Thursday, April 29, 2010

And only a few peanut shells fell on us from above

My toes matched the field

Dan needed to have a good birthday, so I did what I could to plan one. A few weeks ago I bought him a new razor, something he's been wanting for a while. I looked into and procured tickets to a Rockies game. I took yesterday off and we went out for breakfast, got Quizno's sandwiches and peanuts, and headed off to the ballpark to watch a really high scoring game that went into the 10th inning. While I was unable to completely hide my boredom and displeasure with the hard, uncomfortable seats, I managed to watch most of (and even get into a bit) the game.

Straw Hat is back out for the season!

Nice mountains.

Rockpile = $4 tickets, no shade

After the game, we walked home and I cleaned the kitchen and made chicken parmagiana for dinner. I also baked a chocolate cake.

It seems like he had a pretty good birthday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Doing my part

For further information, see here.

Or, as my friend Su put it:
"Recently Iranian religious leaders reported that some stunningly clever women worked out how to harness and control the power of the earth's crust. By banding together to dress immodestly they managed to cause a volcanic eruption in Iceland. This is awesome stuff! Further research is needed. Today, women all over the world will join together in a noble attempt to cause a large earthquake thus proving that tits cause tremors. Ladies! Join in the boobquake!"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Faff: Spring edition

The weather has been nasty for the last couple of days, ranging from cloud to fog to rain to snow, with just a bit of sun here and there, and I walked to work under my giant rainbow-colored umbrella this morning. To counteract the blah day, here are some of the photos I took while we were walking around last Sunday for Doors Open Denver.

Can you find Dan in one of the photos?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My run-in with the law

On April 20, 2002, a friend and I had a picnic in Tilden Park, which is in the Berkeley hills. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a picnic, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

On the way out of the park, we were pulled over by a police officer. I can only assume he did so because it was 4/20 in the late afternoon, we were young-looking, and he probably thought that we'd been smoking pot in the park and he was hoping to bust some kids for posession. Well, we hadn't been smoking pot. But because he pulled us over, he ran the plates on my friend's car.

My friend had done something stupid. He hadn't renewed his registration, so he'd put the (registered) plates from his mom's broken-down car on his car. He'd neglected to tell me about this. So when the police officer came over to the car all agitated and screamy it kind of scared the crap out of me. He ordered us into the back of his car while he searched my friend's car, assuming it had been stolen. My friend tried to explain the plate situation to him, apologizing, saying that it had been a stupid thing to do but that the plate was from his mom's car and blah blah blah. I was cowering in the back seat of the police car (incidentally, the seats weren't seats but more of a molded bench of hard plastic and incredibly uncomfortable) and my friend was really upset and all I could think about was that I was going to get arrested because it was April 20 and this cop really wanted to bust some kids for pot. Even though I'd never smoked pot and we hadn't been smoking pot and there was none in the car.

Finally, after a good half hour of explanation and plate-running and calling my friend's mom and a variety of other things, he let us go. He told my friend to change the plates back immediately when he got home, which I assume he did after he dropped me off.

If just being made to sit in the back of a police car made me feel as shitty as it did (shame, fear, etc.), I can't imagine what it would feel like to get arrested. I don't intend to find out.

Monday, April 19, 2010

In which I feel old and also learn the secrets of the illuminati

This weekend was the annual Doors Open Denver event that Dan and I look forward to every year, because it is an excuse to poke our noses into places we wouldn't normally be able to see, and also because it is a good excuse to walk around outside for several hours. We reviewed the list of places that were going to be participating a week or so ago, and decided on just five stops because there weren't all that many places we hadn't been that we still wanted to see.

Saturday was rainy, gray, and cold, so instead of doing DOD we ran errands instead. I found a frabjous pair of sandals that I think may last me several summers, so I justified paying twice as much as I normally would because a) it's been a few years since I found a really good pair of sandals, so b) I've been buying a new pair every year or so that are just OK but I turn out not to like them for one reason or another, so c) end up giving them away when they are barely used and still wishing I had a pair of good sandals. Unfortunately, the store only had them in brown and so I was unable to get a black pair as well. Then I spent about an hour looking for them on the internets, but they were nowhere to be found, not even on the DSW website (which is where I'd bought the brown ones, only at the brick and mortar store). I love the brown ones but would have liked the versatility of having them in two colors.

Anyhow, Saturday was spent doing errands and chores and such, and then thankfully Sunday dawned with a warm, sunny spring day, which was just what we wanted for a Doors Open Denver adventure. After breakfast we met Scarlett and walked down to the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, at the corner of 14th and Grant. This was the first time it was a part of DOD and I think maybe the first time it was actually open to the public, so I was quite excited about getting to see the inside after walking by it for more than seven years on pretty much a daily basis.

When we walked in, we were greeted by a bunch of portly old men in funny hats, who proceeded to hand us pamphlets and then take us on a tour of the consistory (as they call it). They told us a bit about the history of the place, and then we went down into the function area (where there were tables and chairs and such) where a big prop and costume display was set up, and a Very Tall old man dressed in full Prince Charlie regalia gave us a lecture about all their props (PROPERTIES, as they all kept saying) and costumes. "We'll answer any questions!" they kept telling us, as though the prospect of being asked questions by the general public was the most exciting thing that had happened in ten years. Who knows, maybe it was. Sadly, I neglected to pull my camera out of my bag to snap any photos of the prop(ERTIES) display before we were herded to a couple of poster boards showing the charity work they are involved with (focusing on speech language therapy for kids) and then up the stairs, past a really cool grandfather clock, and into the main auditorium area.

Internet, I have to say that this was really a neat experience. The auditorium had been built with seating for over 500 people, included a stage (with TWENTY-TWO DIFFERENT HAND PAINTED DROPS FOR THE DIFFERENT PLAYS THEY PUT ON, something they mentioned about six times), a full professional lighting booth, and an organ. But not just any organ, an orchestral organ. We were treated to a mini concert by the organist, who spoke in a normal tone of voice from his location halfway up the auditorium and we sitting across and below were able to hear him clearly. This is what really blew me away about the space; it had been designed before sound amplification in order to allow all 500 people to be able to hear a performance. It was the most amazing acoustics I'd ever experienced. In addition to the organ, I was interested in how similar to and how different from a church it seemed; no pews but seats around a center area, and a huge dome above with beautiful stained glass. Symbology was everywhere: the all-seeing eye, the double-headed eagle, the rose cross, the templar cross. And a whole bunch of old guys in funny hats desperately eager and excited to answer any questions we might have.

So, internet, here is the secret of the freemasons: They are not unlike drag queens. They're a bunch of guys who like to dress up in funny hats and costumes and put on plays for one another.

After the Masonic temple, we walked over to 12th and Pennsylvania, our old stomping grounds, to tour one of the many castle-y mansions of Capitol Hill. This particular one is now a bed and breakfast, and has been lovingly restored on the inside (they're still working on the outside). The woodwork was really amazing, and some of the tchotchkes were a little weird (Santa faces on gourds), and the best room was the penthouse suite complete with an oven that was at least 50 years old. Possibly more.

We made our way up 12th street and through Cheeseman Park, and ended up at another castle-y mansion (likewise a bed and breakfast, though a much larger one). This house was very similar to the Molly Brown House we'd toured during last year's DOD event. It was full of stuff everywhere, so probably very similar to the Victoriana of the original house, and featured one of my coworkers who is also an amateur historian sitting in the turret corner on the first floor signing books she'd just published about Capitol Hill. What I liked best about this particular house was the amazing stained glass window, utterly unique for the time period at which the house was built.

Only a few blocks further to the north was the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys. I didn't know this place even existed, but it looked interesting when I saw it on the list of participating places for DOD. The only thing that irked me was that we weren't allowed to take photos inside. But the collection, while not huge, was definitely interesting, with a pretty good mix of miniatures and toys (not as many dolls as I was hoping to see; there were mostly barbies and a few others). The really humbling bit came when I walked into a room to see the Fisher Price dollhouse I'd had and played with as a child. The furniture inside was obviously much newer and not the original furniture that came with the set, but the dollhouse itself was the exact one I'd once had. I even remembered pushing down the plastic bit to ring the doorbell - something I hadn't thought about in at least 20 years. The doorbell in this particular one didn't work, but that didn't stop my brain from traipsing down memory lane.

And then, in the next room, there were a bunch of original Lego sets and a Nintendo. The original one. I think there is nothing in my life thus far that has made me feel as old as seeing my childhood toys presented in a museum's collection. MY TOYS ARE NOW RELICS. I might as well just up and expire now.

We'd planned to go to the Denver Society of Model Railroaders' display in the basement of Union station, but we'd already been walking for over four miles and I was wearing my new sandals, and it was really warm outside and we'd gotten a lot of sun and I was tired. So we didn't end up going. We bought some beer (both of the real- and girl- variety) and went home and were lazy for the rest of the afternoon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A green costume

OK, internets, I need your assistance.

Dan and I have been invited to a Springoween party - that is, a costume party in the middle of the spring. And the theme? Green. As in, reduce, reuse, recycle. The evite says:

"This is, of course, an interpretive theme so crack open those brains and scramble that sucker 'til it fits. Reduce a sheet to strips and come as a mummy. Reuse a costume or costumes pieced together from Halloweens passed. Recycle someone else's costume from Halloweens passed. (Cross-dressing is welcome, as always.) Recycle a costume idea not yet suited to another themed party. (Um yeah, that's a convenient loophole to let in new costumes.) Hell, come as an aluminum can or a compost heap, just Reduce, Reuse and/or Recycle. Just be prepared to explain which. "

So, I had a few ideas for costumes. We've got lots of leftover costume pieces from Halloweens (and other costume events) past. And I like the idea of going with something both green (recycled/reused) and green (the color). Here were my thoughts:

Option A: Green Fairy (see: absinthe, Moulin Rouge) I have bits and pieces that could make this work, since I tried to do something similar for Halloween back in...2002? I could make wings out of coat hangers and old holey green tights, and I could carry a flask with absinthe in it. Or make a wand. I'm picturing tattered, fractured. Pros: I've got everything I need for it. Con: I'd still need to do some work (making wings, figuring out top part of costume, etc.) to make it happen.

Option B: What better way to recycle a costume than to wear my wedding dress again? It's got green on it, and I can't imagine when I'd ever be able to wear it again for anything. I've still got my shoes and my necklace. And hell, I could still make those wings. Pros: I get to wear my wedding dress again! Cons: It's kind of heavy and less open to interpretation, costume wise.

Option C: I do something entirely different that doesn't involve the color green at all.

So, internet, what should I wear to Springoween? Any ideas I haven't thought of?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's about damn time


First, April brought my first real cold in like a year, which sucked. It was actually the weirdest cold I've ever had; it started with fever/body aches/throat tightness, then a productive cough, and then upper respiratory stuff (sneezing, etc.) I've never ever had a cold move UP before. Thankfully, it's mostly gone now.

Second, I had to spend all day Monday and Tuesday in meetings. Like, 8.5 hours each day. And the best part was that on Tuesday I had to leave one and drive to the other one and by the time I got out, even though I was only a block away from the gym, I decided that I couldn't be indoors another second or my head would asplode, so I just walked home in the sunny spring weather.

Because third, spring FINALLY came. Finally. It's been months of gloom and drear and snow and cold and yuck, and spring decided to take its sweet-ass time showing up this year. The trees are JUST starting to leaf out and bloom.

Which was lucky, because fourth, we got to see EEK last week when she came to town for a conference, woohoo! On Friday night we went to see her read from her new book, which was awesome not only because she is a good reader and a good poet but because we got to see a bunch of other people read their published work as well. It was in a really cool art gallery in a part of town we don't normally haunt so just getting to do something new was good. I was still kind of sick and had to duck out of the last reading so as to be able to cough up my left lung, but all in all it was an enjoyable experience. Then on Saturday, we kidnapped her from her hotel and forced her to eat brunch with us. We twisted her arm into getting some ice cream from our favorite place and eating it in the park nearby. Sadly, the weather didn't cooperate quite as much as we would have liked and it was a bit chilly and windy for our stroll in the park.

Fifth, I've recently found my ex boyfriend from high school on Facebook. I sent him a friend request, mostly for shits and giggles, but also because I'd like to get back in touch with his best friend who I really liked and stayed friends with for a while after we broke up. The friend has a very, very common name so I can't find him on FB because there are over 1000 of him on there. I'll keep the internets posted as to any developments, as I'm sure you are all waiting on bated breath.

Sixth, I am devastated to report that as I was walking home yesterday, one of the straps on my favoritest pair of shoes broke. I've sworn revenge at the universe and hope to find a cobbler or shoe repair place that can fix it, because my life would truly suck without these shoes.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Just right

I could write a laundry list of all the things we did and all the people we saw/met/spent time with on our trip to California, but I won't. It was a trip with exactly the right amount of walking, socializing, eating, exploring, and relaxing, with almost everyone I'd been hoping to see. We were hosted on Thursday night by an internet friend we've "known" for 9 years but never met, who not only went out of her way to welcome us to San Francisco and offered us a futon to sleep on but somehow magically knew that the thing I wanted most in the world when we finally arrived at her apartment in North Beach was an egg tart all ready to go.

On Friday, Dan and I walked from North Beach all the way down to the Mission in order to meet up with another internet friend, the person through whom we met/booked our wedding photographer. She and her husband got married just a couple of months after we did, and they were in town celebrating his birthday. The walk itself was just what I wanted: through some great parts of the city, and some not-so-great parts, and I kept feeling like we were in some other city that we'd explored together - New York, say, or Rome, or Seattle. But I knew where I was going and enjoyed "discovering" San Francisco all over again. Apparently, San Francisco was expecting me.

We arrived early, did some wandering through hipsterville, but the pirate store wasn't open. We scouted out some of the stores along Mission for possible pinata procurement, and saw some creepy kid models in Zoot suits. We bought treats at a kindergarten bake sale (one leftover egg tart was not enough for me for breakfast), and relaxed on the grass in Dolores Park, watching the tennis players, listening to the tiny dog barking excitedly for his owner to throw the frisbee again! again! again! Upon arriving at the restaurant, we discovered that our internet wedding friends were just as delightful in person, and we spent a couple of hours chatting and commiserating. They left to have their own San Francisco adventure and we went back up to Mission street and bought the multicolored horse pinata. Because we'd split a piece of bread with vegetables and cheese, we were still hungry and so we then split a Mission burrito, with Mexicoke and too-sweet horchata, and then walked along, the three of us, back downtown.

All-told, between our trek across SF and back, and various on-foot trips in Emeryville (both secret-agent-style and mundane), we walked 10 miles on Friday. Thankfully, though Saturday was errands in the morning and preparation in the afternoon, far less of it was spent on our feet. Of course, no party is complete without the multiple trips to BevMo, the trek around the entire East Bay to procure supplies, or the princess tiara. Oh, did I not mention that? Leah and Simon came to hang out pre-party and gave me an awesome birthday present. And I got to spend a good long while exploring Brian's backyard with Wombat.

The party. Oh, the party was amazing. We had the right amount of food, and a booze-, candy-, and toy-stuffed pinata, and balloons, and flowers, and waaaaay too much beer. Everyone from my mom to my oldest friend to my old coworker who now lives two blocks from my sister came, from near and far, to help me celebrate my birthday (belatedly) and also celebrate 2 years of Dan and I being married. There were games and hijinks and shenanigans, and the poor pinata did not survive the night, though it took some severe beating with a billy club and Dan's bare hands to make him finally spill his guts. We wore him as a victory hat, when we weren't passing around my tiara. I just wish I'd remembered to pull down the viking hat so people could have worn that as well. It was a three Dan party.

I got to celebrate with most of my favorite people in the world, people who I see entirely not enough, and that alone made it a success. That everyone there seemed to have a good time was just icing on the proverbial cake. (There wasn't cake, but there were Mexican wedding cookies and PW's lemon crumb bars courtesy my sister. Delicious.)

We spent Sunday recovering and cleaning, returning and relaxing. We saw one sister's progress on the backyard, and the other sister's brand new place, and enjoyed a sit on Leah and Simon's patio furniture, all while being carted around in Brian's Prius. We spent Monday eating sushi and gelato with the Irish German, and then shopping and relaxing in our hotel room in San Francisco. We found Dan's new favorite burger joint after hemming and hawing over where and what to eat for our anniversary dinner, and split the champagne Leah and Simon gave us over a shared slice of tiramisu in our hotel bed.

I was sad to be leaving on Tuesday, so we hightailed it over to Ocean Beach and the ocean made me feel very small (and what the hell was up with all the foam?), and then there was a rainbow. By the time we were through with lunch and shlepping to the airport, I felt a little better. We don't live there yet, but we're working on it. Everyone will be there, everything will be there, everyone is waiting, and I hope will welcome us with open arms when it's finally time to leave Denver and go home.

(Click on any photo to embiggen)