Tag Archives: springtime for hulkster and mle

All the colors

On Sunday, Dan was off playing nerd games and I had the day to myself. One of the things I did was to take photos of all the flowers in the yard. I noticed that we had flowers blooming in pretty much every color of the rainbow. So here is my rainbow for April 2011.


Friday Faff: Spring edition

The weather has been nasty for the last couple of days, ranging from cloud to fog to rain to snow, with just a bit of sun here and there, and I walked to work under my giant rainbow-colored umbrella this morning. To counteract the blah day, here are some of the photos I took while we were walking around last Sunday for Doors Open Denver.

Can you find Dan in one of the photos?

It’s about damn time


First, April brought my first real cold in like a year, which sucked. It was actually the weirdest cold I’ve ever had; it started with fever/body aches/throat tightness, then a productive cough, and then upper respiratory stuff (sneezing, etc.) I’ve never ever had a cold move UP before. Thankfully, it’s mostly gone now.

Second, I had to spend all day Monday and Tuesday in meetings. Like, 8.5 hours each day. And the best part was that on Tuesday I had to leave one and drive to the other one and by the time I got out, even though I was only a block away from the gym, I decided that I couldn’t be indoors another second or my head would asplode, so I just walked home in the sunny spring weather.

Because third, spring FINALLY came. Finally. It’s been months of gloom and drear and snow and cold and yuck, and spring decided to take its sweet-ass time showing up this year. The trees are JUST starting to leaf out and bloom.

Which was lucky, because fourth, we got to see EEK last week when she came to town for a conference, woohoo! On Friday night we went to see her read from her new book, which was awesome not only because she is a good reader and a good poet but because we got to see a bunch of other people read their published work as well. It was in a really cool art gallery in a part of town we don’t normally haunt so just getting to do something new was good. I was still kind of sick and had to duck out of the last reading so as to be able to cough up my left lung, but all in all it was an enjoyable experience. Then on Saturday, we kidnapped her from her hotel and forced her to eat brunch with us. We twisted her arm into getting some ice cream from our favorite place and eating it in the park nearby. Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate quite as much as we would have liked and it was a bit chilly and windy for our stroll in the park.

Fifth, I’ve recently found my ex boyfriend from high school on Facebook. I sent him a friend request, mostly for shits and giggles, but also because I’d like to get back in touch with his best friend who I really liked and stayed friends with for a while after we broke up. The friend has a very, very common name so I can’t find him on FB because there are over 1000 of him on there. I’ll keep the internets posted as to any developments, as I’m sure you are all waiting on bated breath.

Sixth, I am devastated to report that as I was walking home yesterday, one of the straps on my favoritest pair of shoes broke. I’ve sworn revenge at the universe and hope to find a cobbler or shoe repair place that can fix it, because my life would truly suck without these shoes.

This morning’s commute

Click on any photo to embiggen.

An expensive year for fruit

Once these were new baby green leaves. Now they are dead.

Yesterday I was in a bad mood. One of those grumpy funks that you get into once in a while, the sort of thing that you feel like you need to get away from everything in order to get back to your normal, evenly-tempered self. By 4:15 I hadn’t taken a lunch break so I decided to go home, change my clothes, and go out for a walk rather than hamstering away yet again in the smelly gym.

I changed into a bright red zip-up hooded sweatshirt and one of two pairs of jeans I currently own that a) fit, and b) don’t have holes in them*. I decided on what we’d have for dinner, made a mental list of needed grocery items, and put a bag in my pocket (reuse is good). And I headed out the door and up the street, looking for signs of spring, for anything to help me feel better about the world and my life and all that crap.

Usually, this time of year there are things blooming. This year, not so much – everything started blooming a week ago, right before our big snow storm. Then everything got frozen in the storm. The flowers that were buds during the storm? Dead. The flowers that bloomed right after? Daffodils, especially, faced the ground all bent over under the remembered weight of heavy wet snow, despite the sun. I got to the park and walked around the perimeter, trying to get my heart rate up while keeping an eye out for things to photograph. I saw a stuffed lamb in a tree (a beanie baby, maybe?) and a few daffodils that weren’t actually touching the ground. I shot the one plant/tree/bush that looked like it had actually put out some green in the past week (most of the new growth on everything had been frozen and turned to brown or yellow crispness). I shot a tree that looked dead against the gorgeous blue spring sky. And as I headed out of the park and down the street to the grocery store, I found a tree that hadn’t budded before the storm, though some of the paperthin baby green leaves had charred-looking edges.

Stranded toy

Just about the only green in the park. Note the curled edges.

Someday this tree will have leaves on it again.

Note the buds, the fresh leaves, and the brown edges.

As I was walking home from the store, I shot this:

1990 called, it wants its mall hair back.

And remember the photos in this post and then here?

Same tree as the last two times

I took this photo on my way to work this morning. As you can see, the flowers are dead. There was no time for anything to be pollinated. Dan told me he heard the trees on the western slope (where most of Colorado’s produce is grown: peaches, plums, etc.) were budding before the storm, and most of the flowers died. This is going to be an expensive year for fruit in Colorado.

*Then, last night, the jeans developed a hole. Guess I’m going jeans shopping this weekend.

Contrary Colorado, Cute Kitties

Remember how, merely yesterday, I waxed rhapsodic about spring in Colorado? This morning, when I got up it was cold and dry outside. 20 minutes later it began to snow. 40 minutes after that there were three inches of wet, heavy snow built up on our back porch, and I stood at our front window watching the snow accumulate on the white-blossomed trees across the street.

My walk to work was far wetter and colder than it had been in quite some time. I held an umbrella over my head, which succeeded in keeping my head dry but the rest of me got quite covered in ploofy (yay! ploofy!) wet stuff. I snapped a few photos to compare with the ones I got one week ago today.

I stepped through the door of work, hands aching in my crappy gloves (the good ones were still in the car from this past weekend’s trip), only to find that everyone was being sent home. Apparently, we’re supposed to get over a foot of snow today, perhaps even more, and the conditions were absolutely wretched and unsafe and will probably only get worse. I’m the only one who walks to work, so I can still make it in even if there’s three feet piled up, but I’m not going to say no to a snow day at home with my husband. One of the two people left at work by the time my hands warmed up to merely uncomfortable kindly gave me a ride home so I didn’t have to walk back in the nastiness. There’s warm chai in my mug, two cute yet confused kitties winding around our legs, and the ploofs are still coming down outside.

Speaking of cute kitties, here’s something I’ve been meaning to post for a while. Our cats have very different habits and different personalities, and I’ve caught each one doing something endearing recently.

Case in point: Petra loves to sit in things that are just Petra-sized. A box lid on the floor will soon have a small black and white cat perched inside. This was some packaging that came with the router when we got our very own internets last month, and Petra wasted no time in depositing herself inside.

Loki is our lap ho. He is especially pleased to help when one is using a laptop, and will likely drape himself over both hands and arms, sure his assistance with ball-warming and hand-pinning will be welcome.

Finally, I finally got around to getting their most interesting behavior captured on video. Each of them developed a trick in order to get a kitty treat – neither of them were trained to do so, yet each one does something unique. Dan was kind enough to edit the video down for me (the original had each cat doing a trick and taking a treat three times).

Also, this is why I will do my level best never again to live somewhere with white linoleum in the kitchen. This is what it looks like when it’s CLEAN.

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.