Happy Anniversary.

Dear friends, it is a momentous day.  I have now lived in Colorado for one whole year.

Platte River

Bliss.

I was counting down the frickin’ hours to my one-year anniversary in New York because that first year felt like a terrifying carnival ride: big ups and downs, bright lights, and ever-present nausea.  It certainly wasn’t easy getting settled in Colorado – last October, I was spending my days filling out endless job applications at Starbucks and creeping out the teenage baristas with my desperate desire for human interaction.

I got discouraged during my six-month job search, and I was afraid I’d never make friends, but the actual anniversary of my arrival here was Friday, and I forgot because I had a busy day at my cool job followed by a pumpkin carving/bonfire party with my super fun friends.  On Sunday, I cheered for the Broncos and agreed to join a kickball team, and tonight I became enraged when I realized my grocery store was out of kale.  It really happened: Rocky Mountain mama took me in.

Every time I see one of these sunsets, hike through the mountains, or eat green chili, I feel grateful for that hospitality.  It’s been so fun meeting people who love Colorado and can’t wait to share their favorite parts of this great state.  There’s plenty more to explore, and I can’t wait to get to share this awesomeness.  (Thankfully, I don’t have long to wait – another friend from NYC moves out in early November, and my step-sister and her fiance have a visit scheduled mid-month!)

I took a fat leap of faith leaving my New York nest behind, but I knew it was time to chase the wind.  Even though I miss my people (and the pizza), it was worth the risk.  Thanks for sharing the ride.

Carnival rides in Boulder

Your love is like a roller coaster, baby, baby!

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Yosemite Wedding.

Happy sunny Sunday, friends!  A couple weekends ago I was able to attend a dear friend’s wedding in Yosemite National Park.  The ceremony was on the lawn outside the Ahwahnee Hotel, with mountains all around and deer grazing behind the bridal party.  In short, it was picturesque.

Ahwahnee Wedding

Beautiful setting for a beautiful wedding.

I met the bride in New York – she’s the cousin of one of my best friends, and she also worked with dear friends I knew through an NYU class.  Basically, we were all fated to be friends.  We had a magical few years in the city together, and then the mass exodus began.  The bride decamped for Baltimore (via Virginia), others headed to California, a couple of us ventured to Denver, one found herself in the Windy City, and the bride’s cousin returned to her Midwest roots in Columbus.  This wedding was the first time we’d all be back together in over a year.  As you can imagine, we were counting down the days.

Half Dome

Jazz hands!

Of course, with a setting that beautiful and people that wonderful, there was no way the weekend wasn’t going to be amazing.  We spent the weekend hiking through Yosemite (or…maybe just walking short distances and enjoying the view), basking in each others’ presence and catching up, and celebrating the beautiful bride and handsome groom.  Seriously – I’ve known a lot of lovely brides, but this girl was stunning.

Yosemite bride

With the bride!

What made this wedding even more fun is that, even though the couple met after her time in NYC, many of us had met the groom and his friends before.  Many of my friends met their spouses after we were no longer living in the same city, and it’s weird to attend the wedding of a woman you’ve known since elementary school…and you’re just meeting her husband at their wedding.  Thankfully, my friends have all made excellent choices in their spouses, and this was no exception.  The groom is such a great guy, and so are his friends.

It’s only been a couple weeks, but I miss my NYC ladies so much already.  These women are smart, beautiful, fun, and pursuing great adventures in life.  Even though we’re far apart, it just means we’ve got more places to visit, and I can’t wait to plan some trips!

NYC friends

From the concrete jungle to the redwood forest.

(Regardless of your politics, I think we can all agree that the closing of national parks is a concrete example of how this government shutdown is ridiculous.  While we’re all shut out of our wild open spaces, I hope you enjoy this glimpse of what I had the incredibly good fortune to see.)

Half Dome

Breathtaking

As the Leaves Turn.

Happy fall, everyone!  I realize I’m a couple weeks late on that wish, but I was extra Grinch-y this year about the demise of summer.  In fact, this is the first year since moving to New York in 2006 that I haven’t been praying for sweater weather since early July.

While summer in NYC boasts many attractions – outdoor concerts, Coney Island outings, getting drinks at the Frying Pan – it’s hot as balls, and the city smells like trash, sour milk, and B.O.  Sometimes the air conditioning will go out on the subway, and then you find yourself pressed up against strangers while sweat beads roll down your back and legs.  You learn to chuck modesty and wear as little fabric as possible, especially in your apartment, where you lay directly beneath your window AC unit in only your undies.

But this year, I summered in Colorado, where the humidity is low, there’s nary a mosquito to be found, and there’s rarely a need to spoon a stranger (unless you’re into that, in which case, do your thang).  It was glorious, and I didn’t want it to end.

Despite my oft-stated preferences, the days began getting shorter, and the temperatures cooler.  Halloween candy overtook the “BBQ supplies” aisle at the grocery store.  Costume stores popped up in vacant storefronts.  I watched it all with dread for the day I’d have to put away the sandals and pull out the boots.

But then something lovely happened.  I woke up this morning, and snowflakes were falling.  The air was cold, crisp, and clean all day, and when I got home from work, the smell of a camp fire was on the breeze and snow was on the mountains.  It made me want to cuddle in front of my fireplace with a mug of something warm and read a book, and it conjured images of Christmastime activities with my family.

I turned on the heat in my apartment this evening, and it gave off that distinctive central heating smell, which I haven’t really been around in years (I had radiators in NY).  I immediately felt small again, like I was back at my house in Indiana, laying atop one of the heating vents with a blanket over me, creating a tent of warmth that I had to poke my face out of every few minutes when I got too hot.  I did this because my father did it – which seems like an odd thing for a grown man to do, looking back, but it made so much sense to me then.  I never felt as comfortable and safe as when I was curled around that vent, watching bits of dust float through slats of light and simply being quiet and warm.