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Thinking of many

This week we have been witness to the sun and moon shining a red light upon us. There were the early mornings this week with the sun on one horizon and the moon on the opposite and except for their size, they looked to be the same object in the sky.
The wildfires that plague the west just now have sent a thick blanket of smoke to our area giving us beautiful skies. With that though is the reminder of the people in danger both in their homes in those areas and the brave fire fighters pushing themselves through incredibly long days and extreme conditions. My good friend N who was just recently out here has a son working on those fires. I pray for him often as the smokey skies here remind me to do.

Red Colorado Sun this week
Red Colorado Full Moon looking much like the sun – Joe Randall

Then there is the East and south that is being ravaged in another manner. We spent some anxious days last week worried about our extended family in the Houston area and the epic amount of rain that was poured upon them. Thankfully, they are safe.

Imagine that Colorado’s annual rainfall is 15.47 inches per year and parts of Texas received over 51 inches in just a few days.  Mind boggling.

And now there is Irene that has grazed one’s we care about in Puerto Rico seemingly only taking electricity away from them but possibly taking a more direct shot at the many in Florida.  Several we know have fled, several couldn’t find enough gas to make the trip after boarding up their homes.  Lots of prayers there too as so many there also have the possibility of being displaced for quite some time.

A little chickadee just landed on my knee for a moment as I was typing this post on the deck, to possibly remind me to mention the wildlife that also loses homes and family in these catastrophes as well.

Sending love and prayers to all.

Sally

Eclipsed by the Experience

Here we are, a week removed from the big celestial event.  An occasion marked with plans and stories of people and how some had the forethought to calculate their travel and stays to coincide with being in the best possible viewing spots(only to have the hotel realize they had undersold the room by 100 fold and cancel their prime reservation) while others seemed to be surprised and throwing a last minute  strategy to beat the hordes of similar seekers to the prime viewing path that was foretold.

Here is Colorado, we were just hours (on a normal day) from the path of totality.  The normal hours did not apply for that weekend as while Wyoming is known for wide open spaces, there are really only  a handful of highways that lead to those vast spaces and for one weekend they were completely jammed inwards for a few days and hours up to the eclipse.  One friend said that you could have run the Boston Marathon on the opposing lanes that day and never used any cones to guard from traffic.

Of course there was  then complete congestion as everyone exited.   At least they had hours to recount the two and a half minutes plus of complete eclipse and wonder about the spectacle.

Eclipse photo by Jasmine
Arrival Eclipse photo by Jasmine

I was not one of the fortunate that was able to steal away and get up to the totality region.  Another co-worker had requested it first and I had just returned from time away, so knowing I would get first hand accounts from many, I set to see what a 92% eclipse was to be at my location.

The moon began it’s journey just before my lunch hour and I was able to don the glasses every few minutes and track the path just by leaning accross my desk and looking out the window.

As the time drew closer and I began my lunch hour, I decided to head to the greenbelt space near the office and sit by the stream there and observe just how the wildness of nature near me would participate, pause or experience such a phenomena.

As I sat near the water noticing the drop in temperature, I began to hear the chirps and buzz of the bugs and critters mostly heard at dusk.

I noticed there were waves of light going up the leaves of the tall grasses near me to both sides of me.  I sit hear often and have never noticed this phenomena and since it was not directional, was a bit curious about it.  I cannot be sure if it was associated with the celestial event or my heightened awareness of the moment.  I have not had the opportunity to return to the exact spot and make a comparison as of yet.

I was also able to view the projection of the eclipse as seen through the leaves on the trees around me.

I cannot quite fathom what it was like for those lucky souls who personally got to experience the totality, but I feel truly blessed with my own personal experience and the beauty I was able to observe just being close to home.

I’d love to hear what you did if you have time to share.

Love,

Sally

 

 

Spring is Here

This week has been mostly gorgeous. I have spent my lunches in the Clear Creek Trail space by the office. Some days I hike for the hour and some days I plop a blanket by the creek and just take in the sun and sounds of the water, the birds in the trees and the mallard ducks that proliferate in the area.

It was easy to settle into the ‘I love spring’  mantra and enter into the making summer plans mode – Mostly dreaming of how I could pull off an amazing summer like last year.

But Mother Nature has ways to bring us out of the daydream of tomorrow and focus on today as this morning I awoke to this:

So I am sequestered indoors to finish up the quarterly taxes that I’ve put off as long as I possibly could.

The weather man says we will be back up to seventy degrees this week, but for now, all that is sure is:

 

Happy Spring everyone.

A metropolis

Today is the first day that I have gotten to enjoy the sunrise from my deck in leisure.

Ted noticed the other day that some magpies were building a rather large nest in one of the trees closest to the house, so I went out with the hopes of seeing some of the construction.

The variety of different birds and their chirps, calls and songs was amazing to me. So many that I couldn’t begin to keep track.

As I sat and just got caught up in all he energy, I realized that if I were to envision the activity I was seeing and hearing in human forms, I would think there was metropolis outside. A hustle and bustling  city with bosses yelling at workers where to go – calling for more product – directing traffic. There was the hammering of the woodpeckers (thankfully not on our house) pounding out signs of their construction or destruction. There were the Robins doing the ground work, hopping to and fro pulling up grasses and looking for meals.

The Evening Grosbeaks (one of my favorites to see) were like the youthful kids – all hanging out in a group moving from the local food stand to the next closest hangout and back again.

The energy was that of everyone realizing it’s a beautiful day, so let’s get as much done as possible while we can.

I suppose I should listen to my feathered friends and follow the advise, but I know Ted will be up and take that stance only too soon, so I’ll enjoy watching others work while I sit on the morning sun.

By the way, Ted was reading that when the magpies are done with their nest, that owls or Hawks or Ravens will generally take it over. This should be fun.

Have a happy and blessed Easter everyone.

SJF

The Ketchup Bottle too Full

I’ve decided I’m a bit of a Ketchup bottle lately and have been filled so full  that things just aren’t coming out to share in a flowing motion.

Since my last post in which our friends were out to visit in February, the very next day, one of my cousins arrived for a five day visit.  His mom (my aunt) had recently passed, so it was good to be together and share time.

We hiked,

and even made it to East Denver to see another cousin of ours for an afternoon of fun, food and stories.

Just a few days after Jer left, I left for Nashville.  Our friend Patty from Chattanooga had been in Vanderbilt Hospital intensive care since December with complete heart failure, so I had booked a trip out to spend some time and hopefully provide some cheer.  It was a quick 4 day trip, but felt great to see her (just released from ICU before I arrived) and also stay with Jas and Ro and hear of their recent adventures.

The next weekend, it was beautiful and Ted surprised me by agreeing to go for an impromptu hike in a park we had not been to before.

Make sure we take you to Staunton State Park when you come out sometime.  It truly is a gorgeous place to hike.

That same weekend, some of our friends kids had an gig playing in a “school of rock” kind of band.  It was really great to see them excelling and enjoying themselves on stage in a real venue.

The next weekend, I had a Mom’s night on Friday and then Ted and I headed to the mountains for a few days of skiing with our friends from North Carolina and Missouri and staying at the “Joe Cabin” (a whole nother story that goes back too many years to count)

The view from the deck of the cabin along the Colorado River.

The following weekend, I had been invited to meet my cousin in South Dakota and climb Harney Peak.  We met at my friend Sally’s house (I think this is my first great friend that share’s my name), and left pre-dawn the next morning and climbed the peak along with the sun.  At 7242 feet, it boasts as being the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Pyrenees Mountains of Europe.

Atop the peak is the Fire lookout station and a 360 degree view.  Well worth the effort.


Which brings us to last weekend – consisting  of having friends – whom we haven’t gotten to see at all this winter – over on Friday, new neighbors over for a meet and greet on Saturday and of course, there was the Dinner and Dead group on Sunday.

Mix into those weeks, other Dinner and Dead Sunday’s, some nights out with the kids, and there hasn’t been much free spare time for writing.

I’m really only managing this today because it is rainy (much needed) and I am at the computer at lunch instead of on a walk in the greenbelt space near the office.

There are of course, lots of stories within all of the excursions, but that’s where the bottled up sensation takes over.  Choosing and relaying seem to be oh so much harder if I don’t do it at the time.

Heck, I still have way too many stories from my time off last summer that I haven’t relayed yet. (but I do really want to get some of those out).

 

February Company

I can’t quite fathom that February is in it’s final week! It has been quite the month for us with company and plans occupying nearly every day thus far.

That might seem overwhelming, but it has been the opposite.  We have had more time just spent in fun and fellowship than I can remember happening at our house in quite some time.

Continue reading February Company

A Miracle Week

Last week was one of those weeks that should have been destined to be a challenge.  Half the office had been sick the week prior but still managed to come to work.

I have prided myself on not getting a cold virus for the past year or so, but over the weekend, this one had grabbed and took me down too.

So the week started with nearly all of us not feeling our best.

The other factor for the week was that it was a full moon.  If you don’t believe the full moon affects at least part of the masses, then you haven’t worked in customer service or a psychiatric ward (some days those jobs seem interchangeable)

So when Wednesday came around and I found myself getting to work with a undeniable feeling that it was going to be an amazing day, I had nothing to base it upon. But some things you just know.

I declared early on  that the day was going to be a “miracle” day!  I got the usual “whatever” looks from the early morning crew.

But then miracles did start to happen.  Cases that had been unworkable were suddenly completed.  People who had delayed orders, had gotten delivered.  Technicians had made appointments for service calls when they said there was no openings.

Pretty soon, I wasn’t some Pollyanna spewing rainbows and butterflies as others were starting to chime in with their miracle for the day too.  I can’t even tell you how much fun it was to see the office switch from complaining about the next crazy customer to finding the next miracle in our day.

It spilled over to Thursday and Friday too!

I hope you had some miracles in your week too.

Love Sally

The Bouquet and the Garden

Sometime after I had initially contacted Jayna to see if we could visit in Austin, she realized she already had a commitment on the afternoon we were arriving and so just asked if we wouldn’t mind all going.

The event was a 10th? birthday party for the daughter of one of her long dear friends. In fact, the daughter was named after Jayna and therefore when all together, the younger was referred to as ‘Little Jayna’.

I thought it incredible to have a namesake that wasn’t a blood relative. Obviously I was just in a long list of people who saw the first Jayna as someone special.

What we encountered when we went to little Jayna’s birthday party was the family of the birthday girl complete with grandma and aunt and cousin from out of town on Dad’s side and cousins on Mom’s side as well.

Trixie and I sat by the pool and watched the kids play in the pool and got to know the Grandma who really wasn’t much older than I am.

She was a fascinating woman who originated from a large family in Belize. It was one of several times this summer, that as I spoke to someone and really shared eye contact with, that I was asked if we had met before.

I’m pretty sure I would have remembered this beauty and personality. Her stories would fill a blog for years and I loved hearing just a portion of them and was honored that we were given snipets of the good and bad, love and heartbreak that she has had.

After a few hours poolside we all went inside to feed the kids and chatted more with the entire group. Some of us gals then went out to the Salt Lick for the Barbecue and more stories and conversation.

Trixie and I both felt very welcomed and included in the assembled family.

And for me, as I know a few of Jayna’s biological family who love her dearly, it was interesting and heartwarming to see her with this family – built first from friendship. The closeness and pure love was evident from all the generations and extensions of the framily there towards her.

framily

And it might have been even more appreciated since here I was traveling and staying with part of my Framily in Texas.

Sometimes, you go to visit and think you’ll just get a few hours together and whatever that is, will be okay.  Other times, it turns into so much more.

When I reflect about the two times that I have spent with Jayna, it feels like the first time -at the wedding – everyone there was an individual flower brought to make this beautiful bouquet of people assembled for the wedding.

bouquet

Seeing her in Austin with the family she was clearly a big part of, made me feel like I got to see part of the garden from whence that beautiful flower came from.

Thank you to all in Austin that day, for making us feel so welcome and for sharing your lives with us.

Love Sally

First Impressions

 

The friend I was going to see in Austin is the sister/cousin to the bride at the wedding I had attended in Tulum in January.

She is biologically her cousin, but I can attest to the fact that if you live with a cousin for any amount of time, they become more a sibling than cousin. And so it is the case with them as well.

cousins-by-blood

I so enjoyed seeing and meeting her in Mexico, that I decided that if I was going to be in Texas for another event, I may as well see if she was available and visit once more.

There are sometimes moments or events where you seem to learn  much about one person in particular. I had one of those times at a meal with our Austin host in Mexico.

It was a meal with the bride, groom, mother of the bride, the two sister/cousins, another engaged couple (who were friends of both bride and groom) and myself.

It was a joyous meal with much story telling, hilarity, great food, sauce so hot your mouth could bleed, mis-phrasing and raucous laughter (the staff tried turning up the volume of the music to drown out our table to no avail).

I try to pay attention to how people behave to certain situations or react in certain settings and sometimes it is very telling.

I was amused, enchanted and felt that during that one meal, I had learned much about Jayna in particular.

cant-forget-someone-who-makes-you-smile

This is what I had learned then and what I had sent to her afterward:

What that meal told me about you.

You are bright, adventuresome, giving and responsible. You don’t give up and are inherently competitive.
You appreciate a good story and are happy to tell someone else’s portion of the story before you even think about inputting your own. You shine the light on those around you instead of taking the spotlight yourself.
Your adventuresome and willing to step into an “unknown” without hesitation in the hope that what is there is amazing. In the case that you have mis-judged and realize it was a mistake, you don’t expect anyone to bale you out or correct your error. You continue through it even to the point of causing yourself pain. You tend to hope it will get better as you see mistakes as failures and you hate to fail.
Your not a complainer and never want anyone to feel badly for something you have said or done – even if it is said or done inadvertently.
Your mind is quick and is always thinking of how to bring folks together around you but not with the focus on you. Sometimes your quick mind thinks faster than the words arrive out of your mouth which can cause some hilarity. – which draws attention and horror for you.’
In all, what I learned in Tulum and that one meal in particular is that you are a gem. A beauty with high vibration and radiance. You shine and make those around you glow and feel better just by being in your presence.
I’m so glad I was there to witness.

someone-starts-to-matter

So, in going to Austin I was hoping to connect again to this gem and Trixie was not wanting to miss out either.

More on the visit with her and her Austin family soon.

Love Sally

Austin BBQ

As I mentioned in my last post, we were on a road trip and the next stop was Austin, TX.

Trixie and I made it to Austin just around lunchtime and as the friend we were to visit hadn’t yet returned from her current business trip, we set out to find a spot to dine.

Trixie is a most excellent co-pilot, navigator and google searcher when I’m driving, so she began to check for good listings for food.

Being in Austin which is known for some pretty excellent eats, I thought that our criterion for lunch should be either Barbeque or  tacos as that is two of their acclaimed food groups.

I had done a search of my own before leaving on the trip and several of the places were familiar in my brain.  The one that required a two hour wait in line was nixed as neither of us could expect it to be that fantastic to want to stand idle for that long for food.

The next spot was one that intrigued us both.

The reviews were excellent and their fare met both of our criteria as they smoke their own meats for their own specialty tacos.

One reviewer said that if the truck moved it’s spot to Hades, they would still follow.

follow-you-into-the-darkWe decided the best bet would be to swing by the parking lot where Valentina’s Food truck is parked and see what that was about as the reviews also said that once the meats were sold out that day, they closed.   It was also stated that the lines could be long at times.

The Smoker and Food Truck were parked at the end of a small parking lot that also contained a small gas station and a liquor store.

valentinas-food-truck

I dropped Trixie to hop into a spot in line while I located a parking spot down the street a bit.

The line was only maybe about 6 people deep when we arrived, but by the time we received our eats, there were nearly 20 people anxiously awaiting a turn to order up the enticing fare.

I have to say, it is on the top of my list of places I would return to.  The meats were very well smoked and would have been delicious alone, but they pared them so well with garnishments picked for the specific type of meat and home made sauces and tortillas to give you an eye rolling, toe curling bit of wonderful.

valentinos-tacosWe should have taken a photo before we started to eat, but really, we were proud that we even remembered to stop eating long enough to take a picture at all.

We went to an event with our friend during the day(more on that later), and then that same evening a small group of us went to another amazing place.

the-salt-lickGoing to The Salt Lick was a bit like going to a small county fair.  It was out in the country and surrounded by their own vinyards.  The parking lots were dirt and large as were required for the amount of people there at any given time.  When you arrive, you’re given a pager so that they can let you know when one of their 800 seats are available.  On any given Sunday they feed around 2000 people.

The seating is available outside under the large beautiful trees.

salt-lick-outdoor-seating

Or inside in one of their several buildings.

salt-lick-seating

They have unique smoke pits inside two of the buildings where the smoked meat is kept warm and smoking a bit more until orders are placed.

salt-lick-pitI think we ended up sampling nearly all of their meats and can say that it is exceptional BBQ.  Their sides were tasty as well, but at a spot like this, it really is the meat that steals the show.  Which made it all the more special as our host doesn’t even eat meat, but wanted us to experience the splendor of the place even if she could not participate in the carnivorous aspect of it.

So, If you find yourself in Austin, you can know that I highly recommend either of those spots.

Love,

Sally

 

 

 

 

 

Salt Lick