Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beyond 'FAX: SAME Café Delivers

The goods, that is. Whether you’ve never driven down East Colfax in Denver or driven through the neighborhood a million times, make it a point to visit SAME Café next time you have a few minutes for lunch. That’s all it takes to enjoy the relaxing ambience and delicious food served up by Brad and Libby Birky...and pitch in a little extra to help local folks when you pay for your own delicious (and organic) cup of soup, slice of pizza, or salad. Somehow I missed the lemon cookies, but local poet extraordinaire Joy Roulier Sawyer says they’re fantastic. Yet another reason for me to return soon!

A few other photos from last week’s visit:

Lisa and Carleen waiting for me to hurry up and take the photo already...and allowing a peek at the serving side of the restaurant...SAME Café features outdoor seating (which we thoroughly enjoyed) and a larger-than-expected, open and peaceful indoor dining area.

The hat next door. I couldn’t resist after seeing so many store window shots on Tara’s blog. Denver and Paris...close enough, right?

Here’s Larry! Larry, another Colfax merchant, saw me taking photos and posed for a cameo.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beyond FANTASTIC: SAME Café Post Rated #2 of 10,000!

The folks at BlogCatalog have rated their favorite posts from the 10,000 (!) written April 29 for the BloggersUnite for Hunger and Hope challenge. I’m very pleased to see my post on SAME Café here in Denver (where fellow bloggers Carleen and Lisa and I are meeting for lunch today!) listed as one of the top posts reviewed! See the entire list and read much more about world hunger and efforts to ease the suffering here.

While the BloggersUnite challenges are a project of BlogCatalog.com and BloggersUnite.org, the April 29 campaign was also spearheaded by Heifer International and Copywrite, Inc.

Since 1944, Heifer International has helped communities learn to become self-sufficient by raising animals that provide benefits beyond food to increase family incomes for better housing, nutrition, health care, and schools. In this post, Rich at Copywrite, Inc. features stories of students in Nevada, Kentucky, and Nebraska who conducted innovative fundraisers in April to benefit Heifer International, as well as more details about the impact of the Hunger and Hope challenge.

To see the complete list of upcoming BloggersUnite challenges, go here. Then plan to write a post, comment on your favorite to give a fellow blogger a boost, or support a new charity; as Rich notes, “Who’s to say what contribution is too small or how far it might go?”

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Beyond FINESSE: One Dad’s Mother’s Day Tribute

One of my sisters-in-law recently passed along this tribute written by one of her cousins for the Utica (NY) Daily News:

On July 4th, 2007 I was admitted to University Hospital in Syracuse for bacterial encephalitis; a few days passed and my condition only seemed to worsen. Shortly thereafter, I fell into a coma for what would be a total of five days, during which I had emergency brain surgery, stopped breathing on my own, and subsequently wound up on life support. In what seemed like an instant, I was in a fight for my life. Eventually with great care and amazing physicians I woke up, but the world as I knew it had changed a great deal in those five days. It seems the bacteria that had attacked my brain had done a significant amount of damage. The left side of my body was paralyzed, my vision was like that of a video camera being shook, I couldn’t swallow, breathe unassisted or even sit up or roll over on my own in bed. Everything as I knew it was now different…well, all but one thing. That one thing was my wife. She was the first person I saw when I woke up and I remember her showing me pictures of my three little boys and asking me questions about them that I could only answer with hand signals. You see for all the medicine, and equipment, and talent that I had to take care of me, I had the one thing that was better than all of those things combined.

Somehow, my wife knew that if my family was in the front of my mind, I would be okay. I would have reason to hope, and hold on, and eventually get out of a wheelchair and become me again. That night, my wife explained everything that had happened while I was asleep, but she also kept repeating and repeating how much my boys loved and missed me. It hurt; I was scared, confused, angry, you name the emotion and I probably felt it at some point. But I didn't care, because there were those boys of mine and I was not ready to leave them. She talked about them all the time, as much as she could, knowing full well that hearing about them would only make me fight harder to get home to them. For obvious reasons, talking about certain parts of my illness is not all that fun. But this week, this week when we honor mothers is different. It’s funny how we think of a mother as one who guides young children through life, teaching them right from wrong, and so many other things. But for me, I think of the mother of my children as the glue that kept our family together. I think of her as the one who managed the house, the bills, the kids, absolutely everything, when all I could manage to do was lie in bed and recuperate. And yet she never complained, she never said it was too much, or too hard, or even unfair.

At times, I wondered if my wife would eventually throw in the towel, as I know I would have. But her answer was simple and to the point. I made a promise, a promise to you and to God that I would love you no matter what. Talk about commitment. I talk to my three boys often and we talk of all the things that matter in life, and the importance of becoming a good man. Truth be told, I tell them about their mother, about what it means to be a friend even when you wind up getting the short end of the stick. We talk about words like dedication, commitment, faith, loyalty, responsibility, and somehow the conversation always ends up where it started, with their mother. A lot of men say they live for their wives; I can honestly say I live because of my wife. [L]ucky for me I have a public forum in which I get to tell the world how much I love my wife, and just what an amazing mother she is.

…I have no political or social points to make. Not even a cage to rattle….. Instead, a request: that we realize all mothers are working mothers and undoubtedly the best way to love your children is to love their mother. Live well, love well, regards.