Mostly. In that regard, this weekend was especially successful. I'm pleased because late last week, a dark cloud of depression threatened my mental landscape with inner taunts that went something like this: "LOSERloserLOSERloser ...." Then, I took a nap and the stormy emotional clouds had moved on to some other vulnerable soul. Hopefully, not you.
Saturday Morning: Met up with Anjum and Mark for an incredible breakfast at Country Roads in Kittredge. I met Anjum the same unforgettable weekend I met my future sister-in-law, MaryAnn, and her sister, Robin Louise. (Anjum is a pal of 'Miss Robin' and was there too.) Anjum and I bonded immediately and I especially appreciate her warm and funny ways. Our Country Roads breakfast was no ordinary experience - they have a whole section called 'Smashed Mashed' with the usual breakfast goodies mixed in with mashed potatoes. I ordered the Cream Cheese Bacon Smashed Mashed with eggs and spinach mixed in. Pure ecstasy. I could only eat 1/3 of my order cuz I'm, y'know, dainty. Also, because I was too busy helping Mark eat his pancake - probably the best I've ever had in my life.
Saturday Mid-Morning: Down the road from Kittredge, I ventured to Indian Hills to meet up with Beanie, my horse mentor. If I lived 350+ years, I could never learn everything that Beanie has forgotten about horses. Therefore, I'm happy to do whatever she tells me to while trying and trying and trying again to get it right. Beanie is a tough teacher, notoriously picky and emotionally transparent. If she is disappointed, you'll know it. ("I thought you knew better," she told me after one regrettable instance. I was CRUSHED.) Even the horses don't mess with her - just the sound of her voice makes them behave.
On this gorgeous cloudless day, I finally progressed and made Beanie happy. Mounted on Copper, a new horse for me, I managed to keep him 'on the bit' for the entire length of the ring. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but Beanie was excited and that was HUGE for me. "You did it!" she said. "I have goosebumps!" I left the ranch high as a kite. (She even called me later in the day to exclamate further: "You're emerging! I'm so excited!" This was my weekend, peaking.
Saturday Afternoon: I hopped on my bike to enjoy the perfect fall weather. Colorado just explodes with autumn hues and I can't get enough. Denver looks like one big Candyland with giant orange, yellow and red lollipops everywhere. Riding through Washington Park and along Cherry Creek, I marveled at the day, trying to memorize the joyous feeling so I can recall it later when I'm dark and dismal. (This never works, by the way.) Even when my bike chain jumps the tracks and I'm forced to stop and play bike mechanic, I'm thrilled with the state of my hands, now covered in horse slobber and gear oil. I'm so dadgum rugged sometimes, I turn myself on.
Saturday Early Evening: Once a month, a lovely gal named Dianna invites four women and four men (all single) to come to her condo and put together a gourmet meal. Upon arrival, you pay $25, are given the evening's recipes and sign a document (I shit you not) saying that you will help with the dishes. Then, you all go over the menu, break up into teams and start cooking.
-World-Class Margaritas (all fresh stuff, no mix)
-Chips and Guacamole
-Fresh Fruit Salad with Citrus Sauce
-Seared Scallops with Spicy Honey-Citrus Glaze on Celery Salad (my team)
-Golden Chanterelle Soup with Toasted Almonds and Sherry
I had a terrific time. We were a well-traveled bunch - all light-hearted and funny. The kitchen was tiny which made for some forced intimacies and I was amazed at Dianna's tool stash. The woman must have a hundred measuring spoons and cups. A fellow cook/diner named Treson and I were both in awe as we confessed our growing compulsion to purchase almost anything from Sur La Table. He was especially smitten with a fancy silver 'pounder' used to hammer out fillets whereas I coveted Dianna's zester.
My partner, a handsome adventuresome accountant (only in Colorado can you be all three) named Steve, was clear: "Heather, I have no cooking skills but I do take direction very well so just boss me around." I took him at his word. "Steve, I need some honey and some hot sauce, stat!" Then, Steve would scramble to fetch me this and that while making sure my margarita glass stayed full. This was something I could definitely get used to.
Saturday, Late Evening: "Girl! What are you up to? Me and Carley are house-sitting Amy's house over on 13th and Pearl - it's a phatty pad! Amy and Cameron are here too! Come over and party with us! We're making Worry Dolls and playing Yahtzee."
There are few things more welcome than a random phone call from Miss Bliss. Just hearing her raspy, giggling voice gives me a heightened sense that fun is about to commence. So, I joined up with the girl gang and in between good ol' fashioned crafting and Yahtzeeing, indulged in a few less Heartland-approved activities. All the better.
Evidently, Worry Dolls (sometimes called Trouble Dolls) are folk art from Guatemala.The deal is: A sleepless, worrisome soul places the doll under the pillow and it pulls night duty, fretting about the state of the planet, your country, your parents and your soul so you don't have to. (Mine's the middle doll, looking resplendent in green.) When Bliss handed me the wooden clothespin to begin, my reaction was: "Girl, I got a lot on my mind, I might need a bigger one ... " Still, I like the concept - a healthier plan than Vicodin, that's for sure. Finally hit the sack around 3:00 a.m. - much too tired for worries so the doll got her first night off.
Sunday Morning: Slept in, watched the first snow fall of the season and feasted on one of my famous Egg Burritos. Read the funnies. Played guitar.
Sunday Afternoon: I fetched my Little Sister, Velrene, and we had us some holiday fun. Seems she had not carved a pumpkin since she "was young" so I put her to work right away. She liked getting all the guts out; there was lots of squealing and "Ewww! Gross!" exclamations. We joined forces with my super-nice Minnesota neighbors, Erin and Tim, and carved away the day.
But I couldn't leave well enough alone. Still on my bizarre Everything Homespun-streak, I'd planned for us to make Halloween cookies as well. I managed to screw up the dough pretty bad, which Velrene thought was hilarious. I can't get used to baking in this !@%$#%! dry-ass climate. (The lack of moisture is one of the few things I do not like about my new state, although I do appreciate that neither acne nor fleas can survive it.)
So, V and I had to make a veryfast store run so I could swallow my pride and buy those godawful Pillsbury pre-made cookie dough tubes. It was fairly humiliating but again, V found it all amusing. Thankfully, the purple, orange and blue buttercream frosting we made turned out just fine. V had never used cookie cutters before or decorated cookies at all so it was a first. Her mother tells me that this my general department: Firsts. (Future assignments include teaching V to swim, rollerskate and ride a bike ... Gulp!)
We did all this while sharing music - an assignment I've given myself in this new relationship. At my urging, V brought along her Destiny's Child and Ciara CDs while I forced her to listen to old LPs (Wilson Pickett, Young Rascals, Sam the Sham, Frankie Lyman, etc.) and cassette tapes of Aretha Franklin. She seemed to enjoy it and even danced around the living room to the Queen of Soul.
Sunday Evening: Thought about cleaning up the cookie mess but instead ate leftover Smashed Mashed and watched 'Desperate Housewives."