Parker, CO

August 2007

The rumor for the last 400 years was that Golf stood for Gentleman Only Ladies Forbidden.! It's a backronym. They say that the Scottish actually originated it back in the 15th century even though the Dutch and the Chinese date the game way before us Celts.
As most of you know, my life changed.......DRAMATICALLY, with the Wall Street fall out at the beginning of the year as well as the past three weeks. It has been nothing less than a lesson in humility, resourcefulness, and networking. And in trying to be a resourceful girl, selling cars for John Elway Toyota was a little too on the brutal side for me to handle as I want everyone to have everything for FREE!! :) However, if you want to know anything about Bilstein suspension systems, VVTI engines, the aerodynamic engineering of the Prius, or how a Hybrid engine works......just ask! So here I am.........back in the game of golf and though my income has dropped substantially and I am working weekends and nights, I've never been happier!! ! I'm home. A little broke, but HOME!!

Our golf course is a members only club just south of Parker, Colorado on the way out to Castlewood Canyon. It's an old club and the echo of hammering denotes the promise of the up and coming BrightStar Golf Company to acquire and improve the truly BEST golf courses nationwide that have so long been neglected. It's not only the members that inspired me to gravitate back to this's the tournaments and the people it breeds.
From Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, to Aspen, Colorado to Denver, I have had the opportunity to witness benefit tournaments inspired by a core commitment to a cause. From promotable, larger than life games like The NBA, The NBL(that one was fun!!), the Annual Broncos Alumni, to the sincere life transforming smaller ones like Toys for Tots out at Heritage Eagle Bend where Ken Cox raises more money and supplies more bicycles than the whole state of Colorado at Christmas time. The Marines line up with gratitude as they load their three covered caravan trucks to surprise children that have hope, that there really is a Santa Claus. Two weeks ago we hosted a tournament for a newly graduated senior from Ponderosa High School, who was killed in a car accident on the way to visit relatives in Illinois only four weeks after graduation. It was the fourth year for this tournament,  as he grew up at The Pinery and golf was his passion. Still, most of  his friends showed up, his family, his uncles, aunts, grandparents and an influx of people who had never met him. They only heard through the grapevine what a tremendous spirit this boy possessed. The proceeds from his tournament go to fund a tour bus that transports the kids from Ponderosa High School to events, whether it be Wrestling, Band, or Football games. There is heart and reason behind it.

This morning, I arrived at the club with my two little boys in tow(no babysitter at 6:30am!!) to help Randy and Katie set up for a tournament that I really wasn't clear about. It wasn't until after the golfers came in from their 18 that we all began to fathom the passion behind it. Here's how the story goes......
One of our members had some kids, 3 boys and a girl. One of the boys was born with Down's Syndrome. He lived with his parents through his adulthood and maintained a steady job at the local McDonald's here in Parker. He passed away in the year 2000. Through his death, his family was inspired to raise money in team with the Special Olympics and Departmental Partners in order to fund camping trips, rafting trips, gym memberships, bowling leagues for people with disabilities. They implemented a store where all proceeds go for funding which is located in Aurora and recently opened one in Littleton. People flew in from Chicago, called in sick to work, closed their businesses today in order to pick up their clubs and play for this memorable man. Mom and Dad, sister and brothers passionately set up the largest tournament in seven years. However, it was like any other tournament until the MC called a group of this man's friends up to the podium.

This was a different crowd to begin with. There were no celebrities. The MC, since 2000, brought up the friends and within the next hour I saw freedom......pure, unbridled, passionate, fun, happy freedom. I longed to be like them. They sang, they danced, they laughed with everything beautiful they carry inside with no measure of how brutal reality can be. They live for the moment, for who they are, for how they feel.
In the dusk of the Colorado heat, I walked away with a renewed perception that life is WAY too short to skip away a minute of bliss, a second of hope, an hour of joy. That in death, there is a transformation of spirit into power. That in life, there is happiness in simplicity. Simplicity of a joke, a song, a dance, a cashier at the local hamburger hangout.


July 7, 2007

Current mood:amused


I love to drive over the little road turtles that parallel the highway, they feel like a mini five second massage, however, it's tricky to stay on them for long because the guy driving behind me might call my license plate into State Patrol as impaired, so I have to hit them strategically, like on curves. I'm sure the Department of Transportation has a more technical word for my little wake up bumps. Sailing through the night along Utah's moonlit highway to Price, I'm thinking that it's a very good thing that prairie dogs are NOT on the endangered list although from the looks of the mottled pavement, they should be. Prairie dogs and bugs. My Taurus, whose name is Leo, looks like a bug mobile. Big ones, little ones, yellow ones, big fat green ones, eight wing ones, thank goodness they are the same color as Leo so you really can't tell unless your within two feet.  I tried to scrub them off earlier at the Glenwood Springs gas station but I was attacked by moths that were sticking to the wet windows after I started scrubbing so I gave it up and slid back in behind the wheel quickly, hoping none of them had attached themselves to me for the free ride. That wouldn't be good, as I'm a freak about moths and bees.
The Colombia River at a picnic site above The Dalles

 I'm on the routine six month child exchange program with my little boys father who lives on an island on the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. He's a big stocky man that is scared senseless of flying, inadvertently leading me to be the dominant transportation chauffer twice a year. Sometimes we fly, sometimes we drive.  I drive because it frees my mind. And even though it's a 1352 mile trip according to Rand McNally(Rand is wrong, it's really 1530 unless I just haven't figured out which route they take yet out of the three available), watching the shadowed mountain silhouettes and the Harold and the Purple Crayon moon follow me into the night, is hypnotic.
I found a new way this last spring when I went up for Roman's 7th birthday, I like it because I have to go through Bliss. Bliss, Idaho. Bliss spins my imagination into fantasies and spirals my heart deep into my soul. Just the word gives me ceaseless butterflies that tingle my toes. I'd like to live in Bliss. In more ways than the physical. This route engages the Lewis and Clark trail and is littered with history from it's discovery to the underground Chinese WWII slave camps in Pendleton, Oregon to the haunted City of Bridges~Portland. So much spirit drenched in this soil that lies beneath these highways and as I watch people drive by in their cars, I wonder if they feel what once was. If their minds eye can reminisce back to a time when this breathtaking land was raw.   


Mar 19, 2007


Current mood:chipper
The ambience of Aspen is breathtaking!! This weekend was crazy beautiful!! I saw some old friends, made some new ones, listened to some stories and experienced the renowned Ajax Après on the sun drenched patio at the base of the Aspen gondola until the sun set behind the mountain. I finally headed out on the highway way past my bedtime, calling every friend in my cell phone that could help keep my eyes from needing toothpicks. No one was awake but me. I finally succumbed to my drifting thoughts close to 4am by pulling into Eagle, looping around the back of the Conoco station to a dirt parking lot below the freeway where I nestled the car between half a dozen sleeping semi's, lowered the leather seat back, tucked my pillow under my head and snuggled deeply into my thick, furry blanket and let the dark overtake me. But, only for a few hours. I pulled into my garage just before 8 and made my 10:00 realtors meeting in East Denver. Funny what a weekend away can do for your mentality. I feel like I could conquer the world this week!! And win!!  


Aug 5, 2007
Current mood:lonely

Rain ~ "Stay Now" Jem

 I woke up tonight to the rolling thunder of a summer storm as the breeze caresses through my skin and the pounding of the rain beats to my heart, my eyes breathe in the lights of the town and my senses awaken with the freshness of what the rain washed away. It's like a shower. It's cleansing. I never really enjoyed the rain for the endless years that I lived in the dark, dreary, rainy state of Washington. Not here. I cherish it. I inhale the symbolization of it along with the power. I crawl to the fur rug laying in front of the fireplace in my bedroom and instead of closing the windows, I open them, I lay down in the middle of the floor and watch the light dance across the dark skies feeling the wet mist sprinkle across my face. My mind drifts back timelessly, where one rainy fall night transformed love into a fairy tale. Closing my eyes,  I try so hard to control the memories smothered in him. Through the thunder, I feel the passion of his lips. Through the lightening, I see the flash of his eyes. Through the wind, I smell his tenderness. Through the coolness, I feel the heat of his heart. I squeeze my pillow and pray to God to smother the stabbing ache in my tummy , I pray that the rain will wash it all away. I pray that his world is everlasting and beautiful . I wonder if my image infects his dreams. I hear rain come down, I let the rain come down............And......... I wonder if I have any gummy bears hidden in the cupboard downstairs..... 

Indulgent Serenity

Mar 18, 2007
Current mood:peaceful

Indulgent Serenity

It's early morning on St. Patrick's Day and I'm escaping. With every mile closer that I get to I-70 West, I can feel my chest inflate involunatraily with deeper breaths, my body knowing subconsciously that soon I'll be absorbing the crisp air of Snowmass Village. It's so warm and sunny! I'm cruising down the highway with the windows down, the sunroof open and the southern voice of Louis Armstrong emanating from the speakers singing its "A Wonderful World". Yes, it really is.  As soon as I pulled onto E-470, I flipped through my music case, looking for something to match the mood of the drive when I came across a blank CD, curiosity got the best of me so I popped it in and with the first notes I was taken back in time, last fall, with butterflies swirling in my tummy,  and a smile swept across my face with the memory. There were only two of these discs made and it is full of songs I had remotely was perfect..........perfect for where I wanted my mind and heart to be today and this weekend.
Snowmass first home in Colorado!
I haven't been to Aspen since last September when Sarah, the boys and I stayed a weekend here. It was an amazing weekend….in many little ways.
The trip to the Roaring Fork Valley is three and half-hours though it never seems that long. I know this drive so well, and as I have my little routine pit stops along the road trips back to Seattle, so too do I have them on this one. First stop is always at Starbucks at the off ramp for Downieville. Today was my really lucky day! As I was standing in the line to grab some Green Tea, the barrista announced that if anyone was interested in an Iced Venti Cinnamon Dolce, that it was a mistake and it was free. Never being the one to pass up an unprecedented opportunity, I took it and headed west. Mmmmmmmmmm, this is really good! It kind of tastes like Mexican hot chocolate….but cold! The second stop will be destination Joe Kelly's condo at the top of the village in Snowmass.

Joe playing guitar and Gary in the back singing Sweet Caroline
Driving along the valley with snowy Mt. Sopris dominating the horizon, I have my hand out the top of the car to feel the cold sharpness of the wind curving around my fingers in the wind, drawing in the fresh scents of the wilderness and I can't help but wonder what it feels like to be a dog. It must be incredible to hang your head out the car window or stand in the back of a truck absorbing more of only a bit of what my hand feels.
Joe and Gary Quist have a band. They play tonight in downtown Aspen.
Last night, way too late( or way too early......depending how you look at it), I got a wild hair and called them, along with my girlfriend, Gina, to ask if I could have someone's couch for the weekend. Two years ago, I met all three of them when I was working the ski season at the Snowmass Club. Gary would sing in our lounge during Après on Friday nights and Joe would sing on Saturday's. Gina came in the middle of the season, looking like a real live Barbie doll from Nebraska, and we became instantaneous friends. Joe is larger than life. He was the lead guitarist for Tina Turner and does charity fund raisers in Snowmass with Vince Gill, his voice is strong and paralyzes you with its deep, smoky power. His single, "Flying High" is only in the hands of  a few before it makes it to it's release and blows his solo career wide open. 
Gary is more subdued than Joe….until he gets on stage. Gary used to play in the Larry Gatlin band and was the stunt double for Kurt Russell once upon a time. His voice is sultry and commanding and his casual subtly is his strength of presence.  He has a song he sings just for me.  Tonight sitting in an old wooden chair, looking out the 2nd story window of this historical Victorian building onto the streets of this mountain town, I hear him sing, "I Am, I Said" and deep inside I realize how everything is where it's suppose to be for this moment. O pow'lelo a hima'lele.   ~Neil Dimond's "I Am I Said" :)
My heart is scattered in pieces from Alaska to Colorado. Different places holding cherished memories. This village is one of them, one of the strongest. This is how I came to know Colorado. At night, when the dark is so deep, the lights of the village are indistinguishable from the stars in the sky. Here you are on top of the world, closer to God, closer to heaven. You feel as if you could reach out and touch the moon with one more step. It's a simple life. A decadent life in indulgent serenity. I wish I could capture it and bring it back home to unleash it so it could touch everyone's world as it fills mine.


Apr 22, 2007
Current mood:touched

Home ~"How Great Thou Art"
                                                                                         Carrie Underwood & Vince Gill

 Hades.........sometimes I believe I'm living in it.
If you consider that Satan was cast out of heaven and bound to earth, than that statement would be true!
Until, through tears of devastation, my eyes capture the beauty of adversity and my heart embraces the wisdom of learning along with the ultimate submission of faith.
It all started with the first stupid snowstorm back in December. It seems to have set a bigger snowball in motion, a snowball that is now as big as the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters. I need gummy bears. A lot of them. Doughnuts wouldn't be so bad either. Chocolate cake ones with lots of chocolate icing.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a Job's Daughters. From the age of twelve to eighteen, I gathered with a whole bunch of girls in the same age group and we would take over the Masonic Lodge on A Street in Anchorage every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month dressed in our white satin robes with royal purple chords. We looked liked angels, in a Greek kind of way. The next three hours were spent studying the book of Job. My parents must have gone to a fortuneteller before I was born. Somehow, someone, somewhere must have given them some brilliant insight to my life attracting calamities. At the time I just thought it was great because we got to eat cupcakes and cookies afterwards and maybe spy on the Demolay boys every now and then. J I didn't realize how much I would fall back on the lessons of Job. At this time, more than ever.
Job is a book of infinite wisdom, hope and unrelenting faith in the face of continual catastrophe that would bring anyone to the brink of sanity. It is one of the few books that are written in prose so it's easy to read and yet sophisticated in its teachings. I read it last night until 3:30 in the morning, the first time since I was in Jobies.
Though the past five months have been just short of touring Hades first class, the moments of splendor, the shoulder of enduring friendships, the perceptive words of children, the smell of the wind, the stunning landscapes of a solo drive, the blue heron that inadvertently lands next to me at the pool, the spontaneous times of unpredicted love that hang by a moment if only for a moment are pieces of God. They are sustenance in a world that the only constant is change.
Suffering teaches us about our own insuffiency and leads us to have a greater faith in Heavenly Father. He requires that we have a faith and hope that perseveres under the greatest of adversities.
I realize that my perception of tragedies is nothing compared to others in most of the world.
With that enlightenment, my soul seems to soar, my burdens released and I make valentine cookies with sweet buttercream frosting and pink and white sprinkles. They taste almost as good as pizza, doughnuts and gummy bears.

Sunday Drive

Feb 25, 2007
Current mood:contemplative

Bob Burton. I met Bob in the early afternoon at a trailhead along a Douglas County bike path. I had stepped out of my car and noticed that across the parking lot a man was taking out his 1975 Red, scuffed Schwinn road bike and commented on the fact that he was a lucky man to have been able to fit his bike in his car. Decked out in a North Face black down vest, thermal socks, pants, gloves and a helmet, Bob was the epitome of a seasoned Coloradian bike rider. We proceeded to walk down to the trail along Cherry Creek and engaged the conversation towards life. He is a stud! He's probably in his early 60's, married, three grown children that all do some type of intensive social work, an outcome obviously ordained by his natural compassion that emanated from him. We parted half an hour later after we had walked together telling brief stories from our lives and becoming fast friends in the moment, part of me saddened by the fact that I could not accept his invitation to ride with him out to Castlewood Canyon.

Castlewood Canyon

Earlier this morning, I had awakened with the impeding need to ride my mountain bike, after feeling the sun touch my cheek with it's warmth from a mean sleep, I decided that Castlewood Canyon would be perfect for an introspective day of hiking and later I would bike whatever trail was conveniently close by before the sun dropped. Realizing that I don't own a Columbia backpack, I found a backpack that Jordan used in 1st grade and even though it had Scooby Doo on the flap, I packed it with bottled water, Muscle Milk, my bible, a book, a notebook, my sketch pad, some pencils, a plastic baggy with matches (just in case it fell in a creek……then thinking some more I added a few Wheat Thins to fill it), a small butcher's knife (just in case a cougar attacked me), a fur blanket (just in case I got lost and I was cold), two pair of socks, a ski mask, gloves, scarf(just in case I got lost and it got colder),  cocoa butter(for dry skin), 30SPF sunscreen(so I wouldn't get any more freckles) an apple(just in case I got lost for days, I wouldn't starve) and a bag of gummy bears( because if all was lost, they make me feel good when I eat them). Now……I was ready!! J
My bike had different ideas, it obviously didn't want to go out for a ride today, so for twenty minutes I tried to shove the darn thing into my friend's 4 door Black Infiniti Sedan, much to the entertainment of the guy across the parking lot who was polishing his three motorcycles. I tried it through the trunk. Through both of the side doors. Through the front passenger door…..hoping to get it to the back seat diagonally, all to no avail. I know Motorcycle man probably thought things I don't want to think of but after giving it my all, I surrendered to the idea that I need to buy a truck and took off without it.
Man, it was a beautiful day!!!! I was skipping church but my conscience excused it by telling me that my religion was in nature today and I most desperately needed to feel connected to something. These last two months have been the most challenging I've had in all aspects, all rolled into one, than the last five years put together. I have a lot of friends but few that I trust my deepest, darkest trials with and in my selfish independent pride, I rarely ask and in so doing, become incessantly neurotic and introverted. Without the children here, my nurturing abilities are suppressed, my loneliness magnified and it kills me. I still have been unable to walk into the boys room to unpack it as my heart bleeds with the image of them and their smells lingering on their pillows. My saving grace has always been in the serenity and simplicity of what God created and as I cruise south out of Parker with the sunroof open and the heater on at 85 degrees, I notice that the air only gets colder the closer to the canyon I get. I figured it was just because I was in the shade.
Castlewood Canyon is all snow and mud. Beautiful in its purity and yet way too chilly to even sit in the car without the heater cranked up. I contemplated for half an hour or so, didn't see anyone else venturing out so I guided the car out of the lot and back towards civilization. I thought about turning west at the crossroads and heading toward the rock at Castle Rock, but knew from past experience, that it would be below freezing once I got to the top and I didn't think all the arctic supplies in the Scooby Doo kit would be enough to handle the elements.
Hitting Parker, I was coming up on the gym I go to and hadn't utilized since I moved half a city closer to it a few weeks ago. I realized all too warily, that my backside had been expanding due to the lack of aerobic content in my life so I pulled in to appease the guilt. But, it just wasn't the same as my dream had had for the day, so after a trip on the treadmill and some serious abdominal exercises, I left. I thought a Fuji apple would be much better than the little Granny one that I had packed so I stopped in at the local grocery store that I use to haunt for almost two years.  I love this store! I always know someone whose working there,  and when your feeing like a gypsy lately, the familiarity of a face you have seen, even if only at the food market, brings a little grounding. I ran into my friend Tony, who has worked there since I moved to Parker and we lived in the same apartment complex. The last time we saw each other was last summer on the bike trail, the day before I moved was comforting to see him, knowing that there really is predictablity and that some things are good if they don't change. I went and picked up my big, juicy Fuji apple and headed over to the Sprint store to change my Aspen number to a local one, on the advise of a potential employer.  As sentimental as that phone number is to me, I was surprised at the ease in changing it, I didn't even cry. I left eating my apple, a new phone number, picture mail and a deep seeded longing to be outside.
That's when I drove over to Cottonwood and met Bob. I am grateful that my bike didn't make it because if it had, I never would have met him. I would have been off on my merry little way, never thinking twice about someone pulling their bike out of the back of their car. Bob was an investment stockbroker in his day, I told him that I have always been infatuated and curious with stocks but never had someone to teach me. He gave me six stock names that he has invested in for the last five years and that he, his family, and his sisters live off of the interest in which they have given him more than a fifty percent return. He says that by the time a person retires, they still have thirty wonderful years of living left and that you want to spend it enjoying and experiencing the quality of life that should be everyone's.
I walked after him until he rounded the bend under the highway and I could see him no more. I'll invest in those six stocks and meet Bob Burton again someday…… the middle of nowhere…….exchanging impacting small life stories. I thought about him for the next hour as I made my way to Taco Bell. I really needed a Crunchy Taco Supreme. This did nothing for my guilt, but felt unbelievable for my soul so I walked back to my car and headed to the gym at my complex for another hour.
I gained a lot today but still felt the emptiness and confusion that I wanted to alleviate by drowning in the peacefulness of the wilderness. I need to escape. I need an angel to take my hand and sweep my spirit away to the mountains if only for a day. I want to forget the world and all of the weight it dictates. I want to set my soul free and linger outside the rigidity of life. I want my hairdresser not to cut my hair like Einstein's. And I promise, Denice, that I will work out every single night at the gym for the car show in March...... .......just not  tonight because I have a date with my bed and a book and my gummy bears.

Keystone, Colorado


Current mood:chill

Through adversity comes appreciation. Through loss comes awareness. Through humility comes joy. Through acceptance comes empowerment. Through faith comes freedom. Through hope comes possibility.
It was the end of the workday on Friday the 31st of July and I felt like Debra Winger in “Officer And A Gentleman” as I ran to the time clock in the back of the store, pulled off my baseball cap, my blood soaked whites and swiped my timecard to hear the proverbial beep that let me know that I wasn’t on “The Sprout’s God Time” anymore! I was free!!!

Me and my meat!
It was 2:00 and Denise wasn’t going to pick me up for another hour and a half so AJ, the youngest Sproutie butcher at the ripe age of 23, and I, decided to take up some tasty little morsels at the local corner bar, FunUGuyz. He isn’t allowed to drink as he has a big electronic bracelet wrapped around his left ankle; also, he is not allowed to drive because of the 3 DUI’s that warranted him that pretty bracelet. So, I drove his recently departed grandma’s 4 door, dark green KIA the mile to indulge our taste buds.
 AJ and I found out early on in our careers that both of us have a prime affinity for good food. I love working with him. Not only is he a workaholic but he is as much OCD as I am as well as energetic Not to mention that the dishes are done, the floor is mopped so much that you could eat of f of it, the white cutting boards are spotlessly clean and, George, our affectionately named Foreman grill, always has the best of the best slowly roasting the succulent flavors of filet mignon, homemade sausage, grass fed Australian new york strips, Chilean sea bass or wild shrimp at any given time. Not to mention our obvious and uncontrollable sweet tooth’s that warrants one of us to muster up cheesecake, carrot cake, chocolate covered gogi berries or Haagen Daas milk chocolate ice cream bars for.
After inhaling the perfectly cooked medium rare buffalo sliders and their counterpart potatoes, I left AJ there to wait for one of our other co workers so they could play a night of pool and shuffle board and drove grandma’s car back to the Sprouts parking lot just as Denise pulled up.
We drove to Bradbury Ranch to pick up her newly graduated seventeen year old daughter, Alicia and then picked up my Roman in Aurora and headed up I25 breaking for our weekend mountain retreat!
It’s been almost a year since leaving the concrete city. So different from the last 30 years of unbridled freedom to travel wherever and whenever the hearts desire inspires. We are always in Breck for Jordan’s birthday during the last week of September and previous to that were the four days spent in the San Isabel mountain side southwest of Pueblo during the 4th of July. It seems like an eternity since my soul has felt exhilarated as we wind up I-70 through Evergreen. All of my senses are heightened and taking in every scent and sight  trying to file it away as if I were to never see it again.
An hour later we veer off the highway at Silverthorne and head west to Keystone. I’ve never been here, close, but it’s always been the elusive ski resort even though I had heard through the grapevine back in Snowmass that they had the best night skiing in the state. I love skiing in the dark….it reminds me of the nights at Alyeska with the Northern Lights dancing over the lifts lighting the trails in a rainbow of colors and stopping along a drift to lay in the powdered snow watching them dance. The dark inlet below illuminated by the whiteness of the mountains surrounding it and the peace that settles through your body as you are laying on a mountain top close enough to touch the sky in the middle of a vast wilderness and it’s your moment realizing that there is an entire world hustling and bustling in every corner of the world around you but not at this moment, right here, right now. It’s just you and the celestial.
That’s what the Colorado Mountains feel like. It doesn’t matter where you go, what ski or mining town you may venture into, it all feels like a world away from reality. It’s up here that priorities straighten out.
We unload are trunkful of necessities and satisfy our tummies with dinner at Dos Loco’s. The chile relleno is to die for. Not the saturated crispy ones you find at every street corner Mexican restaurant in the city but an actual traditional lightly egg white battered, montery cheese stuffed green poblano chile swimming in a verde and red pepper chili sauce. It lasted maybe a minute before it was literally inhaled. I know….my stomach doesn’t have teeth….but I couldn’t help it!! Well…..maybe it was two minutes. All I know is they should have had two or three or four on my plate. Obviously they were not aware that I am the world seeker of the best chile relleno. So far, hands down, it is at Isla Bonita on the main street of the ferry port Town of Bainbridge Island in northwest Washington. The tie for second is in La Junta, CO, at a whole in the wall family restaurant where the 18 yr old brother makes the best margaritas as the younger brother creates the traditional family dinner flair and La Bamba’s on the corner of Lincoln and S. Parker Road. Familiar tastes. Familiar places. Familiar smells. We polish off our plates and the four of us head back to the condo. Roman insists on sleeping on the couch  downstairs in the living room as the tv had cable hookup and cartoon network. Denise and I open a bottle of wine over a game of scrabble on the night deck. Hours pass and we finish our game of chess with words. After Denise retires upstairs and  Alicia and Roman pass out,  two sheets to dreamland lying across the living room couches. I feel good. I feel alive, refreshed, inspired, I grab my coat off the hook by the front door and head out to the road in front of the complex.

Denise and I at Brewfest in Keystone!
The first step comes as a reminder that even in August in the mountains it can be breathtaking chilly. It’s so beautiful! The air is crisp and I can breathe! Even up here at 8000 feet, I can feel the depleted oxygen burning my chest with its simplicity. As I walk towards the base of the mountain backlit in moonlight my thoughts are consumed by how  far away I’ve fallen from my roots. From my desires. From my dreams. It happens every single time I cross the continental divide. It’s as if my entire life is seen in a snow globe, it’s in its true perspective, its pure authenticity. So apparent here and yet with the each mountain revelation, somehow, I get sucked back into Peyton’s Place in the city, never to leave. I feel like the princess in the tower. Because my daddy always said that I WAS a princess J…….once upon a time.

I walk along the base of the mountains listening to the river flow at Frey Gulch. I walk south to the highway 6 and cross to the river on the other side. The moon that was hidden just hours ago by the rain has peeked out and with the glass of 2001 Summerwood Zinfandel in my right hand, I lay down on the wet grass next to the flowing tributarylooking up into the sea of stars silhouetted by the massive mountain peaks and so close that I could set my glass down and trace their constellations with my fingers. I bridle up to the base of Montezuma as my mind races with the dreams so forgotten in the city world and the economic fall. How I’ve worked so hard my entire teenage and adult life to have nothing substantial of material value left. And, yet, I have everything. The one I love is elusive and financial security is yet a myth.
Do you remember how in Jesus’ most trying moments, he always escaped to the wilderness, this is where his clarity of discernment knew no bounds.
I think of Simon, I feel him. His intensity so close to me and yet so far. My body hungers for him, my heart yearns for the silent storm in his eyes. I see him so clearly here……a touch away and yet never close enough to hold forever. I feel the dampness of the grass through my clothes and yet my limbs extend to him. I wish he was here. He would be the one that I could lay here with and not say a word and yet understand the experience. In everything I see a piece of him. Will it ever let go. How strong is something intangible? How strong is the past?  How strong are societies social expectations?    
 It's now, in the night light with crickets playing all around me and the splash of river trout that I can see. See what inspires me. See what is. My reality.  
 Sometimes people follow their hearts.....others follow their logic and what is stable, what's secure. This world is going to eat me. Because it isn't true. Not my truth. The heart is so much more powerful than the head.  I will never go backward toward comfort and safety but forward toward uncertainty, discomfort and growth to pursue my passions in spite of any pain. I know with everything in me that if I back down I may break down. I believe the impossible becomes possible and am not tied to the limiting beliefs of my society or my past. I will not be broken by adversity but rather use it~ that within any pain lies hidden power that can be harnassed to become gold.
And through love comes grace.          


Seattle, WA

Feb 17, 2007
Current mood:crazy

Seattle........Finally!! :)

The Emerald City.  After passing the Boeing Field on the west, the interstate bends  around a hill and the vision before you is now the backdrop of a city that looks like it belongs in a fairy tale tucked away in the clouds. The night sky is creeping up on the eastern horizon and the city is illuminated against the deep blue of Puget Sound.
I picked up Jake, Hannah and her friend Lara, turned the driving over to the man of the group and we headed over to see the campus of Seattle University where Jake will call home for the next four years of his life. If you didn't know it was there you would miss it. It sits up on top of the hill off of 15th and James (I think), the only hint of its existence from the main road is a few bookstores and a chapel with the Seattle U insignia mounted stoically above their front doors. It's dorm buildings humbly tower among a 1940's neighborhood. As we ride the elevator up to his floor, the door opens on each level to let another person in or out. I never stayed in dorms when I went to college, I stayed with mom and dad because I liked my bed and my dog, so this was a new experience for me. We got out of the elevator on the blue floor and suddenly I felt like I was in 'American Pie'. All the doors were heavily decorated with the names of the people who lived in them along with pictures, magazine cut outs, and drawings each giving life to a 12x12 concrete room.

My oldest son, Jake
Jake has the best room, it's the only door at the very end of the hall. How they design dorm rooms to squish a bunch of raging teenagers in them is beyond me, but they did pretty well. The bunk beds are tall and spacious, the only thing lacking was a bathroom which his roommates informed me that there was only one per floor for each sex. Fun. I'd like to see how long the hot water lasts on a Monday morning before class starts.

The four of us headed into downtown for some P.F Chang's. Yummmmmmmmm!! We were famished and ordered everything we could fit on our table. Lara, who is about 4'11" and 90 lbs, is aspiring to be a fashion designer. She may be small and unintimidating in stature , but, boy this girl can put the food away!! J We talked of college life, classes and goals and life as a freshman. Afterwards, dropping the girls back at the dorm, Jake and I wanted to spend some long deserving mother and son time. We haven't done this in years!!! So, we decided to first hang out and then catch the new James Bond movie that started at 11pm.  We played on the internet biding time watching Napoleon Dynamite. Napoleon Dynamite always reminds me of three people. My youngest son Roman, and my two roommates in Aspen, Tyler(Tiggidy on myspace) and Cory.


Tyler and I worked the summer of 2004 at a private golf club in Couer d'Alene, Idaho. It was a small, intimate club that made me feel like I was living in a fairy tale, we opened it with only 54 members and catered to the likes of John Elway, Jake Plummer, Mark Rypin, Maury Povich, Peter Forsberg, Jeremy Roenick, Adam Deadmarsh and an unbelievable foray of world renowned golfers and celebrities. Tyler was the Men's Locker Room Bartender, I was the Lead Dining Room Bartender. We worked everyday, all day, from April to October and we had a BLAST!! Of course, if you weren't able to locate me in the dining room, you could find me, yes, in the Men's Locker Room or on their balcony with some lame excuse or another on why I was there. J

Our flatmates in Snowmass.....Tyler is on the far right below Heather.

Tyler was like my little brother and he and I decided on continuing our golf circuit experience to the opportunity that was offered to us at another private club in Snowmass. So, both of us convinced our best friends(his was Cory, mine was Heather) to commit to our idea of adventure for six months and we headed south for the winter. It became evident 170 miles outside of Coeur d'Alene that Cory and Ty had committed every line of Napoleon Dynamite to memory, and that they would soon become our soul source of entertainment in our four bedroom condo. Back in the dorm room, I recounted all of this to Jake and told him that hopefully, someday, he would have the opportunity to meet Ty.

Jake and I

Jake is nothing less than a  gentleman. He opens my car door for me and then proceeds to be my experienced chauffeur navigating Seattle's tangled web of one way streets, stopping briefly on the hunt for clove cigarettes. Yes, he has been read the riot act on smoking, and I only pray that someday soon he'll realize that all it will bring is bad breath and bad health. There are only a small handful of people on a Sunday night in the movie theatre so we take advantage of the middle row of top seats, dead center. A young couple is on the same wave length and they sit directly behind us. As we are eating our popcorn and gummy bears, we overhear that they are from Colorado Springs and we turn around to engage in some Colorado snowstorm conversation. Turns out that the guy is in his fourth  year of engineering, Jake is in his first and even though they do not attend the same schools, they know some of the same people. His girlfriend needed a valid excuse to escape Denver's weather so she came to visit him for the weekend. By 1:30, the movie had ended and we headed down the stairs and over to the elevators at the top of the deserted mall.  There are two other people that enter the elevator and at the last minute, two young guys with baseball hats and snowboarding jackets get on. I had no intention of breaking the no eye contact elevator code that most people live by so I had my head titled up to watch the numbers descend downward. When out of nowhere, a male voice says,"Figures I'd see you randomly in the middle of nowhere." One of the guys in the baseball hat and snowboarding jacket said to me, it was Tyler The other one was his cousin from Spokane, who is also attending his freshman year of college in Seattle. I hadn't seen Ty since the day we left Aspen in the spring of 2005 after the lifts had shut down for the season. He found me on Myspace a year later and said almost the same words as he had now. I felt like I was in a dream. And as much as I've told the kids that weird stuff like this happens all the time to me, this was the first time Jake had seen it.
If you know me well, you know that I do not believe in coincidences and that I believe we are all connected universally bringing into our life serendipitous moments that have big picture meanings, showing us if we choose to see, that we are on the right path of our destinies.

Roman, Jordan and Jake on Mother's Day 2010 in Frisco, CO
My older three children were always blessed with living in their dad's world, they usually had to experience my world through the stories I told them from Alaska, to the people I meet, to the adventures I've experienced. Sarah and Casey had the opportunity to scratch the surface of the life that I've been compelled to, so far away in the middle of the continental United States. They have tasted the passion in the places that drew me in here. Jake hasn't yet and I was grateful that for twenty minutes as we stood in the middle of this enormous glass encased super mall in the middle of downtown Seattle at two in the morning on the dawn of Martin Luther King Day, he had a glimpse of something tangible that I could share. Tyler and I caught up quickly as no time had passed and as we parted, we ended up again in the same elevator and out of the six levels of parking we had nonetheless parked our cars across from each other.  Tell me that is not destiny and I'll wake you up to the miracles of a lifetime.
Jake decided that I was not driving over the Snoqualmie Pass in the middle of the night during an ice storm even though I told him that it was nothing and I'd be fine. This oldest son is the soft wind in a storm. The gentleness of his soul resonates to every one who he comes into contact with. There is a subtle wisdom within him and his compassion and empathy for all things is apparent in all that he does and the way that he lives. He has been singing acapella since junior high and actually met Hannah while doing a musical in high school and is self taught on the guitar. He sang and played at his sister's wedding the newlywed's first song. He is the only one of the five who I have never spanked, he is the one that if he tried to argue and say no one time, I'd say yes and he would concede. He is the diplomat, the balance between all of us. His faith is unwavering and his smile is easy.

Jake playing on top of Castle Rock in Colorado for Mothers Day 2008
We went back over to Hannah's studio apartment and turned down her futon couch into a bed. Looking out the window, I don't know how this reminded me of when Jake, Casey and I went camping out along the river at the Columbia River Gorge, but it did. It must have been that comfy, cozy, bonding feeling that you get when you are confined into a small space and the entertainment is old fashioned talking into the night not knowing who was the first to fall asleep and who was the last one telling the story. J
I woke up to yet another incoming wind and ice storm that they said would again paralyze Seattle for much of the week so I hastily through my stuff together, wrapped my hair up in a clip and Jake walked me down to the parking lot. As much as you let go and let your children be who they need to become, the emotion in that last hug, the last goodbye never eases. I wanted to put him in the car and take him with me on this road trip, to be by my side, laughing, sharing and eating sunflower seeds along I-90. Instead my vision is blurred and I need to pull over at the gas station in Snoqualmie and let it all out. And in this pain of mixed sentiment comes the gratefulness I have for everything.

Tacoma, WA, continued

Feb 3, 2007
Current mood:jubilant

Casey trying to look serious!
Tacoma Continued :)

So, Casey and I went and sat in our theatre chairs surrounded by people in colors. Loud, obnoxious people that kept kicking our seats and talked through the entire movie like a bunch of squirrels. But the movie was AWESOME!!!! I didn't think I'd like it, especially when Casey said during the first scene that it was about break dancing, I assumed the whole thing was going to be about gangs and rap. It wasn't. It was cool!!
Back at Nana's and Papa's house, Casey had the key to the back door and we snuck in quietly reminiscent of when his dad and I used to sneak out after hanging out at Magoo's all night. It was weird. Here I was 20 years later in the exact same place doing the exact same thing, even lingering in Nana's kitchen to eat the goodies she left out for us to snack on. Even stranger yet is that we climbed Scarlett's staircase to the bedroom at the top of the stairs. This used to be Aunt Cathy's room, then it used to be my room, then it was Sarah's room, then it was Jake and Casey's room. It is filled with antiques and the double bed that I used to sleep in has been replaced by two antique twin beds. The one I'm sleeping in is Jake's but it's empty during the week. Casey put on Scary Movie and we spent the rest of the night laughing and talking ourselves to sleep. The last memory I have before the darkness engulfed me was of watching Casey in the bed next to me and the irony of being in this room with him half a lifetime later. Life is ironic. Who would have thought.  If I told anyone that I spent four nights at my ex-husband's house with his girlfriend and then proceeded to spend another night at my first ex-husband's parents house, I'm sure they would think it was nuts. And if you knew the WHOLE story of the last decade and half, you would really think it was even more nuts. Maybe so. That's why this experience is twice as sweet!!!!

Casey on his 1st tour to Afghanistan

I woke up with a smile across my face, as I smelled the familiar aroma of Nana's coffee and the sound of the cast iron skillets in the kitchen downstairs. They were on their way to 7am mass instead of the 9:00 one because the Seahawks game was at 10, and with Papa, there are priorities that you have to make amends for, football being first and foremost. When they returned from church, Nana had the whole Sunday spread for Casey and I at the dining table, I really was still a princess in this house. On the table were two table settings fit for royalty. She had the silver out along with the juice glass, coffee cup, a pitcher of orange juice, a fresh pot of coffee, cream sugar, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, Papa's fresh homemade toasted bread with Nana's summer made famous crabapple jelly (which she of course sent a jar home with me along with the Christmas presents).

After breakfast, we headed out to the Tacoma mall to get Casey's ear pierced. On the way we were rear-ended by a big, huge Ford 150 pickup truck at a red light, which completely took off his front bumper. Way to build 'em Ford! That's why real men drive Titan's!! We pulled off into the Barnes and Noble parking lot to access the damage when I noticed that he had a Denver Bronco's license plate holder. Yep, he was from Denver and had moved to Tacoma only a few years ago. Thanks to German engineering, Squeaky came out without a scratch except that the A from my Colorado Avalanche bumper sticker is now on his bumper. The guy who hit us turned out to be an asshole though. He was late twenties with his wife and daughter in the truck and an ego that made his truck look like a matchbox. He called the police when I suggested that we just exchange information since he was the one that hit me and there was no damage to my car. He picked up his cell phone and called the police. I told him that we were already running on a tight schedule and he proceeded to inform me that if I left, it would be considered leaving the scene of an accident and I could be prosecuted under a felony. Of course, I asked him how he knew that little tidbit of information, and he told me that he hangs out a lot with cops. All he needed was the Wannabe badge pinned to his front pocket and you know he probably has a police scanner in his truck and on his kitchen counter at home. I called him an idiot under my breath and waited for the drama. After 911 told him to get over himself and that the Tacoma Police Department had more important things to do with their time, we left to the mall. The Seahawk's lost, Casey got his ear pierced, and we drove back to Nana and Papa's.

Brothers, Best Friends.....Jake and Casey
I dropped Casey off  and immediately after pulling away from the icy curb, I yearned for the next time we would be together. It would be months. The beautiful thing about driving a car is most of the time you think that you are invisible while you are doing what you're doing when you're in it. So I cried. Because I knew no one could see me.

xoxoxox......I miss you!!!

Tacoma, WA

Jan 12, 2007
Current mood:giggly

Tacoma, Washington

Western Washington's speed limits are silly slow.  And State Patrol Officers are in every nook and cranny, hiding behind bridges, trees, and road signs. I haven't been pulled over lately but on this particular stretch in Kitsap County I habitually glance down at my speedometer every few minutes because the men in blue have graciously written me enough tickets to warrant mandatory driving classes year in and year out. Believe me, I'm not dogging them, if I have one hardened vice; it's the need for speed and it's the first thing I admit to when they knock on my window to ask if I know how fast I was going. I always know how fast I was going. J I consciously curb the need when there are children in the car otherwise the pedal is to the metal. However, I am fully aware of all their little hiding places so I've bypassed this area without one pink slip in the last four years. I think switching cars often helps too, lol !

Commencement Bay in Tacoma

 I pull up to Nana and Papa's house on the hill overlooking Commencement Bay in North Tacoma. This is an affluent Irish-Catholic area with Annie Wright, the all girls' school, two blocks away and Saint Patrick's just a few blocks north. The neighborhood is stunning and reminiscent of Irish neighborhoods back on the east coast littered with corner Irish pubs.  So many movies were filmed here as well. Stadium High School, which was initially a very grand hotel in Tacoma's beginnings, hosted "Ten Things I Hate About You". A house up on I street was where Rebecca DeMornay starred as the psycho nanny in "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" and I remember going down to the park behind Annie Wright to watch River Phoenix and Keaneu Reeves when I was only twenty. I can't remember what movie they were doing, I think it was something about "Idaho", but I can't be sure.

Nana and Papa

Nana and Papa are my first husband's parents and they live in this subtle pink, 7000 square foot, 1917 stucco home with it's winding staircase like Scarlett O'Hara had in 'Gone With the Wind', is the first place I called home when I ventured out of Alaska and down the Alcan to the lower 48's with my boyfriend. This house isn't anything like we have in Anchorage. This was a castle and I felt like a princess. Nothing has changed here either except now Papa is retired reveling in his newfound hobby of baking bread and watching football games in his recliner since retiring. My son, Casey, lives here with his grandparents to finish his last years at Bellarmine, a Jesuit prepatory school that most of his family has attended. The need to keep up formal traditions is pressing in this community and as good as this school is for the children, I have suppressed issues with the pressure and conformity for the sake of education. Sacrifice. Life is full of it.
Casey and I head down to the waterfront after spending some time watching the Patriots game with Nana, Papa, Uncle Tom and Uncle Steve. But, before our reservation we hit Frisko Freeze for a quick appetizer of onion rings and French fries!!

Frisko Freeze is the bomb!! It's a 1950's drive thru that has the best milkshakes, hamburgers and fries in the whole wide world. You cannot pass through Tacoma without conceding to temptation and as we wait for our order we hit the lotto and the teenage boy behind the counter scores us a mismade extra large root beer shake. We know we are ruining our appetite for some of the best seafood ever, but we don't care.
The Tacoma waterfront is a two-mile of restaurants and bike path along the bay. The view is spectacular. Redondo Beach, Vashon Island, the Port of Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Point Defiance and the Narrows Bridge scatter the horizon. Casey and I sit in the parking lot facing the water indulging in our hot, greasy fast food and watching people dressed to the nines enter the front door to the Lights.

Tacoma waterfront and Mt. Rainier...I can't tell you how many endless hours were spent along these shores!
I have the most phenomenal kids in the universe. I know every parent says that but I REALLY do.J They have lived a privileged life in some senses and they have also lived a tough life instilling humor, awareness, perseverance, and wisdom in all of them because of it.

Jake, Jordan, Roman, Casey at Ft Worden in Port Townsend playing Army

Let me tell you a little bit about Casey. He is funny. His profile on myspace says he is 5"10". He's not. He towers above me when I wear my four-inch heel black boots so he has to be close to 6'1". He's a clown, a very analytical, articulate funny clown. There is nothing that we don't do together that we don't ended up busting a gut. Since 'Night at The Roxbury' came out on video, his first words when he sees me are" What's up? From outta town?" It's an inside joke that lights my soul up. It's just mine and his. Forever.
Over dinner of steamed little neck clams and halibut fish and chips we talk about his ambitions, school, college, friends, family and what movie we want to see tonight. I'm blown away by his natural ability to strategize. He would love to attend WestPoint or Gonzaga under their military program and I believe he has the potential to become an unbelievable asset to our government. His understanding of human behavior and military tactics betrays insight and perception far beyond his years. He was born an old soul and I watch him in complete awe as he talks away about things that seem impossible to know for a seventeen year old. I love this child so much!!!

Casey at the airport with his best friend, Sofia! :)
Needless to say, are bellies are full and in hindsight we probably should have waited for Frisko Freeze for Sunday's lunch instead. Oh well! It was worth it. J
We decide to take in a movie at the Lakewood Cinemas, south of the Tacoma Mall. Not like the best neighborhood in town, but they have police officers standing at every door so it dampens the anxiety a little bit. The movie we want to see is sold out so we stand aside while we see which other one sounds good. A man who was behind us, steps up and orders two tickets for he and his wife to go see 'Stomp the Yard', so I ask him what it's about and he gives us the rundown. He tells us that he is going to Iraq tomorrow morning at 8 am for his second tour of duty and wants to get in the last date with his wife before he goes. Casey extends his hand out and says "Thank you", we convince him to turn in the tickets that he just bought to get a refund so we can buy them to show a little gratitude and appreciation for what he is willing to leave his family and put his life on the line for. He gives me a hug says thank you and turns his tickets in. We continue talking for a few minutes and as he leaves he turns to shake Casey's hand again and give me another hug. I want to cry.

Casey, Jake, Sarah and Mark in Tacoma

Tacoma is home of McChord Air Force base as well as Fort Lewis, the place where NFL player turned Army Sgt, Pat Tillman called home during his training before he left for Afghanistan.
There is an hour to kill before the movie starts and we entertain ourselves shooting aliens until it becomes too expensive for our purposes. The Neilson Ratings Group is there taking poll screenings on upcoming movie releases so we agree to give them our opinions. They take Casey behind a booth and we watch different scenes from movie premiers. I get "Flaky, the Fire Dog".I don't know how they gave me that one. They originally asked what kind of movies I liked to watch and I told them Action, Comedy and Drama. How I got Flaky is beyond me. Don't go see it. I rated it very flakey.

…………to be continued…..when I have internet J