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Christmas in New Mexico

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 2:48 PM

On Christmas Eve morning, we left Denver at about 6:45 am to head down to Los Alamos for Christmas.  The drive went pretty well and we only encountered bad roads on I-25 just north of Walsenburg, CO and on the south side of La Veta Pass.  We stopped for lunch at Orlando's in Taos before heading the rest of the way into Los Alamos.

Upon arriving in Los Alamos, we went to Grandma Church's house where we met her and my aunt Betsy.  We then headed over to my uncle Alan's house and took a tour of it and chatted with Grandma, Alan, and Betsy for a while before heading up Barranca Mesa to my dad's.  At my dad's house, we helped light luminarias before we headed back down to Grandma Church's house for dinner.  After dinner we headed back to my dad's house and then relaxed before heading to bed.

I do have to make a note about the luminarias though.  My dad's neighborhood has a tradition that the entire street of Los Pueblos puts out luminarias on Christmas Eve.  The county turns off the streetlights so that the only lights on the entire street are the luminarias.  Cars come from all over Los Alamos and turn off their headlights as they drive down the street to look at them.  It was very cool.

Christmas morning we woke up and opened presents with Dad, Ivy, and Micah, then we had breakfast and settled in for a relaxing day.  We really didn't do much that day except hang out and eat the wonderful turkey dinner that Ivy prepared.

On Friday, we got up and had breakfast then headed to Santa Fe with Dad, Ivy, and  Micah.  The first stop was at Best Buy to exchange Micah's XBox that had died on Christmas day.  We then parted ways and Andrea and I went over to the Plaza where we got her favorite strawberry tarts from the French Pastry Shop at the La Fonda Inn.  We then went and looked at the Christmas Store on the Plaza, and then went and toured the Cathedral of St. Francis to see their Christmas decorations. 

After we left Santa Fe, we met my friends, Scott and Marianne, at Gabriel's between Santa Fe and Pojoaque for dinner.  The food was pretty good there and the margaritas were some of the best I've ever had.  After dinner, we headed back up to Los Alamos for the night.

On Saturday, we relaxed for most of the morning before going on a drive down into the valley with my dad.  He took us to Romero's Fruit Stand, north of Española, which is truly in another world from any market I've been in in the US.  We then drove north to Abiquiu and Bode's Market (also in another world), before continuing up north of Abiquiu to see Perdenal (Georgia O'Keefe's mountain).  We then drove back toward Española and through the Ohkay Owingeh reservation on our way to doing some wine tasting at Black Mesa and La Chiripada Wineries before heading back to Los Alamos to pick up Ivy and Micah.  We then went back down to Española for dinner at La Paragua.  The food and margaritas were both excellent there.  After dinner we drove back up to Los Alamos and I played Micah in some Call of Duty and NCAA Football on his new XBox before heading to bed.

On Sunday, we woke up and Dad made pancakes for breakfast.  After loading up the car, we talked for a while before we left dad's house for Grandma Church's.  We got to Grandma Church's at around 11 and talked to her for about an hour and a half, sharing stories from our visit to Peru this summer, since she had visited Peru in 1987.  After that, we headed out of Los Alamos at around 1.  We stopped at Vivac Winery in the gorge and then continued on to Taos where we had lunch at Orlando's again.  After Orlando's, we continued toward home.  We met Andrea's friend, Jessie, and her husband, Matt, in Colorado Springs on the way home for dinner too.

It was a really good trip and a great time.  Thinking back, I'm pretty sure it was my first Christmas with my dad since I was in 6th grade.  Photos from the weekend are here.

 
By: Shane
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Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008 9:21 AM

Merry Christmas from snowy Los Alamos!

Posted using Stirling Blog on Windows Mobile

 
By: Shane
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Heather Rings the Closing Bell on the NYSE

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 2:21 PM

Today, my sister, Heather, was among the Volunteers of America Sidewalk Santas that got to ring the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange.  She's a social worker in New Jersey for Volunteers of America.  I'm not sure how she got to do this, but it's pretty cool nonetheless.

Check out the archive video of the event (it's 2 whole minutes long) at www.nyse.com.

 
By: Shane
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Stirling Weather Updated

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 12:28 PM

StirlingWeatherCollage Stirling Weather 1.2.3279 on Windows Mobile Standard and 2.2.3279 on Windows Mobile Professional contains a major rewrite of the application launching logic.  The application  now remembers the previously selected location on startup.  Startup performance is also significantly improved when more than one location is available.  Stirling Weather now only retrieves updated data for the selected location on startup, refreshing other locations when they are selected.  The Update menu item still forces a refresh of all data.  This new version also requires the .NET Compact Framework 3.5.

Download for Windows Mobile Standard here

Download for Windows Mobile Professional here

 
By: Shane
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Stirling Blog

Monday, December 22, 2008 5:00 PM

I'm posting this post from my T-Mobile Dash with a new program that I'm working on called Stirling Blog. It works using the MetaWeblog API. Right now, I just have it set up for my blog, but will shortly make it more generic for general release.

The photo is my desk at the Fed Center, also taken by the Dash using Stirling Blog.

Posted using Stirling Blog on Windows Mobile

 
By: Shane
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Brrrrrr!

Monday, December 15, 2008 8:42 AM

Denver Cold 20081215Brrrrrr!  We woke up this morning to a temperature of -17° F here in Denver with a wind chill of -36° F.   Last night set a new record low of -18° F officially.  The previous record was -6° F, set in 1951.  Frost was climbing up pretty much all of the windows in our house and the solarium windows were completely frosted over.  The picture below is the windows in our kitchen this morning.

Frost climbs the windows of the kitchen on December 15, 2008

All I have to say is, "Brrrrrr!"

 
By: Shane
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Tubalow? Coldest TubaChristmas Ever!

Sunday, December 14, 2008 5:28 PM

Today was TubaChristmas 2008 in Denver.  After church this morning, I drove downtown in the snow to play in TubaChristmas.  This year was the smallest TubaChristmas attendance that I've ever seen, with about 150 tubas and euphoniums.  The temperature outside at the start of the concert at 1 pm was officially -3° F, or "Tubalow" as the joke went.  Valves were freezing all over and I managed to be one of about 25 whole people who had no frozen valves at the end of the concert.  It definitely was one of the worst TubaChristmas concerts that I've been a part of as far as music goes, but one of the most entertaining because of all the joking and laughing around the frozen valves.

Photos from TubaChristmas 2008

Update - December 15, 2008 10:10 am:

TubaChristmas in the Rocky Mountain News and 9News.

 
By: Shane
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This is Baton Rouge, right?

Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:20 PM

Snow in Baton Rouge - December 11, 2008

My mom woke up this morning to four and a half inches of snow . in Baton Rouge, Louisiana!  The power's out at there house in Zachary and she can't go to work because all of the bridges over the Mississippi are all closed.  The National Weather Service has even issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of central Louisiana!

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
809 AM CST THU DEC 11 2008
A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TODAY.
A STRONG AND COLD UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM COMBINED WITH LOW
PRESSURE OVER THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE WILL CAUSE RAIN TO MIX WITH
SLEET AND SNOW THIS MORNING ACROSS EAST CENTRAL LOUISIANA...
SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AND EXTREME SOUTHWEST MISSISSIPPI AND COASTAL
MISSISSIPPI. THE WINTRY MIX HAS CHANGED OVER TO MOSTLY SNOW...
DURING OF THE MORNING RUSH HOUR ACROSS BATON ROUGE AND THIS SNOW
IS EXPECTED TO SPREAD EAST THIS MORNING.
TWO TO FOUR INCHES OF SNOW ACCUMULATION WILL BE POSSIBLE ON
GRASSY AREAS...AND ELEVATED ROAD SURFACES LIKE BRIDGES AND
OVERPASSES. SNOW ACCUMULATION OF TWO INCHES ON HIGHWAYS AND
ROADWAYS...ESPECIALLY INTERSTATE 12 AND INTERSTATE 55. MANY
ACCIDENTS WERE REPORTED BY STATE POLICE IN THE BATON ROUGE AREA
AND THIS THREAT WILL SPREAD EAST.
A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW...
SLEET...AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO
POSSIBLE.  THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.

Snow in Louisiana???  Perish the thought!

Update - 12:20 pm:

The photo below is from my mom's back yard this morning.

 
By: Shane
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University at Buffalo – 2008 MAC Football Champions

Saturday, December 6, 2008 1:52 PM

University at Buffalo Bulls

Last night, in Detroit, Andrea's law school alma mater, the UB Bulls, won their first MAC title over #12 Ball State 42-24.  The win was UB's first over a team in the top 25, and capped a remarkable turnaround over the last two years.  Since 1999, when UB moved to Division I-A, the only I-A team with a worse record was Duke.

UB's next game will be the first bowl game in school history at the International Bowl in Toronto on January 3, 2009.  UB's only previous bowl invitation was exactly 50 years ago this year, when they turned down the invitation to the 1958 Tangerine Bowl because the stadium would not allow black players inside.  Read the remarkable story of that 1958 UB team on ESPN's Outside the Lines.

Go Bulls!

 
By: Shane
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Thanksgiving in Iowa

Friday, December 5, 2008 2:51 PM

Last week, I flew out to Omaha on Wednesday to meet Andrea for Thanksgiving.  Andrea had driven out on Sunday to spend the whole week with her family.  I flew into Omaha, because, despite being only a two hour drive from Des Moines, it was $600 cheaper to fly there.  The whole flight went well on Southwest and I only had to wait at the airport for about 20 minutes before Andrea picked me up.  We then drove back to Des Moines and then met Andrea's friend Emily and her husband Josh for dinner.

Thursday we got up and I relaxed while Andrea and her mom finished cooking for Thanksgiving dinner.  We then went over to Andrea's sister's house for dinner.  As you can see in the picture, it was a big crowd.  I played with Brenden and kept him entertained while they finished making dinner.  The food was fabulous, and, as always, I ate way too much.  After dinner we just went back to Andrea's parents' house and relaxed for the rest of the day.

On Friday morning, we got up pretty early because Andrea and her mom wanted to go shopping.  Brenden didn't want to go, so he stayed at the house and watched football and played with his cars with me.  We pretty much did that all day, and after dinner, we went to see Disney on Ice with Connie, Brenden, and Diana, which was a lot of fun.

On Saturday, Andrea and I got up and went to Younkers to look at silver.  We had a large store credit since we had to return all of the silver that we had received as a wedding present because all of the gold had came off the first time we washed it.  We found a new pattern that we liked and then got that ordered.  We then went home and picked everyone up to go up to visit Grandma and Grandpa Love up in Woodward.  After that, we drove back down to Ankeny and went to see Bolt before going back to Andrea's parents'.  Andrea and I then went to a different Younkers to try to get her a coat she liked before they closed.  Unfortunately they didn't have it either, but we did end up getting a nice one for me.

On Sunday, we got on the road back to Denver around 10:30.  After a brief interlude of taking pictures of the new MidAmerican Energy wind farm in western Iowa, we cruised the rest of the way to Denver.  We got terrible gas mileage because of a strong cross wind the whole way and got back into Denver around 8 pm. 

Pictures from the weekend are in the photo album.

 
By: Shane
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