11:21 a.m. on 1/4/14

Okay, I have a confession to make. This Moment in Time was intentionally scheduled for my birthday. And I had a pretty good feeling I’d be doing something amazing in an incredibly beautiful place at exactly 11:21 a.m.

And I was.

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My first trip up Mt. Garfield with my family in 2007.

I climbed Mt. Garfield for the first time seven years ago, on my 41st birthday, about a year after moving to Grand Junction. My children were younger then, 8 and 10, and I knew it would be challenging for them. Heck, it was challenging for me. But as we got it accomplished I remember telling my family that I wanted to do this same hike every year on my birthday. Doing so would prove to myself that I was still young and healthy and willing to have some fun in life.

Of course, I haven’t been able to climb Mt. Garfield every year on or near my birthday. My birthday’s in January and it snows around here and Mt. Garfield has a few treacherous spots. And there were years when climbing Garfield wasn’t a priority. I think I’ve climbed it four times now for my birthday, counting yesterday, and on numerous occasions during the spring, summer, and fall months.

But yesterday’s climb was just epic. For starters, there was a group of nearly 20 of us–my daughters, Jim, and so many good friends. Friends who enrich my life in small but priceless ways and made my day all the more special, friends who think climbing a steep, slippery mountain sounds fun, friends who show up despite the freshly fallen show and daunting weather.

The weather. Yes, the weather was another factor that contributed to the grandeur of the day.

When I awoke yesterday morning, big juicy flakes were falling outside my window. It wasn’t cold. 25 degrees. A wonderful hiking temperature, really. But I couldn’t see Mt. Garfield, which on most days is a prominent landmark across the valley.

I sent out a message: The weather is a little iffy and I’ve never hiked Garfield when I can’t even see it, but let’s do this! I can’t call off my birthday hike due to a little weather; that wouldn’t bode well for the year!

The weather made the climb all the more memorable, not just because of the management of layers, hats, and gloves as we moved between sunshine, windy spots, and in and out of clouds, but because of the impact it had on the scenery. The fickle sunlight, low-lying mist, and larger cumulus clouds cast interesting light upon the impressive topography. The colors of the landscape–the dull gray of the clay soil, rusty rock outcroppings and cliff walls, the muted leftover greens of summer’s minimal vegetation–were amplified by the juxtaposing white of the snow fallen just that morning.

And then, of course, there was the timing. It’s the new year and everyone–even if they haven’t made any formal commitments–has plans for self-improvement and living at least a wee bit more than they did last year. There’s good energy in the air when a group of friends embarks up a mountain in the beginning of January.

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. I don’t know where I was exactly at 11:21 a.m. or to whom I may have been speaking. It doesn’t matter. I shared a whole collection of birthday moments with nearly 20 special friends, including my daughters, who did this not because they were dying to climb a mountain on a snowy Saturday morning over Christmas Break, but because they knew how much it would mean to me to have them along. Because they knew, themselves, how invaluable the memory of the day would be and how accomplishing a feat like this can empower one to go out there and really live the rest of the year.

Thanks friends. Thanks family. And a big shout out to life and a new year.

2,000 feet up in two miles.

2,000 feet up in two miles.

The pilgrimage to the summit.

The pilgrimage to the summit.

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Heading toward a cloud.

Heading toward a cloud.

Our favorite section, walking along the cliff wall.

Our favorite section, walking along the cliff wall.

The views, always amazing, made better by the weather.

The views, always amazing, made better by the weather.

Waiting for everyone to get up the icy backside.

Waiting for everyone to get up the icy backside.

Looking down on I-70 and across the valley.

Looking down on I-70 and across the valley.

Me, on my 48th birthday, near the summit of Mt. Garfield.

Me, on my 48th birthday, near the summit of Mt. Garfield.

Making some noise on the summit with my daughters.

Making some noise up top with my daughters.

Friends.

Friends.

Wild horses in a draw below us.

Wild horses in a draw below us.

I see blue sky.

Panorama

Now, go climb your own mountain.

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A Moment in Time – 11:21 a.m. on 1/4/14

The next A Moment in Time is on Saturday, January 4 at 11:21 a.m.

A Moment in TimeHere is how A Moment in Time works.

1. I will provide a time–an exact moment on a specific day–for bloggers to be aware of, to think about what they are/were doing right then and whether it’s significant enough, in some way, to be written about and added to the list. (Each moment IS significant; you just need to find out how and why.) The day and moment will be provided via a regular blog post as well as at the bottom of the A Moment in Time page.

2. Sometime after that moment passes, write your post. Title it with this format:  11:21 a .m. on 01/04/14

3. Let your readers know how to find the A Moment in Time prompt by providing a link to this post so that they can learn more about it and participate themselves. If it’s easier, just copy and paste the blurb below.

A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.11.21

4. Add the link to your post as a comment below AND/OR include the link to this prompt post if you want your post to appear in the list of those participating. This will make it easier for others who are contributing to find and read your writing as well as for you to locate theirs.

5. Have fun! Make connections! Cherish each moment!

Feel free to reblog this post to spread the word.

9:16 a.m. on 12/21/13

Are we playing ball in the morning? Jim texted me. It was our standard Saturday morning thing to do. Play racquetball and be home in time to do whatever it was that was planned for that Saturday.

No! We’re sleeping in! was my reply. This was no standard Saturday. This was the first day of Christmas Break, the first day of two weeks off from school and work (school for my daughters, one in the same for me). But, I realize every year, not the first day off of 14 for most people. Most can be home on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, perhaps the eves of the two, as well, but not much more. And some will work right through the holiday.

So I stayed up a bit later than usual Friday night. Not only was I planning on sleeping in, but it had been an emotionally charged day and falling asleep as usual was difficult:

–taking my second graders to the Nutcracker, many of whom had never been to live theater, and watching their enthralled faces

–throwing a goodbye party for my student teacher, satisfied that he is prepared to go out into the world and be a fine educator of young children

opening the letter from Rotary Youth Exchange that said my daughter would spend her junior year of high school in France

The last, of course, had me in quite a state and it was impossible for me to function normally for hours after reading it. I was still wound up long past bedtime.

Regardless, I was awake at 4:20 a.m. on Saturday, almost on the dot of my standard 4:30 a.m. wake up time. It was the perfect opportunity to snuggle in bed with my dog and do some reading and writing.

Jim was awake,  too, at his house and he noticed my presence online.

How’s that sleeping in thing treating ya?

I’m going back to sleep here in a bit I texted back. And I did. I was drowsy again by 5:30. Reading and writing first thing in the morning will do that to me.

And–I wasn’t really expecting this–I didn’t wake up again until 9:20 a.m! I rarely sleep that late. I know I was emotionally drained, but still! I slept right through the 9:16 moment in time. 9.16

When I awoke and realized what time it was, that I had slept several hours longer than I normally do, I was grateful. Grateful for the breaks that my job affords me, grateful for the time to regroup and renew my energy. Thankful for the opportunity to catch up in other areas of my life.

Time off. Time to relax. Time to do whatever it is we feel like doing. The opportunity to break out of our routine. We all need it. It’s healing, it’s refreshing, it’s a necessity for discovering new things about ourselves.

My wish, then, is that this same opportunity can be granted to everyone. Whether it’s an hour or two, a day, or several, I hope you all get some time to yourself, or extra time with a project or loved ones or whatever it is you want to devote those precious moments to. Time is a gift, the most precious gift.

Just be sure to stop, breathe, take it all in, appreciate, and perhaps mark a special moment in time.

A Moment in Time – 9:16 a.m. on 12/21/13

The next A Moment in Time is on Saturday, December 21 at 9:16 a.m.

A Moment in TimeHere is how A Moment in Time works.

1. I will provide a time–an exact moment on a specific day–for bloggers to be aware of, to think about what they are/were doing right then and whether it’s significant enough, in some way, to be written about and added to the list. Each new day and moment will be provided via a regular blog post as well as at the bottom of the A Moment in Time page.

2. Sometime after that moment passes, write your post. Title it with this format:  9:16 a .m. on 12/21/13

3. Let your readers know how to find the A Moment in Time prompt by providing a link to this post so that they can learn more about it and participate themselves. If it’s easier, just copy and paste the blurb below.

A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

4. Add the link to your post as a comment below AND/OR include the link to this prompt post if you want your post to appear in the list of 9.16those participating. This will make it easier for others who are contributing to find and read your writing as well as for you to locate theirs.

5. Have fun! Make connections! Cherish each moment!

Feel free to reblog this post to spread the word.

6:58 p.m. on 12/14/13

“Peewee, Peewee, Peeweeeeeee…. let’s go Peeweeeeee,” sneered one of the guys down by the glass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was a group of them, most of them behaving appropriately but some of them making rude comments about, and directly to, the players on the visiting team.

It was nearly 7:00 p.m. and the second period of a college club hockey game. We had decided to attend because it was something new to do in our community. Our ice rink closed for several years and just recently reopened; in the past, our college club team played all of their games out-of-town at other ice arenas.

When we went in, we grabbed a seat, not knowing that the fans of the home team sat on one side, the supporters of the visiting team on another. Soon after we sat down, two women about my age climbed the bleachers and sat next to me.

“Are you from UNM?” asked the petite one with long dark hair, a wool coat, black knee-high boots.

“No, we’re from here.”

“Oh, were you at last night’s game?” These same two teams had played on Friday night, as well, at 10:00.

“No.”

“Well, you wouldn’t believe the way your fans acted last night. They were horrible! There was a huge group of college kids down on the glass, yelling all sorts of mean things. Everything they said had the F word. They were all drunk. Security didn’t do anything about it. We kept debating on whether to call the police.”

“Really? I’m sorry to hear that. That’s embarrassing.”

“They made your college look so bad. I have nothing good to say about this place, all because of them.”

Right then, I saw the college president, who I’ve gotten to know a little through Masters Swimming, climbing the bleachers. “Hmmm, interesting,” I told the woman, “there’s the college president. I wonder how these guys will behave tonight.”

“I don’t know. But our guys were afraid to come off the ice last night. They’ve been playing hockey all their lives and they said they’ve never been worried before like they were last night.”

The group was smaller than it had been the night before, only about ten or twelve of them, and they were, for the most part, no trouble. They did tease a UNM player who fell and hit the ice hard and couldn’t get up right away. “Wuss! You F-ing pussy! Get up!” Uncalled for. Embarrassing.

The woman next to me couldn’t contain herself. Up she stood, leaning forward, jabbing her finger in the 40-degree air. “Oh  yeah? Who’s the one out there? It’s not you! Let’s see you get out there! Come on, lace ’em up!”

A few of the guys turned around, surprised to see this tiny woman challenging them. One of them attempted to fight back, verbally, but soon realized he didn’t stand a chance, that she made a good point.

I suddenly realized that with this provocation and with what I’d heard about this group’s behavior from the night before and with the fact that we were sitting on the wrong side of the bleachers, that we could find ourselves in a bit of trouble. There was only one security person in the building and I doubted, with the rink just reopening, that he had any experience in dealing with unruly crowds.

The fans settled back down, but these two ladies, who, as it turned out, were mothers of players on the opposing team, kept one eye and one ear trained on them.

And then the Peewee taunting began. And the player who was being called Peewee, Number 5, just happened to be the son of that petite woman next to me.

The mom kept her cool, for a while, until the right moment. Until Peewee scored a goal.

“Hey, boys, what do you think about Peewee now? Peewee’s pretty damn good, isn’t he? Peewee’s my son and he just scored a goal! You catch that, boys?”

Only one of the guys turned around this time, the one who had been making the Peewee sneer. I took a breath and held it.

“Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, Peewee’s alright, Peewee’s alright.” He smiled and gave his nod of approval.

And at that moment, instead of being embarrassed, I felt kind of proud of that college kid. He and his buddies had apparently made total asses of themselves the night before and had done a few things this evening to keep some of us wondering what might unfold by the time the game ended. But, right then, he made a good choice. He decided to defuse the situation. He was man enough to acknowledge and agree with Peewee’s mom–probably one of the biggest fans of the opposing team–in front of his peers and the entire crowd.

The mom met his eye, held it for a few seconds, smiled back. And the game went on. And there was no more trouble.

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A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

https://randeebergen.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/a-moment-in-time-658-p-m-on-121413/

10:23 p.m. on 12/6/13

in a bed

in a hotel room

snowing and a single digit outside

it’s so cold in here

even with the thermostat past ninety-five

and i can’t snuggle

alone

not even my dog

uncomfortable

won’t let my face touch the pillow

just my hair

won’t let my skin touch the blanket or the comforter

just the sheets

i assume they’ve been washed

stomach rumbles

was expecting some dinner this evening

that didn’t happen

lack of communication

too cold to go out and get some

wifi isn’t working

lamp is too low, too dim to read by

so i just lie here

immobilized

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While I’m here in this motel room, my daughter is in the hotel meeting room. She’s mingling with inbounders and rebounders and other outbound candidates like herself. It’s District Rotary Youth Exchange weekend. She and 39 other candidates from across the state are vying for 28 available spots in 20 different countries.RYE

Inbounders are exchange students from other countries who have landed in the state of Colorado. They’re here, at this weekend event, as ambassadors to their community and country. Tomorrow they will “sell” their country, trying to get the candidates to list it as one of the top five places to which they’d like to be assigned.

Rebounders are students from our state who were abroad last school year and are now back at their local high school. They attend to talk about their experience and answer any questions the candidates and/or their parents may have.

Outbounders are what the 40 candidates hope to be – leaving their family, house, school, friends, and community for the life-changing opportunity to be a foreign exchange student.

Also here this weekend are more than 50 Rotarians from around the state. They will observe the candidates all weekend as they participate in structured activities and less structured social time. And they will conduct 120 interviews, two with each candidate and one with each candidate’s parent(s).

After a three-hour parent meeting this evening, I have much to consider as I lie here–cold, hungry, alone, uncomfortable–but all I can think about is what my daughter, if granted this opportunity, might feel like those first few nights that she lies in a strange bed, in someone else’s house, on the other side of the world, a new family to get to know, with cultural and language barriers, an ocean away from her people, her home, her life, the bed that has held her all these years.

How will her poem read?

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A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

To read what others were doing at this moment in time, click on the link below. And, think about participating in the next moment in time.  🙂

https://randeebergen.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/a-moment-in-time-1023-p-m-on-12613/

A Moment in Time – 6:58 p.m. on 12/14/13

The next A Moment in Time is on Saturday, December 14 at 6:58 p.m.

A Moment in TimeHere is how A Moment in Time works.

1. I will provide a time–an exact moment on a specific day–for bloggers to be aware of, to think about what they are/were doing right then and whether it’s significant enough, in some way, to be written about and added to the list. Each new day and moment will be provided via a regular blog post as well as at the bottom of the A Moment in Time page.

2. Sometime after that moment passes, write your post. Title it with this format:  6:58 p.m. on 12/14/13

3. Let your readers know how to find the A Moment in Time prompt by providing a link to this post so that they can learn more about it and participate themselves. If it’s easier, just copy and paste the blurb below.

A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

4. Add the link to your post as a comment below AND/OR include the link to this prompt post if you want your post to appear in the list of 6.58those participating. This will make it easier for others who are contributing to find and read your writing as well as for you to locate theirs.

5. Have fun! Make connections! Cherish each moment!

Feel free to reblog this post to spread the word.

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