Aunt Kristy

I just spent the past 5 days or so in Denver.  I realized I hadn’t been there to visit in WAY too long–so this felt way overdue.  I love Denver in the summer.  Yes, it’s hot–but I like hot & apparently I came during a “cold spell” (which was still hotter than the temps in L.A., but I pretended to be cold).  Well, actually, I mostly like summer ANYWHERE & the idea of hanging out with 5 and unders & watching cartoons in the morning.

So, I woke up at around 3am Saturday to catch my morning flight & as soon as I landed in Denver, I was whisked away to the largest water park in America–Water World (imagine the world’s largest water park on about 3 hours of sleep).  Luckily, they let me get some coffee first & I was good to go for the rest of the day.  You are never too old for water rides & this park is super nice and clean.  A great way to start the vacation!

Sunday was a little more laid back–John’s friend’s girlfriend (got that?) was sweet enough to let me borrow her road bike, so I went on a nice 20 mile ride from Denver to Golden (the home of the Coors Brewery).  It was great because the roads weren’t crowded at all & the drivers weren’t scary like in L.A.  Luckily there weren’t any terrible hills (only some small rolling ones, which I enjoy), so I made it out alive.

In the afternoon, we had a play date at Lakeside Amusement Park, which has been around since 1908 & was once declared the “Coney Island of the West.”  Why anyone would want to advertise that, I’m not sure–but I agree with the comparison.  It was so retro that it came off as more “movie set” than “amusement park.”  Me and Sam made our way on 6 or so rides, most of them making my stomach churn & testing my ability to be a *fun aunt who rides all the rides*.  I drew the line at the tilt-a-whirl.

Monday the parents and Sophie were gone for the day, so it was just myself and my nephew.  What else were we going to do but compete in the mini-Olympics?  We took our cones and soccer ball out to the park & competed in a variety of events.  Sadly, I only won one: the Soccer Kick Event.  I then put him in the “bike trailer” & attempted to bike my way to the library (that boy is heavy…but of course I love a good leg workout!) & the park–followed by a healthy meal at KFC.  Man those mashed potatoes are awesome.  We watched a movie, he napped for over an hour & then more play time until Mom came home.  We had swim lessons that night (well, I swam  laps while the kids had lessons) & passed out after that.

Tuesday we dropped my brother off at work & headed over to Boondocks, the local mini-golf-go-kart-arcade-laser tag place.  We stayed there for 4 hours, which is a long time–but we were both troopers (until that girl started squirting us non-stop on the bumper boats…not cool! soaked for another hour after that!).  We then went to see Despicable Me.  I was so exhausted I passed out for 30 minutes in the middle & by the time the movie was over, it was time to pick John up and head home.  Did we just make it through an 8 hour day of non-stop activity?  Amazing.

Wednesday I had both of the kids (Sam and Sophie), but by this time–I think the novelty of Aunt Kristy was wearing off (don’t overstay your welcome).   We had another round of mini-Olympics, a picnic, acting time (I AM a drama teacher), water hose fun, etc–and of course neither of them were interested in a nap (but trying to get them to take one killed a good hour or so of our day).  Finally, we turned on the TV and watched some Hannah Montana, & ended the day with a dance party with itunes blaring through the house.  And then of course, more swim lessons.

So, I wouldn’t call it a “relaxing vacation”–but it was an awesome time to get to spend so much time with my brother and his family.  I love being an aunt.  The kids both have such a hilarious sense of humor that we continually crack each other up.  They always seem one step away from either crying or laughing, and I can totally relate.  I got to take Sam to his first day of 1st grade yesterday, and he was playing it so cool.  The other kids were hugging on him & I think he rolled his eyes a little.  His teacher seemed so sweet (I guess 1st grade teachers are by definition sweet?) & though I was ready to get back to L.A., at that moment–dropping him off in the classroom– I wanted just one more day at some cheesy amusement park with him.

Every time I visit Denver I think about moving there.  This usually happens in Texas, too.  Maybe I’m just easily swayed by a wide variety of lifestyles.  I imagine myself ending up in a community that places a priority on outdoor activities, while still having major movie/music/restaurants/etc. to balance it out with.  I want to live in a town with crazy amazing bike paths, and my ultimate dream is to ride my bike to work (without fear of death).  I would like to live in a city that isn’t quite as crowded as L.A., yet I’d still like to be able to get lost once in awhile.

So, I’m willing to pick up and move if an opportunity comes around, but I also have to say that L.A. is still a great place for me to be.  I loved getting off the airplane & feeling the breeze & driving around in my Mustang on a 405 that happened to be, for a moment anyway, traffic-free.  The triathlon community here is huge, as is every community because the city is just so big.  I love that I have a history here–friends that have been my friends since I moved here (or before, Chuck!, Kendra!), but I also love the possibility of still meeting new and incredible people (like the work friends I’ve made in the past few years).

All this to say, I still love my commitment-free life.  I know I’m supposed to want to “settle down,” to marry, to have kids, to do whatever you do after you have kids (find other people who also have kids and hang out with them?).  I just feel like there are so many paths out there for people to take these days and thank goodness for that.  It’s no secret I AM interested in finding a good man (always!), but beyond that–I don’t really have a plan.  But TIME feels like the most precious thing, and I feel great when I choose to spend it in a way that feels right.  I could have gone on some exotic solo trip to Hawaii for some surfing lessons, but none of that could compare to time spent with my nephew and niece.  Well, maybe a tropical drink & the sunset might come close–but not really.  No contest.

The beauty of my Denver vacation being over is that I still have a 4 day weekend & no plans!  Well, besides the workouts–which are so much more fun when you don’t have to squeeze them into already jam-packed days.  I plan on seeing at least 2 movies this weekend–I’ve only seen 3 or so movies the entire summer, which is very unusual for me.

So, that’s my Denver trip.  Have a great weekend!

Let My Summer Begin. A little late.

It is my favorite season by far.  I like everything about it, yet this time, it really seemed to get away from me.  So much so that August is declared by me to be ULTRA Summer.  I will pack all the things I love into one month.  Swimming pools, vacation, water parks, hikes, bike rides, fruity drinks, family, friends, bbq…it’s all happening.  But really the great joy this week?  I don’t have to be at work until 10am.  It is so nice not to set an alarm (although you can bet I’ll be up by 6:15 out of habit…at least I can go workout first! and time to grab a fancy coffee drink!).

Summer camp has ended at work with a performance I was totally proud of.  In this line of work, the only thing that means anything is the progress I see in the kids themselves–not their talent…but their ability to open up, to engage, to make new friends, to share their ideas.  All of this happened, and I laughed hard almost every day (usually multiple times).  I was completely exhausted on Friday, sure, but the kind of exhaustion that can be eased with a great weekend.

Saturday morning started with another UCLA workout.  I’m loving working out with this group & coach–great people & just the right amount of structure/advice/challenge.  We did 1 1/2 hours at the track (warm up, drills, sets of 400s, cool down) & moved to the pool for another hour.  Even though these workouts are just once a week & will be over after September, they still motivate me in big ways.  I see that I can workout for a couple of  hours at a time & it’s not the end of the world.  My body can handle it pretty well.  I can go faster and longer than I thought possible.  It pretty much shatters the image of what I thought I was capable of.  And more practically, it gives me solid workouts to continue doing when I’m not with the group.  This, combined with my personal trainer, takes me to a new level.  I’m not sure how it will translate at race time, but I know on a week to week basis–it makes training way more exciting.  Shakes things up.

I’m about to head to Denver & then I’m not sure where (TX?).  Yes, I’m a little unsure of the next month or so, but more on that when I’m a little more sure.  In the meantime, I can’t wait for Denver (Saturday)!  Let the fun begin (and the workouts–I get to borrow John’s friend’s bike–hooray!  I get to ride through Boulder, CO!  I hope I can handle the altitude).  I’m always game to hang with my brother and his awesome family.

I had a great Sunday today–started with a bike ride…the clouds there in the morning and then clearing on my way back in…I love the way the ocean looks when everything is kind of gray.  It’s not as depressing as it sounds.  I had an awesome omelette (avocado! hooray!) & then pool time with trashy magazines.  I would like a dozen more of those days, all in the next few weeks.  Hooray for August!