Sunday, September 20, 2015

I just haven't felt like being here so I've been other places

There's this daily routine I have - I've had it for years - and unfortunately of late it rarely includes appearing on this blog.  I'm fond of the routine, so I'll spare you any false promises to post more frequently.  Aren't we all spread thinly enough as it is?

I surprised myself and found that after nearly a year here in Kansas, I still love my job.  I'm so thankful for it.

We took a week trip up to Alaska in August, full of bike riding, hiking, and fishing of course.

Lost Lake, we found you
  
He smiles because I'm the one wearing the backpack
I snuggled with this sassy innkeeper:



And we caught our limit in halibut:

Heavier than it looks!

Not as heavy as it looks!
 As always, Alaska is a great trip.  A few years ago we wrote a big check in return for a nice piece of paper saying we own a few acres of the Last Frontier, but recently over late-morning weekend coffee talk we dramatize our retirement fears and I wonder if we should sell.  I love Alaska, but I worry about the costs as well as the perceived intellectual exodus from our beloved 49th state.  It pains me to write that, but in a few years, the Army won't be dictating where we live, and I don't want to make anything less than the perfect choice, now that we'll finally have one.  

Kachemak Bay...who would not be happy here?
 During my summer blog sabbatical I ran a few local races here and there, though I failed to make the 10-miler team (again!).  At such a slow pace, I'd be embarrassed if that time had qualified.  There's always next year.  The summer bothered and exhausted me (not just due to the heat) so I have 0 feelings to report about my running performance or lack thereof.  

In other news, I don't wear Mizuno Wave Riders (or Mizunos at all) anymore, and I am blissfully in love with the Saucony Kinvara 6.  I tried them on fully expecting to hate the 4mm drop, but it feels natural and easy.  I love the price, too, a full $20 less than my last pair of Wave Riders (18s). 

To break up the routine, D and I took a 2-day trip to Denver a few weeks ago.  Our loyalty to Southwest Airlines has paid off and we cashed in our stockpiled miles for free tickets and with our impossible 47000 hotel points our trip came to a grand total of $70 for a rental car, food, entertainment.  With keen budgeting like that, we might get to retire after all!  For old times' sake we attended the Dave Mathews Concert at Fiddlers' Green (Is it called that again?  Still?) and I sniffed peevishly in an effort to avoid the expected wafts of cannabinoid fog.  It's not a scent I enjoy and to head off any questions, yes, it's virtually impossible to pop hot on a urine drug screen via passive exposure.  At the expense of revealing my curmudgeonliness, I find Dave Mathews really tedious, especially live....what with the THC and patchouli-soaked fans and endless cacophonous recapitulation...it's no surprise then that my favorite part of the trip was our visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens. 

Before we arrived at the Gardens, we enjoyed the surrounding "moneyed hipster" neighborhood, where we stopped for lunch at Chef Zorba's.  I would eat there again and again!  D let me have the seat facing the window, and I annoyed him no end with my distracting questions, directed both to myself and behind his back: Does everyone here ride bicycles?  I drawled enviously at the passing Denverites, lean, healthy, full of nature, sun, kale, kefir, whatever.  Who are these people walking all these dogs?  I wondered, missing Nugget, cooped up at overnight campWhere are all these Vespas going? I asked of the steady stream of men, motoring down the road - hair thinning and bellies bethickened - adorning the aqua-blue scooters, zip zip. 

The DBG Offshoots Café is a treat and we enjoyed after-gyro raspberry lemonade.  We accidentally invaded no fewer than three beautiful wedding receptions, and excitedly floated from garden to greenhouse to pond.  D's favorite part?  The bonsai garden, hidden behind a corner of the Japanese tea garden. Among kare-san-sui paths, the bonsai garden displayed trees and shrubs native to the western prairie yet cultivated and "training" in bonsai pattern.  I never before knew of the tethers and fine wires pulling and tugging the tiny tree limbs, but now I am in awe of the time and orthodontia required for this art of bonsai.  Unlike D's discriminating tastes, I am a sucker for the bounty and ease of the perennial garden.  I left a little sad that we don't have the energy to recreate the intricate abundance of the Botanic Gardens at our home in Kansas, but it's only 600 miles down I-70 so we can return pretty easily on a future vacation.  I am sure we will.

In other news, I finally finished my Rustic X console table (inspired by Ana White).  It proudly holds our keys and odds/ends and TV.  It's a tad uneven, so it fits perfectly in the house:
 

Next up?!  Back to work, to running, and to a cedar-topped kitchen island, unfinished, awaiting a rainy day in my "workshop."  

Here's hoping you are well and wonderful, now and when I check in next!