Boat and Tote love.

Since I was a wee kid, these bags have been hanging around my life.

I’m a total bag lady – just like my Grandma Betty.  I love a good, sturdy bag I can stuff full of everything and anything.  That’s why the L.L. Bean Boat and Tote is a must-have.

My momma uses these bags all the time, and over the years, has purchased several for herself, friends and family.  From the small size to extra-large, these bags are the best for trips to the library, the beach, a picnic, toting groceries or using as carry-on luggage.

They’re made in Maine from heavy-duty canvas, able to be monogrammed and practically indestructible.  Because they’re from L.L. Bean they’re guaranteed for life.


[A gift for Katie!]

I travel with one of these bags almost every trip I take.  I gave them to my bridesmaids (filled with some of my other favorite things) as gifts for being in my wedding.  I have open top, zip top, large and extra-large sizes.  I have them in pink, black and navy-colored straps.

As we were walking out the door to Martha’s Vineyard for a quick getaway honeymoon last year, my mother handed us a Boat and Tote with beach towels, sunscreen and snacks.  Our “Stroh” bag gets used at least once a week.  Cute, right?


[Stroh bag's first beach trip]

These bags aren’t too expensive in general–as you’ll have it for the rest of your days on earth–but right now, through Wednesday, May 29, they’re an even better deal because they’re all 20% off.

Click here for details!

[Top photo by Kara Pearson]

May Day.


I’ve figured it out.

April [snow] showers bring May [snow] showers.

It’s May 1 and Denver is covered in snow.  It continues to fall in big, juicy flakes.

C and I went to the Nuggets playoff game last night and celebrated by getting an ice cream cone at Sweet Action.

As we pulled the car into Cheesman Park, the first sprinkles of rain started falling and by this morning, the rooftops in our neighborhood were covered with a light dusting of snow.  Throughout the day, many inches have fallen (this is my official estimate from my seat by the window at work).

When we were little and living on Knollwood, I remember our next door neighbor, Hillary, who was also little, pulling the May Day trick.  For years, she’d walk up our front steps on May Day and leave a basket of marigolds outside the front door, knock and run away.  I don’t know if my momma ever caught her to give her a smooch, but I always thought that was fun.

I imagine even through snow, Hillary would have delivered her May Day treats.

Early spring snow.

I’m doing something right now I very rarely do in the mornings.  I’m taking a little time to “coast.”

Last week, Annie told me she got up early, made some coffee, then went back to bed with her mug and did some reading, perused Pinterest and relaxed a little while longer before actually getting on with her morning routine before work.  She said her grandfather called it “coasting,” and that’s exactly what it is. (And when you tell people about it, you need to spread your arms out like an airplane, so they understand exactly what you mean.)  You could coast for 10 minutes or for a whole day.  Today, I’m going to keep my coasting to maybe an hour and a half.

After a wild snowstorm hit Boston yesterday morning and M thought it best to fly out of town early, in order to guarantee she’d be able to ski Colorado by Saturday.  She arrived in Mile High around 7 p.m. and I’m so glad to have her.  We had a pint and pizza at our pub down the street and were tucked in by 11.  Overnight, I felt very hot and opened the window in our bedroom.  Though it’s VERY chilly now, it’s just right under the covers.  Everything looks white from here in bed.  The sky out the window and the walls.  Songbirds are chirping in the early morning white and the cold air smells like snow.

This weekend, as M and I make our way to the high country, the state expects another winter storm.  I welcome it.

Because I’m coasting and very relaxed, here are some photos from our weekend in the Fraser Valley a few weeks back.


Apres ski on Saturday we took a lovely drive through the valley.

FV_6 FV_5 FV_4 FV_3



We drove until the road ran out.


A peaceful storm.

We’ve had a quiet winter so far in Mile High–some snow in the mountains (more falling right now) but very little in the city.  I love a good, hearty snow day, particularly when it comes on a weekend when you can hunker down in front of a wood stove with soup and a cup of tea.

This weekend, my parents were lucky enough to get some snow in New York, thanks to that gigantic Northeast Nemo.  Not too many inches, just enough to be peaceful and white.

These are some photos sent from my momma yesterday.

This is their side yard.

NY1White on white.  I love the way the tree branches cast afternoon shadows on that brilliant sugar dust.

NY2And darling Miles, contemplating a pounce onto the deck.  He would ultimately decide it too chilly.  Smart kitty.



Twelve 2012 Instagram Faves.

I got an iPhone for my birthday last year from C and for the past several months, I’ve taken over 1,800 photos with it.  I imagine that’s many, many more calls than I’ve made and received.  I think the first app I downloaded was Instagram.  I’ve had a fun time with it.

You hear a lot these days about digital photos never leaving the gallery and staying on a disk or in a server for the rest of time.  Below are some of my favorite photos enhanced by Instagram taken in 2012–shared now, with all of you.

Instagram11. Western skies on a pretty spring afternoon in Lakewood.



2. Brudder love on the Lake.



3. A special birthday morning.



4. It became very real we were getting married when Tiffany started arriving on Vine Street.



5. This darling tiger kitty is my favorite.  He gets a lot of love from Momma and Dad.



6. The most magical place.  When I need a time out, I close my eyes and think of the smell of the forest and the lake.



7. What a muse.  More of the same special place.


Instagram78. One happy camper on a Sunday morning in the Rockies.


Instagram89. Labor Day wool winners at the Columbia County Fair in Chatham.



10. Already pining for the Atlantic at the SeaCrest Beach Hotel.



11. First time at a Big Boy in Oh-hi-oh on our way home from R and J’s lovely wedding!



12. Charlie Brown’s.  Where it all started for me and C.  We love this place.


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.

Thank Heaven for Little Boys

When my brother was three years old my mom went out to lunch.  Literally, not figuratively.

It was only that one time, too.  Otherwise, she was home with us always [wink!].

She left us in our dad’s care for the afternoon and he thought it was the perfect sunny day to attach a trailer to his riding lawn mower for some heavy-duty yard work.

And since we were both too small to be trusted out of his sight, he let us ride in the trailer attached to the mower.

And since my brother was the most curious little boy you’d ever meet, he decided to fiddle with the pin holding the trailer to the hitch at the back of the riding mower.  While we were driving up the driveway, he pulled out the pin and the trailer came unhitched from the tractor.

And we tumbled out.

Because little brother was concentrating so hard on pulling that pin out, his tongue was sort of hanging out of his mouth in deep determination and when the pin came loose his sharp little baby teeth bit right through half of it.

Horrified by the sight of all that blood and dear brother’s screaming (which he rarely did), my dad ran to our neighbors to drop me off and took him to the emergency room.

By the time my mother got there – did you know, btw, tongues can be stitched? – my dad was pale as all get-out and my brother was sucking on a freeze pop, sharing stories of his afternoon at the hospital in garbled, swollen tongue talk.

My good friend took her little boy to the emergency room for the first time this week after he jumped off the sofa.  He was acting okay, then he started limping and complaining.

He’s totally fine now and back to his little boy self.

She said she swears he’ll give her heart failure at a very young age.

Rocking Chair Porches

Last Monday evening I went to visit an old pal of mine, who is house sitting a small farmhouse that’s currently on the market.  She’ll stay until it sells.

She graduated from college a few years back and is trying to figure out where she belongs and right now.  After my visit, I’d say she’s in the right place.

The farmhouse was built in 1875.  It’s been made modern inside, but remains stoic and strong with little bits of crooked and bowed wood floors and trim.  I tried to imagine the families that lived there over the little house’s history.  As the people inside grew, so did the house.  With a small addition here and there, a second story and a back deck.  There’s a falling-down barn in the yard and freight railroad tracks run close up the hill from the back door.  All a part of the house’s story.  Now a part of her story.

What tickled me beyond was the front porch.  With just a few close neighbors, the porch was perfection.  If the house were mine I would add some wooden rockers and a few patchwork throws and make sure a sweating pitcher of lemonade was a permanent fixture from June to September on the railing to welcome passers-by.

My pal and I chatted easily on the front room sofa while I drank hot chamomile.

When I left, I was struck by the darkness of the sky and the bright stars that fell around that small acreage and on the roof of that beautiful front porch.

I suppose just about anything can strike your fancy and become your muse.