6.26.2017

Summer Fun: Concerts

One great thing about summer that I wanted to take advantage of a little bit more this year was concerts! There are so many great venues around Denver, and specifically, I wanted to get to Red Rocks for a concert. I'd been there so many times for other things, but never for a concert. This past month I got to hit up not one but two concerts, both at venues I hadn't been to before.

First off there was OK Go! with Trav at the Gothic... a cute little venue outside of Denver proper.


Its been a while since Trav and I have been to a concert together, just the two of us!


It was a great, super fun show. OK Go are great entertainers, and there was such good energy the whole time.


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The next concert was Dispatch and Guster at Red Rocks with my soul sister, Marissa.



Red Rocks is such an amazing venue for everything, but especially for concerts! And because of our various travels and how they overlapped, this was my first time getting to hang out with soul sister in a month!


The show itself was so great. I saw both of these bands play back in college... maybe ::sniff, cough, hack, 15 years, cough:: ago!  The music is still amazing, and they both played some of my old favorites.


I cannot wait for more Red Rocks experiences and more concerts!

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6.23.2017

A Comedy of Errors

Oh June. With the end of school and the start of summer came a confluence of unusual events and more then one comedy of errors.

I already wrote about Trav's days away, but he arrived home just in time to enjoy our new absence of hot water. Our water heater had finally bit the big one, and while they turned the water to it off on Thursday night and it was removed on Friday, the new one wasn't put in until late in the day on Monday! We really do love our apartment complex, and while the days of no hot water (and no dishwasher or washing machine) created a pile of dishes and laundry that threatened to overwhelm us... not to mention the state of our balcony with people tramping off and on, and all of our things pushed to the side, they really went out of their way when all was said and done to make things right. That said, I literally spend a whole day "recovering" our house! 3 loads of laundry, 3 loads in the dishwasher, endless counters to wipe, sweeping, vacuuming.

In the midst of all that, Gwen and I took a break to celebrate National Doughnut Day, with a trip to Krispy Kreme. Did you ever set out to do something, only to curse your "best of intentions?" After accidentally taking the toll route to get there instead of the free roads, Gwen took one look at the lines and decided she didn't want to wait. We started to head home, disappointed and frustrated, only to have Gwen burst into tears a few miles down the road! She regretted her choice but didn't want me to be mad! So we headed back with the agreement that there would be no complaints about the wait, and that she would eat a really good lunch when we got home. Heading back we came in from a different direction then normal, missed the turn into the parking lot, then when we went to turn around, made the wrong turn and ended up on the highway! We had to go an exit down, get off and come back again! After waiting in line for almost an hour after that, we finally made it through the drive thru, got our donuts and were on our way... with Gwen's chocolate glazed with sprinkles, and my delicious original glazed a stupid chocolate glazed donut. Grrrr... who knew a simple trip to a donut shop could turn into all that.

Top that off with our normal adjustment to being out of school and together 24-7, and the first week of June was quite the bang.

Thankfully things have calmed down greatly since then! Though I will admit that we are in full summer mode, and have completely lost track of days at this point. Lets hope as our summer continues we have less error and more comedy!

6.21.2017

Wordless Wednesday {Farmers Market Days}


Went to the Farmer's Market the other weekend, love that its that time of year! 
We also hit up the playground afterwards since it was right there and a beautiful day for it.


6.19.2017

Plantings

A week after my story about soil, gardening, and growth seems as good a time as any to talk about what we've planted this year. After last year's fail er, not quite so successful foray into container gardening on a balcony with low light much of the time and scorching sun for a few hours a day, I wasn't sure that I wanted to plant anything this year! Between Gwen and I being gone for 3.5 weeks this summer, and no desire to spend money on plants only to spend hours and hours on them to fail, I wasn't getting the excited feeling I normally did about planting.


That said, it had the appeal of being a fun activity for Gwen and I to spend an afternoon on with school out of session, and it promised beautiful colors on our balcony - if only for a week or two - so I decided to give it another go with a few changes. First, we went to the local nursery instead of the nursery section of Home Depot, and secondly, there I decided to let go of all the things I wanted to plant and instead ask the pros for ideas. Some new soil (three), and Gwen and I were ready to give it a shot.



We ended up with some really beautiful plants... none of which I would have went for myself, but which I think look absolutely lovely on our porch!



We did the three pots from last year in our sun/shade mixed section of porch... then bought a new pot to plant two lovely full shade varietals.


I'm pretty darn please with how everything looked! And now, a couple of weeks later, things are still looking pretty good! Two of my begonias are struggling a little, while the other two are thriving. The basil is doing okay, and the coleus (shade and sun versions) looks great. The little freesia makes me very happy too.



I really am happy we decided to give this another go!

6.16.2017

Yoga and Meditation for the Birth Worker

The women I did my doula training with also host a monthly doula support group, which I've been attending since I completed my initial training with them. They would occasionally have months that were just conversations between doulas, offering each other support and advice. Often though they would host wonderful speakers covering a wide variety of topics for the doula to add to her wheelhouse. This past weekend I had the amazing honor and pleasure of getting to do my own talk for the group!



I discussed Yoga - what it really is and its 8 limbs, demonstrated some breath exercises for calming and centering, provided specific poses for birth workers to use to heal their body's before and after a birth, and led a post-birth centered meditation. 



(Handout on Yoga!)



It was slightly nerve racking, I won't lie, but it was wonderful to get to combine my two passions! I look forward to hopefully doing more talks in the future!

6.14.2017

Semi-Wordless Wednesday {Photo Dump}

New hat...

Out to celebrate Marissa's birthday.

Trav got me an ax for Mother's Day... might seem a little odd, but it was the perfect gift! It was one of the things I needed for camping. Such a good listener, that man!


Gwen gifted me with a few sweet things, including this awesome book she made for me at school. The pictures crack me up.


Heading out for a special Starbucks treat... a plan vanilla frap for her, with a cookie straw!



6.12.2017

Finding Growth in New Soil



My daughter is more then a little caught up in the idea of growth. At seven years old, she dreams of being bigger physically, but also of all the magic that she imagines adulthood will bring (that magic, from what I can determine, seems to involve a lot of cookies and all night movie marathons!). As her Mama, the idea of growth is rather different.

At the end of the Summer of 2015 we packed up our much culled belongings, drove 1700 miles, and moved our existence from our native Pennsylvania to our new frontier in Colorado. Friends, family, jobs, half of my book collection (::sobs::), there is much that we left behind in the pursuit of something bigger. Life had gone from comfortable to stagnant in Penn. and when my husband had an amazing opportunity presented to him, we couldn’t pass it up. Much of his growth was immediate. My path was less defined.

For the first time since we had married, we did not require a certain income on my part for the maintaining of mortgages and daycare costs. A peaceful end had come to a job that was not serving me, and my daughter was off to kindergarten, leaving me with a new amount of freedom. The dreams that had long been tramped down in my soul were starting to bubble up in new, exciting, and terrifying ways.

While my main job when we arrived was helping our daughter adjust to this new life of ours, spending our afternoons together after her morning kindergarten class; I was also taking the steps needed to make my dreams become realities. The titles that had once intrigued and taunted me were now close to being my own! As exciting as it was, I found the speed of growth to be overwhelming. Growth, while necessary and so often wonderful, can be painful too. Our new life was so much of what I had dreamed about, but I missed our old house and our network of friends and family.

I found myself reaching for the familiar. My mind jumped to the idea of a garden. Apartment life in a new place has so many benefits, but garden space is not one of them. Still I found myself planning out balcony arrangements that would make it work, and as soon as the weather permitted found myself wandering through a few local garden centers collecting the plants I had envisioned, along with all the pots, soil, and tools I would need. Heading home that day I could barely wait to plunge my hands into the soft, earthy smelling soil.

It quickly became apparent that like much of the rest of our life in our new home, gardening was a bit different here. The routine of watering, the arranging necessary to get the right amount of sun, the care and keeping of my fledgling plants, all of which came so easily to me before became a struggle. My plants wilted and rebounded, plants flowered and sprouted baby produce, only to give up halfway and drop their rewards before they were ready. My plants were floundering, and so was I.

As the months passed I alternately gave them too much attention or not enough. I coaxed new life from them only to be frustrated when I forgot to spritz them with my jalapeΓ±o vinegar mixture and the squirrels ate all my flowers. I never did figure out the perfect routine or recipe to make those plants flourish, though they did bear us some treats in the end. However, with dirt under my nails, I did find my own footing in our new life. I found my confidence in my new roles, I found familiarity in our favorite meals, and we made a new normal.

Not the garden of our old home, my pots on the balcony ended up teaching me a thing or two about letting go of expectations. Its also helped me to dream even bigger about what I hope to create when we have the room here. While it might never come as easy as it did out East, it’s okay. I continue to grow, and eventually, my garden will again too. 


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A piece I wrote for submission elsewhere that didn't end up being used. I bring it to you here, and as a gift back to myself! I had forgotten what I had written, and it came back to me at a time when I needed it. Funny how that works sometimes. 

6.09.2017

Just the Two of Us

Gwen and I had a first last week... Trav headed out of town to catch the Penguins game with his brother, and Gwen and I had the run of the place for 4 days. With all of our travels, just the two of us, this was the first time that Trav went away without us and we were alone in the apartment.


I'll admit, there were moments when I wished his trip had occurred the week before, when school was still in session and we could get a break from each other! But I tried to plan out some different activities each day, and we had fun!

Time at the dog park, swim lessons, some planting, some errands, a little bit of eating out, and some pizza making... we enjoyed ourselves. 

Trav had a pretty great time too:


Not only getting to see a Stanley cup playoff game with his own Penguins (who won!), but also seeing his brothers and spending some time in the city he grew up in.

It was a little overwhelming being on all the time, but we kept busy. It was nice to get an idea of what Trav goes through when I go away (though he's only done it when she's in school, so he does have that going for him!). Just one more new experience for Gwen and I to check off our list!

6.07.2017

6.05.2017

Happenings

It has felt very much like things have been all travel and travel recovery lately, but there's been plenty of other happenings. Gwen and I hit up a Mommy/Daughter yoga event, a class followed by snacks and a henna session.


It was nice to do something a little special together. We spend so much time just the two of us, but outside of travel its mostly mundane. It can be very easy to get sucked into going about our schedule, same old. This was something a little different then anything else we do together.

We had a really needed and appreciated 2 weeks off from swim lessons to end the school year. I love watching Gwen grow in her swimming, and she appreciates the pool time, but it is such a rush at the end of the day. Those two weeks felt amazingly chill! She's back at it now, but since school is out its a lot easier to manage.


The sun is very much out in summer force now. It at least waited until the last week of school, which I appreciated in the afternoons standing outside waiting for Gwen, but it is here so now it is time not for sunscreen - which I've been wearing religiously since March? April? - but for light long sleeved shirts which completely hide my arms from the sun. It is intense and heavy, and I felt burned walking home from dropping Gwen at school (a week and a half ago) at 8:45 in the morning! Oh Colorado.

Other exciting things: I've been part of a birth center support team, having a few on call days for them every month since October. Well I finally (finally!!) got called in for the first time during Gwen's last week of school! 6:30 a.m. wake up call and five hours straight on my feet. It was fun and exhausting and I'm so glad that I get to part of the team for this amazing birth center! It makes me even more excited for my next doula client... due the beginning of July!

2 weeks until I'm on-call for birth
5.5 weeks until we leave for our cross-country road trip
10 weeks until Gwen goes back to school

Can't wait to see all we can pack in.

6.02.2017

The Imagined Life: The Clearing Out

Some things are better done like a bandaid, and some need to be handled in fits and starts. I roamed often from one end of the apartment to the next, sometimes getting a breath of business-like motivation. Ripping through a drawer or desk with emotionless precision. Sort, trash, pack, sell. Other times I lingered for hours over one or two items, paralyzed with indecision over an item I know will just take up valuable space without being useful in the end, but I can't quite make the choice to give it up. 

I create a special box just for these items, separate from the real memory pieces and heirlooms, to be marked in bright red: Expiration Date! After 2 years - I tell myself - if I haven't felt the need to take any of these items from the box, then it goes to charity - no opening for one last look!

The dresser is packed away now (a beautiful piece I carefully wrap it for storage) and half the clothes from it are just gone - given away or sold to a second hand store; some donated to women's shelters. The clothes were definitely a longer project. I wore everything, over the course of a few months, no repeats until everything had been given its fair shot. Did it fit right? Was it comfortable? Does it work with me now? Will I reach for this garment again and again? If the answer was no, then it was cut. Ruthlessly.

When I was done I still had too many clothes, but at least the overflow was reasonable. I measured my space and started sorting. My very favorite items came with me, ready to be worn and loved to death. The rest was carefully packed and prepared for storage - to be pulled out one at a time - as current items needed to be replaced. A happy compromise.

The piles of photos are harder. There's my grandmother smiling up at me making me feel young; a younger version of myself laughing making me feel old. There's people lost and places refound. But most of those I find a way to release as well. Passing them to friends and family, scanning many to be brought with me on a hard drive that holds more of my life and past then a million boxes could.

It was odd looking around after all the sorting and clearing was done. The place was so empty. White, bare wall. One large pile of boxes ready for storage, one pile of items ready to be moved into the new abode.

I was ready.


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The Imagined Life is fiction, a world of my own creation, explored through small, everyday things and experiences.