Friday, July 07, 2023

Happy Birthday, Sweet Child of Mine!


My youngest kid, Scotty, is turning 29 tomorrow! My new tradition for birthdays is to write a blog post talking about my love and gratitude, and it's Scotty's turn!

I'm so grateful for the many memories and the close relationship I have with this amazing young man. 

10 Things I Love About You, Scotty

1. I love that you play Guitar Hero. Memoarrr, and countless other games with me! Even though you're much better than me at just about every game, it's always fun to play with you. Your playfulness goes beyond board games and includes, video games, Walking Scavenger Hunts, GISH, Pokeman, and just about any new idea I suggest, including "randonauting" last year.

Walking Hunt on Catalina Island

Dressing up as a Tea Bag and Teaspoon for GISH

Pokemon Hunting

2. I love that you are such a talented and creative game designer and puzzle-master yourself! Since you were a young child, you've had such a gift at creating challenging puzzles and games. It was so fun to go to the Escape Room Convention with you and to experience the escape rooms you've created!

3. Even though I suppose it's not very good "parenting" on my part, I love binge-watching Netflix shows with you.  It's also been fun to watch movies and build "brain neuroplasticity" by discussing them as if we're movie critics.  Watching all the movies that are up for Best Picture Awards has been especially interesting. Even though we are drawn to different genres, I enjoy the critical thinking discussion about each movie. It was especially fun that we both like "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once" so much and that it won Best Picture this year!

4.  I love that we started running together when you were just a little kid and that we did so many races together over the years.  We had so many Bolder Boulders, Turkey Trots, Muddy Buddies, and other races, both where you ran your best, way ahead of me, and times when you coached me to do my best and finish strong.

5. I love all the road trips that we've been on together! We did a lot of exploring and excursions when you were a young kid, but things got more exciting once you could drive and could share in the driving fun! From the road trip to Mount Rushmore and getting caught in a torrential rainstorm when you were getting your hours in, to the Vegas trip to play Black Jack, to the Mardi Gras New Orleans trip, to the Christmas road trip to Florida, I love how flexible you are as a traveler and how we never run out of things to talk about.

6. I love how ambitious and accomplished you are. I'm so proud of all your achievements and successes both throughout your academic years and now in your career.

7.  I love that you are successful and independent and that I was able to be a guest in your Centreville home last Fall. I'm sure you will always be a playful kid-at-heart, but it's reassuring for me to see you become such a responsible young adult.

8. I love that you take the time to talk every weekend and make the effort to visit family as often as you can. Your visits are always so fun for me and it was a big surprise when you unexpectedly were in Denver for a work trip around Mother's Day this year!

9. I love how supportive you are with my different projects and causes. When you were young and didn't have a job, you'd still find a way to contribute and help and volunteer with me.  As an adult, you've been an avid Carpe Diem Day supporter.

10. I love how much wisdom and understanding you have.  I've been impressed with your ability to converse in a deep and thoughtful way since you were young. Over the years, I've seen you mature into an introspective adult and feel so grateful for our relationship and how easy it is to talk to you! I always respect and welcome your perspective on anything and everything!

Happy Birthday, Scotty! I love you!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Happy Birthday to You, Matt!

Today is my older son, Matt's, 36 birthday!  Lately, I've tried to give "gifts from the heart," either with poems, gratitude letters, or photos, reminding the people I love why they're special to me.   

This is as much of a gift to me (maybe more-so) as to them because I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have them in my life.

This is especially true when it comes to the people I love the most, like my children.  Even though a blog post is public, it's nice for me to be able to tell the world (and my huge fan base!) what I love about Matt. 

10 Things I Love About You, Matt

Matt's First Camping Trip and First Time Sleeping Through the Night

  1. I love your oneness with nature and the outdoors. Your first time sleeping through the night was your first camping trip to Hannagan Meadow when you were 3 months old. It’s only fitting that your birthday falls so close to Earth Day and on National Parks Week
  2. I love what a deep and critical thinker you are. From a very early age you were quietly reflective, pondering multiple perspectives on philosophy and religion. You are not one to follow the crowd, but rather make your own well-informed decisions.
  3. I love your authenticity. You are very comfortable voicing your opinions, while not judging others if their opinions differ. You are open-minded and welcome debate and discussion, without taking disagreement personally.
  4. I love your playful side. I see this when you’re running on the beach with Mochi, playing a game, humoring me with a photo-prop picture, or searching for the scavenger hunt item with me at a museum.
  5. I love your commitment to your marriage and family. You love and take care of Mochi and Choco as honored family members, happily welcome visits and (long!) stays at your home from me and others, and always show your love and commitment to Stella.
  6. I love that you help me in such a thoughtful way when I need advice. You take the time to write insightful emails with resources and compassion. In particular, I remember the help you gave when I asked how I might help a friend who was worried about his suicidal teen.
  7. I love to know that you help others who are struggling with depression or suicidal tendencies. I’m proud to know that you’re making such a difference in the field of mental health.  You undoubtedly have not only improved lives, but saved lives and are continually making this world a better place.
  8. I love that you teach yourself new home improvement skills.. whether welding and designing your own multi-purpose livable vehicles, laying a new floor, or installing a new electrical system, you embrace the challenge.
  9. I love your ruggedness and strength in tackling physical challenges, too, whether it be mountain-climbing, canyoneering, or mountain-biking. I’m glad Stella is joining you on adventures. Yay Pikes Peak 2023!
  10. I love all the ways you’ve helped me over the years, especially since my divorce. I’ll always remember that first year of being single, when I was freaking out because I thought there was a fire in the house behind us. You were the voice of reason that told me it was just a bright light. You helped me drive home from Las Vegas in the snow, supported me through challenging times, and listened with understanding when I’ve had problems.

Some of my favorite pictures

Poem for Matt


A son of the mountains and valleys,

Of forests and streams,

He loves the great outdoors,

Crossing brooks on stripped trees.

A man of great intellect,

A deep thinker, and one

Who loves to challenge himself,

Learning more with each pun.

A psychologist by trade,

He helps others to heal,

To find their way back,

Using his emotional wheel.

A son, a brother, a husband,

A man of great heart,

He is loved by all who know him,

So it says in his chart.

Monday, September 05, 2022

You'll Never be Dead to Me - Until You're Dead

I read an article in The Atlantic this morning that hit home: Should You Cut Toxic People Out of Your Life?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately - how trendy it seems to have become to "ghost" people, even good friends or family members. Just cut them out of your life, as though they were dead.

I've blamed a lot of it on politics. My utter disgust with Trump has made me reluctant to socialize with people who support him.  My family of origin are all avid Republicans. My father and I had some hurtful words when I voted for Obama and he angrily called me "ignorant."  My Dad died in 2010 and on his deathbed my mother reassured him that he didn't have to "worry" about me because I was "dating a Republican"... as if that was a sure sign I would vote Republican from here on out. 

I've had some good discussions with my Republican brother-in-law, and honestly, it's been insightful for me.  And the discussion has absolutely made me realize that a difference in political beliefs is no reason to cut out someone you love from your life! Yet so many people do.

My father's dead now, so I don't need to worry about arguing with him about Trump.  Besides his "I'm always right" attitude, there were a lot of things about my Dad that drove me crazy.  There are probably things about every relationship that drive us crazy..  especially with those people who we love the most! Those are the people we feel the most hurt by when they don't agree with us or approve of our choices. Those are the people we want to understand us and when they don't, we feel betrayed, unloved, and rejected.

So, as The Atlantic article states, the wisdom of the Internet tells us to cut out these "toxic" people from our lives.  Don't look back.  Make room for people who do understand us.

I think this "wisdom" is probably more accepted by those who haven't experienced the deep grief of losing someone they loved to death.  

After losing my brother in 1997 in a car accident, I know I will never cut any family member out of my life, as though they were dead, no matter how hurt I might feel by them.  We all will, of course, one day be dead, and that's soon enough to have no communication.  Until then, I'm going to accept our differences and not take the things I love about my family for granted.  

There are myriad circumstances and reasons that people "ghost" one another.  Believe me, as a long-time single who's been in the online dating world, I know that "ghosting" is so common that it seems to have become the cultural norm.  

It also seems to have become quite common-place for people who were once considered good friends, to suddenly do the "ghosting" thing.  I've heard so many stories from friends who have had this happen.  I've had "break-ups" with friends or boyfriends, but at least there was some discussion.  And in every case, I always want to try to end it "as friends."  ('Friends' in this case, means something like a once-a-year birthday greeting.)

As much as that's my preference, there are some people from past relationships who don't want any communication whatsoever. They won't respond to a birthday greeting and they will basically treat me as if I was dead to them.

This used to hurt me. I felt sad that someone who was once close to me could cut me off so completely. But, just like most of the things that hurt me about relationships, I realize now they are just different from me. Maybe to them, it hurts to get a greeting that might feel superficial. Maybe to them, it hurts to be reminded that our relationship is so different from what it once was or what they had hoped it would be. Or maybe they still haven't forgiven me for whatever it was to cause the estrangement in the first place.

So, I've accepted that for some people, it's better that I respect their wish for no communication. 

That being said, I personally believe that cutting off all communication, especially without explanation, is unnecessarily unkind.  Whether an online dating situation, a friend, or a family member, it's hurtful, and it's becoming more and more of a norm in our society.

Well, enough rant from me. The article struck a nerve and I wanted to share my two cents. 

To all you former lovers and friends who cut off all communication: Obviously, you still love me or you wouldn't be stalking me and reading my blog!  I get it! I still love you, too!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Happy Birthday, Chris!

Today is my son-in-law, Chris Tidd's, 39th birthday.  He is such a wonderful man and the best son-in-law anyone could hope to have. 

Every year (make that every day!) I wish I could properly show how much he means to me. This year, I decided to give him a "gift from the heart" for his birthday, rather than the traditional Amazon-wish-list-item.

The Card

First, I thought:  I'll make him a special card by taking an Art of Data class! With the proper training, I was hopeful that I could create a unique and meaningful card.

Uh... That didn't happen. The card turned out so badly it was worse than anything I ever made in elementary school.  My art skills have actually digressed. Two of the "candles" fell off (and disappeared) before I ever gave it to him. It was very embarrassing to even give it to him, but I did want him to know that I at least tried to make him a card.  I gave it to him when no one else was around, hoping that he would immediately throw it away so that no one else would see it, but when I was at his house a few days later, I saw he still had it.  Chris: Please destroy the card! Also, art lessons for me would be a welcome gift from you!

The Poem

OK, How about a poem instead?  My poems are also on the level of an elementary school child, but I am a little better with words than I am with art, so here's my poem for Chris:

My son-in-law, Chris, has a birthday today

So this poem is to honor him - Hip, hip, hooray!

Chris can grow anything, make anything, too

Take anything old, and make it look new.

Transforms discarded trash into artistic treasure

His talents are vast, way beyond measure.

But what I appreciate most, even more than his art

Is that Chris always acts with a giant-sized heart.

In his eyes you can see hints of mischief and humor

Playful with all, whether baby or Boomer.

He’s generous, creative, funny, and kind

He’s better than all the great heroes combined.

Teacher, husband, father, brother, and son

Learner, leader, and friend, all rolled into one.

I’m so grateful to have Chris in my life

So happy he made my daughter his wife.

So much more I could say, but I’ll leave it at this

These words say it all: I love you, Chris.

The Movie

A little hobby of mine is to use iMovie to create videos slideshows for people.  For my 60-until-60 project, I asked people to pick a favorite song that could be used as the background music for their movie and Chris picked a song and group I'd never heard of,  Concept 1 by Kodomo.  I've been experimenting with rewriting lyrics to the songs. (For example, I did this in my last blog post rewriting the lyrics of Happy, for my daughter-in-law, Stella.)

However, Concept 1 does not have lyrics, so.. I just created a new movie with photos and a movie featuring Chris:

My Gratitude

Finally, I'll just write 10 things (in no particular order) that I love about Chris and why I'm so grateful and proud to have him as part of our family. 

1) He treats me like another mother. I've known Chris since he was a teenager and even as a kid, he treated me with respect and kindness. I know he has a very loving mother who he's very close to and he has so much love from so many people, so he certainly doesn't need another mother. Even so, his thoughtfulness towards me and inclusiveness in family gatherings has always made me feel loved by him. I love him as though he were my own son. 

2) He's an amazing husband to my daughter. I see how well Megan and Chris have grown together over the years, complementing (and complimenting) one another, celebrating their monthly Anniversary on the 23rd of each month as well as their yearly trip each May. 

3) He's an outstanding father to my grandchildren.  Lovingly playful while also providing parental wisdom and guidance in all his interactions. Even all the "chore charts" he makes for the kids are colorful and fun.

4) He's artistic. As I just mentioned, even Chris's chore charts look artsy! Everything he creates is done with such talent. He's painted some beautiful works of art, one of which I have hanging above my fireplace, and several that have been on display at art shows in Denver.  He has such amazing talent!

5) He has such a great sense of humor. This skill of Chris's is one I think we all wish we had. He's so naturally funny in an easy-going, playful way.  I remember a family dinner we invited him to when he was dating Megan.  I was serving green beans from the garden and they tasted a little tough and I said something about them maybe being "old."  Chris made a joke, and I can't remember exactly what he said now, something like, "Well, I'm 18 myself, and very mature." But whatever it was, I remember laughing hard, thinking it was so funny! His delivery was just so spot on!  He has since performed as a stand-up comic at open-mic nights and even roasted me at my 50th birthday party. I was so honored that he volunteered!

6) He's a talented woodworker. From the incredible tree-house in their backyard, to the dog-house (that looks like a people house!) to the tiny house they are now building on their mountain property, Chris (partnering with Megan who also has amazing architecture and artistic skills) have created masterpieces! I was especially touched by the bedside table that Chris made for me in an afternoon we spent together as one of my 60-until-60 1:1 celebrations.

7) He's an incredible landscape artist and gardener. It makes sense that someone who's as artistic as Chris would be talented at landscape design and gardening, but I'm in awe.  Every time I'm over at their house, I see such a colorful array of flowers in bloom and serene sitting spots.  I remember reading "The Secret Garden" as a kid and the description of beauty as the garden was discovered. That's how I feel as I walk into their backyard garden.

8) Chris has such optimism, always seeing positivity in a situation.  Last year, Chris had an accident when he was working on his tiny house and severely sliced his right hand. This was a big deal! The doctors didn't know if he'd have full use of his hand again. But Chris didn't complain at all.  If anything, he downplayed the whole accident and said he was grateful for Megan and the kids for helping him carry on with the work he wanted to do on the house. I don't think I've ever heard him feel sorry for himself or play the victim. 

9) Chris gets excited about even the smallest things. I noticed at Christmas that no matter what gift Chris opened, he genuinely seemed super-psyched about the gift. Once one of my kids gave him a broken trumpet (I think..  It's hard for me to remember because, to me, it just looked like a piece of junk.) But Chris was so excited about it! (Note: This habit of Chris's to get excited about any gift, may not be as strong as it used to be. I do not notice the same level of enthusiasm over my Dollar Tree finds...)

10) Chris is kind. Not just when-people-are-watching-kind...  genuinely kind. He's helped me with my ALS fundraisers, he's checked on me when I've had health issues, he's cared and participated in my projects and parties.  He is such a thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and good man. I have so much admiration and love for him and so grateful that he is in our lives.

BlueMountain eCard

Oh, and one more! Here's a personalized eCard! (I think these cards are so cool!)

So there you have it, Chris..  My gifts from the heart!  Next year I'll go back to the Amazon Wish List (maybe with a few Dollar Tree goodies on the side!)

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Because She's Stella!


Because She’s Stella!


It might seem crazy what I’m  'bout to say

I know a gal who is brilliant in every way

Makes you feel special every single day

Gotta dare? She won’t care, baby she’ll play!


Huh (Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know she shines in all that she wants to do

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know that she gives her whole big heart to you

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know she’s pure happiness, it’s true

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you feel like you want to know her too



Every Thursday we’re talking this and that (Yeah)

Well now she’s moving with my son Matt (Yeah)

Well I should probably warn you I'll be just fine (Yeah?)

‘Cause I’ll be following in just a matter of time


Here's why

Huh (Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know she shines in all that she wants to do

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know that she gives her whole big heart to you

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know she’s pure happiness, it’s true

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you feel like you want to know her too


She brings me up

Her acts of love

She warms my heart

So super smart

Themes and puns 

I love her tons

My level's too high to bring me down

Can't nothing, bring me down, I said


Clap along if you know she shines in all that she wants to do

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know that she gives her whole heart to you

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know she’s pure happiness, it’s true

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you feel like you want to know her too



Clap along if you know she shines in all that she wants to do

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know that she gives her whole heart to you

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know she’s pure happiness, it’s true

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you feel like you want to know her too


Brings me up (Stella, Stella, Stella, Stella)

Acts of love (Stella, Stella, Stella, Stella)

No words can say, my heart’s  too full

Of love for who? (Stella, Stella, Stella, Stella)

Can't nothing (Stella, Stella, Stella, Stella)

Bring me down, I said


Clap along if you know she shines in all that she wants to do

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know that she gives her whole heart to you

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know she’s pure happiness, it’s true

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you feel like you want to know her too



Clap along if you know she shines in all that she wants to do

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know that she gives her whole heart to you

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you know she’s pure happiness, it’s true

(Because she’s Stella)

Clap along if you feel like you want to know her too


Come on