Archive for April, 2010

Jam and Jive

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Prepare lunch you say

Diet you will

First and utmost you must eat and eat you must

Slather your bread, with a rich fattening, vitamin fortified cream cheese layered on,†one inch thick

Not just any whole wheat bread, but the healthful kind, full bodied, with extra fiber to keep your body running smooth

After which you apply a rich thick grape jam, followed by a spoon full of pure virgin white sugar, carefully sprinkled on top.

And just to be on the safe side, and to make sure your sandwich slides all the way down your gullet, pour yourself a glass of homogenized whole milk, with a dash of half and half to give it that extra bite

Now put your feast onto a favorite plate, cut it into two equal parts, then place them next to your cool glass of milk and you are ready to Jam and Jive

Traditions Must Go Forth

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Checking out a suggested add-a-friend on Facebook I found a post linked to one my childrenís favorite eating establishments when they were growing up. None other then Coloradoís legendary tourist attraction, Casa Bonita.

Itís been years since Iíve patronized this Mexican- themed restaurant located in the town of Lakewood, a suburb of Denver. But as soon as I saw its name in printÖoh, how the memories returnedÖ

The pink and gold, fairyland-like facade on the building made to resemble a hacienda, †blaring Mexican music that greets you as you cross the parking lot on your way in, the colorful lights leading to the entrance and the a massive wooden door with wrought iron hardware.

Once you step inside youíre instantly transported back in time to old Mexico where replicas of the main house of a hacienda with antiques, rustic furniture, hand hewn doors and beamed ceilings amaze and delight. After you soak up the initial ambiance you find yourself following long, twisting and turning cobblestone path toward the restaurant.

The journey takes you past blossoming gardens, hidden courtyards, posters of Mexican activities, and a window that shows the tortilla making crew hard at work.

After you order your food, perhaps an all you can eat menu selection, you move along in a cafeteria type line for pickup and seating. A hostess greets you and leads you to your table in surprise location. You may be led to the middle of a plaza in small village during a festival where the palm trees, mini lights and colorful lanterns emphasize the atmosphere of the town that includes a church, general store, post office, other business buildings, homes of the local residents and a 30 foot waterfall. You may be seated in the town square, a gold or silver mine, a cave or cavern with stalactites and stalagmites nearby.

Your no sooner settle down to enjoy your meal when the fun begins with a whirlwind of entertainment including live cliff divers, flame jugglers, Mariachi bands, authentic dancers in colorful costumes, a wild gorilla chase and a shoot out between the Sheriff and Black Bart.

All this comes before the hot servings (all you can eat) of Sopapillas and honey.

After the dessert itís time to explore the haunted tunnel known as Black Bartís Cave, watch a puppet show, visit the magic theatre, play games in the arcade to earn tickets for prizes and peruse the souvenir shop.

Casa Bonita is a family attraction that has drawn children of all ages since 1974. Itís where many birthdays are celebrated, end of the school year parties are held, out of town guests are entertained or where you go just to have a good time.

Right now Iím thinking about reliving that experience and taking my grandson when he comes to town. After all, itís a tradition that must go forth.

Old Friends

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

This week I visited with some old friends ñ and I do mean ìoldî. On Tuesday, I had lunch with three couples and another widow, the surviving members of our long standing ìSorority Group.î As you might have surmised, we five women were in college together and were members of the same sorority. We attended what was then Colorado State College in Greeley. Upon graduation we had become teachers in high school business, high school home economics, junior high math & social studies, elementary special education, and elementary school/library media. After graduating we went our own ways, but after about five years, we all ended up teaching in the Denver area. We would sometimes meet for lunch and once as we were chatting, one of the gals suggested we include our husbands in the next get-together.

I was a newlywed and we didnít have much furniture yet, but I offered to host the first dinner. I made lasagna and we ate it on a tin camp table sitting on folding chairs. We women had worried that our husbands were too different (automobile mechanic, gourmet grocer, house painter, school principal, and government executive) to get along. Our fears were unfounded. The guys hit it off right away and made plans to play poker after dinner at our next gathering. We established an every other month schedule, so each couple hosted the dinner once a year (skipping July) and, thus, we continued for close to thirty years.

Once we all retired, our traveling schedules have interfered with meeting quite so frequently. I moved to Loveland in 1996 and my husband died in 1997. We continued our dinner routine for a few more years until another husband died and that widow moved with her daughter to Bennett. Now we meet for lunch in restaurants whenever we can find dates that will work for all of us. During the past fifty years, our lives have been separate, but intertwined. We have watched our children grow up and have attended their weddings. We share pictures of our grandkids. We support each other in times of joy and sorrow. Long-time friendships are among lifeís greatest blessings.

It's My Turn

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Cindyís been a little busy lately, so I thought I would help out and take her turn on the blog this week. See, she won second place in the big Pikes Peak Writing Contest and all she can think about is what she should wear to the awards ceremony.

Now that I think about it, you should say I won second place in the contest. After all, Iím the main character in ìThe Secret of the Legacy.î Without me, her little story wouldnít stand a chance. In case you donít know, my name is Flash and Iím a cat. Himalayan to be exact. Personally, I wouldnít have a bit a trouble with what to wear to an awards banquet. My bright blue eyes, chocolate brown fur and seal point markings are elegant enough for any occasion.

I understand Cindyís dilemma, though. Being a human, she lacks even a marginally adequate fur coat. Have you ever seen a naked human? Exactly. No wonder they wear clothes!

Anyway, sheíd better hurry up and get her mind back on writing my adventures. Weíre working on the sequel and Iíve still got super-villains to defeat, inventions to protect, and bloodhounds to outsmart. Donít worry, I can handle it. Itís all in a dayís work for a multi-talented Feline Extraordinaire like myself.

You know, if I put my mind to it, I bet I could write the sequel myself. I mean, how hard could it be? I whipped out this blog easily enough, didnít I?

Why should Cindy get all the glory anyway? Just because sheís real and Iím a figment of her imagination? How unfair is that? Maybe Iíll crash this whole awards ceremony thing and insist on more recognition for us main characters. Actually thatís not a bad idea, Iíve already got the outfit. Thereís only one teensy weensy problem . . . be honestódoes this collar make me look fat?

Drat. Thatís what I was afraid of.


Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I am working on a memoir. It is quite a process to write a storyÖ.about yourself.

A couple weeks ago I sat in a memoir workshop. The instructor asked us to pull out a memento we had with us and write down why it had special meaning. MementoÖ. an object given or kept as a reminder in memory of somebody or something.

I looked through my purse; shuffled through old receipts, my wallet, sunglasses, and cell phone. At first glance, I didnít carry a thing in memory of somebody or something There was nothing special in my big, black, bag. So, I kept quiet and listened to what others had to say.

ìI have one,î said the man behind me, ìI have a tattoo on each arm to remind me of my quadruple bypass surgery. My left arm has a heart with a band aid on. My right has the names of my grandchildren. They are the people who got me through this surgery.î

Well, I certainly donít have a memento like that.

The woman down the aisle stood up. ìI have my i-phone which has a GPS. The last map on it was a run up Horsetooth I did three days ago. Iím training for a half-marathon. This winter has been the first time Iíve felt strong enough to run since my chemotherapy. The half-marathon is in three weeks and I think Iíll be able to do it.î

Story after story was told; heartbreaking, yet strong stories, stories of the human spirit.

I opened my purse again and found an old syringe used for Samanthaís medicine. I pulled out the ëtoolí used to open oxygen tanks for Samantha. This tool doubles as a key chain. Ironically, it was wrapped around my Childrenís Hospital badge.

Are these mementos? Are these keepsakes? Is the scar from my c-section just as much a keepsake as my great-grandmothers quilt? They all tell a story of who I amÖ.MY life.

I watched the people around me pull out items and create stories; the tiny threads of their experiences and I thought that being a writer, being able to capture life within a plastic syringe, is pretty darn cool.

Phone Numbers

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Iím afraid to change my phone number.

I donít know why, but I still have my Virginia area code though I live in Colorado. I know that I should change it to 970 and take my last step toward residency.

Donít get me wrong. I love Colorado, particularly the mountains, the bright cerulean blue skies, the clean air (until you get to Denver) and Old Town Fort Collins. I like seeing the mountains from the Mountain Avenue parking garage, the archway by Coopersmithís and the sculpture of three geese with their wings touching as they lift out of the middle of the triangle of shops and restaurants in downtown.

In 2001, I moved to the Washington, D.C. area and stayed for seven years. I was homesick for Fort Collins, and now that Iím back here, Iím homesick for D.C. and Virginia, for the monuments, the Smithsonian museums, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the ocean, plus all the different towns and cities within a dayís drive.

I donít know whatís wrong with me. I canít put a book down once I start it, and I canít let go of the places Iíve been. I get attached. I roll through the memories of the places I love. Itís like they put grains of sand and pieces of brick and bits of stones into my heart, weighing me down wherever I go.

I got used to the fast pace of D.C., the business-clad coffee goers, the formal luncheons, the politics in the air I breathed, and the lack of bike trails except in places where you had to drive and park.

I took a long time to settle in, both in D.C. and back here. I guess part of it is being sentimental and a wonderer of the big what if? I hadnít wanted to leave D.C. after I had been laid off and couldnít find a job. I moved back to my hometown to be close to family, more of a security than being alone in a big city without an income.

I wonder how long it takes for where you live to become home. I donít have sparkly red shoes to click. I just have memories and this clinginess to nine numbers.

I Breathe You

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

From the Ditch Witch Chronicles --

April is finally here. The long winter is over and I can see green, everywhere.

†I manage a 110 acre agricultural farm in Larimer Countyómy job is to irrigate the pasture (thus the moniker ìThe Ditch Witchî) and provide forage for the free ranging 20+ horse herd living there.

Most of the horses are older, retired show friendsómany are lame or exhibit the typical neurological or health problems inherit in aging.

These old ones are my favorites. No matter where I am working they amble over for a visit. One by one, they come in close and touch me with their noses and then they stand quietly next to meÖlike in the movie ëAvatarí, they ëseeí me, but in old horse speak they are saying ìI breathe you.î

It means they trust and recognize me, I am accepted. What a gift! Every time it happens, I hope I smell trustworthy and dependable, solid and memorable.

Too often, I am filled with self doubt; I do not feel confident or very solid. Some days, I see me as unremarkableómy hair is grey and my left shoulder doesnít work so well right now. The horses simply remind me that they know me and accept me as part of their herd. I value that trust and am always grateful to belong near them.

It sounds so simple. Take the time to really notice others you encounter, check out their demeanor. See if you can notice their life force and honor each of them by speaking clearly, softly saying ìI breathe you. I care that you are here.î This is a good practice.