Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Denver Recap October 11, 2011

I had such a lovely trip to Denver!  I just came back today and wanted to share some of my adventures.  For starters I have to give my thanks to Karla and her trusty dude/valet for providing me with a ride {and luggage service} to the airport.  They were so kind to do it, especially when we saw the traffic they’d have to endure on the way home.  Thanks again guys!  I arrived in Denver kinda late on Thursday night and Sarah & Jon picked me up.  On the way back to their place I got to see the red eyed evil Bronco who killed its creator and some fun purple clouds too.  We arrived back at their new home and I got to check out their new place {okay well new to me at least}.  It is a really nice place and I even got my own bed to sleep in!   The next day we {when I say we I mean Sarah} packed for a hike and headed out:

We were going to see Rocky Mountain National Park, but first we stopped off at Celestial Seasonings up near Boulder, CO {thanks for the suggestion Lei!}.  For those of you who don’t know, it is a tea company {the logo is a sleeping bear}.  We got to tour the tea factory, which was really interesting {so were the hairnets we had to wear}.  My favorite part is The Mint Room.  It clears your sinuses it is so strong smelling in there.  They actually have to keep the peppermint leaves in their own room so they don’t contaminate the other flavors of tea they make.  We also had some lunch, sampled some teas, and of course headed over to the gift shop where I bought a few things:

We left before we could buy anymore stuff and drove more North.  I was snapping pictures like a crazy lady because even the scenery on the drive was breathtaking.  Sarah warned me that I would find even better views in the park, but I didn’t believe her til I saw it with my own eyes!  Here are just a few because I didn’t want to overwhelm…it’s already going to be a long post!

That night Sarah and I went to dinner at a delicious restaurant called Lala’s we drank wine and had pizza and then met up with Jon and some of their CO friends.  We all had a good time and then went home to get some rest for the next day.  Saturday we met up with some friends for brunch that I know from back home.  It was awesome to get to see them again and all hang out together.  After a delish breakfast of cheesy grits we made our way to the Chatfield branch of the Denver Botanic Gardens for a fun day at the pumpkin patch.  At first it was raining, but eventually the sun came out and we found really good pumpkins for everyone.  I just loved the fact that we were in a pumpkin patch, but there were mountains in the background!

After the patch we bid our friends goodbye and went home to bum around a bit.  Then they told me they were taking me to Le Central which is an adorable French Restaurant.  I tried mussels for the first time and they were delicious.  On Sunday we enjoyed a homemade breakfast made by Sarah and Jon and then Sarah and I went out for more hiking.  We made it out to the Red Rocks Park which was beautiful and reminded me a lot of AZ.  It’s so unique because not only is the natural part amazing, but seeing all the artists that have performed there is pretty cool too {I learned that Mr. James Taylor has performed there numerous times!}  After we hiked one of the trails we continued on to Mount Falcon which was much more foresty and ended up having an awesome view of the city.

That night we went more into the city to a section called LoDo or Lower Downtown which seemed pretty lively for a Sunday night.  We ate at a place called The Market and I enjoyed THE best chicken salad and minestrone soup I’ve ever ate!  It was a Mediterranean chicken salad and I have to try and make it myself…just delicious!

Monday was my last full day in Denver and Sarah and I used it to do a bit of shopping.  We checked out a couple of shops on Broadway and stepped into an ice cream shop called Sweet Action which turned out to be really sweet.  If you are ever in town I would really recommend you check out this cute area.  The shops are very unique…one place felt like we were in a mad scientists office and another place felt like we jumped back in time with each furniture arrangement we saw.  We wrapped up the trip with a trip to the local ‘Chicago bar’ called Wyman’s and unfortunately watched Da Bears lose.  No matter!  It reminded me that no matter where in the world my friends might be living we will always be Chicagoans at heart.  And if my friends have to be living in a different city than me, at least they live in a cool one that I can come visit!  Thanks again Sarah & Jon for hosting me…I can’t wait to visit again!


Country Memories April 5, 2011

Have you ever hated a song’s lyrics but loved the way it sounded?  I feel this way about the Zac Brown Band’s song ‘Colder Weather’.  I can’t stop humming it, but the song is sad and I don’t really care for the story.  And let’s face it, most of the reason I listen to country music is because I like the stories in the songs.  When I was little my mom used to listen to country and my favorite part was after the song was over I would give a summary and ask her if that was what the song was about.  Usually she would have to explain it a little more since most of them were a bit more complex than my 7 or 8 year old mind could figure out.  Sunday night was the CMAs {actually they changed it to ACMs or Academy of Country Music- not sure what that’s about?}.  I didn’t watch the whole thing, but I did catch the Zac Brown Band singing with James Taylor…and they were singing the Colder Weather song!  I especially enjoyed it when James transitioned into ‘Sweet Baby James’.  They were really a great duo and James Taylor just happens to be my most favorite singer of all time so that was a plus.

Now I’m starting to get lost in my memories about country music.

When I was in grade school it was totally uncool to like country music {unlike high school when it was the in thing…go figure}.  In fact I lied on the worksheet we had to fill out about our favorite things and said my favorite singer was Mariah Carey just to fit in with the other girls.  The truth was that I loved Shania Twain.  I was in a Girl Scout troop {On my Honor I will try…} and one night there was an activity where we dressed up like our favorite singer and sang a song of theirs.  Now you have to know that when I was little I was painfully shy.  I was very soft spoken and mostly tried to stay under everyone’s radar.  If anyone noticed me I usually cried.  My mom somehow convinced me that I should dress like Shania Twain and sing ‘Any Man of Mine.’  I thought it was brilliant, and loved the outfit we concocted: cut off jeans and shorts with a tank that tied up around my belly button.  We also put my hair up in the highest ponytail we could, curled my hair, and hair sprayed the crap out of it!  I felt like a star…that was until we got to the school and I had to sing in front of all the other girls!  The music came on and I started mumbling the words.  I remember all the girls and the moms that were there were amazed that I would:

  1. Wear the outfit I was wearing
  2. Actually sing in front of everyone

It was the first time I remember telling myself that I should enjoy the moment and just go with it.  It’s a feeling that I still have trouble conjuring up for myself today, but when I remember my 10 year old self with that much confidence it is a bit easier.


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