Instead of sleeping in this morning like a sensible person, I'm up at my usual crack-o-dawn hour.
Gotta love that internal clock.
HUGE POST ALERT! TR & I crammed about a week's worth of activity into around 36 hours this weekend, and there's a lot to share, but I promise it's worth it! Ghostly prostitutes! 80s bands! Yummy food! Miles of walking! Advil! This post has it all.
Friday after getting The Kid settled at her grampa's for the weekend, I headed down to Denver in a fairly speedy fashion, having miraculously found a gap in the get-out-of-town-quick traffic.
We headed to our friends Chris & Robyn's house to visit awhile with them and some of Robyn's family, and we all got a bonus... TR & Chris played some of their excellent music for us! They play beautifully, and everyone really enjoyed it. I had only heard them recorded before that, so it was really cool to hear it in person! (I recommend downloading from iTunes vs. Amazon, but Amazon had the easier-to-link listing, so there ya go.)
After relaxing there awhile, we headed over to TR's brother's to grab a ride to the hotel for the weekend. It's a downtown hotel more intended for business travelers with expense accounts, so they charge a lot for parking, even for guests. Can't say I blame them, I suppose, but we had other options so we took em'! After a quick, late dinner at Ted's (alas, the salad wasn't the joyful thing I remembered, but my burger was fantastic), we landed at the gorgeous hotel and turned in for the night.
Saturday morning I was, of course, up early. I really wonder about myself sometimes... comfy bed, no pressing obligations... do I go back to sleep after waking up and realizing I don't need to be conscious? Nope... but not for lack of trying.
We had scored a free breakfast, so after admitting defeat in the battle to sleep, I roused TR (I'm so mean, I know!) and we headed down for what proved to be a surprisingly yummy meal! It was definitely not your usual hotel breakfast buffet spread. They had the usual oatmeal/cereal/fruit display, of course, but they also had perfect bacon, an omelette lady, and some of the best home-made sausage gravy I've ever tasted. It was so good that we were trying to think of things other than biscuits to use it with (Chex Mix was a front runner).
The hotel was a block up from the 16th Street Mall, which is like Boulder's Pearl Street but with less hippies. We walked over to wander a bit after breakfast, enjoying the weather (hahaha) while we waited to meet up with Chris & Robyn & co again to take a walking tour of LoDo (the lower downtown Denver area - moniker courtesy of the mayor).
It was awesome! I learned lots of things about the city. You know I'm a fan of random information, so nuggets like the first cheeseburger (well, the home of the first folks to patent the name anyway) and the reason for the metal decorations on the sides of brick buildings (which are not just decorative after all - they're end caps for support beams!) were right up my alley. There was a ton of information, not all of which could be remembered by anybody but our tour guide Kevin and probably TR (that kind of retention is amazing stuff), but my favorite bits were the stops at Blake Street Vault for a tour by the the owner (and a drink called the Denver Donkey, a.k.a. the Moscow Mule, which about knocked me sideways - I need another, and soon!), the stop at the Cruise Room at the Oxford Hotel (an absolutely stunning Art Deco style room modeled after one of the lounges on the Queen Mary), and the ghost tour bits at both those places (a woman in brown, a merchant marine and a postman on a mission) as well as others along the way.
We learned about the ghosts that frequent Union Station, the PF Changs we passed on the way (a creepy tale of a bricked-in room, a skeleton, and scratches on the walls), and LODO, a restaurant which is housed partly in what used to be Mattie's House of Mirrors, one of the most famous of the many many MANY brothels that used to exist in that part of the city. That one was the most interesting, and I dared to venture back upstairs to where the tour guide insisted many had felt interesting things, and even seen and heard activity.
I didn't really sense anything unusual, but my thought was that I'm a woman, and maybe a man might not feel welcome up there. I can't imagine that the ladies who used to work there are big fans, given the stories that we hear about how they were treated (and still are, I'm sure). They're busy being ghosts, they probably don't have time to do much more than generalize between gender.
My inner Ghost Hunter came out, though, when I went back downstairs and spied the enormous amount of electrical wiring that's all over the ceiling, right underneath where the activity was said to be strongest, including ill feelings, strange sounds, etc. It's thought that high levels of electromagnetic energy (the kind emitted by electrical wiring, circuit boxes, etc.) can make people feel sick, feel like someone's watching them, or even hallucinate. Given the history of the place (suicides, the saucy nature of the place itself, and of course the general feeling that permeates any old building) and those conditions (huge bundles of wiring right under the floor), my guess is that if it *is* haunted, it's only by memory.
But you know me, I like to rationalize stuff.
So after all that walking, TR & I were pretty beat and decided to skip out on dinner with the group, though we did take our time getting back to the hotel (it was 5 or 6 blocks away, and we weren't in much of a hurry). On the way we stopped at Sakura Square to admire the statues and peaceful presence, and as we were walking from there we could hear music drifting toward us from the mall. There had been an arts and music festival that day, and the tail end of it was wrapping up. As we were walking and listening TR started to realize that he recognized the music, and we figured out that was because the band he heard playing was really there...
Now admittedly, I don't know much of them past their radio hits from way back when (namely Saved By Zero and Stand or Fall (my favorites), Red Skies At Night and One Thing Leads To Another, if you don't remember) so I didn't realize they were as prolific as they were - 9 studio albums!
Where I know not much beyond what was popular, TR is a big fan, so he was totally thrilled and I found out that they were much more than a few hits back in the 80's. They are a really tight band, and the bass player was amazing! I'm really glad we stumbled across the concert, and not just because I got to sit down, although that was a definite bonus. I really enjoyed one song in particular of those that I hadn't heard before, How Much Is Enough?. It wasn't a huge hit when it originally came out, but TR thought maybe that was because when it was released (1991) we as a culture were still pretty hip-deep in glossy, pretty prosperity (or the quest for it) and most consumers of that attitude weren't looking for socially conscious lyrics. Now, though, given the collapse of our economy, the mortgage crisis, the current BP oil mess (which we now know was pretty much entirely due to money-saving shortcuts), etc., maybe it's time for this song again.
Oh, and guess who was playing up the street at the same time?
They're another one I never really got to know in-depth, they were more of a theme-music kind of band backing the skaters I was obsessed with Freshman year, but they're immensely iconic, so it was really cool to see them! Well, hear them, mostly... we didn't want to walk over to the stage, because we were both about to fall over.
Back at the hotel, we were desperately in need of some hot water, so we went down to pool area and had an amusing conversation with a young couple from Minnesota in town for a fun 3-day weekend. We soaked for a good hour (the staff was nice enough to let us slip past the 11PM cutoff since we were being good), then hit the hay after some serious dechlorination. I understand the need to put that stuff in the water (otherwise eeeeeew), but it's so rough on my skin!
Sunday morning we did manage to sleep in, but got up in time to catch room service for some toast and bacon and tea for breakfast, but went right back to sleep. I love a lazy morning, particularly when it's in a quiet room curled up under a heavy comforter with the a/c cranked.
We grabbed a late lunch with TR's brother & his wife at Snooze - I had breakfast tacos with carnitas that were absolutely lovely - and then it was time to go pick up The Kid at Rollerpunks practice.
After that the day still wasn't done! It was up to Greeley to visit with Nova (who is recuperating nicely). A bit of dinner then it was back home to get some rest.
The weekend was long, but too short as always... but too short is better than not at all, ya know?
Today will be a lazy one again, I think. Granted, I was up way too early, but still I have nothing in particular to accomplish other than picking up The Kid's gear from her grampa's and watching movies.
Last but not least, and I'll keep it short just because I'm being extra wordy today (and that's saying something for me)...
Happy Memorial Day again. Keep the folks out there defending our country, or who have in the past, in your thoughts today.