For those who have been wondering where I've been for the past couple of days, the answer is: "What is at the annual CEA conference in Colorado Springs". CEA is the Colorado Education Association and every year they host a conference on the Front Range of Colorado. While it is primarily geared towards teachers (public and institutional alike), the Colorado State Library in conjunction with the Colorado Correctional Libraries plans a day of fun for us library folk. So, I headed over on Sunday afternoon to Buena Vista, CO with my friend Jeanne, another prison librarian. The plan was to spend the day with her, visit the two correctional facitilies in Buena Vista and then drive with her to "the Springs" early Monday morning. We took a rather unusual (at least for me) route to Buena Vista via Interstate 70 and then Highway 24 through Leadville, CO--elevation 10,200 feet). We had to take a detour in Leadville to get around a parade which allowed me to see some beautiful "painted ladies" Victorian era homes. I also was able to take a few pictures of the mountains from my car (see below). Anyway, Jeanne & I had a lot of fun sharing workplace gossip and eating steaks and Olathe Sweet sweet corn. Jeanne had picked some up at the while in the area for the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival. This is a big deal if you like crowds, corn and country music. Olathe is about 10 minutes from Montrose, FYI. We woke up at the crack of dawn, and I watched the sun peak out over the foothills out Jeanne's windows. Those are some beautiful views! We left for Colorado Springs around 8:30 in the morning and arrived at the Park Plaza Hotel. It's a good thing that the state was paying for my room (and I'm forever greatful to them for providing a roof over my head), because I don't think I would spend my own moo-lah to stay there. This hotel used to be a Holiday Inn back in the day but it was brought out. The story stops there because almost nothing was done to the hotel to improve it's star rating. Enough said.
The conference, on a scale of 1 to 10 would get about a 6. We librarians enjoyed a session called, "Everything you need to know about the Intranet" which explained the ins and out of the new Correctional Libraries intranet. I picked up a few pointers and had fun catching up with my collegues. After the session, friends Patti, Jeanne, Miriam & I took to the streets in search of dinner. Patti led us to Guiseppe's, an Italian restraunt housed in an old train depot. We ate and chatted while watching freight trains go by. I tried vanilla gelato for the first time--very yummy! When then headed over to the Citadel mall in search of pants that would mimic our new uniforms (we are only allowed 3 pairs for free) and shoes (for me). I struck gold on shoes, finding a Sketchers sale at Mervyn's. Finally, my feet can walk in comfort!
On Tuesday was the day-long in-service. The guest speaker this year was Charles Fay from the Love and Logic Institute. If you have not read Parenting with Love & Logic, I highly recommend that you do so. There are also audio CDs and books on the stages of parenting as well as teaching and marriage. Dr. Fay's presentation was very entertaining and he had everyone laughing for a good majority of the day. I, however, had trouble staying awake due to a sinus cold that was kicking my butt. Thankfully, a 24 hour sinus tablet did the trick, along with some Oriental trail mix--spice it up!
I headed home to Montrose around 3:30 in the afternoon on Tuesday, arriving at the homestead a little after 8pm. I ran into some cool mountain thunderstorms, stopped for Cold Stone (their blueberry creation is amazing!) in Canon City and chicken fries @ BK in Salida (not worth all of the hype). I even saw a bighorn sheep and several deer along the way. They all seemed determined to act as a natural road block!
All in all, it was a good get-away...I got some much needed alone time as well as "girl" time with my friends. I need to do both of these things more often.