Archive | October, 2013

My Travel Adventure

28 Oct

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I didn’t realize until one of you asked recently that I never told you all about my vacation, so while some time has passed since, you deserve a story (and it’s a long one, so bear with)!

If you would like to read my journal entries, instead of this narration, I will be typing those out and posting them [hopefully] soon, with the links at the bottom of this post, so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, read on my friends, read on!

Originally, I was leaving Sunday morning early, and I would be travelling from Fort Collins through Estes park, Breckenridge, Leadville, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Craig, Steamboat Springs, and back into Fort Collins, CO on Thursday. I was going to hike McCullough Gulch, Maroon Lake, the Grottos Trail, Crystal Mill, Hanging Lake, Rifle Falls, Gold Creek Falls, and Fish Creek Falls. It was my plan to stop at hot springs along the way, and stay in a bed and breakfast one of the nights, while camping the other three.

All of this I was going to do by myself, and in the end, I did do it by myself, but I didn’t do nearly as many things as I had planned.

The first time I had to change plans was because of the flooding Colorado saw the week before. All the roads into Estes Park were closed because of the flooding and the damage they received, and Estes Park itself was basically under water. That shot Sunday’s plans completely down, and it was supposed to rain in Breckenridge on that Monday, so that foiled Monday’s plans as well. I decided it would be best to just leave on Tuesday, so that was what I did.

I took the interstate through Denver, and met up with my friend Tori to get breakfast. That was a little rushed, but it was great to see her on a trip that I’m doing solo.

So not terribly long later, I got on the road again and headed west to Glenwood Springs. I stopped along the way at a mining mill museum, and took a tour. I got to pan for gold and took lots of pictures. That was definitely the highlight of the day. I went down through Leadville and went through another museum and got some ice cream, and I looked through an antique shop and took some more pictures. They have an attraction called The House with the Eye Museum, and I really wanted to tour it, but unfortunately it was closed for the season.

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Finally, I made it to Glenwood Springs, which was where I had my bed and breakfast reservations, and I checked in and this little house was adorable! Everything was perfect. I walked downtown and ate at Brewpub, then walked back and got my stuff to go to the hot springs. It was a developed hot springs, so it wasn’t my ideal set-up, but it was still very nice.

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The next day, I woke up and had breakfast with the other two housemates – Spike and Maxine, who were an older couple. Breakfast was 3 courses and delicious. When I finished, I headed up the mountain to the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park. I did the Fairy Caves tour, which was amazing, and the zip line, which was actually really stupid. I don’t suggest that one, especially for $12.

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Then it started to rain, and I was running late, so I headed down and took the drive to Marble, CO to hike Crystal Mill. It was generally dreary all day, but by the time I got there, it was barely drizzling, if anything. The first 1.2 miles of hiking was brutal; Daniel’s hill was probably a large chunk of the 1000 foot elevation gain, and generally smooth trail, making it even more difficult (in my opinion). This was also my first day of hiking, so I hadn’t become accustomed to elevation yet. Believe you me, it took me what felt like forever and I had to take so many stops I’m [almost] ashamed.

Then, I reached a fork in the road, and had no idea which way to go.

I decided to veer right, even though it was downhill, and that didn’t make sense to me. I got to a bridge over a creek, and it started sprinkling a little more, so I donned my rain jacket. I turned around because going downhill didn’t make sense to me, when I had to stop and move for a couple of jeeps coming through. I asked one of the drivers if I was on the right path, and he told me I was, but advised me to turn around because of the weather and the time of day.

I have a tendency to be stubborn, so I thanked them and continued on my way.

Then, I reached another fork in the road at Lizard Lake. While pondering which way to go, and having no real clue, it started pouring. I took refuge under a large pine tree and started trying to figure out if I should wait out the rain, keep moving, turn around or some other option.

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That was what one of the jeep people came and “rescued” me. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they just couldn’t let me do the hike in the conditions, so they offered me a ride back. It turns out they were part of a paid tour group. They dropped me off at my car, and having yet another day foiled, I drove back to Marble, with its measly population of 100, and ate at the only restaurant in town: Slow Groovin’ BBQ. It was actually pretty tasty (except for the corn bread, don’t get the corn bread!), and I ran into the jeep tour people again.

That night, I stayed at what ended up being a very secluded camp ground. It had a toilet, a place to pitch a tent, and that was about it, all for $20.

The next morning, I just had to hike Crystal Mill again. I couldn’t not see it, so I headed back to Marble and decided to pay for a jeep tour. After all, I had already made it past the most difficult part, so it isn’t like I needed to prove anything. It didn’t open until 10, so I piddled around at a thrift store/coffee shop and took some pictures of the area. It was around this time when I realized everyone in this podunk town knew who I was. Word travels fast.

I bargained with the people who run the tours, and they ended up letting me pay $40 to get taken to the top of the trail and dropped off, so I could hike down. Crystal Mill was amazing, and I ended up having to pee in nature, because no one told me in 3 minutes we would be to Crystal, CO which has an outhouse. I also saw some man-butt, because some guy wanted to swim.

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Even the guy who runs the book store at the top of the mountain knew who I was.

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The hike back down end up being about 7 miles because I parked my car at the tour site, instead of the trail head. Even though it was downhill, it was definitely not my cup of tea. By this point, I didn’t really have enough time to do another hike, but I still had a lot of time before bed, so I went back into Glenwood Springs and ate at the 19th Street Diner. It was decked out like a 50’s to 60’s diner, and the food was pretty good, too. I randomly picked a campground from my phone, Amy’s Acres, and when I got there it was like a hotel. $20 and I got hot showers, a restroom facility, and electricity!

After what was actually a very restful night sleep, I woke up bright and early, took a shower, and headed to Hanging Lake. This trail is 1.2 miles, but you gain 1000 ft in elevation, so it is very steep. I averaged about 17 minutes a quarter mile, and enjoyed it much more than Daniel’s Hill. Hanging Lake, itself, it gorgeous. I spent a very long time just hanging out there and enjoying the scenery. I went up to Sprouting Rock, which feeds the lake, too. The hike down was almost more intense than the hike up, but I felt good.

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Next stop was Rifle Falls, which ended up being very beautiful, and basically flat-ground compared to the two hike I just completed. It was simple, and I got to explore some caves around the back side of the falls.

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Ahead of me was a three-hour drive on the western slope to Steamboat Springs, where I was planning on spending another night. The view was nice in some places, and I had to drive through a sheep run, which was neat. When I reached Steamboat, I decided to just make the final three hours back to Fort Collins, since it was already dark. I couldn’t come back down the mountain, though, because of the floods and road damage, so I drove up through Laramie, WY and then back down CO-287. It was actually faster, but I couldn’t get home soon enough.

And that was my trip. I don’t think I needed to do it and do it alone, but I think I’m a better person because I did. I proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, and even though I know that, it’s nice to be reminded of it.

What was your last vacation? Have you hiked any of these places? Might you in the future?

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RIP Pandora

27 Oct

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Yesterday, I found one of my two beloved chinchillas dead in their cage. It was my baby girl, Pandora. She was young, so the only reason I can think she passed was dehydration, however, they had water in their bottle and it was functioning. They have been living in my house without me for the past 2 months, and I come regularly to give them more fresh hay and make sure they have fresh water. On this particular trip, both were available and I was so excited, because I just bought them both lots of new treats and things to chew on.

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If it wasn’t dehydration, I have no clue as to what happened. Regardless of the reason, I feel terrible, and know that most likely, it was my fault. It always sets on the shoulders of the owner, and I wish that this stupid roommate thing never happened.

Pandora was my first chinchilla, and I will miss her dearly.

RIP Pandora

Pinch Me A.K.A. Prong Me

25 Oct

I’ve long thought of doing this, but I am not as familiar with how to fit one of these collars as this person is. I did the exact same thing on my forearm, and thought the exact same thing, but I never made the leap to figure out how to get one of these around my head to my neck. Poor, poor dogs. Please, please…never prong or choke collar your dog.

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During a recent Facebook discussion, it was pointed out that I had never worn a prong collar.  As such, I would  have no idea whether a prong (a.k.a. pinch collar) causes pain.  My knuckles firmly rapped, it seemed the only solution would be for me to open my mind and wear a prong collar.

prongFor those unfamiliar with the product, these come in a variety of styles.  Some look scary with spikes and “prongs” of metal.  Newer models hide the “teeth” of the prong collar under a strip of leather, plastic or fabric.  I use the word “teeth” very deliberately, because proponents of these products claim that the spikes of a prong replicate a mother dog’s teeth as she corrects a misbehaving pup.

I do know how to fit a prong collar, and I know how to use one.  I am a crossover trainer, meaning that I have used physical…

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So You Think You Can Sashay? Drag 2013

20 Oct

It’s no secret that I’m a big proponent of equal rights, and that I love the gay community with all my heart. Forever an ally! Each year I try to make it to the drag show, but usually I only make it in the spring. Last night, I went to the fall drag show and there were some amazing, fabulous performers!

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Michelle squared! Got our tickets ahead of time!

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Drag wouldn’t be drag without loads of glitter. So You Think You Can Sashay? Was this year’s “theme”.

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I’ve been to the drag show for about 4 years now, and this year there was a much larger population of women dressed in drag as men than I’ve seen. There was even a boy band toward the end.

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Another woman dressed a man – Pit Bull, in this particular performance.

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Words can’t even describe. This queen was a fabulous performer.

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As was this queen. She was the closing act, and her message was powerful. She opened with all the words and hateful things people are bullied with and told when they don’t fit into the cookie cutter shapes that the community seems to want everyone to be. Then, she sang Brave by Sara Bareilles and threw cards written with positive words into the audience.

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And, of course, you can’t go to a drag show and not get a picture with one of the performers, preferably one with lots of titties hanging out. This queen makes me look so drab in comparison (that’s how you know she is a good one!).

For your viewing pleasure, I have also included a couple videos that I took of the performances. The first one is a queen performing Lady Gaga. The second one is of a queen performing a Beyonce mashup. While these queens don’t seem to do drag very professionally, their dance moves are amazing and the hard work they put in to coordinate this is just amazing.

 

 

Finally, I want to tell you a story about progress. There is a huge movement working toward getting rid of the gender binary and raising awareness that not everyone fits into “I’m a female who likes males” and “I’m a male who likes females”. One of the issues involved here is how public restrooms are set up – usually a men’s restroom with urinals and a women’s without urinals. Last night, the restroom designations were covered with a piece of paper that said “gender inclusive bathroom”. Originally, I went into what was the women’s restroom and there was a line of like 30 people, so I turned around and trotted over to the men’s restroom. There I was, waiting in line to use a toilet, standing next to some guy at a urinal. That was interesting, but okay. There are some kinks that will need worked out if this is to gain popularity, like having a trash receptacle in each stall, but that isn’t hard to put into practice. Just knowing that everyone is okay with the bathroom situation is progress in and of itself, even if the attendees of this event are more forward-thinking than the general population [probably] is, is progress.

Ever been to a drag show? Would you go in the future? Have you ever dressed up and/or performed in drag? 

Miley Cyrus: A Wreck?

17 Oct

Forgive me for my choice of topic. I don’t generally like to write about celebrities, especially ones that have a status similar to that of Miss Miley Cyrus, but I felt I needed to share something.

For those of you who haven’t heard her newest song “Wrecking Ball” or haven’t seen the music video, I strongly urge you to find it on YouTube before reading on.

To give perspective on how I feel about this video, I will first say that I have never been a fan of Miley, whether on TV or in music. Before I even realized I was listening to her song, I was irritated by it and had to change it.

Then I watched the music video.

I will say that the music video is not good, but it is much better (as is the song) than anything I have ever seen or heard from her. If she continues in a similar manner, and works to improve herself and her music, she might actually be able to be a respected music artist.

The reason I liked the video is that during certain parts, it was actually artistic and spoke to the pain of what the song seems to be about. Of course, Miley over-sexualized it (or her producers, or whoever) when really, this song isn’t a sexy song. When she hits the wall with the sledge hammer – stunning – but when she licks it, I just want to punch her in the face because it is so unnecessary. Even her nudity is acceptable, as it speaks to the vulnerability of being in a relationship, and the pain sometimes associated with it. The grinding on the chain of the wrecking ball is, again, unnecessary. And I don’t find her to be a terribly amazing actress, so the close-ups of her face are a little uncomfortable to watch. I could go on and on about things I don’t like, too…but I’ll leave it at that.

Here is to not hating on the girl that much for her newest song and video, and hoping that some of the crazy might be over and that we will see better music from her.

What do you think of Miley and her latest song and video?

Social Exhaustion

15 Oct

As an introvert, being in social situations can be exhausting. It isn’t that I dislike the social situations, however, and therein lies the problem.

Currently, I’m at a state where I’m forcing myself to see people. I would love to just hide away and do my own thing for at least a few days, and while I try and try…I know in my heart that I really should hang out with friends.

Hm…but should I? At what point am I not being true to myself and keeping myself healthy and sane? And maybe that feeling that I should want to hang out with people is just extrovert propaganda and proof that we live in a society that doesn’t understand the introvert.

Point being: I’m exhausted. Mentally, physically exhausted. And so far, my evenings are booked all the way into the weekend.

How do you deal with social exhaustion? Do you force yourself to hang out with people, even if you really just want to enjoy alone time? Why? Why not?

The Territoriality of the Female Homosapien

14 Oct

This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about for quite some time, but for whatever reason the words just don’t seem to come like I want them to.

The idea first struck me when within a week a few months ago, I had heard it spoken and talked about in three different mediums. One of them was actually Girl Code, a show on MTV that is quite entertaining and often enough relateable.

So what am I actually talking about? Territoriality, specifically of women over their male friends. We’ve all been there…at least I know I have. When I was in high school, and really even up to this day, I struggled frequently with accepting any girl that my best friend liked. She was either not pretty enough, not nice enough, not right enough. I think we often use the excuse that we just want what’s best for our best friend, and in our eyes, nothing short of perfect is good enough for our perfect bestie, but it’s just an excuse. We do want the best, of course, but really, we want him for ourselves, even if we have him forever friend-zoned.

Just think about it. A new girl means your best guy friend isn’t spending as much time with you as he used to. It’s even worse if you are single.

And that’s when we start getting catty. To him, to her. And we make excuses, and sometimes even go as far as breaking them up.

But it isn’t our place. Yes, friends are important. Yes, we care about them and want whats best. And yes, sometimes that isn’t us, because significant others are important, too.

Really, there is room for both significant others and friends. No need to get catty, ladies.

Can you think of a time when you were territorial over a guy friend? How do you deal with it? Do you become catty? Why do you think girls do this, and do you think men do this with their best female friends?