Tag Archives: friends

December 2023

December began and was frequently filled with many holiday gatherings. Friends, neighbors, family, framily, it seemed like every spare space had a gathering to it.

Part of those gatherings were in Ohio. I went to help my sister prepare and have a baby shower for my nephew and his wife who were expecting their first offspring. Also on the agenda, was a retirement party for my sister in law. Unfortunately, my sister in law and brother were sick and so that party was cancelled. I had a great time visiting several friends and spending more time with my sis since we avoided the farm this time due to whatever crud they were dealing with. We even had a last minute visit over in Pennsylvania with my Aunt and cousin. Luckily they knew the owners of the cafe we ate in, as otherwise we might have been kicked out for the level of laughter we generated in our getting caught up on each others lives.

I arrived back home in Colorado and my nephew Ian followed me out the next day so that we could all go ski/snow boarding together. Galen, Devin, Ian, Molly and I met up at Arapahoe Basin once again and had a super fun day playing on the slopes. This was the first time I had skied with both of my boys in decades, so it was really nice to be up there all together.

Not just settling for skiing, there were hikes, walks and parties every night as everyone wanted to spend some time with Ian.

I finished off December with a low key Christmas, some beautiful snowy hikes in the woods below us and a meet up with my friends.

Fun fact: In the last photo are the two reasons that this blog was ever started in the first place. Anita – to my right = was Wilma in the earliest blogs. She is my friend who had moved to Australia and was doing a mud obstacle race. Jane – to my left – was the team captain of our obstacle team. Lucky for me, Anita moved back to Evergreen, and Jane was here visiting over the holidays. It was another good night of fun.

2023 was an intimate year with so many extra special times for connection, reflection, joy and heartache. But then, that is life, isn’t it.

Love,

Sally

November 2023

November began with a great visit from one of my sets of Albuquerque peeps. Erin and Kenny came up for the Queen concert and their daughter Lena and I got to hang out alone for that evening, but really spent a few great days doing puzzles, playing Uno and crazy 8’s (Uno was definitely the game choice for elementary kids in my life and between Amara and Lena, I played more Uno in 2023 than in all of my other years combined). We colored together, made cookies, and did some bird watching too. So fun. Oh, and I got some awesome time in with her parents as well. They crack me up tremendously and are a riot to be around. I was so glad to have them here.

My North Carolina Peeps came in next and although they stayed with family in town and not with me, we did get to spend some time together and get in an early season ski day at Arapahoe Basin Ski area. It had been several years – maybe decades? – since I had skied there and I had forgotten just how gorgeous and special it is. Super fun ski pals.

Sometime mid month, I came home one day to Birdie (the 15 year old cat we had inherited when our previous neighbor Barbara passed away) laying on the floor under a chair.

This was odd as this cat never slept on the floor. He prefers a chair, or lap if someone is around, and will crawl up under a comforter on a bed if he just wants to be alone, so to come home to find him on the floor was alarming. I bent down to pet him and he was breathing fine but did not move. Thinking he might feel stuck under the chair, I moved that away from him and still no movement. I lifted him up and carried him to the sofa to sit with me for a bit and realized he still was not moving and would not or could not even lift his head. I messaged Devin at work (the cat is very attached to Devin and stays with him every night and when he is home – otherwise he will find me). The dog had recently had an episode of temporary partial paralysis and recovered after a few hours, so I was hoping this might be the case here as well – albeit a near total paralysis for Birdie. When Devin got home, we decided that taking Birdie to the vet was likely only going to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in tests and MRI’s or X-rays and at 16 (been a year since we inherited), they would likely then just charge even more to put our kitty to sleep. We cried and held the poor feline and prayed that he could somehow regain his strength and mobility. He did not seem to be in pain and would still eat if we held his head up in order to do so. We kept protective coverings under him wherever he was placed and decided to give him time and see if he would begin to recover on his own or not. It was as if we were now running a convalescent 24 hour care center. I was lucky that I was home and was available to take on the care when Devin was at work. I cannot tell you how heart breaking this was for both Dev and I. It was quickly apparent that this cat had become our grief therapy pet, and the thought of loosing it was more that either of us could manage. Tears flowed often from the both of us as we knew that even though after a week with small measures of regaining the tiniest bits of movement, that this was not sustainable and not a way for Birdie to live. He did start to let us know when he was uncomfortable and so he would use the litter box if someone held him up in order to do so, but this too was not sustainable. He was beginning to move his head and his legs would twitch, so we felt that there was function possibility, but how long could we go on with carrying him everywhere and doing everything for him? We finally set a date for when we would say goodbye and set out to love on the guy as much as possible for the last few days. I think we were feeling not just this immediate grief, but it brought in all of our losses and heaped them into this one situation that just ripped our hearts out in a new and different way. It was as if we had been transferring all of our grief into this purr puff over the past year or so and now that we were tasked with saying goodbye to him, we were going to be required to take that grief back and carry it ourselves once more. You just don’t know how much you’ve onloaded onto someone or something else until you see that the load might again be yours. (yes, it could also be an opportunity to release all the grief and let it go along with the cat, but it was hard to see that at the time)

The morning of the date set for euthanizing, Devin brought Birdie over to me to show me how he now was holding his head a bit better and the sparkle was back in Birdies eyes. Well, it was only our time and we giving in this rehab trial, so we decided to give it another few days to see if it was a trend or if this was as good as he could get. The days turned into weeks and over that span, he seemed to get a bit stronger every day. He soon could stand in the litter box as long as someone supported his wobbling side to side. He then progressed to tying to walk, but his head was just off of the floor as he made his attempts and he could easily just summersault over and not get up. This trajectory of recuperation maintained it’s steady rise to where he is now. He plateaued to where his front legs are fully functional and his back legs work as a waddle, but he doesn’t bend them to be able to jump. He still gets up onto Devin’s bed much like an ice climber would a frozen water falls. Unfortunately, he either has to wait for someone to get him back down, or he does his own version of a dead man’s fall onto padding we have on the floor for him. He waddles all through the house and can manage the two steps up into the kitchen addition just fine now. We feel like he’s had a pretty miraculous recovery.

We spent Thanksgiving with our peeps eating a delicious bacon wrapped turkey, playing games and feeling so very grateful. So Yummy, so fun, so lucky to have so many great folks in our lives.

Love

Sally

Mixing sports

I went skiing last week and a hockey fight broke out.

Well, not quite, but nearly. Here’s what happened.

I took off one day last week to go skiing with two of Ted’s ICU nurses. The plan was for us to meet up at the ski area and I told them which parking lot I was shooting for, as it has a bathroom and you can ski into and out of it to begin and end your day. I was up early that morning, so I decided to go a bit early to see if I could get a good spot.

When I arrived there was a car in front of me to begin a row with a traffic cone next to them that I took for marking as far over as they should park. I parked right behind the car to start the next row, but knowing that I didn’t have a cone, that someone would eventually use the space available between me and the driving path between me and the bathroom to park another vehicle. I decided to throw out my skis and backpack in that spot so no one would park there.

While the parking lot was still mostly unfilled, no one seemed to bother, but as spaces became fewer I had a couple people ask but move on without issue when I said I was saving a space. That was until I noticed a young guy and his gal about to drive up and over my skis.

I got out of my car, and shook my head at him and said that I was saving the spot for a couple ICU nurses and he couldn’t park there. He rolled his window down and said that he was a medic and first responder, so he should get the spot. I shook my head no. He got out of the car and said he was going to move my skis. I stood firm and told him No, he wasn’t going to touch my skis. He approached me and then said he had also just gotten back from a tour in Iraq (I can’t keep up on where we have any bits of troops left abroad, so I wasn’t sure to call bullshit on that one, but it felt like he was fibbing). He then kept yelling that I was telling him that my nurses were better than him. After he stopped with that little mantra, I simply replied that no, I wasn’t saying that they were better than him, I was saying that I know them, and I don’t know him, and therefore my loyalty to hold this coveted spot is to them and not him. He then changed tactics that no one can hold a space in this lot, that’s not what this mountain is all about. Again calmly, I said well, today I am and continued to stand my ground. Exacerbated, he finally got into the car and left.

I texted the gals that they had better be close as I was just about in a fight to save their spot and they assured me that they were only minutes away.

Just then a truck pulled up and parked nearly in the drive path and close to my skis – not actually leaving enough space for a car between us. I got out to speak to them and saw that it was two older gentlemen. Shit. I could tell young folks to go find a farther spot all day long, but I don’t have it in me to tell somebody older to go pound sand. But still I knocked on the drivers window near me to have a conversation.

I told these two older guys about spending weeks upon weeks in the hospital and feeling blessed to have these nurses even willing to stay in touch with me and wanting to have a spot for them when they arrive. They were sympathetic, but when I started crying as I told them my husband passed away, they were fully vested and promised to allow the gals to park.

Turns out, that while I can’t say no to a couple of old guys, they also can’t say no to an older crying gal. 😁

The gals showed up, we moved my car a bit closer to the car next to me, the guys moved their truck over a smudge in the other direction and the gals pulled in right between us.

We had a really fun day on the slopes with good stories shared on lifts and in the lodge over a break, good laughs and good snow.

Thanks to the gals for meeting me and to the guys for helping me save them a spot in the parking lot.

Love. Sal

Gauging the Fog

I have recently returned from a quick trip to Seattle. My peeps had just purchased a home when I had last visited, but had closed on the property the day after I had left, so while I had seen the outside briefly, I didn’t really have a sense of the space. So this was my first time seeing the new home and the extraordinary views they now had of the Seattle Bay.

After a few mornings of just standing in their beautiful home and looking out, I decided that waking up each morning overlooking the bay in Seattle epitomizes my life right now. There are days when the view is clear and your eyes and heart are drawn beyond the structures in front and you feel transported out into the very arms of nature and life. Possibilities and adventures are there and can keenly be felt.

Then there are mornings of heavy fog where only the immediate water nearby can be viewed and you can see nothing beyond. The mountains, the other shorelines, all points of reference, are now gone. And while parts of you are sure there is still the same views beyond, you can’t quite picture it fully without the slightest bit of reference to be had. With the view beyond restricted, you are forced to just notice that which is immediately in front. You feel forced to slow down and navigate with caution. When clear, it is easy to ignore that what must be passed through to reach the water and go beyond, but with the fog, the obstacles are the only points that seem to come into focus. The feelings of just cocooning and not venturing out are most prevalent. Grief is like those clouds.

The connection to the bay and the views from my friends home was an easy analogy to make, but the reality was that the morning fog that physically consumed the bay and skyline was truly contrasted by the sunshine that came each day from within the house with a lively three year old and the anticipation of another babe in just a few weeks time, and – surprisingly for this time of year – from the sunshine that burned off those clouds and made for brightness outside as well.

We practiced riding a bike with no training wheels.

We hung out telling stories and pretending to be Disney movie characters.

We walked to the beach nearby.

We spread some of Ted in the yard, and shared some of their memories of him, so that he is now part of their space too.

People ask “how are you?”, but don’t realize what an impossible question that is. The answer changes with every breath, every thought, every song, every transformative breeze that is felt, heard and sensed.

It might be easier to say how close or far the fog is in my emotional view than to answer how I am on any given day.

Rest assured that most days, the clouds might sweep in, but get burned off by the brightness of my friends and family who fill my life with support and love from the calls, texts and cards. Thank for being part of the sunshine in my life.

Love, Sally

A Day of News

Monday was a day of news.



Sad news and happy news.

The Happy News was when I received a call from Galen’s girlfriend, so excited to relay that they had just been out to dinner and Galen had proposed marriage and she had said yes. They are such a wonderful couple and we are delighted. She was the very first friend that he had ever invited over to our house when they were both in kindergarten. They were not close all of the way through school, as friendships can ebb and flow in those years, but they reconnected a few years back and it is wonderful news.

The sad news was that my friend Judy had died. It wasn’t a surprise, but then that doesn’t lessen the loss. I had called the previous Thursday and left a message that I was thinking of her. A few minutes later, my phone rang and it was her number. Her sister was on the line and explained that Judy really couldn’t speak, but wanted Audrey to call me back. She had me on speaker phone so that Judy could hear both sides of the phone conversation and Audrey would answer for Judy when the questions were asked. We all got caught up in this three way communication with only two voices, talking of life and events, even though we all knew there wasn’t much left of it, in this realm, for Judy. She was frail and could not manage to get around much. Sips of water were all that her body now desired and without nourishment, she was in the stage where sleep was more common than wakefulness. We all knew it would be the last time I would speak with my friend yet when it came time to say goodbye, the flood of emotions filled my vocal cords and all I could say was that I loved her. Why is it that words fail when you need them? There was so much emotion and so many memories flooding my body, the the voice was lost in it all. I did follow up with a message the next day that I may as well share:
“Judy,

I hope this text arrives while you still have the desire to even read one. I feel like there is a slowing happening to you and your body. One that could have the feeling that maybe the rest of the world is just too busy and fast for you now. I wonder if it is like sitting on the deck where there is the slightest of breezes that almost feels non-existent, yet out in the yard, the wind chime rings with fervor or the wind flower is spinning madly. Your are the one quiet soul on the deck and the world is that wind flower – whirling a speeds that seem impossible from your current view.
Yesterday, when it came time to say goodbye, I had no words. It was as if all of the years of experiences we had together suddenly flooded the space between us. The shared times, the laughs, the tears, the talks, the years. It felt to me that suddenly all of those moment hung between us and the only words left were that I loved you. I wish I could have said more in that moment, but the air was so full of memories that it felt like it was better to let that play through my heart and brain and pray that you too felt that volume, than to voice something that would seem to lessen or stop the flow of all of those moments. I cherish the long and short moments we have shared and know that I will rely on them when you are gone from my view. I also feel that while you lose the body, we will not lose your presence. I thank you now for the essence you will still provide to the many of us later. I thank you for your friendship and I thank you for the gift of time in the call yesterday. I will be praying for a gentle transition from this life to the next. I love you.”


I feel like no matter what I would have said, that those emotions were shared and she felt them with or without the words as well. That is my wish anyway.

I managed through the week fairly well juggling the happy and sad news until Friday. The day began with the wave of the feeling of loss that happens as is prone to occur as one deals with grief. It was the high tide in the wave series. One of the younger sales guys got me talking and I spilled that I was sad for the loss of a friend, but quickly added the good news also received of Galen’s engagement (they all know Galen from when I’ve had him help at work) The sales guy immediately got up to give me a hug. I tried to stop him, as I knew that any genuine kindness and sympathy would bust the protective bubble that was imaginary around me. Not taking no for an answer, he enveloped me in a long hard needed hug. True to prediction, it tore through the thin veil and I began to cry. The problem with a small rip when there is pressure behind it, is that it opens up to a gaping tear before it can be stopped. Thus was my day – trying to patch a seam that no longer had good edges to sew. I had friends checking up on me and again, it would bring up the tears. I almost wanted someone to be mean to me so that I could build up the protective field around me once more.

I finally took some moments and let myself feel all of the emotions and put names to them. Ever notice that when you feel overwhelmed and stop to actually feel each emotion and name them, that they loose their punch? Something about calling out the emotion that makes it loose it’s power. I could still fell the sadness, but once I named the sadness, then gratitude came in and shook hands and the two together were like friends who could now share in the loss.

I know the waves will still come and go. I’ve lost loved ones before, but I also know that they will never leave my heart and therefore are not gone at all.

Go Hug your loved ones today.

Love, Sally


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

 

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

Happy Thanksgiving

I am Thankful

I have to say that my level of thankfulness this year is over the top.  I’ve been blessed, blessed and then blessed some more.

Gratitude and thankfullnessIt wasn’t just kindness received this year, although that has been abundant as well. It has been opportunities presented and hearing that voice that says “yes” to them louder than the one that says “that isn’t so practical or realistic at this time”.  It is seeing the good that comes out of even bad situations.  It is my peeps being safe and unhurt after accidents. It is having the audacity to jump into this realm of putting my thoughts out there so that I can hear your echo.

So while I cannot be with everyone today, let my words wrap not only around the page of your screen, but may you feel my remote hug and know that I am thankful for you.

Hug in wordsToday we are headed to our friends. Laughter so hard as to work our abdominal muscles will surely be part of our exercise after a great meal.

It's a Friendsgiving

Love to all,

Sally

 

Fighting it off

Going to make it short today as I’m not feeling so hot.

out sickIt could be I’m getting a cold so am taking precautions in some zinc tablets and Umka drops.

As a friend mentioned, it could be life catching up with work running me over right now.  I’ll be writing something on that soon, but I have learned to not say too much when I’m already feeling low so I’ll definitely save that.

So, for today, have a good one (or the rest of it anyway) and hopefully I have something better to say tomorrow.

Love Sally

An Indian Wedding

Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a very special wedding ceremony. It was held outdoors in the Prentice Cooper wilderness area at a spot named Snoopers Rock.

The grooms parents had flown in from Cleveland, Oh and I had come from CO.

image

The friends that had hosted J and I on my previous trip in May, officiated, sang and drummed.

image

There were the photographers and another friend to handle the smudge bucket and a few random hikers coming by for the view.

image image
Intimate in terms of attendance, but expansive and beyond measure of beauty in the surroundings, ceremony, and bride and groom.

image image
I’ll let the photos convey the day as there are so many threads of how this day wove together and touches my heart that I can’t yet find the words to convey my sentiments. Overwhelmed to feel so blessed to have been there.

image imageimage

Afterwards, we took a riverboat cruise through the gorge on the river we were high above earlier.

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Simply awesome! Congratulations to the newly married couple. (Oh, there is another ceremony to be attended by more family and friends in Tulum, Mexico in January.  Stay tuned to hear about that one)

love Sally