Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Hump Dance

Home sick today trying to deal with all the many, many things I've said "Yes!" to, I realize I'm about 30 posts behind in this space. To placate ya'll, please enjoy Boudreaux's rendition of The Hump Dance.

At least once a day, possibly more, he picks up a blanket or, in this case, a scarf in his mouth and does this erotic dance in circles. Dude goes into a sex trance as he rotates and his kitty brain travels to somewhere much more sexy than our living room. Yes, he's been fixed and is definitely a virgin so it's a bit sad. Kirk gets freaked out by it - I find it fascinating.

I taped this while doing yoga, ironically, the "cat pose."


Monday, April 18, 2011


I recently gave up seven hours of my life to attend TEDxMileHigh, the first official unofficial TED event within my reach. The actual TED is held in my hometown of Long Beach, California (so cruel!) but they only invite world-renowned brainiacs with an extra $6,000 and I do not fit into that narrow category....yet.

If you are unfamiliar with TED, you must change that immediately. TED is an acronym for technology, entertainment and design and it exists as a forum for people with fascinating stories, insights and ideas about the world. Each presenter has about 20 minutes to tell their incredibly profound story or make their case for change.

Thankfully, all the talks are featured online so us poor dullards can enjoy them as well. I used to be in the habit of watching one a day and need to pick that up again. I randomly chose this talk by Caroline Casey yesterday and was left speechless, clutching a tissue. (StoryCorps has a similar affect on me.)

The TEDxMileHigh line-up was pretty good (15 speakers, two talented musicians and two mind-blowing poets) although it felt like a couple of motivational commencement speeches found their way into the program. But for the most part, I was inspired. Every speaker on the program seemingly had some connection to Colorado, either by birth, education or work and the theme was "Inspired Citizenship."

Some of my favorites:

Libby Birky, Co-Founder, SAME Cafe, a donation-only restaurant: She spoke about food justice and recognizing the homeless as worthwhile human beings, each with their own story. ("Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.")

Governor John Hickenlooper: The Looper! He spoke about the need for positivity in communication and the harsh realities of the political machine, about how the dire budget realities have forced some welcome compromise. ("We don't have the luxury to tear each other apart.") He also told a great shark joke and asked us to go out and teach a child to read. We were so happy he stopped by.

Bernard Amadei, Professor of Civil Engineering, CU Boulder & Founder of Engineers Without Borders: Despite a thick French accent, his passion was crystal clear. He ran around the stage, bursting with enthusiasm and ideas - it was astounding. He talked about "technology for the soul" and how 90% of Africa lives in the dark. ("You know what you get what you have no electricity? BABIES. Lots and lots of them.") 

Robyn O'Brien, Author, The Unhealthy Truth: My friend, Val, had sent me a link to her TED talk the previous week and I was floored. When she walked onstage in Denver, I was stoked to hear it again. She's been called "food's Erin Brokovich" and if you eat food and have kids or organs that you are fond of, you really REALLY need to watch this.

Theo Wilson ("Lucifury") & Bobby Lefebre, Poetry Slam Artists: Incredible. Articulate. Inspiring. Somebody made a smart decision to include them...BRAVO!

Hunter Lovins, President and Founder, the Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS), Professor of Sustainable Management, Bainbridge Graduate Institute: This woman is what they call, "scary smart" and other speakers that day referenced her work time and time again.

Nathaniel Rateliff, Musician: Wonderful. A cross between Kris Kristofferson and M. Ward.

Allen Lim, Director of Sports Science, Team RadioShack: If anyone is obsessed with cycling, it's Allen. After he managed to turn his passion into a career, he found he no longer had time for cycling, only travel. He took us along on his journey to live the mantra: "Just ride." Beautiful and clever. 

Many thanks to the organizers, volunteers and the other local brainiacs who showed up. I'm looking forward to more and also, presenting myself someday.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Houseguest #2

Meet Jennifer Santillo. I met her the summer after 9th grade and we've been friends ever since. Though there was a 15-year gap in there (I lost her in MarriedLand for awhile), we've reunited in previous years and I'm so glad.

Jen's going through some major life changes right now, so I invited her to our beautiful home in the The Village for some down-home debauchery and a guided tour of my life. Because I am so far from family and old friends, I've discovered something I desperately need right now: a witness.

Jen's welcome home sign for me in 1985. Our apartment was "freezing" - probably 55 degrees.
I have always been the one to visit others. Without husband, kids, home or traditional job to keep me grounded, I happily jumped on planes to learn the life details of others. I enjoy it, especially getting to know my friend's kids. (Maybe I'm biased but my girlfriends make the best mothers.) But sometimes it feels odd, like I'm an enigma of my own design as the details of my life remain unknown to others.

When I moved out on my own, at age 19, I moved in with Jennifer and another friend, Sharon. It was 1985 and together, we pretended we were grown up women but really we were just little girls playing dress up. In fact, Jenny and Sharon often complained that I did not tease my hair enough or wear enough make-up; I was their 'project.'

Me and Jen in our first apartment, partying hard, circa 1986.
Together we had numerous adventures, including one of my favorites: Jen and Sharon complained that I had not contributed any furniture to the living room. So, we went to Builders Emporium and bought a cheap build-it-yourself wall unit. We tried putting it together but failed miserably. So, Sharon called the police, naturally.

When they came to the door asking, "Ma'am, is there a problem?", Sharon didn't miss a beat. She handed one a hammer and the other a screwdriver and stated, "Yes! We can't figure out how to build this thing!" Not only did they stay to put it together (crime-wise, it was a boring neighborhood) but they posed for some hilarious photos which I MUST find someday.

So, I'm well aware that my life and the lives of most of my friends took very different paths but this became quite real to me when Jen confessed that her trip to Denver would mark the first time flying alone in her entire life. I was so stunned - speechless, even. I still find it hard to get my mind around.

I couldn't help but think of how many hundreds of flights I had taken over the years, how many airports I had maneuvered - security lines, baggage claims, ticket counters and terminal cafes. I ended up writing a long email to her with as many travel tips as I could think of ("Signs are your best friends in an airport - stay aware. They keep you on track.") before her trip. When I picked her up at DIA she announced triumphantly, "I made it!" 
Jen's visit was great, I dragged her ass all over town and even made her 'work' as a volunteer at Swallow Hill. (We got to see Cracker do an acoustic show for free - awesome.) Country Road Cafe, Root Down, Buckhorn Exchange, Red Rocks, Morrison, Kirkland Museum, Farmer's Market, Mile-High Church, homecooked meals and a private screening of our favorite stoner classic: "Sooper Troopers."

And lots and lots of talking, hugging, crying and laughing. It was great catching up.