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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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

Darkness comes too early now, but I know that golden leaves and sun-bright streams exist.

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Outside Morrison, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” — Lauren DeStefano

Daily gratitudes:
The lady who complimented my outfit today
MKL
Puppies
Almost the end of the election
A clean living room

 

 

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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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

 

 

 

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Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It is good people who make good places.” — Anna Sewall

Daily gratitudes:
Dr. Angie, an excellent vet
A healthy Mr. Man
Counting down to the election being over
A lovely day
Missing MKL

 

Yes, I do mean encroaching. Encroaching on the richness of summer and the bright days that stretch into soft, long evenings with nine o’clock sunsets. It was a shock today to leave Job #2 at 8:15 and have it be dark. Over the weekend, we did get into the mountains for a quick overnight in Cripple Creek with an interesting side dish of a ghost hunt at the Cripple Creek Jail Museum, which I’ll share more about once I’ve gotten my thoughts in order and it’s not so late in the evening.

Here’s a simple, rather abstract image that feels to me like it captures the essence of fall. (Kudos to anyone who can discern what this image is and how it was taken.) Let’s hope we have a gentle fall into winter here in Colorado.

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Buena Vista, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” — Stephen King

Daily gratitudes:
The woman pushing her two yorkies in a double stroller
The split of political views in the office
Easing of the spiritual stress
MKL
Being more organized

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