Monday, December 31, 2018


The other day in my Zumba class, one of the girls was saying that snow is in the forecast here on Christmas day.  I had to put my fingers in my ears and just say, "La la la la la...."- because I don't want to even think about missing a possible White Christmas.

We won't be spending Christmas at our home here in Colorado this year.  Our families and friends still live in Dallas, so we're heading there for the holiday.

I'll get to see Dad.  And my brother Fleetwood.  And my sister may or may not fly in, depending on when her friend's baby arrives. And of course, we'll see Fermin's family.  And some of our most special friends.  So I KNOW the trip will be worthwhile and fun once we get there.

But still, it's hard to want to leave HOME.   I've always been a homebody.  And now, more than ever.  I need to focus on the good things about going on this short little trip.  And remind myself that we will be back here soon.  And that THIS is where we live now.  Dallas is just a place we visit sometimes.

And there will be other White Christmases we can be here for. Until then, I'm just dreaming about it.

Friday, December 21, 2018


December 16th was and is Mom's bday.  This year, she would've been 83.  But she didn't get past 69.

Each year since she's been gone, I have always marked that day with self indulgence and self love.  I don't do anything I don't want to do on December 16th.  It's only good stuff on that date. And almost always, I go to the movies- usually by myself.  Mom and I both loved going to movies, and often went together.  My love of both movies and reading is at least in large part due to Mom's influence on me.

But this year, I didn't see a movie.  But, of course I was aware all day that it was her birthday. I checked in with both my brother and my sister.  And Fermin and I talked a little about Mom.

I was with Fermin all day, because it fell on a Sunday this year.  I didn't even think about going to the movies alone, as I usually do.  Instead, after I read for a long while in the morning, Fermin and I took the dogs on a walk, then later went on a long and beautiful hike, and then ate a good meal out.

Mom loved going to movies, but Mom loved Fermin even more, so I KNOW she'd be so happy with how I spent the day.

My friend, Kelly, gave me a few pair of socks that I just received last weekend.  A sweet shout on to Mom are on my feet today...
Thanks, MOM!!
She pretty much WAS right about everything...
flowers on my feet ❤️

Monday, December 17, 2018

the day my eye was raped

it took me a little while to feel like writing about this.
it was oddly traumatizing- as you can see from my title-and it took me a few days to recover.
but i want to write this, because i want to think more about how i let it happened and why it felt so violating.

so here's the story.

i went to the mall with fermin last weekend.  while he went to pick up his glasses at lenscrafters, i was killing a little time looking around at a couple of other stores nearby.

while i was in "salt attic",  i decided to throw away my drink, since holding it was making it harder for me to look at merchandise.  i tried looking for an employee to ask if i could throw it away, but never saw one.  i did, however, find the trash can, so i tossed my drink in.  immediately afterwords, some guy, maybe the manager or hopefully just a rude employee, picked it out of the trash, handed it to me and said, "uh-no- you can't throw that away here. you'll have to go and use the trash outside the store."  but i felt embarrassed that i had done something someone saw as rude.  it was not my intention at all.  i left the store, and found an outside trashcan and tossed my drink cup.

i tell this part of the story only because maybe that had something to do with how the next part happened.  the trash incident had me feeling weird and a little insecure i guess.

a young man at a kiosk grabbed me and asked if i would like a sample of some eye cream.  i don't remember saying yes, but i didn't say no.  i hadn't even had a chance to process what was happening until the next thing i knew this guy was rubbing creme right around one of my eyes.  he was talking a LOT, in what sounded like a russian accent.  i couldn't get a word in to say, "no, i don't really want you rubbing creme on my face."

he told me just like going to the gym for a work out, we need to take care of our skin.  he showed me a before and after photo of a 75 year old woman that was a smoker.  picture one was super awful.  the after picture was just meh.  like i said, she was an elderly woman- a lot older than me. so i didn't really see my current self in her.  but i felt like he did.  like maybe i was suppose to look at her improvement picture and think, "oh that's awesome!  i can look like her if i use this."

i guess that creme takes a certain amount of time to "work it's magic" so he kept talking and talking, a mile a minute, and asking me questions like if i had thought about botox, and what area bothered me the most- my eyes or my neck? then i became super self conscious about my eyes and my neck, which was probably his intention.

as he was handing me the mirror to take a look at my "after", he said it would look better if i didn't have any make up on- then he hands me the mirror and the eye he messed with looked worse than EVER.  his stupid eye cream had mixed in with some of my make up and it was blotchy and made my lines show up even more.

i looked at my face and felt so ugly.  he asked, "well, what do you think?"

i wanted to barf.  but just said, "well, i look awful actually. i hate this and i'm really uncomfortable and i hate your product..." without even looking at him, i got up from the chair-  (i don't even really know how i got there in the first place) and pretty much RAN though the mall to lenscrafters to grab fermin and get the hell out of dodge.

it was rattling.  i felt completely violated.  this asshole never got my permission to start rubbing crap on my face.  and then his words made me feel so ugly.  it was just so gross and humiliating.

no, my blood sugar wasn't low enough to excuse that i let this guy do this.  i seriously think it happened because i was wondering around, a little dazed, after the other man in the retail store made me feel like a rule breaker for throwing trash away without permission.  (stupid, i know, but it's all i got)

when i tried to explain it to fermin, he thought i was letting it get to me way too much.  and for sure, i was.  i'm still not sure why.  i don't know how it happened, really. and that made me even more upset, that i let this stupid guy make me feel bad.

if we take the sex aspect out of the definition of rape, i think my eye was raped in the mall last weekend.  the dictionary defines rape as "an outrageous violation".    and THAT, it was.

this is the product sample the rapist gave me.  and it's going directly in the trash can.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Rules of Magic

Book reviews tend to be a little boring, especially for anyone who hasn't read the book.  So I'll only do a very brief post about the book I just finished reading- The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman.

It's the prequel to Practical Magic.  Even if you didn't read that book, perhaps you remember the movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock.  Now, for me at least, it's been so long that I don't remember all that much about it.  Thankfully, The Rules of Magic stands on it's own, and it doesn't matter if you've read the other book or not.

 It's starts off with this quote:

As soon as I saw that, I knew this was a good book for me.  I believe in love. Above all else.  And what comes to mind when I read this quote was how heartbroken I was when my dogs, Zoe and Scout died, both at the age of 15.  But after deep mourning for a few months- a few very long and miserable months, I found Lucy and Ricky.  The day I brought them home, is the day my heart got stitched back together and my capacity to love was even greater. 

This theme shows up over and over in the book...
"Love more. Not Less."

And, that beautiful theme closes out the book so perfectly...
We will all lose people (and pets) that we love. As I get older, I realize this more and more.  And although it makes me actually feel sick to my stomach when I think about it, I know that it's the human spirit to keep living and to keep loving- and to find more love. Otherwise, why would we go on?

The only remedy for love is more love.❤️

Monday, December 10, 2018

Music Monday- YOU ARE YOU ARE by Lucy Schwartz

Because I recently discovered the Parenthood series (thank you, Valerie!) I was turned on to Lucy Schwartz, who had a song placement in one of the first few episodes.  I looked her up in Apple Music and realized I had bought one of her CDs years ago, but somehow she wasn't really on my radar.  Back in my CD buying days, I would go through phases of buying so much music all at once, there wasn't enough time to really listen to any of it.  Too bad for me, I didn't realize how great she was all those years ago.

But now, I know. Better late than never, I say.

I started listening to her music this past week and although I love all of it, this particular song stood out.  And by stood out, I mean I listened to it on repeat probably a dozen or more times in a row.  And loved it more with every listen.  I can't stop listening to it and humming it all my waking hours now.  And I think I dream about that melody at night...

It's my favorite type of song.  It sounds lovely, and sad, and although the lyrics aren't especially complicated, I don't really know exactly what it all means.  But I feel what it means. The CD version of the song has cello, and the cello can't help but make you feel something- and DEEPLY.

AND as a bonus, her name is Lucy.  What's not to love here?

So here it is- a live version of "You Are You Are", by Lucy Schwartz.  My new favorite.
(Please note, that there is no cello on this version- you'll have to find her "Keep Me" EP for that-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Man Down!

We got a little snow a couple of nights ago.  Only enough to get a little dusting on things.  Oh, and enough to make me WIPE OUT while I was walking Lucy.

my snow covered walking path
I was being super careful at the beginning of our walk.  It was such a light coating of snow that I wasn't sure if it was snow or ice, or both.
I realized, it was just snow- Not even slushy.  And not slippery at all.  The snow had melted away in more places than not.  I was also very careful when I would walk over the melted parts because being such a cold day, I knew there was likely some icy parts mixed in.
When Lucy and I were nearly home, I hit a slippery patch that caught me off guard and I lost my balance and fell.  It seemed like it happened in slow motion, and I can even remember fighting the fall at first but then finally succumbing to it and thinking, "Oh well, screw this, I'm just gonna fall."  I was so bundled up that my coat and gloves seemed to soften the smack of the pavement.  My left hand, which caught my fall, felt a little burn and my hip felt slightly wonky, but just like my dogs do when they take a tumble, I stood up and shook it off (after looking around to make sure no one saw me because falling is so embarrassing!).

I thought I was okay. 

Once I got home, I noticed how sore the heel of my palm was. And of course, that makes sense!  One little part of my body got smacked by the cement supporting all 100 lbs of me.  But not really a big deal...

UNTIL the day wore on, and things got much worse.  And then, this morning- HOLY YIKES.

Although I haven't gone to a doctor, I have looked on WebMD and I'm pretty sure, about 99.9% sure, that I have a sprained wrist.  I guess everything in my hand is just super swollen so I can't move my fingers or my wrist barely at all without severe pain. 

So it's Advil, ice, and elevation for a few days.  Which I know doesn't sound like a big deal, and in the whole scheme of things, it isn't.

BUT, I had to close down Santa's workshop for a few days and that sucks!  Fermin is out of town, and I had big plans on how I was going to stay busy over the next several days and it ALL involved using my hands to make stuff! 

Just like getting sick makes us appreciate our health that we typically take for granted, this injury has me just in awe of ALL that our hands do, and how hard everything is when they're not functioning properly.  Washing hair, brushing teeth, cooking, playing guitar, crafts, holding a water glass, putting on clothes, taking off jewelry, holding a book to read, toweling off after a bath, putting a chip clip on a bag of chips,... oh my G, it's ENDLESS!!!

So heal up, little hand.  You make life so much better.  Come back to me as soon as you can.  One day without you being yourself has already been more than I can bear.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Music Monday- and a little repurposed jewelry.

Someone gave me a stash of vintage jewelry many months ago- maybe even more than a year ago- and in that stash was this cute little roller skate.

I'm finally getting around to using this skate charm in a necklace I'm making for a friend's Christmas present.  The skate's a little beat up, but I think a roller skate from the late 60s should be a little beat up so I'm cool with it!

And as I made this necklace...
...I listened to "Brand New Key" on play repeat over and over and over.

I have no idea why, but I always thought this song was by Janis Joplin.  But alas, nope.  It's sung by Melanie, who prior to today, I had never heard of, even though, obviously- I was familiar with this song.

I think I'm gonna get my guitar out and cover this song.  And I'm probably gonna put on this necklace while I sing it!  Because what's old is new again, in music and in jewelry! :)

Enjoy, Music Monday's "Brand New Key" by Melanie.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

One hoardy thing I do, when it comes to checking out books on a certain topic at the library: I cannot stop at one.  It might be better if I just got ONE book at a time, on a topic like let's say for example, rock painting.  But nope.  I do a search on the library website, and I request pretty much ALL the books be sent to me. 
Obviously, I'm not the only one that's taken up the art of rock painting lately!
These are the books on rock painting that I've checked out so far, but believe it or not, more are on the way, from some of the other library branches.

I realize it's probably not best that I go about it this way.  For one thing, I'm being greedy.  If someone else wants a book on rock painting right now, they're sort of screwed due to the monopoly I've now taken on the rock painting books.  But, in my defense, I reserve them online based on title only, so when I check them out, my first intention is to just browse and see which ones I like best.  I MEAN to return the ones I like the least, but then, I end up liking all of them. And I don't want to return them.  Ever. 

The other reason this abundance tactic is not good- I check out all of these books for 3 weeks, but I don't really have time to go deep with any of them.  If I could control myself and just settle for one book at a time, I could immerse completely, and in 3 weeks time, I'd probably be totally done with it.  Instead, because I have- at this point- 5 books about painting rocks, I have really just scratched the surface and before I know it, 3 weeks is up, and they're all due and I feel like I need all them just a little longer.

As long as no one else has put a hold on a book, I can renew it for another 3 weeks.  And I usually do.  Up to 3 times, which is all that is allowed.  BUT.  I tend to look at books I've borrowed less once they've sat around for a while.  I don't know why, but I know that's how it goes with me.  The novelty wears off, and I put it on a bookshelf and sadly, ignore it.

As I mentioned, I've currently got 5 books from the library on rock painting.  And as if that wasn't enough crafty madness for the next 3 weeks, I've also got a handful of books on Zentangle as well.
Zentangling is my JAM
What would really suck is if I bought all of these books.  Honestly, I'm not fully utilizing any of them.  But at least I'm not wasting any money on them.

I do like all these books.  At the very least they're great for flipping through and getting inspired.  Occasionally, I run across one of these types of books I love so much I feel like I just have to have it permanently on my bookshelf as a reference.  I love that the library gives me a great opportunity to preview things before deciding purchasing.

There is so much to love about the public library system.

Monday, November 19, 2018

150 More Reasons to Love the Public Library

If you know me, you know I'm a big fan of public libraries.  I loved my library branch in Dallas, and now that I've moved to Colorado, I've learned it's not just the Dallas Public Library I love.  In fact, I have a feeling Colorado respects and gives more money to their library systems than Dallas because... well, not to be mean, but they're even better!  Way better selection, less of a wait time (if any) on new books because they have more copies, and they're opened 7 days a week.  (There's more advantages I've found, but there's no need to rub it in. Sorry Dallas.)

Anyway, lately, I've been using the library as a way to keep my meals fresh and new.  The cookbooks I've owned for years have grown a little stale.  And the recipes I find online usually look better on my computer screen than they taste in real life.  I've checked out a few cookbooks  from the library lately, and I have found lots of new recipes Fermin and I love! 

Here's one I checked out today.  I was just flipping through it, and I cannot wait to try out tons of the recipes listed in here.  As a bonus, they're all quick and easy. 
I really don't get why more people don't use the local libraries!  They are a GOLDMINE, in my opinion.  I think I'll do a week-long series this week of cool ways I've been using the library lately.  Stay tuned.  I hope you'll be inspired. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Being Human

Today I went to IKEA to pick up a small bookshelf and some extra hooks for a peg board I got there a few months ago.  Sounds like a quick and easy errand, right?  Except it's IKEA. Anyone who's ever been there knows: it's a maze, and it's nearly impossible to get out of there fast.

I had stopped for lunch on my way there, which means (because I'm a Type 1 Diabetic) I had recently taken insulin.  Because I planned to go on a hike with Lucy as soon as I got home from my "quick errand", I took a little less than I usually do at lunchtime. Anyway, it's always a guessing game and every day, needs change for reasons we can measure and understand (i.e. how many carbs we are consuming, how much insulin we are taking, how active we are immediately afterward) and there's also all the mysterious elements we don't understand, can't measure, and really don't even know about that play into things as well.  Trust me, it's complicated.

I felt like I was walking around and around, not really getting anywhere.  But that's sort of how I always feel at IKEA, don't you?  Those arrows on the floor started to feel very frustrating.  I felt like surely, I must be getting near the end of the road. Eventually, I found the hooks I was looking for.  But as I looked at the package, my brain felt so muddled.  How many hooks were actually in there?  And were they the same shape?  And how many was I suppose to get?  And why the hell was my vision tripping me up so hard?

Just then, I heard the ambulance sound my Dexcom app makes as a warning when I'm having "urgent low blood sugar".  Ah ha! That explains the big mental struggle I was having.

I reached into my purse for my preferred method of quick sugar to raise my blood sugar- Mentos!  But I only had about 6 left in the package.  "That's probably enough to get me out of this," I thought. But I also realized my brain was just failing me, so really... what did I know?  What if it wasn't enough?

I tried thinking rationally. I thought I could always buy some candy or a Coke there, but then, with that confusing maze, how could I find it quickly.  Could I just ask a nearby stranger if they happened to have any sugar they could give me?  OH. NO.

I was getting dizzier and more confused by the second.  And I was having little black spots in my vision that I sometimes get when my glucose level drops severely low. There was nothing left for me to do, so I just sat down in the middle of the aisle.

And within just a minute or two, a girl appeared out of no where, and leaned down and said, "Do you need help?  Are you okay?"

Honestly, I'm not exactly sure what was said between us, but it went something like this. 
Her, again, because I think I was just staring and not responding to her first questions: "Really, anything you need. I can get you water, or food, or just whatever.  Just let me know how I can help you.  I work here. We have a care team for stuff like this and I can get them to give you whatever help you need."

Me: "Well...  I'm not ok. But I think I will be.  I'm sorry. Maybe it would help if I  could get some quick sugar- like juice."

I felt stupid and embarrassed, but also desperate and grateful she showed up when she did.

She walked away for a minute, and then came right back to let me know she had told them (the "care team") where she was so they could come to us.  She sat with me as I kept apologizing and telling her that I thought I was already feeling much better. She said, "Hey, this is no big deal.  I'm more than happy to help you.  This is just BEING HUMAN."  She told me her grandfather had diabetes so she remembers him having trouble like I was, when she first noticed me. I had asked her how she noticed I was struggling and she said, "Well, I don't normally see anyone plop down in the middle of the store- usually not even kids, unless something's really wrong."  Who knew that was the universal SOS cry?!

As soon as the two care team people showed up with some orange juice, I was just overcome with emotion.  I think I was scared, freaked out, and as a bonus, my brain was just really struggling to come out of it's deep fog.  And I found myself not only on the floor, drinking oj with 3 IKEA employees around me, but then all of the sudden, crying.  And truthfully, I was just crying because I was thinking how sometimes, being human is such a fragile, and also nice thing.  I was reminded that that's really what we as humans are all about.  Helping each other when we suffer the proverbial fall.

Being human.
It's not that big of a deal.
But GOD, do I appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

15 Minutes EVERY Day

I recently heard a local author talk about how she got into the habit of writing consistently.  She said she always thought she needed a big chunk of time to write, and so she just kept waiting for a day when she would have that big window of opportunity.  But with young children, and a busy life, she never could find that long stretch of time she thought she needed.

Then one day, she said, she heard Elizabeth Gilbert say something about setting a small and attainable writing goal.  And then to commit to it, each day, even if for just 5 minutes. Show yourself you mean what you say when you make that commitment.

So this author I was listening to decided to write for 15 minutes, every single day.  No days off. 

Apparently, that method somehow got her to the status of New York Times Bestselling Author.  I'm pretty sure she got to a point where she was writing more than 15 minutes a day, but when she started, she started there.  Because you have to start somewhere.  Somewhere that you know you can succeed.

I used to write on my blog a lot more consistently.

Over the months and years, I've gotten out of the habit.  I often think, "I should write a blog post about this!" And even more importantly, "I WANT to write a blog post about this!" But instead, I go for the most immediate way of sharing- I post on Instagram instead.

The story I tell myself is that to write a decent and coherent blog post of any sort takes at least an hour.  And usually, in that moment of inspiration when I want to write for my blog, I don't have a full hour. But maybe if I just kept it down to a 15-minute-a-day commitment, I could get back into the swing of things around here.

You could apply this 15 minute idea to anything creative that you want to do but, like me,for some reason you keep putting it off. If we all wait around for huge chunks of creative time, we may end up creating absolutely nothing.

So there it is.  15 minutes of writing on my blog each day. Please note,  I didn't say a post a day.  Just 15 minutes of me drafting, editing and eventually, posting on my blog each day.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Music Monday: Don't Try Suicide by QUEEN

We went and saw Bohemian Rhapsody over the weekend, so OF COURSE the pick for today's Music Monday had to be Queen.

I'm choosing this slightly lesser known song, Don't Try Suicide.  I LOVED this song as a kid. 

Back when I was in about 5th grade, so I guess was about 11 years old, my dance teacher brought in "Don't Try Suicide" and showed us the choreography we were about to learn.  The song sounded different than anything I had ever heard before and I thought it was so cool.  As soon as dance class was over, Mom took me to Sound Warehouse and we bought "The Game" album so I could dance my ass off.  I wish so much I could remember the routine, because if I could, I'd video me dancing to this song right now and post it here.  We are probably all better off without the memory though...

When I'm listening to it now, all these years later, I find it pretty funny that the dance teacher chose this songs, and as far as I know, no parents complained about the lyrics or content.  I have a feeling if this song was chosen for a dance class of 'tweeners today, it'd be a news story or something.  And the teacher would probably lose her job at the dance studio.

Thank God we weren't so politically correct back then.  I love Queen, and was introduced to them via "Don't Try Suicide". I had heard their songs on the radio, but it wasn't until this song that I started buying their albums for the deep cuts.  (Pun intended.)

Enjoy "Don't Try Suicide"... "you're just gonna hate it."

Saturday, November 3, 2018

November is Diabetes Awareness Month #happydiabeticchallenge

One (small) part of my identity is I'm a Type 1 Diabetic.  I've had it for so long now, I don't even remember what not having it is like.  It's very rarely something that cramps my style at all, and in fact, I think I probably live a healthier life because of it.  I have to really pay attention to what I put in my body (insulin and food!), I go to the doctor for checks ups way more frequently than the average person, and I make sure I'm active every single day no matter what.  Would I be this way if I didn't have Type 1?  Probably, but I would let myself slip into bad choices far more often, I have a feeling.

Anyway, if you have diabetes or care about anyone who does, you might pop over to my blog dedicated to diabetes.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month and I'm participating in an online challenge, posting something about diabetes each day to help educate others about what it is.

Each person who has diabetes, whether it's Type 1 (like me), Type 2, gestational or whatever--  everyone has their own specific and unique experience with the disease.  But we can all share and learn from each other's stories for sure.

Here's a link to my blog in case you're interested.
You can also search the hashtag, #happydiabeticchallenge, on Instagram to find all sorts of people posting on behalf of awareness during the month of November.  Thank you so much for caring. ❤️

Monday, October 29, 2018

Music Monday- With One More Look at You/Watch Closely Now

Today, I'm taking it way back-

I was inspired to dig back to the other and older "A Star is Born" soundtrack, after Barbra Streisand and Kris Krisstopherson provided last night's dinner-cooking playlist.  That movie came out in 1977, so I was just a little kid.  But Mom took me to the movie, and made me a Barbra fan very early in life.  Mom LOVED Barbra, and so do I. Thanks, Mom. ;)

There is really no voice that compares to Barbra Streisand's.  It's hard to even pick which song from the soundtrack to use for Music Monday, because I love them all so much. I'm choosing this one- the song used in the movie's final scene- because it had me bawling my head off as I watched the movie last night.

I read that Barbra insisted on doing all the singing in this movie "live and in one take"- How she could convey the emotion of that scene where she borders on crying but can sing through it is baffling to me.  And I LOVE hearing the little shakes in her voice- This is Esther Hoffman Howard singing, and whoa! is she powerful.

In my opinion, the current version of "A Star is Born" with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is admittedly done better screenplay and acting wise, but the music in this one with Barbra and Kris: Mind blowing... It still moves me deeply!

Sorry for the poor sound quality but the visual of Esther singing it is so great and so worth it.  After you watch, you can always go find the cleaner audio version.  Or better yet, watch the whole movie!  (Just be sure to have an entire box of Kleenex beside you for the final 15 minutes...)

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Outsider

I was pretty stoked one day when I was at the library and saw the new Stephen King book, The Outsider, on the shelf. My library has "my lucky day" stickers on certain books.  They're books that lots of people want to read and if they have one of these four leaf clover stickers, it means no one is allowed to put a hold on them.  If you happen to see one, then hey! it's your lucky day!

Although I've read a few of Stephen King's books that were disturbing, they've all been realistic fiction- I stay away from the sci-fi as a general rule.  Up to this point, I've liked everything I've read by him.  I had seen reviews of The Outsider and was wanting to read it.  So of course, I checked it out on that lucky day. Look how excited I was:
I can't believe I'm saying this, but once I got all the way to page 391, I decided I was done and I would not be finishing this one. 
and this is where I leave you, Stephen King. 
For about the first 150 pages or so, I liked it a lot!  There was a murder- an extremely disturbing child murder.  The beloved high school coach looked to be the likely suspect and so, he was arrested and handcuffed during the football game in front of the whole town. Then, we start getting more and more witness accounts, his alibi, etc and it seems that maybe he didn't do it after all.  A life-ruining wrongful accusation.  And a perplexing mystery. I was into it.  It seemed like something that could happen in real life. Because, well, IT DOES!

I don't wanna give anything away about the book.  But I'll just say, it became sci-fi, and I quickly knew this book was no longer my jam.

Fiction by definition is writing that describes imaginary events and people, but if it couldn't happen in real life, I usually am just not interested.  I wish someone had mentioned in the Amazon reviews that this book had a sci-fi/supernatural element to it. Because ugh, that's just not my favorite genre, at all.


For those first 150 pages, I had fun reading it. If I'm being honest, I was engrossed!  Then I felt more and more lost as the story took it's weird turn.  And then yesterday, I got to page 391, and thought "Life is too short, and there are too many good books waiting for me!"  I was going to plow through the last 200 or so pages but only to be able to stamp this one as "finished"- and honestly, who cares?!  I was getting uninterested enough that reading it felt like a chore.  Besides that, the book was such a clunker (size wise) it hurt my hands holding it in the bathtub each night anyway. So I abandoned The Outsider and I feel completely at peace with it!

Now, I'm on to the next one.  Which I have a little story about how I found it that's pretty cool.  But I'll save it and write about that tomorrow- or the next post anyway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tips for Deskunking a Loved One

How can such a cute animal smell SO disgusting?
Pepe Le Pew
But I'm NOT just talking about the skunk.
I'm talking about my little Lucy.
She was skunked late one night last week. She's had MANY baths and showers since, and now she's nearly back to smelling like her normal, sweet self. HALLELUJAH!

I have never smelled anything quite like that initial stink of contact and I'm sure I won't soon forget it.  The night that it happened, after I washed Lucy off the first time, I could actually taste it in my mouth.  I think it permeated not only throughout the air in most of the main floor of our home, but through my whole body as well.

And poor little Lucy- her eyes watered- from the smell of course, and then maybe from our reaction to her, and then probably from the fact that she was going to have to spend a lot of time over the next week getting baths and being alone in her crib until the stinky wore off.

Finally I can get close enough to her to kiss her pretty face.  But for days, I just couldn't.  She got sprayed in the neck so the stench hung around her neck and face the longest.

Some lessons I learned, that will be valuable to me if this happens again:
1.  The yellow stuff is actually skunk oil.  DO NOT touch it, and rub it around.  Soak that shit UP as best you can with a disposable towel before you even begin washing and rinsing.
2.  None of the remedies you read about online (tomato juice, hydrogen peroxide + baking soda + Palmolive, vinegar, and skunk remover by nature's miracle) are great or work immediately.  Just like a heartbreak,  being skunked takes time to get over no matter what you do!
3. Do not carry your #skunked animal inside before you do your best to clean off the skunk spray, no matter how much wine you've consumed.  You are stinking up the whole house way more than you realize! (Fermin!)
4. Vinegar smells bad, but it's an odor neutralizer so put it in front of your open windows and let's blow that stuff around!
5. Candles and oils are your new best friends.
6.  Open any and all windows that don't face the direction where the skunk smell lingers outside. After a day or so, when the air outside is deskunked and fresh again, open up all the windows and doors that you can.  VENTILATE OR DIE.

We probably all lost some of our sense of smell through this ordeal.  We probably wouldn't have survived otherwise.  After a couple of days, I would think things were smelling normal- until I would leave the house for a while and then return to it.  And then it would hit me again like a punch in the nose.

But we got through it.  We survived. We all still love each other.  But we never want to encounter another skunk again!  EVER. Especially Lucy.
Shake it off, Lucy! ❤️

Monday, September 10, 2018

Before Sketchbook Skool

My friend Theresa and I just signed up for an online drawing course called, "How to Draw Without Talent."  I'm always wishing I could draw less like a 5 year old, and more like... well, I don't know, a 10 year old?

And lately, I've become interested in painting rocks for a rock garden, and to leave around town as happy little gifts to strangers.  But in order for my painted rocks to look nice, I've got to up my game in the drawing department.

Today I did the first "klass" assignment, which is simply to draw your hand while looking at it.

Below is the drawing- and the bad news is, it's pretty shitty.  But the good news is, I got nowhere to go from here but up and up and up.

This is only a week long, although self-paced course, so I'm not expecting any miracles.  But I am hoping to just have fun doodling with some instruction, and then hopefully doing it much more often from this point forward.  I know that's the name of the game of getting better at something.  Have fun and do it regularly.  So, here we go!

day 1.  thank god my hands aren't actually this ugly. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Seven Stones and a Necklace

"the place to be" #sevenstones
I've driven by a spot of land nearly every day since we've lived here in Roxborough.  The signage I can see from the road has always confused me a little.  It says "Seven Stones- A Botanical Gardens Cemetery".  That's been confusing to me for a few reasons.  One, it doesn't look anything like a cemetery.  At all.  And two, usually a botanical garden isn't also a cemetery.  I wondered, "Is this where good plants go to die?"

A few weeks ago, I noticed another sign advertising an event they were having at Seven Stones.  "Rox and Stones" they were calling it, saying that there would be local artists, live music and a food truck. I told Fermin we had to go. And so, we did!

And now, as morbid as this sounds, I know where I'd like to be buried.  (Although, honestly, I don't really plan on being buried.  I'm probably down for cremation.  But for the sake of expressing how much I loved this place, let's just say I want to be buried.)

Like I said before, Seven Stones doesn't look like a cemetery at all.  It looks like a park, with lots of pretty stone walkways, and a beautiful view of the mountains.  There are benches and lots of flowers. And I think my favorite thing was the sculptures.

They had metal sculptures like these that people had written messages on- So sweet...

There weren't many vendors, which seemed more tasteful when there are too may, and I really loved the few that were there. In one vendor's booth, I noticed this necklace, with a charm on it with a bird (as a rule, I love all things birds) that said "hold it closer"- I didn't know exactly what was meant by that little phrase, but it made me feel emotional.  As I was weirdly tearing up, I asked the astist what she meant by those words and she told me that she just meant, whatever it is that you love, hold it closer. And so, that necklace is now mine.  I've worn it each day since I bought it and I just adore it.

I still have some questions about this place, but now, I at least have an idea of what it is, and I love it.  I wonder why it's called "seven stones".  I wonder who's idea this was.  I wonder how many of the people there that day had a loved one in that cemetery. I wonder how often they have events there.  Because I'd like to go back.  And often. But long before I die.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

These Are the Good Old Days

I'm so out of the habit of writing in my blog, but this week, I'm jump starting things and I intend to write a few posts just to get back into the swing of it.

So often, I'll think, "OH!  I wanna blog about this!" I'll feel excited about it, and I'll think about what I plan to say and what photos I plan to use for illustration, but then, a day or two passes, and then whatever I was going to write about seems like old news.

Blog procrastination is a bad habit I'm ready to break.  NOW.

There are so many good things happening around me, and I want to write about as much of it as I can so that I can remember it that much better. I know this time, right here, right now, is the good old days.
THESE are the good old days
Ok, so....

This past Friday night, Fermin and I went to our first neighborhood party.  There's a couple that lives on our street that I've met a few time on the walking trail, and they told me about it about a week ago.  It was one of those things Fermin and I knew we should do, but it felt a little awkward as we were walking up the steps to the house- We didn't know anyone there.

There were a lot of people there, more than I expected. It felt friendly and welcoming from the second we walked in!  Everyone brought appetizers and whatever they wanted to drink.  There was tons of good food- tamales, dumplings, chili, cookies... the greatest hodge podge ever!

We stayed pretty late- in fact- we were some of the very last people to leave the party which is SO like Fermin, but really NOT like me at all.  But there was never really a point when I wanted to get home and take a bath, like I so often feel when I'm out socializing and hit my limit within a few hours in. And that really says a lot!

One couple we talked with invited us to go hiking the next morning...

And so we did!  Jim and Carolyn showed us trails in our neighborhood that lead to other, bigger trails... Some, that lead into Pike's Peak.  So within about 10 minutes of walking, it felt like we were in a totally different area.  We could no longer see the red rocks that so define our neighborhood, but instead, there were so many pine trees.
just a few minutes up the trail from our neighborhood


trees and more trees

I was a little worried about poison ivy, and mad at myself for wearing shorts instead of long pants.  But Carolyn loaned me some special soap I showered off with after we got home.  And either it worked well, or (more likely) I somehow dodged a poison ivy bullet.  Because so far, so good- No rash whatsoever.
And now that I know about that trail, I've got endless new miles I can walk with the dogs. And I WILL wear long pants next time, for sure.

Later that afternoon, after going out for tacos (which has become a Saturday ritual) and running lots of errands, we stopped by an event I had seen advertised called "Rox and Stones"- It was at Seven Stones Botanical Cemetery.  I have been so curious about this "cemetery" because I drive past it nearly every day.  All I knew was what the advertisement had said.  That Rox and Stones is "a Festival of Art, Music and Nature, showcases local artists on Seven Stones’ ever-changing grounds".

I loved it so much, that I plan on writing more about it tomorrow, before it becomes old news.  (*Remember, this is the new me! Procrastination no more!)

We came home and cooked a fine meal- seriously better than anything we could have gone out for- Fermin made the steak, and we had sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts, with a honey/balsamic coating and candied walnuts.  Oh. My. God.

Today, more hiking- We took Lucy to a new area, but we didn't get very far before we saw a sign telling us the trail was closed but not telling us why. :(

It was a hot day and we had gotten a late start anyway, so we went to the Chatfield Dog Park and let Lucy splash around in the water just long enough to lose her ball.  And then...tacos again!  Because every day is a great day for tacos!
Lucy, awaiting her breakfast taco at R Taco- YUM.

And now, I'm about to make dinner- So that's it for now, for my weekend recap.

Next up, I'll be writing more about the Rox and Stones event we got to go to yesterday, because it really deserves it's own dedicated blog post.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Music Monday is Back

Fermin and I have been listening to an "oldies" radio station since we've moved to Colorado.  Mainly because we've been too lazy to program in other stations, but also because admittedly, we like it.

They play old music (obviously!- it's an oldies station) but also pretty current stuff like Katie Perry.  Whatever.

Anyway, over the weekend we heard this song on that station.  It caught my ear because I thought I heard the lyrics right, but wasn't sure because they didn't match the upbeat sound of the song. And they were just so ridiculous. So, I looked it up on Apple Music.  And yep, I was right about the lyrics.  We then went on to listen to that song over and over.  And over and over.  Throughout the whole weekend.  Anytime we needed a little pick me up! Anytime we got in the car to go somewhere! While we were cooking! When we were getting up and starting our day! If You Wanna Be Happy worked for every scenario.

So here it is.  "If You Wanna Be Happy" performed by Jimmy Soul.  Wow. Today, this song would be banned for it's sexism, but back in the day, I guess the sentiment was okay.

I'm going to write out the lyrics below the video, because they're worth reading.  Just hilarious. And as ridiculous as the song is, it makes me extremely happy.  And his falsetto voice towards the end of the song always makes me laugh. Enjoy!

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall
As soon as he marries her then she starts
To do the things that will break his heart

But if you make an ugly woman your wife
You'll be happy for the rest of your life
An ugly woman cooks meals on time
And she'll always give you peace of mind

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Sax solo

Don't let your friends say you have no taste
Go ahead and marry anyway
Though her face is ugly, her eyes don't match
Take it from me, she's a better catch

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Say man!
Hey baby!
I saw your wife the other day!
Yeah, an' she's ug-leeee!                                            

Yeah, she's ugly, but she sure can cook, baby!              
Yeah, alright!                                                                 

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Neighborhood Zumba

Although I used to go the the gym to work out all the time, I haven't been a fan of that in years.  I'd much rather do my cardio outside, and using bands and a few free weights is enough for "sculpting" for me.  The last gym I belonged to, I only went for yoga.  And now, even that I prefer doing at home using the Asana Rebel app.

Here in Colorado, I have even less reason to ever go to the gym because I love being outside so much and there's plenty of ways to get a good work out.

So the fact that there isn't a good gym near our house doesn't bother me at all.  I told Fermin just a few weeks ago, that the only reason I might join a gym (if he does, because he would like to find one) is if it had Zumba.  I have no idea why lately I've decided Zumba would be a good idea, but for some reason, it has occurred to me.

I feel stupid in any dancing situation, but it looks so fun when other people do it.  I've been thinking that I don't know anyone here yet, so who cares.  I can look as stupid as I want.  So maybe that's why lately, Zumba's been on my mind.

Last week, I met a couple ladies on a trail in my neighborhood.  I have no idea how it came up during our very short conversation, but they told me there's a Zumba class twice a week in our community center.  They were super friendly and encouraged me to try it.

So yesterday, I did. 

And yes, I felt stupid.  But it was pretty fun.  And in a fast hour, I got a decent cardio workout.  Something totally different.

It was free, since it was my first time.  And from here on out, it's still only $5!  It's in my neighborhood, so I don't even have to drive to a gym.  And it's a way for me to meet some of the neighborhood ladies. I feel so lucky to have found exactly what I was looking for!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

An Official Coloradoan

Last week I got my Colorado drivers license and today, I got my license plates.  I feel so legit now, $450 dollars later.  Yep, that was the cost for my plates today. Holy Yikes. 

But I'm SO happy to have those green mountains on my plates now. And to be surrounded by real mountains daily. And to LIVE here, in COLORADO.  I still can't believe it.  It's a dream come true. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Writing Center

Long ago, I was a first and second grade teacher.  I still think and plan in themes, as I did back then.  I guess I'm always be wired that way.

In my classroom, we had little "centers" or "workstations"- a math center, an art center, a writing center- you get the idea.

As I've been setting up my dream craft room here in our new home, I've been in full teacher mode I guess, because here I am, happily in my writing center.  I haven't hung the art work, but already, it surrounds me and makes me feel so happy.  As does the little window of so many trees in our yard. 

I've always dreamed of a yard with so many trees that there would be too many to count.  And now, with that dream realized, I wanted to set up a little writing desk by the corner window that looks out to all the trees.

My craft room is a work in progress, but it's feeling pretty sweet so far.  I'll reveal more of my centers as I get a little further along. 

my little writing center ❤️

Friday, June 29, 2018

My New Neighborhood

Well, it's only taken me a full month to write another blog since my last one!  Of course, there's so much to say since it's been so long.  But I'm not a big fan of long blog posts, so I'll keep this one short. And then, I fully intend to get back into the swing of writing more consistently. But here's just a quick dipping of my toes into the blog writing habit. (Please bear with me, as I rediscover my writing voice.  She's been so quiet and feels a little unsure currently.)

We are LOVING every day here in Roxborough Park.  We see deer in our neighborhood, and even OUR YARD often.  Thankfully, I have NOT seen a snake yet, although Fermin did look out our kitchen window one morning and saw a huge one on our deck.  I've seen wild turkeys- actually, a mom and her 3 babies following her around.  And yesterday, we saw A BEAR across the street from our house as we were driving home.  We're definitely not in Dallas anymore!

Although the last couple of days have gotten hot- upper 90s!- the mornings and evenings are always cool. And dry heat is much more tolerable than the humidity that we've dealt with our whole lives.

Running errands- and having just moved, errand running seems to be on the almost daily agenda- always takes a long time.  Anywhere I ever need to go seems to be about 30 minutes (or more) away.  Even the one grocery store near us (just one) is about a 15 minute drive from the house.  Beyond that grocery store, a couple of restaurants and a gas station, there isn't much else close to our neighborhood besides state parks.  Which is why it's so beautiful, and why we have so much wildlife.  But it seems I'm always having to run to Home Depot, or Target, or Bed Bath and Beyond for something.  Those things that used to be quick errands in Dallas, now end up taken me a couple of hours.

The speed limit in Roxborough Park is 30 MPH.  And it sorta represents the overall speed around here. And I love really this pace.  It's much more my speed.

Of course, I'm walking the Ricardo's many miles each day- We have some trails within the neighborhood that are beautiful, and since they're within the confines of our neighborhood, they're not crowded at all.  Here are just a few pictures I took this morning on a hike with Lucy.
aptly named trail!
i LOVE the red rocks
butterflies are in abundance!

(This last one is a test to see if I uploaded the video correctly.  Hmmm.)

As my dad is famous for saying, "Every day's a good day..."
Yep. Pretty much!