24.

Friends – I’m no Jack Bauer, but I’ve had a pretty interesting weekend so far.

Here’s a snapshot of the highlights of these past 24 hours:

  • Wore my first cardigan of the fall.
  • Was able to congratulate a friend on successfully avoiding being eaten by bears.
  • Got a fall haircut (featuring “burgundy” lowlights) and a manicure (classic red).
  • Got a bone density scan. (Turns out: not great!  Time to start pounding the kale.)
  • Learned about the importance of compression hose.
  • Told a woman she had eyelashes for days.
  • Had a weepy religious experience with an old Hawaiian masseur.
  • Compared astrological profiles with a very “Aries” friend.
  • Had a weepy meltdown while on the phone with a relatively innocent Comcast account rep.
  • Apologized to said Comcast rep.
Hand with stamp.

Just say yes to life.

Next up: a toddler’s birthday party followed by cheering on the Colts!

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On Growing Up.

Growing up is a funny thing.  It means different things to everyone: for many people, I assume their milestones are things like getting married, buying a house, or holding their first baby.  For me, it’s liking the taste of red wine and not feeling the urge to eat frosting out of the can.

I spent most of my younger years feeling terribly mature.  I read The Scarlet Letter for fun, and I didn’t laugh when the boys spent our 8th grade Halloween smashing jack-o-lanterns.  I was a stick in the mud, but I thought that’s how adults behaved, and I wanted to skip the messy business of being a teenager.  I thought I had, and then my dad died suddenly about nine months before I headed off to college.

I’ve always considered myself blessed, even after he died – I have a loving family, and I don’t live in Darfur – but this knocked me off my axis.  It was life’s cruel joke – it forced me to grow up for real while showing me for the first time that I didn’t want to.

The silver lining to all this was that it forced me to muddle through life like everybody else.  I gradually grew more adventurous in college, including a life-changing semester in Scotland, and then I moved to New York.  NYC is a paradox.  It’s a Peter Pan town, where you can live your whole life never owning a house and can go out to a different bar every night, but if you’re open to it, New York brings you experiences more challenging and rewarding than you expect.

Many people happily find their place in the Big Apple, but for me, I needed different trappings to feel like I was building towards “real life.”  Namely, I wanted a car, a washer and dryer, and more personal space.

Of course it’s silly to think that one day you get an engraved invitation to some mystical maturity club (unless we’re talking “euphemism for some other kind of club”) – a few years ago I asked my mom when she felt like an adult, and she cocked her head and said, “I don’t know…never?”  But the other day I was making an egg white omelet and listening to NPR, and I was able to answer the listener quiz question because I’d read about the topic in the latest issue of Saveur.

So I guess, in the last year of my 20s, this is it for now: I enjoy watching movies with subtitles, but I also jump at any opportunity to wear a wig or goofy sunglasses.  I like corny pop songs, and sometimes I drink too much, but I’m equally happy walking around a museum.

And you know what?  That’s pretty OK.

Take a Hike.

Based on what I’m hearing from family and friends, everything east of Colorado is an inferno, but here in Denver, it seems like we’re getting our annual rainfall in one shot.  The highs this past weekend were in the 90s, and then we abruptly dropped into the 60s with flash flood warnings.

In hopes of luring back sunny summer weather, I thought I’d post about two recent outdoor adventures.

Every city has something its residents are passionate about to the point of competitiveness, and outdoor adventure activities are at the top of the Denverite list.  When you tell people you recently moved to Colorado, one of their first questions is to ask where you’ve been hiking.  It’s embarrassing when, 10 months in, your answer is still “well…I went once…right outside of Golden…”  Thankfully, I’ve started to catch up these past few weeks.

On Labor Day weekend, a few friends and I packed a picnic and drove down to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  While the hike wasn’t strenuous, the views were legit.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Colorado’s version of Pride Rock

Siamese Twins

Siamese Twins

This past weekend, two friends of friends (who are now my friends, too!) from Baltimore were in town, so I tagged along with them to a Rockies game and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It. Was. Amazing.  We meandered through Wild Basin, hopping from stone to stone in clear mountain streams, looking out over valleys crowded with pine trees, and cooling off in the spray from waterfalls.

Coors Field

Go Rockies!

Rocky Mountain National Park

We disregarded TLC’s advice.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Ain’t no mountain high enough.

I still can’t believe that I get to live in a place where this stuff is an easy hour-and-a-half drive away.  For all the white guilt I experience when thinking about our expansion across this country, I’m glad that I have a life that allows me to explore the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Next stop: a fourteener!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Life Imitates Art.

Happy Labor Day weekend, friends!  Hope you’re having an exciting and/or relaxing weekend.

Recently – dare I say it? – I’ve been missing New York.  More accurately, I’ve been pining for “New York-y” experiences.  Part of what makes living in NYC so exciting is all the great cultural activities.  You want to visit a museum?  Great!  Do you prefer your classic Met experience, or perhaps you’d rather explore a whole museum dedicated to the art of the Himalayas?  Maybe the Museum of the Moving Image is more your style, or if you’re feeling saucy, there’s always the Museum of Sex.

All these options are great, but they also contribute to this nagging sense that you’re never getting the most out of your city.  New York is a place that emphasizes insatiable consumption: ever-more expensive real estate, exclusive fashion, exotic restaurants, and esoteric arts.

The upside of this pressure was that (to avoid FOMO) it became a habit to wander around MoMA during free Fridays or join the dance party at the Brooklyn Museum on free first Saturdays, see the ballet or the symphony a few times a year, and sing along with bands playing festivals in the park.  Many of my friends worked for the NY Pops orchestra, art galleries, or dance companies.  Some were actors.  This was their normal, and I was happy to embrace it as mine.

Colorado provides a whole different set of options: do you ski or snowboard?  (Neither…yet!)  Which fourteener do you want to tackle this weekend?  Which craft beer do you want to sample?  It’s been so much fun learning about this new way of life (and there will be a post about an excursion to the Garden of the Gods soon), but I felt the craving to wear high heels and do something weird.

And so, on Friday I went to Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art to enjoy live music on the roof and explore some exhibits.

I drove downtown, parked, and then walked up to the museum, feeling very cool and in my element…until I tried (and failed) to get into the museum.  Thankfully, I’m not the first person to have this issue:

From the museum’s website FAQ:

I cannot find your front door. Help me.

Our front door, located at the top of our entrance ramp, is a large sliding black slab activated by a motion sensor. It is frequently confused for a wall. After hours, or when the door is inoperable, you can access the museum from the service entrance located in the fire lane.

Entry issues aside, it was a glorious evening and just what I needed.  The roof was populated by tattooed hipsters listening to mildly strange folks-y music and enjoying views of the city, and the museum walls were hung with rope wadded up in squares of resin or found canvas covered in scribbles.

Electrical Room MCA Denver

Tatiana Blass – Electrical Room

It felt like going home.

Even after 10 months living in Denver, there’s still a lot I haven’t figured out – sometimes it feels like I’ve barely figured anything out – but I’m excited to have a life that allows me to be outdoorsy and artsy with equal ease.

Living this new life is going to be an awfully big adventure.