Monday, January 31, 2011

One Month Down, Eleven To Go

It's hard for me to believe that the first month of 2011 is almost behind us.  It's a cold and snowy day today in Denver.  I've been surprised by the fact that this is not necessarily a typical winter day here.  While it is 9 degrees today, it was 69 degrees on Friday.  So the winter weather is extremely variable - it could feel like spring for a while and then, surprise, we're back to winter.

Knowing that January has come and gone, I'm disappointed that I haven't accomplished more this month.  Still no volunteer work lined up;  still no physical trainer or yoga classes scheduled;  still no puppy.  But, if I step back and cut myself some slack, January has been a pretty good month.  We're feeling more at home in Denver, our apartment is comfortable, and I've made a couple of nice friends.

As I look back at my new year's resolutions (, I've definitely started to make a life for myself here. Last Friday, a warm and sunny day, a friend took me to Boulder for lunch. We went to the Boulder Teahouse (, which is quite lovely, as seen above. On a day like Friday, I feel downright happy here and that feels good.  I've managed to rid myself of the sulkiness that I felt at the beginning and can picture a nice life here.  Now I just need to add some stuff that is more meaningful, like volunteer work, and force myself to do more.

At the risk of jinxing this just by writing about it, we have a contract on our house (another new year's resolution:  sell our house).  I'm hopeful that everything will fall into place, and we will no longer be Atlanta homeowners by April Fool's Day.

Now on to February when I will, once again, tackle my mental to-do list and hope to achieve more than just having lunch (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Does Anyone Else Think This Is Weird?

Moving to a new state requires that you get all new "people" - new dry cleaner, new hairdresser, new doctors, new everybody.  

Last week was time to try the new dentist.  I decided to try a dentist two blocks from our apartment who was listed as taking our dental insurance.  I guess I've only gone to twentieth-century dentists before, and as soon as I walked into this office, I realized this was definitely a twenty-first century experience.  Rather than 1980s wallpaper decor and golden oldies music, this place was bright colors, glass walls, large abstract paintings and Lady Gaga.  Instead of dusty artificial plants, there were cool sculptures in all the nooks and crannies.  It looked like a trendy restaurant, not a dental office.

Each dental chair had its own TV/computer monitor where you could not only see your favorite television show but your dental x-rays.  Then, for even more fun, the dentist has a little camera that he can put in your mouth and show you a close up of each tooth, from every angle imaginable,  and what is wrong with it.

After getting way more information on each tooth than I really wanted and having my teeth all cleaned and spiffed up, it was time to leave.  I was used to getting a little goody bag from all dentists I've ever been to with a new toothbrush, travel size toothpaste and, if I was really lucky, some floss.  I couldn't wait to see what the 21st century version of this would be.  I pictured some sort of space age toothbrush or battery-operated floss. 

Imagine my surprise when, instead of a little baggy, I was handed an envelope as a parting gift.  Inside the envelope, there was no toothbrush or anything tooth related. I received a $25 gift card to Fogo de Chao, an all-you-can-eat meat-o-palooza Brazilian steakhouse, that happens to be on the same block as the dentist.  Huh? Maybe the dentist is hoping I will crack a tooth gnawing on some bone.

Is it me or does anyone else think this is weird?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It Takes A Village To Have Smooth Skin

The first post that I did on this blog dealt with the very serious problem of dry skin in my new dry climate (   Well, I am very happy to report that I have, with the help of friends, conquered my sandpaperlike dermal issues.

First, my friend Haley recommended a humidifier for the bedroom.  We went in search of one, only to find a large crowd (I'm not exaggerating) surrounding the humidifier section of the store.  We could barely squeeze our way closer to the products.  The question that we had is why all of these people didn't already have humidifiers?

Second, my friend Chuck recommended Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion.  He promised me that it would moisturize without feeling sticky, and it did deliver.  I just wonder why any product needs seven words in its name.  (Note:  this is an unsolicited commercial - I'm happy that it helps.)

And last but not least, my friend Kitty sent me the tool pictured above.  It looks like something that you would find in a gynecologist's office but it is actually an applicator to put lotion on places that you can't reach, like your itchy back.  The part on the right is a spongy applicator that can be replaced as needed.

This three-pronged approach has done its job.  Thanks to my village of friends.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On Friendship

This is the post that I've been wanting to write since I first thought about doing a blog. I've restrained myself from writing it though, hoping I'd have a better perspective on what friendship actually is after I had some time to reflect on the subject.

When moving from Atlanta became a reality, what kept popping up in my mind was that I was going to have to leave my friends.  I thought of all of the people who I would miss seeing on a regular basis.  There were many more people in this category in Atlanta than anywhere else I had lived.  I hadn't realized before exactly how many people I considered as friends.  This was something new for me - to actually have a lot of friends.  It made me consider why this was true.  Why did I have so many friends in Atlanta when I'd never experienced this before?

As a child, I was very shy and had a few friends but not many.  This was true through high school and college.  Even in law school, I had only one friend.  Once I started working, I had friends who I got to know through work, but there really wasn't much time to hang out.  Being a working mother is like two full time jobs so there is little energy left over for friends.

So it was really only after I stopped working full time and after about five decades on this planet that I actually started acquiring friends.   When I asked myself why I was able to enjoy these friendships in Atlanta and never really had a lot of friends before, I realized that it was not just having more time to devote to friends (although that is definitely part of it).   What I learned is that in order to have friends, you have to be a friend and that's not as easy as it might sound.  It takes effort and devotion.  To really be a friend one must give as well as get; be there when needed to listen to a rant or to sympathize; sometimes do the tough thing and give a kick in the butt as necessary; give advice even when not asked and be open to taking advice when a friend offers it; make sure that there is a lot of fun and laughter in the relationship, including being in touch with the silly side of things.

I pride myself on being a world class luncher.  It's not for everyone, but lunch is a misunderstood and often overlooked opportunity to take a break from the day and enjoy the moment.  Barry's idea of lunch is to shovel something into his mouth as fast as he can as he sits at his desk and works.  My idea of lunch is exactly the opposite. Stop, eat and enjoy, preferably with a friend.  Lunch was my primary social vehicle in Atlanta, and I hope to keep that up in Denver, as I already begin to assemble some good lunchers.  It was really at lunch that I got to know people, shared their ups and downs, and created bonds that I hope will go on for a lifetime.

I definitely miss those Atlanta lunches.  But what I've learned after two months plus away from Atlanta is that I still feel bonded to my friends there.  Even if I don't see them or communicate, I feel like I could pick up exactly where I left off because of the relationships we had before.  So, even though I tear up as I write this, I don't feel as empty as I thought I might without these folks.  I feel like they are here with me.  And I'm thankful for that.  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

To My Snowbound Friends in The ATL:

Take heart!  This is what snow looks like when it melts.  It is gray mushy water.  This is how it looked in Denver today as the temperature went into the 50s.  This is how it will look someday in Atlanta when your climate remembers that it is supposed to be globally warming.  Even though it is very messy, you can go out in it (as long as you don't care about the condition of your footwear).  You will be homebound no more.  It will happen - soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Next to Normal: The Show and The Weekend

Last night we saw a show at the opera house in Denver called "Next to Normal."  It is a Pulitzer and Tony award winning show that is a musical about a bipolar woman and how her mental disorder affects her and her family.   How can this be a musical, I was wondering before I saw it.  It's not a dancing, big production kind of musical, but more like an operetta sort of thing.  The show was thought-provoking and entertaining.  A very worthwhile evening at the theater.  And we were impressed by the beautiful opera house at the Denver Performing Arts Center.

At some point in the show, the bipolar woman's daughter wistfully hopes that their family can at least be "next to normal" since she realizes that her family will never be "normal" (I question what normal is, even under the best of circumstances, since the definition of "normal" must certainly vary from individual to individual).

This weekend was the first in Denver when we had no real projects to work on and no holidays interfered.  I planned what would be a "normal" weekend, doing some fun things and taking advantage of our spectacular location.  Friday night, we saw Rob Riggle (formerly of The Daily Show and SNL) do standup at a comedy club 2 blocks from our apartment.  Very funny and not something we've done in a while.  Saturday we relaxed and did a few minor errands.  Sunday we had an old friend and his family over for brunch while it snowed.  My only disappointment was that they didn't get to see our great view since the mountains disappeared during the snowstorm. (I'm pleased to report that the mountains returned this morning to their previous positions outside our windows.) Then, as mentioned above, we walked the five or so blocks to the performing arts center in the evening to see a terrific show.

Our first fun, relaxing weekend in Denver.  So was it a "normal" weekend?  Not quite. Still not feeling like it's home, but like the show title, the weekend was "next to normal" and that's pretty good. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Likes and Dislikes: Denver Edition

I'm a couple of weeks late writing the inevitable year end lists of the ten best this and that.  So I thought I'd write a personal list for the new year of where my likes and dislikes stand as we begin 2011.  So, in no particular order, here they are:


  1. Our loft.  Now that the work is done, it's so nice to sit back and enjoy the spaciousness and the lovely views.  I'm lucky to live here.
  2. Being able to walk to almost everything.  I filled the gas tank of my car in mid-November and have yet to fill it again since I've been in Denver.
  3. Sunny days.  Almost everyone I've met in Denver is quick to tell you that there are 300 sunny days a year here.  Definitely a nice feature and certainly not overlooked.
  4. Apartment living.  It's quiet and no maintenance.  Who knew?
  5. A brand new year.  Always exciting with so many possibilities.


  1. Slush.  Somehow, living in the South for so long, I'd forgotten that lovely mixture, often a gray color, of snow, ice, dirt, and water, known as slush.  There's really nothing like stepping off a curb and feeling your foot sink ankle deep into the ground equivalent of a filthy snow cone.  It's especially nice as your sock is enveloped in icy cold mush.
  2. Hype.  Everyone here tells me how much I will love living in Denver and how great it is.  This may be true - I definitely won't rule this out - but I haven't drunk the Kool-Aid yet.  I'm not saying that I won't drink the Kool-Aid, but it just hasn't happened to date.
  3. Saying goodbye to a perfectly good year, 2010.  Many changes but, all in all, a good year and sad to see it go.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Holidays Are Over, Tra La La

Does anyone else feel relieved and invigorated when the holidays are over?  All my life, I've felt like an observer of the festivities at Christmas time, but definitely not a participant.  It reminds me of Woody Allen in the opening scene of Stardust Memories (, sitting on his depressing train, looking over at the train next to him, filled with merriment, and wondering why he isn't on the "fun train."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Chilly Start to 2011, Resolutions, and Other Intentions

Moving to Denver in mid-November, we were expecting to be cold.  But we were lulled into a sense of warmth by the unseasonable weather - 50s, 60s and sometimes even 70s - just sweater weather at best and no snow.   The sun shown down upon us, and we were delighted.  

Until this week.  Our first out of town company arrived in the form of daughter and son-in-law from warm southern California.  The first real snowfall also came, and the temperature was now in single digits.  Cold, by anyone's standards.  The roads were icy and not as well plowed as I would have thought.  Our trip last night to take the southern Californians back to the airport was a slide on ice, especially with our not-all-weather-tired, not-all-wheel-drive Atlanta automobile.  Suddenly, why I really hated winter when we lived in Connecticut years ago came flooding back to me.  It's just so bleak.

We all sat silent, jaws clenched and white-knuckled, as we delivered them to the airport so they could get home to the welcoming paws of their English bulldog, The Baroness, before the new year arrived.  Wrong.  As I write this around noon on New Year's Day, they still sit in the Denver airport, about 20 hours later, as American Airlines tortures them with postponing their flight from last night, hour by hour.  So I wonder if they will ever visit us again - I can't blame them if they don't, and it certainly won't be in the winter if they do.

So, enough complaining and on with the business of the new year.  I read an article yesterday about not making "resolutions" which sound somewhat negative and making a list of "intentions" instead.  Personally, I find the term "intentions" just too iffy, even if it more accurately describes my annual to-do list that I call new year's resolutions.  I always have the same 2 resolutions every single year:  

1.  Lose weight 
2.  Have more fun

I never seem to accomplish the first resolution to my satisfaction (you would think that I could figure this one out but, alas, I don't seem able to), and as to the second, I thoroughly believe that one can never have too much fun, so "more fun" is an eternally good goal that I will continue to have.

To my two eternal resolutions/intentions, I add some other personal ones this year. They include selling our Atlanta house that sits empty and forlorn, waiting for loving occupants, and creating a new life for myself in our new home in Denver.   I have much to be thankful for, the foremost being health and a wonderful family, and I will never take those things for granted.  

For my friends and loved ones, I have resolutions and intentions as well:  that you all have health and happiness in 2011 as we all embark on a new year full of unknowns.