I feel like things haven’t slowed down in the last week, and looking back on our Google calendar, I see that they, in fact, have not! For anyone that’s curious, thought I’d share what we’ve been up to.
Monday, I had the pleasure of seeing my brother and his family on my own turf! They were on their way through during the course of a cross-country move, and I couldn’t have been happier to get the chance to giggle with my silly nephew. This kid just cracks me up.
We met Adam, Katie and Gabe just outside of Denver, at Katie’s friend’s house. We shared some pizza and got to witness, first-hand, the excitement for moving back to Minnesota that they both share. I’m sure Janine’s walls filled with photos of Duluth and Minnesota imagery only added to their starry-eyed anxiousness for returning to their northern home.
The next day, I was able to steal away from work for a little bit to visit with them in a park near my office. I had to laugh at how drawn to my bike Lil G was. The kid loves things that spin, and my gnarly old bike pedals were the perfect toy to keep him occupied while the rest of the grown-ups relaxed in the grass. I stood nearby to make sure he didn’t get himself enthralled with any other, more treacherous moving parts, although he did end up with bike grease all over his arms and legs — sorry Katie, but he’s a kid after my own heart. Maybe he isn’t going to be a watchmaker after all, but a bike repair-man!!
He was also awesome with Olive. Immediately upon walking up, Olive had shoved her head up the leg-holes in G’s stroller and was licking him on the face. He wasn’t a bit scared, and giggled hysterically at our funny pup. He even leaned in so that he could rub his face on her floppy ears. We’re lucky Olive is so good with kids (not having really been around many at all), and that Gabe is so fearless. I think Lil G needs a puppy of his own! 🙂
On Wednesday, I invited a few girlfriends over for an impromptu dinner, to use up some ingredients I had laying around and also to rid our fridge of the plethora of adult-beverages left over from my birthday celebration. I made a crab, corn and avocado salad (which was a big hit), some cheesy crostini breads, grilled mini peppers, and chicken and pineapple kabobs. It was nice to have a chill, unstructured night with friends, gabbing the night away and making a solid dent in those beverages.
Thursday I met a new boss (over cocktails — par for the course at this job!), who will be starting at one of the hotels next week. She got to meet our entire team in our natural habitat — drinks in hand and polishing off snacks like we haven’t eaten in weeks. It was a lot of fun introducing her to our rowdy group by sharing “horror” stories and funny anecdotes from the last couple years. She’s got her work cut out for her, but I think she’s going to be great.
Afterwards, I met up with Anthony and a few friends for, you guessed it, more food. We went to dinner at a vegetarian restaurant that is very popular in Denver, called City ‘O City. We snacked on “Buffalo Seitan” for an appetizer (sounds really weird, but it was so delicious! My meat-loving husband couldn’t keep his hands out of the basket!), and I dined on Tofu Pretzel Schnitzel and mustard potato salad for my entrée. I know it will sound ridiculous to my traditional-German cooking family, but it was amazing. No, it was not something you’d ever order at the Munich Hofbräuhaus, but the whole meal was full of delicious flavors that you wouldn’t expect from meatless meals. It’s no wonder City ‘O City is so popular.
After our late dinner, Anthony and our self-proclaimed “nerd” friends were off to the midnight opening of “Prometheus.” Suffering from a severe case of movie-induced narcolepsy, and generally not being too interested in this sci-fi flick anyway, I opted to head home and get in bed at a semi-reasonable bedtime. A quick check of my facebook feed right before I went to sleep confirmed that they were having fun and living up to their “nerd” status.
Friday, I was treated to a “work from home” day, but at my boss’s house instead. As she was recovering from surgery, she requested that I bring my laptop to her south-suburban house for the day to complete my projects from there. She wanted Olive to distract her “boyfriend” Pete (a 100-lb. bulldog) and me to keep her company as she was forced to do something completely out of her norm — sit still. We had lots of fun watching the pups wrestle and our friend Jen even brought her new puppy, Jenko, over for the playtime.
Even with these cute faces, I swear I even got some work done.
After a relaxing Friday night, we woke up bright and early Saturday morning to pick up Sarah and Keith and travel down to Buena Vista (pronounced B-yoo-nah Viss-tah by the locals — don’t get it wrong!) for a rafting trip. Our friend Margo spends her winters on ski patrol in Breckenridge (where we met her) and summers guiding rafts down the Arkansas River. She had offered to take us on a discounted trip and we of course jumped on the opportunity. I had been on a short rafting trip once before, but this trip literally blew me away.
Although there is always a little hesitation with anything that requires full armor (Ok, just a helmet and a life vest) and a pre-trip safety talk, I was psyched to get in the water. We meandered down the river rather slowly for the first third of the day, as Margo taught us some rowing techniques and teased us into paying close attention to her commands and rowing hard enough to make a difference. After a pretty substantial lunch provided by the rafting guides, however, the rapids really started. Margo navigated us through Brown’s Canyon, a mixture of Class II and III rapids that challenged both our strength as well as our quick reaction skills. We didn’t lose anyone, but we did have a split second of panic as the raft became half-submerged and we had to grab Sarah’s life vest as 80% of her body was in the water outside the tube.
But, after every rapid we laughed, we high-fived with our paddles, and we reminisced about the chain of events that had just flashed by in seconds. I can’t wait to have the photos taken from the trip (which we hope to get our hands on in a few weeks), as you will see the tense grin that covered my face the whole day — a mixture of exhilaration and terror — as we flew over the roaring rapids.
The reminiscing continued over dinner and beers at a local brewery, followed by a long drive home and early bedtime for all.
Sunday was filled with a long run for me as I continue my half-marathon training, followed by some shopping with Anthony and a little time in the park with friends.
Weeks like this make me feel incredibly lucky. I have the opportunity to enjoy life with friends and family in an environment like no other.
Here’s to another Monday!