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Another surrogate daughter shared something tonight that, on top of an anxiety-provoking experience, made me think about who I am. I am a person who:

Rescues ants from drowning in hot springs pools
Would prefer to shoo a fly out a door instead of splatter it on the wall
Says hi to every dog I get close to, even before saying hi to their owner
Picks up things for strangers when they drop them
Ask confused looking tourists if they need help with directions
Stops to see if I can help children who look lost and scared
Wants to tell you if your tire is going flat when I’m driving next to you
Tries to help an old friend who I haven’t spoken with in years who posts a suicidal message on social media (this is how I have spent much of my evening)
Will write “you are amazing” on any available public chalkboard
Is still trying to figure out how to get out of my own way
Looks for the tiny things that make me smile each day
Tries to see the positive in all negatives
Loves my daughter – and my many surrogate daughters – with my whole heart
Misses friends from my school years with whom I’m no longer in touch
Would give the shirt of my back (or in one case, my bra) to a friend in need
Tries to think before she speaks
Makes sure that my words are kind
Hopes I’ve made a meaningful difference in one life in the course of my own
Is crazy stupid in love with my husband
Thinks that there are positives in every person
Wants to have a good relationship with my ex-husband
Is happiest by water
Believes the people we have lost to death are with us still
Loves to draw hearts in the sand…

And so much more. That’s just a drop on the surface of the sea of me. But tonight, I felt the need to share it.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “To be kind, honest and have positive thoughts; to forgive those who harm us and treat everyone as a friend; to help those who are suffering and never to consider ourselves superior to anyone else: even if this advice seems rather simplistic, make the effort of seeing whether by following it you can find greater happiness.” — Dalai Lama XIV

Daily gratitudes:
My truck
That MKL is a little happier
That my heating pad has chosen to work tonight
My physical therapist
Kelsea and my girls

 

 

 

As we shift from beaches to barnyards, I’ll be sharing some images from the 110th National Western Stock Show in Denver. MKL was a wonderful substitute for Kelsea who, as I’m sure I’ve said about twenty times, missed the Stock Show for the first time in 19 years. She was six weeks old at the time of her first visit. MKL and I went twice this year, which was YAY for me, since I could go every day. It has always been a dream of mine to work for the NWSS. There’s some farm girl deep inside of me that just feels so at home among the livestock. I’ve always felt this way, but have never acted on it. At this stage of our life together, I don’t think it’s a good fit either. But I have the Stock Show every year, and the only thing MKL wouldn’t (most wisely) do, which Kelsea and I would have done is put a bid in on a cow in the Beef Palace. Just a small $100 bid, one on which we would have been immediately outbid. Or else we’d have a cow in the front yard now. Anyway, as I say, MKL is wise. Though he did look the part of a wealthy rancher on both visits.

We saw two rodeos one of which included mutton bustin’ and some really rank bulls, had a meet-and-greet with llamas and alpacas, saw Highland cattle, angus bulls, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, geese, ducks, peacocks, buffalo, and Longhorns. I petted a yak. We had a beer at the Yard Bar. I got manure on my boots. We ate corn dogs and MKL had a deep-fried Twinkie. And I was as happy as …. well, as happy as could be.

Do you remember fairy tales of the poor farm girl swept up in some whirlwind romance and whisked off to the city to lead a life of luxury? Why does no one ever sweep the busy city girl of to a farm?

A Sheepish SmileDenver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Love grows wherever you plant it, so I try to farm it wherever I go.” — Jarod Kintz

Daily gratitudes:
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos
Lap cats
Artichokes
Love
My girls

 

Biding my time until we are somewhere warm. And trying to get my shoulder to heal. That part is not going well. But the countdown to warm is moving right along.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” — Carl R. Rogers

Daily gratitudes:
Warm socks
Mr. Man
Jumping jacks
MKL
Messaging with my girls

 

 

Salt water is good at hiding things, whether it’s tears on a soft cheek, or the white wings of a gull skimming along seafoam. I think that no matter how happy I find myself from day to day, sometimes demons and their lies from the past raise their heads when I am dabbling in the dangerous winter waves of depression.

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Tulum, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” — Annie Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
Countdown to the sea
Those thousands of geese circling the dry fields
Stock show time with MKL
Dear and trusted friends
Moving through

 

 

 

 

In my continued quest to raise MKL’s spirits, I’m taking us to the long, wide, windswept beaches of the Riviera Maya again. January in Tulum was quite breezy; I suppose February in Cozumel will likely be the same, but that’s just fine. I’m excited to go – we’re a month away as of tomorrow. And today is our five month wedding anniversary, and we’re heading to the Stock Show tomorrow to see llamas, alpacas, rodeo, and whatever other surprises we encounter. He has promised to do his best to take the place of Kelsea – this is the first year she will miss the Stock Show, having gone every year since she was a month and a half old. He’s a very good husband. :-)

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Tulum, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “When we travel, we aim for the sublime. It’s the ridiculous stuff, however, that we tend to treasure the most.” — Erik Torkells

Daily gratitudes:
The surprise return of a favorite blogger after a year-long hiatus
Working from home on a snow day
A cuddly Maine Coon
My stepsons
A clean(ish) kitchen

 

 

 

I love the way the little palm spawn are playing around the grown-up palm in this image. This was taken at a very odd little resort that my niece and I passed through as we walked back from the main Tulum ruins to our little hotel. If I were younger, it’s a place I might have liked to stay, because each room was just a little tiny house, all painted in bright tropical colors. But there were communal bathrooms (no) and no cross-breezes in the tiny houses (oven) – neither of those things feeds the soul in need of sanctuary.  But palm trees, and the sound of the wind through the fronds, always does.

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Tulum, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.” — Ben Aaronovitch

Daily gratitudes:
The Stock Show parade
Hearing coyotes howling in the open space near my bungalow
Old fashioned radiators to warm MKL’s feet
Island dreaming
Only 72 days until spring

It’s Stock Show weather here in Denver – meaning it’s soooo cold and the 110th National Western Stock Show kicks off tomorrow.  (At least we are not at Denver’s record low for this date, set in 1913, of -21.) You’ll get some photos and details over the next two weeks. We’re still sticking with beach images, since MKL and I are landlocked for another month, and the winter blues are getting a bit overwhelming for us both. On a lighter note, am I the only person who immediately thought of “Married With Children” when I read about the Bundy crew barricading themselves in a BLM office in Oregon? I actually thought it was a joke at first. But I’ll say no more, as I seldom get political here, unless I feel exceptionally passionate about something, and this is not one of those things.

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Tulum, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.” — Robert Byrne

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
The fostered cats at The Happy Beast
My orange earrings
A brand new blue bus for my daily commute
Shedding tears at the loss of a friend of a friend

 

 

And this was my buddy on one particular day. He looks rather magical doesn’t he?  I don’t know that my upcoming trip will afford much water time, but I don’t care. It will be a honeymoon at a remote spot on a long beach, and the only things I need are MKL, a book, and a bottle of something. We’re counting down. It’s wonderful to have someplace warm to count down to.

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Little Cayman, Cayman Islands.

Quote of the day: “When we travel, we aim for the sublime. It’s the ridiculous stuff, however, that we tend to treasure the most.” — Erik Torkells

Daily gratitudes:
Battling a bug
Experiences
New boots
Milk
New reading glasses

Rest in peace, Gig Michaels. Your heart and your music will be greatly missed here, but you’ll totally rock heaven.

We were in Hawaii for our last post. Let’s jet over to Grand Cayman for tonight’s send-off. Sunsets are one of those ubiquitous things that always happen, whether we see them or not. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to see many beautiful sunsets (though no green flash) and always love thinking of the sun rising on the other side of the earth as I watch it sink into whatever horizon is before me.

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Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

I encountered an odd coincidence in the news today. A 54-year old man was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in my hometown of Durham yesterday. A sad event indeed. The coincidence? That a 53-year old man was struck and killed by an Amtrak train yesterday in a town next to the one where my daughter is in college. Another sad event. Just kind of odd.

Quote of the day: “Meet me where the sky touches the sea. Wait for me where the world begins.” — Jennifer Donnelly

Daily gratitudes:
Cuddling
Ab workouts
Ocelet footie pajamas
Peyton Manning (regardless)
The Amazon commercial with the little pony

Let’s stay in Hawaii for a few days, shall we? White sand, driftwood trees, volcanic rocks, blue water. Some beach, somewhere.

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The Big Island, Hawaii.

Quote of the day: “Are the days of winter sunshine just as sad for you, too? When it is misty, in the evenings, and I am out walking by myself, it seems to me that the rain is falling through my heart and causing it to crumble into ruins.” — Gustav Flaubert

Daily gratitudes:
Giving blood
Work
MKL, even when I don’t see him
My winter coat
Smiles

 

 

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