Monday, November 25, 2013

Snow Covered Patio Furniture

The only reason I got out of bed the other morning was because I couldn't find any snow covered patio furniture pictures on Instagram.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Day Out With Jessica

My best friend Jessica was coming to town and I needed to find some stuff for us to do.  I went to and put in the day that we'd be spending together.  That's when I discovered that the Great American Beer Fest was going to be that weekend.

This also means that it's Denver Beer Week!  Yeah Baby!

I immediately found the perfect thing for us to do.....a Beer Paring Breakfast!

I asked Jessica if she has convictions about drinking before noon.  She didn't, in fact, she said she encourages it!  I called up Pub 17 on Welton to make a reservation and the nice man that took my information said that my name sounded familiar.  I asked him if he was a member of the PTA and he said no.  He made a big deal about telling me the menu and kept calling me Mrs. Weiss.

Jessica and I arrived a little early for our breakfast and the man I spoke with on the phone greeted us warmly.  I explained to Jess that he thinks I am somebody.  We sat at the bar and ordered Dirty Martinis and he told the bartender that they were on him.  Who does he think I am?

I suppose he could have googled me while we were on the phone.

What do you know!  Google thinks I am somebody!

Jessica and I had the best time and our Beer Pairing Breakfast with Fort Collins Brewery was so great! You can read all about it later this week on The Rookie Foodie.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Olson Cabin

We haven't been on a trip since March.  We traveled all over the country for two years and now we're taking a break because we have a big trip coming up in July.

For the first time ever, we'll be taking the kids to my favorite place on earth!  The Olson Cabin.

It's cabin that has been in my family for a very long time and is the place I think of when someone tells me to go to my happy place.  It's in Northern Minnesota on a lake and it's the most peaceful place you could ever imagine.

My Great Grandparents bought the land when they first came to Minnesota and it started as two rooms.  Over the years, they added a bedroom and bathroom with indoor plumbing and a long screened porch.  My Dad just spent 3 weeks at the cabin having it remodeled and our old guest room furniture that belonged to my Mother in Law is now in the bedroom.

I can't wait to take my kids there!

And neither can my Dad.  He sent the kids these shirts last week!  We're so excited.

There's No Place Like The Olson Cabin

As you can little photo shoot didn't go so well.  Maybe this should be my new header!

On a side note, we'll also be headed to Canada to spread Robert's ashes at his favorite fishing spot. It will be nice to finally fulfill his wishes.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Working From Home

Keith and I were joking about all of the reasons that people come up with to work from home.  Everything from being sick to their dog is sick waiting for the cable guy.  I decided to come up with a list for the over 50 crowd.  These are all acceptable reasons to work from home.

#WFH Excuses if you're over 50 years old

  • I forgot to take my pills
  • I have the sh*ts
  • I have a hemorrhoid
  • I have a doctor's appointment
  • I can't remember where I work
  • I've fallen and I can't get up
  • I have a woody and my wife is home
  • It's snowing
  • It's not snowing
  • I can't remember where I put my car keys
  • I accidentally took viagra instead of blood pressure pills
  • I'm working on a puzzle
  • I have to drive my wife to her mammogram
  • I think Publisher's Clearing House is going to stop by

Disclaimer: It is not my intention to enrage the elderly community. I think Obama is doing a great job of that all by himself. I'm also not poking fun at my husband, he helped me make this list.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oktoberfest Party

I had selfish reasons for throwing my husband a 50th Birthday Party. Yes, I thought it would be fun and I wanted to honor him but I also wanted to make sure that he throws one for me in 25 7 years.

iKeith and I love going to Oktoberfest every year (when we can) and we're both German (him more than me) so it was the perfect theme!  We were also celebrating Keith's parents 50th wedding anniversary....thank goodness those too had a fling in the backseat of that car!

Oktoberfest Party

We had a white tent that served as the Bier Tent and it also held the food.  Brats, Sauerkraut, chips and dip and Deviled Egg Pasta Salad. We went through 13 pounds of ice.  THIRTEEN!  We offered two kinds of German beer and Coors and Bud and Sam Adams Oktoberfest which is my personal favorite.  That great sign was purchased from Party City, online....they don't carry it in the store.

We're Germans

Also from Party City, the cute bibs!  I had fully intended to purchase authentic lederhosen and a beer wench outfit but Keith said no.  These worked great and I was able to force convince my Mom, Sister and Mother in Law to wear them too. My friend Helle helped me make the Pretzel Necklaces for all of our guests.  It was a nice little snack while chatting with friends and drinking a cold bier.

Sisters and Mom Oktoberfest Party

See our friends there?  Everyone was required to take a picture with them before they could leave.  They also came from Party City.  Everyone had fun moving their arms and legs into fun positions for the pictures!

Stike a Pose

A good time was had by all and the weather was perfect for that short time. It was great to see our dearest friends and family again for a happy reason and Keith's Birthday wish is that he lives long enough to see my 50th birthday. Well! He had better because he has a party to throw!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

God Bless Texas

My sister came to visit recently.  We always look forward to her coming to town because when she is here every day is a party!

We get to have donuts and ice cream and Keith doesn't mind because he can't say No to Aunt Bobbi.

My whole family and Keith's whole family came to town for Keith's 50th Birthday and Bobbi and my Mom were so very helpful and I remembered that I can double dog dare Bobbi to do just about anything.

Like this.

I texted this picture to Keith and his response was:  A little Texas in Colorado can be too much of a good thing!

We miss you Bobbi....come back soon!

If any of you are in the Plano Area....Bobbi just opened a brand new Massage Therapy Office and she'd love some new customers! Free riding lessons with every massage.

Friday, September 6, 2013

TOTES! Journal and Planner Storage

Flashback Friday!  This was published just two months ago....but I think Google would like to see it again.

A while back, my dear friend and partner in organizing all things showed me her Thirty One Tote that she uses for storing greeting cards.  Jessica is just brillant when it comes to finding clever way  keep her things tidy so I always try to steal borrow her ideas when I can.

Several months ago, I was walking around Home Depot.  I think I was looking for the bathroom because I constantly have to pee, when I found a bunch of handheld tool totes.  I looked that them for a long time and thought I should get one of these so I can copy Jessica.  I found the bathroom and forgot about the tote.

This week I was walking around WalMart.

Disclaimer: I drove 20 miles to the nice part of town so that I could have a pleasant WalMart experience.

I found myself in the tool section explaining what all the tools are for my kids and I saw it.  My Tote!!

TOTES!  It's perfect and purple and doesn't scream CRAFTSMAN on the front!  It's exactly what I was looking for and it was only $12.98. I snatched it up and took it home and hugged it for a long time before I put all of my stuff in it.

Here is what is in the my Journal Tote:

  • Smash My Year Smashbook and Thirty One bag that Jessica gave me to hold all of my stickers and what not. 
  • My kids journals that I write in every week
  • My journals that I write in every week
  • Sharpie Markers
  • Papermate Markers
  • Scissors
  • Stuff that needs to go into journals (pictures, movie stubs, invites)

It looks so great sitting on the corner of my desk and since I don't have a dedicated space for crafting/journaling and I ofter lug all of my stuff to the bedroom or in front of the TV, it's just perfect!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Blue Jasmine

I went to a movie by myself yesterday.

That large coke cost almost as much as my matinee ticket! 

I love movies but I hardly ever get out to see them.  I realized that this is the perfect opportunity for me to check out great movies and enrich my life!  I am a cultured chick so I picked Woody Allen's new film first.  

Blue Jasmine is about a high society gal (played by the amazing Cate Blanchett) who has to start her life over in San Francisco after her husband's ponzi scheme falls apart and she's left with nothing.  Well....if you count a beautiful wardrobe, a Hermes bag and Louis Vuitton luggage as nothing!

Jasmine moves in with her sister and tries to get her life back on track.  The poor thing has a little zanax and vodka problem and might be crazy.  We learn about her old life in a series of flashbacks.  For a little while, things are going great because Jasmine meets a substantial guy, he falls in love with her but it doesn't last.  

And that's all I'm going to say about that!

Cate Blanchett did an amazing job with this character and I wouldn't be surprised if she gets nominated for an award.  I have to say, I really enjoyed the movie even thought the old guy behind me said it was the worst movie he's ever seen.  I suspect that is the reason I liked it!  

I give Blue Jasmine 4 out of 5 Vodka Martinis with a Lemon Twist! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Day my Oprah Dream Died

Flashback Friday!  I originally posted this on my birthday in 2008.  I'm going to The Taste of Colorado tonight, for the first time since 2001. 

Oprah is largely responsible for my move to Denver to start my new life. I had watched her show religiously when I was in my abusive marriage and she gave me the tools I needed to get out of a bad relationship and make it on my own. My dream was to someday be in the audience for one of her shows.

yep...I used to be a blonde.

After moving, I made some wonderful friends at work. Misty ended up being one of my best friends because we had so much in common. We were young, single, beer drinking ladies! As I got to know her better, I realized that she was super high maintenance. She refused to sit in the backseat of a car...ever! She carried Kate Spade Handbags that cost more than my rent. She was addicted to buying department store make-up and had all of these storage containers on wheels to store it in. She would only drink Starbucks Coffee and she had fake nails, a fake tan and fake hair color. Then something happened that just floored me. She agreed to dog/house sit for a family but she had demands! First of all, $50...Cash. Then she had to have 3 bags of Cool Ranch Dorito's, 1 1/2 lbs of Smoked Deli Turkey and Baby Swiss (it had to be from the deli), 12 pk of Diet Coke, 12 pk of Coors Light and a loaf of Honey Wheat Bread.

The end of August 2001, the new season of Oprah was getting ready to tape and I was checking her website for the upcoming shows. They were going to do a show about High Maintenance Women and wanted viewers to write in about people they know. I told Misty that I was going to write a letter about her and she just laughed.

On Labor Day, we went to The Taste of Colorado in downtown Denver and I missed a call on my cell phone. I didn't recognize the number and there wasn't a message. A short time later....that number called again and it was a producer from The Oprah Winfrey Show! She loved my letter and they were considering us for the show. I couldn't believe it! I was beyond excited! We would both be on the as the long suffering friend of a High Maintenance Woman! They asked us to send a photo and to be expecting the call about our travel arrangements. The show was scheduled to be taped on September 13th!

I thought this had to be the most amazing birthday present of my entire life. I was going to meet Oprah. I was going to be ON my favorite show. How did I ever get so lucky!

And then on my birthday, September 11th, I drove to work listening to the horrific tragedy that was taking place in New York City. All day we listened to the radio at work and the phone that I answered 500 times a day was oddly silent. And then when it did ring, it was the producer from The Oprah Show. They were canceling our show and didn't plan to tape it at all because it was no longer appropriate. Sorry.

I was crushed. The 9-11 terrorists not only killed all of these people but they prevented my dream from coming true. And then I felt terrible for being so upset about my little dream when the dreams of thousands of people where ending. Their lives cut short and the lives of their loved ones ripped apart. I guess this is why I take 9-11 so personally.

A few weeks later, we finally went out to celebrate my birthday. I got on stage at Sing Sing in Denver and sang head, shoulders, knees and toes (not knowing that someday I would sing it to my children) and I met some Colorado Avalanche players at a bar and Misty would ask them to sign her ample bosom with a sharpie marker. What kind of high maintenance woman does that?

The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. ~ Benjamin E. Mays

And so I have a new dream....of seeing the Oprah Show, from the audience, with my husband. I dream of going to Chicago and enjoying the city with him. Anyone want to babysit?

Being friends with Misty taught me many things. How to feather my nest, how to pour the perfect beer, that I deserved the best, some friends are really enemies in disguise and that sometimes...people pretty up their outsides to try to cover up an ugly inside.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wrong Number Text

My Dad is a Pilot and Flight Instructor.  He teaches people to fly with their instruments in 10 days.  It's really quite amazing!  The other day he was in an airport in Texas when he saw this really cool LEGO airplane and he texted me and Keith a picture.

Dad has had his iPhone for almost a year now and he's getting pretty good at texting with it.  He even sent me a video once!

So I responded to the group text with a picture of a LEGO airplane kit that I had seen at Target just that morning.  Dad asked me if I bought it and I said I was waiting for Christmas.  That's when we realized that my Dad had sent the text to the wrong Keith.

Wow.  Be careful who you accidentally text from your address book in Ozark Alabama! I decided to defuse the situation with humor.  The offended party did not respond.  Turns out the guy is an old crotchety truck driver that my Dad helped get a job in Wyoming a million years ago. 

Let this be a lesson to you.  Clean out your address book!  Especially is you have random people with the same name as your loved ones.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Circle of Trust: A Squirrel Story

Originally posted April 15th 2011.  This post brought my fear of squirrels out into the open.  Friends and strangers started sending squirrel related items to me and after a few months of therapy, I think I'm finally okay again. 



Have I ever told you why I hate the movie UP?  It's not because that poor little boy is gone for days and no one appears to care where he is, or because I don't like old people.

It's because of that dog.  The one that says SQUIRREL all the time.

It scares the crap out of me.....because I have issues with squirrels.  I know what you're thinking....what doesn't Connie have issues with and does iKeith take medication to deal with it all.  The answer is no, he doesn't but his eyes may stay rolled up inside his head if he doesn't stop rolling them at me.

I've been thinking about sharing this story with you for a long time because I feel like it's one of those *little-known secrets* about me.

It started back in 1997.  I was living in a cute little blue house near the University of Northern Colorado.  Our backyard had beautiful 100-year-old oak trees that provided the most amazing shade.  One day I walked around the corner in my kitchen and there on the counter was a squirrel helping himself to a loaf of bread.

I crapped my pants. 

This went on for the entire summer.  I was terrified to walk into my kitchen and lost 25 pounds.  I moved soon after the country but we don't have problems with squirrels in the country.

Have I told you how much I LOVE coyotes?

In 2002, I lived in Denver and part of my job at a collection agency was to go to the bank every day with our deposits. Rain or shine....I drove to the bank.

One day I came out of the bank and before I reached the doors to the outside....I saw a squirrel standing on the trash can just beyond the door.  He was blocking me from leaving the bank and he was giving me the evil eye.  I was held hostage in a bank vestibule!  Finally, another customer walked up and scared him away.  I might have kissed that guy.  On the lips.

In 2004, iKeith and I bought our first house and it had a big beautiful yard that backed up to an even bigger park.  We had 20 trees in our, cherry and a bunch of really old pine trees.  I spent that entire first summer weeding and planting because we were getting married in our back yard soon.

It wasn't long before the assaults started.  First, they were verbal.  Chattering at me and jumping from tree to tree while I did my work.

Next, they ate my sunflowers and dug up my bulbs.

The final straw was when they started throwing pine cones at my head.

We tell people that we sold that house and moved to Utah for a job....but the truth is that we were ran out of town by the squirrels and I had to join the Squirrel Protection Program.

I bet you didn't know their aren't squirrels in Ogden Utah....did you?

This morning, I opened the door to the laundry room and found a squirrel standing there. I may not be the smartest person, but I know that squirrels don't have laundry.  I've already been having laundry issues because the stupid girl that lives next to me highjacked the washer and dryer the other day so I've been putting it off for almost two weeks.

Now I can never do laundry again.

And I have to move.


10:35am Mick the Squirrel Hunter Maintenance Man was just here to inform me that he's been fighting with this squirrel for a few days. Apparently, it chased my favorite neighbor Don's wife Dawn out of the laundry room yesterday.  He's removing the dryer because he suspects that our squirrel is a girl and she's got babies in the wall.  I die. Also, the laundry room is covered in POOP!

12:15pm No more news from Mick The Squirrel Hunter, so I've decided to seal the doors and windows with plastic  because we have lots of nuts in the house. Macadamia Nuts.  We're now like the boy in the bubble.

1:43pm Looking outside for Mick The Lazy Squirrel Hunter, I noticed a small squirrel trying to break into my SUV.  If I hadn't sealed the windows and doors...I would have tossed him my keys.

5:37pm Too nervous to cook so iKeith has offered to take me out to dinner. I wish he'd offer to do the laundry.....

8:30pm I'm drunk and I'm ready to physically fight the squirrels.


12:14pm  I haven't heard back from Mick...but word on the street is that there is a family of squirrels living in the wall of the laundry room and Mick can't figure out how they are getting in.  I was told that a man is coming to spray something that will smell bad and repel the squirrels.

In other news....I think the squirrels have a summer home in my roof.

I did my laundry at a scary dirty laundry mat today and I swore to never return.  I'd rather just buy new clothes every week. There were people in my personal space, people that didn't own laundry baskets and people who might have been carrying around large quantities of drugs in baggies. Oh, and there was a dog there.  By the way, if you have your first name embroidered on your sweatshirt Barb.  It makes it a lot easier for me to cuss you by name in my head (and my blog).  Barb.


9:11am Just talked to Mick. The fox urine bomb was dropped on Saturday morning which explains why the squirrels were terrorizing me that day. He also shot and killed four of them in the laundry room on Friday night. My laundry room is now a crime scene.

I informed Mick of my suspicions that they might be moving to the roof and he's coming over with a flood light later because the attic access is in my apartment.  Awesome.

I'm off to google what it takes to make a fox a pet.

12:55pm  Mick the Squirrel Killer hasn't shown up yet.  Also, according to google, Foxes don't make good pets.


3:07pm  Heard noise outside so I went to check it out and found this.

That's Mick and his son attempting to patch a hole in the building in the continuing squirrel saga.  He assures me that this will stop them.  He also informed me that the fox urine did nothing. Soooo glad I didn't buy a pet fox.

Mick believes that this is where they are getting in.  Let's hope he's right.


12:54pm  It would appear that Mick's Fix didn't work because he's given up and is just letting the squirrels come and go as they damn well please.

This door is normally locked and only residents of my apartment have access. Why didn't he just make the squirrels their own key? I walked over to the office to talk about the possibility of waiving my penalty for moving before my lease has expired and the office is closed until Monday.

Something tells me they knew I was coming.


11:00am  I think I know why the door was propped open all day Friday.


I decided to face my fear and do laundry yesterday.  It was scary and I felt my throat closing as I headed down the stairs....but it wasn't because of my fear.  It was because there was a smell down there that was making it hard to breathe.

The Finale: 

Our basement was completely gutted, sealed and rebuilt.  The Squirrels had been living in the walls for years and created an unsanitary environment.

Mick was issued a summons by the Lakewood Police Dept when one of my neighbors reported that he had discharged a firearm outside of the apartment.

We have been squirrel free for two years! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

SMASH Your Life

Originally posted in January 2013 when I started the challenge.  

I'm so excited to share my Smash Book pages with you today. I can't wait to document my entire month at a time. If you think you don't have time for this project, I'm here to tell you that is not true. It took me longer to edit the pictures than it did to put it together.

I've been picking up the goodies to use on my pages at Target and Michaels through the month and there is still more I want to get. The nice thing is that these accessories are under $5 and won't break my craft budget.

My friend Jessica who accepted my Smash Your Year Challenge  (click here to see her pages) gave me a super cute Thirty-One zippered pouch for Christmas.  I was thrilled to discover that my Smash Book fits into it perfectly!  Through the month, I collected pictures and my fun Smash Book Accessories so that when I was ready to put this thing together...I would have everything in one place.

In case you missed it...How to Print Your Instagram Photos.

Can you tell that I love Downton Abbey?

I stacked the pictures from my Whole Foods Cooking Class so I can lift one up.  I really like this technique and will probably use it every month.

I'm also decorating the cover.  I saw this picture on pinterest and it is my inspiration.  I'll be adding to it each month and my goal is to have it complete at the end of the year.   Follow my Journaling Board on Pinterest.

Are you joining us in the Smash Book Challenge?  Please put a link to your post in the comments!  We want to see your pages.

More Pages:

February Smash Your Year
March Smash Your Year
April Smash Your Year

More coming....I promise!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Non-Mormons Guide to Utah

Originally posted on 2/22/2011.  This is one of my favorite posts and still stand behind all of it! 

I was reading a post from Dooce today about her study.

In this post I discovered that most homes in Utah have a room just off from the front door that is used for Home Study with the Mormon teacher that is assigned to come to your home and check up on you.  ie...Brother Horton.

We thought this room was a dining room but now that I have this bit of information, it makes sense that this is what it was supposed to be used for because it was painted fertile earth brown and it had french doors with no handles on it. All the better to lock Brother Horton in my dear!

Since moving back to Denver, we've had time to reflect on our Utah experience...I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner...but as a public service to all new transplants to Utah I present:

The Non-Mormons Guide to Utah

  • The room near the door is not a dining's a home study room. This would be a good place to visit with the missionaries you will be inundated with. Don't be a dork like me and make them stand outside in the cold. 

  • The room in the basement with shelves is not a wine cellar. It's for your one year (or 3 month if your broke) supply of canned goods. A list of what you are supposed to have on hand can be found here. You can expect at least one neighbor to bring you a couple cans to get you started.

  • The church at the end of your street is called a Ward. The guy that runs it is called a Bishop. The big churches with the gates around it are called can't go in unless you are a Mormon.
  • General Conference is a meeting that is televised twice a year (generally...April and October). You will think that the second coming of Jesus has occurred but it's just that all of the Mormon's are glued to their TV's for the entire weekend. This is a great time to go to the Zoo or any other popular venue.
  • If people at the grocery store don't smile at's because they don't recognize you from The Ward.
  • Liquor stores and grocery store beer. Liquor stores are only open until 7pm and 10pm. Plan accordingly. Whatever you not drink grocery store beer. It's a waste of money...they don't call it near beer for nothing. 
  • Speaking of booze. You can get a (3.2)beer at 10am...but you have to wait until Noon for wine, real beer and liquor. Don't bother ordering a Martini, Margarita or a Long Island Iced Tea. They are only allowed to give you 2.5 ounces of liquor per drink. Also, you have to order food with it.
  • Lots of restaurants and stores are closed on Sunday. Figure out what's open on Sunday and enjoy dining in a near empty restaurant. This is also your best day to go to Target and the Mall.
  • Learn to make the following dishes: Jello Mold, Funeral Potatoes, Frog Eye Salad and Fry Sauce.
  • It may be difficult to make friends in Utah but don't take it personally. Mormons are very busy with church activities and have likely lived in the same area for their entire lives. Also, you won't have much in common with them. Hang out in coffee shops and approach other people drinking coffee.
  • If you aren't interested in becoming Mormon...then don't accept a Book of Mormon or attend any church functions. In some places, this will encourage them to try to convert you. And whatever you not invite them into your living room to discuss things. This gets your name on a special list that you can't be removed from.
  • If you do not convert and continually turn the Missionaries may be shunned by your neighbors. Don't take this personally. It's their loss.
  • If you see a woman at the grocery store that looks like she just stepped out of an episode of Little House on the Prairie and she has a whole bunch of kids...she's probably a sister wife. Smile and say Hi to her because everyone in the store will be whispering about her behind her back. You are both real nice to her.
  • Never admit to having had an abortion, being gay or being Jewish (we aren't...they assumed).
  • The best restaurants and grocery stores with exotic ingredients are located in Salt Lake City.

Monday, July 22, 2013

That Time I Flashed Father Marty

I tried on 14 dresses.  It is really very difficult to find a dark colored, conservative dress in the middle of summer.  I found one that I liked but Alex said I looked pregnant in it and it was $40.  I'm not paying that kind of money to look fat. No way man!

I finally gave up and decided to wear something I already owned....even if it wasn't appropriate.  I had spent  the morning writing the obituary and putting together a tribute video....I was emotionally spent!

The next day, I pulled out my dress and realized it was more black than white.  Perfect!  At the last minute I decided to wear my onesie spanx.  I told iKeith this decision could go one of two ways.  I'd either cry more because I was in pain, or I wouldn't be able to cry because I wouldn't be able to breathe.

As you can see from the picture....I was wearing a wrap dress.  What you might also be able to see is that it's tied in a triple knot because as I was being introduced to Father Marty my dress came untied and I flashed him.

Did you hear what I said?  My dress came OPEN as I shook Father Marty's hand.  He saw my spanx. I was mortified!

Father Marty sat in the second pew behind Bobbi while people were speaking about Robert and she handed him a couple tissues when she heard him crying.  She thinks it's because I've ruined his vow of celibacy.

Speaking of Bobbi.  She was never a Girl Scout, but she should have been.  She is so resourceful.

She ran out of hands and found a place to store her silverware!  Smart girl!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

5 Stages of Grief

Until you're lost someone, you don't really understand the 5 stages of grief.



(no photo available)



I've filled multiple pages of a notebook telling Robert how I feel and I think I'll keep this notebook to write letters to him when I wish I could call him up.  He's going to miss so many things....but mostly, watching his niece and nephew grow up.

The grief of children is also an interesting thing to observe.  Memories or thoughts about Robert have hit them when we least expect it.  I suppose this will happen for a long time and I hope to keep his memory alive for them.  We're already making plans to celebrate Robert's birthday and I'll have to come up with something for Christmas.  Anyone have any ideas for me?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nine Years

On Saturday, I told someone that it feels like we're been married for 20 years.  She took it I meant our marriage had been long and tedious, but that's not what I meant.

I feel like I've known Keith my entire he's always been here holding my hand and snoring while we sleep.  We know each other so well that we often are thinking the same thing and finish each other's sentences.

I think the real test of a marriage is how you handle crisis.  I can tell you that the events of last week strengthened our already strong bond and we're more in love today than we've ever been before.  I know our love will stand the test of time because we are a team and we support each other.  Most importantly, we love like it could be our last day.

A last note about this photo.  The person on the other side of the camera....was Robert.  I wish I knew what he said to get this response from you can see, it was hysterical!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pieces of Robert

I feel like I need to apologize for all of these sad posts.  You guys know I'm an upbeat and fun loving gal but this pain and grief is weighing on me...hard.  Please don't leave me....I'm sure I'll be back to the funny soon.  In fact, I've got a funny story about the funeral if you can believe that.  Of course you's me we're talking about here.

My kitchen and living room are full of Robert's things.  Keith brought another load home last night and now I'll have little touches of Robert everywhere.  His beautiful cat has adopted me...funny how that works and I'm now his person.  I think he sees the resemblance to Rob in Keith and stares him down hoping to hear his voice.

Meet André

I have another story for you.  This one makes my heart happy.  One of Robert's closest friends is Ron.  Ron is 69 years old and has spent his whole life on the stage!  In face, he choreographed the last play that Robert and I saw together last November.  Two days before he died Rob asked Ron to make him a new bracelet with red in it.  Ron finished the bracelet 15 minutes before he got the call about Robert.

On Sunday, when we were packing up Rob's house....Ron came up to Keith and put the bracelet on him and told him that it was meant for Robert. Keith, who is not a friendship bracelet kind of wearing it proudly!

Keith is back to work today and we're trying to return to our normal lives.  I still can't believe Robert is gone and feel like he could call me at any moment and make me laugh. What I do know, is that his spirit lives on....and that makes me happy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Broken Chair

Robert's service was really lovely.  There was a large turnout and several people spoke, including a woman he'd only worked with for the last three months.  This is how Robert touched people!  I'm proud of the obituary I wrote.  I figure it was the most important thing I've ever written.  You can read it here.  I also made a video, here.

Yesterday was a hard day. Robert had just moved to Aurora a few weeks ago and had bought new furniture, dishes, bedding and towels.  Walking into his home was like walking into a model home!  He really did have such great taste.  We had to go through all of his belongings, decide what we each wanted to keep and what to sell.  The kids each selected something from the house that reminded them of Uncle Robert and even though my largest momento is his cat AndrĂ© (seriously...he weighs 13 pounds)...I found a few things.

We brought everything home and started putting some of the items in the basement storage closet.  But first we had to move out two of the extra chairs for the dining room table.  Once we had kids we bought two extra chairs so that everyone would have a seat when we had family dinners.  When our family was all together there were always 8 of us.

I started to pull one of the chairs out of the little dark closet and it fell apart in my hands.  The back completely fell off!  I've moved this chair a dozen times in the last 3 years and it was always sturdy.  I carried it to the dumpster and as I laid it inside I realized that this was likely Robert's chair and we didn't need it anymore.  Big tears rolled down my face as I let go of the chair.  Robert will never sit at my table again.

Broken chair

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Waiting to Exhale

My sister is on her way.

She was the first person I called after I heard the news about Robert and she immediately cancelled her plans for the week and jumped in her car to drive to Denver.  I feel like I'm holding my breath waiting for her to get here.

Keith and his family are making the funeral arrangements this afternoon and I've been tasked with making a slideshow of pictures and writing the obituary.  I don't know who has the tougher job.

So many memories have come rushing back to me.  Robert has been such a huge part of my life from the day I met him.  We became immediate friends!  He helped pick out the ugly furniture for our house, he helped plan my wedding, he planned and hosted my baby shower and brought Alex a stuffed animal the day he was born.  He took care of Alex and Mallory for the first time so that Keith and I could go to Vegas for a weekend, he was there for Alex's first day of Kindergarten, he photographed Field Day at school and he was there for the kids' singing performance at Barnes and Noble.

How do we go on without him?

He was supposed to be my back up.  He called himself my brother husband and said that if Keith died he'd marry me and help raise my kids.  I feel like I've lost my best friend.

We had so much fun together and so much of it is here on this blog.  Many of you have messaged me with so many kind words and thoughts for my family and you felt like you knew Robert because of what I shared with you.

I'm so glad that I'll always have these memories of my Adventures with Robert here to enjoy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Sad Day

A week and a half ago, my brother-in-law Robert stopped by our apartment.  He was moving from a place a mile away, to Aurora, a good 45 minutes away.  He wanted us to have something that he'd been saving.  A bottle of Champagne from our wedding.

I didn't know that would be the last time we would see him.

Yesterday, we got the call that he had died of a suspected heart attack and now we are planning a funeral.  We're heartbroken.  Please keep my family in your prayers as we deal with the aftermath and find a new normal without Robert.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

TOTES! Journal Storage

A while back, my dear friend and partner in organizing all things showed me her Thirty One Tote that she uses for storing greeting cards.  Jessica is just brillant when it comes to finding clever way  keep her things tidy so I always try to steal borrow her ideas when I can.

Several months ago, I was walking around Home Depot.  I think I was looking for the bathroom because I constantly have to pee, when I found a bunch of handheld tool totes.  I looked that them for a long time and thought I should get one of these so I can copy Jessica.  I found the bathroom and forgot about the tote.

This week I was walking around WalMart.

Disclaimer: I drove 20 miles to the nice part of town so that I could have a pleasant WalMart experience.

I found myself in the tool section explaining what all the tools are for my kids and I saw it.  My Tote!!

TOTES!  It's perfect and purple and doesn't scream CRAFTSMAN on the front!  It's exactly what I was looking for and it was only $12.98. I snatched it up and took it home and hugged it for a long time before I put all of my stuff in it.

Here is what is in the my Journal Tote:

  • Smash My Year Smashbook and Thirty One bag that Jessica gave me to hold all of my stickers and what not. 
  • My kids journals that I write in every week
  • My journals that I write in every week
  • Sharpie Markers
  • Papermate Markers
  • Scissors
  • Stuff that needs to go into journals (pictures, movie stubs, invites)

It looks so great sitting on the corner of my desk and since I don't have a dedicated space for crafting/journaling and I ofter lug all of my stuff to the bedroom or in front of the TV, it's just perfect!

So now.  I made another purchase that was inspired by watching Jennifer from Tatertots and Jello participate in a crafting challenge a few days ago.  Have you seen the house that Jennifer is re-doing?  It's so cool and exactly what I'd like to do someday if I had a husband that was handy. Anyway!   I bought this!

It's for my top secret painting project that I just realized I can't start until next week because of the holiday coming up this week because iKeith can't know what I'm up to.  It's a secret!!!!  Shhhhh.....

Like it?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Goodbye Billy Joe

The last few days I've been writing the story of my life before iKeith.  Before I moved to Denver, I was married to Billy Joe and I lived on a 660 acre ranch.  I recently found pictures from that life and I was going to write about it.  The story is hard for me because it was full of such turmoil.  When I moved to Denver, I was running away from a life that I thought I was stuck in.  A life I didn't think I'd survive.

So...I started writing the story a few days ago, starting at the beginning and the day I met Billy Joe.  This afternoon when I was googling the songs that were popular that day, I realized I hadn't googled his name in a while.  I google his name occasionally because he has a bad habit of getting arrested for not having a drivers license and drinking while driving.  Even though we've been divorced for 12 years I still worried about him hurting someone or himself.

I don't have to worry anymore.  He did.

I googled his name this afternoon and saw that he died on June 10th from injuries sustained in a car accident.  My heart practically stopped!  This is what I'd been afraid of and never wanted to see!  I read further and learned that he ran a stop sign on a country road and the man that hit him died too.

According to the obituary he has a wife and a son.  I'd always hoped he would get his life together and not be a danger to himself and others.  There was a time when I loved him so much and he was my whole life.  In a way, I'm relieved that he can't hurt anyone else.  And I guess this chapter of my life is finally over.  I don't have to worry about him anymore.

RIP Billy Joe.

Monday, June 24, 2013

San Francisco City Pass

The kids and I had four and a half days to fill while iKeith attended the WWDC Conference in San Francisco.  We decided that we'd stay in Fisherman's Wharf and that he'd commute to the Moscone Center via Muni(bus) each day.  The F bus stop was right outside of our hotel so it was very convenient!   This left the kids and I right in the middle of all of the action.

When researching things to do, I was easily overwhelmed!  San Francisco is an amazing city with museums and learning experiences everywhere you look.  When I was researching how we'd be getting around, I stumbled upon the City Pass.

For the low price of $202 for the three of us, we got a 7 day Muni pass and admission to 4 attractions.  I already knew that I wanted to take the kids on a boat tour and to the Academy of Science and they were both included.  It seemed like a no brainer!

Day One~Aquarium of the Bay and Pier 39

We started off this day by finding a place to eat breakfast that wouldn't blow my budget.  Food is ridiculously expensive and a kid's meal can run you $10. I found a great place where the kids could have pancakes and I could have Pho!

Next we walked over to Trader Joe's and saved $200 on food for our stay.

My little boy is all about the fishes!  He loves the aquarium so much and loved all of the displays.  At the end we got to touch a shark and manta rays. This is a small attraction and only takes about an hour to get through....less if one of your children suddenly develops an aversion to fish tanks and freaks out.

Aquarium of the Bay is on Pier 39 which doesn't look like much from the front but its a two layer mall with a Merry Go Round and the world famous Sea Lions.  This takes about 2 hours to navigate but there are many restaurants (print coupons from home before you leave)  scattered through out including the California Wine Bar where you can get a flight of Pinot Noir for $16.

Day Two~ Academy of Science and the Golden Gate Bridge

We traveled to the Golden Gate Bridge on the mass transit system which can be very confusing.  Download an app that tells exactly which buses to get on and where.  This is also helpful for figuring out when the next bus is arriving.

This bridge is really breath taking!  And when you read all of the plaques about how and when it was built, you are just amazed that it is there at all.  There are very affordable souvenirs here like cool pencils for $1.  Just don't do what I did and leave them somewhere. There is also a little cafe where you can grab a drink and a pastry.  The coffee is really good here!

The bus dropped us off on the outskirts of Golden Gate Park.  There is one bus that will take you right to the front door of the Academy of Science but since we made a stop at the bridge we didn't take that one.  But it's so fine because the park is beautiful and is worth walking through.  We found ourselves in the middle of a rose garden.

The California Academy of Science is an amazing place.  It has a natural history museum, an aquarium with African Penguins, a rainforest and an earth quake simulator. On the very a living garden!  It's almost too much to put under one roof and not be overwhelmed.  Make sure to download their app so you can get more info about the events happening during your visit.  We were able to be front row at the Penguin feeding (10:30am every morning) because I checked the app.

Day Three~The Exploratorium 

The Exploratorium recently moved to a new building on Pier 15 between Fisherman's Wharf and The Ferry Building.    This place is amazing!  Give yourself a good two hours to navigate and be ready to use your brain a lot!  Basically, you are about to do 400 science experiments in a short amount of time. There is so much to read and see and do.  You will have to come back a second time to really see everything.

Day Four~Bay Tour

Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise does a great job of showing you the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.  There is indoor seating if you don't want to stand or sit in the wind and you can buy drinks and snacks onboard.   We loved hearing all of the history while sailing around the bay!

I was so pleased with the City Pass and would use it again in San Francisco or any other city that offers it.  I figured out that we saved about $150 and all of the activities are worth seeing if you are visiting the city!  Make sure to visit my food blog for info about where to eat while visiting the great city of San Francisco!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for writing about the City Pass.  I just loved using it and wanted to share it with my readers and anyone else that comes across my blog while googling 'crap to do in San Fran'.