Rocky Mountain Ramblings

Jersey Girls Do Wyoming October 27, 2014

Filed under: Ain't Life Grand,Travels — rovinglady @ 5:31 pm
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My friend Anne asked me if I wanted to go hiking in Colorado on Saturday, and I asked her if she wanted to go to Wyoming.  I figured a day trip to Cheyenne would be a nice change of perspective for two jersey girls, being that WY is the second least densely populated of the 50 states and NJ is the most densely populated state.   I certainly got what I was looking for.

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We left Denver about 12:30 PM and headed north on I-25, with no address typed into any GPS.  I had done a quick Google search before we embarked and wrote down a few points of interest, and I suggested we head to the 8 ft cowboy boots in historic downtown Cheyenne, the capitol city.  I had an address for the boots, but as we neared the city exit off the interstate, it became apparent we still did not need to use a GPS.  We simply exited the highway and headed east toward the dome of the capitol building, which at 146 ft was the most prominent structure of the Cheyenne skyline.

We passed through a quaint, quiet neighborhood which felt more like a small town than a city, and then had no trouble finding parking in front of the capitol building. It’s a very lovely building, built in 1887, complete with a dome and statues of important figures in Wyoming history.

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There was one of those “You Are Here” maps near the capitol building and it turned out we were only a few blocks from the 8 ft cowboy boots, so we moved the car down the road and prepared for our big day out on the town.

Downtown Cheyenne was not too happening.  There were a few blocks to walk around and we checked out some of the stores.  Most of the stores had a run-down, poorly-funded vibe to them, and the people working in each shop were very unique.

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We popped in a Halloween store and were greeted by a man in his sixties who was wearing some sort of wizard costume and eye liner.  As we walked out of the store empty handed he said, “Thank you for coming in,” and it was one of the most sincere comments I have ever heard anyone make.  I truly believed he was thrilled to see the likes of us, unlike the shop owner of the fossil, gem and jewelry store we went in.

When we walked in that store, a man in cowboy boots, wrangler jeans and turquoise jewelry came out from the back room and was clearly annoyed to have guests.  We poked around for a couple minutes, but all he said was that he was “fixin’ to have lunch in the back.”  I tried to ask him if he made the jewelry in the store and he replied with a curt, “Yea.”  I asked if he goes to the Denver Gem and Mineral Show and received another one-word affirmation.  At that I bid him a good day and we carried on.

We went in a flea market store and each picked out a small trinket as a souvenir. This store had a ton of wolf and native American decor.  The employee in that store was more friendly, and there were actually a few other people inside browsing at the same time.

The record store was the most happening; there was music playing, there was a board of upcoming releases, there were two sales in a row (a mom bought her high school daughter a record and Anne bought the new Primus CD), and the employee was pricing items still to hit the shelves.

We made one last stop in a store called The Wrangler, which sold really cute Western wear and had a huge variety of cowboy and cowgirl boots in stock.  There was a nice gal of about 23-years-old who was eight months pregnant working, and she said the store is very well known.  They receive shipments of boots in Monday-Friday and sell them to locals, residents of neighboring towns and tourists seven days/week.  I couldn’t even believe the amount of boots they had in stock.  Never in all my life had I seen such an inventory.  I asked the girl how many boots they sell a day, but she didn’t know.  I tried a few pairs on for the heck of it; after all, “When in Cheyenne…”

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After all that shopping we arrived at the 8 ft cowboy boots, which I think you can say was in the town center.

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We were hungry, and from that exact spot I was under the impression we could see all of our restaurant options by turning around 360 degrees.  There was Shadow’s Pub and Grill, Los Abuelos Mexican food, an unattractive bar called The Albany that advertised food, drink and discount liquor, or the place we had parked across the street from, The Drunken Skunk, which I’m not even sure had food.

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We opted for Shadows Pub and Grill and found their bar to have a decent Sunday football crowd; probably the most exciting thing going on in the city.  One of the bartenders was wearing a Wyoming Cowboys jersey and I got to thinking that I don’t know anyone who is a fan of that team.   Anne and I both ordered chicken sandwiches with sweet potato fries, and agreed that they were some of the worst sweet potato fries we’d ever had.

By the time we got done eating we had to move the car out of two-hour parking, and we decided we’d seen all there was to see in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  We hopped back on the highway and headed south toward Denver, with a pit stop in Fort Collins, CO (which has got to be bigger than Cheyenne) for ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.

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And so, that was that, if anyone ever asks, I can officially say I have spent some time in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Just two jersey girls who had lunch in the Equality State.

Did you know that in 1869 Wyoming was the first government in the world to grant equal rights to women?

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Why I Will Never Patronize a Perfect Teeth Dental Practice Ever Again September 23, 2014

I had a poor experience at the Perfect Teeth dental practice located on Speer and Washington in Denver today, and I would not suggest anyone I know patronize this conniving, uninformative, money-stealing company.

I went to Perfect Teeth this morning for a routine periodontal cleaning and exam.  It was to be my second cleaning there, and the office administrator told me the appointment was going to cost $8.00 after my insurance kicked in.  That sounded good to me.

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I laid back in the chair for my exam, and I must say, it was absolutely the worst dental cleaning experience I’ve ever had in my whole life.  The hygienist, Maria, scrapped so hard at my teeth I actually found myself wondering if she was trying to scrape off the enamel.  I’m not saying my teeth are the cleanest teeth ever, but they have already been cleaned this year, and I floss most nights, so they certainly couldn’t have been that bad.

I didn’t understand why Maria was so aggressive with the stainless steel dental pick.   At one moment I was so uncomfortable I kicked up my legs and twisted them around each other while gripping the chair with my hands and holding my breath.  I’ve never had any issues with or fears of dental cleanings before, but this experience at Perfect Teeth was painful, uncomfortable and stressful, and will be my last.

Sometime while Maria was doing my cleaning she decided I needed a pillow of antibiotics deposited between one of my teeth, so she did that, and then she “flushed my gums” with some sort of liquid antiseptic that tasted an awful lot like Listerine.  After all this was over Maria decided to paint a flouride paste across both the inside and outside of all my teeth. Not once did Maria or an office administrator ask me if I wanted extra treatment or tell me that what they were doing in my mouth was going to cost extra money, and I don’t think that’s right.

If Perfect Teeth was an honest and fair business, one of the employees would have suggested that I receive extra treatment during the cleaning, and informed me of how much it would cost BEFORE performing the procedures – but no.  My only knowledge of an increased bill came toward the end of the cleaning when Maria had her hands in my mouth that an office administrator stopped in the room holding a file and attempted to talk to me about scheduling an appointment the following week for cavity maintenance (including repair on a cavity they filled only a few months ago,) and how much that would cost, but then she said, “I see now isn’t a good time to talk, but your bill for today is going to be $134.70,” and left the room.

What was I supposed to do? Bite the hand that cleaned me? Maria’s hands were literally in my mouth, and I couldn’t talk.  I would have objected to the extra treatment and increased bill had I known what was going on (A.) That they gave me an antibiotic, liquid antiseptic and fluoride paste without my knowledge or consent, and (B.) That those items cost extra money, but nobody ever told me.  If the office administrator was trying to talk to me about my bill during my cleaning she chose the worst possible time to have a conversation, which displays another fine example of Perfect Teeth’s unprofessional business ethics. Either the administrator is incompetent, unqualified for her job and too unintelligent to know better, or she plotted to present me with the bill during my cleaning because she knew it would be an incredibly inconvenient time.

When my cleaning ended Maria asked if I would like a toothbrush and I said yes, but she never gave me one.  I had to stop at the store on the way to work and spend even more money on a toothbrush and toothpaste just so I could get that damn fluoride paste off my teeth that she put on without my permission.

Before I left the office I witnessed a few more screw ups.  The office administrator proved herself even more incompetent for her job when she collected my payment and didn’t give me a receipt, and then when she showed me an estimate of the bill for the next visit she overcharged me by over $50 and had to edit and re-print it.

From my experience at Perfect Teeth, this company is out to get you.  Their employees perform less than quality work, as a minor cavity they filled for me in the spring needs repair, and they work together to try to get every dollar they can out of you.  I am disappointed that I wasted my yearly dental insurance coverage with this company, and I really hope that you don’t make the same mistake I did and go to a Perfect Teeth dental practice, even if it is walking distance from your apartment and you don’t own a car and it opens at 7AM and you can squeeze in an appointment before working a ten-hour shift.

 

RE: NJ Governor Chris Christie in Colorado. Poo-Poo On You! July 24, 2014

Filed under: Ain't Life Grand — rovinglady @ 6:30 am

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (REP) is in Colorado this week talking sh*t about our booming cannabis industry, and I am reminded of an experience I just had while visiting my homeland of the Garden State this past weekend.

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I have visited New Jersey four times since working in the Colorado medical marijuana industry, and I found that on this most recent trip I had more people than ever ask me about cannabis in Colorado. Thanks to media coverage, Sanjay Gupta and TV specials, people across the country are waking up to the amazing benefits of medical and legal cannabis.

I attended a childhood friend’s wedding while in NJ, which gave me the opportunity to be surrounded by people of different ages and professions. As soon as the drinks were flowing, wedding guests started asking me all sorts of questions about what it’s like to live in a legal state, and the ways in which cannabis benefits those who chose to participate.

“What’s it like to buy weed in a store?” Maryanne, 45, asked.

“How much does it cost?” Steve, 47, chimed in.

Maryanne explained that she’s been smoking pot since high school and wasn’t afraid to talk about it.

“I think everyone should have access to legal cannabis,” Maryanne, a lifelong Morris County resident, said, “but that won’t be happening while Gov. Chris Christie is in office.”

Steve disagreed. He thought Gov. Chris Christie might change his conservative stance on marijuana right before he leaves office, so that he can (try) to leave on a “good note”, as if that’s actually possible.

“I don’t know how Christie is in office,” Steve, another NJ native, said. “I don’t know anyone who likes him.”

Steve told me that he smokes cannabis everyday, and uses it to relax after a long day of work and fathering four young children.

“I like it a hell of a lot better than the Zoloft I’m prescribed,” Steve said with a sad smile.

Maryanne wanted to know why my Colorado medical card doesn’t allow me to carry cannabis while visiting NJ.

“You can bring your Xanax from state to state,” she said, “why not your cannabis?”

I didn’t have a good answer for her, other than that the cannabis plant is deemed illegal by the federal agency that regulates and approves man-made pharmaceutical drugs.

Her next question was if we can smoke cannabis anywhere in the state of Colorado, and that made me laugh because I, along with one of my co-workers, have both received tickets for consuming cannabis in public. My ticket was a non-criminal offense and cost me $135; my co-worker’s ticket occurred on federal (national park) property and cost him $275.

One of my friends at the wedding party works with autistic children in NJ, and the mother of an autistic child that she works closely with is wondering if medical marijuana can help curb her son’s behavioral and communication issues.

“What if I got a hold of some pot and discovered it worked for my son? Would I have to move to Colorado?” his mother asked.

According to your governor Chris Christie, yes. It’s a shame Chris Christie won’t give the people of New Jersey what they want. The state’s economy is crumbling under his leadership, and he has told his residents to “move to Colorado” if they want to live where cannabis is legal. Perhaps Chris Christie is unfamiliar with the phrase “be careful what you wish.” With Forbes ranking Colorado as the 5th best state for business and careers, NJ came in 33rd. Additionally, private sector job growth in New Jersey is among the lowest in all of the 50 states, while the employment rate in Colorado is at a new high.

a cornfield in the Garden State

a cornfield in the Garden State

Despite the rage that boils inside of me every time I see Chris Christie’s name in the news (which is often), it was really a positive experience for me to visit New Jersey and witness so many of its residents embracing what Colorado is doing, even if their fucked-up, corrupt leader disagrees. If I lived in New Jersey I would be on a political rampage to get Christie impeached, and it is one of my wishes to see my friends and family follow through with that task. He thinks legalizing marijuana is the wrong thing to do, and I think electing him as Governor is the wrong thing to do.

I have attached links to articles that support facts stated in this blog.

employment rate in Colorado: http://www.deptofnumbers.com/employment/colorado/

employment rate in New Jersey: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.app.com%2Fstory%2Fmoney%2Fbusiness%2Finthemoney%2F2014%2F05%2F07%2Fnew-jerseys-job-growth-ranks-50th%2F8805241%2F&ei=rfvQU92lK8bc8gHBrIHgAQ&usg=AFQjCNECqUXOGrMmuMEPMZSUZxMN4MfFrA&sig2=TYabx3djLyo__c0dv3WBXQ

Chris Christie tells NJ residents to move to Colorado: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDUQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thecannabist.co%2F2014%2F04%2F22%2Fnew-jersey-chris-christie-move-to-colorado-if-you-want-legal-marijuana%2F10147%2F&ei=6fvQU9rxMISc8QGG6YDYCQ&usg=AFQjCNG9Ef0UlVP06pRGayMiOxfDaJEXyQ&sig2=KJ3ACgfNiRG73hW0SO9tFg

Cannabis and Autism: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&sqi=2&ved=0CCIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fguardianlv.com%2F2014%2F05%2Fmedical-cannabis-treats-autism%2F&ei=BPzQU4C6NMLTiwKzsYHYBg&usg=AFQjCNEfMYvWX9CLrHDqtibQ2DTsmpcnCg&sig2=ey3BIJ2l-l0C6IoN3kJQGg

Chris Christie sucks. “The Holtec firm will reap subsidies of $26 million a year for 10 years. In exchange, New Jersey will realize $155,520 in net economic benefits over 35 years, the authority estimated.” … “Since Gov. Chris Christie took office in 2010, New Jersey has distributed more than $4 billion in tax breaks — far more than under any previous governor — yet private-sector job growth has been one of the slowest of all 50 states, according to federal data.”: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/07/nj_gives_260_million_tax_break_to_energy_company_with_political_ties.html#incart_most-comments

 

His Highness June 14, 2014

Filed under: Ain't Life Grand — rovinglady @ 12:13 pm
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I returned the stick shift Subaru to His Guatemalan Highness after four glorious months of keeping very close watch over it.  Returning the car required me to spend some time with its owner, and our two and a half hour encounter between Denver International Airport and my apartment was the same as it ever fucking was.

I left Denver around 4PM and sat in rush hour traffic to pick him up at the airport, fresh in town for another one of his amazing American holidays.  This one involves two bluegrass festivals, three nights of Widespread Panic at Red Rocks and then driving his car to Asheville, NC to help his new girlfriend and her four-year-old son prepare to move in with him in Guatemala.

When he got in the car at passenger pick-up he requested I keep driving and asked if I had a GPS.

“I need to meet up with the N2O guy,” he said.  “I’m getting a tank, I called him on my layover.”

Of course he called the nitrous guy on his layover.  I wasn’t surprised; I was actually partially prepared, as I had been meditating for two weeks in anticipation of events such as this.  His Highness plugged in the address of the Commerce City motel we were to meet the dealer in the parking lot of, and I headed that way, which really was the only way to head at that time.

While still en-route to pick up the N20, but before Pena Blvd merged with I-70, His Highness made another call, to his “buddy” Jay. 

“Hey Jay,” he said, “I just made it to Denver.  Is it alright if I stop by?”

“No, we’re not going there,” I said from the driver’s seat, incredibly grateful to be there and not the passenger. 

“Jay, my girlfriend says we’re not coming, but I just want to stop by and say hi really quickly.”

I was shaking my head no; one, because I wasn’t going to drive him to pick up crack, and two, because I’m not his girlfriend.

“We are not going there,” I said, fully aware that Jay is The Guatemalan Highness’s Denver narcotics connect.

He asked Jay for the address, and I got upset and began to cry.

“Ugh, Jay, I have to go, my girlfriend is crying,” he said, and hung up the phone.

“You’re so dramatic!” he said to me, with a look of hate in his eyes.

Dramatic?

Dramatic?  All I wanted was to go home.  Apparently it’s dramatic to get upset when someone you care about and you tried to help get into rehab asks you to stop by the junk supply store within 15 minutes of arriving in Denver.  There was no “It’s good to see you,” or “you look nice,” or “let’s get back to Denver, I’ll take you to dinner and pretend that you are of the slightest bit of importance to me as a friend and THEN I’ll go shoot dope and smoke crack with Jay for old time’s sake and forget you ever existed, thanks for watching my car.”

His Highness kept asking me to pull over for gas and to let him drive, but I refused.  He got really mad.  He said I’m too emotional and that’s the reason we never could have worked out; it had nothing to do with him being a drug feigning scoundrel who lies to your face and cares nothing for you unless you have a bag of something white in your pocket to share. 

When we got back to my apartment he came inside long enough to pick up his camping table that had been acting as my kitchen table for one and a half years, and to ask if I had any more substances he could buy off me.  I gave him back his father’s safari hat that he thought he’d lost but I held on to for him, even though I could have sold it on E-Bay, burned it or drawn on it with Sharpie, and then I said bye.

I watched him drive away from my window, and I didn’t cry.  I felt relieved to see him go.  Loving him has been one of the hardest and most un-fair things I have ever experienced, but it has taught me a lot about life, to feel emotions for a human who is possessed by a monster.  No matter how much shit I can talk about him, I loved him then and I love him now and I’ll love him forever, but I will not allow him to be close to me.  I need to surround myself with people who are positive and encouraging and who do not find faith in darkness. 

It is difficult, but I know it is in my best interest to wish the best for him and know that I made the best decisions for me and that I am in a happy place where I am open to receive. For whatever reasons the Universe wanted me to learn these lessons of loving a drug addict, and I hope to get word that I have finally passed the test, because it’s been almost two years in the making.

I will always refer to His Guatemalan Highness as my friend, no matter what went down between us and no matter how crazy some of my friends may think I am for still communicating with him.  He has been my greatest teacher, and for that I am forever grateful.

“Cat in a rain ditch, caught on a limb, you know better, but I know him. Like I told ya, what I said, steal your face right off your head…”

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Life in the Bike Lane: Denver to Red Rocks April 28, 2014

I biked to Red Rocks from my apartment in Denver on Saturday, something I’ve wanted to do for about a year now.  The whole ride, with breaks and lunch, took about five hours, which is probably pretty slow in cycling time.  I used an odometer app on my smartphone to track my distance and I biked further than I ever have before – just over 30 miles. 

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My planned route put me on the South Platte River Trail near the intersection of Kalamath and Alameda.  As I began my journey I passed a few lower-class citizens who were sitting along the trail drinking beer and cheering for everyone who passed by, which made me laugh.

Platte River, fracking fluid and all

Platte River, fracking fluid and all

I followed the trail south for about four miles and then turned off onto the Bear Creek Bike Trail.  It was awesome.  There was beautiful weather, plenty of other cyclists and the charge on my iPod lasted the whole ride. 

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Once I hit mountain scenery it was nothing but smiling and pedaling. 

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Somewhere around mile 20 I passed through a golf course and could see the path ahead of me wound up a big hill.  I was nervous for the incline, but pedaled toward it. Sure enough, I found myself biking my first switchback.  Up and around the hill I went, breathing heavier than ever, my bike set to the highest gears of its soul. 

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I stopped for a few photo opps along the climb, which helped break up the ascent, but I’ll tell ya, I felt like a goddamn champion when I got to the top. 

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I biked down the switchback and through Bear Creek Lake Park, a little spot that has camping available only several miles from Red Rocks.  The trail led me into downtown Morrison where I stopped for lunch at Tony Rigatoni’s Italian Kitchen.  While I waited for my chicken parm sandwich a man asked me if I had just been out bouldering. 

“No, I’m on my bike,” I replied very casually, despite wanting to shout, “I just biked here from Denver for my first time ever!!”

After lunch I began the second hardest part of my journey, and that was biking along Alameda Parkway from downtown Morrison, past Red Rocks, under the I70 overpass, across 6th Ave and up to the Jefferson County Government Building lightrail station.  I stopped at Red Rocks Entrance 1 for a celebratory ritual, but I didn’t actually bike into and around the park.  Maybe next time.

Alameda Parkway is a bitch.  Next time you’re leaving Red Rocks and headed to the highway, imagine yourself biking up that road.  There is a very steep incline that is followed by a second steep incline, one of which stops at a traffic light.  I made it to the top of the hill and was waiting at the light near I70 when a hottie on a Harley pulled up next to me.

“Howdy,” he said to me, flashing a killer grin.  “How are ya doin?”

“I’m good…a little tired” I laughed, while at the same time gasped for air.  Wowzers.  Screw the accomplishment of biking to Red Rocks, that guy is what really made my day.  I should have locked up my bike and jumped on the back of his then and there, but the light changed, he zoomed off and I continued pedaling. 

I finally made it to the lightrail station and rode the train back to Denver, bicycle and all.  I’m very happy I finally biked to Red Rocks, because I’ve been talking about doing it for a year. I already look forward to my next bicycle adventure. 

 

 

LC 3.0 – My First Time in Cuffs April 22, 2014

Filed under: Ain't Life Grand — rovinglady @ 1:00 pm
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I got handcuffed for my first time ever on 4/20/2014, Easter Sunday, for smoking a joint on the back patio at Cervante’s Other Side. I was at the venue for the Leftover Salmon “Still Smokin’” party, and plenty of people were smoking, but for some reason, I was targeted.

Photo by Bud W.

Photo by Bud W.

I was sharing a joint on the back patio with two other people and when the joint was handed to me a tall man in casual clothing tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could have the joint. As I handed it to him he flashed me a badge. “You’re coming with me,” he said.

At first I wasn’t sure if it was a joke, but the man grabbed my forearm with incredible force and led me back into Cervante’s Other Side where there were five men in black waiting to help handle me. I was cuffed and brought into the back alley where there were about 20 other tall, buff men dressed in black with walkie talkies, swarming the little station they had set up.

The men told me I could “take a seat” while they issued me my non-criminal violation for “possession or consumption of marijuana”, but I chose to remain standing. I wanted so badly for someone to take a picture of me in handcuffs in my little pot leaf outfit, and I also wanted to let the officer know it was my first time ever being handcuffed, but neither happened. I stood there very calmly and quietly. I didn’t put up a fight or speak any foul language, and I fully believe my compliant behavior was due to the fact that I was sober from alcohol.

I was only cuffed for about five minutes, and then released. The officer who issued my citation didn’t even know the address of Cervantes to write on the ticket and I had to tell it to him. He went into my purse to get my ID but he didn’t further search me or ask any questions about the plethora of bright pink containers in my bag, nor was I asked to leave the event. He handed me my ticket and asked, “What won’t you do when you go back in there?”

“Smoke pot!” I replied with a smile.

“That’s right,” he said, and I listened. I refrained from smoking at Cervantes for the rest of the evening and my detainment did not put a damper on my day. At least they were practicing catch and release – it could always be worse. I would love to know exactly how many citations were issued on 4/20? It’s another way the state is making tons of money off the legalization of marijuana, as if I don’t help make them enough money on a regular basis by following their rules and regulations 40 hours/week.

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Now I have until May 20th to pay the $135 fine for consuming marijuana in public. If I don’t pay the fine it goes on my credit report. If anyone would like to help contribute, I will be accepting donations via Paypal. Let me know if you’d like my Paypal email address.
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Goodbye Flip Phone? December 11, 2013

Filed under: Ain't Life Grand — rovinglady @ 7:58 pm

The camera on my flip phone is about done, and I think it’s time for a no-contract Boost Mobile smartphone.

I have resisted owning a smartphone for as long as they’ve existed.  I have been loyal to my LG flip phone with talk, text and camera capabilities, and it has served me well.  Flip phones are like cockroaches.  I drop my phone at least once a day and the thing never breaks, unless you throw it really hard at, say, a wall.   I have also enjoyed the flip phone’s compact size, as it fits in a pant pocket with ease, and every once in a while it sparks a humorous conversation.

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I have been paying $68/month for my no-contract Verizon flip phone, and it’s ridiculous.  I also live without a car, and currently without a compact camera, and I don’t want to do it any longer. Owning a smartphone would really help me get around town, as I am now a member of Occasional Car, Car2Go and Uber.  The thing that scares me about owning a smartphone is Facebook Mobile. That’s actually the #1 thing that has hindered me from already owning one. Obviously I can resist installing the App. I’ll have to see how that goes.

I have until Dec. 18th to make my final smartphone decision.  

The future is calling.