Thursday, November 3, 2016


One week ago I spent 52 hours in Boulder. It was a whirlwind from start to finish, and in the middle there were many old memories shared and new stories to tell. The time spent was an honorable homage to Carol. We certainly felt her among and around us. My Dad was first to invoke her when he slid into his seat seconds before takeoff. Both my aunt and I breathed a sigh of relief while making the sign of the cross. Missing ones flight is but one way you can pull a Carol. She missed countless flightsShe missed my wedding because she was stuck in Paris and spent a mere 24 hours in Bermuda with us for my brother's wedding due to similar mishaps. Thank God she made it at all too because she's the one who flagged down the limo that called us a cab to take us back to The Reefs. If not for that we all would've missed the wedding. A notable aside is that the limo was driving the President of St. Kitz. What can I say...even royalty stopped for Carol. Just sayin'.

1. The sun rose while we were in the air. To my left it was night and to my right it was day. That sight and then the thin, fresh mountain air was better than coffee.

2. My Dad and I had some time to kill upon arriving so we walked up to the Pearl Street Mall. The concierge told us it was less than a mile. It was more like two, but it was a pristine warm and sunny morning and so we strode. The city is so clean and the people open and friendly that we both rekindled a fondness for this city our cousin so loved.

3. We shopped for souvenirs mostly for Ted and Lily. Yes, my Dad and I went shopping...together, and we had fun.

4. We enjoyed the sights (too bad Teddy couldn't shop for his last minute Halloween costume here)...

5. Sounds and...

6. Tastes of Boulder.

7. My favorite place ever store was called Peppercorn. It was a multi-level mash-up of Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table on steroids. This shot is called Holy Hot Sauce. There was a whole wall of choices, and I had to choose a mere few.

8. We stepped into a gallery to browse. I coveted many souvenirs from Smithklein.

9. We visited a local tea house a bit off the beaten path that was a favorite of Carol's. It was moved tile by tile from India years ago, and it is stunning.

My aunt eventually caught up with us at local brew pub where we had a pint and cup. Pint of IPA and cup of soup before we met up with cousins at Carol's. It was good to see her kids and to be in her space. Her space that is so very Carol: colorful, spunky, sassy and storyful (yes, I made this word up). 

1. This is her back yard. Free and clear to the mountains. What a view!

2. My brother said that although he'd never been to Carol's house, it was exactly as he'd imagined it. It's got eclectic personality and quirky style. 

3. The guys got busy cleaning the house and the yard for the next day's gathering. My Dad sent her grandson, Knox, up and down the street borrowing tools like blowers and rakes. Loie and I set out with Sabrina to shop for the next day. Then when we came home with libations and charcuterie ready to relax, the real cleaning crew (unbeknownst to us) showed up as the sun set. We missed our sunset dinner in the foothills, but at least we were together. Chaos and miscommunication were also known to follow Carol so we toasted it as such with a bottle of Angel's Wings. Angels followed Carol too. Carol's crew, especially Rose, was fierce and mighty and true. True angels on earth.

4. These two little angels are aptly named Piddles and Houdini, only given their monikers they are also little devils. Oh, how she loved her dogs (and fox and skunk and birds and horse) so, and therefore, despite their naughty tendencies, I couldn't help but love them too. Just look at those faces. They need a new and loving home. Prayers please.

Friday morning my brother flew in on the same sunrise flight and drove up to Boulder to meet us. We spent a a little more time on Pearl Street before heading to the funeral. It was a short and simple send-off, but sweet. I think Carol would have loved the tribute.It was another beautiful taste-of-summer day and as we gathered on the patio at the church to toast her with a Chianti, a doe walked up out of the bramble from the creek and milled around. It was a sure sign we all agreed. 

There were laughs and tears, memories shared and made, stories told...all the stuff of a worthy funeral. There were also a few tense moments, but that is the reality of family. At least this family and I'm willing to bet your family too. We're human. These are some of the outtakes because it's true that if we don't laugh, we cry and sometimes we cry until we laugh or laugh until we cry, and always what doesn't kill us doesn't kill us.

1. This is called...Dad with Flip Phone. After a couple pints, he said that maybe he should try one of those smart phones. I provide this photographic evidence as proof that even his flip phone perplexes him. Just say No.

2. Baba and Rama. I just wanted to say that.

3. This is...Dad Meets Jesus

4. Knox and Kiki curled up after an afternoon of manual labor.

5. This is called...Shelly Duvall: Weren't We Just Talking About The Shining?

6. Untitled.

7. No words.

8. No comment.

9. Doggy photo bomber.

Saturday morning we made our way back to Carol's to say goodbye. It was tough to do so knowing I'll likely never be back, but I'll carry her with me. I'll see her in the clouds. I'll hear her in the birds. I'll feel her in my heart nudging me to live fully, breathe deeply and love fiercely. That's quite a legacy in my book.

Despite one wrong turn for the girls, we made it to Denver with time to spare, but in true Carol fashion there was a lost phone, a left bag, and thus, a missed flight for one of us. Then my very precisely packed carry on had to be unpacked by the friendly TSA agent and I started to sweat and also smile. Clearly, Carol was not going to make it easy for us to get outta dodge. As we slid into our seats checking and then double checking for our phones and wallets, we waited with baited breath for take off. Loie got that extra day in Denver. I was anxious to get home.

Home to my family who endured a week full of craziness as my focus was firmly elsewhere. They were no worse for the wear though. Maybe even better off. Lily was out with friends and Teddy was at a Halloween party. They both managed to conjure up costumes and make plans on their own. I met up with Mike at the neighbors for the second half of the Badger game, and it was like I never left. 

Cat with Cat Burglar

Trick or treat trio.

It was nice to have Sunday to get ready for the week ahead and decompress from the week behind. 

Godspeed Carol. This family won't be the same without you.

No comments: