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Hello! Gah. It’s been a minute. Yeah. I kept getting sidetracked – shopping, errands, a weekend of gaming and eating with Jeffie, Thanksgiving, reading, making jewelry, doing puzzles, binge watching Reacher (he’s funny!) into the wee hours on a weeknight. You know, L I F E. Also, this feeling of letting the blog call to me when I’m ready.

That feeling is accompanied by a deep sense of appreciation. My dear friend Bebe, with whom I make jewelry, is nearly eighty. Her husband has cancer, and at our last get together (reindeer bracelets were made!), this truth really hit me. How much longer will we have the privilege of sharing time? This thought cascaded to just about everyone in my life. I want to eat up every last second. Which brings me back to this little blog. If I’m happy in the moment, especially if it is spent doing something I cherish, and especially with someone I cherish, it’s absolutely fine if there are gaps in my blogging.

It reminds me of a favorite scene in Serenity, the gloriously perfect, albeit very sad, end to the fabulous and short-lived Firefly, when Kaylee is finally given recognition by Simon. Her response? “To hell with this, I’m gonna live!” Yup. I want to live, peeps. Every single day.

To that living! As I mentioned, we had another memorable weekend gaming (Dune! Point Salad!) and eating with Jeff. We ate at one of our favorite places (Phantom Canyon Brewing), and I made a delightful Chinese takeout inspired meal, with crab Rangoon (baked, not fried), scallion cakes, and orange chicken (no breading or frying, orange juice instead of water, sugar cut in half!) with broccoli and bell pepper. It was pretty amazing and chuckle worthy because I defrosted our largest package of chicken and thought, well, it’s a lot, but leftovers are no problem. Dear readers, we ate every last bite that night, and practically licked the plate clean, too!

We had a sleepover at Michael and Mary’s for Thanksgiving, with walks and yoga, puzzle making, and a beautiful sweater vest handmade by Mary, just for ME. When I was hunting cookbooks for what to make besides pecan pie (duh), I found two very yummy and not-at-all Thanksgiving themed appetizers. Would it be a gut-buster if I made them, too? Perhaps, so Mary and I hatched a plan. It would be appetizer Thanksgiving, with a little turkey sandwich and stuffing situation for Michael, as that was important to him. Jalapeno popper wonton cups and a whipped cream cheese and feta dip with bacon jam and grape chutney (homemade and fabulous, of course), as that was important to us. So good. Since it is the time of year when I bake cookies, I also made biscochitos! Food, food, food…

Hope all is well in your world. Happy living…

Our resident guitar player is getting better and better (also cuter and cuter, just sayin’)! He just bought this 1982 Fender Bullet, with every intention of taking it up a rock and roll notch or two. Also, a funny aside. He wore the pictured t-shirt to the music shop, and the guy assumed he was there for an accordion. “I don’t know anything about them. I want a guitar.” He found a beauty!

Speaking of guitar, well, really just music, I have a couple recommendations for you. Strolling around the Youtube, we found Khruangbin, a lot of chill guitar and drums, very little singing. Pretty darn perfect for gazing at birds in the backyard. The only problem is that there wasn’t enough of that vibe for us, volume wise. So, Greg found some site where you enter a band or song you like, and it shows you something similar.

He starts reading off the names, all pretty unremarkable (sorry), until he gets to Tommy Guerrero. If you recall, I am a fan of the Bones Brigade, and so I wondered aloud, “Bones Brigade Tommy Guererro?” Greg has no clue, so we look it up, and sure enough, one and the same! I am one of the most punctual people you will ever meet, but dang, can I be late to a musical party, because Tommy Has been making music since he got his first Bones Brigade paycheck in the 80s. Let me tell you, it shows! We have now purchased a few of his digital releases, to our shared delight. Maybe yours, too.

My sister from another mister, Andie, came for a visit. A grand time was had by all!

Juniper Beulah, best dog, ever.

Double Borg!! Back when there was snow on Pikes Peak, Greg wore his Bjorn Borg tee and jacket on the same day. We are nerdy enough to consider it worth commemorating.

More nerd vibes, depending on your persuasion. Greg and I quit our D & D group ages ago and rather missed playing. Little did we know we could scratch that itch with board game versions. We bought Legend of Drizzt and have played twice! Once with our board game homie, Jeff, of course, and once just the two of us. Heaven. No need for a Dungeon Master, lots of great action. I even revived my bad-ass character Kittra Gromdottir. All the D & D things!

My cousin Stephanie had a party to celebrate sweet Stella a couple weekends back. It would have been a truly awful day, had there not been such a huge gang in attendance. So many people! Stella had such a magical, whimsical presence, and every single person shared how she touched their life. It was a heart bursting celebration, so full of love.

While chatting to Stephanie, she said Stella was showing up in butterflies. I had even seen a couple that day, outside their house. So when this beauty of a swallowtail appeared in our garden, I knew she was with us, too. We love you, Stella!


Heaven greeted a sweet girl last Friday, my cousin Stella. She was everything a body could want in a human being: independent, funny, sweet, with just the right dash of mischief.

She had a rich interior life, nearly always joyously wiggling, flapping, laughing, and singing. The story, the thread, a near constant unknown, yet felt by all. Her joy, her curiosity, her wonder on full display, boisterously filling rooms.

I do not fully subscribe to the edict that everything happens for a reason, especially in regards to the death of a beloved child. I firmly believe, however, that Stella entered our lives for a reason. She arrived at just the right moment to show us how beautiful and vibrant a heart and spirit can be, regardless of ability. How we can simultaneously be in our own world while lifting others. How to seek delight in unexpected places and always manage to find it. How I loved her for it and will greatly miss her sharing it.

Segovia, Spain – the view from our window
El Alcazar – our first castle tour!!
Nice, France
The Trevi Fountain in Rome
Boat Tour of Lake Geneva, surprisingly included with our Eurail Pass. I like that we are holding hands. Note the ashtray on the table for indoor smoking! We did not partake.
Greg’s favorite trees in Wurzberg, Germany

Greg and I were married thirty years ago today. A long time, all things considered. We had a little celebration at our new favorite British Pub yesterday, high on deliciousness and low on fanfare, before watching a Pink Floyd movie nearly as old as we are. It was a grand day of relaxation. As the two previous days were spent spreading twenty yards of bark mulch around the front and back gardens, it was a welcome respite. The top photo is a glorious first glimpse. All the work rendered us both bone tired and me rather sleepless, too. I kept thinking about how far we have come.

The London Transport photos were the first “in-person” day of our honeymoon, after flying through Newark and overnight across the Atlantic, arriving bright and early in London. It also lets you know how short I am in comparison to Greg, as the photo booth stool was not adjustable.

The serviceberry is surrounded by a whole host of volunteers: goldenrod, penstemon, and evening primrose. Strong plants, like our mostly good habits, flourish when given proper attention.

Gardening is so much like the cultivation of a marriage. The lilac is probably as old as our house, and while it was quite large from all those years in the ground, not all of it was healthy. When we cut out the unruly bits and dead wood, it flourished. We’ve done this so many times in our relationship, with people and habits, and never been the worse for it.

On our trip, we were careful not to have too much. Everything we owned was on our bodies and backs, a repetition of the essentials. Any object that failed to meet the criteria was left behind. The same is true with our garden. We started with such a wide variety of plants! As the years pass, the number dwindles, as weather and animals (wild and domesticated canine) show us which are hale and hearty and worthy of replanting.

I was well into saving for a trip to Europe when I met Greg. After I was certain I liked him, I shared my plans and asked if he wanted to join me. He said, YES! For a time, we thought we might get married there, but in those days before the interwebs, it presented a logistical nightmare, so we made it our honeymoon.

We decided to travel for two months and saved for the nearly two years of our long distance engagement, while still in college (such young things), totaling $3000 dollars between the two of us. It was ALL in traveler’s checks that we kept secured, along with our passports, in pouches that hung around Greg’s neck and my waist. I cannot imagine such thrift nor travel without a credit card now. How we, and the times, have changed.

Then, as now, we still like to try new things, even if we decide they aren’t worth the bother. Topless bathing is one such example. How tan I was from all the walking though!

Thankfully, Greg and I learned early on, specifically when we were in Nice (France!), the value of rest. We had been go-going, walking much of every day and taking overnight trains to save on time, when it hit us. We were becoming crabby and 100% to each other.

So, in this place of great beauty and sunshine, we stayed for ten glorious days, lolling at the beach, reading and swimming, and sleeping in, too. Near the end of our stint, we even moved from a one-star hotel ($20 a night!) to basically an apartment, with a kitchenette, for $10 more a night. We could have cold and hot food and eat it at an actual table. The luxury!

I believe the greatest luxury of these past thirty years is the result of our dedication to each other. We are always striving to be and do better, in the garden, around the house, in how we treat each other. We are keen at observing the weeds and promptly taking care of them. We are better at loving, at giving each other space, at knowing when we are wrong and apologizing. We continue to blossom, and it feels like being the luckiest couple in the world.

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

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