Tag Archives: Colorado

The boy who owns my heart

I feel like I’ve spent an ample amount of time and energy writing blog posts about past experiences in my life. I’m in a really positive frame of mind today, as the sun is shining here in Colorado and I just returned from my morning neighborhood walk.  I’ve had thoughts about writing stories of my encounters with nature, furry creatures, and people I don’t yet know whom I pass by on these walks. I’ve given myself a mental directive to practice mindfulness during these walks by counting the number of bunnies in my neighborhood (highest total was surprisingly only 7). But today I found myself thinking about a little boy who owns my heart.

He’s got the most beautiful head of golden blond hair. He speaks in complete sentences now and often says the funniest things. He loves playing with toy cars, eating strawberries and cucumbers, and when he is riled up and cranky, his parents banish him to the “crabby corner”. And he still loves the “stinky feet” game I play with him. It involves him laying down on a bed or floor while I take each one of his ticklish, chunky, silky soft feet and smell them, exclaiming “Pee-you!” each time I take  a whiff. This activity elicits the most gleeful giggles I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.

I’ve had it in my mind these past few months that this summer, he was going to visit me and the hubs in Colorado. It’d be his first ride in an airplane, not surprising at the tender age of 3. He’d flirt with fellow passengers, especially those of the female persuasion. He would be mesmerized by the clouds he sees through his window seat, to the point where he’d take a sweet little snooze for a while. However, this trip is likely going to have to wait till next summer, when he’s 4, due to financial and scheduling constraints. I am going to embrace this fact and use my time between now and then to imagine/plan the adventures we will have with him next summer.

Oh, the things we will do, the places we will go!

We will take him to the Butterfly Pavilion, located not far from us. There he will check out the in house beehive and Hubs (the scientist) can tell him why bees are so important to us humans here on earth. If he’s brave enough, he will let a big, furry spider sit in his hands while one of the employees tells him what spiders eat and about their natural habitat. He will walk through their amazing butterfly garden, with the sun streaming through the windows and ceiling. Maybe a butterfly will land on his foot, like one did for me when I last visited. We will be sure to dress him in something bright and colorful that day to increase the chance this will happen.

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver is likely to be very exciting for him as well. There I imagine he will cling to my legs as we approach the flood exhibit. He may cover his little ears because it gets pretty loud. The water will likely splash him a little bit, which will cause him to shriek with excitement. He will have lots of questions at the Aquarium to be sure, like “what is that?” and the favorite toddler question “Why?”.  He will giggle and point at the otters who flip and flop and glide through the water while simultaneously keeping their little eyes on the humans who are delighting in their antics.

Most certainly, he will be exposed to the wonder that is Rocky Mountain National Park. Hubs will need to take his Nikon to get shots of this little man exploring all the naturally stunning beauty to be found there. Beforehand, Hubs can take him to buy his own pint sized fishing pole. Then I can get some shots of Hubs teaching the little guy how to fish. A hike would also have to be on the itinerary, though with a 3 year old it shan’t be one that is overly long or challenging. It’ll probably involve a stop along the way to have a picnic lunch. I’ll have to pack some of those disgusting-but-loved-by toddlers mashed fruit pouches, peanut butter sandwiches, and juice boxes. And lots of handi-wipes of course.

Hubs and I will scope out the best parks with playground equipment within a 10 mile radius and visit them with the kiddo. We will take him to church, where he can meet our new church family and hear some great music. We will take him to the Science Museum in Denver, to which we have not yet been. And we’ll take him to one of our lovely Farmer’s Markets and encourage him to sample new and foreign-to-him foods, and capture his reaction. We will take him to a water and/or amusement park, accompanying him on rides which he is tall enough to be on.

This child of which I speak is our grandson Christopher. He makes my heart burst with happiness whenever I am with him. The highlight of this summer for me will no doubt be times spent with him when we visit Wisconsin in July. It’s hard to imagine there was actually a time, not long ago, when I was so caught up in my own self-image that I told everyone that while indeed, my daughter was having her own baby, I would not be called “Grandma”. Time (and love) has such an awesome way of changing one’s perspective, does it not?

The best things about living in Colorado

After living in Colorado for almost 9 months now, I am in the throes of falling in love with this state. Life is different here than anywhere else we have lived (which includes, in order: northern Minnesota,  central Minnesota, Lubbock, TX, way northern Minnesota -I could essentially see Canada from our rented cabin,  Wichita, KS, the Twin Cities, Holmen then La Crosse, WI, and now Colorado). I am blessed to have the rare opportunity, at least for the moment, to be unencumbered by the stress of paid, full time employment. This “unencumberedness” has gifted me with the ability to slow down and appreciate my new surroundings. And let me tell you, there is a lot to love about this new state that the hubs and I now call home. Below is my list of favorite things in this oh so colorful state:

  1. The scenery! I can literally walk to the edge of our townhome community and see the Rocky Mountains. To say they are spectacular is actually an understatement. As a bonus, the majority of the daytime the skies are blue and the sun is shining. And the skies at night are often stunning, particularly around sundown. The hubs has a Nikon and has taken some tremendous photos of said skies. Like this one: 20161205_070430

 

2) There are dogs everywhere! This is especially awesome for the canine lover in me. From Kevin and Bandit, our big, furry friends who live with our neighbors across the way, to the two sweet mutts who are the children of a nice young English guy we interacted with at our local watering hole, (Twenty Brew in Westminster), to the little fur ball named “Rhoda” who has the pleasure of living with a most wonderful older couple from our church, everyone seems to have a dog (or two). And dogs are also welcome in the most unlikely of places here. Example: I recently witnessed a large golden retriever taking a nap next to his human while he was at the customer service desk at Lowe’s (and no, he did not appear to be a service dog).

3) Easy access to great live entertainment. Since living here, we’ve gone to the Buell Theater in Denver to see “MoTown the Musical” which was amazing. We’ve gone to Boulder to see the band “Cake” at the Boulder Theater which was a crazy-good, rockin’ show. We went to Left Hand Brewery’s “Leftapalooza” event which featured cover bands of The Pretenders, The Who, and other classic rock bands. We have tickets to see Train with O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater in Englewood on the Fourth of July, which we are super stoked about. And we have Red Rocks, which is around an hour away from where we live. While we have been there to check the place out twice now, we have yet to see a concert there. But it is certainly on our list of things to do while we are living here!

4) Okay, here’s the elephant in the room: weed is legal here (both medical and recreational), which I deem to be a very good thing. I have seen documentaries in which regular people suffering from medical conditions who have told their stories about how medical cannabis has dramatically decreased their pain levels and increased their appetite so they could gain much needed weight. From what I understand, the legalization of weed has been quite a boon to the economy here as well, as a host of new jobs have been created as a result.

5) The Next with Kyle Clark on 9 news. This is my favorite news program. The stories are often of the human interest variety, but always specific to Colorado. I learn something new about this state every time I watch it. And that Kyle Clark is a good looking, smart, and witty guy a person might just like to have a beer and shoot the sh*&t with.

Snippet of Kyle Clark doing his thing

6)  That of course brings me to the beer. Specifically craft beer. After living here for 9 months, I very likely would be considered a “beer snob” by my old pals still living in Wisconsin. I’m good with that though. Our favorite local joint, Twenty Brew, serves up a rotating menu of Colorado craft beer. You can purchase 4 oz. tasters up to 16 oz. glasses of anything from Kolsch styles, a wide variety of IPA’s, Stouts, Lagers, and more. An added bonus here is that the bartenders, and sometimes other patrons, are always up for lively conversations. There are also numerous breweries within a short drive from our house, such as Westminster Brewing Company, Left Hand Brewing, 4 Noses, and Wild Woods (just to name a very few we have visited). The best ones have outdoor seating, where you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery and sometimes catch some cool live music. Here’s hubs and I at Twisted Pines Brewery in Boulder (highly recommend-not only do they have great beer but the food is amazing). 20170409_122706 (1).jpg

7) The people! I love the friendships I have started to make here. There’s my new hairdresser, who is a spunky, hilarious, big hearted tattooed  and pierced mother of two who operates her business in the basement of her home. There’s my dynamic, artistically talented, kind and smart friend Tina, who I met through the “Meet Up” website. There’s the folks I volunteer with at FISH, a food pantry in Broomfield, through whom I am learning a lot about Colorado.

My ultimate goal for this summer, amidst a trip to see our beloved family and friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and a work related trip with the Hubs to D.C., is to experience more of what makes Colorado, well Colorado. And for those of you pronouncing it “Col-oh-rado”, I heard from a legit source (The Next’s Kyle Clark) that the natives pronounce it “Col-ah-rad-o”. A concert at Red Rocks just might be on the agenda. I will certainly keep you all abreast of our shenanigans in this uniquely wonderful state we now call home.

 

 

 

Ch ch ch Changes….

I believe that change is a constant. It can be your BFF or your enemy. The choice is up to you.

Change can be exciting, scary, heart-wrenching, excruciatingly painful, uplifting, and, without doubt, stress inducing.But, for better (or for worse), IT’S GONNA HAPPEN. Nothing you can do about it.

You see, my life has changed in some pretty significant ways in the last few years.
The first and perhaps biggest change happened one fall evening while dining out with my oldest daughter (who was 21 at the time) and her then-boyfriend. Amanda called me to say she had some news to share with my husband and I. I assumed that this was to announce that she and Rob were engaged. We decided to take them to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. Amanda was clearly nervous and excited about sharing her news with us. As I was enjoying a lovely glass of chardonnay and anticipating what she was about to say (all the while thinking in my head about how I would and should react), Rob blurted out that he and Amanda were going to be parents. Within literally seconds of this announcement, with my jaw on the floor, our kind waiter asked if we would like another glass of wine. I naturally responded to this in the affirmative.

Fast forward a couple of months. While my sweet hubby and I were simultaneously selling our house in the suburbs, purchasing a sweet “Grandma” house in the city (we had made the decision that summer to downsize and buy an older home now that we were in full “empty nester” mode) and planning for our move to this sweet new house just before Thanksgiving, we were also planning a wedding. Yes, these two soon to be parents were adamant that they would be married before the birth of their first child. Despite some misgivings, we decided to support this decision. So, in January of 2014, I became a mother in law (Change). Then in February of 2014, I became a Grandma. This was a doozie of a change for me. It took me until the day Christopher was born to get over my shit (OMG-I’m only 48, I can’t be referred to as somebody’s grandmother. For Pete’s sake! was the primary theme for me here). But when I saw my Amanda in that hospital bed with this perfect, beautiful, healthy baby boy I realized all my angst was for naught. Amanda had never looked more beautiful to me. She was quite literally glowing, with a relaxed, peaceful smile on her face, she introduced me to Christopher. I remember telling my hubby that I had witnessed in that moment two people falling in love. The look between our Amanda and that precious baby was one of pure, true, forever, love.

Further changes were afoot , however. Around this same time, the hubs had changed positions at work. He was now under the supervision of a new boss, who was based in Washington, D.C. and told that there was an expectation that he move to D.C. or Boulder, CO. within the next couple of years. So after having a lovely couple of years in our sweet “Grandma” house, becoming friends with our neighbors and just enjoying living in the city, we put the house up for sale and moved to Colorado in July of 2016. Big change, people!! Scary-yes. Exciting-totally! Heart-wrenching (saying goodbye to Amanda and Christopher), excruciatingly painful (saying goodbye to all our wonderful friends, neighbors, and church family we had known for 16 years), uplifting (no longer employed as a stressed out social worker), and stress inducing (scheduling the move, packing, unpacking, trying to find a house we could afford in a very different housing market).
As one of my most favorite artists, Sheryl Crow, sings “A change will do you good, yeah a change will do you good”…..

I hope you will stay tuned as the constant churn of change continues for me.

Happiness and love to you,

Rhonda