A Denver Home Companion | pixie door

as a child, during trips to my grandparents’ home in florida, my grandfather had a fairy that put tootsie rolls in his desk drawer. the grandkids checked the drawer at least once a day. and what a treat it was to find the little rolls waiting for us. how cool that my grandfather had access to a magical being that would be so thoughtful and generous. when the rolls stopped showing up, i’m not sure i thought much of it. perhaps the fairy forgot or didn’t know we were there. and then i got older and didn’t think of it at all. years later, when i watched my parents do the same thing, i remembered the tootsie rolls in the desk drawer, and fondly realized that the fairy was my grandfather.

A Denver Home Companion | pixie door

my parents have a similar arrangement for their grandkids. in their spacious backyard is a big, old tree. and they’ve let a little pixie build her home there, complete with a rather sturdy wood door leading to her abode. the pixie leaves tiny sweet treats and seashells and small coins for the visiting grandkids. without fail, the older ones head out there directly, which keeps the pixie on her toes and ensures she’s got a full stash of goodies so she never runs out. ramona’s older cousins made sure she was initiated into these treasure hunts on our july visit to minneapolis. she was delighted.

A Denver Home Companion | pixie door

and a handful of years from now, the pixie will most likely stop leaving treats and ramona will wonder, aloud or to herself, why the pixie decided to stop. and then she’ll forget about the pixie. and then, when she has children of her own, it’ll all make beautiful, whimsical sense. and that’s when jp and i will be figuring out a way to leave small tokens of love for our grandchildren.

A Denver Home Companion | pixie door

what special secrets do you do your parents do for your little ones? or do you do for them? what memories do you have of ways your grandparents made your visits extra special?

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A Denver Home Companion | day in boulderA Denver Home Companion | day in boulderA Denver Home Companion | day in boulderA Denver Home Companion | day in boulder

my parents were recently in town. every time they come to visit we make sure to make a trip up to boulder. usually we time it with the farmers’ market. we extended our stay up there this time, getting in a full late morning and early afternoon of adventures. we’ll most likely never live in boulder (but if we found some land we could afford on the outskirts of it, that might be a different story) but we love taking day trips up there as it has such a different feel than denver. here’s what we did that day that i’d highly suggest for any family with (or without!) little ones:

  • start at the boulder creek. dip your toes in it. picnic in the shade of the trees (there’s also many grassy spots for frisbee throwing etc along the banks).
  • then walk along the river path down to the boulder farmers’ market (saturday mornings and wednesday evenings). pick up fresh, local, organic produce for your dinner.
  • finish up your visit with a refreshing visit to the small splash pad along the pearl street mall. make sure your little one either has a swim diaper or swimsuit as they’re required (or be willing to sacrifice your child’s clothes, as we did!).

what day trips do you take to get outta your town?

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A Denver Home Companion | dinosaurs

the summer weather in denver has been unseasonably cool: grey skies, chilly mornings, wet evenings, brisk breezes, sweatshirt weather. we are loving it. our walks have been longer. our a/c has been running less. favorite blankets are getting lots of use. our grass is greener and we are watering less. the house feels fresher and less stagnant than this little brick house tends to feel in the usual sweltering summer heat. we are filled w more energy for exploring.

there was a recent article in the huffington post about a mother who stopped saying “hurry up” to her daughter. i’m not one to rush ramona herself, but i don’t always take the time for leisurely moments of discovery. these past couple weeks though, as i’ve mentioned in past posts, have been filled with slowness, intentional or otherwise. and our little family has embraced this new pace.

taking different routes to the coffee shop on our morning walk has introduced us to new streets, new gardens, new neighborhood vibes. ramona rides in the wagon on the way there but insists on walking the whole way home. we are thankful for this as we get to meander and mosey too. while she’s scouring the sidewalks for rocks and coins to pocket, jp and i get to peek at the new modern homes being built and admire the sturdiness of the old ones as well. as a family we’ve discovered old murals (the dinosaur one pictured above) and progress on a new walking path near our home. i hope this pace continues even if the heat should return. and most likely it will.

how do you slow down?


phew. it’s done. it’s open. and it was busy and so so good.

there’s wrinkles to iron out, for sure. but to see people eating and drinking and enjoying themselves in the space! oh man. it was a labor of love to get to this point and it feels really really wonderful. i cannot even imagine how JP and his partners feel, as they put in a lot more blood, sweat, tears, and time than i did!

i’m still recovering from the crazy schedule i had this week (office work for the populist in the morning, being a mama to ramona and a caregiver to max in the afternoon, and then jetting back to the space to function as manager/host/presence in the evenings). today the powerdriver family had a lazy brunch at the universal then went home and cleaned our homestead inside and out. finally, we were able to kick back and relax with some chipotle, bota box, board books, and play time with our little girl who hasn’t gotten as much of our attention as she deserves this past week. this is exactly what we all needed.

i’ll be back in full force next week here on the blog. until then, enjoy some more great guest posts.

and congratulations to cora who was randomly selected as the winner of my blog redesign giveaway! i can’t wait to see what you pick out (and i’ll also be updating my shop soon now that i have more time.)

renowned comic and actress, phyllis dillerdied yesterday. she was 95.

halloween, 1994, i dressed up as phyllis diller. i had met her earlier that year at the st. croix casino. my brother and i sat through what was probably our first comic routine and it certainly was, for the most part, way over our heads. i may not have gotten all her jokes but i remember thinking i liked the way she could make the whole room laugh. and i loved the way she laughed. (the one joke i do remember her telling–and i don’t know why this has stuck w me–is “what is birth control for old people? nudity.”).

afterward, my family got to go backstage and meet w the comic icon. my mother had made her a phyllis doll — it was wearing a sequin gown and had crazy blonde hair. she thought it was hysterical. i remember her vividly, as well as the bright lights around her dressing room mirror. by the time we got back there she had removed her wig. she talked to my brother and i like adults she respected. we were 9 and 11.

phyllis diller was born phyllis driver. that’s my maiden name, and the driver line i come from. though perhaps not first cousins with my grandfather, she was second or once removed or some other confusing connection like that. but still. i’m pretty proud of this connection as she’s an epic, brilliant, talented woman. and beloved and respected. i think that’s pretty cool. if you have met me in person and heard my laugh, you will understand where i might possibly have gotten it from. or at least that’s what i’d like to think

last night my father, david, sent me copies of some letters she had sent him. i’m including them here, along with a photo of me by her hollywood walk of fame star from our 2010 california trip. additionally, here’s a link to the NPR news short on the announcement of phyllis diller’s death.