2019-06-25 The Colorado Wrap Up

As I eluded to in my last post, it’s now three days after the day I was writing about and I’ve been home for several days. Life just moves too fast sometimes.

On Sunday we woke to more snow falling and though it was beautiful, I was kinda over it and ready to get back to Nebraska and real summer temps. I’ve made a little note to my future self to not travel back to Grandby Ranch in June. When we go again it will be in July or August.

Sunday was our travel home day and the intent was to make stops to visit both my sister and brother before heading for the airport and that’s exactly what we did.

My sister moved to Denver this past week so it was literally her second day in her new apartment which was lovely. She’s already on a weekend camp/hike with one of her besties and I’m positive she will be super happy in her new home. That makes me happy.

My brother has lived in Broomfield for about 20 years (I asked when we were at his house in the afternoon) and his oldest child who just graduated this past May was born there. He’s also an avid hiker and goes out a lot, in all kinds of weather. If it’s not hiking, it’s snow-shoeing. They will probably spend the rest of their lives in Colorado.

Jim and I agreed that Colorado is cool but have ruled it out for ever moving there. Visiting with all these folks has made us think about where else we might like to live though, and that’s fun to daydream about. For us it’s much more likely to be Oregon, probably somewhere near the coast. I’m partial to the Lincoln City area. I’ve driven the stretch of road from Manzenita to northern Cali about 3 times now and just love it. But this post isn’t about Oregon, it’s about Colorado.

I’m inclined to wrap this up with some things I want to remember before the vividness of the trip fades into a daydream…

All my initial plans to visit folks arriving Tuesday were squashed by sitting on a plane for 4 hours (2.5 longer than expected). We actually sat on the plane on the ground in Omaha longer than we were in the air. I ended up spending the night in Denver instead of driving the mountain pass that night.

The view from the apartment on Larimer Street.

We had one nice day of weather and took advantage of that by being outside for the majority of the day. A couple of hikes with the dogs and the kids. We rode the ski-lift up and hiked back down.

We came upon a small herd of deer on one hike and tried to quietly approach to get pics but that area is littered with mountain bike trails and a biker came zooming through and they all scattered across our path.

I also saw a fox (twice) and a big horn sheep on the trip. I’ve not seen either before out in the wild.

I really enjoyed the drive to and from Denver and got to travel it several times, once with bright sunny weather and once with snow. Both incredibly beautiful!

On Wednesday I did some journaling from the back deck of my friend’s house and their daughter who is 7 wanted to join me. She was excited to get markers and paper and then crayons and a book to use as a hard surface to write on. I gave her a few suggestions to get started and she ended up writing a brief letter to a friend and drew a picture. It was sweet. What was even sweeter was that later in the day she said it was her favorite part of the day, “writing with Aunt Shyla”. 😊

During our stay the card game of choice was some Monopoly Spin-off game, Monopoly Duel, which I had never played before. I had a great run of beginners luck and won like 8 of 10 games I played, though I feel like I had found a great strategy for the game. I’m considering buying it for the kids and I. Who doesn’t love winning. 😜

Despite all I have written this far, the trip was not all fun and games. Our room was in the basement right under the kitchen and not only was it frigid with the drop in temps.. if there was anyone in the kitchen and dining area it was impossible to sleep with the foot noise. We had a couple of very short nights and even considered trying to get a hotel room in town for the last night.

It was also a bummer to not get to do the things we wanted in Winter Park including riding the gondola up the mountain and the alpine slide. But whatevs.

I got to meet the two new pups, Wally and Winston. Always Reliably excited to see new people coming in the door and always up for a walk. When they crashed, they crashed hard and have not yet figured out they have outgrown sitting on laps. 🐶❤️🙃

Last, and certainly not least, I had bites of cheeseburgers from three different establishments. I don’t have much to say about that except I discovered I’m not a fan of goat-cheese on a burger. Ewwwww. Reviews of those places will not be coming to a blog near you anytime soon as the details (besides the goat cheese) have already been let-go.

That, my friends, concludes the latest SugarCookie Colorado Adventure. My next trip will actually be back in Nebraska City for my MFA residency, which opens up a whole other host of topics. I’ve got about 2 and a half more weeks until then. Just enough time to solidify my thoughts on what I want to get from my 3rd term. We’ll see.

Glad to be Home,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-22 Colorado Day 4 – Snow on the First Day of Summer 😱

Snow, for real!! Last night my friends and I stayed up late playing a card game and talking. It was a fairly rainy/stormy day, off and on, and as we sat by the picture window we could see the sky light up periodically with lightning. As we crossed over from the First Day of Summer to the second, the rain transformed into large fluffy snow flakes and began covering the Field grass and wildflowers with white.

Then Steph says “I’ve never been where there it was snowing on my birthday.” Quite right. I think it is rare indeed to have snow anywhere in the US on the first day of Summer. Of course it has something to do with the elevation but “locals” here are saying it is truly atypical to have this kind of weather here at this time in the year. Were at 9k feet and you can see the snow on the caps of the mountains in the distance but it’s rare for it to be snowing here in June.

When we woke this AM it was already sunny and most of the snow was melted. I knew we would have limited time to get outside as the weather conditions held the promise of more rain and snow. It sort of feels like the sketch weather we had on our Nebraska adventure in May followed us right to our little Colorado Adventure. Go figure!

We wanted to go to Winter Park to ride the Gondola and Apline Slide but when we arrived they were not running the lifts because there was the threat of lightning. Instead we sat at a bistro having lunch and talking. I avoided drinking as it has not agreeing with me on the trip at all. I had a headache almost immediately both times I had a drink and felt so much better today not drinking.

The weather has put a damper on our activities for sure, but I’m not too bothered by it because I travel to spend time with my good friends. For me the focus is on catching up and spending QT and it does not matter what we are doing. It was also a chance for them to get to know Jim a little better which makes me happy.

In any case, it was sort of cool to see Snow in Summer. ❄️ ⛄️ Someone has taken the time to make a snowman at Winter Park. That would have been a good pic but I didn’t think of that at the time.

***

It’s like 3 days later and I’m finally getting back to finishing this up. I’ve got a little more to say about our trip to really wrap it but today is not the day for that. Perhaps tomorrow. 😉

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-20 Colorado Day 2 – The Picture of a Perfect Day

Yesterday was a good day with the stress of traveling behind me and the peace of being in a very special place taking over. The drive here was incredible and though I had a bit of a challenge adjusting to the altitude (headache, upset stomach, yadda, yadda), catching up with my peeps into the evening was great. The promise of today is even better.

I woke up headache free, thankfully, and refreshed and ready for what looks like will be the best weather day of the trip. There is a chance for rain and isolated storms almost every day but not today. Today will be sunny with a high of 71. It is fairly chilly at this elevation when the sun is not out, but when the sun is out, 71 feels quite warm.

After breakfast my friend and I took the dogs and the kids for a walk up on trails through the hills. The sky is so blue and everyone is in the best mood.

When we were done with walking the dogs we came back to the house and continued our walk along the streets of this little community just meandering, you know, and catching up one on one. That’s the best. I’m not sure what else is in store, really. I think we’ll go on a more serious hike later without the kids and talked about also taking the tennis racquets down to the court to do some volleying. We’ve already agreed that the point of tennis should be to see how long we can volley back and forth and stay in control and that it’s no fun at all to see if you can make the other person miss. Those are my kind of people.

Whatever is in store this afternoon, I will need to wrap it up by about 4:30 because I’ll be making my way back to the airport to pick up Jim. It’s about 4 hours round trip and it will be dark when we arrive back at the house. I’m actually enjoying not having a set agenda and also looking forward to doing that scenic drive again. Then Jim and I will have a nice time in the car catching up (though it’s only been a day and a half) before joining the group.

I’m really feeling the peace of being detached from the normal daily routine. I’ve never been in this place before or in this house but something about it just feels like home. That’s one thing I’ve found that always rings true in life – home is not about the place, it is about the people. Although when you are some place that Is as quiet and remote and beautiful as this, its even easier to get to that feeling.

I’ve got just a few more minutes alone, sitting in the sunshine, looking at the view off the back deck before we will be on the move again. I think I’ll try to get a bit of reading in.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-19 Colorado Day 1 – Changes in Scenery

The travel day yesterday was dismal. I sat on a plane that was not allowed to take off for two hours because the destination airport (Denver) was “shutdown” due to a massive storm in the area. Shutdown just means that no planes were allowed to take off or land. I sat reading and thinking and thinking and reading and watched as the minutes ticked by. At the time we were due to land, we were taxiing back to the terminal (of our departure point) so people could get off the plane if they wanted. There was no guarantee the flight would or would not be cancelled.

All my worry about plans and driving in the dark and visiting my brother versus my friend Lance had been ironed out early in the day. I had already determined I could not “do it all”, which is a thing I often fool myself into thinking. Broomfield and the visit with my bro would have taken at least 3 hours and the reality is, there just would not be time for that. The plane being delayed was that 3 hours. I arrived in Denver after 8PM, and by the time I had my things and the car and was on my way to downtown Denver where Lance lives it was about 9PM. Not even enough time for a nice meal and a chat.

We walked to a bar and had a drink and then walked back to his building and basically crashed out. Not quite the QT I was hoping for, but truly, when do things exactly meet our expectation? Rarely. But the rule of the Universe is Balance so things exceed our expectations about as often as they fall short. It’s just the Way. Not good or bad, it just is.

At the present moment, I am sitting in the new house of my bestest friends after having the most beautiful drive through the mountains, listening to music and marveling at being eye level with the clouds wafting through at the same time. It’s otherwise bright and sunny and now I’m hanging out with one of my favorite families. The view out the back picture window is more amazing than I expected.

The house is nestled among the hills with views of mountains off in the distance. It’s on the opposite side of a mountain pass which made the drive quite interesting. It’s so “nestled” that there is no cell phone service here. I quite like the idea of being off the grid, or at least partially disconnected. Of course there is still WiFi and all that jazz so communication is possible.

More of our “crew” is arriving later today, and Jim tomorrow, and by the weekend there will be 7 adults and 2 kids. It’s just like it is in Austin except for the delightful change in scenery. It’s my AAC (Austin Advisory Committee) but now it’s the CAC (?ewww no). That doesn’t really fit and so I guess it’s a good thing I no longer need the advice of the committee like I used to – about everything. My job/career, my relationships, my ex and that drama. It was a great way for me to check something before I wrecked it. 😉 And I definitely wrecked my fair share of things.

All that was not that long ago really. My oh my how the scenery of my life has changed.

Apparently we are going to take the kids to some “adventure camp” here in just a bit and i probably should unpack and figure out what is what with my newest “home away from home”.

Cheers!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-10-30 Colorado Day 3 (and 4)

I’m just now playing catch up on my days and as it turns out, when you are busy doing stuff, you don’t have much time to write.

On Sunday Jim and I met up with my bro for a nice hike around the flatirons at Boulder. It was a longer hike than both Jim and I were anticipating and pretty much helped us feel like we had had our full of hiking on this trip. It reminds me how difficult it is to adjust to a new/higher elevation. After that we went back to my brothers house and chatted with the family for a bit. It was.. just OK.

When we left there we went back to our Airbnb and it was nice to just relax and hang out for the evening. We missed the sunset with our heads down in a scrabble board. I think that’s the first board game we have ever played. We played just for fun and didn’t even keep score. Ha!

We had to get up early on Monday to get back to DIA for our flight home and were rewarded with an amazing sunrise. It was a great long weekend in the mountains and I was bummed out a bit to have to come back and face another work week apart. It will be so good when we live together and I don’t have the back and forth week in and week out.

It might be sooner than we originally thought. I met with my realtor last week and she indicated putting it up in January might be best, which means we will be working on any prep items in November and December. There should not be that much but part of the staging process will be moving everything but the bare essentials out, making it look as clean and uncluttered as possible.

Hmmmm, I started talking about Colorado and ended up talking about moving. How did that happen? 🤔 It just goes to show my mind has already moved on. Our travel back home was uneventful and I think the decision to fly instead of drive was a good one as it left us with the majority of Monday to get back to reality.

Going to wrap here with my Colorado stats…

Cheeseburgers consumed: 2. The first was at the Lazy Dog on the main strip in Boulder. The second was smash burger after the hike. There was a place we stopped at for lunch in Estes Park but I opted for a Ruben instead of a cheeseburger. Shocking! 🍔 😉 It was still delicious,

Steps: About 40k for the four days, just shy of 10K a day. Not too bad.

Sleep: About 6 hours a night. Staying up late and getting up pretty early all weekend.

Hours worked: ZERO! 😜

That closes the book on another trip, satisfying my travel bug for a little while anyway. Next stop? Destination undecided. It’s a good thing Jim likes to travel. Lots of potential for future adventures!!

Now, back to reality,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-10-27 When in Rome

Last night my love and I watched the sun go down past the foothill mountains around us an the valley was drenched in the chill of deep shadows. After today, I was reminded that where we are staying, which is likely at elevation of 7 or 8000 feet, is really just the beginning of the mountains and still not that high up. That’s because we wandered up into Rocky Mountain National Park just past Estes and when you start to see snow, and the snow capped mountains not far off, then you know you are high.

Still, it’s a pretty incredible view from where we are staying. We didn’t really hike at all today and did mostly driving and sightseeing. That’s because we will be going on a hike with my Bro tomorrow and also because I was seriously hung-over this morning and not in the mood even to do a lot of walking. When I say serious, I mean serious. I haven’t had one of those since early in 2017 when I was at my sisters wedding. Heck, I didn’t even get that drunk on that last girls trip to Cancun where we were at an all inclusive. I think I have learned how to enjoy drinking in moderation and am a pretty good judge of what the right cut-off point is. Throw all that out the window if you are high apparently.

I probably briefly went through my history with THC a time in the past, but let me just say that I’ve never felt high, and always assumed it was a thing I would know what it felt like once I felt it. Needless to say, I don’t indulge in that recreational activity and it’s not legal where I’m from anyway. I’ve even gone with Lance once before to a dispensary in Denver and hung out with him through that experience but never partook. I wasn’t really compelled to. I wasn’t really compelled to last night either, but it was just Jim and I all the way up here in our secluded house, socked in for the night and I thought, what the heck. So I did.

Mind you, he and I had talked about it and that was the plan all along, but I wasn’t sure if I would or not. Again, I hated it – the smoking, coughing, burning throat. I’m sure there is an art to it, like everything else, but it’s not something I’m motivated to figure out. I sipped on a bottle of red wine we brought and that seemed to ease the terrible feeling in my throat. I guess I did more than sip though, because I drank nearly the whole bottle. There is literally like only an ounce or two left. I’m a lightweight (and also not used to the difference in oxygen at this elevation) so that one bottle was enough to make me have a terrible night sleep and wake up with a pounding head and a sour stomach.

I absolutely HATE that feeling, and mostly because you know it could have been avoided. I don’t have a lot of time out here to enjoy this getaway so I don’t want to waste a minute being sick, curled up in a bed with the curtains drawn. So stupid. Jim was loving and supportive and in the end it was his suggestion that we get in the car and drive down to at least boulder out of this elevation and also that if I smoked just a little, it would likely make my nausea go away. It did. Thank the Universe too, how miserable.

We only stayed in Boulder for a hot minute for me to get a latte and a bagel. My appetite came back suddenly as we approached the town. For the record, Eggs and Bacon do not help me with my hangovers, the smell of the food chases me into the bathroom every time.

We traveled up to Estes and walked that town for a while and had lunch, and then continued to climb, as I said, into RMNP. Breathtaking views. It’s so humbling to be near the mountains or in the mountains. The vastness of nature and the raw forces at will in the Universe. It’s incredible to think about. I’ve always had a fascination for the mountains. After a bit we decided to turn back because we definitely wanted to make it back to our place well before sunset. The dirt road to get here is treacherous and would be terrifying in the dark – one lane, sheer drop-offs, and some serious washout ruts in a few places.

Tonight the plan is just to relax and I’m not touching any more alcohol. I want to feel fresh and new when we head into Broomfield tomorrow AM to meet up with my brother and his family. I’m sure they are very curious to meet Jim. Hopefully it will be a good day to be outside, doing what the people in Colorado do.

Traveling, unravelling everything —

Leaving no seam left un-sewn,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-10-26 Colorado or Bust

That’s what was written on the whiteboard when I arrived at Jim’s house this week. When we woke up this morning at 6:30am it was as if there was more energy about the house that a normal Friday. There was no “normal routine”, no getting ready for work, it was all buzzing with the force of a highly anticipated weekend getaway. We finished packing as we got ready and then headed out the door.

Then we drove.

Then we flew.

Then we walked.

Then we drove some more.

Then we stopped and ate lunch.

Then we went shopping for supplies.

Then we drove some more up into the mountains.

to a place where the normal hum-drum of every day is far away.

And replaced by a different landscape.

It’s been a long day of travel indeed, but we are now being rewarded with a spectacular view. We are sitting in front of a large bay window facing southwest and watching the sun go down behind the mountains. It’s too good to waste and I must get going and enjoy while it lasts. Much more tomorrow on our Colorado adventure.

Love,

~Miss SugarCookie