A Happy New Year to 2016

The year has turned a corner and 2016 is shaping up to be an interesting one.

This week has been a very quiet week at work.  The halls have had tumble weeds and there has been very little noise.  I guess I’ve had some things to do, get some pursuits to the Project Review Committee, etc.  Otherwise I’ve been a little slow.  I have managed to get into the CWT traveller thing – they book our company travel.  I have applied three times for the company AMEX card, which you must have before you can book travel.  Otherwise, I’ve done some review of projects for a sources sought, and other random things.  Slow.  And that is enough of the boring work stuff.

There is a ‘fun work stuff’ item though.  I received a letter on Wednesday.  Oh, about letters here, we have this lovely bloke called Todd who has the most amazing colorful (note the no ‘u’, all these spell checks are winning) shirts, I absolutely love how bright they are!  Anyways, Todd delivered me a letter from AECOM in New York that tells me that I have been invited to participate in the 2016 High Potential Program.  Seems there are training activities, webinars, seminars, etc.  That will be very nice – this company has only had me do the absolute base mandatory training in the five years I’ve been here.  Sure, I didn’t have much time for three of those years, not the point though.  I’m looking forward to it.  Says I’ll have to select a mentor – guess who will get that lucky job!

In my world though, adventures have been happening.  Monday I had the delivery of my couch and chair.  I am so excited about these.  The fold out couch is astonishingly comfortable, no bar in the back etc.  and so much warmer than sleeping on the air bed.  The couch even came with the matching cushions – I was surprised. I also have the chair set up in its corner, I had some troubles initially because the heating vent is in the ceiling and points directly at the chair.  It was slightly warm air, but too breezy to consider being comfortable for any length of time.  In this dry atmosphere I did not need to be sitting under a draft.  I wandered into Home Depot and got a deflector shield thing, so now I am absurdly comfortable when sitting in my chair.  In front of the fire.  With my book.  I think I’m in love with this chair!

I also visited Best Buy Monday afternoon and got a TV and a washing machine.  Some apartments in this world have washer and dryer free, some don’t, and others have rental. This apartment has rental of a washer and dryer for $40 a month.  May as well buy a washer at that rate, so I did.  There is no need for a dryer.  I’ve never had one.  Why would I need one in this extremely dry atmosphere?  I am hoping that having some washing hanging around and drying will help increase the humidity in the apartment.  The other issue is that I cannot afford to over heat any clothes while I wait for my ship to arrive; Mark assures me that the dryers here aren’t as hot but….meh, no need.  There is a laundry in the leasing building if I really do find the need to dry something.  The TV is all set up on top of the fire place waiting for the world of interwebs to send me their connection kit.  I may need to get a little TV console when the couch is folded up as the TV is up quite high.  Or maybe I’ll see about attaching it to the wall….options to consider at a later date.

So I’ve been looking for a map of the world, preferably a big map.  This will be my feature in the dining room I’ve decided.  I tried Target, fail.  I have been looking out for a map or book shop when driving around, fail.  I tried Walmart, fail.  But in Walmart I found some fun things.  An air gun, for $30 even available in pink!  And a very large Darth Vadar / Storm Trooper – now they were cool!!!  And yes, I did press the ‘try me’ buttons and had a laugh at the sounds they made.  Ben will attest to this, he was on Skype with me at the time.

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The weather here has been fairly brutal for this Aussie.  Sure, the sun has been out most days this week, but it has been very very very cold.  Like step outside and wince as the cold air goes into your lungs.  It hasn’t got above freezing, and not above -7 for the most part.  Cold.  I headed out to the bin the other night (I’d cooked up salmon, that can’t hang around in the house) and it was an idyllic setting – snow, rabbits, cute path lighting, clear sky with stars (though you can’t see those in the photo :|).  Stunning night, as long as you are wearing the warmest clothes available.

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This is the Salmon with my eggs and cous cous (green is over-rated) on my plastic plate.  Oh, and the next one is the cous cous packet with specific cooking instructions for high altitude.  See, its totally a thing here!  More water.  I guess I’ll work out the baking thing when my stuff turns up.

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I’m not sure if I told you but some time over the weekend the front door lock fell apart.  I suspect it was frozen solid and I wiggled and jiggled so much that the entire locking mechanism slid out of the lock.  There were little pins flying everywhere.  So I couldn’t lock up from the outside.  I could go inside and lock the door then go out the garage by manually opening the garage door (because the button wasn’t working to open it).  I told the girls about the garage then when Steven called to let me know that he was fixing the garage I mentioned the front door.  This was the note that he left when he’d fixed everything up, he clearly saw it as more of an issue than I did.

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New years eve I went to work, I was one of maybe ten people there, but I have better things to be keeping my PTO for.  I admit I left after about seven hours because I’d run out of things to do and I was bored and well there was no reason to stick around.  My new years eve evening was typical Rhiannon – I cooked up a big pot of chilli chicken, opened a bottle of wine, and relaxed in my chair in front of the fire.  Loved it.

I of course woke up at my normal ridiculously early hour so I got up on a mission.  To watch the sun rise over a new year and a new city.  I headed west into the foothills and up to Lookout Mountain.  I had expected a parking spot in the ideal viewing location, but didn’t find it, so I cruised around and snapped some shots then was sitting in an odd spot on the side of the road when the sun poked over the horizon.  Here is a selection of the photos.

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I then headed into Denver city to have a look around.  Perfect timing for me to do that because there was no one around and I could just cruise and rubber neck 🙂  I’d given up trying to find a place that was open for a coffee and or breakfast and I was sitting in a car park telling the GPS to take me home when I saw a couple walk into this restaurant.  Turns out Mona’s Restaurant was open and they did an okay coffee and yummy blueberry pancakes for me for second breakfast.  I recommend it for food…may even go by again for the huevos rancheros.  Then I wandered home, regrouped, then called about some furniture.  Lisa and Dave Coffey are a lovely couple, I’d guess in their fifties ish, who live in the outskirts of Parker.  They get furniture and do it up then sell it.  Looks like more of a hobby than anything else.  They had this lovely bedroom set going, but I was less interested in the whole set and more interested in the one dresser piece.  Parker is about half an hour south and in the plains.  It reminds me of a more white version of Neerim area, all rolling hills and farms.  Of course they must be high plains as its still up super high.  So I purchased this dresser.  Its so quirky I love it.  They also had a dining table in the making, I liked it too.  Its a little small for the dining room space I have now, but it will be perfect for a smaller place and easy to move around and great stuff like that.  These are some photos of Parker area and the furniture I now have in my place.  I need that container to get here already!

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*****NEW THING No.1*****

Saturday I had a very relaxed morning followed by a fun evening. I had decided that if the weather was above freezing a trip to the zoo was in order. I invited Mark and the kids, because who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo? Mark did some research and decided he wanted to go in the evening to the zoo lights they had running (note to self limit Marks research opportunities). Okay, not above freezing but it was his birthday so he gets to call the shots. We first went to dinner, a really yummy steak place, Guard and Grace, in the city.  It was funny that I was the least fussy of the six of us…anyone who has eaten with me knows there is usually one or two things per plate that I dislike.  Here, nope.  The steak was steak on a plate and the salad I had was beetroot.  And there was nothing displeasing about the content of the beetroot salad – it was beetroot, little dollops of soft goats cheese, and raspberries (I clearly ate the raspberries separately to the savouries).  It was yummy.  The steak was awesome, cooked to medium perfection.  The kids ate a ridiculous amount of food.  I guess they’re growing kids but I was surprised, salad, steak, and jacket potato (bigger than my fist) for each.  Highlight – a hopscotch on the way to the toilets 🙂  When we headed to the zoo Mark was surprised that dinner took an hour and a half and there were queues to get into the zoo.  The lines of cars were quite long and it took a good twenty minutes to get to the car park then find a spot.  Oops, bad start to the zoo trip.

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We got inside and I was super impressed.  They had lights everywhere!  The trees were dripping with lights.  There were cobwebs with spiders that caught dragon flies; monkeys swinging through the trees; lions leaping after gazelle; hippopotamus pulling Santas sleigh; kangaroos with joeys coming out of the pouch and jumping around the place.  It was really well done.  Unfortunately due to the cold there weren’t many animals around.  Some were inside and open to view so we saw the elephants, giraffe, otters, river cat, and the polar bear was curled up sleeping in his enclosure.  There was a bloke who did a juggling act who wasn’t bad – good mix of entertaining for the kids but also adult level humour.  He was juggling balls, blindfolded, standing on a balance ball, and according to him with hands so frozen he couldn’t feel them.  He also juggled the fire sticks while on the ball…awesome balance.  I understand that it was cold, but I suspect that the Denver zoo isn’t quite as awesome as Melbourne zoo.  I’ll try again one day when it is properly warmer and the animals may be out and about more.

The kids were amusing to me.  Thoroughly frustrating for Mark and Keila I suspect, but amusing to me.  Jane reminded me of me at that age…all I don’t want to be here and its cold I want to go home, but then I made her pretend to be childish – skipping and such – and she perked up.  Sorry mum for years of doing the same to you!  Ross just trundled along suffering in silence, when he got home he immediately sat on top of one of the heating vents.  Helen who is normally astonishingly rambunctious (I had to ask Mark who she takes after, apparently neither), was all quiet and clung to mum because she was cold.  She immediately perked up again when we got in the car and she warmed up, much to Ross’s chagrin, poor kid gets tormented by Helen I suspect.  When we got back Jane was funny, she said something like when can we go again, you’re fun. I of course asked because I make her skip or because I dragged them to the zoo in the cold…she went for the skipping.  I hope they look back and enjoy the night – I know I had fun.


 

My Sunday was a much quieter day.  I read for a little bit then did some washing and went to Sprouts for some meat and veg.  I got back just before Dave arrived with the table and chairs – I have to say they look awesome!  Then I cooked up a big stew for the week and popped the tin of Milo for a Milo and chilli schnapps.  Mmmmmmmm
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I hope everyone in warm Australia is having a grand new year.  And to those crazy Perth kids in California – keep the pics coming, looks like a smashing time!  Off to work tomorrow.  There had better be something to do while Mark and Dan are out and about travelling.

2 thoughts on “A Happy New Year to 2016

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