Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fort Collins, Colorado

our fellow day trippers
On Sunday, we took a little day trip with Lucy and Ricky to Fort Collins. The Ricardos still get amped up (and not in a good way) when the 4 of go anywhere all together.  They usually embarrass us, but still... it's worth it to be able to bring them along.  We know there will be moments of all hell breaking loose, but they'll eventually calm down (we hope, anyway).  And the more we get them out in public together, the more used to it they'll become.  That's the thought process anyway.

The car ride was fine...pretty uneventful actually.  Beautiful, of course, because all drives in Colorado seem to be beautiful- but uneventful in that Lucy and Ricky were pretty chillax.  We were off to a good start.

Fermin had found a trail that he thought would be a fun spot for us to hike. We thought we could drain some of their energy, and then things would be calm enough that we could take them with us to the New Belgium Brewery.

But as I've been learning lately, you can have a plan, but you never really know where the heck you're going until you actually get there!

It was a gorgeous day, in the mid 60s and sunny.  We were not the only ones with this trail in mind for a Sunday hike.  There were quite a few people, and many of them brought their dogs along too.  As we parked our car by the trail head, Lucy and Ricky began their barking, howling and crying with rabid excitement routine.  It was just too much!  We saw a path that led down to a reservoir with a beach looking area around it and decided we could walk there instead, since it would be just us.
they just think they're on a tandem leash
When we got to the sandy "beach" area, we were able to take their leashes off and let them run around.  But once we gave them the freedom to roam as they pleased, they actually stayed right beside us anyway.  We were there a little over an hour, and whenever they got thirsty, they drank from the reservoir.  Lucy especially. In most of the photos I took, she seems to be drinking the water. (That, by the way, is a foreshadowing for tomorrow's blog post...)



They got very dirty, but also very worn out.  (So, mission accomplished.) We got back in the car and drove to the brewery which was only about a 15 minute drive.  However, it was long enough that they recovered and got amped up all over again.  We looked at all the people (hundreds!) and all the dogs, and quickly decided we might just run in without them so as to not cause a scene.  The last thing I want is to reward them for acting like lunatics.  So, "Sorry kids, but if you're going to be this loud, you're staying in the car."  We walked around less than 5 minutes before decided to blow this taco stand and go somewhere less crowded where we could all move around a little.  The whole point was for our little family of 4 to spend the day together, not leave them in the car while we stopped for a drink.

We went to the downtown area of Fort Collins which was so cute.  Tons of pubs, restaurants and shops- and no chains!  Reminded me a little of Pearl St. in Boulder.  I just loved it.  And we sucked it up, and got our lunatic children out of the car.  I expected Ricky to stand on his hind legs and begin his howling, but I was so happy... They made some whining noises (of course), but nothing outrageous and as soon as we got moving, they figured out how they were suppose to behave pretty quickly. 
again, they think we're using the tandem leash...

at a stop light, acting NORMAL!
The pictures don't capture it, but there were LOTS of people all over the place, and lots of dogs too.  I actually overheard some people that didn't know better say, "Oh look!  Those dogs are so good!" Some kids even pet them and Lucy didn't bark in their faces in that alarming way she usually does.  I think the hike wore them out enough that they acted like dogs that know their manners in a public setting.

It was such a fun day.  We didn't hike on the trail we planned to, and we didn't hang out at the New Belgium brewery like we thought we would.  We just sorta went where the road took us (okay, more like we catered to our dogs, and chose the places least likely for conflict) and it was perfect.

Sunday school lesson of the day: You never really know where you're going until you get there.
 
A tired dog is a good dog.

awwww


Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Forest

I could post only pictures of pretty scenes on my blog, of places and things I've seen so far here in Denver.  But it would be a misrepresentation.  And I could write about how awesome each day is, but that would really not be the whole story.

I love trees and take pictures of them often.  But not all trees are pretty. Like this one, for example. 
I see this tree every single day.  Many times throughout the day, actually. It's the one big tree in the front yard of the house we're staying in currently.  It looks menacing to me, like the mean tree in "The Wizard of Oz".

Today, I Marco Polo-ed my friend twice, deleting each of my video messages because I worried she'd be concerned I was falling into a dark abyss. Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but I had a lot of negative talk going on inside my head, and I decided it was best for it not come out of my mouth, and not recorded onto a video message for sure.  Fortunately, later in the day, the mood passed.

But the truth is, nothing's all good, or all bad.  I like to keep things happy and light on the blog, but I also want to note that this is a weird transitional time in life- and although it's exciting, it's also scary and sometimes not all that awesome.

Housing costs here are so high here compared to Dallas, and that feels a little deflating at times.  We are living in a very temporary living situation, and although I know it will change again soon and hopefully feel better, I also know we've got a long way to go before we find a real home.  And being the homebody that I am, this can make me feel slightly crazy and very unsettled.  Other than some clothes, there is nothing we brought from home other than ourselves and our sweet dogs.  Obviously, we have the most important things, but things aren't homey.  YET.

I'd like to be in charge of a timeline as we go along, but that's an impossible idea.  Things will just happen when they happen.  And I know that.  But sometimes, I want to control things that I cannot.

Some trees aren't all that pretty.  I just gotta keep focused on the whole forest, because most of the trees are just beautiful!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day.

I've never been a fan of fighting the crowds for a Valentine's dinner out.  Or how many restaurants have a fixed menu and hike up the prices just because it's a certain day on the calendar.  And besides that, we have been loving cooking dinner at "home" lately.  So instead, we decided to go out to lunch!

I hinted at wanting tacos, because when are tacos not a good idea?  Apparently while I was walking the dogs, Fermin looked on Yelp and found a taco spot called Agave Taco Bar for us to try.  Yippy!

Agave Taco Bar
The tacos were delicious and we loved the decor of the place.  They have trivia nights on Thursdays, so we just may have to return soon.  If not for the tacos (but of course for the tacos), for the trivia challenge!

We took the long way back home and drove by "City Park"- I don't like the area, as in I would never want to live there- but I loved getting to see the Denver skyline from this perspective. I snapped a few photos from the car as Fermin was driving.


Later in the afternoon, we took Ricky on a walk on the High Line trail as the weather was turning a little chillier.

Now, I'm writing this and watching the Winter Olympics, while Fermin is cooking up a little Hello Fresh for our dinner.  What a great day! ❤️

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

These Boots Were Made for Walking!... in the SNOW!

today's walk in the park- everything looks prettier with a little icing on top!
While there's still some snow on the ground today, which makes all things even more beautiful- it's already melted off of the streets, sidewalks and most of the walking paths.  So for today, my normal hiking shoes were great.  But I don't have any warm and waterproof shoes. Next time it snows, I want to be ready to run around and play in it.  This time, I had to just watch from the sidelines as Lucy and Ricky had their fun.

I've been searching for a while.  Before we even came out to Denver I was on the hunt.  But I kept passing on them because, well, in Dallas I just couldn't bring myself today throw down the cash for snow boots I guess.  I also expected to have a better and wider selection once I got to a cooler climate.

Today, after looking online a little for me last night, Fermin drove us to REI for a pair of boots that looked like everything I said I wanted. And MORE.

Sorel "Joan of Arctic" boots + REI socks
They're waterproof, warm, furry, cute AND they were on sale!

My sister had given me a pair of warm hiking socks from REI for Christmas that I love so much, I bought a second pair today.  We figured a new pair of swanky socks to go with my boots made perfect sense.

I wanted to wear my new boots out of the store, but it's a warm and sunny 57 degrees today so Fermin encouraged me not to.  I can't wait for our next day of snowy weather.  Next time, I'll be ready.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Lucky Number 7

Lucy turned 7 years old today.  Just on the heels of her slightly older half-brother, Ricky.
this is what 7 looks like
Ricky was a little luckier with good weather for his birthday, but for Lucy, we had to cut our walk a little short, as it was 14 degrees, and said "feels like 9" on the weather app.  Lucy likes the cooler temps, but we haven't yet gotten around to buying her snow boots, so her feet were a little too cold for comfort today.

So, instead of a day of outdoor fun, we took it mostly inside instead.  She and Ricky have been lounging around, playing with a new ball in ball toy, and chewing on hooves- which Lucy enjoys more than Ricky.
Ricky likes to pose, while Lucy loves to chew on her new hoof.

Awww... the hoof. ❤️ She just can't get enough of it!

7 is going to be a great year for our Ricardos!  We've got the new adventure of moving to Colorado- and all that comes with that: new smells, new dogs and people to bark at, new places to walk and hike, and homes we will rent until eventually we find our very own home to live in.  It's all going to be great, and Lucy is very excited about it. (So is Ricky.)

We love our girl, Lucy, so much.  Not everyone gets a chance to know her like we do.  She is a little nervous around strangers so she tends to bark, and it sounds like she's mean.  But she isn't.  She is the sweetest girl in the world.  Always kissing Ricky's ears and face, ALWAYS snuggling with Fermin on the couch, and always is a great companion on long walks with me---
 just sweet, sweet, sweet.  And I love her more every day.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sky and Trees



Today, just a few pictures of the beautiful blue sky and trees taken a few days ago.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

More Parks!

I ran out of time, and never got around to posting yesterday.  But I forgive myself. ;)

Yesterday, Ricky and I ventured out on a little field trip while Fermin had a phone interview at home.  (Lucy stuck around the house with Fermin because she's loves and admires him so much, I figured she was the best to offer quiet support.)

First, we went to James A. Bible Park for a walk.  There was a nice walking path around the park, and also a huge field to run around in. I should have brought a ball or a frisbee. From now on, I'll keep one in the car with me!
My handsome Ricky Ricardo, taking a breather, and striking a pose.

Deep thoughts in a large field.
He was such a good boy, and we had still a little more time to kill.  So, we stopped in a pet store where he got to pick out a treat for he and Lucy.  He chose tracheas to chew on, and a ball within a ball to play with.  Lucy loved the ball in ball toy.  Ricky always picks out the best gifts for his girl Lucy! We have yet to get out the tracheas, but they've had those before and I know they will love them. Yum + Gross.

I'm a creature of habit, and today I realized we've been walking in our neighborhood and going to our neighborhood park every single day because it's so nice.  This was the first day we drove to a different park for our walk.  But there are so many parks within just a short driving distance.  And while the car drive is just a little extra trouble and time, it's worth it- and we need to explore as much as we can!  So- more parks are in our future. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Feeling More at HOME

I've mentioned on my blog many times before, not only my love of books, but also, of the public library.  I would go to my local branch at least once a week in Dallas. Not yet having an address here in Denver, and not knowing if we will anytime soon, I've been a little nervous about how long I might have to go without a library in my life.

Another bonus about the neighborhood we are currently staying in (which I wrote all about here in case you missed it): We are just blocks from a library.  I stumbled upon it one day while walking the dogs.  And I've had plans ever since to go back for a visit. 

Today was that day.  I took my computer with me, thinking that if nothing else, I could get a little writing done in a quiet place.  I wasn't sure I would be allowed to get a library card, or check out anything since I'm not a bonafide Denver resident yet.  I'm just a renter.  Without a Denver address of my own.

BUT I got a provisional card.  Which means that I can check out 3 items at a time, as opposed to 100 (as if!?!) once I have a local address. I got to choose which design of a card I wanted.  That's a step up from the boring, one-and-only design Dallas has offered.  OF COURSE, I chose the one with the cute bear on it!
my denver public library card!
I had already started a new book on my Kindle this morning, but I went ahead and checked out my first book at the library today because they had such a great selection and I just couldn't resist the look, feel and sound of this one.
my first check-out at the DPL ❤️
It's true what I've heard about wanting and needing things that make a new place feel like home, and for me, a nice nearby library is huge.  Thanks Colorado- I have yet another reason to love you.

Monday, February 5, 2018

hoping...

Here's the quick daily check in:

We went to look at a possible place to begin renting in March today- It would be so much better than where we are currently staying BUT (because, there's always some kind of but it seems) it's more expensive.  Quite a bit more.  And so... we may have to pass.

But I love the location.  It feels much more like the way I think of Colorado.  It's at the foothills of mountains.  There's not only sidewalks on the street, but trails within walking distance.  It's the kind of area I'd actually love to live in, permanently. It's got a nice, big fenced yard. The house is huge. Actually, much larger than we need.  So roomy that once we need to store stuff after our Dallas house sells, we could just store it in the downstairs unused and unfurnished rooms.

Anyway, I'm sort of in a sad mood about it.  I was hoping the guy would offer us a better discounted rate since we would be staying longer than just a few days.  It's available now through August, so it could end up that we'd be there quite a long time.  Or... no time at all.  :(

It's just a house.  And it's just temporary.  So I don't want to get too emotionally attached to thinking this is the place we have to be in for the next several months.  I can suck it up and live with much less.

But I'm sad.  I'll admit it.  There don't seem to be many decent options on rentals for us.  But maybe new ones will pop up.  Sooner than later, please.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Daily Check In from Denver

I keep meaning to post here more often, but I haven't felt like taking the time lately to sit down and write a legit post.

But decided this morning that I'm going to at least write some short daily check in about each day.  Even if some days, that's just a picture, or just a few sentences.  Of course, me being me, some (most?) posts will definitely be longer.  But there's no pressure here.  This is my blog, and it's mainly just for me to look back on.  And I would be so disappointed in a few years if I looked back and realized I had left a lot of little minor memories out- In fact, I probably would lose those memories if I didn't write them down here.  SO!  The daily posts start here and now!

We've been here, in Denver, in this rental, for about a week and a half. 

Here are the pros of this house:
1. Good, central location. We're very near a grocery store, a few good spots to eat (including, OH MY GOD, a Which Wich!  Believe it or not, I haven't been yet, but I have comfort in just knowing it's there when I need it!)
2. Super close to a park I walk at daily, as well as a good neighborhood with nice sidewalks that I walk each day also!  My dogs and I are still clocking around 6-7 miles a day, so I need places we can walk.  So this really is great.
3.  The bathtub is pretty comfortable.  Remember, I take at least one bath a day- always, at night- and occasionally (ok, honestly, it's more than just "on occasion"!) in the morning in lieu of a shower.
4. A nice, big backyard that has a fence.  I can let my dogs out to potty on their own when they need a break, plus there's lots of room for them to play chase, and even to place fetch and frisbee!
here's the nice backyard, with today's little dusting of snow!
5.  It's a good, safe neighborhood.  So I have heard.
6. There's a washer/dryer, dishwasher, microwave, oven and stove top.  

Now, for the cons.  And I realize, I sound sort of spoiled on some of this stuff.  I know that overall, we are so lucky to have this house for now.  We've got a roof over our head, and a warm place to sleep each night.  And it's so much more than just that.  It's MORE than enough.  I really do realize that.  But, I do want to remember the cons when I look back on this one day.  So here they are:
1. We are located on a major street.  Three lanes of traffic going each direction.  There is road noise, but that doesn't bother me too much.  I just don't feel as safe and it doesn't feel as private as if we were tucked further into the neighborhood. 
2.  The couch is a fabric that allows dog hair to really stick to it.  Our own dog's hair is one thing, but it reminds me of all the germs and things other people before us have left behind.  I would never want to lay my head on this couch.  And when I sit on it, I know I will have a certain amount of hair and dust attached to my clothes when I get up.
3.  There isn't much space to put things.  I've gotten so use to having so few (if any) things on top of tables or counters since our house in Dallas has been ultra-tidy, getting it ready to sell.  Being in someone else's house, with their stuff leaves little room for our own things.  It just feels cluttered, and clutter tends to make me cranky.  I have my clothes in one of the spare closets so Fermin could have the one in our bedroom.  The drawer space seemed kind of dusty and dirty so I hung almost everything.  Fortunately, I don't have that many clothes.
4.  The kitchen barely has any room for meal prep.  It has the essentials but nothing nice, and cooking in it doesn't feel very fun.  Thank God tho, for Hello Fresh.  That helps make it a little better.
5.  The screen door has bars on it.  That reminds me, or at least makes me worry that maybe it's not all that safe.  As long as Fermin is here, I don't have any big fears.  (Altho the ice maker has made some suspicious noises that I have freaked out in the middle of the night)  If and when Fermin has to travel, and he likely will, the nights are going to be long I have a feeling.  Yes, I've got Lucy and Ricky here, but if they started barking during the night, I would probably just go into cardiac arrest. 
There was actually a break-in next door a couple weeks ago we found out.  Maybe that makes it safer currently tho.
6.  No garage.  So when it's cold, or snowy, that's not fun.  And it's easy for someone to see when we're home, and when we aren't.

So, yeah, we'll most likely move somewhere else in March, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of options at this price point.  Maybe more will open up.  Or maybe we'll just trade off some of these cons for some different ones.  We still haven't decided, or really looked into it much.

Today is Superbowl Sunday.  Although I have no interest in the actual game, I AM looking forward to Justin Timberlake's halftime performance.  And I think I'll use the game time (between commercials that is!) to scour AirBNB and VRBO and see if anything looks like a better option for March. 

The First Rent House (and Probably NOT the Last)

Ricky.  Deep thoughts at the park.
 We found and booked the house we're renting in Denver through VRBO.  We saw photos online, and asked the owner a bunch of questions.  It seemed to meet most of our needs, and certainly all the important ones.  Dog friendly, fenced yard, a kind sized bed, WiFi, bathtub, and a good central location in a nice neighborhood.  Check, check, check, check, check and check.

One question we didn't ask, because we didn't know to ask it was, "Is it located on a major street with a lot of noisy traffic?" We didn't get to find out the specific location when we were in Colorado in December because the owner wanted to protect the privacy of the then current occupants.  I respected that and just went based on photos, reviews, and the general location the map showed.  But holy moly!  We are on a main road.  There's no wall between our house and that street.  If Lucy or Ricky happened to run out the front door, there would be complete panic.

Fortunately, there is a big fenced backyard.  And we are less than a half block from a pretty park that connects to various trails around Denver.
this park is just a few houses down from where we are staying
But there's a security system and bars on the doors.  Which leads me to believe that having a house on this street probably isn't super safe.  Also, if someone wanted to watch our habits to plan a break in (do I sound paranoid?), they could just wait and see when are cars aren't parked in front- there isn't a garage, so it's all pretty obvious when no one's home.

We rented this for a month, and it's available to us for up to 6 months.  However, now that I've been here a couple days I know that we won't be staying here beyond the first month.  I don't feel all that safe, it's pretty loud street noise- even in the middle of the night- and I just do not like being on a main road.

The first day, when we got here and saw it, I was so bummed out.  Distraught.  Complete bitchy meltdown.  I have never been so dissappointed with a rental, and we've used VRBO quite a bit before!

But after a good night's sleep, I was able to frame it all with a much better attitude.

We packed pretty light, so moving to a different place isn't a huge deal.  Also, we'll have an opportunity to get familiar with yet another area of Denver by renting somewhere else next month. I'm not super excited about having to spend time finding the next place, but... at least it can be done online during my insomnia.

Fermin asked me to let it go and not worry about it for a week or two.  So, I'm trying not to.  This is just a little snag.  And it will make the next place seem that much better.  And if the next place isn't better, the next place will be.
we'll be fine