Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I'm truly spoiled! My day today included kayaking on the bayou in Tarpon Springs while watching the manatees lazily swim around and then kayaking on the gulf with a dolphin frolicking nearby. Blessed is what I am. Seriously! I've been back in Florida since Dec. 22 staying with my parents in the house on the gulf and enjoying time with family over the holidays. It's been busy much of the time, but the last few days have been good vacation-like ones. Yesterday we rented the kayaks (my parents are buying some and so we rented 3 different kinds so they could try them out) and took them out to Fort DeSoto. I'd requested a trip to Fort DeSoto at some point while I'm here. Mostly for nostalgia's sake. We camped there a lot when I was a kid and I hadn't been back since I was about 15. We kayaked through the back waterways and then mom and I walked through the fort and then walked on the beach looking at shells. The only thing that would have made me feel more like my childhood was if we actually camped and then rode our bikes to the beach and fort and I ran through the rooms hollering to hear my voice echo through the rooms.

Now we've just come back from eating down at the sponge docks in town at one of the greek restaurants and I feel again as if I'm very blessed. There is abundance in my life and I'm so appreciative of this time to relax, play and soak up the time with my wonderful parents. In 2 weeks I'll be working at my new job and life will be very different than it is in this moment.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Moving day

I'm sitting on the bed in the guest room while 3 strangers pack my stuff. It's a strange and surreal feeling. It's crazy the amount of stuff they've gotten done already in 4 hours. I got pretty emotional about it at first. I mean, this is it...I'm leaving Colorado. When did that happen??? It seemed like it was this thing that was going to happen...someday...in a few months. And now "in a few months" has arrived. They're packing today and loading tomorrow and then I drive out on Wednesday. As excited as I've been about this change and opportunity, I'm so sad to be leaving Colorado and especially all the amazing people who have been part of my life here. I'm going to miss them. I'm planning to visit as often as possible. For now, I'll sit here, with my snoring dog by my side and try to keep myself busy while the strangers keep packing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hope! Love! Rejoice!

I haven't made a secret of the fact that I supported Barack Obama in this election. He wasn't my first choice for a candidate, but when it boiled down to McCain and Obama and then McCain picked Palin, my choice got a lot easier. Now, let me be clear and say that I read a lot of things, did a lot of research, looked at each of their platforms and made a decision according to who I felt most represented my viewpoint. And once I picked my candidate, I got pretty excited about it. For me, this was the first election in a long time...maybe ever...that I was truly excited about my candidate instead of voting for "the least of two evils" or against a particular candidate. This was a vote cast for someone who I truly believe is the best person to lead our country. That said, I completely respect the fact that others, many of them much more intelligent than I, disagree with me and think I've made the wrong decision. That's ok. We don't have to agree.

This morning I awoke with a sense of jubilation. The idea that there's something to look forward to and that maybe, just maybe, the massive mistakes I think have been made in the last 8 years can somehow be remedied, even if just in a small way. So, when I was faced today with comments from many who disagree with my politics that were disappointed, upset and sometimes downright hateful, I was disheartend, to say the least. Now I realize that some level of disappointment naturally comes along with the deal when your candidate doesn't win. I know I'd be extremely sad today if Obama was on the losing end. So, I realize that jubilation is a little much to expect. But I think I hoped for a little less in the way of dramatics. I realize that it's easy for me to say, since I voted for the winner, but I would hope that if the situation were reversed, I'd be gracious to those who voted differently than I and that I would then turn my energy to hoping and praying that the President-elect would be able to lead our country in a wise, humble and effective way. Now, I tend to have some strong opinions, so I'm not saying I'd do that perfectly, but I really hope I wouldn't be as fearful, hateful and despairing as some I'm hearing.

So, here's what I'm proposing. Let's hope instead of fear. Hope that President-elect Obama can do even part of what he's promised, hope that our situation in the USA and in the world is better in 4 years than it is now. Let's love instead of hate. Love the friends who disagreed with us, sometimes with hateful words and disparaging personal attacks, love the people who support positions and ideas that we strongly oppose. This is the only way we can move toward any unity in this country. Hate only produces more hate. And let's rejoice instead of despair. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is in control, regardless of who the President is. Rejoice because whether or not he was your choice, we've reached the point in this country when an African-Amercian win the Presidential election. Rejoice because so many people who normally feel apathetic and disenfranchised now feel like they have a voice. There are many reasons to rejoice if we will just look for them.

After all, wouldn't you rather hope, love and rejoice? It's a lot more fun than fear, hate and despair any day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is it wrong to hate my dog???

Ok, so I don't really hate her...and I'll admit that most of the behavior you're about to have the extreme joy of reading about was caused by what was probably an upset stomach, but still...NOT pleasant to come home to!

My first clue that maybe something was amiss was that when I opened the back door and came in to the little space where Malu, my Boxer, is usually imprisoned for the day, I discovered that although the gate was still closed and latched, the aforementioned Boxer was not enclosed. I, of course, bellowed, "MALU!!!" and she came running. So, I shut her out in the yard and went to inspect what damage she might have done while loose in the house with no supervision (since a 7 month old puppy + empty house usually doesn't = good things). The living room looked ok, although littered with her toys and I began to breathe a sigh of relief. Oh, but no...WAIT...way too premature. The bedroom...the bedroom was a different story. The first thing I spotted was a big wet puddle...IN THE MIDDLE OF MY BED!!!!! Oh yes, yes, she did. She PEED ON MY BED! And then I spotted the rest of the mess. She had pooped numerous times on the rugs in the bedroom. Not on the easy to clean-up hardwood, but on my Turkish rugs. NICE! And...not the type of poop that is relatively easy to pick up either (sorry - this is gross, I know), which is what indicates to me that she was desperate and that's why she apparently jumped over the gate in search of a good potty spot. I'll admit I was pretty angry for quite awhile before I managed to calm down by telling myself she wasn't doing it on purpose, etc. Of course, she didn't win any points later in the evening either when we got to the dog park and she slipped her collar (which admittedly is partly my fault for it not being tighter) and took off. Thankfully, there were two very interesting looking dogs right at the fence and she didn't get far.

So, the dog and I are not having our best day ever. She's apparently exhausted from all the excitement and snoozing away curled in a ball on the couch, but me...I'm wading through the resulting laundry. ARGH! Tomorrow, she goes back to imprisonment in the crate. She can't jump her way out of that and now that she's learned that she can jump out of the spot by the back door, I have a feeling she won't be staying put for long in there and I'd prefer for this to be the one and only time EVER that I find a puddle of dog pee on my bed. EVER!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Most amazing friends...EVER!

Seriously - these are some good people. And not just because they threw me a great party tonight. But because they are some quality people, who have been better friends to me than I have ever been to them. They have all blessed me in ways they don't even realize and I appreciate it more than I can say.

So, tonight was my going-away party. At the Blue Star, which is one of my favorite places in town and I'm going to miss it! Sunday is 1/2 off bottles of wine, which was convenient, since we drank some. :-) It was amazing to have my favorite people in town gathered around and even though I didn't get to have long conversations with each one, I'm so grateful for the influence they've each had in my life.

Thanks to all of you who have been my support here in Colorado Springs! I love you all and only hope I can bless you as much as you have blessed me...and man, I'm going to miss you!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yes We Can!

My grand adventure for today was to head to downtown St. Louis to the arch for the Obama rally happened there today. So, I dragged myself out of bed early (or early for a Saturday, anyway...I love my sleep!) and drove to the closest Metro-link station. Everyone else on the platform was also headed for the rally, judging by their t-shirts and buttons. I think we all thought we were so clever and early since supposedly the gates weren't going to open until 10:15, but when the metro pulled into the arch station, we could already see a long line snaking around the park by the arch. I thought we must be the end of the line, but people kept pouring in to the park. Eventually they opened up a huge grassy hill to people because they couldn't fit any more in the parts they'd reserved for people to stand. It was quite a sight to see people pouring down that hill. Apparently, they are saying that somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 people showed up. I have photos that I'll try to post when I get home, but for now, check out this news story to see a picture of the crowd. It pretty much moved steadily the entire time and by 10 a.m. I was standing in my spot directly under the highest point of the arch.

Spirits were definitely up and the crowd was nice and well-behaved. Volunteers even handed out water bottles to the crowd since you weren't allowed to bring anything like that in with you. Since I was by myself, I'd been a bit apprehensive about doing this, but I'd put a book in my pocket (no bags allowed) and I read that some of the time and talked to people around me at other times. At about 11:15 they started bringing up people like the mayor and Congressmen, etc. to speak to us. And a teacher from a charter school in downtown St. Louis introduced Obama. The crowd went nuts when Obama came on stage. I stood on tippy toes for a view of him, even though I wasn't terribly far back. It was amazing to hear him speak in person. Regardless of what you think of him and if you'll vote for him, it's historic that he's made it this far and he's a gifted, moving speaker. And I think I heard more from him today about what he'll do than I ever have, which was wonderful.

Afterwards, I made my way as quickly as possible to the metro. The departure from the rally was not without a few panicky moments caused by the crush of the crowd trying to get out of the park. Definitely the claustrophobic side of me reared it's head a couple of times requiring some deep, calming breaths. There were so many people trying to get to the metro, that I figured it would take me hours to get on a train (and I think it did take hours for some) but I managed to get on the first train that pulled in after I'd gotten on the platform...with about a thousand other people. By the time I'd stopped at Union Station for some lunch and a look around and fought my way back on to another train (seriously - it must have taken hours to get everyone out of that park) and made it back to where my rental car was, it was 7 hours after the adventure had begun. I decided for some downtime and went to see a movie and proceeded to have to fight to stay away, not because the movie was boring but because I'm TIRED!

Now, I'm back in my hotel room, all packed for my very early flight home tomorrow, sporting a bit of a sunburn as a souveneir of my adventure and ready for some rest.

I have to say that if yesterday and today are any kind of indication, I'm going to like St. Louis. Of course, I'm pretty sure Obama won't come speak every Saturday, so I'll have to find something else inspiring to do. But there are still Botanic Gardens, the zoo, museums, Soulard Market, and oh-so-much more to be explored, so I don't think it'll be a problem. But for now, I'm ready to get back to Colorado, which is home for a few more weeks.

P.S. Here's the speech if you're interested.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I found it!!!

This afternoon I signed the least on a house in St. Louis and just an hour or so later I heard from the landlord that I was approved and have the house. So, it's official...and so much more real...I'm moving to St. Louis. It's a great little house in Richmond Heights with a nice, fenced-in yard for Malu in a neighborhood full of old brick houses on narrow streets lined with trees. After I signed the least and paid the deposit I drove around the area a bit and happened upon a great little wine shop so went in to check it out. I think it'll be a place I frequent for my wine purchases. I asked the guy if there was a place nearby that he would recommend for me to eat that would be casual and where I wouldn't be too conspicuous walking in by myself. He directed me to Boogaloo's. And it did not disappoint. It's a bar/restaurant in downtown Maplewood. It's Caribbean & Cuban food and it was really tasty. Of course, the first thing I tried was a traditional mojito, which was yummy. I've also discovered that the local microbrewery here is quite good as well. That makes it a little easier to leave behind my favorite local brews in Colorado. It was a good day and evening. It feels so good to know where I'll be living and to feel like I made a good decision on this. I'd seen an apartment yesterday that I really loved, mostly because the kitchen was gorgeous, but it didn't have a yard and I was worried that I'd be annoyed by having to take the dog out all the time. This house solves that problem. The kitchen isn't nearly as nice, but it's workable and the rest of the house and yard makes up for it.

And to top it all off?!?! I discovered today that Obama is speaking tomorrow under the arch. So, I'm striking out on my own in the morning to make my way down there and stake out a spot to hear him speak. I've been sad to miss him when he's been in Colorado, so I'm glad to be able to make up for it here. And it gives me the chance to check out the metro system.

So, I'm excited and thinking about all the opportunity and possibility that lies before me. Life is good, my friends!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The joys of house-hunting

I thought it fitting for my first post on my new blog that I start it off with a post about new beginnings in my life. I'm in St. Louis for the next 3 days to find a place to live. 3 days to decide where to spend the next year of my life. To say it's a bit overwhelming is a tad of an understatement. And yet, I'm excited about the possibilities. I've found some good prospects and am hopeful that one of them will turn out to be a place I can be excited to call home and will have all of the things I'm looking for, including a good place for Malu to hang out. But being alone for 4 nights and 3 days in an unfamiliar city is daunting. So many meals to eat alone and so much to accomplish in a short amount of time. I'm hoping it'll turn out to be pleasant in ways I wouldn't have dreamed and that I can walk away from my time here with a definite address to give to the movers. Here's to dreaming big!