11–16 of 16 entries from the month of: October 2012

Thank you

October 12th


Thank you for your kind words about the loss of my grandmother.


She will be forever missed and loved.


My family appreciates your kindness.




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The Leaves Fall

October 11th

Raining gold

I’m 32, soon to be 33. In this time, I’ve had a fairly storybook family life, with little loss. When my great grandmother Clarice died, I was 20, serving in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. The news came one afternoon when giant thunderheads gathered in a great white clump before the sun, sending rays downward to the humid highlands in dramatic, glorious streaks of gold and ochre. I watched those clouds move in the distance, remarking the ethereal view.

A few hours later, through a series of ridiculously complicated measures, a printed email was hand delivered to a small tin roof bar, where I sat nursing a warm Coca Cola, playing cards with fellow volunteers after a long day of training. My dad wanted me to know two things: baby Bennett was born. Mini was doing fine. He was gorgeous. There were many celebrations and I was much missed. Also, he’d be here when I got home. Don’t cry too much.

And, sadly, my 93-year-old great grandmother, “GG,” had passed away. She had lived a great life as a beloved matriarch, and don’t cry too much. She wouldn’t want me to spend my time being sad on her behalf.

The news was bittersweet. Folding my hand, I crept away from the group and took a long, soggy walk by myself. GG was my Scrabble buddy, and the reason I stopped biting my fingernails in elementary school. (Her very proper British roots found the habit “common.”)

When I tried explaining to my African friends my great grandmother passed and I would forever miss her, they shook their heads with disbelief. Who lived long enough to be a great grandmother?

Since, I’ve seen several of my father’s beloved aunts and uncles pass away. Somehow today, I still have 3 grandmothers and two grandfathers. The grandparent department in our family involves divorce and remarriage, and as such titles of respect that aren’t necessarily tied to genetics, but to warm laps. Birthdays cards. Recipes. Laughter. Albums of photographs with yellowed, curling edges showcasing the “firsts” for each family member. First cake. First swim. First car. First date.

I vividly remember a set of my grandparents collecting me from the playground in first grade; it was bring-a-family-member-to-school day and they’d driven 50-plus miles to provide a surprise I’ll always cherish.

It is a blessing and a curse to be this age with such an innocence for loss. I have close friends who have grieved parents and siblings, and yet, here I am bubbling with tears over the sickness of my elderly family. I am comforted knowing they have lived lives with a strong faith and their fears are muted knowing they are going to meet the Lord.

This week has been particularly difficult. A close family friend who long served as a stand-in grandfather passed away from a heart attack. My grandmother had a stroke and is likely living her last days. Another grandmother struggles to remember the names of those she loves most.

And I cry. I cry with sorrow because I will miss their friendships so much it hurts to breathe. And I cry with joy that they are on their walk to the Lord.

As I watch afternoon clouds shaped like pillows gather over the Rockies, I remember all they have taught us by example. Tenacity. Grace. Strength. Honor. Honesty. Forgiveness.

I am so lucky to call them family.




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Faith, Journal
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Fabric by Fabric Sew Along: October

October 9th

October sew along

October sew along

This month’s sew along from the Fabric by Fabric book is a great one, and is our last. I’ve got stacks of holiday sewing to get started with and let’s be honest — I had a hard time getting many people to play along. (Needless to say, this is the last book-focused sew-along I’ll coordinate for a bit. Still glad I did, mostly because I adore Sue and her pattern was fantastic.)

So, let’s knock this project out of the park and whip up some eight-bottle totes, shall we? Perfect for visits to the grocery when you may be hauling home a variety of libations or other jarred items. Also great for picnics and parties. I plan on making my test project with this fabric:

October sew along

and potentially more of these as holiday gifts.

You know how it works. Drop your photo off at the pool. Winners selected. Pretty much all who play receive a prize.

Sew on!


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Domestic Art, Fabric-by-Fabric Sew Along, Sew Along
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October 8th

Sunday dinner

My friend BJ and his dog Chaco are living at the homestead for a bit. In turn, my kitchen has become the grounds for a highly competitive cooking show. One night, BJ cooks. The next, I do. Dog-eared cooking magazines, pages graffiti-ed with greasy thumbprints and splatters of spice, sit in a pile on the counter top. Coupons for staple ingredients are clipped to the side of the fridge. The Dutch oven is either on the stove, bubbling — or full of delicious leftovers.

These are delightful problems to have.

We’ve gone at this back and forth pace for a few weeks, each impressing the other with our culinary prowess. So far, BJ’s greek yogurt dip is the winner. Paired with his curry chicken and spiced couscous, I thought about climbing into the bowl for a swim.

Sunday dinner

Last night, I threw down saffron almond chicken from the October issue of Bon Appetit. Saffron is stupidly expensive. Apparently I’ve never cooked with it before and I was not forking over $10 for two tiny packets. As such, we actually ate smoked paprika almond chicken. (Note to self: do saffron research. Determine why it is so pricey. Consider hitting spice markets next time you travel internationally.)

Sunday dinner

This was tasty. The sauce is thickened with chunks of bread added to the almond/spice mixture in the food processor. As such, this is not a fat-free, paleo-loving or any other specific diet happy meal. Unless you just really like good hearty food. Then it is — wait for it — a winner, winner chicken dinner.


Sunday dinner

Sunday dinner

I also served roasted pasilla peppers stuffed with cheese as a side dish. If I had unlimited funds, I would have a massive greenhouse where these peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and peas would grow all year long. Oh, and saffron.

Your turn, BJ. Game on.





Posted in
Heirloom Homestead, Kitchen Talk
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October 3rd


Why life is really way too good to me:

  • Living close to the Red Rocks, where I can run stairs, hike, chase Nelson and or sit high on a rock ledge and watch the golden leaves fall in the wind.
  • Having a great day-job. I’m on the road this week, and in front of clients I am reminded of how much opportunity I’ve been given in this company to learn. It feels so great to be with colleagues, watching systems succeed. Patients receiving excellent health care. Happy providers. Great staff.
  • My brother and his girlfriend — who give me a sense of home in a town that doesn’t quite fit.
  • Matty, who got married last weekend. We celebrated his ceremony (to one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen outside of a magazine) under a starry, warm Phoenix night, with mariachis and more Africans than I could count. It felt like I’d been given a treat I didn’t deserve: to have all of these people I adore in my home town. I couldn’t hug them enough.
  • Beautiful weddings so full of emotion, they remind everyone of the power of finding the right person.
  • Time with Finny. I can count the number of girlfriends who know me this well on one hand. I can’t cherish those enough. When work drops me within 100 miles of her address, I make the drive and the reservations. We’ve been lucky enough to have several meals together in the last few months. And oh, there isn’t a better ending to a long day of travel than sharing bread with this hilarious woman.
  • Rewrites. Want to drive yourself crazy and show yourself you can do it all at the same time? Get a treadmill and a good pair of running shoes. Or, decide to rewrite a novel one painful chapter at a time, retelling the story from a different set of eyes. Holy. Moly. this exercise is so challenging and fulfilling. Next week it goes before a handful of new editors to see if the changes are working. Let’s hope my hubris hasn’t rendered me blind.
  • Those in Phoenix who always, always let me crash at their homes. Whether I bring my mangy mutt or a date, they are welcoming and lovely.
  • Sushi in California. Because, yes. It makes me feel less guilty to eat fish when I can see the sea.
  • My mother’s patience.

Writing a list of what makes me grateful has always been a useful exercise in lifting my spirits. Anyone else? What are you thankful for?



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Happy Hippie
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Hang Around Summer!

October 2nd


Late summer dessert: grilled peaches sprinkled with brown sugar



Topped with a scooper of vanilla. Divine!

Tomorrow we are expected to get the first snow of the season. I raided the garden late yesterday, picking everything worth its weight. Jars of pesto with the remaining basil were frozen, roasted tomatoes and squash filled our dinner plates and the compost was turned. I’m sad the growing season is fading, but my pantry is ready for fall and winter. Shorter days, walks with hats and mittens, snow shoeing, escapes to the mountains.

Time to shift hobbies; the knitting basket has emerged. My Christmas list is getting the one-over. What are your favorite Fall traditions?



Posted in
Colorado, Happy Hippie
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