As you can probably tell from my lack of posts, I’ve been working what feels like 24/7, but I wanted to let you know I’m still here. And if I weren’t under a brain cloud, I would be able to remember the name of this arch. What I can tell you is that it’s 1500 feet from the top of the arch to the bottom of the canyon, and there were people posing on top of the arch. I think they were crazier than I feel right now. Hugs to all.

Overarching

Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” — Mother Teresa

Daily gratitudes:
Toddlers in footed pajamas
Sharing lunch
Sparkling coconut water
The end of a project being in sight
Pretty sunsets

It looked to me like these two were having a dance-off. It’s funny how many of my pictures from Moab were of trees, considering that trees are the least of the landscape there. My Mother was a tree-hugger. I guess it’s in my blood.

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Arches National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”  — Laini Taylor

Daily gratitudes:
Texts from my daughter
Dozing on the bus so I can get through Job #2
MKL’s eyes
Toddlers playing in the dancing waters
The feeling of souls in Union Station

Being with MKL (who is a car guy extraordinaire) has enhanced my passion for the road. I’ve always loved road trips. I’ve always loved ANY trip. But under his tender influence, I’ve come to appreciate the curves, the straightaways, the texture of the road, and the personality and performance of my truck more than I ever have before. Our second date was a drive. He picked me up and suggested we drive up to Leadville, which is about two and a half hours away. I knew he was testing whether I was genuine about my love of driving and going places, and if we did well in a car together for an extended period of time, and I did not disappoint. Our five-hour round trip turned into an eight-hour round trip. We discovered a shared love of opera, and he put his hand on my knee after asking permission. It is still one of our favorite shared memories.

So on trips like Kelsea’s and mine this past weekend, I get on a stretch of road and think how he would feel about it. He would love to drive the road in this image, and I am looking forward to sharing it with him.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”  — Robert Louis Stevenson

Daily gratitudes:
Seeing MKL after an absence (or really any time)
Morning walks
Books
Peanuts
Crickets

Kelsea and I have returned to the real world of school and work. We had a fantastic time on our sojourn in Utah, and I drove 1000 miles in the last four days. Every mile was full of sights, talk, laughter, and love. Utah is beautiful and we would definitely go back, but perhaps in the spring or fall. I got a mild case of heatstroke on our one major hike attempt  — and I realized how much I need to pump up my cardiovascular system. One of the things I liked the most about Utah, aside from its beauty, was the honesty of its signage. When a sign says “Heat Kills”, it means it. And when a sign says 30 miles per hour (on a curve), it’s not kidding. I’m looking forward to sharing the beauty of this wonderful place with you through pictures.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “Some say a sunset can be too beautiful for words.I’d agree with that.There are a lot of things too beautiful for words for me.To me, it was the earth’s way of saving the best for last.” — Shey Stahl

Daily gratitudes:
Kelsea
The marvels of nature
Music
Adventures
Taking side roads

Kelsea and I are on our annual mother-daughter Labor Day trip. She’s now able to cross another state off her list – Utah. I’ve been here before but never spent a night, so I guess now it can really count.

Our first impressions of Utah:

It’s dark. Really, really dark. Of course, it is night.

Right after the “Welcome to Utah” sign, was a sign for the “Trail Through Time”. If it hadn’t been so dark, we would have taken it. And it made me think of Dr. Who.

Shortly after that sign was a sign that said “Eagles on Highway”. What?! No!

Followed thereafter by towns with such intriguing names as Cisco and Yellowcat. None of which offered any services. And were completely dark.

Utah has very nice, smooth roads. Truck kept zipping up to 85 all by itself.

The shift in energy when we passed from Colorado to Utah was tangible. Not unpleasant, just different. Perhaps I will be able to put it into words after a bit more time here.

We know we were driving through someplace magnificent, but that darn darkness prevented us from seeing what it was. It reminded me of when MKL and I went to Monument Valley – when we arrived at night, we had no inkling of what beauty we were missing.

 

In the course of our seven hour drive from home, we avoided running over a coffeemaker and a pair of gym socks, and did not see any chupacabras. I have been up for almost 40 hours now, and so it’s time for me to go to bed. Photos tomorrow.

 

I love classic cars. We seem to have an abundance of classic car shows in Colorado during the summer, and I haven’t made it to a single one this year! Next year, I’m determined to create a calendar in advance so I can schedule Job #3 around at least a few of them. We found this gem in New Mexico, and MKL was super happy to sit in it. It reminded him of the truck in which his grandfather taught him to drive on the farm in Kansas when he was a small boy. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to find a great classic truck of our very own when we get a little more space around us. Ours is out there somewhere!

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Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” — Anne Frank

Daily gratitudes:
The duck umbrella handle peeking from the lady’s purse on the bus
Sherlock Holmes
Sleep
That Janalee got a new job!
Watching internet cat videos with Kelsea

We sat on this porch in a pair of white wooden rocking chairs and listened to the wind in the sea oats and the waves lapping at the sand and said we could have been content there for hours.

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Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

Quote: “My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”  —  William Shakespeare

Daily gratitudes:
That MKL and I are now formally  and officially engaged!
A day to relax
Patterns of sunshine
Happiness
Downpours

My darling daughter starts her senior year in high school tomorrow. It’s a strange thing. I remember being her age so vividly, and now I am seeing it from my Mother’s perspective. Athough Kelsea is different than I was at 17. It is so hard to comprehend her leaving home in a year. Perhaps for me, since she has not been with me full-time since I left ex-Pat’s house, and since I have always worked so much, and therefore seen less of her than your average mom, it will be a little easier. But the closer we get to the day she leaves, the more that feels like an untruth. I am so grateful that I did not miss these last years with her – yes, that was an option when I was under the spell of deceit in my previous relationship. I would not trade where I am now in my life with her – and with MKL – for anything. Not for all the islands in the world.

As she looks to the West for her future, I see her future through the strands of my own memories. New friends, first loves, that sense of freedom and power that comes from being truly on your own for the first time. Philosophy discussions. Term papers. Dorm food. Calling Mom for instructions on laundry and cooking. Walking to class on cold wet mornings. Learning a new city. Finding your way.

And I see her past. Standing at the sliding glass doors with Tug, bobbing up and down as her Daddy came home. Feeding her in the bar sink at the beach house. Her wearing her little pumpkin suit on her first Halloween. Coaching her on her first word. Playing restaurant. Teaching her to ride a bike. White blonde hair in summer. Finger painting. Blowing bubbles. Bathtimes. Reading all the Harry Potter books together. Mother-Daughter trips. Cuddling in thunderstorms. Jumping waves. Hugging next to horizons of sunflowers and darkly phosphorescent seas.

A long time ago, there was a country song by Suzy Bogguss about a girl going off to college and how her mother felt. Even before I had a child, that song made me cry. When the time comes to pack up my girl and set her free for parts distant, I suspect I’ll be playing that song a lot. (And you may see a few more sentimental posts on this blog.)

I have always said that there is an invisible silken strand that connects a mother’s heart with her child’s – my heart with her heart. She spoke that back to me a few weeks ago, and I was surprised and moved that she had heard me say it, had remembered it, and felt it too. The first time I experienced the strength of the strand was when ex-Pat took her to a family reunion. She was five years old. I had to stay behind to work. I felt so strange the whole time they were gone. She and I missed each other, and the strand stretched all the way from her heart in California to mine in Colorado. Stretched fine and thin, but as strong as ever. Perhaps even stronger for the distance.

I will treasure the days until she leaves, rejoice with her when it’s time for her to go, and cherish the strength of the strand.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” — Ayn Rand

Daily Gratitudes:
That I was glowing today
AAA
Always carrying a book with me
MKL
Clawfoot bathtubs

Because a day can start out really lousy, and wind up with skies like this.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” — Nora Roberts

Daily gratitudes:
The smell of warm asphalt
Glowing rain clouds
Helping others
MKL
The man in the elevator who cheerfully took the earful I gave him when he asked me how my morning was going

Balloons are known for their color, but sometimes they are just as stunning in shades of black and white. Given the state of affairs in Ferguson – and everywhere, for that matter – I wish the world could be colorblind.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Stairs
My mother
Memories of tutus past
San Pellegrino

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