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
In honor of the Super Bowl today, I’ve decided to rename some of the ice cream flavors at Glacier Ice Cream.
(I have to leave for work in 15 minutes, so this is the best I could come up with on such short notice. I’m sure I’ll have more to add later)
- Cookies and Cream the Seahawks
- Death by Chocolate Broncos
- Sea Salt Seattle Caramel
- Pistachio Peyton Manning Gelato
- Russell Wilson Raspberry Chocolate Melt
- Bronco Birthday Cake
or, you could order a Super Bowl Sundae (I might try to get crafty with broken ice cream cones and try to put a Bronco on a sundae. I’m not convinced of my artistic abilities, so you might have to use your imagination a bit).
While I don’t particularly care one way or the other who wins, I am wearing Broncos colors. I thought it might be wise, since I am in Colorado. And, I don’t know what the Seahawks colors are. I had to Google them to see who their quarterback is. I mean, I might be more inclined to cheer them on, since I do like birds better than horses, but I live with a bunch of Broncos fans and in order to maintain harmony I’ll go Broncos.
You would think, as I’ve been going to football games since before I was born (my mom is a marching band director, and apparently I would kick along to the bass drums while in the womb), and I spent four years of high school in marching band and a year in pep band in college, I would have some idea of how this whole football thing works. All I know is that you want to get the ball to the endzone (something called a touchdown) and then you want to kick it through the big tuning-fork thingies (goal posts, I believe they’re called). And everything takes forever,because they keep stopping the clock for no apparent reason.
As my dad used to say, everyone really only goes for the halftime show, but it’s nice that they have those guys run around and entertain people before and after.
If you’re in the area, come visit me at Glacier on Baseline. I’m working from 2pm until close, which is 9pm. There might be field goals made of milkshake straws for some paper football. The Glacier Bowl, I’m calling it. Should be a good time.
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:
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.
To fund my climbing/travel habit, I walk dogs 5 days a week for a company called Out-U-GO! Check out the website, and tell them that Lauren from the Boulder office recommended you.
Every morning I receive an email of my schedule, print it out, and away I go. I walk all sorts of dogs who live all over the city of Boulder. Some dogs are small, like the toothless tiny Chihuahua, and others are large, like the 180 lb Newfoundland. Some are models of excellent behavior, some absolutely adorable little puppies who, in their excitement, drizzle on my pants, and others thoughtfully spread the contents of the trash on the floor so every time I visit I have to clean up that day’s kitchen trash.
I’ve walked dogs in the sun, in the snow, in the rain, in the cold. We’ve gotten muddy, tried to chase squirrels (I’m not quite fast enough), and had lots of tummy rubs and treats. For the most part, it’s a pretty good deal– I get paid to go outside and play with dogs all day.
In case you’ve never walked a dog before, here’s how it’s done:
1. Find a dog to walk. I recommend going through legit channels, as in borrowing a friend’s dog (with their permission), or joining a dog-walking company. Don’t just “borrow” some stranger’s dog, not a good thing.
2. Put leash on dog. There are all sorts of weird harness contraptions, so make sure you know how it works. It’s a little embarrassing when you take the dog for a walk and end up coming across the owner, who has to show you how to correctly put their dog’s harness on.
3. Go outside.
5. Let the dog pee on as many things as it deems necessary. This will vary by dog, but is on average 500 different things during a 25 minute walk. These things may include, but are not limited to: trash cans, trees, bushes, the sidewalk, bikes, parked motorcycles, fences, various bits of grass, snow piles, dirt piles, the dog poop bag station, picnic tables, rocks, car tires, garden walls, and any place another dog has peed. I know all the good pee spots within a three-block radius of my regular pups’ homes.
6. Pick up poop. Repeat as necessary.
Simple as that!
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.”
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:
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/
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
Currently, my life is like this:
I am now living in Boulder, Colorado, in the basement of my good friend’s family. In exchange for room and board, I help out around the house, drive the little sisters all over the greater Boulder area, and help take care of the dogs. My friend and his mom are currently in Antarctica, so my nanny/dog walker/chauffeur/entertainment buddy/dish washer services should be in less demand once they return.
Side note: To read about Max’s adventures, check out the blog on his photography website: Max Wilderness. He’s got some neat pictures up from his most recent adventures in Patagonia and Antarctica.
When not driving Mikayla and Ashley to and from school and/or swimming lessons and/or doctor appointments/massages/yoga, I spend my days working on an online travel writing class, which is offered through MatadorU. They have a website full of many wonderfully written articles and pictures on all sorts of topics, from more traditional travel fare to pieces on social issues to food to interviews. There’s something for everyone there, and I have spent many an hour exploring the site when I meant to be working. Counts as research, right?
Check it out here: Matador Network
I am also now an editorial intern with Outdoor Minded Mag, an online magazine based here in Boulder. Or, I should say, that’s where Lauren (the editor) lives and works, so that’s where it’s based at the moment. She’s a very awesome person, and yesterday we spent hours holed up together in a coffee shop working on laying out some articles. It was a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to working with her. She recently skateboarded from Boulder to Denver, and wrote about it on the site (check it out through the link below). The website launched 6 months ago, so we’re still getting things put together, but I see the magazine heading in a great direction and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Check it out here: Outdoor Minded Mag
I’ve been climbing whenever I can, which isn’t quite as often as I would like. Wednesday I met up with a friend and we climbed for around 4 hours straight. My arms were so tired I could barely make it up a 5.8 by the end of the session. Climbing routes are rated by difficulty, the most difficult being a 5.15, the easiest being a 5.0. I usually climb 5.10’s, and some easier 11’s. 5.8’s are easy, beginner routes, that I normally do as warm-ups.
This site explains the rating system much better than I can: Rock Climbing Ratings
I’m hoping to break out my poor downhill skis, which have been languishing in the basement for the past two years, and ski on some real mountains, and in some real snow! Last time I skied was in Ohio, and I’m not sure that counts (and yes, there are places to ski in Ohio, I’ve been to three of the five “resorts”. Didn’t realize there were that many, I just looked it up). Although that one snowboarder who was in the Winter Olympics, Louie Vito, is from Ohio. Columbus, Ohio, which is about as flat as it gets.
I have a few leads for paying jobs, since climbing gym memberships, lift tickets, and gas are a bit pricey. I’ll keep you updated.
That’s all for now, folks!
I found this poem on the wall of the Denver Airport, just outside baggage claim, while I was on my way out after dropping off my sister for her flight back to Ohio. I stood there and read it twice through, the black letters stuck on the plain white wall, with people collecting their bags and waiting and moving all around me.
It’s a poem by the 13th century Persian Muslim poet named Rumi, who was also a jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic (according to Wikipedia). I find it particularly meaningful at this moment in life, and I think it’s a wonderful way to exit into whatever awaits you in the world outside the airport.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
And, clearly, this poem is about hobbits, and is pretty much the entire plot line for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
“People are going back and forth across the doorsill where two worlds touch/ The door is round and open”– Obviously, this refers to when the dwarfs come to Bilbo’s hobbit hole to begin their quest.
“You must ask for what you really want”– when Thorin Oakenshield is reluctant to ask Elrond to read his map. Also when Bilbo finally comes to his senses and asks to come along with the dwarfs.
“Don’t go back to sleep”– telling Bilbo to sign the contract and go with the dwarfs and not to just stay asleep in his safe, cozy, boring hobbit hole. Movie quote: Bilbo- “I just need to sit quietly for a moment.” Gandalf- “You’ve been sitting quietly for far too long!” Also could be a reference to when the dwarfs are sleeping in the mountains and are captured by the goblins.
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you”– sounds like something Gandalf would say. Something he actually does say: “Home is now behind you. The world is ahead.”
I saw the new Hobbit movie with my brother and sister just before I came out to Boulder, which is why I’ve hobbits on the brain. And on that note I think Radagast’s sled is awesome. I would totally put up with birds nesting in my hair and pooping down my face if it meant I had a sweet sled pulled by giant rabbits. As long as the birds weren’t American Robins, or turd birds as we call them (their scientific name is Turdis migratorius, hence turd, from Turdis). Those things are gross, and they make a huge runny mess all over the place when you’re trying to band them. Wrens would be ok, or a small family of warblers, or hummingbirds. Those are all cuter, smaller, and seem neater.
I now suggest a listen to “Into the West,” sung by Annie Lennox, from the soundtrack of The Return of the King. I find it fits quite well with this poem, and is a very lovely song. One of my favorites, along with “Concerning Hobbits” on the soundtrack for The Fellowship of the Ring. Howard Shore is brilliant, and the soundtracks make excellent work/study music.