Of Pilgrimage and Plays

Last week I made a trip to Colorado, partly to see my sister act in a play… partly to go on a pilgrimage.

My mother, grandmother and I had made this pilgrimage once before. I remember a hot, dry summer, and dust, and beautiful statues, and Mexican food – and not much else. Like apparently we never did get any sopapillas at that Mexican restaurant. Still, when I was thinking about “things I wanted to do,” reenacting that adventure was at the top of my list. And thankfully my mom made it happen.

A pilgrimage is best with other pilgrims. Take the Canterbury Tales – there really wouldn’t be any Tales if you didn’t have more than one pilgrim! My mom agreed to accompany me and we set off early in the morning, driving south as the rising sun beat in our windows. Sure enough, we got to share our stories… although thankfully nothing Wife of Bath-worthy.

Pilgrimages should be long and difficult. We were time constrained, so we chose to drive over 3 hours rather than walk barefoot along I-25. Pilgrims should eat simple food, and we did try. We stopped for coffee and bagels and cream cheese in the dusty town of Walsenberg. We couldn’t find a good “cream cheese” knife so we bought a really sharp one. We figured we could use it to fend off any bandits or wildlife. Then we headed West, past beautiful views of the Spanish Peaks, and then south to San Luis.

We began our ascent up the craggy trail, stopping to read the scripture passages and gaze at the stunning 2/3 life size sculptures by sculptor Huberto Maestas. I’m sure the guy got sick of casting crosses after 5 or so, but he did a stellar job communicating the pain and beauty of Jesus’s journey.

At the top, we gazed at the scene of the crucifixion.

Many people had left things there – rosaries, hair ties, rings. I hadn’t brought anything to leave, but I suddenly wished I had – some kind of tangible mark, an offering.

We walked around the side to the interpretation of the resurrection. Not all Stations of the Cross include the Resurrection, but it is the most important part. We sat at the foot of the sculpture and prayed for the future, for our plans, for guidance…. Alone at the top of the mesa with the most beautiful view imaginable, we could feel God’s presence and peace filling us with  joy and hope. He is risen, He is risen indeed! As we look forward to new jobs, new life changes, new challenges and new joys, we know that He is with us, guiding us onward.

After what was literally a mountain-top experience, we wandered through a walk dedicated to Mexican martyrs (as in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory) and then found our way back down. We soon discovered a local pattern of misleading signs. At least two places had open signs but were closed; a local cafe advertised paninis and salads, but sold only icons and cinnamon rolls. In Ft. Garland the one place we stopped wasn’t open yet. So we ended up getting Subway in Walsenberg.

Then we careened back to Monument to see Anna perform as Mrs. Paroo in the Music Man. Let me tell you, she did a stellar job in her dramatic debut!!

Here are all of her biggest fans:

And here she is with one of her friends (who is a girl!) They have a great makeup artist, right?! Switching ages, genders, no problema!

Well, there is so much more I could write about from my time in Colorado… like how I read the rest of what I thought was a trilogy but is actually a 4 book series… or  my parents’ new dog Sofie, and how we almost taught her to swim… or my adventure with dad in the convertible that ended in me buying him flip-flops… or the amazing kabobs that we assembled in which we experimented with grilled mango (not as good as grilled pineapple)…

But instead let me end with a picture that I call “the perfect afternoon.” Beautiful scenery (reflected in the window)… wonderful family…. and a glass of wine!

I had a great time in Colorado and can’t wait to see these people again.

Next time… all about my new job!

Colorado Adventures!

We flew out to Colorado this week to visit my family. Because I worked both Christmas and New Year’s, there was really no good time to make the trip west… and of course now school is starting and work is ramping up. But we’ve had a WONDERFUL time. First, we had a great visit with my grandparents – a real holiday-style ham dinner! I don’t feel so bad about missing the Christmas and New Years’ feasts after enjoying some home-cooked green bean casserole.


Please note the girls’ side ponytails!!! 


Then we took off to Glenwood Springs and the best ski resort ever, Ski Sunlight. “What is this Ski Sunlight?” you may ask. “I have heard of Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge… but Ski Sunlight?” You haven’t heard of it because it’s Colorado’s best kept secret (and, unfortunately, no one is paying me to say that!) The lower slopes are gradual and perfect for beginners, but there are also some great intermediate and expert slopes higher up. And at night, when you drag yourself home, you can head to Glenwood Springs hot springs for a soak in the medicinal waters. (Note: we never actually hit the hot spring this time…. but we did hit the hot tub!)

I decided to be adventurous. I have skiied for over 20 years of my life and I can get down the mountain without much trouble. So I decided to branch out, push myself:




Yes, I learned how to snowboard!! In perfect powder conditions which were great for spending lots of time on my behind (fallboarding)! I actually found snowboarding pretty fun because it is so much about core and balance. The not so fun part: you can’t hike easily with a snowboard. The second day I did a pretty flat green run with my family and ended up hiking up hills 4 times because I either fell or ran out of speed (hikeboarding). 

Except for the first time, I also fell every single time I got off the lift. Every. Single. Time. Let me know if you have any tips!

But all that time spent sprawled in the snow was worth it for the feeling of drifting like a falling leaf down the hillside. No poles. No crossed skis. No baggage. Just me, my board, and the mountain. 

After two days in the hills, we had to head back to real life.  Chris, my brother and I headed to Golden for a day and met my grandmother at Ali Baba for lunch – delish! Then we visited some friends from medical school and their baby in the Stapleton area.


Those babies grow up so fast!

Yesterday my mom brought me along to observe her work as a school nurse. She works at a school for kids with past attendance or disciplinary issues, and I was so impressed at how their school works to accommodate the kids and families. They are working hard to help people and making a difference at a critical time in these kids’ lives. 

Today we went to the Denver Art Museum and saw the Passport to Paris exhibit. It was great to see such a variety of styles and times – my new favorite is British artist Sisley. They had a great Pissaro section with paintings from each decade of his art and it was cool to see how his style evolved and mellowed, from sharp geometrical shapes and “wild-urban interface” pieces to more abstract nature scenes. They also had some cool juxtapositions – a scene of Montmartre when it was all country, and a couple scenes of the wild nightlife there a few decades later. While we were at DAM, we also admired some of Thomas Moran’s watercolors and chromolithographs from Yellowstone. We finished our time downtown with some wine and cheese across the street. 

Lest you think that all we do is travel fun places and eat, Chris also made Mario Batalli’s baked ziti last night and in the process discovered that the pipes around the garbage disposal were clogged. Dirty dishwater was pouring everywhere; buckets, towels, flashlights were produced. But nothing could faze the Bugoshes! My dad ran some diagnostics, my mom snaked the pipes and upon discovering that it was beyond our level of expertise, we turned to Music Man to help Anna practice for the school play.  The new Music Man (2003) is pretty good, I must say, especially since we live so close to Iowa.  And the plumber is on the case right now. 

So it’s not ALL fun and games… but we usually end up having fun anyway!