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This red chair was a the very top of a very long, very steep, very creaky staircase in the World’s Wonder View Tower. From these windows, you could (supposedly) see six states – Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota. How that was ever determined is a mystery to me, but I liked the idea very much. It reminded me of when my parents took us to a point in North Carolina where you could stand in three states at the same time. I believe that was easier to determine due to surveyors, though that makes it sound far less romantic. The Tower is closed now, the owner having passed away, and the thousands of bizarre pieces of memorabilia contained therein auctioned off. I’m so glad I have a few images – and memories.

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Genoa, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The sky had never seemed so sky; the world had never seemed so world.” — Neil Gaiman

Daily gratitudes:
Kelsea
Progress in the garden
Tidying
Sweet tea
Trying to feel comfortable feeling unsettled

Why? Because some days just call for alpacas. Nothing else will do.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The Llama is a woolly sort of fleecy hairy goat, with an indolent expression and an undulating throat; like an unsuccessful literary man.” — Hilaire Beloc

Daily gratitudes:
Joy’s graduation
Talks with Nina
That Kelsea’s team did well today
Art Buchwald’s baked potato
Storm clouds

It’s not a bad thing, but that’s the closest phrase I can find to describe it.

My daughter is in North Carolina. In my hometown. And I’m not there. I guess that shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s actually very cool, and I’m so happy she’s there. She was texting me today from Duke, from the library where my Mother used to work. She stopped by to see one of my parents’ dearest friends. She went to the Chapel, and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. While she had been to Durham several times before my parents died, she was very small then. She and I spent two nights there when we were on the EAR, and I took her everywhere I could think of and told her as many of my memories as I could. Today, she made some of her own memories. She said it felt weird that I wasn’t there. But then, that’s growing up.

She is such a part of me in every way. I told her the first time she travelled without me and just with her Dad, that there is a very thin silver thread that connects our two hearts, and that no matter how far apart we are, that thin silver thread will always be there. It stretches to infinity, and yes, perhaps, beyond. We both remember this always. I felt it so strongly today. Having her, one who is literally a piece of me, in a place that holds and that shaped so much of my spirit, made me feel as if somehow I was there. It certainly made me feel as if I weren’t all here, in my body, in Colorado. It was such a queer feeling. It has yet to entirely subside. But as I say, it’s not a bad thing. Just very curious.

This is a window in my Father’s library – actually, the Divinity School Library, which will always be my Father’s no matter who the librarian may be. This window itself, the glass, the latch, the tree outside – it’s all the same as when I was a little girl. I can remember how much I liked opening and closing these latches. They felt old. And I felt powerful. It seemed like an appropriate image for today, the dusty glass opening onto a bright new world.

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Durham, North Carolina

Quote of the day: “Even when we’re apart, we’ll be looking at the same sky!” — L.J. Smith

Daily gratitudes:
Small clouds that float lower than storm clouds
MKL
When the people in the office across the way wave hello
Peonies
A newly graded alley (I think)

Okay, not yet, but that’s what they say here out West. Even though I’ve been here almost 34 years, I still consider myself a Southerner. I’m genetically attuned to hot and humid weather, even if it’s uncomfortable. Out here in Colorado, when it hits the 90s and 100s, the humidity tends to stay low, and so everyone consoles themselves with the phrase “but at least it’s a dry heat.” Codswallop, I say. Heat is heat, and I find the dry heat more suffocating than the humid heat. The dry heat probably helped to make this ristra as dry and bright as it is.

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Morrison, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Red is the first color of spring. It’s the real color of rebirth. Of beginning.” — Ally Condie    (This quote really resonates with me. When I turned my life upside-down, the first thing I did was buy a red couch.)

Daily gratitudes:
Spring flowers
A calm week
Cumulus clouds
Time on a swing
The person who hacked the lighted road sign on 225 and programmed it to say “Chuck is the shit”

My love for old things has persisted since I was born. They always said I was born an old soul, just like Kelsea. Unlike Kelsea, I was born an unhappy  old soul. My Mother told me that in my first few days, she was looking down at me, no doubt adoringly, and I was looking back at her with an expression that clearly said, “I don’t know about you.” Apparently, in my old mind, she was highly suspect. I went through my first decade at least just being pissed off that I was here. There was nothing anyone could do or say about it. That eased somewhat, over the years, and I have enjoyed being here. But I am still most drawn to things from bygone eras. MKL fortunately understands and mostly shares this preference. He gets that a pair of opera glasses won’t do – they need to be vintage mother-of-pearl opera glasses. In this case, a mundane pair of binoculars simply would’t suit, but the kind Meryl Streep might hold in ‘Out of Africa’, well, those will do quite nicely.

Sedalia, Colorado.

Quote of the day (and one of my all-time favorites): “God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.”  — Karen Blixen

Daily gratitudes: (last night, I thought I had typed my gratitudes, but I feel asleep in the process of posting, so somehow deleted them. So today, you get double.)

The man standing outside on his sidewalk yelling at people to slow down as the chruch traffic came barelling through my neighborhood on Sunday mornig
The homeless man reveling in the dancing waters this morning in front of Union Station
Pie and coffee with my MKL
A few judicious plant purchases
Joy, my Monday night companion
Being able to control my dreams (a new skill)}
The Great Australian Bake-off
Being excited about gardening
That Kelsea’s college ultimate frisbbee team is going to nationals (feel free to help them out here, since the University won’t support them because of the travel ban for state-funded institutions to go to North Carolina)
Cool nights and lovely days

It has been a lovey weekend. Warm and sunny. We spent two nights at the north house. I slept until noon – such a luxury. I am pondering many questions about the innate goodness of humanity, the overpopulation and skyrocketing expenses of our beautiful state, and just what the next steps for MKL and I are. They are all baby steps – just like spring appears – one crocus, one iris, one storm that knocks out the green, and then one that makes dandelions explode. Ups and downs, just like everything else in life. And more and more ideas and baby steps to finishing up books.

I have been digging in the garden. Experiencing the agony and the ecstasy of the lawn mower (note to readers: don’t buy a TORO.) (Not to TORO, if you want to know why I say this, feel free to ask.) I have had such plans for the Bunglaow’s yard space since I moved in, but it’s SO MUCH WORK. I have no idea where I had the time to do this back when I lived in a house with four times the garden space. But I sincerely enjoy getting dirty, and clearing weeds (well, enjoy may be a bit strong of a word) and I bought a Peace rose today – one of my mother’s favorites – to plant in a corner going through its second tilling now. My grandmother’s green thumb skipped a generation and passed to me and my cousin T, so I think she’d be pleased. I’ll keep you posted with pictures. It’s a bit funny to put a lot of work into the Bungalow when I’m going to rent it, but I do want to make it happy for the next people.

While my garden will not look like this, this will give you an idea of a beautiful spring afternoon.

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Sedalia, Colorado

Quote of the day: “Every way I turned the lush green peaks towered over me. Had it been winter or spring, they would have been iron gray or dappled with pink and white dogwood, sarvis, and redbud, but always they would be there, the mountains, their heights rounded by the elements like relics worn smooth by the hands of reverent pilgrims.” — Denise Giardina

 

 

Well, not quite stars, but as close as one can get without being under the heavens themselves. A perfect wedding tent, pasha-like with tulle and sparkling, twinkling lights, under which to celebrate.

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Sedalia, Colorado

Quote of the day: “Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Daily gratitudes:
A day with MKL
Beach dreams
Tonight’s amazing full moon
Sleeping in and well
That MKL brought me coffee in bed this morning

As one of the lovely ceremony elements of Niece #1’s wedding, she and Hubby had people write prayers on small prayer flags, which were not actually flags, but colorful slips of paper on a ribbon, and then tie them to a slender rope on the porch of the castle where the ceremony was held. I wish I’d taken a picture of them – I might have, with Niece #2’s iPhone, but I don’t recall. Niece #2 trusted me to take all the pictures for her, as she was, naturally, the maid of honor. Or as I liked to think of her the adorable badass of honor.

Even without an image, the symbol of prayers and good wishes resonates with me this week. According to our friend Wikipedia, “the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.” Given Niece #1’s compassionate nature and her close ties to neighboring Nepal, incorporating this tradition into such an important day for her was a level of grace I’ve come to expect and look forward to seeing in her actions.

Since we seem to be in such times of darkness, evil, mistrust, and turmoil, let us all take a moment to light a lamp, and send words of peace into the wind to ease and comfort our fellow humans. Prayers today for those whose lives have been forever altered by the EgyptAir crash and the devastating bombings in Baghdad this week. We may not all be of one belief system, but we are each of us one part of something much greater than ourselves.

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Sedalia, Colorado.

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:
MKL
Curating the Cool
Jax the golden retriever
A beautiful day
Mr. Man stretched out by MKL’s feet

 

 

My wedding gown, too, had buttons down the back, though they were the non-functional kind. It’s one of those little touches that add to the loveliness. I love wedding gowns. To help myself fall asleep sometimes, I design them in my head. I’ve always done so. Somewhere along the line, I missed my calling. It doesn’t help that I can sew about as well as a gerbil can, at least using a machine. I’m actually not too shabby at hand-stitching. Another sign that I was likely born in the wrong era.

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Sedalia, Colorado.

Quote of the day:
“She puts her wedding-gown away,
As tenderly as one might close,
With kissing lips and finger-tips,
And the petals of a red rose..” — Arijit Mandl

Daily gratitudes:
Baby prairie dogs
The smell of freshly mown grass
Channeling my dad through the push mower
Flowers blooming
Puffy clouds in blue skies

The next few days, I will share some small visions from the days of celebration surrounding Niece 1’s wedding. You may remember Niece 1, depending on how long you’ve been with me. She and her wonderful kitty lived with me when I first moved into the Bungalow. We had splendid adventures together in Mexico, and she’s had amazing adventures herself in Nepal. She’s a beautiful, playful soul who loves to dig in the dirt and reach for the stars, and this past weekend, she launched on the new grand adventure of marriage to a marvelous man who speaks to her heart and soul. MKL and I spent much of the weekend surround by ex-Pat’s family, who have continued to make me feel like a part of the family since our divorce. Some of the most loving people in the world, and they made both of us feel so welcome. The rehearsal dinner was held at The Fort Restaurant in Morrison, Colorado, where we devoured lamb, beef, and buffalo, and I indulged in a shot of whiskey with gunpowder and chili pepper. The sculpture on the rocks looms above the restaurant, along with a warning sign.

IMG_7933Morrison, Colorado

Quote of the day: “To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” — Criss Jami

Daily gratitudes:
Finally, blue skies
Birdsong
Mr. Man
My chicken calendar
Warm milk at bedtime

 

 

 

 

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