10 years.

10 years ago today, I became The Mr’s Mrs.
Outside of a perfect little farmhouse, just down a little back road from my hometown.  It really was perfect, and I had a feeling we would choose it, although I looked EVERYWHERE in the city for a venue that I felt a connection with.
Oh Lordy how I did not want to have our wedding a-way out here in nowheresville.

Except there was this place.  This place where we held the prom I helped plan my Junior year in high school.  This place with a real connection and history in the state I love so dearly.  It had big trees to shade our special day on beautiful grounds that would welcome our guests with views of the mountains so close they could see the tree-tops running up the hillsides (the Texan contingent eats that up, yo.)

Nothing I could find in the city topped it. I stopped hiding it and showed The (future) Mr, and he loved it too.

Done and done.  The place was the only thing I was picky about….  caterer and photog and music and dress.. it all fell into place after we found the venue.

So 10 years ago today (after a spectacular amount wee little bit of wine at the rehearsal dinner outside of Boulder, ) I got up at the crack of dawn to let the hairdresser and my BFF into my parents’ house, giggled as said BFF got an eyefull of my favorite cousin scratching his rump as he stretched off last night’s wine (my partner in crime, ) and loaded into my Daddy’s Tahoe for the 5 minute drive to the site.
I was nervous.  I mean, good nervous, but nervous.

But in we went.  My girls gathered round, getting me in my dress, taping my sleeves on (I even covered up most of my tattoos for that day- you’re welcome, honey,) and freshening my mimosa.
In the shadow of my hometown watertower, down the steps I used to enter and exit my prom, I clung to my Daddy’s arm and manuvered down onto the pavers and across the lawn on a beautiful sunny Fall morning, toward forever.

-The Rent-a-Reverand said the wrong name,(as in “do you Name of my oldest guy friend who had just done a reading, NOT The Mr’s name, take Keri to be your. .. what? OH SORRY ABOUT THAT! …”

-The buffet was subject to major bottlenecking due to where it was set up (for what it’s worth, the bar was not. Priorities. )

-It was the first (and last) time we danced together (Mistifies Me by Son Volt) and it probably looked like it.

-I can’t 2 step in a white ball gown (sorry, brother in law.)

-as we drove off waving, our driver admited she couldn’t get the champagne open, so Thec Mr jumped out, 100 feet from our “big send off” and wrenched the top off.

- I am sure other crazy stuff happened, but the whole day seemed to go by in about 3 minutes and then we were in the bridal suite and I was screeching and making my new spouse rip my industrial strength fashion taped sleeves off my arms “QUICK LIKE A BANDAID! NOW!”

It was perfect.

And here we are. 10 years later.
He makes me laugh. He makes me crazy. He leaves me dumbfounded
  He makes me proud.

“No one mystifies me like you do.”

The next ten years should be one hell of a ride, if the first 10 are any indication. 

Happy anniversary, honey.

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Did NOT see that coming.

I am a monumentally somewhat cynical person. I know this. I accept this.

So when the chance presented itself for me to attend a local fundraiser modeled after Dancing With The Stars (including prominent local figures paired with dance professionals,) I confess my internal dialogue went right to “um, that’s a little hokey, no?”

But it was presented as an opportunity to attend and then write an article about the evening and the foundation the evening benefits; so off I went in the back of my editor’s minivan, not quite knowing what to expect. Whatever I could have expected, it never could have compared to what I actually found – in the event, and in myself because of it.

It didn’t occur to me that I would see people I knew. Which seems ridiculous to say in hindsight – you were raised here, Keri. You know this town. This town knows you.

I’d forgotten. I had lost that; or maybe thought that all of us had lost that in the passing years. In the warm, genuine hugs and smiles and inquiries of wonderfully familiar faces I remembered again.

Sitting in the dark, surrounded by people who so love this place, people I know, children of people I know, I was overtaken by the sense of community. I hadn’t expected it, and It engulfed me like a tidal wave. I lost my breath.

I Could. Not. Stop. Smiling.  I found it (or rather it found me.) That connection I’d been missing since we moved back. The understanding of where I fit. Of belonging to a place. Of being home.

In that moment, in that space, my heart just swelled up, so fast and so completely full , and broke the internal Grinchy meter of my cynicism.

Oh.

Riding back home in the darkness and drizzle, I looked out that minivan window and suddenly I saw it all again – the bones and the soul of the little hometown I loved so fiercely in my youth. And the good things about what has grown and filled in and taken shape in my absence.

For the first time it didn’t feel like a betrayal to my “Reluctantly Suburban” persona to understand where I fit in the story of my hometown. Or even to be ok with it being my son’s hometown as well.

It didn’t feel like a threat to my love of the city to have a sense of belonging here – not just in my past, but in the present and in our family’s future as well.

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It’s a substantial gift. No, REALLY. Just Sayin’.

This morning in Jr’s room, our “waking up conversation” centered around his little “Cars 2″ racing set, currently residing at NeNe and Pop’s house.

He loves it, and loves Lightening McQueen, but I confess that we don’t know ALL the character names.

Me: “If we hurry up and get dressed we can go to NeNe’s and see Lightening and um, the other guy…. who is he?  Fransisco? I think that is it… we can go see them.”

Jr: “I don’t think that is his name, mom.”  (exasperated eyeroll added for emphasis.)

Me: “What do you want his name to be then?  Steve?  Bob? Phillip?”

Jr:  (cutting me off) “PHILLIP!  His name is Phillip, I think.”

Me:  “You like Phillip?  Ok, Phillip The Car…  wait!  Phillip the car!  Get it “Phill-up the car!?”

Jr: Blank stare

Me: literally slapping knee “It’s funny – mommy made a pun – Fill up the car…  Phillip The Car.”  Lots and LOTS of laughing.

The Mr. (from his office down the hall) “That’s really bad, Keri.  Seriously.  You need coffee.”

Jr:  continued Blank stare

 

COME ON – that’s comedy gold, people!!  I am funny even on ACCIDENT.

Sometimes our gifts are totally unappreciated.

Just Sayin’.

 

 

 

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No really, I got this.

It’s no secret that Keri’s first choice for relaxing isn’t mountain recreation.

I confess that when it comes to the purple mountains magisty that is The Rocky Mountains, I tend to take an “over it” attitude. It’s a sin and a shame, but growing up here makes it easy to take for granted.

That being said, I want my kid to have the same experiences that I did when I was growing up – all of the hiking and frolicking and camping (ok, maybe we can skip camping… cabins are nice… walls are good,) and even skiing (NOT with me – HELL NO,) that growing up in Colorado should include.

Then later in life he can go ahead and roll his eyes at the idea of it all too, if he decides to.

That was the agreement – the point of moving way out here away from the city, right? Get Keri out of her comfort zone, get Jr into the crossroads of all the different parts of Colorado, get The Mr (bless his Texas transplant little heart,) closer to the mountains so he could be all, um, mountainy again (gigglesnort.) Check check and check.

Except it has come to my attention that people assume that I am bad at the whole “mountain fun time recreation” thing. Like my distain = my inability.

Um, no.

Keri can hike. Keri can drive the passes. Keri can get on a damn gondola. Keri can drink you under the table at 9000 feet and get up the next day and chase a toddler through tourist crowds.

If you’d like, I can also build you a fire, toast the perfect marshmallow, sing camp songs until hell and gone and splint your hiking injury with my trusty bandana and a stick (ok, I don’t know if I could still do that – but somewhere in my youth I could. Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.)

The level of surprise from family and friends at the idea that Keri is comfortable in the mountains took me WAY by surprise.

I admit, I have no love for being a passenger in a car driving through the mountains – control freak Keri likes to be the pilot (are there seriously people who don’t though? I can’t imagine!) Andplusalso, in true native style, I am ALL about our state’s booming tourism industry. It is beyond important to our economy. It does NOT make I-70 a place where I want to be driving on a Sunday afternoon. Traffic jams suck. Traffic jams on 6% -9% grades with semi-trucks? There needs to be a new word for that level of suck.

But kind of crummy travel issues aside, what’s not to enjoy? It is pretty and peaceful and things slow down a bit up there.

Last week I marveled at Jr’s 3 year old bravery as he cautiously did his first ropes course in Vail. I watched him squeal with glee on the gondolas, and observe flowers and bugs and rocks and rivers with wide, curious eyes. This momma can’t deny it – the Rockies match her son’s adventurous, open spirit perfectly.

So hide your shock, friends – Keri is dusting off her hiking boots and heading for the hills.

Relax. I know what I am doing.

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Judgy in Margaritaville. Just Sayin’.

Why yes, fellow pool goer, that IS a strawberry margarita made with beer in my koozie-clinching hand.
I figure the country club membership committee isn’t going to be beating down the door of the neighborhood pool to recruit my tattoo-clad self anyhoo – so I’m cool with what it’s doing to my rep, yo.

Plus- it tastes really  good.

I’d totally share.

Hashtag “come to the dark side”

Just sayin’.

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