Remembering

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While in Cheyenne, I bought a painting of a view of this very mesa from a different angle. Isn’t she a beauty? The wondrous part is that it was painted by a woman named Bev Finger, who shares the first name of my beloved Aunt who lived in Casper for more than thirty years!

A Ferruginous Hawk, maybe?

More fabulous food at The Fort. Tex-Mex fried chicken and a French Dip. And how about the cool interior? It really looked like a fort!

The ever elusive Jackalope…

Better Together

Y E S !

A sunset stroll along the North Platte. A little slice of heaven, to be sure…

Giddy-up!
Aunt Bev during her high school years
Uncle Lyle & Aunt Bev in their Casper house

We had fun wandering Casper and visiting the house my Aunt Bev’s family lived in for all those years. Though she died in 2005, her spirit is still very much there, as creative, independent, and kindly as ever!

On the day of our arrival in Casper, we spied more lemonade stands that we’d ever seen. When we stopped at one, we learned it was Lemonade Day and is meant to teach kids about what it takes to be entrepreneurs, on every level.

The cute kid who ran the stand we visited was planning on buying a new Lego set and giving $20 to an animal shelter with his earnings. Pretty wonderful!

Don’t you love the wonder of spying something magical, like a giant polyphemus moth, only to have it hop on your chest?

After your heart flutters excitedly, and you set her back on the ground, her gorgeous wings spread wide enough to reveal the full splendor of her gobsmacking beauty. Magic.

Or maybe you take a trip to your past, to the place of your greatest beginning, and all is shiny and new and only slightly recognizable? That was us this past weekend in Fort Collins. Wild and a bit jarring.

We started with cake and pie at Ginger & Baker. A nod to the maniac drummer from Cream? Or perhaps more prosaic. Regardless, our dessert before dinner was a-ok!

Fort Collins is far fancier than it was when we met thirty years ago, with flower-filled alleys, scads of fabulous murals, and a million new places to try.

Two of the old places, the Walrus and the Rio, that were new way back when are still there! Here we are with our friend Linda in 1992. We’d been dating just over a year.

Still handsome!

Early the next morning, a magical walk around Riverbend Ponds, with hawks and egrets and geese and gorgeous Black Crowned Night Herons!

It is now the blessed season that, when the sun rises on weekends, we are out in the garden, sipping coffee on our favorite chairs. There are too many and too few words at once: leaves glowing, birds chirping, Juniper darting. The quiet joy of being in the right place, embraced by light and nature. Home.

I have taken to buying clothes on etsy, mostly bespoke linen dresses from Lithuania. This one, freshly off and tossed onto the bed, just so, no fussing over it, and begging for a photo. I obliged.

columbine
scarlet runner bean
snowball
choke cherry

I am on The Lost Kitchen mail list, and this dazzler of a dessert, Spoon Cake, came with their last missive. Theirs was made with a straight rhubarb compote, but since mine is booger-green, which is not a failing, just the color of this particular variety, I mixed in some berries to pretty it up. It did not disappoint, in look or flavor. Huzzah!

Last year’s onions, which did barely anything during their proper season, came to life over winter and spring. How about that?

One of the wonders of living in an Air Force town is to be summoned by the roar of high flying technology and dash into the garden to gaze upon it. This is a Stealth Bomber.

Not since I was a teenager have I owned white footwear. The last, an unfortunate pair of K-Swiss, which I saved for ages to buy, only to have hurt my feet. Wah. I am happy to report these are quite the opposite. And how about the flowers? 100% why I bought them. They sparkle!

royston turquoise

The first iris bloom and Juniper on her very best behavior. Everything good at once….

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.

Not really. We eat, work out, sleep, read, watch home shows and DVDs, and walk the dog. Though it would not seem so from the photos sometimes. Connecticut Style Lobster Roll from Bob’s Lobstah Trap. Very tasty. Greg got his gronked (I think?) which basically means huge and actually quite unnecessary. It’s a bountiful bit as it is, and we struggled to finish.

I made Chinese food, takeout style, with crab cheese wontons (baked not fried), scallion pancakes, which were just like Stickers in Portland (YAY!!), and sesame chicken. The chicken the least like takeout, so I will be searching the interwebs for another recipe. It was fun to have the sensation of our favorite Lucky Dragon without out the takeout styrofoam or being in a restaurant.

I can’t tell you how much I am gunning to get vaccinated, so we can get back to our old ways of eating out once or twice a week. Betting you’re feeling the same.

Not cheese queso, made with butternut squash and macadamia nuts and tasty flavors like smoked paprika, garlic, and roasted jalapenos. It hits the craving jackpot when there is nary a wedge of cheese in the casa. Yup, yup.

The near usual state of my desk. Shit piles up quickly, peeps.

Walking in a winter wonderland….

Some sort of beef salad, with macadamias. I don’t remember much else.

Greg made me the perfect egg. He’s wonderful like that!

Peach cake, made with a recipe from Carpathia – scratch your Romanian cookbook itch.

practically perfect blueberry muffin

For a whole lot of years, I made Greg bouillabaisse for his birthday, but as it is with life, some things fall way, and I hadn’t done it in a while, Pittsburgh, maybe? Then, yesterday, after forgetting to plan a meal the night before, rummaged through the freezer and saw a seafood medley practically begging for bouillabaisse. So here it is, and what a fabulous treat it was. Damn.

And here we are, on our honeymoon (June 20, 1993 to be exact), the very first time we were wowed by bouillabaisse. We were in Nice, France – it’s so nice! There’s so much going on here besides the amazing food. Greg is beardless; my hair is short; I’m wearing earrings and a floral pattern; neither of us has a single grey hair and we probably weigh 25 pounds less than today! How wild the march of time…

Juniper builds her brain power with a snack hiding puzzle.

More snow!

Mud flats. Yuck.

The Way to Rainy Mountain – what a dream of a book…

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