A Little of This, A Little of That
In an effort to squeeze every last, delicious drop of freedom out of our last weeks of unemployment, adventuring, and general lawlessness, we have spent our time crafting, camping, hiking, socializing, and gardening to our hearts’ content. The garden is now a jungle (Denver is thinking about re-zoning just our yard), we’ve eaten buckets and buckets of greens, sampled dozens of sweet peas, and snipped our first large, gorgeously un-blemished zuchini. In the following post, I’ve made an attempt to summarize some of the highlights from our other pursuits:
I can barely believe that we have already been married for two years. When we stop to think about those years, we marvel at all things that we’ve managed to fit into such a short time, and yet, it does feel brief. We’ve been together for seven years (seven?!) now, and although these two years of marriage aren’t even half of those years, they have been two of the best. He is the best partner in adventure, travel, and life I could ever hope for or dream of.
Joshua and I fell in love when we were 17, and we have been lucky enough to continue falling in love with each other as we grow older – and sometimes wiser, sometimes not. No matter what else – the things that go wrong or get worse – this, us, gets better.
For our anniversary, Joshua made me the most awesome card using the comic strip function on his Mac, and he bought me a subscription to BUST, so that I may continue to betty-fy our lives. In return, I made him an apron and chef hat with the words, “It’s Business Time,” embroidered across the front of the apron. Joshua can’t wait until our next pizza night.
After a few hours of studying Spanish at our favorite cafe, we made reservations at Duo, a french-inspired eatery, and gussied up. Joshua wore his Fedora at my request, and I rocked one of my silk tops from Kathmandu.
Duo was delicious, and with E.’s generous donation, we ordered a half bottle of wine. For an appetizer, we had a pesto and watercress tartlett (which made our eyes roll back in our heads with ecstasy), and for entrees, we ordered the sea bass in an impossibly delicious cream sauce and roasted vegetables on couscous in tangine sauce. Both were incredible.
Back at home, a late afternoon rainshower had cooled off the house, and as we fell asleep, the breeze came in from our window, smelling of tomatoes from our garden.
Hat and Apron
Joshua picked out the pattern and fabric, and I produced a hat and apron, made to order. The apron was lacking a little pizazz, so I embroidered, “It’s Business Time,” in honor of one of Joshua’s favorite Flight of the Concords songs. Now, he looks even more handsome when he tosses pizza dough like a pro.
In other crafty news, much of my creative energies have been targeted toward Ms. Stacy P, teacher of a Denver charter school that requires all of its employees to wear collars.
I know you just gasped when you read that. I know I did. When Stacy told me, I considered the proverbial fashion gauntlet to have been thrown down. Shirking feelings of devastation, remorse, and dismay, we bravely went where no fashionista has dared to go before: collared-land.
After a number of visits to thrift stores, a couple of on-line tutorials on how to add collars onto shirts, and even a foray into removable-dickie-collars, I am very pleased to report that Stacy has an enviable, funky, and very collared (which sounds slightly politically incorrect) wardrobe. Now she just has to win over some of her charter-school-square co-workers.
Work Out Classes
I’m afraid to put this out into cyberspace, but in the name of fearless honesty, I will admit that I have injured my foot by running barefoot. But now, before you feel validated in your skepticism, let me first say that this was a user error. I am to blame. Not barefoot running.
After 10 miles of barefoot running over the span of three days, I began to feel a sharp pain in my transverse arch (the stretch between my pinkie toe and heel). I knew running wasn’t an option, so I called up Stacy and roped her into joining 24 Hour Fitness with me.
Since then, I’ve been working out like a maniac and taking classes on offer, including Body Pump, Step, and Turbo Kick. In Body Pump, I completed my first bench presses, and therefore experienced considerable chest pain the next five days. In Step, I made a fool of my uncoordinated self in front of some very talented old ladies and coordinated gay men. They were beautiful in all of their synchronicity; I was not.
This morning, Stacy and I showed up for Turbo Kick. While requiring some coordination, I was able to keep up much better, and during the super-speed tae-bo-esque Turbo Kick sequence, I believe my heart rate may have spiked up into the 200 bpm range. Consider me a convert.
Two Fridays ago, Joshua treated Stacy, Kyle, Brian, Brittaney, and me to another lip-smackin’, pizza-lovin’ affair. Among my favorite moments from this night:
1. Watching my husband toss pizza dough. It’s pretty attractive.
2. Drinking margaritas with Stacy and getting rather trashed.
3. Explaining the role of Diva Cups in the menstrual cycle to a room full of people.
4. Playing “Loaded Questions,” a game the Devanes brought over.
5. Laughing so hard that I fell off my chair and my abs hurt the next day.
On Sunday, we gathered the As, Devanes, and Ps for a reprisal and drove up past Boulder to hike up Green Mountain. Although the trail from parking lot to summit and back is only 4.5 miles, it took us nearly four hours. The first half was comparable to a stairmaster, and once we arrived at the top, a lightening storm rolled in. We took a peak and then beat a hasty retreat.
Collegiate Peaks Camping/ Mt. Yale
On Tuesday, the Devanes picked us up, and we droved to Buena Vista through the rain. Despite the foreboding forecast, we arrived at Collegiate Peaks Campground as the last raindrops fell. The rain held off all night, and then, the next morning at 5:30 AM, we ate a quick breakfast and headed for the trailhead to Mt. Yale.
The path from trailhead to summit covers roughly 4.5 miles, and it took us just under 4 hours to make it to the peak of Mt. Yale. Although clouds and mist shrouded the tops of the mountains and hikers who were returning from their summit told us that they hadn’t seen a thing from the top, we ran into some serious luck. About 5 minutes after we arrived at the top, the clouds parted, and all of a sudden, it was a clear day. The view was spectacular. Buena Vista sprawled out to the East, and to the North, we could see Mt. Harvard. In the South, Mt. Princeton stood tall, and to the west, we could see the tall, snowy backbone of the Rockies.
The hike itself was very nice. The first part traverses streams and walks through trees that gradually thin until you arrive at treeline. Above treeline, marmots perch on boulders, and peaks rise up on the abbreviated horizon.
The last hour before the summit begins the climb in earnest, and the last 15 minutes include a scramble over boulders. The scramble wasn’t particularly scary, and I would say that I have an average to healthy fear of precipitous drops.
8 hours after we had set off, we arrived back at the trailhead, and after a short drive back to our campsite, we spent the afternoon playing games, snacking, and talking. Definitely one of the best days of the summer.
A Weekend with the Ps
We returned to Denver on Thursday, cleaned up, stowed away our stuff, and laid low, giving our muscles a chance to recover (besides Mt. Yale, I had just completed my first bench presses, and Joshua had just run 13 miles – 8 miles barefoot). That night, we headed over to the Ps for a delicious P concoction of quinoa, kimchi, egg, and authentic soy sauce. While Joshua and Kyle talked logistics for camping, Stacy and I spent a girly hour admiring her new collared (I know, I can’t help myself) wardrobe and mystifying collection of glimmery powders and instruments that beautify.
On Friday, we piled into the car and headed for the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Joshua had called ahead to make reservations, but he was informed that reservations need to be made four days before-hand. So, crossing our fingers, we entered the first campground. All 100 sites were full. Then we checked out three more campgrounds. They were all full too, all 400+ sites.
Feeling quite dismayed and grasping at straws, we turned down a random Forest Service Road. Driving past cabins full of lucky people who own cabins, we stopped to gape over an Elk with a rack the size of a Buick. He was stupendous.
We drove on for a couple more miles, and then, wonder of wonders, we stumbled upon an informal dispersed campsite with other campers and – voila! – room to spare.
The next morning, we decided to pack up. Although the site had been a boon, Stacy hadn’t slept well, and after driving so much yesterday, we were a good distance from the trails we wanted to hike.
Following Joshua’s master plan, we drove to the trailhead of Mt. Audobon, a 13er in the Indian Peaks wilderness. When we arrived, a Forest Ranger asked us our intentions, and when we informed her, she asked us if we had our snow gear and then leveled her hand somewhere in the range of her forehead, to indicate the amount of snow.
Kyle looked down at his homemade footwear. He’d forgotten his vibrams. The rest of us looked down at our shorts.
We decided to try anyway. We could always turn around if it got bad, and it’s a good thing we did. Of all the hikes we’ve done, this was one of my favorites. Although we did cross a couple of snowy patches, they were hard-packed and easy to follow. Kyle, like the crazy person he is, hiked most of the 9 miles barefoot.
Quite a bit of the trail was above treeline, and the relatively clear day offered fabulous views. On our way up, we met an older gentleman and woman, and we bonded over recent trips to Nepal. We all agreed that this almost as good, the only barrier being our access to dal Bhaat.
On our way down, we got caught in a lightening storm, and we flew down the trail, desperate for treeline. Luckily, we made it back to the trailhead safe and sound, and although we all felt as wet and smelly as our happy dogs, we were definitely high on life.
That night, we returned to Denver, made Huevos Rancheros in the P kitchen, and played an unforgettable round of Cranium (Stacy’s new favorite game).
So that’s it. That’s what we’ve been up to. Tomorrow, bright and early, Joshua and I drive to our first day of Professional Development. Work begins. I’m actually coping rather well. I can’t say that I won’t miss our year (plus) of freedom and adventure, but I’m not freaking out, either. I’m feeling good. We’ve got friends. We live in Denver, and we’ve got each other (and Oscar and Thibodeaux!). Life is good.