Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday's Deal

Hello. Apparently more people read my blog than I know. Great to hear! My apologies to those that don't get noticed, I always appreciate hearing from you the readers.

So I took my placement exam today for the 2010 Census. I got 25 out of 28 correct. An 89%, not too bad, but I should of done better. I did do the practice test ahead of time. Oh well. I won't know for a couple weeks if I will be hired. The waiting game...gotta love it.

I have decided to take pictures of around town for you people to see. Each time I walk somewhere (which is about everyday), or run I decide that I like this town more and more. Granted it's small and there are not many jobs, etc. but it has character! Even when I walk downtown at night I can look up and see stars, not too much light pollution here. Ahhhhhh. I'm looking forward to the other seasons...especially spring and summer!

For those who haven't heard, which is probably most of you, I plan so far to stay here until Spring of 2010. Reasoning is that when I would finish here this December I would probably have trouble finding a Graduate program to take on a new Graduate Assistant (GA) for a spring semester. So my thought is, start applying this fall for a GA position slated to start Summer 2010. So far I'm looking at Wake Forest or Appalachia State-both of which are in Mid/Western North Carolina. Whoop Whoop. Who knows what could occur from now till then, but it's good to have goals set ahead of myself and strive towards them.

Why Wake and Appalachia? Well, Scott got his Master's degree at Wake and has contacts there and Appalachia State is known for putting out good research-a sign of determined professors. I really have no clue what the people/professors at these schools are like (at least Appalachia) but it's worth a looksie.

In other news, I am on Skype now ( My username is alsmithskypes. If you have Skype and would like to chat, I am online almost all the time-except when I am out of the apartment. Evenings work great! If you don't have Skype and would like to download it, you can do so for free at the link provided 3 lines above. All's you need is an internet connection and a microphone.

Let's see what else...

I am planning to go skiing on Saturday! Yay. It will be my first downhill skiing experience in Colorado. I will see how my Pennsylvania upbringing in Skiing handles these real mountains.

I have befriended some more folks and tomorrow evening along with Scott and Liz I will be going to a informal dinner/pre-race gathering at one of the lecturer's house from the college whose name is Becky. I met here as well as her and Scott and Liz's friend Jessie at Scott and Liz's' house last weekend. Very fun people...a little bit older than me but good to be around adults close to my age. Should be fun.

Otherwise, I am planning tentatively to come home around the 9th or 10th of April in time for Easter. Not 100% sure yet, but it's a plan. That about does it for now. Stay warm PA-ya wimps! Haha. Just kidding:) Ttys (talk to you soon)

Monday, January 26, 2009


So I was thinking yesterday/last night/this morning-I really have been leaving those of you that read this regularly in the dark somewhat. More so I mean I have been fairly vague in descriptions and most definitely lax in updates day to day.

Let's start from the top. Today in about an hour Scott and I will be testing Cancer Patient # 2. We are getting this opportunity to test the patient through a friend at the hospital. Our hope is to have these patients come in every 4 to 8 weeks to be tested to see if their function is improving. So basically, the test we do is a walking test with air analysis (aka VO2 test). We monitor BP(blood pressure), RPE(ratings of perceived exertion-mental tiredness), and HR(heart rate) in addition to what kind of air exchange they are yielding. Ideally, we would like to get reimbursed through their insurance companies for our time and lab fees.

In apartment news, I did a little bit of rearranging again. This time I just moved my bed the other direction. I have finally figured out what to do with the big mirror I brought. I just need a few cinder blocks now. In disappointing news, I had to reorder contacts for my eyes from Tarnoffs in Indiana and the lady in charge sent me my old prescription. So I am really ticked because not only did they take 3 weeks to get them to me, then they sent the wrong items, even after I told the lady on the phone that I wear the same kind in both eyes (I have astigmatism and therefore I wear a different kind than I used to). So, in the end I am upset because I already paid them a month ago and now I have completely useless contacts sitting in my bathroom. The lesson to be learned is to double check and listen carefully when taking orders or communicating with others.

In hockey news. I am playing in a competitive ice hockey league here. The first nice thing about it is that I literally walk out my apartment building turn right and walk about 3 short blocks and make a left and I'm at the rink. Couldn't ask for easier convenience. We play twice a week; Mondays and Wednesdays. The team is a mixture of 30, 40 and 50 year olds. I am probably 1 of 4 that are in their 20's.

In job search news I called today to the Colorado Springs recruiting office for the 2010 Census and I have an appointment for this Thursday to apply and take the placement/qualification exam here in Gunnison-so no traveling is required. The lady I spoke with on the phone seemed very pleasant and I think I have a good chance of being hired-possibly because of the area I live in. More to follow about that.

For those that I did not tell or that missed it the first time around, I am planning to run in a 25K trail race in May. I have been running either on my own or with Scott pretty religiously here and find breathing during such exercise easier with each time. Yesterday Scott and I ran 5 miles in 40 some minutes and around 4.2 miles on Saturday in 37 some minutes. I never was a big-time runner so it's slowly growing on me. I still prefer my strength workouts but running is a new escape and it's not as painful as it was when I first arrived.

That's all for now folks. I'll try to be back at you on Wednesday this week. I realize that of the 30+ people who are readers of this blog, that probably on 50% actually do read it. What can you do? I'm just glad about those who do read and follow along; thank you. Ttys (talk to you soon)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Hello. Sorry to leave you with a dismal post last time. It becomes hard sometimes as we all may know and I thank the people that were encouraging of my "struggle." I have not found anything new yet, but I am placing a call first thing Monday morning to the Colorado Springs 2010 Census Bureau office to see if I can land a j0b doing such. This idea was brought to my attention by Grandma Carol and Grandpa Bob. I have hope in this possibility.

Like last time, things continue to pick up in the Lab. I am working hand-in-hand with some of Scott's students and from there they are starting to seek me out for help in studying/learning of new subject material. Finally, I am useful! Haha, I always have been but it feels good to connect and assist others.

A short post I know, but I am getting ready to go running again with Scott and Liz. I am adapting to this high altitude better and better each day. Gotta work it out. I'm planning to run in a 25k trail race in May so I gotta be tip top. Take care and hope to hear from you guys (any and all of you) soon!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The struggle continues...

On a positive note, the weather here is +12 degrees and for once it is cloudy! I know that sounds really odd but after sun and blue skies every day for the last 2 weeks its nice to have some clouds. Furthermore, the temperature didn't dip below 0 last night I believe. Nice to have some "warm" weather.

On a negative note, I am still searching for a part-time job in addition to my lab duties. Since I am only required 20 hours a week and am able to complete all of my intended duties in that 20 hours, I have a lot of free time. Also realizing that of the money I make in a month (I get paid monthly) about 65% of it immediately goes back out the door in the form of bills or loan repayments. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm not sure yet how I'm going to eek through February on a pro-rated check for part of January.

My life feels like a movie of the drama-type. Entertaining to the outside viewer but stressful and nerve-racking to me the actor. Granted there are worst things that could happen, and I still have a room to live in and food to eat; but, I just have a lot of uncertainties about the next month.

You may say, 'why not get another part-time job?' Well, I have applied or inquired to about 10 places so far and all have come up negative or there is the "check back in spring time" response.
Do I regret moving here? No, I am glad to be here doing what I am doing; good will come around to help me in the end. The experience I am getting here should rate me highly when applying for a graduate assistant position later this year. Though one worry I have is that most graduate programs take new GA's into their programs in fall and I will still be working here in fall. Hope that spring time 2010 looks promising!

If you have positive news to share, by all means. I am still smiling and doing my regular routine. I just have this mental shard in the posterior of my brain that digs and reminds me of my human existence. Hope all is well.


Monday, January 19, 2009

No. 21.11

Okay, so I finally manifested a way for you the readers to see all my photos since Day 1 when I left Indiana. If you look under the heading :

Related Info (For your entertainment)

you will see I created a link to my pictures online. It should (and will I hope) take you to Picasa Web Albums were I have made my photos public. From here on out, I will tell you that new photos have been posted and a reminder of where to look again. Hope all is well. Stay warm.


No. 21.1

P.S. All of the pictures from this album for today are to the left in the slide show. If you missed the last slide show then go to this link

That should let you see all the photos I have online through Picasa Web Albums. Thankee.
Posted by Picasa

No. 21

Posted by Picasa
I went hiking today. The theme of today's hike was follow the deer. As you can see from the one picture, I came into a small heard and decided to use their tracks as my means of traversing the mountain. I figured they were smart enough to know where to and where not to go. The pictures of the big white area are the Blue Mesa Lake-which is the lake from my pictures on Saturday. I was only about 10 minutes from Gunnison on Highway 50 West. Who wants to visit?? Haha, take care. Talk to some of you soon I hope.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

No. 20.1


If you have been wanting to see more photos, well now is your chance; and the great thing is you don't even have to leave this page! As you will see, directly to your left at the top of the blog I now have a picture slide show set up. Just click on the pictures to see them enlarged; or, you can hover over them and scroll left or right. Sorry it took me so long but now it is done. New pictures will be added sporadically. I will inform you the readers though when I do add new. Thanks and enjoy!!!

No. 20

Hey ya'll! More than a week that I've been here now. It goes well thank you. I have Liz and Scott to thank for making it enjoyable; though, I suppose I would find something to do eventually if they didn't choose to invite me over on the weekends for food, fun, and great conversation. It's funny to think that I've only known Scott and Liz (again Scott is my supervisor and Liz is his fiance) for a little more than a week but we already are sharing crazy/inappropriate stories and burping freely. It's very comforting to fit in with them so easily. I would be miserable if I didn't I'd say.

In business news, the lab continues to go well. I am working on creating our Corporation Competition (Corp Comp). Kinda my idea that Scott wants me to run with. Pitting the various service corporations in Gunnison against one-another. The goal is to measure health levels and see what team/corporation/business can become the healthier of the groups. The winning group gets a free membership to the local gym and maybe 6 free personal training sessions with me. The idea is that we will get people in the lab for testing and be able to charge them a fee to enter the contest. In the end, we/I gotta get them to see the benefit of improving their health.

So yesterday, Scott and Liz and I traveled about 50 some miles West to Montrose, Colorado. probably about 15-20,000 people live in that area vs the 5-6,000 or so that live here in Gunnison but it isn't that much of a step up. They have a super Wal-Mart there, JCPenny, Target, and 2 small movie theaters! (vs. the 0 movie theaters we have). It was funny to travel there b/c I joked that it was like taking a summer vacation because the weather there was in the 40's vs the single digits we have back here in Gunny valley. In case you are wondering how we manage to have cold weather and snow regardless of the surrounding areas (Montrose, Denver, etc); first off, we are up at 7,703 feet above sea level; secondly, we are surrounded by mountains-almost in an oddly shaped plateau with no square boundaries. All this in turn allows the cold air from the mountains to sink in the evening and make it quite chilly here. On average, we have the coldest temperatures night in and night out of the whole US. Though, Scott's brother, who lives up in Ely Minnesota, competes with us for the coldest temperature many nights. Granted, I said the most consistent cold temperature. Another fun/funny thing is the forecast here. Almost guaranteed, we have sun and blue skies every day! Look up Gunnison, CO on a weather website and you'll see what I mean. There may be a few party cloudy days but we get 300 days of sunshine here I'm told. So, we may be high in the mountains and chilled every night by negative temperatures, but we get lots of sun:)

So i'll put this link for pictures to the trip to Montrose here. It actually goes to my facebook account. If anyone is having trouble seeing these photos please (PLEASE) let me know. Hope you all are well.


Link to photos:

P.S. Directly below this sentence is the option to leave a comment. Just click on the blue "comment" button to leave feedback. Tis that easy. Thanks and let's talk soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No. 19

Greetings once again my fine readers. I am doing well. I just enjoyed my first official meal. Well, that sounds like I haven't been eating the last week, but what I meant is, I actually went to the CityMarket, got food, and cooked real food and not PB and J's. I made a mixture of ground beef (from Rob, Steph, and Mom) and used various spices along with green and red peps, onions, and shrooms for a nice robust meaty/veggie taste. And of course to top it off, I got some homegrown corn from Indiana (which I brought along) for a nice yellow additive to the meal.

Hard to believe, but tomorrow will mark 1 week since I've been here! Time is ticking and I can't stop it; nor do I want to. Today in the lab was a fun day. We (Scott and I) had a cancer patient/survivor in for a FC test (Functional Capacity). We did gas analysis as well as HR (heart rate) BP (blood pressures), and RPE (ratings of percieved exertion-very much a mental assesement of the activity). The patient did well and we are hoping to offer more such services to any such patients residing in the Gunnison Valley.

The lab is slowly picking up pace. I have scheduled 2 clients to come in for testing in the next 2 coming weeks so I hope that will continue to increase. I am working, or about to start assembling, a write-up for getting corporations in Gunnison (banks, businesses, etc) into the lab for some competitive co-worker vs. co-worker testing. This in turn could lead to me gaining clients with whom to work with outside of the lab at a fitness club-increasing their fitness/health levels. Like I said though, it's all on my shoulders to develope a write-up/game plan/program that will get people from the community into the lab. So that's on the plate, as well as putting together an Ultra-Eudurance Summer Training Camp at the college for this July perhaps. Much to do; goals are set. Time to go about meeting them.

The apartment as you can see in the above pictures is all set up now. I finished it last night (Wednesday). I still am slow to make new friends. I have met a small number of students and all have been quite nice, though I don't see them outside of the lab-so my nights are spent entertaining myself. Although, I started playing in the competitive hockey league here in town. I play on Monday and Wednesday nights. Good stuff. They have an outdoor rink here as well as an indoor one. The single digit temperatures make for nice solid ice. I like it, compared to the softer, warmer ice back home.

I'm only getting comments from one person (Thanks Marge), I'd love to hear from more people. I know this isn't very personal, and that I am reaching a larger number of people by writing for you all to read; but, if you write me I will write you back. Think it over. Let's talk soon.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No 18.55

Crested Butte, a look at one of the popular shop streets (yes Scott is running away from the camera as Liz watches)

Scooter and Lizzy

Not some random Asian, though good guess. My former professor Dr. Andrew Shim came out to visit for the weekend

Crested Butte (CB)

Part of Hartman's Rocks, looking out Scott and Liz's backdoor

X-country skiing

Driving to Gunnison, about an hour or so out of Denver


The little ridge of look-alike clouds in the middle picture way in the distance is actually the start of the Rockies!!

Not clouds, Mountains

Each black spot represents a cow, Black Angus none-the-less...yum

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No. 18

The college from Scott and Liz's house (beneath the water towers)

First picture of the college

Coming into town from the East and seeing WSC

Monarch Pass, the worst possible way to get to where you need to go. This was the scarest part of the trip for sure. Summit of this pass is 11,000 plus feet (see picture below)

Mountain plateau, past Fairplay, CO

My new residence. My apartment is in the upper left corner. The porch marks the one side of my room.

Well, I am finally in my apartment and almost set up!! Yay, about freakin' time! Umm...I need to hang pictures yet but other than that its about all done. What a process and it's only a small apartment. I suddenly feel rather tired tonight and don't know how much I will write, though I have been promising this and that and something about pictures for a few days now so I best do so.

A quick stint about my job: it is going well. I start work everyday at noon (who's jealous??) and I am done by 4:30 (M-Tu-Wed) and by 3pm (Thur-Fri). So far it has been just getting things cleaned (my own desicion) and planning the upcoming events we (Scott, my new supervisor and friend) have decided are necessary for this semester/summer. I will get more pictures of the lab up soon, though most of them are already available on the web through the links to your left (no the other left-haha).

New friends? Not quite yet, though Scott and his wife-to-be Liz (Scooter and Lizzy-as you may hear them referenced sometimes) have been most gracious and taken me under their respective wings. As you may know, I spent all weekend at their house, which is about 3 miles out of town towards these kick-ass hiking/running/x-country skiing area known as Hartman's Rocks ( Feel free to check out the website if you please.

The campus is small, but not as small as some division 2 colleges. As it stands, the college is investing money in renovating older buildings slowly, and building a new student union on top of the site of the old one. The students seem farily nice and some of them smile when they pass you, and some ignore you. Though, in Wright Gymnasium-where I work, the students all seem to look in at least to see who the crap is the bald-headed man sitting in the lab.

The town of Gunnison is fairly small but I find it cute, in a non-attractive way, unless I am 30 sheets to the wind I suppose. I enjoy being able to walk everywhere for the most part. Grocery store, Walmart (yea, I know), Wells Fargo, ACE Hardware (my new favorite store I think for the time being), and of course the small town restraunts with unique flavor and styles.

Enough with the jargon, get to the pictures....Okay okay. So with out further adue I present you a small collection of photographs taken on my journey out here as well as the last few days of living/learning here in Gunny. Take care and make sure to add yourself as a follower of my blog. You can do so by scolling down on the left-hand side (yep, that side) and underneath the 'Blog Archive' you will see the people currently following. Click 'Follow This Blog' to get email updates to your email (the one you used for your log-in) of when I post new stuff.

Feel free to leave comments and/or email is always welcomed.

Thanks and chao.

P.S. If you want clarification of the pictures and what they are please let me know.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No. 17

Hello from Gunnison Colordao!!!!!!!!!

I made it yesterday (Friday) around 1 pm local time (Mountain Time). Pretty interesting drive. As you may recall, yesterday's drive was to be the final push as well as the most dangerous because of the mountain passes I had to traverse. Once I get my computer set up I will post pictures of the drive, the scenery, the apartment, the campus, etc.!

I apologize for the short post but I am on my new supervisor Scott's labtop and we are relaxing a bit after a morning of cross-country skiing into the mountains. Great stuff, got a good sweat going. I have not really noticed the alititude affecting me really out here; good to know. We see how the week pans out.

More to come. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Greetings from Loveland, Colorado! Today I crossed into the land known as Colorado; home of the Rockies amongst other great things. My first impression was suprising because I thought I would immeditiely see mountains and be in aw; but, it took the better part of the evening till I arrived here in Loveland until I saw the Rockies. Lets just say, once I finally got to see them I was amazed. If you would like to look on a map, I came in on Interstate 76 from Nebraska and then headed West on Route 14 towards Windsor and then on to Loveland.

The mountains at first were just clouds and I was really wondering when they would appear. As the clouds across the horizon got closer the further West I headed, I realized that they weren't just clouds but mountains! Haha, ohh entertainment.

So, tonight I am staying my last night on the road and I am very grateful to be staying with my cousin Renee (who is the sister of my other cousin Lory-whom I stayed with last night). So this has been a tour of country side with a touch of family visiting-both of which I enjoy.

When asked if I was bored with the road I reply 'no,' because around every turn (well to be politically correct about the landscape out here) over every little rise in the road I see new territory I've never seen before and because of such, the entertainment is endless.

As you may know, tomorrow marks the last and shortest day of traveling. I will be finally reaching my destination in Gunnison! Whoop whoop. I have been checking the weather right now in the area I will be traveling to, and hopefully I will get into town before the snow hits.

Keep me in your thoughts as I make my final push. It may be a few days till I update again as I will need to get my computer set up and everything, but I promise you I will splurge much more about my impressions of traveling West once I have more time on my hands. Also, I have been taking lots of pictures so I will be posting those as well. Catch ya'll on the flip side!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No. 15

Well today finds me in Lincoln Nebraska staying with my cousin Lory. So far the trip has been uneventful-which is good. I had some freezing rain coming out of PA yesterday on my way to Illinois and my sister Erica, brother-in law Ev, and darling niece Elana. I had a nice stay with them though very short.

In other news, Lory showed me where she worked at the Univ. of Nebraska. Pretty neat stuff, she works in the stadium there with athletes and I got a tour of the expensive and expansive facilities. Always nice to catch up with family. Tomorrow I am off to Renee Early's (a Baker girl too). Her and her husband Todd live in Loveland, CO (just north of Denver). I'll stay the night there and have some good eats I hear:)

The road has been good to me. Today was the longest part of the trip and the next 2 days will be cake comparatively. The winds of norther Illinois and Eastern Iowa really did a number on my gas mileage; I got the worst of the trip so far pulling the trailer through there. The whole time it felt like I was pulling a parachute and not a trailer because of the damn wind. Glad that's past! Tomorrow's trip should be a delight because the mountains are about to rise up before me. Yay for scenery. I'll be sure to take some nice photos for posting later.

Tune back in soon. I'll try to update tomorrow. Later ya'll.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No. 14.5

Let this be my last official post from Indiana. I am going to miss this place; the people; and the comfort of calling this home. I'm not feeling big on words right now-can't say I'm choking on them either-just feel preoccupied too much to think a proper final post.

Perhaps a trek on the open road today will help jostle the mind some for a better chronicle of Day 1 on the road.

As I have said to some, be well and stay active! Love in all you do and say. An easy guidepost to go by: If I wouldn't do it, then you probably shouldn't either. Much Love to everyone. Thank you for a good solid 24 years of overall bliss. We shall meet again...


Monday, January 5, 2009

No. 14

Picked up the Uhaul trailer this morning. Dad and I are going to load it tonight when he gets off work. It's bigger inside than I thought, so I have good faith that I'll fit all my "crap" into it. Whew. Gonna be a tight fit!

My final full day in Indiana...

Already the day is creeping away and I can't stop it. I say to myself I'm prepared to leave Indiana and all the wonderful people I love, but I don't think I really am. Though, I will just have to struggle through those emotions I feel, when I feel them, like I've done before with other situations. Tis all for the better in the end.

If I don't get a chance to say goodbye to you, I'll offer up my cell phone number in case anyone would like to call. I now have hands-free bluetooth capabilities on my cell piece so I can talk while driving. My number is 724 388 5449. Feel free to buzz me at any point this week. I'll do one final post from here at home tomorrow and then I'm mobile! To Colorado and beyond...


Sunday, January 4, 2009

No. 13

Thank you to all that made it to my going-away party. I am very touched in retrospect to have had a good deal of people up to see me off. It means a lot when the people that really matter show up to support you and just their presence says that they are thinking of you and care about your future. I will miss all of you in one way or another and really hope that this blog keeps us connected in some way, shape, or form.

I could not ask for a better support network of friends and family. May I find all of you in the future face to face again. Till then, be well, work hard, and stay up on life. I love you all.


Friday, January 2, 2009

No. 12

Oh boy, well its now Friday and the weekend will go fairly quick-at least tomorrow because it's going to be a social day for me. For those that are attending my going away party at Steph and Robs' house, I look forward to seeing you there. 6-7pm. 210 Concord Street, Indiana, PA!

Come Sunday night/Monday morning I should about have everything boxed up and ready to load the U-haul come Monday night. I'm neither nervous nor excited. I'm just here and now. Said my good-byes today to the other employees of Gatti Pharmacy. I will miss that job. 7 years I worked there...which is the longest I've ever held a job. Anyways, about that time to say the rest of my good-byes the next few days. To not say good-bye is to admit that I'm not leaving so therefore I must because I will be gone for a number of months; and perhaps it is possible that I may never see some people again.

Well, see some of you tomorrow and the rest of you I wish you well if I don't see you.