Tuesday, September 20, 2005

You have to sober up and go home sometime...‏

Hello everyone!

Well, this will be my last email from the Rocky Mountains... Lucky me, I get to go home a little bit earlier than planned. So, tomorrow is my last day at work, and it can't come soon enough, frankly!!! 8-5 and then I'm done. I'll be leaving Wednesday after lunch and arriving in Des Moines on Friday afternoon. I am SO glad to be heading out of here and back to REAL civilization!!!

This past week has had some memorable moments that I'd like to share briefly. :-) To start with, we've had some staff going-away stuff going on. Yesterday we went on a staff ride up to Inspiration Point, at the top of one of the mountains here in the Arapaho National Forest. I had decided before I went down to the barn that I was going to try to get up on the horse this last time without the assistance of the loading platform. Well, I certainly rethought that idea when I got there and saw that the horse's stirrup was about 3 feet off the ground. Forget about that shit!! It was the same one I rode last time, but I didn't remember it being that high up! The wrangler, Chris, promised that he had helped someone twice my size up onto a horse (all I could think was "Poor horse!"), but I still opted for the loading platform.

The ride was a lot of straight-uphill, straight-downhill riding, which is exhausting on both horse and rider. As it was on my first trail ride, I couldn't help but feel sorry for my poor horse, JD. He was wheezing, moaning, and shitting all the way up the mountain, so I kept petting him and telling him that he was a good boy and that soon it would all be over.

Expectedly, once we got to the top, we all had to dismount and walk around to look at the stunning views. But of course, there is no loading platform up at Inspiration Point. So, my first instinct was just to stay my ass on the horse and send my camera with someone else. But the wrangler, Chris, would have none of it ("I used to be a Marine---TRUST ME!!") and basically pried me from the horse with a crowbar and the assistance of one of the other guys on the ride. It was not my most glorious moment, let me tell you. It felt rather like being one of those fat ladies who have to be removed from their house via crane.

Still, I was glad to get off the horse for awhile. Unfortunately, I almost got blown off the top of the mountain by the crazy powerful wind gusts. In my pictures, you can see that everyone has to brace themselves, lest they be carried away. The views were almost worth it. :-) Getting back on the horse was another adventure that I won't even go into here, except to say that I now know how a cheerleader feels when they're sitting up in the air on the hand of one of the guy cheerleaders. By the time the ride was over, my entire body was aching and my head was pounding with a sinus headache. It was nice to ride with everyone one last time, but man it took a lot out of me.

Later that night, we had a farewell bonfire out by the King House. All the staff came except Evil Chef Scott and his poor fiance. It was a great time for sure. I'm going to miss this motley crew of alcoholics, crazies, and genuinely nice people.

Today was a bit crazy. Balbir is testing out this yoga guy friend of his for doing yoga here next summer, so he wanted us all to go to a session with him. Well, I couldn't do yoga this morning because I had to man the phones, but this afternoon he was doing a meditation session that I wanted to attend. So, I went. Dick wasn't in the office when I left, but all was quiet, and Balbir insisted that I go. Well, as soon as we got out, an hour later, I go to the dining room only to find out that Dick is ENRAGED, and has been looking for me for the whole hour because a call came in that he couldn't handle. The bad thing about this was that in the process, he went down to Pioneer to hunt me down (presumably lolling about drunk, smoking weed and skipping work) and instead found Corky's dog, Gizmo. He told her he wanted the fucking dog out of here and she was very upset.

Well, the look on his face when I came in the EDR was priceless. He looked like he was going to have a stroke at any moment, but was trying to control himself. Peggy calmed him down and explained where we all were. Well, things eventually settled, and he never actually yelled at me. Still, he was a total dumbass about it because he could have just taken a message. Plus, he knew that the meditation thing was going on and he just forgot about it. Eventually, he remembered that he likes me, and so by the time he left, he was whistling to himself happily. Oh, and Mike (Corky's boss) was called in by Dick so that they could discuss Dick wanting to fire her, but Mike put his foot down, so a crisis was averted on that front. *whew*

Speaking of Corky, I got some very bad news last week. It turns out that her being sick all the time hasn't been from Scott's food. In fact, she has stomach cancer. But, she's not going in for treatment for another month or so, and even then she is saying that she just has to have a surgery and then she'll go back to her construction job. I think she's either delusional or purposely trying not to admit the reality of the situation. I'm so sad... I'm sure I'll never see her again, so saying goodbye is going to be really hard. She keeps talking about coming back next year and keeping in touch...I can hardly take it...

Anyway, it's past time for me to leave, so I shall say goodbye. Just think, by this weekend, I will be reachable by cell phone and able to eat real food and go shopping. YAY!!!

Talk to you all soon!!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Close, but no moose

Hello everybody!

Well, I just had a bit of an update on goings-on up here, so I thought I would send a short email out. First of all, today I was asked what my preferred last day would be, and I said the 24th. So, as of right now, that seems to be a go, although it could change at the last minute. I was very happy to find out that I could leave that early. Here's hoping that it comes through!

Anyway, this week on my day off I went to Rocky Mountain National Park with Kim from Housekeeping. When Lisa the bartender and Tanja went, they saw tons of wildlife, i.e. elk, moose, coyotes, big-horned sheep, etc... She couldn't rave enough about the place for wildlife and scenic views. So, I admit I went there with some high expectations. Tragically, and expectedly (with my luck), I saw a grand total of 3 elk, 1 marmot, and a handful of squinnies. That's it. :-( However, the views were still spectacular, and I'm enclosing some pictures that I took. It was a lovely drive up over Trail Ridge Road, which I believe is the highest paved road in the country, or some such statistic. We were up above the tree line, and when Lisa went they were actually above some of the clouds. No such luck for us (natch), but it was still a beautiful drive. We had lunch and did some shopping in Estes Park, and then headed home. It was a pretty good day.

Anyway, my day is almost up here, but I just wanted to give you all the update. I hope everyone is doing well, and maybe I'll see you sooner than I thought!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Hot to Trot

Hello everyone!

I wanted to thank you for your very kind birthday wishes! It doesn’t feel so different being 28…mostly I still feel like I’m about 18. ;-)

I had a great time on my birthday. I had the day off, naturally, so I planned to do a horseriding lesson on trotting in the morning, take the afternoon off, and then make dinner for all the girls I live with and host a little slumber party in the King House.

Well, the horseback riding was awesome! Last time I was terrified out of my wits and spent the entire time clinging to the horn that’s on the front of the saddle. Of course, the wranglers will laugh in your face if you even MENTION the horn, because they’ve all been raised with the idea that you only use it to get on-*maybe*-and otherwise it’s just for your rope and stuff. Ideally, you’re supposed to get on and off the horse using only its mane to hold onto (apparently horses don’t have feeling in this area of their body, so they don’t feel you pulling on it). The head wrangler claims that a real cowboy doesn’t even need the saddle to be cinched onto the horse, that they can get on it so fast and balanced that the saddle never even moves. Whatever. That seems to fly in the face of physics to me, so I’ll believe it when I see it. When I demanded Randy give me a demonstration, he suddenly got very busy. ;-) Anyway, I’m still at the point where I require the fraidy cat’s platform to get on and off the horse, so I don’t know what I’m bitching about… However, this time when I was riding, I hardly held onto the horn at all. 95% of the time, I held onto just the reigns, and I was totally comfortable with that. So, huge progress for me! :-)

Instead of doing a lesson first, Lisa (the bartender from Minneapolis), Stacey (the wrangler), and I went on a short trail ride down to the lake. There were definitely a few scary moments of having to go down impossibly steep embankments, but I let the horse do his thing, and we both survived. It was really neat to go down right by the lake; Stacey even rode her horse right into the lake, which freaked the horse out a bit, I must say.

On our way back to the arena for my trotting lesson, Lisa decided to kick her horse up a notch into a trot. Well, my horse, JD, was like, “Hmmm…that looks great! Me too!” So, very suddenly, I was being tossed around on my horse like a rag doll. It was TERRIFYING!! When you see trotting on tv or in the movies, it certainly never looks so violent, but let me assure you that it is!

So, I started screaming and laughing at the same time; it was a very weird mix of terror and elation. And all the while I’m trying to remember how Stacey said I should sit when trotting, and she’s screaming directions and laughing at me as we all go along, me feeling wildly out of control (a fairly rare emotion for me, admittedly). Eventually, my brain started working again and I remembered to pull back on the reigns to make the horse slow down. I have never felt so relieved!! Of course, Lisa and Stacey thought it was the funniest thing they’ve seen in years.

As we got closer to the ranch, they convinced me that I should try it again, this time on purpose. So, hesitantly, but eager to try it under more controlled conditions, I kicked the horse, and it was the same feeling of crazy bouncing all over again! And, of course, it doesn’t help that no one told me to wear a sports bra for trotting, so I’m practically getting two black eyes in the bargain. Once back in the arena, I tried it for a third time, and that time wasn’t as terrifying, but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again anytime soon!

Dinner was a much more subdued experience, thankfully. All the girls loved the dinner I made, especially the dessert (a tasty Pithivier). I was really surprised when they pulled out a couple presents and a card that had been signed by everyone on the ranch!! Balbir even had Tanja (his assistant) buy me a box of truffles!

After dinner, we watched “The Philadelphia Story”, and everyone promised to keep the talking to a minimum (that is one of my biggest pet peeves about the women I live with—Corky especially—they talk constantly about total bullshit while you’re trying to watch a movie or TV). We decided not to spend the night in the King House because it’s supposedly haunted and it's not like any of us have anything to prove. ;-)

Overall, it was a fantastic birthday! I’m attaching some pictures from the day so that you can follow along.

Anyway, I wish you could see out my office window right now. There’s a cloud out there that looks like a tornado is going to drop out of it at any second. Of course, here that means nothing. At home the sirens would be going off for sure. Here, it’s probably just going to rain for 10 minutes. Today we had a double rainbow, one of which ended right on our airstrip. It was really cool!

Well, it’s about that time. I hope all of you are doing well. Happy Birthday to all of my fellow Virgos!! Talk to you later!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Peach of a Time

Hello everyone!

You might be interested to know that you’re talking to a lady in possession of about 20 pounds of peaches. Yes, the trip to Palisade paid off, both in beautiful vistas and luscious produce. Of course, my peach stores have gone down just a bit since I went on my trip, after I made some amazing peach ice cream and ate a bunch just sitting around my living room. A peach buckle or cobbler is next on the list, and them I’m going to make the rest into “freezer jam”, which should be interesting and might even make the trip back with me to Iowa!

I must say that the Peach Festival itself was a bit of a letdown in terms of show-stopping excitement and the number of vendors selling actual peach-oriented items, but I got to eat my annual corn dog, so I’m not complaining too loudly. J

The most amazing thing about the whole Peach Festival was the drive out there. It was held in Palisade, which is very near the Utah border and about a 4 hour drive from the ranch. The scenery changed dramatically along the way, from luscious green, pine-covered mountains, to brown and red towering mesas (sort of like flat-top mountains).

I got a really great tip from the ranch foreman (who has lived up here for years) about this sort-of shortcut to connect with I-70 called Trough Road. Since it didn’t involve going over a mountain pass, I was all for it! As it turned out, I drove on it for a few miles, and then rounded a bend to discover that I was VERY high up on the side of a mountain, looking down onto a gorgeous valley with a wide green river running through it. There was a lookout station, so I naturally swung my car right in and took a bunch of pictures. It was truly breathtaking. I could see the rapids, and I even managed to get a picture of them.

The rest of this road was great because not too many people use it and it’s really wide, so I could pull over to the side and take pictures whenever I wanted, without worrying about having someone behind me. But, once I got onto I-70, there was no stopping for anything, so I had to take all my pictures one-handed out the window. Still, I got some great shots of the mesas and the surrounding area.

Once I got into Palisade I stayed at the Peach Festival for literally like 45 minutes (after driving 4 hours!), but there was really nothing to do there. There were all sorts of stands selling jewelry and knick knacks that I couldn’t afford and didn’t want. I bought one of the biggest peaches I’ve ever seen and ate it, dripping all over the place, as I walked around and tried to forget that the sun was beating down on me and I’d forgotten to factor sunscreen into my daily plans. Eventually I’d toured the entire grounds and was just *done*, so I left. I had seen some fruit stands on my way into town, so I stopped at a couple on my way out of Palisade and bought a ½ bushel of peaches and a few ears of famous Olathe corn (which, upon cooking, revealed itself to have NOTHING on Iowa corn…you can’t fool a corn-fed girl). Anyway, it was a great trip and I’m so glad I went!

Aside from that, not too much has been happening around here. Balbir and Dick keep asking me if I would like to stay here over the winter and work in the office taking reservations for next season. Needless to say, my answer is always a polite “No Fucking Way.” I think I would lose my mind if I had to stay here all winter. Balbir keeps talking up how we can go skiing and snowmobiling and to all these great winter resorts around here. Yeah, right. No thanks. Today Dick asked me AGAIN if I would stay. He said that they really like the quality of work that I do and that they would love me to stay or just even come back at some point during the winter to work even for a little bit. I, once again, told him a firm no. He said that they would really like me back, so that’s why they want to offer it to me first before they advertise for a new person. I appreciate that, but there’s just no way that my sanity (or budget) could stand staying out here in the depths of winter. Not to mention the strain on my poor little Ford Focus!

Anyway, my working day is almost done. Today has been super slow, but I don’t mind that so much.

Take care everyone and I’ll talk with you soon!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hello from Colorado!‏

Hello everyone!

Well, another couple weeks have passed up here on the mountain. I can hardly believe that we’re already getting to the end of August! I never thought that it would arrive. Of course, I came here thinking that I would be leaving in mid-September, so it’s a little sad to think I’ll have to stick around here up to a month longer than that. But, the core group of people who will be staying aren’t so bad. Plus, I found out that Evil Chef Scott will probably be leaving as soon as the guests peter out, leaving us all to cook for ourselves. Woo-hoo!!

Speaking of the kitchen help, we had another disappearance last week. Dick hired this Becky girl from Maine to come here as a dining room server. On her resume, she had a special section labeled “Personal”, under which she listed her vitals as: age 25, 5’3” 105 pounds, blond hair, blue eyes. So, needless to say, everyone was expecting this blonde bombshell to show up. I was the one sent to pick her up from town when the shuttle dropped her off and it was quite surprising when she stepped out of the van and revealed herself to be a 12 year old-looking ugly brunette. Bit of a letdown, what?

So, this chick shows up with nothing but a “back to school” backpack, and doesn’t even have toiletries with her! Well, no problem with that because Corky can get her stuff from housekeeping. No money to buy a shirt, so Tanja (Balbir’s assistant who’s from Germany) loaned her one of hers. But this girl just seemed fishy from the start. At first glance, we perceived her to be very simple-minded, like fresh from the farm if you know what I mean. But, she went to hang out at the barn on her second night and started telling everyone how she loves to have sex with black guys, etc… A bunch of other crazy stuff came out of her mouth, and eventually we all decided that she was a nut job. But, we needed a server, so whatever.

Well, until she starts telling us all that she’s going to leave! And that she’s planning on leaving before the 16th (which is the day that a huge corporate group comes and the ranch is entirely full). The weird thing is that she gave a different reason to every person she talked to. There were rumors of another job, going to Europe, eloping with her boyfriend, etc… Eventually, she left about 4 days after she got here. The following day, we got a phone call from her parents in Maine. Turns out that she’s a 16 year old runaway!! Man…the weirdos this place attracts...

On a positive note, we did get a new Sous Chef who is FANTASTIC! His name is Singyn (I think this is how it’s spelled—it’s British) and he cooks about 10 times better than Scott. Plus, he’s more vegetable friendly and easier to get along with, personality-wise. Everyone can tell when he’s cooking because A) the food is tasty and there are several dishes to choose from at one setting, B) we get dishes (such as eggrolls, vegetable quesadillas, etc…) that Scott would never dream of making, and C) he actually sets out accoutrements like sour cream, melted butter for corn on the cob, etc… that if we asked Scott for would get us nothing but a big Fuck You. So, everyone can tell when Singyn is cooking, and we compliment him all the time (the vegetarian girls give him hugs because they have full tummies for the first time in months). We’re terrified that he’s going to run away! But, so far he seems to get along with Scott, so it’s seemingly all good.

What isn’t all good is how many redneck racist bastards work here. It is amazing to me that so many of the staff (mostly the Texas wranglers, but also just random others) will casually use the words Sp*c or N*gger in conversation, like it’s totally appropriate. I’m sure that to them it is, back in the great state of Texas. Seriously, this has gotten worse and worse as the weeks have passed. One of the wranglers, Josh, was sitting down at Pioneer one night talking about how in Texas they believe that people should stick with their own race and shouldn’t mix. He also said that all w*ggers, n*ggers, and sp*cs should be taken into a field and shot along with all the f*ggots---if you can believe it!! And this just said totally casually, with not a shrug of embarrassment or anything. Needless to say, I told him where he could stick it and that he should keep that shit down in the barn, where it belongs. But other people tell racist jokes all the time, or just make little comments. My favorite was when one of the new girls, Kim, told a racist black joke, and as soon as she was done with it she said, “But I’m not racist.” So I immediately added, “I just tell racist jokes.” A few of the liberals in the room got a laugh out of that one.

Anyway, the only real highlights of the past couple weeks were when a coyote ran right in front of my on our road, and getting to see marmots every time I drive by our lake. Pathetic, yes? But still, it’s cool that I see this same marmot (I prefer to think it’s the same one) in the same exact spot every time I drive by. Actually, there were a few times I didn’t see him, and I was afraid one of the coyotes got him, but he reappeared, so that was nice. Other than that, I still haven’t seen any moose and it’s starting to make me mad! Everyone has seen one but me. However, I’m planning to go on a trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park before I come home, so I will hopefully see some great wildlife up there.

Well, this email has gotten as long as the Nile, so I should probably say my goodbyes. Tomorrow I’m off to the Peach Festival in Palisade, Colorado. My grandpa and I saw this festival on the Food Network last summer, so there’s no way that I could miss it being out here at the right time and all! So, wish me luck on my journey…supposedly I’ll be driving through some of the most beautiful scenery in this part of the state, so I’m very excited.

Talk to you all soon!

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Don't take your guns to town

Hello everyone!

Not a whole lot to report this week, but I wanted to give you an update on one of the activities on my list that I finally got to!

Thursday was my day off, and I originally just had plans to meet up with Joy and her family in Grand Lake (they were camping in Rocky Mountain National Park). This was going to be way more than cool enough for me on my day off because I just wanted to do something fairly low key, plus I was super excited to see someone from home. As it turned out, we had a really cool time walking all around Grand Lake (their main street is a lot like Valley Junction, but with mountains in the background).

But, the morning before I left to meet up with Joy, I finally got to go Skeet Shooting!! I have wanted to do this more than anything, but we're not allowed to go up at the same time that guests go, which is a bit limiting. Anyway, Greg, the Activities Director, told me at dinner the night before that he could take me on the morning of my day off, before he took guests up. That meant cutting it a bit short, but I didn't care.

So, we drove up Skeet Hill in the ranch Jerokee, and it was a crazy rutted bouncy ride all the way to the top of the mountain. I got some great pictures of the surrounding mountainside, but it was totally cloudy. However, I think that was good for shooting since the sun wasn't shining too bright to see the clay pigeons.

Now, I've never ever held a real gun before, so I was really surprised at how heavy it was!! I shot a .20 gauge shotgun, which wasn't the biggest one (I think the biggest we have is a .12 gauge). Greg shot one shell so that I would know what it sounded like before I shot it myself. Holy crap. It was SO FUCKING LOUD!!! I'm so glad he did that otherwise I would have shot it right by my ear and probably jumped a mile. As it was, it took a bit of getting used to the noise. But, Greg showed me how to hold the gun so that it didn't hurt my arm when it kicked back, and I didn't end up with any bruises, which was good. However, the weight of the gun took a toll on me and all that day and the next my arms were ridiculously sore!! I could hardly lift up my left arm (which was the one holding the weight of the end of the gun). I couldn't believe how sore it made me.

But, the good news is that I hit 3 of the clay pigeons!! Of course, this is out of a box of like 20 shells, but still! Pretty good start for a beginner. :-) I found myself getting very competitive (this is a real shocker, eh?) and it took almost no time at all for me to be shouting out "PULL!" like a pro. I took to it like a duck to water. I just wish that I had had more time that morning. I am definitely going to go shooting again, and I'd like to be able to use the .12 gauge before the end of the season. I think I'll have to work at it with the 20 for awhile first, though!

Anyway, not much else to report around here. We got a couple new people this week. One of them is a guy from Tennessee who looks and sounds exactly like Monty, which is a little creepy. But he's very nice, and so are the two new girls, so I think it's going to work out. We were so short handed for so long that we hardly know what to do with ourselves now that we're mostly staffed.

Oh, I almost forgot that I wanted to mention something to everyone. We are allowed to have visitors here, like 2 or 3 visits per season. None of you have been able to make it out here yet (and we've been pretty well booked, too), but if anyone would like to visit between the end of August and the end of September, we have plenty of room. The rate for you would be FANTASTIC!! If you stay in a guest room but eat with the staff, you can stay here for $45/night/person, for up to three nights. A regular adult guest would pay $750. If you'd like to eat the fancy guest food, it will cost something like $65/night, but staff food is pretty decent. Plus, I could put you in one of our best rooms at that time of season. So, think it over, and let me know if you're interested in taking a little trip west! :-)

Talk to you soon!

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Hello all!

Well, life out here in Colorado is passing so incredibly slowly, I'm beginning to go a little stir crazy! I found out this past week that I might very well have to stay here through October 16th, which I think would kill me, so I'm hoping that it isn't true. Plus, I really can't feature driving my car over snowy mountain passes, except at about 10 miles an hour.

But, all things aside, I keep thinking about all the great produce that's available at the end of the summer in Iowa, and how I'll be missing the opportunity to be eating tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn by the bushel. We get hardly any fresh vegetables here, and I never seem to be off work when they're having a farmer's market in town. Plus, I don't have a space to cook in, naturally. But, I think I've found a way around that!

We have a stand-alone house here, called The King House, where a large family or group can stay all together. It has a fully functioning kitchen with all necessary tools and appliances. As of right now, from the beginning of September on, there is nobody booked in it. And word on the street is that we at Pioneer can cook there as long as we clean up well afterwards. So, the idea of being able to make the occasional dinner there is the only thing that will keep me happy if I have to stay here through October.

Another cool thing is that it turns out that my boss, Deb, and I both love classic movies. We were working late in the office one night and I had turned on an internet radio station (yay! Live365.com) playing music from the 20s and 30s, so we got to talking about that time period and how we both loved it. I asked her if she had ever seen any Poirot, and she hadn't, so I was looking online for some examples. In the course of that, I was on Amazon.com and saw an advertisement for The Thin Man movies. I can't believe it! They're finally releasing a box set of all 6 on DVD!! So, I told that to Deb, and it turns out that she used to play Nora at her old job in dinner theatre down in Florida! I told her that my cat was named after Nora in the Thin Man, and that pretty much cemented that we're the two dorkiest people on this ranch. :-) Anyway, after that, we started listening to old music during the work day and it does seem to make the hours fly.

Thankfully, Lauren hasn't really been around the office this week. They've had her working in the dining room as a server, or as a counselor in the Children's Program. They are so short-staffed around here that they want us to ask around to see if anyone we know would like to come up and work in the dining room or housekeeping for the rest of the summer! So, if any of you are interested, just let me know! ;-) Poor Corky is the only person officially employed in our housekeeping department at the moment. Balbir makes his nephews work for her, though. They're like 15, 14, and 10, so I'm sure their dream summer activity is cleaning dirty hotel rooms! I keep waiting for them to ask me to help in housekeeping, but so far the request hasn't come. But, as I told Deb, I would work for Corky any day of the week, but I would rather pack up everything from my room and leave THIS MINUTE before I would ever work for Scott in the kitchen/dining room. Forget it! I'm not THAT much of a team player.

However, Scott the Evil Chef hasn't been too much of a jerk to me lately. I was so pleased to hear that he got his ass royally chewed out in the manager's meeting that Balbir had a couple days ago. Turns out he forgot to reorder propane and one morning it was just like "Oops! Nothing to cook breakfast with!" I got into work that morning and everyone was literally running around like crazy. I had no idea what was going on. Balbir asked me to type up a few signs that said breakfast would be a half hour late. I didn't find out what happened until I went in to breakfast myself and got the gossip from Peggy (another office lady, but she works upstairs now as our marketing director). In the end, different people helped to cook the breakfast in the private staff cabins that have propane stoves. What a mess!

This week I went to Boulder and almost lost my mind. I had no problem getting there (and many people from here were jealous that I was going since they had heard that it's really cool), but once I got into town, it was a nightmare! I had originally wanted to go there to see "Othello" at the University of Colorado's Shakespeare Festival. Well, I rolled into town and there was NOWHERE anywhere near the place to park. All the maps I had were total crap. Plus, there is a beautiful abundance of trees and bushes, so you really can't get a clear view of anything more than 20 feet in front of you. And there was construction on every street I tried to get down to park on. Or I needed a school permit to go down a good parking street. And on and on. Eventually, after almost an hour and very near the end of my rope, I just said FUCK IT and decided that fate had not intended for me to see this play. So, I went to the shopping district instead. :-) Where I was lucky enough to find a wonderful Italian cafe (Attica Roma) that actually served gnocchi (something I have really been craving). So, that made life all better. Plus, it was located immediately adjacent to the LUSH store where I wanted to buy a shampoo refill. Perfect.

I walked around the rest of the afternoon, doing some window shopping, until Alexia and James got there. I was so happy to be with someone who actually knew their way around!! Alexia took us to the Celestial Seasonings Tea factory, but unfortunately we just missed the last tour. So, we had to content ourselves with some tea samples and a cruise around the gift shop. Alexia got me this really cool set of English Breakfast tea items, and I bought a cute pink mug that had drawings of black cats on it. All told, including an earlier purchase on my own, I ended the day with three new mugs. I think I'm set for quite a long time!

Anyway, after that we went to dinner at a tasty Mexican restaurant. Thanks Al! Then I hit the road, trying to get back here before dark. No such luck. I did get over most of the mountain pass, though, before the darkness crept in. By the time I was near home, it was pitch black outside. On our bumpy dirt road, I had my brights on, and still had to go about 5 miles an hour to avoid cracking an axle. At one point, I stopped my car and turned off my lights completely. The utter blackness was a little scary. Once I finally got back up to the lodge, I parked my car, collected my things, and got out. I looked up to see how many stars I could see on such a clear night. Well, only about 50 gazillion! I could the Milky Way as clear as day...it was so cool!!! I don't think I have ever, ever seen so many stars. I wish I had a way cool camera to get some night sky pics. After star gazing, I went inside, where we were hosting karaoke night. I had a margarita and kicked ass on "Mama He's Crazy" by the Judds. A great day, by the end.

Speaking of karaoke, last night we had an impromtu session. A son of one of our guests, who I would say was about 11, wanted to sing some more. This is a boy who should never be let near a microphone. Let's just say that he's one of those people who thinks that actually listening to a song before trying to do it on karaoke is a waste of time. After all, the words are on the screen, who needs to know how the rhythm goes, or what note to sing? Jesus, I wanted to kill him. So, I sat at the bar and drank a Jack on the rocks. I was sitting with Balbir, his assistant Tanje (from Germany), and Corky. Eventually, Tanje and Corky left, so Balbir and I started talking about whisky and traveling--particularly around India. I told him that I'd really love to go there someday. So, get this shit! He said that he would send me to India at his expense if I would promise to come back to work at KMR next summer! So, naturally I told him that he was full of it. But, he insisted that he knows so many different families all over India that he could draw up a route for me all through the best parts of India and I would have great families to stay with the whole time! What a great trip that would be! Sadly, I had to tell him that I plan on being in Italy by next summer. :-)

For those of you who haven't heard, we FINALLY got the last certificate from Italy that we needed (at long long last!!). So, now begins the (hopefully) easy task of requesting our American certificates, translating them, and turning the whole kit and caboodle in. Wish us luck!!

Anyway, my shift is close to over here, and I still have bunches of things to get done. I hope all of you are doing well!!

Talk to you soon!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ghost riders in the sky

Hello everyone!

First of all, let me just say that my heart goes out to all of you who are living through this sweltering summer! The temperature in Denver seems to rarely be under 100 lately, but they don't even know the meaning of hot since the humidity is like 20%. Those of you in the Midwest could teach the people out here a thing or two about hot!!

Up here in the mountains, it doesn't usually go above 80 and the humidity is non-existent. This is in the shade, mind you. One time they put our thermometer in the sun for awhile and it went up to 114, due to the ferocious sun at this altitude.

We sit here all day with screenless windows wide open, and all doors propped open. So, naturally, flies are all over the place, and they seem to prefer the windowsill right by me to die on. It's not unusual to have squinnies running in and out of here just to say hi. The barn cat likes to poke his head in the door to let us know that he's ready to get his back scratched. The hummingbirds come within a foot or so of the window, but we have yet to have a bird fly into the office.

Anyway, the big news this week is that I went riding for the first time!! You'll recall (I'm sure) that I had planned to do all sorts of cool things on my day off (i.e. fishing, skeet shooting), but I couldn't do shooting because one set of guests used up all the clays (or whatever they're called), and then a high-strung group of 10 youngsters signed up for fishing (and they only have like 8 poles). So, I was left with only horseback riding, but let me tell you--I didn't have much energy left after that to do much of anything else!

I went down to the barn at 9:30 and had to wait around awhile for the Breakfast Ride to get back, which only gave me more time to develop my nervousness. I kept picturing myself trying to throw a leg over the horse 20 times and never being able to reach, or getting up enough energy to swing my leg over and then immediately falling out the other side of the saddle...and various other "I Love Lucy" scenarios.

However, once the ride got back, the head wrangler, Randy, gave me the official horse orientation. This consisted of how to make the horse go left, right, backwards, and stop, plus how to sit when you're going uphill, how to sit when you're going downhill, and a basic word of advice to not fall the fuck off the horse.

Then, I was immediately led to the "loading dock" where the really inept riders get to stand on a platform that's about level with the stirrups on the horse. There was a squished, dead baby bird on one of the steps up to this thing, which I took as a bad omen for the day. When I said, "What the HELL is THAT?!" one of the wranglers kicked it out of the way and said, "Um, nothin'!" Sighing heavily and realizing that I would now return from this ride either crippled or not at all, I stepped up to the horse and accepted my fate.

Fortunately, I was able to swing my leg over in one try and all of a sudden I was sitting on an ENORMOUS MOVING HORSE!!! This seems a trifle obvious, but it was really a bit of a shock to the system. I had gone from being in control of myself and my movements, to being totally at the whim of this huge beast. He had been on the Breakfast Ride for a couple hours, so I'm sure that he wasn't exactly keen to be saddled up with the fattest chick on the ranch for another couple hours. Consequently, he seemed a bit pissed off as soon as I sat down and was trying to walk away from the "dock" as quickly as possible. Eventually, I found myself facing the fence, in the corner, unable to make the damn thing turn around and face the right direction. I was off to a roaring start.

Now, I was under the impression that since I was a total beginner that my first ride on a horse would consist of being led around the pavillion and maybe learning the movement commands better. Much to my surprise, not 5 minutes after I got on the horse, I found myself being led up into the mountains on a trail ride!! Holy shit!

First, we had to go downhill to get to the start of the trail. Despite imitating the posture Randy had demonstrated for me, this was a very scary sensation. There were only 4 of us on this ride. A wrangler, Dusty, in front, then me, then a kid, Margaret, then Cole, another wrangler. (Both of the wranglers are from Texas, so naturally I can hardly understand them half the time. Trying to decipher their "Texan" did help distract me from my nerves, though...) So, as we're going downhill, I was, admittedly, having more than a bit of a freak-out session. Dusty just said, "Shannon, you're gettin' too tense! I can FEEL the tenseness! The horse can feel the tenseness! You jus' need to RELAX!" I'm sure he wanted to tell me to put a sock in it, but the men around here are generally very gentlemen-like, so he refrained.

Anyway, so I made it through the downhill, and then it was right onto a path into the woods that went STRAIGHT UP. Another freak-out session, which I tried to keep as mostly internal monologue, to spare the other riders. :-) The thing about these paths that made it so scary to me was that they were only like a foot wide in quite a few places, which is generally more than enough room for the horse. But, if the horse had gone 6 inches to the left, we would have been rolling down a huge hill! Of course, as Dusty pointed out to me later in the ride, the horse doesn't want to roll down the hill any more than I do, so he's probably going to stay on the path.

Well, my horse, Brewster, was slightly more interested in eating the wildflowers along the path than he was in staying on it. I kept having to pull back on the reigns and say, "NO BREWSTER!" He was freaking me out! But, I couldn't help feeling sorry for him. Poor guy. Every time we climbed up a hill, I could hear him panting and struggling to make it up, which I can imagine was due in no small part to the load he was bearing. I would occasionally pat his neck and say, "It's going to be OK Brewster, we're almost done!" :-)

Suffice to say, I made it back to the Ranch in one piece, but my legs (where they join to your body) were pretty sore. So, after lunch I decided to try out the hot tub and heated pool for the first time. It was nice, but I would call it more of a Warm Tub than a hot one. They need to up the temp on that, for sure. So, I ended up going back home and running a scalding hot bath that I soaked in for an hour. I felt much better, despite being sore as shit the next day. But, one day of soreness was ok, because once I got used to the riding, it was actually a lot of fun. I took some great pictures, too!

Aside from that, the only other interesting thing is that I have been forced to listen to ghost stories about the house I live in. Believe me, I realize that my imagination works overtime and I don't need any help with that. But, the women I live with told me these stories forcibly, and now I'm a little spooked out. I haven't seen any ghost activity myself, but they have and they're all very down to earth, the kind of people who don't give a FUCK what you think. So, I don't think they're lying.

Anyway, here's the skinny: apparently, the millionaire that used to own this place would have high-class call girls brought in for parties and the whatnot, plus our house was also just used for general housing. Well, word on the street is that two women killed themselves there. *sigh* So the story goes, one day, Lisa, the bartender from Minneapolis, was sitting in our lounge in the middle of the afternoon and the tablecloth on our coffee table was WHIPPED OFF in front of her eyes. Then, the doorknob on the nearest bedroom started rattling, and the door was opening and closing on its own. She actually got up and LOOKED, but there was no one there. Plus, the other night we were all sitting around and we kept hearing what I thought were the Russians walking up and down the hallway doing their laundry, and Lisa got up and opened the door that separates the lounge from the hallway and said, "God, I've been hearing footsteps all day and whenever I look there's no one there! I'm leavin' this damn door open!" And after that, there were no more footsteps.

So, needless to say, I think about all this shit every time I go to bed, but so far I'm not too scared. But I'm saying this right now: if the tablecloth gets whipped off right in front of me, I'll be leaving on the next thing smokin'.

Anyway, it's the end of my night shift, and us girls are watching "The Philadelphia Story" tonight once I get home, so I need to hurry. I hope everyone is doing well and I'll talk to you soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rocky Mountain High

Hi everyone!

Not a long email tonight, but I did have some down time this evening, so I thought I would catch up with you. I'm working until 8 tonight, so plenty of time to write without a boss peeking over my shoulder. :-)

Well, it seems that my escapee story hit the spot for more than a few of you. I'm glad that my personal embarrassments are so richly amusing to you; sharing them is the least I can do. :-)

So far, it has been a pretty quiet week. On Sunday, we said goodbye to a huge group of people (20 of whom were all here together for the 60th wedding anniversary of the grandparents). They were all very nice, and I even got my first tip! One of the guys in the party gave me $20 because I had printed out an update on the Tour de France for him every day. Nice! Of course, he gave it to me in a handshake, in front of all my bosses. The only problem with this is that there is a totally bullshit rule here that you are "on your honor" to turn in all tips to the office to be split equally among the staff. Can you even believe that??!! Plus, the guests pay a 15% Service Charge which is supposed to cover gratuities for the staff. Sounds nice, but in our "Crew Manual", it specifically states that the parceling out of that money to the staff at the end of the summer is done entirely at the discretion of the manager as to who gets how much. Corky says that she's been here three years and has never seen a dime of it, so I think that wording is just a shady way of getting extra money out of the guests, but never having to give it to the staff. In fact, if a staff member is caught discussing their salary (or anyone else's salary) it's grounds for dismissal on the spot. Now, THAT is shady. What are they afraid of us finding out? Are they paying the three Russian girls who work in housekeeping a scandalously/illegally low wage? It's all most suspicious.

I saw my first hummingbird up close this week. We have a feeder right by my window in the office and they come there all day long. Watching them dive-bomb each other, and passing guests, certainly makes the hours fly. So far, I've managed to sneek a few pictures of them. Now, if my mother would be so kind as to mail me my camera cord (which I was too rushed to remember to pack), then I will be able to post my pictures online for everyone to see. Not that you're dying to see pics of hummingbirds, but some of people like Corky and the scenery around here would be in order. :-)

An update on the Evil Chef front: yesterday I went to breakfast as normal and tried to place my order with him as he came into the Employee Dining Room (EDR) to deliver already-made breakfasts (which is the normal way, as far as I can tell). Well, he totally ignored me. I called out his name. He kept walking away. I called out his name again and he whipped around and shouted, "COME INTO THE KITCHEN!!" Great. But, unlike our last major run-in, I was ready for him this time.

So, I walked into the kitchen and confronted him as he stood in front of the griddle. He said, "If you want to tell me what you want, you come in here!!" And I said, "Well, how on earth am I supposed to know which you prefer when half the time you take orders in the EDR and the other half in here??!!" He then had the most surprised look on his face...like he would never have imagined that I would argue back with him! :-) He had no other comment, so I simply said, "I would like some hash browns and bacon please" and left the room. As I came back in, my bosses Dick and Balbir were sitting there with some others, and I said, "That is the rudest man I have EVER met." And Dick was like, "Who is that??" Everyone else piped up with "SCOTT!" Dick is so clueless... Eventually, Scott brought out my breakfast and my bacon was only *just* this side of raw. So, I finished it up in the microwave and silently cursed him out all the while. At least there is only one hateful, short, fat, balding chef here who detests me for no reason. Everyone else is most pleasant.

Well, my shift is almost over, so I need to wrap this up. Wednesday is my day off, so be thinking of me as I'm riding horses, fishing, and skeet shooting. It's about time I took advantage of all the things they offer out here. And yes, grandma, I will try my hardest to keep from A) Being dragged to my death by a horse, B) Sticking a fish hook through my hand, C) Drowning in the lake, and D) Shooting myself or someone else in the head. Oh, and I got my letter from you today, so thank you very much for that! I heartily enjoyed reading it and all of its important warnings. :-)

Take care everyone and I'll speak with you soon!


PS-I'd like to leave you with a quote I heard from one of the little boys running around here today. When asked a question by his brother (which I did not overhear), his answer was a loud and clear, "Up your butt and around the corner!!" Now, how many people are having a flashback to the 3rd grade right about now?!! :-) It certainly made my day to hear that....I thought of little Stevie running around in his Superman Underoos... :-) Thanks for the pics, bro.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Home on the range...

This is my first chance to write you in what feels like quite awhile, even though I know it’s only been one week since I’ve been here! Time slows down on the ranch and the days run together. If I wasn’t working in the office, I’m not sure that I would even know the day of the week! One of the maintenance guys, who was among three or four people who stayed here through all of last winter, said that there were times when they didn’t even know what month it was for sure. Now that is a little scary…

So far, I’m getting to know the “folks” here a little better, bit by bit. There are still some pretty clique-y groups, but all I really care about is getting through my work day and getting along with the people I have to live with. Beyond that, I spend a lot of time sitting out on our deck, reading and whatnot. The major get-togethers around here take place in “The Barn” (which is literally the horse barn, but it’s also the guys-only dorm on the second floor—air freshener anyone?) and they mostly consist of getting shit-faced and telling redneck jokes. Not exactly my cup of tea, but when in Rome… So far, I have avoided them, but now I’m getting asked why I don’t go, so perhaps I will start putting in appearances.

Being around people in their very early twenties makes me feel old, so perhaps that’s why I avoid them. Although, it must be said that even the older people here (in their 30s and 40s) hang out at The Barn because they just love to drink. Either I will give in and come home a drunkard, or I will leave here a social outcast. We’ll have to see…

I have a highly amusing story to relate involving the evil chef who works here. (For those of you who missed out on a telephone description of this bastard and what he said to me, here is the synopsis: I have been nothing but polite and respectful to him, but he has been very cold to me from day one. So, one morning he wasn’t around taking breakfast orders like usual, and I asked the guys where he was and what the procedure was [this being only like my 3rd day!!] and they said to go into the kitchen where he was making breakfast so that I could tell him what I wanted to eat. So, I go in there and say the following: “Scott, the guys told me to come in and let you know what I want for breakfast, so I just would like some hash browns and bacon and if you could make that really crispy I would appreciate it.” And he SHOUTS AT ME, “LISTEN, I don’t DO special orders! If you want a fresh-made breakfast every morning, then you can eat WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE EATS!!, which is hash browns, bacon, and scrambled eggs.” So, I politely said, “Thank you for telling me that; I didn’t know it before, but now I do. And no eggs for me-I don’t eat them.” JACKASS!! I just couldn’t believe how crazy rude he was after I had been nothing but nice to him. I can think of about a dozen different ways he could have chosen to relay the same information to me in a polite manner, but he obviously doesn’t care to be polite to me. So, basically, from that point on, he has been on my shit list [although I continue to be polite to him out of a sense of professional etiquette—a phrase with which he is assuredly not familiar.]) After I told some of my coworkers about this incident, they all laughed because Scott is universally known to be a total asshole. And I must add that I have personally seen him take special orders from the guys in terms of making their eggs a certain way, so I believe that he just doesn’t like the look of me for some reason. Perhaps he’s afraid of big boobs…

Anyway, now that we’re all up to date on the evil chef, Scott, I can tell my amusing story from this week! First of all, it should be stated that there is supposed to be a sous chef or even just a helper cook who works in the kitchen with Scott, but no one they hire will stay. They had a couple guys before I got here who all left, then when I was here they had this guy who came all the way from Israel (Micah), who was so incredibly nice and soft-spoken. He lasted about a week and then couldn’t take any more, so they let him stay here a few days while he looked for a new job somewhere else.

After him, there was a new prospect named James Jones. James lived in Seattle and needed a way to get here. Well, after getting messed around by both Scott and Dick (the Ranch Manager and my boss), and getting told that he had the job but they couldn’t find a way to get him here, he eventually got on a bus from Seattle to Salt Lake City. He kept calling our office during bus stops and yelled at everyone who answered the phone about how he was getting mistreated. My boss had a tizzy that day because once we knew he was coming, we had to figure out connecting buses (I should say *I* was the one in charge of figuring out buses vs. Amtrak, etc, and it was a nightmare on our dial-up slow-ass computers.) In the end, Dick decided to buy him a bus ticket from SLC to a town near here (on Dick’s own credit card), and then he was going to go pick him up himself in the morning. The money for the ticket would be like an advance on his paycheck.

So, the guys arrives. He grew up in the Appalachians, and boy could you tell it. He had a tiny head and a wiry body, and just looked ODD, like his daddy was also his favorite uncle, if you get my drift. Anyway, he was nice enough once he got here and apologized for yelling at all of us. He was put right to work in the kitchen, and things seemed to be going OK.

Yesterday was my first day off, so I couldn’t wait to go into town. On my way up our very bumpy road, I saw this James walking, as if he was going to walk all the way down into town, which was at least 20 miles! Naturally, I couldn’t leave him there on the side of the road, so I stopped to give him a lift. Nothing struck me as being particularly out of the ordinary, even though he did have his bag with him. I mean, hey-girls have purses, how did I know what he was going to be doing in town that might require putting things in a bag to carry back to the ranch.

So, he tells me that Scott gave him the day off after he was done with breakfast and he had decided to go into town and hang out for awhile. No big deal. As we drove into town, we talked about his job and how it was to work with Scott. He didn’t have much to say beyond that Scott was kind of a jerk, but that things were OK. Once we got into town, I asked him where he wanted to be dropped off and he pointed at the liquor store ahead. Ok…whatever. He asked me to pick him up on the way back if I happened to see him. No problem.

I go on about my business and a few hours later I’m driving back through Granby and notice him on the opposite side of the road, trying to thumb a ride OUT of Granby. Hmmm…. So, I get back to the ranch and I’m in my room not thinking anything about it when Corky comes to tell me the hilarious news that the new cook has RUN AWAY! Cleaned out his room and scarpered. The only thing they just can’t figure out is how he got to town. *sigh* So, I was forced to tell my story and admit that I was his unwitting accomplice, his getaway car, if you will. Corky must have laughed for 5 minutes straight. Everyone who came into our house that night got the full story and when the bartender, Lisa, heard it, she couldn’t wait to tell Scott once she got to work. Fantastic. The man loves me so much anyway.

So, it was with not a small amount of trepidation that I came to breakfast this morning. Sure enough, everyone had a smart-ass comment waiting for me. “So! Here’s the getaway driver!” “Didn’t the bag tip you off?” etc… At least my boss, Dick, realized that the guy was going to go one way or another, so he wasn’t mad at me. Plus, he got a promising application today from a new cook candidate. J Scott didn’t have anything to say except, “Well, it saved me the trouble of firing him.” Perhaps he doesn’t realize that the one constant in this situation is HIM. Everyone else comes and immediately goes because of HIM. What an idiot…

Anyway, it’s almost the end of my working day, so I should probably be wrapping this up if I want to finish what I need to do before I clock off. Which, admittedly, is not much. Today has been spectacularly slow, plus my boss isn’t here to give me stuff to do outside of my usual realm.

Well, I hope that everyone is doing well and that you will all write me soon. I would love to get a letter or even a postcard!!! J You know that YAY! feeling when you’re at camp and you get a letter—that’s what I’m dying for!

Take care and I’ll speak with you soon!

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Bit of an update from the ranch

Hello everyone!

Well, I’m finally getting a chance to write a bit here. I ended up having to come back early from lunch because my boss had to make a run into town; so, I decided that I would use some time now to send a note to you guys!

Anyway, it’s hard to concentrate in this office at the moment because the other girl who works here is a chatter-brained twit. She is barely over 21 and she yaks on constantly about which guy likes her now and which ex-boyfriend she wants to get back with. Plus, she’s got a fouler mouth than I do, and that’s really saying something. It actually bothers me sometimes, but at least she’s able to rein herself in in front of the guests. *sigh*

Anyway, she just stepped out for a minute, so now’s my chance to actually get some typing done! Where to start….

Well, first of all, this place is GORGEOUS. Hard as hell to get to, but still beautiful. I could look at the scenery here forever. Sitting out on the back deck of the stone longhouse I live in, I have a view of the horse corral in the distance, with mountains surrounding it and a lake in the distance. I can’t get over the beauty of the mountains…they are amazing. It has an almost dream-like feeling to it. It’s like that movie “The Village”, where they’re surrounded by forest on all sides….that’s kind of what it’s like living in this clearing in the middle of pine-covered mountains.

As far as the people go, well most of them are exceedingly nice. I live in Pioneer, which is the all-female lodge. The other women who live there are very friendly. There is one woman, nick-named Corky, who is the head of housekeeping. She is probably close to 60. She was in the Army (says she was in Vietnam) and is a very grizzly sort of woman….ridden hard and hung up wet, as they say. She’s pretty gruff, but mostly very friendly. And, because she’s the head of housekeeping, it is VERY important to be on her good side. So far, she has helped put my room together and gotten me some stuff that I need, so I think I’m on her good side for the time being. She got me some slats for my bed (I’m the only one in my house that has a real bed frame—everyone else has bunkbeds) by taking off 3 shelves from her bookshelf. That was very kind of her, except that they are too long to fit correctly in the frame, so they poke up on the side, leaving my bed lying at a slant. Oh well… J And she nailed my curtain up over my window, in lieu of using a curtain rod, but she assures me that she will “appropriate” a rod from someone else’s window soon.

At least I have my own room. That is a BIG deal. It means I get to decorate a little (with stuff left over from my cubicle at the Press Citizen which was still hanging out in the trunk of my car), which makes my room a little homier. Homely, but homey---that’s my room. Plus, I’m right across from the bathroom, which is a huge bonus. The house is long, with a narrow hallway down the center and rooms off of that. At the end of the hallway there is a large lounge with a huge fireplace, couches, refrigerator, and a satellite-enabled TV. The ladies gather there at the end of the night to bitch about guests, watch crappy TV, drink, and smoke. A huge portion of the people here smoke, which is repulsive, and I’m sure that I will return home with all of my clothes reeking of it. Ugh.

But, having the fireplace is really nice. Corky loves it, so she makes a point of having a fire in it every night. Last night my boss, Deb (who lives there with us), made some S’Mores for everyone as we were sitting around chatting. It was so cozy! Right up until the point when Deb and I tried to watch “The Daily Show” or “Sabrina” (the original movie), and Corky said that she was going to punch a hole in the TV if she had to watch either one. I truly believe she was not joking. So, we ended up watching everyone’s favorite, “The Golden Girls”. It wasn’t too bad, but sort of a waste of satellite TV, in my opinion.

As far as my job goes, it seems to be progressing well. Today I actually was allowed to answer phones and try to talk to customers about booking rooms and such. There are so so so many details to remember that I can’t believe I will ever learn them by the end of the summer. This is the annoying girl’s second summer here, so she knows all the stuff and likes to boss me around. Thanks to her I was treated to my first experience of being told by someone younger than myself to fetch her things from around the office, so naturally I am inclined to want to break her neck.

Aside from having to listen to constant Cali-speak (the annoying girl is from San Diego), my office experience here is thus far very good. The boss is highly reminiscent of Henry Phillips of Press Citizen fame, so that will probably end up being a challenge to my patience. His name is Dick, so that just figures.

Anyway, I think my free time is up, so I need to let you go and get back to the grind. I hope that everyone is doing well and I’ll write again soon!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Summer in the Rockies

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to drop a quick line to all of you to let you know that I'm going away for the rest of the summer...yes, you guessed it--to the Rockies. Yesterday I accepted a job at a luxury dude ranch in Colorado. (Please stop laughing now.) This place is actually very swank, and I won't be wrangling horses or anything. :-) I am going to be one of 3 front desk people, so it's basically a summer office job, but in a fab location. Here is their website, should anyone be interested:


The main reason that I'm emailing is because I will have no cell phone service there, and very limited access to internet. So, I didn't want anyone thinking I had fallen off the face of the earth because I wasn't returning calls, etc... Apparently the nearest little town has a public library with internet, but I only get one day a week off (which will always vary), so I don't know how often I'll get to town. There is a phone in the lodge where I'll be living, but since it rings into all three staff lodging facilities and there's no way of knowing who will pick it up, I probably shouldn't bother giving it out. But, my mom has it if there's an emergency. Otherwise, I've got a trusty old calling card and free time from 8pm (Mountain time) on, so I'll definitely be making calls when possible. I'll have lots of "stuck on the ranch" nights to write people, so don't hesitate to send a letter or postcard or something. :-)

Anyway, I guess that's all for now. I hope all of you have a great summer and I'll see you in September (as the song goes...).