Dear Friends,

If you find a lucky penny heads-up on the floor of your own it still lucky? Or because it fell out of your purse or pocket, does it mean that you took part in helping the universe to “stage” a lucky penny. Is this a phony lucky penny, or really worth something? Currency is kind of like friends. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and some of them hold more value than others. Some of them do better vacations, meaning they’re worth more in exchange. I’d rather have a five-dollar bill than a dime, wouldn’t you? And why are pennies so lucky? That means that somewhere out there, some person in like 1832 deduced that something worth one cent was somehow valuable. Did this person possibly feel bad for the penny? Or for Lincoln? Or did he just simply need to bring meaning to the idea of being poor because he only had just a few pennies in his own pocket. I feel as though I’ve recently dismembered some pennies from my pocket, and my life recently. And I feel bad about it – yet I don’t know why.

It’s almost like friends are trick coins, like the ones magicians carry. The thing that looks like a quarter, but is really a dime when you take the casing off? That’s what I’m talking about. I thought I had some quarter friends, and one particular twenty-dollar bill friend. That’s a lot if you’re a struggling writer like me. This twenty dollar bill friend fell on the floor somehow in the past two weeks, and quickly went to a ten dollar bill, to a five, and now he is a penny to me. I never understood inflation until now. I am going through emotional deflation. I feel as if I’m trapped in Disneyland, waiting for the gypsy woman on Main Street to tell me my fortune, and she simply gave me my penny back. The machine was out of order. She’s all out of fortunes. Is that considered lucky? Sometimes you even expect something out of the penny – you need the penny to deliver, even though it’s only worth a cent. And just as this machine might be out of order and give you your unwanted, useless penny back, I have felt the same kind of deceit from a friend that once meant twenty bucks to me.

I fear that I have trusted someone for several years who has not earned it, or deserved it. I fear that this person now amounts to nothing in my life and never did. We just shared something. We shared the same sense of loss. That is why my upbringing is so amazing because my mom gave me a gift that I carry with me, and her death provided me strength. For this penny-friend, he lost it all. He has no strength. He has no love. Just only contempt for other peoples’ happiness, and the ability and power to shut it up.

I’m looking at this lucky penny in my room as a sign. I’m hoping it is. I’m hoping the universe is either telling me that my friend is now worth one cent or less to me, or that maybe there is something in store for me that is better than his love and respect I thought I had. The only person who will always love and respect you IS you. And the only thing that can truly bring you good luck is a face-up penny. Unfortunately, for my friend and me…I found him face-down.



Natural Woman

Dear Friends,
Looking at the beautiful city skyline right now, I can only think of one thing tonight. Natural beauty. What makes all of us feel like natural women? What brings the eu naturele out in all of us? For me, it’s definitely not nature itself. I am a city girl through and through. I think what makes me feel the most beautiful is confidence, strength, and some YSL mascara. Moroccan oil once a week doesn’t hurt either. But seriously, sometimes I feel like I have three parts of the equation without the fourth. Maybe I don’t know what completes my happy puzzle. Maybe natural beauty doesn’t come in a jar that you can buy at Sephora. Some of you readers might think, “She just needs to fall in love.” And the answer to that is, “Maybe You’re Right.” I haven’t been in love in a very long time, if ever. The only thing I’m in love with right now is my book and the city. And that’s enough for now.

Looking at the Empire State Building, I feel like I’m on the terrace section, not exactly shooting up the needle with happiness. One day, I will be though. And one day, I will be up on that needle, feeling really in love. Maybe it will be Valentine’s Day, and the Empire will be lit up with its gigantic hearts that warm up the city. Maybe I’ll have a hardback copy of The Butterfly Groove, or maybe I’ll have someone’s hand to hold. You’re never alone when you’re your own Valentine – no matter what day of the year it is.
So this Valentine’s Day, whether you’re putting on your mascara or going eu naturele, appreciate it. Be kind to yourself. And be happy you weren’t me three years ago. I endured a break-up on Valentine’s Day (please find in Press section). You might think to yourself, why does she even acknowledge this day? And it’s mainly because I am in love – with New York City.


Say Goodbye

Dear Friends,
I just made a gigantic decision that could change the rest of my life completely. I moved across the country — rather abruptly. I had always wanted to go, so I decided to rip the band-aid off and move forward. If there’s one thing I learned writing my book, it’s that taking a chance will always change your life. Granted I see blizzards now instead of palm trees – I’m OK with that. Snow flurries can be pretty if they don’t make your hair wet and frizzy. Buy a hat, I assume is my lesson.
In the spirit of me making a huge move, please take a chance today. Even if it’s getting tuna instead of turkey for lunch, I beg of you! I need all of the spiritual support I can get. You never know — one day you could pick tuna instead of turkey and end up on the other side of the world.


New Beginnings

Dear Friends,

I am so thrilled to have this website up! You never know who will be there for you when you need them, and in this case, it is one of my very special neighbors. Even if you get to know people for a short amount of time, it can still be considered beautiful. That’s my motivation for “The Butterfly Groove.” Butterflies have terribly hard lives, did you know that? They are forced to download everything from their mothers in less than a minute, before jumping into their chrysalis, and breaking out by themselves a few weeks later. So, really as children, a butterfly has to know the right real estate to “hatch” in so to speak. I wonder if they pay rent…?

Once they break through the chrysalis, their wings are weak and lifeless. They must pump blood to get the wings strong enough to fly away and go to the local diner, aka the nearest flower. Then, they must quickly find a mate, for they have less than a month to live and pass on the short, but monumental amount of information they know to their kids. Butterflies represent short-lived beauty. They are an integral part of our world, and are beautiful, but are visiting the Earth on borrowed time compared to humans. This metaphor applies to my book, but also to my life right now. I am relocating to NYC in a couple of weeks. Will I be able to break out of the chrysalis of California, and teach myself how to pump my wings in a new city? Will I land on the right flower that provides me a safe home, food, and a mate? I sure hope so.

Enjoy the sunshine, and all of the short-lived beauty in your life this weekend, and always.



Singles: Don’t mope on Valentine’s Day

DenverPostLogo1Originally published in the Denver Post [source]

On Sunday, couples will celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers, sweets and intimate dates.

Singles will bide their time till Monday.

The highly publicized day for sweethearts can cause a self-esteem blow to those who are unattached.

While some try to avoid it or revel in “Single Awareness Day” activities instead, the best way to deal with it is to learn how to romance yourself, relationship experts say.

“I remember when I made the internal decision that my happiness did not rely on whether I was in a relationship,” said Catherine Cardinal, a relationship coach and author of “A Cure for the Common Life.”

“Eventually after much trial and error, I did find a great guy. But that was after I anchored the concept that with or without a relationship, I can enjoy my birthday, Christmas, Fourth of July and, yes, even Valentine’s Day.”

Avoid first dates or blind dates on Valentine’s Day because expectations are too high, said Tony Jurich, a Kansas State University family studies and human services professor. Instead, spend time with other singles, making light of the holiday, Jurich said.

“Go out dancing or something if you need to ignore the gravity of the holiday,” agrees Jessica Barraco, 22, who endured a breakup on Valentine’s Day.

“If your relationship can fall to pieces on that of all days, you learn that Valentine’s Day really is just another day,” she said.

Etiquette trainer Diane Gottsman said even those in a relationship or married can be blindsided by the holiday. Many of her male clients tell her they worry about disappointing their partners, while others think the holiday is just another attack on their wallet so soon after another major spending holiday, Christmas.

Often, just spending time together enjoying simple pleasures is what cements a relationship, rather than all the holiday hoopla.

“I just want to go for a long walk with my wife,” said Neil Gussman, 56, a National Guardsman who returned in January from Iraq. There, he said, military units immerse themselves in work to avoid loneliness during all holidays.

Use the holiday to celebrate relationships with family, friends and yourself, recommends Lane Neubauer, a counseling psychologist at La Salle University in Philadelphia.

“Spend time with other kinds of significant others, and that will take some of the pressure off,” Neubauer said.

Dorothy Hunt of Colorado Springs will be spending Valentine’s having dinner with her 15-year-old son. “He’s my special man,” she says, “but in a different sense.”

Sheba R. Wheeler: 303-954-1283

Read more:Singles: Don’t mope on Valentine’s Day – The Denver Post
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The Boulderado a favorite haunt

DenverPostLogo1Originally published as a Special to The Denver Post [source]

The first time Beverly Silva felt a ghostly presence in the Hotel Boulderado was in the 1980s.

She was a housekeeper then, and as she began to make a bed in Suite 302, the television suddenly turned on.

“This was in the days when we didn’t even have remote controls,” she says, her eyes widening. “I looked to see if maybe when I gathered the dirty sheets if I had touched the wire. Nothing had touched the wire, though.”

Silva has worked at the hotel since she was in college, and as she’s climbed the ranks of management, she’s grown to love the spirit – and spirits – of Boulder’s historic downtown hotel.

She got her start at the Boulderado in 1983 when she was a University of Colorado student. She graduated from CU in 1986 but instead of pursuing a career in architecture, she continued to work at the Boulderado, the place she felt the most at ease. Now she’s director of sales and marketing.

“What happened was I got comfortable working at the hotel,” she says.

Nothing could change her comfort level at the Boulderado, even paranormal sightings.

A few months after her initial sighting, she had another, this time in Suite 304.

“There’s an old grandfather clock that never had the right time in there,” Silva says. “I vacuumed the room and then I stepped backward out of there.”

Twice, the clock hands started spinning around, making noise and “going crazy, cachook, cachook, cachook,” she says, waving her hands to demonstrate how the clock moved.

“After it went crazy, it would stop on exactly the right time,” Silva says.

Although Silva says she never was “one of those people who listened to ghost stories,” she listens when her colleagues and guests report otherworldly encounters.

“This girl who worked in our office stayed in 306 and said she woke up in the middle of the night and tried to get out of bed but she couldn’t,” Silva said. “She felt this presence holding her, she said there was like a pressure holding her down – she wanted to get up, but she couldn’t.”

Silva walks up the hotel’s central staircase, headed for Suite 306, and motions toward the dark, wood paneling. “Even the wood on the staircase is a mystery,” she says, nothing that hotel historians aren’t sure where the cherrywood panels came from when the hotel, which opened on New Years Day of 1909, was built. “No one knows how it got here.”

As she turns the knob, the narrow door to 306 creaks on its hinges. Like the lobby, the suite is outfitted with antique furniture. It smells musty.

In the lobby and on the mezzanine level, floral wallpaper in dark reds, greens and beiges smothers the wall space. The decor looks more like a scene out of a Broadway musical than a contemporary hotel lobby.

The cream-and-brown tiled floor looks as though Fred and Ginger should be dancing cheek-to-cheek. Guests have been stepping on this floor for nearly 100 years.

Guests have reported hearing scratching in the walls throughout the hotel’s long life. Some say they sense the presence of spirits.

Silva used to receive frequent “haunted complaints” when she worked the front desk. Two rooms get an overwhelming number of reports – adjoining suites, 302 and 304 – perhaps because of the speculation that the hotel’s famous suicides occurred around those locations, even though the suite numbers were changed after a remodel.

The sleeping chambers aren’t the only places spooky happenings allegedly occur.

“Very recently, I was with a group of five, six women in Q’s Bar area of the restaurant,” Silva says. “It was a summer evening, and we were sitting by the window. It’s a heavy window, and all of a sudden it made this creepy noise like ‘ehhhhhh’ and it lifted up, I’m not kidding you, halfway up the wall.

“It was a beautiful evening, and with a creaking noise the window just lifted itself up, Silva said.

Silva reasons that it makes sense that there would be random spirits left behind because the building is so old and so many people have come through the doors.

This would be a great place to haunt – great food, a glass of wine, clean sheets, Silva says with a smile.

“I’m going to be a ghost here someday.”

Jessica Barraco is a journalism student at the University of Colorado.
Read more:The Boulderado a favorite haunt – The Denver Post
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