Tag Archives: community

overwhelmed.

I can’t remember the last time all the flags weren’t at half-staff.

This is not at all what I wanted to write today – not at all anything I want to have to say.

But it is true.  It struck me, ironically, on the MORNING of February 14th as I drove past our area’s city and county government buildings, and then also by 2 schools.   The flags were half-raised, and I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a flag raised to the top of a pole.

We are a nation always in mourning, it seems.  And within a few hours of my trip through town, our mourning would be renewed.

Maybe “compounded” would be a better word than “renewed,” as it seems now to come not in waves that ebb and flow, but instead in quick hailing succession that floods our collective soul in an endless, bottomless ocean.

The deluge is crushing.  It overwhelms.

That is the truest word I have.  It overwhelms me.

Hearing and speaking the truth that in 2018 there have been so many shootings AT SCHOOLS in our country overwhelms me. (Evidently we have reached a place where we also have to split hairs over WHAT TYPE of gun use on a school campus actually qualifies as a “school shooting,” which overwhelms me.)

Seeing my 6 year old not-so-much scared anymore as angry and indignant – hearing him tell me that someone should fix it because “Spiderman says that with great power comes great responsibility” and even he, AT fucking SIX YEARS OLD knows we are falling down on the damn job as country overwhelms me.

Coming to grips every second of every school day from the time  I pull into the tuck and roll hug and go circle and watch him walk toward the school – a little life I have the sworn universal directive to protect with every fiber of my being – that in spite of all his amazing teachers and administrators do, something beyond horrific may happen to him because that is now-more-than-EVER-before a possible truth cripplingly, awfully, and completely overwhelms me.

It makes it hard to leave his sweet, sleeping self in bed each night after our chapter of Harry Potter, so I lay in the half-dark of his superhero night light, watching him so quiet and calm and begging every power in the universe to protect him.

It steals my thoughts during business calls – leaving me wondering what he and his sweet little classmates are thinking and feeling and doing during their days –if they are safe physically, but also if any hearts are hurting, or feelings are ignored….

Or if any of the multitudes of intricacies that make up the growing little people in his class and his school are maybe going quietly unnoticed or being harmed  – and what can I do, and what can we as community do, and a country, and why are we not talking about it, and WHY THE FUCK ARE WE NOT ALL SHOUTING ABOUT IT EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL OUR KIDS DAMNIT WHY WHY WHY!?

So yeah.  I am overwhelmed.

Scared, and angry, and sad, and confused, and desperate, and mortified, and tired, and brokenhearted, and in pain, and incensed, grieving, and raging, and lost…

Overwhelmed.

But fighting.  For him, and for always…Fighting like hell.

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Who’s up for a drive?

 **ETA – Open as of August 11!!!! **

Let’s be honest, when you move to a new place (or back to an old place,) and you have to put yourself out there and find new places and new people who can tolerate your level of weird you can connect with, it sucks.  Finding a great place to eat where they love your kid like you love your kid, a brewery where the beer AND the people both rock, neighbors who feel comfortable breaking in to your back yard when they see the fire pit going, and coworkers who make you maybe NOT want to work from home every damn day can be a real bitch, yo?

It takes time… there are false starts, there are strange vibes and weirdos (and not the good kind,) and all kinds of potential potholes you can’t always avoid.

But you get there.  You find your folks.  You land at a spot or two where, eventually, your conversation AND your wifi both connect automatically when you sit down after a long day.

You settle in.

And then they leave your ass.

Ok, that is 100% over-simplifying it, but I am prone to drama, so whatever.

When we arrived back in this sleepy little hamlet (seriously Keri?  I just eye-rolled at myself with that one,) one of the first times I remember thinking “hey, we are going to be ok here after all,” was the first time I opened the door of Broomfield’s 1st Brewery, Big Choice Brewing.  Social Distortion blasted through the speakers, and it smelled deliciously, invitingly beery.  And holy shit, was the beer GOOOOD.

YAS, people, just YASS.

For the past 5 years it’s been where we go.  It just has.  Jr learned to climb stairs one quiet weekend afternoon there as we waited for an early dinner to come off whatever BBQ food truck happened to be parked outside that day. My coworkers and I toasted great news with pints of Disconnected Red, and commiserated in mutual exhausted silence with Peppermint Stout during end-of-year craziness. Faces around the tasting room became familiar and every visit became a chance to check-in, catch up, and connect.

Together we celebrated 5 anniversaries of their awesome beer and awesome-er (totally a word) community spirit with them. We got to watch the brewery grow into itself, and the owners turn from being “really friendly people” in to being just our very good friends.

But here is the thing about being really great.  The best kinds of greatness always grow WAY beyond whatever level of great you could have imagined.

And so last month – in a final blaze of Broomfield beer-serving glory, Big Choice said goodbye to it’s original home and hometown, and the Big Choice family started renovations on an amazing new space in Brighton – a town about 15-20 minutes away. (The Mr states it is 17 minutes from our door to theirs.)

It isn’t really FAR, per se.  It’s just not “in the same city as home and office close” anymore.  Which means it will be a weekend afternoon destination now, rather than a last minute wanna grab a beer any given weekday spot.

And believe me – our ugly mugs will be there OFTEN, the beer is great, the new space is SO COOL, and the chance to see old friends and meet some new ones in Brighton will be awesome too.

It’s just…  different.

And even if it was a little teary for me to imagine them anywhere else at first, I am so proud of how they have grown in these 5 years, and so excited to see what happens next for them.

The new space is ALMOST complete – the actual opening date is not decided yet, but you KNOW Keri will be blasting that all over here and every social media site she can when they pin one down.  (*ETA* Open as of 8/11!!!)

Hey Brighton – you are SO FREAKING LUCKY!  I’ll see ya soon at the brewery.

Soooo Broomfield… I know a place with some beer that is SO worth the trip….  Who wants to share an Uber?

Big Choice Brewing – 21 S. 1st Ave, Brighton CO

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They are all my child.

This weekend I was watching my son running a neighborhood playground through its paces with a buddy from his T-ball team, when my phone started buzzing with news updates.

There had been an accident involving a bus filled with athletes from the high-school in our neighborhood.

Reading the details beginning to come in regarding the crash, I fought (and lost) a battle with my tears as I thought about those teenage passengers returning from a weekend trip.

Because once you become a mom- once you have a child – they are ALL your child.

Every baby that  you see precariously practicing their walking skills on a blanket in the park who makes you gasp and unconsciously reach out your hands when they fall forward, no matter how far away you are, is your child.

Every name on every tag on every giving tree at Christmas time – with wish lists ranging from the grandiose to the basic, is your child.

Every neighbor kid with a skinned knee, every story of a food reaction in the school cafeteria, every little one you see struggling to keep up with the others at soccer practice… they are all your child.

And so also, the picture of the boy sitting quietly in the middle of the aftermath of an explosion halfway around the world, caked in dirt and blood, is your child.  The Amber Alert that wakes you at 3 a.m. providing details of a kidnapping, is your child.  The bus full of high school athletes that crashes on the way back to the school after a game, is full of your children.

The hungry, the abused, the hurt, the abandoned -are all your child.

You think what you would think if it was your child…. You pray the child isn’t scared, isn’t alone, isn’t in pain….

Knows that they are loved.

Because your heart IS that mother’s heart.  We are connected by the most primal instinct – to nurture and protect our children.

And so we cry.  And we pray.  And we hug our own children a little tighter.

But also – we act.

We reach out, we plan and we fund-raise and and we search and we work and we raise our voices to anyone who will listen for the little people who make up our worlds, both very near, and very far away as well.

Because they are all our children.

_____________________________________________

The following sites are accepting donations for those affected by the bus accident in my community:

The driver of the bus was tragically killed.  She was a mom, a wife, and a grandmother. You can support her family here

Three coaches were seriously injured in the crash. You can support them and their families here. Two of the coaches have been released from the hospital.

Coach Kroupa remains hospitalized with severe injuries. You can support him and his family here. (This gofundme was funded to 150%! Thank you!)

A Legacy High Senior has a general gofundme page for those affected. The school administration will have oversight of the funds. You can support the page here

 **If you are in Broomfield or in the surrounding communities, an online auction organized by the Broomfield Area Moms FB group is taking place with all proceeds benefiting those affected. More information is available here.**

 

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One of the crowd.

Well, we are in week 2 of Jr’s kindergarten adventure and we have all managed to get where we need to be with all of the crap we need to have, including pants (no small victory,) in a timely fashion every day.

So I guess we are all going to survive the switch, (but reading of any heartfelt ruminations is still on hold until further notice, TYVM.)

I did come to a semi-jarring realization yesterday, not about Jr, but about my own role in this whole daily drop off scenario.

Years ago I made a vow — through gritted teeth with narrowed, shade-throwing eyes — to the baseball-capped, yoga-pants clad, latte-toting super-star suburban mommas piloting their perfectly organized MUVs in and out of the preschool parking lot – and to myself.

I wasn’t going out like that.  See, I proclaimed it in my very first post.   “Walk among them, don’t become them.”  (Thank you Suburgatory, for the best line ever.)

Look, we can pretty much agree that I lost my “cynical Keri” street cred a ways back now… probably around the time I started skipping through the local café giving everybody the winky finger guns and trying to hug an entire town.

winky jesus

Winky Jesus loves you, and so do I, Hometown.

But what I saw yesterday, when I glanced at my reflection in a window of the school while standing on the kindy playground, made me gasp audibly:

Note look of horrified realization.

Oh.

My.

Damn.

That is legit the ACTUAL textbook image of what I had described as being “them”  just a few years ago.  AND I QUOTE, “… yoga pants and performance fleece and pony-tails sticking out of baseball caps; with perfectly lined eyes…”

(Well, I suck at eye make up so that part is NEVER going to be me, but  still… I mean, come on.)

Whoa.

WHHHOOOAAAAAA.

Holy athleisure wear, Batman.  I was the creature I feared all along.

Even more fascinating – I totally get it now. Momming of school-aged kiddos is intense, yo.  Jr’s start time is a full hour earlier than I used to drop him off at his previous daycare/school.  Two minutes late? Too bad. Your kid is tardy, thanks a lot, Mrs NOT Mother of the Year.   That early ass roll-out time means that I have kissed my pre-dawn TV workouts buh-bye; we are already in full-on morning prep mode at that time of day now.  AND GUESS WHAT – if I put on the clothes when I get up, then I actually get a workout in right after I bid Jr adieu in the kindy yard and low-speed it out of the school zone. If I am wearing something else?  Nope, I end up putting off the putting-on of workout wear, and it just never happens.

ANDPLUSALSO – there are ample pockets for my stuff, it is toasty if the morning is cool, and if I notice a smudge of WTF on Jr’s face right as we get a foot on the playground, I don’t have to worry about jacking up work wear using my sleeve as a face wipe. (Yup, I said it.)

It’s like wearing a suit of mom armor.  I can’t hide it – I am converted, and I hadn’t even noticed the change.

The truth can hurt, Keri.

But it can also set you free.

:::raising giant Starbucks cup :::

Here’s to being “one of them.”

one of us

 

 

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Local Love – Finding My “Places”

Not to get all “80s TV Show” on you (and really show my age) or anything, but makin’ your way in the world today really does take everything ya got.
Having places of refuge, where you feel truly welcome and wanted can make a crap day (ahem, or week… or month,) feel just a little less awful.

Some times you wanna NEED to go where everybody knows your name.

When we left the city almost 4 years ago (4 YEARS!! WOW… did you think I would make it!?) it was one of the things I worried about most.  Where would I go, in the spread of the ‘burbs and all of those strip malls and chain restaurants?  It wouldn’t be like our little corner of the city, with my sushi bar and coffee shop just down the block: and my beloved little pizzeria/ wine bar just around the corner waiting to pull me in after a tough day and feed me  flatbread with olive tapenade and Rose and make it all better.

Where would we go when The Mr traveled for work?  Who would be as happy to see Jr and I toddling through the front door for dinner as the waitresses and chefs at our little sushi place? His baby self giggled and flirted as they passed him around, making googly eyes and feeding him little bits of things while I ate my miso soup, piping hot. (Hot food/drink = the ultimate mommy treat.)

Those neighborhood places are, quite literally, the center of the world in this mama’s heart.  What would I do without that?

Oh Keri-from-four-years-go….  you need not worry at all.

It is true, it took a while.  There were some false starts with places where the love affair ended when it had hardly begun.

Then came our discovery of the awesomeness that is Big Choice Brewing, a truly spectacular mix of spectacular beer brewed and sold by equally spectacular people. I never miss a chance to gush shamelessly sing their praises, and it instantly rose to the top of my list of places I want to go to celebrate or commiserate the ups and downs of life.

Slowly… slowly, I started to find my places here. A couple good coffee shops not too far away,  a great sushi joint from the city that opened a second location within walking distance from The Casa, a little diner where the waitresses call you “honey” and freaking ADORE my kid.

Then, just a few months ago, the cherry on top of my sundae of local hangouts came into being.  A perfect combo of great creative chef-driven pub food, a rotating craft beer list, really cool “Colorado Casual” decor, and a bookshelf full of games that keeps Jr excited to go back again and again.  It is the joy and beauty that is  The North Side Tavern.

Much like Keri does whenever something new is opening in this town, I was practically beating down the door to come in when they opened.  The location was sorely in need of a “something for everyone” kind of place, with great local personality to make it stand out.

BOOM – NST delivered.

The bar includes ample  electric outlets with both traditional plugs and USB spaces, and the owner Steve is all too happy to see you using them (as I frequently do during a working lunch when I get stir-crazy working at home.) Current favorites for me are the “construction zone burger” (so you can build your own,) the Colorado Cuban, and the traditional wings.  The crispy Brussels sprouts and naked nachos both call to me after a long day as well.

There are good happy hour specials on both drinks and appetizers, and a kids’ menu that Jr loves –  their chicken tenders are like preschooler catnip.    Andplusalso,  we lobbied to get get them to offer BBQ sauce, because it is Jr’s current favorite condiment, and TAH DAH – they did!! (No more tiny Tupperware of BBQ in this momma’s purse!!)

It has quickly become a true gathering place for the neighborhoods around it – a place where Gina or Anthony behind the bar will greet you by name when you walk in for happy hour or dinner with the family.

At night after the littles clear out to get tucked in, The NST hosts local bands on weekends, with the coming acts available on their website.

It’s been a minute (or a year) since I’ve done a Local Love feature here, and it hasn’t been for lack of the love.  Quite the opposite. I have found so very much to love, indeed.

So I have added a Local Love tab on the top menu – if you find yourself here in the perfectly in between spot between Denver and Boulder, for a visit or as a fellow resident, check out some of my favorite spots around the area.

Of course, I am always itching to try something new and wonderful – so if you know the area please do give a shout out to your faves down below, or in the comments on the Local Love page so we can all enjoy.

Finding “your places” where you live means so much more than just knowing who has the best burger or latte (although that never hurts.)  It is finding what speaks to you in a place – what connects you, and grounds you.  It’s finding the people and places that make you proud to call it your home.

 

 

 

 

 

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