The Re-learned Stealing Lesson

“MOTHERFUCKER IS STEALING YOUR BIKE!!!!!”

In the 37 years I’ve been on this planet, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten out of bed and dressed so fast as when I heard those words from my roommate last night. One might think that being woken up by someone beating a metal trash can and blaring Welcome to the Jungle by Gun and Roses would. At mini-bootcamp that was expected.

I was not expecting it at 10:30pm last night as I had just drifted off to dreamtime.

The dynamics of my new hood are this: There’s a light rail station about a block and a half down the alley. Which has turned it into the undesignated highway for pedestrians of all sorts. For some strange reason, it is also oddly high in vehicle traffic. Pretty much all of our neighbors park behind their homes but there seems to be extra traffic. Why, I’m not quite sure yet, but my old instincts say it has to do with either stealing or dumpster diving. There’s a school right across the street, so I always hope that it keeps some of the hood traffic more behaved. On the overall, the hood isn’t the best, it is so-called “up and coming” with a mix of peeps. I think a big drug bust went down on Sunday just a few blocks from me. I heard gun shots and my roommate said there were a bunch of unmarked cars blocking off a large section of the street. Did it scare me? No. I’ve lived in similar hoods in NYC.

Which is why this is the re-learned stealing lesson.

I know better than to leave things out. I admit…I got careless. Sloppy. I trusted just a little too much.

She leads a charmed life, this one.

She leads a charmed life, this one.

I had a strange feeling yesterday when I looked at my beer bike that something was going to happen to it. Now, there were 5 bikes on the back porch. One was busted but with some really nice parts on it(not locked), a Schwinn from 1975 U-locked to a ladies Trek, a cruiser with back baskets(not locked), and the ever awesome beer bike(front tire locked to the frame). My 6th bike was in the house, the blue Azuki from the 1970’s. The beer bike has been making strange sounds so I wasn’t riding it until I could get a moment to bring it to the Denver Bicycle Cafe for some stand time.

Of course that feeling was stronger when I came home mid-day to some weirdos in the alley. Since there is alot of pedestrian traffic, I usually just take note of the person(s) and go on my biking way. But these two…there was something pretty shifty about them. Part of it was because I actually noticed them. That’s usually a good sign for me to not trust someone. The lady was maybe 5’6″, thin, strawberry blonde ratty hair, wider jaw line, maybe in her late 40s or early 50’s with the wear and tear of years of street life. The guy was harder to see since he was crouched down looking into one of grocery bags he had. He was wearing a trucker cap, was definitely shorter than the woman but not by much and had sort of a mixed ethnic look leaning to a tan complexion. My brain said they were doing something to the garage door they had stopped next to, but my eyes saw a man looking into his grocery bag and a woman waiting.  I should always listen to my brain.

I went to bed early. My roommate stayed up.

She had one light on in the living room. There was a noise of something moving/shifting. She looked for Asia (the cat) but saw her lounging on the floor. She turned her head to the kitchen window at the back of our house to see someone in our backyard fumbling with a bike. She ran for the window, slammed her hand on it, opened the back door SCREAMED at the perpetrator (who fumbled even more with the bike at the back gate), and that’s where this story began. The whole transaction was seconds.

“Do we have a bat?”

“Yeah, I think it’s in the laundry room. I think he might have left your bike in the alley. Was it locked up?”

“Front wheel to the frame.”

“Let’s go see…”

My roommate is someone you don’t screw with. I always joke that she’s strong like a small pony but she is. And when she’s pissed, you better pray she’s not pissed at you.

We go out to the alley pumped on adrenaline, bat in her able hands. I was tempted to grab my favorite kitchen knife, but I know better than to bring “a knife to a potential gun fight.” Not that I would have shanked the person, but much more of a safety blanket for walking out into the night when someone was just on my back porch. Again, I know better than that which is why I didn’t.

Let me tell you ladies, there is nothing more important in situations like this than to know you’ve taken a shit ton of self-defense classes where the instructor has a scary padded man actually attack you. If you take a class and they don’t do that, you’re getting cheated the ability to actually use your skills in real-time and that is a HUGE disservice.

It’s not easy to run with a bike on your shoulders.

The beer bike was two houses down the alley.

In my imaginative little mind, it was like picking up a downed man in a gun fight. One man to provide cover and get your back while you grab your hurt companion from a compromised position. As we walked back into our yard, my eyes were scanning every where for the enemy to jump out.

All the bikes slept inside the house last night. I slept with a knife in my hands. The baseball bat slept next to my roommate’s bedroom door. The front and back doors slept with booby traps. Not long after we had settled into our beds after this adventure, Asia starts this odd cooing. Apparently, she caught a mouse and dropped it…somewhere….

We both agree that last night was the most bizarre night we’ve had in a long time. It’s really quite unsettling that someone would come up on our back porch at 10:30pm, despite the bike stealing. I see a motion detector light on the back porch in the very near future.

**On a side note, if you live in Denver and you see the couple I described, be VERY wary. My roommate saw a very similar if not the same couple behind a previous residence of hers about a year ago when her bicycle was stolen out of her garage. Coincidence? Maybe.  But it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.

Dikeou Collection

I know when I’m in a good art gallery when the weird creations that are before me represent the inside of my head.

How’d they do that?

On a sunny late summer day, I had the very odd opportunity to visit the Dikeou Collection in Denver. Located just off the 16th Street Mall at 1615 California on the 5th floor, the building gives you nothing as to what is inside. Having left the heat and sunshine behind, my friend and I were greeted in the foyer with this:

Is that a moon-scape?

Is that a moon-scape?

I love whimsical art. This  one took the cake. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone take such great care and apparently a massive amount of time to do what was on the inside of this thing. Seriously, look inside it and take your time looking. It’s brilliantly crazy.

What are those guys doing to that...fuzzy...yellow...thing?

What are those guys doing to that…fuzzy…yellow…thing?

This is getting weirder...

This is getting weirder…

Wait a second...calm their hair...?

Wait a second…calm their hair…?

This is just the beginning! There is a whole FLOOR of artwork like this just waiting for you! I should have taken this as the precursor to what was going to happen. I walked around the whole gallery thinking, “Who makes stuff like this? And WHY am I not already friends with them? This is AMAZING!!!!!” Especially upon walking into the suite to be greeted by this:

Resist the urge to jump on them.

Resist the urge to jump on them.

The complete wonder that overtook me as we went from room to room was overwhelming. It felt like my head exploded. Some of the art is interactive:

I don’t want to give everything away, so you’re just going to have to check it out for yourself. Unfortunately, the gallery is open for just a short time, Wednesdays-Fridays from 11am-5pm. It’s worth playing hooky to see it.

CapRock Farm Bar

Last night I had the pleasure of going to the opening of Peak Spirits’ new tasting room in The Source, located at 3350 Brighton Blvd.

CapRock Farm Bar: It’s totally modern industrial swank-ilicious.

The clean look of the tasting room, which is situated smack dab in the middle of The Source, makes CapRock Farm Bar the shining jewel of the old foundry. With seating that fits anyone’s mood, from half booths to tables to bar stools, you can get cozy and enjoy the wares of gin, vodka, peach and pear brandies, and grappa.

If you’re looking for beer….you’re not going to find it here. What you will find is a menu of very unique, simple drinks that are made with mother earth lovins’. The ingredients in their mixed drinks are organic and damn spanking tasty. With names like Detox Retox, North Fork, Summer Wind, Woo Woo, and A+ Farmhouse you can imagine what these drinks have in store for you. Carrots, watermelons, strawberries, crab apples, golden beets are just some of the juices they use to create concoctions that fit anyone’s palate. Don’t be shy to ask for a variation either. These guys know what they’re doing. I don’t think I’ve ever had cocktails that felt and tasted so clean.

Never had any of the CapRock spirits? Not a problem. You can also order a flight. It’s a tasting room! Duh…

And just when I thought it couldn’t get better, it did. The Farm Bar works with the other establishments there and has snacks! Cheese and salumi plates, olives and nuts, or if you want to get all French, half a baguette with butter. From what I hear, it’s all part of their master plan to create a feeling of community with the businesses around them and for the public. Swanky, tasty, organic and ethically minded? These guys should get an award.

After 3 drinks and tasting the other drinks my motley crew ordered, I awoke today with a feeling of awesomeness instead of a hang over. That’s what high quality does.

And the piggy back ride I got probably helped too…

*I would have taken a photo, but I felt a little overwhelmed by the place when I first walked in. And then I just totally forgot after drink #1. Whoops.*

It’s hard being a Time Lord…

…or at the very least trying to be a Time Lord. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, go watch some Dr. Who. Especially the new series with David Tennant. Be still, my beating heart.

It’s been a busy life with the summer being in full swing and I realized (besides the Betasso Perserve and Jamestown posts) that you peeps hadn’t heard jack from me from about mid-May. I’m having a hard time believing I packed all of this in on top of working and normal socializing. I’ll give you the skinny on what I’ve been doing instead of writing:

Pickaxe, sledgehammer, fire and molotov cocktails later...

Pickaxe, sledgehammer, fire and molotov cocktails later…

SMASH!!! BBQ Shindig: I did give you warnings of this party. Let me tell you, it was WAY more fun than I originally expected. Friends from all different walks of life gathering to either watch or participate in demolishing a green VW Bug. We ate. We drank. We set the car on fire and threw molotov cocktails. The neighbors even came over and partied with us. Not a sign of a cop or the fire department. It was amazing to see people come together to knock out the frame so they could smash the roof completely down. Or take a door completely off that was locked in place. Or to see a friend not get even a dot of dirt on his white t-shirt though he was climbing all over the inside and outside to demolish it. It was a monumental night of destruction that felt awesome even though our bodies were aching for days later.

Apogaea: This is the regional event for people in the Burning Man community. I’d never been before and was intrigued in what this event had to offer. Due to my connections with so many people in the community, I did end up being a part of one of the planned events. I can say I was honored to be a tiny part of the Temple ceremony. If you don’t know what the Temple is….go do some research. Anyhoots, it was a welcome relief to be camping in the mountains of Colorado with friends and drinking Miller High Life, Bloody Marys, and michaladas. I think the event is somehow magically geared towards serendipity since it felt like a traveling circus that was made just for circus performers to attend. The absolute randomness that occurred in the 4 days I was there was stunning and hilarious. Did I mention that a gnome followed me home?

Done in one concert...kinda cool.

Done in one concert…kinda cool.

Devotchka and the Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks: I have two words for this performance….

Absofuckinglutely stunning.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an amazing venue for music. It’s visually stunning with two huge rock formations on the sides of the theatre but when you add in a Colorado sunset, the lights of Denver, some shooting stars, and your favorite band playing with an orchestra…well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’ve never seen DeVotchka live, do it. They put on a really great show.

1940s and fabulous!

1940s and fabulous!

1940’s WWII Summer Ball: Travel back in time when Frank was crooning, big bands were bigger than tv, and everyone dressed to the nines. Airplanes, army vehicles and tents, a big band and huge dance floor, an old hangar bay, and the stage is set as a USO dance. This is always a good time!! This year I took it easy on getting dressed up. Just a simple summer dress. My good friend Wendi, who is the Rockabilly Fashionista, was fabulous as always donning butterflies and red. It’s always great to see the guys dressed in slacks, shirts, suspenders, and fedoras. Makes me wish they did it in real life more often! Guys: it is pretty sexy to look that kind of dapper. Just saying….

Tedx Mile High Talk: “Innovative ideas worth talking about” is definitely a true tag line. With speakers from all over Colorado presenting, it was amazing to hear what the top 20% have been up to and thinking. My favorite presentations were:

  • a 17 year old that has been making robotic arms for amputees at a fraction of the cost from his bedroom
  • a lady that works for Kaiser that said we can’t fix healthcare but that’s not how we get better healthcare anyhoots
  • a video about how we live and play in Denver (it made me weep. I love this city.)
Now that is a smooth ride...again.

Now that is a smooth ride…again.

Learning How To Fix Bicycles: Holy crap!!! Talk about feeding my tinkering needs. This has become part of my addiction for bicycles. It’s fascinating. It’s mechanical. It’s dirty and greasy and I LOVE IT!! I currently have 3 bikes in my que: an old Schwinn, an Azuki, and a crappy bike I got for $10 at a garage sale. The reason I picked up this new hobby was for my Belgium trip. If I’m going to ride a bike all over that country, I figured I should know how to fix it just in case. Never thought I’d enjoy this, but it’s almost become better than sex.

Whoa....

Whoa….

Mambajamba of Raised Bed Gardening: Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve had a garden. I think I might have gone over board. Building raised beds is not easy. Those babies are 30 inches wide with varying lengths: 2 eighteen footers, a 10, a 6 and 2 four footers. Right now, they are going CRAZY! I’m finding it hard to actually keep up with the amount of greens it’s producing which makes me slightly concerned when the rest of it is ready to be harvested. Teresa, Teresa, garden fairie, what in your garden grows? Well folks here it is: 12 tomato plants, beans, peas, carrots, beets, diakon, okra, 4 cucumber plants, one zucchini plant, onions, swiss chard, 4 chinese cabbages, spinach, kale, mixed lettuce, and a ton of herbs like 3 different basils, 3 different mints, dill, thyme, sage, parsley, cilantro, savory, chives, oregano and comfry.

Yeah. Definitely over board.

Birthdays: Two of my most fabulous friends have survived another year and get to claim it. Which meant I had 2 back to back weekends of bad behavior in Boulder since that’s where they were celebrating. We danced. We made bad jokes. We drank a poop ton of beer. My friend got his junk grabbed by someone he barely knew. There were piggy back rides. I drunk texted…someone really needs to take my phone away from me. Or make an app that prevents you from drunk texting certain people. Hmmmm….

So yeah…it’s been kind of a busy summer thus far. I’m going to try to go camping too. We’ll see how well that works on a bike. 😉

Live fiercely. Love fiercely.

The Jamestown Pancake Adventure

Yep, this bike went that fast. I poop you not.

Yep, this bike went that fast. I poop you not.

Fourth of July has never been a big holiday on my calendar. In my younger years, it was an excuse to drink a lot of beers on an extra day off from the corporate job I disliked. My friends are the only reason I go see the fireworks these days when they decide to do a cruiser ride to someplace like the Mystery Bridge or out to the mesas in Golden. Otherwise, it’s a day like any other.

Not this year.

This year I had heard that a hamlet called Jamestown, just outside of Boulder, had a pancake breakfast and a bike ride.

Oh yeah! That sounds right up my alley.

After waking up way too late for my own good, I set out that morning around 9am with the dreams of pancakes smothered in fake maple syrup still in my head. Google Maps told me I was in for a 34 mile round trip which isn’t out of the ordinary for me but the incline all the way up Lefthand and James Canyon Drives isn’t. But this is why I go bike around Boulder: it challenges me.

As much as I like to cruise the flats, I do actually enjoy it when a ride kicks my ass for a good reason.

Pancakes + beautiful scenery  = good reason

Route 36 heading North out of Boulder isn’t the most beautiful stretch of scenery but I know how fast I can go on it and since there’s always a ton of cyclists on it (especially that day) I felt pretty safe from cars screwing with me. It’s the rollercoaster road…it goes up and down. Maybe next time I’ll check out Old Stage Road like Google had suggested.

Turning onto Lefthand Canyon Drive, there were cars parked all over the shoulder of the road. Nice to know that you can start there instead of biking all the way from Boulder (if you have a car). There is a certain amount of internal giggle-fest that happens in me when I see people getting all dressed in their kits with clipless shoes and their fancy bikes. I’m not against it, but sometimes I think it’s silly. We all have to pedal to get where we want to go. If you love the journey then it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or what you’re riding….it’s about putting your feet on the pedals and keeping the chain in rotation.

This is coming from a woman that was wearing flip flops, a short plaid skirt, a black 70’s styled loose halter top, biking gloves, and a helmet that looks like she should be riding horses. Yep. I was totally styling…especially with my most favorite bike, the beer bike, which was found in a dumpster in Boulder and brought back to life. Personally I think it’s having a much better after life with me than it’s original owner. Who the hell puts a bike in the dumpster?

According to 303Cycling News, it’s about a 3% grade up the canyon, which I can agree with. There are some steeper parts and some kinda flat areas, but overall it was a nice incline for about 8 miles. The road follows a creek which makes for some beautiful little spots to stop, catch your breath, splash in the water a bit, and keep going. Since this is a pretty popular route as it is, the attraction of pancakes seemed to bring out more cyclists. I’m not fast. At all. But it was nice to say good morning to everyone passing me and even a friendly hello to peeps I actually passed.

Jamestown has a population of 274. It’s tiny and super cute! As you enter the town, the creek is on the left and the trees hang low over road making a natural tunnel which reminded me of Spectre from the movie Big Fish. There’s a church and a general store with a park across the street. The people built up a rock wall in the creek so it would pool up and not be a swift current so the kids could enjoy it. There’s a house built on the hillside that looks like a tree house. I think if I had to choose a mountain town to live in, this might just be it.

Pancakes…I was starving!! For only $5 you can get the pancakes but for just a measly $10 you get pancakes, ham, eggs, and juice/coffee. DEAL! Though the line was pretty long, the entertainment was never ending. Kids running around, musicians on stage, and the best part is talking with the locals. I was going to try to stay for the parade at noon, but the onset of sleepiness from a full stomach was pointing me down the hill to a place that was cool, soft, and has a shower.

Believe it or not, the beer bike hit about 37mph going down the canyon. If the pancake breakfast wasn’t enough, that definitely made every mile up worth the ride.

Betasso Preserve

What do you mean, I was supposed to bring gear with me?

What do you mean, I was supposed to bring gear with me?

“Would you mind filling out a quick survey about the trail?”

“Ummm…sure. You are kind of blocking our way to the steps, so why not.”

That was at the end of my first time mountain biking on Sunday. I never thought I’d go mountain biking just because I get concerned about getting damaged. In my line of work, a damaged body potentially means no working for months.

Beyond my better judgement on Sunday, I let my friend take me out on what he said was an easy trail. Easy…right. Going up mountains is never easy especially on a bicycle. Not just any bicycle, but my old, broken down, lacking tread, dumpster diving edition Specialized that is more of a commuter bike than anything else. Top that with flip flops and a skirt and we have the classic Sassy Beer Gypsy minimalist “I don’t need no fancy gear” activity style.

Within 5 minutes on the trail, I get the same comment twice “Nice shoes…”

My thought, “Damn. I should have gotten a pedicure before heading to Boulder this weekend.” If I’m going to potentially tear off a toenail on a rock, I’d like it to at least look pretty while it’s covered in blood. Priorities.

Betasso Preserve can be reached by three different entry points. We choose (by accident) the entry on Fourmile Canyon Drive. Apparently Parks and Recs made  this new entry point about a year or so ago and named it the Fourmile Link (it’s only .8 miles long). To find the start of the link, you’ll see a little parking area on the road, then take a serious hairpin turn in the road, then there will be another little parking area (you can’t park in it, read the signs) where you’ll see the sign and the stairs that take you down. We made the entertaining journey up the mountain via the Benjamin Loop trail. Did I reach the top? Dear goodness, no. This gypsy is used to cruising the flats of Denver at 5280 not the 6200-6600 of the preserve. I did give it a pretty good run considering my apparel and the massive amount of huffing and puffing my body needed to get oxygen in.

On the overall, the trail actually was pretty easy. It’s well maintained and besides the occasional small rock formation, the trail itself was pretty level and nicely packed. It’s not very wide which means if you stop, you’re either stepping up the mountain or down the mountain to get out of the way (at least the part we did). There are trees right next to the trail which at times felt like they were only as far apart as the width of my bike.

Let me say, it was beautiful. It’s a multi-use trail which means that you should strap on your hiking flip flops and go for a walk. I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again.

Maybe with better shoes next time….

Yeah…there’s a lot more terrain for me to cover.

Give Us All Your Chickens…

In the worst Mexican accent ever, we’re cruising the inside of Vitamin Cottage with 13 whole chickens in the cart saying, “Give us all your chickens!!”

How did this start? Well…I’m a sucker for a bargain. One of my cohorts and I are throwing a smash party and BBQ on Memorial Day weekend. We need food for the party. And beer can chicken sounded like an awesome idea. As it turns out, the whole chickens were on sale so we cleaned out the whole case at Vitamin Cottage.

Now, you may be asking yourself, what the hell is a smash party?!?!

It’s a party where you get to smash something. For ours, we will be smashing an old mercedes benz with sledge hammers, potato guns, and any other weapon of mass destruction you want to bring. It’s a great way to work out frustration. It’s also just a shit ton of fun! Add beer and bbq and we have the best non-white trash party in the history of the world.

But here’s your moment of zen for the day:

We've been trafficking chickens across neighborhood borders

We’ve been trafficking chickens across neighborhood borders