This weekend started earlier than most! I’ve been desperately needing a vacation for a while, but last month, realized that taking a day off every month was probably going to be the best I could do for a while. I was booked for training all day Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, and the session wrapped up too late for me to catch a flight home that night, so I decided to stick around, take a half day on Friday, and spend Friday morning soaking up the sun before flying home that afternoon. It was fabulous!
Work calls ended up interrupting my beach time more than I would have liked, so I only ended up getting about 2 hours actually out on the sand. On the bright side, that was the perfect amount to get a bit of a tan without having to worry about a burn. Plus, I got halfway through a light chick lit book in that time – Wedding Girl, by Stacey Ballis. Her books are always smart and light and funny, and since they’re usually about chefs and include recipes in the back, they also make me hungry! In particular, I really want to try Sophie’s Mom’s Noodle Kugel – I was a little bummed to have to make matzoh kugel for Sarah’s Passover Seder a few weeks ago, and now I kind of want to try my hand at the noodle kind 🙂
My flight home was uneventful and I was able to get a ton of work done then, and some more in the early evening once I was home. I also was able to squeeze in a quick 3 mile run around my neighborhood, which was sunny and with temps in the 80s. It was almost like I never left Florida!
And after that: time for me to eat some deliciousness. A friend came over and we enjoyed lobster ravioli and wine out on the deck. Summer is here!
Saturday, for the first time in a very long time, I had almost no plans for the day. Usually that would stress me out, but I’ve been finding myself embracing the idea of an open calendar – no obligations, and I can do whatever I want. I think with all the stress / obligations of work, I’m starting to really relish having more down time rather than always being on the go. I wasn’t exactly lazy, though – I started the (late) morning out with a quick 3.6 mile loop of one of my favorite trails, Flatirons Vista.
I headed home quickly when I was done, but didn’t jump in the shower yet. I still had more getting sweaty and dirty to do!
Last summer, I hired a landscaper to come out and evaluate my yard and garden, then put together a plan for what types of plants would do well where. I have one really problematic area: the side yard on the south side of my house. It’s a pretty steep slope, but it’s the side the gate is on so there has to be a pathway down. I have a few pavers set into the slope as steps, but it’s nearly impossible to mow, and the grass grows patchy over there anyway. My landscaper suggested planting Turkish speedwell, a low ground cover that spreads fast and wouldn’t require much upkeep, but I hadn’t yet gone to the expanse of ordering the ton of it I knew I’d need. (At least if I wanted it to look decent quickly, rather than being patient and waiting a few years.) Well, on Friday one of my neighbors posted on our neighborhood listserv that she had a ton of it she wanted dug up – and that anyone who wanted some could come by and take it! I immediately got in touch with her to get as much of it as possible, and we settled on Saturday at 1pm for me to come over.
I didn’t really know what to expect with digging up the speedwell – I’m hardly an experienced gardener! At Kathy’s suggestion, I brought a bunch of plastic bags and cardboard boxes, but on my way down to her house, I passed another neighbor who had a bunch of plastic bins by the curb with a “free” sign on them. (Thanks, neighbors!) Armed with all of that, I arrived at Kathy’s house and found she had a ton of speedwell, as well as a gorgeously landscaped yard – all of which was her doing. Kathy and her husband are original owners in the neighborhood, and she had transformed her backyard into a total oasis – I was so impressed! When my mom comes to visit in a few weeks, I’m going to drop Kathy a line and see if I can bring my mom by to see… it was so beautiful.
The speedwell ended up coming up very easily, and I was able to get an inch of dirt / the roots below as it came up in sheets, almost like carpeting. I was really pleasantly surprised how easy it was! Within 40 minutes, I had every bin so full that I had to use Kathy’s wheelbarrow to get them out to my car. Meanwhile, I got to chatting with Kathy about all sorts of garden topics. I’m definitely looking forward to calling her again for more tips and tricks. (Or maybe more plants, since she generously offered me several other species that she thought might do well in my yard. My neighbors are truly the best!!)
The problem came when I got home to replant. The soil needed to be loosened up a bit before I laid the carpets of speedwell on top, but that was no easy task. After trying to get after it with a trowel for over an hour, I only succeeded in loosening up three of the thirteen steps. This was going to be a long process, and my blistered hands were not having it! I headed inside for some Google research on tilling methods, and after a call to confer with my mom, I gave up on the tilling and just headed to Home Depot for a bunch of top soil to throw down instead… I hoped that would suffice.
I threw down a layer of the soil, laid out the carpets of speedwell, watered like crazy, and hoped for the best. Fortunately, I was working from home Monday and Tuesday, and the forecast was pretty rainy Wednesday and Thursday, so that helped! We’ll see how it looks this Saturday, after a week in the ground.
By the time I finished gardening, it was nearly sundown, and I headed inside for a quiet Saturday night to myself. Cooking and a book and an early bedtime, yes! How early you ask? Well, my only bummer of the night was that it stays light out so late now… so it’s possible I went to bed pretty much as soon as it got dark. (And sometimes I’ve been known to go to bed before that. Don’t judge!)
I didn’t set an alarm on Sunday, and hoped to sleep as late as possible. Unfortunately, I ended up waking up at 6am… oops! But I was feeling pretty energetic, so I decided to go for a hike of Rattlesnake Gulch – my first hike of the “summer”. Okay, fine, it’s not summer yet, but it felt like it – temps were already in the high 60s at 6am, and were supposed to get up to the mid 80s by afternoon. Colorado is definitely feeling like Florida, minus the humidity!
I quickly pulled on some shorts and a long-sleeved tech tee (I find wearing a lightweight long-sleeve is easier than slathering myself in sunscreen), and dug my Osprey hydration vest out of the closet. Even before I got to the trailhead, I was pretty excited – I’ve been skiing so much all winter that I forgot how great it is to wake up and be able to hit the mountains in just 10 minutes for hiking / trail running!
The first part of the Rattlesnake Gulch hike was steep uphill, but as soon as the trail leveled out, I picked it up to a run. I alternated running and hiking all the way to the continental divide overlook at the top. It was so quiet and peaceful – there was hardly anyone yet on the trails, and I was loving it! This route has a lot of beautiful views, and I was so happy to be out enjoying them… and making it to the top pretty quickly too (just under an hour).
There were a few hikers at the top when I got there, but they left within a few minutes, and then I had the stunning vista all to myself. However, on the trail up, I had passed another hiker, and after I hung out at the top for a little while, she ended up catching up to me. She asked me to take a photo for her, and then reciprocated the favor, and we ended up exchanging phone numbers to hopefully hike together sometime. She just moved to town (she’s a traveling nurse), and was looking for hiking buddies. I’m in! And I love how serendipitously we connected… Colorado is the friendliest, best place ever 🙂
I said goodbye and jogged down the trail, this time enjoying music instead of podcasts. Nice reward for hiking up! I ended up getting down in under 30 minutes, which means that I could do this entire route in just an hour and half… so totally possible to do it on a weekday before work. Noted! The trail had enough flat parts and small uphills (even on the descent) that I felt like I was still getting a good workout in, though it was definitely easier than the way up.
When I got back to my car, I started driving to my house, but was on such a runner’s high from my fun on Rattlesnake Gulch that I decided I wasn’t done yet. When I passed the Flatirons Vista trailhead that I had run the day before, I turned into it instead of heading for home. I realized that since Rattlesnake Gulch was 6.4 miles out and back, doing the 3.6 mile Flatirons Vista loop would put me at exactly 10 miles of trails for the day. Awesome! I haven’t run more than 6 miles in months, but I was feeling great and decided to go for it. I’m back in the trail running game!!! Now it’s truly summer 🙂
But what else comes along with summer? Wedding season! And so at noon I packed up my stuff and drove up to Estes Park to witness two of my good friends finally get married. Elizabeth was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Colorado, and we commiserated over the online dating scene here. Well, Match.com led her to meet Jay several years ago, and it was so fun to get to see them go through dating to proposal to engagement to now, a gorgeous wedding overlooking the mountains.
The group of friends in attendance was my original close friend group in Colorado. We used to do absolutely everything together, and while we’ve now all made other friends as well (and Caitlin and Adam moved to Chicago!), it’s still always a fabulous night when we get together.
At the reception, despite my strappy heels, I spent the majority of my time on the dance floor. I think the highlight of the night for me, though, was when Ed Sheeran’s Perfect came on, and all the couples came onto the dance floor for a slow dance. My friend Kelly’s husband had to leave early, so the two of us started slow dancing with each other, and one elderly gentleman gave us quite a surprised look as he thought we were a couple and apparently didn’t approve! By the time the wedding wrapped up, I had definitely burned off the several pieces of wedding cake I tried – my Fitbit said that I logged over 36,000 steps on Sunday! Wow.
All in all, this was the perfect “summer” weekend… even if I know it’s not quite summer and there is sure to be another snowstorm or two before the pools open on Memorial Day. Still, I’ll take it!