Tag Archive | Colorado

Long Time No See

2015 was an incredible year for me. It was crazy, emotional, and revolutionary in ways that I couldn’t have begun to predict when I wrote my “Moment of Clarity” post almost a year ago. I feel badly for not updating my blog, but during a time of such grand upheaval, it felt almost impossible to sum everything up as it was happening. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

January 2015

I was still very wrapped up in breaking up with my ex-boyfriend and being kicked out of his house. I didn’t like the job that I was working; I was not well payed nor doing something at my skill level. My grandfather had recently passed away, and I had some lingering regrets about not returning home sooner to visit my grandparents (It had been three years since I returned home at this point). At the same time, I was becoming reacquainted with old friends from back home and was being strongly urged to move back.

March

At the beginning of March, I get a call from my former neighbor that there’s fire, police, and ambulances at my ex’s house. His mom (whom I’m very close to) is there, and there is a big scene. I’m sure some of you are thinking “No, don’t do it!” But I did do it. I went over there, spent a few days providing moral support for his mom and taking care of the dog. While things may have ended badly between us, his family had been very kind and helpful to me, and I wouldn’t turn my back on them. I even became somewhat friends with my ex, and we were more cordial to each other. In many ways, I received closure from this event that helped me get over him.

April

I was told in the beginning of April that my contract job would be ending, as the entire department was moving to Georgia. I was in a panic. We had about a month and a half to find other means of employment; while the Greater Denver Area is a great place for finding tech jobs, it can also be on the competitive side. I started hunting immediately. I was also making back-up plans. I reached out to a friend in Seattle who was willing to help me get a job there if I needed one, and I was talking to friends and family back in Indiana; the worse case scenario was that I did not find another job by the time my current one expired, and I would be forced to move back home. I really didn’t want to leave Colorado, but preparations had to be made.

At the end of the month, I was contacted by a company I had applied for months ago saying that the position was open again, and they were interested in interviewing me. I jumped on it and crossed my fingers.

May

May was a very decisive month for me. At the start of the month, I was offered a job in Seattle. The very next day, the company I had interviewed with in Denver offered me a job. It was one of the harder decisions I’ve had to make; I’ve always wanted to live in Seattle – I love the rain and would enjoy the constant overcast. But the pay and the benefits were not as good as the job here, and then there were moving costs to consider. It simply was not a good opportunity. I transitioned smoothly from my previous job into my new job.

I was also out and about more, socializing with friends and meeting new people at bars and clubs. I went back to the gym and starting working out again. I got that library card that I promised I was going to get. I started writing again, little by little. I also had to break the news to hopeful friends and family that no, I would not be moving home.

June

June started it all. One innocuous event changed my life forever.

I was good friends with a wonderful lady named Heather, and it was standard by that time for her to host regular BBQs for everyone to get together, eat, listening to music, etc. I met a lot of interesting people there; I got to socialize with plenty of people I was already friends with. That’s where I met Brett. Sitting in between me and another girl who I was discussing the finer points of content editors and how messy some of them can be on the HTML side, he made an off hand remark about how great it was to be seated in the middle of our discussion. And that’s about all that it took for me to ask him to dance and for us to get each other’s numbers.

We wouldn’t get together for another two months due to scheduling conflicts.

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w/Stella and Marty

 

August

Brett and I finally meet up at The Modena Wine Cafe just down the street from where I lived for a few casual drinks. By the end of this four hour affair, it was a date. One date turned into three, and then three turned into a long-term relationship.

September

For the first time in almost a year, I went back home. I did a long trip that split my time between family in South Bend, Indiana, and then spent a few days in Toronto, ON with two friends I made playing CS:S several years ago. It was good to see my friends and family and get to spend plenty of time with them. I dyed my hair a glorious blue. I caught frogs in a pond I knew from my childhood, and I got to spend time with a friend who I’ve known since grade school, almost fifteen years! It was an incredible time.

 

 

 

And then there was Canada. Aside from missing my flight at O’Hare because the TSA took over 2 1/2 hours to get me through security, everything was great. I visited the Royal Ontario Museum and Ripley’s Aquarium, and even got to see a Rave-mobile make it’s way through downtown (seriously, people were just following a glorified car made to look like a parade float, bumping to some serious dance music). I got to see Niagra falls and spend some time with my besties!

 

October

Brett and I moved in together, and for the first time in probably my entire life, I felt like I was home. I’ve had my own apartment, I’ve lived with other boyfriends, had roomies, and none of them quite felt like home. Maybe the closest I had come to that feeling was when I was living on-campus at university. Here, there is a sense of belonging and a feeling of being “in this together” with the person I’m living with. I feel as if my spaces are, in part, my own, and I have some control over them as opposed to just temporarily inhabiting them.

December

Business as usual for Christmas. We put up Christmas lights on the house and decorated a tree! It was nice to have someone as enthusiastic about decorating as I am, even if it’s just a few decorations here and there. Every time I looked at our tree, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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January 2016

Now we’ve come full circle! I’ve started writing again, I’ve been coming up with ideas for editing my novel and for poetry. I’ve joined a Beekeepers Association and am preparing to raise honey bees next year in addition to starting long distance cycling. It’s going to be a busy busy year ^_^!

The Mountain People and Their Dogs.

I grew up in the midwest, in a town that was exactly two hours away from a big city in every direction, but where I lived was half in the wild lands of the country and half in a bumbling suburbia. The country is what I remember the most. As a kid, I spent a considerable amount of time riding my bike past corn field after corn field, sometimes with a little soy bean thrown in between. When I think of dogs, and when I think of people and their dogs, I remember the big ole softies that would run up to the side of the street, barking and baying and making a terrible ruckus. I learned to not fear these dogs, because although they weren’t held back by a chain or a fence, they never left their yards. These were farm dogs, the dogs that protected farmers from hooligans and predators that might try and hurt their way of life. Dogs were man’s best friend, yes, but usually man’s best friend with a purpose. Although I loved my own dogs, a quiet, but loyal little chow/shepard mix and a bull-headed, but exceedingly clever German Shepard, I did not consider them my children or my family. They were my friends and my companions.

Since I moved to Colorado, just over two years ago now, I have met a myriad of different people and their different dogs. I also own a different dog myself, a sweet and skittish malamute mix. She is a different type of dog altogether, and her behaviors and mannerisms make a high pitched cry back to the wolves her ancestors were bred from. Although she can come off as independent of “her people” when you see her wander off during a hike in the mountains, if you watch close enough, you will see her ears swivel if you stop walking and her head rise up above the foliage. I’ve calculated that she won’t go further than 50 ft. away from me off the leash, and if I call her name, she will zip by me with only a brush of her nose against my leg indicating that she came by. When she is at home, she follows Karl from room to room and will plop down wherever he does; if it’s on the couch, she will usually wedge herself in a spot between him and myself. Koda is very much a people dog, and very much a pack dog; nothing upsets her more than if she is shunned from the house after misbehaving, even if it is only for a few hours. I’ve found that many of the people in Colorado, mainly the ones residing in the little foothills of the great mountains, own these types of dogs. I’ve seen wolf hybrids, malamutes, and huskies, and the more I’ve spoken with these people and interacted with their dogs, the more I’ve recognized a ringing disparity in how the people of the mountains interact with their dogs and how people of other regions interact with their dogs. It is almost as if the pack mentality has permeated the barrier between man and dog, and we have taken in that mannerism the way we take in these dogs: with little, if any, formidable resistance.

It hit me yesterday as I was standing in the dog park, watching Koda play with two, massive malamutes that had paws as big as my hands. It hit me when I saw this skittish little puppy, which looked more like wolf than dog, try and come up to “the pack.” I’d seen this behavior in some of the huskies and malamutes, but more predominately in wolf documentaries. She dragged her butt against the ground with her tail curled between her legs, and when “the pack” ran up to sniff and greet her, she hunkered close to the ground. After a few seconds, she scurried away, frightened that she may have been rejected. Each time she started to approach “the pack,” she would skitter away if any of our dogs made too sudden a move.

All the while, a grizzled man and his wife talked to me about their dogs, about the intelligence, the stubbornness, and about the desire to be with “their people.” His wife talked about growing up in Alaska, where everyone had huskies and malamutes, and where wolf and wolf dogs were often kept as companions; never as just pets. They would never dream of owning a different breed than malamutes, which I think is true of many people in Colorado who fall in love with the wild breeds, because they neither want to relearn the temperament or behavior of another breed, and also because you can’t find the same type of love in another dog that these pack animals have to offer. As their people, as their owners, we have to establish ourselves in their pack and rise to the top. We become their leaders, their friends, but mainly, their family.

That is not to say that other dogs are inferior or incapable of loving their people; that’s absurd. I know the dogs from my childhood loved me and looked upon me as family; the mannerisms that they use to express their loyalty and their love feel somehow different than what I’ve experienced with my malamute. The way that I interpreted my relationship with the dogs of my childhood has undoubtedly impacted my understanding of their expressions.

Colorado has changed my perception of the world in many ways, sometimes as subtle as the way water evaporates into the air, and sometimes as quick and profound as water’s effect on powdered magnesium (it explodes violently). I feel most impacted by my fellow dog owners, whether they keep huskies and malamutes, or whether they keep other breeds or mutts. The interaction between owners, the way they look out for each other and each others’ dogs, strikes me very powerfully. The sign that hung outside of the dog park on Sunday read “We know you love your two black dogs, but they have repeatedly and viciously attacked our dogs. Please do not bring them here or we will have to report you to animal control.”

We know you love your dogs. It was a very strong admission that we, the community, recognized that these owners care about their dogs and want to try to socialize them. However, the need for the greater good, the need to preserve the well being of all the other dogs in the park, would force the community to have to do something it obviously didn’t want to do. What a strange sign. I don’t think anywhere else I’d see such a sign; you would see, perhaps, someone just decide that the owners of these two black dogs were bad people and wouldn’t even bother to give them a warning that, while expressing familiarity and understanding, also demands compliance. There would be no warning, no understanding or familiarity, no compassion.

We love our community the same way we love our dogs. Where else, but in the wild mountains of the not so wild west, would you see such a thing?

A Frigid Colorado Morning

Last week, I had the pleasure of being able to work from home. Working from home allows me to not only get more work done (most of the time), but also to be able to experience moments that I would otherwise miss. One such moment was a very pretty sunrise at about 6:30 am when the sun turned the distant snow caps into a pale sheet of pink. It was so cold out that after 5 minutes of frantically snapping photos, my fingers were inoperable. Some very lovely shots came out of it, though:

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And this one as well:

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I’m also able to spend time with my malamute and capture some truly precious moments. My malamute thinks that she is a genuine lap dog and tends to follow my boyfriend, Karl, or I wherever we go. So when I’m working from home, I’ll move a blanket and pillow into the office and create a cozy bed for her next to my chair. Then she’ll bring in all of her “babies” and curl up until about lunch.

Koda

Sometimes if she’s really riled up by lunch, we’ll head to the dog park for a few hours so that she can rip through the grass and wrestle/chase/romp with other dogs. Overall it’s a nice reprieve from a typical, mundane workday, and it definitely gives me food for thought when it comes to my writing.