It’s a gorgeous and not freezing day here. To steal a line from religious folk I’ve seen on the T.V. – Can I get an Amen?! I feel 100% grateful to have not lost power during that wretched stretch of sub-zero temperatures. What a nightmare to hear of friends shivering at 40 degrees indoors. Hoping they are feeling some much needed warmth!
And speaking of cold places, last weekend I made my first ever batch of runzas. They are a solidly Eastern European delight of ground beef, cabbage (which turned so blue!), onion, and cheese (sharp cheddar in our case). I also added caraway seeds, because when in Rome, right? They’re like the best doughy hot pocket you can imagine, and can be done a million ways, just roll out the dough and fill them with whatever you fancy. Or, for the lazy or otherwise overwhelmed, head over to the Runza restaurant site, and they’ll ship some to you!
As we were enjoying them, I thought on my Grandma Tess’s father Gyorgy. He emigrated from Jenkovce, Slovakia in 1900 on the S.S. Pisa, at the ripe age of 18, with a whopping $2.50 in his pocket (about $70 today). He was a coal miner in and around Springfield, Illinois for the rest of his life and, rather sadly, died of black lung. I imagined him feasting on a runza, a simple all-in one in its own container, while down in the mine; the delicious, fortifying comfort of home.
In a further nod to the Taposik side of my family, when I was little, my Grandma Tess had this Bissel sweeper. I had many a memory of its delightful back and forth whir. I hadn’t thought about it in some time when I saw the Fuller model Greg is using pictured in the Vermont Country Store catalog. My mind got to clicking as I pictured Juniper’s wild riot of dog hair all over the hard woods. Would it work? It was surely worth a try. So I bought it. Wowie!! It’s pretty dreamy and way better than dragging out the noisy vacuum. So thanks Grandma, for the memories and the help! I love you.
Happy Holiday wreath to you dear neighbor. Minimalists that we are, it is the only exterior decoration at our house, but so darn pretty, and then there’s the up close and personal scent of it. That waft of forest makes me swoon.
Greg demonstrates how to make a masterpiece, which is a prelude to the photos below. I’ve spent a lot of time on ye old image editor as of late: cropping and repairing the ravages of time – stains, tears, scratches galore, editing out people, and adding fun pops of modern color. Though, I have yet to figure out a way to open my dear Grandma Esquipula’s eyes. All in good time, I suppose.
Great Aunt Mary, rosebud lipped adorableness – probably 1910 – standing in front of the Springfield house she lived in for the first eighty years of her life. What a treasure it was to find pictures of her as a child. In my mind, she was born grown and wise, a master at penmanship.
Grandma and Grandpa on horseback! Thrill of thrills to find these. Undated, though maybe both taken in New Mexico. A hot date together, perhaps?
Last night, a little weepy during my nightly cuddle with the hubster, I wondered aloud, “Why do I cry when I think upon relatives and friends who have died?” I feel no yearning for them to return to bodies too old or broken (by sadness or illness) to carry them. More than ever, I feel their constant presence, more dazzling and steady than a buoy, but with that same sense of being safely carried, by waves or wings.
Then it occurred to me that the tears are not those of sadness, but of a truly infinite love and boundless wonder. We are and will always be ourselves, fleshy bodies or untethered souls on one splendid adventure after another.
BBQ drummies, corn, and blue cheese mashed potatoes. We eat well!
Juniper’s monthly bath (shower, actually) day landed on a very cold day.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Since they were all the rage when I was a kid, I have loved ceramic Christmas trees. Aside from damaged ones at the thrift store, I’d never seen them for purchase. The holiday decorating gods must have sensed my need because I received a catalog from the Vermont Country Store, and voila! They have them in multiple sizes, white or evergreen, and you can buy different “lights,” too. I chose the holly leaves and am pleased as punch. They also have bayberry scented candles, and we’ve been jammin’ on the nostalgic scent of Christmas every night since it arrived.
Peggy, my best friend from Pittsburgh, sent me cookies! They’re from Cheryl’s and positively delicious, too. She will also be delighted to see that we’re doing a little puzzling (a toughie comprised of house plants leaves) while eating them. Thank you friend! Love you LOTS…
Happy Birthday to my Grandma Tess, who would be 98 today!
While working out the other morning, as I belted along to Birthday by the Sugarcubes, the idea for this next playlist hit me. Why not a song from every band I’ve seen in concert?! So hear (see what I did there?!) we go, and mostly in order too.
Loverboy – Turn Me Loose. Joan Jett opened for Loverboy at Big Mac – for non-Colorado natives and those born too late, McNichols Arena. It is long gone, but was great while it lasted. My Uncle Chris took me to the show, and I remember us lamenting that we had no lighter, only matches.
Quiet Riot – I met the band! The high altitude had Kevin DuBrow sucking on an oxygen mask. Poor fella. – Bang Your Head
White Snake – this and Quiet Riot were the same show. My hair was kinda big, and I felt pretty darn cool. Is This Love
INXS – my FIRST show at Red Rocks! Oh, Michael Hutchence…) – Don’t Change
the Doobie Brothers, and in keeping with the theme, smoked a doobie with some random guys at the show, also at Red Rocks – What a Fool Believes
the Cure – I saw them at Fiddler’s Green with my friends Jeremy and Matt, more my brother’s friends at the time, actually, and I have zero recollection how our trio planned it all, but went we did. A great show on a perfect summer night, followed by a meal at the bastion of teenage post concert food fare: Dennys! I drove like the sometimes wild teenager I was, with Jeremy quipping from the back seat, “They told us to never do this in Driver’s Ed.” Well, my friends, it wasn’t Driver’s Ed, and we needed to get on home. Close to Me.
David Wilcox – How Did You Find Me Here. Saw him at Chatauqua in Boulder, with my best friend at the time. We waited for him after the show, and found ourselves suddenly shy when he came out, but he knew all the same.
Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again, my favorite of theirs, forever and always. I was teenage-y and angsty, driving under starlit skies.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters – I remember my parents seeing them somewhere in Boulder when they were first starting out, my Dad, of course, agreeing Todd’s head was rather large. We saw them first, packed like sardines at Herman’s Hideaway, then for a local band’s dream come true, their first show at Red Rocks. We were all in love with the moment. They have more famous songs, but this is my favorite: Midnight Radio.
Peter Gabriel – In the tube station, somewhere near Hampstead Heath, on the first day of our honeymoon, we found ourselves with mouths agape at a poster for him playing that night at Wembley. Exhausted and out of our depth, we decided not to try to figure out how we might go, but the thrill of the poster remains. We finally saw him on the WOMAD tour, with absolutely no regrets. Humdrum.
Seal – Violet. The song always dazzles. And OMG, I forgot about his hair!
U2 – The first and best time was for the Joshua Tree tour at Big Mac. I spent the night with my best friend, along with a guy who was a friend of a friend, in his camper to buy tickets at Peaches Records and Tapes on 72nd & Federal. We slept little, talking about our mutual love for the band, their music the soundtrack to the night. It doesn’t get much play around here anymore. The Unforgettable Fire.
Public Enemy – the second time I saw U2, they were the opening act, though none of my fellow concertgoers were fans, so I silently sulked in the parking lot – the original and best Mile High Stadium, while we waited for their set to be over. Fight the Power (the most awesome 2020 version). Chuck D….
Pearl Jam – This was the height of their fight with Ticket Master, and fans reaped the reward. It was an electric night at Red Rocks, the band playing their hearts out. I still remember what I wore and still have a crush on Stone Gossard. The name alone, peeps…. Garden.
Lyle Lovett – I’ve mentioned this before, but here goes again. Another night at Red Rocks, and on the day Jerry Garcia died. On the news before we headed to the concert, a distraught fan (a Boulderite on the Mall, of course) said, “Now I know what people felt when Jesus died.” That is dedication, my friends. Cowboy Man.
Willie Nelson – A national treasure and everyone’s favorite pot head. Sorry, not sorry Cheech and Chong. I wrote about seeing him, gosh, twelve years ago! The feelings remain the same. And the song? A tough call. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
the Black Angels – the LOUDEST show of our lives (at the Wonder), our ears ringing even after sporting, in true old people who enjoy their hearing fashion, hot pink ear plugs. Yowza. But, but, but, oh what a show!! Fucking fantastic that. Young Men Dead.
Dolly Parton – Our last show at Red Rocks, maybe the very last we see ever, as we’ve grown to prefer a quiet life without the burden of jostling crowds. And this, my favorite song of hers: Mule Skinner Blues.
As is my wont when visiting my parents (last weekend – and my cousins and aunt, too!), I take pictures of pictures – mostly times long past. These are my Great-Grandparents Tillie and Howard. I love her closed eye smile, a rare moment of pure joy.
Bake early and often, peeps!
I give all credit for my love of music to my dad. He can keep the beer, however.
My cousin Angela and Grandpa Marv. She’s in her late 30s now!
My Grandma Frances, Dad, and Mom in 1972.
With my adorable cousins Stephanie and Allison, probably 1980. I am wearing one of my favorite shirts, ever!! It was so soft and had super tiny red stripes.
And to up the vintage vibe, I’ve got 1970s era Fleetwood Mac blasting on the hi-fi. Warm Ways, indeed.