4-11-21 Celebrations, Gardens, and Jam

In honor of Shari and I dating for 6 months, we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the park on Thursday. I told Shari I would celebrate 6 months and then year marks after that. So we made ourselves some sandwiches and brought out some tasty onion chips and chopped strawberries and sat at a picnic and watched the park unfold into the early evening. Kids skateboarded back and forth along the sidewalk, dogs and their owners walked along the creek, and people played tennis. The sun shone down and the grass sparkled greenly under it and it was a pleasant meal.

We took a walk after we finished eating because how could we not, it was mostly warm and the fresh air of spring is so inviting. Little kids practiced lacrosse on the other side of the park and yet more dogs ran around across the empy soccer fields. We hung out at Shari’s for a bit after that when I got the idea that we should drive down to Sweet Action Ice Cream and get dessert. Shari asked me out on our first date at an ice cream shop and Sweet Action is her favorite place so I figured it was both a brilliant idea and absolutely necessary for us to treat ourselves on our 6 month anniversary. Thankfully, Shari 100% agreed.

I drove us downtown and we snagged ourselves some tasty treats. I got vegan raspberry brownie ice cream. The temperature was just warm enough and the sun was still out for a few more minutes that we sat on a concrete bench slightly off the busy street of Broadway and we took our time eating the deliciousness. This is the best vegan ice cream I have gotten from an ice cream shop yet and I was thrilled. Anytime I want to get ice cream now I plan on going there. Way to go Sweet Action! The woman behind the counter also agreed to do two half scoops for Shari since she wasn’t hungry enough for two scoops but wanted two flavors. Plus, Sweet Action now no longer accepts tips as they pay their employees a livable wage. It was all win wins for our trip to this ice cream place.

As we got up to head to Voodoo Donuts (we were only a couple blocks away so I asked Shari if she’d be willing to stop at one more place because hell, we only live once) we found two really neat murals that I had to take pictures of. I made Shari be my model for the first photo (see first picture above) and I asked her to snap one of me for the second one (see second picture above). Denver has such neat wall art, I love being on the lookout for new art. In fact, we saw one artist painting on a building as we walked to ice cream, we’ll have to go back and see her progress in a couple of weeks.

After taking pictures we headed over to VooDoo Donuts where I saw another cool mural, this time one of Star Wars. We treated ourselves to a couple of donuts and then called it a night because we both had to work in the morning. It was such a great way to spend my evening and to celebrate the passage of time.

This weekend has also been really awesome too. A new Salvador Dali exhibit popped up at the Botanic Gardens and so I asked Shari if she’d be willing to go hang out there with me. She was all for it so yesterday after I got to catch up with my friend, Kayla, Shari and I packed a lunch, grabbed ourselves drinks from Starbucks (I tried their Pink Drink, and it was good although a bit too sweet for my liking. I’ll try their Peach Green Tea Lemonade next time!) and popped over to the gardens. The last time we had been there was for their Halloween festivities so it was wonderful getting to wander around during the day time and take in all the spring blooms. There were loads of hyacinths, pasques, and hellebores (see picture above for the hellebore and below for the pasque) as well as a few pansies and tulips and other flowers I didn’t know. I absolutely adore pasque and hellebore so I had a blast pointing out every single one I saw. Shari was such a great sport, she likes plants and nature too so she didn’t mind at all. Both plants are spring flowers that have relatively short bloom cycles so I was over the moon that we had made it in time to see them.

We ate lunch on a bench facing one of the succulent areas and then we wandered around before heading in to see the art. I had never seen Salvador Dali’s works before in person so I was excited that we had this great opportunity. What I really appreciate is that the gallery visit is included with the cost of a ticket to get into the gardens so I feel like they’re making art more accessible to the general public. Shari and I meandered around the three art galleries we were given access to, each with a different artist, including Dali. Dali’s art is different from what I normally gravitate to. In this series of prints we got to see, he had taken 19th century botanical drawings and redrawn them and then drawn over them in his surrealist style. I definitely didn’t understand what, if anything, he was trying to get across, even after reading the plaques about his series. But, as I say, I don’t have to understand art to still feel something and to get something out of it. Part of it is just learning about another human or another culture or another time period. And that in itself is neat. Plus, it was art with plants and flowers and fruit in it, can’t really beat that can you? 😉 PLUS, we got to see the new building the Gardens had recently finished (this is where the galleries are housed), and I thought that was super neat. I didn’t end up taking any pictures of Dali’s pieces but I did take a picture from local artist, Kevin Sloan, of one of his pieces. His was the first gallery we got to visit. I liked this piece, it very much resonated with me.

The Poet’s Field by Kevin Sloan

We left the gardens after our gallery visit because we wanted to rest in the shade without our masks so we drove a couple blocks to Little Cheesman Park. We threw down the picnic blanket and pulled out the canvas and pencils I had brought so that we could draw. Originally, we wanted to find a quiet place in the Botanic Gardens and try to draw a plant or flower there but the place was a little too busy and we couldn’t take off our masks except when eating or drinking so we thought a park was a better choice for us. We then spent almost the next 2 hours drawing and coloring. We wanted to try our hand at drawing some surrealist art inspired by what we had seen at the Gardens. Shari and I agreed on a cool, gnarled tree we saw at the park and then we both drew our own piece inspired by that.

It was so much fun.

I’m not great at drawing, drawing really isn’t a skill I have, which is ok, but it does mean that I can feel frustrated if I attempt to draw because it doesn’t come out how I think it should. (If only I would practice more, then I’d get better. 😉 ) But yesterday, I took my time, I erased, and I enjoyed the process. I wasn’t too hard on myself and I came out with something that, while not professional by any means, is something I am proud of and pleased with. I think my paintings are better, but I still like my finished product:

Does it mean anything? Not really. I imagine that Dali and other surrealist artists had a message with their pieces, but mine is more a hodge podge of ideas. Nature and technology merging maybe? Life being thrown upside down? And butts. Hahaha. I didn’t purposefully draw a tree with a butt but when it happened, I couldn’t not point it out. It was just too funny. Perhaps I’ll try my hand at another surrealist drawing some other time.

Today has been a whirlwind of activity too. I video chatted with Fiona again, of which I am so happy. I hope we can keep chatting every month or so, it’s really great. Then I made homemade strawberry jam since Sprouts had a sale on strawberries. I even canned them properly – I sanitized the jars and then sealed them (I don’t always do that if it’s just me eating the stuff). Now I have three or four small jars of canned jam that I can give away. Major thanks to Kaitlin and Kevin for getting me that canning equipment set a year or two ago. I’ve used it twice now and oh my gosh is it so much nicer than me burning myself all the time and dropping glass jars everywhere. I think they might have earned themselves one of my jars!

I took care of my plants, managed my finances, and hung out with Shari a bit as well. With my remaining weekend hours I hope to clean my white shoes and maybe sew some more reusable napkins from the fabric I got a few weeks ago. Honestly, the warmer and brighter days have made me feel so much happier. Plus, getting my first vaccine shot, life just seems so much more positive than it did this winter. I am so looking forward to what the rest of 2021 brings! It doesn’t really matter what I end up doing with the rest of my day, I know I will enjoy it!

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