Ma Vie En Rose: Colorado State of Mind
There is a sense of acknowledgement when one realizes that outside of their current home state (my Alaska) that there is room to add one more (that’s you, Colorado). What I’ve acknowledged is that oftentimes such home states have never been my choosing really.
For example, I grew up as an Army brat (I still have no fondness for the terminology—which suggests an ill-behaved child; granted I had my own occasions of ill-behaveness) and home was where my Dad chose to live for the next three years, and as I’ve written, he was the one who chose to be stationed in places like California, Hawaii, Germany, and finally Alaska.
I have no qualms for not ever having any say in the places my family lived in, and such experience has taught me the ability to be immersed in the culture, and in the community. I’ve learned how to adapt under such circumstances.
Therefore, it’s truly no surprise to me that when the boys decided to make Colorado their temporary home state—that I too must adapt because it’s going to a state where the husband and I will more than frequently visit. The jury is still out for the Primadonna (who stayed behind with a decision that school, ballet, and rehearsals for the upcoming Nutcracker was much more important than a trip to Colorado) who just this past June spent two weeks of ballet intensive at the Colorado Ballet Academy in Denver. If that’s any indicator, then it must be stated that this time around my children are the ones making choices for their second home state.
For this visit, it was a tour of the goodbyes to the soccer mom years (for me), and the soccer coach years for the husband (the husband probably said goodbye to such sentimentality years ago when the middle child graduated from high school—I speculate that deep within his soul, this he will never admit, he too was saying goodbye to being a soccer dad). In similar fashion that we did raising boys who played soccer since they learned how to walk, we incorporated a mini-vacay within that chaos as well.
I became obsessed with marketplaces after seeing the one in Aurora and I wanted to check out the Denver Marketplace. I almost forgot that one must have lady luck on their side at all times when looking for a parking spot in Denver, and that day it seemed that lady luck was too busy tending to someone else was in desperate need for her. Soon after the middle child’s soccer game that morning, he went with us for some good ‘ole time with moms and pops.
For dinner, the eldest joined us for some Korean BBQ at Dae Gee. The husband and I couldn’t believe that we’ve never taken the kids to a Korean BBQ before, but like all things in life: it’s never too late to introduce them to something new–no matter how old they are.
The husband and I ventured on our own for a great deal of the time we spent in Denver. He has become an expert in checking out several places to try out–and I was quite impressed that he didn’t disappoint. Believe me, he has a track record for of questionable suggestions for places to eat.
And of course, we couldn’t forget what’s always on our list: a quick a pit stop at a Whole Foods Market where I always find myself taking a quick snapshot of the wheel of gorgeousness.
Denver Art Museum
The husband and I made visiting the museum a priority. The running joke between the both of us is his artistic education, and while he would prefer watching his fantasy football games—he once created art pieces from woodwork and steel that won some kind of state prize when he was in high school. In fact, I kept a work of his that’s very practical: a woodwork piece to store potatoes. It’s permanent home is in my pantry storing the potatoes that I harvested from the garden this past summer.
The art museum featured many beautiful pieces of work, and when we visited Rembrandt’s sketches were being featured.
What is it about museum that stokes inspiration in many of us? I know each time I look at work of art, a stirring of thoughts begins in my mind and questions soon surfaces: what was happening with the artist as he/she created this work? What were they feeling at the time? The thoughts then manifest into a stream of emotions. For me, it always centers on empathy and sadness.
The husband and I had a mission going into Colorado Springs. For one, we wanted to look at the shops along main street. The last time we were there was in October 2016 when we brought his parents down with us to catch some of the middle child’s soccer games.
The main mission was to stop by the huge Asian store that included every possible ingredient for any Thai, Korean, or Filipino dishes. Lady luck was with me that day (perhaps she felt bad for the parking situation in Denver) while I was perusing the aisle that featured all these kitchen gadgetries. I was looking at some woks when I overheard these two young women discussing knives. Firstly, when you walk into the store, every person you come across is Asian and so when these two Caucasian women are enthusiastically talking about how amazing the knives are, my ears perked up and I completely jumped into their conversation. It was soon apparent that one of them is a chef, and right there in the middle of the aisle, she showed me the best knives and how to use them—as in which one is the best for meats and which ones can be used for anything.
The knives were $3 each. They went home with me—the knives, not the chefs—and are now part of my family of knives in the kitchen.
I love Littleton. There’s something about towns that have maintain and preserved their main street Americana that I’ve always been quite enamored by. There’s something about the awning that hangs in front of the store that continues to captivate me. In fact, in another life, I probably owned a little store that sold books or flowers or something that made customers very happy just by entering through the doors. In this life, I am that customer.
One of the shops that I completely fell in-love with is “Angel Concept,” a shop who donates its proceeds to programs who support women. They also provide information and training for women who are attempting to go enter into the workforce. I did not need to be asked twice to shop in the store, and the husband made sure that he too picked up a few items.
The first-born and his girlfriend also took us to the Botanical Garden and immediately I felt I was transported in the parade of all things autumn. We walked among the trees which donned the current fashion of the season: golden leaves that reflected off the sun illuminating that natural glow that can’t be purchased vis-à-vis an expensive highlighter at Sephora’s.
To contrast such beauty, we were able to visit the Columbine memorial. My thoughts on this, perhaps shall be written on another day…
The Botanical Garden. Littleton, Colorado. October 2018. Photo by JAH.
This was the third time that we’ve visited Manitou Springs, and still we find things that we overlooked before.
This one place that we just so happen to come across quite luckily was Mavi. A hole in the wall eatery that featured the best—I mean the best—pita I have ever eaten. The chef, he is most definitely eligible, greeted us with a warm hello and invited us to sit while he prepared for us an Anatolian kebab pita. There we were, all five of us (the husband, myself, the middle child, the first born and the love of his life) in awe at what we were eating. The husband said what we were thinking with pure clarity, “there is nothing that will ever beat this kebab pita.”
“This is it for us in Pueblo,” the husband said as he drove us through the downtown area.
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“Because after Braeden graduates in May, we won’t have to visit here again.”
He’s right. The middle child described the place he made his home for the last four years as a town that saw its peak back in the 90s and for some reason loved the decade so much that it remained the town of the 90s.
The way I will remember Pueblo would be the thought of seeing it through my middle child. When we sat to eat at the breakfast place he recommended, I looked around and thought, “Where did he sit here with his girlfriend or friends? Did he have a good time? Is this the reason why he hates green chili sauce?”
Pueblo does have its charm though, and you can find bits of it in the downtown area where historic architecture meets the 90s.
Perhaps, Pueblo’s charm can best be summarized by my accidental run in with the Mona in the alleyway between two rustic old buildings.
One of the universal signs that the husband kept receiving is the fact on more than one occasion, we were given the table number 13. We were in fact in Colorado to watch the last games that middle child will play in college. I truly believe it was only fitting that his birthday number kept showing up to remind us all of the years that we devoted in supporting him for his love of soccer.
The husband and I decided that our last meal in Colorado had to be spent at DIA where we had enough time to decompress before the trek back home. And, after re-organizing our luggage(s) (including that humongous wok) to distribute the weight—we laughed our way to the security check-in. He laughed as I covered my nose because the baby in front of us had taken a dump in his diaper and the parents didn’t want to lose their place in the long line. Even lady luck took off from the odor. And, mind you we were in line for the TSA pre-check in.
Alas, I leave you with this memorable photo of the eldest protesting (aka throwing a so called tantrum) in the middle of the sidewalk in Manitou, Springs all because he wanted ramen for dinner and the rest of us did not. This was a great example of no matter how much he is known as an up and coming young journalist in his field–somewhere in there is still that little boy who sometimes cannot help himself.