Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dr. Seuss, the bus and the true meaning of the season.

I'd like to say "to their dismay", yet my friends and family know me well.  A seed gets planted in my brain and it takes a life of it's own. It grows and unexpected things happen. In this particular space of life, I have decided to save on finances and shrink my carbon footprint by using public transit. The bus. Following the wise words of Dr Seuss, "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."  This will be easy. Use my feet to walk to Arapahoe and catch the JUMP to the Village.  Walk to work. Save money, use time for work or reading on the bus.

Let's break down what really happened. 

I get motion sick reading on the bus. If I sit facing forward and it's not too hot, I'm okay. Otherwise, forget it. If it is too warm, I doze, barely able to remember to wake for my stop.

The bus is actually very popular therefore making it crowded, especially at 7:30 in the morning. Standing in a crowded bus at 105lbs with a full backpack as it starts and stops is comical.  I like to compare it to pinball with me being the little silver ball.

Even in present day, crossing a busy street not intended for pedestrians.  The trek can be dicey when the walk signal gives false info. Like running for a bus, running across the street is never, ever glamorous.

While sitting on a crowded bus a big guy with the headphones and runny nose keeps clearing his throat, I get the giggles. It's was funny. He had a rhythm about it and I envisioned a SNL skit with another passenger breaking out in some counter rhythm, another adding some bass, throw in some lyrics and it's busriffic. 

Then there is being overlooked by the bus driver while standing at the bus stop as he speeds by. This has gone from a jaw dropper into a shoulder shrug. Having your "stop requested" overlooked is always cause for a censored "wtf"?

Okay, okay they say, why do you insist on riding?

Short answer - the perspective of the human race is different here. 

Maybe it is where we live or how we live but riding the bus has helped me see people in the best of light. One morning, before the sun had risen, at a stop on the way into town, a passenger got off as another got on. Quickly the new passenger runs to the front of the bus with a lunch bag. Runs half a block to catch up and give back the lunch.  Everyone on the bus smiles.  Everyone feels good.

The human pinball day was the same day I almost got hit by a car crossing on a yellow light (not recommended). It was a day within which I really did not want to ride the bus. After rolling and stumbling from one pole hold to another a lovely man took pity (thank you!) and gave me his seat with a smile. He simply said, "I think you could use this seat more than I." Hence I will no longer over stuff my 1980's backpack with reading material and Boulder Body Wear merchandise.

And finally, one morning a young high school student is making her trek down Arapahoe on the early bus.  She is tired. Her baby is in it's car seat and sitting across 2 seats as she tries to bottle feed it and sleep at the same time.  The bus is filling up and people are a little upset that the car seat is taking up precious room.  It easily could be turned and another seat made available. But really, no one is going to say anything, it's much easier to shoot dirty looks at her. A crying baby is not what this young woman needed but it is what she got. Passengers fidget with a little more  grumpy than before. That is with exception of one woman standing who remembers what it is like to have a crying baby. Most parents have been there, your anxiety rises because your baby is loud, louder than you have quite possibly ever heard them which makes you sweat and try frantically to calm them. An easy fix as this passenger lifts her morning newspaper to hide her face and quickly unveil it with a "boo!". The baby giggles....the tension leaves and soon more strangers want to play peekaboo.

How we all think life is about us, what we do and how we do it. I can be this person but riding the bus helped me to let go of some of that. Most people are doing the best they can, no matter who they are, trying to keep focused and achieve goals.  Life is easier when we are human towards one another. It  simply makes us feel better and smile.

So, even when I walk up to the bus stop just as the bus goes by, I'm sure there will be another one coming along and quite possibly I will get to listen to someone new clear their throat rhythmically on the ride into town. Either way, it will be an experience shared with people I don't know who are now a part of this day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

What the grumpies gave me today.

I hiked Hanging Lake today.  With my 20 year old daughter, Audrey...and about 100 other people.

Honestly, hiking with this many people makes me grumpy and I already started out the day on the grump side.  I am a bit of a trail snob.  Growing up close to the Mesa Trail, I would escape to it as a teenager to set my mind straight. This has left me a little bit snobby about trailing. I grump about people taking up the width of the trail or raising their nordic poles to my dog as we run by.  So ending our extended weekend of tooling along through the mountains, with 100 other people makes me grump again. 

But this is "our" hike.  This is what Audrey and I "do" (even though we just started this "tradition" last year). I must get over my  grumpy self and hike...with 100 other people.

Beginning of trail.
 I am taking picture while I hike, so as not to be passed.

If you have ever hiked Hanging Lake, just outside of Glennwood Springs, Colorado, you know, this is not an easy stroll up the mountainside.  It's challenging. The hike is only 2 miles round trip but most of it is a vertical climb. You also know every Tom, Dick and Harry is going to try to climb the mountain.  We remark about the people we see along the way. Those without adequate shoes (one woman is barefoot another in dress shoes) or water. The overweight and the out of shape (we are at altitude people...).  The ultra young or old.  Possibly they parked down the highway and have already walked a mile to the trail head.  We roll our eyes. Everyone is here. 

Soon we are commenting that on this day, the hike seems a little harder than last year.  "Haha" we say, "it must be more humid than last year".  Truth be told, it has not been an easy year for us in most any way. Life has thrown this family some hard balls and close to nothing has felt "easier".  Why would today be any different?  We sweat...we rest...we climb.  We pass people, people pass us.  There is always someone else with us along the trail. Faster or slower, whatever we try, we are always hiking with other people.

People begin to chatter and remark about the beauty of the scenery, the heat, the impending rain they may not make it to the top. 

And then something happens. 

As we get closer to the top (I call it the "ascent" because there is a railing to help you pull yourself along or not fall over the side. For us, possibly both.), strangers start talking to each other.  They begin develop this camaraderie of accomplishment.  Soon strangers are encouraging one another, offering to take photos for one another and making way for those who are struggling.  There is even an international element -  Spanish, Portuguese, Filipino, Japanese, Midwestern, Southern and Eastern- everyone is smiling and moving forward. A man with a Huskers t-shirt on, sweaty and winded wants to take our picture.  A woman passing a slower family, takes the elder woman's hand and helps her over the rocks.  People are happy. We are happy.  They have helped us make it to the top with their surge of accomplishment. At the top, it is beautiful and everyone remarks that the effort was worth it.

Picture taken by Husker t-shirt man.

Hmmm.... I was going to blog about how consumers spend more mind, money and intellectual energy into what they eat than the clothing they buy.  Yada yada. Another day.

I am reminded,  it is not usually about what people do not do.  It is about what they DO.  It is about all the strengths that we have inside and use to make a difference. Life is hard all around.  We can struggle, raise our fists or laugh at it.  We can do this....together.  And we most likely will feel good about it.  I think about all the things my children DO that are great. They are incredible people.  As are my coworkers, my customers, my friends and even the strangers that lend me a hand every day. I have so much to learn and to share. 

So in response to waking up grumpy, this world gave me today where I watched a woman hike in her bare feet, a man carry his son to the top of a mountain,  a woman reach out to a stranger, all while I caught me some incredibly beautiful Colorado scenery. 

I choose to focus on the  "do's" and not the "do not's".

So much for the grumpies.

Life is good.

Hanging Lake.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The 3 P's - past, present and preferably the future.

This quite possibly historical as I will get...and as dry. At least, that is what we are hoping for.

In 1987, I could not have known what kind of road Boulder Body Wear would take me. Looking back at the past, I look at my job "on the Hill" as a wonderful way to be in the verve of Boulder while working my way through CU. We were located on the one way headed east part of Pennsylvania Ave between The Sink and Wave Rave.  Door open whenever the sun was shining and the heat wouldn't run every 5 minutes.  Our little 425 square feet store was where I would learn about business, dance, community and become an adult.  It is a miraculous thing that my gut and my heart glued my feet to the floor.
Boulder Body Wear 1987 - now Hapa Sushi....
From there we moved onto Crossroads Mall and continued to grow.  Being in a mall gave us a new perspective on our customer base. Suddenly we were able to reach more dancers, more women who wanted to shop local and more had opportunity to expand into all of the markets we had hoped to reach. Luckily we were not smart enough to NOT pay the rent or work the crazy hours that the mall imposed upon us.  As one of the last businesses open in Crossroads, we can say that our stint in a mall, although expensive in many ways, was very good to us and shaped our future into something pretty wonderful.
From here, you must know, Boulder Body Wear grew into the professional, experienced entity it is today at the Boulder Marriott.  We love our customers, many who have been with us all 25 years. I have learned about what makes a community- you have shared your families, your troubles, your triumphs. We consider all of you family.  I don't say this lightly....I have introduced husband & wife, seen divorce, experienced the births of a dancers and been taken with them thru their professional careers. We have been with together with you through sickness and even death.  We have created, educated, and developed together throughout it all. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we even think we fail. I, and we, have been truly blessed by you our family and friends..our customers. We continue to have the door open when the sun is shining, the wind is not blowing (too hard), and we are not running the heat or AC too often.  Hoping that you will come in and join us.

So that is our past. 

From here is our present and our future. Should you care to read my blog in the future, it will be full of life in the store, which will include all that we experience and is about 90% of my life. Dance, fashion, community, family and friends.  It would be very hard for me to completely separate the professional from the personal, so I am not going to try. You will get tidbits about single parenting, being single in middle age (let's just call it that), as well as info on arts and dance in Boulder and beyond. We will laugh. 

Please stay preferred, the future is arriving.