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The magic of Christmas in the fading Canadian light. I’m finally warming up to the holidays. The Santa Hat has made its first appearance. MKL and I got to take a wonderful narrow gauge train ride through Santa’s Magic Forest with an adorable three-year old. Kelsea is home. We’re going to the Nutcracker on Friday. The girls are decorating the tree on Saturday. While other aspects of the world are spinning out of their orbits, I feel a modicum of peace.

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Vancouver, Canada.

Quote of the day: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” — Charles Dickens

Daily gratitudes:
The smiles the Santa Hat generates
Protein
Office parties
Hitchcock movies
Warm blankets

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.

20161211_124006-cropBoulder, Colorado.

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

Daily gratitude:
The smell of the little Christmas tree lot
Today’s clouds
Siting a bald eagle in flight
Clean sheets
The seasonal reappearance of the Santa Hat

 

 

 

Last week, I went to surprise my daughter for her 20th birthday. It worked out splendidly, she was completely surprised, her friends were wonderful, and I think a good time was had by all. One of our adventures was a trip to Vancouver. I hadn’t been there in 40 years, and it certainly doesn’t look anything like I remember. We had limited time, so we explored the Gastown District, which must be one of the oldest parts of town. This completely modern building retained a touch of times past. I’ll share more images from my trip in the coming days.

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Vancouver, British Columbia.

Quote of the day: “Canada is not the party. It’s the apartment above the party.” — Craig Ferguson

Daily gratitudes:
That Kelsea comes home in four days
MKL’s hugs
Smiles with mothers at the grocery store
Christmas lights
Cleaning out drawers

 

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours..” — Henry David Thoreau

Daily gratitudes:
Warm milk
Warm coats
Warm kitties
Warm hands of my love
Warm beds

A warm memory of an autumn Saturday. We have drifted into snow and cold and wind, and I am happy to remember a peaceful day.

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Hygiene, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It is in the turmoil of chaos that we discover what, if anything, we are.” — Orson Scott Card

Daily gratitudes:
Blue skies
Clean dishes
Prayers of friends
Cozy couches
Good walks

 

In the past three weeks, two people close to me have lost family to suicide. Now, two young souls will never see the beauty of another sunrise, and their families will never be the same. I know how hopeless and painful your life can feel, but I know it always gets better. I also know that, at that pivotal moment, it can be impossible to see that. There is always someone who cares, someone to reach out to, even if that person is a stranger. I may be a stranger to you, but if you’re reading this, and if you ever think that you can’t go on, reach out to me. I care about you. There is so much more than the moment you are in.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind.” — Jeannette Walls

Daily gratitudes:
Our first snow (but only because we need the moisture)
Snuggly Mr. Man
Leftover chinese food
My toasty Razorback fleece onesie
Some inner calm

 

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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

Still not ready for words. Let us be led by love.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “There is no ‘way to peace,’ there is only ‘peace.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Daily gratitudes:
That MKL makes me laugh
Peek-a-boo with a baby
Sharing feelings with Mohammed
Having a voice to help others
Kelsea’s new job

Today had best be mostly wordless. Sending peace and love to all.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.” — Howard Thurman

Daily gratitudes:
MKL’s love and support
Lunch with a dear friend
An expedited passport request
Mr. Man’s paw on my heart
Trying to make sense of our world

 

 

Be this. Be a goat. And let’s all come together.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” — Malcolm X

Daily gratitudes:
Things to look forward to
Warm socks
Love
Southern accents
Hunkering down

 

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