A rhetorical question because I can say, with a resounding YES, that it is, indeed, summer. Apparently it began last week, on the 21st, but I’d say that I kicked it off as soon as school ended. So, right around May 30/June 1. There were, as always, a few loose ends to tie up the school year, but I’m happy to say that it didn’t take me long (maybe 5 minutes?) to switch gears and embrace the summer pace. While we don’t have a major trip planned or anything that seems ambitious, I also can’t complain about lots of small getaways, both near and somewhat further afield, but this will, hopefully, give us the time and space to enjoy the summer. We have good plans with friends and family and will try to take advantage of the mountains when we can.
So far, no complaints! Even before June snuck up on us, we took a quick trip out to Seattle to visit friends, and eating, drinking plenty of IPAs, and catching up pretty much sums up our visit. We saw them last year in July, after my cousin’s wedding, but Michael was still on crutches (although it was at their house that he took his very first steps crutches-free!) and we both felt a bit cheated during that visit. He also couldn’t drink! So, back to Seattle it was. The weather was absolutely perfect, maybe a bit warm for those Seattlites (?), and we soaked up plenty of Seattle-neighborhood-bliss. In addition to hitting the Ballard farmer’s market, we also discovered Chuck’s Land of 1000 Beers. As Liz Lemon frequently says “I want to go to there”, and, yes, I’d happily return to Seattle just to revisit Chuck’s!
Once school ended, we hit the ground in June running, or biking, as it were, with the Elephant Rock Ride in Castlerock, Colorado on June 3. I originally signed up for the century, but with a few months of doing almost nothing, I had decided that the metric century would be much better. Unfortunately, my riding partner, Clint, has strange ideas about metric centuries (basically, he thinks that they are pointless), so, since I couldn’t physically prepare myself for the ride in 3 days, I tried to do so in that mental sense. Fortunately for me, when we met up in Castlerock, he informed me that there was no way in hell that he was going to ride 100 miles. I was so happy that I hugged him! He probably could have survived the 100 miles, but I could not – I actually bonked around mile 45, was passed by absolutely everyone going up a hill. As I finally crested (30 minutes later…), Clint, who had unclipped as he waited for me, said “What happened? You decided to take a nap?!”, a comment that provoked much laughter from other riders! Still, we finished the ride, and so did Michael – he rode 40 miles and had a great time on the ride. As for the ride – I always forget how FUN organized bike rides are. In general, this one offered plenty of rolling hills, amazing views of Pike’s Peak looking south, and also some wind! There was a lot of traffic, which was a bit of a downer (as one driver flipped everyone off – very mature), but overall, no complaints.
I also had two pretty great weekends recently, although they would be on completely opposite ends of the “how I spent my weekend” spectrum. We went up to Breckenridge a two weekends ago and headed over to Leadville to see the end of the Leadville trail marathon, which my cousin was running as part of the “Leadman” series (he is CRAZY!). It was warm and WINDY that weekend – in fact, I wanted to go for a ride in Breckenridge but not with 20 MPH winds. Apparently, the winds were gusting up to 50 MPH during the run – yikes! The finish line was a fun place to be, and it was exciting, as always, to cheer for all of the runners who were finishing up. Michael and I spent a little time outside – no major hikes on this trip, although we did end up biking in Leadville on Sunday morning. 22 miles with 2,000 feet of climbing at 10,000 feet – I desperately wanted MORE OXYGEN, please, but somehow survived without it.
This past weekend, I headed to Chicago for a whirlwind of a weekend with family
for a wedding to see Hamilton! Okay, we *really* were there for my cousin’s son’s wedding (the first wedding of the next generation!), but a few of us arrived on Thursday and somehow managed to sneak in a performance of Hamilton which, was better than I could have ever, ever, ever, ever, ever imagined. I knew some of the music, have used “My Shot” as workout inspiration for a while, but I hadn’t listened to the entire soundtrack. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t, as there was an element of surprise/delight in not knowing, and you can read plenty of other reviews of the music, but it was fantastic – yes, some songs were definitely “fun”, but there is a range of emotions that reflects the human experience. In addition to the music, seeing the performance (the set, the dancing, the acting…) was transformational. However, I think it’s ruined all future musical theater for me as I’ve never seen such a spectacular show. Just never. Anyway, I’m going to stop raving about it, but it was the most amazing experience that I’ve had as a spectator.
The rest of the weekend was pretty awesome, so I can’t complain about that – we had plenty of good food, spent time on the river (I went on the architectural cruise on Thursday afternoon and then the rehearsal dinner was also on a boat!), wandered around the Chicago Art Institute (that is one of the most amazing museums, especially the Thorne Miniature Rooms which are so special), ran along the River Walk to Lake Michigan, and, finally, stumbled on the American Writers Museum (small and well-worth a visit). There was also plenty of time to see family and catch up with people whom I hadn’t seen since… last year at another family wedding? I definitely burned the candles at both ends, waking up early and staying up far past my typical 9:00 pm bedtime, but it was worth it! The wedding – the reason for the trip! – was quite fun for everyone, especially the bride and groom.
The trip to Chicago was certainly a highlight of the month, but I can’t complain about the day-to-day happenings either. I haven’t been reading a ton (and blame that on the bridge app on my phone), but I *finally* finished The Emerald Mile, which was WELL worth the time that it took me. It’s quite the adventure story, but more than that, it is historical and scientific, well-researched, beautifully written, and has made me reflect on living in the West, in America, and, well, on life in general.
Finally, this guy below and I are spending plenty of quality time together in obedience classes through the Colorado Dog Academy (their motto is “An untrained dog is an unloved dog”, a sentiment with which I don’t agree 100%, but that’s okay). He’s learned a lot, and so have I, and it sounds silly but I’m glad that I have the time to work with him this summer. So far, he’s mastered “sit”, “heel”, “stay” and we are working on “come”. Fun times!
And, one more ‘finally’ to wrap this up – I’m actually TRAINING again! More on that later, but it feels hard (I’m out of shape!) but good. So, yeah, a decidedly different summer from 2016 for which I am thankful!