Another set of eyes

Last week, we had a good friend visiting Colorado for a work-related trip, with a side of fun and college-reminiscing over the weekend.

Every time we have faraway visitors, we feel the pressure to show them everything we love about Colorado in the short time they are here. Of course, this is not always possible, especially because it seems that Midwesterners are always cursed with the gift of bringing on the the ever-elusive rainy days while they’re here. Also, there is so much to see and do in Colorado that even after nearly 4 years of living here, we still have a pretty substantial “bucket list” of things we’d like to experience. Needless to say, a weekend visitor has a seriously limited view of life in our great state.

However, this time, I think we managed to put together a pretty good tour of the Front Range, with very little downtime, and plenty of sunshine! Beginning with a night out on the town in Denver, followed by a fall day tour of Breckenridge and a hike through the mountains, wrapping it all up with a full day in the “People’s Republic of Boulder,” we ended up squeezing in a lot of local culture, beautiful views, and activities.

In addition to the joy of spending time with someone I haven’t seen in far too long, one of my favorite parts of having out-of-town visitors is the ability to take in the sights and experience things for the “first time” again. For instance, although I am forever in awe of the changing aspens, it becomes even more impressive when we round a corner on the highway and our guest draws our attention to a whole mountainside filled with these fiery trees of gold. Heading over mountain passes, pointing out various ski towns and landmarks, it’s fun to recount stories and memories that make these magical places, somehow, ours. Being back in Boulder, where we lived for three years, we get the opportunity to balance “playing tourist” and visiting popular attractions with our visitor, along with revealing some local secrets like hole-in-the-wall establishments and scenic back-ways of getting around town.

While I feel I generally maintain a pretty healthy appreciation of all of the beautiful sights and endless opportunities our home provides us, it never hurts to have a reminder of how lucky we’ve got it.

 

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Pedaling forward

Last week, I ran into Greenie on my way home from work. I mean this almost literally, actually, as I came about a foot from my old friend and her new owner as I made a wide right turn onto the bike path. Whoops! Luckily, we both rode away unscathed, with the other rider probably barely giving it a second thought, while I spent the remainder of my commute in a reflective state.

The run-in reminded me of two things, the first of which being how small of a town Denver really is. I had actually been keeping my eyes out for the green Hiawatha ever since I saw her roll away and out of my life, checking bike racks as I passed them on the chance that I’d see her familiar rusty handlebars and zip-tied cables beckoning me once again. I’m not sure whether I’m surprised to have almost crashed into her only a handful of weeks after saying goodbye.

The other reminder I got out of this encounter was that I still hadn’t introduced my new bike, Penelope, to the world. So, here you are:

Meet Penelope!

Anyone who has known me well for any amount of time has probably heard me say that my favorite color is “blue and yellow” — not just blue, not just yellow, but blue and yellow together. I am sure it is obvious why I was attracted to this bike.

It was her colors and details that initially drew me in, and the form and function that sealed the deal. With big fat tires to ensure a smooth ride, a giant, comfy, unbroken seat, and a 7-speed shifter to get me up Denver’s hills. Once I had added my own lights, bells, and slightly misshapen basket, she was all mine.

Of course, we bonded quickly, if only over aesthetics and comfort, and she’s naturally taken me everywhere I’ve needed to go for the past couple months.

That said, I’d be lying if I said that she was a full-on, satisfying replacement for my old friend, and must admit that I continue to gaze at other rickety, vintage cruisers with a forlorn sense of yearning. Seeing my old bike chugging along, full of character and decades of history (only a small portion of which I shared), causes me to look at my shiny new bike, purchased begrudgingly from a big-box store, with a small shred of regret. Someday, when I have a safe place to store it and I have the means and commitment to provide proper upkeep, I plan to once again invest in a vintage ride — one that has been properly and safely restored by a professional.

In the meantime, however, Penelope and I are getting along just fine, and are in fact establishing some great new memories already. I also fully realize that at the end of the day, despite the hours I have logged atop it, it’s just a bike — a thing, and whether I grow firmly attached or not, there will likely be many more.

Stay-cation Snapshots

It’s rare for us to be in town for a whole weekend, let alone a long weekend.

But this Labor Day, we made a deliberate decision to avoid the traffic, avoid the mountain crowds, and avoid the stress of planning a trip. We stayed home, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

We accomplished some longstanding to-do’s, and also found there were plenty of adventures to be had, right in our own town.

Olive got several runs in with her Mom

Spotting some of the first signs of fall — there is hope that these non-stop 90+ degree dry days may eventually end!

Post-run breakfast smoothie and Pinteresting

Doing a little home carpentry with my lady-friendly tool kit

A “Cake and Shake” at the neighborhood dessert bar

Homemade margaritas and wedding planning with some great friends

Gearing up for a city bike ride

More carpentry! Havin’ a little too much fun with the nail gun while helping build a friend’s fence in exchange for some delicious bbq and camaraderie.

Ok, this one is kind of a cheat because it happened on Tuesday, but there’s something to be said for rounding out a great weekend at home with a sweet “Appalachian Soul” concert at a local dive bar with friends.