Thursday, December 20, 2012

We had our first big snow yesterday and it was pretty chilly too.
“Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” -Oscar Wilde
Cut me a break here, I’m trying to get back into the groove.
December is my least favorite month, always has been.  I spend an awful lot of November worrying about December.  Self-fulfilling prophecy or time proven truth?
This December has been nice and there has been a bit of peace to it.  I am happy about my four day Christmas break. 
Coffee sampler pack, a book from my mom, dogs, a pizza oven, Tuba Christmas, movies, Christmas Eve at the bar, and perhaps some snowshoeing.  And hands down the best part, four days with Bobaloo.  Color me lucky, for real. 
I was thinking about one of our first winters together when we were dating.  We went to a lot of coffee shops back then.  One of our favorites, Bob's Java Hut, is still there.  The Mexican Mocha is where it’s at.
More often though, we’d haunt Pandora’s Cup.  It’s not there anymore.  We would order mochas with homemade whipped cream from tattooed baristas, head up to the smoky upstairs by way of the creaky wooden stairs.  We played Word Dojo for hours, pumping dollar after dollar into the Megatouch.   I would read our destiny from the City Pages and smoke Camel Lights.
Bobaloo isn't much of a coffee drinker and isn't so much into video games.  Every weekend for a couple of years, he would sit and drink coffee and play nerdy word games with me.
After, he would put my mittened hand in his and off we’d go with the snow crunching under our feet until the next weekend. 
It was that kind of cold last night. 
Just a memory I don’t want to forget, that’s all.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


 Four years ago, I married this goofball...

I am trying to think of all of the awesome and super things we've done in the last year.  There have been many.  Delightful meals, side-splitting happy hours, and many misadventures.  Gobs of laughs, a whole heap of music, and lot of mellow tv-watching too.  And of course, tons of love.

He is still nice.  He is still hilarious.  He is still handsome.  He still makes a damn good omelet.  All of the reasons I was so lucky to hitch my wagon to his star in the first place.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I love dogs and have been not so nonchalantly been pestering Bobaloo about how I need one.  I have bothered him rather mercilessly.  For years.  Finally, over the summer we had a breakthrough and agreed we would start looking for a dog this fall.

On Saturday, Bobaloo and I stopped into the adoption center at Dumb Friends League.  We asked to meet Nik in kennel 3B.  When she was brought into the room she came right up to me with little hesitation and also sat on Bobaloo’s foot (which I thought was hilarious).    We both knew I was not leaving the building without her.  She was the pup for me.

Unfortunately, she has been neglected and not given enough to eat in her life before us.  She is getting more comfortable at home and is very sweet and very mellow.  I don’t think Nik knows how to play but she seems to enjoy our walks.  Every day she gets more confident and seems to be acting more and more like a dog. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

MOM is WOW upside down

About a month ago, someone told me mothers and daughters aren't supposed to see eye to eye. That's just the way it is.

I love my Mother. I love all of her strength and her quirks best. It's not easy to show how much I love her sometimes though. It's hard for me to find the words over the phone that she probably needs to or should hear. I love her. Always.

I love you Mom.

As a kid, I remember slamming my bedroom door out of whatever my current adolescent outrage was and thinking, she just doesn't understand me. She doesn't get me. Sometimes as an adult I still feel that way. I wonder now if she was thinking, I am trying my best to teach my daughter to understand and get how the world is. I want what's best for her.

I love my Mom. It's strange to look back on my life and have the very real realization that in a lot of ways she has always known my heart better than me. And only now, as a grown-up do I see that she has always and most likely still knows what's best. As mothers tend to. She always gave me the space to figure stuff out for my hardheaded self, because she knows that's my nature as only a mom would or could.

I love my Ma. Since I can remember I have loved reading, writing, and words. In junior high without hesitation, my Mom signed me up for an annual young author's conference that involved missing class and a bus trip to a college. For the first time, I met real life authors who made a living making their readers feel something. She knew I loved writing before I did.

In high school, I wanted to switch my foreign language elective from Spanish to French. I handed her the registration form, and she wasn't having it. She firmly told me Spanish would be helpful in my life. I was more than a little upset. At the end of the day and form, I ended up taking both languages for the rest of high school. She recognized my love of verb conjugations before I did.

Seeing eye to eye has at times been difficult. Difficult in that I always fought that she knows me in a way no one else ever will. Why that has been upsetting, I will never know. I'll blame it on her encouraging my independence. As children tend to.

Mom started a book club with her girlfriends. When we talk on the phone she tells me what she's been reading. Sometimes she reads books that I have, more often than not though, she tells me about a great read that I need to check out. Reading the same books as my Mother moves my heart beyond words. No words. Imagine that.

We've both had a year, that's for sure. A year of having a hard time finding words for one another.

We have the words of others though. Words and stories that move us. I find comfort in knowing this.

Since those young writer conferences Mom sent me to as a kid, I have always wanted to write a book. To be an author. To have my words make people feel something.

The book hasn't been written yet. I don't have the words and I don't know the story. Not yet.


the dedication page has always been written.

So, here goes:

To the woman who knows and encourages me. The woman who has given me the courage to be strong and quirky and at the end of the day, know I'm okay.


This isn't a published novel,

but this one goes out to you.

(Even though we disagree on the pronunciation of "poem"!)

I love you. Thank you.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Answering the Call

Sitting in my closet yesterday, I was looking through a picture album of friends and thinking about how near and far they are to me now, both physically and emotionally.  I am lucky and love-rich that many of my nearest and dearest for the last 10-20 years are people I can still call in the middle of the night if need be, no questions asked.

The way friendships start and end at different measure is strange.  I have had fast friends and have also cultivated closeness with folks over the distance of many years.  The latter have turned out to be some of my most valued and true friendships.  I have lost touch bit by bit with people with whom I was once inseparable.  Also, I have had the uneasy experience of quickly dropping out of or being dropped out of someone’s life.

A couple of weeks ago I had a friend come into town for a short visit.  She was a neighbor of Bobaloo’s when he and I were dating.  Bobaloo and I would often sit on the deck having beers and listening to tunes and she and her husband would come over after work.  Slowly but surely, after three years she became quite a close friend.  She was someone who became unwaveringly thoughtful, compassionate, and protective towards me.   I offered the same friendship to her.  I look back at those times on the deck and think of a happy, happy stretch of life.  Meeting her was providential circumstance.

We have seen each other a couple of times in the last seven years, the last being four years ago.  Marriage happened, babies were had, and moves, school, and everything in between began to take up the adulthood of our lives.  Eventually, even our infrequent phone calls came to an end.  Our friendship became a yearly Christmas card.
She came into town a couple of weeks ago for a conference and we made plans to get together and catch a few drinks downtown.  Even though some years had passed since I saw her last, I was more excited than nervous to see her.
So, after Bobaloo and I navigated our way to a parking spot in the city and entered the crowded bar I sent a text letting her know I was there.  After a few minutes a familiar embrace from behind my shoulders was followed by a familiar voice.  We found a place to sit.  Pictures were shown of children, school and work updates were exchanged, and some of the more somber happenings of our lives were shared.  Life had moved on, but not between me and her.  We picked up just where we had left off, chattering away.

We headed to a tavern later and smoked cigarettes on the patio.  I apologized for not being better in touch and told her I missed her.  She told me that even though we don’t speak on the regular that she knows she can always call me when things shake down and that I will always answer.  She thought it was an unspoken understanding between us two.
I am lucky to have the kind of pals who will answer my call.  And it’s nice to know now, that I am that friend to someone too.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I don’t get a whole lot happier than when I am camping.  Truthfully, give me any reason not to bathe and I am in.  Gross?   Yes.  Liberating?  Without a doubt.   Did you know you can use the cardboard oil funnels at the gas station to pee standing up?  That tip is more helpful in nasty bars or in said gas stations than in nature I guess.  Good to know.
Tent camping is my preferred mode of roughing it.  If I could live in a tent for three months out of the year I would be a proverbial happy camper.  I am a lot more comfortable outside than in.  I am not sure what that’s about but it has always been this way.  Maybe in the open air I am restful.  Who knows? 

Pops would take David and me up North when we were little kids.  I was more interested in reading my books and futzing around than fishing.  David would tell me about the constellations at night when the sky seemed forlorn.  I learned how to find the satellites, slowly making their way along the path.

The quiet and niceness of the moment and the universe fleeted as morning would stir.  It was nice to be still.  Now, the lights of the city compromise the night sky and I can get squirrely.  A couple of weeks ago I looked up and felt that quiet happiness and it was nice.

I have a theory about camping.  If you can set up a tent with your significant other without fighting, it is meant to be.  If you can’t, it is going to be a long weekend and a quiet car ride home.

Our tent broke last summer and we have yet to replace it. I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything.  Except that it’s broke.

I’ll get a new one next year. 

Until then, here’s to camp fires, kabobs, beer, and dirty jokes.

And stillness.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I’ll never forget when she took me to the Benjamin Franklin store.  The imitation stained glass hummingbirds were shimmering in the sun.  It was hot out then.  I was staying with her for a week while my parents were in Germany.  We rode in her truck and sang along to Dolly Parton, me only pretending to know the words.

She bought me and my brother Count Chocula cereal.  Her husband had salted peanuts in a giant jar near his recliner.  She had a woodpecker toothpick grabber on her counter.  When you pushed his beak down, he would grab a toothpick.  When you’re six, that is really something.
Her basement was scary.  I never liked going down there but if you wanted to play with the Lincoln Logs you had to.  She had poker chips, old spools, antique keys, and an automatic card shuffler that she let me play with.  She never yelled at me for making too much noise and although I was a quiet girl, she called me her little chatterbox.

She lived on a lake where I made mud pies and every once in a while she would give me a minnow to play with.  I was careful with the minnow, rolling it the tin full of muddy water.
When I was older, she built a cabin.  I went on the roof with my dad and he let me hammer in a shingle.  There was plenty of space to wander around and an outhouse.  In the cabin she told stories, we listened to the Indian radio station, and played countless games of Scrabble.

We are both older now.  Life is not fair, but has been especially been harsh towards her.  Her body has been encumbered with the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis for years.  Ever since I have known her, anyway.  She has carried on with more physical pain than anyone I have ever met.  She has also carried on with a stoic sense of humor and a brave front.  Her life has been full, in the face of physical limitations.
She has been fighting particularly hard these last few weeks after an ugly car accident, never wavering.  I don’t know what makes her stronger than the rest of us.  I don’t know if she has been fighting her whole life and it is her innate instinct.  I don’t know if it is her resolve.  I don’t know if it is her faith.  I don’t know if she understands something we don’t.  Maybe it’s a combination.

I know she is getting better.  I know before too long, she will get back to enjoying nature because that is her nature.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I am learning to work harder and smarter at mental health.  Four years after diagnosis, I think I am finally getting it figured out.  It can be arduous having to self monitor all the time.  Truthfully, when I have my setbacks it is because I get so tired of having to constantly scrutinize moods and what is normal (or habitual) for me. 

It is a lot of work to compare what my moods and actions are to those around me in a particular setting.  It hurts when everyone is in slow motion and I am turning like a pinwheel.  It’s devastating when I am sad and everyone else’s life goes on.  Comparing is necessary to keep me in check, but comparing is a reminder that I am not like them.

My husband and I made the choice a couple of years ago to be open and honest about my mental illness.  Keeping a secret on top of everything just seemed like too much.  Bipolar II and General Anxiety Disorder.  Sometimes getting that reality out of my mouth is easier than others.  It depends where I am at (mentally), where I am at (physically), and who I am speaking with.

People have been overwhelmingly nice and speak about their experiences with loved ones who struggle with mental illness.  They make me okay with things; it’s been an amazing experience.  I don’t know why this was so surprising to me.

Some people don’t understand.   I have lost friends and have been disappointed by relationships I thought were more genuine than they turned out to be.  Sometimes people look at struggle as a character flaw.  I don’t know if I want people in my life who don’t struggle.

The good ones know the certainty of my heart and the strength of my character. 

You learn who your friends are.  You learn who sticks it out.  They understand if you drop out of the world for months at a time and they forgive times when you are agitated and times when you just aren’t quite yourself.

It is a strange thing to have your mind turn against your body, to have your body rebel against its own nature.  And it is difficult to explain to people.  You feel foreign, like you don’t fit anywhere.  The world gets a bit lonely.

I have recently begun to notice the more honestly I chat with people, the more connected I feel to the kindness in the world.  Chance encounters now have more depth.

It’s brave to have heart.

To have had the possibility to understand myself better through others is a gift I am very thankful for.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Showing Up

Things are good.  Well, my things are good.  Other people’s stuff is not so good.  Those other people are my people. 

My tribe.

My folks get tough when the tough gets going.  We rally.  We show up.  We hug and eat hotdish in church basements.  Just being there is highly valued.  You visit the sick and bury the dead.  Period.  End of sentence.

When shit goes down, you show up.

My life is very happy and mellow in Colorado.  I have a good job, a few good friends, and Bobaloo.  I get to be alone quite a bit.  I feel detached from the place I am from, but not the people.  I welcome the autonomy and calmness of my life.

I go back and emotions get triggered.  Being around the people I love most is overwhelming.  All of my awkwardness creeps out and to ease it, I have a few cocktails.  Traveling, too many cocktails, and not enough sleep can bring on mania or at the very least tremendous anxiety.

By the end of the trip I am in shutdown mode.  It is exhausting being on the airplane and knowing you have to pick up the pieces again once it lands.

Showing up.

Showing up means losing my shit.

Shit I’ve worked really hard on.

Is it selfish not showing up to preserve your own peace of mind?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 Days

Summer has kicked off gloriously thus far (aside from all the fiery fire nastiness going on).  The goal for this summer was to get on out and do life stuff.  I have been trying to get out every day to enjoy a walk and get some of that good old D3.  It seems to help, plus there’s an area near us where the folks have horses.  So awesome.

Greek Fest in Denver was fun.  Delicious food was had and the cathedral dome is a stunning shade of blue.  This was the second year we went and it doesn’t disappoint.
For the first time, Bobaloo and I headed to Pride Fest We missed the parade but had fun hanging out.  There were a ton of people which was cool.
Last Friday we were up to Red Rocks to see Wilco.  It was a good show.  I am looking forward to Cake and Neil Young later in the season.
It's been in the hundreds around here lately so last Saturday we briefly di some gold-panning to cool off.  No nuggets found, I'm left getting rich the old-fashioned way.
Jennifer at Chronicles of Consciousness has gotten me interested in the 10 Day You Challenge.  Her blog is one of my absolute favorites.  Go ahead, check out the link to her blog above.

*I just moved the 10 Day Challenge a tab at the top.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Word

My little brother Kyle is awesome.  He is eight and a half years younger so it’s been remarkable to watch him go from playing with matchbox cars and micro machines to having a car, job, and girlfriend.

We’ve always been close which makes me the luckiest.  The kid is hilarious and can be comfortable around anybody anywhere.  He’s very easygoing and has good taste in music and movies.  I love this kid, for real.
Bobaloo and I decided to get hitched in ’08 and planned a small mountain ceremony up Boulder canyon.  I wanted Kyle to be part of the ceremony and found a cool Paulo Coelho reading for him to deliver.
Most 17-year olds aren’t that stoked about that kind of stuff, but he made the journey on out here and was enthusiastic about his role in the wedding.
I warned him there was one word in the reading that was a little tricky, “vicissitudes.” 
Vicissitudes:  unexpected changes, especially in somebody's fortunes.  Life’s ups and downs.
It was just a heads-up.
The couple of days leading up to the ceremony, Kyle dropped the word vicissitude frequently and comically in the goofiest of sentences. 
As in:
Getting my shoelaces tied this morning is something of a vicissitude in my life.
Opening this jar of salsa is quite a vicissitude.
You’re really an extreme vicissitude today.
And on and on and on.
We two thought it was hilarious.  Everyone else?  Probably not so much.
The morning of the wedding came and Bobaloo, Kyle, and I drove up the canyon together.  I am not going to lie, I was terrified.  I was excited about the nuptials, but that car ride was intense.
I was so panicky before and during the first part of the ceremony I could have cried or collapsed or even chundered.
Enter Kyle.
He stands up and reads loud and clear and looks so handsome and I am so proud of him, I beam.
Then he gets to the word
and flubs it.
I had a hard time containing my giggles.
For the rest of the ceremony and even the rest of the day, everything stopped being so intense and became lighthearted and fun which is what we had wanted.
Leave it to Kyle.
I love that kid.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Grandma J.

I went back to my parents for a few days for Grandma  J.’s funeral. 
Isn’t it weird to see people you haven’t been around for years?
My brothers and I are the younglings of the extended family and folks always seem surprised that we all grew up.  It is a weird feeling.
Grandma J. was ready to go so saying goodbye wasn’t hard.  I loved her and she loved me.  She gave me a lot during her life.  She’s someone who never really caught a break, but kept her wits about her for ninety years.
She was tenacious and resilient.  I hope that passed to me.
My two brothers and I have not all been together in four years.  I have two nephews that live far away.  The little one had no idea who I was.
Isn’t it weird to see people you haven’t been around for years?
All in all, things were nice.
That’s weird to say.
I played with the kiddos, sat by a bonfire, drank beer, played Trivial Pursuit and pull tabs, laid in the lawn, brunched, sat on a dock,  laughed with my brother, visited with family, saw dear friends, met new babies, hugged, and got hugged.
Not a bad way to spend a few days saying goodbye.
I think that’s how she’d have wanted it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


It has lifted.

Fresh hell gone stale.

My life has been filled with medications that don’t work, weight stuff, questioning my thoughts, bad thoughts, a train ride to Minnesota to wean off aforementioned meds and thoughts, a lot of missed work.  A lot of missed everything.

Doctors, Shrinks, paranoia, agoraphobia, anxiety, depression, self-medication, pity, the inability to breathe easy.  Not a clear or exact thought entered my head.  I had quite factually fallen on my face and was fortunate to have someone to pick me up. Every single time.

Eight months. 

And do you know what happened?

A couple of days after my twenty-ninth birthday, it all lifted.

Just like that.

With that said, I have missed you and your blogs.

And just so we’re all caught up on things: 

Happy Halloween, Happy Turkey Day, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy Passover, and Happy Easter.  I think that just about covers it. 

Happy, Happy, Merry, Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy, and Happy.

I like that sentence better.