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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!

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Today was a Good Day-

*Dear Reader- this post is about a good day!

But it is also contains sensitive content around birth and death…..proceed with caution.

Today was a really fun day. Our hockey team won the Cup! You can’t win a cup and not have a parade. So today half a million of my closest Avs fans converged in downtown Denver for yes, a parade.

I was fortunate enough to be ‘behind the scenes’, drive a firetruck (kidding) and hang out with my Avalanche besties who really are young enough to be my children but that’s okay.

And they only know me as a crazy mom-aged stalker….but that’s okay too.

Today was a good day.

I do not take the joy I feel, my laughter and easy smile today for granted.

17 years ago at this exact time, I questioned everything in my life. I questioned my body. I questioned the cruel circumstances of life and death, pregnancy, parenthood, marriage, motherhood, fatherhood. My whole world and everything I knew about it had been tilted on an axis.

17 years ago the beautiful full term baby boy I carried in my belly died.

Before I would have been hesitant to tell you this- perhaps frightened that it would be too much. But since ya’ll are talking about my baby-maker on every corner…..talking about what you might know without ever having gone through what a lot of women are going through…..

I’ll lay my cards out……..

A little bit of me died 17 years ago.

But I was still alive.

Have you ever seen the Walking Dead? I was Zombie angry. I howled at the moon. I despised healthy pregnant women who gave birth to beautiful babies. I was foreign to everyone else who didn’t loose their babies. I was unpredictable, postpartum bleeding, hormonal and amazingly sad.

But today, June 30, 2022 was a good day.

And I honor today’s good day

I honor it in the fact that the long, extensive, heart breaking road was incredibly personal and difficult. But we made it.

I challenged all of my friendships, and somehow they all survived. I challenged my marriage and we survived.

Jack, in his own silent way, paved the road for other unfairness in our lives. I thank him for this and will always be grateful for the lessons this silent, beautiful boy gave us.

Our story is not different because we wanted our boy. Every story about intimacy, relationships, life, birth and death is told behind closed doors. Government has no place here.

I invite you into my story, without my invitation, you have no seat.

I had more rights as a woman 17 years ago. Even at that time, I was asked by doctors what happened…..did I fall? What did I eat? They copied my file in fear of being sued. They were respectfully distant.

I weep for what my Sisters must endure today- for the ugliness and beauty of birth. For where we are as a country and for where I hope we can meet across the table. For my sisters who must make horrible, private decisions. And for those who have to make much more difficult, public decisions.

For the day that I died a bit…..but for new branches that grow.

And for today….this day…..this fun day. I honor it all.

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I See You Vid a Voo

Last week I caught the Vid…the Rona….the big ol’ assy virus I have been trying to avoid for 2 1/2 years.

I have to admit, I became a bit judgy in those 2.5 years.

Friends would fall to the Vid and I would politely remind them that Vegas is a super spreader city, or that we shouldn’t be asking……thanks for masking!

Me and my four shots made me as cocky as MC Hammer….

Can’t Touch This.

But ya did.

And Vid crawled up in my nose like the creatures from Alien. Seriously, I snotted this little asshat the other day. Not on my watch booger alien. Not here

Its a strange thing when that test strip strikes positive.

Am I the only one of the ladies that feels like I’m taking the 15 minute pregnancy tests?

Who did I breathe with? Crap, I exchanged air with so many.

In my 51 year old dottage, I marched my positive test down to my husband and said, “What did you do to me????”

Seeeee? Just like a pregnancy test.

And he held up his own positive test and said what did you do to meeeeeeee

Crap! In this new universe, men can carry snot aliens too!!!!

And then I thought about my surgery…..my carefully planned surgery. The Rusty replacement, only a week out.

I looked at Hubs, “should I call the surgery center?”

Because I gotta tell you, I didn’t want to call the surgery center. I didn’t want to tell them I was carrying an alien booger baby in my nose. Maybe we can just forget the alien baby?

And Hubs sat back, “Well…….it’s a big surgery. And its a pandemic, and it was a top cause of death for 2021….but you do you.”

Fine. Fine. Fine.

So I called my surgery center. And I did feel a bit dirty.

Heeeeyyyyyy yeah, guess what? I have Covid. Wahhhhhhhaaaat? Its a thing? A rescheduling thing? No. Really? F&ck Fine

I didn’t really say F&ck.

But I wanted to. Turns out Covid can cause blood clots during surgery.

Blood clots are bad.

And then I thought about my life.

And the times that schedules were switched for my girl.

About how we planned, thought, rescheduled, planned again, cursed, and at the end it was okay. .

It was okay- sometimes even better.

Perspective is an amazing gift.

And in four weeks (universe willing) I will be VID free with a brand new knee and none the less worse for the wear.

But it took a while to get here!