Not much to say today- just more California pictures from a late afternoon walk at the beach in La Jolla. It sure is a surreal feeling to be walking around in shorts and to see people splashing around in the ocean while Colorado is covered in snow. Happy Wednesday!
I saw Nathaniel Rateliff with Gregory Alan Isakov in January, and he was AWESOME. Well they both were, but Rateliff in particular was impressive and new to me. There’s an NPR tiny desk concert where someone asks Scott Avett if he swallowed an amplifier as a child- Rateliff’s voice has a similar effect. I’ve started a Music Mondays playlist on Spotify- it’s not much yet, but it’ll grow as the weeks go by.
Man, there’s just no way to get through a post about ocean life without a Finding Nemo reference! I’m spitting these things out all over instagram and this post and I haven’t even actually gone diving yet. By the time I get around to using my PADI certification you guys are going to be totally sick of my ocean fascination.
While in San Diego it was a little hard to find touristy stuff to do that hadn’t been accomplished on my last trip out there in January of 2013. While on the TripAdvisor hunt, we stumbled across Birch Aquarium and decided that it’s ratings and reviews- one even mentioning that it was a pretty small place, visitable in an afternoon- made it a perfect activity for our Sunday. Luckily it was Museum Month in San Diego, so there were discounts at a bunch of places, including the aquarium for the weekend that I was in town. It worked out well- our tickets were all half price from the usual $17 for an adult, and we all agreed that the aquarium was small enough that the half price seemed much more reasonable. I mean, taking care of animals is a costly thing, so it’s understandable that they need to make enough money to sustain that, but man. As a still-kind-of-college-student, I sure am glad it was Museum Month. Plus the aquarium is La Jolla, which in my opinion is one of the prettiest parts of San Diego. So that is an extra bit of winning for this place!
The aquarium is pretty small but has a really nice collection (er… assemblage? menagerie?) of creatures. I liked that there was a focus on the California coast’s wildlife and geographical features…. those weird ocean drop-offs sure are scary! They had a lot of jellyfish, and I like jellyfish. I say that, of course, never having been stung by one. That would probably change my impression, but they sure are fun to watch drift around in the dark. They also had an exploration tide pool or whatever you call the area where you get to do the unthinkable and actually touch some animals- the creepiest were the sea anemones, who are surprisingly grippy underwater! It was really funny to watch kids reacting to the squishy/rough creatures. I think it would be so much fun to work at an aquarium, especially one with one of those huge tanks that people can dive in. Getting the fish’s perspective on all the people outside the glass would be pretty funny! How have your aquarium experiences been lately? Any that are particularly worthy of a visit, outside of just actually going diving?
If you missed it- Part I of the San Diego adventuring. I hope you have a great weekend!
I am so excited to finally getting to be writing about California on the blog. I LOVE CALIFORNIA. I love California almost as much as the New York Times loves to hate on it. I love California like a fat kid (or really, just I) love cake. It is an American dreamland. For every snowy, bitter winter day I have experienced, it is almost painful to know that yet another sunny, beautiful, 70-degree day is passing by in California.
This year, California is experiencing what is being called a 500-year drought- not a joke in a state that produces an INSANE amount of the food that we eat in the States. This interesting piece from the Atlantic chronicles how far back the water arguments go in Cali, and mentions some thought-provoking points about the almond industry.
The above photos are from Cabrillo National Monument, which (as I am just reading now on the NPS website) commemorates Cabrillo’s landing in San Diego Bay in 1542- the first European to do so on the Pacific coast. That’s pretty impressive!
Before we dig in here, I should preface this post by saying that I f***ing love National Parks. They are the my absolute favorite thing. I like them almost as much (or maybe more than) I professed to loving California a few paragraphs ago. That awesome Ken Burns documentary on Netflix about the parks? I eat that kind of thing up. The Germans love to go to the National Parks (something of a Grand Tour of America for the modern day) and I do too. They really are a uniquely American phenomenon, and I would encourage anyone thinking of coming to the States to put those on the top of your priority list instead of the usual New York City adventuring.
Cabrillo isn’t large, but it is nice to see what the California coastline looks like when there aren’t houses right up to the water’s edge- southern California really is a fairly arid place, so it’s interesting to see what plant life naturally thrives along the coast. Grey whales are in the area around this time of year to do the whole having babies thing, so we scanned the horizons every time we were near the ocean, but sadly had no luck in spotting one. We walked around a bit, admiring the vistas and the neat old lighthouse- have you ever seen a lighthouse bulb? Those things are crazy. Unfortunately, the tide pools weren’t exposed on the day that we went, but they are supposed to be good to check out while you’re visiting. Overall, it was a nice way to spend a morning in the California sunshine. And the best part? If you walk just far enough, you get a text that says “Welcome to Mexico!” from Verizon. Close enough, right?
Still to come- a few beach visits, getting up close and personal with the marine creatures at the aquarium, and antiquing finds. Stay tuned!
Welcome to what I hope will be a recurring occurrence on the blog- Music Mondays! I’m excited to chronicle what I’ve been jamming out to and to hear your suggestions for what I ought to be adding to my playlists. For the past week I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from Celeste and Jesse Forever, which is an awesome movie (and on Netflix, if you need something to watch tonight) with an even more awesome soundtrack.
If Spotify’s not your scene, you can also listen on Youtube. I hope your Monday is surprising and delightful!
February is over; we did it! We survived most of winter, everyone. Spring is creeping closer. You can feel it in the sunshine in Denver today and the evenings with just enough light for a run. I am looking forward to being here for a volatile Colorado spring- it’s kind of fun that the bulbs will be popping up one day and then covered in a few inches of snow the next.
I was in San Diego last weekend, so I’ll have posts on that coming next week. For now, here is the Heidi internet round-up for your Friday procrastination pleasure:
I’ve got a soft spot for the Dalai Lama, and this article reminded me- life is about happiness.
One of my British friends introduced me to the lovely baking blog Poires au Chocolat, and I think her sour cream chocolate-laced soufflé may be the perfect first attempt at the notoriously fickle dish.
As Yanukovych is pouting in Russia about the current Ukrainian quagmire, I thought this morning about how all these ousted dictators are like pouty toddlers who haven’t gotten their way. Then I realized that that is probably a majority of politicians, regardless of what country they’re in.
This week’s “I want to go to there” is this ski cabin in Switzerland.
When I finally, someday, maybe, sort-of-kind-of get around to actually learning how to knit a hat, I know I am going to make a kazillion of them. I think this will be my first Mütze.
I’m thinking my next time period obsession might be the Great Depression. This book could be just the ticket to send me down another historical rabbit hole (I’m currently climbing my way out of WWII, although I’m not sure that interest will ever leave me.)
Call me sports scandal sheltered, but I had never before heard of the crazy ice skating scandal detailed in that Nancy and Tonya documentary that was on NBC before the closing ceremonies. It is so crazy how the same situation today could have played out so differently though social media- I thought that was a really good point made by a reporter in the film.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend- and if you’re somewhere warm, sit in the sun for a few minutes for me!
Since most of the X Games events were in the evening (or started later in the day, around noon or 1) we had some time to hang out in and around Aspen before our second evening of snow sport mania. I remembered having gone to Maroon Bells in the winter a few years ago and it being stunningly beautiful, so we decided to trek up that way (about 10 minutes outside of Aspen) to see how far up the snowed-in road we could get to see the mountains.
I think Maroon Bells is one of the prettiest places in Colorado. It’s a little cliché- google image search this state and it’s one of the top results- but it’s simply gorgeous in every season. As I said before, you can’t drive all they way up to Maroon Lake in the winter- the area is only accessible by cross country skis, snowmobile, or what I imagine would be an ambitious walk. I’m usually not a huge cross country skiing fan (I’m sorry Ali!) but I think it would actually be really pleasant to coast along through the woods up to the lake. Snowmobiling, although tons of fun, is super expensive- the cheapest tour we found in Aspen was 200 dollars for a two-hour trip. Yikes! Anyway, we spent about a half hour walking along the road (it’s snowy but well-packed from snowmobile traffic) and took some long-distance pictures of the mountains. There is just something so satisfying about being out in the snow on a sunny day
A couple weekends ago, the world’s snow pants sagged a little lower and the bros got a little bro-ier as the masses descended upon Aspen’s quaint Buttermilk mountain for the 2014 Winter X Games. A mecca of young people sporting spectatorship, I have been bothered by friends to check it out for years (Someday we’ll make it Emily!) and finally decided it was time to see what all the hype was about when my brother mentioned he was going up to watch the events with a few friends.
As you get older, it is weird to start hanging out with your siblings. They’re, like, old and stuff. And have cool friends. So I had a lot of fun getting to go on a little road trip with Erik and Company. We had a gorgeous and relatively smooth drive up (leaving on a Friday at 2 from Denver to beat the evening traffic on I-70, our beloved interstate known for delays for dayzzz due to ski traffic) and got to Aspen just in time to watch the evening’s men’s ski half pipe final. Being from Colorado, you see people pulling some pretty awesome stuff on the mountain on any given day, but to get to see Olympians (many of the athletes we saw are probably in Sochi as we speak) doing their thing was pretty neat.
Logistically, I would caution anyone who loves efficiency against attending the Games- I think the event has grown substantially in the last several years, and there is no parking at the base of the mountain since Buttermilk is pretty small. Shuttle busses (that get PACKED at the end of the night) take a while, as the lots are a solid 20 minutes away, so we were lucky to have some secret location parking that gave us about a twenty minute walk to the mountain. Once you’re there, waiting to get onto the sides of the half pipe (where all the cool kids hang out) also takes a while, as they let masses of people into that area with what seemed like zero rhyme or reason about every 20 minutes. Another good thing to note that I didn’t consider- watching snow sports is VERY different than actually participating in them, and there are fewer ways to get cold fast than standing around on the side of a mountain at night and not moving. Lesson learned: Bundle up!
The X Games continues to maintain a very casual atmosphere, despite the development of snowboarding (what I would say is the big draw for many people- skiing half pipe was just recently added, for example) into its own version of a serious sport (including being a part of the Olympics). I found the “keepin’ it cool” attitude to be kind of annoying from the announcers who take everything over the top. However, it is fun to be in an atmosphere that has room for being super enthusiastic about that sweet 1090 backwards grab 470 tailspin… or whatever you call it. Shred on, brah!
Thanks to Chip Wasson for a few of the sweet pictures from the trip!
Hello, friends. Okay, first thing’s first- let’s get some music up in here while we’re reading:
As you may have noticed, all’s been quiet on the blogging front. Moving back to Colorado has been like taking a drive down Main Street in Crazytown. Continuing along my life crisis themes from a few posts ago, I’m in the thick of it with the thesis stuff AND have been through hell and high water finding somewhere to rest my weary head down in Denver. About 1,000 miles of driving and much wringing of the hands later, I’m now the proud renter of a studio apartment in the city, where I hope to spend many an hour blogging away to my heart’s content.
I’m not sure what direction my blog will take in the coming months as I readjust to life in the States. My posts will probably be less frequent, but I’m hoping to be good about exploring home with the gusto that I have explored abroad. I’m hoping that will give me the opportunity to show you, and in particular my non-American readers, the wonderful state and country that I grew up in.
I can’t think of what else to say. It’s been a stressful month, monotonous but punctuated by flurries of THINGS TO DO. Let’s just do a Q&A session. Nobody really asked me these things, but they’re questions I would ask me if I wanted to catch up with myself.
What’d you do for New Year’s Eve?
Oh, great question! I went and saw the Oh Hello’s in Denver with my frans. It was a great show, and we were all asleep by 1:30 because that’s how we roll.
How was the apartment hunt?
Horrific. I am currently residing in a habitable location that I in fact actually enjoy in Denver, but getting to that point was an enormous pain. We can talk about it some other time.
How’s the thesis coming?
I mean, it’s kind of coming along. A first draft is due on February 17th, so don’t expect to be seeing much of me up until then. I hardly got any replies to my survey, although the replies I did get came from a few strategic tweets and retweets of the link, not from any of the 20+ emails that I sent out. That’s (pretty amazing) social media for you!
What the heck else is going on?
Not a lot! Interning, thesis writing, and getting my new place all set up. I went to the X Games up in Aspen last weekend and to Stock Show a few weeks ago, so I’ll get some posts up on those very Colorado things at some point here. Basically I’m just working on readjusting to being back in the States. It’s tough work!
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? I bet mine are better and will make me more successful/prettier/a better conversational partner at a party than you.
I mean, that’s probably true. Let’s not kid ourselves. No resolutions for me this year! I ought to think up a few. Maybe something about traveling? Getting a job? I still have some basic stuff to take care of before I extracurricularly improve myself.
Anyway, 2014 will hopefully be better now that everything has stabilized a bit. After that rough landing, things can only get better! I hope you’ve had a wonderful “Rutsch” into the new year and that you have a lovely week ahead of you
Hooray, it’s Christmas Eve! I did a really good job on getting people gifts this year (if I do say so myself) so I’m so excited to watch everyone open ‘em up tomorrow morning. Here’s a big ol’ sleigh-ful of Christmas links to get you in the spirit of the season:d
Time to sit back, relax, and watch the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, also known as the best Christmas movie of all time, yo. All time! There’s ice skating penguins people. ICE SKATING PENGUINS.
Nom nom nom… Gebrannte Mandeln!
Oh Munich, king of christmas markets, I bow down to thee.
While we’re across the pond, the French are not messing around with their Christmas chocolate.
Please tell me you’ve seen the Schwetty Balls SNL skit. “I like to leave Santa some tap water and rice.”
Speaking of the White House, did you know that they make a gingerbread version of it too for Christmas? Yummmm, political power!
Looking for something to bake today? How about Chocolate Crinkles?!
Happy Holidays everyone! May visions of sugar plums (or the sugary Christmas treat of your choice) dance in your head.