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The Matthews 2016 Download

11 Dec

Brought to you by that family who brings you their sad sack stories. Every. Single. Year. Until. Now.

2016 has been…dare I utter the word?…normal. Blissfully, unbelievably, normal. But that’s only if you factor in the smack-you-in-the-face-because-damn-you’re-old moment of taking your oldest to get her driving permit and then having to actually ride shotgun with said newly-minted driver and be nearly killed. Each. And. Every. Time. (Okay. Kidding. She’s SUPER responsible and careful, just like her mom.)


Miss-miss hits the DMV

So near death driving events aside, we found ourselves in our very own version of the upside-down in the slow, but sure lane. Dear friends with clean scans (talkin’ ’bout YOU La-La and Mar!), hubby with a still clean colon…we became those people who just go see friends play in their bands and launch their art exhibits. You know the ones. Dr. Everything-be-all-rights? (Oh right, THAT one hit one of us particularly hard this year…RIP Prince.)


Bliss c/o Belize

Our favorite 2016 moment was when we happened upon our one true love, Belize. Checking a big something off of our bucket list, we arrived in March for spring break with no expectations and came away changed people. We fell in love with the turquoise, tranquil waters, the daily fresh coconut provided by our new, dear friend, Eric, and left a bit of our souls there when we left. Many tears were shed and we have vowed to go back as quickly as possible.

For the first half of 2016, we did all of the boring, mundane things we had been meaning to do, in fact. Finally got the 4-years-in-the-making landscaping done. Replaced the Vitamix. You know. The good stuff.

And we hummed right along with a tag-along trip with the hubby to Cali and San Fran as soon as school closed its doors for summer.


Some famous bridge (and bikers)

Took in as many foodie stops in the city as we could fit in for a few days. Drank copious amounts of wine with Cheryl by her pool. Got in some QT with the Cali fam. All adding to that good stuff list.

It wasn’t until ALL THE WAY INTO THE END OF JUNE that the first hit of the year came. (I feel like I’m jinxing us with a walk-under-the-ladder-holding-a-black-cat-while-breaking-a-mirror-and-NOT-knocking-on-wood just by saying that.) But it’s true. And surreal.

And even though everything is fine now, having your baby diagnosed with epilepsy is a big sideways hit no matter how you slice it. So there was that.

We survived and made it to the appointments and figured out how to still get to


Sharpthews hit Yellowstone
(Photo cred: Rhys Sharpton)

Yellowstone the next week with new meds and just-in-case emergency procedures to follow. And had a fantastic time in that breath-taking place with our dear friends. (Who were generous enough to pick a spot to meet us…er…halfway from Kalispell…with the joke squarely on US with our 11-hour drive to their 6.)

We’ve had school plays, concerts, field trips, volleyball tournaments, dance classes, softball games, camping trips, lots and lots of house guests, hikes,


Bean at bat

cocktails, picnics, dinner parties, laughs, cries, and all of that good stuff too. And even with all of the uncertainty the IT world has wrought lately with all of the mergers and acquisitions that directly impact BOTH of our jobs…It’s truly been one of the first solidly great years we’ve had in a while. So we will TAKE IT. In fact, when we take into account all that the last few years have sent our way? I’d say we are counting our blessings in a BIG way as we close out 2016.


Three Cheers for the New Year

26 Dec


Photo Cred: Ani Vattano Photography

The 2015 Matthews New Year E-Letter

Brought to you by that family who brings you their sad sack stories. Every. Single. Year.


Facebook image inspired by Charleston shootings.

The fact that these greetings are coming your way after Christmas is over should speak for itself. The tumult that was 2015 was a stealthy little bastard. Poking it’s nasty head up just as we thought we’d crossed into some well-earned peace. The overview through September is here for a refresher. I notice that I omitted the horrific tragedies that befell our home state this year. Those brought on many, many bouts of tears and hand-wringing from afar as we watched and waited and hoped all would be okay. (And I couldn’t help but think, “How many times can one change their Facebook profile pic in one year in homage to yet another tragedy?”)


Percy home, safe and sound with Boone.

The other big event was in July — when some crack-headed idiot decides it’s time to up and steal a car. With my parents’ dog inside. Huge favors called in and multiple news stories later, Percy was found safe (albeit a little bit more whack-a-doodle ever since).

So you’d think that would be quite enough for the year. And it would. But then the hubby decided to take a nap on the conveyer belt at the Whole Foods check out and couldn’t get up. So we had that fun time visit to the ER, complete with MRI, to learn he had a compacted disk.

Then Teen Queen decided to break up with her cutie patootie boyfriend after homecoming and bean came home with THE LICE.

Then. I decided to post a photo of all of the kick ass peeps I know who’ve kicked cancer’s ass and, what do you know, that

We’ll miss you always, G-Man.

asshole fate decided to take another one of them just to mock me. So just as the lice prevention olive oil hair styles were at their peak, we flew to DC to bid an incredibly sad farewell to our dear, dear friend, Amy, who just didn’t get long enough to do what she was doing – which was inspire us and make us laugh and lift us up when another BFF gets cancer. It still makes me cry to think about it. The hubby was honored to be a pall bearer though he counts it as one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do.

RIP dear, sweet Gigi.

RIP dear, sweet Gigi.

November brought another terrorist act and another profile pic change and more sadness for lives lost. And then Gigi decided 99.75 years was quite enough and took her leave as well on December 2nd. So off we went to SC to say good bye to yet another person we held so dear.

And so we don’t end there with you face down in a gutter with a brown bag and bottle just from reading our year end retrospective, I’ll end on a high note (in chronological order):

    1. Excellent trip to Santa Fe in February for Teen Queen’s birthday. We ate our way across the town and kept the

      Chile ristra, La Posada de Santa Fe

      ghost at La Posada company for the weekend. What an incredible time we had

    2. Another family adventure to California for spring break in March found us in a VRBO in the heart of Venice.
      Bikes rented, we headed out in search of the best eats and got to see one of our favorite peeps while we were there — plus the Warner Brothers lot where Lucia decided I was destined to write for any one of her favorite TV shows and set out to locate every possible link toevery job posting she could find.

Welcome to…California!

  1. On my birthday in April, the hubby got the five-year-all-clear scan results we’ve been holding our breath for since his diagnosis in June 2010. Best birthday present ever!
  2. June found us in SC one row from the beach at Folly. It was a Simmonds reunion kind of weekend with my girl cousins (and memories of the third ever present), mom, aunt, brother, sis-in-law and all of their offspring. We even got a day visit from the wife of one boy cousin with all cousin kiddos. What a blast.
  3. The hubby landed himself a job in July and has been a working stiff ever since. He’s been traveling like crazy and it’s been quite the adjustment. You can read more about that here.
  4. We bought ourselves a sweet camper in May and got in more than one adventure before the

    Little surfer girl, Folly Beach, SC

    hubby was back tied to a desk and airplane. We even tipped the damn thing over on our maiden voyage…because that’s how we roll.

  5. We had visits from a boy cousin, a brother/brother-in-law and the parents/in-laws and got to celebrate the big 8-0 for Pop with all of his brothers and most of the ‘west coast contingent’ of the Matthews clan.
  6. I made a solo voyage to Ohio and got to party like it was 1999. Kentucky-border style.
  7. We got new windows.
  8. We watched the bean swim, run and kick a ball and the teen queen volley and do the bump-n-grind — I mean dance.


    You never know what will pop up.

  9. We survived one whole semester with a high schooler.

Now we have driver’s ed to weather and a shiny, new year that we are counting on being full of adventures far and wide and smack full of good health, mother nature 100%  in a good mood, and peace on earth without hearts full of darkness. Can I get an AMEN?

THIS YEAR’S THEME SONG: Because a pause is the only time it takes for them to get a jump on us so if you’re staying in, you best be braced, but if you’re coming out then let’s just go. ~Ages and Ages






Words Make My Mouth Exercise

16 Sep

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a touch of whiplash from the last few weeks/months. In the continuing theme of ‘never a dull moment,’ I could never claim boredom or being stuck in a rut. Here’s why.

As you may recall, all hell broke loose on us yet again about two years ago. No, it wasn’t the year of hell that was 2010, but it was still a three-punch in the gut. (These sets all seem to come in threes, no?)

This year was humming right along. Hubby back in school to prep for the CPA exam while he continued his job hunt, me going strong with Mugs & Wit. We even started a cleanse to kick off the year with a (ahem)…clean slate.

Then round about January 20th, one of the Va-Jay-Jay BFFs, Lady Lou, had to go and join the Big C Club. Cleanse aborted and many bottles of wine later, we had almost all cried ourselves out. So we dusted off those big girl panties and armored up to take this shitty cancer thing DOWN. AGAIN.

She finished up chemo the first week of June, ran away to do the hula in Hawaii for a few days and came back to get radiated (as if she isn’t radiant enough already). She is now in the after care phase with Herceptin injections every three weeks until February 2016. Tamoxifen is her daily friend for the next five years. Take that you big bully, cancer. She is doing GREAT. And I’ve been privileged enough to be there with her through most of it all — even when I’ve had to cry to make her let me come. (I’m a good friend like that.)

And while we’re on the subject of crying….that seems to be my new modus operandi. I cry over sinks full of dishes, friends who won’t let me go to their oncology appointments, dear uncles who get diagnosed with ALS, and other friends who up and have a kid with bone cancer.

I try to blame it all on the other letter that should always have the word BIG in front of it: M. And maybe it is that. Hot flashes suck ass. I had my head in the freezer the other night and the hubby says, “Gross. You’re going to get hair in the ICE.” I thought, “Maybe I should go buy an ice pick to stick in his head.”

But I digress. Crying over dear friends/family members fighting for their lives while you helplessly sit by and wring your hands is pretty normal. It’s the sink full of dishes things that isn’t really like the others…

To progress this story forward, I’d like to say that when I highjacked Lady Lou’s appointment (on my birthday in April) with the doc that we share announcing that the hubby was FIVE YEARS ALL CLEAR, and we hugged and cried, that was a full circle moment. She could see for herself that the little yellow-ish flicker at the end of that long, dark, drafty tunnel will soon be HERS TOO.

And forward from there, we had a summer of fun. Camping, 10 days at the beach in SC, hiking, day trips to Denver by bus. It was really great — even though work was busy as holy hell. We got through and the hubby had landed himself a newfangled job just as it was all coming to a close. Awesome.

It’s the last few weeks that have made me dizzy. Weird I know. After 2.5 years of getting my company ramped up, bringing home the bacon and feeling like my head was sizzling itself from it all, business just dropped off. The timing was fantastic since I am playing single, SAHM most days with the hubby traveling, doing the job of two people since his coworker was fired 8 days in AND trying to finish up his accounting classes before he goes on halfway-through-I’m-going-to-lose-my-mind hiatus. Oh. And having his back freak the shit out and double him over. Right on the conveyor belt in the Whole Foods check out line. (ER visit plus MRI showed a pinched nerve and compacted disk. The meds worked. He’s getting better. Much. Thanks for asking.)

Seriously great timing. But. I am struggling mightily with it. Living in this strange gray area that isn’t quite SAHM OR bringing home the bacon/money-making fool. I’m so used to being one OR the other that I can’t quite wrap my head around being a seriously half-assed BOTH. Or with how quickly it all changed.

I would say that in light of the other shit that has gone down this year, this is NOTHING. But it sure feels like SOMETHING to me.

The only glimmer of hope in this freshly-minted identity crisis is that I haven’t cried about it yet.

And look at me, would you? I’m all writing again and shit. At least until the next big deadline rears its head. Amiright?

TODAY’S THEME SONG: When a problem comes along (you must whip it). Devo

Deck Your Halls

2 Dec

Matthews Card 2014-v2This cyber holiday letter is brought to you
by The Matthews.

That family who brings you their sad sack stories.
Every. Single. Year.

A whole lotta blood, sweat, tears, laughs, hot tub soaks, cocktails, and heart went into the making of this year’s compilation, Deck Your Halls. Read on and keep those hits coming. We got this. Plus, 2014 was bonafide boring based on comparison to recent years. (Yay for boring!)


Songs, lyrics (and life) by The Matthews. Holiday card and header photo cred: Ani Vattano Photography.


IMG_4544 Yes, you read that right. Even though we haven’t been back to our southern home as a family since the summer of 2013, one of the adults in this family went back solo in January and then again with the male adult in May. We had reunions and weddings to attend. Fun and debauchery was had by all. (I’m not naming names.)


IMG_5291 - Version 2In lieu of aforementioned summer family trip, the hubby opted to build himself a new, and improved, raised bed garden complete with drip irrigation. He got to drive big equipment, dig in the dirt, and drink homebrewed beer with his buddy, Timmy, who drove down from FoCo two weekends in a row to help. It was back-breaking. But you got yourself a pretty new garden in a sunnier spot, now don’t you?


IMG_0491Thanks to our good friends at Groupon, we scored a nasty hotel complete with no A/C and no running water slope side in Crested Butte. We survived the sub-par (read: NOT RITZ CARLTON) accommodations and got to go on some pretty fantastic hikes, wade through some rivers, and eat some crazy good food. And Mabel got to come along and scare the hotel staff. #winning


Most of 2014 was dedicated to giving the old college try to making Mugs & Wit pave our way to riches. Round about May, the hubby decided that the glitz and glamour of self-employment wasn’t for him. He’s still helping while he seeks ‘right and proper’ employment and takes a few classes all while juggling the stay-at-home dad deal. The efforts ended up with two new clients, a brand-spanking new website, and a 10 years in business milestone. Not too shabby.


Being on the board of Slow Food Boulder County has its bennies. Besides getting together with some of my favorite people once a month to plan while we nosh and sip, I got to head to Italy in October for this year’s Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto as part of the US delegation. It was drudgery, of course. All of that wine, cheese, gnocchi, and salumi. But I survived and am now officially on a tear to rid the world of dirty meat and yoga mat pie dough.


IMG_5010In August, we braved the torrential (tepid?) waters of the South Platte via canoe. As usual, the hubby and I exhibited our extreme athletic prowess by making that canoe our biscuit (this is a G-rated post, people). We steered and paddled like a boss until we hit a log and that was all she wrote. Bean stood by and cried while I untangled myself from the branch and realized…I can actually stand up here. Huh. You just never know.


The hubby continued to biscuit-slap that ham sandwich, cancer, with more clean scans and butt scopes. He recently celebrated 4 ½ years cancer-free and only has one more scan in March to pass and he’s on the home stretch to the big FIVE YEAR MARK. More on that in next year’s cyber letter. (It’s going to be a best-seller. No doubt.)


IMG_5352So our plan was either highly successful or failed miserably — depending on how you look at it. (And how medicated you are when you’re talking about it.)  That whole not going back with the family this year thing. Yea. That. As a result, September – October was a blur of sheet-washing and beer brewing. We had Mom and Boone, followed days later by cousin Elizabeth and her hubby, Rob. Then one week after my return from Italy, the hubby’s parents came. Three of the six were first time Colorado-visitors, so we got to do some fun touring, visit some exotic, newly legal places and try to kill flat-landers on a beer tour by bike. (Mwahahahaha…) I do hope we didn’t scare them off for good. It was nice staying put for once and getting to host and show off our gorgeous state. (Love you all so much for making the trip — all jokes aside.)

And I almost forgot that two of the hubby’s siblings, Keith and Gary, made it out our way for skiing between December and April too. Unheard of! See what 20 years away will do?


IMG_5027We have a teenager now. Harrumph. (That second part was her. Okay. And me.) Love that girl to the moon and back. And sometimes want to give her a one-way ticket. Then she comes and cuddles up and all is right with the world again. For five whole minutes. 

She got her braces off this year and finally got her caramel apple. That should count for something, right? And just LOOK at her, would you?

10. 8 IS ENUFF ≠

IMG_5103Our baby is eight. I’m speechless. But she’s not. I’m still posting her best of quotes @soboclassifieds (much to her growing chagrin). PS: #3 is her favorite. Because it says “butt.”


The craziest thing I’ve ever done happened this year. I auditioned for (what the WHAT?!?) and was cast in a SHOW. Yes. And on Mother’s Day I made web history by being possibly the worst performer to grace a stage and have it recorded and youtubed for all of posterity. Here you go. Get your guffaws out.


This is 2014. Signing off. Happy trails. (And if this was a real album, I’d add: Catch you on the FLIP side…)


Don’t Try (Suicide).

13 Aug

For the last day or so I’ve been processing. Reading. Absorbing. The news of the untimely and tragic death of Robin Williams has put me in a tailspin. Not only were some of his movies my most favorite and life-defining (Dead Poets’ Society, The Fisher King, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, The World According to Garp), but also the fact that his death was by his own hand while in the depths of crippling despair just crushes me.

I mean. He was the guy who had me wearing rainbow suspenders and thinking it was cool. (I also like to think the Boulder seed may have been planted in those early episodes as well.)

Amidst all the online rubbish, there are some excellent points being made. About how the terms we all readily use like committing suicide and calling it a selfish, asshole-ridden act are shudder-inducing and should be filed away with some other choice words that we now know better than to use. 

This is the part that got me. Because when my uncle (beloved, as curmudgeonly as he was) died of suicide in 2002, I was pissed. At him. His note citing financial stress and not being able to deal felt lame even as full of pain as it clearly was. And as we cleaned out his house in the following days, I kept thinking what a selfish thing it was to eat a waffle, clean your teeth with your Waterpik, open the door so your dog wouldn’t be trapped inside, and off yourself. Leaving everyone who loved you completely shattered.

And up until yesterday, I still thought I felt that way. Then I read this and something in my brain clicked. Loudly.

My dearest has been suffering from this insipid disease himself. Something they call the cancer shadow. And it catapulted him straight out of a high-paying job into medical leave that resulted in a lay off upon his return. A year and a half (plus) later, he’s finally seemingly solid and on the job hunt as we speak.

But it has SUCKED. I’ve gone from hand-wringing to threatening to ultimatums to mind-numbing fear. Never knowing how the pendulum will swing on a given day. Never knowing what to do to help him. And it’s only when we look back that we see it all so clearly (and scarily). He was a fucked up mess

So it occurred to me upon reading this that depression and suicide are so far from selfish that it could almost be the opposite. What this illness actually is is the depths of despair dropped into a bottomless crevasse. And even the best drugs and therapists may or may not be able to bring the light back in. 

Selfish has no part. Depression cripples and takes no prisoners. Like the Grim Reaper standing there in the dark cloak with a scythe. The person is overtaken — life upended — with very little choice in the matter.

And those drugs? Well, let me just say that I was kicked, punched and awoken by my own screams to a hand over my nose and mouth — all while he was having some crazy town drug-induced dreams. It was no happy pill. And the hubby wanted to stop taking those faster than he had wanted them to help. No one. And I mean no one wants to have their kids wake up to their mom screaming in the middle of the night, only to be told, “It’s okay. It was just Daddy trying to smother me in my sleep. We’re fine!” No. No one.

My point being: no easy fix. Take a pill and BINGO! Happy time! No. Doesn’t work that way.

And then I read this and my second brain-click was like a reload. No one commits cancer. But people do die of it. Are stricken with it. Fight it. And sometimes win. And sometimes lose. The drugs make you crazy and sick. And sometimes the drugs make you better.

And it is always, always worth trying. To choose life. Even if it’s incredibly taxing and complicated. That’s serious illness. Messy.

My uncle and Robin Williams were suffering from an unimaginably cruel trick of fate. An illness that served up a life sentence for them both. And it’s so unbearably sad. But it’s also not something anyone would choose or either of them thought they’d ever ultimately succumb to. 

Rest in peace all who have suffered. Get help if you’re among the living. Depression is the true selfish bastard in this and I’m tired of it preying on the brilliant people we love.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Give me something that I need. Satisfaction guaranteed. Because I’m thinking about a brand new hope. The one I’ve never known ‘cause now I know it’s all that I wanted. Macy’s Day Parade. Green Day.

Sweatin’ to the OLDIES

7 Jul

It was today. (Just like yesterday, only…TODAY). And I decided to keep my newly-minted promise to myself in which I actually take some time to take care of my body. EVERY DAY.

Yeah. THAT body. The one that is slowly deteriorating/atrophying while I spend excessive amounts of time in front of…THIS LAPTOP.

The Come-to-Jesus moment leading to today’s promise-kept was when I recently went to sit on the ground at a beer festival. One-handed — beer in the other…DUH. And I farted dust. Because the creak-crack-oh-hell-nos that my body was projecting landed me squarely in the 90+ crowd. Not the cute, 40-something I see in the mirror. Reality check. Effitall.

My first promise was oil pulling. (How BOULDER of me.) I’m thinking that my yellow teeth and bone-rubbing-bone joints will thank me. So I kept that one while doing laundry, carting things up and down the stairs and fielding 100+ questions from the offspring. My one-finger-in-the-air-means-hold-your-questions barely got me through the 20 minutes. And I kept thinking, “Why can’t I be like those Elephant Journal people who sit in quiet contemplation/meditation while pulling oil and visualizing evaporating toxins?”

Finished THAT, spit, brushed and hit the laptop.

I’d been working all morning (while the hubby and girls played tennis with the dog) and at 1pm decided it was time to get up and do the real something. For ME.

Sweaty family arrived as I was gearing up to leave. I shook off the guilt and went anyway. (Can I get a HELL YES?!? Go ME?!?) They mumbled something about bank deposits and grocery stores as I waved and went on my merry-fucking-way. 90+ degree heat, well eff-you.

One hour and eight minutes later, I returned to a hubby and bean on the porch. Music still cranking in my headphones and sweat dripping off my nose, the questions started. I did another finger-in-the-air-I-need-a-minute and grabbed water and my yoga mat.

You see, the new routine involves a LONG cardio AND a good round of stretching. DAY-UM. I’m THAT good.

So, as I was finishing sit-ups, push-ups, sun salutations (did I mention I live in Boulder?), and went into downward dog: a face appeared and kissed my lips, a voice asked me about a list and if the girls could go somewhere, and then an American Girl Doll catalog materialized so I’d have a visual to accompany yet another question.

What I’m getting to is that I LOVE being LOVED. I really, really do. And those precious people keep me going, especially on the days when my ass never leaves the chair and eyes stay glued to the screen. For over 14 hours.


Trying to make time for ME? It’s a serious work in progress.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Bad Bad Daddy. Atmosphere. And like clockwork, soon as I stepped away. You know they got worse. They didn’t hesitate. Of course they start with the horseplay. And then it escalates. Then you get a court case…

Is that a FIST you’re shaking at me?

11 Mar

Lately I’ve had this really annoying habit that I can’t seem to shake. I keep following through with stuff. Big stuff. Like setting up meetings and actually keeping them. Showing up. Being present. Scheduling a baking class weeks before then totally getting in my car, driving there and staying for the whole thing. It’s so bad that I recently read a whole email from a friend. Then clicked the link in it and actually scheduled an audition slot for the show that it was describing. WTF. 

It’s really frustrating. It’s been incredibly nice to never commit. Or when I occasionally make that mistake as will happen — just not going. 

Now, I know how to make baguettes, foccacia, plus dinner rolls, went to a bachelorette party without knowing a soul but the bride, and am a cast member of a national broadcast

I also now meet friends for coffee and don’t bail. And I re-joined a board and have actually been enjoying the participation part. I even accepted an invite to something that is FOUR WEEKS AWAY. I think I’m an alien. I don’t even know me any more. 

I was on the road to shut-in-status. Home in my jammies on con calls. Hiding out behind the closed blinds. Never-ever going to a meeting unless it was urgently necessary. Now I’m going to stand up in front of an audience and read my most personal business aloud. Areyoufreakingkiddingme.

The worst part? This new extraterrestrial me? Yea. She’ll actually get her ass up there and follow through with it. 

The other day as I was getting dressed to drive True Blue to the airport at the ass-crack-of-dawn, I thought, “What in the hell am I doing getting up at the ass-crack-of-dawn on a Sunday to drive to north Boulder and then to the airport?” But that was the old me talking. The new me was looking forward to having some time with her, sipping coffee as we drove east in the pink morning light and pondering life and her mother’s health crisis she was headed back to face.

I keep thinking that I want to show my daughters someone who faces her fears and pushes through them anyway. Not some sorry sack-o-poop who wears PJs all day and never washes her hair. Except if it sometimes gets wet in the hot tub.

Like I said, I have no idea who I am any more. But if you want to see this new, public-facing brave-as-shit-grab-life-by-the-scruff me? I’ll be putting it all out there for the world to hear on May 11. Go here for the deets. (Unless they realize they’ve made a HUGE mistake and take it back.) Image

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Best Day of My Life. American Authors. The stars were burning so bright. The sun was out ’til midnight. I say we lose control.

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