Saint or Sinner or A Little of Both?

“Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.”
― Chamfort

I love the quote above. I think we should all try to get out of our heads a little bit more and enjoy the moments. I don’t do a very good job at it. Oh, sure, I’m a pretty good actress with acquaintances. I can laugh and smile with the best of them but often it’s a bit tinny with a hint of delicate glass giving it a surreal edge just a bit off center.


I was talking to A yesterday and he made the comment that I was an optimist seeing the glass as always half full. I was honest with him and explained that I see very clearly the negative side of things. I see both sides of the coin and choose to recognize the positive because it’s too easy to be swallowed up by the darkness. Yet I walk on that edge sometimes too often, letting my toes dip into waves of naughtiness, intrigued by the cool darkness and tantalizing edginess which make my blood pound and my pulse race with all that is forbidden. Just a little more, I tell myself, and then in a moment of clarity I pull back remorseful, turning my back and praying that my sins be wiped out.

So, I’m not an angel or an optimist. I’m a sinner like most and afraid that my vices will get the best of me if I’m not careful. What drives me to smile too bright, touch too intimately, and enjoy it too much? I suppose there resides inside of me a sinner and a saint arguing heavily about right and wrong.

Where do you sit on the saint or sinner spectrum? Are you black and white? Do you pretend to bury the ugly and embrace only the light? I was reminded this weekend of how easy it is to bury myself beneath a uptight facade. I get wrapped up in what I should be doing – the right thing… but what is the right thing? It took me an airplane ride and relaxing with a group of ladies that accept me just the way I am to remember it’s ok to cut up and have fun.

Once upon a time ago, I thought in black and white. Now I only see gray. The older I get the more surrounded I am by gray and smudged lines.


Bury | The Daily Post

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Reconnecting In Monument 

Basking in the morning sun with glimpses of the Colorado mountain from the patio, I’m sorry to see the weekend nearing its end. Do you have a group of friends, that no matter the distance or how long apart it’s been, that once you are together it’s like no time has passed? I’m so blessed to have this in my life.  These ladies remind me who I truly am.  And that’s worth more than gold. 

This weekend was no exception. Our phenomenal hosts made the weekend even better than ever.  Thank you, M and J,  for opening your home and hearts! These flashes of reconnection are far too short. But, boy, do we know how to pack a lot of unadulterated adventure into a very short amount of time. 

Let me start by telling you a little bit about Monument, Colorado which sits a little over an hour from the airport. Monument is north of Colorado Springs and the United States Air Force Academy, and east of the Rampart Range, which is the eastern front range of the Rocky Mountains. It began as a settlement along the Rio Grande Railroad in 1872 and just happens to be a few miles from where J grew up, left, and returned a few years ago bringing M with him. A perfect spot for a Girlfriends reunion! 

Reunited and I’m So Excited 

Friday morning arrived with three of us arriving at the Denver airport. If you havent been to the Denver airport be aware that it sits out in the middle of nowhere and takes a bit to go wherever your going. The good news is that there are shuttles, for a fee, which will take you where you want to go. Just reserve one in advance and try to be on time. We missed the 10am shuttle by nine minutes. That just meant we had a few hours to kill over Bloody Mary’s at the Red Rock. 

Tip: If you are running a few minutes late call the shuttle service. They will often wait if you are running a few minutes late. Any more than that I highly recommend the Bloody Mary’s. 

After M picked us up from the Park and Ride we headed to her home to await the last member joining our party later. I know I mentioned how hard it is for everyone to get together before, and this time was no exception. Not everyone could manage the trip (you know who you are) and the group was a little smaller than in the past. But everyone was there in spirit… and a few of their stories as well. 

When B arrived, we kicked off the weekend gathering around the patio table to catch up. It was a beautiful Colorado evening made better by pizza, adult beverages and lots of smack talking over past adventures of which I’m sworn to secrecy. 

Local Farmer’s Market

The local Farmer’s Market called to us as we lingered over coffee and pastries, that J had graciously ran out to get, just for the ovarian vortex that had descended upon his quiet home with gads of giggles and  estrogen. M is so lucky to have him. 

If you get to Monument go to the Farmer’s Market. From fresh produce, local honey to fancy, long lasting lipstick you can find it here. 


Across the street from the Market is an eclectic shoppers paradise of shabby chic meet Colorado hip decor and wearables. For the shopper’s wingman there are comfortable rocking chairs beneath a shaded back porch.   Take advantage of those rockers, relaxing in the cool shadows. 

From there we headed to Bella Casa just around the corner. On a mission,  we all picked up a seasoning mix for yummy coated crackers that we had been snacking on since we had arrived. I’m going to call this mix crack-cracker-mix. Just saying it’s beyond delicious and you will want to grab lots of this mix to make at home. 


If I had a way of packing more home with me I could have done serious damage to my pocket book here.  Every nook seemed to hold something my heart desired. I’m addicted to housewheres and this little shop did not disappoint my addiction. 

Palmer Lake 

Palmer Lake sits a few miles from Monument. It’s J’s  home town plus it’s home to the worlds best ice cream at the Rock House.  Did someone say lunch!?! 

We piled out of the SUV and headed into The Rock House.  This small business hosts a case full of ice cream in an assortment of flavors, all especially made for the Rock  House, as well as some favorite lunch specials. Stop in, grab a BLT and indulge in a chocolate waffle cone with your favorite flavor of ice cream. Afterwards take a minute to find a trinket from the curio ship in back made by local artists. 

For those visiting the Tri-Lake area swing by Palmer Lake. It’s worth the stop. Visitors can enjoy a coffee, bakery, antique shopping, boutiques, and art galleries… and don’t forget the ice cream! Take a drive along Lovers Lane and if you have time get out for a hike. 

Celebration

Unbeknownst to me, my girlfriends surprised me with a birthday dinner. Not just any birthday, but the BIG 50.  Happy early Birthday to me! 

Dressed, and ready for cocktails, we headed to the Bistro on 2nd in Monument. This little Bistro has an amazing fresh take on fine dining in an upbeat, fun atmosphere. Thank goodness for that because we aren’t exactly prim and proper – quite the opposite. And the staff was ready to take us on, all good natured fun. 


From cocktails, appetizers, dinner to dessert the service was impeccable. Taylor took our high spirits in stride and played along while delivering impeccable service. 


I can’t speak highly enough of the service. And the menu is amazing! I think I could take a bath in the chocolate mousse. 


Not eager to call the evening over after dinner, we took the party outside to  the fire pit. Rick Velliquette, owner/operator/host-extraordinaire, made us right at home with a kick-ass platter filled with all the fixings for s’mores. I even indulged in a snow cone lemon drop martini – you have to try it! It was a beautiful evening, filled with good natured  fun, a few new misadventures shared, and discovering a fantastic Bistro in Monument. Too bad it’s so far away from Houston. 


Wow – what a fantastic birthday celebration – one I won’t foget. Thank you, Ladies, for loving  me and sharing my big milestone. It was a blast. 

Back to Houston

Before heading in different directions we talked about the next potential reunion. Vegas, baby! Can you feel it? I think I’ll bring my boots. 

Cheers!

❤️

Home – What Does It Mean To You?

“And then it happens all at once and unexpectedly. That is how things happen, I suppose. You pack your bags and find yourself walking yourself home.”
― Shannon L. Alder


“I just want to go home,” she said longingly. 

HOME. 

Home has as many meanings as there are people. But what is true is for me, is that Home is a place of love and serenity. It is an anchor for my soul as well as for my weary body. Home rejuvenates my mind, body and spirit. Home is my sanctuary. 

What does it mean to you?

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Mister Carwash and Other Houstonian Rites of Passage


My car finally arrived after journeying thousands of miles on boat and truck. It desperately needed a bath. 

Over dinner my girlfriend told me about Mister Carwash on Gessner.  It sounded like the perfect Saturday morning plan. She warned me to arrive early because it gets pretty busy and I’m happy I did. Cars were already lined up and it was only a little after 8a.m.

Mister Carwash has over 30 locations, so the nice guy told me, while convincing me to sign up for the monthly car washing service (with the promise I can cancel at any time). No wonder most of the cars here are shiny! 

In Anchorage, cars are dirt encrusted most of the year and no one blinks an eye. Our roads conditions in Alaska are a bit more rough around the edges compared to this bustling Texas city. 


With coffee in hand, I left my car to be vacuumed and washed, wiping away the evidence of the long journey it had just recently traveled. From the comfy waiting room I can watch the cars glide past the wide windows, the hard working employees working their magic. 

I’m impressed!

You have no idea how  happy I am to be reunited with my car. It’s a small chunk falling into place, reminding me how wonderfully blessed I am with this new chapter in my life. I’m so very blessed and grateful for all that God has given me. Good and bad, it’s been a bit of a challenge but through it all I’m treasuring the days as they unfold. 


My mantra for today is “be present”.  

Be present in all the little moments. Even a Carwash. 


Cheers!

❤️

Breakup Is Here and Its Beautiful!

“Flour and butter, cream and sugar, words and images — all the ingredients for a rich, tasty story.”
― Rona Simmons, The Quiet Room

Oh my goodness, I’ve been busy. The days are speeding by and I am getting less and less done. On the bright side its getting brighter and warmer and muddier out…Hello, Breakup! The very last one that I will experience. After 25 years I think I’m ready for a real spring.

But Sunday is for baking and I’m taking a few minutes to share pictures from my trip to Iowa (no time to bake this weekend). I just had to test out my son’s kitchen and what better way to do that than bake some cookies for the guys. After being pried out of Trader Joe’s (LOVE that store!) we made it back home, supplied for the next decade or more with pantry staples.

I baked. And fed the guys piping hot cookies straight out of the oven.

Cookies = Love

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Tip: Freeze extras! I made an extra batch to freeze. Wrap the cookies in freezer Ziploc baggies to pull out to enjoy later. Yum!

Cheers!

 

Let’s Rondy

“It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s 40 below zero…Let’s party!” Who remembers that long ago tag line?

The 2017 Fur Rondy 10-Day event kicks off today in Anchorage FEB 24 – MAR 5, 2017.

This winter festival has been happening since 1935 bringing people together to celebrate in the frozen far north. From the Outhouse races to Running of the Reindeer there is fun to be had for everyone.

Some downtown streets are closed pushing traffic around the festivities. But don’t worry you can always grab the free shuttle, sponsored by BP, this weekend and next, to get around to downtown’s events. You can find more information on road closure and shuttle information online.

Friday the JIM BEAM JAM kicks off the festivities with Local Country Legend Ken Peltier playing at the Egan Center. For some great boot-scooting-music grab a dance partner and head downtown for a great time tonight. Event starts at 9 p.m. at the Egan Center. $25/person

You can Find a full list of events on the Fur Rondy website.

By the way, don’t forget to pick up this year’s pin! I haven’t had a chance to do that yet but it’s on my to do list!


“It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s 40 below zero…Let’s party!” Who remembers that long ago tag line?

Have fun, drive safe and see you downtown!

Snow Continues to Fall

“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” -Sinclair Lewis

It’s Saturday.

Its snowing again.

I was up early and skated (the only way I can explain driving on ICY roads) very, very carefully to Eagle River to have coffee and yummy omelets with A. I passed rollovers, ditch-divers and emergency vehicles the entire fifteen miles. And promptly got stuck half way up the driveway.

Welcome to Alaska’s winters.

I hiked up the rest of the drive, leaving my car sitting there, knowing I would have to back the thing down. It would wait until after our visit.

Is it spring yet?

I’m already getting itchy to plan another long weekend out. But I promised myself I would stay put until I head to Iowa at the end of March. I have serious doubts that I will make it until then. Pray for me.

Maybe I will plan a weekend to Alyeska Resort that sits in Girdwood...and take Miss R and her mommy with me. The hotel is absolutely beautiful with a salt water pool and the community is a skier’s paradise. Not that I ski. Did I mention I live in the WRONG state?

I think its time to go check out some travel sites to do some virtual travel dreaming. By the way, here are a few that I tend to go back to, just in case you are curious:

  1. TravelPirates
  2. Kyak
  3. Hopper
  4. Google Flights
  5. VactionsToGo

 

Cheers!