Holidays, 2015

Holidays, 2015
A Winter Scene - red door, a dusting of snow, and a vintage bicycle

Monday, February 27, 2012

You make me feel like dancing (I wanna dance the night away)

One day, we both got this 'wild idea' to take dancing classes, so my wonderful sweetheart signed us up for ballroom dancing classes.....two years later, we are ' reasonably comfortable' with: foxtrot, rumba, waltz, slow dance, a VERY little tango, and some swing.  Classes were really expensive, so we stopped since we quickly (in 2 years) learned that we weren't going to be professionals on Dancing with the Stars....however, we are 'all smiles' on the dance floor.  We are part of a 'dance club' that meets once a month.  Our fees pay for the facility, a live band, and popcorn (yes, I know that sounds cheesey)....but it's lots of fun!
Our 'dance shoes' bag---we each have our own
 When we went the first time, we were SHOCKED to see that MOST of the people who go have white hair!!!  This made us feel super young!!!  So, we kept going....
hanging up the coats.....let's get ready to dance!!
 We have special 'dance shoes' which have very thin heels/soles and are soft/slidey on the bottom.
switching into our dance shoes
 Here's a peek inside, however, I apologize that the lighting is quite dark.  This makes it 'romantic' AND we can't see each other's mistakes as easily.
our first peek inside....  (shhhh, they're already dancing)We ALWAYS arrive after it gets started

 because the dance floor is the most crowded the first hour.  Then people start to get tired and sit down!!! LOL
 Some people get REALLY dressed up, and others, just get casual, but more than 1/2 the men wear a tie.  At Valentine's and New Years, however, they REALLY get dressed up....the 'ol ball gowns get dusted off and away we go!!!

We're probably one of the youngest couples who goes to these dances, but that actually feels good!!! 

We always have tons of fun....and that's what's important, right? 

So, here's a little can at least hear the band playing....It's good exercise, and we smile all night long......I'm THRILLED to have learned a few fun!!!  You should try it!!! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Anniversary

The 19th of February is 'Our Anniversary.'  It's also my Dad's birthday, but I lost my Dad in 1975, so he never got to meet this wonderful man.....but I KNOW he had his hand in me finding him.....

On Sunday, Feb 19th, I came downstairs, and by the front door was 'his boots' and 'my red shoes' and this red card on top of them.  I opened the card and inside was an adorable card with a pair of boots and a pair of red shoes on the front of it....

It was all mushy-gushy just how I like it and how we're a great pair.....and then INSIDE the card were tickets to see James Taylor....  do you know how much I love James Taylor?  Well, not as much as my sweetheart....but I like him a lot, I'll tell you....

                                   I've seen JT in concert about 6 just doesn't get old

                      so THIS is OUR VALENTINE'S DAY.... a celebration of finding REAL true love

                                                    I am blessed...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Red Velvets for the girl who: 1. Doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day and 2. is Gluten Free

YAY!!!!  My middle daughter asked me to bake cupcakes for her office 'event' and I was more than happy to oblige.....I LOVE to do nice things for others on Valentine's Day, so this was a great opportunity....

 so Thank you for the baking day wonderful daughter....and the feedback from everyone (that I LOVE)

 I hope it was a wonderful day for all of you....
Love, The REAL girl

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Father Who Art in Heaven

I just want to make a quick personal if you're not into personal, stop reading now.  On this day in 1975, I lost my father.  He had his first heart attack when he was only 37....and died of heart failure just one week prior to his 46th birthday.  It was a pretty gruesome week prior to his passing and the years between 37 and 45 were really hard.  He was very ill and we went everywhere to seek help.  My life in those years consisted of my days in hospitals, clinics and doctor offices...all hoping for a chance to make him better.

I miss him so so much....and I feel his presence each day.

I was a young single girl and it made quite an impression on me.....about taking care of your body and spirit and knowing straight on the fragility of life.  I'm not going to dwell on that right here, right now....I just want to honor my dad today and just tell him...I LOVE YOU DAD...I know you're with me night and day....stay with me because I need you so so much....

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I am SO EXCITED to have a link from Susan Branch's I wanted to talk today about inspiration for just a moment.

This will be worth stay with me....INSPIRATION: what is it?  For me, it's that light of fire, that spark, that nudge, that WOW, that's it....I KNEW IT ALL ALONG....that's ME!!!!!  That's inspiration.  (for me)

A L-O-N-G time ago, I came across one of Susan Branch's books....I read them over and over like old magazines; honestly there is so much inside each one, you don't get it all in one sitting.  It's not a recipe book...well, there's recipes in there, but there is so much more.  Her life is in those books....she lets out bits and pieces of it each time she writes....those pictures are all pieces of her life.  The old vintage stove, kitties, pottery, teacups.  You know what I mean, right? 
Anyway, one thing led to another and soon I'm interesting my middle daughter in her calendars....and guess what?  She loved them and she's just like me....reading every bit of them like a story. 

Well anyway...ONE Christmas I was looking for an SB calendar for my daughter and I couldn't find it anywhere.  I drove from store to store, made phone calls and it was just a few days away; what was I going to do?  Finally, I found one, the last one and it was hers.  For years, I didn't get myself a calendar; they were expensive as I was a single mom raising three girls on my own.  I wanted them to know good things; I could get a free calendar somewhere.  They deserved their own favorite calendar and now this middle daughter was 'hooked.' 
Two years ago,  I got myself one for the first time.....they are pretty special....I know Susan inspires so many of us, each in our own special way.....but for me, she inspires me to be myself.  I LOVE to cook, clean, garden, make my house inviting for family and friends.  I LOVE to iron my pillowcases and my napkins. 

I'm an old-fashioned girl and for a lot of years, before I 'met' Susan in her books and calendars, I struggled with who I was, always trying to be 'more modern.'  But guess what?  That's not who I fact, I WANT to own a b&b.  I want to decorate it and cook and clean and put handwritten notes on their pillows when they arrive....

The Girls Gets Real is about just that....being ME, no matter what.  That's what I'm best at....I've been a teacher pretty much all my life, so today's lesson is this:  Be YOURSELF.....and be darn good at it, too!!

This past Christmas, I also got my middle daughter a copy of Susan's first Willards that were hand-written.  Here she is on Christmas day opening it up....see that smile?  Inspiration in the making.
Thank you Susan Branch for being one of my greatest inspirations.....

I love you,

Joann....The REAL GIRL in Colorado xoxo

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Scenes from a Colorado Weekend

As we continue on our journey of finding 'it,' sometimes we take different paths.....
On some occasions, we wander up into the mountains....seeking refuge from Denver's 'brown cloud' and traffic and noise....up where there are trees, water, and blue skies.  Other times, however, we stay on the plains and look to the WEST....and see the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains in the distance and have more of the conveniences of shopping, farm markets, and culture.
 This past weekend, we wandered into Mead, Longmont, and Boulder....and wound up the mountain sides into many of Boulder's pretty canyons....but first, to get there.  After we got off of the interstate, we started to head west.  Above is a gorgeous shot of the Rockies......this is Mead, CO.....lots of farm land but lots of large acreage properties, too...
I love the white fences and red barns

 We stopped for awhile and just watched the cows and some of them were watching us, too....they were getting water and it dripped from their wet mouths as they lifted their heads from the troughs....they had their winter coats on, too, even though the weekend temperatures were quite mild.
 Some of the pastures had been tilled; others still resting in their Winter's nap time....
 This field was a corn field, now waiting for the next planting...
 Someone with a sense of humor had nailed these bootsto their fence.....there were many of them along this stretch
 And horses in the distance enjoyed the Spring-like day
 I thought this photo was such a story in one shot....nature and US intervening with it all....building, widening, changing....
 Here's a segment of the University of Colorado,'s a huge campus
IBM is located here
A lot of this area is designated as parks and preserved areas....that's awesome
 There are some short tunnels in various parts of the canyons west of Boulder; this area is THICK with hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts
 Some snowy and icy parts still remain even though our temperatures have been unseasonably warm for January.....if we don't get some snow, there will be drought conditions this summer
 The famous Pearl Street in Boulder, CO   If you haven't been, it's a must see....outdoor street performers, ethnic foods, wonderful shops, and VERY interesting people watching
 You can see that the lower hills have barely a drop of snow....this is NOT a good thing
And you can't tell very well, but this part of CO had been badly burned by fires in the past few years....many lots were for sale where there used to be sad

 We looked up one street and down another
 We passed serious bicyclists along the highways....
 the FLAGGSTAFF house restaurant is a very famous landmark west of Boulder....I've eaten there once, but it's not my favorite.....nice views, but I thought the menu was rather uninspiring and heavy.  You can click on the link and be your own judge.  I should probably give it another try someday.
 As we got higher into the mountains west of Boulder, there was more snow, but still very minimal
 Remnants of the past...
 Looking, Looking, Looking....
                       And as the sun began to set.....we headed to a cozy place for dinner near the fireplace and were feeling pretty blessed about our lives.....whatever is supposed to be will BE.

                                                  Thank you for coming along on our weekend....