Saturday, August 29, 2015

Can you ever be prepared for something like this?

Hello friends,
I think this year is not my year to blog.  I have barely had any time on my hands for myself that I have not been able to sit down, take a breath and then write something, until now.  My last post was in June promising to be back soon and share what I had been up to but that was almost 3 months you can see how tied up I must be to not be able to come back soon enough.  Anyways, here I am and without wasting any further time, I would like to share few things with you.

This year had started out alright but soon enough my grandmother got unwell.  She passed away in March and it was the hardest thing for the whole family.  She was 93 and still strong mentally at that age, but it was her body that started slowing down and before we could even know it, she had left us.  I was close to her and that's why I don't think I was really prepared for what happened.  But honestly, can you ever be prepared for something like this?  No, I don't think so.  Whether you know that death is coming to your loved one, or it comes unexpectedly, it is never ever easy to loose a loved one!!  We were all taken a back by her going but we also knew that she had lived her life to the fullest and worked really hard to give her kids the life they have right now.  We know that she is in a better place now and in peace!  March had not been the best month overall.  One of my colleague's, and a good friend, father passed away at the end of March as well, completely unexpected, when his father was in perfect health.  His father's death was a complete shock to their entire family.  Death is pretty hard to accept and move past it...especially when it's one of your loved ones!

In May, one of my close friends' was going to move out of US, so they planned a one day trip to Sand Dunes National Park.  This is the first time I went and it was really nice to see a different take on Colorado.  Usually, when you hear Colorado, you instantly think of mountains, but this one was a desert in the middle of the mountains!  Be aware, there is lots and lots of walking.  If you think you will go all the way to the top, think again! Our plan was to go all the way to the top but the more you walk, the farther you will see the top of the sand dunes :).  So I suggest you return back the moment you feel tired because you have to go back down the way you came back up!  Here are some glimpses of the visit.
Sand Dunes National Park - At the base, getting ready to climb the sand mountain :)

Great capture of Sand Dunes in front of the Mountains!
This was the last trip that we did with our close friends before they left US.  Hopefully, they will return soon and we'll have lots of more memories to build together.

Soon after this trip, I had another milestone in my family bought a house, something we had been searching for a loooong time!! Finally, we bought a house we loved and we actually got it!! The reason I say "we actually got it" is because of the way Denver real estate is rising up...the prices are soaring high year after year!  And in the midst of all, we were able to get a house where it's seller's market and buyers are having a bidding war.  I do consider myself lucky in that manner.  That was a sweet happiness for the entire family :).  But with sweet happiness comes a load of responsibilities and I am going to leave that for the next post for me to write and share my experiences.

Hope you guys enjoy this post.  I am writing after such a long time, and it feels good to be back here.  Hope to continue this from now on.  Until next time, have a great day :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Where was I?

As much as I wanted to kick off 2015 with a storm by writing so many things on my blog, nothing of that sort happened :(  In fact, 2015 has taken me by storm by throwing so many different circumstances, and situations my way that I barely had time to breath...

Time has flown faster than I could imagine...and I can't believe that we are already into the 6th month of 2015!  I got so many things to share, so many things to tell, yet, I can't put my thoughts together and think straight on where to start.  But, I got to to start somewhere, so this post should mark that starting point for me to start blogging again :) (hopefully!!).

I don't have much to say to you right now but I will come back with more to discuss, to procrastinate, to explore, and elaborate (and I have no idea what I just said :P).

Until then, wish you all a very wonderful day!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome 2015!! Bye bye 2014 :(

Dear Friends,
I have said this before, and I repeat again, that 2014 has literally flown by! This has been the fastest year for me, but, that doesn't mean that it was boring...not at all!! It was fun-filled, and most importantly, friends-filled year all the way :).  I can't say enough about this year, about the trips, about the experiences, and about everything that has happened!

Where do I start?  The beginning of the year was very exciting as Denver Broncos were heading into Super Bowl but also disappointing to see them loose, miserably, to Seattle Seahalks :(.  Moving on, the next big thing was IIFA Awards, in USA for the very first time, being hosted in Tampa, FL.  My friend from Tampa convinced me to come since it was going to be in his home town and that it was going to be a gala time!!! And guess what?? It was indeed an amazing trip, seeing all the actors up close, clicking pictures with them, seeing them perform right in front of my eyes!!  It was all like a dream!  Awesome trip with stars and friends :).

On another note, on adventurous side, some of the trips of the year include Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks, Aspen, Mesa Verde, & Durango-Silverton Railroad.  These two were one of the best trips taken with friends.  Lots of photo sessions, full of fun and laughter, and great road trip all together!  Apart from the trips, there were unlimited get-togethers, with friends, involved this year which ended up in all-night fun of games like Uno, Telestrations, Black Queen, and then Uno again, watching movies, etc. etc.

Just as much as one side of my year involved friends and trips, the other not-so-adventurous side involved busy schedule of work!  In 2014, I felt like I was the most busiest in work I have ever been in my life with the new project that I was working on.  I don't have any complains with it since I learned a lot of new things but it was just so hectic due to time constrain that we were under!  All's well that ends well! That was the situation with my work project, it ended well and is at a steady pace now.

Well, that was all for me for the year of 2014!  I hope 2015 brings new hope, new opportunities, new beginnings, and new adventurous!!  Wish you and I, all of us, have an amazing 2015 filled with love, happiness, and success in your lives :)

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.

I have been meaning to write a post on this problem for a loooooong time but never got around it.  I wanted to make sure that I get it on my blog before end of this year and that makes me come to this blog today to make it in before 2015 comes around :).  Anyways, enough of excuses from my side, here is the solution for the error.

"The user profile failed the logon.  User profile cannot be loaded.".

I have seen this error when I have tried to log into my account on Windows 7.  Luckily, I have 2 admin accounts, so I was able to login on my Administrator account successfully to correct this error.  I really don't know what causes the problem because it's been at random times.

I searched up on google and found some useful information on couple of sites that are mentioned :

I was able to solve the problem by following the instructions listed on #1 site above.  The instructions are very straightforward but I will still list the steps here for my records just if I need to reference them again for myself.  Hope these instructions help you out too.

1) Log in to another Admin account on your computer (if you don't have it, then you might be able to create one by going into safe mode).
2) Go to My Computer -> C: Drive -> Select Users folder
3) You should see a folder "TEMP" (this is the folder that was created temporary).  This is the folder that you would be removing along with its registry entry that was created temporarily by the system (replacing your original account registry entry).
4) Click on Start -> search for program 'regedit' and enter
5) Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
6) You might see the original registry entry with ".bak" extension and the temporary entry with the original registry name:
For example: You might have one entry ending with "....1000.bak" and the other one ending in "....1000".  In this case the one with ".bak" extension is the original entry.  You can confirm this by clicking on that entry and checking the "ProfileImagePath" which should point to your users account (and not TEMP).
7) To get the original registry entry back to normal, first rename "...1000" to "...1000.bak2" and rename the ".....1000.bak" to "...1000" (removing the .bak extension).  After renaming, I just remove the ".bak2" entry.
8) Now, you need to check the "RefCount" and "State" value.  Make sure they're both 0 (if not, you can modify them and make them 0).  If they're not 0, that's what caused the "User profile" error.
9) Go back to the "Users" folder in My Computer and remove the "TEMP" folder.
10) After making these changes, restart the computer and you should be able to log in to your user account.

Alright, I hope these instructions help you out as they have helped me out.  Check out the sites I have listed because they have helped me out and I am sure they will give you the info you need.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Aspen, Mesa Verde, Durango-Silverton Railroad - Day 3

Hello Hello,

The last day of my Aspen trip came to last destination activity which was to ride the Durango-Silverton Railroad.  This was something that came up as one of the top "things to do" when I was searching up online for things to do in Durango.  This was something that I had to book ahead of time (about $100/person with discount) since the railroad timings are fixed and the tickets sell out pretty quickly.  Another thing we had to decide while booking was whether we wanted to do a full day or a half day trip.  The full day trip is basically a roundtrip in railroad vs. a half a day trip is one-way railroad trip and one-way bus ride.  We decided for a half-day trip since full-day would have taken almost an entire day, coming back to Denver after midnight!  So, doing a half-day trip would be much more preferable with 8 am train to Silverton and then bus ride back to Durango station around 1:30 pm.

To catch an 8 am train, we had to leave house by 7:15 am (30-minutes drive and 15-minutes to find parking) and in order to leave by 7:15 am, we had to get up by 6:15 am.  This is where all the friends were separating in 2 groups since only half of the people were coming for the railroad.  We barely got any sleep since we slept late the previous night and got up really early for this train ride.....!!  We packed up the car, settled in, and got to the railroad.  Unfortunately, this was not the day of sunshine and instead it decided to pour down rain, slow and steady :(.  That also made the weather quite cold (I am glad that we got the economy seats instead of the open air seats).  Once the train started, it had its first unplanned break, for 15-20 minutes, since there was water on the tracks.  The railroad itself was about 3+ hours long, so we had plenty of time to pass :).  We all played a movie guessing game while the train was going through some beautiful scenery as well as some boring spots in the forest.  But, nonetheless, it was nice.
Durango-Silverton Railroad, Durango
Durango-Silverton Railroad, Durango
One thing I am happy about is that we only got one-way railroad ticket since coming back in the same train would have been extremely boaring and that too for 3+ hours?? Pheww...half-day trip was a good choice.  Once we got to the town of Silverton, it was gorgeous!  This is an extremely small town, situated right in the middle of the mountains!  Due to the cold and cloudy weather, I felt like it was a part of Switzerland in Silverton :)
Silverton, CO
Silverton, CO
We took some pictures of the town and group photos with the train.  We didn't have much time to spare since we only had about 20 minutes from the time we get off from the train to the time we need to start boarding the bus.  The bus ride was only about one and half hours compared to the train ride.  This worked out great for us since we saved time and (the biggest plus point), we got to see the beautiful Million Dollar Highway which has amazing views!  With this, we also got to see the first snow of the season :)
Bus ride on Million Dollar Hwy
Bus ride on Million Dollar Hwy
We got back to the base at Durango station and soon started our journey back home (another 6-7 hours ride).  We safely got home around 8 or 9 pm but that wasn't the end of the day.  One of my friends and I had to go to return the rental car the same night, so from that we got back around midnight, and then, as far as I can remember I just passed out after getting home.

This wraps up my 3-day trip to 3 locations, action-packed and fun-filled, with amazing group of friends!  And, it has (just like other trips) given moments to cherish for lifetime!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Aspen, Mesa Verde, Durango-Silverton Railroad - Day 2

Hey everyone,
Here I am with our Day 2 activities of the trip at Mesa Verde National Park.  We had initially planned to leave early for the park but you know how it goes...everyone was tired from previous day, so the day started a bit late and we left our condo around 9 am (I think...), but no complaints there since we had a good breakfast to start the morning :).  We started our journey to head to Mesa Verde National Park which was about 45 minutes drive just to get to the Visitor Center.  We got some info on what sites to check out in the park.  Lucky for us, we chose the right day to come otherwise they were going to close some of the bigger sites in the park from the next day!  We got the park map, and booked a guided tour for cliff palace (one of their famous tourist spots in the park).  We booked the last timing of Cliff Palace tour so that way we could cover one side of the park and then come back to the 2nd side later since the distance to both places was about half an hour from visitor center and in completely opposite directions :(.

Just to give you guys an idea of what this park is about, here is some info.  Mesa Verde National Park consists of the best cliff dwellings in the world, features homes and villages built by Ancient Pueblo People (definition from wikipedia).  Now, in my words, these are built in such a way that it's hard to get to them (from our hike experience) in caves or under the cliffs.  Just because they're built in such areas doesn't make them immune to the weather because if you look at one of the pictures below, they're all open and you can tell how hard it must have been for the people to live in severe weather conditions.  We took our first hike to Long House where the 1st half was very easy, and simple walk, but the 2nd half is something we didn't expect.  We had to go from top to bottom via stairs, zig-zag narrow pathway, and few slopes to just get a glimpse of the Long House.
Long House, Mesa Verde National Park
Long House (closer look at the houses)
Awesome first sight of this place!  This was something different from all of my previous trips, so I was exited.  The first picture above shows the stairs at the far end which is where we came from and then took the ladder (also seen in the 1st picture) to go up to one of the homes' areas.  The 2nd picture is a closer look at one of the rooms where people used to hang out (kind of like drawing room or it might be bedroom...I don't remember :-/).  Pretty neat, isn't it?  There was a guide who was walking around, answering any questions that people may have about the place, and also giving some background about the Long House.  She, the guide, pointed out the fingerprints on the walls that were left by the people (and still visible after so many years)!  There was some other interesting stuff too but don't remember much of it.  So, if you're interested in knowing more about this historic place, I would definitely recommend talking to the guide or seeing if they have a guided tour for this or not.

After checking out the Long House, we started heading back to our cars which was equally hard since the hike itself was difficult and we were tired and hungry as well.  It was getting close to our tour for Cliff Palace, so we just decided to eat once we got to that location.  We had a nice lunch in the parking lot and headed to the tour meet-up location.  We could clearly see the Cliff Palace at the very bottom of the cliff and with that my curiosity also increased to know how the hell we were going to get there...
Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park
The guide came, took our tickets, and then directed us to head to the site.  It was indeed a ride since the hike included going through very narrow passages, steep stairs, and quite rocky path :-0.  While the other tour before us had not finished, he sat us all down for a while, giving little background on the place, and once the coast was clear, he moved us to look at the site.  He pointed us to several different things such as their kitchen, how there were paintings on the wall inside the building (where we couldn't really go but just take a peak through a tiny square window), etc.  We took couple of pictures, group photos, and of course, selfies!!  Now, the route to go out of this place was different from the one we came from.  It was all going through steep stairs within a very narrow passage!  Hats off to two of my friends who did this difficult hike with a year old baby!!

We took a short break for water and restrooms and then decided to check out the rest of the park.  We wanted to visit the Spruce Tree House, but couldn't due to time constrain.  We did the Mesa Top Loop where there are multiple sites that you could see from far under the cliffs that were not accessible via foot/vehicle.  We stopped at couple of locations but I don't remember any of the names of the stops we made except the last one (Sun Temple).  The structures were different for each of the stops that we made.  Below, I have few pictures from couple of stops that we made.
One of the sites @ Mesa Top Loop
Sun Temple, Mesa Top Loop
After this loop tour, we still tried to make it to the Spruce Tree House but were late by 5-10 minutes, so couldn't get to see it :(.  This was the last thing on our agenda for the park, so we all happily bid our goodbye to the park.  My only recommendation for this park would be that if you want to cover more things on the park, get to the park early in the day (around 7:30/8 am) and I am sure you will cover most of the attractions in a day.

Now, taking you back to the previous night, we found out that two more of our friends were going to join us on this trip the next day (meaning our Day 2).  They were going to come to Durango by night, so we all decided to meet up for dinner before heading back to the condo.  We chose to dine at the Himalayan restaurant in Durango.  The service was good there but the food was ok, I mean I have had better kofta curry and paneer tikka masala before, so it wasn't anything special.  Later, all of us got back to the condo, and proudly gave tour of the condo to two friends who joined us.  No one had the energy after a tiring day but we still stayed up, hung out and had a good time with everyone!

This wraps up my Day 2 activities of the trip.  Next day, we check out from our condo and head for the Durango-Silverton Railroad (half day trip), but more on that in my next post!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Aspen, Mesa Verde, Durango-Silverton Railroad - Day 1

Hello everyone,

I am back with some more travel experiences' posts.  Just like my Yellowstone trip, I am really behind on posting about this one but want to make sure I get it in by end of 2014 :).  This trip was mainly planned by a friend to see the fall colours and one of the best places to check out the fall colours in Colorado is none other than Aspen!  To make it more than a day trip, we decided to cover nearby sight-seeing areas as well, such as Mesa Verde national park and Durango-Silverton Railroad, and made it into 3-days trip.  Originally, only 6 of us were confirmed to go on this trip, so we booked the minivan and found lodging at Durango Mountain Resort (2 bedroom, 1 sofa bed condo, fully furnished with kitchen) which we got it in good deal ($220/2 nights).  We booked through Durango Mountain Resort but we stayed in Cascade Mountain Resort since they have properties there as well.  Just the night before our trip, one more couple was added to join us on this trip, so we changed the booking from 2-beds to 3-beds and still had a good deal ($330/2 nights) since it was available.  The more the merrier :).  I took this trip on the last weekend of September which is said to be the best time to see the fall colours (thanks to online reviews) and I agree!!

We started our journey early morning around 5:30 am on September 26 and made Aspen, Maroon Bells in particular, our first destination to reach but not before we made several pit stops on the way.  Now, I am not really familiar with which route we took but it was very convenient to see different places before we reached Aspen.  Our first stop was Twin Lakes, that was very confusing to find in first place, which we only saw part of since we didn't know that there was a 2nd location from where you could see the lake as well.  This was definitely a good start of the trip since we saw some beautiful colours in the area.
Twin Lakes
Moving on, our next stop was Independence Pass.  On the way to Independence Pass, we came across a point which was at a quite a good elevation and had a beautiful view of the mountains.  I don't know what highway it was but you would definitely pass through here if you are leaving from twin lakes and going to Independence pass.  It was gorgeous view at the top while you could see the one road formed between the mountain range at the base.  We did a good dose of photo session here and then moved on.  Actually, I should warn you all ahead of time that you will read phrases like "photo session" or "selfie" (or both) more likely in every paragraph for every stop that we made :).  Anywayzzz, moving on, we made it to Independence Pass which is one of the high mountain pass in Colorado at the elevation of about 12000+ ft.  By this time, it was definitely feeling little bit chilly, mainly due to being at the high elevation, and the wind was making it more colder than it was.  We stretched our legs and took a very short walk around the Independence Pass trail which had some more beautiful scenery of mountain ranges.  We did some more photo session and took a selfie as well.  We also came across bunch of bike (cycle) riders whom we saw riding from our 2nd stop all the way to Independence Pass.  Hats off to them for taking that route with such a difficult slopes!!  They seemed to be having a great time at the Pass, dancing and singing, waiting for their fellow riders.
Independence Pass
Our next stop on the way was none other than in the middle of the road (on the side but still it's on the road).  That's right!  In the middle of the road where the trees on both sides were booming with beautiful fall colours, different shades of yellow and green colours to be precise,  and making the road look like a passage for travellers!  It was simply beautiful.We were having great time and taking every second to enjoy the places and witness the natural beauty!!
Somewhere in the middle of the road :)
Finally,  we continued our journey to the destination of Maroon Bells, Aspen.  Lucky for us, since we had a year old baby on board with us, we were able to drive straight up to the Maroon Bells parking lot :D.  If it wasn't the case then we would have had to park in the general parking lot, just like everyone else, and take the bus up to the Maroon Bells parking lot.  I am soooooo glad that we were able to take our car to the main parking lot because otherwise we would have not been able to stop on the way to see the Gold  that Colorado has secured all these years in the form of the fall colours :).  See it to believe it!!
Maroon Bells, Aspen
It was probably around 1 or 1:30 pm by the time we reached there and surprisingly, there wasn't any crowd at all.  It was perfect - we found the parking spot and a great picnic area table where we had a nice lunch together.  After a nice meal, we took on the trail to the famous spot of Maroon Bells.  The view was magnificent, magical, and too good to be true!  It was at that moment that we sat down for a "bit" to just relax and enjoy the moment. That "bit" lasted for whole 2 minutes and we got right to our photo session and selifies :) :).  Here are some great pictures for you to enjoy for a "bit".
Maroon Bells, Aspen
Maroon Bells, Aspen
After a good dose of taking pictures and praising the natural beauty around us, we took a very short hike (and some more stops to taking pictures - if you didn't guess that already), we headed back to our car and took off for our Condo in Durango.  We were supposed to meet our friends (who joined on the trip later on) at this spot but unfortunately missed meeting them by just a small margin (due to lack of phone signal at the top).  It was about 5 hours drive from Maroon Bells to Cascade Mountain Resort, so we reached to the condo around 9 pm.  It was dark and there was barely anything around to get something to eat and whatever was around was already closed, so we were in a dilemma.  Thankfully there was a local pizza place open (forgot the name :-/) which was going to close at 9:30 pm, so we got there in time to place our order.  The order was going to take some time so we decided to check out our condo and unload the things from our car to start settling down.

We got to the condo and were just in AWE of it! It was a beautiful 2-story condo where 1st floor has open living room, kitchen, dining area, 1 bedroom and full bathroom and 2nd floor has a HUGE master bedroom, equally HUGE master bathroom, 2nd bedroom, 2nd full-bathroom and an open loft which had a sofa-bed!! all I could say seeing the place!  The girls chilled out while the boys went to get the Pizza.  We had a nice meal together and then just relaxed while our friends reached the condo.  Thanks to them, for solving our 2nd dilemma of getting groceries, who stopped by at a supermarket on their way to get all the necessary things for 2 days we were going to be at the condo.  So, tip to all those who want to stay in this area, make sure you get whatever you need to get before you enter this town since there is nothing close-by!!  Our friends came around mid-night, we hung out with them for a while and then all of us called it a night around 1/1:30 am.  This was a great day with all the stops we made since we were not rushing for anything and took our time to enjoy every chance we had :).

I think I have already made this post long enough for you to fall, I will stop here and let you continue, if you're interested enough to come back and read some more, in next post.  Until then, have a great day :)