T’s CO Bucket List

I knew some day I would have to leave Colorado again, and, most likely, in the near future.

The date is set. June of 2022, we’ll be leaving, giving B a chance to live in base and to not commute for a while. It’s a hard decision, but I also know it’s the right one. As for why a year? Well, I need that much time to say goodbye. This state is my home. I was born here. Raised here. And, with the exception of 2.5 years when I was really young and college (of which I came back during the summers), have only lived here. Maybe it’s time to go.

As a result of this looming end date, however, I’ve come up with my own Colorado bucket list – all the things I really want to do in this state before I leave for good.

Now, I logically know that I’ll come back to visit (if not move back outright), but it feels different. And it might feel like it truly is goodbye forever (not just for now). But we’ll see.

In any case, the list means I get to make time for adventure, and we all know I love adventure. I’ve already started crossing a few things off and here they are:

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Wander Larimer Square.

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Explore Manitou Springs.

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Have tea at the Brown Palace again.

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Explore Pearl Street up in Boulder.

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A picture of the Mile High Step.

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Explore S. Pearl St.
Explore S. Gaylord St.

The list is large (and I do kind of keep adding to it), but it should make the next year a good one.

Second Quarter Style: 2021

Three outfits this past quarter, although two are very similar. I went through a lot of pain and anguish trying to find that stupid dress and as a result, I’m going to wear the damn thing.

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Easter outfit. Dress shopping right now sucks.

Sunglasses: Quay Australia
Earrings: True Love Crystals Joy
Necklace: Kate Spade
Dress: Altar’d State
Watch: Olivia Burton
Shoes: JustFab Online

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May date night outfit.

Earrings: … probably Target
Necklace: don’t remember
Sweater: A New Day (Target)
Tights: k.deer
Booties: JustFab Online

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June date outfit.

Sunglasses: Quay Australia
Earrings: True Love Crystals Joy
Necklaces: … don’t remember
Dress: Altar’d State
“Bracelet”: RoadID
Watch: Olivia Burton
Sandals: madden girl
Purse: JustFab Online

Books Read 2021: First Half of the Year

Still continuing to read a lot (if there’s one thing I’m definitely thankful for from last year, it’s the fact that it got me to revive my long-dormant inner bookworm), so continuing on doing this in two posts.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
Modern sort of BLM take that’s more of an interpretation of P&P as opposed to a direct retelling. Enjoyed it, especially the cultural aspects.

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris
I really didn’t know anything about our new VP, so decided to read this. I get that she probably wrote this to enhance her own presidential campaign and indeed, it did feel like she was campaigning. As that’s the political version of being sold to, I wasn’t a fan of that particular aspect, but I’m ultimately glad I read it.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Another P&P interpretation. Indian/Muslim culture set in Canada. Very cool.

Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference, and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by Jessica McDiarmid
Oooof. This was a rough read, but I’m also so thankful I read it. Mostly centered around Hwy 16 in British Columbia. Intrigued if there’s a similar novel about the MMIW problem in the United States.

The Boy in the Boxers and Other Stories of Sweet Romance by D. H. Hendrickson
In full disclosure, I know the author due to my hockey writing days, but I have enjoyed the fiction he’s put out. This was a sweet collection of short romance stories. I especially loved the title story and its sequel.

You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Self-help book of AWESOME. So good. Also touched a bit on manifestation which I’ve already been working with, but I like it.

Pride: A Pride and Prejudice Remix by Ibi Zoboi
Another multicultural P&P take (YA this time) with Black/Afro-Latinx characters. Dealt with a lot of modern-day issues including gentrification (set in Bushwick, N.Y.).

Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Really interesting given context of the past year. The Black Power chapter was really insightful.

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne DeBourgh by Molly Greeley
P&P adjacent story telling the tale of Anne DeBourgh … as a (plausible) laudanum addict who breaks free from the control of her mother … and is also a lesbian. Enjoyed it a lot.

Pudge and Prejudice by A. K. Pittman
Also possibly YA. Think P&P set in Texas in the 1980s with the characters in high school. Liked this interpretation a lot.

The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power by Deirdre Mask
SUPER interesting. Lots of cool history on why addresses came around and how to help those without them and brain hardwiring and SO COOL. SO GOOD.

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
Fantastic sci-fi/fantasy novelette about the radium girls and elephants.

Yes I’m Hot in This: The Hilarious Truth about Life in a Hijab by Huda Fahmy
I’ve followed Huda on Insta for a while (… I think via the Oatmeal …) so wanted to read her stuff. Graphic novel about what the title says that is both hilarious and informative.

She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh
Part biography and part essay about Dolly and why she’s a rocking feminist icon.

Darcy and Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Variation (The Pemberley Letters Vol. 1) by Cady West
Read this on AO3; obviously loved it and wanted to support the author (support your favorite authors, kids). Erotic, epistolary fanfic.

Little and Often: A Memoir by Trent Preszler
Heart-wrenching memoir about grief, growing up outside of expectations, and canoe-building. Did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama
Good perspective fun to compare/contrast with his wife Michelle’s book. Would love to sit down with him and ask a few questions.

Crying in H-Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner
Similar to “Little and Often” in dealing with the death of a parent, but add in the confusion of mixed-race and heritage instead of sexuality. Still really good.

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui
Like the title says. History of humans as swimmers and cold water and why we’re drawn to the water and why we love it so. I enjoyed it as a swimmer, but a lot of fascinating info even for non-swimmers.

Pride and Premeditation by Tizrah Price
Think P&P meets Agatha Christie, More on the AC than the P&P imho, but still enjoyable.

*****

After I finished “Crying in H-Mart,” I quipped that there’s one sure sign I’m getting older – I read more memoirs.

Life Update

So, uh, it’s been a while.

I’ve done a decent amount of stuff over the last few months, so I’m just going to quick recap from March through mid-June.

March:
The main thing for March was a quick trip down to Tucson to run a half-marathon – also known as our first in-person race since February 29, 2020. If you’re really curious about how it went, go here.

We also used it as an excuse to go to Spring Training again, which was glorious.

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It’s been so long, live sports.

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Checked in for first race in over a year.

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Hiked in Sabino Canyon. Saw running water. It was amazing.

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Ready to run.

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DONE.

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New mural in downtown Tucson.

April:
Not much happened in April that’s worth noting here – just two things. A super quick trip to LA/Vegas to move B’s crash pad car to SLC and a trip to the DMNS to see everybody’s favorite murderbird (or, as they put it, a fleshy doppelganger), SUE the T. rex.

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We didn’t stay at the Bellagio, but conservatory visits are always a must.

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SUE, or at least a replica.

May:
May had a touch more excitement, especially in the final weekend. I GOT TO GO TO BOSTON FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOUR YEARS and it was so exciting. Clearly.

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But first, tulips from the Denver Botanic Gardens, since they were blooming.

So, Boston. B had a long layover basically over Memorial Day weekend and since I hadn’t been in forever, I went out. The city also opened up like the day before I got there, so that was helpful too.

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My pizza place (T. Anthony’s) was unfortunately closed for the weekend, but I did get to eat delicious Thai Fried Rice at Brown Sugar Cafe.

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West Campus, Boston University.

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New sign outside Walter Brown Arena.

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FINALLY got to see the Rhett bench.

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Mmm, J.P. Licks.

That was all exploring without B, since he got in late that same night. Everything else is with him on his full day off in the city.

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Ran to get breakfast at Bagelsaurus.

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The Common gets covered in American Flags for Memorial Day – each flag represents a Massachusetts soldier killed in battle.

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New thing – exploring Acorn St.

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B eating oysters at Union Oyster House.

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And of course I got a lobster roll.

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Cannoli to split from Mike’s Pastry.

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By the new redone Seaport district.

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Splitting two types of lobster rolls at Legal Sea Foods.

June:
I don’t have all of June’s shenanigans uploaded on to my computer just quite yet, but at the very beginning of the month, I went out to Chicago for a girls’ weekend with the women of B’s family. I only went for a day and didn’t take any pictures at the ball game (White Sox), but I got to go to the Museum of Science and Industry for the first time since in probably 15 years.

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Exhibit inside with some very powerful art.

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This was awesome, because I am a dork. Even though the TT bike they had was a Cervelo.

Hiking season for us has begun, and we decided to start off with some place completely new and hiked up to a glacier.

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St. Mary’s Lake/Glacier.

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I also explored Manitou Springs for the first time.

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Went down to Five Points prior to all the Juneteenth celebrations.

*****

Definitely more to come, and I’ll explain why soon.

Tucson, January 2021

I almost didn’t go on this trip.

I was going to go while B was in airline training but his schedule kept getting messed with for factors out of his control and it ended up that he was going to have a few days off while I was planned to be out of town. Thankfully, since I was driving, we just decided to have him fly down to meet me on his off days and swap out clean clothes and extra pills/vitamins that way.

(Plus I felt a little less guilty taking a trip by myself without him. It’s been a looooong time since I’ve done a vacation without my adventure buddy …)

Thursday, January 21
I left pretty early on the 21st with the goal of getting to Flagstaff for the night.

The day took longer than expected … partially because I screwed around a bit more than I thought I did at my stops. Like in Grand Junction where I deviated off the beaten path for some doughnuts.

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Mmm, doughnuts.

I also stopped in Moab for lunch and to get some crystals at the Moab Rock Shop which is one of the best around.

However, I did eventually roll into Flagstaff … where I proceeded to need to get some personal work done, check up on stuff, and help out a friend in grad school with some editing.

Food eaten: egg and oj, Starbucks, Main Street Bakery doughnuts/gas station coffee, bagel sandwich at Sweet Cravings Bistro, car snacks cobbled together for dinner.

Friday, January 22
I did not sleep well that night, but I was still out the door of the hotel in Flagstaff pretty early in order to hit Sedona and hike a bit. The ideal thing would have been to catch the sunrise, but a winter storm was rolling in so that didn’t quite happen.

The drive down 89A through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona was just as awesome as it was in May – almost more so with the fog and mist.

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The first mini hike in Sedona was to one of the energy vortices at Airport Mesa. Not sure if I felt the energy, but the views were pretty awesome.

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The next hike I got to right after the trailhead opened – because I needed to – was to the Seven Sacred Pools. The hike probably would have been better a few days later after Sedona got all the snow and moisture that they did, but eh. It was still magical.

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Definitely would love to come back and see it again and possibly hike even further.

Since I had goals of doing some stuff in Tucson that afternoon, I didn’t hang around the extra 20-40 minutes for most of the shops in Sedona to open. I had thought I’d be going back that way in a few days, but alas …

The signs that the aforementioned winter storm was coming started in the mountains on the drive down 17 to Phoenix. Intermittent rain and heavy fog that made visibility very very low. Stopped in Tempe for lunch and then continued on down to Tucson. I made a quick stop in the north side Bookman’s to drop off some stuff and then checked out a metaphysical store (that had a terrible selection of very over-priced crystals). I got to the hotel – tried out the Hotel McCoy – a little early, but thankfully, they were able to check me in regardless.

I had every intention of going for a run and/or a ride … but instead, I was just pretty lazy. I was on vacation, after all. I did check out more of the murals though.

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The very cool pool. I didn’t go in though.
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Hotel.

Dinner was at my apparent new Tucson staple, Cafe Santa Rosa, for another delicious frybread taco.

Food eaten: Starbucks, mini chocolate donettes from the hotel, Mad Greens wrap, Cafe Santa Rosa frybread taco.

Saturday, January 23
Woke up decently early and actually did get out on my bike – the Hotel McCoy is pretty close to the Tucson Loop trail so it made it easy. I definitely didn’t ride nearly as far or as long as I had hoped, but eh. I rode.

Got back to the hotel, showered, and then went off to explore. I finally checked out the MSA Annex and the Mercado San Agustin (since it was closed due to COVID on my trips last year).

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MSA Annex. Made up of old shipping containers.
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Inside Why I Love Where I Live. I bought stickers.
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La Estrella Bakery in the MSA. This was only half of their case.
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Clockwise from top left: concha, some custard-filled something, apple empanada, mini glazed doughnut. All delicious and cost me less than $4.

I got back in the car and started exploring (after a stop at the best Starbucks ever (nicest baristas ever) at Broadway and Randolph). Checked out a few rock shops – AZ Lapidary and Gem Rough, Ninth House (more metaphysical/witchy than rock, but eh), and Dah Rock Shop (the best). I explored Fourth Avenue a bit more and got some local books at Antigone Books (one on the Saguaro cactus and another on the Tohono O’odham people).

I found a Gila monster sculpture.
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And of course went to eegee’s.
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In the ice area/what would be the workout room at the hotel.

I had hoped to go to El Torero for dinner – only place to try the supposed best green corn tamal in Tucson (Lerua’s) – but they still weren’t doing dine in, despite what Google was telling me. Since the hotel had a food truck on site, I had some sliders from there (that were actually really delicious) and then went to Casa Molina for a tamal and a cheese crisp. I also missed the sunset. Dangit.

Food eaten: oatmeal and breakfast tamale at the hotel, La Estrella Bakery pastries, Starbucks, eegee’s, Stacks food truck, Casa Molina del Norte.

Sunday, January 24
The initial goal for the day was to wake up early and get a trail run done on the Saguaro Half Marathon course (… a race which looks like it’ll still go on in March …), but it was pouring outside and it’s not wise to run trails in that condition due to potential erosion.

Any other thoughts I had for the morning got thrown out as I helped out a friend on a 2.5 hour phone call (which I don’t regret AT ALL). It did, however, leave me with just enough time to get packed/checked out and then grab coffee before I got to pick up B from the airport. We grabbed some eegee’s at our favorite Alvernon location (who happily still had some retro stickers left too) before winding our way up north to the Hilton El Conquistador. Which is WAY on the north side.

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B in the rain.

We waited for a small break in the weather to head over to Catalina State Park for a hike. I’d wanted to check the park out for a while but it’s never worked out. Since we were staying like five miles away, why not?

We did a short hike, but it was amazing. We got to see the resiliency of the plant life after the fires that ravaged the area this past summer. And some snow in the hills.

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We went back to the hotel to shower and then FINALLY checked out El Charro Cafe (and the downtown location since everyone always suggests that location).

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Not the best cheese crisp, not the worst.
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Enchiladas. They weren’t bad. IIRC, B liked his fajitas.
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Thought I was ordering a green corn tamal. This is not a green corn. I don’t know what this was. It was not good.

Overall, we enjoyed it. Service was a little slow and I’m not sure we’d go back, but we’re glad we finally tried it.

Food eaten: room service oatmeal, Starbucks, eegee’s, El Charro Cafe.

Monday, January 25
We woke up Monday and left the hotel for some breakfast at a little local place near the hotel on the north side, the Village Bakehouse.

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Pastry case.

They weren’t bad and we had some good conversation with one of the employees. From there, we grabbed some Starbucks and then went back to the hotel so B could pack up. We stopped at the MSA again so B could experience the awesomeness that is La Estrella Bakery.

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In the MSA. Currently closed, but I loved this mural.
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Cappuccino from Presta.
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Coffee with more pastries.

I dropped off B at the airport and then headed off to explore more – all fruitless endeavors (Bookman’s, gem warehouses). I tried a late lunch/early dinner at La Parrilla Suiza, which friends of ours had recommended … and it was HORRIBLE.

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Well, this was at least super cheesy …
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Terrible enchiladas and the worst green corn tamal EVER.

I had some work stuff to do that evening so I just spent the rest of the day at the hotel getting packed and then work in hopes of leaving the next day.

Food eaten: Village Bakehouse, Starbucks, Presta Coffee Roasters, La Estrella Bakery, La Parrilla Suiza.

Tuesday, January 26
In theory, I was supposed to get on the road this day. However, that winter storm? Yeahhhhh, it was all over Arizona. I couldn’t go the northern route (like how I came in) since half the roads were closed. 10 east to New Mexico was terrible. Half of New Mexico and parts of Colorado? All terrible. I spent time stressing out with B on the phone very early that morning before we finally decided to just get me a hotel on the far eastern side of town that night and I’d drive all day Wednesday home through New Mexico.

That decision made, I went to go back to sleep for an hour and slept three. Oops.

Once I finally got back up, I packed up the car and left the hotel. I drove down to breakfast (I had free hashbrowns at Waffle House that I wanted to redeem) and into floofy snow flakes.

YES. SNOW IN TUCSON.

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View from the hotel that morning. Most of the stuff in the city had melted before I got a chance to really get a good photo.

I think the last time I personally experienced actual snow in Tucson was in like 1989 when we woke to a white Christmas and snow-dusted saguaros. I know it snowed two or three years ago, too. But still. WEIRD.

After food, I tried going back to Dah Rock Shop, but alas, they were randomly closed that Tuesday. Next stop was another new Tucson thing in the De Grazia Gallery in the Sun. Both my grandma and my Auntie Sister knew Ted De Grazia back in the day and the family has some of his original work, so it was cool to see.

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From there, I decided I wanted to get out and explore a little in the desert, so it was off to Sabino Canyon.

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Puddles on the trail.
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Cactus hugger.
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I did another late lunch/early dinner after that, but this time, at Choice Greens since I desperately needed some greens in my life. From there, it was all the way down Speedway to Saguaro National Park East (with a detour at a grocery store for some road snacks/veggies and some gas) to hopefully catch a sunset.

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Moon.
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Not the best; certainly not the worst.

Then, off to the hotel to check in, get in a quick workout, and then an early bedtime to get on the road stupid early …

Food eaten: Waffle House, Starbucks, Choice Greens.

Wednesday, January 27
I was on the road around 4am and then proceeded to have probably the most uneventful, quietest, and most efficient drive home through New Mexico in the history of ever.

Which is good.

I did make a small detour when I got to the Springs into Manitou Springs to check out a rock shop, but other than that … easy peasy.

Food eaten: random snacks from the car and various gas stations, Chick-fil-a, food at home.

hiking to 7 sacred pools, sedona

fresh
rain
breathe in
inhale
breathe out
exhale
towering red rocks
bird song
trees
agave and prickly pear
civilization nothing but a distant hum, the
rushing waves sound of cars passing by
an afterthought
simply background noise
nothing more than white noise
backdrop to the peace
and beauty
and spirit
follow the path marked in
red dirt and
red rock and
feel at one with the
universe.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
hiking to 7 sacred pools, sedona, 01.22.21

On 2020 and 2021

Oh 2020, what to say about you?

You were supposed to have a concert (Shinedown Deep Dive Tour in May), and there was always the potential for more.

You were supposed to have races (one, Memphis 70.3, that was going to include another road trip to Tennessee).

You were supposed to have two weddings and two trips for those weddings (Chicago, Indianapolis).

You were supposed to have so much potential, so much fun.

Instead, you taught us a lot of lessons, and forced us to discover uncomfortable truths about ourselves. You had the potential to bring us closer together, but instead, I think you just might have fractured us more. It’s going to be interesting to see the fallout and the long term ramifications of this year.

*****

Personally, I still didn’t have the worst year.

Sure, most of my travel got booted out the window, but I managed five trips to Tucson/Arizona, one to Las Vegas, and one to Indianapolis (one of the weddings still went on). In those trips, since most of them were by car, I also got to see a lot more of Utah and of Arizona, places I’d always meant to explore but then never did. I also explored a good amount of my home state of Colorado and have now probably seen about every corner.

I read. A lot. I averaged over a (new) book a week which is ridiculous for me. And I make the caveat of new book, because I reread stuff frequently. I probably average at least a book a week every year in rereads, so for me to add on that much new stuff? Impressive.

I clearly got back into sewing, since masks became the couture of the year. I did buy a few, but most of the ones around the house are hand-sewn by yours truly.

I got a bit into the mystical, joining online moon circles early on during the shelter-in-place orders, buying a stupid amount of crystals … and am now essentially a part time PA for an old friend from back in the day who started her own lunar alignment business.

We are so very extremely thankful that B stayed employed through it all and stayed getting paid through it all. Not everyone was so lucky. It was scary and unsure at times, but the fear was good as we now finally have our emergency fund in place.

In terms of the goals I sort of put into place for the year, I did mostly get the house in order. Except for the basement and part of the kitchen, the entire place did get deep-cleaned. We found stuff from the early 90s behind some of the bathroom drawers when we pulled them out. I kept writing and did actually successfully participate in NaNoWriMo in the terms of writing every day. I didn’t get enough words down for a novel, but I have a very good start on one. I obviously kept sewing (silly masks) and there’s only one thing on the mending pile. The only thing on my hopeful list that I didn’t do is paint more.

*****

So what for 2021?

In doing those aforementioned moon circles, we do shamanic journey meditations. In one of those, we met our highest self. I liked who I met, and I want to do my best to try to achieve that. A lot of my goals/intentions for this year are aligned with that purpose.

They are:
– take time to create, every day, some how, some way
– try to limit screen time – CONSCIOUSLY
– find a morning and an evening mantra
– salad every day if possible – make the effort
– take care of you, whether that’s taking more frequent baths (tub time!), lotioning up after showering, taking a daily walk (as much as I can), drinking water as frequently as possible, taking more care in my appearance (not just living in sweats), embracing my sensual side, or whatever else … do it!
– take time to read – books, not just fanfiction
– play video games for an hour here or there; do it instead of mindlessly scrolling FB or IG
– make the hard choices in nourishing my body and eating well; if I am fueled properly, I will have more energy

And not written down, but still there, is to also focus on my sleep. I know I’m in several years of sleep debt and I know that sleep is so good for health in all its forms, so. SLEEP.

All of these things I can do regardless of the state of the world. All of these things will help me become my best, truest self which will help me show up better for others.

Fourth Quarter Style: 2020

A few more outfits, weirdly enough. Five? That might tie my record …

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Worn … somewhere in October.

Sunglasses: Quay Australia
Scarf: Merona (Target)
Sweater: Rubbish
Jeans: 7 for all Mankind
Boots: JustFab Online

 

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Ahh, pandemic wedding fashion.

Mask: homemade
Necklace: Kate Spade
Dress: Express
Bracelets: MantraBand, some chakra bracelet I bought at Wish
Watch: Garmin
Tights: I forget
Shoes: Coach

 

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November date night outfit.

Necklace: Target (forget which sub-brand)
Blazer: JustFab Online
T-Shirt: Smashfest Queen
Jeans: 7 for all Mankind
Shoes: JustFab Online

 

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December date night. Two photos for lighting purposes.

Necklace: Kate Spade
Dress: Draper James
Bracelet: Forever 21 (… accessory offshoot they had ages ago)
Tights: forget
Shoes: JustFab Online

 

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Worn to a Christmas dinner with the fam.

Toque/Beanie: Skirt Sports (or Gap, but I think this is a Skirt beanie)
Dress: Kiel James Patrick
Tights: forget
Shoes: JustFab Online

Books Read 2020: Second Half of the Year

Since I read so much this year, here’s the second half of everything.

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
YA. P&P variation I fortuitously saw at Bookman’s. Perfect brain candy that I needed after so much heavy stuff. Interesting take set within the world of east coast boarding schools.

The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
This one took me a while but I powered through it. Makes some really good points and, as always, we won’t have an easy fix. Something does need to be done, though.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
This was a bit clunky (oh legalese), but a really interesting argument setting up that the segregated housing practices that have been put in place are actually unconstitutional.

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
Fun ode to the mystery novel genre by being a mystery novel itself. Not quite as predictable as I thought it was going to be – didn’t catch the twist coming. You might if you haven’t been out of the mystery novel game as long as I have …

Running With Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero by Christopher McDougall
Second book by McDougall this year. Also so good. Burro racing and donkey personalities and Amish and running and depression. Also I need to go see the burro races when they start back up here in Colorado.

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
SO GOOD. About love and really how awesome octopuses are and how intelligent they are.

Make America Healthy Again: How Bad Behavior and Big Government Caused a Trillion Dollar Crisis by Nicole Saphier, MD
Right wing. Good personal responsibility message, but got a bit boring.

The Intriguing Mr. Darcy: A P&P Variation by Audrey Belmont
Novella. Really stupid premise and an abrupt ending. might have had potential, but not in this case. Also needs a different title.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
SUPER interesting. Uses of cadavers, got into what to do with ourselves when dead … actually really good. One of my favorites this year.

Waco: A Survivor’s Story by David Thibodeau with Leon Whiteson and Aviva Layton
Oh how the government fucked up. We watched the TV miniseries and decided to go deeper. Great to see a different perspective.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I somehow don’t think I’d ever read this before. Autobiographical fiction – almost didn’t realize I was reading an autobiography. Good insights.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Oof. Powerful. Requires a lot of reflection. Perspective about the experience of growing up Black and asking the questions. Letter to his fifteen-year-old son.

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Part of the Dresden Files series. Have read a few, but not all leading up to this one. Chose this one because of my fave, SUE. Love my T. rex.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
Long time fans of Kingfisher/Vernon will recognize Bread Wizard. I’m so glad it finally got published. Possibly more YA, but awesome. The carnivorous sourdough starter was the BEST.

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
About Mormonism and fundamentalism and you can tell he really doesn’t care for (Christian) religions, but it was interesting all the same.

A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver
I think this is her latest – if so, you can tell – it’s disjointed compared to her earlier work.

The Problem with Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars by Meghan Daum
OMG best book this year. Generational divide, how trying to be woke we’ve made things worse, labels are awful. I think everyone literally needs to read this. GO. NOW. READ IT.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
Great history and well worth the very long read. Also goes along with “Evicted” and “The Color of Law.” Things you don’t learn in school …

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Biography. Enjoyed this maybe more than I thought I would. Interesting insight into the former First Lady and Chicago and lots of stuff.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Okay, so everyone hyped this up and it was actually really pretty amazing. Might want to buy this one (I’ve read most of these thanks to the Libby app and my library card). Can take bits of the story and apply it to ourselves/our lives.

Really Angelic by Enid Wilson
P&P porn where Elizabeth is an angel? Interesting take on world building, but really, PWP.

My Darcy Exhilarates by Enid Wilson
Collection of P&P what-ifs. Lots less sex than I’d expect out of Wilson … which means she doesn’t shine as much, imho.

My Darcy Pulsates by Enid Wilson
More P&P what-ifs. More sex than the other collection – she knows where her bread is buttered.

Darcy in Hollywood by Victoria Kincaid
Modern P&P variation and progressive with a trans character and a cis character dating (not D&E), but the usage of “transsexual” grated. Could have been less vague (I have an illegible note that says incoherent plot … something. IIRC the Wickham/Georgiana plot line was not well done).

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
Weirdly similar in some ways to “The Twisted Ones” … but that could just be because I’m used to Kingfisher. Twist slightly obvious but was handled well regardless. Enjoyed as always.

Twnty Mnths: A Very Modern P&P by Z. Z. Scott
Read this initial fanfic version on FF.net … which was a lot better, imho. This was cleaned up and edited for publication, but not as good. Less plot development. Still, I like to support my authors.

The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer
Modern P&P take – different names, swapping some plot lines – more inspired as opposed to a direct change. Set in Texas with debutantes and a soccer player.

Longbourn by Jo Baker
P&P but really not – from the perspective of the servants of the house and what their lives might be like. Not what I was expecting at all, but it wasn’t bad.

Dolly Parton Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton and Robert K. Oermann
Dolly is the best. Partial autobiography partial not, explains the stories behind the music. Great quick read.

Midnight 99 by Ashley Christine
Written by a friend. Weird, futuristic, sci-fi, alternate reality, illuminati, lizard overlords … insane. And I also can’t wait for book two. Also a lot of footnotes.

The Answer Is … Reflections on my Life by Alex Trebek
Almost hard to read now that he passed. Quick read, enjoyable. Trebek was awesome.

Unmarriageable: P&P in Pakistan by Soniah Kamal
Fun, multicultural take on P&P. Still trope of using P&P in the adaptation.

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell
More WWII story! Virginia Hall, super spy. Read a Rejected Princesses story on her ages ago on Pinterest so I was intrigued by this. There are some variations between that story and this one, but given that Hall spend most of her life in secret … it makes a lot of sense.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
Didn’t watch the video series, but decided to try the book. One of my favorites this year re: BLM.