Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Photos: Just Peachy

The only thing better than having a peach tree is having friendly neighbors with a peach tree. I still get to eat delicious peaches, but I don't have to pick the slimy fallen ones out of my yard.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Woman vs. Reservoir

In less than fifteen minutes, I can get from my front door to the beautiful Horsetooth Reservoir west of town. It’s a great recreation spot for camping, boating, hiking, fishing, and hanging out on the closest thing my landlocked home has to a real beach. But due to the fires and severe drought conditions this year, the reservoir is down to 42% of capacity. The boat ramps are all currently closed because, well, they’re no longer in the water.

Before that happened, my non-boat-owning family and I had a chance to join some friends for an afternoon on their boat. These people, who are in most other ways kind and rational human beings, also brought along an inflatable raft and a tow rope. Normally when someone offers to pull me around behind a boat at high speeds, I decline because I am averse to swallowing my weight in lake water. But I am trying to be less of a wuss. So I agreed. And because I am not above some good old public humiliation, I will share the proof with you.

With my husband, looking a bit nervous:

Hey, not as bad as I thought:

Until the first bump:

You know where this is going, right?


And only the strong shall survive:

I was retrieved from the water in all due haste, which spared me from having to swim for shore and live among raccoons until a ranger found me. In fact, I got back on the raft, held on much tighter the second time, and actually had a lot of fun. I was really sore for a couple of days, though, and consider myself very lucky that I didn't bruise anything. Other than my ego.

Thanks to my son for taking the photos, which make me laugh until I cry every time I see them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Field Trip: Cheyenne, Wyoming

My hometown of Fort Collins lies not quite equidistant between two state capitols: Denver, Colorado to the south and Cheyenne, Wyoming to the north. A quick comparison:

Denver: Population (2011) 612,193; Area: 154.9 square miles (401.2 square km); Cost of living: 10.10% above national average
Cheyenne: Population (2011) 89,036; Area: 21.2 square miles (54.91 square km); Cost of living: 5.6% below national average

Though we get to Denver fairly frequently, it had been years since I’d been to Cheyenne. So last week, we took a field trip, in part to visit friends who own a bar/restaurant that serves “the best hamburger in Wyoming.” 

Our first stop was lunch at The Bunkhouse, where we caught up with our friends while taking in the Wild West ambiance. The hamburgers (which I forgot to photograph) were indeed dang good. Homemade good, which is saying a lot because we are particular about our ground beef. No frozen, pre-pressed patties for us, thank you very much.

After telling our friends goodbye, we walked around the Cheyenne Botanical Gardens (which I did not know existed).

Then, two quick tours around the Historical Governor’s Mansion, which was built in 1904:

 and the Capitol Building:

Everything was free (except, as the old saying goes, lunch), as is the Wyoming State History Museum. We didn’t have time to stop there on this trip, but we will return another day. Now my new slogan for Wyoming's capitol is: Cheyenne: There's More Here Than Just Wind!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Celebrity Bat Kid

Add this to the list of cool things grownups are too old to do: be a celebrity bat kid. A friend of mine won a drawing to have one of her kids serve as a Kraft Celebrity Bat Kid at a Colorado Rockies game, which puts her leagues ahead of me in the luck department. (But I am lucky to have her as a friend.) Because she and her family already had vacation plans that were too cool to miss, they passed the gig to my younger son. That’s how he came to be down on Coors Field during batting practice getting a bat signed by the likes of Jason Giambi,

Tyler Colvin (his favorite), and eight others. (I know anyone could be under those hats, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.)

The two bat kids also toured Coors Field, had their faces on the big screen, and each got a bag of great giveaways. Colorado State University’s head football coach Jim McElwain (in the tan shirt) and mascot Cam the Ram (that'd be the guy in the giant ram head) were there, too, with Coach Mac throwing out the first pitch. Everyone was so friendly, and my son had the experience of a lifetime.

There's no better way to spend a summer evening than at a ballpark, and it was the perfect way to celebrate the last Saturday before the start of school. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Fun: Festival Photos

Our annual Bohemian Nights at New West Fest was last weekend. It's a great party with more than 90 bands playing free live music, tons of food and drink, vendors, and activities. The only bummer is that when New West Fest comes around, the end of summer is soon to follow. 

Here are several photos of random stuff that caught my eye downtown and/or at the fest. Have a fabulous weekend!

Who you gonna call?

Spares for the mannequin above, maybe?

But did he call it macaroni?

My son contemplating a career with the circus

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Blog Birthday!

Choice City Native turns two years old this week! Here's the scoop: I've lived in Fort Collins (a.k.a. the Choice City) all my life. When I started this blog in August of 2010, my goal was to spend a year doing one new activity a week in my hometown. I found 52 things to do that I'd never done before. (You can find those posts at the "New Fun - Year One" tab above.) I tend to be a bit of a homebody (can you hear my husband laughing at the 'bit' part?) and this challenge forced me to get myself out and about. To my surprise, I liked blogging so much that I decided to keep at it. And now here I am at the start of my third year.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, commented, and followed! This wouldn't be nearly as much fun without you. I plan to keep posting twice a week, and I hope you enjoy learning a bit about my home in Colorado. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dog Days III

Well, we can't have Dog Days without dogs, now can we? I saw these puppies at a Poudre Puppy Rescue adoption event yesterday. They were so darn cute I wanted to put one in my purse and run away. Of course I didn't, as Grand Theft Puppy probably wouldn't set a good example for my boys... though I'm sure they wouldn't complain about having a new dog to love.

I do hope these little guys and gals find good homes very soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dog Days II

I think I messed up yesterday by posting the answers to all three questions at once. So I'm going to wing it today with some vacation pictures. We didn't take a big vacation this summer, but last summer we went to Orlando. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a big highlight of that trip:

Have a magical day, Muggles!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dog Days Blogfest Kickoff

Happy Friday! It’s the first day of the Dog Days Blogfest. It has been a long, hot summer, and I’m so ready to kick back with my beverage of choice (iced tea; yes, I’m wild and crazy like that) and visit a bunch of awesome blogs. There’s also a cool music festival happening in my town this weekend, so I’ll fit in some of that, too.

Per the simple Dog Days rules, here are my answers to the Blogfest questions:

Describe my favorite summer activity thus far:
Without a doubt, it has been watching my two sons play baseball. Two games per kid every week meant four nights at the ballpark for me. My husband was head coach for one team and assistant coach for the other, but all I had to do was show up and enjoy the fun. Plus, evening games meant I didn’t have to cook dinner as often. Win-win, I say.

What activities do I plan before summer is over?
Besides finishing up my Christmas shopping? (Joking. I'm a big time procrastinator.) Well, we only have one more week before school starts, and we haven’t made it to the mountains nearly enough this summer. So that, and the pool.

If I could have the ultimate vacation ever, where and what would it be?
A couple of weeks in Australia. Or South Africa. Or both. Yeah, let’s say both, with a side trip to Antarctica.

Thanks, Jeremy, for putting together this blogging weekend. Now it’s time for me to check out other blogs while I thaw grass-fed steaks for the grill.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Mostlies in Occupy This!

In 1992, a bunch of like-minded locals came together to form “The Mostly Not Ready for Open-Stage Players.” Musical parody was the name of their game, and twenty years later, the group now known as The Mostlies is still going strong. Though I’d read about their shows for years, I’d never been. But last weekend, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary by attending our first Mostlies production.

The theme of this year’s musical comedy parody revue was Occupy This…! The three-act show included a whopping 58 numbers. No national or local topic was off limits, from goose poop and pink slime to fracking and Mayans to politics and health care. Costumes and props were minimal but used to great effect. And because it was the 20th anniversary show, the cast also brought back a few favorite songs from years past, including the 2010 commemoration of the infamous Balloon Boy fiasco.

I’d been alerted by a friend that my husband and I would be among the youngest people there, and she was right. There were a lot of white-haired ladies and gents in the crowd, and some of the material was obviously geared toward that demographic. But we still thought the songs about AARP and senior moments were funny. All in all, there were only two numbers that I thought missed the mark. Out of fifty-eight, that’s not bad at all.

The best part was how much fun the 15 or so performers were obviously having. How they kept up their energy for two and a half hours, I’ll never know. A few of the original founders are still with the group and don’t appear to have lost any of their enthusiasm for spoofing. Everyone in the cast is so talented that I hope they keep going for another twenty years. When it comes to coping with this crazy world, I think we’re all better off laughing instead of crying. Especially in an election year. 

(I wasn't able to take pictures during the show, but there are plenty of great ones posted on The Mostlies' website.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Tale of Two Tracks

As part of a big construction project that will include a much-needed rapid transit bus system along what is called the Mason Street Corridor, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad company brought in a 1,000 foot long machine to lay down new tracks for our downtown train.

Of course I had to take my sons down so we could watch for a bit as the railroad ties were placed and the tracks aligned on top. It’s an impressive piece of machinery, to be sure.

On a smaller scale, Fort Collins is also home to a 1921 Birney Streetcar that runs on weekends and holidays from May through September. The original electric streetcar service operated here from 1907 until 1951. In 1977, a dedicated group of volunteers began the long process of restoring both track and trolley. On December 29, 1984--the 77th anniversary of the beginning of the first streetcar service--the trolley was back in business.

Riding the trolley is a summer tradition for many families, mine included. This year, a rough section of the original 1907 track was finally replaced—without the help of a multi-million-dollar machine, I'm guessing :-)