an ode to silly old papa

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Me and Dad at graduation

Today would have been Dad’s 84th birthday. He’s been gone 18 years, and I still miss him every day.

It’s difficult to sum Dad up in a few hundred words. He was smart, kind, stubborn, ornery and funny. Very, very funny. He loved learning and was always studying something; the Civil War, philosophy, religion and politics were among his favorite topics. He also laughed until he cried watching the Three Stooges and Peter Sellers movies. Dad always had an opinion, and we always knew what it was. Anyone within hearing distance knew as well. Continue reading

feeling thankful this holiday season

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Carriage Ride at Acadia National Park

Carriage Ride at Acadia National Park

‘Tis the season to be thankful, and I have a lot to be grateful for in my life. My family and our health are always top of the list. Here are a few more of the things for which I am thankful: Continue reading

because I said so, that’s why

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Perfect weather for camping on Mother's Day.

Perfect weather for camping on Mother’s Day.

If you don’t think God has a sense of humor, explain to me why the teenage years and the first years of the empty nest so often coincide with peri-menopause. Talk about ups and downs. Face it: You’re going to make some illogical decisions based purely on emotions. Accept it, forgive yourself and move on.

I’m still working on that “forgive yourself” thing for a recent mandate that I was going to spend Mother’s Day with my kids, no matter what. We live in the mountains on Colorado’s Western Slope. Our kids are in Denver and Laramie. To save them the long drive home since both had been here at spring break, I decided that we would take the RV to Fort Collins, which is about halfway in between them. We booked the campsite and started planning. Continue reading

a few of my favorite things

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A snowy Christmas Eve at the Pine Creek Cookhouse.

A snowy Christmas Eve at the Pine Creek Cookhouse.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it: the music, the movies, the decorations, the hustle and bustle, even the bell ringers. I love the spirituality and kindness that spread throughout families and communities as people come together to celebrate and to help each other. I love the traditions and the memories it brings up of holidays past.

In addition to raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, here are a few of my favorite things about the holidays: Continue reading

three things that i have learned

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Leaving, on a jet plane.

Leaving, on a jet plane.

They say that with age comes wisdom. Since I turned 50 over the weekend, I thought I would share three of the most important things I learned during my first half century.

1. There’s no such thing as a small tear in the seat of your jeans. Throw them away. Think you’ll keep them and just wear them around the house? You’ll forget. Throw them away. Think you can sew and that you’ll get around to fixing them? You won’t. Throw them away. Throw them away before you wear them Christmas shopping.

2. I should not drink wine and attend an auction of any sort. At a live auction, I will drink wine and bid against myself. It’s true. I’ve seen me do it. At silent auctions, I will drink wine and become so fixated on something that I lose perspective and try to keep other people from the bid sheets … without being obvious. I often succeed on obtaining the item, sometimes at a cost that far outweighs its actual value, but I rarely succeed at the not being obvious part. Continue reading

when the chicks fly far from the nest

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Learning to Fly.

Sending a son or daughter off to college a few hours from home is challenging, but manageable. Sending one to Ireland for four months, now that’s a different story.

I’ve lived in nine cities in six different states, went to college 2,000 miles from my parents and I love to travel and explore. We’ve always encouraged our kids to have a sense of adventure, and both considered colleges far from home. But when they both chose to stay in-state, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Living three or four hours away gave them the freedom and independence they needed. It gave me peace of mind knowing that if there was an emergency, I could get there pretty quickly. That changed this week.

On Monday morning, we drove our daughter to the airport in Denver to begin a four-month study abroad program in Cork, Ireland. It’s an incredible opportunity, and I am so excited for her … but it was a long drive home. It was also a long and awkward elevator ride back to the parking lot after we said our goodbyes in the airport. I only cried for a couple of minutes, but it probably seemed much longer than that to the man who stepped into the elevator with us at the last minute. Bet he won’t do that again without taking a closer look at the occupants first. Continue reading