Tag Archives: Denver

A Perfectly Fine Man

1 Apr

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The sun pierced my eyes through the blinds of my bedroom. I squinted through them, catching the snow-capped Rockies in the distance. There is nothing like coming home to a place you love.

New York was fabulous, and it made me want to explore everything – Denver while I am broke. And the rest of the world when I have the means to travel (thanks to those readers who gave me those travel ideas and tips, by the way; it was quite helpful).

Since I had been at a work conference all weekend, I got to take the weekday off. I rolled over, excited to let the day and city take me where I let it, restricted by no one.

And then I remembered I had a date that night.

Ugh.

After networking all weekend in New York, my stores of social energy were depleted. All I wanted was to walk around aimlessly and daydream, without interference from a schedule.

I so wanted to cancel, but one of my mom’s friend’s daughters had set me up on this date; cancelling would have caused more turmoil for me later with my mother than the inconvenience of going now. With the date looming over my head, inhibiting my full enjoyment of the day because I could only wander so far and do so much, I still managed to walk to a neighborhood I’d never seen and find a used book store with a wide array of travel books. I returned to the apartment, procrastinated, then allowed myself just enough time to throw on some black pumps and red lipstick, grab a trench and head out the door.

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Dating: An Attempt

5 Mar

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“Wow. You look fantastic.”

GoFarther83 nodded with hopeful eyes and a genuine smile.

“Thank you.” I smiled back, unsure of how to react or what to do with my hands.

He looked a little different than I expected from his online picture. Though, to be fair, he was wearing sunglasses in that picture, so it was hard to see who he really was.

It was my first-ever Internet date and I felt unidentifiable anxiety, anticipation, contentment, and excitement. I didn’t know the protocol and that made me nervous. Do you just go up to someone and ask if you met online? Do you try a flirty opening line? What if they take one look at you and leave? What if they like you more than you like them and you don’t know how to reject someone you don’t really know?

I’d started writing messages back and forth with GF83 (whose real name is Adam) a few days ago. He initiated the exchange: If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Since I haven’t been anywhere, I said the most unusual one I could think of, to mask my inexperience. Easter Island.

Exotic. I like it! What do you like to do for fun?

We then launched into a somewhat typical get-to-know-you conversation. It surprised me how Internet dating really did feel just like real world dating. It wasn’t the most passionate or inspiring opening conversation, but he seemed nice and talkative enough. Just when it felt like the time to wrap up, he messaged, You seem really interesting. Would you want to grab a drink?

How about Thursday? I typed back.

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Casino: Take Two

9 Feb

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I’m sitting at a buffet table wearing a chic cocktail gown, engrossed in a mound of crab legs, laughing like a madwoman in a room full of senior citizens wearing Hawaiian shirts, or fleece vests. (Dear reader, a few of them are even wearing Hawaiian shirts with fleece vests.) At some point in my travels I made a gross miscalculation.

Now it’s up to me to remedy it.

After washing my hands of greasy butter, and chocolate sauce from the frozen yogurt machine, I’m also ready to wash my hands of this entire mishap and just go home. But an International Woman of Mystery would never be so easily deterred. It’s a Saturday night. I’ve braved weekend traffic on 1-70 to get here. I’ve still got $25 and I’m wearing a fabulous dress. Ocean’s Eleven, it is not, but something good must come of this.

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Casino: Take One

8 Feb

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The other day when I was dress shopping and the salesgirl, Lu, recommended I go to the casino town of Blackhawk, it reminded me of something I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

Back in high school, my friend Nikki (the one I saw at Christmas) would sneak into the casino on the Native American reservation, all by herself, and play poker all night. She got pretty good, and I think she paid for a European trip from her winnings.

At the time, I didn’t think much about it, except that I was little jealous she got to go to Europe. It was just one of those odd little things Nikki did by herself and didn’t really talk about. With the hindsight of several years, I am now in awe of Nikki. Gambling— and winning! – as a 17-year-old female in our small town was pretty bad ass.

I wish I had let Nikki influence me more as a teenager, when I was impressionable and more likely to emulate her confidence and healthy risk-taking. Now, with a clearer view of things, maybe I could glean some inspiration from her adventures.

Thanks to Lu, the suggestion of going to a nearby casino was percolating in my mind. What better way to channel my inner Nikki than try my hand at a poker table?

I’ve never been to Vegas, or even a casino, but that doesn’t mean I’m so naive to believe that I can just walk into a casino and win my first hand of poker – or win at any game for that matter. Going to Blackhawk wouldn’t be about gambling my way to an international trip as Nikki had done; it would be about challenging myself to dabble in the world of gaming while maintaining an air of confidence, and maybe even a little mystique. It would be about modeling the behavior of a really cool woman.

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Mission: Be Stylish

4 Feb

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I’m sprawled out on the floor of the Mystery Abode living room, surrounded by piles of gathered intelligence. I stare at the pages scattered on my floor with a furrowed brow. I know the answer lies in here somewhere. I just have to find it.

In a small black notebook, I scribble notes for myself. Observations to take with me, into the field. A jumbled report on seasonal colors, hemline lengths and silhouettes. Accessories and fabrics. I’m on a hunt. A mission, if you will. Jenny G: International Woman of Mystery is going dress shopping.

A funny thing has happened since moving to Denver. Despite the International Woman of Mystery’s innate desire to exude personal style, it seems a bit of the opposite has happened. I’ve fallen into the attire trap that is Midwestern casual. I’ve assimilated to the ways of jeans and t-shirts and mismatched layers of warmth. It’s an easy mode to default to, by virtue of cold winter days and a local culture that accepts it as the norm. However, if I want to persist in my transformation to worldly ingénue, I’ll need to up my fashion game.

So here I am, armed with old back issues of my favorite fashion magazines and a couple of Pinterest boards. Determined that I will find some new adornment to set the tone. My means are somewhat modest. Most of my extra income these days is being socked away in the travel fund. Exotic adventures on the distant horizon, I thought I might try to find some local inspiration instead. The IWOM’s arsenal is a multifaceted one, but by my estimation, it should include one truly great dress. I’ll choose the outfit and then surely adventure will follow.

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Mission: Be Fearless

1 Feb

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Bang!

The noise shatters the air.

The sound of a gunshot is unmistakable. In real life, it’s much louder than in the movies.

I’m at a shooting range in an unfamiliar part of town. A client of my marketing firm learned I was in Denver and invited me to a “Ladies Shooting Event.” One part networking, one part gun safety and target practice.

I’d only ever been shooting once, with my father and Alek, in a secluded field. Our father showed us how to hold a rifle and shoot at old bottles and cans on a fence. It was fun, I guess, but I hadn’t held a gun since then. And I was afraid, because, well, to me, guns = death.

But. As an International Woman of Mystery, I felt hard-pressed to turn down this invitation to learn a new skill. Shouldn’t every aspiring action hero at least know their way around a weapon?

I thought this would be a great opportunity to see if I was cut out to be an Olivia Benson, G.I. Jane or Sarah Connor, chasing down serial rapists in dark alleys or nabbing the villain with a single, swift shot. Or maybe I’d be like Agent 99, toting a pistol in my stylish trench and looking fabulous in a beret. I listened to rap music. After all, who among us hasn’t ever secretly wished they could advise someone: tell it to my nine.

I thought about Constance Kopp. In Girl Waits With Gun, Constance never actually desires to fire a gun at someone. But by learning to shoot, she acquires a sense of security, which then translates into a new sort of confidence. She doesn’t have to shoot to kill, to feel powerful. She simply knows that she is. I thought maybe my shooting experience would go something like that.

And yet, I still felt afraid.

Sometimes, when something scares you, the only way through your fear is to face it. Sometimes the only way to defeat an enemy is to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand them better. For this reason, I decided I would go shooting.

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Mission: Be Zen

21 Jan

Mediation

Do you ever have days, dear reader, where city life just grinds you down? As Jenny G.: International Woman of Mystery, I pride myself on stamina, but I confess, there are days when it wears on me. Sometimes it’s the traffic. Or the parking. Or the weather. The constant noise and pace. The unyielding energy of commerce and construction can, at times, feel like it’s closing in on you.

It’s been one of those weeks. My dalliances in Vail proved somewhat of a debacle, but after a few days of contemplation, it was time to exercise some mind over matter and move on. Get back to work on my mission at large. As I looked at my recent list of traits to try to cultivate, one in particular called to me: it was time to find some Zen. And it couldn’t  have come a moment too soon.

The class takes place on a Wednesday night at the meditation center’s headquarters downtown. It’s a mere mile from my home, so I decide to walk, but quickly regret it. Being a pedestrian in this city can be a death-defying feat sometimes, in itself. Throngs of distracted drivers making their evening commutes nearly clip me in the crosswalks. Skateboarders in Civic Center Park yell random obscenities. A brisk wind blows in my face and chaps my ears. At last I stumble, numb and disgruntled, up the steps into the center.

It amazes me sometimes, what we can bring into our lives by simply putting intention out into the universe. I recently experienced such serendipity after making a list of traits I wish to cultivate in my transformation. A few days after noting my need for Zen, I was out in the neighborhood and happened upon a local meditation center. I was in a hurry that day, but I grabbed a flier and told myself it might come in handy. When I looked at the flier later, I noted a promising opportunity: a class simply called “Learn to Meditate.” I signed up immediately.

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Living On A Whim: Part One

17 Jan

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It appeared that I was in a European village. The brick streets wound through narrow passages, and wooden balconies hugged the condos above. A Swiss flag waved in the distance. Ski shops abounded, and there was a clog shop over there. White lights hung over an ice rink. It was almost international.

But I wasn’t in Europe. I was in Vail, just 100 miles from Denver. I was here on a whim, a practice in spontaneity.

You might ask why I need to practice living spontaneously. I am, after all, the girl who fled 2,000 miles in the middle of the night to a city she’d never been to.

That was the first time in my life I ever acted so boldly.

Until that night, I couldn’t make any decisions on a moment’s notice. I felt paralyzed unless I had time to ponder every decision, carefully weighing every implication of every action. I planned and planned and planned, and left nothing to chance.

In retrospect, I see how much I pondered myself out of doing anything fun, mostly because I was too afraid – too afraid to trust that things would work out. Too afraid to simply let go. There were tangible fears too, like my fear of heights, and I was too uncomfortable with that fear to ride it out.

When Mr. Poison dumped me, something snapped. Some long buried instinct rose to the surface and took over. I didn’t think of consequences. It was exhilarating. Once I felt that, I knew I wanted to feel it again, and I’ve been searching for it ever since.

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Mission: Be Elusive

9 Jan

Zorro

The black turtleneck and black leggings hang limply in the back of my closet. To a pair of common eyes, they might look like just that: old black clothes on a wire hanger.

I retrieve them gingerly and admire them with a reverence usually reserved for a superhero’s costume. I don the catsuit – my catsuit – for the first time in a couple of months. But there’s another step this time. I’m headed out on a mission and this one requires full IWOM regalia. The wig comes off the shelf.

After a series of semi-complicated maneuvers, I secure my new blonde locks on my head. Strap on my tall, black boots. Throw on additional layers of black clothing (it’s a cold day in the city). I grab my sunglasses and my trench.

My mission? To be elusive. I check before leaving my apartment and again before leaving the building. Just to ensure that the coast is clear. My neighbors mustn’t know about my secret identity. Today, I’m hitting the streets, incognito. Continue reading

New Year’s Day

1 Jan

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I firmly believe that an International Woman of Mystery should live with no regrets. That said, I found myself a bit remorseful for my last night’s postings. Apologies, dear reader.

It had been a long week full of domestic travel and family dramatics. My objective for NYE was merely to spend a quiet evening watching a movie, decompressing and toasting the New Year, solo. How it devolved from there is still being investigated by yours truly.

The last thing I can really recall is taking to my balcony, martini in hand and shouting for all to hear: “The International Woman of Mystery is alive and she lives in Denver, Colorado!”

For what it’s worth, a cheer arose in response from another balcony. Fireworks erupted in the distance. I then (I believe) stumbled back into my apartment and promptly passed out on my couch.

This morning I awoke to a roaring headache and an atrociously messy kitchen. Once upon a time, the old Jennifer might have used her hangover as an excuse to feel sorry for herself and go back to bed. Alas, Jenny G. is determined not to let her missteps linger into 2016. I’ve done a bit of debriefing with myself and decided that perhaps this will be the year I learn from my mistakes.

Mistake #1 was poor movie choice. I’ve got better things to do than watch moony chick flicks, no matter how high caliber the travel porn. Back to the inspiration drawing board. Eat, Pray, Love your heart out, indeed.

Mistake #2 was the gin. And the vodka. And the vermouth. All told, I believe I imbibed six different versions of the martini. Though, I do know my preference now. Gin. Stirred. Light on the vermouth. No olive. To be enjoyed responsibly from here on out. The International Woman of Mystery will not be sloppy. Anymore.

All things considered, I feel something resembling genuine excitement for the New Year. Focused on the future. Ready for action and whatever new adventures I may find in this fair city. Ready to take my transformation to the next level. Ready to make 2016 count.

Happy New Year, comrades. The International Woman of Mystery is alive, and she lives in Denver, Colorado.