17 November 2015

Bleeding Heart

I've been really sad lately. About the state of the world.

This is what I majored in so long ago in college. The world. Emphasis on the people of the world.

I was super upset today by a facebook "friend" who commented on an article I posted lauding the governor for being accepting of Syrian refugees. This person said some very disappointing things to the effect that Americans' comfort and safety is more important than anyone else's. This person is a professed Christian, so I gently brought up some things I know about the Bible (I should know a few things after 16 years of Christian education.) I just don't understand how anyone who professes to follow Christ can have so much hatred and xenophobia. How someone can take some warped sense of selfish nationalistic pride to justify turning away anyone in need. How so many people find it so easy to see everything in black and white. Us and them. Two choices: one bad, one good. It's never that simple. Everything is a shade of gray. To think otherwise is to play into the media; is to begin to think as the terrorist do.

Needless to say this person unfriended me. Saved me the trouble. Too bad I have to occasionally see her at work.

I am not a Christian anymore for a variety of reasons, but one is this horrible hypocrisy I find in many Christians. What I learned of Jesus and the gospels was love. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love those who persecute you. Care for the hungry, naked, imprisoned, sick, strangers (Matthew 25:35-40.) I also very much remember learning and trying to practice another key point: faith is nothing without action (James 2:14-17). It's not enough to simply say you are a Christian. You absolutely must back that up with actions. Truly following in the footsteps.

Anyhow, I realized that I also need to put action to my words, Christian or not. I once was active in the world. I volunteered in a variety of ways to help however I could. But that has lapsed and I feel bad about it. I'm going to find a place to volunteer and/or a job that really fulfills me in this way. As I reread that, it sounds super selfish, which is perhaps why my volunteering had lapsed to begin with. It's a struggle. But I still feel the need to be useful, selfish or not.

Yes, I'm a bleeding-heart liberal as my neo-con professor would dub me. And I'm totally okay with that.

03 November 2015


That's apparently how it's spelled now.

So I wore out my New Balance MT10s. I had them for two summers and put a lot of trail miles on them. Running, hiking, a couple 14ers. So the soles right at the balls of my feet started sifting sand into the shoe. Ew.

I've been looking for new shoes most of the summer, as I'd realized that these were on their way out. I am very interested in the Merrell Vapor Glove, but can't find it in my price range. And I had a very hard time finding MT10s in my price range for ages. They are scarce now apparently and run about $115. I bought my originals for about $60. And just recently I found another pair for $60, hurrah! I mentioned in my original review that I couldn't tell that the MT10s had a 4mm drop. I sort of can now. Compared to the old ones and my vivobarefoot pairs, these have a noticeable stack height and drop. Nothing worrisome, some slight protection is good for the trails, but I can tell the difference. I really wish Vivobarefoot made the Neo still...

You can see I really beat up the old ones.

Here's to getting back on the trails!

Just in time for winter...

05 October 2015

Nostalgia: A weekend with the Parents

I had a good weekend with my parents. I went back to help them butcher turkeys. They've raised them most every year since I was quite young and it was as much for nostalgia that I went as to actually help (and of course score a nice juicy turkey.)  I know it's probably odd for me to feel happy about plucking bloodied feathers off poultry, and yet.

There were nine all told. The biggest tom weighed in at 30 pounds. I remember one Thanksgiving we had a 35 pounder and had to rig two roasting pans together. Good thing my mom has a restaurant size oven. The hens were all in the upper teens.

We ate one for dinner of course. Nothing like eating meat so fresh it was breathing hours ago and never frozen. The meal was accompanied by all sorts of home grown veggies too.

And the company was nice too. For years I sort of avoided visiting. I always mostly blamed it on the distance or the unpredictable weather. But really, I was just unsure of myself. I hate confrontation. I know that many of my choices have disappointed my parents and I simply didn't want to face that. Over the years, I've come out of it a bit. Perhaps because my parents are getting more used to seeing me with a beard. Or they maybe just miss me. And probably also because I'm more confident in myself. I don't pretend to be anything I am not and I am so far past most of my transition that I can endure the wrong name and pronouns without undue cringing and absolutely no confrontation.

We all seem to know enough not to talk about points of contention: my transition, religion, politics. However, some politics came up. We talked about GMOs a bit. I am not as worried as my mom is, apparently. And we discussed Trump or "The Donald" as my parents dub him. We agree he's full of shit and also scary. This is a relief to know that they don't side with him.

On Sunday we went on a very small, but very pretty hike. I had Zorro with me and he and my mom's dog loved playing in the water and running around off-leash. There aren't many places around Denver that Zorro is able to do such things.

I will spare the audience any photos from the day before. Only the hike.

Happily swimming Zorro and Blaze. If it were summer, I may have swum there too!

My parents.

Just before heading homeward, my parents loaded me up with meat and veggies and fruit and jams. I got a cooler full of turkey, chicken, beef and lamb. Several homemade jams. Fresh green beans, carrots, zucchini, apples, plums, and grapes.

So despite driving 350 miles in two days, and not feeling 100%. It was a good weekend.

29 September 2015

I've been holding off writing this because it's sensitive, and because I'm hesitant to get into my personal life on the internet.


I'm single now. After nearly five years in that relationship, it's a very new and different feeling.

We're both adamant that we will remain good friends and roommates. Not a whole lot is actually changing. More of a mental shift than anything else.

There was no big moment, it was actually done all in writing, because that's the way we roll.

It's been tough for sure. And lonely. But I know I am not alone. And I know we will still share the best parts of each other.

So yeah.

20 September 2015

This week has been expensive for me. I needed to get some things worked on for my car. I knew it was coming, but it just so happened that everything ended up in the same week. Almost $400 for oil change and fixing the brakes. $200 for two new tires. Then of course the car payment itself and insurance. Also my registration is due this month, so altogether my car cost me nearly $900 this month. Whew. Luckily, with all the maintenance, I won't be having to pay much for it for a good long while. Except the day I got my new tags, I discovered that someone had clipped my license plate. They literally cut the bottom left corner, the month tag, off. So I have to find the time to go into the DMV on Tuesday and likely pay more money for that. So frustrating.

I also had a fun dinner with a friend at an authentic Chinese place. I'm sure they had the things one would normally find on a menu in a Chinese restaurant, but we were looking at the things that are not served anywhere else. We got chicken feet, squab, and picked out a live flounder to have steamed. The chicken feet were not good. They were cold and salty and chicken feet. The squab was delicious, even if its head stared at me as I ate. And the flounder was very good, though perhaps not worth the price.

It was a fun experience.

Now to let my wallet recover from this week. So that I can schedule surgery for a month or two out.

18 August 2015

Trail Tuesday

It's been a month or so since I've done a real trail run. I looked at the weather for today and decided it would be perfect, as it wasn't even supposed to break 70 until after noon.

I originally planned on doing a trail I regularly run, North Table Mountain. But on a whim, I decided to do South Table Mountain instead. It was enjoyable. About 8 miles of enjoyable. Unfortunately, though the temperature stayed in the 60s, it was really quite humid.  But I survived. I am really out of practice though, I think I hiked more of this one than most of my previous trail runs. My Nerd Fitness workouts are definitely helping to strengthen my legs, but I need to get my lungs back up to par.
tiny toad friend.

wildflowers and singletrack forever.

09 August 2015

Xero Shoe review (of sorts)

Surely you remember how I'm a minimal shoe (fanatic, obsessee, aficionado) enthusiast. I've been wearing Unshoes Pah Tempe for the past three years or so since they were the only minimal sandals that didn't have a strap or lace between the toes. Early this year I began to have some slight problems with them rubbing a bit where some stitching is. Not a huge deal, but I began to look around and see if there were other options. And Unshoes has changed some things, so I considered a new pair of those. But I also found the brand Xero Shoes. They had a very similar strap design, but a very different sole, though still just as minimal. Since they're located in Broomfield, I decided I'd swing by after a trail run and see if they were any good. Steven, the owner, met me and fitted me with a pair. They were super comfortable. And a bit cheaper than Unshoes (especially without shipping!) So naturally, I bought them.

Initially, I had a little bit of difficulty getting the proper fit. They are infinitely adjustable. The heel strap as well as the continuous strap on the top of the foot. I think they were a tad narrow, or perhaps my foot is weird, or I walk strangely, but my feet had a tendency to twist in the shoes, causing the outside of my heel (mostly on the right) to come up over the side and occasionally the big toe to come over the inside. This was especially problematic as the heels have a sort of bumper, a raised cup to keep the heel in place. I would end up stepping on that fairly regularly. But after a few somewhat helpful (and very prompt) emails, I got that mostly figured out. Until about a month later and 50 or so trail miles when the shoes broke. The straps are attached to the sole by a raised part of the sole that is a hole/slit that the strap is fed through. Though the rubber of the sole is very tough (better than the vibram of the Unshoes, in my opinion), this attachment point is a weak spot. I had to complete my hike to Hanging Lake with a dangling shoe.

Again, they were prompt with responses and I was issued a return label and soon thereafter a replacement pair. Luckily the second pair arrived the day before I was headed to Glacier et al. for a week. Unfortunately, exactly a week after I received the second pair, they broke in the very same spot.

This time I got my money back because it just isn't worth it to me unless they change the design. It's obviously flawed.

I like Xero Shoes. I really do. They're comfortable. Light. Flexible. The sole is super tough. They're local. But they're not so durable for real hiking. Probably fine for playing in the lake, taking walks at the park, etc.

Unshoes have their own small flaws as well, but they've never given up under pressure. So I'll tape that lumpy stitching and keep using them until something else comes along.

03 August 2015

National Parks again

What a week!

I just spent a week in Glacier National Park (and a few other parks along the way.) It was a week filled with fun and food and huckleberry mead. And singing. The Pocahontas soundtrack ended up being the soundtrack for the trip. Fun times.

We hiked to Iceberg Lake. Rode a shuttle to the top of Logan Pass. Hiked to Hidden Lake Overlook. Hiked to Avalanche Lake. Swam in the Snake River. Saw several moose. Saw several bears (from a great distance.) Saw a herd of bison. Saw practically ever geyser and geothermic pool in Yellowstone. We even managed a shower partway through the week.

It was quick, and there was a lot of driving and setting up and tearing down of camp, but it was awesome.

A few days prior to us leaving, a fire started at one of the main entrances to Glacier. It closed the main pass through the park. Luckily though, on the day we were planning to head southward, the pass opened up from our side to the top and we were able to take a shuttle and experience the amazing views.

We ended up cutting the trip short by one night. Which was great because it allowed us all a recuperation day before work. But someday we have to actually hike in the Tetons instead of just taking photos of them.

Speaking of which- have some photos (in no particular order):

My friends and I and South Falls, Yellowstone.
South Falls.

Morning mist on the Snake River.

Milk thistle and the Grand Teton.

Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain.

Great Prismatic Pool.


Running Eagle Falls.

Fireweed up the trail to Iceberg Lake.

Iceberg Lake.

A moose friend, just off the trail.

Crystal clear up Going to the Sun road.

Wildflowers and Clements Mountain.

07 July 2015


This past week was a southern Colorado week.

On Tuesday I got a call from my work asking if I wanted to go on an investigations/transfer case with Colorado Humane Society (which is a subset of my shelter.) I said sure, because anything is better than the daily grind. This meant meeting earlier than my usual schedule though.

We drove south for threeish hours. The job was to catch 10-15 cats and two dogs from a tiny house. It was not as bad as previous cases, but it was bad. When people hoard animals it's usually not just animals. The tiny house was very cluttered and since there were so many cats, there was feces literally everywhere. The cats were in the box springs, in the dresser drawers, in the kitchen cabinets. There was hair, vomit and feces in each of those places as well. Very unhealthy. However, unlike other cases, these cats were not mean. They were a bit scared and darted around, so they weren't super easy to catch, but they didn't fight back and many of them were caught by hand instead of traps and nets. We ended up with 11. Luckily, we didn't have to transport them back to the shelter in Denver. Instead, we went further south and dropped them off at a small shelter in Trinidad. I got a new experience, a day "off" work and free lunch. Good times

For the Fourth of July weekend we went where we'd vowed never to go in the middle of summer: the sand dunes.

It was awesome.
prickly pear blossom.

Sure, a bit hot in the middle of the day, but fine if we stayed off the sand. There was about an hour of rain both evenings, but nothing terrible. And we saw the distant and rather pitiful fireworks show put on by Alamosa.

It's one of the very few National Parks that allows dogs, so we brought Zorro along. He wasn't thrilled by being forced to ride in the very back because we had four people. The creek that runs by the dunes was very wide for this time of year, so we had some fun playing in the sand there. The sand was too hot for the dog's paws during the day, so when we went there he wore booties. The one time we actually hiked the dunes was around 8am and the temperature was perfect. I also went barefoot and it was amazing how quickly the sand began to heat up around 9am. Zorro seemed to really love dashing through the sand. He kept treating it like snow or water though; as he ran, he'd dip his head as if to scoop up the sand into his mouth. He always stopped before actually doing that though.  It is a favorite place and it had been too long.

poor abused pup. 

my friends and the dog running the dunes.

30 June 2015

14er Season!

It has begun. Since we had a wet spring, the snow was pretty piled up in the mountains, but it's finally starting to allow access to the peaks.

On Saturday we climbed Pike's Peak, standard route. It's 13 miles to the top. It was rough, but we did it. Longest 14er hiked yet.

We ended up catching a (not so cheap)  ride down.

For a more thorough trip report click here.

08 June 2015

a weekend

I saw my nephew this weekend for the first time in a long time. He’s 15 now, and I cannot really get my head around that. It doesn’t help that he looks about 11, and doesn’t talk a whole lot. But he’s super creative and has been modifying old sawzall blades to make knives.

It’s sad to me that my transition, while being exactly what I needed to move forward with my life, has made many past aspects of my life awkward at best and completely void at the worst.

I appreciate my dad more than I can express. He’s a very genuine person. And genuinely good. He uses my name. And even my pronouns, though he fumbled and backpedaled when given a death stare by my mom.
Both of my parents were very nice and giving and kind to my friends and me. I know that my mom misses me. She is always prompting me to come visit.

And I’m mostly okay with visiting, it’s just that I don’t really enjoy how jarring it is to be misrepresented. I am not ever going to insist that she use my name and pronouns. I am never going to give her ultimatum or anything of the sort. But I am going to be hesitant to spend very much of my valuable time away from work putting myself through such -once again “jarring” is the best word- encounters.

Both of my parents seem to accept Liam as my partner. I have never explicitly told them this is true, but they are not dumb. The invitation is for both of us (despite the insistence of separate rooms.) I do not know what they think of the relationship, or even if they think of it much at all.

Because we have a State Parks pass, we will be visiting that side of the mountains a few times this year, as there are several state parks near them. Hopefully it will continue to be good.

Also this weekend, I visited an old workplace - Glenwood Caverns. I was a tram operator for most of high school and a couple of summers after starting college. It was a fun job. And though it has changed a whole lot in the intervening 8 or so years, it’s still a fun place. I hope my friends had a good time trooping along after my nostalgia.

It was nice to spend some time visiting old places and people that I once knew so well.

02 June 2015

Trail Tuesday

This week is a two-for-one since I neglected to post last week.

Last week I decided to check out Sand Creek Regional Greenway, as it's about 15 minutes north of my house. It was a nice trail for the most part, but there was a lot of construction and other hazards that required me to make several detours. It also switches back and forth between gravel and cement, which made it slightly unpleasant to run on. I also got a killer sunburn. I don't think I'll return. Not for awhile anyway. But it was nice to find a new place and I got a pretty great photo.
Today I returned to North Table Mountain. I had the idea of doing a figure eight to stretch the length a bit more, since the longest loop is about 7.5 miles. Well, I was able to successfully stretch it to 12. But it was super hot and not very pleasant. I walked a good 30% of the time. And about 3/4 of the way through I found a creek and sat in the shade with water running over me for about ten minutes.

I need to find some places to run that aren't front range. And/or I need to get up much earlier. ugh.

a nice big root to trip over.

pretty day, just way too hot.

cactus blooms!

and paintbrush.

26 May 2015

Fury Road

The latest Mad Max movie is fantastic. Great acting. Great practical effects. Great music. Literal non-stop action. Cool camera and filming techniques. And also not the misogynistic type that most action movies tend to be. It was actually pretty much not a Mad Max film and more of a Furiousa film. Charlize Theron is fantastic.

I wanted to see it anyway, but I wanted to see it way more after reading that some "men's rights advocates" were upset about it. It lived up to their fears and was amazing. There is nothing romantic between the lead characters. There is only give and take equally. Furiousa is strong more than just physically. And Max recognizes this without even having it test it. And the Vuvalini. I don't think I've ever seen badass older women in a movie before.

It still retains the trademark of Mad Max films. It's odd. It doesn't have a whole lot of dialogue and what it does have often doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There's a lot of death and disease and general bleakness. Characters, places and events aren't really explained fully or fleshed out. This leaves a lot to the imagination which is occasionally frustrating, but mostly makes it a bit more realistic.

There is really nothing about the movie I don't love. I need to see it again in 3D.

12 May 2015

Trailrun Tuesday (again, finally!)

I had a really nice run today. It was rough for many reasons though. One is that I'm not in shape, so like several before it, it was half hike half run. Another was that it was wet and muddy in a lot of places and that caused some complications. Also it was very humid today. Ew. This was the longest "run" I've ever done and I really started to peter out after mile 8 or so of the 10.

The good news was that it was beautiful, even if the day was cloudy and smoggy. Also, I ran/hiked 10 miles in two and a half hours. Not so bad at all.

I went to someplace new today, Green Mountain aka William F. Hayden Park. I don't know why I've never been, it's actually closer than the ones I generally go to. It's also huge, with many interconnecting trails. There weren't many  people for about 3/4ths of the run. Toward the end, I came upon more trail heads and quite a few people. But there was plenty of room to spread out.

see what I mean about the water on the trail?
You might- might- be able to make out Denver's skyline under the smog.

bumble be doin' his thing. 

pretty, no?

There's a prairie dog yelling at me in this one.

beautiful single track for miles.

this one was result/solution to the muddy trails. It was nice to train barefoot.

of course.