V is for Vacations

With summer approaching, many people are probably thinking about vacation.  I’m no different, though with limited funds and other plans this summer (namely my internship), any vacation I take this summer will be short and nearby.

I often wish that I were independently wealthy,  so that I could just take off to a number of vacation destinations.  Here are a few stops on my vacation bucket list…

Great Britain:  For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to go to England.  When I was younger and discovered “BritComs” on PBS, I wanted to go just to watch TV (weird, I know!).  But now that I am older I want to go for so many more reasons.  This is a country rich with history and beautiful sites to see.  I’m just not sure how I would do driving on the wrong side of the road…

Germany:  This is where my dad’s side of the family comes from.  And I’m fascinated with German history, especially during the world wars.  I don’t speak German though,  so I’d probably want to do this as a guided group tour.

Yellowstone National Park:  I have been there once, but only for a couple days, so I didn’t get to see everything.  I did see the geysers and Old Faithful, but I know there is much more to see.  I really want to go back and maybe stay for a week to take in all the sites in and around the park.

New York  City on New Year’s Eve:  So I’ve seen it on TV every year and it just looks like great fun to me.  I’d love to visit NYC anytime, but there is something about it in winter and New Years that seems magical (but maybe I just watch too many holiday movies set in the Big Apple).

There are plenty of other places I’d like to take a vacation, but there are places that stick with me and I dream about visiting someday, hopefully sooner than later.

U is for Umbrella

I thought umbrella a fitting word for the letter U, given all of the rain we have been getting this month.  If April showers really do bring May flowers, then even the worst gardeners among us should have flowerbeds overflowing next month!

As we slosh onward to a record April rainfall in Dayton, my umbrella has been a constant companion.  I used to favor a smaller umbrella.  It fit easily into my bag.  But high winds that tended to turn my umbrella inside out forced me to reconsider my wet weather needs.  So now I carry a larger umbrella, sometimes referred to as a stadium umbrella (though I know I’d never want to be sitting behind somebody at a ballgame who had one of these things open.  How would you see anything?)

Sometimes this umbrella is awkward to carry around and store, especially during a class, but I love it when it is raining.  It is very sturdy, so no more problems with the wind turning it inside out (though a big gust of wind almost took it out of my hands a few days ago).  It is nice and wide so it covers me, my book bag and probably half a dozen people if they wanted to get under it with me.  Okay that last bit may be a stretch, but there really is a lot of room under this umbrella!

As cool as I apparently think my big umbrella is, I will be happy to put it away and enjoy some warm, sunny, DRY days.

T is for Tabitha

Tabitha

Tabitha, wondering when I'm going to clean up my room

Tabitha is my middle cat, and the alpha female among my 3 cats.  She is the only cat I’ve ever purchased from a pet store.  I wanted a cat and fell in love with her when we stopped in a mall pet store to look at the animals.

She’s a bossy cat.  She comes up and sticks her face in my face in the middle of the night if she wants something, be it food or to get under the covers with me.  Those long whiskers of hers do the trick of waking me up!  And when I do get up to feed her, she meows a lot.  I’m not sure what she’s trying to tell me, but the tone definitely sounds bossy to my ears.

I’m not sure how or why, but Tabitha is the only cat I’ve had that didn’t get fat after she was fixed.  She is in good health and I’m sure she gets more than her fair share of food, being the top cat in the house.  I suppose, like people, cat metabolisms can vary due to genetics.  Because of this, I’ve nicknamed her Slim.

Tabitha sort of does her own thing.  She likes to sit in my lap if it isn’t already occupied by Azrael.  Sometimes, she randomly starts fights with Azrael.  I’m not sure why.  They are usually best buddies.  In fact, Tabitha was very motherly to Azrael when I brought her home as a kitten.  I suppose it is just a way of asserting her dominance, though I don’t notice her doing it to Chloe.  Or maybe she gets jealous.  Who knows????  Despite her demanding nature, Tabitha is a sweetie and I’m glad I have her.

S is for St Louis

My last post was about my trip to Colorado.  On our way there, we stopped in St Louis, MO just long enough to go up in the Gateway Arch.  I have seen the arch many times, but had never gone up in it.  It was a lot of fun and a great view from the top.

Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO

The Gateway Arch (aka Gateway to the West) is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.  It sits on the Mississippi River.  Visitors can ride a tram to the top of the arch.  It is pretty tight quarters in the tram car, but worth it once you get to the top.   The view of the river and the city is quite nice.

This is another place I’d like to go back to and spend more time.   I’d like to visit the Museum of Westward Expansion, take a river boat ride and I’m sure there is much more to do in St. Louis.  The drive for me would only be 7-8 hours, so I’m sure I’ll make it back sometime soon.

Arch Shadow

Gateway Arch shadow as seen from the top of the arch

R is for Rocky Mountain National Park

Two summers ago I took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and Yellowstone with a friend.  It was an amazing trip!  I absolutely love the Rocky Mountains!  There is something about them that puts me in awe more than other spectacles of nature.  I image it is their shear size.
I didn’t know about Rocky Mountain National Park until this trip, but now I am eager to go back.  The park is in Estes Park, CO.  There are plenty of beautiful trails for hiking, places to camp, and lots of wildlife to see.
You aren’t suppose to feed the wildlife, but visitors do it anyway.  One of the images that has stuck with me is of a portly chipmunk trying his best to get a hiker to toss him some granola.  My first thought was that wildlife isn’t suppose to be overweight!  In addition to seeing squirrels, birds and chipmunks, we also saw a lot of elk and some longhorn sheep.  I was told that seeing longhorn sheep is rare, so that was a special treat.

Chipmunk eating at Rocky Mt Nat'l Park

I would highly recommend Rocky Mountain National Park to anybody who wants to see and walk through this majestic mountain range.  We went in late summer.  The weather was nice and all I needed was a light jacket in the higher elevations.  This is one of the places I really want to get back to soon.

Elk at Rocky Mt Nat'l Park

Longhorn Sheep - Rocky Mt Nat'l Park

Q is for Quiet

Peace and quiet is a beautiful thing sometimes.  It is nice on a sunny, warm spring day to find a quiet spot in a park or outside at home to relax, unwind, and enjoy not having to think of anything.  To sit silently and watch a squirrel bury a nut that he may never find again or to listen to the birds chirping in the trees is a wonderful change from the hustle and bustle and stress of work and school.

I will be so glad when spring is here to stay and warm days are the norm.  Then I can spend time outside, unwind and de-stress in the peace and quiet of nature.

P is for Physical Plant

What is a physical plant?  This is what one of my friends asked me what I told her I got a job at WSU’s Physical Plant.  So let me enlighten you…

Physical Plant is the department at Wright State that performs maintenance, custodial and grounds duties on campus.  I work in the customer service center (which is NOT the same as campus information, though we somehow get several calls a day asking for numbers to other campus departments).  We take the work requests people have and write them up for the various shops in our department.

Our office issues university keys.  Anybody who follows me on Facebook and pays attentions to my statuses knows that keys are my pet-peeve.  The process is pretty straightforward – if you need a key your department fills out a key request form, sends it to my office and we get it to the lock shop.  After the key is cut, my office calls to let you know your key is ready and you come to sign it out.  After you’re done with the key, you turn it back in to my office and we take it off your record.  Not all departments follow this procedure, especially about turning keys in.  Some departments simply hold on to the keys and as one employee leaves, they give that person’s key to their successor.  This makes accurate record keeping difficult.  My co-worker and I have tried to put measures in place that allow these departments to keep the keys, but also get us the paperwork we need to track who has what keys.

My office is also the official campus lost & found.  There are other lost & found drop-off points on campus, but most of them bring their items to us after a period of time.  We hold on to items for 30 days.  Unclaimed items go to Excess & Surplus Property Management (ESPM).  This department sells or discards as appropriate,  all manner of campus furniture, electronics and other items that campus offices no longer need.  Monies made from the sale of lost & found items goes into the campus scholarship fund to benefit students.

So that’s a brief overview of the role I play in Physical Plant.  If you are on campus for the legendary final May Daze,  stop by our table.   We will have more info on lost and found, recycling on campus and a chance to win Dayton Dragon tickets,  courtesy of our custodial manager.  To win you will need to correctly guess how many keys are in a container at our table.