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When someone comes through the door you didn’t close

I received a call Thursday night from an unknown number.  I would not have normally answered since I didn’t know the number and I was with the family watching a show, but it was from an area of the country where I have a very pregnant friend about to deliver and so I took it in case it was related to any incoming information on her.

To my surprise and dismay, it was a gentleman that I had met back in August 2015 stating he was going to be passing through the Denver area and he had my number from when we had met and could he stay with us for a night.

Let me say that there aren’t many people whom I can’t jell with on some level, but I was so adverse  to spending any  time in his space when we were both at this week long prayerful retreat that I managed to be anywhere he wasn’t.

It began with the first words he said to me.  “Hi, You can call me Mushi” (Honestly, I can’t recall what his name is, but that one floated into my brain just now, so we’ll use it)

When someone say’s ‘You can call me __’, my reaction tends to be negative. First of all, are you separating who can call you what? I’m to be in a category of people who call you one thing and there is another category of folks who call you something else?  I guess what he was conveying was that he was born with one name, but because of his path, he goes by another now as he declared himself to be a Sufi Monk.

sufi-proverbOn paper, this should be a person I am very drawn to hearing their stories and finding out the how’s and why’s of his path to date.  I love those kind of stories. I want to hear of our inner and external journeys.

The problem for me was that each time he put a part of himself out there, I felt there was a hook embedded.  He declared that he only works for peace everywhere and has given up most of his worldly possessions and only exists on the generosity of others. So when he goes somewhere, he trusts that he will be provided for.  And while I see that as an altruistic endeavor and see the beauty of that when you offer yourself up for work and don’t expect anything in return and just trust that all will somehow be provided, I also wonder about the times when your not offering yourself up for work. Aren’t you then a beggar? (not that I’m condemning beggars either – that’s another philosophical post maybe one day)

This prayerful retreat was outdoors and required much work from everyone in support to keep everyone fed, area clean, supplies maintained, etc.  I guess he felt his duty in being there was to just be social as he lifted no fingers to help when I was around.  This of course made it easy to keep a distance for me, as all I had to do was be busy  and it invariably kept us in different areas.

I thought I was showing no outward signs of dis-interest in him throughout the week, but at the end of the week, he caught me alone and asked me why I hated him so badly.  Ouch.  I claimed that I could not even contemplate hating him as I did not know him at all.  Obviously, I was not as good at hiding my inner feelings as I thought and he was much more observant than I had given him credit for.  I should also add, that no one there seemed bothered by his presence at all and most really enjoyed their conversations with him.  I just chalked it up to one of those reverse polar magnet people that you can never get close to.

polar-magnetsSo I was surprised at the end of the week when he made his rounds to get people’s contacts that he also came for mine.  ‘Hell no’, was my thought, but I felt compelled to provide mine since all others were doing so and since I never want to stand out in the crowd, I gave him my cell and my oldest email that is hardly ever checked.  I figured if he did call one day, since I don’t generally answer calls on my cell from people I don’t know in area’s I don’t go to, I would be safe.

best-laid-plansSo now I’ve wondered, am I to be the Samaritan and take in the person asking for help? Or am I to be true to my feelings and honor that I have felt awkward about this person and it’s not best to mix oil and water.  Or am I to bring him into my home, feed and provide comfortable sleeping and delve into why I have an aversion – sitting in the uncomfortable aspect for me to understand the why of the dislike?

I was mulling it over in my mind in the early hours again this morning, once more going back and forth in my mind. – “It’s only one night, I can endure anything for a night” says one half my brain. “I’d gladly let him stay if I could have no conversation or contact with him” says another portion. “Why would you do something so against how you really feel?” says yet another portion.  And so the battle raged.

Then a friend texts me and I relayed what I am pondering. She reminds me of how busy we are and it is not a lie to say such and just say we are not available.

It is at that moment that  I come to the real lesson in this for me.  If I had been honest  with him over a year ago, I would not be pondering the dilemma now.truth-in-past-lie-in-future

So  now I am tasked to communicate in an honest way why it is that I feel he should find other accommodations as he passes through our area.  As the hubby pointed out, we do have a few people that might quite enjoy the encounter, so I may see if I can still help, just not in the way that includes me.

Hopefully, this lesson stays with me as a gentle reminder for future encounters.







Threads and Felt: The Fabric of Friendship

no such thing as strangers

There are friendships that start so fresh and new and with such honest exchange that you feel like you each hold an end of an undetermined length of thread and at times you can seemingly see the tapestry of friendship developing out of the weaving back and forth of new shared experiences and stories. It is a precious thing to behold.

feather tapestry

This story though is of a different weave of friendships.

Friendship is a million little things

A fabric where the fibers of the tapestry were not seen as a delicate weave for it was more than just the one person adding to the structure at a time. It is a layering of fibers hooked together by their very structure and then matted in place by the tears of laughter and sorrow that were added by all. The outcome is not a delicate lace but a sturdy felt. Fabric so strong that it can insulate, protect, warm and also be a piece of incredible beauty.

felt flowersToday, I am meeting to give blood with my group of “moms”.  They are my felt friends that know of the hidden fibers that are part of our unique framework of friendship.

We will lose a pound giving blood and then head to a restaurant for lunch and to share new stories. If we are true to form, we will be the loudest table in the place as joyful laughter is never quiet in our group. (And it isn’t just me)

So today, I am giving them all  a felt ball.

felt balls

It is to use as a stress ball, replacement of a dryer sheet in their laundry, a pincushion, a pet toy, or hand therapy.  It can be used as any of those suggested (and probably more that I am unaware of) or simply as a reminder of the tight group of strong women that we are.

good friends know you're slightly crackedI am blessed with new and old friends and I want you to know I love you all.

Love, Sally


Eating our way around the Island

When I was going to Isla Mujeres in 2014, I researched things to see and do, but really the bulk of my reading was on the places to eat. I found a food critic writer from PA that seemed to have been just about everywhere on the island over the years and had something to say about them all. I could tell from his writing and reviews that he was not a snobby eater, he just liked food, so much of what I learned for that trip was from http://www.hollyeats.com/IslaMujeres.htm

I made a hand written list of the possible places I wanted to go and BA, Syd and Jen indulged my desires to eat my way around the island.

Just before this trip with Dev, I found my well used list that had been on the first trip. It evoked such good memories looking at the extra notes I had added.
My travel companion for this trip historically has not been on the adventuresome side of testing his palate but did show beginnings of trying new items and spices in the past six months or so. There was hope.

Mikey hates everything
I have to say that he did me proud and tried and liked all that we  had and loved most of it. Showing true lineage, he said that the most fun was thinking where the next meal was going to be! My boy! Loving the culinary adventures along with me.

There was a major déjà vu day though. When I was on the island the first time, I had resisted ever ordering a dish called enchiladas suiza as while it was highly recommended, it looked a bit mundane. I learned my lesson on that trip as we went to Renee & Rene’s for lunch and I ordered the recommended shrimp tacos and BA and Syd split the enchilada Suiza. After tasting their dish, I knew I had missed out on a truly awesome plate of food that was beyond what I could have imagined.
So on this trip, I told Dev I needed to go to R & R and get this dish that I had never gotten for myself. He was in the mindset that he wanted to fill his seafood quota and opted for the shrimp tacos. I laughed aloud when our plates came and he tried mine and had that Holy Wow look on his face and knew that even without tasting his own, there was slim chances that his dish could surpass the flavors of mine.


I laughed because, as after all, I had been at the exact same table and had the same realization less than two years ago. We shared, but he wasn’t going to be satisfied waiting until his next  trip and soon was only talking about going back and getting it for himself.

There lies the problem. Only so many meals to eat and so many restaurants to try. He fit another trip to Rene and Renee’s in between two of our other meals.

My last trip, the only spot we went to twice was La Bruja for the best seafood spicy stew ever.

La Bruja seafood stewIt is still an incredible bowl of awesomeness that we had once again on this trip.

For someone who hadn’t tried much spice until recently, Dev certainly leaped over any previous threshold he might have had on his scoville scale.

A few times, he had a bit much and paid for it when eating (always eating it all for he never wanted to leave the good food even if it was fire breathing) and sometime a little later too.

Here is what hot looks like when your still involved in consuming it.

Dev on fire

Dev would finish off every evening with a stop at the Churro shop that was only open from 7-11 pm and made the best home made churros ever.  On the nights it was closed (and even on some that it wasn’t) he would have a dessert of a marquesita from one of the street vendors.

Our last night we shared a lovely seafood combo plate followed by of course the Churro’s – plain and filled for the last night treat.

Seafood at dobi's

All in all, the island has the best food consistently I have ever found in one area. You should try it.

Love, Sally

Shoes that Tie

sunrise in tulum
This morning I awoke for my usual walk on the beach and to view the sunrise. Problem was, I was in Co and it was only 4 am. The puppy was also awake and glad that I was home so I decided a moonlight walk in my neighborhood would be a great way to connect back to the energy of Colorado after being on the beach for the past ten days.

I grabbed my athletic shoes and went to slip them on as I generally did prior to the trip. My feet wouldn’t even go in. I loosened the laces up a bit and still my feet resisted. Geeze Louise, had I been barefoot and in sandals so long that my feet had become wide as planks? Was I unknowingly contorting them not to fit so that I could possibly extend the vacation mindset that my feet were clearly in? Opening the laces as if putting on hockey skates, I finally managed to insert my tootsies all the way in.

sneakersAs I walked around the neighborhood enjoying my lovely scenery, I was also thinking about the trip.

I received a message while on my trip wondering why the blog wasn’t being updated with the daily adventures. While, I could blame it on the sketchy Wifi at each of my locations,  it was more that my days were full and my mind was in the absorption mode. Most days I wasn’t even sure what day it was.

poohs favorite day

There are times that I literally write a communication in my head as it is happening, but so in the moment was I on this entire trip that I neither found the time or thoughts to send anything off.

I will endeavor to do so now that I am back to work and holding dear to the joyful memories of the trip. I can’t  guarantee the order or extent, but I do want to share some memories and photos for those who haven’t been.

So bear with me as I sort through photos and try to find the words to relay a portion of the volume of shared times with those also there.

wishing for more vacation daysLove Sally

Fun and Sun

Yesterday we slept in. Or at least we think we did. Our phones keep changing times so we are never totally sure what time it is. It doesn’t much matter since everything is on island time anyway and has its own flow.


We headed to north beach which is just around the edge from our hotel to do some snorkeling. Dev had been skeptical about the endeavor but once he got his face in the clear blue water and saw the myriad of schools of fish, he was hooked. We swam until we were prunes and decided it was time for a meal.


We could have been happy sitting at our table on Hildago street watching (and making fun sometimes) of people all day but we had asked Lalo to get us a golf cart so we could visit the south end of the Island and eat at some of my favorite spots down in that region.

Lalo had another job to help out with, so Dev, Syd, her pup Chiquita and I took off in the cart.


Devin drove with Chaquita as a lookout and backseat driver.

We made it to the south portion of the island just as the sun was setting over Cancun.

image image

We had our dinner midway Down the island at Baseball tacos. It may sound pedestrian and in looks it very much is, but these are some of the best tacos you can ever get.  They have sauces and fixings that are simply awesome.  I was full after two, Syd also had two, Dev had two and then two more and all that with drinks was only $12.00 for the three of us.

Cannot beat that. Or the day

Love from Isla Mujeres


A Special 90th Birthday

Today is my Uncle Bill’s 90th birthday!

90 years

He is my dad’s brother, the oldest of the four children in his family.

I can’t say I knew him well as a young child.  His branch or our tree lived in Iowa and we would maybe see them for a few days every few years.

For me, while he was a Methodist Minister and gave sermons nearly every Sunday, I saw his leadership through his actions since it wasn’t often that I was where he would preach.

preach the gospel everyday

A few years after I moved to Colorado, I found out Uncle Bill was bringing out groups of youth from his church for a hiking trip each summer.  They would hike in the Rawah Wilderness in Northern Colorado.

Rawah WildernessTwo of my cousins said that they would be joining him on a trip one year and invited me to join in the crew.  Nothing unravels years of stories between family like long hikes, early nights and a common pursuit.  The pursuit was to see who if anyone would keep up with Uncle Bill each day.

Uncle Bill was probably already in his early sixties when he took us all on that backpack trip with the church group.  I was in my mid twenties and my cousins a few years ahead of me. The hike is a fairly long one up to where he would have us all set base camp for the group.  Once at base camp he would lead hikes up various trails and peaks to a different named mountain top each day.

We started the week with the intention of going on each and every trek that he could plan for us. Not one of us made it on every hike that the determined preacher would take each day.

He did not map out where folks could go and send them on their way. He led his hikes.  He showed us that there were amazing and glorious rewards for the effort of making it to the top.   He showed us how every corner holds the possibility of a new view. He showed how a hard trail can change your perspective on what a hard day is.  He showed that we all could indeed push ourselves more than what is comfortable and come out with a sense of accomplishment that we hadn’t known we could have.

He didn’t preach of God’ s wonders, he showed us.  He didn’t preach of what we could do, he showed us.

A few years later, he married my hubby and I on one of those very trips.  It was at a spot we called inspiration point.  A chapel of immeasurable beauty and wonderment.  A service that only one minister that we knew could do.

I sit here typing these thoughts of him and his influence while drinking a cup of water and have to think of him once more.

It was on a visit several years back when he and Aunt Eileen were here that when asked if I could get them coffee or tea in the morning, they both asked for hot water.  Sure, I could do that figuring that they must have their own tea bags or something to add to the hot water.  No, they just wanted the hot water stating that it was very refreshing and soothing and didn’t require any additives to be satisfying for them.

I thought this was borderline bazaar as I had never encountered such a request.  They didn’t justify it with twenty reasons why drinking plain warm water is good for you, they just provided the example.  Soon, I tried it and became a huge fan of a nice cup of hot water at any time during the day. Today, I too know how a cup of warm or hot water is as equally refreshing as a cup of cold water can be.

He has taught us all so many things and joined in so many fun events over the years that he has given us all the model of how to advance in our lives.

It is easier getting older when there is someone you hope you can grow up to be like.  Thanks Uncle Bill for providing the example of who we want to be when we grow up.

90 and still going strong

Love and Birthday Wishes,


Mystery Visit

In the spirit of the mystery theme this week, I had one of another sort.

When #2 son got home on Wednesday, there was a note on the door.


I’m not even sure if I would have been able to discern what the heck that says had I not also received a call (that I missed) and the subsequent voicemail.

The voicemail asked where the heck I was as the two gals leaving the message were at my house and hoping to see me.  Not just anyone that would normally stop by, these were my college room mates from eons ago!

room matesI phoned them back not even considering that they were actually at my house.  I just figured that they were at Deb’s residence and had decided to call and pretend they were in Evergreen.  Well, the note proves me wrong.  I was astounded and shocked that they would just show up when we haven’t seen each other for way too many years.

They were on their way to Breckenridge to ski and celebrate a nephew’s birthday with more family and some of their grown kids as well.  They wanted me to come up and visit them up there since they had missed me at home. The suggestion that possibly they might give a little notice that they were going to visit prior to knocking on the door, seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Of course I would go up and visit.

happiness is meeting up with old friendsBec was in the shower when I got to the townhouse they had rented. I chuckled that I should go surprise her since this would go with the unannounced theme they had created. I reined in the urge and sat down to visit with Deb, and one of their other sisters who was also on the trip along with the husbands and kids.

When Bec emerged, we settled quickly into the joking, teasing and general ribbing that was the base of our existence so many years ago.

We had not met one another prior to being assigned to that second floor room in the all girls dormitory of Barrett Hall at The Ohio State University back in 1981.

We found that we had much in common and all being the youngest in our families, after seeing siblings leave the nests ahead of us, we were collectively ready to test our wings and see just how we could soar. Not knowing very many other people, it was easy to hang together and start the collection of memories.

Fraternal twins, they were like having two versions of the same friend available to hang with.

We lived together our freshman year because we had been assigned to do so and then lived together our sophomore year because we couldn’t imagine not doing so.

So many stories still stream out when we see each other. Circumstances stirring different recollections from us all.

The Naked Roommate

Today, Bec admitted that as she heard my laugh while she was in the shower, she had an immediate flashback and grabbed a towel in mild panic.

It seems that hearing Deb and I in the other room had brought forward a time when it is alleged that we had at one point removed all towels, clothes, washcloths and even the rug from the bathroom while she was in the shower. Apparently it was a vivid memory that she was made to streak out of the bathroom across the small main room and into the bedroom to find some clothing – with the main door also left open and us laughing in the hallway.

I had forgotten about that one. We laughed and wove some new stories in with recollecting some other old stories.

I wouldn’t say we had lost touch over the years. We merely didn’t access the connection that we had woven so strongly all those years ago.  It was such a great day today to check in on that connection and verify that it is still amazingly strong.

a friend callingFun Times.

sal iphone 007

Love Sally



Little Mysteries

alive within mysteries

I got up from my slumber a few mornings back, and shuffled out to the kitchen to start the pot of coffee and was stopped by the lack of comprehension of what I was seeing on the counter.

cookies and onion

I had baked cookies last week and they were in ziplock bags to keep them fresh, but there in front of me was an uncovered plastic container with half a dozen cookies or so and an onion? I couldn’t envision any of the men in my house going so far as to use a container to take cookies to wherever they planned to park and snarf them down, let alone add an onion to the container!

Our eldest son had a friend over who’s father is also a good friend of ours.  Had hubby created a little care package to send home to him?  And if so, what is the thought behind that? – “everyone can use an onion and some extra cookies?” “Here’s something to make you cry and feel better – all together?”

Perplexed, I went to make the coffee.

As I was standing at the coffee machine, I realized there have been a few mysteries in the house lately.

The coffee is generally a daily mystery as we (okay, mostly me) tend to not quite make the same coffee the same way any two days in a row. I hardly ever use just one type or version of grounds in the same pot. I’ll put a scoop or two of one, add scoop(s) of another and sometimes a third before sprinkling in some cinnamon to round out the concoction.

Hubby sometimes works on the machinery at one of the coffee plants in Denver and will bring home seasonal blends or experimental roasts that they are testing.  Problem is, if someone doesn’t mark the bag, we have no clue what it is.

unmarked coffee

That little mystery is not really so bad since we will be mixing it with others anyway, but it does add a little intrigue into the morning.

I asked about the cookie container with the onion but was unable to get a coherent response, so we’ll count that one as an unsolved mystery.

More mysteries tomorrow.

Love Sally



Awesome Morning Hike

It’s been a chilly week and it snowed the prior night, but I had no doubt I would still get my hike in yesterday with my good friend.  The temperature gauge might read cold, but it never fails to be better when we get to our beloved Three Sisters Park.  Be it the scenery, the camaraderie or just magic, this is a walk that just makes me feel better even if I start out in a great mood.

The snow and cold had created beautiful crystals on the blades of grass looking like fuzzy antennae on the snowy landscape.

crystals on grass

As we traipsed through the trees, we  couldn’t help but stop and appreciate the shadows and sun-kissed branches.


The trees were still frosted and coated in snow and every turn gave a different view of our familiar winter wonderland.

sal iphone 019

The shrubs tried to see if they could hold as much snow as the trees.  And I started to play with my filters.


3 sisters hike

Woody was ecstatic that it was a slow day and he could be let off the leash in the secluded areas.  He still wants to pose anytime the camera is out – and he does a fine pose too!

Woody on a snowy hike

More shrubs, more filters.

snow covered bushes

Gorgeous views.

great views at three sisters park

The Alderfer Homestead in the background.

3 sisters homestead

And then as we were walking the last little bit, I saw this patch of crystallized snow and was amazed at how it looked like a snow geode.

snow geode

People can read about our cold and snow and figure it is not their cup of tea, but until you are here and get to enjoy it for yourself, you will never know for sure.

Love Sally

Childhood Neighbors

My sister in law messaged yesterday that one of the farms down the road was being sold off.  The contents of the barns were that day, the A-Frame was to be sold next year and the main home separately.  Geeze, I remember when that A-Frame was built on the opposite side of the road of the main house, down the field from the McClure’s place.

I realized that I probably didn’t know any of the neighbors back by the farm anymore.  Mrs. McClure (Gladys) was living alone in her home back when I was young.  I can recall her more vividly than anyone.

She was one of the older neighbors.  A beautiful white haired woman who never had a hair out of place and she had ample hair and it was styled in a complementary way.  It makes me wonder now, just how often  her hair had been done/styled and was it plastered with hairspray to keep it that way 24/7?  I mean, I never saw the woman with a bad hair day. Never.  I wonder if they put that into her obituary. “Gladys was a well coiffed woman with impeccable taste”

What I saw of her belongings were what I thought of as impeccable anyway.  She had some china tea sets that were beautiful – although I only saw them just a few times as we did not visit her often.  She generally came to our house to visit.

She drove a large green beast of a car.

Old buickI think we all tended to “get lost” when she was coming over as she was so hard of hearing that it was painful to be in the room when someone was trying to have a conversation with her.

I think back now and wonder about those conversations.  I think dear old Mrs. McClure might not have needed to hear responses as much as she just needed someone to listen to her.  I’m sure she was lonely and just to have someone let her speak was enough some days.  My mom didn’t complain about the visits and wouldn’t allow us to either.

A person could be in the barn across the street from our house and know when Mrs. McClure was leaving from a visit.  Since she couldn’t hear the car start, she would rev it up so high and loud when turning the ignition that it was akin to a shuttle launch.  The entire capsule would scream and roar and then the body shake with the explosive power of the engine not yet released into motion.  I’m guessing she knew it was running when it was shaking her teeth fillings loose.

It’s funny how some people stick in your memory much more vividly than others.