Summer Goals

On March 5, I had the painful discovery that I was human. I fell and sprained my knee….playing dodgeball.
I was pretty lucky that my injury wasn’t worse. But it did require me to do a few weeks of PT. My PT guy asked me what my rehab goals were, and at the top of the list was hiking. It’s my favorite thing to do when we camp, it’s my favorite summer activity.

So three months later, I was finally able to get on a trail. I picked a short moderate hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. I even brought a hiking buddy. Turns out hiking is his favorite summer activity too.

Trail Marker

Trail Marker

Blue Grouse trail is a .7 mile hike, one way. Elevation gain is only 700 ft, so I knew it would be a good start point to returning to hiking. And it was. No knee pain.

It was great to be back outdoors. With two camp trips in July, I know I’ll be able to tackle more of the trails at GGCSP. Here’s some pics I took on the hike:

My hiking buddy

My hiking buddy

Blue Grouse Trail

Blue Grouse Trail

Hiking views

Hiking views

Looking Back At 2013

Yeah, it’s been quiet in here. I’ll work on that. I’ve spent some of 2013 strengthening my relationships, and forgiving those who have hurt me. Letting go of having everyone like me was a good step forward too. But this year was a really good year for me.

Here are the highlights from 2013.


Hoping 2014 is amazing for my family- and yours!

Getting My Geek On

Anyone who knows me has seen me get a little geeky, a little nerdy about stuff. I like Sci-fi, I like my tv shows that way, and I love pop culture. I have never been to a comic con, but when I saw that Eddie McClintock from Warehouse 13 was coming to Denver Comic Con, I set aside some money to go.

I settled on getting the 3 Day Pass, because it offered flexibility for the price. I paid $40 (buying from a local art store), whereas buying for just Saturday was going to be $25.

Ticket holders were supposed to have the option to exchange their tickets for the badges on the Thursday before the event. I don’t know what went wrong with that, but it wasn’t going to happen. They posted this on Facebook and Twitter. I had not planned on doing that, figuring that I would have time Friday during the registration hours (1pm-3pm), which was two hours before the convention opens (3pm). This was näive on my part, call it a rookie mistake. Partnered with that was the DCC’s underestimating(?), disorganization(?) with the check in process. I took the train downtown and arrived at the Convention Center around 2:20pm. At this point, the line was wrapped around the building once. I was bright enough to see that my best bet was to head in the opposite direction to find the end of the line.

The line grew and grew but we seemed to be moving every 3-5 minutes. I was a little shocked at how long the line was getting. It afforded some great people watching. I made a list of the costumes I saw to share with the kids later. It took me 2.5 hours to get my badge. My plan for Friday was simply to get a lay of the land, find out where panels would be, where I could meet celebrities, and where the shopping would be. I accomplished that. In the end, I had spent more time waiting to get in, than I spent inside. I did snag some photos though, one of a Rose & Doctor (from the episode The Idiot’s Lantern), and one of me with a TARDIS.

Rose & The Doctor

Rose & The Doctor

Me with the TARDIS

Me with the TARDIS

Friday night when I returned home I was checking on Twitter & Facebook to see what people were saying about the Denver Comic Con. The overwhelming response was negative. Many people either left the long lines before getting in, or stood in the line and did not get in. This made me a little nervous about attending Saturday.

But I set off back downtown by train Saturday morning. Pulling into the stop, I could the line was long, and drew a deep breath. I was relieved to discover once I got closer that there were two lines, one for people who already had their badges, and one for guests needing to pick up badges. My wait was only 10 minutes. Once inside, I headed straight for the exhibitors, to seek out the one person I knew at Comic Con, and had seen when I was getting into line. Thousands of people there, I was still able to run into Kayley (@Kayleycane), daughter of my friend Laura.

Kayley is a naked Sim

Kayley is a naked Sim

Next stop, was meeting the stars of Warehouse 13. You know, the whole reason I bought my ticket. I was a little nervous, I’m such a fangirl. Lucky for me, the lines were practically nonexistent, so I could take my time speaking with them.

First, Eddie McClintock. He has done a slew of guest starring roles, but Warehouse 13 was his first chance to be the lead. He’s much like his character Pete Lattimer- a goofy guy who loves comics, wrestling and has much respect for the Marines. He was very nice.

Hugging Eddie McClintock

Hugging Eddie McClintock

Right next to him was Saul Rubinek, also from Warehouse 13. Now Saul has been in so many shows and movies. Since I was the only one in line to see him (what is up with that?!), we spoke for several minutes. We talked about Canada (he’s Canadian), he asked about my kids, and I told him he was wonderful on Psych. “The telemundo episode”-Saul. “Yeah, it’s one of my favorites.”- Me

Meeting Saul Rubinek

Meeting Saul Rubinek

I headed back to the exhibitors hall to get the boys a souvenir, some Doctor Who toys, still giddy at meeting Eddie & Saul. I had time to kill before the Warehouse 13 panel. I grabbed some lunch, and did a lot of people watching. I knew where the panel would be, since I had scoped it out the day before. I waited in an (unorganized) line, maybe 20 minutes beforehand. There were essentially two lines, going in opposite directions. Mildly annoying, but since I was solo, I knew I’d have no problem finding a seat for one. The panel was packed, which I think surprised a lot of people. I’m telling you, this show is awesome.

Sitting about 10 rows back, I listened to Eddie & Saul talk about their auditions, the show, how much they love their fans, and what we can do to get a Warehouse 13 movie made. Yeah, the show is ending next season. They said SyFy fought for them to be able to end the show in a good way (versus what had happened to Eureka), so season 5 will have 6 episodes.

Factoring in wait times for panels, I knew I that I had to prioritize what I wanted to hear. The other panel on my Must-Do list was the Phineas & Ferb one. Held in the same room as WH13, I just did a loop of the convention floor before heading back (allowing the next panel to fill up). I returned 45 minutes before P&F was to start, and I was maybe 10th in line. By now, the volunteers figured out they needed to make sure there was only one line. This played well for me, and I scored a seat in the front row.

The Phineas and Ferb panel featured Dee Bradley Baker (voice actor for so many shows & a Coloradoan), who does Perry’s growl, Kelly Hu, who voices Stacy (Candace’s best friend), and Greg Guler (character designer & a Coloradoan)

Phineas and Ferb panel

Phineas and Ferb panel

The moderator was Greg Weisman (writer & producer of some awesome stuff). He mentioned that he & Greg Guler had previously worked together on Gargoyles (insert Melissa and several other fans cheering). They were a little taken back by the response. It was equally as loud when Greg Guler mentioned Darkwing Duck. Now you have an age range of the fans in the room. One of the cool things brought up during the Q&A is the upcoming episode called Mission Marvel. Because Disney owns both Phineas and Ferb and Marvel. Yeah, there is a crossover episode (or episodes) coming (hopefully) in the fall.

It was after this panel that I felt I was done. I’d seen what I wanted to see, and I was ready to go back to the family. I bailed on using my 3 day pass to go Sunday, since it held no panels I was interested in, I had bought my souvenirs and I wanted to avoid the crowd showing up to see William Shatner. I was not willing to pay extra for a Shatner package, or bother taking my chances of getting into one of the rooms showing the simulcast.

Last thoughts:

Would I take the kids? Maybe. I think I would take them while they are still free, and so long as I could obtain the badges early. That first day’s wait would have been too much for my kids, even at ages 6 & 8.

Was it worth the price? I’m going to say yes. I paid $40 for my 3 day pass (which I purchased early and at a local art store). Plus $20 for photos, $40 on souvenirs, $16 on transportation.

Would I go again? Yes. It was delightful and a hoot. I would go again, and wear a costume. I would aim to be dressed as something I didn’t see a lot of (there were a lot of Star Trek officers and Finn from Adventure Time). My attendance would also factor on who the Con was able to get to attend.

Thanks Denver Comic Con, for a fun experience. I hope next year goes smoother for you.

One of my souvenirs- more buttons!

One of my souvenirs- more buttons!

Hiking Mt Bierstadt: Stupid Ideas Melissa Had

This post, I mused while hiking up Mt Bierstadt, had several titles. One title was, The Day I Did Not Die. But I ultimately felt that Stupid Ideas Melissa Had was more fitting.

Mt Bierstadt, as viewed from the parking lot, 7:30am

First, let me say thank you to Cindy, who was awesome enough to watch Wingus & Dingus for us for half a day. Naturally they were great for her, not the attitude Mom & Dad get.
Secondly, thank you to Jo & Geoff, my hiking buddies. Especially to Geoff, whom I could not have done it without. For real.


Okay, so when people said Mt Beirstadt was one of the easier 14ers to do, that DOES NOT mean easy. It means easier. Like you hike already and can totally do it. Perhaps I did not “condition” myself enough to tackle a hike of this length.

Length. I swear up and down, every site said this hike is 7 miles roundtrip. This is hands down the longest 7 miles known to man!

Perhaps my decision to donate blood 2 days before this hike, wasn’t the best timing.

Acute Mountain Sickness, isn’t so cute. Yeah, I got the crazies when we got up high. My symptoms included headache, rapid heart beating, shortness of breath, fatigue, and confusion.

I really thought I was going to be okay. I envisioned the hike *much* differently than it actually went. I thought, I’m in good shape, I can totally go on a Class II/Class III mountain hike/climb.

I did have enough water and plenty of food. I did not have enough warm clothes.

The views were amazing! Truly breathtaking (pun intended).


The views

Jo & I on the trek up

Once we reached the Class III stuff, having to scramble up rocks with our hands, I was ready to cry and quit. And I would have, if Geoff would have let me. He pushed me, encouraged me, holding my hand, sometimes pulling me up. As obvious as it sounds, we conquered a mountain! We found the USGS marker, ate a small snack, drank more water, and then the 40 mile/hour winds made us want to descend. Plus you know, I had the crazies.

USGS Marker at the summit

I made it!

Summit King

On the rocky descent, we found Jo & her hiking buddy Elisabeth (who we had ditched to start the ascent of the rocks). I hugged her hard, gave some encouragement and went down as fast as I could.

Once the crazies were fading, and those 40 mile an hour winds were less, I was able to pose for a pic with my fella.

Geoff & I in a less windy spot.

Going back to the car was painful. I was exhausted, and I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the next. I did have the energy to chat with a mom who was also tackling this mountain as her first 14er, with her husband and 10 year old son. Yeah, there were a lot of kids on this hike. What troopers!

We made it back to the car, and clocked this hike around 6 hours. I was happy with my decision to bring flip flops to wear home in the car. Even happier that I had taken the advice of the guy at REI and put vaseline all over my feet before putting on my socks. I had no blisters, no blood, just soreness in my feet.

Mountain Conquered, 1:15pm

Back at the car, putting Bierstadt behind me, literally

Well now that it is over, would I do it again? My body says, in the battle of Melissa vs the Mountain, the victory went to me. I hurt oh so much. Leaning towards no, but my two little guys are begging to tackle their own mountain. Too soon to say. Would I recommend this adventure to others? Absolutely. Pushing yourself to the point of tears, seeing God’s creation from on high, it’s something you need to experience. But for heaven’s sake, prepare for it!!!

-Complete pictures of the hike are on my Shutterfly site.

Viva Streets – August 12

Live Well Colorado & Bike Denver are partnering together again to bring the 2nd Annual Viva Streets. 23rd Ave is closed from Park Hill to Stapleton for a day of healthy eating, biking, walking, and play. Last year’s attendance was 7,500.

Here’s the details:

Sunday August 12th, from 10am-4pm. There is a bike parade that kicks off at 10am. Then you are free to explore all the tents, including a Chipotle Activity tent, yoga & rumba demos, bike safety, gardening tips, and so much more.

This will be our family’s first time there, and I’m excited to spend my Sunday afternoon with the kids being out and active.

Want more info? Check out the website:

Florence + The Machine: My First Red Rocks Show

Months ago I purchased tickets for Kelly & I to go see Florence + The Machine. But Kelly’s work required her to go on a trip, so Geoff accompanied me to our first Red Rocks show.

I had previously visited Red Rocks Amphitheater, but it was my first time enjoying a concert here. The venue, which opened in 1941, is breathtaking. If you’ve never been, here’s some advice I’d like to offer.

Red Rocks Amphitheater

1. Seating: it’s hard. I came prepared with some towels for us to sit on. But I see the benefit in bringing seats that offer back support.

2. Weather: when the sun went down, and the wind picked up, I regretted wearing a cute little summer dress. I was cold! We didn’t bring ponchos, because rain didn’t look like a possibility (and it never did rain). There is no re-entry, so don’t expect being able to go back to your car to grab a coat.

3. Expect that people will not adhere to the “no smoking” rule. Duh. It’s a concert, but the stench of pot and cigarettes was so irritating to my nose. Thankfully, it’s an outdoor venue, so you’re not sitting in a cloud of it all.

Now onto the show!

The Walkmen

Opening Act: The Walkmen. Decent enough act, the lead singer had some set of pipes, and was dressed very dapper.

Sometime before 9, Florence + The Machine took the stage. I predicted, correctly, that she would open with Only If For A Night. Given that the tour is in support of their album Ceremonials, the show heavily featured tracks off it. The performance was what I expected it would be, with her flitting about the stage in a long dress, and dramatic dancing. It was a very enjoyable show.

One standout moment for me, was her acknowledging the tragedy that struck in Aurora. She asked for a moment or two of silence, and the place fell quiet. After a minute or so, someone loudly proclaimed, We Will Remember. And Florence began to sing Never Let Me Go, adding, it was for Aurora. It was beautiful.

Florence + The Machine

Thanks to Red Rocks, The Walkmen and Florence + The Machine for a lovely evening out.

Winter Park Play Free!

Ski towns are a lot of fun to visit outside of ski season, and here’s your chance to beat the heat and head to Winter Park-Fraser Valley.

With Winter Park Play Free, when you book 2 nights of lodging with participating merchants, you’ll get $50 on a Winter Park Key Card to spend on activities, shopping and dining… your choice of play throughout Winter Park & The Fraser Valley. Click here to learn more about Winter Park Play Free. Winter Park is 67 miles from Denver, has 200+ sizzling summer events, 600 miles of trails and Colorado’s longest alpine slide.

Dates are valid until October 31, so even if your summer is swamped, you could plan to get up there in the fall.

Buffalo Joe’s Whitewater Rafting & Zipline Adventures

Colorado has amazing summers, and it’s a great place for adventures!

Even though I can be a bit of a scaredy cat, I’m excited to try whitewater rafting. Putting my full trust in the guides at Buffalo Joe’s, I hope to experience Colorado like never before!

Buffalo Joe’s is located in Buena Vista, and offers rides down the Arkansas River. You can choose from half day trips to overnight and multi-day trips. Singles, families with small kids,  rafting at Class III up to Class V.

What are you waiting for?

Image courtesy of Buffalo Joe’s

Save 15% Off at Buffalo Joe’s Whitewater Rafting and Zipline Adventures!
Click here for your 15% off coupon!

(I am a member of the US Family Guide network, and received perks in exchange for advertising)