Colorado Springs

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Our nephew Tyler, that’s him up yonder, has a deep knowledge of and fascination with mines and mining, well at least of the hard rock underground variety. An open pit or the environmental calamity of blasting a mountain top off are definitely not his jam. If I recall correctly, it all started with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their underground lair. Pretty cool, when you think about it – there’s a whole world under there.

So, logic follows that we would some day visit the Western Museum of Mining and Industry here in Colorado Springs together. It’s located a short distance from I-25, with excellent signage, but it still took us eight years to get there! But, hey, we did it. It was a next level experience to wander about in the presence of an expert and to watch Tyler’s face light up. Like when he saw a diorama of the Comstock in California and named it before even looking at the signage. Or his astonishment at having equipment he’d only previously read about or seen rusted and decaying in some out of the way mining town in the high country looking quite regal and fully operational.

If you have any interest in mining, and especially if you know someone who does, I highly recommend a visit. You might even spy a hawk in the parking lot! The museum does an exceptional job of creating experiences that mimic the look and feel of going underground, which offered an excellent connection to my Grandpa George, who was a coal miner in Springfield, Illinois, from the late 1800s until his death (from Black Lung) in 1945. They also have some really cool displays and videos of past and present mining technology. The rocks, like the fluorescents above, were a nice surprise, too. What a meaningful day for us!



Hello, and happy last Saturday! Greg and I went to James Turrell’s Skyspace, a permanent art exhibit in Green Mountain Falls that celebrates light in a wildly clever exploration of contrasts.

The giant box is made almost entirely of local materials and perched high above the town. If you are not strong of lungs or legs and would like to visit, I highly recommend the ATV escort to the top. Greg and I walked and were quite out of breath by the time we reached the space. I also recommend warm clothes in winter, as it is unheated.

Skyspace is essentially a large box open to the sky, note the faint clouds in the last photo above, where different LED lights are projected, creating wild color combinations. In fine weather, which we had, it remains open to the elements, a flurry of leaves, a bird on the wing, all part of the experience. In poor weather, the roof is retracted, and there is an LED show that closely mimics the wide open.

Part of the “miracle” of the experience is the precision with which the square is made. It makes the viewer’s eye believe it is a flat, seamless, plane, not a box, open to the sky.

The seating is perfectly sloped, so the eyes may gaze upward uninhibited.

This, and the photos before it, represent two light changes before the show started. Taking photos during the experience is firmly frowned upon, but let me assure you, it is quite exhilarating and unexpected.

The show begins at sunset, and if the weather is fine, last about 45 minutes, 20 minutes when poor. These are the visible stars upon the conclusion.

And this, the interior as viewed from the exterior, a portal to an amazing world!

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Perhaps for the first time in my life, I am rife with simultaneous relief and grief. Relief that the shooter was subdued so quickly, grief at the death and damage done. Club Q, the site of my beloved country’s most recent mass shooting, is in Colorado Springs, the city where I live. Greg and I saw our first drag show there, which was amazing: make-up and singing and serious dance moves, but not by us, ha! We were out to support Queen Potted Plant, a friend in town.

At the time of the shooting, Queen Potted Plant was there, celebrating her birthday, her boyfriend, too. She is safe and as okay as one can expect after witnessing such horror. He did not survive. The handsome bartender, Derrick Rump, sweet and kindly maker of our drinks, died.

These are the names of the remaining victims, with love and light to all of their loved ones:

Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance

I would also like to mention, with a heart full of gratitude for preventing more loss of life, the heroes who attacked the shooter:

Thomas James and Richard Fierro

My heart is so heavy. No one knows if this is an actual Hate Crime against the Club Q Community, but a body doesn’t enter a place of acceptance, joy, and celebration to commit murder without some sort of hate in their heart.

Because seeking answers is one way of processing my grief, and because there has been more rhetoric than usual aimed at gay people (I’m looking at you, Florida), as of late, I got to searching and wondering. If you are reading this and harbor fear about the Gay Community, what happened for you to arrive at this place? Do you actually know any gay people? Have you been hurt?

If you believe, as I read in several comments, that this was God’s will against gay and trans people for harming children, I must ask, where is the science-based data? To the contrary, I found The Southern Poverty Law Center has a list of 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked, which further substantiates my belief that the chance of a child being hurt by a random gay or trans person in a bathroom or a Drag Queen at story time is far less likely than trusted Pastor Bob at church. A few examples:

Covenant Life Church

U.S. Southern Baptist Church

Mormon Church

More food for thought from a piece in Religion News, quoting several studies:

93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious.” Pedophilia molesters average 12 child victims and 71 acts of molestation. An earlier study found that out of 561 sexual offenders there were over 291,000 incidents totaling over 195,000 total victims. These are enough victims to fill 2 ½ Superdomes! This same study found that only 3% of these sexual offenders have a chance of getting caught.

Those who sexually victimize children likely have victimized dozens of other children during their lifetime. Not only does this open our eyes to the prevalence of this tragic epidemic, but it should also help to equip us to respond to individuals within our faith community who get “caught” for engaging in criminal behavior against a child and beg for “grace”, claiming that this was the only child they have ever victimized. Based upon these statistics, the offender is most likely lying, which means they are continuing to deceive in order to reestablish trust and access of our children.

I was also very disappointed to learn children are even unsafe on U.S. Military bases around the world, especially at the hands of other children, which circles back to the previous statistics, unfortunately.

Finally, and not surprisingly, I must also mention, if the ultimate goal is to protect children from harm, we must enter guns into the equation. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, in 2019, guns killed more children and teens than cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, HIV/AIDs, and opioids combined. Sadly, for every one of these children, another five were injured by guns. More preschoolers were killed by guns than police officers in the line of duty.

This is where I leave you, but not without a prayer that we may all experience love and safety: young, old, trans, gay, and straight.


Up yonder – roasted zucchini soup with toasted pepitas and a chicken thigh with smoked paprika gravy. The soup is a godsend when your giant Costco bag of zucchini gets overlooked for a few days, and the whole three pounds needs to be eaten, pronto. Just roast it under the broiler until it’s got a nice char, and whir it with a little bit of water, a can of green chiles, garlic, cumin, and salt in your Vitamix. Done and done. Here we have homemade tamarind soda, not a root beer float. I’m a big tamarind lover! Nothing tastes quite like it.

neighborhood blossoms

Our garden, complete with lovely butterfly on Thursday. I was out there soaking up the beauty and thinking what a great year it’s gonna be out here.

Then the snow started falling Friday afternoon and didn’t stop until nearly a foot fell at our house. We went out a few times to shake the heavy snow off flattened bushes and trees, which gutted me, truth be told. It’s all melted now, and does look a bit worse for wear, but most of it is better than I expected. Grandma’s rose still has tons of blooms and even more buds! There are quite a few other broken bits that I don’t think will recover, sadly.

This being me, it should come as no surprise that there is much to be happy about here. Redemption! Drought conditions and red flag wind stoked too close for comfort wildfires within minutes of our house earlier in the week. They’ll be put on the back burner for a bit, as the ground is positively saturated. So, yeah, gratitude runs the day!


Night Out

Tuesday evening, before the wind literally turned much of the city upside down, we went out to dinner. It had been ages and in the works for days, and by the time it arrived was very much needed. Greg, so early in the week, had already had a rough time at the virtual office. Nothing he couldn’t handle, but still distressing and annoying.

We went to Mood for tapas, which was quite lovely, really living up to its name, soft glow and sparkle. Our server was simply the best, keeping it light and knowing the right moment for everything. We enjoyed adult beverages and great flavors and relished the fact that a whole host of other people were doing the cooking and clean-up. Hell yes!

After dinner, we strolled in the crisp of it and admired murals, cheerful downtown neon, and sweet twinkle lights. We stopped into our favorite chocolate shop to grab some Firework bark for a dear to us treat: add pop rocks and smoky chile powder to chocolate, and oooh la la! It lives up to its name, yes ma’am. Like a Depeche Mode song, we just can’t get enough.

Though it didn’t feel quite normal, it was as close as we’d been in a while, and oh how grateful I am for those moments.

You know I can’t resist them…


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