Imperfection Makes Pies (and Life!) Sweeter

Living on the Western Slope of Colorado, I’ve learned to mark the passage of time by what produce is available when.

Tender asparagus in the spring. Cherries in mid-summer. Sweet corn in late summer. Apples in the fall . . . . that sort of thing.

Granted, not much grows here in the winter! But even that season has its own hallmark — when the kitchen fills with the nutty warmth of baking acorn squash or simmering butternut squash soup, I know it’s winter.

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Put on Your Fancy Pants and DANCE!

Fifteen years ago I had the great pleasure of leading a team of idealistic young AmeriCorps members in San Luis Obispo, California. We taught environmental education to middle and high school students, mostly through service projects, in-class presentations, and after-school … Read More

The Day Dad Retired His Boogie Board

Ever since I was a little girl, my family would take an annual vacation to the California coast where relatives owned a beach house. One of my favorite all-time memories happened during one of those trips, not long after Mike … Read More

Goodbye Home, Hello Home

I dreamt of the White Buffalo on the side of Mt. Lamborn years before moving to Paonia. Coincidence? Or GODcident?!?

What does it mean to leave the place you’ve lived longer than anywhere else?

It means you’re leaving HOME.

But . . .

What does it mean to move back to the place where your parents and sister live, where you went to high school?

It means you’re returning HOME.

I’m a Brat (Military, That Is)

My father served in the Army for two decades. We moved every few years, from Pueblo, Colorado => Augusta, Georgia => a Marshall Island in the Pacific => Glendale, Arizona => Salt Lake City => Baumholder and Fulda in Germany => Manhattan, Kansas => Las Vegas.

As an adult, I couldn’t shake the moving bug. I attended college in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and then moved to Boulder to Denver and back to Boulder again where I met Mike. We moved to Denver together, and then San Luis Obispo and Santa Margarita in California. Then off we went to Cerro, New Mexico, and most recently to Paonia, where we’ve lived for the past eight years.

I have never lived anywhere for eight years! So of course Paonia feels like home. I was born in Pueblo, and always had an affinity for Colorado. When Mike and I left New Mexico and came back to Colorado, it truly felt like coming home. I thought I’d be here forever . . . .

But life is funny.

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Are you David or Goliath?

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath, makes the case that successful innovators and entrepreneurs often experienced childhood losses or traumas. Dr. Emil “Jay” Freireich, inventor of modern chemo treatments for cancer, and President Barack Obama both lost their fathers at … Read More

The Payoff for Being Afraid

photo by Mike Maxwell
“Adventure is not outside [wo]man; it is within.” ― George Eliot
(photo by Mike Maxwell)
Recently a friend asked me what the payoff is for my “Shame Shit Storms.”

This is a painful and somewhat embarrassing question to answer.

Here’s what I came up with . . . My shame allows me to:

  • stay safely in my comfort zone, which allows me to
  • avoid being seen, which allows me to
  • escape being hurt.

Looking at this list makes me uncomfortable. How can it be? I like seeing myself as a strong and capable woman, not a fragile and frightened little girl!

But in my heart I know staying in my comfort zone means I don’t have to take a stand — for myself, for others, for love. If I’m shamed back into my little corner, I can bypass doing my inner work. I can give in unchallenged to my defeating beliefs that I am lazy and worthless. That I am broken beyond repair.

Ultimately, I can avoid taking responsibility for myself and my life.

Which is pretty fucking ironic considering I am the FOUNDER of the Church of Personal RESPONSIBILITY!

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Go Ahead — End Your Life

Photo by Randy Walker
Photo by Randy Walker

Nine years ago my dear friend walked to the end of the San Simeon pier, climbed over the railing, and jumped in to the icy Pacific Ocean. Her body washed ashore three days later.

Two years ago a relative of mine downed a bottle of Prozac with a fifth of vodka and passed out in her bathroom. She survived, thanks to a random call that woke her husband who found her.

And last month, a kind newspaper reporter I met during a phone interview leaped off Maroon Creek Bridge. He leaves behind a teenaged daughter, a wife, and a confused and grieving community, including several friends of mine of who knew him well.

I imagine we all know someone who has committed suicide, attempted it, or thought about it. Perhaps that “someone” is ourselves.

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