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Good Monday, dear reader! I type to you in the cool of August, a rare morning when the temperature upon waking was two degrees below seventy. The glory and wonder!

The cool short lived, as I worked out in the basement, intervally “running” my heart out on the rebounder. Four minutes of fury, followed by a more lackadaisical pace for the same length, three times through . It’s supposed to make me stronger. The jury is still out on that, but it does make me sweaty and tired.

Now to the flowers! The back garden is ripe with hollyhocks and sunflowers. Hundreds of blooms in total. Winged creatures galore: hummingbird, bee, butterfly, wasp, moth, fly, and tiny critters I cannot identify. I delight in being a source of food and congregation. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

After suffering pretty much my whole life from a painful and tender, vomit-prone digestive system, and having it only minorly given proper attention by doctors, I took the reins and made an appointment with a tummy pro. The wait was three months, and perhaps out of sheer relief at the thought, my symptoms dissipated. I went to the appointment anyway and had a delightful interaction with the specialist, felt 100% heard and believed and started a battery of tests. Our mutual guess at my condition: gallstones. Little nuggets of bile keeping me from proper digestion.

While waiting for the results, I awoke one middle of the night in a great, fevered pain. Nausea. Diarrhea. All the fun things. We called the nurse line and she said get ye to an E.R. pronto! We did. A full battery of pain and anti-nausea meds, tests by a kindly host of many nurses and one doctor, and not a single gallstone found. But what? The first I ever heard of biliary dyskenisia, what I am not-so-affectionately calling a lazy gallbladder. Like my Grandpa would say, “It’s just sitting there, like a bump on a log.”

Another big test one week later that included a radioactive tracer, and we have bump on a log confirmation. My gallbladder does not work! Because it causes much pain without offering anything useful means I will need yet another surgery. Wah. I really hoped I was done with them. Better than the alternative, however, so fingers crossed it is relatively soon and incident free. Please think good thoughts!

Also, if something continues to be wrong with your body, please advocate for yourself. My specialist said, “Everyone is always so happy to get this news, even though it means surgery.” It’s because we’re so relieved not be crazy!

chive (on…)
prickly poppy
evening primrose
evening primrose, again

Nothing but Flowers. Do you know that song, by the Talking Heads? “This was a shopping mall, now it’s all covered with flowers.” It’s delightfully jangly, but when you listen to it, and kind of like Radiohead, who got their name from Talking Heads, there is a covert darkness in the lyrics. I don’t like it or them any less for it, however. Heck no.

I have been on a bit of a David Byrne bender, as of late. I subscribe to his Reasons to Be Cheerful newsletter, and then saw a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper, which sent me off to the races. Greg and I watched Stop Making Sense in its entirety, after only seeing snippets but having owned the beyond stellar (interstellar?!) soundtrack since I was a whipper-snapping teen. That suit!

We also played our fave songs on a nice loop and watched True Stories, which is David Byrne at his sweetest oddball best. I could listen to him talk all day, peeps. Fact.

Fellow former Toyota Celica owners (or maybe you still have one, which would be massively wonderful), there is one, nearly identical to mine, in the parking lot of the mall. I did a couple happy rewinds, nostalgia in all its splendor. Hoot and holler!

As for the flowers, all of these are neighborhood grown, half in our own garden. It is looking beautiful in these parts, to be sure. Hoping the same for you, and prayers up for north-easterners suffering in the deluge and nearly the rest of us in the U.S. of A., boiling in the heat.

Thirteen year-old Colleen. It is 1984. My hair is feathered. I’m wearing pink eye shadow and nail polish, while our cute kitten, Mitzi, uses me as her personal jungle gym.

In My Room, junior year. Sorry, Beach Boys. How about those bangs? I was a major consumer of Suave hairspray and all things James Dean. Please note the cool hi-fi, secondhand and bought with my own money. I could crank it, peeps.

Mid-way through senior year, I ditched the bangs, a la Belinda Carlisle. It was a major compliment when I first met my friend Barry (are you there?), and he told me I looked like her. I love that these are still my signature colors. Tried and true.

And now, for the real reason we are here. Sometimes, even an enjoyable task, like reminiscing about favorite songs from your formative years, can feel incredibly daunting. Where to begin? What do I include? What don’t I include? It is so big and so important. Seriously. Music, and particularly from this era, has been such a part of my identity. I took my first steps toward adulthood with these notes in my ears, often with friends, but mostly on my own, in the solace of my bedroom, and later, the sacred space of my 1981 Toyota Celica, the very first place I could be truly alone. Nothing here belongs to another, in that joining the crowd to “fit in” fashion. Each was chosen intentionally, specifically, for my own joy or sorrow, singing at top of voice, often while dancing.

With a handful of exceptions, I owned, mostly on tape, each of these bits of wonder, alphabetized (of course!) in my bedroom, and later, rotating a dozen or so in a nifty zippered case behind the passenger seat of my car. What great companions they were!

I thought about breaking this up into several parts, but decided against it, in that teenager popping cassette after cassette into the player on some warm day, with nothing better to do. I hope you enjoy…

Journey – Faithfully. For Mike. I have never forgotten.

Van Halen – Jump

The Church – No Explanation

The Damned – Alone Again Or

Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil I knew ALL the words. Yes, ma’am.

Killing Joke – Love like Blood

The Stone Roses – I Wanna Be Adored

The Smiths – How Soon is Now?

New Order – Thieves Like Us

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

Madonna – Borderline

Whitney Houston – The Greatest Love of All Oh, Whitney! Voice of an angel. This is my absolute favorite song of hers. Get this playing, and you’ll see me bawl like a wee babe, I gua-ran-tee it.

Janet Jackson – When I Think of You

Billy Idol – Eyes Without a Face

Billy Squier – In the Dark

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

Talk Talk – It’s My Life

Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough

Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi is Dead

INXS – Don’t Change

The Cure – Close to Me

Echo and the Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar

Beastie Boys – Hold it Now, Hit It

The Sugarcubes – Birthday

Psychic TV – Wicked

Psychedelic Furs – The Ghost in You

The Clash – The Magnificent Seven

Elvis Costello – Pump it Up

Simple Minds – Sanctify Yourself

The The – This is the Day

Eric B. and Rakim – I Ain’t No Joke

Peter Gabriel – San Jacinto, the very best version from Peter Gabriel Plays Live, with, quite possibly the most fabulous make-up on an album cover, ever. Stunning. When Greg and I started dating, and I found this album among his collection, I took it as a sign from on high. We like the same music!!

Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun

Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes

U2 – Bad

Big Audio Dynamite – Rush

Pet Shop Boys – Love Comes Quickly

Information Society – What’s on Your Mind

‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

Public Image Limited – Rise

LL Cool J – I’m Bad

Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty – Stop Dragging My Heart Around

Nine inch Nails – Down in It

Steve Winwood – While You See a Chance

The English Beat – Save it for Later

Public Enemy – Don’t Believe the Hype

Talking Heads – Girlfriend is Better

Robert Plant – In the Mood This was the first album I bought with my own money. Thirteen years old, I walked the twenty minutes from my house to Sweet’s Records and Tapes at 80th & Wadsworth and proudly put my cash on the counter. It was a stellar moment of independence and freedom.

General Public – Tenderness

The GoGo’s – Head Over Heels

Too Short – Life Is… Thank you, Bub.

After the Fire – Der Komissar

Golden Earring – Twilight Zone

The Kinks – Come Dancing

Prince – Baby, I’m a Star. Dance, dance, dance…

Genesis – Abacab

Big Country – In a Big Country

New Edition – Cool it Now Ronny, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike…

Modern English – I Melt With You

Loverboy – Turn Me Loose My concert going ways started with Loverboy. Thanks to my Uncle Chris for taking me to Big Mac all those years ago!

Eurythmics – Love is a Stranger

Eddie Murphy – Party All the Time. Uh-huh, you got that right.

Robert Palmer – You are in My System

Soul II Soul – Jazzie’s Groove

Kate Bush – Reaching Out

The Pretenders – Middle of the Road

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!

Howdy from the Ogden Theater last Monday. Fontaines D.C. baby! Even though we loved live music and only lived ten blocks away in our early marriage days, this was our first time at the Ogden. In an old people with money to spare fashion, we paid in advance for nearby parking, arrived early enough to snag actual seats, and were utterly shameless in saving our hearing with neon green ear plugs. The lush life and a damn good time. Also happy to report there were plenty of other grey-haired attendees having fun in equal measure. Awesome, yup, yup.

I guess this is us openly admitting that we want the damn pandemic to be over. I am not in denial about numbers rising or the staggering number of people without a single shot, but we are thrice vaccinated and don’t want to live in a state of fear and anxiety. SO, when a favorite band announces a date in the area and all works in our favor to attend, we are doing it.

The show was fantastic – great crowd, great energy! We loved the opening band, Just Mustard, which is always such a fine gift. Grian and the gang were on top of their game, everyone doing their best at their given role, yours truly included – singing at top of voice, of course. They didn’t play Roy’s Tune, but did Jackie Down the Line, so it was all good in the end. Very, very good, actually.

We stayed with my parents, which kept us from being uber-fatigued drivers on the south bound 2-5 Monday night. We made a right deal out of it, packing the pizza oven for a tip-top luncheon, playing the usual games, watching movies and comedy (Nate Bargatze!) and such. Five out of five stars, peeps. F I V E .

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