Herman Gulch Glory.

Saturday morning we woke up with the sun.  We drove I-70 west toward the Eisenhower Tunnel and turned off just before Loveland ski area at the Herman Gulch trail head.

We hiked strong.  Three and a half miles up a rocky, knotty pine trail above the treeline to Herman Lake.

It was exhausting but worth every sore muscle for the smells of the fresh pine and the heaven-quality mists rising above the valleys below.  We were touched by the scenery and cheered the fact that Colorado’s heat had finally broken.

We left Mile High early in the morning because we knew rains were coming our way later in the day.  Sure enough, we made it to the lake by 10:30 a.m. and back home to Denver by 3 p.m., when the rains started swelling the clouds.  Finally, low rumbles gave way to soaking sheets of water, extinguishing forest fires across the state.

Saturday was a day for celebrating.

The Columbine.  Colorado’s state flower.  There were loads of them up there.  Just delicate and unassuming.

As we picked up the trail on the way down, about a half-mile from the trailhead, we came across men panning for precious metals in the river.


Firecracker Fourth and Pineapple Pie.

Our Independence Day that fell on a Wednesday was all around warm, lovely, and relaxing.

We spent Tuesday night in with N and L in Lone Tree and woke up to little baby whimpers next door in the nursery and a large gulp of coffee.

The Liberty Dash, much like last year, was blazing hot and dirt-road dusty and in direct sunlight most of the distance.  Not the most fun, but certainly satisfying at the finish.

We spent the afternoon into dusk with C and KS in Cheesman, under the trees, drinking beer and chattering in the damp heat that hung over the park.

C made the best fried chicken I’ve ever had (juicy, tender, salty!) as well as some kick bottom coleslaw (colorful and refreshing!)  KS and I brought pies.

It was a good day for friends.

An early morning across the park.

This morning I started work a smidge before six a.m. at our dining room table.

This was all for a good cause since I have an appointment this afternoon.

What gorgeous light there has been lately in Mile High.  Of course, wildfires and extreme heat will do that to the light.  The sky can seem so flat in the early part of the day and brilliant in the evening.  This morning, it was in between.

Be Kind to Something That’s Mine, and Be Kind to Me.

When I was little I owned the movie soundtrack to Disney’s Aladdin.  I bought it with my own money while in Disney World with my family.  I loved it.

A friend at school asked to borrow the cassette so she could listen to it over a weekend.

Months later when she returned it, the tape inside the cassette was mangled, ruining certain tracks.  The cover and lyric booklet were missing.

I was let down.  It was one of the first lessons I learned about being careful when letting others borrow something that’s important to you.

I recently had another one of those times – but it was a bit more adult in circumstance.

Nearly four years ago now I was on the verge of breaking up with my then boyfriend, M.  I became friends with a male coworker who lived half a block away from me.  We starting doing things together M would not do with me — like running Cheesman Park, trying out new eats in the neighborhood and even occasionally making dinner together at his apartment.  A few times, he brought me to his church.  What I realize now is that it was inappropriate for me to be spending time like that with him while feeling so mixed up over M.  I justified each time we spent together by the fact that I was fighting with M and that we were “on a break” and then on and then off and then he hated me and then he loved me and then I hated him and then I didn’t.  It was very dramatic and exhausting and there was just very little right about our relationship.

I did end up officially breaking up with M, but not before I poured my heart out to my neighbor/coworker and loaned him a book that was very important to me.  It was not necessarily worth any money, but because of the book’s story, and the particular copy’s meaning to me.  He knew all this before I loaned it to him.

After a few weeks of spending time with him I realized I was wrong about his loyalty to me – as more and more women came out of the woodwork to warn me that he was a snake who disguised himself as a Jesus-loving, born-again-virgin Christian.  I was SICK over the stories I was hearing and so upset with myself from falling right into his sweet demeanor and soft attitude.  I used to give myself more credit for being cautious and thoughtful.  He even told me on my sofa one evening that if we got engaged he hoped we’d get married very quickly.  Less than a week later, he was not returning my calls.

Incredible guilt aside from my own faults those few months, the happiness I’ve found out of this bizarre and 90%-over relationship (I still work with him) is a good girlfriend, another victim (one…or maybe two girls in front of me?) in his very long and almost unbelievable line of untruths and string of vulnerable lady friends.  He got married the weekend before me in May and it was all I had in me not to contact his poor bride and tell her his hurtful ways.  She probably should know better, because her former roommate was one of the women he suctioned and then left hanging.  Perhaps he’s changed, but there’s always a little truth that lingers.  Perhaps he’s met his perfect match.

For years now, I have asked that he return the book I loaned him.  YEARS.  I have asked at least four times a year for three years now.  After his wedding, he moved a few blocks to a new apartment and must have physically touched my book to load it into a box with him to his new digs.  Still he did not return it.

Finally last Friday I wrote him an email and said I needed the book back.  Period.  I wanted it Monday.  No excuses.

He did deliver it to me this morning at my desk.

The NYC Subway papertag transfer I’d used as a bookmark the two times I read it was missing and a page was dog-eared.  (Who does that to someone else’s book?)  The paperback was a little worse for wear, but I’ve had it for a long time…and the copy itself has now had its own Denver adventure, much like its characters between the covers.

I’m thrilled this chapter is closed.





Blizzards. A Necessity this Summer.

I’m not sure how this happened, but late this afternoon I had my fifth (or possibly sixth) Dairy Queen Blizzard of the summer.  This time, I ordered a LARGE.

It’s a lie that I don’t know how this happened.  I’m going to blame it on the incredible heat that continues this week in Colorado.  DQ Blizzards are the only thing I want to eat.  Chocolate soft serve ice cream with Oreo cookies.

On all DQ locations nowadays there is a sign on the entrance that says to notify the person taking your order of any sort of allergy affecting you.

I am allergic to peanuts and peanut oil and I do not mind telling it on the mountain.

When I was thirteen and on vacation in Cape Cod with my family I ordered a Blizzard (predictably chocolate ice cream with Oreo cookies) and brought it back with me to our rental house.  It was a rainy day and my brother and our friends had rented Back to the Future 2.  I’d seen the first in the series and Back to the Future 3, but never 2.  So I was excited.  That is, until the previews were rolling and I shoveled a scoop of Blizzard into my mouth and started chomping on an actual peanut.  A full on, little salted, most dangerous nut…in my supposedly only chocolate and Oreo cookies treat.  It had apparently flown into the mix while the person making the treat scooped in Oreo crumbles to the cup.

The night continued with me breaking out into hives and having to go to the emergency room.  I literally did not see Back to the Future 2 until college.  Lame!

There is a DQ location on Colorado Boulevard that really takes my allergy seriously and keeps me coming back.  The past five (or six) times I’ve been there, they’ve opened a new package of Oreo cookies and sanitized the equipment used to make the Blizzard.  I’m sure this is common practice at DQ, but I feel better about it at this particular location than I do at others–especially any on Cape Cod.

Thank you from the bottom of my tummy, DQ on Colorado Boulevard.  Yikes from my hips.

Summer is off to a super warm bang here in the west.  I’m hopeful this Blizzard obsession will stop soon and I’ll be able to substitute an extra-large glass of ice water for that sweet, soft serve dessert.