The Darkest Hike

Last weekend, Trotsky and I set out to do a five mile hike. But, as it seems too often happens to me in Colorado, Apple maps failed to take me to the trailhead. When it claimed we had arrived, there was nothing there. At that point, I was out of range of any cell tower, so I decided to head to a trail that I knew was in the area and that I hadn’t hiked yet. It was a 7.6 mile loop and though it was already 3pm and sunset was at 5:21, dog and I are fast hikers. I decided to go for it. Continue reading →

As Seen On Facebook

The topic of Crystal Light came up in a random discussion with friends a few weeks back. It was one of those “flash from the past” moments for me. We had so much Crystal Light in my house when I was growing up. I loved the canisters and little foil labels and picking out what flavor we’d have next. When my friends and I started talking about it, I could instantly recall the commercials – images, jingles, all of it. They are still there, forever occupying brain cells. Ugh. When I became an adult, I became a brand hater, mostly because of the commercials. I didn’t like being told what I should buy in manipulative ways that burrow so deeply into my subconscious. I got rid of television over a decade ago. I immediately change radio stations when there is a commercial. I buy generic products all the time. Continue reading →

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Marriage has never been important to me. Having a loving relationship, yes, but marriage, no. To me, it’s a contrivance of society and religion that forces people to stay together when they don’t want to be. Given the number of divorces and sham marriages, it’s foolish to think that marriage is more of an indication of love and commitment than simply living together is, but, furthermore, people drastically change every ten years.

As a teenager, I was extremely talkative and outgoing, then I became a very quiet introvert in my late 20s. In my teens and 20s, I was firmly a city girl, but in my mid-30s, I began to crave the mountains. Throughout my 20s and early 30s, I was heavily into national politics and constantly fired up about issues, while now, I’m largely politically disengaged. Up until my mid-30s, I was constantly going to live concerts, but now I have very little interest in that. I’ve never been into exercise more than I needed to be to stay basically healthy, but I’ve become a full on gym rat in the last year and a half. I’m constantly acquiring and dropping hobbies and interests, and I think it’s very likely that by the time I’m 45 or 50, I’ll be engaged in certain activities that are currently beyond my imagination. Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: More Ghost Stories

In the spirit of the season, here are three more events from my supposedly haunted house. It’s been a pretty quiet year, though, so don’t expect too much from this post.

Spookiness Level: 1/10
The Situation:
I opened a sample size tub of Hustle Butter Luxe I had and found the tub empty. It was sitting on a side table in my living room for a long time, but I know I didn’t use it.
The Ghostly Explanation: A ghost used it. Colorado is dry and ghosts need to moisturize their, um, non-existent skin too.
The Logical Explanation: It evaporated or a friend used it. Continue reading →

The Sunshine Returns And So Do I

Last Sunday’s snowstorm stripped a lot of our trees well before their time this season. The dying leaves couldn’t stand up to the onslaught of wet, heavy snow and ice. They fell to the ground in large clumps, robbing us of the autumn magic of slowly falling leaves that crunch happily underfoot. When the snow melted a few days later, the bare trees still cast a tone of death over the Front Range.

And we experienced a real death. A man our age that a friend of mine met a while back on a dating app passed away from sepsis. One day he was out working and laughing and enjoying the company of his friends, assuming he had at least 40 more years of life ahead. Two days later he was dead. Continue reading →

New Old Name, Identical Unique Personality

As of one hour ago, I officially have a new name. Well, more accurately, I officially have my old name back. I left my ex-husband over seven years ago, but until about two years ago, I didn’t want to go back to my maiden name. My acquired surname was too cool. I liked it for its linguistic complexity and meaning, and I liked it for its difficulty of pronunciation and spelling. But then one day I decided I was over it. Nothing happened, I simply changed my mind. Then I spent a few years thinking about what name I could adopt instead, but that responsibility proved to be too much. Too many options. You can literally change your name to anything you want. Did you know that? Analysis paralysis set in. Eventually, I gave up and decided to take the boring route of going back to my maiden name. And so after waiting months for fingerprints and background checks and court dates, I’ve gone back to who I once was.  Continue reading →

Being Dog’s Best Friend

When I was 21, I spent five months living in India. It was only the second foreign country I had ever been to, and the first was Australia, which didn’t really prepare me for what I was about to encounter. The conditions people existed in—both their own physical bodies and the environment around them—were horrific. People had all manner of rashes, diseases, infections, open wounds, and missing limbs. They lived six people to a single room or two people to a single patch of sidewalk. They were dirty and hungry and desperate. Every time I would walk down the street to run a simple errand or go somewhere, people would touch my light hair or my pale skin, or tug at my clothes and ask if I could help them. It was a shocking but crucial formative experience in my development as a compassionate human being and a critical thinker. Continue reading →

Demon Déjà Vu

Now that I’m a runner (apparently), I run on vacations. Unless I’m staying in a hotel, which is rare with all the great AirBnBs out there, running is often the only viable form of exercise. Since I was staying at my parents’ house last weekend, I went for a few runs in my old neighborhood. They live about 30 minutes outside Buffalo, New York in a small town called Alden. It is very rural, with more farm and forest land than people and houses. It’s an “all American” town, a place where you can leave your doors unlocked and let your kids run around unsupervised for the entire day and not have to worry. The lack of traffic makes the roads great for running. Yet these qualities also make it an ideal hunting ground for pedophiles and psychopaths. Continue reading →

The Design of Everyday Things

I shamelessly poached the title of this post from a book I’m reading for professional development: The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman. I don’t include books I read for anything other than pleasure in my semi-annual book reports, but product and user experience design has been so much on my mind lately that I felt compelled to write about it. This is especially because when I encounter bad design in the real world, there’s generally no one I can provide my feedback to who has any level of influence. Not that anyone reading this blog has influence over any of these issues either, but I feel better writing out my frustration. Here are a few user-unfriendly experiences I’ve had this year. Continue reading →