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It is still here, and I am still here. Sometimes, like these times, I get swept into a maelstrom of seemingly endless focused work hours and no sleep, and the last thing I feel like I can do is get on a computer when I finally set the work computer down for a two or three hour trifling doze of dreaming about work. Between overload and overtired, it almost took me down this time, to the depths, but MKL proved his wonderfulness again…when I called him, choice in hand, and said, “I need you to talk to me,” he didn’t ask what was wrong or why I needed this or what he should talk about. He just talked, about his day, about a phone call to his parents, about S3’s new car. Just talked. And listening to his deep, comforting, seductive voice talking about normal things that happen in lives when you have a normal amount of hours to live a life, made me choose to empty my hand and look forward to the prospect of holding his. It’s a strange thing, not living in the same house as a married couple (and yes, we’re working on it…we have a new plan.) We are not bound by the day-to-day battles over clean kitchen tables or piles of laundry or car parts, but we have made a point of identifying what our individual triggers are, and strategized on how to make it good for each of us. We’re being grown up about it. But now we are getting impatient, and more lonely for one another, and as sad as that sounds, it is a good thing. Adventures are in the offing, and I have so much to say. For now though, I may have half a day to breathe, and then back into the thick of the fray, so I thought I’d pop by to say hello. And bring you some flowers.
Quote of the day: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” — Neil Gaiman (one of my favorite authors)
The golden hem of the sunset’s slip against the black mountain’s silhouette
Lights reflecting out of chrome and steel windows
My head on MKL’s shoulder
My boss reading me a poem an old campfire poem – “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”
My fuzzy moose robe that feels like a hug from my husband
A dinner of Merlot and a lavendar bath
I know I promised Canada, and will deliver on said promise, but today the Front Range was so lovely, I just had to share. I worked late last night, not getting home until 1:00 a.m., and only falling into a fitful sleep between 4:15 and 7:15. Throughout the night, I heard rain, which was a becalming sound. Being a woman who takes short 45-second private tropical vacations because of my internal magma, I continue to have the bedroom window open a few inches, even in the sub-zero nights, so last night, I listened to the comfort of rain falling on the dead leaves of the evil Chinese elm tree, and the long slow soothe of a freight train whistle a few miles up the road. I tried to remember what the whistle signals meant, as my father gave me a document long ago that explained the whistle “morse code” that engineers used. The grey of the morning wore off, MKL arrived, we bought a lovely little Christmas tree, saw some llamas, sheep, goats, and BMWs, braved the weirdness of WalMart, went out for coffee and listened to the bluegrass jam session at the East Simpson Coffee Shop.
I changed the sheets, cleaned the bathroom (not enough), watched an episode of “Sherlock” on PBS. I had a baked potato, having decided (in a rather numb-nut fashion) to stop eating sugar and flour now, just before Christmas celebrations. After all, it’s 10 weeks to Costa Rica.
Now, I am cuddled with Mr. Man, trying to adjust to how my body has been today, how my spirit has been today, on the 10th anniversary of my Mother’s death. As I have said before, I can instantly place myself back in each moment of the nine days that I was with her up to her passing – and the terrible days afterwards. I physically hurt, and have shed tears a few times when talking to MKL, who is extra adorable, because he never fails to have a handkerchief handy for me to dry my tears.
While I only occasionally have visitation dreams from people who have passed on, it is clear when they occur. I would love to have my Mother visit me, and it has happened only twice in all these years, except for this year, when she stopped by every night for about four days, as she was poised to assist a friend to the next place. No matter how much I want her to come to me in my dreams, she doesn’t. It’s a hard thing for me to understand, but I know it’s in both of our best interests. Still, it adds a caul to the sadness that I feel for the loss of her, which is there daily, but more potent on anniversaries. I cried through the parent/child dance at the wedding I catered last night. I haven’t done that in many years.
But today was a good day, a beautiful day, and I know that would make her happy, as it made me happy, even with the ache throbbing in my heart to the beat of the bluegrass.
Quote of the day: “There is something about losing your mother that is permanent and inexpressable – a wound that will never quite heal.” — Susan Wiggs
The smell of the little Christmas tree lot
Siting a bald eagle in flight
The seasonal reappearance of the Santa Hat
This is Avocado – Avo, for short – facing the cold, blustery world of Bellingham, Washington. When he’s not looking out the window, he’s snuggling, cuddling to the point of being so contentedly limp as to slide off a lap, and perfectly happy being resettled, purring as loudly as I’ve ever heard a cat purr. He, along with his brother, (Indiana) Jones, are new to the world of my daughter and her wonderful housemates. Found far away from civilization, in a field on a nearby reservation, they are clearly bonded, and love to be loved. And I love them, and my daughter, and her housemates. I flew out to surprise her for her 20th birthday, which was yesterday, and she was indeed totally surprised. It was just how surprises are supposed to work. I have spent today, when she still had class and other social obligations, watching the wind and rain in the tall cypress in their front yard, snuggling cats, reading, writing, and meeting her marvelous friends. I’m not used to being in a house with more than one other person (or animal, for that matter), so it’s been an amazing sensation, to feel surrounded by lots of people who laugh, love, and respect each other, who have strong feelings and opinions about our world and the future, and who delight in each other’s company. Adventures to follow…
Quote of the day: “Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” — Colette
My daughter’s love and openness to letting me into her life
I live in a small town that has its origins in mining. That said, gentrification is taking over and the boundaries of neighboring towns are rapidly blurring with more houses, more people, and more development. This week though, our little town felt little again. We have a strong, vibrant, long-standing Hispanic community here, and earlier this week, one of the little mercados had racist graffiti spray painted on it, and the ice cream/sandwich/wine shop down the street had a rock thrown their window.
And we all hated it.
Tonight, many in our community patronized the Eats and Sweets shop, offering to help, and showing support, and then a whole crowd walked a few doors down to the Las Montanas Market to share the love and again, offer to help in any way possible, and reinforce the importance of this family, the business they run, and the community which they enrich.
We are a community in the truest sense of the word. And our art, which is everywhere in town, reflects our spirit of love and unity.
Community Holistic Health Center, Lafayette, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Smiles that reach eyes
My handsome husband
A beautiful day
A win at work
Yes, it may have some storms, but it’s open and free and wild, and I have my love by my side. Always.
County Road 14, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “Home sweet home. No place like home. Take me home, country roads. Home is where the heart is. But my heart is here. So I must be home.” — Audrey Niffenegger
The boys playing basketball on the patio
Late night talks with my brilliant daughter
A day in the country
That we did not fall into the twilight zone in Grover
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.
Durham, North Carolina
Quote of the day: “Even when we’re apart, we’ll be looking at the same sky!” — L.J. Smith
Small clouds that float lower than storm clouds
When the people in the office across the way wave hello
A newly graded alley (I think)
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.
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
A day with MKL
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.
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
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.
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
Baby prairie dogs
The smell of freshly mown grass
Channeling my dad through the push mower
Puffy clouds in blue skies
What Makes A Poem?
The question is the title.
Is it the sentiment?
The lay of lines?
The rhyme? Now unrequired?
I can say
This is the longest I have ever gone
Without seeing my daughter
Since the day she was born.
That knowledge hit my heart
Like the sharp quill of a feather
And became a poem.
Those same words
– All these words –
In a sentence or two.
Would have read them
But somehow, it would not
have been the same.
Ventanas al Mar, Cozumel, Mexico.
Quote of the Day: “If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. Stories about food show a strong connection. Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business. The more a daughter knows about the details of her mother’s life – without flinching or whining – the stronger the daughter.” — Anita Diamant
The mountains today
Egg Salad Diabolo with MKL
When Mr. Man is happy to see me