July 2008

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What does having it all look like in your world?  Another thoughtful question via Superhero.

I took this picture when we were staying at my grandparents house in Denver.  I had this awful zit on my forehead, so I grabbed the ointment from my bag to put on it and was positively delighted when I saw the heart.  I ran back to the bedroom to show Gregory, and we were both so awed that there was this heart we made together, without even realizing it.  How long had it been there?

So to answer the question, I think having it all would look like absolute presence – knowing from moment to moment that I am creating hearts, seeing them, feeling them, loving all that they are.  Because, deep down, I know that in every moment, I already have it all, otherwise I would have more.

While we were in Denver, we did a lot of driving, a lot.  Normally, I get a little crabby when I have to be in the car so frequently, and for such great distances (Denver is a lesson in s-p-r-a-w-l), some places an hour from another while never leaving the metro area,  but this was worth it because we got to visit people we hadn’t seen in years.  There’s nothing like sitting with someone, gazing in their eyes, hearing their voice, smelling their familiar scent, watching their toes wiggle while they talk, so much better than an e-mail, a letter, or Christmas card, no matter how heartfelt.

I think that one of the surest signs of a great friendship is the ability to feel as though little time has passed since last meeting, even if it has been years, so easy is it to get into that comfortable space, the place that is home.  I am grateful that this is the case with all pictured here. I love you, guys!

 That’s me and Linda – you remember her.  We had a great time hanging out at her house with her cutie kids Allie and Hunter.  They are whip-smart, fun, and adorable, of course!  I love how they have all the cool toys I never had as a kid, like a cash register and a playhouse in the yard.  Boy, I can remember gazing wistfully at them in the Montgomery Ward catalogue – wouldn’t it be fun to play store in the playhouse?!  We also finally got to meet her husband Buzz – a handsome man with kindness to match, and a perfect fit for her.  Thanks, too for the refrigerator full of fun drinks and the hobo burgers, yum!

Say Hello to Chara, whom I met through my friend Whitney, and was later my boss at Williams-Sonoma (a pet peeve – It is Williams-Sonoma, not Williams and Sonoma.  Chuck Williams’ first store was in Sonoma, okay?)  Sorry, digression.  She’s now a nurse for teeny-tiny babies and the mother of triplets!  I wish I took a picture of them (so sweet and each their own person) and their dear papa, Matt. 

The four of us had grand times together – playing games, making each other dinner, sneaking a full bag of tortilla chips, cheese dip, and Twizzlers into the movies(*EDIT – Yesterday I almost wrote that we brought a roasted chicken, too, but thought, no, that’s too much, I must have dreamed that part, but no! The G-Man confirmed it)!   One of my fondest memories is of martinis at the Fourth Story Restaurant at the old Tattered Cover in Cherry Creek.  They had a nice jazz band, and we ate and talked and drank.  Well, at least they did.  I am not a big drinker, and Matt teased me because I still had a bit left in my glass when everyone else was working on their second or third.  “You want a to go cup for that honey?”  I laughed so hard that I spilled said drink all over myself and received even more ribbing from Matt.  Good times.


Hello Michael, Mary, and Jesuscito!  If I were a bit more organized, I would have scanned the picture we took of them in this same spot twelve years ago.  Their son Max was holding Crybaby Arthur the cat, and Gussie (the best crate-trained dog I’ve ever seen) was standing next to Mary.  Now Max is out on his own, learning all about grid power and the intricacies of bikes.  Arthur gave us one of his best cries, but, sadly, Gus’s crate is no longer in the dining room.  Soon enough there will be more changes, as Michael and Mary will be in their next home, a cool Mid-Century modern place in Littleton.  We can’t wait to see the pictures.

While living in Denver, we had great outings to thrift stores, various breakfast places in search of the best biscuits and gravy, and spent a special Thanksgiving in Santa Fe.  We stayed in adjoining rooms at the very cool El Rey Inn on Cerillos (the only place we stay when we go back), had killer burritos from the Burrito Company (still there and yummy good!), all while taking in the finest Sante Fe has to offer.  I was even mistaken for Max’s girlfriend while poor Gregory was back at the inn with a raging fever.  I probably look too old now.  Ahh, time.

 Andie Card!  Thanks to Linda helping me land a job at Amici’s, I met my dear Andie.  We bussed tables together on Friday nights and then drove around in her old Bug laughing our heads off at her driving skills, the odd behavior of customers, our co-workers (oy! a book could be written), and, of course, our selves.

Andie has the quick wit most of us can only aspire to.  Sometimes, she is on to the next joke before I even understood the last.  She makes me laugh, and then she makes me cry with laughter.  She’s also fiercely indepdent, strong, and one of the best people to have in your corner.  I’m glad she’s in mine. 

p.s. If you look in the reflection on the car you can see my legs there near the mirror, like a granny.  “Hey there honey, let me take a pho-to of you in that snazzy car!”

This is Rena, Jeff, and their adorable kitty, Jackie Chan.  Like Linda and Andie, I’ve known Jeff a long time.  We met in an incredibly boring Oceanography class my first semester of college – way back in 1989.  I think I had bangs then, and he had one of those long tails of hair down his back.  Once he cut it off, he grew facial hair and joked, “It transplanted itself up front.”  I liked Jeff right away because he would make fun of the professor using nutty voices, “Back at Woods Hole…” 

Rena came into the picture after we moved, but we became fast friends on visits.  She is the perfect complement to Jeff, smart, independent and funny in her own right – a fine couple.  They are a hoot to hang out with, know tons about geology (I’ve forgotten almost everything, I’m afraid), are great at games (I’ll post pictures of us playing the Wii another time), and just darn nice!

I feel so privileged to have so many wonderful friends!  Thank you all…

That, my friends, is one of my favorite lines from one of the best summer movies of all time, The Natural.  This is Pop Fisher’s (Wilford Brimley) go-to phrase for difficult situations.  When I was young, and still living at home, we had this movie on VHS.  My brothers and I watched it so many times that we actually wore out the tape and had to buy another copy.  So, you could say that I’m kind of fond of it.

Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is an old man, by rookie baseball standards, who comes back to the game after a sixteen year hiatus brought on by unfortunate youthful naivete.  With the exception of Red (Richard Farnsworth), he’s treated like a second class citizen until he proves his worth to manager Pop and the rest of the team, while also becoming a father figure to the bat-boy Bobby.

I love the promise of this story.  It deals with the complexities of love, failure, losing, and winning in a way that doesn’t seem to sell the characters short or make them less real.  I love that a man can achieve a dream at thirty-five (this resonates even more now for personal reasons), and inspire others to be their best selves, while remaining fully human. 

The film is easy on the eyes as well.  The contrast of light and dark, great set decoration, and fabulous vintage clothing, to mention a few.  It also has fantastic cinematography. The opening shot and final home run almost make me want to pick up a bat and light up the sky with the possibilities of baseball.

Now’s the perfect time for it.  I think it’s meant to be watched on a warm summer afternoon, while sipping a glass of lemonade, before heading to the park to shag some flies, never forgetting that “losing is a disease.”

I have always loved New Mexico, great wondrous place that it is.  Due to it’s close proximity to Denver and family connections, it was a frequent vacation destination for my family.  It was also the destination of my first vacation with Gregory, before we were married, so it is quite the special place.  My Grandpa and Mom were both born there, and my Nana lived there until her death in 1988.  Nana lived in a great old adobe house near Old Town Albuquerque with hollyhocks growing in the yard.  She was a woman with a large presence, though I cannot recall if she was actually large. 

She sat in a chair in the front room, receiving guests like a queen, her oxygen tube protruding from her nose and snaking about the living room.  One time, my dad stepped on the tube while we were there, and she told him, rather non-chalantly, considering he’d just cut off her air, “Jim, you’re stepping on my snake.”   I looked around in terror, ready to run from this horrible creature that somehow sneaked into her home, before she laughed, and I realized it wasn’t really a snake.  It was just Nana, being herself.   It was this kind of behavior that both frightened me and delighted me. 

On another occasion, when I was visiting with my grandparents and my cousin, Stephanie, I was cheerfully playing in the living room while she was holding court with my grandparents.  She suddenly asked me why I wasn’t playing outside.  I looked out the window and noticed it had started to rain, one of those great afternoon storms, and said as much.  She proceeded to call me a pansy (one of her favorite flowers) and tell me that a little water wouldn’t hurt me.  Perhaps cut from the came cloth as she, I stuck to my guns and stayed inside.  Now, on occasions where the rain is warm like that day, I go outside, arms wide, and spin, raindrops falling on my cheeks and tongue, and say, “Hello Nana!”  

The whole of New Mexico is like my Nana for me, really, frightening and utterly delightful.  Frightening for the stormy weather, enormous clouds building and exploding with thunder, lightening, and giant raindrops that make me and the dusty earth quiver and dance.  Frightening for the hot sun that puckers my skin and dries the landscape.  Frightening for the wild animals, howling at night, or slithering along paths, looking for carrion, looking for me. 

Yet all that frightens me, delights me, too.   I love the giant thunderheads just before they break, the scent of ozone after an electrical storm, the moisture lying delicately on top of that dusty ground, soon to be only a memory.  I love the way that same hot sun browns my skin, lightens my hair, and my mood.  I love the adobe houses that dot the sun-baked hills, redolent with the scent of pinon and juniper, next to the brilliant blue of the sky.  I love watching the birds and rabbits dance with wild pleasure, searching for their next meal.  I love it all.

Goodness me!  All this and I haven’t even talked about the people or the food, both are wonderful.  I have found New Mexicans to be very open, deeply spiritual, and an extremely kind.  These pleasant attributes translate very well in the kitchen.  When we are in New Mexico, Gregory and I gorge on the local food, sometimes eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We simply cannot get enough of the flavors: posole, beans, green chile, chile rellenos, tamales, enchiladas, burritos, sopapillias, oh my!  There are no two ways about it, this food is heaven on a plate.

The pictures, by the way are the Church of San Francisco, near the Plaza, in Santa Fe.  San Francisco is the patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment.   Legend has it that St. Francis, on his deathbed, thanked his donkey for carrying and helping him throughout his life, and his donkey wept.

The church is a beautiful place to take respite from shopping and wandering Santa Fe.  In particular, I enjoy walking the labyrinth in the courtyard.  There’s that sky I talked about, too.  No pictures of the food, though.  We gobbled it up!

For Amber

I am as delighted as a school girl on the playground at recess!  My friend Amber tagged me while I was away.  I am happy to oblige her (and you) with some facts about myself.

1. In my attempt to save the environment, I am quite the energy miser.  I do not leave a room without turning off the light, use flourescents everywhere possible (not in the bathroom, however, that light can be frighteningly serial killer-esque), dry the majority of our wash on racks or out on the line, unplug appliances when not in use, don’t have air conditioning, and keep our house on a mostly cold schedule during winter months.  From 5 pm – 9 pm weekdays, and 8 am – 9:30 pm weekends, the thermostat is set at sixty-eight degrees.  Otherwise, as this photo attests, it is set at a chilly fifty-three.  We discovered that this is a very nice temperature for sleeping.  However, at all other times, it can be a bit uncomfortable, so I wear a lot of clothing, a hat or hoodie, generally have a cat on my lap, and think about the South of France in summer.  Just so you know – fear not – if you visit our house, I will gladly turn the heat on for you! 

2.  I like to sing.  My voice is most definitely untrained, but I enjoy singing along to my favorite songs, and sometimes, rather unfortunately, to those I don’t particularly care for.  “If you tell my heart, my achy, breaky heart…”

3.  I wish I was more flexible.  I am pretty strong, but my legs are very tight.  I get down right giddy when I can touch my toes without straining, which, by the way, isn’t very often.

4. I like being alone.

5. My favorite men to ogle:  my husband (of course – he’s a cutie!), Peter Jennings, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Anderson Cooper, George Clooney, and Romain Duris. EDIT – I forgot Javier Bardem!  So sorry.

6.  What chaps my hide: dishonesty, not taking responsibility for one’s actions, cruelty in any form.

7. What makes my heart sing: kindness, honesty, natural beauty.

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