Thursday, November 25, 2010

Home for the Holiday

I can't count the number of times that I have heard my parents say, "Stacey is the first one to want to leave home and the first one who wants to get back home."  When we were little, it was probably the most truthful saying in the history of the world.  I don't want to embarrass her terribly, but suffice it to say that she lived up to her reputation and could make herself physically sick to get out of any situation in which she wasn't comfortable. 

Last year when I was home for Christmas, I completely understood what Stacey felt when she was a child.  I was altogether too excited to get home to North Dakota for the holidays, but the excitement quickly wore off.  There is a list of reasons why, and I considered writing a blog about all of those reasons last year, but chose not to based on the number of people that I would have offended by writing it.  And that's coming from the girl who has told people, "If you don't like it, don't read it."  Yes, the potential sources were that offensive.  So I never wrote the blog, but let's just say that last year's trip home got to be pretty rough for a number of reasons that won't be discussed in this medium.  

Anyway, my trip home for Thanksgiving this year is significantly shorter than the trip home for Christmas last year.  Actually, I'm not *supposed* to be home at all.  In... June...? July...?  ish...?  my family decided that because both Stacey and I get a whole week off from school for Thanksgiving, they would come down to CO and we would spend Thanksgiving in Boulder.  I had it all figured out and a constructed list of things that I wanted us to do and acquired serving platters and had been checking grocery fliers for appropriate coupons and had told everyone about how excited I was for my family to come and hang out.  And then Mom called and listed off a number of very convincing reasons why it would make more sense for me to come home than for them to come to Colorado..  She then offered to buy me a plane ticket to make that happen.  You don't say no to Dorenda.  Or at least I don't.  You also don't say no to a free flight and a delicious, home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.

So after staying up too late on Monday night at game night in my house with my Boulder people, I woke up early on Tuesday morning and hoofed it to the bus station to head to the airport to head home to North Dakota to spend Thanksgiving with the fam.  I just want to say how struck I was by the contrast in everything between take-off and landing.  It was about 40 degrees when I left the airport, and when I looked out my window after take-off, all I could see for miles and miles were the ever-gorgeous Rocky Mountains. 

Because I'm me, I slept for the whole flight.  When I woke up and looked out my window, all I could see were snow-covered plains and... well... nothing for miles and miles.  I swear to you that I could see all the way to the Montana border.  North Dakota is freaking flat.  Also, it was like... ZERO DEGREES.  It's so cold here.  I've become a whiny Coloradan when it comes to weather.  And it's actually not that cold here right now, so I shouldn't complain at all.  I'm just spoiled.

There have been lots of adventures here, and I've only been home for 2 days.  Unfortunately, this blog is already so long that most people won't read the whole thing, so look for another installment and the point of the blog sometime soon.  I can't say when, but it will be soon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


No, people, I am NOT talking about bras here.  I'm talking about people.

This weekend, CU Opera put on Carousel by Rogers and Hammerstein. I was in the chorus for the show, and had a very small solo in the second act, but was on stage for a pretty decent amount of time.

The show was great.  The cast was amazing.  I had a really good time (most of the time).  Those things aren't really a big deal to me right now, though.  The most amazing part of it for me was the fact that it reinforced something that I already knew:  I have an amazing support group.

My parents drove all the way to CO from ND to see me perform my 3-bar solo, stayed for a day, and drove the 15 hours back.  Friends and bosses and parents of friends and all sorts of other people came to see the show for my benefit, and they did it willingly.  And excitedly.  And I know there are even more people who wanted to come, but couldn't.

And of course, everyone gave very good feedback about the whole show.  And my "aria" (as my voice teacher called it).  I got an email from someone I hardly know that said that my hip-shaking shook the whole theatre, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a comment about my weight.  haha.  Just kidding, I know it wasn't. 

It's just really helpful to have people who are just as excited as me, if not more so, to see me doing something that I really enjoy.  It's a vote of confidence, and I like it.  

Thanks, supporters.  I appreciate you!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall is Here!

Because it's been uncharacteristically warm here in Boulder, I keep having to remind myself that it really is autumn.  We've had temps near 80 in the past week, and it's been awesome.  I would personally prefer if the earth was capable of keeping snow on the ground while the air temperature was at least 80 degrees.  That would be ideal for me.  I love the heat.  And sun.  

Alas, that's not possible, and I think that fall has come for real starting today.  I can cope because we've been so lucky so far.  Either way, no matter what the weather would have been like, last Sunday was definitely fall.  Or at least it was for a group of people who celebrated fall the best way possible: we went to a pumpkin patch.

Now, please keep in mind that I haven't been to a pumpkin patch since I was about 10 years old, so I was a little skeptical.  And there was, of course, a bit of drama involved (when isn't there), but the trip was excellent fun.  

We started the day with a little roost through a corn maze, despite the light rain that was bothering us.  Next, we headed to the pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins.  At this particular pumpkin patch, they hand out knives at the entrance, and each person gets to cut their pumpkin straight from the vine.  

I have never, ever, ever seen as many pumpkins as I did that day.  No joke, there were probably a million.  We could see the sea of orange from miles away.   Literally.  The hardest part was finding the most perfectest pumpkin.  I definitely succeeded.  So did Kenny, because I picked his out, too.  Here's a little sampling of one of probably 10 pumpkin fields:

After we had picked our pumpkins, we headed to the petting zoo and foodstands.  I got the most deliciousest caramel apple I've ever eaten, we fed the little pigs our apple cores, and almost went on a hayride.  Too fun.  I could go to the pumpkin patch every day.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Apt

I told myself I would do this blog thing, and I'm doing it.  Even though it's Friday night and I should be getting ready to go out.  But that's a topic for a completely different blog.  Oh, Coloradans...  

If you'll recall, when I first moved to CO last year, I moved without even having visited Boulder.  I moved into an apartment that I'd never seen, with a roommate who I'd only communicated with via email, and everything ended up just peachy.  Great, even.

Until I got kicked out of said apartment.  Again, a-whole-nother can of worms.  

Either way, being kicked out of that place ended in me moving out to Broomfield and in with Kenny, who I now cannot live without.  Seriously.  The condo we were renting from his voice teacher in SD was great.  Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a piano, amazing location, King Soopers a half block away, really low rent... Everything was wonderful.  Except commuting.  Commuting 13.6 miles one way, two times a day made me want to die.  Rush hour traffic at 8:00 am was never fun, and being at school for 14 hours and then driving home was about as enjoyable as having teeth pulled.  We both knew that we couldn't stay there for another year, no matter how much we loved the place.  Our cars hated us.

So, in March or April, when a mutual friend and fellow vocal performance major was asking around for two new roommates for this fall, I immediately offered to move both Kenny and myself in.  It didn't take her long to agree that we should move in, and we started to get things in order.  Even though rent would be substantially, significantly, and incredibly higher (this is Boulder, after all), we decided that it was worth it.  After all, when we figured in gas, car maintenance, and convenience, there weren't many arguments as to why not to move to Boulder.

So, when the summer was over, Kenny and I moved into our new place in beautiful Boulder.  The new apartment has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.  There are 4.5 of us (Brent's boyfriend is around a lot), plus a very cute rabbit named Potato and Max the chinchilla.  We did have Bob the cat for a few weeks, but Brent's parents took him back when it was decided that he was too much stress.  Sadly.

Our location is great.  We're literally one block away from the Hop bus, which drops us off 20 feet from the front door of the music building on campus.  Target and the 29th street mall are a mere 6 blocks away.  We walk to and from the world-famous Pearl Street pedestrian mall a few times a week.  When we feel like it, we can take the scenic route and walk the 25-minute walk to school.  It's seriously wonderful.  

The roommate situation couldn't be better.  Here's the breakdown:
  • 2 females
  • 2 males
  • 3 voice performance majors
  • 1 opera fanatic/physics master's student who knows more about opera than the rest of us combined
  • 2 sopranos
  • 2 gays
What more could a person ask for, really?  And that's not mentioning that we all get along really well, especially when you consider that we hardly knew Danielle and had never met Brent when we moved in.  Our building could use a few improvements, but that's not happening anytime soon.  Damn BPM.

Also not happening anytime soon is pictures.  If you'll recall, I put my camera through the washing machine last spring, and haven't had the money to get a new one.  I'm asking for one for Christmas, though, and when it comes, I'll get ya'll pictures.  Until then, feel free to come and visit at anytime.  Then you can just see it for yourself!

Monday, October 04, 2010

My sincerest apologies

Oh, I really do apologize for hardly writing at all.  Okay, for really not writing at all.  I'm a horrible person.  Okay, I'm not a horrible person.  I'm just a very, very busy person.

Thank you to all of you who are continuing to attempt to keep in touch with my life via this blog.  You're keeping up with your side of the blogging game.  I, however, and not keeping my end of the deal.  

I hope to change that, from now on out.  I will put time into my schedule to blog at least once a week for you all.  I know that that's substantially less than last year, but I'm going to do it.  Notice that I said, "At least once."  It's the best I can do. 

Okay, okay, enough of my grovelling.  

Now for one of those really boring, really annoying, all-encompassing updates on the life of Raissa.

About a month ago, I was offered and accepted a job as a section leader in a choir at a church here in Boulder.  I attend weekly rehearsals and church services and get paid to sing.  Which is what I want to do with my life, so it's perfect.  Not to mention that the choir is small, but pretty darn talented and that the director has amazing ambition and a great vision for the choir.  It's an adorable church and a really great space to sing in, and I'm glad that I have the opportunity to be working with these people. 

I was cast in the chorus of CU's fall opera production.  Okay, so this year it's not so much an opera as a musical theatre piece, but if we focus on the important thing here, which is that I was actually cast, then we're thinking about the most important thing.  Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel will be performed in CU's Macky Auditiorium on October 22, 23, and 24.  Visit to purchase tickets.  If my parents can make it all the way from ND, you can make it from wherever you are.  I'm singing a very small solo, so cheer loudly!  
I'm still working at the Center of the American West.  Sewing purses.  Don't get me started on that topic, because I might freak out.  But if you must know, I'll send pictures once they're completed.

Kenny and I have officially scheduled our junior recital.  We'll be performing on Tuesday, April 12th, at 7:30 pm in Grusin Music Hall.  Put it on your calendar now.  I don't want you to miss it.  We'll be singing some stuff together, which is very exciting, because he's a bass and I'm a soprano.  Oh, and because we both rock.  

The new apartment is still great as ever.  If I had a camera, I'd send you pictures, but if you'll recall, I put that camera through the washing machine last year in March-ish.  Mom, don't worry, a digital camera will be on my Christmas list.  Along with some other stuff that I'm sure you'll start asking about soon.

Okay, as far as broad overviews go, those are the most important things.  Keep looking for more frequent updates.  And thanks again for continuing to read through my excessively long hiatuses. 

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Best. Day. Ever.

I've had a couple of rough days since I came back to Boulder.  I went to the ER and found out that I have gallstones, ex-boyfriend drama, a not-so-great audition, etc. 

Today completely made up for all of that.  It is the best. day. ever.

This morning, Kenny and I walked a few blocks down to the Boulder County Farmer's Market.  It was our first time going, and now I wish I could go every day.  All I bought was a delicious pretzel that we shared, and he bought an alpaca sweater, but that wasn't the joy.  The joy was in the atmosphere.  Perfect weather, meandering people, organic and home-made fruits, veggies, dips, oils, vinegars, flowers, jewelry, and so on.  So many booths.  So much food.  So many people.  It was fantastic.

During our meandering, we stopped in a little amphitheatre and saw a really great Frank Sinatra impersonator.  It would have been better had he had a live band instead of an ipod, but he had a fantastic voice, great stage presence, and wonderful crowd interaction.  He was good.  

We left there and walked down to Pearl Street, where we saw Boulder's one-and-only Ibashi-i, a very famous street performer.  More than just a performer, though, he's a contortionist.  He closes his show by jamming his entire body into a clear glass box that's 20" x 20" x 20".  Amazing.

When his show was through, we went through the Romanian Festival tent, where they were featuring traditional Romanian dancing.  There was this one guy with a fantastic moustache.  Clearly the leader of the troupe.  He was dancing quite spritely for his age, clearly enjoying himself.  They even had audience participation dances, which were probably not quite as fun to watch as they were to participate in, but I smiled the entire time.

We ran into a friend on the walk home, chatted for a while, and I had to blog right away.  I feel like I should go to bed now, just because I don't want anything bad to happen to ruin the day.  Perfect.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Medora, etc.

Wow.  Turns out I write a blog...  I never would have guessed based on my activity over the past almost four months.  I have a lot of good excuses for not writing, just so you know.  Here are a few:
  •  I went home to North Dakota (sound like a familiar song to anyone else?) for the summer.  This blog is called coloradosoprano.  Writing from ND would just be hypocritical.
  • Working in Medora, ND involves working 50-55 hours a week.  My hours were very strange.  I sometimes worked a split shift, and when I didn't, I would be working 4-11.  Generally that meant drinking excessively the night before and then sleeping in too late to make time to write a blog.
  • Working in Medora, ND involves living in a campground.  In a really classy trailer house.  The campground does not have internet.  In order to get on the internet to perform the basic functions of my life, I had to drive into town.  Just to check my email!  Unbelievable.
  • Medora is impossible to explain to anyone who hasn't ever worked there.  Ask my sister.  She'll tell you.
There may be another reason or two.  They mostly involve me being too lazy to write a blog.  Either way, I didn't do it.  I just didn't feel like writing.  I'm still not sure that I do, but here is something anyway.

This summer was my fourth summer in a row working for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.  My first summer was amazing.  I had the most amazing job in the world.  I drove the beer cart at Bully Pulpit Golf Course and worked evenings at the Medora Musical (The Greatest Show in the West, in case you wanted to know). It was great for me to go out there because I didn't know anyone out there, I had never been there, and it was all new and exciting.  I loved it.  Adored it.  It was my favorite.  In fact, I agreed to go back for a second summer.  I did the same job and loved it a lot again.  I met more people, drank even more, and had an amazing summer (in part thanks to Guillaume, Matt, and Curtis, who helped me to keep my sanity).  So great, in fact, that I ended up staying all the way into October, since I was already done with school at that point.  I thought I wouldn't go back for summer number three, but lo and behold, I was convinced to go back.  Again.

My third summer I switched jobs and became the assistant manager of the Medora Musical Welcome Center, where we sell Medora Musical memorabilia and deal with ticketing issues.  Lots of ticketing issues.  New job, new hours, new friends.  Again, I liked it, but I remember saying several times over the course of the year that if I was to go back for summer number four, there would be no way that I would do the same job.  Overall, it was a really great summer.  Lots of crazy antics and crazy people.  I loved it.  After all, I DO love being crazy.

I was unsure about summer number four because of many, many variables, and really made the decision to go there at the very last minute.  Like, the last possible minute that I could make the decision.  My boss even had to email me and tell me that I had to tell him or he would find a replacement for me. (Ha!  Like that's possible!)  My little sister, Stacey, had made the commitment to go there for the summer, so I agreed to go, too.  I somehow forgot, though, over the course of the winter, about my decision never to work in the Welcome Center ever again.  Very unfortunately, so I was there again, and I hated it from pretty much the first day.

I was literally SO sick of people (tourists especially) that it took me tons of fortitude not to yell at them when they did stupid crap.  Literally.  One time, as soon as a customer turned the corner, I spoke (to myself), saying, "I hate you.  I seriously hate you.  You're dumb."  Now, I didn't say it really loudly, but loud enough that I couldn't believe that I had actually said it.  I had explosions of anger quite often, and my unfortunate co-workers were the ones who had to put up with me.  That job was just not good for me anymore.  I felt really bad because it was hard for me to do a good job of helping people when all I could think about was how much I didn't want them to be around and how much I disliked them simply for being tourists.  A bad deal.

I won't say that it was a horrible summer, but it was different.  When I first went to Medora I was struck by the so-called "Medora magic."  I've been around for so long, though, that there is no more magic.  I know all of the secrets to the magic and nothing is new anymore.  I'm sick of the drama and the politics.  I think I just need a change in my life.

As evidence that the entire summer wasn't awful, here are a few of the high points:
  • I got to golf this summer a lot.  In past summers, my schedule didn't really allow for it, but I made time this summer.  My mom bought me a brand-new set of clubs, and I put them to good use.  Best trip was me, Shauna, Jettie, and Stacey, when the sayings, "You can putt from there," and "You can find that!" came into being.
  • I got a really good tan!  I loved working day crew.  No people around, I got to work outside, work hard, get sweaty, get to know my coworkers better.  It's pretty fantastic.
  • Margarita night.  On a random Thursday night, Jettie and I were going to have one margarita.  One quickly turned to two, and two to three, and before we knew it, we were running around the campground and harassing our friends, who only laughed at us.  It was awesome.
  • Jettie's going-away party.  After being up until 5:00 am, I went home and decided to make a pizza.  Before the pizza was cooked and out of the oven, I passed out, and our whole house would have burned down if Heidi wouldn't have come home and saved my life.  The pizza was black all the way through (after cooking for 3 hours), and our house reeked of smoke all day.
  • Once again, we had jungle juice for Shauna's birthday party.  She turned old.  Really old.  The party wasn't quite as epic as last year's, but still great fun.
  • Volleyball in the living room.  With my crazy roommates.  And Drew.  Nuff said. 
  • I learned a few swing dancing moves from the ever-great Tyrel Brown.  I'm not saying I'm a master, but I'm a few steps better than I was last year at this time.
  • A visit from my Watson girls that included a rainy night at the Medora Musical, a few trips to Boots, horseback riding, and shopping in the metropolis that IS Medora.  
  • Cupid shuffling.  Every time I was wasted.
  • Cowboys.  
  • Girls are dumb.  Really, really dumb.  Yes, that includes myself.
This is not, of course, an inclusive list, and if you feel like something needs to be added, you should probably tell me.  If I agree, I'll consider adding it to the list.  Unless I'm too lazy, of course. 

And I guess that's my summer in a nutshell.  I'll hopefully catch up with what has happened in CO soon.  Until then... 

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

All Along the Colorado Trail...

In recent years, I've moved a lot.  Let me give you a run-down:
  • August 2004: Gwinner to Jamestown for my freshman year of college.
  • May 2005: Jamestown to Gwinner to work at Bobcat.
  • August 2005: Back to Jamestown for sophomore year.
  • May 2006: Back to Gwinner for summer #2 at Bobcat.
  • August 2006: To Jamestown for junior year.
  • May 2007: To Medora to work for the summer (plus a carload of stuff to home first!)
  • August 2007: Back to Jamestown for my last year of college (or so I thought)
  • May 2008: Summer #2 in Medora
  • October 2008: Back to Jamestown for a year to live with Tab
  • April 2009: Back to Medora for summer #3
  • August 2009: To Boulder, CO for freshman year #2
  • December 2009: From Boulder to Broomfield after I was kicked out of my apartment
  • May 2010: Back to Medora for summer #4.
That's 13 times since August of 2004.  That's an average of 2.6 times per year.

Now, one would think that with all of my practice at packing and moving that I would be good at it.  I'm not.  I'm pretty bad at it, actually.  More than one carload is too much stuff, and I have about 2 carloads worth.  Thank goodness Kenny and I decided to rent a storage unit to get us through the summer.

What I have improved at is knowing where I put stuff away when I unpack.  When it comes time to re-pack, I know exactly where everything is.  And I know exactly which box everything is in, because it's been in and out of the same box multiple times throughout the past years.  But the problem remains that it's just too much.

When I pack, I like to take my time.  I'll pack a box, then sit down and write for a while.  Then I'll pack a box and eat supper.  Then I'll pack a box and call some friends.  It's a process.  A time-consuming one, but it helps me keep my sanity.  And even though I hate it, there are good things about packing. It's a chance to reorganize things and to get rid of the stuff you just haven't used in forever.  And it means you're going somewhere, which is always exciting.

Usually, when I'm moving to Medora, I'm nothing but excited.  Medora is like a second, maybe even first home for me, as my trailer house is the place I've lived longest in recent years.  This year, I'm very excited, and there's lots of hype surrounding this summer in Medora, but it's also a little bittersweet to be leaving.

CO is quickly turning into a home for me. I'm really comfortable here, and am settling into routines.  I'd like to stay to experience summer on the Front Range.  I'm leaving my boyfriend, and will likely never see him again.  There are lots of things that I'm really going to miss, in no particular order:
  • The mountains.  I see them every day on my commute, and they are so, so, so beautiful.  Really.  It's worth a trip through CO just to see the mountains.  I get sad on foggy days when I can't see them.  They're gorgeous.
  • Chipotle.  I know this is silly, but there isn't one in the whole state of ND.  Especially not in Medora.
  • Recitals.  I'm in the habit of seeing about a recital a week around here, and that really isn't an option in Medora.
  • Recycling.  No one recycles in Medora, even though we really, really should.  Especially the bars.  Maybe I'll work on that this summer.
  • King Soopers.  King Soopers is my favoritest grocery store ever.  I love having a King Soopers card.
  • Kenny.  Because he's Kenny.
  • Slacker and Steve.  When I don't get to listen to Slacker and Steve on the radio, my life is incomplete for a day.  This is going to be a whole summer.  I'm going to have to stream them online.  Seriously, people, they are hilarious.  Thanks to Kenny to introducing me to Alice 105.9.
  • The hot, Hot, HOT sun.  My hypothesis is that we're closer to it here, so the heat of the sun is really a lot warmer than it is at home.  Even on chilly days, the sun is hot.
  • Of course, all of my friends.  Although I don't want to miss anyone so I'm not naming names.
  • The folks at the Center of the American West.  They rock.  All of them.
  • Voice lessons.  I love singing.  And learning how to sing.  I need to find time to do that this summer.
  • Traffic.  I love driving in traffic.
Okay, that's probably not everything that I'll miss, but it's a significant portion.  I leave this wonderful place on Sunday, so wish me safe travels.
And don't worry, the blog will continue in Medora, although the content may not be quite as exciting.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Only in Boulder

Believe it or not, I had no idea that when I decided to attend CU-Boulder, I decided to attend a school that is infamous for being a party school.  Now, really, had I used my brain, I probably could have figured it out.  It's a really big state school, and I feel like those two traits are all that a school really needs to be a party school.

What I had also heard rumors of, of course, was that Boulder was known for its liberalism concerning the use of marijuana, which is rampant and not really curbed by anyone, including the police. I mean, obviously, arrests, etc., are made, but the punishment is a slap on the wrist.

So out of curiosity, and because I'm a nerd, I googled "CU Boulder" a few days after moving in.  I expected to see some cheesy advertisements published by the university itself, maybe a few sports events, some student videos of late-night taco bell runs, and freshman dorm shenanigans.

I am so naive.

Instead of what I would have considered to be normal videos, I saw hundreds of videos celebrating April 20th.  Oh, yes, the infamous 4-20.  I feel like it needs no explanation, but in case it does, April 20th is the famous day for smoking marijuana.  I don't know why, I don't care why.  It just is.  And Boulder being Boulder, 4-20 is bigger than Christmas.

NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Regulations, puts on events across the country, and one of the largest is in Boulder.  It's a "protest," or so they say.  Last year, 10,000 students gathered on Norlin Quad, in front of the famous Norlin Library, and smoked pot.  A lot of pot.  

This year, they expected 15,000.  They only estimate that they had 8,000, but as you can imagine, 8,000 people smoking marijuana in one place at one time can be a crowd.  A very stinky crowd.  Peacefully "protesting."  

If you ask me, it's just another excuse to get high.

Now, I'm not just writing this because my parents read this, but I've never smoked.  Not even once.  I tried a cigarette when I was 13 or something, and haven't put any burning device anywhere near my mouth since.  And I find it sad that there are more medical marijuana dispensaries in Boulder than there are pharmacies.  But what of it?

It's Boulder, I guess, and that's all there is to it.  Here's a video from this year's "celebration":

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Conference on World Affairs

Before I really get into my topic today, I need to 1. apologize, and 2. thank you all.  I haven't blogged in well over two weeks, and believe me, it's as much to my dismay as it is to yours, if not more so, and I apologize.  I thought about doing it every day, but I have simply not had the time.  I realized it was time to blog when my mom called and said, "Are you alive?  You haven't even written a blog."  So now that I have a few minutes I'll get into it.  Even though I haven't written, people have still been visiting, waiting and hoping (at least that's how I interpret it) for an update of my life here in CO.  For that I thank you.

So here it is: the number one reason why I didn't blog for at least one week during my dry spell.

Please, if you're a CWA member, forgive me.  I've put this disclaimer in other blogs, but if you haven't read them, you won't know.  This blog is solely for my opinion, and whether or not I offend you is not my deal.  If you don't like it, don't read it.  But if you have any insights, feel free to share them.  I'll listen.

Although it was news to me (as so many things about Boulder are (more to come on that later)), it's no news to Boulder locals.  For the past 62 years, the University of Colorado has been host to what is known as CWA: The Conference on World Affairs.  One of the first things that I learned from Stephanie Rudy (my scholarship sponsor) was that the CWA is an amazing program and that it runs partly with the assistance of student volunteers. 

As she told me, the conference is a very special event.  Over 100 panelists are invited to Boulder to talk about subjects that are important to the world right now, as we speak.  Obviously, the university can't afford to pay to fly these people in, give them money to talk, and house them all.  Instead, each panelist pays for their own flight in and families in Boulder volunteer to house them for the duration of their stay.  Rather than the committees telling each person what they will talk about, each panelist sends in a list of things they would like to speak about, whether they are experts in the field or just interested in the topic.  Once the lists are compiled, the CWA takes an entire weekend to put people (usually 4) together on a panel.  The tricky part comes in naming the panel something fun and catchy that will encourage people to attend while still telling the real idea of the panel.  And the panels are completely unscripted, so one never knows in which direction the topic will go. 

From the get-go, Stephanie encouraged me to get involved, and it really seemed like a good volunteer activity.  It was clearly something that she was passionate about, so I agreed to help out.  My name was put on a mailing list and suddenly I was part of the CWA Student Committee.  The initial meeting was good.  I learned that most students opt to drive panelists to and from the airport, as well as around Boulder, and that sounded just fine to me.  In order to drive university-owned vehicles, student drivers were required to take a defensive driving course that was pretty painless.  And I actually learned stuff!  After I passed the class and went to a few more meetings, it was time for the Conference to actually begin.  At the last meeting, the week before panelists arrived, we received our schedules for the week.  Let me begin by saying this: we presented our availability to the heads of the Committee, and they encouraged us to write down all of our availability and they said that they would schedules us for a few hours here and there, from morning to evening for 9 days.  

What I didn't expect was to be scheduled for 6 of those 9 days.  Still, when I received my schedule, I found it to be manageable.  And at the beginning of the week, I was still dog-sitting, and it was therefore easy for me to get to headquarters to get the car I'd be driving.  My schedule looked something like this:

Saturday: 11:00 am - Airport Arrival - 2 panelists
Sunday: 8:30 am - Airport Arrival - 1 panelist
Monday: Dinner Driver
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: off
Thursday: Dinner Driver
Friday: 7:45 am - Radio Run, Dinner Captain
Saturday: off
Sunday: 6:45 am - Airport Departure - 2 panelists

What I actually ended up doing looked more like this:
Saturday: 10:30 am - Airport Arrival
Sunday: 8:15 am - Airport Arrival, 10:30 pm airport arrival
Monday: 3:45 pm - Airport Arrival, Dinner Driver (until 9:00 pm)
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: off
Thursday: Dinner Driver (until 12:30 am)
Friday: 7:45 am Radio Run, Dinner Captain (until 12:00 am)
Saturday: off
Sunday: 6:30 Airport Departure

Now, please don't misunderstand me, because yes, I am complaining.  However, let me explain the nature of my complaints.  I don't mind jumping in at a moment's notice when I have time, and I don't mind having to be flexible.  However, no one warned  me that I would need to be so flexible.  Also, no one warned me that being involved in dinner meant carting people around until all hours of the morning.  Finally, no one warned me that things would be very disorganized much of the time.  Had I known these things up front, I don't think that I would have been so upset and frustrated.  Had I known that being involved in dinner would mean that I would be going from 3:45 pm to 9:00 pm, or from 5:00 pm to 12:30 am, I would not have given my availability for those time slots.  After finishing on those nights, I still had to drive home and do my homework.  

I do place a bit of blame on the transportation coordinators, although I realize that all of it is definitely not their fault.  In all fairness, there is no way one can predict the promptness of flights.  Also, no one can predict the attitudes of those panelists who think that they need a ride RIGHT NOW, whether or not there is a car ready (those people made me really, really mad).  It is a very big job to coordinate all that they coordinate, though, with flight arrivals and departures, driving people to and from their housers in the mornings and evenings, driving people to and from dinners and to and from the radio station.  There is a lot of unpredictability.  What I will say is that despite my frustration with the system, I'm not sure that there are many better ways to improve on the system.  And I will definitely not say that I could do a better job, because I'm not sure that I could with all of the variables involved.

Even if I had a lot of better ideas, I could never be transportation coordinator.  I recently learned that in my next spring of school, I'll be giving a junior recital.  Now let me tell you: I don't know how many student volunteers actually went to classes during CWA week.  In fact, I heard more than one telling others that they went to one or none of their classes.  That does not work well in music classes, where one is allowed, on the average, 3 unexcused absences without a full letter grade penalty.  Besides, I'm not really a class-skipper.  Never have been (that might be a fib).  And skipping classes the semester of one's junior recital is definitely frowned upon around here.  

Because I'm mostly complaining here, there are more to come.  Next topic: the panelists themselves.  Many, many, many of the panelists have been coming to the Conference for years.  And by years, I mean 25.  Yes, 25.  To me, that seems kind of counter to the idea of the conference, which is about current events.  I mean, yes, the topics change every year, but isn't it boring to hear the same people speak every year, even if they're really good?  Many of those panelists, at least the ones I met, were really nice.  However, there were some who had this attitude: "Well, I've been coming to the conference for 97 years, and therefore know everything, and you are my minion.  After all, I'm the important one here, not you."  Which I guess is kind of true, except that the conference is really focused on sharing information with the students (who generally don't even go to the panels).  I ran into a few of those panelists, the ones who were so self-important that they didn't even talk to me as I drove them to and from their destination, and it wasn't for lack of trying to converse.  If there is one talent that I got from my parents, it's the art of conversation.  I've also learned from many sources how to get people to talk, and that is to ask them about themselves.  Even when I asked them questions about themselves, many gave one-word answers.  I wanted to say, "Yes, you're tired.  I'm tired, too, but am still doing my best.  Yes, you're here because you were invited, but your job here isn't over until you're at home and in bed." 

And here's a complaint, one against myself: the conference is for students, really.  One of the major complaints of organizers and panelists alike is the lack of student attendance.  I personally didn't make it to a single panel, what with my volunteer and school schedule.  But why do students not attend?  I don't know the answer for sure, but from what I heard from some, it's for the reason outlined above.

I'll be honest: there were a few good points to the conference, but for me, they were far outweighed by the negative impression I got from the very first meeting.  Even then, I thought it strange that the organizers didn't even bother to learn the names of their student volunteers.  On Monday, I overheard one of the head organizers say, "We've been doing things the same way for 62 years.  Why change now?"  Again, strange considering this conference is all about today.  Tradition is good, but tradition for tradition's sake is not.  That comment gave me a really bad taste in my mouth (this coming from a conservative Lutheran from ND).  Although I met quite a few people, I haven't seen or heard from any of them since the conference ended.  And I felt that the only reason many students were involved was to rub elbows with important people, which is the exact wrong reason to volunteer. 

Okay, I guess I'm still searching to come up with good things about the conference.  Which is bad, because I know that there are some.  After all, it's really great for a group of forward thinking people to come together and share their ideas with a group of people.  It's also really great for students to get involved in a cause that they feel passion for.  

I think I'll end with a few thoughts.  I asked one of the transportation workers, who could hardly stand up and stay awake by the end of the week, if it was worth it, and she answered "Yes," without hesitation, which I think says something.  Which is, for some people, it is worth it.  Secondly, maybe I'm selfish and wanted to get something out of the whole experience that I didn't.  If I had to guess what that thing was, I would say it would be a new group of friends, who are my peers, who have similar interests.  I didn't really get that, though, apparently, because I haven't seen any of them since then.  Thirdly, I am really grateful for the opportunity to be involved, because I did meet some really nice people, both students and panelists.  And I think I will be involved next year, but in a different capacity.  

I do apologize for whining and complaining so much about this and for giving everyone a bad impression.  This whole experience has reminded me a lot about my summer job in Medora.  (If you're a Medora tourist, you will not want to read what follows.)  In Medora, we do a lot of behind-the-scenes work.  Work that would, if the tourists knew about it, freak them out.  For example: rattlesnake, mouse, and insect control.  After all, we're encouraged not to eat the ice from the ice bins because of the number of dead rodents found in them.  Another example: cleaning the "stars" dressing rooms.  (Yes, I put "stars" in quotes, because... well... yeah.)  They are, for lack of a better word, pigs, and we are the ones who get to clean up after them.  Joy.  Those are the not-fun things that we deal with that the public would never know about.  I liken this to that.  Had I not been involved in the behind-the-scenes aspect of CWA, and only attended panels, I may have found it to be a great experience.  And maybe it really is.  After all, even though we put up with all of that crap in Medora, we keep going back.  Over and over...  Does that make sense?

Friday, April 02, 2010


About a month ago, a person who I vaguely know and only met once asked me to dogsit for her April 1st through 5th.  She offered a place to live (in Boulder) and a generous daily wage.  Because I love dogs and dearly miss my Lucky, I was more than willing to agree.  The only thing I wasn't too excited about was having to pick up his poop.  Blech.

Two weeks or so ago, she had me over to officially meet her chihuahua, Scooby.  It took him a minute or so to warm up to Pasha and me, but it was no big deal.  Before long, we had him running all over the apartment, chasing after his favorite toy.  Michelle told me all of the ground rules and everything was settled.  I may have even imagined him being sad that we left when we did.
So I wasn't expecting to have any problems when I let myself into Michelle's apartment yesterday afternoon.  

I was wrong.

I entered the apartment to a very, very unhappy dog.  He barked, snarled, barked, bared his teeth, barked, whined, barked, and barked.  And barked more.  I open the door to his kennel, and he would not come out. I was scheduled to have dinner with a friend in Longmont, so I really wanted to let him outside before I left, but whenever I even went into the bedroom, he would freak out.  

I let him bark non-stop for almost two hours before I gave up, and decided to leave to go to supper, hoping that things would be better when I came back for the night.  I mixed up his food and nervously put it into his kennel, but not without him snapping at me.  He wouldn't let me put his water dish in it.  And things weren't better when I got back.

When I returned, Scooby wouldn't even let me get near enough to open the kennel.  Whenever I put my hand near the handle, he would nip at my finger!  It was terrifying (although I tried not to show to him that I was scared).  Oh, and he barked and barked and barked.  

Now, I'm not one to call people when they are on vacation, but I was really worried for him.  I could handle the barking; I can sleep through anything.  What I would not be able to handle would be a dog peeing and pooping in his kennel for 5 days.  So I called Michelle, who could hear him barking.  We tried to put her on speakerphone, but he wouldn't listen.  She had no solutions, and couldn't believe he was acting so strangely.

She called a friend, who brought her dog over, and tried to get him to behave.  He came out of the kennel, but wouldn't let anyone near him.  And definitely wouldn't let us put on his leash to let him outside.  So we let him out without the leash, long enough to go to the bathroom, then brought him back in.  And thus commenced the hours of barking again.

Michelle's friend left, and I was back in the apartment.  Any quick moves would get Scooby barking and baring his teeth again.  It was not fun.  I began to ignore him completely.  I made Michelle's bed, and in the process, he jumped on the bed and wouldn't let me continue on.  He would just nip at me when I got near.

So I gave up on that, and decided to go to bed.  As soon as I crawled into the bed in the guest bedroom, there he was, whining at me, and looking at me with these eyes that said, "But aren't you going to let me sleep with you?"  So I grabbed the blanket off of the bed and went to the couch.
Just like that, we were best friends.  He crawled on top of me and slept there for a large part of the night.  Today, I left and came back, and it took him a good half hour to like me again, and I anticipate it will be that way every time I leave and come back, but at least now he'll let me feed him and take him outside.

This dog is crazy.  But I like him. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Believe it or not, but I think that Saturday was finally the official end of the airport saga.  Of course not many of you know that it continued on that long...  If you didn't know, let me fill you in.

If you didn't already read about my day/night on Tuesday, this will be confusing to you.  In order to catch up, please read this.

I did  end up sleeping, from about 4:30 to 6:00, when I woke up by chance just in time to catch the first bus from the airport to Broomfield.  As soon as I got on the bus, I fell asleep and woke up by chance just in time to get off of the bus to hop on the other bus to my house.  

There was slush everywhere.  It was nasty and cold and gross.  The bus driver let me off just past the bus stop because there was a mountain of snow in front of the actual stop.  I stepped off into a puddle of slush.  In my ballet flats.  That are about as far from waterproof as shoes come.  It was cold and wet and gross.  And I had to walk 3 blocks in that.

By the time I got home, my jeans were wet to the knee, and my feet had hypothermia.  If that's possible.  And I was still so so so tired.  I plugged my phone into my car charger, went inside and emailed my parents to inform them what had happened, and fell into my bad.

A few hours later, I woke up and began the process of getting my luggage and $200 back from Frontier airlines.  I don't want to get into all of the gory details, but let's say this: I made probably 30 phone calls, talked to 5 different people, spent literally hours on hold, and left lots of messages and emails.  Nothing was more frustrating, though, than trying to get in touch with baggage services.

I called and called and called and called, and they would not answer their phone.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, sounds exactly like when I lost my keys and called RTD endlessly to no avail, right?  Apparently Coloradans, along with being flaky, don't answer their phones.  After trying ALL day Wednesday, and all morning Thursday, I gave up and decided to just go back to the airport to talk to the baggage people in person.

Kenny, being the smart guy that he is, suggested that we take the bus and drink on the way.  So we did.  Nothing over-the-top, mind you, but we did drink.  I was normal while I talked to the lady at baggage services, but it took a lot of fortitude not to freak out when she relayed what she knew: Despite the fact that I had canceled my flight long before then, and the fact that I wasn't even supposed to be on the flight, they sent my bag to Fargo at 11:00 Wednesday morning.  I understand that they were probably trying to save time and money by sending all bags to Fargo on one flight, but that is really not helpful to me, seeing as how I canceled my trip.  Then, after I had given her my information, she told me that they wouldn't be able to deliver my bag.  Why?  Because I was late arriving to the airport.  Never mind the fact that the bag never should have been sent or that I had called her office 30 times trying to tell them not to send it, or even just to talk to a person...

Whatever.  Finally, on Saturday morning, they called me to tell me that my bag had come back.  5 days after I was scheduled to fly.  So I took the bus to the airport one last time and got my life back. 

And I think that's the end.  I think.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The "Fun" Continues...

And by "fun," I mean not fun.  Not even a little fun.  Not fun at all, actually.  It's a good thing I like airports.

I'm not really sure why, but I decided that because I had nothing else to do for Spring Break, I would go home to the good ol' NoDak. There was no particular reason for me wanting to go, and nothing to do there, but I felt like it.  So Mom and Dad booked me a ticket that would (theoretically) arrive in Fargo on Tuesday night at 10:53 pm, and I'd leave the state on Saturday morning at 6:10.  A short trip, but worth it.  I had all sorts of plans for the time that I'd be home, and not nearly enough time to do it all in.

My flight was scheduled to leave on Tuesday night at 7:42 pm.  A Frontier flight.  Please keep in mind that Kenny warned me not to fly Frontier, because he used to work for them.  He also told me not to buy a cheap ticket, because that only exacerbates the problem.

Suffice it to say I went completely against his advice and did both.  Yes, both. Kenny,  you can freely say, "I told you so."

I wanted to be adventurous and to save a little cash on the trip, so I chose to take the Skyride Bus to DIA.  Usually not a problem.  The forecast for here had snow in it, but it didn't sound like anything toooo major.  Pasha planned to come and pick me up at my house and drop me at the bus stop as soon as his piano test was done.  Great plan, except that at a little after 3:00, it started snowing.  Hard.  And his bus coming from Boulder was late. Very late. 

I thought everything would still be fine, though. After all, my bus wasn't scheduled to leave the park and ride until 4:51 pm.  I still had plenty of time.  Except that I didn't, because that's how late everything was running.  Along with the snow, traffic was wretched, and no one was getting anywhere quickly.  I began to run my options over in my head.  I could drive to the park and ride, but I'm not allowed to park there for free because I still have ND plates.  I had already missed the bus that came before 4:51, because it only comes once an hour.  I could take the toll road to the airport, but then I'd have to park my car at the airport and pay a daily fee.  Or I could wait.  After all, Pasha shouldn't be that much longer.

Well, he arrived at my house at 4:45.  Because that's how bad the traffic was in the weather.  He said, "There's no way your bus is making it on time, either."  I called RTD to double-check that theory, and he was right.  We had plenty of time.  Except that it took us 15 minutes to go 4 blocks in town.  Not even kidding.  It was wretched.  I called once again, and still had time.  Too much time.

The bus that was supposed to have arrived at 4:51 arrived at 5:41.  No lies.  I knew that there was no way I was making it to the airport, but remained optimistic.  Maybe, just maybe.  No.  The highway was awful.  Traffic was killer, the weather was killer, life was killer.  I had no hope.  When I arrived at the airport at a little after 8:00, more than 2 hours after my scheduled arrival time, I went to the ticket counter and said, "I was supposed to be on the 7:42 flight to Fargo, but my bus just arrived 2 hours late."  The lady made a phone call and said, "Okay, well, get going.  They haven't left yet."  

I half-ran to my gate, only to find out that we still didn't have a plane or a crew.  Whew.  Made it in plenty of time.  After about an hour, they began boarding us.  Yaaaaaayyyy!  Mom and Dad had been in Fargo for hours already, waiting for me, keeping in contact to see if/when I'd be leaving.  They were probably just as excited as I was, if not more.  

So after boarding, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And then when they tried to start the engines, one wouldn't because of too much ice built up.  So they knocked it free with brooms (high-quality maintenance there), but it wouldn't hold, so they called a de-icer over.  But before the de-icer made it over, they decided to cancel our flight.  After we had sat on the plane for about an hour, give or take a few minutes.  

Awesome.  So I called everyone and told them, and went to stand in line to talk to a gate agent.  Let me tell you how long that line was.  I can't even tell you, except that it took over 3 hours to get to the front.  And the rumor mill was grinding the whole time.  And during that period of time in my life, my cell phone died.  And my charger was in my checked baggage.  That was a problem.  A big one.  Now, I had nothing.  No way of contacting people.  

When I finally made it to the front of the line, I found my options.  I could get on a flight at 7:42 pm on Wednesday instead of Tuesday, or I could call and try to get a refund.  I decided to do both.  I'm officially checked in to leave DIA tomorrow night, one day later than I was originally scheduled for.  Which isn't so bad, except that no one knows that, because I can't call them and tell them.  And I went to go and get my checked bag to get my phone charger, but they wouldn't let me until tomorrow because there are just too many bags.  

So here I am, hanging out in DIA.  It's almost 4:00 in the morning, and I'm waiting for the first bus out of here, which leaves at 6:15 so that I can go home, charge my phone, and call my mom and the refund people.  The problem is that because my phone is dead, I have no alarm clock.  I'm afraid to fall asleep because I don't want to miss the bus.  And I have some decisions to make.  See, I'm scheduled to leave ND so early on Saturday morning that a trip my not be worth my time, unless I can't get a refund at all.  Then, I may as well go, just so as not to lose out on my $220.  Except that then Mom and Dad have to pick me up.  Again.  

What a mess. 

Someday soon, I'll tell you why I really like airports.  Just not today.  I don't like airports today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Worst Weekend of My Life

Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but actually, I'm not.  Last weekend sucked my life.  Seriously.

Let me start at the beginning, which actually was really good, and didn't really allow me to predict how bad the rest of the weekend would be.

On Friday night, I learned that my friend Katie's friends Kyle and Samantha were meeting up in Denver in order to celebrate what is apparently famously known as "Fake Patty's."  I would liken it to Jamestown's yearly "Running of the Green," except that in Denver, there's a 4-hour parade and no one really runs through the streets getting excessively intoxicated.  Instead, they just hang out at bars and get excessively intoxicated.  Because they're cool kids, they invited me to join them.

Now, the only problem with their plan, which wasn't exactly a problem, was that they wanted to start drinking at 7:00 am.  Considering I've never had a drink before noon in my life, to start drinking that early would probably kill me.  Instead, I agreed to meet them at 9:00 am, which also ended up being a problem...  More on that to come.

So Friday night, the boy and I headed to Denver with a friend and her friends in order to go clubbing.  Please note that Raissa had, until then, never really been clubbing before, and she was a little nervous about it.  I mean... I hate dancing.  Unless I'm drunk.  And it's a part of "cultured" society that I've never experienced, so I wasn't sure what exactly to expect.  It ended up being a fine experience overall, although not something that I'd like to do all the time.  As I tell people here: I prefer trashy small-town bars.  

We were at the bar until about 2:00, and didn't get home until 2:30.  I did have a few drinks while we were out.  Nothing excessive, just enough to make me comfortable dancing in front of people who I know.  By the time I had wound down and actually could sleep, it was probably 4:00 am.  Needless to say, I probably wouldn't make it back to Denver before 9:00 am.  Instead, I got up at about 9:00, and after weighing my options, decided to take the bus to Denver.  Pasha and I had plans to see CU's most recent opera production, Don Giovanni, on both Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2:00.  In order for me to have a few drinks while in Denver, but still make it to Boulder in one piece, the bus would be smartest.

I arrived in Denver shortly after noon, and, after a bit of searching, I found Kyle and Sam.  Drunk.  I was way behind, but wasn't really ready to play catch-up.  After having lunch, I began to drink with them.  We spent some time in the Sports Column, where they totally randomly ran into the same random guys who they had been drinking with in that bar the year before.  The guys kept buying beer, and we kept drinking it. I had 3 beers-ish and one shot before we had to leave when one of our party was kicked out.  I was still feeling fine when we landed at The Fainting Goat, but by the time we left I had had 2 long island teas and was feeling gooood, if you get me. 

Kyle and Sam dropped me at Union Station a little before 6:00.  After wandering around for quite some time, I finally found my gate.  The bus was scheduled to leave at 6:02.  I looked down at 6:00 and realized that I had no keys, which also had my bus pass attached.  I searched through my purse and pockets at least 8 times, but had no luck finding them.  I had no idea if I had left them on the bus on my way down or if I had lost them somewhere in downtown Denver.  I immediately started freaking out.  If I missed that bus, then I might miss the opera, for which Pasha had bought the tickets.  In addition to really wanting to see the show, I didn't want it to have been a waste of his money.  

After thinking for five seconds, I realized if I had lost my keys that meant that I couldn't get into my car.  My only spare keys were in my house, which I was locked out of because Kenny was in the opera and was already in Boulder.  Then, I realized that I had no cash and therefore no way to get onto a bus if there was another one coming that would get me to Boulder on time.  And even if I could get cash, it would be a $20 bill and bus drivers don't dispense change.  Needless to say, I was freaking out and had no solution.  And was tired.  And was tipsy.  All of these things together resulted in tears.  Lots of them.  

I called Pasha to see if he had an easy solution to my problem.  Being the nice guy that he is, he called RTD Lost and Found and learned that if I had left my keys on the bus, I couldn't find out until Monday because it was presently Saturday and they don't catalog lost and found from the weekends until Monday afternoon.  So I was still freaking out.

I saw a cute old security guard who I approached and asked for advice.  It was at about this time that my phone started telling me that it would die at any moment.  I said to the nice man, "Excuse me?  Could you possibly help me?"  (Keep in mind that I was still crying.)  He said, "I can try."  I said, "Okay, here's my problem.  I think I left my keys on an earlier bus, and I now have to get to Boulder.  I have no cash and have a time limit.  I can't find an ATM, and even if I find an ATM, I have no way to get change."  And started crying even harder.  He pointed me toward and ATM and suggested I ask the Amtrak man to give me change, considering my situation.  He also told me to stop crying.  I followed half of his advice.  Not the crying part.

After finding an ATM and getting change from the Amtrak man, I found the next bus to Boulder, which left at 6:36.  Pasha and I had called back and forth 4 or 5 times, trying to find the fastest and most economical way to Boulder from Broomfield.  I was still crying when the bus showed up.  I asked the driver what the fare was, and successfully boarded.  And cried the whole way to Broomfield, where Pasha picked me up and very kindly produced a meal for me.  We made it to Boulder with 5 minutes to spare, and enjoyed Giovanni mucho.  That is, I enjoyed what I saw of it; I probably slept through half.

After the show was over and we had congratulated the performers, we headed to a house party.  I had had enough to drink in the afternoon, and refrained from drinking that night, but still didn't get home until 2:30 am.  If you include the time change, it was more like 3:30 am.  I had to be in Denver by 10:00 the next morning to sing for a church choir.  And I couldn't skip because they were paying me.  In short, I got about 5 hours asleep total.  Again. 

And slept through about half of the opera on Sunday afternoon.  Again.  And went to an after-party.  Again.  And had nothing to drink.  Again.  It was snowing on Sunday, and I had worn heels.  There was a secret back entrance to the house that consisted of 12 or so wooden stairs.  When it came to be time to leave, I offered to give two unsighted individuals a ride to the bus station, since I was dropping Pasha there, anyway.  I didn't want them to go down the crazy secret stairs, so offered to take my car around to the front of the house to pick them up.  I left out the back door alone and began the descent.  As soon as I hit the first step, my heel slipped on the ice, and I slid down the remainder of them, with my left leg tucked under me.  My shin hit every step on the way down, and when I finally reached the bottom, I had lost one shoe, my pants were soaked, and I could hardly place all of my weight on my left leg without assistance from any nearby sturdy object.

Thankfully, no one saw.  I successfully made it to the bus station, where I realized I didn't have my cell phone.  I assumed that it had fallen out of my pocket during my tumble down the stairs, and headed all the way back to the party location.  There, I found my cell phone on the ground.  Once I finally got to driving home, I texted Kenny to see if he was still home.  He and I had been keeping in good touch in order to know whether to leave the door locked or unlocked, or where they key had been hidden, etc.  After the opera, he had gone home to shower and I assumed he'd know to leave the door unlocked for me.

He didn't.  He had assumed that I would be at the party all night, and I didn't tell him otherwise, so I was locked out and had nowhere to go.  Except to Pasha's.  Which wouldn't have been so bad except that I had homework to do, but it was locked in my house, along with my computer and more comfortable clothes.  I had planned to do homework, laundry, and clean my bathroom, and now I couldn't do any of it.

By the time I got to Pasha's house, he wasn't home yet, and I waited in my car for 5 or 10 minutes.  I was sad.  And tired.  And frustrated.  So when he arrived, we went in, and the combination of frustration, exhaustion, and overwhelmed-ness led me to cry.  For over an hour.  Without stopping.  I ended up falling asleep in all of my clothes until 6:00 am, when I had to drive home, take a shower, do homework, and get to school.

All that was left was for me to hope like hell that the Regional Transportation District (RTD) had my keys.  When a person calls RTD, they get a message that tells them something like this, "If you've lost something on a Denver bus route, call this number.  If you've lost something on a Boulder bus route, call this number."  Okay, well, the bus I took to Denver sounded a lot to me like a Denver bus route.  So between the hours of noon (since I couldn't call until then) and 3:30 pm, I called the Denver RTD Lost & Found a minimum of 30 times, and No. One. Answered.  EVER.  I was very frustrated.

Finally, at 3:30 pm, I reached a live person.  Me: "Hi, I think I left my keys on a bus on Saturday."  Him: "Sure, what bus?"  Me: "The L between Broomfield and Denver."  Him: "That's a Boulder route, so you should call the Boulder number."  Me: "Really?  Even though I took it to Denver?"  Him: "Yes."  Me: "Okay. thanks."  

To this day, I don't understand why my keys would be at the Boulder station, but I don't care.  If they would be there, it would save me a trip to Denver to get the keys.  So I called Boulder.  "Hi, I think I left my keys on a bus on Saturday."  He asked me to describe them, I did, and he had them!  I heard the "Hallelujah Chorus" from The Messiah in my head and told him I'd be right there.

End story, right?  Wrong.

The Boulder RTD office is Downtown.  On a Monday afternoon, it's impossible to park downtown without paying, which I expected, so whatever.  I drove there while talking to Jettie, found a spot, got out, walked to the parking meter, put my money in, and went back to my car to put the receipt into my window.  While I was there, I crawled into the backseat to get my wallet out of my backpack, in case they wanted me to prove that I was me.  I locked the doors and walked away, still talking to Jettie.

Ten feet later, I let out an expletive, and started walking back to my car.  Sure enough, there were both of my spare keys in the backseat next to my backpack.  Locked in.  Because I'm that smart.  Thank goodness that I was downtown to get my keys, because the last thing I wanted to do was pay a locksmith.

In the end, it all worked out, I guess.  The process of getting it to work out was not fun...  Let's hope I start using my brain more efficiently. And SOON!  So that I no longer have such awful weekends!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Losing It

I have no time to write.  Really.  

I've officially lost it.  Seriously.  Lost it.

My brain is fried.  Thank heaven Spring Break is coming.

I'll tell you more later.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lusk, The End

When one goes to bed, wasted, at 4:00 in the morning, it's hard to get up at what I would normally consider a decent hour.  Instead, we got up at about noon, and it took Shauna and I a long time to muster the energy to roll out of bed.  Jettie, on the other hand, that hooker, doesn't get hangovers, and was up at practically 6:00 am, bright and sunshiny.  After taking 2 hours or so to get up and get ready, hungover beyond all measure, we headed out on the town to eat lunch. Thinking back on it, all we did that whole day was eat and sleep.  Awesome.

The Pizza Place had been recommended by a student of Jettie and the clerk of our hotel, so we headed that way.  Now, you can't make this stuff up: As we were walking down Main Street, one of our old man friends from the night before drove by and honked at us.  Hilarious.

The Pizza Place had excellent breadsticks and pizza, which served to soak up some of the alcohol that was still in our systems from the night before.  We also consumed large amounts of caffeine in order to make it through the day.  The food was excellent, the customer service was phenomenal, and the atmosphere (considering it was 2:30 in the afternoon) was wonderful.  We had a really great experience there.

We tried really hard to go shopping that afternoon in downtown Lusk, but the only thing that was open was the local drugstore, and their selection of Lusk souvenirs was scant, at best.  Instead of souvenirs, Shauna bought a case of water to help us make it through the day without dying of dehydration.  And somehow, even after 8 hours of passed-out sleep, we needed a nap.   We staved it off long enough to check out the end of main street that we hadn't yet seen.  We literally almost got run over by some lady backing out of her driveway (not used to pedestrians, I guess).  We found some sweet chairs outside of another hotel.  

Oh, and we got honked at.  Again.  By someone we didn't know.  Ha!

It was then nap time.  We were tired.  When we finally woke up from our nap, we decided to eat.  Again.  Supper this time.  We walked down the street to the Triangle 4, where we ordered daiquiris and were given sugar and rum.  They were so disgusting that we couldn't drink them.  Or maybe it was the hangover.  But really, it was the drink.

After a quick stop at the hotel, we went back to the Silver Dollar Bar, where the crowd was much younger than it had been the previous night.  The bartenders were sad that we were so much more mellow and that there was no hope of me drinking again.  Between the hours of 8 and 2, I had 3 drinks, and I was fine with it. 

Sunday morning, we got up and left town, leaving Lusk with memories of the crazy girls from ND.  We warned them, though, to watch out for next year...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lusk - Part 1

When Jettie came to Boulder in October, we made preliminary plans to meet somewhere between Boulder and Medora sometime before summertime.  When Jettie plans something, it happens.  She's not one of those people who says, "Oh, hey, we should go to Las Vegas for a weekend once!" and then forgets about it.  If she says it, she likely means it's going to happen.  It therefore follows that her plan to meet somewhere between Boulder and Medora happened.
The meeting place turned out to be Lusk, WY, population somewhere around 1300.  We picked it because it's small (we like small town, trashy bars), approximately halfway between Boulder and Medora, and we thought it would have cowboys (that was much more important when both she and I were single).  I had been warned by a co-worker who had taken a similar trip once that the townfolk would either love us or hate us.  We were hoping they would love us, but expected they would hate us.
The drive took around four and a half hours, and I arrived about an hour before Jettie and Shauna.  I had a drink while I was waiting, and as soon as they arrived, we commenced drinking.  Keep in mind here that none of us had eaten supper yet.  After finishing our drinks, we left our motel and headed downtown, toward the Silver Dollar Bar, which turned out to be populated by an older crowd, in their 40's (?), 50's (?), and 60's (?), and they were happy to see us.  They were asking our names, why we were in Lusk, what we do, etc., etc., etc., while we had a drink and a shot.  When it was our turn to ask questions, we asked where we could get supper, and everyone's reply was "Fresh Start."  Fresh Start is the 24-hour convenience store.  Classy.
As we left to head to Fresh Start, already a little tipsy, a man came out of the bar after us and said, "Hey!  Where you ladies going?"  To which we replied, "We'll be back!"  At Fresh start, we had a wonderful "supper" of cold sandwiches, gas station nachos, and a jumbo cookie, all of which we ate while sitting on the curb outside of the place, watching at least 4 cops drive by 3 times each.  Literally.
Having eaten, we went to what the locals had called the bar for the young crowd, The Pub. We were not nearly as welcomed at The Pub.  People were staring, glaring, and the bartender was not nearly as friendly as the other two had been at the Silver Dollar.  We had our two drinks and high-tailed it out of there, back to the Silver Dollar, where our new-found friends were.
Much like what happened on my birthday, which is the last time that I drank with Shauna and Jettie, I don't remember much of the rest of the time at the bar.  I know that I sang a lot of karaoke, there was much dancing, much drinking, and lots of older men.  (And no cowboys.  Boo.)  I fell on my face on the dance floor when I tripped over the microphone cord.  But they loved us.  Even the bartenders thought we were a riot, and kept our drinks full for us.
At some point, the younger men that we had seen at The Pub came over, and now that both us and they were drunk, they decided they could talk to us.  I was pretty angry about the fact that they had been too good for us earlier, but suddenly wanted to be our friends.  They seemed nice enough, but not as nice as our older friends and dance partners.
They bought us drinks, Shauna got one of their numbers, and we inquired about an after-party.  This part of the night is very blurry in my memory.  Jettie tells me we were going to walk to these boys' house to play beer pong, when they drove by and decided to pick us up.  We shoved ourselves into their car, making a total of 7 of us in it.  I don't remember much, except that I couldn't close the door.  Even though the door was open, they kept driving.  I was freaking out.  Freaking out.  Why?  Well, my line of reasoning went something like this:
"Oh my gooooodneeeesss!!!  The car door is going to slam closed on my foot!  I'm going to lose my toes!  If I lose my toes, then I can't walk!  If I can't walk, I can't be a famous opera singer!  Stop the caaaaaar!"
They didn't stop the car, despite my screaming and bawling.  Yes, bawling.  Full-out crying.  When we arrived at the dude's place, Jettie and I stood outside so that she could console me.  Once she finally calmed me down, we went inside.
I was done.  I just wanted to sleep.  I couldn't sleep because I had the spins.  Bad.  I spent some time in the bathroom, wishing that I had a gag reflex so that I could get rid of the alcohol in my system, but alas, that strategy doesn't work for me.  After about an hour of mostly failed attempts, I laid on the couch and fell asleep, until Jettie woke me at nearly 4:00 am.
I apparently missed a lot of exciting stuff while I was sleeping.  Curtis, one of the boys, punched the wall.  Shane?  Shawn?  was mad because Shauna wasn't paying attention to him.  Some random girls were so angry that we were at the party that they said to the boys, "Don't you want real women?  Not some girls from North Dakota?"  (One was from SD, so I doubt that she was any better than the three of us.)  I slept through it all.
We had to walk back to our motel.  Jettie kept us going by continually telling us, "It's just a few more blocks."  Yeah, it was a bit farther than a few more blocks, but we eventually made it.  And we passed out until noon the next day...