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I emerged from the Retreat today to go to the market and the post office. As small a town as we are, we do have a fine post office. And I discovered that Monday is THE time to go to the market. They only seem to stock fresh produce once a week and today’s the day. I was not subjected to the combative little old ladies who would not hesitate to break your ribs to get their hands on a good head of lettuce in the market in Georgetown, Bahamas, but had I gone later in the day, hand-to-hand combat with Valley moms might have been required.

The clouds today were all astir. From the cotton balls poofing above the Retreat, to the mare’s tales swishing above Linger Longer Lane, to the rolling waves at the edges of the Frontier Scenic Byway, they were a melting pot of weather portents all swirling together. My Mother loved clouds…she would have loved today. By sunset, the clouds had all settled into a gray stew (how unromantic) as if all of today’s activity had exhausted them. Now it is night. Now, they sleep.

Daily gratitudes:
Black squirrels
Meeting a neighbor
New tires for Truck
Experimental cooking
That my lungs are starting to acclimate to 7200 feet

It’s a far cry from sweet Anna’s gorgeous shots at Bear Lake (one of my favorite RMNP hikes) but it is my first indication of Fall in these little acres at the foot of the Wet Mountains. The aspen tree outside the kitchen window is as resistant to Winter as I am. But Fall, now, Fall is another story. My favorite season used to be Summer. Warm, sunny, beautiful thunderstorms, travel. Summer even in Colorado now is too hot and too dry. I’m more comfortable in North Carolina summers — perhaps the born-and-raised-there quality emerges when I’m back home — even with their extreme heat and humidity.

Spring here is temperamental (by the way, who knew that temperamental had an “a” in it? Not me, until just now.). These last few years, Spring has been full of false hope, vanished mountains, broken branches, and back-aching snow shoveling escapades. That said, I now consider it my favorite season. I love watching green emerge from stark brown and white, and the promise of newness that is always fulfilled. Fall comes in a close second. It becomes just crisp enough to leave the bedroom windows open wide and to feel comfortable snuggling under the covers in the morning. Having it be sufficiently cold for me is bliss, although my “sufficiently cold” is MKL’s “absolutely freezing”. And there’s a huge selection of apples at the market, which always remind me of apple picking in Washington State when I was 14.

As for Winter, well, that season might be getting milder. But tell that to the me that slid off the road two years ago, miraculously missing a tree and a lamppost, and then saying to my husband (in a phone call immediately after that incident where Jesus clearly took the wheel) that I was going to buy a boat and never have to put up with this crap again and his only choice was to be on board if he wanted to stay married. I had calmed down by the end of that working shift, and the boat is and will forever remain a pipe dream. Funny how a dream-come-true can be so dependent on circumstances.

So here I am, continuing to unpack and get slightly sunburned in our Indian summer (is that now a politically incorrect term?), accompanied by a full complement of late summer sun during the day and a panoply of stars at night. And one lone aspen leaf, resting on the deck.

Daily gratitudes:
Strength
Jet trails at sunset
A shower after getting really dirty
Lingerie
Discoveries

While I am absolutely a warm soul, contrary to appearances, I am rather shy. In living apart from a lot of civilization (neighbors, traffic, coffee shops), I find myself on a pendulum that swings between relishing my isolation and feeling lonesome. To try to find a balance, I go to our little market once a week and take myself to the city, thirty miles distant, once a week, with all the stoplights and fast food joints and cannabis shops and WalMarts anyone could possibly desire. After a few hours, I’ve had enough of bad drivers and long lines and billboards, and I head for home. As soon as I’m free of the city, I feel like I can breathe again and let down some guard that I didn’t even know I had put up. Truck and I cruise down I-25 or kick up dust on a dirt road going the back way, but either way, there is nothing but sky and space and brush, with the plains to the east and the mountains to the west, and always, the clouds.

Off the highway, it takes a few short minutes to plunge into the valley. When I hit the valley, I’m filled with the sense of being cradled by the earth, encased in its hills that still carry a lingering green and welcomed by the art of the clouds as they shift their positions behind the mountains. Turning into my little town, I’m slowed by the dips in the road and have to keep a weather eye for deer, particularly the doe and her twins who’ve been a constant presence this past summer. Here, we wave at each other when we pass, even though I have no idea who I’m waving at and neither do they. But as I take the few turns deeper into the woods, closer to the mountain, it’s like diving into a nest of comfort and quiet, peace and safety. I guess that’s what home is supposed to be.

Daily gratitudes:
Experimental sparkling water
Mysterious barks
My bed
Little Free Libraries
A lovely conversation with E-Bro

Dear Jen,

Even though we’ve worked together for almost eight years, we’ve only met four times, and still you feel like my partner in the next cube – just 1,084 miles away. I love that we envy each other’s travels. I love that we send each other emails with no subject line when we want to complain about something. I love that we have each other’s backs when one of us is drowning. And I especially love how eternally positive you are. You say you’re really not always like that, but I think that’s just who you are at your core, and that’s beautiful. I’m grateful that we had some time together this trip. Thank you for being you.

Today’s quote: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin

#yearoflove

Today’s love note goes out to Dr. Grey.

Dear Dr. Grey,
While medical nonsense is about my least favorite thing on earth (and don’t get me started on the bills), you have renewed my faith in the helping nature of the profession. During our interactions in the last month, you’ve shown just the right amount of compassion, a willingness to listen to my thoughts, and the humility to admit that you don’t know everything, and sometimes, we just have to work together to figure out why things — like my heart — don’t always do what they’re supposed to do, and what my “normal” is, even though in my case (big surprise) my normal isn’t exactly normal. I trust you, and that’s not something that I say often to another person, especially not a doctor. Thank you, from the bottom of my long QT. I’m glad you’re on my side.

A quote for today: “A good heart is better than all the heads in the world.” — Edward G. Bulwar-Lytton\

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#yearoflove

 

With 2017 in the works, I’m starting some new things, though I’m not making resolutions, because they usually are pointless. I am setting intentions and acting on exciting changes. It has been a lovely, protracted holiday season, and I will miss it – it’s my favorite time of year. Here’s a sunset towards the end of our strange last year, to usher the old out and the new in. I hope you feel hope and positive change (yes, I did that) for the coming months. And of course, as always love and joy.

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Littleton, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I’ve always found that the most beautiful people, truly beautiful inside and out, are the ones who are quietly unaware of their effect.” — Jennifer L. Armentrout

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling like a lovely married couple
Dogs in shop windows
My surrogate daughter
That Kelsea returns from Ireland tomorrow (though not to me)
Two workouts today

 

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

Always watching over us. Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.

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Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  — Marcel Proust

Daily gratitudes:
That my house is under the Canadian Geese flight path
Owls hooting in the darkness
Cozy Mr. Man
Having Kelsea home for a few days
Embarrassing moments that make for good stories

 

 

Pardon me for waxing mushy for a post…

When I met MKL (through eHarmony, yes), I had no idea he would become my husband. When we had been matched (on my birthday), I had shown his picture to Kelsea and asked what she thought. She approved, so we did the little email-y, question-asky thing that eHarmony has you do, and it went well. And then I didn’t hear from him. And I didn’t hear from him. And one day, while we were at Topsail, and I was suffering from some stomach juju, I said to Kelsea, “Remember that nice guy that I was emailing with? He hasn’t responded to me. Do you think I should nudge him (because that’s what you can do on eHarmony) or should I just let it go?” “You liked him, right? Nudge him,” she said. So I did. He answered. When Kelsea and I got back, MKL and I had our first phone conversation. I was sitting in a camp chair on my front porch with a glass of red wine. We talked for an hour, and agreed to have lunch. He walked me back to my office after that lunch and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back inside, everyone said I was glowing. I never stopped glowing.

MKL knew that I was someone he had been looking for and hoping for. It took me a bit longer to figure that out , and I am so glad that I caught up with him. I cannot imagine my life and my future without him. He holds my heart and understands me as no one has. We are not identical, and we have our own opinions, but our spirits are shared and that makes me richer than anything else ever could. What a blessing, my MKL.

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(Photo credit: Issy Kilbride)

Quote of the day: “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”  — Sarah Dessen

Daily gratitudes:
Spoonerisms
The shaking bowl today
A warm Mr. Man in my lap
Physical therapy
Kelsea’s and my agreed-upon text code

Well, sort of. It was a very quiet Halloween. No trick-or-treaters. Honestly, between my tall fence and my creepy dead tree, I wouldn’t be surprised if the neighborhood kids think my house is haunted. Oh wait, it is. 🙂 So I give you this little creepy goody, taken at Kelsea’s favorite place in the mountains.

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Central City, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Remember your name.  Do not lose hope–what you seek will be found.  Trust ghosts.  Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn.  Trust dreams.  Trust your heart, and trust your story.” — Neil Gaiman

Daily gratitudes:
The little girl in the unicorn costume at the grocery store
Being warm inside when the wind is blowing
The crunch of dead leaves underfoot
Watching Mr. Man watch the falling leaves
Feeling a little better

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