You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2014.

My fun little new camera (taking center stage until I can afford to replace the Big Gun Canon, which I discovered was broken when we got to Monument Valley) can do these swell panorama shots. These were my first efforts, so please pardon the bulges in the sea. I think it’s particularly fitting on the day that has been nothing but black and white in Colorado.

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From our hotel on Great Exuma.

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Elizabeth Beach, Great Exuma.

Quote of the day: “As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”  — Anne Frank

Daily gratitudes:
Soft things
Snuggly cats
Stark contrasts of nature
Ice cold water
Low carb pizza

 

NEED MORE WARM. NEED MORE BEACH. NEED MORE BLUE WATER.

Sea and Shadow

Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Some of the choices you make might not always turn out to be the best ones, but at least you are learning as you go.”  — Elizabeth Berrien

Daily gratitudes:
That the rain/snow reminded me of an old folk song that I cannot quite remember
The virtual gift of a cardinal from a blog friend
Homemade Moco Loca
Counting down the days
MKL

And on a sad after-note, the world has lost a wonderful being. Colonel Meow passed away last night. Rest well, Colonel. I’ll toast you with a glass of single malt.

Colonel Meow

This is a fun sight in tropical locations…the directional arrow pole. This one was at our wonderful lodging on Three Sisters Beach, and there was another on Stocking Island. And I’ve seen yet another in Empire, Colorado – I’ll have to find those images and share them with you. We’ve had some lovely times in Salida, which is in the “Banana Belt” of Colorado, and so has a milder climate than some parts of our state. In fact, we make “rum runs” to this cool little town, because yes, it is the only place that we have been able to find our favorite Antigua rum for sale. Given our current temperature of 21 degrees, I think I’d stick with Great Exuma. As they say, soon come.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “A smile is the most beautiful colour in the world.”  — Xingyun

Daily gratitudes:
Clean dishes
Warm blankets
Doing research
Sweet tea
Head bonks (which can lead to lovely Maine Coon mind-melds)

 

Perhaps this wasn’t what you expected to see, based on the title of this post? But if you know me, you know I don’t have two sisters, and if you know this blog, you know you can probably expect to see a photograph of some lovely warm place – like Great Exuma.  (In fact, that’s something you can generally rely on – finding an image of someplace warm and beautiful when you visit this blog.)

These rocks, which are right in front of the place we stay, are known as the Three Sisters. I asked several locals about the legend and got a different variation of the story each time. The essence of the tale is that an English sea captain came to the island and met three beautiful sisters. Each of the sisters fell in love with the captain, and when he sailed away, each sister tried to swim after him, and drowned. These three rocks rose from the sea to mark the spot the sisters died. Bahamians consider this to be a very romantic spot and  a place of good luck (though I suspect the sisters would disagree}. It is bitter cold here in Colorado again, with snow and accidents and light breezes that freeze your earrings in your ears. And the countdown to a warm and wonderful return continues….

Three Sisters At Sunset

Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Better to be strong than pretty and useless.” — Lilith Saintcrow

Daily gratitudes:
Being able to ride the bus on long, cold commute days
The pigeon downtown with the white mohawk
Toddlers bundled up for winter
The softness of the snow this morning
Snuggling under the blankets

I love this shot – it looks like a slightly abstract painting to me.

It’s the end of a long-short week – curious, isn’t it, how four-day work weeks can feel as if they are six days long? I’ve had a lot of thoughts this week – about the future, about possessions, about forgiveness, about mortality – and have reached no particular conclusions, except that I am looking forward to the future. And the rest of those things take work – except for mortality, of course, because we have so little control over that.

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Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” — Gloria Steinem

Daily gratitudes:
Watching tiny children determined to open heavy doors
Increasing the weights in my workouts every day
Snuggles with Mr. Man
Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling in “Royal Wedding”
That stuff that melts ice on the sidewalk

 

Happy MKL Day!  I’m on countdown time now…

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Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “The windows of my soul I throw wide open to the sun.”  — John Greenleaf Whittier

Daily gratitudes:
A day off
That the Broncos are off to the Super Bowl
A special weekend
Pool
Birdsong as the harbinger of spring

It was a pretty sunset in Colorado tonight, but this one was prettier. Can’t wait to get back and warm my cold popsicle toes in the sand.

Pinks and Blues

Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” — Rabindranath Tagore

Daily gratitudes:
Mr. Man serving as a foot warmer
Walking
My silver dragonfly necklace
Looking forward to the weekend with MKL
Certain shades of blue

How selfish mourning is.

It neither benefits nor honors the dead.

It will be nine years this year since I lost my father, and eight since I lost my mother. To all outward appearances, I am reconciled to that loss, which is all one can ever be. You never get over it, you just readjust.

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Mother

Except in dreams.

In dreams, such as last night’s, they live. And they die all over again.

Those are the worst dreams, where you go home, you see them, they give you food and advice, and you talk about when you can get time off work to see them again, the conscious self crossing swords with the unconscious self to accept and deny reality, and then, slowly in the dream, there comes the dawning that they are both dead.

It as if they have died all over again.  And in the dream, you have that same sense of endless emptiness that you experienced only then, in reality, except without the comforts of reality to sustain you. That feeling creeps into your waking consciousness and you awake, eyes closed, wondering where in the world you are, and why this weight is filling your closed eyes with tears and if the wind outside that is brushing the chimes is warm or cold.

You remember that your childhood house, now in dreams, strangely borrowed and restored to your memory of it, is now remodeled. The green shag carpet and the books are gone from the living room, the knotty pine cabinets and red cracked ice table are gone from the kitchen. The new owners have the put the refrigerator in a place that does not make sense.

You look out your bedroom window now, on a January day, and see that the snow has melted some, and know that there are daffodils eking their way out of the old ground somewhere, and remember the buttery smell of thousands of daffodils from your childhood.

You do not know what to do with yourself.

So you write about it, before you get up to feed the cat and make coffee. And you wonder about the weight of the human  heart.

Once upon a time, a little girl lived with her brother, her mother, and her father in a happy brick house in a smallish sort of town. It never got too terribly cold in this smallish sort of town, but winter still did come, as winter does to every town, not matter how big or small.

The little girl’s father loved to walk. And the little girl loved her father very much. He worked a lot, and most days, no matter how hot or cold or wet or dry, her father would walk to work. He would make his way down the cement sidewalks from the happy brick house, around the dangerous yucca plant by the mailbox on the corner next to the old infirmary, and between the tall pillars in the stone wall that surrounded the university campus. Then he would walk briskly past the acres of green grass and majestic buildings with their white marble columns and tall casement windows, down the little hill, and beneath the dark underpass, where the trains ran clickity-clackity above his head. He kept going still, for miles, past the tangled thicket of woods, past tall, fragrant pine trees, and past wide meadows, until he reached his work. It seemed to the little girl that is was a very long way to walk, but she knew that walking made her father happy.

The little girl and her father used to take walks together on the weekends. She loved their walks, when it was just the two of them, and he would hold her small cold hand in his big warm one, and they would talk about everything. They walked in the spring, when she would see the leaves starting to emerge from their slumbers. They walked in the summer, when she would take her shoes off and feel the soft grass beneath her feet. They walked in the fall, when she would kick through ankle-deep piles of crunchy brown leaves. They walked in winter, when her mother would wrap her feet in plastic bags to keep them warm inside her tall red boots.

One day, the whole family decided to walk together. To decorate the happy brick house for Christmas, they were going to gather branches in the tangled thicket of woods that her father passed each day on his way to work. The little girl wasn’t very happy about taking this long walk, because it was very long, and that day it was VERY cold, so cold that there was even some snow on the ground. Her mother dressed her warmly, in her little red coat, and her white hat with the pom on the top and the black and orange pattern around it, with its matching mittens. The little girl loved her hat and mittens. She thought they were the prettiest things she’d ever seen (after the Easter bonnet and parasol purse her grandmother had given her), and since she knew she wouldn’t be able to hold her father’s hand the whole way (because her brother was there), she was happy to have them to help keep her warm. But she was still grumpy about the walk.

They walked and walked and the little girl was so cold, and exceedingly grumpy because no one would carry her. After what seemed like weeks, they reached the tangled thicket. The whole family tromped across the snow to enter the woods, and began to collect branches and boughs and sprigs in bags to adorn the house. The little girl’s mittens kept getting stuck on the branches, so she took them off and tucked them in her coat pocket. It got colder and colder, and then dusk started to settle into the shadows of the trees and the family started for home. But when they had left the thicket, and the little girl went to put her mittens on…. one of them was gone. She began to cry. She begged her parents to go back and look for it, but to no avail. They promised her a new pair of mittens, but she was inconsolable. She knew that mitten would be cold and lost and lonely and would never know why it had been abandoned. She wept as if her heart would break, and would not be comforted. Not even when her Mother told her that it had probably become a nest to keep some baby animal warm.

Years passed, and the little girl grew and grew, as all little girls will, until she was a young woman. She had never forgotten her lost mitten, and, as a rational person, she found this odd. She knew that she had lost many things over the years. Why had the loss of one small mitten been so profound?

At 17, she found herself walking back to that same thicket, which was much less dense and tangled than it had been so many years ago, to look for the mitten. She knew it was beyond fanciful, but she felt she could not leave the now not-quite-so-smallish town without looking for it one last time.

Of course, she didn’t find the mitten.

More years passed, and the woman, who was not quite so young anymore, had moved thousands of miles away from the town, that was now an actually-pretty-big-town. She herself had a little girl, and the little girl, probably because she was so close to the ground, had a wonderful talent for finding small and beautiful things whenever they went anywhere. She would find coins and marbles and jewelry and all sorts of treasures.

She made the woman remember the mitten.

One day, when the dog ate one of her little girl’s favorite little winter gloves (which were black with bright orange and red flames) and she could not be consoled, the woman went to shop after shop until she found another pair that was exactly the same. She knew just how her little girl felt.

Even more years passed, as years do, and the woman’s little girl became a young woman herself, so the woman went to work in the big city. Because of her daughter, the woman still kept an eye out for treasures that others had lost, and whenever she found something, like a hat, or a nice pen, or a handkerchief, she would put it somewhere up off the ground, near the place she found it, in case the person who lost it came back looking for it. She never knew if they did, but she hoped. She hoped that they did, and that they would be happy when they found it again.

The woman still loved to walk, just like her father had. One day, the woman was walking briskly down the street in the big city, for it was a cold winter day. She was going to meet her fiancé for lunch, and she was very happy because she had been able to stop to pet a pug named Duke, and she was wearing her favorite sparkly earrings, which were old and unique, and which swayed and played softly about her ear lobes and made her feel pretty. When she got to the restaurant, she hugged her beloved, and took off her hat and realized…. one of her lovely, sparkly earrings was gone.

The woman was sad. She knew it was silly to be sad. She had reached an age where she knew that things were just things, and that everything goes the way of all flesh, and you can’t take it with you, and numerous other platitudes that people tell themselves to make themselves feel better when they lose something they were fond of.

She knew in her heart that she was still just a little girl who had lost her mitten.

She kissed her fiancé goodbye and walked back down the busy street, back the way she had come, back to work, with her eyes on the ground, looking for a small sparkly earring among the shiny patches of ice on the sidewalk. She knew the chances of ever seeing it again were so slim that they were nearly invisible. She crossed where the buses ran, looking for a telltale sign of crushed crystal and gold. She passed the planter where she had stopped to pet Duke the Pug. And out of the corner of her eye, on the corner of the last planter in the row, someone had carefully set a sparkly dangly earring, just so, so that in case the person who had lost it came looking, they would be sure to see it, if they had faith, and if they noticed.

The woman knew that there was another kindred soul in the big city who understood about lost things.

And for the rest of the day, the woman (and the little girl inside her) smiled with her eyes and her mouth and her heart.

The End

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This was what was up there this morning, and it was lovely in the clear blue.  We are approaching the start of the National Western Stock Show here in Denver, one of Kelsea’s and my favorite mother-daughter traditions.  Usually “Stock Show Weather” is as bitter cold as it can be, but I think we may actually have slightly warmer temperatures than the Polar Vortex has offered us in the past 10 days, which deserves a yee-hah.  We are going for opening day on Saturday, so you can look forward to a photo report next week. Llamas and horses and pigs, oh my!

Up Up and Away

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It was rather beautiful: the way he put her insecurities to sleep. The way he dove into her eyes and starved all the fears and tasted all the dreams she kept coiled beneath her bones.”  — Christopher Poindexter

Daily gratitudes:
Working on the couch with Mr. Man
My sweet cousin
House spirits
Today’s mid-morning hot air balloon
My daughter spending the night

January 2014
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