Bicycles and Revelations

If you see this bike, it's MINE!!!

So….my Pee-Wee Herman style bike was stolen on Friday night.

Never did I expect to get so emotional about it. It’s just a bike, right? I can buy a new one, right?

No, I can’t. That was MY bike. Some bastard has it that totally has no clue what the bike means to me.

But it’s just a bike, right? Nope. I never thought I’d feel this way about my bike. Since March, it’s been my only mode of transport. I ride it to work, out for drinks with friends, show up at clubs with it, put it on the bike rack on the bus and take it to Golden or Boulder, to the park for a picnic, down to the coffee shop for a day of nonsense, to the farmers’ market and grocery shopping, or I just cruise around town late at night to clear my head. This bike has been my only friend at times. The only thing I could depend on to carry me.

We’ve had a ton of good times. We’ve gone on the Wednesday and Sunday rides with the Denver Cruisers, all over Santa Fe, the various biking dates along with all the times men have asked me out because they saw me pull up on my bike, watching the sun set at the Denver Science and History Museum while drinking a bottle of wine with friends…the list goes on.

I know every inch of that bike. It’s like knowing a lover. I know every ding and scratch and how they got there. I can feel when something is wrong with it like the gears are doing something funny or the wheels feel like they’re even slightly wobbly. I’ve crashed that bike so many times, whether it was due to drinking a smidge too much or it was some asshole speed skater pushing me over, but it kept going. It’s built like a freaking tank and took just as much power to pedal it. It makes riding other bikes much easier because they’re all light-weights in comparison.

That bike never gave up on me.

It was a gift to myself when I graduated from a trade school. I shouldn’t have spent the money but I always tell myself “buy what you love” and when I laid eyes on it for the first time… I loved it. Through the grimy window of the Schwinn shop at Colfax and Adams, I fell in love with a beautiful red and white Schwinn 7 Alloy. Seven gears, two side baskets, and the memory of how much I had wanted a Pee-Wee Herman bike as a young teen propelled me into that store and pull out my credit card. I remember feeling giddy as I walked it out of the store and hopped on it for the first time. The rush of being on a bike again, my hair blowing in the wind, and a May day being the most perfect day ever.

That’s what a bicycle can do. 

It can change your whole perspective in an instant. It changes you mentally, emotionally, and physically if you let it.

And you learn how to always get up when you get knocked down.

Botanic Gardens, Two Bottles of Wine, and a First Date

This is on my brother's fridge. Apropos for my Saturday night.

As I sit on my couch and recount this tale, I will say this is a warning. Do NOT do this on a first date. I am a trained professional at making an ass of myself. With Gershwin and a cup of coffee I will retell my tale of laughter and accidental drunkeness with Hollywood (you know I don’t give names!).

“So…um…would you like to go out on a date with me sometime?”

It was just so endearing. He did the adult version of kicking the dirt with his feet. How could I possibly say no? I had been coming into the store where Hollywood worked for weeks in a row. I never really lead on that I thought he was handsome but perhaps it was stopping to have extended conversations with him that did it. Or maybe it was my comment in this particular meeting that I’m a pagan and well…I’m going on a camping trip and we get a bit crazy with Dionysus. Who knows? Either way, he got the balls up to ask.

This past Saturday night we met on the playing field of the first date. A Denver Botanic Gardens membership, bottle of red, bottle of white, a pack of smokes, and two strangers that have an attraction. GAME ON!

Many events happen at the Gardens on a summer Saturday night such as weddings, charity events, anniversary parties, you get the gist. I show up on my bike and am waiting only a few minutes when I see Hollywood. He navigates through the throng of wedding attendants, regular patrons and random passers-by to my perch on the bike rack wall. He hides the bottle of red I brought in his backpack. We make our way into the Gardens with the contraband wine, walk around a bit while he tells a tale of his grandfather (he invented Spring Break…hilarious!), and as it starts to rain on our 2 person parade, we find a cozy little spot that hides us in a bunch of pine trees.

Hollywood takes out the chilled bottle of white. A Gewürztraminer from the Willamette Valley in Oregon! Brownie points for him! Then 2 wine glasses follow. Actual glass. More brownie points for style. Good wine, interesting conversation, out in nature, and then he asks if I mind if he smokes. I only mind if you don’t give me one. Talk about bad kids breaking the rules! Bottle number one is down for the count and we start on bottle number two but not without an intermission, aka a potty break. Since we’re so far back in the Gardens, we have no clue where the nearest bathroom is so we do a little bushwacking to where Cheeseman Park butts up to the property line. I pop a squat and he’s looking at me, “AHEM! Be a gentleman and turn around!”. I think he was so stunned that I didn’t say we should try to find the bathrooms he forgot all his manners. Of course, that really didn’t matter to me. His job was to watch for any pedestrians coming our way, not watch me.

As the deed is done, we hear people coming our way so I do what I’ve been taught to do in the movies…pretend you’re making out to serve as a distraction and cover up. What can I say? It does actually work. Silly Americans and your adversity to public displays of affection.

We decide to walk the Gardens a bit more (flip flops off which was so nice to do) and end up, again, at the back in the Japanese  section on a very long bench. We continue drinking the red wine, having a wonderful conversation, feeling the moist earth under our feet as night time falls on us. The Gardens are becoming more quite as the Christmas lights in the trees become brighter. I love the Gardens at night. It makes me want to put my fairy wings on and go running around and climbing trees. I’m not really sure how it happened, but he kissed me. It started out as one of those passionately tender kisses, the kind that make you melt and rile up all those butterflies in your stomach. Then it became the kind of kiss that grabs you in the primal parts of your body and soul and nothing else exists except the two of you. I was aware that a few people started to walk the path where we were, then an ‘Oh!’ was heard and the steps went away.

I have no clue how long we were there kissing. It had been such a long time since I had felt such overwhelming passion and lust from just kissing, I didn’t care who saw us. Except when you realize there’s a flashlight on you and a guy saying, “The Gardens are closing. Make your way to the gate, please.”

Seriously, I felt like we were two teenagers making out minus the embarrassment of getting caught.

We make our way towards the main gate with a detour to the bathrooms. On the way, we walk through what looks like a separate event from the wedding that happened earlier. After our potty break, Hollywood gets the slim idea of seeing if they’d give us some wine. Man after my own heart….they give us two PINT glasses filled with white wine! Whoa! Hey, what’s over there? A big tent with soft lights on the lawn…perfect for dancing under. So of course we set the wine down and try our hand at the waltz. I’m laughing my ass off because we’re totally not doing the waltz (I’ve had dope training in waltz, foxtrot, and salsa), there’s no music, and we’re barefoot in the grass. As we’re laughing and dancing, the SAME GUY comes by and says EXACTLY the same thing. He’s apparently very into his job.

We finally make it to the main gate. My wine had taken a spill in the grass so my cup had maybe 3oz in it. Hollywood had about half a cup left. We drained our cups and made our way out onto the street. It was a beautiful night so we sat on the wall by my bike for a bit. We had started this date at 6pm and it was quite late now especially since we both had to work the next day. We started kissing again and the world went away. And then suddenly it came crashing back as we both tumbled about 2 feet off the wall into some pretty tough long grass. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t find my sunglasses! He helped me up, then bent over the wall and like magic they were in his hands. I decided that some water might be a good idea even though I was feeling pretty good, just a little dehydrated. I took a big sip. We kept kissing.

And it happened.

In no more than 2 minutes did my stomach protest the ingestion of something besides wine. The world started to spin and I said, “I don’t think the wine is mixing with the water very well…” and my brain said to my conscience, “Hey, I think we forgot to eat dinner before this date…” Whoops.

New guideline for living: Eat dinner before you meet a date for drinks. Yakking not fun on a first date.

Old guideline re-instated: Do not mix your drinks, i.e. white wine, then red wine, then champagne, then 2 shots of vodka…you get the idea. That was on a night about 4.5 years ago. Stick to what you start with.

We ended up laying down by the bike rack together, hidden from the sidewalk and road by a row of plants and a 2 foot wall. My head was on his chest, I could hear his heartbeat and feel him breathe. I love that. It’s just so relaxing for me to hear a heartbeat with the warmth of a chest under my cheek. Little to our knowledge, the Moonlight Ride was happening on the other side of the wall. We heard bells and peaked up over our man-made fox hole. Hundreds of bikers, young and old, passing by us and going into the parking garage. Great. I am Teresa’s sense of “Oh Shite, I hope no one recognizes me”.

Apparently Hollywood had dinner along with a better tolerance to wine (the tannins get me every freaking time) so he loaded up my bike in his car and drove me the 8 blocks home. Those were the 8 longest blocks in history. For all the fun it was, I was sure that this was going to be the first and last date. I fortified my senses, ready for the blow of “Yeah, I’ll call you later this week…” Translation: I am so totally not calling you ever again. Hollywood pulls up in front of my building, pulls my bike out, kisses me good night and asks if I would want to go on another date. What? For real?

Tonight: The Second Date

Wish me luck. We’re going for sushi.

Wine Mixing Traditions

Now that is a cup for wine!

This was a workshop that my most awesome friend, Candice, and I put together. She and her husband own a winery/meadery in Colorado named Dithyramb Winery. Therefore the subject was one of interest. We found some interesting info on top of some tasty recipes. The ancient Romans and Greeks thought it was barbaric to drink wine undiluted. Candice found this piece written by Eubulus in his circa 375BC play Semele or Dionysus concerning the consumption of wine:

“Three bowls do I mix for the temperate: one to health, which they empty first, the second to love and pleasure, the third to sleep. When this bowl is drunk up, wise guests go home. The fourth bowl is ours no longer, but belongs to violence; the fifth to uproar, the sixth to drunken revel, the seventh to black eyes, the eight is the policeman’s, the ninth belong to biliousness, and the tenth to madness and hurling the furniture.”

This exert is what made the wheels in my mind spin with the thought of doing a workshop such as this:

WEDDING WINE

from Elizabeth Cunningham’s The Passion of Mary Magdalen

I don’t know exactly what was in the wine.
It tasted fiery and sweet.
I suspect it was red mead: Maeve Rhuad
Mead mixed with red wine.
An intimate joke, a pun made by the Bridegroom
that only the Bride would understand.
Its effect transcended any ingredient.
It was like drinking life itself:
new-turned earth, sun, wind scented with sea,
blossoms opening at first light, the ripe perfection of fruit—
the elements gathered on our tongues, lingering on our breath.
It was like drinking love itself,
the passion of the Bride and Bridegroom distilled,
shared among the guests,
flowing in all our veins, rivers from a single rise.
If we were drunk, we were divinely drunk.
We were in love. In Love. All of us.
None of us could bear to part that night.
The stars were so beautiful. We were so beautiful.
In the end, we all slept together,
no one alone, each one beloved. 

As we shared what we had learned, we passed clay cups (the Greeks used a kylix during symposiums which were “drinking parties” for general socializing) filled with the different concoctions to share with each other. We had fun exploring this alternate world of wine, so for all the peeps who attended the workshop this past week and all you on the inter-webs, here are the recipes:

The Ancient Greek/Roman Way – 3 parts water to 1 part red wine (I find a half n half mix is nice, not too diluted but helps chase off the potential headache in the morning)

Muslum – Mix honey in with red wine, to your taste.

Maeve Rhuad – 1 part red wine to 1 part mead

Mulled Wine – well, I don’t really have a recipe, but I bought the spice mix from a quaint place called Savory. Check them out at http://www.savoryspiceshop.com. After passing this cup around we added some water and mead to the mix and it took alot of bite off.

Turk’s Blood – 3oz champagne, 2oz red wine

French Monkey – 2/3 glass red, 1/2 glass Orangina (I used San Pellegrino Orange)

Seaside Summerbliss – 2 parts red wine, 3 parts sweet apple cider

Red Wine Cooler – 4oz red wine, 2oz lemon/lime soda, 2oz ginger ale (it was mentioned that just ginger ale was better)

If anyone has any other wine mixing recipes/traditions, old world or modern, please feel free to post them!

Cheers!

Wine, Camping, and Radio Flyer Wagons: Part I

This past week, I was at a private festival that celebrates wine and the Greek god Dionysus. It’s a yearly event for me and it has this odd way of resetting my sanity and perception of the world. Many of us come from different parts of the country to this event, sometimes being the only time we see each other during the course of the year. We laugh, we cry, we do rituals, we teach workshops, we dance around a bonfire to the sound of drums, and we fall asleep to the sound of other people having sex or having a good laugh. It’s a magical time of introspection, of extraversion, of being able to be who you really are in the safety of the people who accept you for the real you. It’s the best time of just letting go. Letting go of everything. Especially since there is no cell phone service.

This year was a me year. No significant other tailing me. Not even a “benefits” friend. Just lil’ ole me. It was perfect.

I have broken something every year I’ve been going. The previous years I broke hearts except for last year. Last year I broke a tent (it was tied to my car to keep it from flying away….whoops…). This year I broke NOTHING! Oh wait, I did break something. My perception of myself and where I’m going. But that’s coming. Just wait.

Tuesday and Wednesday I couldn’t stay during the day yet still journeyed to the festival in the evening for revelries and slumber. There’s nothing like sleeping outdoors especially when one has a memory foam topper for their queen size air mattress and a king size down comforter to keep them warm.

Tuesday Night: After a torrential downpour and almost getting stuck on a mud road, I arrive at the festival for the first night. I am greeted by a variety of people, yet looking for where my cohort (Amber) had placed our encampment. Before I can find her, I am whisked off to the opening for the main dome.  The couple who put this event together are good friends of mine. As the rules of this plush, foam padded, multi-pillowed, fake fur lined dome are explained to the participants who are there, I am playing a game of foot wrestling with the wife. After the rules are explained, I hear a shout for Greco-Roman wrestling and suddenly I am tumbling around on the squishy floor, the wife and I laughing hysterically. It was a good way to start the night.

Note: Last year, my friend Jason and I got into a really good match. He does a lot of martial arts training. It was a proud moment for me to give him a run for his money. I am like an Altoid: curiously strong.

After hanging in the dome for awhile, I head a few paces away to the other dome which was being called the nipple (due to its shape) by the end of the festival. The nipple had blow-up recliners and couches. AWESOME! After listening to (and participating in) some conversations about giving head and anal sex, I strike a question to Spanky. I’ve known Spanky for years and know the person he is. I’ve met his wife once (I think) so I asked how things have been between them. He waves the question off a bit saying he could use my advice on love. A comment that I don’t exactly remember was chimed in, something to the tune that I was jaded on love. The most surprising thing came out of Spanky’s mouth…she still believes in love or else she wouldn’t be here.

Do I still believe in love? Of course I do. As much as it breaks my heart, I am a romantic. I still believe after so many failed relationships and a divorce that there is someone out there for me. There’s a lot of someones’ that fill/will fill the gap until I finally bump into him, but he’s out there. Somewhere. He’s waiting for me too. Ok, I hope he’s out there waiting for me.

Realization #1: I had become so grumpy about the lack of good men, actual dateable MEN (not boys or guys) that are around my age, I had come off as jaded about love. How sad! Now, how to fix that?!

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some good guys out there that will make amazing partners from some woman. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit different. It’s hard finding a guy that willing to put up with me, my crazy friends, AND who isn’t a wall flower. I’m a force of nature. I need someone just as strong and open-minded. Geez, that felt like a speed dating intro.

Next: Wednesday and the arrival of Greylin

This is my happy place. Ok...one of my happy places.