Monthly Archives: March 2006

RIP, Walnut Cafe

One of my coworkers just came back from lunch and told us that the Walnut Cafe is closing for good today at 2 PM. I’m going to stop by there on my way home for lunch and say goodbye to the servers there. I wish I’d known; I would have gone to breakfast yesterday there with Dan so he could have ordered either a breakfast burrito with sausage or a ham and cheddar omlette, home fries and wheat toast (those are seriously the only two things he ever orders there). I probably would have had a veggie omlette, fresh fruit with no bananas, and pancakes.

The Walnut is our neighborhood breakfast place. The food is terrific, the service is great (the same servers have been working there since I moved to Denver, and since we’ve gone there so frequently they KNOW us and hardly ever even give us menus), and it’s only two blocks from our apartment. We’ve gone there so many times and I’ve tried most things on the menu not involving red meat. They grind their own coffee, bake their own quiches and banana bread, and serve really good food at a decent price.

We were sitting in the Walnut waiting to hear about news of Petra’s needle fiasco and the server gave us some “walnut dollars” so our meal would be cheaper. We’ve taken every out of town guest to breakfast there. We’ve spent many a Sunday morning in companionable silence, reading the newspaper and waiting for our order. We’ve witnessed interesting altercations on the street (it’s at the corner of Colfax and Logan, kitty corner from the big cathedral) and at least one car accident. We’ve seen people bring their brand new babies in to show off the products of their hugely pregnant bellies just weeks before. I will miss being able to roll out of bed, put on some clothes (sans bra, of course) and some sunglasses, and schlep two blocks just in time to miss the after-church rush at 10 AM. I will miss the smile that my favorite server always has on her face, and her cute costumes at halloween, and her fairy tattoo. She collects magnets from other places, and requested (and received) a magnet from China.

Man, this makes me so sad. I wonder where those girls are going to work now. I hope they find another neighborhood breakfast place and a new set of regulars. I really do wonder why this place is closing; they’re always busy for breakfast and lunch. RIP Walnut Cafe, and may something just as good take your place at that corner.

ETA: Stopping in there was so sad. I gave one of the servers a hug; I could tell she had been crying. She said that the restaurant is closing because the rent has been consistently raised hundreds of dollars a month for the past year and the owner of the restaurant couldn’t afford the rent anymore, despite the success of the business. That’s a huge shame, because it means that probably very little else will be able to afford rent there either – and it’ll just sit empty. Stupid retail landlords.

My cube! It is the shiznit!

When I finally dragged myself in to work yesterday morning I was pleasantly surprised to find my cube exactly the way I had pictured it, and exactly the way I was hoping it would be. Dude, it totally kicks ass. Plus, I even have more storage space (they brought me another under-desk 2 drawer filing cabinet) and more desktop/surface space.

Yesterday I was too cracked out to do much about putting everything back into the cube, so I did that this morning. I think it looks pretty good. I am very happy that it was done exactly the way I wanted – even if I’m still annoyed that it took nearly 2 years and jumping through 987651687 hoops to get it this way.

I forgot to grab Monkey’s ass.

It was a fabulous trip, all thing considered.

There was unexpectedly beautiful weather, and seeing old friends, and visiting of old haunts. There was a Bad Museum Experience, overpriced undergood sushi, and Chicken Tikka Masala with naan. There was a Monkey and a QIR and a mochi and some family time that wasn’t as stressful as usual, since it wasn’t the holidays. There was a new hamster named Hazelnut, rolling around in her little hamster ball, scaring the parakeet. There were lucky book finds, a visit to the beach, the pirate store, and rain in Berkeley. There was a run down a steep hill, out along a lake, and back up a steep hill. There was happiness, anticipation, contentedness, excitement, and finding new clothes in a pile of old clothes. There was a friendly maine coon kitty named Maggie and free food and pizza and cider and Ticket to Ride. There were letters everywhere.

The coming back to Denver part left something to be desired. After eating an Overly Priced dinner at the airport, we had to wait through a 45-minute plane delay. I was entertained by the girl sitting next to me, talking to her mother, describing how even though San Francisco has like hippies and stuff, she, as a Republican, still felt totally comfortable there. Also, a girl sitting nearby was loudly chatting up another guy, and in that 45 minutes managed to get his whole life story and impart hers to him. She totally wanted to get in his pants. There was a dad with a middle-school aged son and a toddler, the toddler being up waaay past his bedtime and needing distraction.

And then the uneventful plane ride, finally, and arriving into DIA to realize that the only way home was the public transit bus, buying a $3 16 oz bottle of water to get change and riding the bus allll the way back to downtown. And then walking allll the way home from 16th and Market with all of our stuff at 2 AM. And Loki said “Yay, you’re home! I love you, pet me!” and Petra ignored us and said “You left for days and days and I’m mad” and wouldn’t even let Dan pick her up because she was so mad. But then she loafed in the doorway and watched us sleep, and Loki flopped into his usual spot keeping Dan’s balls warm, and it was good to be back in our own bed.

Next trip I’m totally not letting anything get in the way of going to H&M, eating GOOD sushi, or consuming gelato.

After merely 20 months of waiting…

I started this job and moved into this cube in July 2004.

Tomorrow, they will FINALLY be rearranging it so my back is not to the door of the cube.

I will not go into the whole long involved rigamarole story since it is about work, but let’s just say that it’s about darned time.

I have spent today clearing everything out of the cube so it can be rearranged while I work from home/go to the airport/fly to SF tomorrow. When I come back on Monday I have to hope that it’s all the way I want it and I get to spend that day putting everything back. All I want is for my back not to be facing the door. That’s it. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Oh, and Hulk got a lovely piece of “unmarked” junk mail yesterday telling him about these *ahem* marital aides (he didn’t read far enough to determine whether they were DVDs or books or what), but their little intro pitch was hilarious. I might have to reproduce some of it here when I get home.

I am finally reading Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series, starting with The Golden Compass. So far, it’s terrific. I need to finish it tonight so it can go back to the liberry before we leave and make some kid happy who probably has it on hold.

“V for Vendetta” was totally kickass awesome. Perhaps my favorite comic book movie to date, and I’ve never read that comic. I got excited during the previews because of all the cool movies coming out soon, including the new Pirates movie, the new Superman movie, and the new XMen movie. My boyfriend has totally turned me into a great big nerd.

Exercise update: Friday: weight circuit, 20 minutes elliptical (I was at lunch)
Saturday, walked a lot running errands. Probably 4 miles.
Sunday: “core secrets” dvd on ball with weights, 45 minutes, walked 2 miles.
Monday: 20 minutes bike 35 minutes elliptical

Cast of Characters

Last night, we walked to the grocery store to buy an assortment of healthy foods and got treated to an interesting cast of characters. Our grocery store is smack dab in the middle of the “gay” neighborhood in Denver, and the store is nicknamed Queen Soopers (rather than King Soopers, of course), so it’s always interesting to shop and watch the couples of all sexual preferences and levels of put-together-ness or dishevelment bicker and canoodle. Occasionally we even see Big Nerd couples who are nerdier than we are. I know, it’s shocking.

Our experience last night, however, was interesting because we (or at least I) got to see three things we’ve never seen before:

  • A bluehaired old lady with hair so blue it was PURPLE. It was the color of the bleach stuff that you mix when you are bleaching your hair at home (I assisted in bleaching many a raver boy’s head in college) – that bright purply blue. I’ve seen ladies with slightly blue-tinged hair before, but I’d never seen this haircolor on anyone over the age of 25.
  • A very large woman (maybe 5’10 to 6′ tall, well over 200 pounds) wearing a carpet coat. And by carpet coat, I mean a long, nearly ankle-length coat that looked like it was made out of a patterned throw rug.
  • An Asian albino lady. This was a first for me; I’ve seen an Indian albino kid (he was with his whole family on BART and he looked like a white kid with his blond hair, light skin, and caucasian features, but was obviously Indian when you saw him with his family) and several African-American albino people (including two kids in one family), but never someone who was both Asian and albino. Her hair was beautiful.

I love people-watching at the grocery store.

In other news, I’ve just learned that my cousin is pregnant with Baby #3 (her other kids are 6 and 4), my other cousin is pregnant with Baby #2 (her first will be 20 months old when #2 is born – sheesh!), another cousin (my sister’s age) is getting married in September, and one of my great aunts is dying of a nasty ovarian cancer. Guess I need to get started on the knitting and card-buying.

Wednesday: 35 minutes medium elliptical, 25 minutes randomized bike

Thursday: Rested, walked to grocery store

Nostalgia

I almost feel like I got enough sleep last night. Almost. Maybe by the weekend I’ll fell like I’ve caught up.

In other news: I got my annual email from a high school friend. We tend to only communicate once or twice a year, and our birthdays are 8 days apart, so she sends me a birthday email and then a week later I send one to her. I’ve been thinking about her recently anyhow, along with other high school classmates and what they might be up to. My friend is getting her MBA at Stanford and got married a couple of years ago. Plus, she’s a marathoner, so she totally understood when she heard my LA Marathon Tale of Woe. This was the valedictorian of my class, voted Most Likely To Succeed, and has always been one of the busiest and most driven people I’ve ever met. She got a 100 hour a week investment banking job right out of college and I guess burned out last year so she’s now getting another degree from Stanford. Pretty, athletic, nice, and genuinely human with a great snarky streak. Part of me wishes we lived in closer proximity to one another, as I’d love to see her in person and spend more time with the person she’s become.

I’ve found other people from my past on MySpace, and there’s something kind of deliciously voyeuristic about reading the details of the lives of people I spent so much time with as a kid/teenager. I’ve found classmates who are married, divorced, have kids, are still kids themselves. Recently, I found the page for a person who was both a high school classmate and a fellow UCBerkeley student (and a good friend at the time) – but the last time I saw her was when my friends kicked her and her stuff out of their house, because she’d turned into a speed freak and hadn’t paid rent in months. Nobody else had heard from her or about her for years and I’m glad to see she didn’t end up dead from the drugs.

I wonder whether the prurient interest I have in these people is only because I’m going to be seeing them in a few months and mentally comparing them to the people they were when we all knew each other 10 years ago. Or is it a projection of my own self trying to discover who *I* am now and whether *I’ve* changed that much in 10 years. I’d like to think that I have – I know I’m a lot less uptight, for one thing, and my mind has expanded to try to understand ideas and the other sides of issues that my mind was once made up about. I’m less self-conscious, don’t care as much about what other people think of me. I’m happy in my own skin and I feel like I’m a complete person even without my primary relationship, as a function OF my primary relationship (he doesn’t complete me, but he makes me feel like more of me than I did before).

My basics haven’t changed much; I’m a little more muscular, a little curvier. I’m still the same height, still have longish brown hair, still read semi-voraciously, still curious about the world. I’m not married; I don’t have children – but I do have a Person and two kitties, so that’s something different, I guess. What’s changed the most about me? I’ve been wondering to myself. I’ve been around Europe; I’ve been around the USA and to Toronto and even to Mexico (but only Tijuana and that doesn’t really count); I’ve been to China. I’ve lived in big cities, lived alone, taken care of myself and other people. I’ve paid my bills and gotten jobs and lost jobs. I’ve been to Burning Man. I’ve stood on top of a 14,000 foot mountain in the middle of a lightning storm and lived to tell the tale.

I hope as many of my classmates as possible end up going to the reunion. I’d love to be able to tell everyone I haven’t seen in 3 years or 5 years or 10 years that I am thankful for the opportunity to see the people they’ve become from the simple beginnings that were the school and community from which we all sprang. What I hope most is to see people happy in the lives they’ve lived thus far. I’m glad there will have been this time, though, because I needed college and life experience to gain some perspective on the little petri dish social experiment that was our high school. Because man, high school sucked while I lived it. It’s so funny that I’ve become good friends with people FROM high school that I wasn’t close with IN high school, but it’s all because of that time and perspective.

Not shaped like an armadillo, but said horse pants.

It was a good birthday.

I got my requested dinner of homemade crab cakes, a modified caesar salad (with homemade croutons), rice pilaf – and a fabulous red velvet cake (from scratch) for dessert. Sweet! (Literally) I’ve never had red velvet cake before, and it is amazingly good. On the top it said Horse Pants.

I also got tickets to the Colorado Ballet for my birthday present. Someone loves me very much!

Gym news: did my full weight circuit (took 40 minutes because for some reason everyone decided to use the weight machines at the same time I wanted to) and dragged my rear onto the hard elliptical and managed to work out for 25 minutes before I decided I had to stop or I would go insane. So I stopped and I just finished with the crunches and the leg lifts and such. I’ll get more cardio in today.