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My favorite shots from the Women’s March on Denver today, a peaceful protest that brought many people together as we support human rights, women’s rights, our planet’s rights, and share our perspective on this great experiment we call democracy.

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I am so grateful to live in a country where we have this freedom of expression. Love to all.

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

 

 

Poinsettias are usually not classified as things that last, but this one, scanty as it may appear, is special. It is ten years old. My boss gave it to me when I got back from ushering my Mother through her death. It was awkward, she said, because it was Christmas, and she wanted to give me flowers, but…it was Christmas, so she gave me a poinsettia. She was my boss then, ten years ago, and after the twisting, turning roads of the corporate world, she is my above boss-boss at my current company.

Poinsettias usually only last a season. And they are toxic to cats. This one has lasted a decade, and Mr. Man has had no problems with it. It is special. It represents my Mother. These were her last days, ten years ago, and I was with her every minute. It is a difficult time for me. As I have said each year, I live through every moment on some subconscious level. This year, with the turmoil of the election and the issues that it has raised for many women, myself included, I have found myself reliving other tragic and traumatic incidents from my past, owning them, writing about them (and wondering if I should make these writings public) and trying to let them find their place in my soul. It is not a peaceful process, but it will have a peaceful outcome. Every memory, sweet or agonizing, is and always will be, a lasting part of me.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories…And those that carry us forward, are dreams.” — H.G. Wells

Daily gratitudes:
Helping others
Fellow nasty women
Seeing MKL for the first time in three days
My giant coat on bitter cold days
That tickle of courage when I look at terrifying events of my past

 

 

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.

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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.

Daily gratitudes:
Kindnesses
Smiles that reach eyes
My handsome husband
A beautiful day
A win at work

 

 

 

Even though Winter (ick) is technically a month-ish away, we are expecting it to make an appearance next week. I don’t count the minor snowfall two weeks ago, because I refused to leave the house until it was gone, therefore to me, it didn’t happen. We have been blessed with a long Autumn this year, and MKL and I were saying today that we hope Winter will be merciful and Spring kind to us. (This past Spring was a cruel taskmistress, as my blizzard-struck fallen miracle of an evil tree demonstrated.) We still have a few late-falling leaves on trees, a few streaks of color in dips between mountains, and the morning cold of our wrought iron benches is not vicious enough to weasel its way through one’s clothes to one’s skin. Yet. But soon, we will be asking each other, “Why do we live here?” I am a landlocked mermaid, who never meant to stay here in the mountains, but sometimes not making choices throughout one’s life is a choice in itself. And it led me to MKL, for which I am grateful. As I am grateful we can keep each other warm throughout the cold snaps.

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Quote of the day: “We fit together like puzzle pieces when we snuggled together.” — Andrea Smith

Daily gratitudes:
A new dress
Surprises
Postcards
Floofy dogs in sunny windows
Blankets

 

 

Well, not exactly, but the blues are singing a song of me today, and kitties always seem to help, whether it is images on a screen, or the real thing sitting on my heart. Mr. Man does have a tendency to lay on whatever part of me isn’t feeling up to snuff. He’s a wise healing kitty. It was a lovely Thanksgiving, and I hope you all enjoyed it or at least kept family disputes to a minimum. I know it can be a tense time, especially this year.

For me now, we enter into a strange chrysalis-like phase that often lasts from after Thanksgiving until after the anniversary of my Mother’s passing. It will be ten years this year, and seems like yesterday sometimes. Two friends have lost a parent in the last week, and my heart goes out to them. It alters the character of the holidays when a loss is associated with days that the rest of the world associates with a certain celebration.

So for now, kitties.

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Littleton, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Daily gratitudes:
A lovely day
A lovely yesterday with MKL
A Downton Abbey marathon
A long talk with Kelsea
The East Simpson Coffee Shop

Still not ready for words, except for two that I’d like to get rid of: Liberal and Conservative. Perhaps those labels had meaning once, but now all they do is divide and misrepresent us as individuals and as a unified nation.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Daily gratitudes: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Daily gratitudes:
The man dancing in his seat at the bus stop today
Gestures of kindness
More time with MKL
Sharing a family recipe with Kelsea
Walks with Christine

I remember December 25, 1996. Kelsea was 24 days old. We put her next to us on the floor as we unwrapped Christmas presents, and suddenly couldn’t find her, because we’d accidentally covered her with wrapping paper (a.k.a., glee debris). We immediately uncovered her, and she was happy as a little clam the whole time. That was a lovely Christmas day, full of family (because family comes where the baby is), and fireplaces, and good brunch, and cuddling, and naps.

The next day, we went to the House Up Top, since we had a second house in Black Hawk at the time. I remember sitting in the big taupe faux suede recliner, holding my baby girl, and watching the news about JonBenet Ramsey. I’ll never forget that…my little girl in my arms, while hearing about another little girl, blonde and beautiful like my own, whose life was snatched away at age six. It chilled my heart and made me hold her a little tighter.

I worked in Boulder. I had gone to school there. I had lived on The Hill. I had walked by that house. Boulder, at the time, felt small and safe. I walked everywhere alone at night without a qualm. People who lived there at the time were still at that six degrees of separation level. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who knew someone…you get the picture. An acquaintance was the stepdaughter of the District Attorney. Everyone was hearbroken. Everyone had an opinion on the case. Everyone followed every development. Everyone thought the police were totally out of their league. This sort of thing never happened in Boulder.

As a new mother, I felt for the Ramseys. I had my own opinions about the case, still do to this day, best left unsaid except to my closest confidantes. The Ramsey’s sold the house, they moved away. The city changed the street number of the house, because once it sold, it still garnered so many looky-looers that the new owners couldn’t take it. It became an albatross in the real estate market. And the Patsy Ramsey died of her recurring cancer. John Ramsey started a new life, and good for him. Patsy and JonBenet are buried side by side in Georgia.

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JonBenet Ramsey, age 4 or 5-ish

I know it has been 20 years since this happened, an anniversary. But I am disgusted by the massive amount of attention that the media is taking in this case, starting last month, and no doubt continuing through the year’s end. Maybe it’s only been three shows and some new stories, but I feel they’ve been constantly repeated for weeks. It’s all about ratings, I guess. I know that a lot of people who are in Boulder now weren’t there then, but for those of us who were, having such pieces be promoted (I haven’t been able to watch them) dredges up sorrow and pain that it has taken years to settle uncomfortably with. Maybe even by writing this, I’m giving validity to those bringing up old wounds, but I had to say my piece.

None of these exposes and “new” investigations are going to identify her killer. Nothing will bring her back. I think it’s time that we all let JonBenet rest peacefully. Whoever killed her will have to live with her blood on their hands until their last breath. After 20 years, that is, I think, punishment enough. Let’s not punish her spirit, and the rest of us who live with the memories.

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Kelsea at age 4 or 5

 

 

 

I’m not much of a sports fan. I generally like football, but only my own team (go Broncos), though I’m not sure I would had my Father not been a fan. We were season ticketholders at Duke Blue Devil football games throughout my growing up. I remember the man who sat with his family behind us for all those years looked a little bit like Jack Kennedy. But this isn’t about football. This is about baseball.

I learned about baseball at the Durham Bull’s ballpark (featured in the movie Bull Durham), on summer nights when I was a teenager. I would go with friends or with a hipster boy named Charlie who had slightly buck teeth, and always wore a string tie and cowboy boots, and who tried so hard (but failed) to win more than my friendship. Nights at that ballpark were perfect, all the way from the splintered bench seats, to the hot dogs, to the decades-old bull art piece on the side of the neighboring building, whose tail would raise and whose nostrils would blow smoke when it was hit by a home run. It was soft and warm and bright and buggy and felt like everyone there was family.

Even if you’re not a rabid fan, last night’s final World Series game was an amazing nail-biter with the best possible ending (sorry, Indians fans). I’ve been to Wrigley Field a few times to watch the Chicago Cubs, and I love the team, since I do tend to root for the underdog, which it seemed the Cubs always were. Not so now. Their first World Series win in 108 years. I hope the ancient fan in Chicago who was in the news didn’t have a heart attack – or if he did, that he died happy at the end of the game. Here in my little neighborhood in Colorado, people were setting off fireworks. My social media friends across the country were on tenterhooks, all of us, together. It was, I think everyone could agree, a truly great game.

Since the 1830s, Americans have played, watched, wept, and cheered as this sport that evolved to its current place in the history of our culture. It has touched fashion, film, food, art, and literature. In fact, one of my favorite books is called “If I Never Get Back,” and combines time travel with baseball. What could be better?

In a time of dangerous division within our country, last night, our politics really didn’t matter. It was a wonderful feeling to share the experience of watching “America’s game” with the rest of America.

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Chicago, Illinois.

Quote of the day: “Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple. Within the baselines anything can happen. Tides can reverse; oceans can open. That’s why they say, “the game is never over until the last man is out.” Colors can change, lives can alter, anything is possible in this gentle, flawless, loving game.” – W.P. Kinsella

Daily gratitudes:
The man who plays the guitar at lunch at Potbelly
A beautiful day
Seeing MKL
Good moods
My flu shot (let’s hope I stay grateful for that)

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Walking into this rail car at the Colorado Railroad Museum was like stepping into a home from the past. I come from a line of men with a love for the rails. My great-grandfather’s journal from when he criss-crossed the country time and again as a very young man working on different rail lines in the early 1900s is one of my treasured possessions and provides a glimpse into a time that has faded into the last century and a man I never met, but whom I’ve always considered my guardian angel. And now I’m married to a man who has always loved railroads. I think my grandfather would approve.

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Golden, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “…some hours later they were down
at the railroad tracks
standing close together by the switch lights. The huge night moved overhead
scattering drops of itself.” — Anne Carson

Daily gratitudes:
A day with only a few tears
Dogs
Scents that spark memories
Cloudless days
MKL
A tidier yard
Messaging with Kelsea

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