xoxo, me

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Colorado, United States

Friday, May 31, 2013

Balls Out, People! Oh My...

A sure sign that I'm a little more relaxed (as in not inundated with orders) is when I start perusing recipes.  And since I made that appointment for a physical next week (the one that took me about 9 years to make...) it's time to get healthy!  In a week!  

I'm a terrible breakfast eater ~ in that I usually don't eat breakfast. But now that my days are starting with strolls in the park around 6 am by about 8:00 or so I'm ready for a bite.

So I experimented the other day with my first smoothie

Yes, I know smoothies have been around for eons but I never gave them much thought. After one I'm a convert. I really liked this combo of blueberries, banana, vanilla yogurt, wheat germ and white grape juice.

Although next time I will follow the recipe and use frozen blueberries.
I do like my drinks cold. 

I liked it so much I am looking forward to trying more recipes and tweaking them to make them my own. 

Then this morning after my park walk and returning home to do the 5 minute Simba walk to the mailbox and back (she's 15.5 - cut her some slack),

I learned that The Mister didn't have meetings until this afternoon, so I decided to try this Balls Out recipe I stumbled upon the other night. (Got your attention, didn't I?)

Balls out, of course

referring to removing avocado pits. 

Such an easy peasy recipe I couldn't believe I had never tried it before.  Pit the avocados, scoop out a little extra avocado to make room for a scrambled egg.  (I'll spare you a pic of a raw scrambled egg because frankly, that would make me gag. You?)

Then I poured the whipped up eggs into the avocados. 

Obviously my pouring technique needs some work. 
Slippery little buggers, those raw eggs.

And I need to get my sprinkling skills down as well. But you get the idea. I opted for Hawaiian Black Salt (kinda' smoky) probably because I've been listening to a lot of Jack Johnson lately. (Yes the Jack Johnson that I am very late to the party enjoying and, trust me, my friends let me know I've been living under a rock.) I added some smoky paprika, too.  Obviously. You can add whatever spices or embellishments you like ~ it will be fun to experiment.

Pop in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes (your time may vary) and there ya' go - breakfast in an avocado.

Promise I'll work on that presentation.
Years ago a friend dated a guy who liked to cook 
and he always told her
"My dear, presentation is everything."
We figured out later he was gay.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.  We loved him to pieces. 

The mister opted for the super duper HOT sauce one of his clients makes. Me ~ I went with the Buffalo Tabasco.

So although we both stood in the kitchen eating these new little delights (he next to a laptop he was working on; me over my Surface researching drink recipes for the weekend) ~~ it was really nice to have an impromptu Friday morning breakfast with my sweetie.

Who, as I was making my list for the market said, 
"Why don't you pick up some avocados?"


(A little note about the pix here - with the exception of the first and last photo - which are Lensbabies, of course - these were all taken with my Windows phone. So they are what they are.)  J

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Go. For. A. Walk. That's All. Period.

So this is what happens when I have a grrrrreat idea for a blog post and I don't sit down that minute and write.

I kind of forget my point. And I had a really good point! Dammit.

It had something to do with getting back to my routine of walking every morning in the park ~ of rising very early, grabbing my water bottle and a camera - any camera - and hitting the trail.  I'm happy about this because being in nature is good for my head, good for my soul and any physical benefits are a bonus.

So although the skies were threatening yesterday (and it did pour later) I strolled down familiar paths with my little pink Nikon Coolpix - you know - the one I wanted so badly because it was pink. And I use it about once a year.  

There were clouds in the water as well as the sky. 

Part of my reason for resuming these morning walks is that I quite often clear my head and/or get ideas when I'm in nature. And I wouldn't mind losing a couple of lbs. so previously I have been obsessed with how many miles I've walked and what my time is. Get that cardio up! So those two things (which when you think about it are a total dichotomy) are usually my intent when setting out. But intent can sometimes backfire.

Because I find I can't concentrate. Because I'm distracted by a pelican.

Or a squirrel.  SQUIRREL!!

And I have to stop to get just the right angle 
to make some nice bokeh behind those pink flowers. 
Wait - how do I turn the macro setting on on this thing again?

And I start slowing down because I'm framing things in my head and then - hey - wouldn't that look cool framed like this.

And then I remembered something I read recently.

The purpose of fishing is not to catch fish.


I told myself.  Just stop. Stop trying to control something as simple as a walk in the park. (No pun intended. Or maybe it is...) Maybe the purpose of a walk in nature isn't to solve the problems of the world - or your little life. Maybe the purpose of a walk in nature isn't to see how fast you can do it.  I've climbed mountains in my life.  I'm done with that. Maybe the purpose of a walk in nature isn't to get the *best* photograph of a bird. 

(Full disclosure - I took this pic and the two following
today with my Canon; not the pink Nikon.)

Maybe the purpose of a walk in nature is to just fricking walk in nature.  Don't count my steps; don't plan my new business model ~ just be in the moment and Go. For. A. Walk.

And don't even think about what is around the next bend.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happiness is...

Last night I watched a documentary called "Happiness is" ~ well, ok, half of a documentary called "Happiness is."  It started out interestingly enough talking with everyone from college professors who analyze happiness to homeless (but talented) artists who create their own happiness despite the odds to children who just are happiness.  The filmmaker lost me, though, when he focused on immigration and featured an on-air pissing contest between Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera.  Granted it was kind of funny to see the two of them going at it, but the film didn't seem quite so happy anymore.

But it did get me thinking about happiness ~ which can be so elusive or so simple and means so many different things to so many people.  Happiness is a big deal to me but sometimes it seems the more I chase it, the more I analyze it ~ the more it slips away.  

So I took some time and returned to the one thing that can always bring some modicum of happiness - a walk in nature. This morning I took my Canon and my trusty Lensbaby 2.0 and the telephoto adapter and hit the trail. I didn't clear my head as much as I would have liked, but damn it felt good to be back on the path. And did get me thinking...

I noticed that despite our wet spring the lake is low.
And then - not to sound too dramatic - I thought
well, at least I have a lake.
At least I have water.

And then I thought about this ~

Stop analyzing. Stop searching for what is right in your own backyard. Stop creating problems where they may be none. Stop worrying. Stop being dramatic.

Just be happy. Do things that make you happy. For fuck sake.   

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Liberal Patriot

Being born an American citizen is pure luck. Do I take it for granted? I suppose I do. And shame on me for not appreciating every day how fortunate I am. But that doesn't diminish how grateful I am to those who serve and lay down their lives for our country.

Am I liberal? Yes. But that doesn't mean I love my country any less than a conservative nor make me any less patriotic.

Thank you to my father-in-law who served bravely in World War II and to my friend, David, who has served so strongly in Iraq and Afghanistan and still serves in the Army today. And thank you to all the other men and women of the armed forces and their families who sacrifice every single day so I can remain a liberal patriot.

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's a Holiday!

I woke up this morning and for the first time in ~ oh I don't know... months ~ didn't feel rushed to get into the studio and start working.  Having just made a rather large delivery - a combo of Whee Ones

and some fun canvas wrap prints of retro neon signs around Denver (oh and a shot of the Colorado Capitol Dome I was restocking)

I have such affection for retro signs and plan to shoot more soon!
And lucky me - 4 prints were sold this morning!

to one of my favorite shops I Heart Denver downtown I was feeling relaxed.  

[Side bar (no pun intended) ~ it was great to stop on the way home after the delivery yesterday and clink glasses

with The Mister

Ok, ok, glass and copper mug

at one of our favorite Denver haunts Racines and to celebrate and catch up with ol' friends.]

So as we were planning our holiday weekend, being the Mister and I, of course it is a mix of work and play. There are a couple of Art Festivals downtown that we may check out.  We have some yummy ideas for grilling some of our favorite meals accompanied by some serious deck sitting with a cocktail to enjoy our newly planted flowers and trees.

I have a couple of orders to fill, but they aren't rush so I look forward to a few domestic duties I've neglected for ~ oh I don't know... months. Being a little OCD as I am it drives me crazy not to have my closets and drawers and cupboards neat and tidy ~ a place for everything and everything in its place. So that to me is fun! My studio and storage spaces will probably take a month, but this ~ this is a start.

I would show you a "before" pic 
but it was too embarrassing to even take one.

And it should be noted that although it may appear that a 12 year old works at this desk, it is indeed the desk of a 58 year old who creates things for children and hence, has an affinity for the whimsical and finds inspiration there.  

That said ~ it looks like a 12 year old works here.

And I do believe I have a 12 year old poltergeist is tapping me on the shoulder right now.  Five minutes ago my dry erase board fell off the wall. A second ago my "never, never, never give up" plaque fell off the wall.

I think I'm supposed to give up and go have that holiday cocktail with the Mister...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Red or White?

If you've known me for five minutes you know I have a fondness for the grape.  In liquid form.  And I'm not talkin' grape juice.  So the deal I make with myself is I work hard and I relax hard.  Especially when I finish a big project (and a lot of them seem to be big these days...) I get a reward.  And since I'll be making an appointment for a physical soon I thought I would pay homage to my evening/weekend/vacation drink of choice.  Before the doctor tells me to knock it off.

I have always been a chardonnay girl

Ah, memories... This was poolside at the Bellagio in Las Vegas 
a few years ago.
One of the first times I took my Lensbaby 2.0 on a little trip
and we were becoming friends.

And I like it over ice. And I don't care what the wine snobs think.

And yes, I usually prefer a flat-bottomed glass.  
My friends talk with their hands.  
You get the picture.

Once in awhile I will choose a red 

to go with a nice Italian meal.

But I always come back to my beloved white.

If you know me and if you knew my sisters
you would know that this is absolutely the way things are.
Yup, that's me.  The rebel in the boots, wine in hand.

So tonight after I had packed up 43 Whee Ones - all tagged with their personal little stories; and 9 canvas wrap prints all tagged with stories and history of the Denver landmarks and retro neon signs - everything inventoried and in their satchels ready to deliver ~  I thought a glass of vino was in order.

Keeping in mind that my blood pressure has been high lately (oh the joys of getting older and stressing out about every little thing - and a couple of big things) and I know my doc will wag his finger at me when I see him ~ I opted for a glass of red.  On ice thank you very much.

It's a nice little pinot.  Not bad.  And yes, I will drink it ala 
Diane Keaton style - on ice.

Not everyone in the family opts for the ice;

but I don't judge.

And it seems the irony in my life never ends.  I grabbed a fortune cookie leftover from our last delivery to munch on with my wine.  Are you fricking kidding me?

Oh the irony.
Perhaps it is time to try that yoga thing again.
Or at least take a walk.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Counting My Blessings

There I feel better now.  Got that out there - shook my fist and stomped my feet, swore like a sailor and today is looking a bit better.  

And compared to this tragedy -- pffft ~ I have no problems.

For the folks of Oklahoma ~

And for the rest of us (especially me) ~

Monday, May 20, 2013

Is It Over Yet?

May has been one f*cking emotional month.  I will not be sorry to see it go.

Only 11 more days to go.  Don't let the door bang your butt on the way out, May.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What Balance?

My life is in transition now.  For the first time in 36.5 years I find myself with no children living in fairly close proximity.  They are both in other states. And although I am happy for them and wish them all happiness, love and adventures ~~ it's a little weird for me.

Couple that with the fact that for about eight months now (not discounting the 3.5 years prior to that - but the last eight have been intense) I have been going 100 mph with my work and I feel burnout coming.

Finding balance is impossible for me. Because I've always prided myself on my drive to succeed, my work ethic, my ambition and my dedication to customer service (individuals and shops I work with).  I don't know how to do anything halfway.

So, yeah.  That's pretty much me.   Because I also do this

So this new phase of my life ~ the true "empty nester" phase ~ which shouldn't really feel that much different because we haven't had a child actually living with us for over 15 years ~ does feel different.

And I find myself thinking this more and more...

Now if I could just turn off the voices from my childhood telling me to "always be productive." 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Boda's Gift

Some things in life are so heart-wrenching it takes time to realize what has happened. There are, of course, the five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Some days I think I'm nearing acceptance; but then I find myself slipping back into denial and then all dressed in black here comes Mr. Depression again.

Because what happened two weeks ago just seems still so surreal that I'm stuck on... surreal.

My son was in the process of relocating and was not able to take his beloved cat. Long story short it was decided that 9 year old Boda cat would probably be better off staying in Denver with me, the Mister and our Senior Citizens

So Boda came to live with us

She was a shy kitty so we let her have her own space and observe the other four-legged furry people from a distance

Just as a matter of course we set up an appointment with our Veterinarian for a check-up for Boda later in the week.  After a couple of days we were concerned that she wasn't eating, so we moved the appointment up.

I won't go into great detail because dredging up all the facts is painful. Hell, looking at photos of her is painful.  Writing this (thru tears) is painful. Even thinking about all this is painful. Suffice it to say after many tests and examinations by two Vets, we learned the sweet girl had cancer and it was advanced.  We made the tough decision to say goodbye to her.

If anything can make that awful time less painful, our Vet did all she could.  She gave us as much time as we wanted with Boda ~ before, during and after.  We held her throughout and loved her beyond the end. The room was quiet and peaceful and reverent.  Oh and there were tears - lots of them. I remember at one point looking up thru my tears and seeing tears in the eyes of Dr. E.  That touched me so... 

But the pain didn't end there.Telling our son what had transpired was excruciating.

In the midst of all the despair, I had an epiphany, though. As I held that sweet girl and said goodbye, as I stroked her shiny black fur (that was another thing - she looked fine from the outside ~ made it all the harder); as I was saying goodbye I felt almost as though something from her came into me. A light bulb went off and I just knew. But I didn't say anything at the time; this was Boda's time.

Later that evening as we were driving thru the park on the way home from a business dinner (one that we had wanted to cancel but felt we couldn't) we were, of course, talking of Boda.  Out of the blue the Mister says, "I think we should adopt a cat. Not a kitten, an older cat like Boda."  

I almost cried. I probably did a little.  And I said, "I can't believe you just said that. Because I had that exact thought as I was holding Boda this morning and saying goodbye."

Things happen for a reason. We truly believe that Boda came into our lives for a reason. She opened our hearts and our minds to the possibility of welcoming another soul into our family. Our time with her was far too short. We had been so excited about having her with us. She was going to help us thru the transition ~ when 15.5 year old Simba and 20 year old A-choo passed on, Boda would be here for us. So the way it worked out was not the way it was supposed to go.

But she gave us a gift. In the months to come (or who knows - years?) ~ when we finally say goodbye to the one and only A-choo

the Mister and I are going to The Denver Dumb Friends League and adopt two adult cats. We really wanted to do it right away but out of respect for sweet ol' lady A-choo ~  we didn't want to stress her out in her final years.

But it is because of Boda and because of her gift that I knew I had to share her story ~ to honor her ~ to pay tribute to her. I hope she knows what an impact she had on us. 

I think this says it all ~ for dogs and cats

Thank you, Boda.  We love you forever and always.