Thursday, February 25, 2016

Nashville

So, the Vegas rule applies to calories consumed in Tennessee right? So...much...food. The "east nasty" biscuit at biscuit love, duck fat fried tots at Merchants, grilled cheese and lava cake from Goozy, and some freakin' delicious hot chicken from Uncle Lou's (ok, this one was back in Memphis on our way back to the airport). Honestly, we didn't plan anything for Nashville other than a place to stay so we pretty much just ate and listened to music. 


Here's Truman making his "east nasty" face. Can you believe they intended for only one person to eat this meal for breakfast? We split and were still crazy full. 



I've pretty much never met a tot I didn't like. 



On the first night we happened to stumble upon Morgan Frazier (from the voice) singing in the back of Tootsie's. We hung out for over an hour and it was awesome. 


There was also this rockin' lady and at Layla's.


The next day we did some work in the morning and then went out looking for food and exploring. We kind of struck out on the exploring. While this printing press was cool we weren't super impressed with the shopping or walking around in East Nashville. Maybe we just didn't go to the right spots but we ended up abandoning the exploration early and heading over the famous Bluebird Cafe for more music. 

This was the line outside the Bluebird Cafe an hour before it opened. Truman hopped in line and I made a dash for some lava cakes at Goozy (I tried to get them to spike the hot chocolate but they wouldn't go for it). The Bluebird was highly recommended on all the tourist sites so we were pretty shocked to discover that it was in a strip mall in the 'burbs. Overall it was a cool experience and some of the talent at the open mic night we went to was quite good...but it wasn't really any better than an open mic night in any other city with a lively music scene. We had fun and their wasn't a cover because it was a Monday night but if you're from a city like LA or NYC you can probably skip this one. 

Oh, and the place only holds 50 people. See those poor souls behind Truman? They didn't get in. We were the last people to make the cut. 

What Nashville does well (you know. other than fried food) is music so we headed back to Broadway for more country music. People told us to go to Robert's, which we did but weren't impressed with on night number one. We decided to give it another shot on night number two and the band was way better. Josh Hedley & the Honkey Tonk Heroes were pretty fantastic. 









Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Visiting Memphis

Truman and I love to visit new cities. We like walking, we like eating and we like spending time together so we usually plan a couple of activities and then just wander around. Work has been pretty stressful so we decided that a little get away was in order sometime this winter and when Frontier had a sale for $80 roundtrip tickets to Memphis we decided that Tennessee sounded like a great destination. After looking at the offerings in Memphis we decided to rent a car and split our trip between Memphis and Nashville.

Memphis was, well, a little sad. The neighborhoods that we were in totally lacked transitions. We were either in a pretty empty feeling neighborhood with homes in desperate need of maintenance and shuttered store fronts or, just a block a way, we were in a historic district that had one of the most dense collection of huge turn of the century homes that I'd ever seen. There wasn't any middle ground.

We visited Graceland, the Stax Museum, and the National Civil Right Museum at the Lorraine Hotel and they were all great...but they were also all pretty sad stories of men, movements or moments who were ended in their prime. Memphis felt like the physical embodiment of that same theme. The tragedies of the civil rights movement changed Memphis (as they did the country) and, it looks to me, that white flight bankrupted the tax base and, from a tourist point of view, I'm not sure that meaningful reinvestment into the city center ever happened.

Overall, I think Memphis is worth visiting once but I'm not sure we felt like there was enough to see to justify a second trip. I will say, if you're a bit of a policy wonk Memphis is fascinating and definitely sparked some good conversation on our three hour drive to Nashville.


Saturday's itinerary was central bbq (good, not great), the Stax Museum (worth the visit!), dinner at Second Line (really good, we waited out the hour long wait at Bari next door where the fancy cheese plate was awesome), and walking around Beale Street. We quickly learned that in the South all meals should be split...so much food!




Sunday: We spent the morning at Graceland which was fun (Elivis had the same refrigerator that we currently have and the same coffee table my grandma used to have). Graceland definitely viewed Elvis with rose colored glasses and Truman and I had an interesting conversation about whether or not it was a history museum or a tribute. As a tribute, I thought it was great. 

After Graceland we at at the delicious Rizzo's for lunch, and then went to the National Civil Rights Museum which is located at the hotel where Dr. King was killed. It was awesome but really dense, my brain was a little fried by the end. 















Next stop: a three hour drive between us and Nashville!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

I actually kept my new year's resolution

Last December I was the heaviest I've ever been. You know how you have your normal size pants and then your "fat pants"? The ones that are a banana republic size up (you know what I'm talking about...them are some generous sizes over at the banana). Well, I was outgrowing my fat pants.

Between just feeling kind of crappy about how I looked and really not wanting to spend more money on a new size of jeans I decided that my goal for 2015 would be to lose 17 pounds. I'd tried to loose a little weight before (and I actually lost a bunch thanks to a generous supply of adderall during law school) but this was the first time I'd ever set an actual number goal. To be honest, I'd made a policy of not weighing myself over the last few years (in an attempt to not obsess about a number) and I was pretty shocked that I weighed as much as I did. So in January we went on a crash diet, in February I joined classpass and started working out 4-6 times a week, we abandoned the crash diet at the end of January  but continued to eat healthier and in smaller portions. Basically, I lost weight the old fashioned way.

It was slow going and it took me all damn year but I actually met my goal (and as a Pilates instructor pointed out, it probably took me just as long to put that weight on in the first time).

I don't have any great "before" pictures...because when you're feeling super heavy you throw those damn pictures away, but here's what I could find:

December 2014

December 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

How reading an offensive facebook posts made me a better person


We all do it. You read some asshole high school classmate’s facebook post, get angry about what a racist/classist/political crazy/general nutball this person is, you type several responses that aren’t suitable for public consumption and then decide to just keep scrolling. This is sort of my life. It’s all just one big hate scroll really.

A few weeks ago a facebook friend posted about a negative customer service experience they had at a chipotle-style restaurant. They also posted their response to the situation and my first thought was, “well we all have our classist moments…I’m not sure I’d want to put mine on blast like that.” As I kept thinking about it over the next few days (yes, I think about other people facebook posts for days…I’m sure it’s perfectly healthy). I found myself irritated that this person had no idea that their behavior was not only not brag worthy but also something that illustrates a lack of understanding of their own class privilege.

I suppose I should back up, just so we’re all clear on terms. For the class I teach I define most of the “-isms” (racism, sexism, etc) as “power + predjudice.” So now we all know what I’m talking about.

Anyhow, where were we? Oh, I’ve decided that my facebook friend is kind of a classist jerk. Right. Now fast forward to the following weekend. I find myself in Costco in a bit of a rush needing my flat tire fixed (aren’t we always in a rush when this happens?) and of course the tire shop cashier is…so…slow. By the time I’m at the counter I find myself a little annoyed and probably grouchier than I need to be. And I was totally curt with this guy. I actually felt bad and promptly apologized. It seemed that he’s pretty used to jerks like me because he hadn’t seemed to notice that I was being a jerk. As I sat in the food court eating my pizza I realized…I’m the facebook asshole! Not necessarily the person who broadcasts my classist shit on facebook (although I’ve probably been guilty of this at various points as well) but rather the person who allows myself to treat other people poorly in public because I’ve trained myself to believe that people in the service industry owe me something. Rather than considering that their job might be hard, or busy, or a little shitty sometimes... I expect to never be inconvenienced because I’m smart, educated (those are different, btw) and can afford to pay for certain things at a retail store. This somehow makes me important right? Well, sort of. Just in so far as we are all important, really.

Now I don’t think I’m more important than people who work retail (based on facebook I think the friend might actually think he is more important or smarter than the people they interact with at the grocery store) but there is something going on there right? What if the tire shop worker had been someone I perceived as more powerful than me? Say, a judge or something? Would I behaved the same way? Probably not. For the last few days I’ve been asking myself what that’s about and I’ve been making an effort to behave differently.

So now we arrive at the moral of my story which is… facebook hate scrolling actually improved my life and made me a better person. Post on assholes of the world, maybe we’ll all be a little better for it.  Also, by the way, my tire is totally fucked. I have to buy a new rim. I’m pretty sure it’s classist karma.






Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summer Adventures

It's almost labor day! That means that summer is winding to a close and I'm pretty excited to have some closure on summer. It's been a rough one. Just because we had a stressful few months doesn't mean that we didn't get some fun out of summer. Here are some of the highlights from our outside adventures. 


These are some of my favorite pictures of Olivia. We were planning to on a hike so Truman packed a couple sandwiches (in a reusable bag because we are hippies) and set it down. Olivia nabbed it and would not give it up. After a pretty impressive tug of war Truman decided to trade her a piece of hot dog for the sandwich bag. I found this hilarious. This dog is awesome and she just keeps surprising us. Back in January the vet gave her "weeks or months" to live...and in July she was still stealing sandwiches. It's pretty awesome. 



In July we went on a fun day hike up Mt. Flora a peak near berthoud pass that's just under 14,000 feet tall. We hiked about 6 miles and it wasn't painful which was pretty great. I guess some of those exercise classes are paying off. 








Every August some friends of ours plan a tubing trip outside of Lake George, CO. Last year we bought a two person pool raft for Katy but she popped it pretty quickly. This year we tossed her on top of Truman which she was pretty skeptical about. It made for some hilarious pictures though. 

 Happy Truman, skeptical Katy. 

 Brave Katy.

 Selfie attempt. 

 This is Katy's thinking face. 


The crew (minus Truman who was taking the picture and Leonard who was fishing). 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Family Pictures

I've always sort of wanted family pictures. I do photography on the side and I've taken family photos for a few families but it turns out it's kind of hard to take pictures of yourself. So last week we had Natalie Marie Photography come to our new house (and, um, WE GOT THE HOUSE...more on that later) and take some pictures of Truman, the dogs and I.

Honestly, in January Olivia was unbelievably sick and even the specialist gave her "weeks or months" to live. We're so thankful that she's still going on strong in July but there's always a sneaking feeling that we're on borrowed time. And, well, I wanted some fabulous pictures of the dogs while Olivia is still around and healthy. Here are a few of our favorites, the dogs now have better headshots than most nonprofit professionals I know:











Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Missing My Grandpa Already


My grandfather passed away yesterday morning. He was 90 years old and I already miss him terribly. My grandpa was an awesome guy. At 90 he was still in good health. He lived on his own, was still up on politics and what was happening in the world (he was pro marriage equality). I sent him postcards from anywhere I went (whether it was camping a few hours from our house or international vacations) and when we were in person we still had great conversations about family or history or current events.

I think Mexican grandparents are a little more honest than other grandparents and he and my grandmother were always some of the first people who would tell you that you looked nice...or that you'd gained a little weight. After my grandma passed he even still went shopping for Christmas gifts for a couple years and actually had remarkably good taste in sweaters for me.


He was born in 1924, a handful of years before the beginning of the great depression. His dad was able to support the family throughout the depression and my grandpa would tell stories of not having the same clothes as the cool kids. He said that he later realized that the other kids had clothing that had been provided by the government but that his parents we able to provide him with clothes.
 

It was pretty cool having both my grandparents at Oxy's Latino grad.


Christmas 2009. Just call us the Kardashians. Grandpa and I were taking selfies before selfies were cool.


 
While my family was in town for my law school graduation in 2011 we rented one of those 16 person bikes and went bar hoping in Denver. Grandpa originally thought it was a set of 16 regular bikes and that he's have to pedal on two wheels, at 86 that idea made him pretty nervous but he showed up anyway. He was pleasantly surprised that he could just sit on the back and not have to pedal at all. Years later that Pale Ale necklace was still hanging in his house.

 
 
We shared a love of a good hat.


He didn't have much luck with weddings. The day after he got home from my wedding in 2012 he was hospitalized with pneumonia and the day after Brandon's wedding (picture below) he was hospitalized with liver issues. We were both pretty excited to have him at our weddings though.
 

The incredible shrinking man! Ok, my bother is more than 6 feet tall so this picture is a little unfair...my grandpa was shrinking though. On his 90th birthday we did a little photo shoot thanks to my friend Myles. This picture of Brandon and grandpa cracking up is one of my favorites. Rumor has it that my grandfather was a bit of a curmudgeon for many years. Kind of light hearted aren't works commonly used to describe him before he reached his 60s. Thankfully, I only knew him once the years had lightened him up a bit. The man I knew was thankful for his life, took pride in sticking it to the government by living way longer than social security expected him to, and shared my appreciation for the sillier things in life.

Laughing and drinking and eating tacos at his surprise 90th birthday party.



It's hard to believe that he started to get sick the day after these pictures were taken. You'd never know from the silly photo booth pictures that he'd be hospitalized the next day. I'm so glad Truman and I were both in California for Brandon's wedding and that the whole family got to spend time together. I'll miss visiting him when we're in LA, I'll miss sending him post cards, and I'll miss his matter of fact approach to life. My parents and I rarely see eye to eye on politics but my grandparents and I usually did; despite a 60 year age gap, grandpa and I were often able to chat about history or politics and I would smile about how we'd often come to the same conclusions about the world. I'm thankful that he wasn't sick for a long time, that he was always able to make his own medical decisions, and that he died pretty peacefully...I sure do miss him already though.