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Today’s love note goes out to my daughter.

Dear One,
There are too many things to thank you for…it would take a lifetime…but I’ll just stick with today. Thank you for coming to my rescue in the dreaded mouse affair, and for switching roles with me, comforting me after my bad dream. I did feel a little bit bad for the mouse, but thinking about Mr. Man using it as a plaything in the bed in the wee small hours drastically reduced my sympathy. I love the empathy that shines through your soul, and I will try to tough out any future rodent encounters, thinking of your strength. I expect there will be more, as Mr. Man seems excessively proud of his mouser skills, and the winter is bound to get colder. All my love.

Today’s quote: “Any cat may stare into a fire and see red mice play.” — George R.R. Martin

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#yearoflove

Today’s love note goes out to Rachel.

Dear Rachel,
Thank you for coming to brighten my home over this New Year’s. Your laugh lights up any space that you’re in. Your enthusiasm for surprises made helping deliver those surprises all the more fun. I wish we’d had more time to watch movies and hang out and just talk about everything. It’s wonderful to see how happy you make my wonderful little person, and I appreciate you letting me act like a Mom to you. I’m cuddled under the turquoise llama blanket that you and your actual Mom gave me, and I hope you make it home safely tonight. Looking forward to sharing tulips with you again in the Spring.

#YearofLove

A very long time. But let’s try this again, shall we?

Inspired by a fellow blogger, I’m trying the Year of Love. Small love notes to people who make a day special, people whose paths cross mine, even if they are strangers.

Sometimes, you’ll get photos. Sometimes, you’ll get daily quotes. Sometimes, you’ll get daily gratitudes. Like I used to do. The only certainty in life is change, and with change comes wisdom and beautiful surprises.

And so we begin 2019.

A Love Note to Michelle:

As you stood in front of me in the ice slide line, I felt a lovely chilly kinship with you. Two middle-ish aged women, clearly feeling younger than our years, encouraged by our kids to take a short, fast risk. I am grateful to you for acting as my comrade in overcoming our trepidations. We both did it – swooshing through the frozen rainbow tunnel – and both emerged gracefully, proud of overcoming our hesitancy, and having crossed one thing off our respective bucket lists, even though it was a thing we didn’t know we had on them.

XOXOXO

#YearofLove

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If wishes were stars, we would escape, just now, and run away back to the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica, and have our little house with the shower full-facing the jungle, the howler monkeys in the trees, iguanas and armadillos in the yard. I would bring Severigne a skull from somewhere in the West, and ask her to teach me how to cut mangoes and papayas. We would read and bask and recover. We would explore new beaches. We would have wine with dinner under planets and constellations, and go to sleep in the unexpected cool of the beach/jungle night in each other’s arms. And it would just be us all the time.

If wishes were stars.

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Playa san Miguel, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” — Edgar Allan Poe

Daily gratitudes:
Incorporating sorrow into life
Holding onto faith
That Champ is coming home tonight (I think)
Talks with Kelsea
Loving MKL so much, which equates to missing him so much

The only thing better than baby goats snuggling each other is me snuggling baby goats. We have photographic documentation of that somewhere, courtesy of MKL.

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Berthoud, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” — George Orwell

Daily gratitudes:
Distant thunder
Clean dishes
Snuggly Mr. Man
My Peak Challenge
My new weight bench

 

But not as happy as me doing Goat Yoga on a beautiful Sunday morning.

Happy Goat
Berthoud, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I want to go about like the light-footed goats.” — Johanna Spyri

Daily gratitudes:
The long-haired german shepherd playing in the dancing waters at Union Station
Sore muscles
Smoked oysters
That the view from my bedroom makes me feel like I’m deep in a forest
Baby’s breath on the bookcase

We were wise enough to rent a GPS from our car rental company Vamos -I highly recommend them, though be cautioned – renting a car in CR fpr 9 days was just as expensive for a flight for two of us from Denver. But our little four-wheel drive was sturdy, reliable, and trustworthy as we forded small streams in the jungle on the way to Play San Miguel. Even though we had tried programming the GPS (fondly nicknamed Ms. Lady) with the coordinates of our lodging, she just couldn’t cope with that command, so we put in the coordinates for Playa San Miguel. And got there just fine. But as the roads are poorly or non-existingly marked, we didn’t know where to go next.

We tried to road to the beach itself.  I went to inquire of an elderly couple who were watching over the smallest dog I had even seen as it dipped its paws in the water, but they spoke no English, and my Spanish (which is different from Costa Rican Spanish) failed me. With directions from a cable supply man whose English was also most limited, we asked at an old shipping container that had been converted to a bar, and finally made our way back up to the main dirt road. Had we gone just a bit farther, we might have found it on our own, but perhaps not. This is the Playa San Miguel Visitor Center – a slew of arrowless, directionless signs nailed to a tree at the turn to the beach road. And we only discovered this on our way back at the end of our trip.Visitor Center, Guanacaste Style

Playa San Miguel, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

The moral of this tale? When looking for where you’re supposed to be in Costa Rica, just sit back and enjoy the ride. You’ll get there eventually.

Quote of the day: “The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.” — Allain de Botton

Daily Gratitudes:
That ACA was not repealed today
Petting dogs that lean on your legs on down days
Restaurants where servers know us
Cold hands, warm heart
A cleaned-up email mailbox

 

 

 

 

 

This fellow was definitely the most regal and superb of the herd. And many thanks to reader Emily Jane for confirming that they are as I had expected – curious and (mostly) friendly. I’ve only ever encountered them as rodeo bulls, and in that role, they are rank! I love them anyway.

The Golden BrahmaGuanacaste Province, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “Give a bull grass, sweet water and a willing heifer and he is happy. But a man is never content. If no gadflies of worry exist he will invent them.” — Alison Fell

Daily Gratitudes:
The mountains
Trees blooming
Walking through the empty fountain in the plaza
The howls of coyotes at night
The first green of spring

 

 

 

This couple was as interested in us as we were in them. They approached cautiously and got as close to us as they could, considering we were separated by a fence. Which was probably for the best.

A Floppy Eared Spy
Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Quote of the Day: ““To my mind, the only possible pet is a cow. Cows love you. They will listen to your problems and never ask a thing in return. They will be your friends forever.” — Bill Bryson

Daily Gratitudes:
Snow-capped mountains on sunny days
Advice from my beloved MKL – if only I’d take it
Sore muscles
Postcards in protest
Seeing pictures of Seattle and knowing Kelsea is somewhere beyond the hills

 

 

The roads in Guanacaste are seemingly all red dirt, with steep hills…the kind of hills that, when you get to the top, you have no idea what’s going to be on the downhill. Sort of like what I’d imagine a roller coaster is like, never having been on one. They are lovely and dusty, endless and adventuresome. My favorite kind of road. The sea would creep into view from time to time, just to let us know it was close by, and the landscape alternated between sugar cane crops, savannah grasslands, and grazing fields edged by large hills. We had to take it fairly slow because of the hills and limited visibility. We never knew if we were going to encounter people, dogs, iguanas, stopped vehicles, small rivers, or roadblocks like this lovely shadow-splattered lady. She wasn’t the slightest bit startled by us, and just took her time strolling across the road, after giving us a level stare.

A Dainty Roadblock

Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “A painting is more than the sum of its parts,’ he would tell me, and then go on to explain how the cow by itself is just a cow, and the meadow by itself is just grass and flowers, and the sun peeking through the trees is just a beam of light, but put them all together and you’ve got magic.” —  Wendelin Van Draanen

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling better (but trying not to start running at 1000%)
A talk with Kelsea and Rachel
Sleeping with the windows open
Tea
Having the ability to travel

 

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