As I’ve mentioned before, there’s always a lot to do in Boise on a summer Saturday. We decided on a family bike ride today, but were brutally rebuffed by the Bigs who were engrossed in new games/books/Legos. After a promise they would at least walk the dog, Hayden and I decided to just take the Littles on what would be Hugo’s first bike ride in the trailer.
First, we strapped in both boys and just pulled the trailer around the driveway like a stroller. As always, they.were.adorable. We decided to take them for a quick ride, but it was such a great day we kind of just kept going. We rode down the Greenbelt to the playground in Julia Davis park. For some odd but awesome reason, the play structure was completely deserted and Harvey had the place to himself. While he climbed/slid/shouted and Hayden inspected the surrounding trees for backyard potential, Hugo and I walked up the stairs to the little bridge that crosses the canal to the Discovery Center and waved to the paddle boats.
We then decided to ride across Friendship Bridge onto campus (also deserted, but no surprise there) and past Bronco Stadium (okay, I know it’s now Albertson’s but come on. I mean, it’s no Taco Bell arena, but still…No) where players were getting ready for an afternoon practice. So so so ready for college football – or hootbah as Harvey calls it. Rode home on the south side of the river, passing tons of rafters, SUPs, and bridge jumpers. *Note to teenage girls: You will immediately regret jumping off a bridge in that bikini.
We had a great afternoon cruising around on our mini-adventure, and it was also fun seeing lots of happy people enjoying the outdoors and just loving on Boise.
I used to work in the Owyhee Plaza Hotel in downtown Boise. The hotel had a (rather battered) wing of office space, and my colleagues and I worked on the 5th floor for many years. Built in 1910, the hotel was once considered a jewel of the Boise community but had fallen into disrepair over the years. It was shabby, dated, hot in the summer, cold in the winter, wet when it rained (yes, inside), and almost certainly haunted. On the upside, there was an onsite bar and restaurant… extremely convenient for both greasy lunches and a spontaneous Happy Hour. Last year, the hotel building was sold and is in the process of being completely remodeled into lofts, commercial space, conference rooms, two dining establishments, and a rooftop bar. Last night was the grand re-opening, and my colleagues and I were invited to attend a preview tour of the building and enjoy some booze and sweets (did you see what I did there?)
After the tour, we headed down to Angell’s for dinner on the patio (if there is one thing Boise does well, it’s patio dining) and some live music. And a “pole artist.” Yes…this happened and it was amazing. Good, good times.
During the summer months, there is never a shortage of activities in Boise. On any given weekend (for those who choose to sacrifice a downtown patio table after finishing brunch rather than rolling into afternoon cocktails) there is something waiting for you. Hike, cycle, float the river, run a race, shop the market for some organic purple potatoes, catch live music at the Botanical Garden, picnic with Shakespeare under the stars…Boise is a pretty hip little town. It’s also safe, clean, relatively inexpensive, and the people are folksy and creative.
However, there is a big BUT. The State of Idaho, one of the most beautiful and geographically diverse in the country, has a history of discouraging diversity in its people. In what has essentially become a single-party government (Republicans outnumber Democrats in the legislature 85 to 20) we see a lot of shitty social policy. For the past 8 years, the legislature has refused to even consider public testimony on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity via an amendment to the Idaho Human Rights Act. A speaker once joked that the reason the arc of the moral universe bends is because Idaho is on the tail-end dragging it down.
Which is why this weekend’s activities are particularly amazing. This is LGBT Pride Week in Boise, so today was the rally, parade, and festival among other events. We headed down to the Statehouse with the kids to get our Pride on and show off Hugo’s rainbow legwarmers. Much of our local media is notorious for downplaying progressive events, telling viewers “dozens” of people participated rather than the reality of hundreds. So, I made a point to sneak away during the rally, climb four stories into the House gallery, and get a few shots through a dirty window for posterity. Each year this festival grows, support for LGBT equality grows, and someday soon the self-appointed “moral majority” will have to listen.
I’m headed to Oregon this weekend for my brother’s graduation from Portland State (insert choir of drunk angels singing karaoke here). So, I decided to spend the day having fun with the kids even though I have approximately infinite loads of laundry to do before we take our show on the road tomorrow. It’s a gorgeous 70 degree day and we decided an outing to the zoo was warranted. (“Outing” makes me laugh; to me it implies lemonade and parasols. Of course, the reality is someone forgot to wear underwear and everyone has nacho cheese mustaches.) We actually had a fantastic time. Our zoo has added animatronic dinosaurs (mmmmkay…little confusing, but we’ll go with it) throughout the park and of course they were a huge hit with my crowd. Later, we made the mistake of giving Harvey cotton candy. He ran through the zoo at a sprint for an hour and then entered a zombie-like trance. It did make him more manageable in the butterfly exhibit though. Hudson’s only complaint was the amount of animal “junk” on display. Pants were recommended.
I read an article the other day that said Boise was #2 in the U.S. for overall temperature increase during the past 30 years. Boise is located in the high desert and widely recognized as having only two seasons (often referred to as “I have sweat running between my boobs” hot and “I’m not going outside this week” cold). As such, my plodding attempts to lose this baby belly must occur before noon in the summer months as my delicate nature withers around 80 degrees, at which point I must sit inside and eat ice cream for the remainder of the day.
This morning, I hiked my v v v favorite loop where the Old Pen trail hooks into the Tablerock trail. It starts out steep and rocky, but I’m surrounded by wildflowers and copious sage, and I get to enjoy an awesome view of downtown. The trail flattens out about 20 minutes in, meanders past a little vineyard, and then it’s all downhill. Nothing remarkable (except I think I can maybe feel my butt cheeks getting rounder) but the trailhead is only a 10 minute walk from my house and I am reminded how lucky we are to live in the best of both worlds.