Category Archives: Discovering Home

Bikes and Bikes

I didn’t really want to delete this pretty lilac photo, so I’m leaving in the first part of this post, even though it was written a few weeks ago and is COMPLETELY inaccurate now. I’m afraid after realizing I didn’t have a few of the photos I wanted, I put it on hold until I could get out and take a few more, but I took longer than I had intended to get back to this. My apologies! (I’ve added a few corrections and comments to make it more current):

The lilacs are mostly finished . . . (DEFINITELY long gone now)Lilacs. . .  but other flowers have come into their own. I do love the last bit of spring, when the weather feels almost like summer, but we’re not actually roasting (Um . . . we are now officially roasting). The evenings on the deck are getting to be standard fare, but not quite enough that the mosquitoes anticipate our presence and get there first (I’m afraid they’re starting to catch on).  We’re making plans for all the great things we’re going to do during the summer and not yet dreading the crammed fall schedule. Anything seems possible (hence, the now-crammed SUMMER schedule),

Ah, well. Love it. Summer officially arrived Monday evening, and we plan to take full advantage of it.

One of the things we missed while in France and on our extended east coast road trip was taking Harley trips with our neighborhood friends. The first overnight trip of the summer was a few weeks ago, and although we didn’t go for the overnight, we did ride up the Poudre Canyon with them as far as the Arrowhead Lodge Visitor Center . . . ↓Arrowhead Lodge

This fabulous place is now a National Historic Site and a Forest Service Visitor Center, but it used to be a  guest resort with log cabins and was the childhood home of our dear friend, Christy French. Can’t believe I didn’t get a shot of anything but the sign. Sheesh. Sorry!

After we waved goodbye to our friends and let them continue on up over the pass, we headed back down the road a few miles for lunch here . . . ↓

Best burgers around
Best burgers around

It may not look like fine dining, but the quirky set of characters manning this trailer serve amazing burgers and, if you’re lucky, keep you entertained with running commentary on the birds, the bears, the weather, the tourists, and most amusing, each other.

After lunch, we decided to take a longer, scenic route home — in France called le chemin des écoliers (literally “the route of schoolboys” meaning of course, the longest possible route), which took us behind and eventually up and around the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir . . . ↓

Horsetooth Reservoir
Horsetooth Reservoir

We also recently bought bikes (with actual pedals, requiring exertion by the rider) . . . ↓

Our Bikes -- Arty Photo Version
Our Bikes — Arty Photo Version
Old Town Fort Collins -- One of the pretty alleys
Old Town Fort Collins — One of the pretty alleys

. . . to add some variety to our exercise options. The same day as this first long Harley ride, we decided to try out our new bikes. Really poor planning. Our . . . um . . . nether regions were NOT HAPPY. We went back to the bike shop and bought padded shorts the next day! Now we can ride all the way to Old Town, and generally do, every Saturday.

Sam's Just Like Dad Haircut
Sam’s Just Like Dad Haircut

But now, I very much wish I did not have to tell you about one person who, in a perfect world, would be riding his bike this summer, but is not currently able to do that. I’m sorry to report that Sam Glossi’s cancer has come back and he is in the middle of a series of chemo treatments and enduring the brutal side effects.

←Here he is just after his pre-chemo “Just Like Dad” haircut.

Sam Happy About BreadAnd here he is excited to be able, finally, to eat bread after a tough week of no solid food. →

Love this photo, because he’s seriously adorable, obviously, but also because I routinely have that exact same emotion about the prospect of eating bread!

His smiles are tiny moments of respite and joy, but I know you understand that this is a really hard summer for the entire Glossi clan. Please keep Sam and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love . . . .   ·Mother Theresa  

It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing. ·Mother Theresa

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.  ·Desmond Tutu

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. · Mahatma Ghandi

Wishing you all, and especially Sam, comfort, healing, peace, joy.

In the Bleak Midwinter

Midwinter MornIn the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago. ∼Christina Rossetti

This is the first verse of a poem by Christina Rossetti, which was later set to music and became a beloved Christmas carol. I’m working on a Liz Story arrangement of it for my piano lessons. Lexi, besides being a good friend is also my piano teacher; she and I decided that even though Christmas is past, winter certainly isn’t. The snow just keeps on coming. Fortunately, the view out our back windows is stunning and the music is serene and beautiful, even when I’m playing it.

Still. Hard to forget that last year at this time we were strolling in the heat of Key West down to Saluté for their fabulous caprese salad with avocado. Yum. Tom and Lexi gave us this for Christmas . . .

Saluté, Key West
Saluté, Key West

. . . as a reminder of the afternoons we shared on that very patio  for a few days last January. I miss all the flowers (and the blues), but the grocery store occasionally yields a few beauties to tide me over until spring . . .January RoseJanuary Roses

French Hellem Cafetière
French Hellem Cafetière

David and I are both loving it here in our new home, but at the same time, missing France and dreaming of our next trip to La Rochelle, maybe in 2017. Here’s my favorite surprise gift for David this Christmas . . . →

. . . a real vintage French Hellem Cafetière, like the one Pascale and Jacky would bring out sometimes at the end of a meal, mostly for the fun of it, I think. There are definitely easier ways to make coffee, though we’re loving the memories.

Sam, last September

Unfortunately, flowers and treasured memories have not been all there has been to this season. A few weeks ago, Tom and Lexi’s darling three-and-a-half-year-old grandson, Sam, was discovered to have a huge tumor on one of his kidneys and diagnosed with cancer. Emergency surgery, tests, worry, more tests, and lots of prayer have filled the last few weeks.  The latest tests have been very positive and he’s finally back home, slowly healing, but what an ordeal for Sam and his family, and it’s not quite over yet.

So I’d think of them and pray, and play beautiful music on the piano, that when I’d get it right, was almost like praying without words.


When the winter sun rises cold and clear through the trees, the shifting patterns of sun and shadow make me think of the rhythm of all of life, that can switch in a heartbeat from the sun-soaked days of joy to the soul-piercing hard times and, fortunately, sometimes back again.

I used to think that somewhere along the line, I’d find the key to that perfect life . . . and that once I had it, every day would be golden and easy, and everything would fit. But life isn’t like that. There are only perfect, glowing moments . . . and then there are the everyday moments that weave them together into a shimmering path that can always be seen, even in the dark. ∼Kristan Higgins

Wishing you glowing moments to light the dark along the way.

Please keep Sam and family in your thoughts and prayers!

White Christmas

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, with lots of love and good cheer. Twelfth Night has long passed, and all the decorations have been put away, but fortunately the memories–and a few photos–remain. Unfortunately, Brittany somehow eluded the camera, but we’ll get her another time!

Christmas LightsRemember last year, when I was on the constant search for Christmas lights? This year someone told me about a nearby neighborhood that gets serious about theirs, so Christmas Eve after the Candlelight Service at church, I had the girls grab a few cozy blankets for the car, and we drove over to have a look. Wow.

Bailey, Chelsea and Felicity checking out the lights
Bailey, Chelsea and Felicity checking out the lights

But mostly this year, the theme has been “white.” Considering the fact that last year our goal was to skip winter entirely, it’s a bit surprising how much I’m enjoying the almost constant snow we’ve had so far this winter. But who doesn’t like a white Christmas? Our granddaughters certainly enjoyed it. ↓


This was part of a challenge to see who could stay lying in the snow the longest–um, NOT my idea. They took this VERY seriously. To prevent hypothermia, we finally had to declare a tie and tempt them inside with hot chocolate . . . ↓

Hot Chocolate Time
Hot Chocolate Time
Chelsea and Will in the Snow
Newly engaged Chelsea and Will

But they weren’t the only ones loving the snow. We see cross-country skiers on the golf course regularly, and even though Will forgot to pack boots, he was willing to do whatever it took to get out and enjoy it as well. Note the trash bags taped on with festive red and white duct tape. Unfortunately, he discovered that without insulation, trash bags are not very warm. Boots recommended for next time.

Christmas Games
Christmas Games

But it was plenty warm indoors. Lots of laughter and games. When I was growing up, I made my brothers wait until I had read and explained all the rules of any new game before playing on Christmas morning. I’m not making this up. They called me Little Miss Rules. In a rare departure from tradition, here’s how Christmas games are now played at our house, not EXACTLY according to the rules, since putting the sticks in Brittany’s guy, Rick’s hair was not mentioned.

David and his Man Crate
David and his Man Crate

←In other Christmas craziness, here’s David, sporting his jingle-bell shorts, a gift from Chelsea a few years ago and ONLY worn on Christmas. He’s opening his “Man Crate” –a gift from all three daughters.

Five days with seven adults, two children, and one very ancient black lab, in basically a two-bedroom house. Yes, it was pretty chaotic, but mostly in a fun way. By Tuesday, the 29th, all were headed home:


Courtney and her girls back to Minnesota . . .

Chelsea and Will to Alexandria, Virginia, and Brittany and Rick to Denver (technically, Centennial, but who knows where that is).

Wishing you fabulous times with family and friends, whether chaotic or calm. French has a term: les proches, literally “the near ones.” I love that. The ones who are near even when they are not physically near. Je pense à vous, mes amis français. Looking at you, far-flung family. Hoping for more time together, distant friends.

Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read. ∼Athenaeus

Yes’m, old friends is always best, ‘less you can catch a new one that’s fit to make an old one out of. ∼Sarah Orne Jewett

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. ∼Desmond Tutu

Thanks, all of you, for being a gift to me.


911One of my favorite things to do is to help make a house into a home. There’s been a lot of that happening this year. We’ve been to Alexandria to help Chelsea and Will settle into their new house, which kept us so busy, I’m afraid I took very few pictures . . .

Awaiting the Sofa
Awaiting the Sofa
Remy, relaxed in his new home
Remy, relaxed in his new home

Here’s one of their neighbors, since the Potomac is easy walking distance from their house . . .IMG_2373

Boathouse and Hat Decor← We’ve also, in the past few months, been down to Denver a couple of times to help Brittany settle into her new house, which she’s chosen to ornament with views from Sunapee . . . ↓IMG_9256

The guest room is ready . . . ↓

Guest Room
Brittany’s guest room

Meanwhile, we continue to wrap up projects at our home in Fort Collins. The bookshelves are in and filled! Library

Maybe it’s not much, making a space personal. But hopefully, by outfitting it with things that remind us of places and people we love, we’re inspired to offer comfort and welcome to others.

As we near the close of this year, which included terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere and mass shootings all too frequently, I’m left with swirling emotions: certainly sadness for those affected, relief and gratitude for the safety of Anna (our dear friend Pascale’s daughter, who currently lives in Paris), but also frustration at the powerlessness I feel to stop the evil or even the hatred and distrust that ensue in its wake. This on top of other acts of senseless and random violence, and it seems we all need a haven more than ever before.

May our lives, even more than our homes, be a safe and welcoming place for those we meet.

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. ∼Henri NouwenDecember Sunrise