brief snapshots in time. memories and thoughts. disorganized and random.

Friday, September 30, 2005

turns out I am a coward

I've been "volunteering" at the Great American Beer Festival for a few years. I show up a little before the session, find a brewery to pour for, pour some beer, drink a little, talk with my friends and the brewery reps, wander around some. I know, it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

a couple of years ago I was checking in for one of my shifts. the guy checking me in was also checking me out. we chatted some. later on he came up to the brewery I was pouring for and we chatted more. numbers were exchanged. we ended up dating for over a year.

apparently we both volunteered again this year. but unlike my courage at the concert run-in this summer, I was a complete coward last night.

I checked in a little late and I worked by myself last night. so when I saw him out of the corner of my eye, I acted as if I didn't and went about my checking in.

he didn't come up to me. I also didn't go over to talk to him. I didn't feel chatty then. I didn't feel like being the bigger person.

he never came around my area of the festival later. which is a little unfortunate, because by then I had a little liquid courage. and I'd already made friends with the Sierra Nevada reps, and I'm sure they would have come to my rescue if things had gotten really uncomfortable.

now tonight, I'm working again. he'll likely be checking people in again. I hope I'll have some courage tonight, I hope I'll be the bigger person and walk up to him to say hi. it's not that I really care anymore (I don't think) it's just that there's this huge thing in the air. this uncomfortable heaviness.

I think we could be civil to each other, dare I say friendly? but it has to be mutual. I can't do it by myself. it's just so strange to see someone who used to be so much a part of your daily life. so close to you. and now to be complete strangers.

I have friends working with me tonight. they'll be there to hide behind, or walk beside whatever I decide. although, now that I think about it, perhaps I should be more worried about what they might say to him. they're still angry at him for how he treated me. shocked I have been civil to him. I have great friends here, too.

guess it could be an interesting evening.
wish me a little courage.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

good tunes, great friends

to continue my earlier story...
on my way to San Antonio, I crossed some sections of highways that carried evacuees from Houston. those were stop and go, mostly stop.

on other sections I seemed to be the only car on the road. occasional large convoys of National Guard Troops passed in the opposite direction. it was eerie.

once I got to San Antonio, I met another wonderful friend for lunch at one of our favorite lunch spots from our college days. I met her little one for the first time. we chatted and caught up. she talked of her husband and baby girl. I told stupid stories of my single life. we momentarily forgot about the rotating monster a few hundred miles away.

the afternoon wore on. we chatted and I decided I should probably leave before I overstayed my welcome. and maybe head on to Austin in case the traffic was still insane. but once I left my friend's house, I started driving south instead of towards Austin. I love to drive around campus when I visit San Antonio. it makes me smile.

and besides, I was somewhat awaiting a phone call to help me decide when I needed to head to Austin. despite my delaying, it never came.

up in Austin, despite the lines for gas, and craziness on the roads, the hurricane was nearly forgotten. well except what effect it might have on the festival. what festival? that would be the excuse behind my trip to Texas, the Austin City Limits Festival . of course the great added benefit was to visit with all my friends from college.

the festival was a go, Rita was heading further east, and the winds shouldn't be so bad as to cancel the event. good news for the 65,000 music fans, not so good news for other folks east of Houston along the Gulf Coast who hadn't evacuated.

the tunes were great. personal favorite acts included Coldplay, Mike Doughty, the Doves, Lyle Lovett, Thievery Corporation, Buddy Guy, and more, but the heat melted my memory cells together a bit. it was hot. ridiculously hot. and this Colorado girl cannot handle the heat. that's why I immediately moved back to Colorado after college.

hanging out with my friend the music lover was great. meeting her new boy, hanging out with their friends. the entire weekend was incredibly fun. days of good music, cool swimming, and great texmex.

I was sad to leave. on my out of Austin I met my first college friend for breakfast. she had to leave school during our sophomore year for health reasons and ended up transferring instead of coming back. but we managed to keep in touch. and I am so grateful for her friendship. she is an amazing person.

she was one of my first friends to marry. she now has a three year-old. and the whole perfect marriage to a great husband. but she loves hearing my adventurous single-girl stories. about guys I've met. and I love hearing about her family.

another different shade of green bond. another conversation that makes me appreciate everything I have, my family, and all of my friends I've made along the way.

she showed me recent pictures of her son in the parking lot before I headed on my way to Colorado. she's so proud of him. and of me for all that I've done with my career. and I'm proud of her, too. she's a fantastic mom and friend.

on the slow drive back in my friend's new e-bay purchase, I had plenty of time to contemplate things.

I miss my friends that live far away terribly when I'm at home. but I know at any time I can call them or we can visit each other and it's like no time has passed. sure we have new stories to trade. but the deep bond of friendship is always there, sometimes altered slightly here and there by circumstance, but always there.

my friends amaze me. they inspire me. I love them all so much. and miss them, even though I know we're always with each other in our hearts.

driving into the storm

flew into Dallas last Tuesday. picked up an e-bay purchase (read:truck) I graciously (read: foolishly) agreed to drive back to Colorado for a friend of mine.

had lunch with a couple friends from college. we caught up on each other's lives. one I'd seen this summer when she drug me to Casa Bonita on her way through Denver. the other I'd seen at our college's alumni weekend the previous fall.

both had bought new houses since the last time I was in Dallas. we talked of remodeling and painting. of boys and how to find a good one. and of how silly boys think to get the Direct TV turned on, but not the power. (little hard to watch those hundreds of channels with no juice...)

after hanging out at one of their houses with her two year-old, comparing kitchen remodeling stories. went to dinner with three other friends. tales of weddings and boyfriends. cats and dogs. past travels and upcoming adventures. we talked about Katrina, about our friend and her family. about boys and where I should look.

sitting around giggling and gossiping like school girls, my phone rang. it was my friend who I was going to meet for lunch on my way to Houston the next day. she told me that my friends that lived in Houston were likely evacuating becuase of Rita, but that I was welcome to stay with her.

I called my friend in Houston, they were indeed evacuating. but since I was now driving the truck and no longer flying I had a bit more flexibility, so we made plans to try and meet up on her way north, as I was on my way south.

it never really crossed my mind that driving towards a hurricane was a bad idea. I live in Colorado. except a few rain storms in college and one since, I'd never experienced any personal inconvenience from them.

the next morning, I got up and did some work at the evil empire (that although evil, is the most constant way to get wi-fi while travelling). then headed off to College Station (CS) where I was now going to stay and meet up with my Houston friend.

on my way south I noticed the traffic heading north was pretty heavy. and a truck eats a bit more gas than my little car. so I pulled off on the turn-off to CS to make sure I had plenty of gas. there were long lines for the pumps. the people in the convenience store had a franticness about them. it made me a little anxious.

I continued on to CS, and my friend's house. I got to meet her beautiful little baby girl. we went to a late lunch and waited to hear from our Houston friend. things were going more slowly than they expected.

there was no water, no pet carriers, and they had to find a gas station that still had gas. would we mind finding a cat carrier and getting them some water, so they could spend more time visiting and less looking?

we went to the store in CS, got one of the last cat carriers. the water aisle was empty. but there were a few left in the cooler near the check out. the people leaving Houston, and those worried about the forcasted 75 mph sustained winds in CS were stocking up.

seeing the water aisle completely empty is when it really hit home that Houston very well may be in big trouble.

I know lots of people that live in Houston. many, many friends. friends' parents and family. my CS friend said her parents' house near Clear Lake might flood up to 30 feet if they get a direct hit. it was crazy.

when my Houston friend showed up in CS, with their bird and two kids. her sister-in-law, their cat and two kids. the quiet house with one baby turned into a zoo and child care in a matter of minutes. my friend was so stressed out. I didn't know how to help her but I wanted to so badly.

the girls had left their husbands in Houston, as they were to fly out the next morning with their parents. I've known my friend's husband (and his brother and parents) since I was 10 years old. I knew how scared she was that they wouldn't get out. I was worried about them, too. but I insisted to her that they'd be fine. we attempted to lighten the mood by joking that the hurricane might turn and hit ravaged New Orleans again anyway...

we tried to talk and catch up a little amongst the craziness. I had been so looking forward to staying with them catching up with her and my childhood friend. but life and nature have a way of changing plans. it requires flexibility. after too short a visit they continued on to her parents' house near where I had started my journey that day.

after a fantastic dinner with my friend, her husband, and a slightly fussy 6 month-old, we headed to their house and watched a little hurricane coverage before heading to bed. the next morning I decided I needed to leave a little extra early for my drive to San Antonio, given the craziness on the Texas highways...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

back in cool

my trip was great. a little scary and eerie at times. but great. I was supposed to go to Houston for a little while. Rita changed my plans a bit.

thanks everyone for your concern. really didn't mean to worry anyone. just wanted to get down the craziness and scariness of being nearly alone on a tiny Texas highway, with the only cars going the other way being long convoys of National Guard troops.

the craziness was somewhat forgotten while trying to stay cool in the sun in over 100 degree heat for three days. but now I'm home and safe and cool. I'll write more and read more as soon as I have time.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rita please kind.

driving away from Houston. National Guard convoy driving towards. there's long lines for gas, little water, even 100s of miles from the coast. crazy. scary.

Monday, September 19, 2005

tribute to the Big Easy

I am heading down south. away from the craziness that work has become. and although I was somewhat hoping I'd have a story to tell about a non-setup by a friend. he bailed.

so, as I don't intend to post much (if at all) while I'm gone, instead of new stories, I'll leave you with a few pictures of the city where my best friend grew up.

a tribute to the Big Easy. to the vibrancy and vitality that emanates from the city and its residents. a resilience I don't believe can be eroded, even by feet and feet of water.

(click on the thumbnails to view larger images.)

Bourbon Street & the French Quarter

The Garden District

Jackson Square & St. Louis Cathedral


my humble version of a thank you for hospitality. the hospitality that New Orleans and her residents has extended to me many times... hopefully the rest of us can show a little Southern hospitality to those who call(ed) her home.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

what is wicked?

what is good? what is not? we all grew up knowing the witches from West and East were wicked. and the other, the one that started with G, was good.

but what if they weren't always that way? and what if they weren't even that way when a little girl from Kansas blew through town?

we went to see Wicked* tonight. it made me question things. it made me happy to know that there really isn't the definitive line between good and not-so-good that we were taught as kids.

so what was that I was going on about last week about not being good? of course it's all just shades of good, anyway. and, well shades of wicked, I suppose. and it's interesting and a bit liberating to identify with both at the same time.

* it was excellent, and I very highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

can't always be good

I was being good. I have to work, too many things to finish before my meeting tomorrow. I can't hang out tonight. we talked for a while. he was very persuasive. still I didn't waver. I told him to call if he got off work early this weekend. he said he couldn't promise anything, but would try.

we hung up. as I set the phone down I felt it. the tug. I really did want to see him. I'll be gone much of the next month. I may not get to see him for a while. then the text: plleeeeeeeeaaaassseee

I caved. after all he did say please... and work will still be here (ridiculously early) tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

inspiration reborn

I think I've said before that I'm a bit of a photo nut. I was reminded of how much I love photography tonight.

J and I went to see John Fielder do a slideshow presentation on his new book. another comparison of historic photos to what that same place looks like today.

it was inspiring. although Fielder's not originally from Colorado, he appreciates the beauty of my home state as much if not more than most Colorado natives.

and he's a really nice guy. I often visit his gallery store to stare at the magnificent prints on the walls. the prints I will not be able to afford anytime soon. various times when I've been in there he is there. he always takes time to talk with the gallery guests.

I've talked with him about his photography, my own, and about the possibility of going on one of his workshop trips.

I would love to go on one of his multi-day hiking trips, where he imparts his landscape photography wisdom on the participants. but I have a better chance of affording his prints in most cases than a workshop.

everytime I talk to him or visit his gallery I get this little tug. a tug to shoot more pictures. I have always loved taking pictures. and given I live in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful states, I have great subjects to work with, which require expending little effort.

I have taken countless cool pictures of Colorado, some are included in this post. more were included from a little hike near a mountain lake a few months ago.

but I've taken many pictures of equally beautiful but vastly different places. I've shared some from San Francisco.

tonight I was inspired to find the others, and work on some posts about them. I have cool shots of London, New Orleans, Washington D.C., San Diego, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Florida, Oregon, Texas, Hawaii, many Colorado spots, and I'm sure a few more locations that I'm forgetting about right now.

I've decided that I'm going to look through my boxes of photos, find the best of those, digitize any that need it, and do more photo posts. those are the ones I enjoy looking over again and again. perhaps you do, too.

I'm also headed on a few trips in the next few weeks, and I plan to take bunches of photos, perhaps some with this in mind.

so tonight I was inspired again to do what I love. take the opportunities I have been given to shoot some more pictures.

and in case you are curious, the photos in this post are, in order from top to bottom:

1) Aspens turning on Rollins Pass.

2) Beginnings of the sunset over Colorado Springs.

3) Sunset looking west from Denver.

4) (not sure of exact peak name) near Berthoud Pass.

5) Sunset over Breckenridge.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

just another family dinner

the whole family was at dinner. I got lucky enough to sit next to my grandma. she and I talked quietly while chaos ensued around us.

we were celebrating three birthdays. my brother's, sister-in-law's and mine. my adorable nearly-two-year-old niece was dancing and laughing and entertaining us.

the chaos reminded me of something. one of my roommates spent Thanksgiving at our house one year. her husband ends up in Denver from time to time for training. she told him he should decline any invitations to holidays at my house. I thought that a little harsh.

but apparently not all families talk non-stop. apparently not all families take turns telling hilarious stories about their siblings, somewhat shocking the aunts and parents around the table. apparently there are quiet family dinners.

we've never had a quiet family dinner. with only the four kids and my parents it was always a bit loud and chaotic. add in a little extended family, and the chaos grows. the one-upping increases.

back to the birthday dinner. there were only ten of us. but ten is more than enough to create chaos. we made waitresses frazzled, caused the manager to check on us repeatedly, all the while, most of my family is oblivious.

my brothers and sister are all very much of the opinion that being a little too assertive gets them what they want. for my oldest brother and my little sister, it pretty much always has. somewhere along the way the second oldest brother decided that was the way to get what he wanted in life. be, well, a little more selfish and a little too assertive. so at dinner, they're all telling stories, louder and more important than the last.

somehow I missed that gene. the one that causes the desire to be louder and more demanding than my siblings. I can be assertive when it's really important, but I never felt I needed to be the center of attention.

that's why I sometimes feel that I might be my grandma's favorite. I listen to her. I talk to her. I don't talk at her, like my siblings sometimes do. that's why it was so nice to sit next to her quietly talking.

it was a good dinner. great to see my family. another birthday celebration. another slightly-less-selfish wish. another little self-realization. I'm glad I missed the standout gene. I like my quiet place in my family. although I love all of them very much, sometimes I'm glad we're not too similar.

Monday, September 12, 2005

shame on me

another amazing mountain wedding. drinking, dancing, and talking with good friends. drinking, dancing and flirting with a cute boy.

while we were dancing we talked. he told me I was a great friend. he told me I was beautiful and amazing. he told me he loved me. he was drunk. I was certain he meant that last one in the friendly sense.

back at the hotel, in the room I was sharing with him and another guy friend, we're trying to figure out which room the after-party is in. the bride and groom were the ones in the know.

I was about to hang up the phone after a botched attempt to call their room. (got the groom's sleeping dad instead, since the newlyweds hadn't checked in yet.) my dancing friend pulled me onto one of the beds with him.

I sat back up. ignored his arm around my waist. talked with our other friend as he called the newlywed's cell to get the scoop. they were going to after-party in our room.

we waited for them to come down. one friend fading on one of the beds. my dancing friend on the other. arm still around my waist. still pulling me toward him. I gave in a little this time. rested my head on his stomach. he ran his fingers slowly through my hair.

ring ring

I sat up. it was the groom. they were hungry. did we have anything. no, then they'd be down after they found something.

one still fading on one bed. the other, his arm still around my waist. pulling me closer. kissing my neck.

ring ring

I sat up again. it was the bride. they were tired. afterall it was midnight. would we mind if they bailed. of course not. it's their wedding night.

the other fell deep asleep. we were left to our own devices. he pulled me back to him. closer. this time he kissed me. it was more amazing than I remembered... and the memory was rather amazing.

he wanted more. I wouldn't. I couldn't.

in my mind there were many reasons. his previous reaction, a sense it wasn't right. I told him I couldn't with our friend in the room. he said he understood.

then more kissing. still amazing. eventually the alcohol got the best of him and he passed out.

I got up to brush my teeth and noticed it was nearly 2. when I climbed back into bed, he was just awake enough to pull me into him. to fall asleep in his arms. enveloped by him. it felt wonderfully comfortable. like home.

eventually we all woke up. the guys were talking about the night before. the drunk one couldn't remember how we got to the hotel. did he drive? the other and I laughed. we would have walked if he'd insisted on driving.

he said he didn't remember anything after dancing. I guess the amazing kisses will once again* be only my memory.

fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

* the last time he said he didn't remember how we got to my house. or where his car was. implying he didn't remember the rest. yes, my drunken dancing friend and OhThoseEyes are one and the same. so, what is it with people claiming to be so drunk they don't remember things? no one takes responsibility for their actions anymore...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

silent Sunday

it was an eerie Sunday. I was sitting with TheDog at the coffee shop. the world seemed slow, if not on pause. even TheDog seemed melancholy.

was it everyone's way of remembering the tragedy that occurred four years ago? was it the sadness and sense of loss perpetuated by Hurricane Katrina? (or was it just that there was finally regular season football on tv?)

I sat reading part of the paper, part of a book. reflecting over the craziness in the world. the hate and blame and finger-pointing that never seems to end.

I'm a natural mediator, a middle-child. I don't like conflict. I like for everyone to get along. I've always tried to do my part to facilitate hand-shaking instead of finger-pointing. compassion instead of hate. understanding or at the very least willingness to accept another point of view instead of closed-mindedness.

how will the countries and religions of the world ever learn to live in peace and listen to other points of view without hate and contempt, if individuals cannot do the same with their neighbors who live next door?

instead of blaming everyone else for what wasn't done, will people ever learn to appreciate what has been done and find out what they can do to help?

at least
some are reaching out to thank those who have helped recently.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Dear America

A little something I came across that captures the resiliency and spirit I've seen in my friend who grew up in NO and experienced in my visits there!

Perhaps we can all do a little something for someone who may need a little bit of help this weekend and beyond?!


Chris Rose: Louisiana ambassadors say hello

Dear America,

I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We're South Louisiana.

We have arrived on your doorstep on short notice and we apologize for that, but we never were much for waiting around for invitations. We're not much on formalities like that.

And we might be staying around your town for a while, enrolling in your schools and looking for jobs, so we wanted to tell you a few things about us. We know you didn't ask for this and neither did we, so we're just going to have to make the best of it.

First of all, we thank you. For your money, your water, your food, your prayers, your boats and buses and the men and women of your National Guards, fire departments, hospitals and everyone else who has come to our rescue.

We're a fiercely proud and independent people, and we don't cotton much to outside interference, but we're not ashamed to accept help when we need it. And right now, we need it.

Just don't get carried away. For instance, once we get around to fishing again, don't try to tell us what kind of lures work best in your waters.

We're not going to listen. We're stubborn that way.

You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you'd probably hire an exterminator to get out of your yard.

We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't.

But we'll try not to judge you while we're in your town.

Everybody loves their home, we know that. But we love South Louisiana with a ferocity that borders on the pathological. Sometimes we bury our dead in LSU sweatshirts.

Often we don't make sense. You may wonder why, for instance - if we could only carry one small bag of belongings with us on our journey to your state - why in God's name did we bring a pair of shrimp boots?

We can't really explain that. It is what it is.

You've probably heard that many of us stayed behind. As bad as it is, many of us cannot fathom a life outside of our border, out in that place we call Elsewhere.

The only way you could understand that is if you have been there, and so many of you have. So you realize that when you strip away all the craziness and bars and parades and music and architecture and all that hooey, really, the best thing about where we come from is us.

We are what made this place a national treasure. We're good people. And don't be afraid to ask us how to pronounce our names. It happens all the time.

When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces.

But don't pity us. We're gonna make it. We're resilient. After all, we've been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That's got to count for something.

OK, maybe something else you should know is that we make jokes at inappropriate times.

But what the hell.

And one more thing: In our part of the country, we're used to having visitors. It's our way of life.

So when all this is over and we move back home, we will repay to you the hospitality and generosity of spirit you offer to us in this season of our despair.

That is our promise. That is our faith.

Chris Rose [a columnist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans] can be reached at

Thursday, September 08, 2005

hopes and expectations

I got a chance to catch up with one of my good friends from high school this weekend. we'd lost touch for a while, then ran into each other at the grocery store a while back. we live less than a mile apart.

this past weekend we decided to go for a hike on the extra day off. and although our hike got rained out. we wouldn't let it ruin our day, and decided to grab coffee then dinner instead.

we talked and talked. so many years to catch up on. so many big and little stories to share. even some stories from strangers.

we got to talking about where our lives were. if we were where we thought we would be at this point.

she said she (and her parents) always assumed she'd work for a few years after college, then get married and have kids.

I used to think I wanted to get married to a guy that would stay home with the kids so I could have a career. my parents always told me I couldn't get married until I was 32. I needed to make my own way first.

both of us finished college, went to grad school and have done fairly well in our careers. we've both had good and bad relationships along the way.

she asked me if I was happy with where I was in life. I answered with a definitive yes. I aked her the same. she answered that in some ways she was, but she wishes she were married. she wants that, expects it. and the kids, too.

she asked me if I expected more. I answered that I didn't so much expect more as hope for it. I do hope to find someone to share the rest of my life with, and maybe to have kids with. but if not, I'd be content with my life the way it is.

somewhere between those questions and our lists of who we were looking for, I realized that our general outlook on life was vastly different. and the biggest difference was that between our hopes and expectations.

she's not happy with where life has taken her, or where she has taken her life. her expectations haven't been met.

I am happy with where my life is. sure I hope my life becomes more and different, but I don't expect anything.

maybe that's why I'm happy with my life, and she doesn't seem to be. when you expect something and it doesn't happen, you feel slighted. when you simply hope for something and it doesn't happen. you continue to hope for it, maybe even work a little harder to turn your hopes into reality.

I hope my friend learns to be happy with where she is, yet not lose hope for something more.


later, I got to thinking about what would happen if I lost everything I have worked so hard for, my house and my career, like those in the New Orleans and other places hit by the hurricane.

sure I would be sad, but as long as my friends and family were alright that would be all that would matter. I think that's what happiness is. loving and feeling loved. and I do, even if right now it's not by one special guy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

(im)possible wishes

over delectable seared ahi tuna and scrumptious steak, the topic turned to Hurricane Katrina, what else.

one of my friends and bosses stated his opinion that perhaps individuals living in a bowl, mostly below sea level were asking for it. I was astounded. he admitted perhaps it was a heartless view.

he wondered how anyone would choose to live there. he's never walked among the beautiful homes of the Garden District. he's never had a beignet at Cafe du Monde. he's never wandered under the balconies of Bourbon Street, with people all around reaching up for beads.

he's never felt the vitality of the city. the sense of home those who have lived there most of their lives feel for the Big Easy. the hospitality often offered to visitors.

his best friend didn't grow up there. didn't get married there. perhaps if he had, if his best friend had, he would feel more compassion.

after another friend said her company was matching all donations, and after a few too many celebratory drinks I asked if my company was even donating.

open mouth. insert foot.

his wife looked shocked. he laughed. he has a way of dispelling my sometimes inappropriate work-related comments. he was my friend first, before he became my boss. and he treats me as a friend first. luckily.

we talked about why the levees broke. they were built for a Category 3 storm, not the 4 that Katrina was when it hit New Orleans.

another engineer friend explained why engineers don't design for the worst case scenario. why they look at probability of occurrences. otherwise it would be too expensive too build anything. if the worst case always had to be considered.

J inquired about my friend who grew up in NO. I passed along the stories she had told me. her family and friends were fine. just lost as to what to do next.

I had a great conversation with my most politically opposite friend. she went to school in NO and has friends that still live there. we talked about FEMA and the government's response.

she agreed with me that we should all focus on helping those that need it, not on pointing fingers. there will be time for assigning blame for things that didn't go right when the water has been pumped out. when everyone is safe. when pets and people have been reunited with those that love them.

when it came time to blow out the candle. my typical, somewhat selfish wish was forgotten. this year it was a much more wide-reaching wish.

perhaps it has already come true a little. my company donated a decent amount to help the victims of the Hurricane.

I hope everyone puts aside their differences long enough to help one another. tries to understand before passing judgment. I know it was a lofty wish, but perhaps if everyone were to try just a little to be compassionate before angry, it could become reality.

if you are able to, please help. there are links at the top of the page that are a few of the agencies that can help. every little bit helps.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I have many stories to tell from the last week or so. but as I am not always one to follow chronological order, I'll start with the end, and Joseph.

on our way to the restaurant, we passed him. he was sitting on a bench, obviously one of Boulder's many homeless. he commented on how beautiful TheDog is and gave her a few pats as we passed. we said thanks, and wished him a happy day.

as we sat on the patio trading silly stories, he walked past. stopped. and returned to pet TheDog. again exclaiming what a beautiful dog she is.

his name was Joseph, and he started to tell us that he missed his dogs. he had five. most were still with his ex-wife and ex-car.

he began to tell us a story of his 230 pound, St. Bernard and Great Dane mix named Namath. (yes, after Joe.)

one night, Joseph stopped at a bar for a quick drink. when he left, some surly individuals followed him out to his truck. but before he could reach it they began to stir things up a bit. he couldn't get to his gun in his glove box.

he called to Namath. Namath simply stood up in the back of the truck, and the surly individuals took one look at the gigantic dog, and retreated. that night Joseph bought Namath a steak, in appreciation of the dog saving his life.

Joseph also told us of the difficulty with which he had his loyal companion, Namath, put down at the age of 13. how hard it had been for him. and how he asked to have him cremated and kept his ashes, still.

he is now homeless. he lives in a tent in the park at the base of the Flatirons. he has a fox for a friend. her name is Foxy Lady. he had a moose for a friend. his name was Bullwinkle.

Bullwinkle stopped coming around. Joseph asked the park ranger if they had seen him. they told Joseph he had been shot by a poacher. Joseph asked if the caught the man that did it. they hadn't. they only had a truck type and color.

Joseph took it upon himself to hunt the truck down. he confronted the guy. asked him if he enjoyed being a poacher. the man stood, a much larger man than Joseph, and asked Joseph what he was going to do about it.

as Joseph began to shrink away, the park rangers walked up behind him. the poacher was sentenced to five years in jail.

Joseph, apparently out of stories for the moment, asked if we had licenses to be so beautiful. we laughed.

he apologized for continuing to talk even after our dinners came. we told him to not worry, asked if he needed anything. he insisted he didn't need anything. he had everything he needed.

and then with tears in his eyes, Joseph told us that although he was tough, (after all, he served his country in two tours of duty), he missed his dogs. terribly.

then with a few more pets for my beautiful blonde dog, he wished us a long and happy life. and walked up the hill.

I know the profound affect my dog has had on me. but it was so incredibly touching to see this older, homeless man shed a few tears for his departed friends. he neither wanted nor needed anything from us. except maybe someone to listen to his stories.

sometimes in the face of all the chaos that life has become, particularly recently, just listening to another tell their story is perhaps the most generous gift we can give another.

Joseph, I wish you a long and happy life, and I hope more Namaths and Bullwinkles and thirty-something women have the great privilege of hearing your stories and knowing you, if even for a brief moment.

Monday, September 05, 2005

older looks good on you...

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes! I had a fantastic birthday and a great weekend.

I have stories of dinners and drinking. nieces and pups. family and friends. possible goodbyes and wishful returns. hikes and laziness. a man named Joseph. hopes versus expectations. a little rivalry. and more news from my friend from New Orleans.

I will get to them as soon as I can...

(and no, Jeremy, I didn't injure myself *knock on wood*...
and yes, Katie, I went to the Black Crowes and Tom Petty concert at Red Rocks)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

how many candles?

there's something special about the angle of the sun at this time of year. the sunlight has a special glow. I love it.

is it just me? is it only because it's when I first was?

so far my birthday has been great. last night kicked it off with another outstanding show on the rocks.

today, phone calls, e-mails and cards from friends, letting me know they're thinking about me. flowers arrived at my office just as I did. beautiful. blue, pink, and purple.

I had lunch with my friends from work in the sun on a beautiful Colorado day. then cake at the office. I picked angelfood with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. perfect.

I'm grabbing a drink with a friend right after work. having dinner with the girls. then more drinks with everyone that can make it. the celebration continues through the long weekend.

you know, this turning older thing isn't so bad.