Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Fort Collins: beer, kick-ass grandmas, and unexpected leads

Last Friday I made a pilgrimage to Fort Collins, CO to meet a grandmother who makes greeting cards out of used tea bags.

But oh, it turned into so much more than that.

Before I interviewed her, I stopped by the New Beligum Brewing Company. Coolest. Brewery. Ever.

Not only did I get to take a tour -- and learn about how they use wind power and have their own water treatment facility where they capture methane gas and use that as power too -- and samples of tasty beer, I met some bad-ass brewery-goers from Arkansas who built a house out of scrap materials. I also met a Fort Collins woman who fills up her pickup truck with manure from a sheep farm to use in her garden. AND I found out that all of the cool brewery tile artwork surrounding the giant vats of fermenting grain were made out of recycled materials.

Why on earth would I care about either of those things? No, I won't take a chance and leave the answer up to you...

I'm currently working on a story about recycled art and a story about livestock manure. Yes, it's true. So this, ladies and gentlemen, is bona fide proof that play IS work, and that sometimes getting in some personal fun-time can lead to important, well, leads.

But back to the tea bag lady. Her name is Libby James, she's 72, runs marathons, won the Bolder Boulder 22 years in a row ("That's not true. I got second once" she corrected her kids...), was an election judge, is a writer, and is basically more than awesome. Her kids or runners too, but Libby jokes that she can't run with them because they are too slow!

At first I thought "I hope I'm like her when I'm 72." Then I thought, "wait a second, I wish I could be like her now!"

She invited me into her home to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters, made me a pita sandwich, and introduced me to her family. She also offered to let me stay at her house if I want to run the Fort Collins Marathon in May.

Oh, and she's friends with a crew of dumpster divers.

Which reminds me, I need to get cracking on my dumpster diving story...

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