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As we shift from beaches to barnyards, I’ll be sharing some images from the 110th National Western Stock Show in Denver. MKL was a wonderful substitute for Kelsea who, as I’m sure I’ve said about twenty times, missed the Stock Show for the first time in 19 years. She was six weeks old at the time of her first visit. MKL and I went twice this year, which was YAY for me, since I could go every day. It has always been a dream of mine to work for the NWSS. There’s some farm girl deep inside of me that just feels so at home among the livestock. I’ve always felt this way, but have never acted on it. At this stage of our life together, I don’t think it’s a good fit either. But I have the Stock Show every year, and the only thing MKL wouldn’t (most wisely) do, which Kelsea and I would have done is put a bid in on a cow in the Beef Palace. Just a small $100 bid, one on which we would have been immediately outbid. Or else we’d have a cow in the front yard now. Anyway, as I say, MKL is wise. Though he did look the part of a wealthy rancher on both visits.
We saw two rodeos one of which included mutton bustin’ and some really rank bulls, had a meet-and-greet with llamas and alpacas, saw Highland cattle, angus bulls, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, geese, ducks, peacocks, buffalo, and Longhorns. I petted a yak. We had a beer at the Yard Bar. I got manure on my boots. We ate corn dogs and MKL had a deep-fried Twinkie. And I was as happy as …. well, as happy as could be.
Do you remember fairy tales of the poor farm girl swept up in some whirlwind romance and whisked off to the city to lead a life of luxury? Why does no one ever sweep the busy city girl of to a farm?
Quote of the day: “Love grows wherever you plant it, so I try to farm it wherever I go.” — Jarod Kintz
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos
We’ll leave the beach for a day, and you can see what I see every day — Union Station in Denver. It’s a beautiful building, and often in the morning, people are lined up waiting for the California Zephyr to take them on to parts west. While in the past two years, it has been transformed from what was for me, a sanctuary of stillness and spirit, to a hub for people to sit, work, chat, eat, drink, and generally be social, it still retains a touch of its old self, especially on the outside. And I can still feel the ghosts, way up in the arches of the ceiling.
Quote of the day: “These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraphs and kerosene and coal stoves — they’re good to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on ’em.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder
That the blues have lightened a bit
The magnificent view of the Front Range
How the stars seemed to have shifted tonight
Mr. Man all snuggled up by my side
I had the pleasure of watching the California Zephyr pull into Union Station on my way into work the other morning. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a train trip of any length, and it’s on our to-do list. When I was 14, my parents took E-Bro and me on a train trip up from Durham to DC to Montreal, across Canada to Vancouver, and then down to Seattle and San Francisco. (My father woke me up at 3:00 a.m. so we could get off the train and say we’d been to Moose Jaw.) It was wonderful and I’d love to do a trip like that with MKL. For now, I’ll have to be satisfied with watching the Zephyr come and go.
Quote of the day: “She had more curves than a scenic railway.” — P.G. Wodehouse (one of my favorite authors)
That the lady at the DMV gave me three tries to get a good driver’s license photo (maybe)
How nice everyone at Western Washington University has been to deal with
Having my blog shared by my Southern Soul Sister at So Does That Mean I’m Southern
I have been making a point of – literally – stopping to smell the flowers lately. Coming home from Job #3 on Saturday, I stopped by the creek and listened to the water and the birds, and watched the sunset. I’ll share pictures. Yesterday, MKL and I went to the car show (he’s a total car guy) and I’ll share pictures from there. And today, getting off the shuttle, I stopped to smell the peonies on the corner of 16th and Wynkoop, and caught this picture. And wanted to share it with you.
I suffered a loss today, a professional loss, and I was interested to see how hard I took it. As I told MKL over lunch, I found myself in my head doing exactly what I did at other significant losses – the deaths of my parents, my best friend, my dogs – in which I kept thinking, “Maybe if I do this, I can fix it.” Of course, that’s not possible. It’s magical thinking (and not in the good way), which I know I’m prone to. But it was a small piece of enlightenment about myself, and a realization of what a deep personal, emotional, investment I have in the projects I work on for my company. It’s something to think about.
Quote of the day: “The little boy nodded at the peony and the peony seemed to nod back. The little boy was neat, clean and pretty. The peony was unchaste, dishevelled as peonies must be, and at the height of its beauty.” — Robertson Davies
The scents of summer
Infinitely changing skies
Old couples holding hands
That Anastasia Fawni got second place in her very first ever drag competition
That peonies bloom amongst the bricks and mortar of the city
It was a beautiful morning today. The rainy weather provided as Kelsea’s graduation present is taking a little break. The Triangle Building is going up next door to the building in which I write for a living, and it’s really cool. My co-worker Christine and I have supervised every scoop of earth, cable laid, beam positioned, and glass panel installed from our upstairs window. We think we did a splendid job, don’t you?
Quote of the day: “The three facets of the great writer — magic, story, lesson — are prone to blend in one impression of unified and unique radiance, since the magic of art may be present in the very bones of the story, in the very marrow of thought…Then with a pleasure which is both sensual and intellectual we shall watch the artist build his castle of cards and watch the castle of cards become a castle of beautiful steel and glass.” — Vladimir Nabokov
A goose resting comfortably on the roof of an SUV
The elderly waiter at the Broker
Reservations for Cottonwood Hot Springs
My friend Pam’s wonderful new job for which she is perfect!
It’s baaaack. Yes, the snow is back. We are nowhere near the Northeast totals, but our streets are icy and our yards are getting deeper by the moment. I have been talking about the weather a lot, haven’t I? As if I am an awkward stranger at a party, rather than the mistress of my own blog. It’s not that I don’t have anything else to say, but that I have so many things I want to write about just now and don’t want to shortchange my thoughts. Soon come.
Quote of the day: “I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us…” — Mary Oliver
Mr. Man with his paw on my keyboard
Rides with Elisa
That MKL is getting better (I miss him)
Hearing songs that I love that I’d forgotten about (wish I hadn’t lost my iPod)
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!
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
Getting to meet dogs on the street
Our upcoming hot springs weekend (yea!!)
The energy of thunderstorms
Unsweetened iced green tea from Starbucks
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
A shrouded city
Slides a sleek cloud of tongues
Across its dwellers.