Somehow, one full year has passed since we arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado.
I have been trying to imagine how I might describe the way our lives have changed in this past year, but to encapsulate it all seems impossible. Instead I have decided to lay out the anatomy of our weekend, a snapshot of the lives we are leading as Coloradoans.
- Morning: Dan works, I go to Yeti Cave if my work schedule allows it (this week it does). The gym remains an incredibly important part of my life out here, especially socially. Dan can work at home, alone, day in and day out, but this regular dose of People Time is critical for me, and my fellow Yetis are some of the most fun, supportive, good-hearted people I have met out here.
- Afternoon: Dan works, I normally work — but this week I cut out a bit early and ride my bike to the library. This weekend is the Fort Collins Book Festival, which includes dozens of fantastic panels and workshops. On Friday, poet Jenny Browne leads a workshop on epistolary (letter) poems. Her workshop is insightful and thought-provoking (and trust me, not every writing workshop is).
- Evening: We drive 2 hours to Arvada to catch a play. (The drive home will only take an hour. That’s Denver traffic for you.) I am a judge for the Henry Awards, a Colorado-wide theater award for which the Colorado Theatre Guild dispatches as many as nine volunteer judges to every play across the state. I am not allowed to discuss shows that I judge, so the plays that I review on this blog are outside of the 3-5 plays that I (and by extension, Dan) see every month for the Henrys. This particular show took place in the Lumber Baron Inn, a gorgeous Victorian mansion with charming gardens.
- Morning: Dan takes a long bike ride on his own. I often go to the gym but this week there is another Book Festival workshop that catches my eye: Walking & Writing Place. I am slightly concerned this will be a waste of time (“Close your eyes and listen to the river…”); it turns out to be a fascinating guided walk & talk about landscape, environment, perspective, palimsest.
- Afternoon: Dan meets me after my workshop and we have lunch at Mountain Cafe, a diner in Old Town. Afterwards we make our way to the CSU Powerhouse Energy Campus for a tour — again, offered through the Book Festival. Dan and I have been wanting to peek inside this building for — well, for exactly one year, I suppose. Our tour takes us through the original building and a brand new LEED Platinum building they have stitched onto the first. We learn about efforts the university is making to, for instance, retrofit old engines to run more cleanly. CSU has so many energy-related initiatives happening at once that my mind boggles.
- Evening: We have plans to bike back up to campus for An Evening with Andy Weir, but we don’t make it off of the couch. I include this because it is a regular part of our weeks: me overbooking our calendar, both of us becoming exhausted, me finding something I can cancel in exchange for precious downtime at home. We both know tomorrow will be a non-stop day and need to charge the batteries. (Maybe I should see if CSU can make mine more efficient?)
- Morning: Dan rides his bike, I hit Yeti Cave for Rowing Club with my great friends/ neighbors/ rowing coaches, Linda and Tony.
- Afternoon: We drive two hours down to southern Denver for another Henry Awards play. It will be the fourth play this month; I/we have three more before October ends.
- Evening: We should be back in time for an author talk with John Scalzi. (I am writing this on Saturday. There will be no time to write this on Sunday.) Dan and I have listened to many, many Scalzi audiobooks during all of our ample time in the car. I have met him before; he lives outside of Cincinnati and frequently pops in for literary events there. We will almost certainly… probably… actually attend this.
All things considered, this is what any random three days looks like for us. There is a lot of being outside, a lot of bike riding — Dan’s is more exploratory, mine is usually more functional. We drive so much, especially for theater events, that so when we can get anywhere by bicycle we always prefer it. Driving to the library, the bookstore, a hair cut or lunch in Old Town would be sacrilege.
We have friends (I feel like that took a while) and an incredibly social neighborhood that makes us feel welcome. On our way home from one of our weekend events, Dan and I rode our bikes through the neighborhood to see what was going on — we found a half dozen of our neighbors in one of their garages, homebrewing apple cider. These events crop up often and the invitation to join always feels wide open.
We love it here. This was the right move for us, a hundred times over. The other day Dan was musing about how he would spend a Mega Millions jackpot, and we both felt we would stay in Fort Collins. In this same house, even — and maybe buy a second one in our neighborhood so our visitors could stay nearby.
We are where we want to be.