Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Last Ski Train of the Season

My pal, Reid, and I joined a bunch of other crazy folks for the season's last Ski Train to Winter Park last Sunday. Boy-o-boy, that was a genius move - even though I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get it going. As some would believe, living in Colorado and NOT skiing all season is tantamount to treason. I don't agree, however, it was refreshing reminder of where I actually live.

We joined our pals with Up The Creek, an outdoorsy bunch of folks that can't seem to sit still. I hitched my wagon to 'em my first year here in Colorado and they took me everywhere. They like to have adventures and they like to drink. OMG, it's like we're related!

Truth is, I just don't ski that much. It's too bloody expensive ($92 for a lift ticket??? Does it come with dinner???) and I loathe sitting in post-ski traffic on I-70 - I get 405 Freeway flashbacks. What a buzzkill. But since I scored a $45 lift ticket and the ski train was running - how could I refuse?

While strapping on all the gear, I just kept praying that my body memory would kick in and my legs would remember what they were supposed to do because my brain couldn't be trusted. To my surprise, it all came back and I only fell when other people crashed into me. No double black diamonds on the menu, however, I'm strictly a blue/green gal.

What a gorgeous day! Highlights were skiing between trees and not getting killed and finding an abandoned Warming Hut to enjoy smokie treats. Also, the ecstasy that comes with taking off one's ski boots at the end of the day is unparalleled. From there, booze flowed up and down the train. Folks snuggled, sang and flirted as the gorgeous scenery whizzed by.

Approaching our adorable wee metropolis, I got another perspective. Denver just sits out there on the plains with miles of bare land around it, looking like it may have come up through the ground itself. Sometimes I forget how remote it is until I remember that this is the official reason there is no Trader Joe's here - "too far from everything else." I'm still not over it.

After Reid and I chowed down some greasy food, I went home and slept ... for 12 HOURS. 'Twas a perfect day and much needed.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Let's get one thing straight here: I'm a phenomenally lucky girl. So much so that my Denver buddies have accused me of (ahem) walking around with a "golden horseshoe" up my ass. Sounds painful, right?

While I agree that the Universe and I have always gotten along pretty well, it's starting to fuck with me in a way that is highly unsettling: It keeps taking my stuff.

Like a normal person, I lose something now and again but there's something else at work here. It's almost like I've got a kleptomaniac poltergeist stalking me in all areas of my life. It's just getting that spooky. A friend told me, "You're just concentrating on higher things" which is his nice way of saying, "You might just be a careless dumbass."

Keep in mind, I am going through some major transformations these days, becoming someone I don't entirely recognize but prefer to earlier versions of myself. So maybe it's a 'shedding the skin' type thing. I first noticed it in October and here's the rundown:

October: Lost three very sentimental rings - highly distrissing.
December: Lost cell phone night of birthday - not drunk enough to justify.
February: Lost wallet - upside is, hated my driver's license photo.
March: Lost sunglasses, along with backpack, somewhere in my 750 sq. ft. apartment.
Yesterday: Lost job - okay, technically, I still know where it is but still.
Today: Realize I've lost the 'Magic Necklace' - an antique which belonged to my mother and always elicited the most beautiful sentiments from men, women and children. This is gut wrenching.

Don't get me wrong, I'm open to lessons from the god/goddesses, spirits and whatnot but KNOCK IT OFF!!! Seriously, I don't own much in this earthly existence. Can ya'll go teach minimalism in the Hamptons or something?

For fuck's sake.

(Also, I've updated my other blog, Curious Hobo, with a new installment of my travel adventures.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


DenverPost.com's home page features this photo of today's lovely spring blizzard which happens to be a couple yards from my front door. I swear, the white stuff is blowing sideways.

Honestly? I'm loving it. I just hope everyone drives safely and gets their ass home PRONTO.

Also, HAPPY ALLAN MCCLAREN DAY! Do something nice for the Average Joe - shovel his sidewalk or buy him a beer. Better yet, give him a job.

And, I've updated my other blog about my overseas travels: Curious Hobo. I will also adding another update tonight since I'll be SNOWED IN. Wheeee!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Me and Barbie

Evidently, one of my first friends turned 50 this month and the bitch still looks younger than me.

I'd mostly forgotten about her until I attended the Biloxi Mardi Gras Parade last month. Amongst all the beads flying from the air, some woman on a float handed me a genuine Mardi Gras Barbie to me and I somewhere angels began to sing. Thought I would piss me'self from JOY. Instantly, I turned back into a 7-year-old and began squealing with delight.

Julie, my sister, agreed that it was the "score of the day" and my brother just kept shaking his head, knowing full well what her re-appearance meant: "Of all people to get the Barbie ... of course it would be YOU." (Mardi Gras Barbie came complete with a giant stick up her ass which means she stands proudly in my living room, stuck in the soil of a lush plant - toned arms raised to the heavens in celebration.)

Admittedly, I 'played Barbies' longer than I should have, long after all my friends stopped - or said they stopped.

My best Barbie buddies, Cindy and Allison, were crucial here. Cindy and I shared all our best stuff - motorhomes, swimming pools, townhouses, sparkly purses, etc. - and Allison was known for creating entire Barbie villages out of everyday household items. A green pillowcase became a park, a shoebox was a bus (when the 'Vette was in the shop) and a mixing bowl was a hot tub.

So, I wasn't prepared for the recent media splash recognizing her 50th birthday; Barbie was suddenly everywhere I turned, with one fluffy feature after another announcing her durability ("At 50 years old, Barbie gets tattoos -- and a megastore in China") or deriding her ruinous effect on the body images of so many impressionable young gals.

In so many ways, my current life is merely acting out all the Barbie fantasies I had as a girl. (Though she certainly got laid a lot more than I do!) I don't recall being too affected by her idealized figure though the sheer expanse of her fashion may have done more damage.

Mostly, it was her independence that I coveted. Barbie could do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, with whomever she wanted. She could lay by the pool in the morning, become an astronaut in the afternoon and wear rhinestones to bed - all of which she did often.

Okay, so maybe I don't do much pool lounging, space travel or sparkly sleeping but thanks to Barbie, I know I certainly can. You don't need teeny, tiny shoes or a waist too small for no actual organs to know that. Like most blondes, B was smarter than she looked, a major part of her secret charm.

Happy Birthday, B! You showed 'em!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Geeks in the Wild

Friday kicked off at Kath's house where she hosted a 'Beer, Bacon and Blogging' party.

These little gatherings are always great for me - I learn so much about technology, what people are doing with their gadgets and what goes best with pig meat.

This time I learned that my BlogHer colleague, Erin, is pretty damn famous. A young cutie pie named Jim showed up with one of her tweets on a t-shirt. (He even came with stickers.) I made a mental note to suck up to her come Monday. (Ironically, I suck at this.)

Not only did I get a tad inebriated with some Izze/Vodka concoction but I may have Twittered through the evening - a first. I felt kinda sleazy about it until I realized that we are all doing the same thing. What a buncha nerds.

Bonus? I also got to hang with the clever sex bomb that is ROSALICIOUS:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring!

Behold the season's first bloom on my porch geranium plant. Though it seems Denver never really had a winter - just enough for me to make one snowman, actually - I'm happy to see spring arrive. New beginnings and all that crap.

Speaking of which, I'm pondering a move to Boulder later this year which both excites and scares me. When you mention this to the locals, you get extreme reactions: "Ooooh, I LOVE Boulder!" or "The Republic of Boulder, eh? Hope you like snobby hippies."

I love Denver with all my heart but am craving life in a smaller community. (It was just named one of the 'Best Places to Retire' though I don't think I - or anyone else right now - will be doing that anytime soon.)

Actually, because Boulder has one of the highest concentrations of educated people - most of them also running marathons, climbing mountains and skiing black diamonds with casual ease - my biggest fear is that I am neither sharp enough nor tough enough to qualify for citizenship. It's all a bit intimidating.

Also, I've got a great life here in Denver and even though it is just 26 miles down Hwy 36, Boulder feels like a world away. It's comparable to the 'bridge mentality' of the Bay Area; though it's just one bridge span between San Francisco and the East Bay, they are like night and day. (Or freezing and balmy, as the case may be.)

Dunno. But I better make up my mind soon. Landlord has just asked me to sign another year-long lease ....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sign of the Times

(Photo credit: AP, Noah Berger)

This scene depicting unused newspaper racks cluttering a San Francisco storage yard is more evidence that we've come to the end of the Newspaper Era. My pal, Fang (who I met in 1991 when we both worked for a newspaper) is greatly concerned and I am deeply saddened. I wrote about yesterday here, when I was feeling much more articulate.

Finally, Some Good News

Of the many, many wrongs that O needs to undo from the Bush Administration, this is a good 'un that, quite frankly, I didn't know existed until today. As the AP reports:

"The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that then-President George W. Bush had refused to sign."

The United States, under President Bush, was the only western nation not to sign. (FYI: 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality.)

In other news, W gave a speech in Calgary, Canada today and said the following about Obama:
"I'm not going to spend my time criticizing him. There are plenty of critics in the arena. He deserves my silence ... I love my country a lot more than I love politics. I think it is essential that he be helped in office."

First of all, dude actually sounds like a class act, which shocked the hell out of me. Second of all, it clearly distances him from Dickface Cheney and Rush Limbaugh, who have come out to criticize and, in Limbaugh's case, openly wish for the O Administration to fail - which is like saying, "I hate my country."

Final score: Obama=1, Bush=1, Dickheads=0.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I watched a wise man stand up before a crowd of folks last Sunday and say, "Every crisis is a birth." If that's the case then, by all means, cigars all around.

Other than the super spectacular implosion of Capitalism, I am completely obsessed with the Bernie Madoff case. I crossed some horrible humanitarian line last week when I noted my own reaction to recent news:

"Oh, wow, two more school shootings. Tsk, tsk, tsk, that's terrible (yawn)," ... "BUT WTF WITH THIS MADDOFF GUY???? I MEAN WHAT KIND OF SICKO DOES THIS??? WHAT CAUSES THIS KIND OF CALCULATED DARKNESS???"

This is a guy who lied to his friends and family (though not all of either, as I'm sure we'll learn) but mostly, he lied to the world and to himself - year after year, month after month, day after day all while robbing everyone blind.

I remember spitting venom for that buttstain of a man, Charles Keating, back during the Lincoln Savings debacle - his victims were senior citizens. But this guy Madoff has pulled off the largest grift the world has ever seen ... thus far. It's so evil, I keep waiting for a Mini-Madoff to appear and then watch pinkys perch upon devilish grins.

So, I'm pondering all these poor souls (alas, literally) who were just looking after their own futures - or the futures of their organizations - and got taken in by Madoff. And I'm watching the headlines as Americans are learning to live with less and I'm thinking about a time in my life when I learned just how little one needs to survive.

Though I'm frugal and extravagant at the same time ("free" is my favorite flavor, I'm fond of saying), I am still shocked at how much stuff I have. Yet, I live in a neighborhood that, up until the brick wall of a mortgage crisis hit, was quickly succumbing to McMansion Measles. Every other early-1950s-style home (approx. 650 sq. feet) was quickly being 'scraped' to be replaced by an oversized home that occasionally sport turrets like were in the middle of g*damn Scotland.

This is my long rambling way of saying that I've started a new blog to document the year I took off packed like a turtle, with whatever I had on my back, and went out into the world, to see what I could see. I learned a lot during that time about paring down and I'm hoping there are lessons I can relearn during this tumultuous birth.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More Proof That I No Longer Live in California

Last Friday, I lost my wallet, which included my driver's license. Headed off today to take care of business and get a license replacement. Total time spent inside the DMV: 2 minutes and 34 seconds.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Frozen Dead Guy Days

For three years now, I've been dying (!) to check out that bizarre local festival known as "Frozen Dead Guy Days" in nearby Nederland (Pop: 1,337). At last, I got my chance last weekend when I grabbed Laura and we made the journey, 100 miles round-trip.

Here's the back-story on the festival:

In 1989, Norwegian citizen, Trygve Bauge, brought the corpse of his recently deceased grandfather, Bredo Morstøl, to the United States; nobody seems to know why. The body was preserved on dry ice for the trip, and stored in liquid nitrogen at the Trans Time cryonics facility from 1990 to 1993. Again, no one is on record as saying, "Trygve, WTF?"

In 1993, Bredo was returned to dry ice and transported to the town of Nederland, where Trygve and his mother, Aud, planned to create a cryonics facility of their own. When Trygve was deported from the United States for overstaying his visa, Aud continued keeping her father's body cryogenically frozen in a shack behind her unfinished house.

Aud was eventually evicted for living in a house with no electricity or plumbing, a violation of local ordinances. She told a local reporter about her father's frozen body and her fears of him thawing out. The reporter went to Nederland's city hall to let them know and the story exploded.

Nederland then added a broad new provision to Section 7-34 of its Municipal Code, "Keeping of bodies" outlawing the keeping of "the whole or any part of the person, body or carcass of a human being or animal or other biological species which is not alive upon any property."

However, because of the extensive publicity, they made an exception for Bredo, a "grandfather" clause. (Get it?) Trygve secured the services of Delta Tech, a local environmental company, to keep the cryonic facility running. Bo Shaffer, CEO of Delta Tech, is known as 'The Iceman' for transporting the dry ice necessary for cryonic preservation to the IC Institute for over 12 years. About 10 years ago, the local Tuff Shed supplier built a new shed to keep Grandpa in.

In honor of the town's most famous and beloved resident, Nederland began celebrating "Frozen Dead Guy Days" in 2002. Festivities include Coffin races, a slow-motion parade and "Frozen Dead Guy" lookalike contests. The documentary on Grandpa Bredo called "Grandpa's in the Tuff Shed" as well as the updated version, "Grandpa's Still in the Tuff Shed" is shown.

Other events include the "Polar Plunge" - for those brave enough to go swimming in the ice - and a dance, called "Grandpa's Blue Ball." The festival, which is also a celebration of winter's wind-down also includes pancake breakfasts, a artists showcase, snowshoe races and snow sculpture contests.

Glacier Ice Cream, headquartered in the nearby city of Boulder, mixes a special festival flavor called Frozen Dead Guy. It includes fruit-flavored blue ice cream mixed with crushed Oreo cookies and sour gummy worms. Laura and I were content to drink beer and take it all the goofy weirdness while trying to stay warm.

All in all, a very typical Colorado way to spend a day.

For more of my photos from the FDGD, go here.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Colorado Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes at sunrise - I highly recommend it. These are photos from my road trip last summer with Gins and this little video is dedicated to her.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Otis RIP

On my recent Mardi Gras visit to Mississippi, I flew into Gulfport Airport and Dad picked me up. As we were pulling up to the house, I asked about Otis, the beloved family dog. "He's ready to die," he said matter-of-factly.

"Dad! That's a terrible thing to say!"

"It's true though. He's made up his mind."

I brought the luggage in and gave everyone hugs, including the nephew and two other dogs. I asked about Otis and Julie said, "He's in the back room. You should go say hi. We'll leave you two alone."


I went back to greet one of my oldest canine friends and found a dog who was little more than skin and bones. His back legs were failing and he looked incredibly sad and tired. Dad was right, Otis was ready to move on. Apparently, the vet has confirmed that nothing is really wrong with him, even though he doesn't want to eat, he's just ready to go.

My brother, Rob, adopted this handsome noble beast (half black Lab, half Rottweiler) so many years ago - was it 11? 12? 13? - that it seems Otis was always around. My mother calls him "my first grandchild" and they share a special bond. For years, Rob & Otis were a team. Before he met his wife, before his moved to Mississippi, before becoming a father - it was just a boy and his dog.

MaryAnn called this morning to tell me the inevitable, that Otis was put to sleep on Tuesday. She is sad and my brother is probably feeling a deep grief that he would never discuss. I keep remembering that year my brother took a break from dating and decided to get a dog. He just hung out with Otis and worked on his new house, very little socializing. They were best friends.

I'm so glad I had the chance recently to hang out with Otis. I'd sit with him in the grass, looking over the bayou and rub his tired head as often as I could. He'd lean his big black head against my leg and lift his paw up for a belly scratch. What a sweet, sweet boy.

RIP Otis.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Family Head Jobs

Apologies for the sleazy title, I'm trying to up my traffic ...

This is my favorite photo from my recent family visit to Mississippi. Julie is a hairdresser and therefore, gifted at scalp massage. Here she is generously sharing her talent with my sis-in-law, MaryAnn, who is trying to say something intelligent about nerve endings but she just ended up moaning and drooling like a drugged monkey.

Here's another favorite:

Julie is giving my nephew, Robbie, a haircut on the back deck. (I was next, followed by MaryAnn.) If you look in the right hand corner, you'll spot another family - just a shout across the bayou - that is doing the exact same thing. Everyone was getting all groomed and ready for Mardi Gras.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Born Seaside

While there are plenty of mothers and daughters who talk every day, Mama Iva and I agree that once a week is plenty. Gives us a week's worth of events to catch up on.

So, last Sunday evening we're chatting about a social event my mom attended over the weekend. She's telling me a story about some lady and in the middle of it, she lets loose a key fact:

Mom: " ... so she's from Long Beach too. Born in the same hospital that you were born in, Seaside, which is no longer there but ..."

Me: "Um ... what? Wait, wait .. wait ... WHAT???"

Mom: "So, I was talking to her about her upbringing and it's really strange because ..."

Me: "Mom ... um, what did you say?"

Mom: "And she didn't really know her father so ..."

Me: "Mom! MOM!!!! Can you back up a little? Did you say I was born at Seaside Hospital?"

Mom: "Yes, that's right. That's where we got you but it's gone now. ANYWAY, this woman .."

Me: "I ... I don't think I ever knew that. No. I never knew that. Where I was born, I mean."

Mom: "Yes, Seaside. In Long Beach. In the Bixby Knolls area. It's gone now. You didn't know that?"

Me: "No. Never. My birth certificate is blank on that part. It just says 'LA County' so when people asked where I was born I would just say 'Not sure but somewhere in LA County.'"

Mom: "Huh."

Me: "Yeah."

Mom: "So this woman had a very different life and I ..."

And honestly, I couldn't hear the rest because I'm kind of reeling from this little fact that has somehow escaped me for 43 years. I mean, I'm sure they must have told me at some point - like maybe when I was 6 - but probably never followed up; as an adult, there was always this weird void of info about my earliest beginnings.

It made me kind of emotional for reasons that I don't fully understand.

I mean, really, does it matter the exact GPS of where we first gulped in earthly atmosphere? Does it say anything about who we are? Bette Midler was born in Hawaii and I still tend to think of her as a true blue New Yorker. Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar and I think of him as a Londoner.

Still, the history of my adoption has been coming up a lot lately in my conversations and I'm feeling things I never felt before.

After the call, I went straight to bed and dreamed about giving birth to a son. I seem to recall he was born in a Walgreen's ... somewhere, not sure the town.