let’s be adventurers!
A soft breeze blows gently.
It caresses my hot skin as though it were silk, whispering through the quaking Aspens that stand sentinel off of my front porch. My skin erupts in a cascade of goose bumps as the cool air rushes to catch up with the heady barbecue smoke drifting from the grill next door.
Rain is coming.
Perhaps it will bring with it booming claps of thunder and bright shards of lightning, baring off of their clouds as though running from the rain itself.
Perhaps it will blow south to Breckenridge, or perhaps north to Steamboat, Lake Dillon and our Rocky Mountains doing their best to redirect the wind, the rain, the lighning, the thunder, and the clouds that are shrouding Red and Buffalo in a fog of a brooding Aegean blue.
I recently learned that the smell of the rain hitting the dry ground has a name, an identity of its own.
Somehow, the word, Petrichor, takes away from the scent that punctuates so much of the summers of my childhood in the Midwest.
Summer has a mythical quality that, at least in my case, stems from childhood.
The excitement of long days on beach, the sand, dusty and hot, between my toes and the chilling waters of Lake Michigan making my feet, my hands, and my spine ache with cold.
The shrieks and cheers of summer nights spent playing “Kick the Can” with neighborhood kids of all ages, our own little block party situated in the midst of our neighbors’ bushes and trees, all within 50 steps of the can, itself situated in the middle of the street.
The chorus of halyards as the lines sing their song against the mast; the gentle rocking of the waves as the harbor softly recites a lullaby and lulls you off to sleep.
Ice cream, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, dripping down your cone, down your hand and up your arm; a secret salty, sweet smack as you discreetly lick the drip clean from your appendage.
Though the word is bit scientific for me, the smell, the identity of the rain?
It means everything.
Guys, I am officially O.L.D.
I was in Chicago a week ago “sending Mer on her marry way” (aka Mercedes’s bachelorette extravaganza) and it has taken me exactly a week to feel like myself again.
Last night I was in bed at 9:30pm and did not wake up until 8:00 this morning. Sorry to Ms. May as her legs were crossed by the time I finally lugged myself out of the cozy confines of my bed, but thanks for allowing me to catch up on some much need Zzzzz’s, I feel like a new woman!
Anyway, our girls weekend in the Windy City was everything a girls weekend should be, and more. Mer had no idea what was in store until the activities unfolded one by one and watching her eyes light up as we began each event was priceless. I have never been a fan of bachelorette parties (I know,I know, what chick doesn’t like all the glitz and glam associated with a “bride’s final fling”?) as they generally bring about the worst kind of nasties in the girls involved; someone always cries, someone else always gets too drunk and tosses her penis-shaped cookies, and there is always unnecessary drama when it comes to the planning. And while last weekend’s shindig consisted of lots of penis-shaped confetti, sparkles, champagne, and toasts to the bride-to-be, I was shocked to come to the realization that the entire weekend was A BLAST. There was no drama, we didn’t break the bank, Mer had the time of her life, and the amount of giggles heard throughout was endless.
Mer has a total of three bridesmaids. Myself (Mer’s bff from the mountains), Kait (Mer’s bff from middle school), and Sara (Mer’s bff from Purdue) and other than an endless string of emails churning back and forth between the three of us, the bridesmaids had never met before this weekend. The entire weekend consisted of the three of us showering the bride (as well as my fab parents who hosted us on Slapshot on Saturday, thanks mom and dad!) with our love and excitement for her future. And the cool thing was, even though we had all, with the exception of Mer, just met for the first time upon our arrival in the city, it felt like we had all known each forever by the time we went our separate ways on Sunday afternoon.
Here is the complete agenda, along with a couple of thoughts on the activities.
Lunch: Giordano’s, in my mind the first place prize for the battle for the best pizza in the land will forever go to Giordano’s.
Dinner: Siena Tavern, delicious food, flavors were well-developed and diverse, though not a bit overpowering. The four of us split the grilled octopus appetizer, the burata appetizer, the Carne Pizza, and the Roasted Carrot Tortellacci. We probably could have ordered an additional pasta, but because of our pizza lunch we were fine with the above. The only downside to me was that the staff was a bit uppity and seemed to think that the patrons should feel lucky to be eating at Siena Tavern. Being that three of the four of us also make a living in the service industry, I do not appreciate being made to feel as though I am putting the staff out by being asking them to serve me.
Post-Dinner Activity #1: Drag Show at The Baton, OMG. This was an absolute riot and the perfect way to set the stage for an easy-going girls weekend. Tickets were $17/person and Sara did all the legwork to order them in advance. There is a two drink minimum and they make the drinks strong, so be sure to order a water with your beverage!
Post-Dinner Activity #2: Howl at the Moon, live music and dancing?! Always a good way to end the night!
Activity #1: Silks Class via TSNY, Chicago, I was a bit wary of this activity prior to our arrival as my upper-body strength is similar to that of a noodle, but I absolutely loved every minute of it. We learned four tricks and it was a great way to start the day, as you got a bit of exercise in, plus it made for great photo opps. If I still lived in Chicago, I would definitely sign up for additional classes.
Activity #2: “BYOB Cruise” on Lake Michigan. Originally we had talked about booking a boat cruise out of Navy Pier, but when my dad offered to be our Captain aboard Slapshot, the girls and I happily jumped aboard.
Dinner: Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar, loved the hip, yet casual vibe. Delicious rolls and snazzy drinks. We shared the Beef Filet, the Prosciutto-wrapped Scallop, the Cauliflower, and the Squid from the bbq bar and then ordered four sushi rolls. It was perfect, though I loved the beef filet and squid, so I probably could’ve ordered another of each :)
Activity #3: Bye, Bye Liver, an improv drinking show that pokes fun at the bar/drinking culture in the city, complete with drinking games. Hilarious.
Breakfast: Bub City, not impressed. Found bones in my breakfast sandwich (Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit Sandwich), service was terrible. The bartender and our server seemed like they were completely disinterested in being at work and the bartender was sucking down her Starbucks like it was nobody’s business. Won’t be back, which is unfortunate because I had heard great things prior to my experience.
I slept with my window open on Monday night.
Not just cracked to let a bit of cool mountain air in, I mean, blinds open, snuggle under layers upon layers of down blankets and wake up with cheeks that are chilled to the touch, wide open.
Those golden rays held the promise of Spring and immediately filled me with glee as Mayhem and I jumped out of bed and danced around the living room celebrating the start of a day that was sure to be filled with adventures in the sunshine.
Mr. A’s childhood buddy was visiting and the day before, in anticipation of beautiful weather, we had decided on a spring hike up to Kite Lake, located just above Alma in the valley below four fourteeners known to locals as the Decalibron loop (Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Bross).
We piled into my car, the four of us (my colleague, Ed joined us as well) and two pups, and made our way up and over Hoosier Pass and down into the tiny hamlet of Alma, known for Al-Mart, Alma’s Only Bar and of course its claim to fame as the “highest incorporated town in the United States”.
The road to Kite Lake was still snowed in, so we parked about three miles below the lake at the old Paris Mill and began our hike, trudging through heavy snow, fresh from Monday’s consistent showers.
I meandered a bit, taking in the beauty of the mountains and soaking up the rays and let the guys peel off ahead, bringing Abbey and Mayhem trotting along with them.
As I wandered, I took in the silence.
But for my own footsteps, the song bouncing around my brain (“Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog”, always Jeremiah and his antics while I hike…wtf?!) and heart pounding steadily in my chest, it was silent.
No trucks chugging up I70, no chatter from others roaming beside me, no pups barking impatiently as I bent down to tie my shoe.
I marveled for a moment, allowing my brain to soak in the quietness, feeling my soul relax and settle into the scenery. And then I heard it, music. An orchestra of sounds reverberating off of the stately peaks surrounding the valley.
The drip, drip, dropping of snow and ice melting off of towering evergreen trees.
The twittering of birds announcing the arrival of Spring, calling up their neighbors to dance in the sunshine.
The crash of snow sliding down steep mountainsides as the bright sun warmed the underbelly of layers and layers of snow.
The gurgling of a creek coming alive again after a long winter’s nap.
As I listened to the cacophony of sounds, I realized it wasn’t the trail that was silent, it was my brain. My thoughts, my impatience at moving forward, it was me that had become silent in the midst of the beauty and the music of the high country.
Remember this time last year?
Well that has since changed, thanks to the Inn’s nieghbor, Moose #1. He is a big lanky guy, who spends his time wandering the bike path and snacking on leaves in the grassy knoll that beautifies our valet circle. He isn’t terribly interested in the humans that work around him everyday and seems to enjoy observing daily life, perfectly content with his leaves and his liesurely strolls up and down the path.
He seems much friendlier than his counterpart, the territorial pregnant moose who charged an Inn staff member a few weeks ago while she was valeting a car. Yipes!