Tag Archives: dogs

On dogs, briefly

Dan’s home for four days and brought us a new router, so our own network is functional again. Hooray! This evening, we watched a Nova special about the evolution, genetics, and behavior of dogs, and while we don’t have a dog I found myself saying “aww” every time I saw a cute dog on the screen. Which was a lot of times. I realized a few minutes into the program (and about 45 minutes before they actually said it ON the program) that there are many traits about dogs that are akin to human babies, and probably partly why we find them so lovable. I grew up always having a dog in the family, and always having cats, yet I consider myself more of a cat person than a dog person.

When the show was over, I turned to Dan and said “Having a dog is more like having a baby, and having a cat is more like having a teenager.” Which I think is pretty accurate, and I wonder what that will mean for my future hypothetical parenting techniques and interests. You can leave a cat for a few days as long as it has a litter box, food, and water, and when you come home the cat will either ignore you or berate you for having been gone. You can’t leave a dog for more than about 10 hours because it needs to be walked, access to outdoors so it can pee and poop, and it needs human attention or it will fail to thrive. I like that cats are more independent and that they mostly have “personalities” that don’t necessarily involve loving their human companions unconditionally. But I bet when I have a dog again, I’ll love that dog to pieces.


Mud Season

This weekend brought a long-awaited trip up to Julie and Steve’s condo in Winter Park, a ski area in the mountains that’s less well-known than many of Colorado’s winter sport offerings. We’d been planning for several weeks around their schedules and were looking forward to getting in some good snowshoeing and relaxing and spending time with our friends who we hardly ever get to see during the months of December through April.

We made it up to Winter Park by around 6 PM, narrowly missing Friday afternoon traffic. To get to Winter Park you go up Highway 70 into the mountains, and then take highway 40 north over Berthoud Pass – over 12K feet at the summit, I believe, and then descend a couple of thousand feet into the valley. The WP area has two different ski/snowboard areas: Winter Park itself and a smaller, more independant-style one called Mary Jane, both of which we passed on the way to the condo. We settled in for an evening of good food and good company, partaking in tasty beverages and a screening of Big Fish.

Saturday, after a hefty breakfast, Dan and I headed out on our snowshoe adventure, hiking a trail we found in a borrowed guidebook. It wasn’t especially well-marked but enough people had used it since the last snow had fallen (which, judging by the snow conditions, had been quite some time) that it was pretty easy to follow. From the very beginning, we saw lots of evidence of beetle damage and beetle-caused tree death, which was quite sad. Our trail started (STARTED) at nearly 11 thousand feet in elevation and we probably ascended close to another thousand during the uphill portion of our hike. It turned out to be a great hike, but wicked challenging (there’s not much oxygen up that high!).

Dead tree macro

Pine cone macro

Despite the difficulty, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, and Dan’s four snowshoe mishaps in deep, slushy snow that led to his right leg being trapped up to his hip didn’t spoil his good mood (thankfully!). It turns out that I’m pretty coordinated on the ol’ ‘shoes and I didn’t have as many issues (part of the problem, we think, was that the rented snowshoes Dan was wearing didn’t seem to be strapped correctly and he wasn’t getting the full benefit of the surface area of his right shoe).

On the way up

I wonder what this looks like in the summer

The culmination of our hike ended in reaching a milestone described in the guidebook as a dead tree that resembled a telephone pole. This was right about at tree line, and the snow was patchy in this area, so we found some rocks to sit upon for a while and eat a snack before heading back downhill. It took us a lot less time to get down than it did to go up (probably because we didn’t have to stop, rest, and catch our breaths every thousand feet).


Pole detail

The hike continued up this way, but we were done ascending for the day. Note the lip of snow at the top; prime avalanche danger.

We made it back to town in the late afternoon, and prepared for the evening and the next day by making a grocery store run. We had dinner with the group (Julie, Steve, another couple, and another friend = totalling seven of us, plus an 11-week old Spanish Waterdog pup named Bailey) at the friends’ condo and afterward most of us watched Pineapple Express while some of us (read: me) fell asleep halfway through.

The difficult thing about staying overnight at 9 thousand feet is that the air is even more dry than we’re used to, and has far less oxygen so one’s sleep isn’t as sound as one might like. I dreamt all night about unquenchable thirst and so the next day, rather than snowshoeing again we opted to just tailgate in the parking lot at Mary Jane while most of the others drank beers between their ski runs.

View of a run from the parking lot at Mary Jane.

Bailey and dad’s legs

We saw lots of dogs, lots of skiers and boarders on the slushy shiny runs, and spent hours trying to get Julie’s new tiny cheap grill to function (yet another example of You Get What You Pay For), during which time I got too much sun, drank too much girl beer (it turns out 2 is too much at that altitude when all I’ve had to eat is potato chips and cookies), and didn’t drink nearly enough water or put on enough sunscreen. Ultimately, it was a fun afternoon and a fun weekend but I was glad when we got home and got to sleep in our own bed. You can sleep on the most comfortable pullout couch in existence, but ultimately it’s still a pullout couch.

Civil Marriage = Civil Right

Dan had some schoolwork to do on Saturday morning, so after I worked on Wombat’s blanket (I’m so close to being done I can taste it) I headed down to the city and county building to attend the anti-prop 8 rally. The rally was held simultaneously in cities across the country, and the one in Denver probably had close to 1,000 people.

The rally was peaceful and beautiful. I just wish more people had known about it; I know PrideFest here attracts a huge crowd every year.

Here are some of the photos I took.

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.