Sunday, December 11, 2011

And Again

 I gave up.  I did. 

But Timmy didn't.

And I think I smiled for the first time this week.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Pain Passes

"The pain passes, but the beauty remains". --Pierre Auguste Renoir  (1841-1919)

"Mourning is one of the most profound human experiences that it is possible to have... The deep capacity to weep for the loss of a loved one and to continue to treasure the memory of that loss is one of our noblest human traits".-- Shneidman (1980)
Someone dear to me left the planet last week.  It was, (once again) sudden and unexpected.
He was a man I met through business contacts.  But then he turned out to be one of the most profoundly loving and giving people I have ever met.
Sometimes in life, we meet someone who changes the course of our life.  Sometimes by circumstance, sometimes by the sheer force of the life they live in front of us. 
Noel, my friend, left a legacy of profound love, charity and giving.  He, along with his lovely wife, literally changed the world. 
They changed the world.  They feed the hungry and clothed the naked and took care of the widows. 
Everything Jesus asked us, as His followers to do.
Noel built schools in Ethiopia, and fed the hungry of Denver, and along the way drug thousands of us along with him, asking us.............."what are you doing?"
AND THEN..........
In the most profound mystery of it all, we find out that he took his own life.
How is this possible?  The man with the twinkling blue eyes and the the Irish brogue?  The man with the biggest heart I've ever witnessed?
What level of despair could he have faced that took him to that moment?
I have no answers and my heart is broken.
On Friday I will join the many, many friends of this amazing man and celebrate his life in one of the cathedrals of Denver. 
None of it seems real.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Favorite Things - My Fairy Princess Bed

As a little girl growing up, I was always taken with canopy beds. They were very popular then, and apparently I never outgrew the longing for one. As an adult I kept noticing the antique iron beds in movies, mostly westerns or others set at the turn of the century or earlier.

A few years back, I discovered American Iron Beds. They sell antique and reproductions of iron beds, in many styles and finishes .Check them out. American Iron Beds

I looked and looked, dreamed and dreamed, but couldn't bring myself to spend the money on such a foolish whim. Talked myself out of it.

Then my boss gave me a surprise bonus for my tenth anniversary with the company. When I saw the check I was pleased and surprised, and he made me promise it wouldn't go to pay bills or anything practical. "Isn't there something you've always wanted, but never bought?"

And then I knew.

I call it my Fairy Princess Bed, because I'm not ashamed to admit that I've never outgrown my love for fairy tales, princes and princesses. Knights in shining armour.............all that.  I must admit, it still brings a smile to my face every time I walk into my bedroom, even though I've now had it three years.

Here it is, my Fairy Princess Bed.

This style is an open toe (no big foot board), trestor (half canopy).  It doesn't overwhelm the room.

And I love it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Favorite Things -The Tale of the Clock

As promised, a series of posts about of few things I own that I really love and appreciate.  It goes without saying that the most important things in life aren't possessions.  But we all own things, and to find things that we love, that we appreciate, things that bring us joy, is nice...........

Some years ago, I stayed at my Aunt Alice's house, to help her get a Thanksgiving meal ready. On her mantel was an old clock.  I fell for the sound of the ticking, and the chime on the hour.  There was something about the sound that I found so soothing and comforting.  So I decided someday I would find myself a ticking, chiming clock.

Enter Rocky Mountain Clocks on South Broadway in Denver.  A wonderland of clocks.  When I started my current job, I took my first check and picked out a clock for them to refurbish.  It was the best one I could afford at the time and I had it for 5 years.  One of the amazing things about Rocky Mountain Clocks, is that a few years ago, they took it back on trade, gave me credit for it, and let me upgrade to this beauty.

Close Up.

No picture I take can do it justice.  I love this clock.  It has an eight day movement, and the ritual of winding it once a week is part of the pleasure of owning it.  After getting it home, I discovered, with great joy, a label inside the clock.  A label (hard to get a good picture of) from the person who sold the clock.

Hans Gudio, Jeweler and Optician.  Larimer Street, Denver Colorado.

I love my clock.

Someday, I'll wander into Rocky Mountain Clocks and drop a grand on a Grandfather clock.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Living a Beautiful Life

In 1997 I ran across a book that was sitting in the waiting area of an office I was visiting. I thumbed through it, and was impressed enough to immediately stop by The Tattered Cover and pick it up. I've since bought the book at least 5 or 6 times, because I always end up giving it away to people and then get the urge to read it again.

Strange sometimes, how a book can make such a huge impact.  Living A Beautiful Life, by Alexandra Stoddard was one of the those books that had an impact on me at the time I read it, and ever since.

Alexandra talks about how important the little details are.  About the small things we do each day, and things we come in contact with each day, and how our lives can change when we make small changes.

At the time I read the book, I was single, living in a tiny one bedroom apartment, working for a food bank, and barely had two dimes to rub together.  But I realized that I had been living my life waiting
for someday. Someday, I'd have a house, someday I'd be able to entertain people, someday I'd be married.  The book talked about not waiting for someday, not waiting for a special occasion, but instead, doing little things to make each day special.  Even if it's just for yourself. 

At the time, I could ONLY do small things, as money was an issue, but I went to a Big Lots store, and purchased a set of brightly striped cloth napkins.  I paid 50 cents each, and got eight.  I also bought a beautiful coffee mug for $2.  I've used cloth napkins ever since and always have a good coffee mug, one that looks nice, and feels good in your hands.  Morning coffee is better out of a great mug.  Living a Beautiful Life is full of ideas, "Grace Notes" she calls them, about the details of everyday life, and how we change when notice the small things.

I highly recommend the book, still available along with many others she's written.

Now, more than a decade later, I have continued to use this concept, to effect the things I surround myself with.  And that gave me the inspiration for a new series of posts here, about my favorite things.  You know the song................

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs"

A fairly decent list of 14 nice things.  But I'll do my own list...............with photos.  A good exercise of things I'm thankful for, this Thanksgiving week.

Stand by........

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Radio Station That Plays in My Head

Hello blog readers.

Have I ever told you about the radio station that plays in my head? The people I work with know all about it. Because with all of them, I'm known for either bursting out in song, or talking to people in song lyrics. Most of the lyrics are obscure, so they don't realize I'm doing it. But I can't help myself. Whenever I'm not actively listening to music, there's a song playing in my head.

Anyone else out there like that? I can only hope for your sake.............not.

So this week, there's a song that someone has hit the repeat button on, and maybe, just maybe, playing it here will get it out of my head.

Mr Taylor, in all his 80's glory, with a song..........and lyrics..........and a video only possible of being hatched in his creative, slightly off kilter brain.(LYRICS FOLLOW THE VIDEO)

Enter the young idealist
Chasing dragons to slay
Exit the hustler
Packing up his M.B.A.

Freshmen scream in a classroom
Was there a sound?
First degree in the vacuum
I'm on college ground

Took a class, big fun
Modern ethics 101
First day learned why
Ethics really don't apply

Prof says, "One trait
Takes us to a higher state
Drug free, pure bliss
Get your pencils, copy this"

"Life unwinds like a cheap sweater
But since I gave up hope I feel a lot better
And the truth gets blurred like a wet letter
But since I gave up hope I feel a lot better"

Top of the class sits Ernest
He was brightest and best
Till the professor lured him
To the hopeless nest

Now he lives for the shortcut
Like a citizen should
Tells the class with a wink
"Only the young die good"

He says, "Ideals? Uncouth
Fatalism needs youth
Eat well, floss right
Keep the hungry out of sight

Save face--nip and tuck
Praise yourself and pass the buck
And don't forget the best advice
Everybody's get a price

"Life unwinds like a cheap sweater
But since I gave up hope I feel a lot better
And the truth gets blurred like a wet letter
But since I gave up hope I feel a lot better"

"While the world winds down to a final prayer
Nothing soothes quicker than complete despair
I predict by dinner I won't even care
Since I gave up hope I feel a lot better"

Nazis plead in a courtroom
"Pardon me, boys"
Profits fall in a boardroom
Did they make a noise?

Someone spreads an affliction
Company's nice
Someone sells an addiction
Puts your soul on ice

Half wits knock heads
Candidates in double beds
Good guys defect
"I can't precisely recollect"

Teacher's pet theory's fine
If you're born without a spine
Can't you spell wrong?
Sing it to him Papa John

"While the world winds down to a final prayer
Nothing soothes quicker than complete despair
I predict by dinner I won't even care
Since I gave up hope I feel a lot better"

"Life unwinds like a cheap sweater
But since I gave up hope I feel a lot better
And the truth gets blurred like a wet letter
But since I gave up hope I feel a lot better"

"Life unwinds like a cheap sweater
But since I gave up hope I feel a lot better
And the truth gets blurred like a wet letter
But since I gave up hope I feel a lot better

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Nigel Tufnel Day 11.11.11

HT to a coworker.

In addition to Veteran's Day, it's also Nigel Tufnel Day...............the man who made eleven such an important number............

Veteran's Day 2011

Thanks to all of you reading this (and you know who you are), who've served our country.  You think it isn't a big deal that you served.  And that's because you're the kind of person who would.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catching Up

Life sometimes takes a sudden turn to the left or the right, and catches us completely unaware. 

The last few days have been that way.  And every time I'd think to post here, something would pull me in another direction.

When the phone rings in the middle of the night, it's never good news.  As The Husband said, when the phone rings like that, it's never someone calling you to say you've won a house in Ouray.

This 3:30am phone call came from his younger brother, and I was certain it was bad news about my father-in-law.  Instead, it was word that my mother-in-law was being taken to the hospital.  Within 30 hours, she was gone.  Sudden, unexpected, massive stroke.  Joyce had been the one, taking care of an ailing husband, and seeming strong and healthy. 

Still trying to accept, as it all seem a little unreal.  Just a while back, in September, Joyce sent me a box in the mail for my birthday (she never missed any one's birthday).  It was full of kitchen linens she had embroidered,  some cross stitched pillow cases...........and then just an assortment of little things, each carefully chosen.  As I look around my house I see little reminders of the kind things she's sent me, or The Husband.................she paid close attention when she was here, and then found things she thought we'd like.

Today was the funeral, and with that completed, the routines of life return, and we're left with just memories. 

I have experienced the death of many around me, family and friends.  It never gets any easier.  The suddenness will make it take a long time to get used to the idea.

Sleep peacefully Joyce.  You have certainly earned your rest.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I Do Believe in Tim Tebow, I Do!!!

  Tim, I do believe in you.  I do!  No matter what happens, you have conducted yourself in a way that makes me hopeful for the future. 

As a life long Bronco Fan..............I'm frustrated with the coaching, the play calling, the offensive line, the defensive backfield.

But Not You.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

No Big Deal

I find it highly amusing that our weather around here made the national news...........

Yes it was 80 on Monday, and yes, it snowed on Wednesday.  Up north around Loveland and Fort Collins, they got quite a bit and there was lots of tree damage from the weight of the snow on the still leafing trees. 

But here At Altitude.............6200 feet to be exact, it looked like this on Monday when I left for work..........

And when I left on Wednesday for work...............

But it didn't even stick to the streets...............and we are all still  alive.

Really not a thing at all.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tim Tebow Comes To Town and Bronco Fans Are Dipped in Magic Waters

My 'lil bro wrote the following rewrite of the speech from Field of Dreams.  Addressed to John Elway, the man who brought us all the joy of two Super Bowl wins.............erasing all those losses.

To really appreciate it, you have to hear the original....

JOHN……… people will come.

They'll come back to Denver for reasons they can't even fathom.

They'll turn off I-25 not knowing for sure why they’re doing it.

They'll arrive at a parking lot where their stadium once stood.

As innocent as children……… LONGING for the past.

“Of course we won't mind if you look around awhile. It's only fifty dollars……there’s a new stadium right over there.”

And they'll pass over the money without even thinking about it. For its money they have, and PEACE they lack.

They'll walk into the new stadium and sit in their short sleeves on a perfect fall afternoon,
And they'll find they have reserved seats in the SOUTH STANDS. Where they sat when they were children, and cheered for YOU, JOHN their hero.

And they'll watch the NEW KID play………..

And it'll be as if they dipped themselves in MAGIC waters.

The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces.

People will come JOHN……………

The one constant over all the years in this town has been…….. The BRONCOS.

The people of this town have been ruled by it like an army of steamrollers.

The BRONCOS have been erased like a blackboard rebuilt and erased again.

But the BRONCOS have marked the TIME in this TOWN.

This field………. This game……….. its part of our PAST, JOHN.

It reminds us, of all that was once GOOD……….. and could be again.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Okay, So Here's the Deal

It feels like we are at the beginning of a new era.........for us die hard Bronco fans.  But we've felt this way before, only to be disappointed.

I think I take my football too seriously.  I feel an emotional connection to the team.  Were it not for that connection, what is the point?  Don't get me wrong, I love the game of football.  It's complicated, and strategic.  It's exciting and physical.  But when you're invested in who wins.........

Last Sunday, I was sitting on the couch by myself.  Watching yet another, lackluster, stunningly boring performance by Kyle Orton.  Brutal.  Soul Paralyzing.  And then just before half time.........

Tebow with his helmet on.  What?  I gasped.

Could it be?

And then the Wonder Boy, Timmy came in and energized a team, a stadium, a city, a state?  Sure, we lost.  But this Bronco Fan hasn't been that happy in years.  Years.  Sure there was the 6-0 season start with McDaniels..........but then our hopes were dashed. 

But last Sunday, I had to call my Dad.  My lil' Bro called me.  It's a new season, with a Coach who must certainly be in the Hall of Fame for stubbornness. But the magic is back.  In spite of Coach Fox, who has a long way to go before the fans believe in him.

Yes, this girl bought a Tebow jersey this week.  And of course, now, the bye week.  So we have an extra week to dream and believe...... that maybe.

Super Bowl 32 and 33.  The glory days.............


Sunday, October 09, 2011

AND THEN................

There was a great cry heard all across the Land of the Broncos.........

We got our Tebow...............and we were glad..........
Now that we've had could we ever go back?

The First Snowfall

Wasn't a lot, and didn't stick around (all gone today).  But we had our first snowfall At Altitude.

We really needed the moisture, it's been so dry.  And this will calm the pollen down, making it easier for me to breathe.  And we're just due.  I went to the grocery store yesterday morning.  The snow mixed with rain was still coming down, and it just felt great..............

I'm a Colorado Girl.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Chili Madness at Casa Rancho

Where At Altitude briefly becomes a food blog.

So each year in the fall, we search out a place to  get some peppers roasted.  Nothing beats the smell of a freshly roasted pepper.  This year I found a stand near my office and their produce looked good so I picked them up Friday.  For weeks to come, my car will have the distinct smell of roasted peppers.  Not a bad smell.

This year I got a bushel of mild hatch, and a bushel of poblanos.  I wanted to do some rellenos with the poblanos and they lend themselves to stuffing with more than just cheese.

The husband and I stood in the kitchen, listening to Boston and Steve Miller.  Peeling, then bagging.  I bag them in freezer bags, six to a bag...........and we have peppers for a long time to come.

I think these bushels were not as big as we've had in the past..........but we ended up with 14 bags of each kind of pepper.

We saved out some good ones, and the husband made his green chili.

And  stuffed some poblanos with two kinds of cheese.

Following a quick bath in egg.........into the frying pan and smother in the green chili.

Now the peppers can be used to make a casserole.

And go great with my Mexican rice and beans..............

Mexican Grub.  That's what some friends call it.  And I take special requests..........

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seriously? Where is Colorado?

Yes, the White House.......someone, at least put this out there for President Obama's recent trip through flyover country.  Do you notice something wrong with this?  Hmmm.  What could it be?

You know, all those big rectangle states just seem the same to the "coast" folks.  Stunning on one hand.  Not much of a surprise on the other.

Frankly, as a Native Coloradoan, I'm disgusted. 

H/T to Rob at

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Octoberfest in September

Why? Why is Oktoberfest always in September?  Does anyone know?  Of course, wiki knows everything.

I thought it was a Colorado thing, since it can be rather cold in October.  Guess not.

Anyway after a few brief days in the high country (Summit County to be exact) where the aspen are turning but not quite at their height...............

Came home to plans to attend the suburban version of Oktoberfest.  It really was one of those picture perfect Colorado September days.  Off we headed and met the neighbors to listen to the oompa band, and indulge in a stein of heffenweizen.  The boys had hot dogs, and posed for photos.  Couple of hams, these boys are..............

That look of joy on T's face is because he was having a tooth crisis........his front tooth was dangling, freaking him out, but he'd have no part of anyone helping him get it out.  Even with bribes. (update, this morning, the tooth came out overnight and he found it in his bed).

Overall, too many people, not enough things to keep the kids entertained, not enough food booths, long lines for everything.  I can't stop myself from seeing everything from an event planner's perspective.  But then, I was more than a little bleary eyed from my days in the hills.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Fall TV Season

Yes it kicks off tonight..............the new fall season.  Some new shows look interesting, and some old familiars are welcome back. 

In celebration of at least one of these shows...........a little video treat.

Dance is in my DNA.  I love to dance, and I never do it............

My parents............were both dance instructors, a fact I am very proud of.  And that's how they met.  So I grew up watching lots of musicals and mom teaching us dance steps in the kitchen.  So much to my amazement, my parents and I are not the only people in America watching, when Dancing With The Stars came on.  I really do enjoy the show.  And not just because of Maksim.

Ran across this little video gem last night, while distracting myself............enjoy, Dad.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Closer Finale - Sort Of

Reports of Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson's demise, where greatly exaggerated.  We were led to believe that we were watching the final episodes of The Closer, one of my favorite series ever.  Monday night's episode was quite the cliffhanger, and clearly no finale.  I've scoured TNT's website trying to figure out just how many episodes were left and have been unable to figure out what TNT was up to.

Further research led me to some clarification.  According to Matt Roush of TV Guide, we'll get more episodes in November, with the actual series summer.  Yet another instance of delayed gratification.  You can read his report HERE.

So we get to extend our relationship with Brenda Lee and the guys a while longer, holding our breath to see how Curtis Armstrong's nasty lawyer will come after Chief Johnson and her just over the line tactics............

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9.11.11 Never Forget

Each year I experience the same thing.  I love fall, September in particular.  September has always seemed like the beginning of the year, not January.  Surely this comes from school starting in the fall, a new grade, new start.  All of that.

But for the last 10 years, my September has been marred, because as fate would have it, evil men (yes, I used the word evil) chose September 11th to unleash murder, horror and destruction on the United States.  You can't get away from this................even if you wanted to, and with the 10th Anniversary this year, you can run but you cannot hide. 

It's interesting to listen to the media, and even more so, to the people around me, to hear the wide variety of ways people are we all face 9/11/11. 

Like everyone of a certain age, we can all remember where we were, how we heard, what we did that day.  Much like other momentous days.  I can remember the day President Kennedy was shot, even though I was a very little girl.  Only years later, the murders of Martin Luther King. Jr. and Robert Kennedy.  The day the shuttle blew up.........both times............and the day John Hinkley didn't succeed in taking Ronald Reagan from us.  Each of these days are burned into our memory, along with some personal tragedies we have suffered.  I remember getting the call at work, that a treasured friend of mine had died in a construction accident.  The son of friends from church, dying in a car accident, and even recently, having Dad pass along the shocking news of the untimely death of my cousin Jeff.  For me there is also that moment, answering the phone, and hearing the words that made no sense, that people had shot and killed my friends............and God had saved the life of another.

So........I approach this anniversary of 9/11 with mixed thoughts.  I'm deeply moved and affected by all news reports of pain and sorrow.  I have to watch myself not to sink too far into the sadness and drama.  Many will (and have) said that the coverage is too much...........why do we dwell?  Frankly, this is the reaction of many who have never experienced these things on a personal level.  I hope we never forget.  Never.  I know those closely touched can't.  You don't forget, you don't "get over". And anniversaries are always difficult.  I guess forever. So as I surfed around the Internet, and watched the shows, and thought about what I might say here............I found a few pieces of film on YouTube.  Moments preserved in time.  Each dramatically different, and each from radically different perspectives. 

First up, President George Bush, from the National Cathedral.  Listen and go back in time.  Think of how we all felt..............just 3 days later............listen for the strength and solidarity in his words.  His unashamed proclamation of his personal faith, even quoting scripture....................sigh.

Then take a listen to the raw emotion of this...........a man known before and after for his left wing leanings.  Disclaimer:  I used to adore David Letterman.  I watched him for years and found him to be the best of late night................and now I haven't watched him in years.  In recent years he has driven me away, when his humor became cruel and so left leaning.........

With all that in mind.........listen to this...........and I saw it the night it was on.........

The raw emotion is stirring to see, his affection and admiration for Mayor Guiliani.  Think back.......think back to those days, those weeks...........and how the world changed forever. 

I heard someone on the radio talking about his memories from that day, he was in he joined others running for their lives away from the Towers, and he couldn't forget that the streets were littered with women's high heel shoes.........discarded as they ran away.  That was the small detail that had burned into his mind.

Today each of us will face, or not face, our thoughts about this terrible day in our collective history.

For me, I will watch the coverage, and take solice in the fact that we have survived.  As a nation, we have survived.  Living in the post 9/11 world has not destroyed us.  I don't want to forget, or move on, because the lessons we learn from tragedy and grief make us better.  If we let it happen.  I really believe that.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tunesday on Thursday - Carole King

Last weekend,  Carole King was singing to me from my outdoor rock speakers (everyone who enjoys sitting outside should have outdoor speakers).  So, as a result I've been singing her songs all week.  Can't get them out of my head.

I woke up this morning...............(crisp and cool) and was singing this one...............even in the shower.

Then I rolled into a medley with this sad song, and I found it on YouTube in a duet with James Taylor. An amazing album/concert/tour.  So anyway..............enjoy.............

Monday, September 05, 2011

First September Weekend

We have been surviving the hottest August on record. And yet I realize it's all in Denver vs hot in other places, no comparison. There's the whole humidity factor.........

So anyway, this weekend a "cold front" moved through and it's cooled things off, drastically here at Casa Rancho. Last night it was chilly. Not cool. Chilly. Have I mentioned that I love September?

So, while it was hotter was still dramatically different and I'm thrilled with the change. I'm thrilled that it's September. I love this month...............and this year......I'm certain it will be the best one ever. 

Labor Day Weekend.  The first in my memory without Jerry Lewis. Shall we talk about Jerry Lewis?  Yes, but not in this post.  Me and Jerry have a history.  The Husband was working all weekend, training for the unthinkable in the post Columbine's his job.  So I had time to clean out and reorganize my closet.  And I had some quiet time too..........we all need quiet time.

Today, with a few calls, had a impromtu early fall dinner.  I got inspired to set the table all Martha Stewart like..........and we broke bread with some dear friends.

Followed by several hours spent by the pinon wood fire............ahhhh.............the scent of fall.  Carol King showed up......and played her Tapestry album.  Yes, a classic.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Room - The Review

My book club has been on a sort of summer vacation.  Everyone gets so busy it's hard to find a time for everyone to get together.  In the meantime, we've read two different books and will discuss both at next week's meeting.  I've missed the girls!

So up first is the book,  "Room".  My neighbor, Nicole, said she couldn't put it down, so I was excited to read it.  Nicole was right.  The book pulled you in from the first few pages.  Without giving up too much of the plot...............the book is written from the perspective of a 5 year old boy.  Strange concept, and had I known that, I might have been reluctant to read the book.  But the premise worked.  The author, Emma Donoghue mastered the idea of describing the world through the eyes of a 5 year old, using that vocabulary.

As the story begins you gradually realize that the world of this little boy is not the same as the world you and I live in.  He's in Room. With his mother.  It's a dark, disturbing world, made less so through the extreme efforts of his mother. 

Don't want to say much more.............I hate it when reviews give away too much of the plot, like movie trailers that show all the best parts. 

If you're thinking of reading this so.  But set aside some time first.  The day I started reading it, I spent 3 straight hours before I could make myself stop.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some Real Travel

James Lileks, my blogging inspiration, has just returned from a European cruise/trip.  His photos and prose are delightful as always........

The Bleat 

I'm having vicarious travel adventures............

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How To Tell Fall is Coming

There are signs all around that summer is coming to an end, and the best season of the four is ready to begin..........

You open your inbox and what do you find?

And you open your mailbox and get your first catalogue.

Oh, and it's not just a marketing thing that's happening.  The birds are starting their migration.  Huge flocks of them are showing up on the hill behind my house.  They fly off as a group, and sometimes land on the neighbors roof.  I think this is a group of Northern Flickers, but they stayed only a few minutes, and the lighting wasn't good enough to get a great look or a shot.

The other way I know fall is coming is because I'm ready.  Happens every August.  Done with the heat, bring on the cool.  I feel an Earth Wind and Fire song coming, not just yet.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Amazing Clouds

I love clouds.  I have whole file full of pictures I've taken of clouds.  When the sun hits them just so.........they can take your breath away.

Here's a good one I took from my patio.

Here's another good one.

Okay, one more at sunset.

Then today, I saw this amazing video and just had to share.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When Families Gather

I come from a big extended family.  While I only have one brother, (younger by 5 years, so I call him lil' bro) the extended family is quite large.  My mother is the oldest of her siblings, 5 brothers and 5 sisters.

Sadly we have lost her oldest and her youngest brothers.   And we have lost 2 of her sisters as well.  One just a short while ago.  Many years ago, a cousin of mine drowned while swimming in Mexico with his brother.  Several years ago, a cousin of mine died of cancer.............but she had been removed from us for many years........and I barely knew her.

But as a family, we have certainly known loss.  When there are as many of us as there are.........I guess that is to be expected.

Today we gathered to celebrate the life of my cousin Jeff.  As reported here, he died, unexpectedly last Thursday, at the age of 48.  It still seems unreal, and seeing his two younger brothers, was the moment I dreaded driving to the church today.   They both spoke.  They made us laugh and cry.

Some of our first cousins are spread around the country, some we didn't really know growing up, some we saw only rarely.  But there was a core we saw all the time.......celebrating Thanksgivings, 4th of July's, weddings, anniversaries, and a few milestone birthdays along the way. I sat in the church foyer today, looking at many faces I didn't know.........all the many people my cousin touched in the small town where he spent his whole life.  I saw the funeral director from the mortuary, who was a close friend of my cousin.  I saw the same ladies from the church who arranged for lunch today, who were there a few years back when my cousin's dad, my uncle Rod had a funeral at the same church.  In the midst of the crowd, were my cousins.  Mostly, sorry, mostly MEN.  We are older.  I'm no longer one of the few girls.........I'm one of the few women.  I looked around at all my handsome cousins and realized how very blessed I am.

We have always liked each other, we have always gotten along.  Whenever we gather there has always been more laughter than anything else.  I have watched "the boys" play basketball on the driveway, and football in the backyard.  When we were little I saw them running for Easter eggs in their little Easter suits.  I was often in the kitchen with the aunts,  cooking or washing dishes.  Yelling at the guys to take the trash out.  As we got older, there were birthdays, weddings and lots of football watching.............a few beers, and always............laughter.

Not everyone is blessed with the love of a large family............with people who come to celebrate, and who come to mourn.  Today we did both.

I made sure today, to kiss everyone on the cheek, and tell them that I love them.  Losing Jeff made me know that I can't take those things for granted.  The people we love.................we need to tell them.
The cousins determined to get together next for a happy reason.  As you grow older, there are so many reasons NOT to gather.  Kids, work, obligations. All of that.  We shouldn't let it stand in our way.

I am a very blessed woman.  I have people around me who love me. We aren't always with one another as much as we would like.  Miles separate us sometime.  But I have family and friends who love me, and I love them.  And when it matters............we gather.

In a recent post I shared a song from Carolyn Arends.  On that same album is a song that touched me deep in my spirit when I heard it for the first time in a showcase concert in Nashville. I share it here because I've seldom heard a song that felt like I could have written it, if I had one drop of musical talent, which I don't.  But Carolyn hit the nail on the head with this one.  And it feels like she was writng for me.

So loved ones who read this............this song means a lot to me.  On a better day I could figure out how to make it fit on my blog............but for today, click on it to go watch it on YouTube in full screen.

"We are reaching for the future, we are reaching for the past.  And no matter what we have, we reach for more.   We are desperate to discover, what is just beyond our grasp.  Maybe that's what heaven is for."

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Oh No, Not Again

Just when I thought it was safe to go to Macy's..................


Friday, August 05, 2011

Seize The Day

For the last three days, I've been listening to the same album over and over.  I do that.  I pull out an album I've not listened to for a while, then remember how much I like it, and listen to it multiple times.  If the music is spiritual in nature (which most music is) when I listen repetitively, it's like it gets into my ears and then down into my spirit.  The album is by an artist, Carolyn Arends, a wonderful singer and songwriter I met a long time ago in Nashville.

And then this morning I got a message to call my Dad.  And he gave me the terrible and shocking news that a cousin of mine, Jeff, was out on a run last night, and suddenly died of a heart attack.  I think everyone in our extended family would agree that Jeff was the healthiest and most fit of anyone in the family.  It was just stunning news.  Jeff is the oldest son of my mother's oldest sister.  And he's younger than me by about three years. 

None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.

When I got in the car to come home tonight, that Carolyn Arends CD was in the deck and started playing.  And in a moment, this song took on so much deeper significance. 

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Concerning the Boys in Orange and Blue

Let's talk Denver Broncos, shall we?  There are a lot of us folks here in Bronco Country who are pretty excited about this season.  It's a fresh start for the coach............and perhaps a new QB??  It feels like it's been bumpy for a really long time...........being a fan hasn't been easy in these lean years.  The ups and downs of all the QB changes since Elway's retirement.......holding out hope each season, only to face disappointment.  Granted we all knew it would be hard coming off back to back Super Bowl wins, hard to top that............actually we probably never will.  Being the first time and all.  But the hallmark of a Bronco Fan is eternal optimism.......what will the new season bring?

So I decided I should write a little about my attachment to the Denver Broncos......a brief history if you will, of how the Chick Voice and the Broncos first came to be a pair.  Only a select few (to include my Dad, my lil' bro and few others) will care.  But I am longing for the old days...........not just the Super Bowl wins, but the passion which all us fans felt.  The days when bumper stickers all over town said, "If God Doesn't Love the Broncos, Why Are Sunsets Blue and Orange?".

More to come.........

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Closer - Final Season

I guess we all expected a wild ride for the final season of The Closer.  Tonight's episode was no exception.  Thought they were going for that character development angle, considering there are rumors out there of a spin tonight we met Lt. Tao's son...........nice twist. 

But without giving tonight's episode away if you haven't watched..............I found this episode to be particularly dark.  Really gut wrenching and  I cried.  They are moving the overall story line ahead, but tonight's crime was particularly sad and ultimately disturbing.

Hope this isn't a trend.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Nights

It's been a not so ordinary summer for all kinds of reasons.  We haven't really sat out on the patio as much because frankly, there's been two conditions................raining or uncomfortably warm.  They're saying on the news that we've had 16 consecutive days of temps over 90.  But last night it cooled off so nicely that we spent the evening outside.........until after dark, even felt chilly enough to have a fire and The Husband pulled out a blanket.  And the soundtrack was Led Zeppelin.  Loud Led Zeppelin.

There continues to be an assortment of cool little creatures lurking around the wall garden.  Including caterpillars.  They like to hang out the in the Virginia Creeper.

And can you see in the background there?........a few lone columbines, hanging on through all this heat.  Hearty little guys.

And the sunset was a memorable, although I couldn't get a good angle.  Click on this one to expand it, and look at the great colors of the mountains and clouds.  Impressive.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Finally - A Tunesday with Phil

Late Saturday afternoon, Phil Keaggy was playing on the rock speakers in the back yard. Just a random play of the many albums of his loaded on my IPod. Phil's music kind of goes with nature and the outdoors. It's hard for someone who's never seen Phil live to understand what the experience is really like. His albums are wonderful, some of the most played in my collection, but live, he's stunning.

Looks like someone has posted from his live DVD and this will give you a taste.  He is one of the kindest, most humble artists I've ever had the privilege to be around.  Phil Keaggy, and that looping thing he entire band all by himself.........and all the while missing a finger!  Wow.
Take 15 or 20 minutes of your day and listen to the master.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bad Blogger

It's been pointed out to me by more than one person that I have been neglecting my blog.  It's true, my mind has been elsewhere.  I know I  find it somewhat annoying when I have favorite blogs I read that no new posts show up on, as if they owe us one.  What would I do without my 5 day a week dose of James Lileks?  I know, I'd find myself wondering if he'd been to Target lately, and if he found a scent he liked at Bath and Body Works, or what movie he watched last night.   All that important stuff that he somehow makes infinitely interesting. 

But I guess in my head I don't think there's anyone out there who's life is altered if I do or don't post.  (Okay, there's my Dad, but he's always been in my corner).  Sometimes life just gets full, doesn't it?  And for me, sometimes it's just my brain that gets full.  It's seldom a matter of not having anything to say.  I ALWAYS have something to say.  Usually I just have too much in my head, and don't think any of it is worth writing down, because no one would be interested but me.  And aren't all of our own thoughts endlessly us?

I will attempt to be better.  But be forewarned.  This means I will talk about those silly little the fact that I saw a hummingbird eating at my honeysuckle bush yesterday.  And that The Husband and the boys from next door found a crawdad on the sidewalk (who I think is now dead in my birdbath).  Oh and then there's the fact that this season's Big Brother cast is a giant bore.  Did I mention that the final Harry Potter movie made me cry?  Shamelessly as a matter of fact, and I was not the only one in the theater that was crying.  Also I feel a "favorite things" series coming on.  Because there are things around me that make me happy when I look at them, and I think I should share.  I can't wait to see the movie "The Help".  Did you know I bought 2 salt lamps?  Have you ever even heard of salt lamps?  I hadn't.  Who besides me has a little crush on Tim Tebow?

So you see my brain is full of unimportant thoughts, it's just they are only important to me.  But I guess that's part of the self indulgence of having a blog in the first place.  We like to hear ourselves "write".  I just wish I was as good as James Lileks.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Three times this week, our weather has made the national least Good Morning America has talked about the high volume of water falling from the sky.  All this daily rain and the high humidity is making for a pretty steamy July, and frankly, around here, we're just not used to this. For ten days in a row I think, there has been afternoon or evening showers.  Some sensational lightning shows as well.  Hail in parts of town, including DIA, where it damaged many planes and delayed flights.  Hassle for everyone.

Today was no exception.  There was quick shower in the late afternoon, but then a downpour around seven.  I love weather, rain especially, but the humidity is not so pleasant and they're telling us we may hit 100 tomorrow.  Seems like not so long ago I was hoping for the snow to end..........and here we are.

More steaminess is in the forecast..............bring it on.........

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Closer - Opener

I would expect no less................first episode of the last season of The Closer..............jaw dropping!  Continuing from last season, Deputy Chief Brenda Lee is using her slightly sketchy tactics to get confessions, or in this case, actions from the bad guys.

Sad that this will be the final season, but since it is, no doubt they will pull the rug out from under us multiple times.

If you have not yet watched this first episode, well, don't miss the last 30 seconds!!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Water For Elephants

I'm way behind in all of my book reviews, so I'll attempt to get caught up.

Pretty sure I was one of the last people to read Water For Elephants, and I rushed to do so.  The book club I'm in had read it before I joined them.  But we had a girls night out (GNO) to see the movie, so I read the book about three days.  It was different than I expected.  I went into the read thinking it was a chick tragedy kind of book (Oprah pick, you know).  But instead it was written from the perspective of the male character (played by Robert Pattinson in the movie).  For some reason, the book reminded me of a Stephen King short story, a la Shaw Shank Redemption.  It was a love story for sure, but that didn't seem to be the main focus.  It seemed more about aging, and reflecting on the choices we make, and the long term effect those choices cause in life. 

So the book was, pretty good.  Not the fantastic read I had been led to believe.

So the movie.  The best part of the movie was just going out with the book club girls to watch it.  Having Robert Pattinson in the cast was I'm sure a big draw to many.  I personally didn't find him that compelling in this role.  They did the normal movie adaptation thing and changed some things.  They eliminated the owner of the circus entirely.  I think that took out some layers to the interaction between the characters.  Reese Witherspoon fit the role nicely, but there didn't seem to be much real chemistry between she and Robert.


Just eh.


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