You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2013.

It has been a lovely holiday. Three celebrations which were actually one continuous one. Lovely gifts given and received (including a new computer.) Today is a gray day with warmish breezes teasing the wind chimes on the front porch. I slept 13 1/2 hours last night, though I woke several times with an awareness of Kelsea’s absence in the house – I was fortunate enough to have her with me for several nights in a row – best Christmas present ever. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, that blends seamlessly into a wonderful new year.

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Estes Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.” — Shauna Niequist

Daily gratitudes:
That Dr. Bob says Mr. Man is healthy
Champagne
Stretching
Charlie, the new addition to the house
My shiny new computer
MKL’s love

It’s so nice to have a Jackalope for the holidays!

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Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” — Franz Kafka

Daily gratitudes:
Having a partner
Dot’s Diner
That Kelsea is here (and that she got a 97 on her Calculus final)
The reviews for Tuscan Whole Milk on Amazon.com
My string of holstein lights

The earache is better, but doctors so often just seem useless, don’t they? I have been feeling homesick for my childhood Christmases. I have always loved Christmas, but it feels so different now, without parents or grandparents, with my brother and his family so far away, with living alone, with so much work, with MKL busy at his house, and Kelsea so close to gone and so caught up in her own life. I have been away from ex-Pat for five years now, but Christmas at my ex-house was also such a cosy thing.

I can’t capture the same feeling of wonder and delight I used to have, and that makes me sad. It makes me wonder if perhaps I should lower my expectations for how I will feel. I expect to feel as I used to, and I don’t. It’s a quieter feeling, very poignant. Sigh. Perhaps this weekend, when I go to experiment with taking pictures of the lights in Denver, of the tree in the Hotel Boulderado, and finish shopping and wrapping and decorating, I will be a bit more aligned with the times. Or perhaps I need to focus more on the true meaning of the season. And start some new traditions with MKL. I shall think on these things.

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Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love….If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you.” — Rosemarie Urquico

Daily gratitudes:
That Mr. Man puts his paw on my arm when he wants to be petted
That I dreamed about my house for the first time last night
That Kelsea is done with her finals
My Mother’s nativity set from Italy that she splurged on when she was first married
Tidying up

I have an earache. I don’t think I’ve had an earache since I was two, and I remember that one quite well. That’s what happens when you take public transportation. You pick up all kinds of things. Including knowledge. Yesterday, the gentleman on the bus behind me talked non-stop on the phone for the 45-minute ride home, which I consider rather bad form. But he did say his wife works for NCAR (the National Center for Atmospheric Research) in Boulder, and that according to their model, the incredibly devastating floods that we had in a couple of months ago were the result of a tropical storm. Yes, we had a tropical storm at 10,000 feet. Who knew?

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Estes Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.” — Karen Blixen

Daily gratitudes:
Mr. Man
Watching Mary Poppins as a grown-up
My Santa Hat
Doing good deeds
Getting the Christmas tree to (almost) stand up straight by myself

Or the beach, in this case. I remember this day. I had stopped on my way back from Cow Wreck, which had a few more people than I wanted, and laid out in the sand to read and doze, when I heard a noise. I looked up and saw these two looking at me. I think we were all a bit startled, but no one stampeded. I let them check out Backpack and they moseyed on.

It’s not beach weather here, but it is coatless weather, and that’s good enough for me. We’ve had our share of trauma here in Colorado again, with a school shooting last Friday, but prayers are going out to the lovely young lady who was a victim of this violence. She’s not my daughter, and it wasn’t my daughter’s school, but it hits too close to home, knowing my daughter as I do. My daughter would have been the first to try to disarm the shooter.  So please, all, send prayers for Claire Davis.

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Pomato Point, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” — Maya Angelou

Daily gratitudes:
The emergence of the Santa Hat
That I now have a Christmas tree (it’s not up yet, but da tree is in da house)
Getting to watch Season 3 of Downton Abbey again
Being all snuggled up
That the automated voice announcement system on the bus cannot say the letter “A”, so it announces that we are approaching “Gate Ah”.

 

The most severe period of mourning – the anniversary of my Mother’s death – is drawing to a close with the darkening of the day. It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years. I still miss her every single day. Mr. Man is tucked up under and on the blankets next to me on the Red Couch. The Broncos are playing tonight. It was warm enough to go without my coat at lunch with MKL today. My bowl of green chile at Corazon was particularly hot. MKL gifted me with not only lunch, but a hydrangea bloom, and a string of Holstein lights. Sweet MKL. I found my Santa Hat. We have a party to go to tomorrow night, and are spending the night at the spooky Stanley Hotel. I discovered that I want to go skydiving – who knew? All in all, a good day to emerge from the cloak of sorrow.

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Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Quote of the day: “Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving.  You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing…” — Elizabeth Gilbert

Daily gratitudes:
Union Station all lit up
Tree shadows
Sparkles
My “garden” at work
Love

I am swimming today, beneath my skin, in a deep green pool of grief. On the surface, it doesn’t show, but I am fighting to keep my head above water. And I am getting tired of fighting.

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Little Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” — Annie Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
Research
When dreams and reality mingle
Entertaining socks
Books
Kisses
Baths

On some inky black nights, the shadows of loss steal around my soul and make me feel as if there is nothing in this world but sorrow.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “I guess by now I should know enough about loss to realize that you never really stop missing someone-you just learn to live around the huge gaping hole of their absence.” — Alyson Noel

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
That it was a touch warmer today
Mr. Man
Blankets
My pair of life-sized plastic geese (don’t tell them they’re plastic – they don’t know)

We have reached a high of 14 today, as warm as it has been in days and days. Perhaps I’ll put on a sarong and flip-flops. Or perhaps not. I am curled up on the couch today, battling a migraine, and watching football players do amazing things in the eastern snow, backing up my computer, and snuggling with Mr. Man. I am warmed today by the memory this image conjures up for me, of driving back from a Labor Day with Kelsea, when we stopped somewhere between South Dakota and Wyoming, at this turn to nowhere surrounded by nothing but sunflowers, and we hugged in such a way that it is imprinted on my soul. If that hug were the last memory I summoned before I left this earthly plane, I would be happy.

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Somewhere in the mid-West.

Quote of the day: “Hope and courage and risk dwell inside of us on an uncharted island and if we learn to look for it and tap into it, our possibilities are endless.” — Katie Kacvinsky

Daily gratitudes:
Blankets
Deep sleep (despite the dreams)
Tamara
Quiet days
Migraine medicine
Safe travels for beloved friends

It was -15 when I got up this morning. -31 with the wind chill.

I had a very romantic view of the West when I was a child, fueled by classic movies like How the West Was Won and episodes of The Big Valley. It was a wild, open place, full of space and freedom and adventure. I retained that image until I moved here, and still, the little kid that lives inside me believes that that West is somewhere I just haven’t looked yet.

My image of living in the West never encompassed slogging through icy streets to an office in a tall building in downtown Denver. But with a warm coat enveloping me like the arms of a bear, I can pretend I am a displaced Russian countess, which makes the cold slightly more bearable.

And knowing that there are places like this also ease the frigid winter winds.

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Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” —  Nelson Mandela

Daily gratitudes:
My bear coat
Salmon
That I got my sidewalk shovelled
Sparkling sprinkling of snow at night
A morning bus nap

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