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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.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

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)

Daily gratitudes:
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

 

 

Frankenstein was a fairy tale, really, just without the fairies. But that was the word that kept going through my mind as MKL and I ventured out with our realtor for the first time to look for our house together.

We’ve been married over a year and still have not been able to consolidate our two houses into one slice of domestic bliss. I understand the whys and the psychology of it. We both fought hard to rebuild our lives after they fell apart, and buying a house was a huge milestone for each of us, so we are each attached to our respective house. We’re don’t really like each other’s houses or neighborhoods. Neither of us feels like there is room for the other in one or another’s house. I’m told by psychologist friends that this is all not uncommon for “older” people when they marry – that they lives are already more settled and so it is harder to uproot to live together.

But we want to. So we’ve created multiple scenarios (so practical!) that we are working through about what combination of renting or selling our houses will work best. And as part of that, we have begun looking for OUR house. It would be nice to start fresh, with no ghosts (literal or figurative) in a place that we can make our home. We are ready to be away from the Los Angeles-like traffic of the metro area, and the bright lights of the big city.

Our search has started in the foothills, close enough that we can commute in as needed, but on-the-grid enough that we can work from home when possible. We looked at four houses. We loved the location of the first one, overlooking a sweeping valley, with nothing but the sound of the wind in the pines and a random rooster. But not the house, and not the road to the house.

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MKL was in love with the garage of the second house. It was two stories tall, could house at least four cars comfortably, and had water. But the house was full of small rooms and angles, and would never accommodate our vintage pool table, or our aircraft carrier-sized bed.

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The third house was a huge no. You could not enter the house and have the oven door open at the same time. Not that I do that often, but I’d like the option.

And the fourth house was like a fairytale cottage. Open and bright, sunny yellow walls, 1910 latches, marble countertops in a brand new kitchen, rooms full of windows. But no garage. And not priced so that we could afford to build one. I refer to it now as the Enchanted Cottage, so when we talk about it MKL knows which house I’m referring too. It even had some mule deer grazing in the side yard. Sigh. I am still enamored.

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So our ideal place is a Frankenstein creation of one view, one garage, and one Enchanted Cottage.  I’m just going to keep believing until I make it real.

Quote of the day: “For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.” — Stephanie Perkins

Daily gratitudes:
A beautiful day
MKL fixing things when they go wrong
My Skype last night with one of my girls
My catering family
Housecleaning

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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

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

 

 

 

 

The New Year is now a distant memory for most of us. I know that MKL and I played pool, drank martinis, ate something yummy, watched tropical visions on Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix, and fell asleep before midnight. But many of you in the blogosphere may have noticed the “One Word Challenge.” I was late to that party, but the idea is that you pick one word to which you dedicate your actions and goals for the year. It’s simpler than your standard New Year’s resolutions, which are generally abandoned by the time you get the Christmas Tree off to the recycle center.

I’m not generally a big fan of this sort of thing (or of large parties), but this struck some chord within me. MKL and I do have a goal of combining households and actually living like a married couple in 2016, which led me to think that my word was “home.” But that is a very, very complex word for me (although MKL has made it simpler, as I feel as if my home is where he is). So I don’t think “home” is quite my word. I think my word is for 2016 is “bravery.”

BRAVERY.

The things that feed my soul that I fear pursuing because of rejection or failure need to be brought out to the show windows this year, reactions be damned. Maybe not quite like bravery in terms of Braveheart where Mel Gibson gets his intestines pulled out on a roller, but bravery in terms of going after what I want (no one else can do it for me) and taking risks around changes in my life, seeing new places, challenging myself. I haven’t done anything particularly brave in five years, when I was forced to reshape my roadkill of a life. So it’s time. Wish me luck. No, wish me courage.

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Eastern Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” — Emma Donoghue

Daily gratitudes:
My MRI technician
Shamanic journeys
Meeting deadlines
Melting snow
Love

 

 

Pardon me for waxing mushy for a post…

When I met MKL (through eHarmony, yes), I had no idea he would become my husband. When we had been matched (on my birthday), I had shown his picture to Kelsea and asked what she thought. She approved, so we did the little email-y, question-asky thing that eHarmony has you do, and it went well. And then I didn’t hear from him. And I didn’t hear from him. And one day, while we were at Topsail, and I was suffering from some stomach juju, I said to Kelsea, “Remember that nice guy that I was emailing with? He hasn’t responded to me. Do you think I should nudge him (because that’s what you can do on eHarmony) or should I just let it go?” “You liked him, right? Nudge him,” she said. So I did. He answered. When Kelsea and I got back, MKL and I had our first phone conversation. I was sitting in a camp chair on my front porch with a glass of red wine. We talked for an hour, and agreed to have lunch. He walked me back to my office after that lunch and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back inside, everyone said I was glowing. I never stopped glowing.

MKL knew that I was someone he had been looking for and hoping for. It took me a bit longer to figure that out , and I am so glad that I caught up with him. I cannot imagine my life and my future without him. He holds my heart and understands me as no one has. We are not identical, and we have our own opinions, but our spirits are shared and that makes me richer than anything else ever could. What a blessing, my MKL.

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(Photo credit: Issy Kilbride)

Quote of the day: “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”  — Sarah Dessen

Daily gratitudes:
Spoonerisms
The shaking bowl today
A warm Mr. Man in my lap
Physical therapy
Kelsea’s and my agreed-upon text code

The lovely Art Deco courthouse, designed by architect Walter DeMordaunt and opened in 1932, is located in Salida, Colorado, and serves as the county seat of Chaffee County…..and the site of MKL’s and my civil ceremony. With our mutual passion for times past, fine architecture, and romance, as well as our love for Buena Vista and Colorado’s beautiful Banana Belt, it seemed most fitting, and it was perfect.

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Salida, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Sometimes there is nothing to do but surrender yourself to wonder… You must stop measuring – over and over – the line between loving and being in love. You must offer yourself, whole, to the cobalt starfish (and the orange one and the pale pink one and the biscuit-colored one with the raised, chocolate-brown art deco design) and to the clear, clear water and to the sweep of shining sky and to the silver scattershot of leaping fish (an entire school skipping across the ocean like a stone.)” — Marisa de los Santos

Daily Gratitudes:
Milk
A beautiful day
Beaches
What colors we have in autumn
Dried roses

Still basking in the glow of newlywed bliss – although it would be really nice if we lived together, but that will come. It’s been a time of many moods, getting ready to send Kelsea off to college. I bought her a one-way plane ticket, and that made me a little shocked. She cut off all her hair and she looks adorable. We know we have a limited number of trashy-tv-together nights, and it makes me a little weepy. So my blues have been coming and going like the tides, rising and falling. But my happiness at being Mrs. MKL and the wonderful memories of our wedding help keep the light in my heart. I had saved a “blue bomb” orchid blossom from a wedding I worked a year or more ago; it has sat on my bathroom shelf so I could describe it perfectly to the florist (shout out to Judy at Surf City Florist for an awesome job). I now wish I had saved a blossom from my own bouquet, but I’m so pleased that I was able to leave Kelsea’s with Lynn and mine with Janie to enjoy.

A Bridal Bouquet
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “She was prettier than a bouquet of roses and crazier than a headless chicken. Fitting in was not an option.” — Marissa Meyer

Daily gratitudes:
The man in mismatched socks in the bus station
Pretty skies
Mothers who smile at their children (that happens less often than you might think)
MKL
Prairie dogs

My feisty friend at Half Girl Half Teacup has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World award! It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the blog award circuit and I’m delighted, so stay tuned for my acceptance speech and nominations!

April 2017
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