vanity and sink
Ah...done. You can see the blue rug back in place as well as the new chrome TP holder
Towel wall
Notice the new mirror and shelf over my sweet sink
View from the shower
Detail on the Delta faucet
Detail on the sink
Hand towel and mirror detail



27 May 2007   Extreme Makeover - Bathroom edition (T-96!!!)

I have been super productive in getting my bathroom redone - here are some before and almost-done pictures:


GETTING THERE (status as of today, 27 May):

My bathroom has definitely taken most of my daylight hours, but it' sbeen so worth it as I've been learning LOTS by doing this. My tool chest has also gotten seriously bigger. For the bathroom though, my Dad and I started this up on Friday morning with pure destruction only at that point, which involved getting out the old vanity, mirror and linoleum. Sounds easy. Wasn't. Over the next few days though, my bathroom has evolved into what you see above. And I'm stoked. Not done yet - the water feeds didn't reach while using the old connections, so I have to get some of those. Plus, need to put the chair rail along the midpoint (the paint top looks ragged because I knew I'd be railing over it), hang the mirror, replace the lights, put up the shelving...and THEN I'll be done. Because this has been a lot of work, I haven't gotten to the car stereo project, and that's probably gonna have to wait until next weekend. I can survive though!

Went and saw Shrek 3 on Thursday (quick review: decent movie, but nothing special) and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 last night (very entertaining - so far, my favorite 'third' movie of the summer, as it was a lot more fun than Shrek 3 or Spiderman 3).

Hope you're all having a good holiday weekend - can't believe my 5-day weekend is nearly over, but it certainly has been productive. It's been fun having Dad and Pat over every morning to help and talk to. But anyways, it's time to get cleaned up, get some dinner, and then go over to Jeff's house to hang out with the gang. Sweet.

Here's a pic from hanging out at Jeff and Jeremy's house - much needed soak in the hot tub, as my back was sore after all the work during the day on the bathroom project. Alcohol doesn't hurt either:

22 May 2007   101 Critical Days of Hobie (T-101)

The Air Force has the 101 Critical Days of Summer - I myself, well, I have the 101 Critical Days of Hobie!

This is it people - I am almost a double digit midget, meaning I am almost down to less than ONE HUNDRED days until I become a Mister. That's ridiculous, I tell you. You can go back to when I was doing this green countdown from 365 days! And now I'm nearly 100 days out. It's almost...nervewracking.

Okay, so I didn't have much to write, but I thought the 101 Days thing was catchy. I can't believe that all my primetime shows are ending for the summer: Ugly Betty, Survivor, 24 (fortunately on that one), How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs....and my beloved Veronica Mars is actually ending, for good. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I do have some pretty 'exciting' projects in store for this weekend - which is actually going to be a FIVE DAY weekend, since I am taking Thursday off in addition to getting Friday off as an AFSPC family day and of course, Memorial Day. What projects you ask? Well, I'm finally going to plunge in and redo my bathroom: I've picked up half of the items (the new faucet, light fixture, vinyl tiles, toilet paper holder and hand towel holder - also replaced my towel bar this past weekend when the old one fell off) and will get the rest tomorrow (new vanity and sink combo, paint, molding for the baseboards and a chair rail, a mirror and destruction tools - can you say CROWBAR?). My other project: installing a new car stereo that will seriously kick ass, as it's fully iPod functional and that is going to rock my world. It will be a busy weekend!

Combine that with seeing Shrek the Third on Thursday night (after going to the Royal Gorge with my folks during the day) and then seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End on Saturday night, and you can't say I'll be bored!

I don't know if you've been following Jenny's blog lately, but that girl has been having some serious bad luck in May - yet while I'm feeling bad for her, she has a way of telling her stories that makes you laugh out loud. Her car literally got run over yesterday. How does that happen? My crazy story for the day: lately, every afternoon Colorado Springs gets a crazy storm in; this week, the storms have gotten ridiculously crazy, with loads of rain and starting yesterday and continuing today, hail. Oh joy. Yesterday afternoon, I actually had to wait inside the building until the hail had died down and the lightning had moved on - since we're a thousand feet higher than the city, we are basically in the clouds. And with that fact, the lightning is MUCH closer and MUCH scarier. Today I thought there was a lull, so I walked my happy ass down to the lower parking lot super fast. As I got down to that lot though, I started hearing a strange tapping noise on the ground. I look around and see a white gumball hit the ground. That's strange. Then there's another....and another, and suddenly I realize I'm getting PELTED by white gumballs which AREN'T white gumballs - they're perfectly round bullets of ice! Hailstorms are crazy. I run to my car and listen to the POUNDING noise of my car being pelted with ice; then as I'm trying to drive down to the city level, the rain gets so heavy and loud to a point I've not witnessed in a LONG time. And about 10 minutes later, the storm is over. Crazy Colorado weather.


20 May 2007   Happy Birthday Wendy! (T-103)

My Baroness has turned 30 today - although she looks no more than 22 so more power to her!

I'm sure there is much debauchery going on today...or at least the recovery of said debauchery that probably took place yesterday evening! Here's to a speedy recovery, Wendy/Elsa.

While Wendy was ushering in 30 this weekend, my friend Jeff out here ushered in 29 and a bunch of us went up to Denver to celebrate. Jeff wanted to go to a Mystery Dinner Theater - I think he's a closet inspector or something, as in England he was all gung ho about seeing the Sherlock Holmes pub and wanted to find a bar that he'd been told had all sorts of secret doors and such. In fact, once his project is complete, I'll take some pictures of the secret door he built in his own home. Typing that just now, it sounds perverted.... okay, but it's really cool though. And not perverted. ANYWAYS, back to the story - we went to Denver in order to go to a place called the Adam's Mystery Theatre, which is where they put on mystery dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. We attended the "Who Wants to Murder a Millionaire?" dinner and it turned out to be a lot of fun. I'd never been to one of these, so I did have to wonder just how exactly this all goes down. Basically before dinner, the main characters are out mingling with all the dinner guests, and you can talk to them and try to find out all about them. Our theme was that we were all attending a reading of the will of a 97-year-old millionaire who had just died, but who had been married for a few months to a 20-year-old, had a no-good son, a disgruntled employee or two, and a suspicious (albeit charming) maid. You then go to dinner/the reading and it becomes a comedy show of sorts, mixed with a random dancing of the Conga line, improv comedy, and a surprise death here and there. It was pretty entertaining.

So I took some pictures from before we left for Denver and at the dinner itself. Of particular note is one story concerning Susan: the inspector solving the crime came to her to stand up and read one of the pieces of evidence, in this case it was an autopsy report. The very first piece of information was BLOOD TYPE: B-. Read that aloud to yourselves, if you would. I'll wait. Still waiting... c'mon, just do it. Okay, thanks. So you probably read it as BLOOD TYPE, BEE NEGATIVE, right? Not our Susan! That would be BEE MINUS for her. It was awesome. That definitely became one of the running gags for the actors and I'll always remind Susan about it, don't you worry! You know I love you, Susan. ;-)

Here are the pics:

19 May 2007 - Jeff's 29th Birthday at Adam's Mystery Theater

Jeff's hallway & Kahlua laying down
Kahlua looking cute
I only drink 'light' soda - Bwahahaha!
Susan playing with Kahlua (unseen)
Jeremy as the Psycho
Beautiful Susan!
Uncertain Jeff, the birthday boy
Dave and Melinda
Me and Susan having fun before dinner
There's me!
Rob, Heather and Dave at dinner
Great shot of Susan and Jeff
Susan and the B-Minus incident
Jeff as our team captain delivers our investigation results
Jeremy 'goosed' by Ms. Finch

And another evening of fun was had by all. End scene.


18 May 2007   Fun with a Scanner (T-105)

You know I have no plans and am that bored when I actually decide to use my film negative scanner!

Got home after 'work' today and realized I had absolutely nothing to do. I could be productive and scan some documents and get transcripts and such so that I'd be prepared for interviews or document checks what-have-you in my quest for a job....so I was! I know, go figure. Usually that sentence ends with me going, "but I decided to play video games" or something. But while I had my scanner up and running, I decided to give the film negative scanner a workout. I had bought my new scanner specifically because it had that feature, but just hadn't used it yet. And wow, I forgot that I had saved EVERY negative I ever had developed, and that's a LOT. So I decided to find some sets of negatives that I knew that the pictures had either been given away or I just wanted to see again, and I found a great set of pics from back in 1995 and 1996 - yes, over 10 years ago - from AFROTC parties and Bookstar. Wow. I can't believe how long ago that was. And when I think that I'm beginning all over again very soon, while I feel young still (although my hairline will disagree with that sentiment), to realize how LONG ago these pictures were taken makes me take a step back.

So while I figure out how to start putting up some of these 'oldies', here's a taste of one from my birthday party in 1995 - this is the one in which I had tried throwing a birthday party and invited everyone in AFROTC (I got along with most everyone there) and EVERYONE said 'No' or they couldn't make it. Turned out that a surprise party had been devised instead, and all those people were in fact there. Additionally, they had gotten me a stripper. Oh, the fun. I remember getting quite drunk that night. In fact, I think that was one of the first times I ever really got blitzed and it definitely got my drinking career off the ground! So this pic below is of my best friend Catherine and me at that party. I am quite sloshed. Oh the memories!

Look at that hair! On me, you fools, not Catherine's! She always had the best hair (and probably still does). I was just turning 19!!!!!!! CRAZY.

Okay, in other news, I went and saw 28 Weeks Later last night. Scary effin' movie. But awesome and if you can deal with horror movies, I say go for it. Otherwise, don't go. So yeah, there it goes.


16 May 2007   Let the Jobs Roll In? (T-107)

I got my first contact with an actual employer!

I am thinking that this would be a great opportunity and I'm definitely going to continue talking with these guys to see if this actually is something offer me. I would still have to think thoroughly about it though - the job is not here in the Springs, and in fact, I'd have to move first to Minneapolis for a year and then after that I'd be off to Atlanta for a few more years. Then they say that you can go almost anywhere you want afterwards... so if the pay is right, and they actually want me, this is definitely a contender for mucho contemplation. But then I got an email from a contractor at Schriever offering me a job too - an actual job, not a recruiter! - and I sorta qualify for it, but could definitely master it if need be, and stay in town. I'm relieved to actually get consideration for jobs now - my biggest fear was that my resume would get no hits or interest. That hasn't been realized, so now my next fear comes in as 'What the Hell do I do? Which job do I pursue?' So stay tuned. I'll probably Shooting Gallery this discussion as things go down. It has definitely picked up speed in the last few weeks.

In my Europe pictures, we've finally moved on to Paris, and this was quite a doozy of a day with lots of pics from around town. So go on and check out Day 4, if you dare! On Thursday, I am planning to see 28 Weeks Later in order to continue my Summer 07 Moviefest - here's hoping I don't wet myself with fear.


13 May 2007 - Later    Happy Birthday Harv (T-110)

Mom and Harv are in Vegas now so I'm sure they're enjoying Mother's Day and Birthday!

In the meantime, Dad and Pat came over today and cooked up some good food. That was awesome to have but I know I better not get too used to it as they're only here for the summer.

Okay, so who's watching the Survivor:Fiji finale? Awesomeness. We now know what 'will have America talking' - Dreamz' refusal to give Yau-Man his immunity idol, in violation of their 'agreement', was awesome. Fucked up, but you know what, it was still awesome. To think you can actually trust peoples' words out here is ridiculous. As Dreamz actually pointed out, it's a game. Trying to play with 'integrity' in Survivor is ludicrous. My only backpedaling on this is that for Dreamz to have claimed that he wants to play so his son will be proud was where he messed up. If he hadn't done that, I think people would have considered that an awesome move. Yau-Man was a fool to trust in the deal. Now I'm just curious to see where this goes!

In other website news, I have put up Day 3 of the Europe pictures. Not as many photos as the first 2 pages, but LOTS of story and narrative. Enjoy!


13 May 2007    Early Happy Mother's Day to you all (T-110)

Wanted to post some pictures before I got sidetracked on Sunday. For me it's still Saturday night!

Don't forget I posted a whole slew of pictures in the entry below - I'm just wired tonight and can't go to sleep. Plus, I wanted to premiere my lack of hair to the world before these pictures were out-of-date. Although I think I'm planning on keeping it this short now, based on the pictures of me in the Golden Bee. That hair is/was just sad!

12 May 2007 - Hanging out at Jeff's house

Susan and Jeff cuddle by the almost operational hot tub
Jeremy plays with the dogs..and strikes a pose
Jack is camera shy
But not now!
The view of Pikes Peak from Jeff's backyard
Jeremy consoles Kahlua - she didn't want to play wheelbarrow
Susan isn't quite sure what to think
The 3 Amigos - Jeremy, Jeff and Me
What you didn't see here was Jeff's quick model turns before the photo - hence why I'm laughing here

Okay, maybe I should get some sleep now.


12 May 2007    Head Shave 2007 (T-111)

I woke up this morning and realized, bald spot and receding hairline be damned, I'm just going to get my head shaved.

And off I went to Supercuts and Jenna was there who did an amazing job I must say. Compared to my self-butcherings, this fade cut looks pretty good all things considered. A #1 on the side faded to a #3 on top. It's very low maintenance and it doesn't look like I'm trying to attempt growing my hair out for a combover any more. Sweet.

I wanted to check in and put up the latest in my non-Europe pictures, which as I knew it would, is a giant ball and chain I will have to drag around until I actually get them done. But there's so many!!!!!!!! Anyways, here are pics from when Mom & Harv visited a few weeks ago, as well as my hike to St. Mary's Falls (almost), and finally from Kyle's 30th Birthday night. Oh yeah, and don't bother with Spiderman 3.

26-29 April 2007 - Mom & Harv came to visit me in the Springs

Harv & Mom at the USAFA museum
Outside in the parking lot nestled in the beautiful mountains
Me too
Walking towards the chapel and observation deck
There's the USAFA chapel again - so amazing
Mom felt like she could fly
And here's where I learned to point!
Mom laughs
We caught the cadets upon Friday lunch formation - kinda cool to watch
A picture of one of the many dorm buildings there
The chapel exterior - I didn't go in this time as I was watching the formation
Picture of the observation deck and the cadets forming up
Formation and one of the static F-15s
Both sides of the academy have a formation - that's a lot of people
Almost at the point of formation
The Color Guard leads the charge to lunch
And the flights file out, column-right style
Me and Harv
Me and Mom

So the previous week I went hiking with Jeremy and we had gone to the Helen Hunt Falls trail, at the top of which we went out-of-bounds and made it to the other side of the tunnel you'll see below. After Mom and Harv left Sunday morning to fly back to Los Angeles, I went out hiking, consulting the Trail book for directions, in order to see the other side of the tunnel. Turns out there's a trail that leads from the tunnel up to St Mary's Falls, which is about 2 miles up some initially gradual trail and then finally it turns upwards and gets a little bit more tiring. You first have to walk about 1 mile on the closed-to-cars Gold Camp Road (at which you pass by the Seven Bridges trail, which is probably my next trail to tackle) to get to the tunnel - I mention this because I got to the area in the mid-afternoon time and already it had gotten a little cloudy. Colorado Springs is fairly regular in the fact that in the afternoon you'll more than likely get clouds rushing over the mountains to you, and this afternoon was no different. It hadn't started raining yet though, so I pressed on. About a half mile past the tunnel though, it started to rain. I had a hat on, but other than that, no rain gear. But I decided to push through anyways. I got about another mile up, and hit the very steep section and eventually the giant switchbacks, but it seriously started getting colder and rainier and while I really wanted to see the Falls, I made a judgment call to finally turn around and hike the 3 miles or so back. I probably was right near the top of the trail, but I figure I can always go back. Anyways, here are pictures from my hike up the road, by and past the tunnel, and up the trail that follows along the stream from the Falls. You'll see that those shots in the fourth row below are pretty high up - it's quite a view.

29 April 2007 - Hiking to St Mary's Falls in Cheyenne Canyon

Looking to where we had hiked last time
The Gold Camp Road and view of the parking lot I just left
You can just see the notch in the mountain where Gold Camp Road goes
Gold Camp Road on bottom left - beautiful mountains above
Where Seven Bridges trail starts - maybe my next hike?
Looking up at the bare rock face of the mountain
Across the valley is the Road you just hiked from
Looking up the road towards where the tunnel lies
There's the St Mary's Tunnel, from the other side this time
You can see through to the other end
Perspective shot
There's CS in the distance
Where Gold Camp Road continues and where I hit the trail
Looking down the cliff face
There's the parking lot a mile or so back
View of the valley exit
Looking down to the tunnel
And where Gold Camp road continues, again
Here's where the trail truly begins
Pretty stream that accompanies you on the way up
More picturesque mini-waterfalls
Looking up at the impending rain clouds
Ah, bigger mini-waterfalls
Pretty, yet eerie, Aspen trees?
Where the stream diverged left and the trail began heavily switchbacking to the right
Here's my uppermost point on this hike and looking out at the city
Very beautiful view - but also at this time, rainy and cool.
On the way back down now, with a shot of the trail and the stream
Trail, Tree, and Stream
Trail and Stream - going downhill is so much easier; it's not even much exercise
Again with the eerie white trunk trees
Near the end of the stream before it hits the Spoon Falls area
And this is the true trailhead

So Kyle turned 30 too! He is exactly 6 months behind me in that race. He tried to go under-the-radar with this (COMPLETELY unlike how I handled that situation) but alas, his attempts failed and I rounded us all up for at least a night out. Unfortunately his 30th birthday was on a Thursday - sucks. So while we went out and had fun, we didn't let loose like we potentially could have! We ended up at the Golden Bee, which is a neat English pub owned and ran by the illustrious Broadmoor Hotel. It's not exactly a young person's hangout, but it's still fun and there is a piano guy who sings all sorts of songs....but best and most unique of all, they can sell you a beer by the YARD. As you'll see in the pics below, they have these ridiculous tall, but slim, glasses that hold like 4 or 5 pints of beer in them. They're a yard tall. Awesome. I didn't have one (it was a school night), but I may need to go back. Oh yeah, this was also Melissa's last night here in Colorado - she was flying out for her deployment to Tampastan the next day - everyone keep her in your thoughts while she's sunning herself on the beaches of Florida (although from all the fires going out there, maybe she is in danger?)

3 May 2007 - Kyle's 30th at the Golden Bee

Eric and his yard-long Beer
Tom shows how to drink one
KD shows off her ring
Melissa's BCGs
A very awesome pic of myself
Birthday Boy Kyle drinks up
Now you can see KD's engagement ring!
HI-larious pic
Definitely not ready for the camera there
And a great shot of KD's ring

And that's the latest! Hopefully I'll knock out another page of Europe pics soon and/or get in a hike. And tomorrow's Mother's Day, so make sure to do something nice!


5 May 2007    Drop Kicking Cancer (T-118)

Civilian Jenny was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma and so it is now time to drop kick this cancer out of her.

I'm not exactly sure if drop-kicking is an effective treatment endorsed by the American Cancer Society, but it's what I want to do. I have been reading her blog and she is in amazing spirits and in a much better state of mind than I would be in. She's definitely a fighter, and with a 95% success rate of treatment, I know she'll be in that winning margin. It's just shocking to have someone I know so well get diagnosed. So Jenny, just know that I as well as many others out here who you've made an impact on are pulling for you (so to speak!).

Take care, and let me know if there's anything I can do. And you'll need to fess up with details on this boyfriend you mention on your site. It's not Jason, right??? ;-) LOL ZOMGI'MSOFUNNY. (that l33tspeak was totally for Jenny - you should read her blog - I swear she's becoming a computer).


2 May 2007    A Great Visit with Mom and Harv (T-121)

It was a short visit, but so worthwhile. I love them so much.

I'll get into more details about the visit in my next update as I want to put the pictures up that we took, but they came in Thursday and we had a great time visiting each other and seeing the sights. Well, we saw the Air Force Academy and of course...Cripple Creek. But it was definitely a special visit and one i'll never forget.

Other than looking forward to their visit and since then, it's been boring work and actually some good more feedback on my resume. Also hanging out with my amazing friends. I really can't imagine leaving this city now. Anyways, I also wanted to update briefly because I finally got my act together and got ANOTHER day of Europe pictures up - this time from the second day when we went on a day trip to Salisbury, Stonehenge, and Bath. Paris is almost here!