You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2015.

Because I was having sharp beach cravings today.

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Grand Cayman Island.

Quote of the day: “The scattering of light over a long distance creates a sunset. The crashing of ocean waves on a beach is created by tides, which are themselves the result of gravitational forces exerted by the sun and the moon and the rotation of the Earth. Those are causes.The mystery lies in how those things become beautiful.” — Matt Haig

Daily gratitudes:
That my daughter lives by a bay
MKL
Huge, character-filled old trees
Feeling summery even though it is autumn
The burly female security guard who passed me on the street today and murmured, “Be safe, Honey”

This is the barn so often included in postcards from Steamboat Springs. I saw it on my first solo trip there, and then couldn’t find it again. I even asked local folk about it, and they all pled ignorance (weird). This last summer I found it again, and Kelsea had the pleasure of exploring its innards, though even she thought there were spots that the floor might collapse beneath her feet in the hayloft. The barn is very old, and the community is building up around it, condos to the left and right, front, and back, which is sad from my point of view. But I’m glad the barn still stands.

The Steamboat Barn
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Traveling makes you realize what an immeasurably nice place much of America could be if only people possessed the same instinct for preservation as they do in Europe.” — Bill Bryson

Daily gratitudes:
Mr. Man
My sister’s birthday
People like Pam who are devoted to historic preservation
The BBC
Mindfulness

In honor of International Coffee Day (tomorrow), I share with you this slightly abstract shot of coffee steaming in a styrofoam cup on the porch of the Rabbit Ears Motel. It was very good coffee (to me), which means that it’s like coffee you’d get from a truck stop or a jar of Folger’s Crystals. In other words, anyone else would think it was terrible coffee. Poor MKL is a bit of a coffee snob, and is scandalized by my lack of taste in this area. But it has provided us with kind of a code for the quality of coffee in restaurants, as detailed below:

Me: Is the coffee good?
MKL: YES! Would you like a sip?
Me: No, thank you.

Or…

Me: Is the coffee good?
MKL: You’ll love it. (Because he doesn’t like to speak ill of things I like.)
Me: Thanks! (drinking the whole thing)

Mystic Coffee
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the “good life”, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.” — Hunter S. Thompson

Daily gratitudes:
Bookstores
MKL
Cooler air
Healthy grocery shopping
Helping people find their way

On our Labor Day outing, Kelsea and I accidentally passed this unique statue and made a U-turn for closer inspection. This is the Rocky Flats Memorial called the Cold War Horse. Please note the radiation-protection suit, rubber boots, and gas mask. The dedication is slated for October 18th. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Rocky Flats was a nuclear weapons production facility that closed in the 1990s. During the 1980s after I moved here, I recall seeing protestors outside the gates every time I drove by on Highway 93 (a small, pretty highway between Boulder and Golden that is so dangerous that there were bumper stickers saying “Pray for me, I drive 93”). There was also much wrongdoing in the facility; it violated numerous environmental laws and the Department of Energy said that the plant’s ground water was “the single greatest environmental hazard at any of its nuclear facilities.” (according to the Google).

In the last decade, the space became the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge – but the clean-up only required that the cleaner-uppers clean-up the first three feet of soil, so I always expected to see glowing, three-headed, 20-foot tall elk with trees for antlers crossing Indiana Street. Now, though, something else has changed, and apparently memories and agreements are short, because they are putting up hundreds of homes on this property that used to be so contaminated. I honestly didn’t think that plutonium contamination resolved itself so quickly, but who am I to say?

But back to the memorial…or perhaps not, because when I tried to take MKL by it last weekend, it had vanished. VANISHED! I am puzzled and plan to make a trip back down the road to see if I just missed it (not likely!) or….?

The Cold War Horse
Near Arvada, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” — J. Robert Oppenheimer

Daily gratitudes:
The owner of The Happy Beast
Talking to wonderful strangers on the train
Falling asleep with my head on MKL’s shoulder
Stargazer lilies
My pink cowboy boots

Yes, for you, sweetie. Antelopes are my spirit animal, and I see them solo in the wilderness more often than I see them in herds, which is unusual. Perhaps somehow they all know that they are my spirit animal. When I take shamanic journeys, my antelope is always there to greet me when I reach the lower world, with the daisy chain I set around her neck when first we met.

A Flower for me
Weld County, Colorado.

Perhaps this sounds a bit wacky to those of you who don’t know that I am a shaman-in-training, a training that indeed takes a lifetime. And surprisingly, I do not find it inconsistent with my evolving spiritual feelings that fall a bit more into the mainstream. I have been thrilled by Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. I’m not Catholic, but I don’t think anyone needs to be Catholic to find this man inspirational. It is refreshing to find a religious leader who is humble, accepting, and who has clearly spent time in prayer and contemplation to examine and evolve his beliefs to a point that he feels is more Christ-like.

I rarely speak of religion here, just as a rarely speak of politics, but I suspect that, as I feel my own life opening up and new possibilities coming to the surface, that I will be speaking of these more controversial topics more often. I want others to hear my voice, as well as see the world through my eyes. This blog is dedicated to beauty and gratitude, and that will never change, but it is also dedicated to finding the right words, and I am feeling called to do just that. We’ll see if that actually happens.

Quote of the day: “Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don’t stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you dont matter.” — Brian Krans

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Talking with Lisa
Letters – actual paper letters
The giant baseball in the back of the pickup truck at Coors Field
The giant inflatable hand holding the giant inhaler on Wynkoop Street

Kelsea left for college early on Saturday morning. In my characteristic parenting style, when she and ex-Pat came to pick me up, I gave her what I thought was Immodium to calm her nervous stomach. It turned out to be a sleeping pill. Oops. But her stomach did calm down, and she was relaxed for the flight, and she now has another story about what her Mother did to her. Let’s see, there’s the finger guillotine incident, the asparagus incident, the Icy Hot incident, the smoke detector incident, the birds at the zoo incident, the numerous incidents at Camp Lejeune…I could go on and on. At least she will have some classic tales to tell her children, and she knows what NOT to do.

It is hard to watch your only child leave for college, a strange feeling, buying a one-way plane ticket and sending her off on her own. I know she’ll make her own mistakes, experiments, and have her own heartbreaks. I know she’s smart and level-headed, wiser than her years, and ready. That’s the thing. We spend our years with our children nurturing them, helping them discover themselves and their limits, and teaching them how to be independent. As my friend Beth put it, giving them their wings. That doesn’t make it any less heart-tugging to watch them fly away. I miss her. She misses me, which is nice to hear. We’ve got Skype set up so we can see each other’s faces, and I can see her in her now-natural habitat. Classes start on Thursday, and she gets to go throw with some Ultimate players that day as well. She’s talked to the fire department about starting training. She’s got it more together than I did at her age, and I’m so immensely proud of her. I can’t wait to see how she continues to grow and evolve. We are all beautiful works in progress.

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Bellingham, Washington.

Quote of the day: “Sometimes love means letting go when you want to hold on tighter.” —  Melissa Marr

Daily gratitudes:
Sunflowers
My chiropractor
The last day of summer (a bittersweet gratitude)
My little workhorse of an air conditioner
Soft pillows

That’s all I could think about as we had this vintage car in our rearview mirror on a four-wheel drive road that Kelsea and I were racing down in my truck up in the mountains. Fortunately, we lost them….I won’t comment on our shipment. Guess my Southern roots are showing. 🙂

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Gilpin County, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I’ve run my last run of moonshine, I’m not gonna do it anymore, I’m just getting too old to be doing this stuff.” — Popcorn Sutton

Daily gratitudes:
Hawks on telephone poles
Road trips
Cloudless skies
Skyping with Kelsea
Union Station

Even though fall is indeed approaching (and along with that comes the “s” word), one of the wonderful things about living in Colorado is this time of year, when the skies are brilliant blue and the aspens are turning their leaves to the sun, shiny a fluttering new pennies.

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Central City, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “If your mind and spirit are seduced by images of windswept ridge tops, flutters of aspen leaves caressed by a canyon breeze and the crimson tendrils of dying sun…” — Reid Lance Rostenthal

Daily gratitudes:
The BBC
Falling asleep early
Kelsea packing (with the help of Joy) – a mixed blessing
When I can put my head on MKL’s shoulder
Fashion Week

A couple of weeks ago, the smoke from the Washington State fires was blanketing the Colorado skies, causing MKL to cough, but giving us lovely sunsets. I watched the sun move down through the sky for almost an hour from the Aquarius Trailhead. I think the fires are still burning, and my prayers go with those battling them, as well as with firefighters in California. My daughter has a one-way ticket to Washington next Saturday, and firefighting is a path she is choosing, which is a bit of a challenge for a mother, but she has angels watching over her – and a very pragmatic attitude about where her chosen paths can lead.

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Louisville, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.” — Barack Obama

Daily gratitudes:
Never forgetting
Birds on a wire
My doorbell
MKL
Books you can’t wait to get back to reading

I love sunflowers. They’re so cheerful – almost as cheerful as daisies (one of my absolute favorites.) I had a couple of volunteers on the Easement of Evil this year, which was really nice, but the city objected to their height. (Scofflaw that I am, I left them anyway….just waiting for the citation to show up in the mail.) These, however, were in the lovely Aquarius Park off of Empire Road, a perfect place to watch a sunset. I caught up with this little spot of sunshine along the trail. As much as I love sunflowers, and as many wonderful memories as I have of them, I do always feel a little candle in my soul for Amanda MacDonald, the University of Colorado-Boulder freshman who died car-surfing down Flagstaff Mountain in 1994. Sunflowers were her favorite flower. Why I remember that – something I read in the newspaper about a young woman I never met – is curious, but poignant. I have told Kelsea about her, as one of those “this is why you don’t do that thing” lessons, so she remembers that about sunflowers as well.

Sunflowers
Louisville, Colorado.

Quote of the day: ““Who knows what may lie around the next corner? There may be a window somewhere ahead. It may look out on a field of sunflowers.”  — Joe Hill

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
How every time I call Western Washington University, an actual person answers the phone
Promises that everything will be okay – and I believe them
The one tree on the corner of Public Road and Cannon that is always full of birdsong in the afternoon
Creating half a trash bag of recycle as a first step to purging before moving.

September 2015
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