Urban QiuQiu

It's funny about pleasure, and the things that bring pleasure into a person's life...or a family's life.
Just as our meeting one another doubled the pleasure that we had in life, QiuQiu's presence - and her obvious joy in every moment of life - has tripled it.
And it has been interesting to experience this unique and often frightening time in the history of our nation at such a joyful time in our life as a family. There has been an old saw in my own family about how joy in life is intensified in times of meager means. It had, of course, a particularly intense meaning for my mother's family during wartime, and in my father's family during his poverty-stricken early childhood during the Great Depression. There have been times when it has annoyed me to hear that old saw dragged out again in an attempt to brighten difficult moments...and yet there is no denying that there's a truth to it. When times are tight, when possessions are few and treasured, the power of familial love, of imagination and the inner world of the soul become much more acute and intense. There's a lesson there, and a value that should never be taken for granted.
I think that we are all experiencing that lesson again now. After so many years of rampant consumerism, shallowness and overindulgence, it's time again for us all to remember the power of imagination, the core essence of familial joy, and all that can be made from those simple pleasures. I think that few of us are unaffected by the fear of what could be lost at this moment in time - jobs, livelihoods, homes...the list goes on. And yet the essential joy doesn't go away. It is simply filtered down to those things which matter most. In that spirit, M., QiuQiu and I took a long walk downtown today on M's lunchbreak...not to shop. Not to buy anything. Just to experience the most eclectic part of the city in which we live...the part of the city in which the old and the new cohabitate...the sordid and the enlightened, the cultured and the lost, poverty and wealth. New, stark, glossy art galleries share real estate with thrift shops and dive bars. Expensive antiques stand side by side with skate shops and boarded up storefronts. Trendy restaurants are hip to hip with tattoo parlors and houses of ill repute. These are the layers of society, history and culture that make up our city.
We thought it was high time we introduced QiuQiu to the grand, messy, confused, eclectic hive of Denver's urban heart.
The most inexplicable store on Broadway. Wigs? Corsets? "Hi-heels"?? Judging by the false stone facade, the antiquated, hand-painted lettering, and the...how shall I say it...goods advertised, this store has been around for decades. And yet, the lettering is always freshly-painted, the window displays - if smacking of another era - constantly replenished. Obviously, this store still does a rollicking trade. Why? It's one of Denver's great mysteries.
They certainly like to decorate for the holidays, as well! Who does hand-painted glass signage of this caliber in this day and age, I ask you? Where do they even find the tradesmen to perform such a task?
QiuQiu, by the looks of it, was mightily entertained by the whole show.
QiuQiu and I enjoying an exhibit at a new and prestigious local gallery.
Local neon signage.
M and QQ across from the iconic Aztec Theater.
A local historic landmark building, decorated with stencil graffiti.
Nothing.. and I mean nothing...makes QQ as happy as being out for a stroll with both of her parents.
Could be modern art, could be indoor construction in progress...hard to say!
To be kissed by daddy while looking at mommy over his shoulder = pure bliss.
Ultimate satisfaction.

An unusually cool local crafts cooperative.

Mannequin parts waiting for assembly in a shop window.
Music posters.
Late afternoon light.
One of a great number of used bookshops.
For some reason, at this time of year, there was a boat parked on the street. Only on Broadway.
Curious signage.

A salon window, dressed to the nines for the holidays.

An unusual vintage toy in a window.
A little slice of punk.
QQ growing tired, safe in the arms of her family as the afternoon wanes.

Indulging her love of any and all reflective surfaces.
More signage from a bygone era.
Resting in the doorway of a high-end antique emporium.

Upside-down is always better than rightside-up.


Jan said...

Often times, I am a bit guilty of overindulgence. Not rich by any means as far as cash goes, however, grateful that we have two steady paychecks coming in. I am in awe of the most beautiful gift of life that we have been given.
And, I absolutely love visiting your blog. I love your photos, and really enjoy reading your posts!

Yoli said...

This is a very touching post. My favorite picture and the one craking me up, is that of Flynn sitting next to the sign for high heels and looking ticked pink.

Maia, Mike looks totally besotted with Flynn, even more so than you, if that is possible. That girl has daddy wrapped around her finger.

Vivian M said...

Red is definately her color, what a cute outfit and coat!
I loved the walk down the center of your downtown, it really is a very interesting place to live.

And you are so right - what matters most in life is absolutely free!

A Beautiful Mess said...


She is one happy girl (to match her happy parents:)

She is really filling out:) and her smile.....gaaaw that smile!

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Once again... great shots and the best shots of course are of Flynn... yes, I agree... it is the simple things in life that gives one the most pleasure... like Jan said... at times I to do indulge in materialistic things but when it comes down to it... the simple things in life make me happy...

You Know Where You Are With said...

She is most definitely a red girl!


Virginia and Doug said...

I always love your pictures and I enjoy your "slant" on life. And I do agree that the best things in life are usually those that are free, and involve the people that mean the most to us. My family felt the recession of the 80's very strongly and we had just the bare necessities most of the time, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It really helps a child develop her own imagination, and it instills an appreciation and gratefulness for things, don't you think? QQ looks quite content just to be with you two, and she somehow gets cuter everyday!

Gin =)

Snowflowers Mum said...


Colleen said...

I LOVE this post!!!! I always enjoy stopping by your blog. These pictures are wonderful! You do such a amazing job with your photography. Very talented you are! My favorite is the one of Daddy and Flynn with the reflection in the door....just precious! Thanks for the stroll through town!:)

Cavatica said...

She does look awesome in red. But really, who doesn't? (It's my favorite color). I love, love, love the pants. And her smile... it is the best, as always!

Heather said...

This reminds me of all the things that really matter. I love the picture of QQ looking over M's shoulder. That smile melts me!

Elaine said...

Your stroll down Broadway took me back! I lived at Bannock and Ellsworth for a few years in the early 1980's - things were still completely seedy at that point. But Famous Pizza? Yummy.
You guys look like you are having such fun!

My Heart Beats In China said...

QQ is so adorable! She is obviously in love with her parents! Love the walk through Denver and that pic with her next to the High Heel ad. Pretty cool.

Nothing better then a stroll through a beautiful city with family!


tracy said...

so love the pic of flynn smiling over mike's shoulder. that beautiful face is happiness squared.

Monica said...

You do posts like this, showing the soul of Denver, and it renews my urge to come out there for college. I have days, several nowadays, where I worry about moving out there, so far away from everyone we know. One coworker of my parents has a son who lives out there, but other than that we know no one, and we don't really know them. I think about staying here and going to a college 15 minutes from home. And then you show me some of the things I didn't see while I was in Denver, but that are so similar to the things I found when I wandered off the beaten path we were shown between the hotel and AiC, things that I loved and wished we had things like that here, and it makes me think that Denver has to be an awesome place to live. A place where eclecticism is as normal as the sun rising.


P.S. Hope I get to meet you guys some day. QQ is adorable.