Boring, Married Couple

I owe an apology to all my married friends (or at least, were in happy, committed relationships) back in law school.  I used to think that you were boring and didn’t have exciting lives because you would often opt out of going out to unwind a little after classes. On the rare instances that you did, it was because we bullied and cajoled and dragged you, and even then, you would be the ones to leave first. I looked at  you and saw an unadventurous, un-fun creature who and had resigned yourselves into an early, quiet retirement. I was dead wrong. Woe unto me for my arrogance for thinking that I could possibly know every facet of human existence.

Because I am that ‘anti-social’ person that I used to beg and force to go out  with me and do things with.  It is not that I don’t crave social interactions with people my age and who are in the same field as I am, because I do. I enjoy hanging out with my husband’s coworkers who are mostly geeks–they read tons of books, devour pop culture, movie and TV buffs. I am all of that, and talking about them with lime-minded individuals is part and parcel of that pleasure.

Having said that, being in a demanding, rigorous field of study full-time takes a huge chunk of my time. Not only do I have to study at home (during weekends) I also do nothing in between classes but study at the library. It is all I could do to catch up with the monumental amount of reading to keep head above water.

I don’t know how my other married classmates who have kids do it.I simply can’t imagine myself doing it. I can hardly take care of my own needs and my husband’s, let alone two elementary age kids! No freaking way.

I do feel blessed just to be able to spend time with my husband. It’s like I have a feeling that sooner or later, with the addition of a job, or kids, life will never be the same and I ought to take advantage of this phase in our life together where we can still do pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want.

 

 

First Day of School

Today is technically not the first day of school but rather first day of a week-long orientation facilitated by the power and the might behind the office of the Dean of Graduate Legal Studies as well as a handful student mentors.

The whole thing started at 10 AM, with coffee at the common room at the Colin Carr Jr. Hall. They gave us our kits which included additional instructions for registration as well as a huge shirt (they didn’t ask for our sizes) and a SMU School of Law hat (which I liked). Then they took our photos and we sat around the room, talking to each other. I saw Geraldine again whom I met last month when I took a tour around the Law quad where I will be spending a year of my life at. She is also an LLM student who is preparing to take the BAR in February. I met and talked to some of the people who are going to be in my International LLM class for 2016-2017 and most of them are from China with heavily accented English. They were pretty shy but friendly as well. And tiny. There were two who looked like they just got out of high school!

We heard the Dean of the College of Law speak to welcome us and then Dean Martin Camp came on to give us a talk to introduce us further to the program and what we can expect from our year ahead. After the talk, we took a picture as a class, then was led to a catered lunch where we introduced ourselves one by one. Then, off to the Hillcrest Hall to finish activating our SMU accounts so we can actually register tomorrow. We were given course lists, exam schedules and academic calendar and more pointers to help us plan our semester depending on our goals.

I plan on taking the BAR so I will mostly take BAR courses to help me get ready for the test.

At 3 PM my mom-in-law picked me up and we drove home.

I am excited to begin this year. I know it is going to be a lot of hard work and sacrifices–missed parties, family events, more hours studying. I gotta make it count. I have to keep in mind that this is only a year of my life.  Wish me luck!

Bayan Ko (Country Mine)

 

I woke up today with the Filipino folk song Bayan Ko in my head. Singing the lyrics in my head, I realized how beautiful it all is, how relevant still in these ever changing times. And with my very limited poetic bent, I endeavored to make a translation, just for myself.

I am not convinced that this adequately translates the passion in the Tagalog lyrics, but I tried.

Here goes:

 

Ang bayan kong Pilipinas

My land the Philippines,

Lupain ng ginto’t bulaklak

Land of gold and blossoms

Pag-ibig na sa kanyang palad

With love in her hand

Nag-alay ng ganda’t dilag

Tendered beauty and splendour.

At sa kanyang yumi at ganda

With her allure and beauty

Dayuhan ay nahalina

Conquerors were charmed.

Bayan ko, binihag ka

My land, you were taken,

Nasadlak sa dusa

Buried in sorrow.

CHORUS

Ibon mang may layang lumipad

Even a bird that is free to fly

Kulungin mo at umiiyak

When imprisoned tends to cry

Bayan pa kayang sakdal-dilag

Then more so my sweet land

Ang ‘di magnasang makaalpas

Shall she desire to break free.

Pilipinas kong minumutya

O, Philippines that I hold dear

Pugad ng luha at dalita

Cradle of my tears and toil

Aking adhika

My only wish

Makita kang sakdal laya

Is to see you ever free.

 

Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard

Today was one of those lazy days when I didn’t feel like going out to get something to eat. So I looked for something easy and reliable nearby, and I found Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard. The first time I had frozen custard was more than a year ago in Manitou Springs at Freddy’s Frozen Custard.

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The place had a classic 50s diner decor.

Freddys

I was expecting a custard-like dessert, like flan but creamed and frozen. I got something that was basically just flavored soft serve. It was probably thicker and richer than ordinary soft serve, but tasted basically the same. Very thick milkshake is probably how I would describe it having very little in my culinary vocabulary.

The Yelp reviews for Good Times were pretty good so we zipped out there. It was a mere five-minute drive from the hotel. The location we visited was the one over at Peoria St. in Stapleton, Denver tucked in between Del Taco and a Burger King. It was a tiny sliver of a building and we missed it at first. We had to double back. It was actually just a drive-through with a couple of tables and chairs on the side.

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I wouldn’t have minded hanging out to eat in those tables but it was drizzling a little bit so we took our food to go and ate at the hotel instead.

I ordered a bacon cheeseburger (I always order bacon cheese burger in these places because, well, bacon), smothered fries (bacon ranch) and a make your own frozen custard concoction: chocolate, marshmallow melt and caramel.

The smothered fries was supposed to look like this according to their menu board:

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This is what I got:

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I don’t know if it was because of the condensation from being hot and being covered that made the fries look soggy and soaked instead of ‘smothered’ with all the good bits but that was how it looked like when I opened it after a five-minute drive back to the hotel. Soggy fries are unforgivable. I prefer mine crispy and hot, and when loaded, I like the cheese to be thick and viscous melting onto the potato strips. Not soggy. It was a little disappointing, yeah, especially because it was spicier than I expected it to be.

Being the good wife that I am, I traded mine with hubby’s ‘wild fries’:

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They were soo much better. He always gets the better food. Somehow, things always work out that way.

He got an avocado bacon cheese burger.

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Messy picture, sorry. It was take out after all😛

 

Aaand, our frozen custards. Mine is the smaller one (medium):

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“Happiness made to order.”

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Bacon Cheeseburger

My favorites are the wild fries and the frozen custard. I would go back for more but probably choose another flavor spoon bender. That’s what they call their frozen custard.

Tummy issues taken care of for today.

 

The Gratitude Game

My husband is by no means perfect but he is the most perfect man that I’ve ever met. That may not be saying much as I wasn’t exactly meeting millions of them in my day, but until now, I still feel blessed and thankful that God has made it possible for me to meet him.😉

My grandfather used to be the main man in my life who, together with my grandmother, raised me from infancy with so much love–which is really all that a child needs. Compared to my biological father who was not very affectionate and never managed to relate to us, I only remember my Tatay (daddy/father in Filipino) with so much love and fondness. If I ever felt that the world was too much for me, I always yearn to go back to my grandparents.

I have never met anyone who cared about me, lock stock and barrel, warts and all, half as much as my Tatay did until I met my husband.

I wrote this entry as an introduction to a little project that I thought of months ago. I call it The Gratitude Game. I guess a little background story is in order before I proceed further. One evening, some months ago, my husband and I were taking our customary walk around the park right across our house.  While rounding a corner, I spotted some flowers, and what looked like cardboard with something written on it. They were on the ground, on the grassy part of the sidewalk across the street from where we were.  At first I didn’t understand what I was looking at, but then it clicked. There was an accident in that area, and the flowers indicate that someone died right there, in that place where my husband and I walk in the evenings, where we drive past every week to and from the grocery store.  So close.  Brice looked it up online and we learned that an accident indeed occurred in that intersection, with two people dying, all in their late teens.  It’s moments like this that make you look at your life in a deeper way. I’m sure others have had more profound experiences than I, but I know how fragile things are in this planet. The older I get, the more I appreciate every little blessing that visits me. I remember that play Our Town, where Emily, the lead character, came back to her old life after dying, as a visiting ghost. She realized how fast time marched on and begged her younger self to stop, it was all going too fast. Stop and look at your loved ones for a full minute, because everything is flying by so fast and before you know it it will all be gone. It is not exactly a cheerful thought but this taught me something important. I need to be thankful for each day given to me, to us. This life I’m given.

So here I am, starting my Gratitude Game with my greatest treasure, my husband. I am thankful of him for these reasons:

  1. He is proud of me. No matter how little my achievements are, no matter how much of a failure I think I am, he is proud of who I am more than what I did.
  2. He pushes me to go after my dreams no matter the cost. Even before we got engaged, he was already talking about sending me to school when I move to the US. I warned him that law school is not exactly cheap and it takes forever even without the Bar review and the exam itself. He told me not to think of the cost, because he considers it an invaluable investment in myself and our future together. He has repeatedly told me, whenever I would fuss about the expense, that he never wants me to settle on any other job than what I am passionate for. He loves his job and he wants me to feel the same way about my own in the future.
  3. He is decent, kind, and deeply loyal. I constantly credit my in-laws for bringing up my husband the way they did. What struck me most about him is how good he is as a man, a person.  He is the sort who is steadfast in his commitment to someone no matter the cost. He will stick up for you for as long as he considers you his friend. He was never one of those hard-partying, girl crazy guy even during his younger years. He is responsible and disciplined, and spent his early twenties preparing for his future family. Other cool people his age might have seen him as an eccentric nerd who never had the time for play (basically a buzz kill), but that is far from the truth. It is just the things he enjoyed more are very different from the things his peers liked to do. Bars, alcohol, smoking, dating–those things do not make up his scene at all. He liked doing DIY projects on his house. He takes pride in things that he made and did himself like keeping his yard well-maintained. He singlehandedly did all the renovations on his current house after graduating from university. He liked his video games, sure but he waited before he paid off his school loans before rewarding himself with a game console.
  4. He is a forward-thinking, deliberate planner. I appreciate this even more because try as I might, I’m very forgetful and disorganized. As young as he was, he was already thinking about the future. He knew that he couldn’t do much saddled with debt. So he worked his butt off and paid off $150,000 worth of student loans in record breaking four years. He saved for his dream car for seven years before even visiting the dealership to talk about possibly buying one, all the while driving his trusty old civic that he also got and paid for when he was 16. He wanted to make sure he was good for it, and paid off a $40,000 car in two years. And this was back in 2008, right smack in the middle of the recession.  He is very independent and careful with money because he had experienced rough financial times during his childhood that he never wanted to go through again. His parents’ financial mistakes in the past taught him to be a more pragmatic, practical spender and careful planner. He will never be one to blow thousands on the latest gadget or designer clothes on a whim. In fact, he doesn’t even care about what he looked like. He is most comfortable in jeans, t-shirt and rubber shoes. He hates ‘dressing up’. He hates fancy stuff for the sake of ‘showing off’. He won’t go looking for the poshest restaurant just because he wants to be seen eating there. His ultimate dream is to be comfortable in life, never having to worry about money ever again. In this respect I am completely in agreement with him.  I grew up in a family that never had enough money, forever dependent on charity and assistance from relatives who were better off.  The utter shame and embarrassment of always being the ‘poor relation’ drove me to finish school as fast as possible and make myself as financially secure as I could, unlike my parents who married early and had kids sans jobs or a place to live. To me that is an utter lack of foresight that should be criminal because children are involved. I am thankful that I will never have to put up with this type of indiscriminate decision-making from my husband.
  5. He always wants me to be happy. Remember that old gem “Happy Wife, Happy Life”?  Well he has come to learn this by trial and error. :D He may not yet know everything there is to know to keep me in a happy state of being , but with only over a year of being married, I can’t justifiably expect him to. LOL. Some couples are still figuring each other out after decades of marriage so I think we are in a good place.
  6.  He talks to me. I am his best friend and he is mine. It might sound like a cliche, but we have come to be each other’s confidante through our months of being together. Nothing is better than being able to rehash the day that was at the end of it, sitting in the kitchen counter, eating dinner I made, or cleaning the kitchen together. When we go on long drives, we spend it talking to each other. Even 5-hour drives to Houston. We are just chatter bugs with each other. His friends and even family might be surprised to hear this because he is generally very quiet and never talks until spoken to but boy we can talk up a storm whenever we’re together.
  7. He goes out of his way. Have you ever read any book of Barbara Kingsolver‘s? There was one line in her book Pigs In Heaven that really made an impression on me and stayed with me years after reading it. It goes:

     “I just can’t put up with a person that won’t go out of his way for me. And that’s what a man is. Somebody that won’t go out of his way for you. I bet it says that in the dictionary.”

    At the time, the line resonated with me because it put into no-nonsense words what I’ve vaguely felt about boys men who I managed to get myself tangled with in those silly, ambiguous, young people kind of way. I felt that the less they had to do for you, the better they’d feel about it.  It seemed to me that they’re forever looking to do just the bare minimum in order to coast by. None of the guys I knew were fond of going out on a limb to either tell you how they felt, make a solid commitment and actually let the rest of the world know about it, make you feel that you’re worth a few sleepless nights or a long commute. I thought they were all lazy, selfish creatures who didn’t give a $51+ about anyone else but themselves.

    This line in Miss Kingsolver‘s book became a sort of voice in my head whenever I’m judging someone’s behavior as being worthy of praise or worminess.  It’s the standard I’ve unconsciously employed to gauge a man’s sincerity–how willing he is to go out of his way, to be inconvenienced for the woman they claim to ‘love’ or care for. Let me be clear and say that I did not expect nor demand extreme acts of sacrifice and self-flagellation in my honor. I meant the simple things: picking me up and bringing me home after a date, taking the time to text or call you to make sure I’m alright despite how busy he gets (trust me, they are never that busy), making the effort to make sure I know he cares for me in various little ways that need not entail spending a lot of money. I only required the simplest things, I wasn’t asking for too much. In fact in my brief relationship (the only one before I married) with an ex-boyfriend, I made do with so much less than any woman worth her salt should ever have to put up with. I settled and made excuses for him because I thought it was the best I could get from anyone.  I was wrong. I say this without the slightest intention to sound smug, or that I have found the most precious secret in life, but as something that I am thankful for daily. I don’t take it for granted.

    My husband made me realize what a raw deal I was getting and how stupid I was being for talking myself into settling for that kind of relationship. He put things into beautiful perspective. When a man cares for you, they will go out of their way to show it. They won’t tell you they are too busy–to text, to call, to see you. My husband (then boyfriend) flew three times a year from the US to the Philippines so we can spend time together for a few precious weeks. It cost $2500 in plane tickets and takes 24 hours including lay overs so that is not easy feat. Nothing says effort better than a 24-hour flight through 16 different time zones. He talked and chatted to me everyday. Every single day, without fail, rain or shine, despite the 14-hour difference. Considering that he works 40 hours, 5 days a week,  a house and a yard that needed his attention, his efforts at staying in touch with me would be even more precious. He would send me long, detailed emails about everything, texted me once he got off work and called me before he went to bed. I talked to him more than I talked to my room mates.

    Nothing is too hard for someone who is committed and truly invested in your relationship. On the other hand, a man who just isn’t into it can manufacture a thousand and one excuses for every time he fails to show up, to text, to call, to care. For example, my ex at one point even refused to pick me up from my house because the alleys leading to it are narrow and he didn’t want to dent his precious car. On a night when it was raining so hard I couldn’t walk outside without getting soaked even with an umbrella. This callous disregard for my safety was so blatant and without apology that I was momentarily speechless. Putting up with this kind of treatment for a couple of years desensitized me a little bit. I didn’t realize that there were other ways for a man to treat a woman. The stuff I saw on TV and read in books became more of fantasy and feminine wishful thinking than the norm.  It should not be like that at all for anyone.

    8. He loves me as I am, no conditions. This may sound like a tired cliche but you will appreciate it more as you age and spend more life on this earth. Gone were the days when I constantly obsess about how I looked or sounded. It is very liberating, knowing that you will be accepted no matter how you looked. It is sad that this is becoming rare these days, where the focus is in the shiny, gliterry surfaces of things and people. Brice is the last person on earth I would call superficial because he does not have a vain bone in his body. Sure, it gives me a little problem when I try to update his wardrobe a bit, but that’s just a trivial matter in the bigger picture.  And this is one of the traits he possesses that both impresses and amazes me.

There it is, for now. I plan to make this a habit–write at least one good thing I am thankful for everyday.

What are you thankful for in your life?

Of Planes and Wide, Open Spaces

When I was a little girl, I lived in a remote farm. My grandparents raised my sister and me while my mom worked in the city. As kids, we rarely saw other children our age because the farm sat a mile away from the nearest neighbor.  The farming village where we grew up sat on a low plateau.  Surrounding us were green fields of rice that to my five-year-old self seemed to stretched on for eternity. Bamboo groves and coconuts would punctuate the green landscape frequently, and even farther, bluish mountains shrouded my entire world like benevolent guardians. And above them the blue, blue sky that seemed not to end.

This was our playground. On the rare occasions that planes and helicopters would fly over out little neck of the woods, it was an event in itself. We were out of the house like a shot once we hear the telltale hum of a jet engine overhead. We look up, wave to the plane like crazy people. We were very excited. My mind was aflame with all the questions: who was in the plane? Where were they going? Can they see us? Will I ever be on one of those planes someday? I wondered and wondered and imagined it all.  To a kid who grew up without children neighbors, cable TV, iPads or the internet, my imagination was my sole and constant companion.

The blankness of the world was like a clean canvass in which I could draw and paint the sights I saw in my daydreams and woolgathering. Everything could come alive in the space of an instant. Everything held a world of delicious possibilities, realms unknown but soon to be visited, enchantment in every secret nook or corner of our little farm.

My childhood was everything I could have ever wanted and needed. No Disneyland, no family roadtrips, but it was enough. It fueled my desire to see as much of the world as I could. My childhood imaginings were the fuel that stoked my dreams and they were the very same thing that carried me through the drudgery of early twenties to where I am today. I still have a long way to go, but with a plane made of hope and unwavering belief in  my own fairy tale, I know I will get there.😀

 

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Tuesday Fail Day

Have you ever had one of those days when you just feel like you accomplished virtually nothing? As in lounged around in your PJs and didn’t shower til the afternoon kinda day and it’s not even winter?

Well I did, today. I stayed up too late reading Morning Star (which hubby downloaded into our Kindle 2 days ago because I cannot wait for the paperback release in October to finish the Red Rising series), and didn’t really come to until 9 in the morning today. I told myself I will have a small breakfast of blueberries, green tea and yogurt and then wait 30 minutes before heading out to work out for a solid 2 hours which window housekeeping will use to clean up the room.

I got as far as making and drinking my lemon water. Then I went back to bed to obsess over Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I felt a little hungry around 11 AM so I told myself I will eat something heavier and then really work out by 1 PM. Well, 1 PM came and went and I was still in bed, snacking on chips and guacamole from yesterday’s Chipotle run, reading Morning Star, popping into Clash of Clans and checking Facebook notifications periodically.

Then I ate some of the leftover barbecue from Famous Dave’s from hubby’s birthday dinner last night, 2 Chips Ahoy cookies, green tea, more Chipotle chicken bowl. I showered at 2 PM, and ate 4 more cookies. No exercise, and pigged out like a glutton! And because I didn’t leave the room, housekeeping never had the chance to tidy up our suite. So basically tonight we will be sleeping in rumpled sheets and yesterday’s trash in the bathroom and the kitchenette. I also failed to do a little of the laundry today, which I told myself I was going to do.

I feel so guilty. I tried to placate myself. I can work out tomorrow. We have enough clean clothes to last us another week, no sense wasting detergent and quarters. Today is just a book reading, junk food eating day. Balance. LOL.

I don’t know why I felt so unmotivated today, definitely unlike Monday. Cardio for 1.5 hours, Pilates for half an hour, got the room cleaned, did my manicure, wrote a little, and read Morning Star. But I vow to make it up tomorrow. I will just enjoy today for what it is–my lazy day of doing absolutely nothing but finishing a good book.

 

 

Pike’s Peak Summit, Colorado

Weekends are for exploring Colorado and we set out to do Pike’s Peak today because we completely missed it last year. There was too much snow and the roads were closed for the safety of tourists and hikers.  The mountain is generally open year-round as long as the weather allows. This year, we paid $12 for each occupant in a vehicle.

The drive up was exhilarating.  Many times, I was sitting just a couple feet away from a sheer drop off the side of a mountain, to tumble many hundreds of feet below. No railing.

We didn’t head out until 12 noon and that was unfortunate. We got stuck in some heavy traffic along I-25 on our way from Denver to Colorado Springs. We got held up so we didn’t really start the climb up until 2:30PM. Our plan was to go to Royal Gorge and see the sunset at the Seven Falls but the last two was scrapped because of the delay. And we relished our time at Pike’s Peak, stopping at many points along the way to take in the scenery and take pictures. Lots of pictures.

The temperature was in the low 90s when we started but the higher up the mountain we went, the colder it got.

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I enjoyed the drive from the hotel to Colorado Springs. It’s such a different landscape from flat, brown, North Texas. Colorado is generously sprinkled with mountains and hills guarding over rolling plains littered with vegetation and shrubbery. The drive between Stapleton to Colorado Springs is especially scenic–we go through Castle Rock, drive past the Air Force Academy which is visible from the highway. There is always a glider floating above the academy grounds for their flight classes.

I enjoy it immensely, and just had to put on some country or classical music. That and the endless expanse of bright blue sky, peppered with pretty clouds just make you feel like you are about to have an adventure-filled, beautiful day.😀

We reached the entrance at around 1:58 PM. Below is the entrance booth where you pay. We pulled over to the right side of this picture because I needed to use the restroom and they had an outhouse style restroom built just on the side of the road. It wasn’t anything fancy. It was basically a hole in the ground with a lid and it smelled badly. Phew. But people like me who has pesky bladder issues can’t be choosers.

 

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Check out the motorcyles! There were a lot of them racing up the mountain roads aside from family campers and SUVs. I would never drive up a mountain road on a motorcycle. No way.

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Don’t be too much in a hurry to summit, because the most beautiful sights, at least for me, are found on the way up. There are many pretty pockets where you can stop and park your car at to take in the view.

 

The closer you get to the summit, the more chilly it gets and it is never more noticeable than when you have passed the tree line, aka the section of the mountain where trees stop growing.  I would strongly advice anyone going up top to bring a warm jacket no matter what time of the year you go. Being averse to cold myself, I felt like I needed thermals up at the summit. And gloves, and a thick bonnet, plus earmuffs. My nose was dripping and it was hailing. I do not like cold!

Here are photos from the top viewing decks at the summit, right before the storm cloud poured down on us:

We saw the cog rail come up the side of the mountain while we were at the viewing decks. Everyone piled out to seek shelter at the summit restaurant and shop to pee, eat, or shop for souvenirs. I’ve never been a souvenir person and I hate knick knacks of any kind. I have absolutely no use for them either and do not like getting them or having to bring them to people. Plus, last year, I got a $40 Pike’s Peak hoodie at the Cave of the Winds shop. Not repeating that again. I wished I had gotten the AuD $10 hoodies at the Melbourne market a year ago. I really just want to collect hoodies from the places I’ve ever been to. Because hoodies can be worn instead of shoved into a dusty shelf gathering more dust.  And I like hoodies😀 My plan is when I’ve got more spending money, I wanna collect street art from the places I’m going to see. For me street art is more representative of the place and the culture, along with market and food tours. Key chains are the absolute worst!

Anyway, moving on, we got some of their ‘world famous’ donuts:

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They also sold hot cocoa, soup, sandwiches, and candy.

On our way down, we took more pictures. A wonderful thing happened too, once it started clearing up, and the sun came out, we saw this as we were rounding one of the hairpin bends:

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It was so beautiful. We stopped for a little while to admire it until it slowly faded.

At the checkpoint, park employees check brake temperatures to make sure the going is safe for the rest of the descent.  Most people driving didn’t really know how to do so and be safe without stepping on the brakes all the way down, and especially on the curves.  Fortunately for me, hubby has been driving up the Peak since 2006 and he actually knows how to drive. The trick is in staying on the lower gears, first and second, and only using the brakes when absolutely necessary. That way, they don’t overheat and malfunction.

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Most of the cars were told to park and wait 15-20 minutes before continuing on. The guy at the checkpoint commended Brice for his ‘excellent driving’ and waved us on. But we stopped because I had to pee. Again. Typical.😀

As a testament to how treacherous a drive it can be, on our way down, we passed this pick up that’s not going anywhere anytime soon and not without a towing service:

 

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It could really get hairy up there if you’re not careful. I thoroughly enjoyed our trek up the mountain. It was like getting closer to heaven, where you can see the expanse of the boundless blue sky and imagine myself hugging the world. I see how Katherine Lee Bates would be inspired to write American The Beautiful after being here.

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Summer in Denver

It is my second time in Denver, Colorado and this time I am here in the middle of summer.

The first time I went was late in March when it was still cold and snowing. Hubby and I stayed in Aurora, Colorado for six weeks. He went for work and I was just along for the ride. There was not much to do for me except read, watch TV, go online, and work out. I didn’t drive and I was still very wary of going out on my own.   It didn’t help that Aurora was the same place where the deadly theater shooting happened back in 2012.  I am aware that I should not let this lone incident dictate how I felt about the place but increasingly, over the years, I have also began to realize the randomness and senselessness of mass shootings.  I didn’t like that I was afraid, and was sad that the world had come to this, but there I was, afraid and wary, never feeling safe anymore.  I could have gone on the hotel shuttle that took me to the mall strip but I never once ventured out on my own all those six weeks.  Instead, I luxuriated in sleeping in, intense cardio and weight sessions at the hotel’s tiny gym, then back to my room for pilates (after the maids have cleaned) and enjoying a long, hot shower. I would then eat lunch which consisted mostly of whatever was left over from the past night’s dinner, then read or go online until Brice came back from work to take us out to dinner. I looked forward to the evenings because we would go out with his friends from work and I can actually have some stimulating, fun, conversation with smart people. I relished my alone time and I’m a lounger by habit, but I do enjoy socializing after a long day spent with myself.  During the weekends, we would explore the area and neighboring tourist attractions.  We were able to visit Garden of the Gods, Caves of the Winds, go food tripping in downtown Colorado Springs, went to the Celestial Tea Shop in Boulder.  Unfortunately the last 2 weeks of his trip were stressful ones so we weren’t able to do much during the weekends. We just hit downtown Denver and the bookstores nearby, I went thrifting and that was it.

I kinda miss those days now.

Over a year later, we’ll have another opportunity at exploring Denver and I have armed myself with maps and brochures taken from the hotel lobby, as well as Pinterest suggestions. This time it is summer and very hot outside (not as hot as Texas though) so I didn’t venture out either. Stayed in the hotel reading, writing, studying, and working out. This is what I love about being here for Brice’s work trips–I actually follow through on working out. LOL. So even though we ate out all the time, I never gained a pound of weight on my entire stay. I am hoping the same will be true for this second trip.

Sharing a few photos of our hotel room at Homewood Suites:

 

It had a kitchenette, living room with TV, and a king size bed, decent sized bathroom. I liked that they have a nicely equipped kitchen complete with a full-sized fridge, dish washer, hot plate, pots and pans, cutlery and dinnerware, coffee maker, microwave, toaster. I loved that bit. The maids also load the dishwasher if you had any dirty dishes lying around when they come to clean.  My only complaints were, there wasn’t a mirror I could do my make up in and the door to the closet is gone. It used to be made of a full length mirror and slides but this time around none of that. The closet where clothes were hung stood gaping at us. Minor stuff though.  I also liked Homewood because their gym, though tiny and consisting only of two treadmills, an elliptical, kettle balls, a bench press and weights,  was almost always empty and I had it to myself for 2 and a half intense hours everyday. Their laundry room was clean and new as well so I liked doing our laundry there.

We moved to the Embassy Suites after only four days. They offer a better breakfast and evening reception but for me their ‘suites’ are inferior to that of Homewood’s. All Embassy Suites have is a tiny personal fridge and a minuscule microwave. There are two shot glasses and an ice bucket in the sink. No silverware or plates. Which is why I had to borrow some plates and cutlery at the kitchen downstairs. I guess they won’t be seeing that particular plate for 3 more weeks.

For this trip, I am looking to go on a waterfall road trip as well as a jaunt up Pike’s Peak which we never got to do last year because of the snow. I am hoping weather will allow us this time since its’ summer. Snow should be a little milder. Brought my sturdy hiking boots and thick jacket though. Will post more as we go along.😉

I hope your summer is as lazy, laid back and stress free as mine.