Friday, May 6, 2011

Texas Girls: A Story About Moving Away, Meeting Up, and Traveling Back Home

Arielle and I lived together from August '08 to August '09 in Dallas. When our lease was up I found myself unemployed that same month and spent my last semester traveling the Western U.S. while I wrote my thesis, and she scampered off for adventures in other states- first Florida, then a year in New York, and most recently, a move to Boston. She's a learner and a planner and a doer and a traveler, and she's also living a debt free, simple, frugal life. Basically we're very, very compatible and I was over the moon when we decided to synch up her visit to Colorado with my planned road trip to Texas. She flew out on Monday, April 18th- a bit later than planned after missing her morning flight- so we spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday hanging around our town and heading to Denver for a day trip. I felt a bit bad that everything we owned was in boxes since we were about to move, but Arielle is a foodie and with only two days in Colorado she was happy to dine out most every meal. Arielle and I share a strange sense of humor and a way of setting up and making jokes off of one another that gives me a lot of punch drunk happiness. There was a lot of camp going on that week, for sure. You want some pictures? Let's go!

 Anytime anyone comes in to visit, I take them downtown to be enchanted. This visit was no different. However, that day I was enchanted by a surprise attack of downtown local business awesomeness. This place is a room filled with flavored olive oils on one side, and balsamic vinegars on the other side. Scattered throughout are containers of local, freshly made bread pieces and toothpicks. You get to try every. single. one. Arielle left with espresso flavored balsamic. I wanted to leave with approximately 97% of the store.
 After all the heavy snacking at the oil and vinegar palace of wonders and earthly delights, it was time to head to New Belgium brewery for our tour (I raved about it in this post, after taking the tour for the first time with J-Ben and Pizzle while they were in town). Not being that hungry, but knowing Arielle was about to drink copious amounts of samples and we'd be in there for almost two hours, we stopped by the food co-op and picked up a beet sandwich and a coconut probiotic drink to share. We decided to eat it in the car once we were safely parked outside of the brewery and knew we wouldn't be late. The tours are crazy popular, and they're free, so you have to reserve online and there is always someone waiting to snatch your spot if you're even one minute late.
Unfortunately, in my zeal to eat and drink quickly, I stupidly decided to shake said probiotic drink. And then set it in my lap. And then open it. It exploded all over my lap and into the seat, and it was fizzing in my pants for a good half hour. Not. Comfortable. Arielle tried to assure me that she had heard of people using probiotic drinks as a cleansing "flush"- ew, that's so not true, she just wanted me to suck it up and do the tour with fizzing pants that looked like I wet myself. I told her as much, but thankfully I had a scarf- I wrapped it around my waist and we headed off to be romanced by the magic of the New Belgium Brewery. Fizzy, wet pants be damned!
 Between the charming downtown, the ethical business practices of the brewery, and the beer samples, by the time we got here Arielle was saying she wanted to move to Colorado and work in the New Belgium Brewery. Got another one!
 This is the last beer of the tour, their seasonal summer selection (mmm, alliteration).
 Appropriately named and perfectly labeled.
 At the end of the tour they dump you back out into the main lobby, which is filled with laughing, talking, friendly people. You're given two tokens so you can try two additional beers. I need to say again, I don't drink. I despise the feeling of being drunk, and possibly more than that I despite the taste of any kind of alcohol- liquor or beer or mixed drinks or wine, all of it. But this? This was beet beer. And it was actually, dare I say, good.
 I still can't say I liked it, but I can say that I can totally see how someone who likes beer would LOVE this. It had fennel, beets, sarsaparilla, and rosemary. Amazing.
 After the brewery tour Arielle was a bit drunk, and she needed to hit up Lenscrafters to get her glasses fixed. Oh, but prior to that she told me she was going to find a bathroom, and I told her to meet me back up at my friend's store. After 20 minutes it was clear she wasn't coming back, so I headed out to find her. We ended up waiting 45 minutes for them to put one screw in. We had to entertain ourselves somehow.
 The good thing is that while Arielle was wandering the mall I made plans with Bobby and Jenny to meet us downtown for Indian food. So it all works out in the end. And it wasn't until very late that night that I was able to finally, FINALLY change my probiotic pants and underwear. I sacrifice as a tour guide, people. It's what I do.
 The next day, Wednesday, we headed to Denver to check out the capitol and wander about downtown.

 I love the Denver capitol- it's so beautiful. It was also designed by the same architect who designed the Texas capitol, so it feels nostalgic.

 Where the magic happens. I love the democratic process, and everything to do with government.
 View of the church we would be visiting as soon as we left the capitol.
 But we got sidetracked, because as we left we saw a huge crowd gathering across the street. At first, we had no idea what kind of a huge downtown festival could be taking place on a random Wednesday. Then we were told it was 4/20 day. And medical marijuana is legal in Colorado. Oh. Now it all makes so much more sense.
 The event had just started but it was already packed. Not one person was a jerk to me, or belligerent, or inappropriate.
 Sorry guys, but in general, I will take a crowd of stoned pot heads over a crowd of amped up, drunken people any. day. of. the. week.
 I've never smoked in my life, I don't have any desire to, and frankly I find the pseudo rastafarian BS of most potheads totally annoying. But more than that, I think it's annoying that we incarcerate harmless people for smoking pot, and often lock them up longer than child molesters. Instead of paying tax money to lock them up, how 'bout we tax the marijuana, make money while we're saving money, free up the prison system, and spend our money curtailing violent crime? And leave room to lock up murderers and rapists and real threats to society? That's just my take on it.
 After we had our fill  of people watching we headed back to our original next stop- the absolutely breathtaking Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. I have always loved how Catholic churches open their doors to the public at all hours of the day.
 There was a man playing Phantom of the Opera songs on this old organ. It was a bit creepy, I can't lie.

 The doors you enter and leave by on the side of the church.
 Capitol Bookstore was right across the street, so we popped in to peruse their selection. They had quirky art hanging on the shelves like this...
and this.
 Our  last stop in Denver was Watercourse Foods, an all vegetarian and mostly vegan restaurant.
Tea started us off, and somehow I didn't take pictures of my gorgeous portabella po' boy. For shame! We hit the road just in time to avoid traffic and made it back home to pack and organize and go to bed early. The next day we were heading to Texas- a 15 hour drive that we would drag out into something far longer...


  1. I agree with your feelings about marijuana people vs. alcohol. I also whole-heartedly agree with your thoughts about marijuana and how it's dealt with by our system. Legalize it, tax it, and instead of having some of our judges and police officers time focusing on that silly stuff, we can use that time to make real change happen and that the truly guilty people can be locked up. Rapists get off every single day due to a number of reasons. More of these violent offenders can be locked up if we focus more on those cases.


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