End of summer anticipation.

I pulled the trigger and bought a plane ticket for some end of summer Labor Day weekend lake time.

The last time I was at the lake was in May.  It was a week before my wedding and I was about to lose my mind.  I was torn between wanting to turn my brain completely off and fall asleep in the hammock with Fifty Shades of Grey and wanting to just get my bottom back to my parents’ house so I could connect to WiFi and continue emailing everyone and their brother about last minute reception items.

So after this long, hot, sad summer in the arid Denver desert, it’s with incredible happiness I’m arriving in Hartford on Thursday.

I need me some blue sky and big water.

Shrimp cocktail and white wine on the boat.

Snuggles with Glitter Kitty on the deck.

And the Columbia County Fair starts tomorrow night. I hope to be sipping on a 4H Milk Shed shake the minute I get in the gates.  I can’t wait to see Diamond Rio on Sunday with my cousins.


A Monday Happy.

Lately, I’ve had some busy Mondays.  That first day of the work week makes for snapping back into place at the office.

But each Monday that’s full of here, there and everywhere are little reminders of my life’s happy moments.

Here are a few of mine from today.

Hearing my coworker sing along to KBCO.
She’s been my friend for almost five years.  On my first day at work, Gloria came over to my desk and gave me some pointers on the office culture.  She handed me the supply catalog and told me she’d be here if I had any questions.  I had TONS of questions.  And she never got frustrated with me.  And surprisingly, she still hasn’t.  Love her.

Realizing my panties are the same color as my painted toenails.  
This was an awesome thought.  I totally wanted to tell Gloria.  But I’m a professional. Ahem.

Wandering the library.
After work, I got to peruse the stacks at the library.  I love my branch so much.  The librarians, the patrons, and their fiction section.  It’s just so easy to be happy there. I picked out three novels for the weekend.

Coming home to a very clean apartment.
Yesterday, we had C’s family over for dinner.  When I really need motivation for a deep clean of the apartment, I invite someone over for dinner.  We cleaned, we cooked, and we baked.  It stayed clean.  And when I walked in the door after the library today, I was careful to take my heels off and put them back in the closet.

A weekend with Granny.

There is a list of reasons one mile long on why I love Granny Stroh.

One item on that list is her storytelling.

She tells witty, funny stories about Chris’s dad, Jeff and Jeff’s brother, Alan, as boys growing up in a small town where Grandpa Stroh was a sheriff.  There were some really good short stories not necessarily appropriate for public consumption that I’ll keep to share with our children.

And then there was this one.

Grandpa had arrested a fellow in town and was responsible for transporting the prisoner down south to Canon City, to the big prison there.  I guess because it was the 1950s and rules were a little more relaxed in western towns on the eastern plains of Colorado, Grandpa decided to drive the prisoner to Canon City in the new family DeSoto he and Granny had purchased.  And what with Granny not too busy, she came along for the ride too.  Three and a half hours one way.  One Grandpa, one Granny and one hand-cuffed convict in the back seat.

They stopped once along the way so they could all get a hamburger and use the facilities.  All went well at the restaurant and Grandpa re-cuffed the convict’s hands behind his back.  The trio got back in the Desoto.  They were on the road for a few miles when the trouble began.  Perhaps it was the energy from the hamburger lunch.  Maybe it was just a last-ditch effort to make a break for it.  On a deserted highway, the prisoner started kicking at the front seat in an attempt to knock Grandpa out of control of the vehicle.  Then, he leaned over and started kicking in the direction of Grandpa’s head, much to the horror of Granny.  A scuffle ensued and Grandpa kept driving as the convict wriggled all over the back seat trying to get Grandpa to drive off the road.  Granny panicked as she tried to figure out how to stop the fight.

She thought of smacking the convict with her purse, but was instantly disappointed when she realized she had chosen to wear a straw purse that day — of all days!  She then remembered a giveaway from a sheriffs’ convention a few weeks earlier that was in the glove compartment –  a flashlight!  As Grandpa swerved the DeSoto on the highway and the convict continued to flail from the back seat, Granny reached for the flashlight, gripped it tight and turned around and hit the convict over the head, several times, until he passed out.

She got him good!

When they arrived at Canon City, the convict was groggy but calm and in good health.

Of course, my first question was, “Did Grandpa charge him with assaulting an officer?”

“Oh no,” Granny smiled.  ”But later, the prisoner did write a letter to me and Grandpa thanking us for saving his life.”

People certainly did have good manners back then.

Every moment of our weekend with Granny was a highlight.  From tooling around Tubac to reading and napping in the living room to playing dominoes and drinking Moscow Mules on Saturday night.

She’s so easy to love.

So is that Sonora Desert.

Kinney Road, Tucson

C’s favorite. Saguaro cactus.

My favorite. Tubac.

Just leave me here. I’ll be fine. Really.

Grove after grove in pecan country.

Barn swallows love August in Green Valley.



A most perfect Saturday.

Saturday was awesome.  It was maybe one of the best Colorado days I’ve had.  And I’ve had so many good days in this place.

Saturday was that good.

The day was practically perfect in every way.

Our alarm went off at three a.m.  C and I were well-rested (four hours) and raring to go (mountain time!)

Sandwiches for breakfast and lunch were packed.  Plenty of water.  Hiking boots.  Hats and gloves.

We got in the car and drove one block and picked up Katie and C3 and their friend, Jaleene.  I just love living one block away from Katie.  Heart it.

And then we drove into the darkness and into the great big wild.  Out of the city, down one of my favorite roads on the front range of Colorado, Route 285.

We pulled off near Fairplay and ended up trolling down a long, beautiful dirt road.  Cattle in pastures.  A moon in the sky above the muted landscape.

We parked, got dressed in our warm gear and started our ascent.  Mount Sherman – 14,036 feet.

We scrambled over piles of mine tailings.  We walked carefully across ridges as the wind blew so hard I could feel it whipping through my insides.  And at the top, once we high-fived each other  and other Mount Sherman climbers, we ate some really delicious sandwiches.  Katie promised that when we reached our destination and took that first bite of sandwich, it would definitely be the “best sandwich you’ve ever eaten.”  She was right.

I conquered my first 14-er.


Don’t look them in the eye.


I have been terrified of them since seeing this documentary on PBS.

They are VERY smart.  That’s what concerns me.  Did you know they’re the only bird known to RECOGNIZE HUMANS?  Like, they’ll be nesting in a tree outside your house and will see you in your kitchen, and know who you are.  They’ll recall your face.  They may even know your name and mobile phone number.  I’m not one to speculate.

As of this week, there are crows in our neighborhood.  ON OUR BLOCK.  HUNDREDS of them.  In fact, I’d be willing to say there is a murder of crows hanging out on our street.  They are swarming.

We were sitting in the living room yesterday evening, innocently watching girls’ Olympic gymnastics (go Jordyn Wieber!!) and I saw this rush of shadow in the sky outside our balcony.

C and I went outside to take a look.

Black wings and pointy beaks everywhere.


I averted my eyes as I snapped these photos to ensure my own safety.  There’s no telling, though.  I was still closer than I’ve ever been to more than just one crow.

Many landed on the building across the street.


See that one in the middle of the shot, looking in the opposite direction?  He sees our neighbor and is storing her face in his memory.  I’m sure of it.

I think this is witty.  It’s smart.  Like crows.




Grandma Dietz’s love.

She left us with her legacy, and to pick up the pieces of her life.  Through stories and tears and laughter, we have started weaving together the chapters of her time on this earth.

C’s Grandma Dietz passed away Monday July 9 and it was quite a shock.  Seven days before, we took her out to dinner.  Ten days before that, I visited her with C’s mom.  Two weeks before that she read a blessing she wrote and danced the polka at our wedding in New York.

And just a few short weeks later, she left this place and all of us.

Her four children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and their spouses mourn her.  Her sister, sister-in-law and many cousins and friends came together to wish her well on her next journey.

Though I only knew her two years, I found her joyful, silly and thoughtful.  Her house was warm and inviting and her smile contagious.  She loved with a big heart.  C loved her right back.  I was lucky enough to love her right back too.

When I had been dating C less than a month, he took me on a date with Grandma.  That’s correct.  I went on a date with C and Grandma.  Every year, she met up with her family in Windsor, Colorado, for a family picnic.  It takes place the first weekend in August, and it has for a long while.  Grandma’s Russian-German small town farming roots brought her to the reunion every year she could.

This past winter, C and I drove Grandma home one evening after dinner and we sat with her on her sofa for a few hours and poured over the family photo albums.  She smiled at the sweet kid photos of C’s mom and her brothers and I couldn’t help but get a warm feeling in my heart as Grandma talked about what a beautiful blond baby C was – and how he was so kissable.  I learned about Fritz the family dog and a bit about Grandma’s life in Fort Morgan, before the farm failed and she and her husband moved their family to Denver to start a new life in the city.

This weekend, C and I will go to the Windsor family picnic without Grandma.  We’ll figure out how to make her famous rival kuga from her worn recipe book and sit under the wide pale blue sky of Colorado’s eastern plains and think of her smile, her warmth and her love.