Monthly Archives: June 2008

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta

I haven’t talked much about my leg in a while, but this weekend was pretty leg-focused, or perhaps leg-centric, as on Saturday we walked about 5 miles to REI and back (finally bought Dan’s sleeping bag with some gift cards and our wedding gift from Monkey, thanks again Monkey!). The big REI flagship store is right next to Confluence Park, where Cherry Creek and the South Platte River meet, and Saturday afternoon saw oodles of people enjoying the day (the first day it had been cooler than 80 degrees in a while) and quite a few dogs playing in the water. Two dogs in particular, a black and a yellow lab, swam happily through the current after gravel tossed by their owner and, after getting swept downstream over and over again, made their way over to the bank and back only to repeat the process. Dan had a good time taking photos and I dipped my feet in the cool water, face shaded by my big floppy hat. Saturday was a good day.

Sunday, we had a hard time getting motivated. We had talked about going hiking, and decided Sunday would be better since we’d get more benefit from the cooler weather in the foothills. Because we were lazy and enjoying the morning, we didn’t get started hiking until around 2 PM. But it was worth the trip up to Evergreen – we hiked about 5 miles along a gorgeous trail, saw all kinds of pretty wildflowers, mountain bicyclists, and lots and lots of dogs. Two of them, a yellow lab and a black something mutt-ish, greeted us as we sat on a bench at the halfway point eating a snack. By the time we got back to the car, I knew that my leg was DONE. The PT said I could try some relatively easy hiking and just see how my leg did, so we picked a relatively easy trail. While it was a nice hike, I felt like most of my body could have done much, much more – if it weren’t for this whole leg thing.

I haven’t written a lot of really meaty posts on here recently. I’ve been feeling kind of down, if you hadn’t guessed, and I think a lot of it has to do with my leg. Sure, I can walk just fine. I can do the elliptical trainer and ride the stationary bike at the gym. I can lift weights. I can do a (really easy, not especially challenging) hike. But there’s so many things I still can’t do, and it will be a long time before I can do. I can’t run. I can’t dance (not that the PT told me not to, but every time I’ve tried it hurts). I can’t do a lot of yoga or pilates so I don’t bother going to class. I certainly can’t climb 14ers. There are things I wanted to do this summer that I can’t do. Having physical restrictions is really frustrating. I want to be able to climb mountains! Mostly I want to be able to dance at my sister’s wedding in early August, so I’m going to do what it takes to rehab my leg properly. The waiting game sucks.

In other news, I have a bike now! Dan’s mom gave me her old bike and since we’re the same height it will work for me. I just have to get a bike helmet.

Also, may I recommend the song mentioned in the title of this post for driving purposes? It’s on the Office Space soundtrack, and really gets your head bobbing.

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Bathroom adventures

This week the ladies’ room at work has smelled like sewage gas all week (today it’s the worst) and when I went in there a few minutes ago there were 3 cockroaches.

Gross.

I told you he would review it better than I ever could

Thanks, guy that I married. You are awesome.

Jobs I would not want to have.

* Pole dancer

* Jizz mopper

* Roadie

* Cleaner of grease traps in industrial kitchens

* Carnie

* Mime

* Door-to-door salesperson

* Call center drone

* TSA personnel

* Fish cleaner (in a cannery, for example)

* Person who cleans up slaughterhouse floor

* Professional dominatrix

The little robot that could

I really like my gym. I like that they have lots of warm towels available at all times, and that they have so many different kinds of classes. The weights areas are spread out, rather than everyone trying to use equipment at the same time. They have thick mats for post-workout stretching, inflatable balls for crunching, and a billion TVs all tuned to something different. In the summer, the gym smells of kids’ lunches because of the summer day camp, with the occasional small human napping on a mat in a corner and lots more chaos than usual. All in all, I’m quite pleased.

One of the perks I’ve noticed is that occasionally, there will be free passes to a screening of a movie available on the front counter. Last week I happened to be passing by and saw a stack of passes to WALL-E, which made me squee because I knew how much Dan has been looking forward to seeing this movie. Last night was the big night, and because it said right on the pass NO CELL PHONES I didn’t bring my purse and walked into the theater empty-handed.

You always know you’re watching a kids’ movie when the theater smells like diapers. Luckily, Dan and I learned our lesson years ago *coughShrek2cough* and we always try to sit in the back row at a kids’ movie so nobody can kick our seats. The theater we were ushered into after being WANDED (seriously, we were wanded in order to get in, I guess they’re really concerned about piracy 3 days before the movie opens?) was about a 50-50 split of kids and adults. And while we were shown to the last seats in the theater, they were in the back row. Hooray!

Now, I’m not going to write a full-scale review of the movie, because Dan does that much better than I ever could. But I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. LOVED. Visually fantastic, aurally fantastic, and plenty in there for both kids and adults to enjoy. I might even go so far as to say it’s up there in Pixar’s top efforts, maybe even the best. And a good chunk of the film doesn’t even have dialogue. It’s that compelling, that entertaining, even without a lot of talking. And it’s worth staying for the credits, because they’re really cool as well. It’s not often that I walk out of a theater thinking that I want to own that movie. But I plan to buy Wall-E as soon as it comes out, because I want to watch it over and over again. Go see it!

A new junkie in the neighborhood (plus, Friday links)

We found a junkie in our backyard yesterday, and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

Let me back up a bit. A few weeks ago we bought plants (veggies, herbs, a few shade annuals) to put in our yard and a few to put in pots. Dan thought it might be fun to get a catnip plant to keep in the house for the kitties (we’d never tried growing catnip before) as Petra loves the dried stuff. We planted all the things that needed to go in the dirt right away but it took longer to get around to putting the other things in pots. One morning I left for work and noticed the catnip plant was missing – not knocked over, not in some other part of the yard – completely and utterly missing.

My first thought was that Grey Kitty or some other neighborhood cat had taken it. Grey Kitty is a female cat that obviously lives somewhere on our block because we’ve seen her in other people’s yards and in the alley. I have no idea where she lives (in fact, it’s possible that several people consider her their kitty). She doesn’t have a collar but is sleek and healthy and quite well cared-for. She also likes to torment our cats by coming in our yard and hanging out where Loki can see her. Our cats are Indoor Only and Loki is uber-alpha-male, so to have a strange kitty in his yard that he can see and hear and smell but not chase away or fight is very difficult for him. On more than one occasion, they’ve faced off through a window or the screen door, yowling and poofing up tails and Loki being Very Put Out that there is a strange kitty in his yard. Sometimes when I’m out in the backyard the kitties will watch me through the screen door and let me know they’d very much like me to come back inside, and they get really upset when Grey Kitty comes by and rubs against my legs. I don’t pet her, but I do talk to her.

Anyhow. Later that week, Dan put the potted plants in larger pots and found the remains of the catnip plant – a clump of dirt with two sticks emerging from the top. He realized it was probably the catnip and put the dirt clump up on a little table.

Last night, while Dan was making dinner he called me to look out the back door. There was Gray Kitty, lovingly snuggling with the clump of dirt, rolling around in ecstacy on the back patio area. She looked thoroughly drugged and thoroughly pleased with herself for finding the remnants of the plant she so efficiently demolished a week or so before. I’ve never in my life seen a cat making love to a clump of dirt, but it’s something I’m going to remember for a good long while.

And here are the best things I’ve found on the internet this week (both today, actually). Watch Cookie Monster face off with Steven Colbert here.

The coolest wine glasses I’ve ever seen. But you’d have to find the perfect wine for each glass.

Officially graduated, and a gigantic golden retriever

Due to the aforementioned difficult night (nightmares, 6 adults in one room, etc.) I woke up in a very foul mood on Sunday. Neither Dan nor I got to shower and we had only a few minutes to get dressed and ready for the graduation ceremony, since it was at 9 AM and we still had a drive ahead of us to get there. At least the stupid hotel gave us free continental breakfast, which included eggs and a good variety of other things, so I loaded up on protein-ish items to stave off blood sugar problems (I had two episodes on Saturday, both stemming from waiting too long to eat, I think). We left the hotel by 7:45 and drove up to UC Santa Barbara, finding free parking in a lot, and walking across campus to the lagoon. We passed a clock tower that had no clock (which would be what, a bell tower? It was very angular, resembling a stack of square blocks) and made our way down an expanse of lawn, finding a row of seats and saving some for the people who would be joining us (Laurel’s BF, her best friend and her best friend’s sister). Everything was bright and colorful in the muggy, foggy morning, flags of 31 countries flapping in the breeze, people selling garish purple orchid leis and bunches of roses and commemorative commencement programs that included the names of each graduate. I spent a while in line for the women’s bathroom in one of the buildings and listened to a mom trying to convince her young daughter to use the potty. As soon as I got back to my seat, the music started and went on and on for what seemed like hours as the graduates filed in (and this was just graduates for the social science programs).

The rest of the morning went as graduations normally do. There were speeches, and more speeches, a keynote speech, tortillas were tossed by the graduates, some awards given out, and then every graduate’s name was called. Laurel text messaged us to let us know when she was close to the stage so we wouldn’t have to be listening for her name, and we all cheered when her name was called. Many audience members made far more noise than we did with air horns. There were more names called. And then it was all over, and the group of us met in the back corner and took photos of the new graduate. I felt extremely proud of her. Laurel held down two and sometimes three jobs throughout her four years at UCSB and graduated with a major and a minor and a respectable GPA.

We hiked back across campus in the throngs and crowds, attempting to keep the group together. Alas, as in any situation where thousands of people attempt to leave one place at the same time, traffic was horribly snarled up. We actually made it back to Laurel’s house before she did (her boyfriend was first, but he bicycled back) and enjoyed the ocean view from her balcony while we waited. Finally, everyone was there, so we figured out who was going in which car and where we were going, and eventually we all made it to Laurel’s boss’s house where he was having a graduation party for her and two of her coworkers (all three of them UCSB grads this year). So it was an interesting party, a mix of family and friends of the three girls and the boss and his family and their GIGANTIC golden retriever named Bo who was the biggest dog I’ve ever seen that wasn’t a great dane or a giant English mastiff. Seriously enormous. We snacked on snacks, admired the gorgeous house and yard, sipped tasty beverages, and enjoyed the afternoon, and finally all the food was grilled so then we ate that. Dan and I both ate a lot, since we knew we wouldn’t be having dinner. Then there were two kinds of cake, and I could only eat a few bites because I was STUFFED.

Finally, it was time to go. Dan and I hugged everyone goodbye and climbed into the rental car and headed south on 101. It was the worst traffic I’d seen in a long time, and there was absolutely no obvious reason – no accidents, no construction. It took us an hour and a half to get to Ventura (should have been half an hour) and then we hit some more traffic a bit father south. But once we got to LA, there was no traffic at all. We made it to the rental car place three hours after we’d left Santa Barbara (good thing we left so early, is all I can say!) and there was some sort of mixup and they charged me an extra $9, so when I went back to the counter to ask them to remove the charge, they ended up only charging me for half the rental. Which was kind of surprising, but hey, I’m not going to complain. The airport was an airport, the flight was a flight, I managed a little nap and we landed safe and sound in Denver at 11:30 PM. When we got home around 1 AM, both of us decided we desperately needed showers (having never bathed since the tar incident of the day before).

Needless to say, I was a zombie on Monday. Which was why I didn’t post.

Anyhow, all in all it was a good trip, if a little rushed. We didn’t make it to Hearst Castle or even to the Santa Ynez valley, and I’d love to make it back to SoCal sometime in the not-too-distant future.