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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

celebrating life

I don't have many milestones to celebrate. No major anniversaries. No kid's birthdays. So I tend to celebrate my own in style.

This year, it will be a week-long celebration. Of my own instigation. It's my time to celebrate life. Broken ankle, crutches and all.

The celebration kicked off a few nights ago with a phenomenal show at my favorite venue, Red Rocks, with Bonnie Raitt and Keb Mo serenading me. Yes, they were singing just for me.

I took time off yesterday to have lunch on a perfect patio day with my mom and sister.

Last night was a nostalgic show at the Botanic Gardens with my mom. We enjoyed Judy Collins' (my mom's long-forgotten pal from her college days) show in her old home state. My mom smiled when she sang Send in the Clowns. I used to do a ballet routine to that song, back when I was more graceful. The song reminded us both.

Today was the, now traditional, angel food cake and strawberries at work (since I was supposed to take tomorrow off). And tonight he's taking me to dinner, since he has plans tomorrow. Yes, plans more important* then spending my birthday with me.

Tomorrow night I'm going for dinner and drinks with good friends. The celebration will continue through the long weekend with friends and family, a party, football game and of course more music.

Really, it's just my excuse to celebrate life.

* Yes, I realize that I told him it wasn't a big deal that he might not be able to hang out with me on the actual day. He's just supposed to want to. I rearranged things so I could see him on his actual birthday. Perhaps it should be telling, perhaps it shouldn't. Perhaps it just is.

Monday, August 28, 2006

just trying to get around

Waiting with other truly handicapped people the other night, I began to feel guilty.

I'd been complaining about the ridiculousness of the stadium's handicap access. Complaining about the pathetically inadequate number of handicapped spaces that fill up hours before game time. Complaining about getting around the stadium.

But sitting there with people who really can't get themselves places, I realized even as slow as I am on my crutches, I'm still much more mobile than some people.

Granted, I'm not crutching it even half of a mile anytime soon, but I sure can get back to the car without waiting for a golf cart that's absolutely necessary for someone else.

So, I told my mom and sister we were walking.

A little ways from the designated handicap waiting benches, a cart driver stopped and asked if we wanted a ride. I agreed, as long as he went back up the hill to get some of the other people, as well.

He apologized to us all for the wait. He'd been yelled at various times that evening. Apparently the whole handicap experience had angered more than just me that evening. It was completely disorganized. Hopefully it will improve for those that really need it.

And I know that for the next game, at least I'll have a different game plan on how to get to and from my seats.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Thank you, Mr. King

Sometimes, it all just comes together.

I was sitting in my loaner wheelchair early. If my "pusher" had been inside already, she could have pushed me to the handicap area earlier.

As it was, the venue was nearly full when my mom walked in with A & S and other good friends she'd just run into. My friend's husband pushed me up to the handicap area.

There wasn't much room left which put me on the outside. When they brought him in on the cart to switch him over to the wheelchair to bring him to the stage he was a few feet from me.

we applauded as he passed by. A legend. A true blues great. On his 80th birthday celebration tour.

His band was phenomenal. The smooth saxophones, trumpet, guitar, piano. All so talented. And he's still got it.

His singing and tales delighted the crowd. Despite the downpour, the show was amazing.

A & S were well under the handicapped tent, as was my mom, well mostly. I had some nice gentleman's umbrella, and a trash bag over my splint. Sure I was getting a bit wet, but with the king of blues on stage and the pain pills, I didn't care.

When the lightening started, they cut him short. Some of his band had stopped accompanying him songs ago. But he wanted to keep going. His manager came up to the soundboard and cut the power.

They brought him back up in the wheelchair, and as he was walking back to the golf cart he paused beside me. He stuck out his hand. I took it in mine and shook it, thanking him personally. Then he said he saved something for me.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out guitar picks for me and my leg rest (a.k.a. my mom).

I was absolutely giddy. My mom was still staying with me after the show. I couldn't sleep. I told her this was the silver lining. It may even have made all of the rest of it worth it.

Even in my craziest dreams, I have never imagined I would ever get to meet and personally thank B.B. King for an incredible night of amazing music in the company of wonderful friends.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I was scared before. but when I "woke up" I was completely out of it. my ankle hurt like nothing had ever hurt before. but I didn't seem to care.

ah, pain medicine.

it didn't take my doc long at all to fix what I had broken in my adventure of last weekend. I was in the surgery center for less than 5 hours. I was home, but still really out of it, that evening.

I had flowers waiting. from work, and from my parents and sister. and him. I had many well-wishers.*

that night I got sick. nothing really helped. until the doctor called in another prescription. then it was better enough to take my pain meds and fall asleep. although restlessly.

I was feeling much better the day after the surgery. had visitors. worked a little. did a few sudoku puzzles. watched a movie or two.

the next morning I woke up not feeling quite right. I got really sick. and the ankle just kept hurting more and more. and more. I couldn't keep even water down. finally, the doctor called back. they switched the pain meds. once I could take them, they seemed to help. some.

my mom's been a godsend. helping me out. going to the pharmacy. getting me water. crackers to take the meds with. trying to make me feel less miserable.

until today, I'd felt on and off nauseous. for days. this morning I even had a little coffee. and tonight, I'm (hopefully) off to see Mr. King. granted, I'll be sitting in a wheelchair instead of up, dancing to the music. but at least I get** to go.

* thanks everyone for your kind words and thoughts, I so very much appreciate it!
**read: at least I think I've talked my mom into letting me go.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

life is beautiful

our trip to the mountains started out great. after relaxing with my nieces and sister-in-law for a little while, we walked down the street to the Italian place.

after dinner, I slept well. really well. better than I had in months. the next morning we lazily enjoyed our breakfast and got ready to go hiking.

it was cloudy. the trail I'd taken a dozen times was the one we'd planned to take that day. but with the clouds, and likelihood of lightening, we decided a trail mostly below tree line was a better idea.

we got to the trailhead. there were other cars, but not too crowded. the hike followed an old mining road for the first few tenths of a mile.

the view back down the gulch was beautiful.

after an old mining cabin, the trail got a little more treacherous. narrow. rocky. exposed tree roots. but we made decent time, except my constant stopping to take pictures.

after stopping to borrow bug spray from a group of hikers, since we had left ours in the car, I commented to J how the hikers seem to get friendlier the further you get from the Front Range. the trails close to the cities seem to have more tourists. more inconsiderate people.

as we continued our climb, the beautiful blooming wildflowers were in sharp contrast to the jagged rocks and majestic pine trees.

the trail meandered past incredible water falls. after the falls we lost the trail a few times. scrambling up granite outcroppings, wandering in the trees.

the long way around sometimes gives a different perspective. I was awestruck by the rugged scenery. so different from the valley two south, where I camped so many times as a kid. also, so different from the valley two north, where I've hiked so many times.

we arrived at our "destination." the hanging lake. the rain started gently falling. TheDog and I climbed down to the lake. amazing how it sits on the edge, water slowly falling over the edge of the cliff.

I would have liked to stay longer. let TheDog swim longer. explore the shore a bit more. but the clouds were darkening, and we thought it best to head on down.

as we started our descent. I decided my sister and I needed to bring TheDog and her dog up here before the end of the season. so TheDog could swim with her friend.

on our way down the rain continued gently. the trail was getting muddier. at one point I slipped on a bit of mud. a tree root caught my foot. but the rest of me kept sliding. my ankle twisted. something snapped. I hit the ground.

the pain shot up my leg and exploded through my body. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't put any weight on my leg. and just then it started to pour.
just putting my foot on the ground was excruciating. there was no way I'd walk out of there.
J helped me half crawl under the trees. my mind raced. I'd have to send J for help. maybe find some sticks to use as crutches.

just then a couple and their nephew came upon us. they offered to help us down. sent their nephew on with their cell to call for help as soon as he got service. they helped me hop. and when that was going really slow. he picked me up and carried me fireman style.

then another couple caught up to us. the two guys helped me hop and carried me when they could. a while later two more couples caught up to our slow moving group. they sent their wives on to help the nephew summon help.

the four guys took turns carrying me, helping me hop down the trail. we'd gone almost a mile when we got back to the mining road. about a tenth of a mile from the trailhead we heard the sound of wheels on the rocks. we stopped. it was the search and rescue team.

after thanking my real rescuers, the amazingly nice hikers that got me most of the way back to civilization, the rescue guys got my ankle immobilized and took me down to the ambulance.

once in the ER, the news came that it was indeed broken. the ER doc said he was fairly sure I'd need surgery. but I needed to go see an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.

today I saw the orthopedic surgeon. tomorrow he's performing the surgery. I'm scared. I've never broken a bone before. I've never had surgery before. but somehow I know it's all going to be alright.

the kindness of strangers on a hiking trail has completely renewed my faith in people. in myself. in life. they have reminded me that life is beautiful.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

time for a change

time is precious.
it seems to be all I want more of these days. more time to spend with friends. family. TheDog. even him.

I haven't been up to the mountains enough this summer. only once overnight. and that's not enough. I haven't even clicked the shutter in about a month. and that needs to change.

and so, I'm leaving. I'm heading up the hill. for two entire nights. just TheDog, J and me. neither she nor TheDog have seen much of me lately.

I know I'm crazy. how can I possibly take all that time off. all four hours. I just am. and I don't really care about the consequences. work is only that. and it will have to wait.