This chapter.

It was a Tuesday.  Kevin sent me a text message with the deets – a couple of Broncos tickets for the upcoming weekend; did I wanna?  Naturally, I replied post-haste.  Before you could say “if not now, when?”, the plane tickets and game tickets were purchased and the rental car reserved.

Saturday morning found us in a bit of a Home Alone pickle when the alarm didn’t go off as planned.  We made it out the door just a few minutes behind schedule and a short flight brought us into Denver.  There was an hour length line at the rental car place – and a comic level of inefficiency to boot – but then we hit the open road in our chariot.

Denver being the active city it is, we inevitably ran into a big bike event detour, turning Colorado Blvd into a parking lot.  Which was where we were sort of rear ended.

No harm, no foul – fortunately.  Our trusty rental car had nary a scratch and the offender turned off the road suspiciously soon following the bumper tap.

Lunch was taken on the patio at Wash Park Grille – one the best spots in Denver, imo.  Then we walked around Wash Park and the neighborhood a bit before heading back to the condo for a nap (exhausting day, after all).

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Dinner (why yes, there is a theme – thanks for noticing…we ate and napped our way through the weekend) was at The Chophouse – a dark and cozy steakhouse with the richest, most delicious onion soup I ever have slurped.

On Sunday we drove around a bit, had lunch at Little Ollie’s in Cherry Creek, and then made our way downtown for the game.

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A quick rainstorm blew through and we hid under a tree en route to the stadium.  We arrived over an hour before game time and watched the teams warm up.  The weather was perfect (a drastic change from our last Broncos game), our seats were 30 rows from the field, and the people watching was superb.  Four guys parachuted into the stadium as part of the pre-game festivities – totally awesome.  Then it was game time.  It was a great game – especially the first half.  The end result brought a Bronco victory – with a side of hot dog, nachos, and kettle corn for the lady and gent.

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Our flight was early Monday afternoon, so we made one last trip into the Cherry Creek shopping district to visit our favorite bookstore (The Hermitage) and a favorite restaurant (Hillstone).  Then it was time to hit the air once again.

I know that there are many exciting chapters ahead for Kevin and Amy (chapters where Amy refers to herself in the third person, apparently, and that include kids and more pets and those pesky financial obligations that increase with age), but I (umm, Amy) am especially enjoying this chapter.  The one where we can decide to go on a spur-of-the-moment trip out of town with minimal planning and arrangements {shout out to Kevin’s parents who are always so kind and willing to check in on Kiki – and previously Flo – when we’re out of town – we are so grateful to them}.  The one where we can eat and nap and read and be completely and utterly selfish with our time.  To each chapter its joys.

What chapter of life are you living?  Do you enjoy spur-of-the-moment trips or are you a planner?

Recently on Instagram.

August ended over a week ago.  There are less than four months worth of shopping days ’til Christmas.

Too soon?  Did I mention Christmas too soon?  Apologies.

Here are some of my favorites from the daily prompt adventure that is #fmsphotoaday.  As usual, there are a lot of photos of cats.  You’re welcome.

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Prompt:  Landscape.
The landscape of my childhood.

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Prompt:  S is For…
Sinful.  Fresh peaches – halved and baked with a bit of butter and brown sugar.

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Prompt:  In The Middle.
Shh – we’re mid-hunt.  Don’t tell the birds.

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Prompt:  Grateful For…
This little beauty of a birthday cat.  She turned 12 on the day this photo was taken!

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Prompt:  Mirror.
A bit of random mirror to reflect my stripes, green shorts, and a blue sky.

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Prompt:  Give.
If you give a doodle a spoonful of peanut butter….

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Prompt:  Clouds.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”  -Rabindranath Tagor, Stray Birds

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Prompt:  Arrow. 
There aren’t many arrows in my world.  The only one I saw all day was the one on my shirt.  —> <—

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Prompt:  Before Bedtime.
Box time.

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Prompt:  Decorate.
Our new backyard water feature is a treat for the eyes AND the ears.

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Prompt:  Words.
And Kiki.

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Prompt:  Fragrant.
The scent of brown sugar, butter, and chocolate radiates from these bad boys.

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Prompt:  Mail.
A recent arrival in the mail – this lovely pencil sketch of sweet young Florence.  Commissioned by my friend Joy.  Model:  Flo.  Artist:  Heather

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Prompt:  Breakfast.
Of Kiki’s.

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Prompt:  10 AM.
Breakfast with one of my absolute faves.  In my cool cat shirt.  Life is good.

What was your favorite thing to photograph in August 2-0-1-4? 

Kick off time.

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Pumpkin spice flavor everything is splashing up on a menu near you. Scarves, in all their cotton glory, are bursting to come out of hibernation. And another telltale fall kickoff has, well, kicked off. The white noise of the crowd, the faint sound of plays being called, and the commentary of the announcers play-by-play playback is the sound of autumn in my mind.

My understanding of the game has come far. Case and point – at my first live college game I asked my roommate (a certified football expert who can name every Heisman winner, like, ever) where the yellow line was. You know, the one that shows how far the ball has to go.

Apparently that line is only on TV. Mind blown.

Tiffany educated me well over the following few years (we like Peyton better than Eli) and I grew to love the Saturday soundtrack of games on TV – and the tailgaters camped in the lot behind our apartment building.

Kevin played football through middle school and high school (much to his parents dismay – they were certain it was a 8th grade phase that would pass) and he has coached on various levels since then. He adores the sport.

He, like Tiff, is a patient teacher. Each year he explains yet again what it means to be offsides and the intricacies of forward lateral passes. And what the tight end does exactly – I can never remember. Probably because I’m too busy giggling whenever anyone says ‘tight end.’

Now I follow the game pretty well and generally know what is going on, and sometimes I’ll say things like, “False start,” before the ref even blows the whistle, and Kevin will look at me with pride and adoration in his eyes.  And I think to myself, “Yeah, I’m a cool wife.”

But for the majority, my contributions to dialogue when we watch football are gems such as these:

(To the TV) Ooo, don’t hurt Peyton! (To Kevin) It should be against the rules for them to tackle Peyton. They should just just play touch.

Eww, his beard is gross.

He has grass stuck in his helmet! Why doesn’t he clean it out? Doesn’t it obstruct his view?

Let’s raise a kicker! (The kicker is always my favorite – games are won and lost by kickers – and it’s my dream to have a kicker son. Also, neither Kevin or I have the brawny build or height to really equip our offspring for any other position.)

Why would a player want to have such long hair?  It’ll just get pulled and caught in pileups.

Do you follow football?  If so, who is your team (college or pro)?  What’s your favorite sport to watch?

Sweekend.

It was a long weekend and a sweet one at that.

We made a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma City on 8/30 for a college friend’s wedding.  Miss Lyndse married Connor and it was all kinds of wonderful.  She is the DIY crafting QUEEN and it was evident that her heart was in all the fun decorations and little touches.

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Clockwise from top left – sign at the entrance to Harn Homestead, the venue // programs and the guest book area // too pretty to not Instagram – more of the guest book area // the rustic-chic altar under the shade tree with a barrel, candles, burlap, and lace //

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A few ceremony shots

I was honored a few weeks ago when Lyndse asked me to do a reading during the ceremony.  Here it is, for your reading pleasure, because there is no limit to the beauty of 1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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Clockwise from top left – there were sparklers! // and a popcorn bar!!  Amy’s choice – white cheddar — Kevin’s choice – caramel // let them eat cake! // but first, photograph the cake //

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It was fun, as it always is, to reunite with these ladies.  We all went to Oklahoma State at the same time, and we knew each other, but our friendship really blossomed and bloomed after we had all graduated.  Since then, many-a girls’ trips have happened!  I hope we can keep that going for years to come.

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I managed to rope myself a mighty handsome date for this wedding.  Which means it was a good time, because it is always a good time with him.

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And there was a photo booth with some fun props.  Hers, His, and those who came for the cake.

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A heartfelt wedding for a lovely bride and handsome groom.  Isn’t love splendid?

The following morning we met Tessa for breakfast at Kitchen 324.  What a treat – the food, yes, but mostly… – to see that girl and catch up!

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The time to go to the airport came much too quickly.  We flew to Oklahoma at 11:25 Saturday and home at 11:35 on Sunday!

Which left just enough time for a nap and some reading before dinner at Kevin’s parents’ NEW house.  That’s right – they moved on Friday and it was the first Sunday dinner at the new digs.  I think it’ll do quite nicely.

Then it was Labor Day.  Not commonly found to be a holiday that inspires a lot of mush, LD now does just that for me.  Kevin proposed two Labor Days’ past.  (Here’s our engagement story.)  We celebrated the engagement anniversary big this year – laundry, a trip to the gym, and two straws in the Rudy’s sweet tea (such romance!).  There was also a great deal of reading as my little Harry Potter fan makes his way through The Order of the Phoenix (and I read it – again – over his shoulder!).

What a lovely weekend with friends, good food, and lots of love!

How was your weekend?  Did you refrain from all things laborious? 

A yoga stream of consciousness.

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{These are my – somewhat edited and very much abbreviated – thoughts from the 7 yoga classes I attended during my week of yoga.}

Day 1 – 7:30 AM – Hot Yoga @ a local studio

Okay.  Day 1 yoga, here we are.  Accompanied by Meta {my cousin} who is one of the kindest and most genuine people I know, and a yoga instructor herself.  I hope I can a) keep up; and b) avoid passing out from the heat.  The teacher is named Margarita.

Which makes me want a margarita.  At 7:30 AM.  In yoga class.

There are only four of us in the class.

It’s hot.  But it feels fantastic.  Lots of stretches for the neck and shoulders.  Margarita (the instructor, not the beverage) tells us that the neck symbolizes how flexible we are in life, how open we are to other people and ideas.  This makes me examine internal self with concern because my neck is not very flexible.  Oh dear.

Ahhh, shavasana does a sweaty body good.

After yoga, Meta and I go for fresh juice.  So perfect.

Day 2 – 5:30 PM – Non-hot Yoga @ my regular gym

Pre-class, I am lacking in yoga-zen.  The parking lot was a zoo. I had to pee really bad.  The restroom smelled like sewer.  There are two guys talking really loud (okay, probably normal volume, but no one else was talking – get a clue, guys – this is quiet time) in the yoga room.  I’m hungry.  Not angry, but certainly cranky.  Hanky (hungry + cranky).

The teacher arrives.  Her name is Robin and she proves to be quite terrific.  As we begin the poses and I stretch out my slightly sore (from yesterday’s class) muscles, I begin to unwind and get less hanky.  Hungry still, certainly.  But the crank begins to ease.

Robin tells us that it is a sad week for the yoga world.  Indian yoga master Iyengar has passed away at age 95.  Much of the technique that Robin uses comes from Iyengar.  She leads us through one of the flow sequences the Iyengar loved.  Our class as a whole resembles a colony of penguins as we attempt the difficult sequence.  I am too busy trying not to fall over to remember the name.

By the end of class, I have found my zen once again and am joyfully singing the praises of yoga in my mind.

Day 3 – 7:30 AM – Hot Yoga @ the same local studio as day 1

Margarita is not the instructor today.  I think this girl’s name is Mya.  She begins class 10 minutes late, which is aggravating. 

Again, there are only four people in class.  Per Mya, we’re going to focus on silencing our mind, so there will be no music.

It is really hot.  Probably 100 degrees hotter than day 1, which was already pretty hot.  Mya is relentless.  Pose after pose after pose.  I really just want to curl up in the fetal position.

The preferred style of yoga instructor is such a personal thing.  Mya is tough – this is the hardest class I’ve attended this week.  But she is not my favorite style of instructor as she includes a great deal of yoga fluff.  I don’t mind some yoga fluff – the right amount helps me stay centered.  But by the end – when we’re curled up with our legs pulled into our chests, rolling up and down on our backs to the left nine times (to symbolize the nine months we’re in our mother’s womb) – I’m pretty much done.

Since class started 10 minutes late, we’re ending 10 minutes late and I can’t enjoy shavasana because I’m too wound up about running behind schedule.  Maybe Margarita was onto something with her neck analysis on day one….

Day 4 – 10:00 AM – Meditation @ the city museum

I meet Leann and Katie at the museum for the meditation training and practice session.  I’m glad to have a day off from the mat – little red marks have formed on the hinge of my palm and wrist from all the downward dogs. Yoga battle scars, per se.  Meditation is going to be a piece of cake.

Except it’s not.  Geez. Breathing is hard work.  Katie is one of those overachiever types who insists that we sit in the front row, right in front of the teacher.

Who is awesome.  His name is S. S. Gurbachan S. Khalsa and he is renowned worldwide for teaching meditation.  He begins by saying, “We live by our breath.”  He leads the group through three different breathing and meditation techniques.  Each set of three lasts eleven minutes at a minimum and is challenging.

Later he says, “You can live by the lightness of your soul or the darkness of your mind.”

Two hours and $15 very well spent.

Day 5 – 11:15 AM – Hot Yoga @ the same local studio as days 1 & 3

I don’t know the instructor’s name today, but I really like her.  She said that she got a concussion last night so she won’t be doing the poses with us.  I want to tell her that Wes Welker also got a concussion last night and they are concussion twins, but she doesn’t strike me as a football fan so my connection between the two of them would probably not be important to her.

It’s hot and I’m sweating a lot.  My mind is pretty focused on the poses and doesn’t wander much.  Except during pigeon when my hips began to ache.  The music is fantastic and the nameless instructor uses just the right amount of yoga fluff.  Mostly in the form of affirmations that go with the poses.

By the end of class I’m famished and ready for lunch – this is abnormal as I don’t usually have an appetite after hot yoga.

Day 6 – 5:30 PM – Non-hot Yoga @ my regular gym

Today’s instructor is Paul.  I have attended many of his classes in the past and I really like his style.  He has a very soothing voice and he incorporates a lot of stretching poses. 

I feel myself calming down very fast and it’s a very good balance day.  A previous boss (who was also a yoga instructor) once said that she could tell how well balanced her life was by how successful her balance poses were in her yoga practice.  Now I think of that when I do balance poses – whether they are a struggle or completely under my control.

But back to tonight.  I don’t think much.  I think maybe six days of yoga/meditation have been good for me – I’m able to quiet my mind more quickly than I could at the beginning of the week.

Day 7 – 9:30 PM – Cosmic Hot Yoga @ the same local studio as days 1, 3, & 5

Meta and I met up at her house and drove together to our very first cosmic hot yoga experience.  Cosmic means that the regular lights are off and the black lights are on, so naturally I’d worn my brightest shirt – a neon orange.

Iyengar’s name comes up again – this time from Meta.  She wrote a book and an ARC was sent to Iyengar to review.  He sent her a couple of letters.  What a treat!

With the black light on, it is hard to see what is going on around you.  This is a good thing – I wasn’t looking around at the other folks in the room, worrying about being behind or ahead.  I felt myself just focus in on ME and what the instructor was saying.

I notice a smoky haze overhead at one point and briefly consider that there may be a fire.  No one else seems panicked so I eye the blinking red light of the smoke detector on the ceiling and shrug it off.  Maybe there is a smoke machine – you know, adding to the ambiance.  Anyway, I’m feeling pretty zen.

The class ends, and with it, my seven days of yoga.

My takeaway:

I really enjoyed my week of yoga. It did not take a huge amount of time, I didn’t have to rearrange my schedule drastically to accommodate the 7 classes, and I feel great.  I find that it’s easier to quiet my mind at the beginning of class, and physically, I’m feeling more flexible and toned.  Obviously a yoga class a day is not sustainable for too long.  But this experience reminded me of how much I like yoga and the benefits of regular practice.

What’s your longest streak of daily workouts?  Do you do yoga? 

 

Red alert.

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I recently had my hair colored.  For years I’ve been adding blond highlights to blond highlights and last week I threw my hands in the air and declared that I was tired of layered blonde highlights with light brown growth at my roots.  My hair gal and I sat to analyze little hair samples in her L’anza book, and ultimately we settled on one that I thought was going to give me glorious brown locks with a hint of copper.

Even now, days later, I’m surprised when I look in the mirror and see mostly copper with a hint of brown.

I like it.  I do.  But I’m in a bit of shock about it too.

It has caused me to think a bit about how to embrace being a redhead.  For instance, does this mean I should develop a fiery temper?  Am I allowed to wear pink?  And most importantly – can I pass as Ginny Weasley and gain admittance to Hogwarts?

At least I certainly have the redhead complexion – my pale skin looks fantastic next to red locks!

Do you color your hair?  Have you ever been surprised – pleasantly or otherwise – by a hair color or cut? 

Friendship. And such.

Bridesmaids laughing

Recently I read MWF Seeking BFF.  Great book – I highly recommend.  And since it’s about – you know – friendship, it got me thinking about – you know – friendship.  I’ve always subscribed to the quality over quantity belief.  Acquaintances, yes!  Of those I have many.  I can small talk and such with the best of them.  {I am an introvert though, so it takes a lot out of me.  I need time to recover from a small-talk rich environment.}  Once small talk has depleted however – it can be hard to sustain.  Unless, of course, there’s a connection.  You know what I mean…the za-za-zoo of friendship connection.  The kindred spirit, where-have-you-been-all-my-life connection.

But making friends in your late-20’s can be awkward.  Almost like dating.  “Did they feel the za-za-zoo too?  Am I coming on to strong?  They know I’m married and strictly interested in friendship, right?”  I met this really nice girl in a barre class months ago and I totally wanted to say, “Let’s hang out!  Here – I made you this friendship bracelet!”  But I didn’t, because that kind of behavior gets labeled under Stay Away From The Crazy Girl and I Should Have Given Her a Fake Name.

I have some best-quality friends locally and afar, which is a blessing.  MWF Seeking BFF reminded me that it’s nice to expand on that pool though by meeting new people and seeing where the friendship road leads with said new people.  Maybe they’ll become best-quality friends too.

Joining Junior League helped me a lot.  On the first day we all went around and introduced ourselves and declared our intentions.  Aka – said why we joined the League.  Probably everyone said that they wanted to do good in the community and meet new people.  Friends just waiting to happen!  I made some best-quality friends and many lovely acquaintriends (acquaintance + friend, obvio).

Switching it up on the J-O-B was another stellar friend-making move.  Many of my colleagues are around my age/life stage/etc.  It’s like hitting the friend jackpot.

You want to hear read about an area of friendship that is a struggle for me?  Of course you do.  Friend-group mixing.  I know, I know, it’s terrible.  The more the merrier!  Let your friends meet new friends among your friends!  I don’t know if I’m selfish and never learned to share properly (MY friends!) or just find the idea of being the common denominator in a group exhausting, but I prefer to keep my friend groups separate.  Like those plastic cafeteria food trays or the flimsy Styrofoam plates with the dividers – don’t let the roast beef touch the mashed potatoes!

{One exception I’ve noticed:  I want ALL of my blogosphere friends to meet and hang out with me at the same time.  I don’t care if you don’t know each other – you all know me!  That’s enough!}

Anyway, the fact that friendship has been on my mind lately has caused me to realize a few things.

One – I should be better about mixing friend groups.  Make it a party all up on that cafeteria tray.

Two – There are people who I became friends with in a different life stage – and who I still consider to be friends, sure, but well, we’ve grown apart – whom I would likely not become friends with if we met for the first time in THIS life stage.  Have I changed?  Have they changed?  In a word, yes.  And yes.

Three - I’m becoming less interested in single-handedly maintaining friendships.  There simply has to be give and take from both parties.  If I am always the one calling or texting to set up a phone date, lunch, pedicure, séance (kidding – just making sure you’re paying attention), maybe it’s time to let that one go.

Do you make new friends easily?  What do you do to keep friendships – local and afar?