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Having a teenage daughter makes you walk back into your own past. You see the things that she is going through and, if you are open, you can remember how you felt at that age, what you were feeling, how you reacted.  I was going to say “if you are lucky”, but I must admit that revisiting my teenage years, even in my mind, is sometimes a painful thing. Adolescence isn’t something that most of us would want to go through twice, at least not without the benefit of the wisdom we gain in our futures – and now, I WILL say “if we are lucky”.

I was a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first date until I was almost 16, didn’t have my first kiss until I was actually 16. (You don’t get any more details past that point, sorry.)  I was a miserable 14- and 15-year-old. I didn’t know why no one was interested in me. I wanted to believe that I was so pretty that I scared boys off, but my Mother told me that was not the case – she did it gently, but I still remember that conversation – exactly where we were and everything.  My best friend Sarah and I felt like we were wearing some sort of sign that said “Never been kissed.” And just like a lot of other things in life, if you didn’t have experience, no one seemed to want to take a chance on you. Sounds like trying to find a job, doesn’t it? Of course, the corollary is rather true as well – if you had too much experience, people weren’t really interested in you either.  Strangely enough, also like it is in the business world.

Anyway, as I said, I was a grumpy, bad-tempered teenager (until I could drive and then the world literally opened up before me. I became much nicer once I found my wings.) I didn’t want to be seen with my parents. I stayed in my room almost all the time that I was home, entertaining romantic notions of escape, and what my life would be like. I spent a lot of time in a dreamworld. The scarring experience of my pre-teen years likely played a role in this confused isolationism, and while I remember that, I don’t add it into the equation when I think about my teenage years in the grand scope of things. I guess I remember being a typical teenager.

Well, bloom I did, robustly and delightfully. I think most of us do, even though we think it will never happen. And once I came into my power, I felt invincible.  Sometimes I still feel that way. Invincible, yes. Loveable is a little harder to believe, but I’m making good progress on it.

As I watch my girl and her friends go through their teenage years, I compare my own experience to theirs, and draw up from the depths of my soul the turbulent emotions surrounding change, acceptance, love, hormones, justice, freedom, adulthood, social quandaries, sexuality, school, frustrations, and delights. I don’t know if I’m right in applying my own perspective to their situations, now some 35 years later.

But on some level, I think that young women are young women (even if those of my daughter’s age are a bit more worldly than most girls of that age were in the late 1970s), and that the emotions that swirl around aging haven’t changed. In fact, as I find my half-century mark rushing up to meet me squarely in the chin, I realize that I am still experiencing a myriad of emotions around love, escape, freedom, satisfaction, work, frustrations, justice, time demands, acceptance, and delights.  I don’t think of myself as much older than Kelsea or her friends at heart. I still feel things just as fully, innocently, and honestly as they do, as I did back then.

I was a late bloomer back then. Perhaps I’m a late bloomer now. Perhaps I am just eternally in bloom. But I am reminded of those lovely roses that bloom until early in the fall, their petals full and lush, their fragrance sweet. And when it is time for them to go, those petals fall like velvet tears, their scent still lingers in the air.

Photo of the day for January 30, 2012: Late Bloomer

San Francisco, California.

Daily gratitudes:
A lovely weekend
MKL
The man who leaves walks down Wynkoop every day playing his mandolin at 5:00 pm
Cases of San Pellegrino
Silliness

Instead of a quote of the day, I have a request: Please send prayers to Sarah Bennett, one of Kelsea’s friends who was seriously injured in a car accident during the weekend.

Yes, Kelsea really needed a little distance from Colorado, so that’s just what we got today… out-of-state. Fortunately for us, another state is less than 100 miles away.  So we went there.

Wyoming.

We spent the travel time talking and talking and talking.  Mostly about what’s going on in her life, but we did have the occasional bizarre segue, like a debate about the perceived gender of God, and if God were a woman, perhaps we all have really bad weeks when she has her period.  And then about the fact that, yes, to blaspheme is actually a verb.

We were looking for some bizarre rock formations that I had read about on www.roadsideamerica.com a couple of months ago.  My swiss-cheese brain told me it was near the border, but that was as far as it went. So we took a detour east and found some rocks that were inaccessible near the tiny town of Carr. Which also had a great little convenience store.

We debated and declined trespassing on the funky rocks, and turned around to continue our journey. But once we got back on the Interstate, we saw the ACTUAL rocks that we’d been looking for, which we would have seen had we driven another mile or so.  We resolved to stop on our return.

Into Cheyenne, we stopped at the first flea market we saw and poked around for over an hour. It was a good flea market, and we came away with some music for her – I had gotten her an old record player for Christmas, so she’s starting to collect vinyl – and some clothes from my fledgling Ebay vintage store for me. And of course, we got a couple of little things for the house.

A scented china glass conch shell that we initially thought was a salt shaker, but then determined was for potpourri.  Either way, it now lives in the bathroom.

A milk glass covered chicken dish! (The gold perpetually waving Chinese cat was a Christmas present from Kelsea). Both now live in the kitchen.

After browsing and buying, we stopped in at Two Doors Down for an absolutely excellent burger, and played peekaboo with a neighboring baby.

We had an actual purpose for going to Cheyenne – to buy Kelsea a pair of cowboy boots. We braved the wind – one thing we both REALLY dislike about Wyoming is the perpetual wind – and fled into the Wrangler, a longstanding Western store and fixture of downtown Cheyenne.  And I’m happy to say we met with success!

She’s very pleased. And now it’s payback time, because I always make her take MY cowboy boots off when we’re home together.

Our final shop-stop was Ernie November, a head/music shop, where she indulged in a few CDs to round out her growing music collection.  The final music tally looks like this:

Gotta love her eclectic taste in music – she bought Kiss AND Dean Martin!

Time to head home, we did take the detour off the highway back to see the strange rocks, and to get a slightly closer look at the herd of buffalo that we passed.  The sunset was lovely.

And the rocks were REALLY cool.

There were a lot of them, and they created a sort of little maze, complete with small caves and crevices.  But the wind was blowing like cold stink and after scaling one of them, Kelsea decided she’d had enough.

We made a mad dash back to the car, and watched the remaining sunset cuddled in front of the heater.

We’re home now, on the red couch, watching ridiculous television, and happy that we had a few hours in another state of mind.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend, too.

I know, it sounds like an amazing acrobatic feat, doesn’t it?  Well, it is.

I have been getting minor migraines for a few years now.  Not too often, and not as bad as some friends I know who’ve had them. In fact, I’d say I’m pretty lucky. Usually, I will feel one coming on and can stave it off with caffeine, Celebrex, or other tricks. But not this time.

I’m learning more about migraines. I guess I should say, I’m teaching myself more about migraines, as they seem to be more and more a part of my life in my present perimenopausal condition. And may I say that I hope the whole perimenopausal thing just switches over to menopausal sooner rather than later. I’d much prefer “falling off the roof” to this current state of clinging to the gutter.

So what are migraines? Well, migraines are pain. Nuff said.

No, just kidding. Hey, I’m a migraineur. That’s how we roll. But seriously, let me tell you a little bit about migraines.

Many people find that weather patterns serve as a trigger for migraines. Extremes in heat or cold – or extreme changes in temperature – can bring a migraine on.  So when the barometer drops, you’d better get ready.

Certain foods can bring on migraines, as can dieting and lack of sleep. Migraines contrarily come after a stressful event concludes, and so they can show up at the beginning of a long weekend after a tough work week, or at the start of a honeymoon (everybody knows how stressful it can be to get married), all putting a damper on your post-stress festivities.

About 29.5 million people suffer from migraines, and three times more women than men get them. Maybe that’s from the hormone fluctuations – I’m not sure.  If you, like I, am one of those 29.5 million, rest assured that we’re in good company. Other migraine sufferers include Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Virginia Wolfe, Lewis Carroll, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Elvis Presley. As you can see, it’s a list of charismatic, creative people – a group that you’d love to join, if the requirement for joining weren’t having a pain in your head that makes you want to rip off your own skull.

Speaking of artistic endeavors, two creative researchers have put together a book/exhibition entitled Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from Within. Klaus Podoll and Derek Robinson are responsible for the project, which included Migraine Art competitions in the UK and the US. The resultant artwork is a variety of depictions of the migraine itself by its sufferer.

Olea Nova has some lovely and evocative examples on her website www.migraineartwork.com.  A psychologist and artist, she herself does not have migraines, but she interviews those who do and transfers their words into the images in her work. She does an excellent job of creating a visual of an event for which it is difficult to find words.

Now for some practical information.

Migraines have four phases:

Prodrome: This is the first phase and shows up one or two days before the actual migraine. It’s sneaky and stealthy and mimics many other things. Symptoms at this stage (at least for me) include cravings, neck stiffness (like I slept wrong), irritability, and depression. You know something is wrong, but can’t pinpoint it. You wonder if you’re getting sick. But you don’t think about a migraine.

Aura: (And we’re not talking about that glowy-colored light that surrounds people.) Not everyone experiences this stage. I don’t. These symptoms may happen just before a migraine. You may have visual disturbances, or feel like your arms or legs are asleep - that numb, tingling feeling. You might have trouble talking – wait, I always have trouble talking these days. The aura stage is not to be confused with ophthalmic migraines, which are generally annoying, painless, and are NOT a precursor to a migraine.

Attack (a.k.a.Pain Pain Pain): This is the lulu stage. The pain. It is often in one part of your head. For me, it’s above my left eye, though my neck can hurt too. It pulses. It throbs. It’s stabby. You are sensitive to light, to sound. You are nauseated. It’s hard to see, to even keep your eyes open. It’s next to impossible to think. All you want to do is to get those little men with the pickle forks out of your head. It can last (seemingly forever but really) for anywhere from one to three days. This last one lasted for two days.

Postdrome: This is the migraine hangover. You feel exhausted, drained, and somehow there is still a shadow of the migraine hanging around. You are afraid it’s going to come back. It feels like it’s waiting in the wings for an encore.

I tried to find some migraine humor, but it’s hard to come by. I guess very few people find it a laughing matter. I’ll share what I’ve found.

Cures?  Heaven only knows.  There are numerous folk remedies that folks say will improve things: pineapple, orgasms, Lapis Lazuli crystals, feverew, ice-cold wet socks on the feet, peppermint oil, Vitamin B3, and the list goes on and on. For me (this time), the only thing that worked was ice packs and Oxycodone, which was ancient and leftover from some medical procedure years ago. It still walloped the tar out of my migraine. In fact, it kicked my migraine in its ass. (But I don’t recommend it unless things are extreme, because it is addictive.)

So now you have a little bit of what I know about migraines. What I don’t know I can’t tell you. I just hope you don’t become one of the elite squad of migraineurs. I certainly wish I wasn’t.

And by the way, tonight, I am almost all better.

The Light Behind

She passes from the brightest light
Through setting suns on edgeless seas,
Down wooden weaveways brushing night,
Caressed by gentle jungle trees.

Her dreams are moving far behind,
Left in the ruin of ruins past.
She exits stage right from her mind,
Remembering things that would not last.

The patterns playing in her eyes,
More luscious and intense by far
Than those she once could recognize
Though veiled and swaddled in the stars.

She shimmers, endless, full of grace,
Alive now in the world’s tired mind,
And those who loved her in this place
Spill tears in the trails she left behind.

Tulum, Mexico

Quote of the day: “Completion comes not from adding another piece to ourselves, but from surrendering our ideas of perfection.”  –  Mark Epstein

Daily gratitudes:
The little girl in striped tights joyfully doing her Irish step-dancing as she walked down the 16th Street Mall this morning
People’s individual sense of style
Artistic graffiti
The sunny side of the sidewalk
Burnt orange
Spring soon come

Today’s guest poet:  Charlotte Bronte

Evening Solace

The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
And days may pass in gay confusion,
And nights in rosy riot fly,
While, lost in Fame’s or Wealth’s illusion,
The memory of the Past may die.

But there are hours of lonely musing,
Such as in evening silence come,
When, soft as birds their pinions closing,
The heart’s best feelings gather home.
Then in our souls there seems to languish
A tender grief that is not woe;
And thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish,
Now cause but some mild tears to flow.

And feelings, once as strong as passions,
Float softly back – a faded dream;
Our own sharp griefs and wild sensations,
The tale of others’ suffering seems.
Oh! when the heart is freshly bleeding,
How longs it for that time to be,
When, through the mist of years receding,
Its woes but live in reverie!

And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer,
On evening shade and loneliness;
And, while the sky grows dim and dimmer,
Feel no untold and strange distress -
Only a deeper impulse given
By lonely hour and darkened room,
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven,
Seeking a life and world to come.

Buena Vista, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Sometimes you have to try not to care, no matter how much you do, because sometimes you can mean nothing to someone who means so much to you. It’s not pride. It’s self-respect.”  –  Lessons Learned In Life

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Pool tables
That the entire container of blueberries I spilled in the alley will feed to local bunnies
Eliminating paperwork
Pete the dog
Wooly-Bully in the integrated cow pasture

Have you wondered where I’ve been?

I’ll tell you.

I’ve been off in Buena Vista, pronounced as specified in this post’s title, taking the waters at Cottonwood Hot Springs with MKL. (And no, it’s not MLK, though we did very much appreciate MLK Day as a good time to get away from a lot of work.)

I was dog tired on Friday night on our way in, so he was kind enough to drive, and kinder enough not to run over two coyotes who chased each other across the road. We did have a shared “ghost car” experience, that I’ll discuss later in a new planned Paranormal blog page. Getting into B.V. around 7:30, we stopped at Casa del Sol for dinner.

The photo is from our second date, which was a seven-hour mountain drive, in which we stopped at Casa del Sol for lunch.  Strangely enough, when we walked in on Friday night, the waitress said, “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?” Well, yes, once five months ago. How odd that she would remember – it’s not as if we terrorized the place.  I wasn’t impressed with the food, for the second time in a row, so I think we’ll only make it back for guacamole and tequila in the future.

We immediately took to the pools when we arrived at Cottonwood, as I attempted to achieve my customary state of bliss. However, it was freezing and the wind was vicious, so I only became moderately blissful. As is often the case in the pools at night, overhead conversations were odd and interesting, aided by intoxicants. (Ah, the memory of Cabbage Boy, who loudly proclaimed that this much-maligned vegetable should replace lettuce in all things.)  On Friday night, we had a girl discussing a) porn, b) stars (and I’m surprised she didn’t make the leap to porn stars) and c) what her boyfriend had been saying to his friends about her on the ski lift earlier in the day.  Sigh. Pool etiquette is lost on some people.

I was blissed out enough to feel like the corridor in the lodge was endless.

I made a fairly good effort at catching up on my lost sleep, and we slept in, then hit the pools again for a while. Cold again, and slightly windy but bright.

Cottonwood is a peaceful, spiritual spot.  Cathy and Dian, the owners, make little adjustments every month, adding new artwork outside, new touches inside, but always respecting the power of the place. Three of their pools were open: a cool pool, which was about 83 degrees (brrrr…I didn’t even dip a toe in), the “head” pool, which was running about 104 degrees, and the “elbow” pool, which was around 106 degrees. We would alternate between the head and the elbow, depending on the crowds.

A nap was in order after soaking, then a bit of shopping among the racks in Cathy’s Closet. She always has an interesting and eclectic selection.

We ventured into town at sunset to look for a better pillow for me than the bed had supplied, and were struck by the sunset and star-rise as we left the Alcoa.

Dinner was at Jan’s Restaurant, which is my favorite breakfast place.  Jan’s does a better breakfast than dinner, and we watched the Broncos get off to an inauspicious start before heading back for another soaking session, complete with constellation finding and falling stars.

Sleeping in again on Sunday, we coffeed up in the Great Room downstairs.

Then back into town for breakfast – which due to our lateness was actually lunch – which was at the Evergreen Cafe, home of the world’s worst reuben sandwich …


and some really cool bar stools.

Since I had never bought anything from a pawn shop, we stopped in at the pawn shop next to the restaurant.

And buy something I did!

Don’t be silly. Of course I didn’t buy that. We bought a very cool vintage cigarette lighter, to go with our exceptionally cool vintage cigarette stand – even though neither of us smoke. But now I can cross something off my list.

We went into town, hoping to get a chance to visit the incredibly interesting store that I have never been able to get into.

Alas, he was closed on Sunday and Monday. Something for the next trip.

We admired a version of the Turquoise Torpedo.

MKL fell in love with an old, abandoned BMW. He’s a car guy, specifically a BMW guy, and it reminded him of the very first BMW that he ever saw. By the way, if any of you readers know the identity of the owner of an abandoned blue BMW 2800 CS (plates last renewed in 1997) sitting in the parking lot by the railroad tracks near The Green Parrot in Buena Vista, Colorado, please let me know via comments.

I drove him by the amazing blacksmith’s shop, with its magical doors.

On the way back to the springs, we stopped at the sad site of a completely torched house. How devastating this must have been for the owners.


Winding up our day with a room picnic, we spent a very restless night, for no discernible reason, which, sadly, made me feel my sleep deprivation all over again.  We woke late to a light snow and bitter wind, in time to grab coffee and pack up. I took a few more pictures of the lodge’s adornments. Such as the adorable ram that I covet.

And the cautionary signs on the stairs – I can’t watch my head, hands, and fingers all at the same time.

Packed up and checked out, we went back to Jan’s for lunch, where the waitress said, “Weren’t you just in here for breakfast?” Apparently, we had doppelgangers, or else our strange sense of space and time that we frequently experience at Cottonwood had edged its way into town.

Our drive home was snowy but unremarkable.

It wasn’t as relaxing as my usual experience at Cottonwood, but it was a great little getaway, and I’d encourage anyone to check it out if they are in the Buena Vista neighborhood. MKL is a fantastic travelling partner, and we laughed and talked and revelled in each other’s company, hating for the weekend to end.

So now you know where I was. Tomorrow is another work day, and I’m hoping to get our Stock Show report up for your perusal.

Before this goes  in the Lessons Learned list (conveniently located under Lists on the blog navigation bar). I thought I’d share this with you personally.

It is possible to fall asleep with a mouthful of coffee. Don’t do it. It makes you feel like you are drowning when the coffee starts going down every pipe that runs around in there. Of course, on the plus side, the experience wakes you up, which is what the coffee was supposed to do. Unless you’re like me, and coffee makes you sleepy instead of wakey.

So, I guess the short version of the lesson is: swallow before you fall asleep.

Wait.

That sounds really wrong. Or maybe not. To some people.

This is what happens when you get ten hours of sleep in  three days and try to write a blog.

Photo for January 11, 2012: Nom Nom Nommy Nom

This little Hawaiian guy loved his morning honey.

I know it’s technically January 12, but since I’m still up (just finished working), I felt compelled to post.  At least I did one thing today that WASN’T about working.

Quote of the Day: “Remember how great you feel when your life is filled with love and joy and health and creativity? This is how our lives are meant to be lived.” – Louise Hay

Daily gratitudes:
That the snow wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
My morning bus driver who I have secretly nicknamed Eyeore.
Picking up Kelsea after her homework time at Starbucks.
Meatballs.
Bed.

Today’s guest poet: Charles Simic

Clouds Gathering

It seemed the kind of life we wanted.
Wild strawberries and cream in the morning.
Sunlight in every room.
The two of us walking by the sea naked.

Some evenings, however, we found ourselves
Unsure of what comes next.
Like tragic actors in a theater on fire,
With birds circling over our heads,
The dark pines strangely still,
Each rock we stepped on bloodied by the sunset.

We were back on our terrace sipping wine.
Why always this hint of an unhappy ending?
Clouds of almost human appearance
Gathering on the horizon, but the rest lovely
With the air so mild and the sea untroubled.

The night suddenly upon us, a starless night.
You lighting a candle, carrying it naked
Into our bedroom and blowing it out quickly.
The dark pines and grasses strangely still.

It was warm the weekend we were in Santa Fe, and we’ve had teasers of spring even today.  A mourning dove was cooing outside the kitchen window this morning, and there was a fly buzzing around outside the Smiling Moose yesterday – both encouraging signs.

Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:  four perfect movements in harmony with each other.”  ~Arthur Rubenstein

Daily gratitudes:
The way the sun turned the grey skyscrapers the same shade of azure as the sky late this afternoon.
Looking forward to a long weekend away.
The man on the bus making animal noises.
Old books
My Mother’s jewelry box

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