Category Archives: Just Sayin’

Bittersweet

Today I turn 43.

But last weekend I was 17.

It’s (kinda sorta) true.

Bright and early Saturday morning I picked Dr. Sissy up at the airport for a quick 3 day visit just ahead of our birthday.

And OF COURSE she had a jam-packed schedule of seeing friends, hanging with the fam (see pic,) and drinking wine and giggling with yours truly –but we had a specific greater goal.

Gosh, aren’t our parents lucky? (J/k- we won the parent lottery with these awesome humans for sure!)

Time Travel.

Kinda….

You see, growing up in Colorado, being a teenager in the summer meant one thing above all others – Red Rocks concert season.

And to our crew, the HIGH HOLY HOLIDAY of 1990’s summers at Red Rocks was the 4th of July show with Big Head Todd and The Monsters, and Blues Traveler. But I need you to understand something right here and now, people – if you were raised when I was raised, WHERE I was raised, Blues Traveler was the decorative afterthought on that bill and BHT&tM was EVERYTHING.

I could get all misty and nostalgic about those shows, and go digging through my closet for my Birks (actually I should find those,) and my ripped up CU sweatshirt and really dive down that rabbit hole, but I will spare you and just leave it at that.

So, in a sentence that could very well have been written about my junior year of high school, we loaded into my jeep and took off for Morrison for the main event of our final weekend as 42 year olds.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Toad the Wet Sprocket at Red Rocks.

YASSSSSSSSSSS.

(Sidenote for those in the know – that bottom parking lot feels A LOT farther in your 40s than it does when you are younger, amirite!?)

Seriously…. the lower lot is rough, yo.

Keep climbing..

It was about the time that we were pulling into said parking lot that my darling twin sister, the other half of my egg, realized that she had left her wallet at my house and didn’t have her ID… it took us about 5 minutes to realize that if needed, she could probably use mine… because you know TWINS.

BUT – something else we always seem to forget – we don’t have to plot to game the system, because you know OLD.

So we easily grabbed two classy aluminum bottles of Chardonnay on the way to our seats. #standardmoms.

My sister is hawt. (Get it?)

Again, at this point I feel compelled to express that Big Head Todd was a BFD if you grew up Boulder adjacent like we did. And they were great. Truly.

But Toad the Wet Sprocket brought the mf-ing house down. Legit – they were a damn blast and every song just got better….

They were SPEAKING to that crowd of my peers…

Then they played “Walk on the Ocean” and this remarkable hush fell over all of us jaded Gen Xers….like we were noticing the lyrics for the first time:

We don’t even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old….

AND WE BLEW THAT SHIT UPPPPPP – everyone screaming and wooping and dancing and remembering.

Not from our Instagram memories…. Not even from old pictures or faded concert tickets stuck in long ago stored or tossed scrapbooks…

It was the music – it was the place – it was the feeling. We were all back there, and somehow as we huddled in the dark watching the lights reflecting on the soft rain that danced in the smoke above the stage as Big Head Todd brought Hazel Miller out to join them, just like they always did/do – it was 1994 again. We were remembering bringing huge thermoses of vodka lemonade and giant backpacks filled with food into shows –spreading out blankets and hogging up real estate in general admission and soaking up the sun…. getting together and breaking up and making up and Camel straights and fireworks and epic rain storms and once-in-lifetime shows we took for granted and just EVERYTHING…

I confess that my sister has a better concept of what other people think of shows at Red Rocks than I do. I have never NOT lived here – it has never NOT been my normal. I understand that I am remarkably spoiled in that way.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel its might…. For me it is in the rocks and the trees and the view of the city I love, but it is also every person I have ever shared it with. It is Doctor Sissy… and the times I have sat there with The Mr. throughout our entire 18 year relationship… it is Matt and Christy and Parker and Rachel and Radar and Misty and Jimmy and Julia and every other person that myself and my sister have sat next to in the growing dark of a show in our now 43 years on this planet, underneath those rocks in the blazing sun and the driving rain, and seemingly very little in between (if you know you know.) And now, it is Jr…. we stopped there on our way to spend a week with The Mr’s family in the mountains last summer, and this fall him and I will make the climb from the parking lots to let him experience his first concert at Red Rocks, along with my dear friend Stacey and her daughter, and I am SO excited to bring him into the fold and to share it with more friends.

Because sitting there – with my twin sister, a few days before our 43rd birthday, listening to music that shaped our souls, surrounded by other people our age who were also dancing and singing their hearts out…. We felt connected to each other, and reconnected with our selves.

Of course nostalgic glow doesn’t really last forever, and as we exited and started our hike back to the parking lot we were instantly reminded that we were FAR from 1994:

There is a literal Lyft-land for post-show pick ups… you sit in chairs hanging out and they call your name on a bullhorn.. #reasonsKerilovesmillenials

And so we left and followed the traffic back out on to I-70 and out of the foothills, and went through the Taco Bell drive thru (like we did in high school after a show, DUH,) and came home giggling and chatting and trying not to wake the whole house (like we did in high school after a show, also DUH.)

And we fell asleep smiling, somewhere in between 17 and 43 — and Big Head Todd really always was right… Its bittersweet, more sweet than bitter.

It’s a bittersweet, surrender.

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Young Anymore

My first impulse was to say that life has been moving fast in the past months…

And to mea culpa about how that is why there has been such radio silence here and, wow isn’t that just such a thing, and blah blah blah…

But ya know what? Not really… I mean yep, busy-is-as-busy does and all of that, but the truth is life has been moving at the speed of, well, LIFE, since I started Reluctantly Suburban; and throughout all my past writing endeavors since that fateful time in whatever moment of middle school angst that I put number 2 pencil to Big Chief tablet and wrote “dear diary” for the first time those MANY years ago.

Writing is flexing a muscle, and just like a really good gym habit, it is mesmerizing how easy it can be to find that you have semi-accidently fallen off the wagon into the avoidance abyss.

It’s funny that my thoughts regarding writing turned to those prickly, emotional, Dear Diary days of middle and high school, because I guess in a way the memories of those times are what hurled me head-long out of the uneasy avoidance I have adopted regarding writing and planted me firmly in front of this screen.

I have started and abandoned countless updates in the past months. So much has happened, but nothing would finish itself on paper, and I wasn’t inclined to push –so I just let them all lie quiet and undone.

Then Luke Perry died.

Ok ok ok… stay with me, and be kind to me – because this isn’t going where you think it is at all.

I didn’t grow up obsessed with Dylan McKay. Don’t get me wrong –we loved some 90210 around our house growing up – Dr Sissy and I were squarely in the target age demographic for sure.

But the closest I would come to crushing on LP was during his “8 Seconds” stint – and that was more of a Lane Frost thing (if you haven’t seen that movie, it is worth tracking down, just sayin..)

I am not the person who has been secretly bingeing BH90210 seasons in the bathtub or anything – it was what it was and I hadn’t thought much of it since the final episode which aired shortly before I met The Mr.

So no one was more surprised than jaded-old-lady-me when I stumbled on some reruns on Pop TV today and, while watching that first season plot line unfold, and seeing him so young – suddenly I was crying. And then I was telling myself out loud “this is stupid, why are you crying? Stop!” (spoiler – I did NOT stop.)

I sat there – watching Dylan break a flower pot and bare his soul to sweet-but-not-silent Brenda about his shitty dad (deep stuff, Aaron Spelling, ) and I felt the weight of the immense amount of time that had passed since we all first rooted for Dylan and Brenda (now I guess it would be that we “ship Bylan”,) and momentarily feeling so ancient and far from that.

But in the next breath it was the exact opposite. This man – this person that The Mr and I watch play Fred Andrews every week on Riverdale, this person who is very much our age, is dead.

Like natural causes dead.

Because not only are the teen heart-throbs we grew up with playing parents- and even grandparents- at this point, we have reached the age where they, and so also we, can wake up dead. (I know, I know… but just go with me on it.)

He wasn’t partying – there wasn’t an accident or a drug habit or larger-than-life explanation…

Life WAS the explanation. He had a fucking stroke, and then he died, and seeing him again, suddenly as a young man on the TV felt like a lie…. and seeing him there talking and breathing and parenting Archie when we settle in tonight to watch Riverdale will feel like a lie.  And the whole thing is just really overwhelming,  and brings up a bunch of shit that brooding pragmatic GenXers are really crappy at processing where we are in our timeline anyway…..

So I guess crying wasn’t so weird. Because this is actually a big one for us. Its that 1st one that feels like it could be because of his age – and look, I know he was young.

But not YOUNG, like shocking 20 something young….

He was the kind of young they mention when old people don’t want to think that they are in the age bracket where you can just be suddenly gone, so you say “my god he was so young.”

And that is scary. Because we know that is where we are too. We are in that range where you say you wish you had done this or that when you were young and well-meaning folks semi-truthfully say “oh you still are young” – but it isn’t YOUNG…. It’s “still capable of doing stuff if you want to and maybe get lucky.”

I think as a generation we have accepted that we aren’t the young driving force behind the future of everything… hell I am not sure we ever felt THAT way.

But we didn’t know we were old. Or “older,” I guess.

I think maybe now… we know.

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Finding Our Adventure

Timehop informs me that 6 years ago was THE day.

The day I started my morning 6 stories up watching the sun rise above the treetops that grazed our suddenly very empty party patio…. I hugged all the doors, I took one last quick soak in my beloved big pink tub, did a touch of early a.m. day drinking (thank you for being a friend, mimosa,) and made sure the pads were secure in the elevators as I buzzed the movers in to the lobby.

Then in a blink, a drive, a long ass day, suddenly I was taking my dog for our first walk along the miles of trails crisscrossing the wide-open-spaces of our new berg, watching my toddler giggling at the goats on “weed patrol” in the fields, holding hands with the grandparents who were now his very close neighbors as the sun set behind the (now much closer) rocky mountains.

I can’t say it felt like “home” right then, and it felt like FAR from the safe choice to me that day. Watching Jr tentatively eyeing the insanely large expanse of manicured sports field at the park with much reservation, all I could think was “same, Kiddo… same.”

There have been some fairly hilarious adjustment pains, and (for me) moments of flat out regret. But we found our footing, and our little family has flourished here.

Mid-call with my East-coast-based boss today, I got a text from my parents sharing some pictures from the 1st grade family picnic at Jr’s school today. How lucky we are to be able to say that.

And since I am writing this over happy hour ceviche at Big Mac and Little Lu’s, I guess I haven’t wasted away in a sea of horrific chain restaurant mediocrity.

And maybe some of it is me knowing that I have a handful of lunch spots with great food and people and wifi, but it is so much more. We love our neighbors and the friends we have made and watching Jr striving and learning and growing along with our town – the same way that I guess I did when I was growing up here.

For our family, this is home now.

The road spreads out towards places we all love in many directions – only one of which is the city where so many firsts happened in our story. 6 years later all of the other spokes stretch out, leading to the years of stories our life has revealed since then, and just as I hoped so very hard those years ago – they have been amazing as well.

I have stopped making “never will I ever” statements, for the most part.

The adventure, as I have learned to love, is in making it up as you go along.

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The chase

This.

This pretty much sums up EVERYTHING right now. Me in a desperate chase to just keep up.

Don’t get me wrong, although I am talking about Jr – who is quite literally always off on one rolling thing or another while I either huff and puff to keep up or watch as he straight up blows by me in a blur – it is way deeper than my kiddo’s unending need for speed.

It really is EVERYTHING. It is the startling realization that it is practically May already, and I am still congratulating myself for getting the holiday decorations down.

It’s looking over baby pictures of said tiny, freckled speed demon as they come up on Timehop, because he is suddenly SEVEN years old with all the sass and swagger and fun and flash that comes with being seven. And also with new and specific fashion rules that are as unique as they are non-negotiable, in his eyes – but whatever, you do you, Doodle (a nick name I am most certainly NOT allowed to use in front of anyone even remotely cool or important, BTW.)

It is the non-stop (and very rewarding) challenge of working for a company experiencing an amazing amount of growth. The fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants whirlwind of constantly learning about new industries and evolving technologies – and growing a stellar team and trouble-shooting and brainstorming in a dynamic environment where questions can be as big as predicting roadblocks that could be many months out, or as small as predicting where I am going to be sitting next month.

It’s that “40-something” thing that hits me when I feel or see the passage of time truly affecting my body – the nagging voice that sends me to the gym, pushes me to add the weight, or the reps…. That tells me to eat the egg whites and avocado instead of the breakfast pastry. That deep down drive that I know is me somehow trying to chase my younger years, even if I don’t want to admit that is what I am doing at all.

I like to tell myself that I have LONG given up on the whole “be perfect at everything” idea – and maybe that isn’t what I am chasing at this point. But it certainly does seem that I am always chasing after SOMETHING or another of late. Never really catching it, I think…. Just racing on to the next thing I am trying to keep up with, or thinking about what it is, with eyes rolled toward the sky in thought. I see the same face on so many of my fellow moms – in the office, in the store, at the gym. 20 steps ahead in our minds, chasing down whatever is coming next. No wonder we are all so tired!

Screw meeting for coffee, or wine – the next time I get a group of moms together I am going to skip the planning (something else to have to chase down, ) and suggest we put our damn feet up and take an hour long nap.

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Careful what you wish for.

yes we are, SnapKeri… we really really are

Be careful what you wish for.

That’s what “they” say, right?

Whatever.  I always scoffed at that statement.  Like HELLO, we get it, life happens… but I am a grown-ass woman, and I know what I want, damnit.  Right?

Right.

Someone recently pointed out that my Instagram account has been (relatively)  quiet of late….
TBH all of Keri’s social media has been uber slow compared to my usual constant stream of overshare.

Here’s the thing –  how many pics of “my Bae Caesar” (salad) can one person possibly Insta?  At what point do even the most loyal of the Snap fam heavy sigh at yet ANOTHER salute to a Friday night charcuterie board with some (I think) clever caption about how fast I will be asleep on the floor in front of Twin Peaks after eating it? When does watching Dr Sissy and me exchange Mary Kate and Ashley GIFs on Twitter AGAIN drive a kind-hearted but still over it follower to mute because JUST ENOUGH ALREADY @todds_wife!?

What. A. Rut.

Long story short (too late) it was straight up Groundhog Day in Keri-land, yo.  And one more Snap featuring Jr’s rainforest animals soother glowing on the ceiling while his favorite obscure Paul Simon song plays in the soothing  half-light just suddenly felt like I was highlighting the horrifically mundane.

Can a girl get some variety in life, or what, universe!?

Here comes that “careful what you wish for” shit.

Labor Day weekend rolled around….  It was typical – there was pool time and BBQing and showing our fave brewery some consumer love and all of that….

And then Jr started to cough.  By Monday evening when I put him into bed (and he coughed himself to sleep to “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War,” natch,) I was ready for a shower and some sleep….

But when I emerged, wet haired and jammie-clad, down the stairs, I found The Mr folded up at a weird angle on the sofa, grimacing.

He’d stepped wrong off the bottom step in the garage and the top of his foot hurt.  I grabbed a heating pad, chalked it up to our aging ligaments, and figured it would be fine by the morning,

12 hours later I had a son with a nasty viral lung funk and a husband with a foot that was broken in two places.  I also had a slew of in-person meetings at the office with a visiting- from-out-of-town coworker,  and no grandparents in town to help out with poor sicky Jr for at least the first day or two…

Groundhog day was over, y’all.

Careful. What. You. Wish. For.

The next week was a surreal blur of doctor’s appointments,  barf buckets, conference calls, air-casts, dog walking, temperature-taking, co-worker bonding, frustrated-husband comforting, rushing back-and-forth CRAZIENESS.

And as the days passed, and I marched on through the chaos, it dawned on me – you asked for different, Keri.  You poked the universal bear.

Jr returned to school and all of his activities after a week of down time; twice a day I run Potter around the path by the reservoir so he can do his doggie business;  I haul ass to the office every morning later than I’d like, hoping to NOT get the shittiest parking spot in the lot….

Things certainly did get a shake up , I guess.

You’re welcome, Snap Fam, for the eleventy billion additions to my story of me walking the dog and comparing The Mr’s air cast to an 80s ski boot.

Turns out variety doesn’t = exciting content after all.  BUT, no more over-curating from Keri.  After all, what breaks up the day better than a good social media over-share?

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