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When we were trying to clear parts of the yard recently, MKL approached me and said, “You know one of the things I like about you? You’re not a girly girl. A girly girl wouldn’t be doing this.” (This being whacking at the weeds with a scythe and yanking the stubborn ones out by the roots with my leather-gloved hands.) He’s right – to an extent. His statement was somewhat validated when I was driving (alone) by a construction site last week and squealed aloud, “Ooooooooo! A BIG hole!!!”, craning my neck to see what action might be going on down there.

But there is a definite girly side of me. The side that likes vintage lingerie and all things weddings, especially wedding dresses. It’s why job number three is in the catering/wedding industry. It has been a pleasure to find my own wedding dress and to have the people I love involved in the process. It releases the girly part of me that I wouldn’t change for the world. But I will continue to curse like a sailor when the lawn mower doesn’t start.

Girly girl
Centennial, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” — Criss Jami

Daily Gratitudes:
A little time with Michael Sean
The dress is almost ready
Watching Kelsea and her friends plan their cross-county road trip
That I used to dance
The possibility of a shark-themed wedding

Winter, particularly these two weeks, are very difficult for me. It seems especially hard this year. I am heavier than I have been. My depression is thick. My back hurts again. I am having a hard time remembering to be grateful for the wonderful things I have and that I’ve recently had an amazing trip to somewhere lovely and warm. And that in itself makes me sad.

When I trudged up the stairs from the bus station yesterday, as most I do most days, I came into Union Station (a story in itself). There are two remaining original benches in the new version of this place where I used to find such solace. On bad days, like yesterday, I try to lower my stress levels for a minute by sitting on one of these benches and just soaking in the spirits that still remain from thousands of travelers who passed through this building for over 100 years – including my own grandfather.

As I watched the light flooding through the high, round, window, a Cat Stevens song came on over the piped-in music. I think it was “Morning Has Broken”. I remember hearing that song when I was in the sunny front window of my first restaurant at 17. At that time, I knew where I wanted to go to college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew where I wanted to go. I was a little slip of a thing, a dancer. I was looking forward to my future, even though I couldn’t see what it was

There was a line in “Out of Africa”, one of my favorite movies, that says, “Perhaps God made the world round so we could not see too far down the road.”

I believe that.

I never thought I would be living in Denver, would have been here for over 30 years. That wasn’t in the plan when I stood in that sunny front window that afternoon. I wonder when I lost track of the plan? I wonder if I ever had a plan? MKL and I were talking about this the other day – how I have a hard time with creating a plan and sticking to it, especially when I have more than one thing to focus on. Together, he and I are building a plan, and that feels good. I never thought I’d be divorced, much less re-marrying. All of that makes me look forward to my future.

I watch my daughter planning her future – I think she’s better at it than I was, but then she’s more down-to-earth than I was. But I wonder, in twenty years, will she look back on being just 18, and having all these plans and dreams, and have achieved them? Or will she be like me, looking back and wondering, “What happened?”. If that’s the case, I hope she finds herself happy with where she is.

There’s that other saying that I love (credited to many) that “Life’s what happens when you’re making other plans.”

I believe that too.

So what’s the point of this ramble? I suppose it’s that when we are younger we cannot see our future, no matter how much we think we can or how optimistic we are. It’s great that we have that vision, but it’s a real challenge to make the vision a reality. I didn’t really understand that at 17. I do now. So that’s part of the point.

And the other part is that I am a gloomy otter and the eighth anniversary of my Mother’s death is next week.

I’ll find my light again. I promise.

DSCF3165

Little Cayman.

With the a new job and the Bungalow under my belt now, I was thinking today about what happens next.  I have much to do before I can move in (and move out), and it will certainly keep my weekends busy for the next two months.  That’s good.  I wish I had a little more time to devote to it; I think I’m still getting accustomed to the idea of actually owning my own little home.  I must say, it feels terribly surreal – because it’s just me, and only me.  I have a quiet pride in what I have accomplished on my own in this short time, even as I pull my broken heart around in a little red wagon behind me.  I know it will heal in time.  More time.

Ex-Pat has been very good about helping me with errands now that I am working full-time (plus) again.  The commute makes it a challenge to actually do little things, as most places are closed when I go to work and closed when I get home.  I did find a cheerful cobbler in Writer’s Square to fix my shoes today, and that makes me happy.  Or maybe I just like saying the word “cobbler.”  It’s a fun word.

So what’s coming up?  I mean, I can’t just spend my limited free time cleaning, painting and sleeping.  That’s slightly too tame.  I’m just not that much of a homebody, even if I do now have a home for my body.

Well, April 30 brings us the Great Western Alpaca Show!  You all know my love for the furry little beasties.  This event will bring about 1200 of them to the National Western Complex.  I can guaruntee that my camera will be hopping!

 

Kelesa and I are planning a trip to Milwaukee in May for a weekend.  Our original intention was to go for PUGFEST!  Nothing better than a gaggle of pugs.  (Are we seeing an animal theme in my life?  Yes, indeed!) But the trip has evolved into (hopefully) meeting up with an old friend, who I think Kelsea will hit it off with famously, and a new dear friend – my sister from another mother – and her daughters.

June 25 is Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek, Colorado.  I really liked Cripple Creek when I was there a couple of months ago, and I think Kelsea will enjoy it.

I’m thinking I’ll spend my birthday weekend back up in Steamboat Springs again for the Hot Air Balloon Festival – I’ve had such a good time there the last two years.  Kelsea wants to go back, since she wasn’t at her peak form last year, so she feels like she kind of missed out on some things.

I have also promised her a weekend in Chicago this summer, so she can see one of her friends from her People-to-People European Sojourn two years ago.  It will be very strange for me to go back to Chicago.  I haven’t been back since the Captain died, and I know it will be bittersweet.

We are still planning our annual pilgrimage to Topsail, which we both long for often as a place of peace, pleasure, calmness and ease.  Since E-Bro and the family won’t be coming this year, Kelsea is considering bringing a friend with her.  I was a little older than her when I first brought a friend to Topsail.  Now I just have to decide if I can deal with that.

September is a big month.  On the 10th, Kelsea and I are doing the 5K Mud Run/Adventure Race in Loveland, Colorado!  From its description, it reminds me a bit of the old Kinetics Challenge.  We’re both looking forward to getting messy. Really, really, really messy.  Really.

If things go well, we’re going to try to make it to the Testicle Festival (and Rodeo) up in Minnesota.  I don’t know exactly when it is, but I do know that Minnesota is a state I have yet to visit, so I’m motivated to make it happen.

And of course, there’s our annual Mother-Daughter Labor Day weekend trip.  We haven’t really talked about a location yet.  I’ve been wanting to take her to Monterey for a long time.  It’s definitely her kind of place.  Maybe I’ll have the funding for that this year.

To cap off the year, I’m thinking about going home for Thanksgiving.  No, not to North Carolina.  To my heart’s home: Anegada.  By then, it will be close to two years since I’ve been home, and yes, I am homesick.  It will be good to go home.

Sounds busy, doesn’t it?  Guess that’s what weekends are for.  Guess that’s what life is for.  Guess that’s what being alive is for.  And it gives you, dear reader, some idea of what new photos to expect.

Road trips nowadays take the place of plane tickets, and that’s okay with me, as long as I’ve got a camera, some San Pellegrino, and sometimes, Kelsea.  I discover that when I am feeling stressed, I have the craving to go, to move.  Not exactly to run away, but to escape, or at least have a sense that I can escape.  Maybe it’s like knowing I have a steam valve, even if I don’ t use it.  I guess that’s a state of mind more than anything else.

And there are still a lot of states – and states of mind –  left for me to see.

This has been a highly tolerable winter up until now.  We had a snow – I think – when I was away in November, and a small-ish snow just before New Year’s.  But it’s been warm, not even requiring a coat most of the time.  Until yesterday.  Yesterday, the hammer fell.

I live in Colorado, so it’s not as if I didn’t expect this to happen.  I just, in my secret heart, hope that global warming will make our mountain-high weather more tropical every year.  And it is Stock Show time, and this is what we call “Stock Show Weather” – bitter-butt cold and snowy and icy. 

I learned about four years ago that a January trip to a warm beach did wonders for my winter psyche.  I remember that first January trip.  It was a quick jaunt to Jost van Dyke and it required that I spend the night on the floor of Logan Airport in Boston.  I hadn’t spent the night on ANY airport floor since college – and coincidentally, the last time I had done so had also been at Logan Airport.  The floor was harder and colder than it had been in college, and my friend Buddy had so kindly driven in to while away a few hours with me in a side-by-side rocking chairs, bringing with him a flask of rum.  It was a very pleasant night, but sleep was impossible, and I was a zombie by the time I arrived in St. Thomas.  However, the four nights on Jost felt, as time on Jost often does, like 8 nights, and I was happy and refreshed by the time I went home.

This year, I’m pinching pennies.  If I get the house (or a different house – I’m going to look at a slightly less expensive one just down the block from the one I’ve put a bid on), I’ll need everything I have to get it together.  If I don’t – well, then I believe I will take a little jaunt somewhere – unless of course, a job comes up.  Then I’ll have to stay here, which will also be fine. 

I am working on the novel again – just started, and gearing up to finish.  And I’m submitting some poetry to some contests, which is cool.  On the agenda for the week is submitting some work to the Denver Women’s Press Club unknown author’s contest.  I’m nervous about it, because I’m submitting both poetry and a non-fiction piece, and I’m really unsure what to submit.  But the important thing is that I submit something.

I could just chuck it all and move to somewhere warm – and when it’s 0 degrees outside, that sounds tempting.   But the spiritual price I would have to pay is too high – I’m worth too much now.  Ironically, out of the dishonorable things I may have done over the last few years has come a sense of honor that is too strong to even consider compromising.  It’s one of the most valuable things about me now.  And even another life somewhere in the sun is not worth surrendering that.

So I guess I’ll just have to stick with singing that Kenny Chesney song in the shower for a little while longer.

The snow is falling.  It’s cold and I’m tired.  I’m tired of working until midnight.  I’m tired of eating meat.  I’m tired of sleeping alone.  I am tired of arguing with Pat about money.  (Shouldn’t that have ended with the marriage?) 

Do you realize that I have not been on a plane since August?  AUGUST!  That’s 5 months!  That’s as long as I’ve gone without flying in years!  It may be time for a sabbatical soon.

Finances be damned.  A beach is whispering my name.

My divorce will be entered in the annals of history tomorrow.  And so begins a new life.  Pat said today that he was over it (unless he got moody) which amazed me – that he could be over 25 years in such a relatively short time.  But more power to him, I suppose.  I wish him well.

It was a nice New Year’s.  Quiet.  Nice though. 

I went to a psychic the other day.  Not the sort of thing I usually do, but what the hell.   She told me some good things about Mr. GF.  She told me I was in a lot of turmoil, confusion, movement.  She saw my divorce.  She called Pat spot on.  She gave me some words of caution about betrayal and lies.  She told me she saw a great deal of journeys and travel in my future, uncertainty in my career, and that the uncertainty was unnecessary.  She told me not to be so afraid.  That I had very little to fear.  That I was in my power.  All this when all I told her was my name when I sat down.  Nothing else.  Pretty interesting.

I’ve been seeing several blogs lately from people who are in one stage or another of divorce, of starting over alone.  It’s interesting to see how many of us are out there who have gone through this painful process and reached out into the ether for support and self-expression.  Itneverrainsinseattle is right at the beginning of the process – he and his wife are in agreement with the need to part and it sounds like they are starting off on the right foot.  But it takes me back to having “The Talk”, and her saying she wants a lawyer to look everything over makes me nervous.  I think I’m (half of) one of only two couples I know who managed their divorce without a lawyer.   When a lawyer gets his or her hands on a person in transition, they can really brainwash them as to what they “deserve”.  And while I didn’t escape unscathed, I know I did better than if Pat had had a lawyer involved.  Jumpingtracks is also in the early stages of leaving a long relationship, with much the same emotions that I had.  (She has chosen to make her blog private since I wrote this.) I have to feel for both of them, as they are facing the incredible challenge of telling their children.  That for me was worse than “The Talk”. 

Looking back, I feel as if I’ve been numb for most of the last year.  I’ve known all along what was happening, what I instigated, what it means.  It’s irreversible.  While I didn’t leave my husband for another man, another man did provide me with the strength to leave, which made everything more complicated.  I wish I could have had the strength to do it cleanly, on my own, as it was what I knew, and had known for a long time, it was what I needed.

Now, I am coming out of the numb place.  Tomorrow, I hand over a giant check to buy my freedom.  In about 7 weeks, I am unemployed except for a part-time job.  And it’s time to stop threshing out the divorce stuff, and start talking more about the challenges of pursuing my dreams, experiencing new love, and resolving the conflicts between being a good single mom and “finding myself” (gak).   Yes, there will be the occasional remorseful tale of my loneliness.  But look forward to more about new relationships, new adventures, new beginnings.  After all, it’s only the third of January, and already this year, I’ve tried a tanning booth and Everclear (though not together) and started the Atkins diet.  Who knows what will happen next?

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