Happy Holidays from the Blossoms of Light

Ciao Readers and Happy Holidays!
I thought I’d ring out the old year and welcome the new with the wonders of the Denver Botanic Garden’s Blossom of Lights (with the help of a gorgeous evening sky). Walk with me as the evening progresses…

Wishing you and yours healthy and peaceful holidays and much joy in 2021!

Botanic Gardens of Albuquerque & Denver (a photo anthology)

Ciao Readers!

I hope this blog post finds you well. Today I shift from philosophizing to sharing pretty pictures!  Two of the places I’ve felt comfortable going these last many months is for a stroll outside at the Botanic Gardens in Albuquerque (which I have probably been to 100+ times) and the one in Denver (which I had never been to before). Unfortunately, the one in Albuquerque is closed for a bit (I think they could actually open under the health order as the zoo has, but I am guessing it’s staying closed for financial reasons), so these photos are from a couple of months ago.  The gardens in Denver are open and the photos are from when I ventured there several weeks ago.  Enjoy!

Albuquerque:

Denver:

 

There’s Always Hope

Ciao Readers!

Boy, it’s feast or famine with me and blogging….

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I recently became a federal court of appeals mediator – so it’s basically my job to try and help folks who have been disagreeing, usually for several years or more, to reach a place of agreement (or at least of compromise). On a soon-to-be-related note, I only half-jokingly say that the best thing my mom ever did was give me my name.

I can’t tell you how many puns have been made about my name throughout my life – and I love it – I like to say it’s hard to be pessimistic with my name. In my new role, people often tell me that they are “not optimistic” or that there is “no hope” – to which I always get to agreeably disagree by saying something like “with my name, I have no choice but to have hope” – which usually lightens the mood and (I’d like to think) maybe infects some hope to boot.

I’ve noticed during the pandemic how important hope is to people – I keep seeing murals and rocks with “hope” painted on them. Hope is what keeps us going when all seems lost and we want to throw in the towel. So here is some of the “hope” I have gathered – from a sign in NY to murals in Denver, to rocks in ABQ.  Even in the bleakest of times, there really is always hope!

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” Bernard Williams

Same Time Last Year

Ciao Readers!

I hope this blog finds you and yours doing as well as can be expected. It has been quite some time since I blogged…I suppose like many of us I have just been at a loss for words (I’ve also been transitioning to a new job and semi-living in Denver – blogs to follow). However, on this day-after-Thanksgiving, in the most bizarre of years, having eaten leftovers and watched the usual holiday classics, my nostalgia has taken over and I had to say something….

I got to thinking about all of the “usual” holiday festivities, especially the ones I blogged about last year. While I think I have become pretty mindful these past few years, I know if someone had told me last year “you won’t get to do this next year” I would have stared at the lights a bit longer, lingered over tea with a friend until they kicked us out of the tea room, and soaked in running in a large group with a bit more appreciation. So far this year’s festivities have consisted of venturing out to the Denver train station to see it lit up for the holidays. Photos from that are right below; following that is a repeat of my holiday blog from last year – wanna get a bit nostalgic with me?

Harmonious Holiday Happenings (with helpful hints)

Ciao Readers!  And happy and healthy holidays to you and yours!

Before we head off to Portugal to eat as much seafood as deprived desert-dwellers can (and I run the Lisbon holiday 10k – yay!), I thought I’d share some happy holiday happenings with a helpful hint or two.

It’s been an interesting month and from what I’ve experienced in the universe (and on the inter- webs) many people are suffering.  I try not to be preachy, so I will just share my experience – Headspace is a meditation app that is really all that and a bag of chips (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that).  It’s pretty much how I go to sleep every night, plus there are cool mini meditations (3 minutes) for everything from feeling “overwhelmed” to “frustrated” to fear of flying. If you’re finding yourself frazzled this time of year (or any), you can try it out for free.

So, now that that “public service announcement” is over, on to the festivities.

Almost every year we go to the River of Lights at our bipoapark – it is super sparkly and festive. I blogged about it, complete with tons of photos, two years ago here. Since you can see those photos, I’ll just add a few new ones and a helpful hint. They now sell tickets to what they call the “magic hour” – this means you get in at 5:00 instead of 6:00 when it usually opens.  Now, granted, it is more expensive, but if you can swing it this is the difference: on a normal night you wait in a line of cars to get into the parking lot for 1+ hours, you are then sent to the farthest reaches of a back parking lot located in another state, and then you trudge through the River of Lights like a sardine lined up end-to-end. Pay the few bucks more and you drive right into the parking lot and pretty much have the entire place to yourself – score!!!   It’s gotten so big they even went into part of the Japanese Garden this year:

Another thing I do pretty much every year, but did much differently this year, is attend the Festival of Trees. It’s an annual fundraiser for Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation which works with kids with disabilities. The Albuquerque Convention Center is stuffed full of 100+ trees and 200+ wreaths, plus festivities, a mini village, kids crafts, etc. You can go for free or donate any amount you like. While it’s over for this year, next year you can volunteer to help decorate!  That’s what I did this year – I had no idea they had to start in September or what a precise science tree and wreath decorating were.  I was mostly a “helper elf*” – for example, I made all the bows in the tree behind me in the photo (and sourced the supplies for the Hanukkah tree pictured). (*Okay, full disclosure, I relegated myself to helper elf as I don’t seem to have the decorating touch – the cool (at least I thought so) travel/foodie wreath I sourced and made (first photo) was in the silent auction – and purchased by me, the only bidder!)  Steve and I even went to the opening night shindig.  Fun, festive, and for a good cause:

Finally, what Festivus would be complete without a festive holiday run and an indulgent ooh-laa-laa fancy-pants tea at St. James Tea Room:

Whatever you do or do not celebrate Dear Readers, I hope you find a nice warm peaceful space this holiday season.  Here’s to a bright 2020!!!

More Monets than Imaginable (or a VERY quick trip to Denver)

Happy Thanksgiving Readers!!!!!

I hope you are all safe and warm!  We are snowed in, which is perfect since we weren’t going anywhere and we cooked everything yesterday.  Pretty, huh?

 

In any case, this is a post about Monet and Denver, so on with it….

The Denver Museum of Art is a pretty amazing place, and right now it is showcasing the largest Monet exhibition in the U.S. When I read about it, I HAD to get tickets, which I did, for this past Monday at 12:00. So, off we go to Denver on Sunday….I had checked the weather several times throughout the week and the driving weather there, and back on Tuesday, looked great. Which is why it was a bit perplexing as we drove in Sunday evening to keep seeing road signs saying “Storm Warning: Expect Road Closures for Monday-Tuesday.” Being the modern age, I was able to get on my iPad and weather.com, and what d’ya know, it was supposed to start snowing Monday about 3:00 and then pretty much not stop. Time for an impromptu plan….

Our tickets were for 12:00 on Monday and it wasn’t supposed to start snowing until 3:00+, so no problem, we could see the exhibit, then hit the road and beat the snow! AND – I almost forgot – before we went I discovered Denver has a Shake Shack (you may recall my obsession with shake shack burgers from previous posts).  We had planned to go to Shake Shack after the museum, but new plan – get to Shake Shack before they open at 11:00, be the first in line, get our heavenly burgers, then high-tail it back the 40 minute walk to the museum just in time for our ticket time!   And, amazingly enough, we pulled it off!

The exhibition was beyond description – when I had read “100+” Monets, I expected a few big ones and lots of little half sketches, etc. NOPE – it was room after room after room of giant, gorgeous, mind-blowing Monets!!!  I read the info on each and every one because I wanted to know where they came from – they were sourced from all over the world including Tokyo and a museum in Omaha Nebraska!  Second only to the Stendhal Syndrome-inducing exhibit was my amazement at what it took to get all those paintings to the Denver Museum all at once for this show. In any case, if you are anywhere near Denver (when it is not snowed in) before February 2nd, I cannot recommend this exhibition enough.

So, street art on our walk to Shake Shack; our beloved burgers; and just a taste of the Monets….Enjoy!!!

 

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