Saturday, September 22, 2012

Greetings From Denver

Hello from the Mile High City! My, my, it's been a while, no? Quite honestly, it's been a while since I have been able to catch my breath. Life has been rolling along at full speed for the last month. I've moved to a new city, to a new house, acquired nine (yes, nine) new housemates, started breaking in two separate jobs in new fields, and...a million other things it seems.

As of tomorrow I will have been in Denver for a whole month. That's hard to believe mostly because it feels like it must have been at least 6 months.

In the midst of all this craziness I have been using just about every milligram of free time to sleep or silently stare at a wall to try to regain some strength. I've been doing a horrible job at keeping in touch with everyone, so, well, here we have it--a new blog! It's a bit impersonal, but I don't see myself having time for all the phone calls I'm behind on anytime soon. I'll see what I can do with reviving the Week in Review bit, but for now I'll throw in some tidbits from the past month. I haven't been doing a great job of taking pictures either (and they're all from my phone), but I'll share what I have. (Feel free to throw out questions in the comments if you're curious about anything.)

OK, a month in Denver in review!:

  • My house is massive and laid out like a maze. I still forget where the stairs are that go up to the third floor sometimes. I think there are probably some secret passages lingering behind boxes in our basement. 
  • A large chunk of my housemates are from the midwest. I'm already afraid of the things I'm going to start saying or how it will affect my accent. Hot dish anyone?
  • Friday I learned how to harvest worms and how to put together a worm bin at work. (These are one of the gardening items we sell.) It's probably just as gross as you are imagining it.
  • In the mornings I work at an organization called Earthlinks. If you want to learn a little more check it out here: (You can also click over to the staff page to see their newest staff member!)
  • In an effort to live a more sustainable life, to be in solidarity with the poor, and because, well, I am poor, I take the bus or walk everywhere I can. I take the bus in the morning half way to work and walk the rest of the way. At lunch I take two buses and walk a little bit to get to my second job, then I walk home at the end of the day. My attitude might change once it gets cold, but I love these times during the day. My morning walk is peaceful and full of gardens and snapshots of the skyscrapers and mountains. The bustle of downtown Denver at lunch hour is energizing. The walk home is stress relieving. 
  • I've seen quite the characters on the bus, too. Sometimes these characters are people I know from work, so we chat for a while. (It's a nice feeling of connectedness.)
  • Bus 44 frequently tries to ruin my day. 
  • The weather has been fantastic. It got a bit cold for a day or two (high 40s in the morning/evening), but has been sunny and hovering in the 70s for the most part. 
  • The sun really does shine constantly here. (Cue Ben Harper's She's Only Happy In the Sun)
  • My room in the house came complete with a horrible painted mural. Since the room is pretty tiny it was dominating things. I don't have anywhere enough energy to paint the wall, so I got in a problem-solving mood and tacked up king sized sheets. Not beautiful, but satisfactory. 
  • I have seen more rotten food in the last 3 weeks than in the rest of my life combined. (We get a lot of "day old" type donations at the house, and at Earthlinks we get food off a truck that comes by with expired or wilting food the grocery stores threw out. On top of that, many of us get random things from our worksites that they can't give out to their clients anymore (yes, we happily take the things they can't even give away to homeless people!). We try to use all this food on it's last leg, but, I'll be honest: a lot of it get's composted.)
  • After this year, I will have cured myself of any desire to ever eat a bagel again. (Matter of fact, I'm pretty much there now.)
  • We've actually been eating quite well. We rotate so that 2 different people out of the 10 of us cook and clean each weeknight. There's been a slight learning curve, but I'm pretty impressed with a lot of what we have come up with. 
  • One of the perks I love about my afternoon job at the church is that I have an office. A real, downtown office. 
  • I'm developing a healthy fear of the answering machine at work with all the sad and desperate stories I find there daily. 
  • Monday afternoons at the church are exhausting--but the good kind of exhausting. The kind of exhausting where weekly we feed about 1,200 people in 4 hours. 
  • Living between downtown and the huge city park is a great location with a lot of energy. It's also nice to head out to the foothills to the suburb where David lives once a week or so. It's amazing how much different it feels. 
  • Actually, every 4 blocks or so Denver feels like a very different city. 
OK, that's plenty of bullet points. Some pictures to finish things up: 

My, um, interesting, whole wall, multilingual mural. Complete with mirrored flowers. Yeah. 

My solution. 

Our first day of work dinner. I helped cook this meal that turned out to be a bit overzealous, but delicious. (Seriously, cooking for 10 people mostly from scratch (because that's cheapest) can turn out to be like cooking a Thanksgiving-esque meal every night.)

Work in the morning

My afternoon office!

After a particularly long and heavy day (and week) I spotted this guy on the back of a wall. I figured no one was looking at it anyway, so I might as well take it...

During our first week or so of orientation we were subsisting on basically nothing but carbs: bagels, rice, pasta, bread.  We hadn't yet received our weekly batch of produce from the farmers market that gives us their unsellables, and we were longing for pretty much anything that came from the ground. That day our generally kind and well meaning director showed up at lunch with a peach. A peach that she ate in front of all of us. Waved it around a bit as she talked. (Oh man, we were all experiencing a range of emotions that were not the most generous!) After relaying this story to David, he showed up later with...giant peaches! Best. Peach. Ever.  

We also found a park throwing an end of summer festival--complete with a hot air balloon "glow" and fireworks. All for free! (It's true. We make poor look exciting.)

And finally, some shots from my morning commute:

Somebody forgot a few important things at the bus stop...

I'm not sure why, but I love this building.

My morning worksite is in a bit of an industrial area that is full of interesting artwork. 

Waiting for good ol' bus 15 (hotbed for interesting and/or homeless people) downtown at lunch. 

The End.