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My little town is an art town. We have sculptures lining our Main Street, and a program called Alley Art, in which you can have a mural painted on your alley-facing garage door. Murals are also found on the sides of buildings “downtown”, and I’ve had all good intentions of going on a few walkabouts at different times of day to capture images to share here. But we start where we start, don’t we? This is the first piece of art one sees as one heads into town coming South on the highway. It’s next to a bike path – and to WalMart, but we’ll forgive these two cheerful metal cows for that.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “We all have bovine instincts deep within us.” —  Anonymous

Daily gratitudes:
Knowing I can sleep in a little bit tomorrow
A single leaf waving like a little hand
New blog friends (and of course, long-standing ones)
The BBC
The dilly of a thunderstorm we’re having right now (though Mr. Man doesn’t like it one bit)

My memory. My memories. They are elusive at times, and at other times, random memory flash to front of my mind. On the bus home, I thought of two metal snakelike belts that I had about 30 years ago, one silver, one gold. I can remember the feel of them in my hands. I can remember when I had to stop wearing them because the clasp was bent in an irreparable way. They weren’t particularly special and I’ve owned hundreds of articles of clothing. So why would that just pop into my mind as I gazed at the mountains? It makes me think that everything – everything – we have done, experienced, thought, dreamed, smelled, or felt is stored in our brains, if we could only access it all. As my memory tends to fail me more often than I’d wish – because of concussions, West Nile, Dengue, or overload – I find the thought that it’s all in there, stored in the gray matter, quite a comfort, and a beacon of hope. I keep that dim fear of Alzheimer’s, which my mother had, though she remained blessedly asymptomatic until the end, tucked away in a corner pocket of my consciousness somewhere, but I wonder, if it were ever to strike me, would I have more access to those seemingly insignificant memories, like the feel of a belt in my hand?

If objects have memory (and I suspect they do), imagine the memory of this bannister, of the hands that touched it over the last 250 years.

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Beaufort, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.” — Irwin Shaw

Daily gratitudes:
The man who rescued the terrified cat from the side of the speeding eight-lane interstate
Early evening light
Clean sheets
Sending my daughter to do the grocery shopping when I don’t feel good
Outlander

That’s what MKL asked me on the phone this morning. Why? Because he remembers waiting in the car while I explored this abandoned ruin on Little Exuma, which was swarming with mosquitoes. I love abandoned and overgrown places. I’m drawn to them and always have been, so how could I resist this spot? And yes, I did get some decent shots, though not quite what I had hoped for. But I also picked up a little something else. A little something called Dengue Fever. This was back in November 2013, and it took me weeks to get through that bout – weeks of incredible body aches, light sensitivity, nausea, stomach problems, blinding headaches, fevers, chills, and doctors who had to look up the condition on their computers to tell me there was nothing they could do to help. I got the same symptoms last week, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, until this morning, when I put the clues and the signs from the universe together to realize I was having another bout.

I am fortunate in many ways. Mosquitoes don’t seem to like me. On the other hand, I seem to be some kind of special prize for them. They save the finest and most powerful of their species just for me. Years ago, I got West Nile Fever; I had recurring bouts for years, every few months. And now I have Dengue, which doesn’t recur as frequently, but strikes with much more of a vengeance when it does. I’m glad I figured out what was wrong. At least I know that it will pass, though I don’t know when. Sometimes it helps if you can give your enemy a face and a name. But I can’t quite say yes to the question, “Was it worth it?”

Dengue Shot

Little Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Daily gratitudes:
Wordpress’ rainbow header
Love in all its forms
Roses and a note from my daughter
“Wife” in many languages
That I get to see MKL tomorrow

At least I do, having had a mysterious bug for the last few days that has knocked me pretty low. So here’s one for all of us.

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Three Sisters Beach, Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Coming delights, like tropical beaches, send out their native enchantment over the vast spaces that precede them – a perfumed breeze that lulls and drugs you out of all anxiety as to what may yet await you below the horizon.” — Gustave Flaubert

Daily gratitudes:
Being able to work from home when I’m sick
Cool showers
Plans
Baby bunnies
Summer breezes

MKL and I love road trips. We love seeing new places and having mini-adventures. Even just taking a stray dirt side road to see where it goes can be an adventure for us. Our second date was a daylong road trip, kind of a test to see if I really like road trips as much as I claimed, and if we enjoyed each other’s company enough to be in a car together with no other source of entertainment for hours on end. We discovered a mutual love of opera. We ate at a Mexican restaurant that we both liked in Buena Vista. And he sweetly asked if he could put his hand on my knee. (I said yes.) We’ve had countless other road trips both here and in other states and other countries over the last four years, but that first one holds a dear and special place in both of our hearts. It was a sign of wonderful things to come.

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Lyons, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I realised, of course, that other people used these roads; but that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafes were for everyone else.” — Kazuo Ishiguro

Daily gratitudes:
MKL, my car guy
Passing storms
Family
Sparkly boots
The healing powers of Mr. Man
Having Kelsea at the bungalow for a few days

I had the pleasure of watching the California Zephyr pull into Union Station on my way into work the other morning. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a train trip of any length, and it’s on our to-do list. When I was 14, my parents took E-Bro and me on a train trip up from Durham to DC to Montreal, across Canada to Vancouver, and then down to Seattle and San Francisco. (My father woke me up at 3:00 a.m. so we could get off the train and say we’d been to Moose Jaw.) It was wonderful and I’d love to do a trip like that with MKL. For now, I’ll have to be satisfied with watching the Zephyr come and go.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “She had more curves than a scenic railway.” —  P.G. Wodehouse (one of my favorite authors)

Daily gratitudes:
Migraine medicine
That the lady at the DMV gave me three tries to get a good driver’s license photo (maybe)
Blue skies
How nice everyone at Western Washington University has been to deal with
Having my blog shared by my Southern Soul Sister at So Does That Mean I’m Southern

During our whirlwind college tour, KVK and I had to make a detour to Aberdeen, Washington. If you are KVK, you feel as if you are the female embodiment of Kurt Cobain, and I thought it would be a true treat for her to see the house he was partially raised in and the bridge he slept under. With at least tacit support from the town, Kurt’s fans have created a small park called Kurt Cobain Landing. The town of Aberdeen was grey and industrial, and felt a little depressed, but in its defense, it was a grey and rainy day. That certainly did not diminish KVK’s spirits, and she oozed optimism in the truck as we went over the wrong bridge, down dead end roads, and into cow country until we stumbled upon our destination.

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Even in the wet, it was a lovely little park, with humor:

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tender tributes:

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and a bit of a biographical sketch:

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But the true destination for diehard Kurt supporters is under the bridge.

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Even the bridge itself acknowledges this fact.

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Supporters (I don’t think that’s the right word, but the word “fans” seems far too minimal) have left their own tributes in the form of graffiti under the bridge where Kurt slept.

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Of course, my KVK had to check it out, and I left her to it.

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I left her there, by the muddy banks of the Wishkah, to convene with the many spirits that I could feel even in my brief pass-through. I sat in the car and watched the raindrops on the windows, watched couples come and go, admired the lace curtains on the little old house next to the park, and wondered how residents felt about all the comings and goings of Kurt fans. But the fans all were so very respectful to the space, and I liked that.

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When KVK emerged from her time under the bridge, she was thrilled. One half of one of the couples that I had seen come and go had chatted with her in that space that was special to them both. He had known Kurt back in the Aberdeen days, and had spent time smoking weed with him and dreaming there in the mud by the Wishkah. Even though this was far from the point of our trip, it was certainly one of the highlights for her, and something she’ll remember for her whole life. And that’s the best thing about our mother-daughter trips.

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I think Kurt would have approved.

Daily gratitudes:
A flock of mourning doves
My ginormous peony
Having KVK tonight
Carrying my camera everywhere again
The newly discovered mural on the building in my town

Because we have sunsets like this. I know sunsets are lovely almost everywhere (especially at the beach), but watching the sun go down behind the Rocky Mountains, and waiting for the changing, remaining light, is a blessing that not everyone gets to see in their life. If we position ourselves properly, we get to see it every day. There’s a Jimmy Buffett song that is one of my theme songs – come now, don’t you have theme songs? admit it… this one is called “Hula Girl At Heart” and you can hear it here, and one of the lines is “she always sees the sun go down”. Since I’m by no means a morning person, I’m making seeing sunset as often as possible (and as often as possible with MKL) one of my life goals.

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Lyons, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “You can never replace anyone because everyone is made up of such beautiful specific details.” — Julie Delpy

Daily gratitudes:
A single peony from MKL
Actually figuring out some electronic connection (even though I don’t know how I did it)
A quest for the perfect vintage hat
Making it from bed to bus in 19 minutes this morning
Sugar-free Red Bull

It was a beautiful morning today. The rainy weather provided as Kelsea’s graduation present is taking a little break. The Triangle Building is going up next door to the building in which I write for a living, and it’s really cool. My co-worker Christine and I have supervised every scoop of earth, cable laid, beam positioned, and glass panel installed from our upstairs window. We think we did a splendid job, don’t you?

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The three facets of the great writer — magic, story, lesson — are prone to blend in one impression of unified and unique radiance, since the magic of art may be present in the very bones of the story, in the very marrow of thought…Then with a pleasure which is both sensual and intellectual we shall watch the artist build his castle of cards and watch the castle of cards become a castle of beautiful steel and glass.” — Vladimir Nabokov

Daily gratitudes:
A goose resting comfortably on the roof of an SUV
Red-winged blackbirds
The elderly waiter at the Broker
Reservations for Cottonwood Hot Springs
My friend Pam’s wonderful new job for which she is perfect!

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It was a rainy day in Washington. I had gotten a speeding ticket, was lost, and my phone was dead. I went into a gas station, found a map, and brought it to the counter. The young man looked at it and our dialogue was as follows:

Young Man:: You wanna buy that?
My thought: Why else would I have brought it to the counter?
My response: Yes. How much is it?
Young man: 55 dollars.
My thought: You’re flipping kidding me. (I might have thought a stronger “F” word.)
My response: Excuse me?
Older Man Standing Behind Young Man: I think that’s five dollars.
Young Man: Why do you want that?
My thought and response: Because I’m lost and I need a map.
Young Man: Why don’t you just use your phone?
Thought/response: Because my phone is dead.
Older Man Standing Behind Young Man:  I can sell you a phone charger.
My escalated thought/response: I don’t want a phone changer. I want a map. Do you want to sell me this map? I just got here, and I don’t know where I am and I just got a speeding ticket and I’d like to buy this map.
Young Man: Where’d you get a speeding ticket?
Increasingly steaming brain/response: I don’t know where I got a speeding ticket because I DON”T KNOW WHERE I AM.
(They stare at me, waiting for clarification.)
Me (sighing): It was some long straight road with no signs telling me how fast I was supposed to be going.
They both nod and make sage-like, grunting sounds, and comment how troopers are always stopping speeders there.
Me: Can I just buy the map please?
Young Man: You really want this?
Me (in my most sinister, sarcastic, hissing, piratical tone): Yes, I really think I do.

I finally got my map. But I’m not quite sure what to think about Washingtonians.

Quote of the day: “A map says to you, read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not…I am the earth in the palm of your hand.” — Beryl Markham

Daily gratitudes:
My new cube backdrop of Cow Wreck (thanks to Christine, Elisa, and Walker Magnum)
That I found two apps that just play the sound of the ocean on my phone
That my darling daughter’s last day of high school is tomorrow
That MKL tells me that he loves how my eyes shine when I look at him
That Mr. Man seems to be feeling a little better (and that I have another idea about solving his ‘thinking outside the box’ issue

 

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