Monday, May 12, 2014

Bye-Bye, Denver

Denver Performing Arts Center

I've paid my last month's rent in Denver, done a major purge of our belongings as we downsize yet again, started packing up for the move, and begun the hard process of saying goodbyes to the nice people who have befriended me since I got here in November 2010.  The movers take away our stuff on May 29th, and yet another move begins.

While I actually like change, the process of transition is painful, and I feel like I've done it enough times in my life to not want to make a habit of it in the future.

Living in Denver has overall been a positive experience, even though the reason for coming here was not.  Denver is quite a nice place to live - a very vibrant city- and living downtown in a loft has been fun. It's been great to be able to walk to almost everything, including the performing arts center, lots of good restaurants, museums, sports events, etc.  The not-so-nice part of living downtown is that it is quite a young, partying city, so on dog walks on Sunday mornings, there is always at least one (and sometimes more) piles of vomit that we pass as well as broken glass and various other things that we definitely want to avoid.  Downtown Denver has a large homeless population - about 11,000 - who are always a reminder of the need to help others and all that we have to be thankful for.

The weather here has been a constant source of amazement to us.  From our very first day that we moved in when the weather turned from sunny 70s to an actual blizzard in a matter of hours to Mother's Day 2014 when it snowed all day long (and today - the day after - as well).  We have had brutal subzero weather and desert-like heat spells; there have been remarkable winds that literally lift furniture and carry it away.  

So I end this blog - From Grits to Granola - which was created to chronicle my transition from Atlanta to Denver.  I don't know if I will start another to discuss my move to California.  I might.  Or I might do something else to keep in touch - an Instagram account or perhaps I could actually do my very first post on Facebook (or not).  But please know, Readers, that I thank you for reading my blog and often sending me comments.  I think of you often and hope that if your travels bring you to southern California, you will visit this particular Little Old Lady from South Pasadena.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Fair Weather Fan

I've always considered myself fortunate that I am married to a guy who doesn't watch sports, because it's not something that usually interests me.  So many men are obsessed with sports viewing, including my father as I was growing up.  Every night and all weekend, he would sit in "his" chair and watch whatever sports were being broadcast on the only television in the house.  If the game wasn't televised, he'd listen to it on the radio.  He was a particularly big fan of the NY Mets and the NY Giants.  The constant background clatter of sports throughout  my childhood and teen years turned me agains the whole idea.

In my adult life, we've moved so many times that it's hard to pick a team and stay with it.  So we generally maintain a mild passing interest in how the local teams, whichever they may be, are doing.  But occasionally, and only when they are doing exceptionally well (because let's be real here - winning is ALWAYS more fun than losing), we may actually watch a game and may actually care who wins said game.  This has happened here and now with the Denver Broncos as they get ready to go to the Super Bowl.

I would definitely classify myself as a fair weather fan, not the type of fan who is there, win or lose, for my team.  I became interested in the Broncos because of Peyton Manning, team quarterback.  He has such a good back story - he was an outstanding quarterback for Indianapolis for many years, but was injured a couple of years ago.  He had four neck surgeries and was out of football for two years while he recovered.  His old team didn't want him any more so he became the Broncos quarterback for the last two years.  Amazingly, at the ripe old age (for football) of 37, he's had his best year ever and has broken dozens of football records.  With a story like that and everyone in Denver talking about Peyton and the Broncos, I couldn't resist watching him play.  I have to admit that when he throws and a receiver catches, it's a thing of beauty.

A couple of months ago, my daughter came to Denver to photograph Peyton.  When I mentioned this, it was as if she were taking the Pope's picture.  People here are crazy about him.  Just walking down the street in Denver, you can find at least half of the people you pass wearing an orange shirt with number 18 - Peyton's number - on it.  I thought, as a joke (because I knew he would never wear it), I would buy Barry a #18 shirt, until I saw the price - $99.99.  Never mind.  Yet, it seems like just about everyone in Denver has one.

These photos were taken within two minutes of  each other to show that I'm not exaggerating about how many people wear Peyton Manning shirts in Denver.

So we are "United in Orange" as the Broncos head to my home state of New Jersey for the Super Bowl.  Hopefully, we are afflicted with a very temporary ailment and will go back to not caring at all about sports in about two weeks.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I've never been able to overcome a childlike excitement when a new year rolls around. It's an opportunity to review what I've accomplished in the year just past (not much) and what I hope to achieve in the brand new year.  It's always a new chance to succeed, even when experience dictates that this is not likely to happen.

As I get older, time seems much more precious, and I don't want it to pass without acknowledging the joys of life.  Unfortunately, with joy also comes sadness.  As I prepared my holiday cards this year, I was sad to eliminate some names of those who are no longer with us.  And, I'm afraid, this will happen more and more as I and others age.  I've yet to know anyone immortal and yet our finiteness is something that we don't even want to think about, let alone dwell upon.  So the best antidote is to try to be in the moment and enjoy every ounce that I can wring out of life.  I will dedicate the next year to emulating my puppy Annie, who seems to enjoy every day to the fullest.

I wish you all a healthy and joyous new year.  I haven't written on this blog as much as I used to.  That is due, in part, to having less new things to experience in Denver as we passed our third anniversary here.  After moving from state to state, I feel like it takes about two years to feel comfortable some place, so we have passed that mark.  Once I stopped posting on a regular basis, then I felt like I had to write something brilliant and insightful to make up for the lack of posts.  This is a high standard that I can't seem to measure up to, so I don't write at all.  Please forgive my laziness as I think of my friends in various places quite often and fondly.

I believe that 2014 will be a year of great change for us, and change is always exciting.  We have yet another move to look forward to and, after that, I hope that we can stay in one place for a while.

So, I would be remiss in failing to report the national news story that is happening all around me here in Denver.  New years day marked the first legal sales of recreational marijuana in Colorado.  As we walked Annie early morning on January 1st, there was already a line at a dispensary two blocks away from our apartment.  As we walked further, there were new rules of conduct posted on the Sixteenth Street Pedestrian Mall.  This will indeed be an interesting social experiment to watch, and I definitely have a front row seat.  So I will let you know how it goes.

Here are two photos from new years day:

The sign for the dispensary is on the side of the building with the green cross.  Initially, only dispensaries that previously sold medical marijuana will be licensed for recreational use.

Sixteenth Street Pedestrian Mall