Archive | February, 2011

A Hike with Three Women of a Certain Age

22 Feb

My friends Carol and Adele and I went for a hike today in No Thoroughfare Canyon in the Colorado National Monument.  We are so lucky to have this gem of wild canyons and beautiful plateaus just minutes from town.  It was a beautiful clear late winter day and we heard the falls were running.

And they were running–behind the ice.  The air was warm in the sun, crisp in the shadows.  We took a crooked trail up the canyon, avoiding mud and pools of water, admiring the beautiful scenery.  It was just so great to be oudoors after being cooped up all winter.  All of this made a really lovely day. 

What made it spectacular was hiking with two other intelligent women, with similar political and philosophical views to mine, and the wisdom that comes from being in the prime of our lives.  How lovely to have spirited conversations ranging from cooking to the pros and cons of The Monument becoming a National Park.  How fun to be scrambling over rocks at my age!  I had to stop and laugh at some of the paths the three of us were forced to take by the trail conditions.  Here I am with plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band issues and the lessening balance that just happens as one ages.  But you know what?  I did just fine.  In fact I feel younger as a result of the hike, the conversation, and the laughter.  And then as if the day wasn’t already just perfect….Adele made a Chocolate Cardamom Fallen Souffle earlier in the day and brought us each a piece.  Uber-Perfect.

Here.  Hike along with us.  Photos taken by me(!), channeling my inner Carol, with my Blackberry Curve!

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They Grow Up So Fast

16 Feb

This week I filled out a “Schools of Choice” form for the very last time of Mr16’s school career, to keep him in his school for his senior year.  Also this week I was notified of the upcoming ACT testing and trotted out to the bookstore to purchase a strategy book that “guarantees a higher score” that will guarantee Mr16 admission to college and the beginning of his adult life away from me.  Things like this cause me to reflect on how I ended up here, today, when only yesterday I held him in my arms for the first time.

Do you remember when your child was born, and “They” said, “Cherish every moment; they grow up so fast?”  And there you were staring out into the vast future of your new life with this precious punkie, thinking, “I have YEARS and YEARS to enjoy this new little person!”  That was like, yesterday….and today that precious bundle of joy is 16, going on college?

Do you remember waiting for those “firsts”–like the first tooth, only to mourn that his cute little gummy grin was now gone forever?  A child’s life goes that way; marching steadily forward toward new firsts and growing up. 

I find myself caught in a whirlpool that lets me look back, see the present and look to the future at the same time, and sometimes find myself weepy.  Weepy over missing laying on our bellies coloring, weepy over pride at a music performance, weepy over college and the eventual “moving out forever.”

Right now, I’m struggling between hanging on to Mr16 for dear life and letting him go, all the while reminiscing: “Remember when we built things from blocks/read together/colored/had birthday cakes that were shaped like your favorite thing at the time/grew the mutant pumpkins/when it was fun for ME to be your Valentine?  When a kiss could really fix a boo-boo?  When a hug or a snuggle could keep bad stuff away?

That little boy that needed me as much as I need him is still in there, zipped up inside the young man with a beard and a life of his own, just like the cartoon.  I know this.  I know the best way to love him right now is to let him go out and explore on his own.  My logical self really does get this.  My emotional self wants to stop time and keep him close a bit longer. 

He’s talking of moving to California or Europe.  He needs to escape our Colorado cold and the local spring allergy season.  He yearns for adventures of his very own.  Not too long ago, it was me needing to escape the Iowa cold and humidity and find my own way.  Paybacks are a bitch.  I never went back, and rarely visit my parents, even now that they live in a warmer place. 

Thank goodness for new technologies like Skype.  I’ll be able to see his eyes when he says he’s fine and know for sure if he is or isn’t.  I’ll be able to visit with future grandchildren, read them stories and see them grow up even if I can’t hold them every day.  Every now and then I tell Mr.16 about how cool it was having my grandma right across the street when I was little……a little tiny guilt trip can’t hurt.  😉

Who knows.  Maybe he and I will share a second cup of coffee via Skype between Colorado and some little Italian cafe some day.  Maybe he’ll relent and live right here in town and we can share our second cup right across the table from each other.  Right.  😉

Zits comic strip by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman.  December 2009.

The Six Degrees….

3 Feb

You’ve heard of the theory that every actor is six connections, or degrees from Kevin Bacon.  I find that this concept has been occurring in my life.  Probably it comes from age–the longer you live, the more you experience, the more “small world after all” moments you have.

Here shall commence some ramblings based on the interconnectedness of the world, even though we’re not connected in the traditional sense of how people were connected decades ago. 

I grew up in a “real” neighborhood.  A place where every mom knew every kid and all the kids played together while the moms drank coffee.  The connections were straight forward–right next door. 

Then I went away to college and was part of my dorm family, which was part of the campus neighborhood.  Later, I got married and moved to an apartment…and knew no one.  Everyone kept to themselves.  Even later, when I move to a neighborhood, I only got to know a few people.  The people at my job became my neighborhood, and I tended to socialize with them instead of the people who lived right next door.  Connections were still happening, but not like they used to. 

These days, you never know how one thing might lead to another; what sorts of connections might happen.  For example, Mr16 is a talented saxophone player.  He auditioned and was selected for the Ft. Lewis College Select Band.  This event is held in Durango, Colorado.   While Mr16 was learning saxophone, I became a librarian.  I met and became friends with author Will Hobbs as part of that job.  Will and his wife Jean live in Durango!  Unfortunately, they’re out of town the Select Band weekend, and we won’t be able to see them.  But!  I’m also friends with someone who owns a coffee shop–The Coffee Studio.  Her shop buys some of its coffee beans from Desert Sun Roasters.  Desert Sun Roasters is in Durango!  I posted a question on their Facebook wall asking for their favorite Durango coffee shops.  They provided a nice list and invited me to stop by and visit them, too.

Isn’t it great that we really do live in a small world?  I like feeling a connection to people around me. When these little pieces of serendipity happen, it reminds me to continue nurturing friendships, and to continue expanding my experiences.  You never know when you’ll meet someone that will lead you to a new opportunity. 

When I’m in Durango, I’ll have my second cup in a shop recommended by the folks at Desert Sun, and maybe….maybe I can get them to teach me how to pour a rosetta in a cappucino–something I’ve wanted to learn!  (Watch the second video)

Image attributions:  Kevin Bacon   Saxophone  Desert Sun