...many times a simple choice can prove to be essential even though it often might appear inconseqnetial.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The 5400 and My Philodendron

Not that I've done a great job lately about updating, but I thought I'd mention that everyone will have wait for a new post until after the holiday weekend. I know, I know, you're all thoroughly disappointed, but Tuesday will be here before you know it.

I'm headed to the 5400 tomorrow afternoon to see Trout, where that other important date he alluded to will be fully celebrated. We haven't really figured out what exactly that celebrating will look like, but it does deal with some nice wine and smoke Gouda tomorrow night. Delicious.

Since Dirk asked, (and because I can't for the life of me remember what I was going to write about) I also thought I'd update everyone on the house plant situation. The Philodendron made the trek from the office to my apartment with me earlier this week. It's now sitting happily on my coffee table (re-potted by yours truly) where I hope it will receive the sunlight it needs while I am away. I'm crossing my fingers that it's still alive when I come home sometime Monday afternoon/evening. The spider plant also survived the trip and is happily sitting on my kitchen table in a little bowl of water until its roots are big enough for it to be put in a more permanent home. So far everything is still green and very much alive. It could be an entirely different story in another four days. Cross your fingers and knock on wood, I'll need all the help I can get.

Alright, I'm off to go watch the regulars at this great little Italian dive sing karaoke while I eat yummy spaghetti with homemade noodles. Happy Labor Day Weekend, everybody!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tales From The Country

I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it was to be home this weekend. As Rosellen, very accurately, pointed out, my roots in the city are not nearly as deep as they are in my home town/home state. It’s possible that will shift over time, but something tells me my heart will never be fully at home in the city.

But enough of the nostalgia, one of the most interesting things about my weekend was how it ended. Saturday evening was spent eating burgers, potato salad, triple chocolate chunk brownies and drinking $7 wine from plastic cups with old (and new) family friends. After everyone had left, Mom, Dad and I were dozing off when the phone rang. Growing up, the phone rarely rang past 9:15 unless there was a problem. The phone ringing at 9:45 on Saturday night proved to be no different. There was definitely a problem.

The cattle drive from Friday morning left some stragglers behind. The cows and their calves that didn’t make it down the mountain with the rest of the herd, made their way down the mountain on their own. Normally, gates are left open in connecting pastures so that the remaining cows and their kids…er…calves…can make their way home without having to walk down the highway. Sometimes too many gates are open, or the fence is easy to slip through and the traveling bovines still find their way onto the highway.

Perhaps you all can see where this is going. Unfortunately, one of the unsuspecting cows that made it onto the highway also made it into the path of an unsuspecting pickup. The phone call came from a neighbor who was headed home who came across the accident and was trying to figure out who the cow belonged to. The poor girl needed to be identified, moved from the road and any other loose stock had to be secured in someplace where they wouldn’t meet the same fate. Mom and I went with my Dad, partly to be there in case he needed any help, and partly because we figured it would be more eventful than sitting at home.

Roadkill is a common site in my homestate. Making our way home, Jenn, Phil and I all commented, at separate legs of the trip, the amount of little white tufts on the road. The rabbits have not had a good month. Deer on two separate occasions have ran into my car; whenever my Dad bought a new pickup, he would get a different, tougher grill guard to help salvage the vehicle if it were to have an unhappy encounters with the wildlife.

Thankfully, in my animal/automobile escapades, the animals lived and there was minimal damage to the car. While most people in my immediate family hit deer at least once a year (I should note this is not a reflection of poor driving, but when there are groups of deer that can number in the hundreds that like to hang out close to the highway, there’s really no avoiding the situation no matter how hard you try), grill guards and driving larger vehicles in general, leave damage to a minimal.

None of these scenarios was the case Saturday night. When a Ford F-150, driven by someone who probably had no idea there could be livestock anywhere in the vicinity of the road, is abruptly stopped by a 1200 pound animal, the pickup and the cow do not come out of the situation in good shape. The pickup’s front end was half of what it should have been, every fluid it contained running down the highway. The hood wasn’t just bent, it was rolled up. It may have just been my imagination, but I could have sworn the front of the pick up had an indentation roughly shaped like the side of a cow.

I don’t I need to elaborate what happened to the cow. Because of the time of night, and with limited resources, all that could be done was to make sure all the other cows and calves were fenced in somewhere and to move the bovine casualty off the side of the road. Mom and I watched my dad help the cow’s owner pull it off the road (with the help of a tow rope and a pickup). The whole situation was very strange, unlike anything I've previously experienced, and certianly not somoething I would ever see living in Denver. Sitting in our pickup with my Mom, hoping to lighten the mood, or at least break the silence, all I could say was “Well, that’s certainly something I didn't think I’d see this weekend.” In response, my Mom agreed and said suspected I would write about it here.

She was right. So here you have it, folks, asphalt laced hamburger. Delicious!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Live From the BH

Finally deciding to dip into my PTO, I hitched a ride with Jenn and Phil to the BH this weekend. They are staying with Phil’s family in the nearby “city,” so this is the first time we’ve all been home at the same time (since they were married three years ago) that I get to sleep in what used to be my room (now the guest room). The top bunk in the other bedroom will remain un-slept in this trip. Finally!

Stepping out of the car last night, I’ve never been so glad to be home. Even though it’s a little smoky from forest fires, I’m still convinced it's cleaner than the city. I can see the stars again, there are more trees than houses; I’m looking out the window right now and I can’t see an inch of pavement. I woke up this morning, not to sound of car horns and sirens, but instead, to the sound of Sandhill Cranes. Normally this isn’t the most soothing sound in the world, but this morning, in combination with the 52 degree temperature, was in a word, heaven.

As I was getting dressed this morning, I could hear a lot of “mooing” in the distance. My parents’ house is about a quarter of a mile off the main road, and that much noise from cattle means only one thing: someone was moving cattle off the mountain and down the highway. I chuckled at myself when I realized that I would much rather get stuck in a traffic jam that involved live animals than other cars. At least the wranglers try to get the cattle to move out of your way. No such luck with automobiles.

The only thing that puts a damper on my time at home is the fact that I have to spend a good chunk of the day inside due to dilated pupils. Trips home usually mean at least two mandatory appointments: the eye doctor and hair dresser. Unfortunately, my hairdresser (the only person I trust to do anything major with my hair) is out of town this weekend (no short haircut for me), so I had to settle with just the eye doctor. Now I have pupils the size of saucers. Until they return to normal size and I can see up close again and can stop wearing the sunglasses, I’m enjoying the wireless internet and satellite TV at my parent’s house.

So, really I have nothing to complain about. I can still see the TV and computer screen, so even though I’m stuck inside for a bit, at least I have endless possibilities to keep me entertained.

As soon as my eyes are up to it, I’m taking a walk to go see my Dad at the shop across the highway (saying across the street implies it’s a block away, it’s really more like half a mile away). Until then, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch the end of a Project Runway rerun.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Frisbees and Puppies!

No further explaination needed. I will say this, though: someday, the dog I have will not wear sweaters, or dresses or hats, but they will play frisbee. Oh yes, they will play frisbee. Posted by Picasa

Oooh La La

A big ol' standard poodle with a big ol' French poodle haircut. Wow. Posted by Picasa


I just thought this was a cute picutre. And yes, that dog is wearing a ballerina outift. With sequins. Posted by Picasa


Snoopy won the best dressed dog contest. His owners were nice enough to take off the vest, hat, goggles and binoculars immediately after the contest was over. Posted by Picasa


Speaking of Great Danes, this is Scooby. He's so freakin' big, his back legs are as long as my legs. Posted by Picasa


Freeway was, by far and away, my favorite dog that I met at the event. He belongs to a lady who runs a Boxer rescue group. As a puppy, Freeway fell out of the back of his original owner's pickup and ended up losing his leg. I was lucky enough to watch Freeway while his owner set up her booth. Despite having 25% fewer legs than all the other dogs at the event, he was still able to pull me around like a 6 year old walking a Great Dane. Posted by Picasa

The Dog Daze of Summer: A Pictorial Presentation

As promised, here are the pictures from this past Saturday. Even after cropping pictures to eliminate faces of the dog owners (I’m trying to be a conscientious blogger, and not post pictures of people who haven’t given me permission to do so), there’s still a fair amount of pictures of dogs dressed up like people. I’m not a huge fan of dogs in clothes, and the majority of the dogs at the event were not in costumes. There was a contest for best dressed dog, and it did make for a great photo op, so all of my faithful readers will have to endure pictures of dogs in people’s clothing.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Dog Daze at The Ranch

This weekend, I volunteered at Jenn's Dog Daze of Summer event for the Metro Districts of Highlands Ranch. I'm really tired from waking up at 4:30am to work part of a golf tournament today, so this post will be brief. More will follow when I have pictures to illustrate my adventures in the 'burbs.

I will say this though. Not only did I get to spend all of Saturday morning surrounded by dogs of all shapes and sizes, but I got to take pictures of all the dogs and their owners. Dogs and pictures, oh heck yes!

Stay tuned and good night, all. I have some sleep to catch up on.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Not-So-Green Thumb: Part II

Since the last time I tried my hand at a houseplant, I’m happy to announce that no other plants have withered and died in my care. I should also mention I haven’t allowed another plant in my apartment since the death of my primrose. Very impressive, I know.

I’m really hoping that, with my past planting experience, my second try at this is much more successful. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been growing some plants at work. Well, not so much growing a snipping off sprouts from other plants in the office and allowing the roots to form in a Styrofoam cup full of water on my desk. By next week the plants should be ready to…uh…plant. This weekend I’m headed down The Ranch again (this time to help volunteer at one of Jenn’s events. There will be dogs there; I couldn’t pass this one up). While I’m there, I’m going to buy some potting soil and one more flower pot so my plants will have a home.

With the upgrade from Styrofoam cup to pot with deliciously nutrient soil, I’m crossing my fingers that my plants will just be so happy with a change of scenery that they’ll thrive and have long and happy lives.

Wish me (and them) luck!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Beginning

Sometime last January, Trout had written a post on an old and now defunct blog about the day we first met. A month later, while sorting through boxes in my new apartment, I came across an old training schedule that included that date, and before chucking the calendar out, I made a little mental note of that particular day. As I unlocked my apartment door after work tonight, it dawned on me that today was more than just payday.

Exactly two years ago, Trout and I first met. He was the first person I saw and talked to when I arrived in the 7200 for my last year of school. He was working the front desk of the hall I would be working and living in, and he gave me the information I needed to get into my room. The conversation was brief and I ended up chatting with our boss (whose office was behind the desk where Trout was working) longer than I actually talked to Trout.

The whole getting-my-room-info-so-I-can-get-all-of-my-crap-out-of-my-car-and-into-my-room procedure was all very routine to me. I had done the exact same thing the two previous years and I couldn’t even tell you who I talked with at the desk either of those times. But for whatever reason (was my subconscious trying to clue me into something?), I can remember minute details about that conversation including Trout’s mannerisms and speech inflections. If I think hard enough, I could probably even tell you what he was wearing (that’s a nifty memory trick that seems to run in my family).

At the time, I saw nothing remarkable about that encounter. I would have never guessed something so “ordinary” would hold so much meaning to me and still be a topic of conversation (or blog post) two years later.


Monday, August 14, 2006

No Thanks, I’ll Just Read the Book Again

I spent the weekend in The Ranch enjoying the finer things of life like cool basement hangouts and cable television. Jenn had an event this weekend and was unable to make the trip home to the BH with Phil, so we enjoyed our Saturday night without our significant others in the truest fashion: after enjoying some strip mall Chinese food, we curled up in our respective chairs and enjoyed HGTV, TLC and movies on the big screen TV.

After scrolling through all the On-Demand possibilities, we decided to watch Memoirs of a Geisha. Jenn read the book a couple years ago, and I finished reading it a couple of months ago. I like the book and the movie wasn’t all that bad either. I know there was plenty of talk and maybe even a little controversy because many of the actors in the film were Chinese, but it at least looked like the filmmakers were trying to keep the historical/cultural integrity of the book intact. Then again, what do I know…it all looked pretty and shiny to me.

Of course the movie wasn’t exactly the same as the book. I understand that screenwriters must pick and choose and change things to make books more appealing on the big screen. Despite the differences in the movies, I enjoy all the Harry Potter films and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I can fully understand why things were left out or changed. Even though I love all of these books and wouldn’t have minded seeing literal screen adaptations, no matter how long, I can at least respect the writers’ decisions (except maybe the slightly corny ending to Chamber of Secrets).

But seriously, people, do you have to change the endings entirely? I won’t give anything away, in case some of you want to see Geisha and may not know how it turns out. It’s not hugely different from the book, but they just kind of cut the story off to make it more of a Hollywood/romantic and happy ending. Another case in point: The Devil Wears Prada. I was really looking forward to the fireworks at the end, but they turned that all happy-go-lucky too, not to mention changing some major plotlines to accommodate it. I won’t even go see The Da Vinci Code. I love Audrey Tautou (don’t even start, Dirk), but Tom Hanks? Seriously? I don’t even want to go anywhere near a theater or the DVD aisle that it’s in. I cringe to think of what may have been altered, especially after reading the reviews.

To top it all off, I’ve now discovered that when I watch a movie based on a book I find myself thinking did that happen in the book? every time something semi-major occurs in the story. This doesn’t make the movie any more enjoyable for me. In fact, it just distracts from the whole thing. With this new revelation I’ve made a decision: if I’ve read the book (with the exception of my beloved Harry Potter), I won’t be watching the movie. If I want to watch the movie and read the book, I’ll watch the movie first. If a movie is good enough to make me want to read the book, I think I'll rarely finish the book feeling disappointed. I know it certainly wouldn't be the case the other way around.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Road to [insert small town name here]

While at work, I listen to my favorite radio station via their streaming audio on the internet. For eight or so hours a day, I enjoy the sounds of what they call “World Class Rock.” A mixture of 60s through today, they play everything from Depeche Mode to The Grateful Dead, Simon and Garfunkel to The Clash. To top it off, like many radio stations around the country, they have artists come play live in their studio. The Studio C recordings are top notch, people. Every year they release a CD of the year’s best sessions; only 30,000 are released and they always sell out within a few hours.

This past week they played all of their Studio C recordings in alphabetical order by song name. They started at 6:00am Monday morning and wrapped up late Friday afternoon. Yours truly listened to a good chunk of the songs and I found myself frequently turning my computer speakers up past a “reasonable volume” to enjoy those one-of-a-kind live versions of my favorite songs.

I don’t claim to have good tastes in music. It’s eclectic, limited and, at times, unadventurous. Seriously, I used to listen to New Kids on the Block and I still have a Lou Bega CD in my collection, I will judge no one on their musical tastes. To each his own, I say, even if it is Toby Keith or REO Speedwagon. Listening to Studio C recordings this week, it became apparent there were a fair number of artists or groups that played far more than others. One of those people was Lyle Lovett. I heard him at least once a day for the entire week. And listening to You Can’t Resist It, Private Conversation, and She’s No Lady (all of which are played on any normal day as well), not only reminded me how much I like Lyle Lovett, but it also brought back memories of Spring Break my junior year of college.

I’ve come to realize I don’t tell very many stories on this blog, and tend to just focus on the present, but I’m changing it up today. And yes, I realize it took me four paragraphs to get to the point of this post, but some people may have nothing to do today and might actually enjoy a long post.

Working as a live-in-staffer for three years of school, half of my spring breaks those years were spent working. The first year, my trip back to the 7200 to work was delayed because of a monstrous snowstorm that pummeled the area causing everything, including the university, to shut down for a couple days. My junior year, I took the second half off, hoping I wouldn’t get stranded in town when I had a chance to escape for a little vacation.

As luck would have it, the weather was perfect: sunny, crisp and clear. There would be no problems leaving town this time. One of my best friends from college (also a live-in-staffer) worked the same half of the break as me and we decided to take a little tour of our respective small hometowns for the remainder of the break; hers in the southeastern part of the state, mine in the north centralish region. We spent a couple of days in each place, as neither one of us had been to the other’s hometown before. We ate at the local dives, gave the 5 minute tour (because that’s all the time we needed), and just hung out. If it weren’t for the slight drama caused by the then-boyfriend, it would have been perfect, but I digress. Sure, it wasn’t tropical or wild and crazy, but it was my favorite college-spring break trip.

It was on this trip, during one of the many hours spent in the car, that I was first introduced to Lyle Lovett. Sarah had picked up some CDs she had left at home by accident, and those albums became the soundtrack for our trip from the CW to the BH. She was so excited to have found her Lyle Lovett CDs, and I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew about Lyle Lovett (other than the general fact that he was a musician) was that he was once married Julia Roberts. Needless to say, with no real expectations, when Sarah put in The Road to Ensenada, I was completely surprised. He wasn’t country, rock or folk, but played with hints of jazz and blues…who was this guy and why hadn’t I been listening to him? Every song I hear by him, I like, a lot.

I very rarely buy CDs, my library is very small, and the music I do listen to, tends to be mix CDs, or albums I’ve ripped and burned from other people. One of these days, I’m not going to feel like I’m so tight on money and I might start frivolously shopping again. When I do, I will undoubtedly be beefing up my CD collection. And without a doubt I will be buying a lot of Lyle Lovett albums, among the random other CDs I should have owned years ago.

Until then, I’ll just keep turning up the radio every time one of his songs comes on the radio.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Air Conditioning, How I Miss Thee

The air conditioner at work has been malfunctioning lately. This malfunction happens on such a regular basis, it’s created a new routine in my day. When it’s decided the AC is not working, I put in a call to our maintenance manager. Shortly thereafter, the AC repair guys comes in, asks me what the problem is (the air is working in the back of the building by not the front), he then goes up to the roof and works his magic. He then comes back inside to make sure (cool) air is once again coming out of the vents, and lets me know to call if it stops working again. By the end of the day, the AC decides it’s had enough, makes a loud, angry noise and then quits working. After the majority of the office concurs the AC has indeed shut off again, I put a call in to our maintenance manager and the process starts all over again.

This has gone on four times this week and several times last week. Yesterday afternoon, the AC decided it was tired of this routine and quit working altogether. That’s the conclusion we’ve come to anyway, because when the AC repair guy came in today, he came in to confirm we, once again had no AC, then said he would go check out the problem. This time, however, he never came back. Thankfully, the weather hasn’t been as hot as a couple weeks ago, so the situation could be much worse. The weather, however, is still in the mid 90s and the office is likely in the 80s.

Usually the AC makes the office cool enough to wear pants, long sleeve shirts and even jackets, on occasion. We are not used to the warmer weather. Today, our controller said “I’m going to the bank and when I’m done there, I’ll call to see if the AC is working.” I thought he was only half joking, but he never came back to work. We used every fan we could find to try and blow the cool air from the back to the rest of the building. Instead, all it did was blow around the existing hot air and all we could do to stay cool was to make frequent trips to the back of the building.

I can live without air conditioning at my apartment, the ceiling fans and the cooler nights are making it easier to cook and sleep. I can live with the fact that the air conditioner in my car is making angry noises because I rarely drive it. The fact I live without the AC in most aspects of my life means that I really do expect it to be cool at work. When it’s warm and uncomfortable in the office, all I want to do is curl up under my desk and take a nap. At least the water cooler dispenses chilled water.

Despite the heat, today was one of the better days that I’ve had at work in the last month. I’m still not sure if things are looking up for the long run, but hopefully, if the air conditioner is fixed tomorrow, it’s a sign of better things to come.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joining the Cool Kids

My younger sister, Abbey, has created her own little space in the blogosphere.

Everyone (all ten of you) should stop by and tell her hello.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Movin' On Up

Since I’m almost positive that everyone who reads this blog also reads Trout’s (and if you don’t, you really should check it out…read the archives until he can update again, you won’t be disappointed), you all know that he moved this past weekend. And since I know that the readers of this blog are very smart people, you probably also guessed that I spent my weekend helping him move.

For the two years that I’ve known Trout, I’ve also known that the reason he came back to the 7200 (a Troutism that sounds so much cooler than L-town) for school was so that he could live and work in the state. It’s also safe to say that for almost as long, I’ve known he’s wanted to live and work in the 5600. So, when Trout was offered a job there, after the celebratory dinner and wine, the unofficial countdown began. When school or work became particularly annoying or unbearable, “only x number of months left” was repeated often. I don’t know how many times we exclaimed, “You’re moving to the 5600!”

This move has been a long time coming, and I couldn’t be happier for him. For two and half years, most of his belongings and anything that resembled a real life has been packed away in a storage unit or dispersed to friends’ houses. He’s lived in shoe box sized rooms, had to share a bathroom with 10 other guys, eaten cafeteria food, and literally lived at his job 24/7; no one deserves this move more than Trout.

This weekend a large group of people packed up his room and emptied his storage space into a moving van, a smaller group drove halfway across the state and then a new group of people unloaded everything into his new apartment. This weekend, glimpses of the Trout I’ve waited two years to see, finally appeared. He has furniture and dishes, cooking utensils, framed pictures and books...boxes and boxes of books. Of course I knew he had all of these things, I even saw some of them when we had to retrieve things from storage, but this weekend they emerged from their boxes and became part of his life again: his queen sized bed (as opposed to the crappy twin he’s been sleeping on for 2 ½ years), his pint glass from Murphy’s Pub, a picture of his Dad holding him as a newborn, and a big blue bunny named Lenny. It’s a Trout I didn’t know, but the more I find out, the better it gets.

After Jenn and Phil dropped me back off at my car in the 7200, I ended up hanging out with Trout’s best friend from high school and his family. Feeling a little mopey (because for some reason, to my frustration, that’s what happens when I have to leave Trout; I don’t want to leave all sad, yet it happens, every time), getting to spend the afternoon with people who’ve known him for such a long time helped me to shift my frame of mind from “poor me” to “I’m so lucky.”

Above all, despite how much I don’t like living 5 hours away from Trout, I feel incredibly fortunate. Not only am I in a wonderful relationship, but Trout is finally where he wants to be.

Congratulations, baby. I can’t say it enough; I’m so happy for you.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Praise Jebus!

The reprieve we had from the heat wave was short lived. The cool temperatures that graced the beginning of the last week were nowhere to be seen in a few days time and the triple digits where back just in time for the weekend.

Upon the insistence of Trout’s friend Dave, Trout and I made one last trip before his big move to the 5600. Retreating to cooler climates, we spent the weekend in Steamboat Springs and Winter Park. Here are the highlights:
  • I finally made it to Steamboat. It’s taken since October, but Trout and I got there at the same time. And I finally got to meet Jenn (Dave’s lovely wife).
  • Also got to meet the famous Sadie-dog and Marley. Oh how I wish I could have a dog.
  • I got the best sleep I’ve had in at least a month. It was dark and quiet and even when I woke up briefly in the mornings, my mind didn’t turn on and start thinking a million miles a minute.
  • Got to hang out in a dive of a bar in Winter Park and listen to Jebus (the band Dave sings and plays guitar for). Give me a dive bar over some swanky lounge any day. The drinks are much more affordable.
  • Went (car) camping for the first time in years. I have a looong way to go before I’m equipped and experienced enough to be an outdoorsy person, but I’ll get there. Not only was I cold for the first time in months (and was actually happy about it), but I saw the moon, stars and Milky Way; I really, really miss that living in the city. Hooray for camping!
  • Overall, I was just incredibly thankful to escape the city and enjoy something a little more slow paced, quiet and cooler. I was never more thankful for the weekend than on my trip home when I got stuck in traffic on I-70, 50 miles outside of Denver. Yes, that’s right, stuck in traffic for an hour, in 90+ degree heat, on the interstate. Apparently half the city had the same idea to escape the heat as I did.

This weekend helped me realize that while the city is fun and exciting and unlike any other thing I’ve done thus far in my short, fairly simple life, it’s not a permanent thing. I need nights that are dark, quiet and star gaze-able. When the temperature climbs, I don’t want it to be intensified by miles of asphalt, concrete and car exhaust. When I’m driving down the interstate I want to be able to go the speed limit, not 55 miles below it.

Call it cliché, but you can take the girl out of the country, but I guess you can’t take the country out of the girl.