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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

 

 

 

We are preparing for Thanksgiving here in America. In our houses, that means that MKL is replacing toilets, scrubbing floors, and vacuuming carpets, because he is hosting this year. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was a small family thing, sometimes with guests in the morning or early afternoon, a few paper decorations around the house, football, and just the four of us for supper, which was always a traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes (that my Dad made), gravy, and pumpkin pie (again, from my Dad). With MKL, the family is sons and parents and sisters and nieces and grand-nieces – maybe 13 people. This will be the first year that Kelsea hasn’t been home for Thanksgiving. She’s staying in Washington and, I think, hosting other Thanksgiving “orphans” at her house. Perhaps I will coach her on cooking a turkey, as my Mother coached me, during countless phone calls, when I made my first one, which was just for my Dad and me when I was a senior in college. We had Thanksgiving dinner on a coffee table on the red-shag carpeted floor of my little attic studio in a house long gone in Boulder. That was a very happy Thanksgiving.

In these times of political turmoil in our country, it is nice to have an occasion to try to bring families together. Our differences are so intense, and in some cases, unforgiveable, that togetherness may not be possible for everyone. Politics today is not something that just matters during elections – and while that has never been the case, we have been passive in our approach to it, up until now, when many are finding the need to exercise their freedom to speak and finding their voices. I hope that all individuals can find something to give thanks for this week, regardless of our differences.

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The most important political office is that of private citizen.” — Louis D. Brandeis

Daily gratitudes:
Doing the right thing
My current read
A hot bath
A beautiful day
The cooing of iridescent pigeons

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

 

 

 

A change from landscapes today…goat snuggles! Goats can always make me smile, and this Spring, I had the pleasure of attending the Mountain Flower Dairy‘s Goat Baby Shower with Kelsea and her lovely friend Skye. Baby goats, alpacas, small children racing small goats, old trucks, fiddlers, spring flowers, a beautiful day — what more could you ask for?

The roots of my fondness for goats lie in my teenage years. At 16, I went away to Governor’s School in North Carolina – my first time away from home alone. I was gone for six (or eight?) weeks and made some lifelong friends (love you, Lisa and Beth, Mark and Ken), but I was definitely homesick during the early days. So I would take clandestine walks around the surrounding neighborhoods. And on a hill above a sidewalk situated so that it reminded me of my own home, I met a goat. He hung out at the very edge of the ivy at the top of the small hill above the wall. He would appear every day when I walked by, and we would chat. I would tell him that I was homesick and that he was handsome and share my teenage angst. He would usually eat something in response – trash, clothing he had stolen off the line, a bloom from the landscaping. I think he looked forward to seeing me as much as I looked forward to seeing him. I still remember him, and how he kept my homesickness somewhat at bay until I found my little tribe of human friends.

And so. Goats.

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “One day I will rule the world with a goat by my side!” — Jhonen Vasquez

Daily gratitudes:
Goat cheese for dinner
A pretty new dress
The Laws of Attraction
The softness of the air today
That Issy is feeling better

I can’t say I’m not glad to see the back of January. It seems to have been a tough month for many. Let’s hope February is kinder. Being a Spring and Summer person, winter is tough (don’t ask me why I live in Colorado), and in February, there are signs of Spring. Not snowdrops or crocuses – it’s a bit too early for that – but I grasp at the smallest things: the fact that they have the flyer for proposed bus route changes coming in May on my morning commute; that movie trailers say “coming this summer”; that it stays light just a little bit later every day. We had a lovely fluffy snow last night – not hard to shovel, and just some curious magical quality to it, so that it clung to the tree branches like albino caterpillars, and made the fields seem buried in puffed silk. It was a snow I didn’t mind, and for me, that’s saying something.

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Fortunately, I’m good at ignoring a lot of what my brain does.” — Richard Kadrey

Daily gratitudes:
An interesting Super Bowl
A snuggly Mr. Man
Missing Michael – I would be sadder if I didn’t miss him
The big fat pig enjoying the snow in her field
The cry of a crow

I have been quiet again because we had a scare with Mr. Man the Maine Coon being very ill. But some days, much trauma, many tears, many pills, many purrs and prayers, and it seems he is much better. Having his Aunt Tamara and Cousin Taylar here this week was a huge boost to both him and me. My dear Tamara is truly a cat whisperer and the similarities between us were simply astounding. More on that later. This image is the view that MKL and I had of Long’s Peak from Veteran’s Park in Boulder last weekend on our delightful date night. I hope you all had a lovely week. I’ll be sharing images of Denver’s new Union Station (aka the BoobWorm) and the Garden of the Gods in the coming week, so stay tuned!

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “You’re never lost. You always know exactly where you are. You’re right here. It’s just that sometimes you’ve misplaced your destination.” — Brian W. Porter

Daily gratitudes:
(So many lately!)
Friendly babies
The feeling of family
Natural beauty
Young deer
Photography

It is a lovely day here. No rain, not even a drop. There is still debris in a lot of places – trees, boards, roots, and parts of people’s lives. But those lives are moving on, forward, ahead, and towards the next thing.

In the case of my half-house, the next thing is how quickly ex-Pat can get a new water heater, because apparently, when he has to scape the mud off the top of the water heater, the insurance adjuster considers it a total loss. And that’s one of those important things for doing dishes and showering. They cleaned out the last room yesterday, and I have lost a lot of photos and slides, which makes me very sad, but I’m hoping there is some way of salvaging them.

My anxiety levels are still super-high, but a little bit better this morning. The eye doctor, much as I love her, didn’t help by telling me that I have some pre-cataract thing in my left eye (seriously, body, how old do you think you are??????), so that added to the anxiety-cold-sweat-o-meter today. MKL says he will still love me if I go blind, and he has fabulous descriptive powers, and cataracts are surgically fixable. So. Yea.

I think I will try one of my newly prescribed Xanax before bed.  As I say, a beautiful life goes on.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Loss carves out a deep, hollow pocket. There’s no magical way to fill it, no medicine or Band-Aid or surgery to cure it. I suppose that over time you get used to it, but the feeling never totally goes away. And the more time you spend on earth, the more pockets you’ll collect. But it’s part of living. It’s life.” — Suzanne Selfors

Daily gratitudes:
Improvements
The little girl with the “Where the Wild Things Are Umbrella” as big as she was
My fluffy Mr. Man
MKL’s support
Peace
The sound of the ocean waves

 

 

Kelsea and I took a lovely drive today. I needed to be up, up, up in the air, and feel the peace and solidity of the mountains surround me, helping me remember what’s real and what really matters. I have lovely memories of this spot and it was nice to make some more today.

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.  A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.  But to live with a soul mate forever?  Nah. Too painful.  Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.  A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…” —  Elizabeth Gilbert

Daily gratitudes:
Sunshine
Kelsea
MKL tucking me in when he left this morning
Pam
Wind in my hair
My Coconut Chicken Thai Curry Soup

 

A gentle sunset on the Front Range…perhaps our last for a while, as the weather is to turn cold and snowy this weekend.

Boulder County, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “Be still. it takes no effort to be still; it is utterly simple. When your mind is still, you have no name, you have no past, you have no relationships, you have no country, you have no spiritual attainment, you have no lack of spiritual attainment. There is just the presence of beingness with itself”.   —  Gangaji

Daily gratitudes:
Finding humor in awkwardness
Owning my grumblebunny attitude
Real bunnies
A brisk walk
Foster the stuffed koala bear

Dear Unknown Lady,

I don’t know who you are, but I know you’re an angel.

At the height of rush hour heading towards Denver, just past the Church Ranch exit, there was a beautiful dog in the road.  I don’t know if he was your dog, but I know he was someone’s dog.  He was silvery and fluffy and looked like he had some husky and maybe some shepherd in him.  And he was trapped against the center median, with cars speeding by at 65 mph, no doubt missing him by only a hair or a miracle.

Other cars had stopped.  But you did it.  You pulled your truck over on the shoulder, and got out.  You called to him with happiness and enthusiasm, in just such a way that he wouldn’t panic any more than he already no doubt was.  The cars at the critical point decided that this dog’s life was more important than getting someplace two minutes sooner, and stopped, allowing him to gallop across the road to you. He looked absolutely joyful.  And you clapped and encouraged and praised him and he leapt easily into your truck.

And he lived.  Uninjured.

Maybe he had been in your truck and had jumped out somehow.  Maybe he was left behind by someone.  Maybe he was someone’s darling who got loose, like our Champ did once – he miraculously made it to the other side of the highway that time too, and another angel lady helped him.  (Those husky mixes can really be escape artists.)

Champ as a puppy.

But that doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you took the time to save a beautiful dog.  One beautiful soul rescuing another.

It made my day.  I thank you.  And your fuzzy buddy thanks you.

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