Loving

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Hello friends! How excited I am to say Spring has well and truly arrived. I am wearing dresses and sandals and my new favorite hat in great celebration. What a long, cold winter. Coupled with wretched COVID, it felt like years rather than months.

We’ve been doing more normal activities, like going to cherished restaurants, and eating in-person at our favorite food cart, which feels like such a treat after so much home cooking.

The garden is really coming to life, too. I’m doing a ton of planting and mulching (we had 10 yards deliverd!), an hour or two a day. This is both to replace plants killed by the horrible deep freeze and slowly fill in brown gaps in need of green and flower. I’ll show you pictures once it is all done. Maybe this weekend, as I’ll have Greg’s hands, as well as my own to finish. Juniper just lolls about and occasionally digs holes where she ought not. She is a dog, after all.

One of my favorite person’s tasks at his new job was to write a bio to accompany a photo, so we did a proper photo shoot. Isn’t he just so handsome? Greg Cooper, you are a looker!

Green mertensia and Juniper giving her best sniff.

The lamb’s ears are really starting to spread their wings.

The daphne bloomed! Hot diggity dog! This will always be the scent of Portland for me. Kinda like Froot Loops, only better.

blueberry scone goodness

Pike’s Peak peek…

Muskrat sighting!

Indian chicken – I combined a Patak’s Vindaloo curry paste with some mango chutney and water, and let the drumsticks braise in the liquid until done. I love it when something SO easy tastes SO wonderful!

I am rather sad to report that this is not my lilac in bloom here. Ours seems to be the only one in the neighborhood that got ravaged by the deep freeze. Luckily, it still has a bit of green on it, so I will prune the heck out of it and hope for it to flower next year.

She sure loves her Pops!
For my 17th Birthday, from them ALL

Thursday afternoon, lunch time. Greg and I were preparing a most awesome Thai Beef salad, and as is my wont for conviviality and all around good vibes when in the kitchen together, asked him to put some music on. He chose Van Halen, which was not surprising because I’d been craving it for days. Our Vulcan mind meld going exponential every year we are together in crazy-wild fashion. Cool, cool.

Mark & Bub

Aside from the fun Greg and I have together while listening, Van Halen is my high school years, and in particular the time spent with Bub, Craig, and Mark. For a lot of people, I was a strange appendage to this band. A girl in the company of young men. An assumed sexual relationship, which could not be further from the truth. Except for a brief time when I had a crush on Mark, they were like brothers to me. We’d known each other for years, Bub and I since fifth grade. We carpooled in his Celica, sophomore, junior, and half of senior year (until I bought my Celica, and people called us the Rice Rocket twins), so him most so.

Craig

We did all manner of activity together, go-carts at the Green Scene in Boulder, where I was cowardly slow. Mini-golf, where Bub reigned supreme. Football games. Basketball games. Parties. Movies. Wild & silly. Teenagers behaving as such. One time, where I do not remember whose house, only that it was south of 64th and near Pierce, I read the comics while they and whomever’s house it was, watched porn with the sound off. Out of “respect” for me. I kept my eyes down, not at all interested in that business, and when they told me it was safe to look, I believed them. We ALL laughed heartily at my gullibility.

The last day we were all together….

Mostly we drove around, as was the way. This is where the Van Halen really comes in. Running with the Devil, Ain’t Talking Bout Love… ALL of it. Mostly in Craig’s car, a 1980 Trans Am with T-tops. Did it have the phoenix on the hood? I can no longer remember. But the feeling, I do. Every season, but summer most potently. Warm air – short sleeve shirt, no jacket required. Me nearly always in the back seat, tops off and wind whipping my hair wild while the music played LOUD, exhilarated by freedom and pure joy. Laughter. So much laughter. And being with people I loved.

They’d pick me up at Wendy’s during a brief foray as an employee and call me Burger, having so strongly smelled of flipping them. Another time, behind Mark when he decided it was the right time to spit out his chew, high speed on Wadsworth, no less, and it ALL rushes on the wind and in my face. The horror and disgust and laughter, yet again.

I’ve lost track of them all. We are scattered by winds and distance, changing interests and loss. I have no sadness about it, no remorse. They are among the best parts of my past and shall remain so.

My beautiful, witty, and hilarious best gal, Andie Card! We’ve been friends since we were sixteen, with a giant book of cherished memories under our belts. We hadn’t seen each other for a well over a year, all this COVID misery destroying the best laid plans. Her pup insisted on being in the photo, and I give you more and more of a glimpse of him edging in, which explains my smirk in the first picture. I am trying not to laugh at him doing his best photo bomb! The pictures aren’t perfect, but our love and friendship surely is.

My parents! We stayed a couple of nights at their house, my growing up place, playing Spades, Sequence, Boggle, and Code Names. Eating and eating, all manner of homemade goodness, plus my best prickly pear margaritas and some Popeye’s fried chicken! Not too shabby.

I made my Mom’s necklace!

The park of my childhood universe, Little Dry Creek, through which I ventured to school for seven years in all manner of weather, and played and played and played. Most striking are the trees, all grown up and wise in sunshine and shady ways.

My Mom and I made Vivian Howard’s banana pudding (from Deep Run Roots), which tasted most spectacularly of said fruit, a whopping nine of them in the mix. A true labor of love. WOW!

Shooting for that corner pocket. My Dad won more games than Greg, but it didn’t really matter, all the fun they had playing.

S W I N G ! !

post script

Due to multiple problems with the J & J vaccine, I got my first Pfizer shot yesterday. Much gratitude to ALL the wonderful people who made the process both kindly and dream-like in speed and efficiency at the Broadmoor World Arena. WOOT!

In the same vein, COVID falsehoods and conspiracy theories debunked.

Hi from me to you! It’s a mighty cold day in our parts. So much so that the heat, at 12:26 p.m. is still droning on in an initial attempt to get the house to 68 degrees. Additionally, we have yet to walk the dog because we’d like it to be over 15 degrees outside when we do. How people in truly cold climes ever leave the house is a wonder. But there is a lovely powdered sugar sprinkle of snow out and the birds are singing, so there’s a bit of joy. Always true. Always.

Above is a sweet box of fun sent to some dear friends in Maine! They’ve already received it, so the surprise is not being spoiled. They got bars of my latest soaps, along with home made lip and hand balms, and, of course, some cute acorns! The oaks are still giving, so I am too. I did not make the sage smudger, however. I may try, but really cannot do it all.

And Beth (one of my Maine friends), I finally watched the GoGo’s documentary you recommended. I hope I didn’t already tell you. It was super and rockin’ and sad and brought me fondly back to Denice Romero’s house in 7th grade. Sweet sigh. We are also about two-thirds finished with Twin Peaks 2.0 from 2017. I wish I could find the circa 2000 (I think?) picture I took of Beth standing in front of the RR Cafe, very sad faced, because it had recently been a victim of arson and we could partake of neither pie nor coffee.

Anyhoo, we are rather enjoying the series in it’s ultimate David Lynch-ness. The absurdity, wit, and wisdom. I highly recommend it to anyone even further behind the what’s-new-in-the-world curve. Better late than never, eh?

Home made almond milk. A bit of a painstaking process to get the skins off, but worth treating our tender tummies right.

Dutch baby, oh! Made with the remaining almond meal after making milk. Embracing the nose-to-tail ethos of the nut world.

I learned a new game! Star Realms is relatively quick and easy, yet still challenges my brain.

Pizza (and cola!) was the first meal after our January reset. Delicious. Dessert was chocolate chip cookies, which were shared with neighbors and otherwise gobbled down, pronto.

We’ve had freezing fog twice over the past week. How beautiful to wake up to it! How my face hurt from the cold!

These bits of gorgeousness are a spicy coleslaw, corn bread (with more almond meal!), and a jalapeno and hot honey glazed smoked pork chop made in celebration of…..

THIRTY YEARS together! Yup. This past Tuesday marked the big 3-0 since our first date at the Old Chicago in Fort Collins. Which, after consulting the map, is nowhere near where we ate on College Avenue way back when. Times change, peeps.

Even our love has changed. We’ve grown up, moved house three times, traveled thousands upon thousands of miles; shed what was holding us back from even greater love; laughed, hugged, and cuddled. And goll-ee, that’s just a wee scratch on the surface of our everything together. I will absolutely not say it has been easy, though mostly so, only because we laid such strong foundations way back when – forged of honesty, patience, and ever so much kindness. So when the wind and earthquakes and wretchedness have shook us, we’ve come out largely unscathed. Together.

Y A Y U S ! !

Life with Juniper

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