blog

Day 18 Delights- Work brought us Together, Life Made us Friends

Tonight this rowdy crew was kind enough to gather for my birthday. But my birthday didn’t matter…..any time I have a chance to gather with this group is a celebration. I would celebrate national Lost Sock Memorial Day just to be with them

For the record, National Lost Sock Memorial Day is May 9th.

I love these people. I love that I met them all at work and despite career changes, life changes, and many other changes, we all are still dear friends.

Work can be hard. Work can challenge your ego. Work can challenge your friendships.

I love that this picture is peppered with love and respect. Love for who we are as friends and respect for the savvy, talented colleagues I have had the privilege to work with.

Delightful.

blog

Day 17 Delights- Selfies in the Bathroom

My niece has her Physicians Assistant White Coat ceremony this weekend.

It’s not only fun to be proud of her, it’s fun to see her so happy and excited about this next step.

We had our first celebratory meal in a bougie restaurant where we ate truffle fries and drank champagne on Restoration Hardware couches.

And like any meal with truffle fries and champagne, afterwards we found ourselves taking selfie’s in the ladies bathroom. I know- it sounds odd but it was a bonding moment.

Go eat the world beautiful niece.

blog

Day 16 Delights: Socks

SOCKS!

Today was chilly.

I needed some good socks.

I invested in good socks this winter. This has been a good investment. I was never a sock person. I am a sock person now.

Good socks are delightful.

I pulled out a stripped pair of socks this morning and delighted in the fact that not only are they stripped and lovely and warm…..but these socks have a fox.

We kinda love Dr. Seuss around here.

I took my amazing socks out of the drawer, and they have been sassy companion to my feet all day. Delightful.

The great thing about delights is that there is no rhyme or reason behind why something brings you joy. A delight is a gift- you just need to notice.

Not only are these awesome socks but they are darn tough…. yes I know, I am a sucker for branding but putting these darn tough socks on my feet, looking at my tootsies and deciding I was also going to be darn tough today and well, that was a delight too.

PS- I am not paid by darn tough socks to put them on my feet but I do find them lovely and delightful. Go be darn tough my fearless friends. You got this- you’re crazy…..like a fox.

blog

Delights Day 15- Small Things

I meant to post this yesterday in honor of the great Martin Luther King Jr.

I thought about this post all day- and then I laid down on the couch and took a nap.

My napping really kind of leads to this post.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.- my goodness what a man. What a leader. What a poet. What a speaker. What a mover of people. What a feeler of feels……What an extraordinary human.

On social media, there was a call to post a favorite MLK quote. Earlier in the day, I had found this gem and made it my own…..

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

In the amazing prose of MLK, this quote is not extraordinary. It does not speak to never losing hope, finding the stars in the darkness or loving my enemy.

But it does speak to what I can do today. And what I can do tomorrow.

I can strive to do small things in a great way. And maybe those small things become great.

Or maybe not.

But its what I can do.

Doing is delightful.

Happy MLK day.

blog

Delights Day 14- Y’all are delightful

OH…..YOU!!!

You are the best. Honestly the very best. I think you may have broke Facebook because I can’t find all the thoughtful posts from my birthday. If I have not thanked you, I cannot get to the post.

But thank you. Really- tonight I am a giddy, overstimulated, tired, 51 year old swimming in birthday love. Your friendship is a delight.

Today was spent with Hubs doing one of the things we love the most- we skied a bluebird day in Colorado. Friends joined us, toasts were made, skies were clear, snow was great………

On the 51% of a century, I have many thoughts about today, you precious people. and the beauty of this life. But tonight I baste in birthday love like a big ol’ turkey. You all are the best. I delight in you.

blog

Delights Day 13: Birthday Eve.

I spent my birthday eve with this amazing human- the woman who was kind enough to bring me into this world, my Mama.

Driving home this evening, I turned to my husband, “I’m a pretty lucky person,” I said.

And I don’t say that to be flippant, or trite, I know darn well how lucky I am to have this person in my life. This person who insists that at 51, my birthday still be super special.

And it was:

And now I am tired and off to bed. My belly is full of lobster, champagne and cake. My heart and head are full of gratitude and delight.

May we all be loved.

blog

Delights Day 11- Move It

I have a fickle relationship with exercise.

I say that knowing I have a super-tolerant body. It’s not a bikini body by any means but I know my quads are strong. I trust that my heart will pound in protest but still get me up Vail pass. My knees? Well, they were good while they lasted.

I am also not a committed athlete….and I use the word athlete loosely. During marathon training, I found a glazed donut to be the perfect combination of carbs and fat.

Protien shake? Heck no! Jelly donut? Bring it.

I am the non-conforming worker-outer.

But I do know, I am better when I sweat. My head is clear when my heart beats fast.

As I get older, I appreciate this flawed, unperfect body even more.

And I as I get older, I realize, this body is getting older too.

Eight weeks ago I tore my bicep muscle. It was a dumb move. I was reaching for something on a shelf, slipped on a wood floor and grabbed the upper shelf with my right arm.

Holy MAMA. It hurt. And bruised. I could move my arm so knew it was a partial tear but I also knew it needed rest. Swimming was out for a while. It turned purple and ached at night…..in truth, this scared me a bit….

Because it was so dumb!

I hurt myself on a shelf. And I can’t help but think that 25 years ago, this would not have been an issue.

And today, some movements are still a little angry, but I went back to Orange Theory. I made have wept a bit as I watched my SPLAT points add up, as my heart rate rose and as the angst in my head turned into strokes on a bike.

I kissed my bicep as it moved through exercises with little protest.

Bicep- you’re a good muscle and I find delight in you. I will never take you for granted or reach beyond my means on slippery floors.

You only get one of these bodies. As I get older, I realize mine is just fine.

Pass the jelly donuts.

blog

Delights Day 10- Tuesday with a Horse

This evening was my first session as a horse leader at the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center. I keep meaning to post of photo with my horsey friends but every time I show up at the Center, my head and hands are busy and the phone stays in my pocket- which might be another delight.

I’ve always loved horses but as I grow older, these beautiful animals are leaving a deeper impression on me; their personalities, the non-verbal communication, the need for me to be aware of my own space as I interact with them.

My gait needs to interact with theirs.

My eyes need to focus on where we want to go.

I need to be cognizant that this beastie next to me has its very own mind and opinion. It’s a delicate partnership.

And it’s all still new for me. Today I was so nervous I relied on help from other very generous volunteers.

But as the sunset over the mountains, I tucked my horse, Junior in for the night. As he ate his dinner, I thanked him for being such a good, patient horse on my first day. His tail swished as he munched.

And I was delighted.

blog

Delights Day 9- Friend Time

A dear friend had major surgery last week.

A holy-crap what did they do to your foot type of surgery

A let’s stick a screw up your foot type of surgery.

None of this is delightful.

But this evening it was quite delightful to drop off a meal and sit with a friend who never sits. In fact, I posted this picture because it’s the only one I could find of her not skiing or biking, or hiking.

My friend never sits still- unless you stick a screw up her foot.

To the delight of our healing bodies, sitting still even when it’s only when you must and to friend time.

Heal fast Love 🙂

blog

Delights Day 8- Nieces

Our Nieces came over last night. We didn’t do anything spectacular. We ordered sushi, drank tea and watched Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (another delight). They decided to spend the night. I rustled up some pj bottoms, toothbrushes. And even though they are now adults, Hubs always does one last check in.

The nieces are in their 20’s and I love that they decided to spend a Saturday evening with us when they could have been anywhere else. I love that they complain about our always-chilly home and in response Hubs rustles up the space heater. I love that we are significant in each others lives.

They keep me honest and try to keep me hip. When pulling up an Instagram photo, I commented that someone got really bad Botox.

“Aunt Heather, that’s a filter.”

“Oh thank God.”

They tell me I can wear combat boots. I try to make them teach me the Men in Black Tik Tok dance.

What is most delightful is that as I grow older, I realize that relationships with the younger people in my life are still as important as they were when they needed to be picked up from dance practice. It is more of a give and take now- I learn a lot from these strong, younger women.

The call is different, but we all need our tribe, even if it includes a few elders 🙂

blog

Settle- Delights day 7

Settle.

I have never liked this word.

As a really ‘busy’ young child, I was often told to ‘settle down’. It usually meant I was in trouble and I had to sit. Or be quiet. Or both.

As a young women, people who married less than optimal Loves were told they were ‘settling’…..

I always thought settling was bad…..somewhat less than my explosive nature. If I was settling, life was less adventurous, settling was boring. We must be many things…..we cannot be boring!

But tonight, the first Friday of the New Year, my thoughts have settled. I have nothing to wrap, no parties to attend, nothing to bake, the world (thank God) is no longer on fire.

I am settled.

And I take delight in the fact.

blog

Delight Day 6: Slippers and a Tree

It is cold and snowy here in CO! Warm feet are essential.

I bought myself these slippers for Christmas and my toasty, arch supported feet are cute and thrilled.

My tootsies with the shadow of our Christmas tree, still standing on January 6th, is Day 6 delight.

May we all have warm appendages…..and arch support.

blog

Delights Day Five! Guest Post by the Delightful Corey Radman

Not only am I delighted to share this post by my lovely and talented friend, Corey. I am delighted that she is my lovely and talented friend.

Wanna a share a delight? Send me a note 🙂

Here’s Corey!

Positive Self Talk

By Corey Radman

“Where should we put this rotisserie chicken?” I asked Ringo as I put the groceries away. He wagged his tail at me like he had a few ideas to contribute to the discussion. Overruling the canine, I said, “Let’s put this in the way back of the fridge…”

I looked up to see my husband standing in the kitchen with a look that said, Should I make fun of you, or should I make an appointment for you? “Who are you talking to?”

“The dog,” I said, a silly grin creeping across my face. My eyes slid to the side. We both knew I’d be chatting aloud even if I was utterly alone.

So, sue me. I talk to myself. Aloud. I’ve always been this way. As a child, I spoke quietly to Laura, my imaginary companion fresh from her little house on the prairie. “This is a telephone,” I’d explain. “You press the buttons, and it connects you to other people far away!”

I quashed the instinct once I realized it made me “weird.” I spent several decades appearing to pass for normal, but then I started working from home as a writer, and well, the words escaped my shower diatribes and splashed into the living room, into the car, out onto the sidewalk where maybe I’m talking to Ringo, maybe not.

Sometimes I’m practicing a conversation I might have or rehashing one I wish had been wittier. I’ve also found if I talk about the item I’m looking for, I won’t forget between rooms, which is how I got to be walking through the house one day, wondering aloud, “Where are my marbles? I can’t find my marbles!”

Some writing gets talked out first, as well… this essay for example. (So meta.) I’ve gotten to the point where I have to think this way; I don’t really know what my opinion is until I’ve heard it aloud. Often, I’m just spitballing until the truth of a matter comes out of my mouth, and it settles into my gut like warm risotto.

At age 47, I no longer care if my spouse or neighbors think I’m nuts. I’m great company. I crack myself up a lot. Not giving a fuck is delightful. Turning into that dotty lady who talks to her dog is absolutely priceless.

blog

Delights Day Three

Today was a day.

Today was a day filled with more news of those who lost houses.

Today we said goodbye to a good man- we watched the service via Facebook Live due to COVID outbreaks.

But today as I absently took out the trash, I was greeted with cold Winter air and this clear sky above.

The simple, unexpected beauty took my breath away.

And that’s the thing about Delights. It’s not day or a time. Delights are fleeting moments of Joy right before our eyes…..begging our attention, wanting to be noticed.

If only for a brief moment while taking out the trash.

Happy Day Three.

blog

Delights Day 2- This Community

I think many people come to this area in search of beauty- in search of connecting their soul to something a bit more wild.

My own healing weaves heart-pumping climbs up Flagstaff mountain to look over the front range. As I stand on top of summits, stinky and sweaty, I always think in gratitude how extremely lucky I am to live in such a place; to summit such beauty in the morning, indulge in a breakfast burrito and be at my desk at 8:30…..okay maybe 9:00.

And the majesty of the view extends to the beauty of this community. My social media channels are full of friends reaching out to others with GoFundMe links- supporting so many who have lost. Donation centers are posting that they have so much- they are asking people to spread the word to let those impacted by the fire that they have supplies and would love to distribute to those who need them.

Therefore, my second Delight of the Year is this amazing, compassionate, generous community. How lucky am I to not only live in this place but live here with you.

blog

The Feels

Christmas night I sat with family and friends and we talked about bidding adieu to 2021- a year of false starts, unmet expectations and uncertainty.

“I never like to hold a grudge on a year,” my friend Heather said, “365 days lead to good things and bad things. No year is ever, truly 100% bad, is it?”

I fully agree! As a person who does not like sadness, my religion is finding the not sadness 🙂

I say this having just come off an ugly cry phone call with a friend- a dear friend whose SIL lost her home in the Marshall Fire.

This time is heavy. F*ck this time is heavy.

I was speaking to another friend today, “It is in my person to feel the feels, but Ginger….I’m tired of feeling the feels! We need a break. How much can we absorb?”

I am not a bounty paper towel.

And we are fine. Just like any other time of crisis in the last two years……we have heat, we have water, we have each other. We are fine.

But winds raged in our part of town on December 30th- 110 mile winds ripped power lines. Broken power lines hit dry grasses that have not seen rain in over four months. Dry grasses made explosive kindling. Kindling made hot embers. Embers flew through the sky in 110 mile winds…..hitting other trees, barns, homes……so many homes.

And suddenly my beautiful part of the world was on fire- extreme, intense, firestorm, fire. As pre-evac warnings were issued, my brother’s family stared to pack their van. My nephews packed their nerf guns from Santa. When you are five and told to pack a bag of important items, screw the toothbrush, get the nerf guns.

I write this knowing how fortunate they were to consider what to pack- thousands of other families grabbed their loves and left with hope and a prayer.

And now we sit in the new year in this charred land- a land that we love. A land that we hike, bike and live in. Where do we find hope in this promised new year? How do we say goodbye to a year of conflict, heartbreak and loss?

Well, I just don’t know.

And because I just don’t know, I had to write down my top ten list of gratitudes for 2021: Things are quite crappy but what makes us happy 2021 list:

  • I turned 50! I thank the universe for 50 years in this beautiful life
  • I celebrated my ALL my parents’ birthdays- my goodness- so grateful to be so parented
  • I got vaccinated- YAY Science!
  • I skied with my dad- at 71, he’s a ripper
  • I watched my niece graduate from Cornell
  • I raised another $100,000 for mitochondrial research
  • I rubbed my Granny’s feet
  • Hawaii with my Hubs
  • Weekends with beautiful friends- you are oxygen to my soul
  • Holidays with my Tribe

Another year- a year of life with you lovely humans.

AND because no good deed goes unpunished- no awesome event is without numerous failures…..I feel we must try for another 365 days of delight.

Last year I made it to February. Lets try for March! Check out tomorrow for day two of Delights.

Delight Day One: I delight in my Tribe. Those who offer no solution, only communion, harmony and trust. Lets move together in this New Year. Let’s pause to Feel the Feels, knowing we are human complex beings.

It won’t always be good.

It won’t always be bad.

It will be.

And I will be with you.

blog

Hard Feelings are Hard

Today I deleted my Miracles for Mito auto signature from my Google account.

And I wondered, “will I ever be an Executive Director again?”

And then I wondered if I wanted to be an Executive Director again.

Many have reached out to me as we have closed Miracles for Mito, asking if I am okay. Some have noticed a change in my tone, perhaps an underlying touch of sadness.

Ugh. I hate sadness. Sadness sucks. I am much better at happy.

And I appreciate those who have called me out on my tone. Yes, I have sugar coated this transition a bit. Yes, my heart is bruised a bit.

Ironic isn’t it? I have posted here when Hubs and I have gone through tough times, chatted about my inmate journey with grief, cried like a baby with you when we moved out of our old house, but I have diverted this very important, painful decision…..nothing to see here….nothing to see.….keep moving on….

I wonder if I will ever be so passionate about a cause again. I know the answer is no and I know that’s okay. Nothing is stronger than Mama love coupled with grief and the desire, no……the NEED to change the world.

I still have a little ember burning in my belly but it’s not enough to burn the house down.

I have learned that this rare disease space is hard. Family support is hard and a huge trigger for my own trauma. We are all fighting to tell our stories. It is in our stories that our kiddos live on. In our stories that their legacy prevails. As a result, we are driven by broken hearts. Collaboration is hard. We all want to be the hero in advocating for a horrible, rare disease that has no good outcome and crappy federal funding.

I do not regret my decision. I am excited to see how we can rally around my brother and move the needle on mitochondrial research in a local capacity. But I do believe you can live in a place of certainty and heartache; knowing that your heart will heal and trust the certainty of your decision.

And as thoughts come during the winter solstice, during our darkest days, it is time for me to trust what I cannot see next- feeling, touching, reaching out for this next truth.

Many of close the year with bruised hearts. May the certainty of our decisions carry us to our next light. May the light in me honor the light in you.

And yes, hard feelings are still hard.

blog

Butter Crust

On Sunday I made a pie. It was a good pie, a pretty pie. A pie so pretty I felt the need to post my pie prowess on Facebook.

Who am I kidding, I post everything on Facebook but I did like this pie.

And a couple people responded with pie crust angst- people who I admire, smart people who I respect…alas, the saying easy as pie is just untrue. Pie, like everything else can be difficult.

I too once had pie crust angst…..therefore I am posting a post about food.

Don’t let me get into this habit. It’s so easy to talk about food. Almost…..as easy as pie.

So here folks, is my story about the butter crust.

I did not grow up on butter. As a child of the 70’s, food was not edible unless it was processed. Margarine, American Cheese, Cool Whip……butter was evil and fattening…..pass the Velveeta, Miracle Whip and Wonder Bread.

Time in Germany and marrying a man with Danish heritage has taught me one thing….

Butter is love.

The amount of butter we consume is somewhat staggering.

Last weekend we entertained. The conversation went somewhat like this……

“The crust on this filet is great. What did you do?”

“Sautéed them in butter.”

“These onions are amazing. How did you get them to caramelize like this?”

“Butter.”

“Blistered greens beans?”

“Yeah…butter. Would you like some more wine?”

So back to the pie.

Butter.

I too was daunted by a non-processed, whole butter pie crust.

But you can do this. Lets start with some basics…..

Number One:

This is a pastry cutter.

You need this. It’s like four forks on steroids’. You need this to break up the butter in the amazing butter crust. Some say a Cuisinart will mix the same. I say no! Seriously, I think too much air gets in the crust with a Cuisinart. Get your arms in there with a pastry cutter- remember this is love.

How can you celebrate a holiday if you can’t tell your family how sore you are from making pie dough?

On another note…..I was going to take my pastry cutter to Virginia for Thanksgiving but I think TSA might confiscate it as a weapon.

Thought Number Two: Vodka vs. Ice Water

What the whaaaaaaa? Yes, I can mix alcohol into any conversation. There are many recipes that use cold vodka instead of ice water to mix the crust.

My thought– Sigh, no vodka. I know, it breaks my heart to say so but I think vodka makes the crust too dry. Granted, I live in Colorado and we haven’t seen moisture in like 3,421 days…..so go with what works.

Thought Number Three: Plastic Wrap

Who promotes plastic wrap for anything? Yes……the evil of all globally minded citizens but trust me…..take that chilled ball of dough and roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Forget the flour- go straight to plastic wrap. The crust rolls out beautifully and slides right into the pie pan.

Cold butter, cold (ice) water, pastry cutter, plastic wrap and a sense of ‘hey y’all…… I’m making you a pie. It might not be the best pie but it’s a butter crusted pie. Because I love you.’

Love goes a long way….almost as long as butter.

And because I get ALL of my sources from The Google…..here is the recipe I use. Go forth with love and butter. One more note- I use salted butter and do not add the extra salt….. really…..unsalted butter should be banned from civilized society.

And Happy Thanksgiving Dear Tribe. I am grateful for you all.

ALL-BUTTER PIE CRUST

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (cold, cut into small cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup cold water (plus one ice cube)
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Prepare the water/vinegar mixture. Drop an ice-cube into a measuring cup and fill the measuring cup up with water to the ½ cup mark. Add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and set aside.
  • Mix Flour and Butter. Combine the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and toss with a fork to mix evenly. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs.
  • Add Water. Pour the water mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, into the flour/butter mixture and toss with a fork until the dough is evenly moist. Add water slowly to get the right texture.
  • Gather the dough. Use your hands to quickly bring the dough together in the bowl. Do not over work the dough.
  • Divide and Chill. Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Bake according to what your pie recipe calls for.
Life Today

Happy Veterans Day

I spent three years in Germany during my twenties.

It was one of the most memorable times of my life. I was a civilian working for the military at an Armed Forces Recreational Center.

I served those who served.

Really I taught the Littles of those who served how to ski, which wasn’t a bad gig in the German Alps.

In the summer I found random jobs; lifeguard, pizza delivery and one summer at the German-American Golf Course.

I worked in one of the most beautiful places on earth

Image result for garmisch germany
It was also 1994, 50 years since World War II  and the impact of what happened here two generations ago was palpable.

The golf course sold American candy which was crazy because we lived in the land of the very best chocolate and we were trying to pawn off Twix Bars and Reese’s Pieces. A German man would come in often and buy ten Hershey bars at a time.

I asked why the Hershey Bars.

“You have the very best chocolate! Right here! What’s so special about a Hershey Bar?”

He told me that the Americans came through Garmisch on April 29, 1945.

He was six.

“I was so hungry. We didn’t have anything left to eat. The soldiers arrived and they gave the children Hershey bars. They were the very best thing I ever ate. Nothing in the world tastes as good as a Hershey Bar.”

He carefully unwrapped the chocolate and gave me a piece. I closed my eyes and tried to taste what he tasted.

I could not

I have never been that hungry. I have never been that scared. I have not had my world turned upside down at age six. 

As he ate I piece, he smiled and nodded his head; perhaps thoughts of hope, gratitude, memories of a six year old belly that felt a little less empty.

I felt so honored. Honored that this man shared this sacred memory and his sacred chocolate. Honored that he remembered the day 49 years ago not with tanks and strange men but with soldiers who share chocolate. And I felt honored that these brave men, my fellow Americans made this small boy feel so much better.

Happy Veterans Day.  

blog

And I…..Wanna Thank You.

July 25, 2010, I sat on a gurney in the middle of Littleton Hospital. I had wiped a series of endless tears, knees curled up, police milling around, nurses giving me sad, uncomfortable looks……I was desperately searching for meaning in my life.

We had just lost our girl.

I took a wadded, snotty Kleenex in one hand and held my Aunt Tracy’s palm in the other, “I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.”

She squeezed my snotty hand back, “You will find it.”

I wasn’t so sure. I wasn’t so sure at all.

Somewhere along the twisted, half-blind trail of grief, we started a memorial fund for Samantha. I stared at the $8,000 we had raised and wondered the next step. What to do with this money? Donate to Children’s Hospital? Give to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation? Take the money and run? Mexico is nice this time of year……

Instead, my dad and I filled out an application with the Colorado Non-Profit Development Center (CNDC), with the goal to become a nonprofit supporting families impacted by mitochondrial disease in Colorado.

We thought about a name……I wanted a name that was agnostic to my grief, a name that was not about me or my family, I wanted a name that everyone could relate to…..and Miracles for Mito was born.

In the spirit of strength- because no one should walk this journey alone.

The CNDC accepted our application and we started with the $8,000 from Samantha’s Memorial Fund. My friend Laura helped to create our beautiful logo. I cried in a Walmart parking lot as I reviewed the butterfly composed of two hearts with the intricate mitochondria connecting the wings. It was perfect.

It was love. It was my heart. It was my grief, my soul.

Eleven years later, it is with bittersweet feelings that I write this post. Eleven years later, I announce to this sacred tribe that we are dissolving Miracles for Mito as a nonprofit.

I want you to know that eleven years later, my heart and mind have settled into this decision. I will always walk away with apprehension, wondering what more we could have done, the difference that could have been made.

I also want you to know that eleven years later, I am okay to move on from this space. I need to move on from this space. That eleven years later, the half blind, grievous person has given herself permission to do something else with her life.

Sometimes movement is a gift.

What will we do next? Stay tuned. I will not sway far. I will continue to climb mountains and ask you for money in the sake of mitochondrial research and my dear family……it will just look a little different.

Elven years ago I was shattered. Eleven years ago you supported my cause…lets move forward in the spirit of strength…..and I thank you for never letting me walk this journey alone.

Let’s find out what’s next.

blog

Unravel

Sigh.

That is my post-two-girls-weekends’ sigh. My post belly laugh, very dehydrated, kinda tired, so grateful sigh.

The past 20 months took so much: over 5 Million souls worldwide, 775,000 in the US.

The past 20 months reset everything; our work, our relationships, our health, our trust.

Personally, I have navigated these times somewhat unscathed, so unscathed and so distracted by everything else going on the in world, that I didn’t realize I was kind of scathed.

We need each other- not just in a zoomie call sense or a text-you sense but a I need my people in a deep hug, embrace you, committed time sense. In the last 20 months of convincing myself I was okay, I forgot how much I miss you and that I’m really not so okay if I can’t be right there with you.

Driving up to Vail on Girl’s Weekend part 2, I was talking to a friend on how best to connect when things are chaotic. “When things are nuts,” she said, “I can’t dive into the nuttiness over a quick conversation. I need time; time to unravel my feelings, time to separate myself from the chaos.”

I laughed at the irony, “So when I call on my way to swim and I say I have ten minutes and cell phone service is bad but I really want to know how are you doing……that’s not helpful?”

I love this word….unravel.

To unravel: to resolve the intricacy, complexity, obscurity of……..

Unravel takes time; coffee by the pool, hikes in Vail Valley. Unravel takes hugs so deep you feel the others’ shoulders relax and you breathe the same breath. Unravel takes trust, heads on shoulders, someone grabbing your hand and saying, “I’m so sorry about your Grandma,” and you holding back and saying, “I’m so sorry about your Mama.”

Unravel is a box of See’s Candy purchased last minute in the airport to honor a dear Love, Melissa Etheridge, Crowded House and an impromptu dance party. It’s only once the tension is released and the knots loosen that what once seemed like an insufferable, unworkable mess becomes the material for the next great project.

I forgot how lovely it was to unravel with my friends. The importance of unraveling. The need to unravel.

After two glorious weekends, I came home and kissed my husband; my partner in these last twenty months, the one who consoled me when I told him through big tears during our stay at home orders that I needed him to be a better girlfriend. My person during this time.

“How was the weekend?” he asked.

“So lovely. I love this time with my beautiful, strong, complex friends. We unraveled.”

blog

One Million for Mitochondria- Blazing the Next Trail

This year collaborative efforts from Summits for Samantha, Miracles for Mito and generous personal donations marks $1 Million donated to the Mitochondrial Clinic at CU Anschutz…..ridiculously proud does not do justice to how I feel about this number.

It’s pretty fun to make this announcement during Mitochondrial Awareness week- a week committed to education and awareness about this incredibly sucky disease. If you know me and have traveled on this journey, you know ALL ABOUT your mitochondria and the need to love them unconditionally. LOVE YOUR MITOCHONDRIA!!!!!

But I have a confession……

16 years ago I really knew nothing about my mitochondria. I knew them from biology class as the Mighty Mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells but I really had no idea how freakin’ awesome and instrumental they are to life.

I miss those days.

A mitochondrial diagnosis is so hard. Half the journey of getting to a mitochondrial diagnosis is getting the disease diagnosed. And after many tears have been shed, many of us sit across from a specialist to only hear fated words…..

There is no cure……

Progressive……

We just don’t know……

And we walk away wondering…..how can you not know? How can you not tell me what to expect? How can you shrug your shoulders? How can there not be something, something hopeful or at least definitive that you can tell me?

It sucks being a medical pioneer. Or having your child be a medical pioneer or in many cases, many Loves in your family, being a medical pioneers; to be the first to adapt to new technologies, medicines and therapies…..

And in many cases we are the first……The first family to have a certain mutation. The first to be part of a clinical trial. The first to rally around new FDA guidelines. The first to try an off-label med.

Why is Mito so hard?

In many ways Mito is new territory. The first molecular diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder was in 1988- 33 years ago.

33 year ago I was a junior in high school. Now, I KNOW I’m an old lady but when the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC) used the word carcinoma to describe cancer forming tumors, you know we are a bit behind in Mitochondrial research.

Ironically, both cancer and mitochondrial research have advanced significantly since I was a junior in high school- much of this has come from the world’s largest collaborative biological project- we mapped the human genome. It took us 13 years to map the base pairs that make up the human DNA. This mapping has been a springboard to faster genetic diagnosis’, identifying causes of rare diseases and ultimately therapies and cures to these diseases.

In 1988 we identified ONE molecular diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder. In 2021, we have identified over 260 genetic mutations that contribute to mitochondrial myopathy.

Is 33 years the speed of light?

In the realm of science, 33 years is pretty fast.

But when your Love is suffering, progress seems horribly, frustratingly slow and we will never get there in time. For those watching skills slip away, for those who live everyday in the face of a progressive disease, nothing is fast enough.

And for that, there is nothing I can say except for I get it. And believe it or not, science gets it too and our amazing doctors at Anschutz…..yeah they get it.

May the next 33 years be absolutely unbelievable.

blog

Offense, Defense, Punt

I know enough about football to make myself sound really dumb sometimes. …..

So please forgive me if you football fans read this and think, “she knows nothing about football and should not be posting about football.”

Because you’re right.

Lately with so much shit going on in the world, I find myself going internal to protect my own energy.

Protect.

What a word.

In going with the protect theme, yesterday I looked up videos around the Under Armour campaign….We Must Protect This House……and yes.

It’s true.

I must protect this house. But I say that and it sounds tribal, defensive, you against me…..

You against me does not feed my well being. I don’t want to protect my house from you. I would like to open my house and feed you yum-yums and wine.

But like any good football game, there is a time and strategy for everything

OFFENSE: To Score!

What makes me happy. What brings me joy. What makes me smile. I will go in search of this like a wild bunny on an Easter Egg Hunt. When I find it, I will record it, catch that ball and do a little dance at the goal line, shake my booty and remember that time when I found it, I caught it and shook it up.

Yes, I did use the word Goal Line. Yes, I did have to google it to make sure the terminology was correct.

DEFENSE: Oh…..get my big players out there to stop whatever it is that needs to be stopped. What is in my way from joy, success, happiness… heck not even that, what is in may way of just getting a good nights sleep…..find that out, keep it from scoring and in that case…yes, even protect this house.

PUNT: I am a HUGE fan of the punt right now……don’t know what to do with it, belongs to someone else, not mine, punt.

Okay……I really do know in football that the punt is super important and everyone wants the ball but this is my blog. And when big people are running towards you…. you all punt.

One thing that has resonated through 2020 and 2021 is that I need to up my game. What if I blocked this negativity like a linebacker? What if I punted what was not mine. What if I danced at my touchdowns.

What if I put as much energy into my mental me as my physical me? What if they were both on the same team?

I’ve received some lovely notes from dear friends who feel the heavy. And goodness, after today….it is so fucking heavy.

Fight for that ball- dance when you get it. Protect your house. And Punt.

I’ll be on the sides, with a beer and a hot dog cheering for you.

blog

Blame is awesome

Poop-a-loop. It seems…..that as hard as I try to make my life simple, sometimes life is just hard.

And I don’t try to make it hard. But lately, lets really face it.

Life is kinda hard right now.

When life is hard the thing I really, really, really like to do is blame someone.

OHHHHHHHHH blame so fun. It really is.

Blame takes all my fear and anger it rolls it up into a flaming ball that is so easy to hold in my hand and launch.

Launch.

I don’t care where its going but its going to be good- its gonna hit with a BOOM and people are gonna know.

That I’m angry.

And my flaming blame ball hits. I feel its heat. Its wrath, MY wrath. My Power….BAHAHAHAHHAHA.

But.

Like pouring lighter fuel on a fire, it only singes some eyebrows and is done in seconds.

It’s awesome. And then unfulfilling.

And leaves me wanting more.

So let’s launch another.

And another.

And then I don’t know why I’m launching, why I’m SO angry…….only that it feels good.

For a second.

But life as blame is hard.

It’s almost as hard as life as joy.

It’s harder to create a big ball of joy to throw at someone.

Joy is squishy. It does not conform to one shape.

It has no rules, it cannot be contained. It requires time and thought.

It does not create a BOOM. God, I love a BOOM.

I’ve seen a lot this week. Battles between maskers and unmaskers. Vaxers and Unvaxers

I still have not seen my mountains.

Mice ate my Mercedes.

I’ve seen desperate people chase a plane to escape their country.

Stop.

I’ve seen desperate people chase a plane to escape their country.

And I have to focus on that last point. As I sit here, in my house….knowing that my loves are safe, and fed and I have few discomforts and I don’t have to race a plane……

I have one job……What can I do to de-escalate the blame?

I think I’m okay. I think you might be okay. What can we do, as people in a safe space, what can we do to stop the blame?

Where is my squishy, non-conforming joy ball?

However, I still do….blame the mice.

blog

Delta

And so you’re back from outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sick look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother me

Lordy.

How are we back here?

How? I want to be super angry. I want to school some people on public health; small pox, polio, seizures, erectile dysfunction and how science solved these issues. .

But anger gets us nowhere and perhaps fuels additional anger so instead I am channeling my inner newly vaccinated, hopeful, Springtime Heather.

Rewind back to March 22, 2021 Heather.

Oh, she was so sassy and unshaven…..because she really had not gone anywhere for a year.

My Vax date was March 22: 11:45 am MST

I printed out everything. Every notice, every request for information….I filled it out,

Signed, sealed delivered. I’m yours.

At 11:00 am MST, I jumped in my car and drove to the Adams12 Fairground and waited. And cried in my homemade RBG mask.

And thought- thought about the past year.

How much had changed- plans that were canceled……I thought of my entire at-risk family, how much l love each and every one of them and how fortunate we all were to come out of this and get a shot 12 months later.

Waited.

So Grateful.

For that first COVID shot.

And then I got bored.

And switched from Aretha to Hamilton

I am not throwin’ away my SHOT!

I am not throwin’ away my SHOT!

Heck ya Ham BONE! This nonsense is over. OOOOOVVVEEER. We were all gonna get our shot. We were gonna kiss each other; super sloppy on mouth. No tongue……’cause that’s weird.

I drove my car into this great big garage where a lovely woman took my information as I cried.

She asked if I was scared.

Heck no lovely 12 year old nurse, I’m not scared I just love you. And I love what the HELL ever you are shooting in my arm if that means I can love on my Granny, and my family….

Can I go on vacation? Someday? Your sloppy bun is super cute.

She stuck a needle in my arm and let me take her picture. First shot done…..the rest of my life…..right ahead of me….save three more weeks and another shot….

I’ve got all my life to live

I’ve got all my love to give

I am not throwing away my shot!

And today Heather?

F*cking Delta.

And just like the virus, the talk now seems more harmful, contagious, deadly to a society that just…..wants…..to…..move…..on.

Being scared is hard. Wanna be super scared? Come sit in an ICU where no one has the answers. Come sit where you have to face the reality that you have absolutely no control.

I got joyfully, proudly vaccinated 5 months ago.

And I promise I have not grown a second head nor do I feel a need for brains, extreme violence or human blood.

But I do……..

I do feel a need for connection.

Community. I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddd that. I need it without fear. I need it without anger.

I need to love on my sweet nephews who are about to start elementary school. My sweet, smart boys who think farts are super funny and cats rule the world and cannot get vaccinated yet.

I need to love on them without worry.

Please give me that.

Do not throw away your shot.

blog

Words to Gran:

We said goodbye to my Gran this weekend. It was lovely and sad and heartfelt and full of family. I had the honor to share my thoughts at the service. I thought I would share with you 🙂

Earlier this year my Gran, my mom and I all qualified for AARP.

It was a magic moment.

I grew up with my Gran.

And my Gran grew up with me.

It was lovely.

And terrifying.

I got to know my Gran in a way few people have the luxury to know their Grandparents.

I had a gift. Perhaps the most precious gift- the gift of time.

I lived 50 years, five months and 28 days with my Grandmother.

Very few people get 50 years, five months and 28 days of unconditional love. I stand in front of you having unconditional love withdrawals. If anyone would like to pat my head, hold my hand, and tell me how beautiful I was a baby, I would really appreciate it. Seriously, there are applications in the back.

How amazingly lucky am I to have had my entire life with my Gran.

She is a part of who I am. I would refer to my Grandma at work. Something would come up around a Veterans organization or a nonprofit and I would say, “Well I was talking to my Grandma about this…….”

And everyone younger than me in the room would give me a look……… “No you weren’t. You were not talking to your Grandma about this because you are old and old people do not have Grandmas.”

But I did.

I had my Grandma for 50 years, five months and 28 days.

When people heard of her passing, the stories shared were amazing….a contagious laugh, a mischievous spirit, a tad irreverent and joyful.

So very joyful.

My Gran chose joy.

My Gran. At 25 she became a widow with two small children. It was 1956- a time when women could not open a bank account.

Women could not buy a house. They could not establish a line of credit. And she was grieving a terrible, terrible loss.

She was 25.

I think when life hands you something so hard when you are so young you can either retreat or you can declare to the universe that this will not destroy you.

I do believe my Gran made this declaration with a resounding yawp; determined to make the best of life when life presented her with the very worst.

And so she did.

My Gran chose joy.

Perhaps chose is the wrong word.

She owned it.

My Gran was big when you should be small.

Naughty when you should be nice.

Loud when you should be quiet.

And the more you asked her to hush, the more she was unable to restrain herself. To ask  my Granny to be any less than who she was like asking the sun not to rise in the morning.

Beautiful, amazing, and unapologetically unconventional

She told me……ladies did not pass gas.

She told me……ladies fart.

And as we all tried to block out some really stinky holidays; holding a nose at Christmas Eve, wondering why that scented Christmas candle isn’t working as it should, we were laughing uncontrollably, wiping tears from our eyes and hoping

Hoping.

That you did not inherit Granny’s super tiny bladder.

My Gran was a full grown up with the bladder of a two year old.

I say this because incidentally, I have inherited said bladder. It is a constant struggle- do I laugh or do I pee my pants.

Usually it is the later.

“Tell me about your family.”

“Well, they fart and then laugh until they cry and then try not to wee their pants. It is a family trifecta.”

And. It is a beautiful trifecta.

My Grandmother worked her life as a solderer.

In full disclosure I had to google what it meant to be a solderer:

To solder: To solder is to apply an alloy;  a copper or a silver, to a joint to unite two metal objects together- without heating those objects to the melting point.

Solder is also referred to as anything that joins or unites.

Of course my Grandmother was a solderer. 

Because my Gran was solder.

She was able to join and unite so many people around incredibly random events.

She could- heat up a group to almost…almost….but not quite to the melting point and fusing them together.

No wonder Honeywell and Martin Marietta loved her so much.

My Gran became a Hospice volunteer when her sister Annie died. She loved this work.  In my own memories, I remember her talking about this work more than any other career. Perhaps this was her way to let others know, they could still chose joy.

This joyful woman found my Grandpa Al and in June they celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary. The day she passed we sat with Grandpa and gazed at their wedding photo;

She was 26. So much life already lived and so much life ahead.

“Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art”.

How lucky I was to be a part of that tapestry.

Yes. 91 years. And we can say she lived a full life and it was her time and blah, blah, blah. But I will fiercely miss my irreverent, loving, lippy, naughty, joyful, flatulent, tiny bladdered, perfectly imperfect grandmother.

blog

Follow the Yellow Rope

There are five more days left in July and I am hoping they pass quietly into August. For those who know my July, you know it is fraught with loss and love and hope and an underlying tide of grief more evident in other months.

Granny’s passing was just another notch in July’s belt. I refuse to buy July a bigger belt.

I’ve been working hard my July’s. Giving them credit and remembrance where it is due at the same time allowing myself space and grace. It’s been a process. And it has been work.

Conscious work; journaling, allowing time for myself, checking in on my emotions, my Hubs, my relationship to this world and the people in it…….I don’t think any of this comes to us without a conscious effort.

Thursday after we lost Granny, I met a dear friend for a swim in a lake.

I love open water swimming. I love how small I feel in the middle of something so much bigger than myself. I am vulnerable yet strong. I am at the mercy of the elements. I have no choice but to swim. And so, I swim.

I think of Samantha when I swim in open water. The sense I rely on are gone. I can’t see more than four feet in murky water. My hearing is compromised. Samantha’s senses……all connected to her brain, never worked the way they should. I believe she lived her life navigating through murky water- vulnerable to the world.

I swim. In this murky lake and suddenly evolved Heather no longer exists. I am prehistoric crocodile Heather whose only concern is breathing.

This is the best way to navigate July. To Breathe.

I usually veer way off course when I swim in open water. I am right side dominant which leads to swimming in a circle. But this lake has a yellow rope. The yellow rope lies six feet below the surface- I never clearly see it…I just kind of see it. Following the yellow rope requires concentration- I stare into a deep abyss of murky water and search for the yellow. And that is all I think about- the yellow rope.

And breathing. Breathing is good too.

And suddenly, I have swam across the lake. Evolved Heather realizes she now has to swim back. Crocodile Heather jumps back in thinking about the best place to get a breakfast burrito.

I try to look beyond what I can see in the water- I think of Gran and her last days….Sammers and her last days…..and I follow the yellow rope and I breathe.

Back on land, my senses jump back into place. I smell like a lake. I hear my phone. I see the sun reflecting off the flatirons. Crocodile Heather forgets how to start a car, find there is no room for her tail and so I stop.

Stop. And breathe. And search for the yellow rope. And a breakfast burrito.

blog

The Way You Make Me Feel

On February 14, 2021, I posted that I was changing jobs in the middle of a pandemic. Here I was, all giddy and nervous….leaving something familiar that I knew well for that bright shinny penny at the bottom of the pool.

You know what that experience was?

It.

Was.

Awesome.

It was fun, terrifying, a bit out of my comfort zone…..I learned something new but offered expertise as well. It was humbling to work with such super smart people. Crazy that they chose me…..it was a lovely gift.

And then I quit.

I KNOW right???? I’m not a quitter. Only quitters quit. But that’s what I did. I up and resigned after four whole months.

Because this job market is crazy. And us 50-somethings think it’s only crazy for those young whippersnappers in the global digital space. But you know what? It can be crazy for us subject matter experts 25 years in the industry too.

It was funny being courted for another job after four months. I felt like I was on job Tinder. This is not me. I don’t leave. I have been at the same job for 15 years. Only quitters quit. What about insurance? I just qualified for my 501K match. I just learned the Apple IOS system and GSuite….kind of.

And after years of committed job history, it was terrifying to tell my new manager that I was leaving after four months. They took a chance on me.

And so we talked. We talked about this opportunity, this job market, the lovely gift I had been given during these four months.

And my manager said, “You were meant to work here so we could get to know each other. It’s okay. Our paths will cross again.” And then she told me how great this time has been and how fortunate SHE felt to have worked with ME.

Well Hells Bells. Butter my biscuit and call me for dinner.

I will always think of this interaction with grace. I will always hold this person and her leadership style in the highest regard.

In a time when people are leaving their jobs in record numbers for other opportunities……in this super hot job market where a 50-something gray haired lady can change jobs twice in the first half of 2021, it’s important to remember who we are as employers and employees.

How do you make me feel? When I hand in that resignation, you as a manager are in charge and represent the entire company- after four months of service or after many years. We all remember that last interaction.

How lucky am I?

It was a lovely gift.

blog

Grief Baby Toe

My baby toe hangs out with the rest of my toes. Most of the time I don’t consider my baby toe. It is not an outstanding, necessary, appendage. At the same time it is not problematic but it is there ….it is a part of me, just like my big toe, my pinky, my ear lobe, my back molar, my grief……

My grief.

It is July.

And for those of you who have known me for a couple trips around the sun, you know that July is a complex, bittersweet month for me. I can be as testy as a cat on a hot tin roof or introspective and welcoming…..almost manic at times and under the covers the next.

Hello July.

To give myself grace……(a practice I have embraced lately), July saw the births and the deaths of my Littles- both Jack and Samantha. We ride for Children’s in July, we raise money in the name of our kiddos….it is a month. A month of Love and Loss.

What is grief if it is not Love and Loss?

And as time moves further from my loss, I struggle to find it’s place. And my place.

Yesterday our son would have been 16. I did not know Jack beyond the 9 months in my belly but I miss the wonder of who Jack could have been. Who he would have been had he time in this world.

The medical world says he would have been sick. Sick with mitochondrial disease. But we didn’t know that….in my wonder-world he could have been anything…..stinky, lippy, driving, tall….so tall given his genes. A great skier….

Amazing. I can wonder him as amazing. And so I do.

As the calendar turns to another July, 16 years have softened the loss. Time has weathered my response- there is nothing dramatic or catastrophic but the time must be recognized for me. For my Hubs. For our own relationship.

In 16 years, Grief is now a part of who I am and how I move through the world. It is not good or bad but my natural history. It is me….just like my baby toe or my pinky. It is not my whole lens of my eyesight but a part of my cornea that can dull or sharpen my perspective.

And like any body part, sometimes it needs attention.

Happy July Grief Baby Toe. I embrace you.

And Happy Birthday Jack….you amazing, tall, stinky, awesome skier. I miss who you could have been.

blog

Its All Come From My Hands

I had a great week with my niece.

I love ALL of my time with my nieces and nephews but as they grow older and find their voice, their eye, their person…. watching these Littles become grown amazing people is really fun. I fall in love with them all over again….from cuddly toddlers to thinking, feeling, artistic people….

I want to have great coffee with them at a hip cafe.

My niece…..Miss Y graduated last weekend with a 4.6 GPA at Cornell.

When Miss Y was four she requested patent leather shoes for her fifth birthday. Her sense of fashion never looked back; it took her to Cornell, Manhattan, New York, Paris, Fort Collins (hehehehehe) and soon back to Paris.

She designs amazing clothes.

I love clothes…..so that bond, you KNOW that bond is there.

But spending this time with her, I got to know her work, her art, her vision, her passion…..And it’s really cool. So cool I found myself saying, “hey, when your home, can I take you to sushi and can we talk about your views on feminism, your struggle between self-reliance and self-doubt, and the absolute beauty in your vulnerability? Please, please, pretty please?”

Exerpts from Miss Y’s notebook….sketches, scans and a childhood photo…

This week I watched her pack up her locker; yards of muslin from practice projects, beautiful sketch upon sketch, handmade patterns with calculations on the side…..I had the honor of watching the artist pack up four years of creative energy.

And then she shared her thesis with me, and her portfolio, and her final film. I was left speechless of this independent young artist…..this side of her I barely knew but want to know more. In an excerpt from her thesis below, she speaks of her journey during Covid; perhaps in a way that speaks to many of us

In the beginning ideation phases, I prefer to explore alone. Months of quarantine in my
childh
ood bedroom apart from the surrounding chaos gave me the chance to reconvene with
myself. To be brave, to exist without judgment. To clearly, intentionally, explore the intimate
and painful experiences, that though never mentioned, informed every bit of my work. I spent
March – August meditating on forgiveness, September – December trying again and again to
formulate what I was getting at, and January – April bringing everything to fruition.

I personally stopped writing during COVID because the external world was too exhausting- it took all of my head space just to process.

And when Miss Y’s teammates questioned her ability to plan cohesion her answer was “How can it not be cohesive, its all come from my hands.”

The very best art does not start with the purpose of cohesion. It does not set to please anyone- we do our best work when we can bear our soul. I applaud her hands.

Here are samples of her brilliant work. If you would like to see more, send me a message

As an aunt, I stand by and cheer from the sidelines. I am not in the trenches as her parents are. I can swoop in, swoon, love admire….having only a brief summary on the hours, blood, sweat, and tears spent hand-tailoring the amazing ivory jacket.

I do know it’s fun to get to know these adult people- admire their wisdom, insight and amazing talent- to want to get to know them better as adults; super cool adults.

Congrats Miss Y. Live every second of this.

blog

It might rain.

Yesterday, Maria, my fellow mito warrior and I sat down with a bottle of wine and talked about grief.

No one wants to talk about grief.

Grief is sad and loss is heartbreaking.

But for those of us who navigate a life with loss, it is a part of our world…..a world we don’t always talk about.

Because grief is sad and loss is heartbreaking.

But talking about grief with this lady feels as natural as talking about the weather.

You can find our chat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq3ZmHpGmss&t=172s

blog

Headspace

This year I am the Queen of unfinished projects.

Guitar? Cant play a cord.

Knitted sweater? It might be a scarf? Someday?

Delights project. HA! That is funny.

I have not posted a delight in two months. I have thought of this space often. I have thought of writing often. I have tried to process so many thoughts……..

But I must admit it, my headspace was full. I underestimated the energy it would take to leave a job after 15 years and start at a new company. It has been a wonderful, gratifying process but it required attention and headspace.

I thought I could write the morning of March 23rd as I drove into Boulder- the morning after the King Soopers shooting.

I thought I could write on March 29th when the Derek Chauvin trial started……perhaps address the trauma I felt when hearing testimony…..and the trauma many of us felt.

I could not write. It took too much energy to put emotion into words.

So I did not put anything into words. I processed. Embraced my therapist. Embraced my family. My friends. Swam. Skied. Cried.

I missed this space but not the energy it required. Alas…..I was a bit tapped.

Let your knitted sweater go. The very best project you can focus on? You.

blog

Delight Day 26: Granny

This Little Ladies 90-year old heart is feeling a little tired. A tired heart at 90 lands you a couple nights in the hospital. A tired heart requires a visit in the hospital. Gratefully, Colorado opened up COVID restrictions TODAY and I was able to spend this afternoon with Granny and my Mama in the Cardiology Unit.

I make absolutely no qualms about how lucky I am to still have my Granny in my life. As I grow older, this time becomes a precious gift; her stories, her naughty sense of humor and grandparent love……

Grandparent love is pretty awesome. Grandkids really cannot do ANY wrong in the eyes of a grandparent. Imagine still having that carte’ blanc at 50. It is a delightful gift.

I am grateful that she is getting the best care tonight. That albeit tired, she is still able to banter with the nurses in a way that still makes her granddaughter blush (for those who know me, you KNOW this is a feat).

And I am delighted this precious gift is a part of my life.

blog

Delight Day 25: A Delightfully Frigid Weekend

It was COLD this weekend. Nose hair freezing cold.

We really didn’t have to go anywhere.

So we didn’t.

It was so cold they closed the pool! Was I really going to swim this weekend? Nah, probably not.

So instead, I made lemon cream scones and cleaned out the guest room.

On Saturday, we woke up at 6:00, looked around, decided it was still cold and went back to sleep.

I have not removed my fuzzy slippers from my feet in 48 hours. Oh you can judge; but you know what my toes are? My toes are stinky. And they are also delighted.

I made chocolate covered strawberries to honor the Day of Valentines. No cards will be exchanged, no heart shaped chocolate boxes or flowers.

Maybe just the acknowledgement that a cold weekend in fuzzy slippers is the best Valentine’s weekend.

blog

Delights Day 24: The Terrifying Delight of Risk

I do realize we are day 44 into the new year and I am on day 24 of my Delights. In fact, the last time I posted something delightful was 10 DAYS AGO!!!!

This is not to say I have not been delighted or found my daily delights. It is to say however, that I’ve been a bit distracted and my distraction took a bit more energy than I thought it would.

I have started a new job.

That seems silly right? Because my last job was great and I love the people and I love my clients so why???? WHY? WHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYY? Change jobs? Why change jobs during a pandemic when the economy is in the crapper and you have stable employment at a good job?

I have no answers to the why.

But I do know that sometimes you have to do something different. Sometimes you have to take a risk, learn something new, stretch yourself a little further than you have been stretched.

Stretching is hard. Change is hard. Taking a risk is risky.

I used to be much better at change and risk. At 22, I jumped on a plane a flew to Germany with the determination to move there for a bit and become a ski instructor. I cried the whole way to Munich and wondered what the hell I was thinking. But you know what? I got that job. I taught skiing three years and inhaled the world. That time changed my life.

At 30, I took a job consulting that meant I got on a plane every Sunday afternoon and flew to New York to work for one of the largest media companies. The Bertelsmann building on Times Square was the most magnificent building I had ever seen….and I worked there…..on Times Square. I showed up on my first day delightfully over my head.

I got married. I had babies. Surprisingly, the things I had always wanted most were the most risky. Motherhood has been the riskiest, most rewarding chapter in my life. Would I change anything? Never.

This summer my nephews went off the high dive for the first time. Watching them climb that ladder was absolutely terrifying. They stood at the edge of the board; little arms flapping as they bounced. I treaded water below them clapping and encouraging- trying to hide my own anxiety. With one move, they jumped and submerged themselves into the deep end of the pool.

And they popped up. Grinned. Not your regular grin but the ‘I took a risk and it was awesome grin.

To jumping in the deep end. To taking a risk. And a bit of a stretch.

blog

Delights Day 23: Friends

Ah. How funny that when I typed the word Friends, I felt my body relax a bit? Ah, Friends. Friends are good. Friends are Delightful.

A friends’ daughter once told her mom that she hopes she has a group of women like her mom when she is older. That was the best compliment ever. And I hope she does.

One of the best things about getting older is getting older with my friends and watching them become super cool adults…..wonky adults with their own sense of style but fabulous none the less. We carry a precious, sacred history and now a deep seated knowledge that we are all here for the long haul. We may have bonded over $2.00 beers and frat parties….been pissy because someone kissed someone else’s love interest but as life evolves, when the poop hits the fan and becomes real; complicated, hard and at times heartbreaking, the bond solidifies.

My friendships bring me delight.

Thank you for making my life delightful.

blog

Delights Day 21: Orphaned Cut Flowers

I think about this Delight project a lot. I go through the day eyeing my delights, thinking about the topic. Many times writing about the big important things; the benchmarks to who am, tend to overwhelm me and I know will take time to compose. The fun about Delights is that the topic just hits me out of the blue.

My dear lovely tribe enveloped me with flowers for my birthday. My goodness it was fabulous! Boxes of beautiful blooms delivered down the long driveway of the 20. I was in heaven.

Two weeks later, some of my roses are sad and my daisies are a little puny. Some would throw the whole arrangement out but I cannot. Somewhere in that slightly stinky, once beautiful arrangement, is an alstroemeria bloom yelling, “I’m not dead yet!”

My most favorite place in the grocery store is the cart of flowers in the florist section that are past their expiration date- a dozen roses can go for $4. Sunflowers that might not be so sunny….$2! When I am feeling a little splurgy, I grab several past-their-prime bouquets at the grocery store and set them next to the angel hair pasta.

There are little gems- a gerbera daisy in full bloom, tea roses that are still fresh, sunflowers that have quite a lot of rays.

And a new arrangement now sits on our table….delightful

blog

Delights Day 20: The Trash Man Cometh

Thursday is trash day. Trash Day is usually not a big deal but sometimes on the 20, little things take on a bigger meaning. It’s about 1/4 of a mile from our house to where the trash truck meets us therefore trash day requires a little preplanning, not a lot but a little reminder the night before….tomorrow is trash day.

The trash truck usually arrives at 6:59 Thursday morning…..on the dot.

My delight is not really about the trash guy, although he does seem like a nice, very prompt person and I really, really appreciate him carting off my garbage,

But sky. The sky at 6:59 in the morning. Delightful.

The moon was setting in the West, bidding adieu to another night.

But to the East!

This symphony of color lasted only minutes. Soon the yellows, reds and glorious pinks had faded, the rooster next door starting crowing and a new day started.

And while the world woke up, the trash man kindly took my bin, gave me a nod and moved onto the next house.

Delightful.

blog

Day 19 of Delights: Snow Swim

This year the snow has been scarce. Given that Colorado relies on a good snowpack for our water, it’s concerning. But this post is not about concern. This post is about delight.

It snowed today and is still snowing on the 20. I love the monochrome of winter; white snow, brown bare branches, white steamy breath; beauty in naked simplicity.

It is cold and snowing.

It is time for a swim.

I stand on deck and take off my swim coat, fuzzy fleece pants and winter hat. Last to go are the furry slippers. I love those furry slippers. Without them, my bare feet stand in an inch of snow; reminding me to hurry up. I jump. In an instant, I go from dry and cold to submerged.

The water is a balmy 81. Its warm but not toasty. I have to move.

By the third lap, I have warmed up. My feet are no longer yelling at me. My arms go from cool to warm with every stroke. Snowflakes gather on my swim cap. I cannot see the other side of the pool through the foggy steam.

Why do I love this so much? It’s kinda nuts.

I do believe it is the thrill of being so vulnerable. Standing in a snowstorm in a swim suit or worse, convincing soaked Heather to get out of the pool in 21 degree weather.

Perhaps its more than that- the thrill of being slightly uncomfortable in the elements when we are so confined to our own indoors right now. It might be the very simple silence- me and my thoughts and my breath.

No matter. It is delightful. Hello Day 19.

blog

Day 18: the Legend of Popa and Dodie

Dodie was my paternal Grandmother. There was always something about Dodie- her style, her martini, her clothes, her hair…….it did not matter that she lived in small town Plano, Illinois, she lived her life dressed for the paparazzi.

I still carry her pocketbooks. I open the latch and inhale the 70 year old scent of cigarettes and perfume. I place my face close to the fabric.

“Ah. Hello Dodie.” She is right there, on my arm, in my pocketbook and so very excited I decided to take her out on the town.

Dodie was married to Popa; a cigar smoking, martini drinking, joke telling rascal. If I know only one true thing in this world, I know I was outrageously loved by my Papa and Dodie.

I know this to be true.

Tonight my Dad and Cynde presented with a photo book. It is a book of my 50 years on this earth. I love this book because its ALL ABOUT ME….but more than that, it is about me and the people who have been in my life. Here or not here. What an amazing journey our life is.

All of this book is a delight but tonight I will focus on the awesomeness of Popa and Dodie photos:

I love this photo of Dodie. Pearls, startched white shirt, awesome sunglasses, cigarette, quaffed hair….wait….”what the F*ck is in my nail? Dammit all to hell.”

I want to put an old fashioned on her chair.

Dodie is on the left. I think I would like to have a martini with her and go out dancing. My Great Grandma Katie is on the right. And my Popa in the middle. Popa looks pretty happy.

And THIS one! Papa started a company called Simms Toys. They made the first plastic Batmobile. And sold quite a lot of them. He looks very humble in this photo. I would like to think internally he is thinking, “Holy crap, I made it. Just call me Robin.”

These photos. These photos of the people who came before me and their awesomeness. Well, it brings me delight.

blog

Delight Day 17- Gifts from Little Nephew

Eating spaghetti with a four year old is delightful. I encourage you to do this as often as possible. Spaghetti is difficult for any adult to eat with grace- a four year old just dives in with vigor and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Last night I celebrated my birthday with the nephews. They made me homemade cards. Go make a homemade card. It’s delightful.

I also got a $50 bill! In this world of digital interaction, paper delights me. Paper money is even more delightful.

Littlest nephew handed me two items – my birthday card and a yellow index card. The yellow index card was folded up into a tiny square, very super-secret like. I was told I could open the birthday card immediately but the super-secret index card had to wait until we opened presents. The super-secret index card waited by the spaghetti…..giddy with anticipation.

Finally it was time. He moved over to watch me open…..and I was presented with this….

“Well,” I said. “This. This is amazing. Is this me?”

Little Nephew rolled his eyes and gave a little pshaw, “No Hehe”, (they call me Hehe…..another delight), “this is Joe Biden. Joe Biden became President today. Joe is standing by the flag.”

Side note delight……you know how little kids sometimes don’t have their ‘L’s’ quite enunciated? So ‘little’ sounds a bit like ‘wittle’. He looked at me quite seriously with those big brown eyes and said, “This is Joe Biden, standing by the Flwag.”

This kid. I loved how he soaked the events of yesterday- so much so it had to be presented on a yellow index card after dinner.

I also got a bottle of peanut butter whiskey which I have been told is amazeballs and an amazing t-rex shirt…..both to be discussed at a later date. We still have a lot of delights to post- 348 more to be exact.

Go eat spaghetti!

blog

Day 16: The voice of 332 Million souls.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Democracy as:

Government by the people; that form of government in which the sovereign power resides in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them or by officers elected by them.

You may not agree that America is functioning as a Democracy, in response I ask you to find a country that works harder to bring so many different people, cultures and communities together under one nation. 332 Million souls in this great country. 332 Million different experiences, opinions and ways of life. 332 Million voices.

And you may not be happy with the transfer of power taking place tomorrow. This post is not about ideology- its about the process.

The cool thing is that you have four years to make your case and work for your change because the sovereign power resides in the people as a whole.

Democracy. I am Delighted.

blog

Delights Day 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day and My Sock Drawer:

I love to organize my socks.

I pull all of my socks out of the drawer, pair everyone up, help lost socks find their mate and neatly fold them back.

Well, I wont have to do that for a while, I think and I go about the rest of my days, my weeks and my months.

Sooner or later, my sock drawer grows chaotic and demands attention. It wasn’t that I was ignoring the sock drawer. But sometimes I am naive enough to think that after I smugly fold the last sock, I have fixed the issue. If I address the chaos in my sock drawer one time, the issue of unmatched socks will go away and I will never have to address it again.

I think we need to address the sock drawer.

Me, as an average person in this country, tend to assume that after we have a conflict, a battle, even a war, we wipe our hands clean and walk away.

We fixed it. It is better. We do not need to address it again.

But you know what we are?

Humans.

We are more chaotic than socks.

And for as much as we want to be good; pride, power and fear are compelling factors to be less good. And when we continue to look away, ignore and excuse what is less good, the needle moves further from what is good.

I don’t think we are very good right now. I think we can be better.

Today reminds me that we consistently have to address and evaluate issues within our society. We can never assume that because great people fought decades ago, we can be impervious to matters of human rights, civil rights and our sacred, fragile democracy.

In light of the volatility we face and have faced in the last couple weeks, I was delighted today. I was thrilled to listen to scholars talk about this day and how we move forward.

I am always humbled to listen to the lives of giants. Thank you Martin Luther King Jr for your bravery and fortitude and reminding us we all have a dream.

I still have to address the chaos in my sock drawer.

blog

Delights Day 14: The Day of Birth

I did not post yesterday. I was celebrating the day of my birth. 50 years on this amazing earth. 50 years of being a human during this time.

I was a delightful day. I received so many sweet notes from dear friends. Inhaled beautiful flower arrangements, drank too much champagne and dove into a gorgeous lobster with ravenous glee.

I love my birthday. I really do. I woke up and Hubs glanced over at me, “Happy Birthday.” He said.

“Happy Birthday to you,” I returned.

“It’s not my birthday.”

“I know, but I feel like I should say something in return.”

“No, today is all about you,” he said.

“I KNOW. It is isnt it?” And I giggled like a child.

It is miraculous that we are all here in the forms that we are. Not only did every strand of DNA have to align perfectly, which is miraculous by itself. But that my mom at 19 and my dad at 20 decided what the heck, sure lets start a family.

I know it was a little more complicated than that. But now at 50, I am incredibly grateful for my parents….all four of them who decided along the way to come join the ride.

So many twists of fate to bring us here, who we are today. What a precious day.

I saw my Grandma and Grandpa yesterday. Who at 50 has Grandparents they can visit? Granny talked a bit about her life in Southern Illinois- 9 people, no indoor plumbing and a two seat outhouse. Her father was an electrician but they did not have electricity until Granny was a teenager. 90 years on this earth provides a lot of content- so many stories about just one life.

I then delighted….just a tad……in indoor plumbing and light switches.

Happy Day 14 Sweet Friends. Revel in the miracle you are.

blog

50 Eve

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I turn 50.

50 years on this earth. 50 years on this beautiful, volatile, amazing earth. One thought that has resonated.

How lucky are we to be alive?

How lucky are we to be alive?

This was me at my 40th birthday party.

This photo was taken 5 months after we lost Samantha. And my 40th birthday.

My god…I thought. I have lost everything. What will I be now.

A friend of mine does a post about this picture, he says “And Heather opened her mouth and swallowed her friends whole.”

The irony…..is that I really wanted to swallow you whole. My poor heart felt so felt sad and empty, perhaps if I swallowed you all, I could be full.

I tried to swallow you all but your heads are really big and my jaw doesn’t do that funky dislodging thing that snakes do.

Perhaps its for the better.

Instead you filled my heart. Reminded me I was loved. Nursed me through my 40’s.

And so here we are.

50 brings a light and love that I see shinning through windows, reflected in the trees, returned in a hug or fist bump.

I promise I will no longer devour you.

Hooray for 50.

You bring me Delight

Life Today

Happy Veterans Day

I spent three years in Germany during my twenties.

It was one of the most memorable times of my life. I was a civilian working for the military at an Armed Forces Recreational Center.

I served those who served.

Really I taught the Littles of those who served how to ski, which wasn’t a bad gig in the German Alps.

In the summer I found random jobs; lifeguard, pizza delivery and one summer at the German-American Golf Course.

I worked in one of the most beautiful places on earth

Image result for garmisch germany
It was also 1994, 50 years since World War II  and the impact of what happened here two generations ago was palpable.

The golf course sold American candy which was crazy because we lived in the land of the very best chocolate and we were trying to pawn off Twix Bars and Reese’s Pieces. A German man would come in often and buy ten Hersey bars at a time.

I asked why the Hersey Bars.

“You have the very best chocolate! Right here! What’s so special about a Hersey Bar?”

He told me that the Americans came through Garmisch on April 29, 1945.

He was six.

“I was so hungry. We didn’t have anything left to eat. The soldiers arrived and they gave the children Hersey bars. They were the very best thing I ever ate. Nothing in the world tastes as good as a Hersey Bar.”

He carefully unwrapped the chocolate and gave me a piece. I closed my eyes and tried to taste what he tasted.

I could not

I have never been that hungry. I have never been that scared. I have not had my world turned upside down at age six. 

As he ate I piece, he smiled and nodded his head; perhaps thoughts of hope, gratitude, memories of a six year old belly that felt a little less empty.

I felt so honored. Honored that this man shared this sacred memory and his sacred chocolate. Honored that he remembered the day 49 years ago not with tanks and strange men but with soldiers who share chocolate. And I felt honored that these brave men, my fellow Americans made this small boy feel so much better.

Happy Veterans Day.  

Life Today

When a Pregnancy doesn’t turn out- please note- tough read

The history of my last ten years have placed me on the fringes of normal society.

Sometimes I embrace living on the peripheral.

Other times I hate it.

Most often I try to blend; which means biting my tongue, smiling politely and trying to think of a vague response when asked at a cocktail party how many children I have.

Sometimes I reach my point and have to use my voice.

Today is one of those days.

I can’t get words from Wednesday’s debate out of my head.

The descriptive ‘rip the baby out of the womb at nine months’ out of my head. And sadly, the repeated posts on facebook continue to haunt me.

I should unfriend, I should hide,  but thoughts about our own experience are eating my brain so, I will write.

Our son died in utero at 9 months. I remember the doctor searching for a heartbeat and clearing out the ultrasound room to confirm our worst thoughts.

I was given the choice of having a C-section or birthing a baby I would never hear cry.

I opt’d for the C-section. “Please just knock my out,” I said

The doctor looked at me sadly, “We can do that but it’s major surgery. You will have to stay in the hospital for at least 3 days to recover and it would be six months before we would recommend getting pregnant again. Your body will heal faster with a natural birth”

So, I was induced and waited through the night to have my son.

There was no ripping. Ripping would have been an easier choice.

All babies are born in the maternity ward- no matter the outcome. We heard lullabies played over the speakers when another child was born. My husband had to walk by congratulatory families in the hallway as he went to get a cup of coffee.

We left 24 hours later; greeted by a nursery that would not see a baby and a recommendation for a funeral home. My milk came in the next day and I sat in the shower and cried.

The only thing that was violently ripped out that day was my heart.

“But Heather,” you say, “You did not abort your baby. Your situation was different.”

And if you still hold onto that argument, you missed the point. This is how babies come into the world no matter the outcome, at nine months.

No one would choose to go through this because they want to…..because they ‘changed their mind’ about having a baby. When something goes wrong this late in a pregnancy, it goes very, very wrong.

So Stop- please stop using verbiage that sounds easy, dramatic, evil. The ones you are hurting are the ones who are already hurting.