A weekly recommendation of things I would do if I had unlimited time– and money in some cases. Maybe I’ll make it to a couple of these things. In any case, report back if you go to any of these events.
Yoga Storytime: What a great combination of things I love! Yoga and public libraries. The city of Longmont just got a little cooler. Check this out at the Longmont Public Library on Mondays at 11am.
Next to Normal: Harrison hates community theater. I love it. How did I not know this was happening? Get to Evergreen to see this at Centerstage Theatre! Closes Tuesday 7/24.
The Girls & Gays Comedy Showcase: I’m close to the local comedy scene because of Harrison’s involvement, and I am always rooting for the comics who are not straight white men. We have plenty of those. Tickets only $5. Show starts at 8.
Livin’ in A Ho House, hosted by Felony Misdemeanor: Few things thrill me more than seeing Drag Queens come out of the gay bars and into the mainstream. Drag Queens are artists and incredibly dynamic performers, and Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is an excellent spot in Downtown Denver. Side note: I wrote a piece for Denver’s Metromix.com (R.I.P.) about some of Denver’s best Drag Queens almost 10 years ago, and Felony was one of my featured queens. Go see her in action.
Into the Woods: Wait, why don’t I have tickets to this? Phamaly Theatre company will be presenting this show at the Space Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts through August 5th. Phamaly produces shows that feature performers with disabilities, so you will not only be entertained, you will be supporting an excellent organization. Click the link for showtime and ticket information.
I hope you will find some fun this week. Let me know how it goes. Please contact me if you have an event you think I should include. But remember, this is a list of things that I would do if I had all the time. I won’t recommend just anything. Then we’re getting into advertising territory, and you’d have to pay me for that…. which I am also open to. Let’s just talk.
I recently read the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain. Reading this book was like reading about myself. Why do I get so burnt out? Why do I have such a hard time taking on other commitments outside of work, especially commitments involving people? Why do I love the days when the weather quiets the city and keeps people indoors? Why do I get so annoyed when I’m interrupted in the middle of a task at work? Why am I risk-averse? I am an introvert.
This book was incredibly validating. It even gave me some insight as to why some relationships in my life can sometimes feel strained without any fault on either side being at fault. I deeply value people who are more on the extroverted side of the spectrum because without them, I would probably miss out of a lot of great experiences. At the same time, my alone time is of serious importance for me. It’s how I recharge. It’s how I process a problem I’m having or destress. I don’t want to be pressured out of that time. I also don’t want to upset a friend by turning down an invitation. Let’s be real—invitations. Plural. It isn’t personal. I just need a little less stimulation. I came up with a list of tips based on my own experiences for extroverts who have introverted friends. Obviously, communication on both sides is very important, but I can only speak from my perspective. So, here we go.
1. It’s not personal.
I just said this, but I feel like this is worth restating. Not wanting to participate in a particular activity doesn’t mean we don’t like you, or that we’re mad at you. I probably means we need a break.
2. No means no.
Seriously, though. We’re adults. Why are we still peer pressuring each other? If your introvert friend says, “no, thank you” to an invitation, I can assure you we are not looking for you to show us how mad you want us to go by begging obnoxiously. Another thing Cain points out in “Quiet” is that introverts is that we feel a higher level of guilt than others. Sure, if you beg us, we’ll probably go, but we won’t be happy about it. We’ll probably be a little annoyed with you, too.
3. Give us a minute.
A few years ago, Harrison and I took a trip to Arizona with his family. Five days… in a timeshare… with my mother-in-law… who does NOT. STOP. TALKING. The first day I was back in Denver, a friend of mine immediately started to talk to me about weekend plans, and I’m pretty sure I snapped at her, which I immediately felt bad about. I didn’t understand why I did that. The truth is, I was at my limit of human interaction. Being presented with an invitation to partake in further human interaction was too much. I needed some time to recharge before making more plans, and I needed my friend to back off. Just for a little while.
4. We are bad multi-taskers.
This was a huge epiphany for me because I have thought for the longest time that I multi-task like a pro. That was incorrect. I’m just efficient, and I know how to prioritize multiple tasks and go back and forth between them. Since I read this book, I started to understand why my stress level gets as high as it does. For example, I have Skype for Business at work. This if, of course, rarely used for business. Sometimes chatting with co-workers is a great way to get through the day, but if I have too much work to get done, and I have co-workers trying to chat with me, I start to get really anxious about all of the directions I’m being pulled in. So, I ignore the blinking Skype box.
5. We know what we need.
I was going through a bit of a rough patch recently. I was sad, stressed out, unhappy with my job…all of it. A friend kept asking me to do things, and I kept saying that I just wanted to stay home and not be around people. She replied that it sometimes helps to do “low-key” things with people when you’re stressed. I’m pretty sure I wanted to throw my phone at that moment. I had just stated what I wanted—what I felt I needed at the moment, and she questioned that. I understand the inclination toward offering solutions to “fix” a problem, and that it takes an especially enlightened person to understand that most of the time, that is not possible. In a lot of cases, the best thing you can do is say, “That sucks. I’m sorry. Please let me know if you need anything.” This doesn’t only apply to an extrovert/introvert friendship. It applies to basically everyone. If someone tells you they need something, who are you to think you know better what that actually need? I know I’ve probably done this to people, too. And I am deeply sorry for that. I’
6. Calling us misanthropic might hurt our feelings.
Introverts are not misanthropes. This is about stimulation not any individual or group of people. If you read this blog or know me personally, you know I have an affinity for yoga. I know some people find yoga strange because it’s a workout with an ideology attached. But that ideology is one of loving yourself and others. I take that seriously. I believe all humans are valuable. Everyone has something to offer. Accusing someone of essentially being hateful toward other humans just because they recharge by being alone is rude, hurtful, and incorrect.
For these relationships to work, each side has to try to meet the other where they’re at, which is difficult. Introverts have to set boundaries for their own self-care, but also be willing to get out of their comfort zones sometimes. There might be a cool experience waiting on the other side of that comfort zone. Extroverts have to respect boundaries and be willing to back off sometimes. Sometimes, we just need different things.
If you’ve followed this blog, you may know that Portland, Oregon has a very special place in my heart. I went there for the first time at one of my lowest points, and it held me. I love going back. I was there last weekend meeting a friend who moved to Hawaii a while ago. Each time, I find new places to drink coffee, eat good food, and drink beer. I hope these suggestions make someone’s trip to the City of Roses the best ever.
Duh. Stumptown might be the most well-known coffee roaster in Portland, and there are many locations around the city. My favorite thing about Stumptown are all of their creative cold brew varieties. When Harrison and I went to Portland last year, I had a sarsaparilla cold brew that was delicious.
Barista has several locations in Portland. I have personally visited the Nob Hill location on NW 23rd Ave. The vibe inside the shop is great, and they serve great coffees from roasters all over the world.
This place is a gem! At first glance, the menu appears to simply be a bunch of toast. We know Millennials love their toast. There is a fancy toast option for everyone on this menu. There are sweet options, savory options, and plenty of vegan and gluten-free bakery items. Don’t forget to look around at the fun décor.
Vita Café reminds me of one of my favorite vegetarian spots in Denver. Their menu has options for everyone, and again with the tempeh! This was the first I’ve had tempeh that was battered and fried, but it was good. And of course, peanut sauce makes everything better.
GO THERE. I’ve only eaten at Screen Door for breakfast/brunch. I imagine going there for dinner would be just as good or better. The food is southern comfort style food. Try the cheddar grits! If you’re a vegetarian, the veggie sausage is really good. Yummy cocktails, too! Try the blood orange mimosa or Ginger 75.
Portland is known for beer. There are great breweries all over the place. Here are a few of my favorites from my latest visit.
This is probably pretty obvious. I love to read, and I love walking the aisles of big book stores. Powell’s takes up an entire block. You could seriously spend hours here. It’s a reader’s paradise. There are a couple of smaller locations in the city, but the big store is really something to experience.
I hope someone got that reference. This is where you can find the rock that appears in The Goonies. I don’t know about you guys, but that movie was a huge part of my childhood. Cannon Beach is about an hour and a half from Portland, so it’s an easy day trip. It’s beautiful. The pictures really don’t do it justice.
I am so grateful that yoga is portable, and that I was able to practice in Portland. I really wish I had taken a better picture of this space. Harrison gives me a hard time about being so particular about where I practice and who I practice with. I don’t like studios that are so polished. It feels inauthentic. This studio was perfection. I highly recommend it for traveling yogis.
It was inspiring to see kids walking out of their classrooms today. They walked out because they care about their lives and the lives of others, and they have the guts to do something about it. So many people have your backs, kids. Keep fighting.
Seeing the way some “grown-ups” are treating these kids hurts my heart so much. You know what gets my goat more than just about anything? The notion that anyone under a certain age can’t possibly have enough understanding of the world to know what they believe in yet is preposterous. Sure, maybe the fact that they don’t have a fully developed prefrontal cortex leads to dumb shit like eating Tide Pods or snorting cinnamon or whatever. But these kids know what it feels like to grieve, to hurt, to lose. They know the difference between right and wrong, and they know that it is wrong for kids their age to be murdered at school, a place that should be safe and even sacred. Furthermore, they’re smart enough to find a common denominator. Spoiler: It’s guns.
I saw some of the most ignorant, and frankly, stupid comments on social media today. Most of them were from the adults. Some hurled insulting names like idiots or sheep and accused the kids of using this as just another excuse to get out of class. The dumbest thing I read was a man stating that his kids don’t need to participate in something like this because they were raised to fend for themselves. A) What does that mean? B) The way a kid was raised won’t help them if someone with a powerful weapon wants them dead. What is even more disappointing is that some of these people are probably parents.
Then there were the people playing the anti-bullying card WHILE BULLYING TEENAGERS ON FACEBOOK. Don’t get me started on the #WalkUpNotOut nonsense. Okay fine, people should be nice to each other, and bullies are shitty. I agree. But the fact that this came about as a response to the planned walkouts makes it yet another scapegoat to avoid addressing the issue of easy access to powerful weapons. It’s the new mental health. It’s also a very emotionally manipulative form of victim blaming. Please stop.
I am a Democrat raised by a Republican father. Granted, my dad hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since Bush in 2000. My earliest political memories are of how much my dad hated Bill Clinton. “Slick-Willy” Clinton is what he called him. When I got older, I started to understand what I believed in through involvement in democracy. Starting just after my junior year of high school, I protested, I canvassed, I worked my ass off alongside other high school students. None of us could vote yet, but we understood what we were working for, and we cared about the future of our communities and our school. My dad supported my desire to be involved in the political process so much that he excused me from school on Election Day, so that I could call voters and make sure they were able to get to the polls. That year, voters approved a measure to increase school funding in our district, and these types of measures had been historically difficult to pass there. High school students from all over the district had been knocking on doors telling voters how much they cared about their schools since summertime. With the support of all of our parents we worked for something and we were able to watch that pay off.
If you’re a parent with a kid who wants to participate in the democratic process, that means they care. If you have a kid who cares, that means you did something right as a parent. If you’re on the opposite side of an issue, fine! TALK to your kids. Ask them why they feel the way they do; don’t admonish them. Encourage them to read and research and be able support their opinions with FACTS. For Christ’s sake, how amazing to be able to say that you raised an independent thinker! This is the time in their lives they will start to create the kind of adult they will become. Don’t you want to raise a kid who believes in the power of their voice and someday their vote? Or would you rather spend grades 9-12 telling your kid they are too young to possibly understand, so their opinion doesn’t count? They might just transition into adulthood holding on to that kind of cynicism. Think about it.
One more thing: The Gen Xers and Boomers (mostly) who have such strong opposition to these kids participating in the democratic process better hope these kids hang on to their compassion and respect for human life. These kids will see the older generations through retirement. Quite honestly, they have no reason to care about the lives of their elders considering how little care has been shown for their own lives. But something tells me they’re going to do the right thing.
Just to set the tone- my job is a fiery hell scape of shit right now. Yes. Shit. Literal shit that is on fire surrounding me at all times is just about the appropriate analogy for my job right now. I left work in a garbage mood after a garbage day of fiery shit planning to go to yoga to maybe sweat out some of my bad attitude for the sake of all relationships that I care about in my life. I’ve been avoiding people because I’m seriously concerned my job is making me a big enough bitch that it may destroy relationships because I just FUCKING CAN’T RIGHT NOW.
Anywho, I got home, sat in a dark room for about 20 minutes, changed my clothes and started walking to class. I was about a block away when I decided to look at the schedule. I saw that the crazy power yoga guy was subbing again, and I REFUSE!!!!!!!!!!
I was going to walk back home, but I had enough time to get to a class at a different studio not too far away. I couldn’t walk there, but there was a Car2Go close by. I got to the car, got in, and started driving. I made it a few blocks, when I realized one of the tires was flat. I parked it immediately and called customer service while I walked home. I strongly considered having Taco Bell delivered via Postmates. That might be the true sign that one has given up. But since I am only one person, and I am a reasonable individual, I can’t possibly order enough Taco Bell to justify the Postmates delivery charges. I ordered Chinese instead. At least there are vegetables in that. Maybe that means there’s a glimmer of hope still inside me.
I gave up meat in August. Okay, I’m flexible with fish, because I might murder people if I can’t eat sushi every once in a while. I’m trying to keep the seafood to a minimum, though.
Harrison and I have gone to New York for Christmas to visit his family for the last 7 years, and this year I was a little concerned because of my new dietary choices. There are already a lot of dietary needs in Harrison’s family, most of which involve the Paleo diet, which is very heavy on the meat, and they hold strong opinions about a meat-free diet. On Thanksgiving, we called his parents, and Harrison planted the seed that I had recently given up meat entirely, so there would be no surprises over Christmas. His dad’s response was, “No protein!?!?!!?!?” I rolled my eyes.
Yeah…it’s like that.
The first day we were in New York, Harrison’s dad grabbed a handful of bacon and crumbled it into everything he made for breakfast. In an effort to not be rude or a pain in the ass, I spent breakfast trying to eat around the tiny pieces of bacon that had been added to my food. Harrison’s mom also made a pasta sauce that included chicken bouillon cubes. I know that none of this was malicious. They’ve never had to think about these things. They had made a lot of accommodations for me, which I greatly appreciated. They just missed a few details.
When Harrison and I went into the city for a couple of days, I was fairly adamant that we ate at vegetarian and vegan restaurants whenever possible. That ended up being pretty easy, and we ate some great food, so I thought I would share for my vegetarian and vegan friends.
I stumbled upon this place semi-accidentally after we spent a few hours at The Met. I got on Yelp to see what was nearby and saw this place described as Vegan/Vegetarian. Hooray! Harrison and I shared the Cajun Seitan Sandwich. Delicious! They also serve fresh juices (“Elixirs”) that are packed with nutrition and very tasty. I drank the Berry Harvest elixir, and Harrison drank the Flu Fighter elixir.
Vegan sushi. Who knew? Oh my goodness. I loved this place so much. I think Harrison and I got a little too excited when we were ordering because everything looked so good. We had to reign ourselves in a bit. I highly recommend the Nutty Buddy and the Spicy Mang roll.
Who doesn’t love a good burger? I have had some garbage veggie burgers since I stopped eating meat. This place is so great, and it’s really easy on the wallet. Only $6 for a burger, and they are super tasty. They can also make it vegan upon request. The Broccoli Rabe was also delicious.
This was our splurge meal. Whenever Harrison and I travel, we are fairly frugal when it comes to meals, but we might find one nice place and spend a little more on one nice meal. Modern Love was recommended by a friend who has been a vegetarian for about 12 years. We got the Tempeh Stuffed Avocado as an app. Harrison had the Bacon Cheeseburger complete with tempeh bacon, cashew cheese, and a seitan patty. I had the Mac ‘n Shews- vegan mac ‘n cheese with tasty cashew cheese, breaded tofu on the top, and some kale and cauliflower included in the dish. I think Harrison was a little skeptical, but we both left very full and very happy.
Harrison and I stopped into Other Half last year when we were visiting over Christmas on a recommendation from a co-worker. Last year, it was a tiny but very impressive place. Excellent beer. This year, we were happy to see they had taken over the space next door. They had way more space and they were PACKED. And the beer is still just as good!
Harrison and I go to the Peekskill Brewery every time we’re in New York visiting his family. We LOVE this place. Their beer is some of the best we’ve had outside of Colorado, and they also have great food. If you’re visiting the city, you’ll have to take a train ride up to Peekskill to try this place, but it’s definitely worth the trip.
I realize I should have done this about 10 days ago, but I still think reflection is a good thing… even if it’s aided by a silly survey. 2017 was a damn blur of a year, but let’s talk about it.
What did you do in 2017 that you’ve never done before?
I took a redeye flight. I visited Athens, Greece. I went to a Turskish wedding- they have fireworks. I went to a traditional Indian wedding- they are beautiful and colorful and involve dancing behind the groom riding in a white horse. I tried vegetarianism, and it stuck. Okay- I’m flexible with fish. On that note, I ate caramelized octopus in Greece, and it was delicious. I got a tattoo with color. I acquired a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law.
Ooh! I did yoga with goats!
Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did maintain a consistent yoga practice. I did read more than I did in 2016. I did slightly better with money (I think). I think I did better with complementing and congratulating people. I felt happier overall, so that helps. I’m a little on the fence about whether I was more present and took more time to reflect. The bullet journaling thing definitely did not stick. I feel like 2017 was a bit of crazy year. There was so much happening so often that I don’t know that I let anything sink in.
I did not start cross-stitching again. I probably didn’t listen to more music. I blame Pod Save America. I’m obsessed. I’m still struggling with a creative outlet. I did go to some rallies and protests, and I plan to do the same this year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get involved in some campaigns.
You’ll have to go back and read the linked post for any of that to make sense.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope! Maybe this year. SOMEONE MAKE ME AN AUNT!
Did anyone close to you die?
No. Thank goodness.
What places did you visit?
Grand Lake, CO
What would you like to have in 2018 that you didn’t have in 2017?
Legs that are the same length. Jk. That will never happen for me.
I actually feel pretty content.
What dates from 2017 will be etched in your memory forever?
January 21st – The Women’s March
August 6th- Harrison’s brother’s wedding
September 30th- My sister’s wedding
What was your biggest achievement this year?
Not murdering anyone at my sister’s wedding.
What was your biggest failure?
Maybe that I still work where I do and that I make zero progress in finding a new place of employment. I mean… it’s fine, mostly. At least I’m in a position to be picky. Unfortunately, I’m in a position to be complacent and lazy, too.
Did you suffer from illness or injury?
2017 was a pretty healthy year.
What was the best thing you bought?
My record player. It has bass.
Where did most of your money go?
It’s still food. That didn’t change.
What did you get really, really excited about?
The Womens’ March.
Eating tomatoes and olives in Turkey and Greece. It’s the little things.
Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder, b) thinner or fatter, c) richer or poorer?
I’m definitely happier.
I don’t care if I’m thinner or fatter, but I’m probably about the same. However, I’m definitely stronger. You should feel my biceps.
I wish I were richer than last year. I’m probably about the same. I guess there’s something to be said for consistency.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I would have relaxed more. It was a fairly stressful year.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worry. Again, it was a stressful year.
How did you spend Christmas?
Harrison and I went to New York to visit his family like we do every year. I was kind of tired of family obligated travel by that point, but it ended up being a great trip. We went to The Met, we saw a great comedy show (Janeane Garofalo was there again), and ate some delicious vegetarian and vegan food.
What was your favorite TV program?
I love television. So much good TV. I think I watched Stranger Things 2 in just two or three days. I’m so happy Will & Grace is back!
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
31! I took the day off work, and then went to see Lady Gaga! Not too shabby.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Same answer as last year: If Hillary Clinton had been elected President.
Who kept you sane?
Harrison. It’s always Harrison.
Who did you miss?
I got to see my grandparents at my sister’s wedding, but as I get older and realize they aren’t going to be around forever, I miss them quite a bit. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make the drive to see them in the Spring.
Who was the best new person you met?
I don’t know that I met anyone I hadn’t met before, but I was able to get to know some acquaintances better. I feel like I have quite a few people in my life that I can now consider friends.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
Cutting out meat is possible and really great.
Show us one of your favorite photos from the year.
This picture makes me so happy. This is a picture of me and Harrison’s family, and our new extended Turkish family. It feels like such a special thing to be even a little bit connected to such beautiful people in such a beautiful part of the world.