Mikayla is my best friend’s little sister. She is 12 years old. She is also my (non-legally) adopted sister*, as I live with her and her amazing family every time I go to Boulder. (One time, we made penguins. They were awesome). Continue reading
Rocky Mountain Cocker Rescue Fundraiser
As you might have known from my previous post Max Seigal Photography, I’m good friends (I’d even go as far as to say best friends) with Max Seigal, who takes epic pictures. Seriously, they’re epic– check them out.
If you’d like:
1) the chance to honor Max’s mom Alice, a veterinarian in Boulder, Colorado and all-around amazing woman, who passed away in October,
2) to support the Rocky Mountain Cocker Rescue, and specifically a dog named Coco Puff who needs cataract surgery, and
3) the chance to win one of Max’s pictures (makes the perfect Christmas present!), then check out this Facebook link:
Post by Rocky Mountain Cocker Rescue.
To purchase tickets, write a check payable to:
RMCR, c/o Shannon Matthews, 2138 Doris Court, Loveland CO 80537.
You will be sent a receipt with your ticket(s).The winner will be announced Sunday, December 8th via email, and also posted on the RMCR Facebook page and RMCR website. Said lucky winner will receive a promo code to use on Max’s site for the 20×30 print of their choice, on either paper or metal (go for the metal– they look fantastic, don’t need to be framed, are much lighter than a traditionally framed picture of that size– no glass!, and are quite durable and easy to clean).
If you need any help selecting your photo, I’d be happy to make recommendations. My first recommendation is this: buy a couple tickets, and then go over to his site and buy a few pictures. One Max Seigal photograph is pretty sweet, but two (or more!) is even better.
Only got $20 in my pocket
“I’m gonna pop some tags,
Only got $20 in my pocket…”
I hear that my little brother knows all the lyrics to the song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, so if you haven’t heard it have him sing it to you. And if you can actually get him to sing it to you, please videotape it, because I would dearly like to see it.
Here’s the official “Thrift Shop” video, for those who might not have seen it. This is the unedited version, so there are a few objectionable words in there. Grandma, I just want you to know I would never use words like that, though I do shop at thrift shops.
This is what $20 (technically $19.40) will get you at the Goodwill in Boulder:
- Three books: The Best Travel Writing of 2000 (edited by Bill Bryson); Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorps (Dave Isay); and Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Annie Proulx)
- A pair of Lauren Ralph Lauren jeans (which I suspect are brand new, as they are a bit stiff and still have the thread from the tag on the back pocket. Also, I’ve never understood the double ‘Lauren,’ but since my name is on there 2x I figure that means they’re extra super awesome)
- A pair of Colombia shorts
- A clear glass jar with lid
- This sweet mug
Yeah, that’s right. Be jealous.
Dog Pee Conversation Of The Day
Ahh, the perks of being a dog walker… and having (the best) weird friends.
“Ellie the puppy was real excited to see me… and drizzled on my pants.”
“Now that I know that’s ok, I’ll make sure to do the same the next time I’m excited to see you!”
“You’re not cute enough to get away with it like she is.”
My Soon-To-Be-Former Roommate Ramon, the House Centipede
I live in a basement, which means I have the pleasure of putting up with certain arthropoda tenants. The spiders and I have struck a deal: I leave them alone as long as they stay out of my bed, the shower (but only while I’m in it, free reign rest of the time) and the dresser drawers. Unfortunately, sometimes they break our treaty, and so have to deal with the consequences, which involves meeting their fates in either the flushing-whirlpool-of-death ( the toilet), or in the giant-tissue-of-smashedness (self-explanatory). In circumstances of extremely blatant disregard of our pact, both methods have been deployed.
The arachnids don’t really bother me all that much, although I do wonder what exactly their food supply is. I hope there’s not too much down there in terms of spider food… which is somewhat mean to the spiders I guess, but I’m sorry, I sleep there. I’m just weird like that, I prefer to share my bed with mammals only (like cats that knead me in the neck and little dogs that snore).
These dudes, however, are not my favorites:
I caught him running across the carpet, heading towards the no-fly/crawl zones of the dresser and the bed, and was forced to take defensive action.
So of course I had to trap it under a clear glass, bring it upstairs, and take pictures (isn’t that what everyone does?). This guy’s too big to smash (a couple inches long), so he’s going outside in the cold once I’m done examining him. Which is probably more cruel, now that I think about it, than just smashing and meeting a quick end. Outside, he’ll maybe freeze (unless he makes it back into the house before the cold causes him to stop moving, which is entirely possible). Or, maybe he’ll be eaten by something else, in which case I’m contributing to the natural cycle of the world (or as much of the natural cycle lives in the backyard of a house in the city). Hopefully he’ll make a nice meal for some critter. I figure throwing him outside at least gives him a fighting chance (of finding his way into the neighbor’s house).
Anyway, you’re probably wondering what this is: and I shall tell you.
This is a house centipede. It has 15 pairs of legs, one pair per body segment (I counted). Now, according to the Pennsylvania State University website I looked up, the hind legs of females are twice the length of the body, which leads me to conclude that this is a dude, (though think I may be wrong). Those back legs look to be maybe the length of his body, but I’m not about to get in there with a ruler. Mostly because I don’t have one. Therefore, I named him Ramon (but it could be Ramona).
All centipedes are venomous, though most don’t bite people, and if they do it only hurts a little bit. Or so I hear. House centipedes are believed to be from the Mediterranean region, and then somehow got to Mexico and the southern U.S. and spread from there. Talented little buggers.
(Though it should be noted that they are not in fact ‘bugs’. True bugs are insects of the order Hemiptera, which are aphids, cicadas, shield bugs and 50,000 to 80,000 other species. It should also be noted that most people find it annoying when you correct them about the difference between ‘bugs’ and insects– “not all insects are bugs, but all bugs are insects.” This is especially true when you follow it up with detailed descriptions of your Entomology class experiment involving opossum carcasses, species succession, and counting maggots– then they usually start gagging and wondering how fast they can change the subject. That class was awesome, though a bit smelly at times. Dr. Carreno, I want you to know that I considered further study in entomology, but birds won out by just that much over beetles).
“Because of their secretive nature, scary appearance and darting motions, homeowners typically fear the house centipede. In 1902, C.L. Marlatt, an entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture writes in Circular #48 – The House Centipede: ‘It may often be seen darting across floors with very great speed, occasionally stopping suddenly and remaining absolutely motionless, presently to resume its rapid movements, often darting directly at inmates of the house, particularly women, evidently with a desire to conceal itself beneath their dresses, and thus creating much consternation.’ Undoubtedly, the current favor of blue jeans as a preferred article of clothing has not appreciably reduced the angst felt by the household “inmates” when a centipede is seen scurrying across the basement floor.” (Penn State Entomology website, House Centipede article).
Indeed, the consternation of the household inmate was not reduced by the fact that said inmate was indeed wearing pants.
And here’s a cool blog I just discovered that talks about house centipedes and the reproduction of other creatures:
The Coffee Shops of Boulder
As one of those writer-types, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. Luckily, there are a variety of choices in Boulder, so I can frequently change it up. Here are my impressions of some of them, in no particular order:
Brewing Market off Baseline: Has fantastic pictures taken by the one and only Max Seigal (yes, this is a shameless plug for his photography business. I’m hoping that eventually he’ll pay me for referrals). Pretty good coffee, good chai (my favorite is the ginger chai), good loose tea. Small tables, but lots of plugs all over the place, especially in the front section. They like to fill the coffee cups up to the brim, so unless I put on a lid I always end up knocking into the table and spilling. I usually try to bring my own travel mug, it’s safer. It’s also close to home,which is nice for a quick escape. I also like the atmosphere, and all of the baristas I’ve interacted with over the years have been nice and friendly.
Starbucks off Baseline: I’ve only been there twice, both times early. It seems like a CU hangout, so I’d avoid it during prime study hours. There’s one nice biggish table with easy outlet access, and a few smaller tables. The vanilla spice latte is pretty good. I don’t especially like Starbucks coffee, but I have a gift card, and it’s hard to pass up free coffee drinks. Perk of having a school teacher mom– she gives you all the gift cards that she doesn’t use (thank you to all the band students at Copley-Fairlawn Middle and High Schools. And to whoever keeps giving a box of Candy Cane Joe Joe’s from Trader Joes– student of the year. Mom, this is the real reason I come home for Christmas. Just kidding– it’s actually for Grandma Cindea’s dinner rolls). I also have a Cheesecake Factory gift card, if anyone wants to go. I finally live somewhere that has a Cheesecake Factory, so I should probably use it up. (The fact that my review detours into Ohio should tell you something…). This Starbucks is also close to home, though the parking lot is tiny, and there are tons of college kids, even before 8 am on a Saturday (what college student gets up that early?). Makes for interesting people watching.
Starbucks off 28th: One of the baristas’ is named Lauren, and she complimented my earrings (they were gulls that day). She also had pretty snazzy earrings herself. Everyone who came in seemed to know the various baristas by name, and they seemed to know everyone who came in. Not every table has access to a plug, and it’s a little cozy inside, but I like it and have gotten quite a bit of work done there. If I’m not feeling Brewing Market, this is my go-to spot. Again though, I have a gift card.
Ozo Coffee Co. on Pearl St.: Noisy in the front, but they have Bhakti Chai. Can see the Flatirons from the front window. Friendly baristas. Small 2 person table is perfect size for one with a laptop and notebook. Quite a few people working, and having meetings, meeting up with friends. Woman with her small daughter having hot chocolate on a Tuesday mid-morning. Outlet placement not ideal, and I didn’t have one at my table (seemed like there should have been one, but there wasn’t). This is where I first met Lauren Rains, editor of Outdoor Minded Mag (with whom I am now interning). She says they’re serious about coffee here, and it has a good atmosphere but she also likes Laughing Goat for the happy hour and live music. I’m cheap (and the drinks aren’t), and I have to park a couple blocks away for the free parking, so I don’t frequent the coffee spots on Pearl St. all that often.
Starbucks on Pearl and 15th: Again, gift card. Lots of head space, feels open, nice calm atmosphere. Seem to be fair number of plugs by tables around walls, but I got stuck with one in the middle (I really need to start getting out earlier or something). Internet seems to be a little slow, some pages take a few refreshes to load. Not unpleasant, I’d come here again. I find Starbucks drinks to be okay, not the best, but tolerable. Not as crowded as other shops I’ve been to, people seem to come in and leave with their drinks, not hang out all day. Just saw a guy sitting at a table by the door get up and open the door for a woman with a stroller. I like Boulder.
Vic’s, off Walnut St.: Two levels, though I only spotted one plug on the upper level– wait, have discovered a second. Not too many tables, but on a Monday afternoon there was barely anyone there, four people total not including myself. Nice long tea list. Have a television that seems to only play annoying day-time TV, which is why I always have headphones. Dislike that they close at 6 p.m., since I usually only am free to write early in the morning or later in the evening.
The Cup, off Pearl: Ashley and I stopped by one night as we were wandering the streets, and bought a cup of peppermint tea to warm us up (and so we could use the bathroom). It was $6 for two. I mean, seriously? $3 for a cup of tea? Have yet to go back, though it does seem like it would be a good place to work, with lots of tables and a back room.
Laughing Goat, on Pearl: Lots of plugs, with a slightly battered/artsy feel. Good tea, haven’t had the coffee yet. Holed up for a long session of layout work with Lauren for OMM, and I really enjoyed it. Some of the tables seemed a little off-kilter, but mine in the corner was good. Some of the tables are good sized, others are teeny tiny (as in I could barely fit my 13 inch laptop on the surface). I foresee many more long work days spent there.
Amante Coffee, off Baseline (the new one): new location, just opened up a few weeks ago. Don’t know that it’s been “discovered” by the masses yet, which means it’s pretty calm inside and not difficult to find an open table (or hasn’t been the few times I’ve been inside). Lots of outlets downstairs, and there’s a second level which has some relatively comfy couches and chairs, but only one discovered outlet. They also have Bhakti Chai (always a plus in my book).
There are many more coffee places to discover and many more words to write, so I shall continue my research and let you know when I’ve found the perfect work place.
Boulder, Colorado is a mix of all sorts of things, but most of them have to do with being outside. This is a town where one can buy oxygen*, grass (wheatgrass or marijuana), and water at exorbitant prices, but can also be immersed in all three for free in any of the more than 40,000 acres of protected green space in and around the city.
Perhaps the most iconic symbol of Boulder is the image of the Flatirons, rock formations located just west of town. Named by pioneer women who thought they looked like irons (not especially creative, but an apt description), they are conveniently located a few minutes from downtown. The Third Flatiron stands 1,400 feet tall, and was first climbed by Floyd and Earl Millard in 1906, the earliest recorded rock climb in Colorado. Since then it has been climbed thousands of times in a number of fashions, including by two men wearing roller skates, by only the light of the full moon, and naked.
Boulderites like to play hard. The city hosts a “robust biking culture,” and many take advantage of the roughly 300 miles of bike lanes and paths, which are used year-round. On an average day, city employees counted 3,574 bikes in the downtown area. About 15% of the city’s annual transportation budget goes towards bike programs, and about 10% of all work commutes are made by bike, almost 20 times the national average.
The first people to live in the Boulder area were Native Americans of the Arapahoe tribe. Then in 1859 came the white men and the Boulder City Town Company, who divvied up the land into parcels and sold them for $1,000 per lot, later lowered to attract more buyers. The Territory of Colorado itself wouldn’t be established for two more years. Prior to 1861 Boulder was part of the Territory of Nebraska, which probably has nothing to do with the University of Colorado Boulder Buffaloes / University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football rivalry. The University of Colorado has been up and running in Boulder since 1877, and today hosts about 30,000 students.
Without Pearl Harbor, Boulder might not have grown into the town it is today. During WWII, the US Navy located its Japanese school at UC Boulder, which brought people from all over the country to the area. After the war, many of them came back, increasing the population by about 10,000. The 300 days of sun a year probably had something to do with it. Today, the population is just under 100,000.
According to a mile-high list of publications, Boulder is an ideal place to live if you are: a woman executive, innovative, a biker, happy, a foodie, well-read, an in-shape baby-boomer, educated, brainy, raising an outdoor kid, an artist, someone who works for a technology start-up, part of a LGBT family, or someone who likes trees, among other things. Says one local, “I love Boulder, sure there are a lot of people who are weird as shit (last night I had a 50 something hippy tell me she could teach me yoga while having sex with my girlfriend) but that’s half the fun of living here.”
10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Third Flatiron. By Amanda Fox, Climbing Magazine. http://www.climbing.com/climber/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-third-flatiron
The Best Bike Cities in North America: Boulder, Colorado. By Sarah Ripplinger, Outside Magazine. http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/north-america/The-Best-Bike-Cities-in-North-America-Boulder-Colorado.html
The Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid: The Winning 25. By Jason Stevenson, Backpacker Magazine. http://www.backpacker.com/august_09_the_best_cities_to_raise_an_outdoor_kid/articles/13125
Boulder, Colorado: The City Everyone Loves to Love/Hate. By Ryan Krogh, Outside Magazine: http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/best-towns/Boulder-Colorado.html
Boulder, Colorado USA (Boulder Conventions & Visitors Bureau): http://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/
*Boulder’s Tonic Oxygen Bar goes ‘herban.’ By Alicia Wallace, The Daily Camera. http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-business/ci_13248260
City of Boulder, Colorado Homepage: http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/
The Gore-Tex Vortex. By Marc Peruzzi, Outside Magazine. http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/north-america/united-states/colorado/boulder/The-Gore-Tex-Vortex.html
Mountain Project Boulder page, submitted by John McNamee: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/boulder/105801420
Oxygen bar’s clients are encouraged to inhale. By Barbara Hey, Denver Post. http://extras.denverpost.com/life/oxygenbar0328.htm
Wikipedia: Boulder, Colorado. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boulder,_Colorado
Wikipedia: Colorado-Nebraska football rivalry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado%E2%80%93Nebraska_football_rivalry
Boulder postcard: http://www.yoganonymous.com/
CU Boulder campus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CU_boulder_campus.jpg
Flatirons images courtesy of the author