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This isn’t a very good shot because it was taken from the bus on the way home. I was soooooooo soaked. It’s only about a quarter of a mile from work to the “new” Union Station bus terminal, but after half a block, I took my shoes off and just went barefoot. I figured my feet had a better shot at surviving the walk than my shoes did. My pants were wet to the knees by the time I got to the bus.

We’ve had tornado warnings two days in a row at work. Yesterday, we huddled in the stairwell for 20 minutes, which gave me an unexpected anxiety attack. I have a little PTSD left over from the floods last September. Today, however, we all just went about our business. I’m much happier standing at the window watching the weather – I figure if I see a tornado coming, I’ll have plenty of time to make it to the stairwell.

I generally love the energy of storms, and hope that my leftover anxiety will abate with time, because it certainly seems like we’re going to have a bang-up summer. Kelsea and I plan to have a storm-chasing day or two, but no worries, we’ll be careful!

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.” — E.M. Forster

Daily gratitudes:
Getting to meet dogs on the street
Sparkly things
Our upcoming hot springs weekend (yea!!)
The energy of thunderstorms
Unsweetened iced green tea from Starbucks

Let’s see…

I went to the gym today for the first time in who-knows-how-long. And surprisingly, I am not 20 pounds lighter immediately. What’s up with that? It is winter here, and that means the winter blues. I am hoping the gym will help counteract them as well as get me bikini-ready. It has been a lovely holiday season, and yes, there are some things I am resolved to do this year, but I’m not going to tell you about them until they happen. Stay tuned for surprises throughout 2014! I think I’ve written or typed 2014 about six times today, so I’m already used to it.

The Wazee Supper Club in Denver has always been one of my favorite spots downtown. It still retains a sense of history, even if that history is somewhat patchworked. Wazee was founded in 1974, but the mahogany bar dates from much earlier, the dumb-waiter that transports drinks to the upstairs dining level (with very low ceilings) hearkens back to Denver’s grand mansions, and the checkerboard floor reminds me of a 1920s space – and of the first restaurant I worked in back in the 1980s in Durham. The food is basic, but good – MKL and I go for the soup of the day, which is usually outstanding and only $5.00 for a sizeable bowl. The service is fabulous, and we know the servers and managers by name, as they do us. If you happen to be in LoDo, I highly recommend you stop in. Try their pizza. Or go for Happy Hour – they have champagne glasses full of bacon on the bar for your snacking pleasure, and you can indulge in a glass of the green fairy – absinthe, by any other name.

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Wazee Supper Club, Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”  — G.K. Chesterton

Daily gratitudes:
The sliver boat of a moon tonight, like something out of a nursery rhyme
How Mr. Man puts his paw on my arm when he wants pets
The way the sun sat just behind the cloud of ick from Commerce City this morning, making it beautiful
Movies that still show the World Trade Center towers
San Pellegrino

 

 

I am blessed to work across the street from the marvelous Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver. The Tattered (as we so fondly call it) has tiptoed in and out of my life in Colorado up until now.

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Decades ago, ex-Pat took me to Denver early in our dating years. At that time, the hip, trendy place now known as LoDo was still a long stretch of abandoned warehouses that served rail freight companies once upon a time. There were no sidewalks, only weedy and cracked asphalt streets. He boosted me up onto one of the old concrete loading docks because I wanted to see what it felt like up there. Homeless people were sleeping in ragged heaps in the deserted doorways. It was very quiet. There was a dangerous feel to the place. The two holdovers from the area’s glory days were Union Station, Denver’s railroad depot, and the Tattered. Entering that magical bookstore was like being transported into a fantasy come to life. It felt old and full of treasures, with creaky wooden floors and cushy deep chairs. We didn’t stay, as Pat wasn’t a fan of bookstores, and I suspect we were in search of champagne, but our brief visit remained bright in my memory.

Even though Boulder is only 25 miles distant from Denver, it was not a place I went often, until I started working downtown. About six years ago, I tried taking Kelsea to the Tattered, and I couldn’t find it. It was as if it had vanished. I thought I knew where I was going. I even looked it up on Google Maps. But it completely eluded me, and I decided that it must have gone the way of all flesh – or of many independent bookstores – and closed. The updated Tattered Cover, locate on Colfax Avenue in a former record store, was a disappointing shadow of my memory.

In some secret space of my mind, I believe that it had hidden itself from me on that day, using a building-sized invisibility cloak. I didn’t need it then, and so it was not available to me.

A year later, I stumbled upon it one lovely blue Saturday when I was downtown, after I had turned my life upside-down. I wandered around inside, completely bewildered, because I knew that I had been here before, and I knew that, the last time I looked for it, it had been gone. But yet, here it was. And here I was, baffled, but delighted.

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After a cruel turn of events, when my life again capsized, the ropes I tossed out pulled me to this job across the street, where most days, I have the pleasure playing with words, and I am privileged to call myself a writer. I still make the distinction between the writing job that pays, and my own writing, which doesn’t, but I am a writer regardless. A dream come true, even if it is not right now exactly how I would have dreamed it.

The Tattered has played a large role in my courtship with MKL, which really started from another of those lifelines I tossed out back when I was drowning two years ago. We work at opposite ends of the 16th Street Mall, and so we have lunch together nearly every day, which has allowed our relationship to bloom in a different way than if we were having only weekend dates full of playing and passion. We have had a chance to talk more than most couples do when they are dating, perhaps more than most couples who have been together for many years. Tattered, where they now serve soups and sandwiches, coffee and tea, has been one of our favorite destinations, and the staff all know us there, and think we’re adorable. When one of us shows up without the other, we usually have to explain.

This morning, I stopped in to see if I could find an impulse card for him. None of the cards felt right today, but I did. I had been feeling anxious, as I have been feeling for some days now, and being in the Tattered soothed me. I found books to add to my “Desiderata” list, along with a sense of peace and quiet delight.

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I have gone there to shed tears and to find silence. I have felt heartbreak and joy within its comforting walls. I have listened to favorite authors, found friends, and reveled in the feel and scent of books.

If a place can be an anchor, the Tattered is one for me. Not an anchor in the sense that it keeps me from moving. An anchor in that it provides me with a sense of timeless security, of stability. It reflects my past and my future, breathes whispers of my parents and the places I was raised, and reminds me that there are always new words waiting to be discovered, some of them my own.

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Denver Haiku

A shrouded city
Slides a sleek cloud of tongues
Across its dwellers.

This lovely random heart was temporarily tattooed on a brick wall on 15th Street.  It was gone by the next day, but it made me smile.  Happy Feast of Saint Valentine.

Heart Love Graffiti

Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Age does not protect you from love, but love, to some extent, protects you from age.”  —  Jeanne Moreau

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Sherp
Birdsong
Packing
Snuggly cats

This is the week that the National Western Stock Show starts – parade on Thursday, and Opening Day on Saturday! So in honor of this Colorado tradition, I give to you, the contemplative longhorn.

Contemplative Longhorn Bull

Denver, Colorado

Quote of the Day: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”  — unknown

Daily gratitudes:
Moonshine
Peaceful dreams
Love
Sammy the Seal
Time with Kelsea

This happy little fellow was at last year’s Alpaca Show. It’s almost Stock Show time, and Kelsea and I are trying to decide if we want to go early and see the llamas and alpacas, or if we want to go later and see the hogs or goats.  Or maybe we’ll just have to go twice.

Alpaca worm

Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you’ll be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey.”  —  Meg Cabot

Daily gratitudes:
Random kisses from a mini-schnauzer on the shuttle
How dogs like to sit on top of each other in the front seat of cars
Skinny mocha
Kelsea’s poem
Jen, for introducing me to Anna Maria Island

This perfectly wonderful random thing was in the parking lot at Union Station, which is now a giant hole, as that classic property is being pillaged by the city. I am trusting that the City of Denver has enough integrity not to touch the interior of the building, which holds the memories of countless souls, including my grandfather, and MKL’s grandfather.  Fortunately, I spent some time in the building taking pictures, which I will share with you at some point soon.

Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “Why are they called buildings when they’re already finished? Shouldn’t they be called builts?”  —  Steven Wright

Daily gratitudes:
Couples in love
The ridiculous number of pillows on my bed
Not having to scrape my truck windows this morning
A washing machine that works
Cobalt blue
My Razorback fleece union suit

Tattered In The Wind

In this realm of chessboards
and fresh books
smelling of coffee and minds
and neweness

Manythings can happen
And yet go unnoticed.

The man with the suede Irish cap
carefully packs away his metal ruler.
He moves quickly to ensure
that no one wonders what he has been measuring.

The homeless man shuffles out.
His panhandling this morning
ensured him a good cup
and a soft chair until noon
when the influx of people
begin to stare.

The well-dressed woman wearing sunglasses indoors
wavers,
leaning against a wall.

Wind rattles the old windows in their frames,
The ghosts of
dead unpublished authors
determined to break in.

My cold tea
grows warm.
The phone rings
and is never answered.

Time
Slips
Seductively
Past.

The voices come and go,
Timbre high,
Timbre low.

The windows squeak and bang
Author spirits wanting coffee
with a touch of fame.

A painter chews
on a sandwich and a book,
His split-kneed, splattered pants
Belying intellectual pursuits.

Flip-flops contradict pea coats.

An elderly man loses himself
in a magazine.

A woman has second thoughts
on a book about
Machu Picchu.

The painter gets the hiccups.

A bottle of Coke makes a break for it,
Rolling across the broad planks of the floor
Towards the old loading dock doors,
But is thwarted,
Captured,
And replaced upon the shelf
For some unsuspecting future customer.

Someone whistles the theme to ‘Gilligan’s Island’,
off-key and distractedly.

A black-leather clad woman
Sports a Starry Night water bottle.

The man in the pork-pie hat
and well-trimmed beard
casts suspicious glances
over his shoulders.

New people arrive
burbling about the wind
As departees
Bundle up
Chins down
Before exiting.

It goes on and on.
In and out.
Come and go.

Always with the wind,
Moaning, sighing,
In the background.

The bloom is still on the rose in the small garden in City Park. This picture reminded me of one of my favorite fairy tales when I was a child.

Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “In our most ordinary days we have moments of happiness, moments of comfort and enjoyment, moments of seeing something that pleased us, something that touched us, moments of contacting the tenderness of our hearts. We can take joy in that. I find that it’s essential during the day to actually note when I feel happiness or when something positive happens, and to begin to cherish those moments as precious. Gradually we can begin to cherish the preciousness of our whole life just as it
is, with its ups and downs, its failures and successes, its roughness and smoothness.”  —  Pema Chodron

Daily gratitudes:
The sound of the sea in conch shells
Fringe
My Kindle application
Snuggle cat
Fuji apples

 

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