The Nitty Gritty

It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary, and only the wise man can see them.”-Paulo Coelho

Favorite Things-Sunrises and Sunsets

Recently, a friend told me that she enjoyed reading my blog. However, (oh no, here it comes…) I wasn’t discussing the issues of our country and touching on the problems of real-life. That I should be focusing on politics, religion, global warming, etc.…etc.… She went on to tell me that it lacks the “nitty gritty” and “intellectual stimulation” that she finds important in articles that she reads and shares.  My first reaction was to start giggling. To be honest, I really didn’t know how to respond!  Was this what she considered “constructive criticism”? Those of you who know me, already can guess what happened next…my lips tightened, I became angry and was at a loss for words. I shook my head and walked away.  I knew that for me to “put her into her place” I was going to have to practice the “24 Hour Rule”. I would not say a word to her for the next 24 hours. This would give me the opportunity to think if this was important enough for me to lose it! Well, I am here to tell you that during those first few hours, I thought of some great comebacks…wow, she was going to hear from me. How dare her…. this was my blog, not hers!  If she thought it was so easy, she should put herself out there! I really was going to rock her world. BLAH!! BLAH!!  BLAH!!

Then I remembered what my next blog was going to be about. Sunrises and Sunsets. They are two of my favorite things.  I started appreciating them in my twenties when I realized that the simpler things in life were so important.  I can remember sitting on the porch admiring the beauty of the early morning sun rise and the intense colors as the sun was setting.  I soon found out that several of my family members and friends were “sky” watchers. We would call and remind each other to run outside and look at the vibrant colors that were stretched across the horizon.   The funny thing is that we all would take pictures at the same time and the photos would look different. We would describe the colors of the sky and shapes of the clouds and no two descriptions would be the same. All my “sky” watching pals would be sitting on their own porches, looking up at the same sky, but we all saw something unique.  I believe the best term for this is “in the eye of the beholder”.  We all had our opinions and thoughts about what the sky looked like, and guess what, no one was wrong.   

When my “24 Hour Rule” was over, I took myself out of time-out and knew what I had to do.  I brushed off the chip on my shoulder and called my friend.  I thanked her and I told her how much I appreciated her opinion, but (yep, it has been said that I always must have the last word) she was going to be disappointed.  I told her that I wouldn’t be writing about politics, religion, global warming, etc.… etc.… I would be blogging about my “nitty gritty”; my family and friends, my 4-legged companions and how to encourage each other.  I would write about hopes, dreams, memories and how everyone sees sunrises and sunsets differently….and you know what? That’s ok!!  Cheers!!

Princess Birthday Cake

“Age is a matter of feeling, not of years.”~ George William Curtis

Callie and KD~1998

This has got to be one of my most treasured photographs! I know that it is a little blurry, but the quality does not take away from the meaning. This picture will be 21 years old in a few months.  Callie was celebrating her 3rd birthday and was so excited that we were putting the candles on her princess birthday cake. (Little sister, KD, wasn’t quite sure what all the hype was about, but she was there to support her big sister.)  Their expressions are priceless. What I think I love the most about this picture is the joy on their tiny faces. The old saying applies well here, “The Age of Innocence”.

I don’t know about you all, but I wish that I could be that genuinely excited about my birthday! You know the feeling…. Not being able to sleep the night before the big day because in the morning you would be another year older and all day long it was going to be about you, you, you! Remember when the hardest decision to make that day was what kind of cake do I want?  We didn’t care how we got the cake; how big the cake was or who was paying for the cake…. just if there was cake…and ice cream…and presents! Unfortunately, “life happens” and that excitement begins to fade. I have heard it said, “Birthdays are just like any other day”. We forget what it was like to have a princess birthday cake with candles.

In just a few days, I will celebrate another journey around the sun. I hope to sit at that very same table that Callie and KD were sitting at in the picture and wait for my cake (actually…. Key Lime Pie).  I will blow ALL the candles out that have started to resemble “The Leaning Tower of Pisa” and make the same wish that I have for several years, “health, wealth and happiness for my family and friends“. Although, after looking at the picture of Callie and KD, I’m going to make an extra wish for a touch of innocence to all my loved ones. Everybody deserves an ounce of that joy occasionally. Heck, who knows, I may request my very own princess birthday cake! Cheers!

Thank You Ladies!!

When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is within all our hands.” -Maria Shriver

My Trusty Companion

We all have that one friend, you know the one…. you hate thinking about spending time with them, but afterwards you are glad that you did.  They push you to your limits. You dread the entire day knowing that you need to spend just 30 minutes to an hour with them, but when the time is over, you feel refreshed, energized and ready to go another hour. Then you realize how important it is for your health and well-being to have this relationship.

 OK…I really don’t have any friends that I dread spending time with.  I am talking about my 10-year-old treadmill that I have bonded with over the years. I have a love-hate relationship with my work-out companion.  My “treadmill” listens to my singing, tolerates my messy hair and outfit that doesn’t quite match because I am exercising in the privacy of my home. I have tripped, skipped, hopped and fallen off that rolling machine. I have quit after 15 minutes of walking/running because of my lack of ambition and I can just flip the switch off without feeling guilty.  I never worry about being judged, ridiculed or laughed at. I know that someday soon I will have to replace this trusty confidant. I hope that I can find one that supports my lack of will power and motivation on certain days and ignores my wogging skills when walking isn’t enough, and running is too much.

Honestly, explaining my relationship with my treadmill does sound like my BFF’s, my tribe, my small but very loyal circle.  Most of these peeps have known me for more than 30 years and many of them have never met each other.  All these girls became my friend during different chapters of my life; middle school (ugh), high school, work, marriage, 4-H and through my children.  They have seen me at my best and hugged me at my worst. They haven’t “unfriended” me because I didn’t “like” a post but feel comfortable calling me out when it is necessary. They “get” my humor and still like me. We have laughed about prank calls, flash dance moves, eating dog biscuits, and falling off a treadmill (while walking backwards).  Along with many good times, we have supported each other through the difficult times; moving, divorces, sickness, the loss of loved ones. I can say that I feel comfortable in my shoes with all of them (and yes, they have heard me sing).  Even though my treadmill and I have spent many hours together….it can be replaced. Not one of my BFF’s can be replaced, they are all pieces that fit into my crazy life. Thank you ladies….…Cheers!!

Best Cure for Empty Nest Syndrome

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.” -Hodding Carter, Jr.


Whenever I ask my kids a question that they can’t (or won’t) answer, their advice to me is, “Mom, it’s worth a Google”. Today, I thought that this question was worth a Google, “Is Empty Nest really a syndrome”? Unfortunately, the answer that I found wasn’t quite what I was looking for.…. Google(traitor) informed me that empty nest is not technically a “syndrome”, it is merely a “transition” that parents must make when their children fly the coop, hit the road, move on, move out. HA!  I would really like to use some choice words here, however, I am holding myself back…. I thought that maybe I had an actual medical problem that could explain the heartache and loneliness that sometimes I feel. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely proud of my three children and admire all the goals that they have obtained.  They have grown into very independent, successful, young adults. My husband and I wanted them to spread their wings and fly, but when they did, we realized that we had did little for ourselves to prepare for our lives to change… forever… Oh, but wait, I did ask friends and family members if it was going to be difficult…. lies!  Nothing but lies! I can still hear them, “Oh, Vicki….it will be wonderful”.  Yes, it was wonderful for the first 24 hours when I was exhausted from moving and unpacking multiple boxes into college dorms and then I woke up!

This brings me to what I would like to call, “Best Cure for Empty Nest Syndrome”. I would like to introduce, Bella. This little life saver came into our lives two years ago. She was my husband’s “50th” birthday present. I started this new relationship, just like I did with our children…I read the “How to Raise Shih Tzu’s” book. (I know what you are thinking…no, I did not read that specific book when we had our children, but something similar.) I have to ask everyone’s opinion, the book said to NOT treat puppies like fur babies. Does sleeping in our bed fall into these lines?  Bella doesn’t require all the time that our kids did, but she does fill in the quiet gaps. She likes to be bathed, brushed, walked and she does know a few tricks…who am I kidding? She is a genius…. she knows several tricks. Just ask me I am her mom!

Does Empty Nest Syndrome get better? I can’t answer that, not just yet. I am working on making myself better. When the kids would come home for vacation or holidays, my husband would have to “get the bucket” (a phrase my cousin will never let me forget) because I would let the tears roll. Those times are getting better. I still walk by their rooms and can still hear their music playing or them arguing over who was going to get into the bathroom next. I then look down and see the soft brown eyes of this mess of a dog with her oversized bunny hanging out of her mouth and I am reminded that things aren’t so bad. Cheers!

Wild Child

Beauty Begins the Moment You Decide to Be Yourself”-CoCo Chanel

The Kickin Boots

Rumor has it that a blonde hair, blue eyed, three-year-old cowgirl wore these boots every day until she couldn’t squeeze her feet into them.  It’s also been said that this same little girl would wear these boots to KICK her aunt if she didn’t bring her presents when she came to visit. This wild child even expected a gift if her aunt went out the door to get something from her car. According to the rumor mill, the aunt brought a toy each time!  By looking at the boots in the picture, the curled toes do appear to prove this rumor to be true.

These kinds of stories follow all of us through life. Some are funny, some not so much and unfortunately, some are quite embarrassing! These are memories from our youth that we just can’t seem to shake off.  They are brought up during family dinners, birthday celebrations, and holidays.  We wish that they had never happened…. but what if they hadn’t?  Who would we be today without a past and a few embarrassing moments? I really believe that for us “to be the BEST that we can be”, we can’t forget or hide where we came from.  So many people that I have known have tried to be someone that they aren’t instead of making who they are better. I often struggled with keeping up with the Jones’. You know how it is…” If only I had a bigger house, a newer car, a better wardrobe”, I would be happier.  It sure doesn’t work that way. I am finally feeling good in my boots (hint, hint). I like who I am…. I regret some of the things that I have done in my past but remind myself that these are the things that have made me who I am today.

I am sure you all are wondering what happened to the little cowgirl that wore the rough-out boots? Well, I still wear boots and I most certainly won’t kick you if you don’t bring gifts when you come to visit…. unless you arrive without chocolate, then we may have a problem! I love dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate…I think you all get the point.  CHEERS!!

Small Business Revolution

The Holy Cross Abbey 2019

Life is pretty exciting for my hometown, Canon City, CO.  Small Business Revolution, a HULU television show, will announce tomorrow, who the winner of the $500,000 grand prize goes to. Canon City was one of six small towns that made it to the final round.  The citizens of this great town have been on a mission to impress and wow the show’s host and co-host Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington.  This is Canon City’s opportunity to revitalize main street.

Canon City already is known for many tourists’ attractions: Royal Gorge Bridge, Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Skyline Drive, The Winery at the Holy Cross Abbey, Robison Mansion, rafting the Arkansas River and several wonderful restaurants. Okay, I do have to mention the elephant in the room…..Fremont County is also known for the many state and federal correctional facilities. (By the way, without these institutions many of our neighbors would not be employed…including several of my family members.)

I think what is most exciting about all of this, is what everyone did together to get Canon City to the top six.  Nobody stood back because they wouldn’t reap any of the benefits of winning the grand prize.  They all pitched in where they were needed. There is an excitement in the air. If Canon City wins or loses….all of us have won.  It is like watching a feel-good movie about the underdog. Whether the underdog comes out better in the end or not, we all fall in love with the character.  I believe that the residents have all fallen in love with Canon City all over again.  Oh, I forgot to mention…rock legend Billy Joel and singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey have endorsed Canon City…..I think that says it all for my hometown and the people living here.  CHEERS!!!

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway”~John Wayne

This is my “baby” on her horse “Cupcake” (yes, I know…what a name for a beautiful red mare…we will talk more about her name later). Did you notice the brace that K.D. has on her knee? She tore her ACL and had to have surgery about six months before this picture was taken. This was her first horse show since the injury. This crisp fall day was filled with fear, anxiety and a lot of anticipation not only for her, but her biggest fan…me! That is kind of how I feel making my first post on my blog! It’s funny how we tell our kids to “get back in the saddle”, when it is so difficult to get up there ourselves! With every birthday that rolls around, my attempts to try something new seems to fall by the wayside. I was just talking to my SIL (sister in law) about trying new things…she would love to start a new career, but is concerned about her age. Funny thing is, I don’t see her as a number. When I think of her, I think how smart and capable of doing anything that she wants to do. I hope that others look at me and think the same thing. I hope that this blog will encourage you…no matter your age…to just take that first step and get back into the saddle, or take that first riding lesson! CHEERS!