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Fleeting Joy

I had a ridiculously fun weekend. I danced way too much for my poor new knee. I sang loud and off-tune. I gave my nephews sloppy kisses. And I found myself back in the beautiful mountains so close to my home. It was a joyous weekend.

Ridiculous Joy is a funny, lovely, unsustainable thing. Sunday night I iced my knee and tucked myself into bed. Monday morning found me trying to fit back into a schedule with the sweet scent of the weekend still in my head.

Ah- Joy.

I try hard to find joy.

And I must confess, I think lately we as a society look a little harder for joy.

I was talking to a friend today as we discussed the quest for joy.

“I had my life in 2019 and then Covid came along. And I hunkered down and waited for my life to return. And now we are back. But some of the things in 2019 that worked, no longer work. I ironically find that I must reinvent myself yet again.”

Reinventing is fine but it must be recognized and attention must be paid. Where do we find our joy? How do we find our joy? The Rowdy? The Quiet?

As I left for the weekend, I checked the stove again and turned off the water. I locked the door and armed the alarm and I realized that I’m a little more anxious about leaving home.

Home.

Home which had become a safe sanctuary the last couple years. Home- where after 50 years, I found joy in the quiet.

And I left it to embrace the rowdy joy of sloppy kisses and dancing crowds.

Tonight it is quiet other than a very persistent cricket. The sun has set and their is a hint of Fall in the air. The sky is peppered with orange and purple clouds.

Perhaps joy is not fleeting- perhaps it does not have to be rowdy or quiet, it can be both.

Perhaps joy can be found where we take time to recognize it.

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Where is my Mind?

This is a great song by the Pixies if you have a chance to listen.

It’s been a while since I have posted.

A new knee and six weeks of rehab since I have posted.

And where is my mind?

It’s better….but I have learned quite a lot about myself along the way.

When you recover from surgery, you spend a lot of time with you. You in a compromised state, you in pain, you not being able to swim, you waking up in the middle of the night, you and your crazy head.

I’ve had surgery. But this surgery has been pretty intense. I told this to my surgeon the other day and he did confess, “well I did take a saw to your leg, didn’t you watch the videos?”

No, no Mr. Surgeon. This would not have happened had I watched the videos.

And six weeks out, I am happy to report that I hiked two miles yesterday. I am healing. I will be back.

Two days before Mr. Surgeon took a saw to my leg, a friend asked my how I was doing.

“Not great,” I said. “I’m nervous about Mr. Surgeon taking a saw to my leg to remove my knee. It’s three days before Samantha’s birthday. I can’t be at the Courage Classic. I had to move this whole thing because I got stupid Covid. The last time I was so vulnerable was when I was put on bedrest because of Jack and we all know how that ended.”

Where is my mind?

Oof! I know you all are thinking…… never, ever ask Heather how she is doing two days before surgery.

And in the process, I have once again had to lean back on you…….and I thank you. The meals, the notes, the flowers, the cookies, the texts on Samantha’s birthday and (ironically) the week later when we lost her………the kidnappings so Hubs got a break, pizza dates with Mrs. PacMan, and an 18 year wedding anniversary with a new knee.

I could not do this on my own.

And I thank you.

This weekend I hiked 2 miles with amazing friends. I may have danced to a Grease sing off……

Summer Lovin’ had me a blast…..

No, I really did NOT have me a blast this summer.

But ya’ll got me through….even if you did not know it.

And for that dear tribe, I am grateful.

thank you.

This may or may not have been before the Grease Sing Off 🙂
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Years of Courage

SamsMom 2009

13 years ago my life looked very different- it was the Summer of 2009, Samantha was on day 14 at Children’s Hospital and I was trying, very, very hard to train for the Courage Classic. I would ride from the hospital. I took the elevator from the 8th floor in my helmet, cycling shoes and super-flattering bike shorts, grab my bike from the car and take a cruise around scenic Colfax and 225.

Samantha was sick. Thursday before the ride she was still in the hospital and my chances to ride looked iffy. On Friday evening, we were finally discharged, with the caveat that if anything looked suspect, we would head back down the mountain.

We unpacked that Friday from the hospital and packed again for my ride.

We left Saturday morning at 5:00 to drive to Copper.

I got a migraine an ugly bout of diarrhea on the way up the mountains.

I don’t know why this ride was so important. But it was. Perhaps it was my time to prove I was still alive. I had spent months in the hospital with our girl. I needed to climb a mountain. I needed to find my breath.

I rode the entire tour.

Upon our return, Samantha ended up right back in the hospital.

But I did it.

And I sobbed when we finished.

Since 2009, this team has raised over $1MM for the Mitochondrial Clinic. Yesterday I sat at Panera with our doctors and they stated, quite clearly, “The goals we set ten years ago have become a reality. This money from Summits has made it happen.”

The Summits team will ride on Saturday.

They will ride without me.

This year, I am the patient.

I am a grumpy, self-pitying patient.

It was hard to bow out. It’s hard not to be up in Copper with the people I love.

It’s hard to put my knee ahead of my FOMO.

It’s hard to put my knee ahead of the feeling I get when I climb these mountains, when I find my breath, when I see my girl in the vistas.

This year, I am the patient.

Because this year, I no longer feel strong when I climb. A bike dismount is followed with concern that my knee will support me. A ride is coupled with a struggle to climb the stairs the next day.

Maybe I’m back where I started 13 years ago. Needing to find my breath again, prove my strength, find my moxie.

It takes Courage to know where we are and what we need.

This is what I am telling my grumpy, self-pitying me…..that she is courageous.

I still don’t know if she is buying it.

But next year will be different.

PS- I am still fundraising for our clinic! You can donate here!

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Me and My America:

Privileged, empowered, white, upper middle class, 50ish female. This is me.

You could call me a Karen…although I hate that term and feel bad for my friends named Karen.

It could have easily been a Heather meme instead.

“OMG she is such a Heather.” Because I kinda am.

But I know who I am.

I stand on the shoulders of proud generations before me. People who have fought for my freedoms. People who enabled me to devour this life before me. I have grown up lippy, opinionated and loved. Perhaps the last variable is the most controversial…..I am vocal because I feel safe and because I feel loved.

It’s easier to be lippy when you are loved.

So I will.

I struggled this 4th.

Because I don’t understand what it means to be an American anymore. This is not a left or right thing…..this is a who are we thing? Are we really a gun toting, forced birth, climate change denying country?

I recently read an article that said, “America is more about a dream than a place.”

I read that to my husband who said, “what a cop-out- of course we are a place. We are a country with a GDP of $20.95 trillion. This is a place.”

So, if we are not dream. And really a place…..I feel a tad more unsure of where I belong.

Because in this last week we (the collective American We) forced a ten year old rape victim to travel to Indiana because no one in Ohio would perform an abortion.

On a ten year old….who was raped.

I should read the story above about a third world country. I should drink my double espresso with foamy oat milk in the shape of a heart and shake my head but not be surprised….because I’m an American….and this happens in other countries but not here.

Oh wait.

And I like Ohio….really Cleveland is lovely. Don’t make me reconsider my Skyline Chili in Cleveland!

On the 4th, we drove to my mom’s to celebrate this great nation. And we heard about another shooting in Highland Park, Il.

Highland Park….an incredibly affluent suburb. Home to Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller and Risky Business. Highland Park is my personal Columbine, before Uvalde, before Buffalo, before, before.

Ferris, Cameron and Sloan Peterson wondering WTF.

And I’m not an extreme progressive. I am not woke….ask my nieces and they will tell me that I clearly do not know my pronouns.

I am not super liberal.

But this is not my America.

On the flip side…..I am……I am…….super lippy and super loved and soon to have a super knee.

And I make mediocre parade signs. And one thing my generations before have taught me, is that this is still my America, even when it feels as scratchy as a wool sweater lined with sandpaper……

As the great George Washington. once said, “Winning was easy, young man. Governing is harder.”

May we Govern better, listen to the voices.

And may this be our non-partisan pic one day…..filmed in Highland Park, IL.

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Beer

My article around a local brewer was just published. I’m really not a beer drinker but this was fun to write. Clearer text is below the article.

Lets meet for a beer!

What is Kyle Brewing in Candelas?

Colorado is known for its stunning natural beauty, sunny days, active families, and great craft beer.

Kyle Larkin wants to make sure the residents of Northwest Arvada can embrace the magic and creativity behind great craft beer.

Kyle is the head brewer at Resolute Brewing Company, located at 18148 w. 92nd Lane and we’re pretty happy he’s here. Originally from Pennsylvania, Kyle took a detour to DC before he found Colorado and decided to call it home.

Kyle started homebrewing in college and found a passion for it. After a short stint in the business world after graduation, he decided to become a professional brewer and never looked back. Part artist, part chemist with a little touch of foodie, he finds his inspiration after years of experience, knowing great ingredients and cooking.

“It’s fun to taste flavors in food or cocktails and then try and put that into a beer.”

The love of food pairings is apparent when reading the beer menu; ingredients such orange, passion fruit, coconut and chocolate reveal the complexities to brewing. Beer is barrel aged, temperature and humidity controlled enabling Kyle and his team to create wild and delicious recipes.  

Kyle started brewing at a small brewpub in Pennsylvania. This took him to Troegs Independent Brewing in Hershey, PA. Word travels fast in the brewing industry and soon he had an opportunity brew in Washington DC, working for DC Brau and starting their barrel aging program.

“Living in the nation’s capital was great, but my fiancé’ and I wanted to experience somewhere new. After considering different job offers, I ended up accepting a position with Avery Brewing so we could be in Colorado. From Avery, I worked at 4 Noses Brewing before joining Resolute.”

Resolute doesn’t only brew beer, its hopes are to create a gathering place for the Northwest Arvada community, “It is Resolute’s singular hope that we transform our community into a family, driven to create vibrant relationships around the brewery. We hope that lives are changed based on the friends made in the taproom, and that charity, hospitality, and kindness flow out of our taproom along with our beer.”  

Kyle runs the production side at Resolute but he does so much more than produce beer. The 20 beer lines change depending on the season, new ideas and unique varieties. Master Smash is a recent creation, an IPA brewed with Genie pale malt from Root Shoot Malting in Loveland. This balanced bitter IPA features notes of pineapple, mango and touch of pine, because it is after all, Colorado. And just in time for Summer is the Mexican style Lager, Onda which pairs well with salt, citrus and Colorado Sunshine.

There are a few traditional flavors that are a constant at Resolute. These favorites can be purchased as six packs and shared at your next bbq. Artwork on the cans reflect what is best about Colorado. The Standing Room only beer can depicts a concert at Red Rocks and might inspire a lengthy conversation with a buddy about the best Red Rocks concert (for the record? It was U2, Under a Blood Red Sky but I’m open to a debate).

All the Fuss Lemondrop Sour takes you paddle boarding; the aspen are turning and there is snow on Longs Peak. Grill Sauce portrays a young couple in their backyard with the Flatirons in the distance. The artwork is so beautiful, you might not recycle your can. And even better, the beer inside the can is delicious.  

Resolute focuses on community, craft and culture. “Our Founders come from various walks of life, including finance, engineering, and accounting, but we resonate as one around our passion for community, great beer, and even greater people. Resolute is more than a brewery; it is a community of people and families enthusiastic about being a part of something bigger than themselves. Resolute’s employees and culture imbue hospitality, social responsibility, and a love of the craft.”

This community of people has made Resolute a hub of Northwest Arvada activity hosting yoga, live music, farmer’s markets and tasty food trucks. Trivia is hosted every Wednesday night. Resolute has partnered with the Candelas Running Club. The group meets every Thursday for a run and then relaxes by the fire pit with their favorite ale or lager. July will feature a Cars and Brews Auto Show. Check their events page for updates and a schedule of food trucks.  

The vision of great beer, great community and giving back has been a recipe for success as Resolute continues to grow. “Our current mission is to continue to make Resolute a spot for people to gather and have a good time while delivering the best beer we can. In five years we hope to have a third location open, which would serve as our main production brewery. This would allow us to increase our production volume and get more beer to people around the state and grow our community.”

When asked what advice Kyle would give to a new business owner, he says without hesitation, “Be passionate, follow your plan and listen to your employees.”

And the success behind this business? “Quality above all else.”

We are so excited that Kyle decided early in his career to pursue his passion, provide this community a tasty brew, a place to gather and enjoy.

He and the team at Resolute raises a glass to thank the community and sponsors of Neighbors of Northwest Arvada. “Thank you for all of your support. We hope to share our beers and our space with you all for years.”

And thank you Kyle for sharing your story and the creativity behind your craft. We will see you around the fire pit this summer!