Friday, February 22, 2013

Fresh Air


We have some family in town for a bit. For a few days, we escaped to the mountains to get some fresh air and break in the new sleds D bought Miss M. They hiked up the bunny hill at Keystone and rode down a few times. M loved every minute of it and though it doesn't looks like much, they surely got some speed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Make Way


The other morning I woke at 6 am naturally. The sunrise was beautifully pink and bright. The sky was on fire. Sailors talk about the color of the sky to predict the day's weather. I like the almost mythical feeling I associate with that sentiment. I like people who comment on the sunrise and sunset because it tells me they stopped to take it all in for a time and I assume that means they too believe there is more to life than just “us”.

Since we moved, we have really enjoyed the amount of light that comes in our home. The rises here have been a welcome addition. They always seem to be toned with a powerful hue so I rarely take it as a sign about the weather of the day but this morning I considered how it might be a nod to an old friend's last day. It was just a fleeting thought; a sad lonely fleeting thought about the reality of someone so vibrant leaving this world. It was a thought about how something can be so beautiful that you miss it before it is even gone.

The night before, I was drawn to the silence for the first time in a while. It’s always there now with my dad but I have grown to sometimes disavow the abundant inaccessibility death leaves the living. It lead me to think about what a family does when a stronghold passes on; it reminded me about the anger and the sadness, as well as the relief, that death can bring. I thought about Jeannette* and what a strong fighter she is, what a love of life she has, and about how my favorite moments with her are conversations between just us. I thought about how I have changed and grown since I met her and how now more than ever, a good conversation means so much to me. We could talk about stuff I felt too encumbered to talk about with other people and at times, especially these past few years, we would hold hands. She's always been great at creating a space to just be; and she has done it for countless people.

Our conversations were never weekly or even monthly but a few solid throughout the year; enough to leave a strong impression on me and validate two beings connecting. They dwindled as she grew sicker. This past Christmas I found myself annoyed and when I finally dug down to the marrow, I realized it was that I missed the one surefire conversation that I had become accustomed to as a "gift" over the past 10 years - since I first came to her house over the holidays and fell in love with the energy there.

Two years ago I watched as she relayed a favorite story to the family. She had asked me to write it up as a stocking gift for everyone and then on Christmas day she asked me read it aloud. I pushed back saying the moment was hers to share and that everyone would much rather hear it coming from her. At the time I was full of death and thinking she wouldn't be around the following year. I wanted that moment for them to hold on to as I knew how precious good memories could be for a broken heart. I knew she was doing it to get me out of my head and to support the "writer" in me. And I was sorely mistaken: Jeannette managed to put up one hell of a second round for three years and mostly with the open heart she always carried.

When I first met her, she was celebrating her year anniversary of being cancer free. When she was rediagnosed, she taught us all about hope and putting up a fight. It serves as a strong lesson to me - always one to give up the ship for little more than a few waves. Her love of life has driven her to no end with her family and friends. I have learned to always hold a stray string of hope and choose love over fear.

We had a fine last moment with her and I felt oddly more at ease than I expected. I was comforted in one last laugh and the chance to hold her hand and look in to her eyes. On our way home we talked about the photos streaming on D's computer from our wedding. She is so alive and full, literally round with life in the images. I thought about times even earlier on; when we were camping, when I made my first key lime pie under her guidance, when everything was so new and light and fresh to me. We were both much rounder then and looking back now on those faces and fun times, life seems so full.

Green Mountain, August 2006
We have the task of moving on without her physically next to us; of embracing the lively moments and wearing as a badge those silent moments when it is clear a dear soul is missing from life. I will cherish our time together and the memories I hold. A fiery sunrise will surely cut way through the night: a reminder that a new day is on the horizon and life is so much more than just “us”.

*Dear friend, mother, sage - I'm so glad our souls crossed paths. You helped open my heart to many wonderful things and even now as it hurts, I hold firmly to the love you shared with Andy, Miss M, Gingersnap, and I. We treasure you deeply in our hearts. Wherever you are headed, please keep in touch! Know we are already missing you madly and will eat pumpkin bread always in your honor. So many good things, so much love here...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

In the Pit

We went to Boettcher Concert Hall and tried on our listening muscles. We literally sat on stage while the musicians surrounded us and participated in Tiny Tots by Inside the Orchestra, a 45-minute performance created to introduce kids ages 6 and under to orchestral music. It was a really fantastic experience; one of those things that's probably logistically cooler as an adult though as a kid you're pretty enthralled too.

We watched as the conductor explained how things work, we laughed as guest conductors lead the orchestra, we were enamored by a young (8 year old) gal who did a piano solo, and completely taken aback by a serenade. I would go back in a heartbeat. Miss M wants to go back because she really wanted to join that 8 year old savant at the piano (which I had to bag because I've seen her play on Nancy and Ed's piano and it's no Nadia's Theme)...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chowda

I used to hold no affinity for clam chowder. My only real relationship came via a can, Progresso most likely, and it wasn't a deep relationship at that. It's no surprise that D has introduced me to so much in the food world. I now have A relationship with food, whereas before I was mostly just a mouse eating wire to stay warm and busy in the winter.

I still distinctly remember the first time he made me clam chowder. It was at the place he lived when I first met him, which means it was four or less months in to our relationship (which now spans almost 12 years). I remember thinking I would muddle through the meal. I also remember his confidence and excitement in changing my tune. Sure enough, he did delight me with heavy cream and butter. By my second helping I was on board and a little more in like.

It was a long time before he made it for me again (what with all the house work he was doing on the first place he bought, the one that was a beast and beauty at the same time). I would try it every now and again at restaurants or when we went back to Boston to visit. But truth be told, it is really a dish I enjoy best at home, when he has made it. It's not normally a dish I am drawn to because of the heavy dairy and potatoes. But, it is one of those things that made me like some guy I didn't know too well who was putting so much energy in to making a meal for me. When he makes it now, it reminds me of those early days when each night we spent together was novel and new. It is proof of his sheer talent and know how with food. The guy knows how to make one hell of a chowda...

I, on the other hand, have mastered the Jiffy cornbread muffin mix 
in an attempt to present my own masterpiece at the table.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

A kick ass cool-designed, utterly delicious high-end box of chocolates

D brought me home a sweet treat from Chocolatier Blue on Larimer Square the other night. It was all I could do to not eat the whole box. This and those GD girl scouts take the discipline right out of me. In any case, it was fantastic. I certainly am not one to tell the guy not to buy me chocolates or flowers...ever. The Grapefruit and rosemary has been my favorite so far....a close second: Caramel.

Grapefruit and Rosemary
Fresh rosemary is used to craft a creamy caramel with fresh-farm cream and fresh ruby red grapefruit for a combination that is second to none.