The saga continues!
Because in real life, it really really did.
In real life, it was Friday, and I was headed to Colorado Springs to check into my hotel near Manitou with my fabulous, awesome, wonderful, fun wedding date Lewis, and see my sister and my genius, adorable, teething nephew Collin. :) Is that enough adjectives? The shuttle took FOR-EV-ER for some reason, 3 hours. There was a wildfire in the mountains near the Air Force Academy, too. Small, but reminded me, a bit sadly, of the fires in New Mexico this year, and how quickly a small one can get...way too big.
Ok. Before I ramble more about purple mountains' majesty (ABOVE THE FRUIIIITED PLAIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNN) I should say...
Have I mentioned Lewis?
And the rehearsal dinner? It was super laid back, in CO Springs at someone's house. There was a keg to tap, more pizza than I've seen since I worked at a pizza joint, a karaoke machine, an amazing huge yard with a deck that you could see the lights of CO Springs from but managed to feel miles away. There was a game room with a poker table, pool table, darts, and a zillion other things. I got a lot of catchup time with Lewis and met some other fun people too. :)
Oh yeah, and... I GOT TO SEE KIJA AGAIN! :)
I was so excited the moment I saw her. Kija is another super awesome friend from New Mexico and the reason I was out in CO at all. Her husband is also super fun, and it was good seeing him again as well. Such a cool reunion. I really made some great friends in New Mexico, and it was so amazing to see two of them together in one place after a really long time of not seeing them.
Here's the beautiful bride and some of her girlies. :)
And, as it happens, her G-ROOM. I called him that the entire time. HE STARTED IT!
He was also wearing that shirt when he proposed. :P He's got a sense of humor that way. :P
But honestly? They are really really great for each other. They have fun, they support each other, they can be really goofy with each other (which honestly I find important. If you can't be yourself and let loose and act like an idiot around someone with no consequences, they're not right for you)
Anyway, it was an amazing night. I'm so glad to have been a part of it. And like I said before, it was only beginning....
Stay tuned, folkses. Same bat time, same bat channel. :P
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
So, I'm still here And I totally intend on posting more CO stuff, SEE? (I say this cuz as soon as I don't people come out of the woodwork wondering why, which is a nice feeling :D )
So we left off in Boulder. Which again, was an AWESOME start to things.
I left Boulder slightly early afternoon and took the bus back to the airport. It was HOT HOT HOT. Like, stupid hot. You couldn't sit on the benches at the airport while waiting for the hotel shuttle because they'd burn your butt off. On the way back I was trying to reach a friend I'd wanted to get together with but it didn't pan out. We kept missing each other. If I *had* to have a regret from this trip besides "getting on a plane back to IL" I'd probably say missing out on hanging out with Vanessa, cuz it would have been awesome.
I was insanely sleepy and sunburned, and I got back to my hotel and thought "I'm gonna relax for about ten minutes and then go take a swim before we go out!"
Five hours later, I woke up.
No lie. Literally five hours later.
Honestly though? It was nice.
When I woke up, it was a little later than I would have liked to go walking around an unfamiliar part of a big city, but I remembered there was a hotel that had a pub in it that was just down the lot from us. So I decided to go try it. Sat down, had a local beer (this would become a theme) and an appetizer, watched the Cubs game that was on, and generally sat and enjoyed myself. I'm not always one who likes to eat alone in a restaurant, around these parts it just seems depressing, but if I'm travelling I somehow forget that feeling. It feels like an adventure. I enjoyed the laid back vibe of Colorado, and everyone was really nice. Then when I'd had my fill and felt slightly buzzy (thank you altitude) I hit the hotel room again for silly shows and still more sleeping. :)
Took a swim in the morning instead, met a family from Upstate New York, did some laps (not thanks, altitude) and lazed about more until I had to leave for DA SPRINGSSS. :)
So there's not a ton of pictures from the Denver leg, obviously. :P But honestly? There's something I like about staying in hotels, exploring new restaurants and just getting a day in there to do WHATEVER you want. And while yeah, I still missed there being someone there to share it with, and had certain people in mind, I knew the next day would bring tons more people...and PICTURES, LOTS OF PICTURES.
Friday, August 19, 2011
When I got to DIA, I immediately got my luggage and headed out to catch a bus to Boulder, CO. It was somewhere I hadn't been before, but my mom lived there and tons of people really recommended it highly. Since I couldn't check into the hotel in Denver til that afternoon, I figured I'd kill the time up in the mountains. That was the right decision. The bus ride took forever, because there was a lot of traffic, but Boulder was awesome.
Boulder is known for a lot of things, including Pearl Street mall. It's basically an outdoor mall area, all kinds of little shops. Penzey's, Lush, some local art galleries, Steve Madden..to name a few. Some touristy places where I didn't really find much I wanted save for a few postcards to send. But it was still nice, and the town is so active there. There was a really nice clown (I know I know, I didn't think I'd say that sentence in my entire life either) who got me acquainted with the town some, gave me a paper that listed local events and made me a balloon flower. :P I took some pictures along Pearl Street and generally milled about until it was time for lunch.
I'd been asking for recommendations but ended up going to a place whose menu was posted outdoors on the way out along Pearl Street that just sounded too good to pass up. And I say that not only because they had a bunch of dishes that had green chile in them. (What? It's an addiction!)
The place was called Centro Latin Kitchen and Refreshment Palace.
I am SO glad that's where I ended up. The restaurant was just opening as I got there, and I rehydrated while I perused the menu. It's a pricier place, but I still did really well and got a lot of food (I'd been starving because my stomach was bothering me too much for breakfast). I tried the shrimp taco and pork taco because when I asked which was better, they said they'd give me one of each for my platter instead of me having to decide. They were both SO delicious. It's making me hungry just thinking about it. The spices were just right, and the cilantro must have been picked right outside the building. The greens in the pork taco (which was carne adobada) were just as fresh. Everything tasted like it had to have been harvested that morning. And I ordered a side of pork green chile...which...omg. It was exactly the right consistency, the pork fell apart because it was so tender...and the chile was fantastic. Roasted perfectly, fresh, the right kind of heat (though not Burrito Lady hot or anything)...the flavor was just out of this world, and it had home-made tortillas rolled up and there for you to dip. Those were fantastic as well. Worth. every. penny. I enjoyed the chance to sit down with the backpack off, the food was fantastic, and the restaurant had a great atmosphere and sense of humor, as you can see from the drink menu. :D
After lunch I was winding down, so after a few more stops, I took the bus back to Denver, figuring I'd be able to check in by the time I got back. Here's some shots of the AMAZING Flatirons from Boulder.
Ugh. Too gorgeous. The bus ride went quickly, mostly because I slept through all of it post-Boulder, and I arrived back at DIA where it was HOT HOT HOT. Like 98, but in this altitude it feels like the sun is suspended five feet above your shoulder. Waiting for the shuttle at the ground transport place it was too hot to sit on the benches in the sun, so I opted for my shoulders hurting with the weight of the backpack I'd been wearing all day. I checked in to the hotel without a problem, laid down on the bed to relax....and woke up 5 hours later. Hehe, oh well. Vacation is about doing what you want to do, right?
I hit a hotel pub down the lot a ways for dinner, had a great local beer and an appetizer (because I was still full from lunch) and came back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the night. Amazingly, I was still tired enough to go to sleep around midnight. I only slept til 6:30, and I've spent this morning lazing around, getting breakfast, and then swimming laps in the pool and talking to a family from upstate New York.
I'm really glad I'm going to get to see Lewis and Shannon and Kija and everyone else today, but there's something so nice about travelling and exploring on your own sometimes. It helped clear any residual sad out of my head from the morning, let me go anywhere I wanted whenever I wanted without inconveniencing anyone else, meet people I might not have met if I was involved with friends and conversation, and was really, really relaxing.
It's getting close to checkout time, so I should probably get dressed and ready to head to Colorado Springs.
Colorado is still one of my favorite places on earth, and vacation has only gotten started and I'm having a great time. :)
I'm sure there'll be more photos and fun later.
Love to all. :)
Monday, August 8, 2011
I love it when things come full circle all in one day's worth of thoughts.
Late this afternoon at work, I came across a love story. My line of work involves helping people at various major points in their lives. Marriage, children, retirement, death...so it comes with a lot of stories, if you know where to look.
And today it was just sitting on my desk. Someone who was married for 60 years to the love of her life. They met when he was in the Air Force, fell in love, and got married. He went overseas and fought in World War 2, and he almost lost his life when there was a plane crash. They got married but the documents were lost somewhere. They had kids and he worked for a paper mill, and then he started his own company, but they never forgot saturdays they spent touring the warehouse with their dad. She wrote to thank the company specifically for the help in finding the info since all of it was from so long ago, and she sent paper clippings and the funeral program along, she said, both because they didn't have the marriage documents and because "I just want someone to read this, please."
So I read.
"We love this man for who he was, for what he loved: jokes, drawing, photography, family, grandsons, words, language, people, night skies, clouds, hiking, camping, trees-beautiful trees, every flower, every rainbow, double entendre, jazz, skiing, badminton, tennis, ping pong, golf, scrabble, Breyer's vanilla ice cream, coconut macaroons, sticky buns, buddy rich, jazz piano, fireworks, power saws, playing bridge, his vegetable garden, pride in his home, Messiah Methodist, boy scouts, home-made donuts on Saturday morning, syncopated rhythms, freshly squeezed orange juice, eye-popping colorful sweaters, table-top drumming, gravy with a little food, ballroom dancing, juggling, triple balance, stream hiking, magic, maps, airplanes....Dad, we all have so many wonderful memories...We see the world in technicolor because of you"
It *STILL* blows me away.
People have a choice of how to be. Some people lost their conscience in lies and left a path of destruction in other people's lives and hearts. Some people get hurt by those people and make sure it never happens again by living in the dark.
And some people?
Some people leave this man's legacy, love words, photography, beautiful trees and every flower....
And they teach the people they leave behind to see the world in technicolor.