Friendship

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One of my favorite fellas! And I’m feeling sentimental…

Jeff and I on our most recent weekend extravaganza, playing Terraforming Mars. A digression – I am wearing the sweater vest Mary knit for me!

We met on my first day of college, in September 1989 (almost 35 years!). We were fast friends, sharing interests in geography and geology (the classes that brought us together), music, movies, food, and humor (we still quote Seinfeld!). As much Greg’s friend as mine, once we started dating (1991), the three of us have hiked, biked, and walked mile upon mile, attended each other’s weddings, mourned the death of his mother, and later, his own marriage. He was one of a few friends to make the trip to Portland to visit.

When he stared gaming, we found another shared love. Because it’s always taken me a while to process information, I remain grateful and truly amazed by his ability to memorize rule books from the hundreds he owns and make it as simple as possible for me to grasp the gist. It is never not a fun time. I can think of few activities I’d rather do late into the night.

He is a member of my chosen family, positive and encouraging, whose presence always feels like home, whose hugs and laughter fill my heart with joy. He is all the best of everything. I love you, Jeffie…

Drama-rama

Hello, and happy Friday! Anyone else remember the 80s band called Dramarama? They had this fab song, so I honestly can’t tell you why I wasn’t a fan at the time.

Anyhoo, the title refers to my own bit of drama. Seven days before my surgery, I had a sandal malfunction on the back steps and blew out my knee, again. It happened so quickly, and I fell so hard, life-alert style, that I could not get up. Luckily, I made quite a painful roar, so Greg was out to help me in short order.

I’m glad we didn’t get rid of the crutches or knee brace the last time, so I was able to get around without much of a problem. Also, how cute is my sweet nursemaid?

Thankfully, my injury wasn’t nearly as bad as last time; because, let me tell you, I was worried my surgery might need to be postponed, and I did not want that. I kept it elevated, iced, and diligently used my crutches. I only need a stretchy bandage now, for a little extra support. Hooray!

As for the surgery, it was last Thursday and really could not have gone better. My wonderful surgeon, Dr. Allen Tanner should you need the same, was whiz-bang quick, only taking twenty five minutes! I recovered in the hospital for a couple of hours before heading home with my champion bestie of besties and fine chauffeur, Greg.

I am very grateful that the pain was manageable enough that I only needed narcotics for a couple days. My incisions, four in total, are quite hideous, and do not feel great to the touch, but are healing nicely and very much starting to itch!! I still cannot cough or sneeze without great pain and fear of everything ripping open, but I have been able to laugh heartily, on occasion. I have also ventured out on dog walks the last three days. I come home exhausted, but it’s progress!

And now, to the sweetest bit, the flowers! Greg bought the top bunch for me, and the lovely roses are from my sweet neighbor, Corinne. I would also like to express my sincerest thanks, however unlikely they will ever read this post, to Jack, Brenda, Julie, Dr. Grady, Stephanie, Genesis, Liz, Malinda, and every other hospital staffer whose name I did not catch, but was essential to my care. Thanks too, to my friends and family who have called and texted their best wishes. I am definitely feeling the love!

My best love is doing pretty amazing in the guitar department, becoming the king of riffs and lovely melodies. I’m not sure he’s ready to play an entire song, but what leaps and bounds he’s traveled these two years of learning. I am so proud of him!

Another point of pride! My dear friend Liz (Guerra) was a presenter at the El Pueblo History Center in Pueblo last month. It was a real moment of triumph, with a room full of eager listeners, after a long journey of creating unique spaces for healing and teaching. I wish I had gotten a picture that better captures her dynamic energy and enthusiasm for her Mind-Body work.

Mushroom Taco Tuesday! All the homemade things, yes ma’am.

We grilled green chile burgers burgers on the first nice day. I put the chile in the burgers and on top for double happiness and topped it with a chipotle sauce!

If you recall, I am not a cooking show person. I do, however, like cooking on a show, sometimes, if all the elements are right. Like Stanley Tucci’s tour of Italy (I am a sucker for a fine landscape!) or the wonderful Vivian Howard’s A Chef’s Life, which probably went off the air five years ago? Anyhoo. I stumbled upon a few episodes of Ina Garten hosting famous people. I caught Emily Blunt’s giant sleeved appearance and thought her recipe for turkey bolognese looked pretty tasty. My friends, this is (mostly) it and quite delicious, to boot! I shockingly only made one change, which was a reduction of celery to a single stalk. I had an unfortunate pasta dish at a short-lived Italian restaurant in Portland (a connection, methinks), that had a ridiculous amount of it, which obviously made an impression, and wanted no such repetition. Make it and be glad, though it will test your patience, aromatically bubbling away in the oven.

Snow in April, twice. The first was a regular storm. The second started as three hours of rain, followed by fat fluffers accumulating into eight inches overnight. Delight of delights, which melted by the end of the day. That, my friends, is springtime in Colorado!

Hiya! A little bit of everything for you today. First, some lovely morning light illuminating our hang up your hat station. The beautiful tree print on the left is one of the treasures we bought from Lezle Williams at Laughing Crow Studio during our stay in Albuquerque. I love how it harkens back to Gustave Baumann.

I made delicious chocolate cupcakes with torched marshmallow frosting to celebrate a visit from Jeff. We ate at our favorite 503W, walked the Juper-dog, played Firefly (two by two, hands of blue), and this cool-looking city building game whose name totally escapes me. Always a stellar time!

I spent Thursday, Friday, and much of the weekend clearing out the house, Marie Kondo style (this item brings no joy!), building IKEA furniture, organizing both of our offices, and a couple of kitchen cabinets. We have a mega pile of boxes to cart off to various charities and chests puffed with pride at the state of our spaces.

The above photos are what it looks like when you take nearly everything out of a 9×9 room in order to make it marvelous!

A peek into my office closet, reorganized and rather dandy.

The view from my wheelie chair is a goodie! We bought the desk at Crate and Barrel in Pittsburgh, and it mostly did nothing in the basement since moving to Colorado Springs. Then, I got a bee in my bonnet to clear the clutter off my much larger desk and realized the smaller one, with an actual drawer and little storage nook, would suit me better. It really, really does!

It is a heart-filler to stand in the door and see this view! I’ve got my favorite portraits of our dearly departed kitties, a very girly trash can from Grandma Tess, and my desk cycle. I attach a velcro “leash” between it and my chair and am prolly last place in the imaginary races but feeling the burn!

The shelf is another IKEA find and perfect for my highly controlled magpie tendencies! It makes for a lovely display. The cute stuffed animals on the chair are Greg’s. I’ve added my yellow ducky and may take a picture of the cheery trio at a future date.

Brian Patrick Hagman. I knew Brian in junior high, only vaguely, boyfriend of a friend, giant smiled and preppy, winner of the science fair. Fast forward two years, Junior English, and he’s lanky and much more handsome, the best hair at school, seated next to me. No longer preppy, sporting shirts emblazoned with my own recent obsession: SKULLS. I am instantly smitten, duh, duh, duh. Though he has zero romantic interest in me, we are fast friends in all other arenas.

On our first outing, he picks me up in his coolest of cool cars, a red convertible VW Bug. We sail down I-70, hair whipping, a cacophony of tunes and voices shouting over the din. Destination: Mushroom Tables, me a lone female among a sea of skaters, the magic and splendor, joy and ease. There will be more of this and other hangouts, caffeinated evenings, diners and dives, Paris on the Platte, too.

Brian will form a band – Wretched Refuse – named after the Emma Lazarus poem, cementing both his daring and intelligence. He was ALWAYS the smartest person in the room. I’ll attend shows, mostly in shady warehouses downtown: deafening, rowdy, moments straight from fil-ums, and stand in awe of his wit and charisma.

Always open to novel experiences, I organize an evening at a theater above Paris, Sam Shepard’s Seduced. If you’ve seen it, you likely know where I am heading. Imagine being seventeen, sitting next to a boy you fancy, while simultaneously trying to pretend this creepy, long nailed, Kleenex flinging weirdo isn’t simulating masturbation right before your eyes. I don’t think the pair of us ever worked so hard NOT to look at each other.

In that youthful time of firsts, my season with Brian was a source of many: first ride in a convertible, first cigarette (oof!), first and last porno play, first (only?) friend to show up wearing the same shirt without prior planning, first friend to get a tattoo (and later name his second band after it), and first friend with whom I will play pool and stay out until dawn, in one extraordinary two-fer.

That halcyon night into morning, testament to Brian’s story telling prowess, had him conjuring us, as we all wore Army inspired garments, as veterans of Vietnam, our detailed fictional history brilliantly woven from the ether. After a smashing defeat at the pool hall, with me at the wheel, Joy Division on the speakers, we zoomed the back way to Boulder and across the diagonal, to Longmont, nearly Ft. Collins. The laughter and stories, going, going, of our dreams, of landscapes, of Rudy (Ru-dayyy) the Zippo lighter, a gift from Mike Lombardi, also present, though no longer, lost more than a decade ago.

Life separated us, for painful and practical reasons, and this conjuring of memory, a joyful opening of a precious time capsule, the result of me wondering if he breathes still. My kindly friend who never belittled nor diminished me, who smiled, who filled rooms with thunderous laughter, both his own and in response to him. How I loved him. How I loved who we were together.

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