Monday, December 20, 2010

Just Ask

Strange phenomena going on over here. Seems that nearly everything I ask The Universe for lately not only arrives in my life but tends to come out of nowhere, often dropping from the sky. Case in point: Despite the very frustrating Southern California-style 'winter' we are having here in Denver, I specifically requested snow for my birthday last Friday and Ta Da!

I was indulged by the Snow Gods and by 3 p.m. it was all gone. Now we're back to sunny 60 degree days. Blech.

Meanwhile, Kirk and I have pondered what to do with the massive blank wall in our dining area. "I see a big ass chalkboard there," I said.  "For ideating and shit."

"You mean, like a big white board?"

"No! A CHALK board - the sound, the smell, the sound. All of it. The whole childhood tactile experience." 

"Okay. I'm on it." 

So Kirk, resourceful as ever, went online and found us a 4' x 8' chalkboard for FREE from a wee church in Castle Rock. In fact, as we loaded it into the back of my truck, the church guy asked, "I have another one - want that one too?" (Um, no, one is enough.) Our fabulous new chalkboard was a big hit at our recent Festivus party:

Also, while we were picking up the chalkboard, we came across an incredible situation that I could not walk away from. Perusing The Barn across from the church, I discovered a beautiful leather chair with a horse head stitched in the back. When I looked upon it, I could only thing one thing: MINE.

Then, I realized it came with a matching sleeper sofa - both from the 1940s. Then I saw the price $249! Which included both pieces plus an end table and coffee table.

Talking with Larry, The Barn owner, he explained that the set had just arrived the day before. It was brought in by the family that had originally purchased it when it was new. As a goodwill gesture, Larry knocked the price down and I walked away with all four pieces for a clean $200.


Finally, my other birthday request to obtain some horse slobber on my person. I visited my pal, Noodle, and when he saw me turn the corner, he did two straight-up leaps (cats are not the only animals who can project vertically), one buck and a loud fart. All together, that's a very big horse compliment.

It's not so much me that he was excited about but he knew I came bearing carrots and that I'd be turning him out so he could let off even more steam. After removing his blanket and giant rubber donut thingy that supporting his sore ankle, we headed for the big arena. Barely in the gate and VROOM! He took off, halter and all. He zoomed around, bucking and farting, until he finally came to me to remove the halter.

After he'd worked off some aggression, rolled a couple of times and searched all my pockets for extra carrots, I shot this quick video.

I think 45 is starting out on the right hoof....

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm 45 Today!

Maybe at some point I'll be one of those people that turns 29 over and over again in denial of their true age, but I doubt it. Every year has come with its own challenges, blessing and revelations and I'm grateful for each one.

Bring it on, 45! I am ready.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Neighbors and The 'Hood

Now that my ankle has finally healed and we are experiencing an LA version of December, I've resumed my running schedule. Just the other day, I ran around nearby Sloan's Lake - while wearing shorts - and watched the heavens dump snow on the Rocky Mountains. This is Colorado, a bi-polar state with a flat prairie alongside a massive mountain range, where hippies and rednecks collide and the weather has no allegiance to the calendar.

My new run tops out at 2.72 miles, a tad longer than my previous run around Wash Park, 2.59 miles. Every M-W-F, I untangle myself from cords and head south for 10 blocks, gingerly avoid massive goose turds and take in the big sky. 

 I've already earned one supporter, an old man who gives me a thumbs up when I pass him. While Sloan's Lake Park is flat and brown this time of year, with very few trees (Wash Park was always green and lush), the entire Western landscape presents the indomitable Rocky Mountain range. Its craggy, powerful profile provides enough inspiration to keep me chugging onward, grateful not to be a pioneer woman in a covered wagon.
Photo by Mark Fitzgerald.

And amongst my many new neighbors, there is Will. He is tall, friendly, interesting and has not led an average life, which I appreciate. When he was about four years old, his parents decided it would be an excellent time to pull he and his brother out of school and take them sailing around the world for the next two years. "I spent my sixth birthday in Tahiti," he told me. Naturally, we are now buddies.

Will comes to my door and says things like, "Do you want to go on a leaf gathering mission?" or "Do you want to go turn over some compost?" Last week, he rang the bell and asked, "Do you want some Green Drink?" Um, some what?

Will, his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their sweet daughter, Thea, all have strict nutritional needs so they are always coming up with creative ways to get the good stuff without all the crap that most of us ingest without a thought. Hence, the Green Drink.

I watched Will cram some green apples, spinach, celery, parsley, cucumbers and something else green I'm forgetting (frogs?) into a blender and frappe the hell out of everything.  The result was a bright green earthy elixir about the consistency of a fruity grass milkshake. It wasn't half bad and my body sure appreciated it. The day I gulped down the Green Drink, I felt like I could run twice around the lake.

Ah, lessons from the neighbors. It's nice.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Healthy Kidneys For Everyone!

I just spoke to my friend, Heidi (pictured here in her natural state), who is in the hospital after blazing through her kidney transplant yesterday. I'm told the pink is back in her cheeks and she is even walking through the halls - an amazing response to a tricky operation.

This means the end of dialysis for Heidi, which is the best news ever. Through her, I have discovered what an incredibly difficult way of life that is - cramping one's style is the very least of it. Heidi is a vibrant woman who loves travel, adventure, books and meaty conversations. I love her dearly and am so lifted by this wonderful turn of events.

Heidi was one of several dialysis patients who received a kidney thorough a 'donor chain' of patients and donors. It's kind of complicated but it allows for multiple people to receive a healthy kidney that matches their blood type. So, she's on the same hospital floor with several kindred spirits who all face a new life.

If you haven't thanked your kidneys lately for the great job they are doing, now is a good time.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

My New Workout Program

Actually, I've been doing these 'nephew leg lifts' for several years now. But with seven-year-old Robbie at 60 pounds - and my ass getting older and weaker every year - I figured it was time to document them.

It was sure a lot easier when he was three.