Monthly Archives: April 2007

Assortment

This morning, as I was walking to work, a pregnant woman tripped and fell right in front of me as she stepped off the sidewalk to cross the street. Of course I helped her up; she seemed OK, a little shaken and with gravel in her hand, but otherwise OK. It made me remember the time one summer in college when I was riding my bike to work down a street that had once had a streetcar, lo these many years ago. My bike tire got caught between the track and the pavement and I went ass over teakettle and scraped up a good bit of knee, arm, and hand. Several cars nearly ran me over, but nobody stopped to help or even asked me if I was OK. I picked myself up and went into work, washing off my wounds as best I could, and I never rode a bike in the city again. Still haven’t. And I’ve still got the gravel in my knee. Anyhow, as the woman and I parted ways this morning, I told her I hoped her day got better, since it seemed like it wasn’t off to a very good start.
* * * * *
Birthday plans have been in the works for the Hulk for the last several weeks. He’s turning 30 on Saturday, and we’ve all been planning a secret cabin trip for this weekend (it’s not secret anymore; I told him last night). Our friend Julie came over for dinner last night, because I made Early Birthday dinner (not easy to make at the cabin): seared tuna steak with sesame seeds and teriyaki, wasabi garlic mashed potatoes, and purple cauliflower crack (tm Monkey). The best part was after dinner, when I brought out the tiramisu I’d made (mostly) from scratch. I didn’t have time to make my own ladyfingers, and though they’d been at the store all week they weren’t there last night, so I improvised using angel food cake. I think it turned out pretty well. Secret birthday plans were also involved in the coordination of this gift, which I’m pretty excited about, and I know the Hulk is thrilled about. Yay for the fruition of secret plans! We leave for the cabin this afternoon and we’re supposed to have a whole weekend of good weather. Sweet.
* * * * *
Last weekend, I didn’t learn to drive my car. We wanted to go hiking on Saturday, but the weather was not about to cooperate, so instead we went to Boulder and windowshopped along the Pearl Street Mall. To give you an idea of the atmostphere of the place, when we first got there a street performer was juggling flaming batons on a 10-foot unicycle, having drawn a very large crowd. It was impressive, but we wanted to eat some falafel, look at art, peruse fancy and expensive kitchen gadgets and acoutrements, and play with toys. So we did. We even bought one gadget (a circular mesh rack thingy to go underneath pizza to make the crust crispier), and we gawked at the $26 napkins (like, $26 for ONE NAPKIN) and super fancy place settings, stuff for which we’d never have any use. After the mall, we went to the best hardware store in the world (McGuckin), an enormous store that has everything you could possibly think of, imagine, or want in a hardware store and a lot of stuff you’d never expect. We bought seeds, lightbulbs, painting tape, and a Revereware copper-bottomed pot to replace the pot that got burned a couple of months ago. This is the only place I’ve ever found Revereware to match the pots my mom gave me that SHE got at least 25 years ago (and they’re still all good, except the one that got all icky). The new pot is really shiny and I’m almost sorry to use it.

The next day, the weather was far better, so we drove out to the Jefferson/Boulder county line to the northwest and parked at a trailhead and took a lovely hike. Earth day, we decided, is a good day for hiking, and lots of other people had decided the same thing. It was perfect weather for hiking, sunny but a bit overcast, warm with some breeze. We met oodles of people who were hiking with their doggies, and two people on horseback, and when we had a choice of trail, we picked the one that went “up” rather than the one that went flat. The up trail turned out to be quite a bit of up, down, up, down, and it ended at a fence marking private land. So we turned around and met quite a few more people with doggies. One couple had a matched set of what I think were Irish setters, all long reddish hair and bounding around, and a teeny tiny Pomeranian (I think) trying his fluffy best to keep up with the big dogs. ’twas very cute. And then our hike was over, so we drove home to hose off and then headed up to the Northland to have dinner wtih HulkRents and he got his FIRST birthday dessert, a Boston Cream Pie.
* * * * *
So I’m leaving work at noon today, and we’re packing up, hitting the grocery store for diet coke and vegetables, and we’re heading on up to Wyoming for the first cabin trip of the season. I can’t wait.

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Interview with Abby, aka Mennogirl

Abby sent me five questions to answer. I like answering questions.

1. Since I haven’t been reading your blog for very long, I don’t know that much about your life, so this should be a lot of fun. Obviously something that is very important is the upcoming wedding to the Hulkster. So tell me, how did you and the the Hulk meet? Maybe you have already posted your “story”, but I would love to hear it.

The reason I haven’t posted about the Hulk and MLE story is because when I started writing this blog, everyone who I thought would read it knew both of us, so they already knew the story. Now it’s been more than a year, so at least two people who DON’T know both of us are reading the blog.

Here is our story: we met on the internets. Once upon a time, we were both members of a message board devoted to discussing backpacking in Europe. Most of the people in the “pants in person” link section were also once members of the same site. Anyhow, I planned a trip to Europe when I graduated college, and stuck around on the board after I came back. Hulk’s brother was also a member of the site and recommended to Hulk that he start reading the site when he wanted to plan a trip to England. Part of the site was a non-travel discussion board, where members posted about all kinds of frivolity, and I got to know him through his writing in that part of the site. One day, there was a thread about people’s IM handles. Hulk posted his yahoo IM, and I was kind of intrigued by him, so I IM’d him. We chatted back and forth. It started once a week or so, then more every other day, then every day, then hours a day. Then after I’d admitted to myself that I really liked him, I gave him my phone number. That night we talked on the phone for seven hours. We started talking on the phone a few times a week. Then, Hulk came out to California, ostensibly for family reasons, but I met him at the airport with some flowers and we spent the whole weekend, short the family obligation, hanging out. I showed him around Berkeley and San Francisco. A month later, he came out again for a message board meetup that had already been planned. Then I visited him. And so it went, for a year and a half, until we were really tired of living 1000 miles apart, so I moved to Denver and six months later he moved in with me. Now we have two kitties and have been living in sin for almost four years. The reason I refer to him as Hulk is that on that message board, his ID was CredibleHulk. That’s his “online” name to me. His real name is Dan, though some other people call him Doola. He has a lot of nicknames.

2. I know that you have also traveled to China, what other trips have you been on?
Well, I did a 6 week, 10-country whirlwind backpacking trip around Europe back in the summer of 2000. After that, the economy tanked and jobs were a lot harder to come by in the Bay Area, so it took awhile to have enough money to travel again. I’ve been on a lot of trips within the US, around most of the country except the South, and to Toronto once. I never traveled at all (except for to Texas to visit family a few times) until that trip to Europe, and I went by myself. I am still proud of doing that. We’ve got some trips planned over the next couple of years, some within the US and some to faraway lands. Hulk’s itching to use his passport again.

3. What made you decide to start blogging? And why do you keep writing now?
I guess I started when my friends made the jump from message board to blog. I set up the one I have because some people I knew used blogger but had the comments set to friend only, so I couldn’t comment unless I had a blogger ID. I started actually writing when people I knew had linked to my blog and I felt like a doof for not writing in it. It’s been a good creative outlet. I keep writing because I’ve found that I need this creative outlet, and it’s a good way to keep in contact with my nerdly friends who live all over the US and Canada. This way everyone knows what I’m up to.

4. I know that I have been cheating with all these tricky two part questions, so I’ll make this one easy, what is your favorite color?

Green! Green is my favorite color. I love most shades of green, and in any given week you’ll find me wearing something green at least 3 or 4 days out of seven. Maybe it’s because I have green eyes. I’ve always loved green.

5. Which of the following are you more likely to do/have already done: body piercing, tattoo, sky diving, or learn karate?
Most likely to do? Learn karate. I’ve taken taekwondo, and I’d love to learn capoeira, but of the list, karate appeals to me most. Second would be skydiving, though I could never tell my mother about it, then body piercing (though I don’t know what I would pierce), then tattooing. I’m too wishy washy to like anything enough to put on my body permanently.

P.S. To play along…
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Play some video games, buy some Def Leppard T-shirts

Eight gold stars (sorry, I’m stealing your gold stars Leah) to anyone (besides Hulk) who gets the reference in the title!

After a little bit of rigamarole yesterday, we got posession of the car and had to get it smogged. Of course, despite the fact that it wasn’t the end of the month, a Monday or a Friday, we ended up having to wait nearly 45 minutes and so didn’t get to the DMV ’til after it closed. Plus, man, the emissions testing centers here are so weird. I think they are staffed by zombies. So we went to the grocery store that is far away (yay! the good grocery store!) and then went home.

This morning, we went to the DMV at 8:15 and I was in and out of there in less than five minutes*, plates in hand, significantly poorer in bank account but significantly richer in where we can go (to the mountians to go hiking this weekend!) and what we can do. The car is sparkly clean, dressed in her new plates, and has a full tank, so the sky’s the limit. The title’s in my name, the car loan is set and ready to be paid back, it’s all done. It’s mine. I feel like a grownup.

2007’s been an interesting year thus far – engagement, wedding planning, car buying. All the things that adults do, and I really still don’t feel like I’m old enough to be doing these things – I mean, I’m pretty much the same person I was when I was seven years old, except now I get to eat whatever and whenever I want, make my own sleeping hours, and have sex. I still feel like me, though. Maybe I will really start to feel like I’ve always thought a “grownup” would when/if I spawn. Though some would argue that I grew up a long time ago, since I’ve been finanically self-sufficient since I was 17. It’s an interesting though exercise – when does one become an adult? when is one grown up?

*I am not exaggerating here, I walked in and walked right up and got helped immediately. There was hardly anyone in the place. Shortest time I’ve ever spent in a DMV by a large orger of magnitude.

adventures in bus riding

On Sunday, we decided to go to Target.

This is not an easy task for us. Since we don’t have a car, and the nearest Target is about three miles away, we can’t just walk there. Usually we make a Target run or two when I use a state car for work and have it overnight or through a weekend, but it had been a while since I’d had one and we really needed to make a Target run.

So I went onto our local transit website and figured out how to get there on the bus. Luckily, there’s a bus that goes almost straight there from not too far from our place, so we hightailed it down to 13th and Broadway and hopped on an 83. I knew how to get there using some other buses, but this was much nicer – very few stops, the crowd of people weren’t smelly, scary, or obviously mentally ill like the crowd on the other bus we would have taken (that route’s notorious). It dropped us off in a very convenient place and we sauntered right in to Target, looking longingly at everything that weighed more than a few pounds, and bought essentials.

Riding that bus in Denver made me feel a little different than riding the bus normally does. When I was in middle school and high school, riding the bus meant freedom to go places outside my tiny town, freedom to go to the pool or the movies (nope, we didn’t even have a movie theater!) or shopping, or, later, to go to San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area to visit a boyfriend or have an adventure. I never drove then, so the bus was my only way to get around, and I was so much younger than most other people riding the bus that it was kind of exciting when someone my age got on. I actually met a few friends this way, one of whom I’m still in contact with. I also had several interesting encounters with unusual people (I still remember the guy who smelled like mange and told me all about how a laser disc player worked, and I also remember the lady who kept lighting a smudge stick and huffing it. She was traveling with a guy who obviously thought he was Jesus, down to the long blond hair-blue eyes-beard-robe-sandals outfit, and also, the lady called him Jesus).

When I moved to the Bay Area for school, riding the bus was the easiest way to get to some of the off-campus apartments and houses where my friends (and eventually I) lived. I took BART to get into the city, but took the bus to get around there, too, and the bus patrons down in Berkeley and SF were students, commuters, and vagrants – a whole microcosm of society in one vehicle. I almost got run over a few times by buses running red lights in Berkeley, which prepared me pretty well for the way drivers act in Denver – seriously, the light can have been red for 30 seconds and it doesn’t seem to matter; the bus will plow right through. Anyhow, I had to ride a bus to my first real, non-contract, full time job out of college (I took BART for part of the way, but it was in Alameda so I had to bus the rest), and the people on THAT route were mostly old Chinese ladies who would buy vegetables in downtown Oakland, or middle-aged African-American men on second shift. Living in the Bay Area, the bus was just how I got to work or how I got home/to friends’ places – it wasn’t freedom, just transportation.

Denver’s bus system is really good. The light rail is getting better and more useful, but the bus system will get you within a few blocks of just about anywhere in the metro area (and some outlying areas as well). Since moving here, I’ve learned which sorts of routes are considered commuter routes, and which ones are how the people without cars get around. Though I’ve been a person without a car for a year and a half now, I’ve been lucky enough to have access to state cars for work and have had to spend very little time on the bus. It’s good to know that it’s there when I need it, but at 28 years old, with a good paying fulltime job, I feel really out of place on the bus most of the time – it’s mostly lower income, teenage to elderly, people of varying races (but largely minority) riding the buses I’ve ridden in Denver. Hulk takes one particular bus home from school, the aforementioned notorious route (when he can’t get the better one) that travels all of East Colfax avenue – the tenderloin, the skid row, the prostitutes and addicts and the very poor, disabled, or homeless, all traveling along a street that goes from interesting to weird to sad to run down as one goes further east. He prefers the other bus, but when it’s nearly 7 PM and he’s been at school since 8:30 in the morning, he takes what he can get. Those buses run frequently, and some are Limited and don’t stop very often, so one can get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time and transfer to whatever route takes one to where one wants to go.

Which is what we did last night. We had to take the bus out Colfax (it was a Limited, so didn’t stop every two blocks, and only took 45 minutes and not an hour and fifteen to go the same distance), wait for another bus, and take it south. Then we got off the bus, walked to someone’s house, looked at a car, test drove it, and put down a deposit. All in about 3 hours. I got the car loan stuff figured out today, and as of tomorrow we will be the proud owners of a 2002 Honda Civic (4 doors, 49K miles). As we rode the bus home from the woman’s house, all the way out in BFE Aurora , I looked around at all the people riding the bus: the woman with the little girl, the young guy with the beard and the mohawk, the middle-aged men and women and young people going downtown to have fun, and thought to myself how glad I am that as of tomorrow we won’t have to do that again. While Hulk will still ride the bus home from school sometimes (when it isn’t nice enough to bike), we won’t have to ride the bus to Target. Or to Michael’s. We can go camping this summer, and hiking in the mountains, and all the things we used to do. We can go on road trips and visit our friends up near Boulder, and go up to the cabin. We can visit Hulk’s parents. We can drive to California next March only to make our way leisurely back after our Big Event. We will be people With Car, and I can’t wait.

So why so sudden? The car’s a fantastic deal, and I happened to see it on Craigslist yesterday and didn’t want to pass it up. I’ve been looking for a while, and saving my pennies, and my monthly payment is going to be tiny (hooray for great credit!). It’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought, but with its low mileage, we’ll probably be driving it for 10 years, after Hulk teaches me to drive a stick. Heh.

Happy Birthday to Monkey!

Dearest Monkey,

I love you very much, and I hope you have/had a most excellent birthday. You are an amazing and fantastic person, with many gifts to share with the world, or at least your friends and family, whom you love fiercely. Thank you for your friendship and for your writing and for being Monkey.

Love,
mle

When Giant Bugs Attack

On Thursday last week, I played hooky so I could hang out with Houseguest, and she, Hulk and I went to the Denver Botanical Gardens. I’d never been there in the early spring before, and the weather was doing its usual Spring in Colorado schizophrenia, vacillating between overcast/cold/windy and drizzling weird snowlike substance. Luckliy, in the earlier part of the day it wasn’t precipitating, so we walked to the Garden and took advantage of its nearly deserted state to explore unmolested by children or ladies in red hats.

Currently at the Garden is an exhibit of giant bugs made of various types of wood and other natural materials, and we decided to encounter them as we would, but not to deliberately seek them out. I’m not sure we ended up seeing all of them, but we did like the ones we saw, some in plain view and some hidden in trees or behind things. I played around with my camera’s settings a bit to try to get some interesting photos of the flowers that were blooming (it’s still a bit early for the Garden to be all floral, plus it was cold and overcast so I’m sure some of the flowers were hiding). Just as we finished the outdoor part and went into the conservatory (where it’s all jungly, humid and huge tropical plants), it started to snow, so the warm room was a nice respite from the weather. Of course, going from cold to warm my camera kept fogging up so I kept getting weird photos and the focus didn’t want to work. After a while, I just gave up.

Anyhow, here are a few of my favorite photos from Thursday’s excursion. I’ll put the whole kit and kaboodle up on flickr when I get home tonight and have Hulk’s computer available – the uploader doesn’t work on my work computer. Anyhow:



Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

This has been a particularly dry week in terms of posting, but I do have some good stuff coming, including photos from Thursday’s excursion to the Botanical Garden just before it started snowing. But I wanted to do a quick update to mention two things.

First, we had to change our wedding date. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to change again, and we have the venue reserved for us on our new date. Here’s how it all went down.

1. My mom called me last night and said first thing, “Your sister called me and wanted to know if you’re sure you have the club reserved.”
“Yes, I’m sure,” I told her.
“Well, she was concerned, and was also wondering if you realized the date you picked was Easter.”
FUCK! I said to myself, Easter? That early? Who ever heard of Easter being that early? and then said, “No, Mom, we didn’t know. We only looked at academic calendars and the wee tiny calendar in the back of this year’s to see the 2008 dates, and holidays weren’t marked.”
“Your sister was wondering if the club does any sort of Easter celebrations, like an Easter egg hunt.”
“I’ll have to call and ask.” While very few of our guests would have a problem attending a wedding on Easter, I knew the club thing was going to be an issue.
2. I called Oldest friend. “Does the club do anything for Easter?” I asked her. “Yeah, they do a brunch and an Easter egg hunt,” she told me. “Why?” “Oh, no reason,” I said. “Except did you know that the date you asked your parents to reserve for us was Easter Sunday?” “You’re kidding,” she said. “The event scheduler person should have been on top of that. Let me make some calls.”
3. I stressed. Hulk stressed. Visiting Friend made sympathetic noises, since she knew a little bit of what we’d gone through to pick our original date.
4. We talked. Hulk decided that he could just arrange ahead of time to take the week after his spring break off, since we’d have to get married on Saturday at the end of the break rather than (as we’d hoped) the Sunday at the beginning.
4. Oldest Friend called back. “Nope, she totally screwed up. Easter weekend is totally taken up by club events, so nobody can use it for anything. But, it’s as of yet unreserved for the weekend before, the weekend after, the entire month of April and the middle two weekends of May.” “March 29,” I told her. “It’s the Saturday after Easter. We wants it.”

And so it is ours, and so it goes. It never occurred to me that Easter might be that early, and none of the calendars we’d looked at showed holidays, so we didn’t even consider. And the event scheduler at our venue dropped the ball as well. So at least we know now, rather than in a few months when one or the other realized and we would have been way more screwed. Though we may have to pay a bit more for catering (it being on a Saturday rather than a Sunday), it’s still March (off season), the venue costs the same, and it might have been hard to find vendors willing to work on Easter. Write it in stone, people, we’re getting hitched March 29, 2008.

And the second thing? Well, the second thing is that this evening, I asked Hulk to marry me and he said yes, and I gave HIM a ring that *I* picked. It looks like this, except without the cheesy engraving:

He’ll wear it until the wedding, and then switch to a wedding band. I think the occasion calls for celebration, so we’re going out have someone else cook for us, and we might even go wild and have a tasty adult beverage we haven’t made ourselves. Crazy.