I love the little town in which I’ve lived for over four years now. One of the things I love most about it is its support of the arts. We have a remarkable collection of public art lining our main street, as well as an “Alley Art” program, in which artists paint amazing murals on residents’ alley-facing garage doors. As I am planning on moving in with MKL (because we think a husband and wife should live together) in his town some 40 miles away, I wanted to document our small-town art so I could share it here, with a larger audience. Two weekends ago, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I took a long walk and began to capture some images. I’ll let you see them as we move along in time together.

This beautiful piece is called Waiting for the Bus by artist Lucas Loeffler Child. The artist’s mother became ill with pancreatic cancer and quickly passed away just as Child was finishing the piece. He gathered a collection of little things – pennies from the year she was born and the year she died, little treasures that the two of them shared, memories – and put them in a shining circular tin, placing it inside the chest of the angel just where the heart would be. He also positioned her in the center of her bench, so that people could sit on either side of her, with one of her hands curled gently beside her, so someone could hold it for comfort. While much of our town’s art changes from year to year, our angel is permanent, sitting waiting for the bus in the shade, halo in her lap, at the end of a very long day.

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.” — Victor Hugo

Daily gratitudes:
October thunderstorms
Comfort food after a day of pain
A solution to the mystery of The Cold War Horse
Mr. Man

As a former ballet and modern dancer, I am no stranger to broken toes. The first one – the right “piggy that stayed home” – was broken in high school as I twirled off stage during a class, misjudging and running into the red velvet stage curtain. And the metal flagpole behind it. The second one, also in high school, was broken during a performance at UNC-Chapel Hill. I performed a leap and landed smack on the tip-top of the left “piggy that stayed home”. The show must go on, so dipping offstage as part of the planned choreography, I gasped to a fellow dancer “I think I just broke my toe,” and then went back on stage. Sure enough, x-rays the next day proved that I had split the bone smack down the center. That one took a bit longer to heal. That’s also when I discovered that, no matter how bad the toe break, as long as it’s not a compound fracture, all they do is tape the toe to its neighbor toe and let it heal up on its own.

In other words, doctors are often a waste of time and money.

Moving ahead a year to college, the right pinky toe was the next victim. In that case, the perpetrator was not myself, a wood floor, or a metal pole, but a rather large woman in very spikey heels who took an unfortunate lurch back onto said toe with said heel spike while we were crammed together in the subway. I can still remember the pain, my sharp exhalation, and her titter of “Oh, sorry.” Poor little pinky toe. I believe that was in the Fall of freshman year, because I still danced on it.

That spring, I broke the right little piggy that went to market. I have no idea how. I believe it was a stress fracture from class. As soon as it healed, I broke the left one in the same way. My early demise of my dancing days was starting its slow approach. Both healed, and I danced on through another two years or so, but finally a torn back muscle, and knowing that I just wasn’t good enough, made me hang up my slippers with a few regrets and lots of happy and proud memories.

Last week after work, my big toe hurt. I didn’t really think anything of it, because I’m at that point where things just hurt inexplicably. Perhaps the weather was changing. Maybe I had caught it in the sheets while I slept and sprained it, Who knew? It felt mostly better for the rest of the week. Then I went to work on Saturday, and by Sunday, I knew it was broken. Another stress fracture. Bruised, swollen, tender, and exquisitely painful, particularly when moved or touched in certain ways.

Having learned how useless doctors and x-rays are in these scenarios, I lathered it was BF&C, taped it to its neighbor, and am letting it heal. Note the charming mustache duct tape. In the absence of paper tape commonly used for such medical procedures, this was all I had. My other option was duct tape with flames, but I found this more amusing.


So here’s to all the toes out there. They do an awful lot of hard work for as small and fragile as they actually are. Let’s hope that the next time I share them with you, they’ll be dug in the white sand or somewhere like this.


Marina Cay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe. Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day—the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?” — Mark Nepo

Daily gratitudes
The sound of rain on the woodstove pipe
Tidying up
Roly-poly glasses
Feeling happily tired


It has been one month since Kelsea flew 1399.9 miles away to the west to go to college. It feels like much longer to me.

I was imagining that with the plethora of communications channels these days, we would be in touch more often. When I was in college, my parents sent me letters, and I called them once a week. Back in those days of yore, we still had long distance charges, so it was always after 8:00 in the evenings, usually on a Sunday night. After all, my father would always call his mother on Sunday nights after the rates went down, something he did until the day she moved in with my parents. Even at the beach, he would walk down to the telephone booth by Mr. Godwin’s to call her at the same time every week.

Today, with email, Skype, Facebook, Instagram, text messages, twitter, snapchat, and probably lots of other things I don’t know about, as I say, I assumed Kelsea and I would be in semi-constant communication. However, my daughter is the exception to the rule of her age, and is not a fan of social media or spending hours on the computer. As she pointed out to me, I should think this is a good thing – she is spending her time reading, studying (I hope), playing ultimate, making friends, and exploring her new self, surroundings, and independence.

In an ironic twist of fate, I find that I am communicating with her via the occasional letter (though my first and favorite letter did not make it through the mails) and phone calls. She tends to call me on Sundays, a sweet coincidence, since I never told her about my father’s phone calls. I love to hear about her new life, though I find little to tell her about mine just now, which is okay. I do send her texts once in a while, but don’t want to encroach on her new life. I wasn’t a helicopter parent when she was here, and I won’t become one now that she’s gone. We Skype on occasion, and I’ve been lucky enough to see her space and meet some of her friends through Skype – I do have to be conscious of being dressed in something other than a bedsheet when I answer her Skype calls, since I never know if it will be just the two of us, or me, her, and roomful of others.

It’s hard to find the balance, to know what the balance is. I know she misses me, and I also know that she needs to learn how to manage that feeling. I know I miss her, and I suppose I have to learn to manage that feeling too. I do send her a message every single day – some funny or sweet animal picture  – just so she knows I am out here and thinking about her. Parents have gone through this challenge for decades, if not centuries, when their children leave home. We are lucky to have the open channels available to us that we do, a little luxury that parents long ago didn’t have. I do know one thing though: she is happy. And that’s all that matters.

Bellingham, Washington.

Quote of the day: “Now I understand that one of the important reasons for going to college and getting an education is to learn that the things you’ve believed in all your life aren’t true, and that nothing is what it appears to be.” — Daniel Keyes

Daily gratitudes:
Cleaning up
A Broncos win (after a near heart attack)
A talk with my daughter
Petey’s new rear end
Beautiful Colorado days

Sharing some Caribbean love tonight…nothing deep or witty. Have a lovely weekend.

Little Exuma, Out Islands, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “There is something fresh and crisp about the first hours of a Caribbean day, a happy anticipation that something is about to happen, maybe just up the street or around the next corner.” — Hunter S. Thompson

Daily gratitudes:
A good sleep
Less pain
A cuddly cat
The coolness of the coming autumn
Music to do dishes by

This was one of those days. I’m sure you’ve had them. Those days when you get off the bus in the morning and the first thing you see is a pool of vomit. A bad omen for sure. A day when you realize that you’ve sprained your big toe sometime in the last few days and it hurts like crazy. When a car misses pedestrian you by inches in the parking lot because the driver is distracted – and then she swears at you. The kind of day when the spirits are spinning their dousing rods frenetically, blowing light bulbs and relighting bulbs they blew days ago. When I already have the blue meanies of depression from missing my daughter and my husband. A day topped off by the discovery of the season’s first skittery fat mouse, dashing out from under the bathtub across the bathroom floor. (I guess I’ll just have to go to the bathroom in the back yard.) Yes, today was the kind of day when I need one of these. And some vodka.

Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Quote of the day: “Don’t take life too seriously. Punch it in the face when it needs a good hit. Laugh at it.” — Colleen Hoover

Daily gratitudes:
Pigeons on a roofline
The exchange of sneeze and thank you on the bus
My reliable pendulum
Skyping with Kelsea and her friends last night
Agreeing to disagree and still loving each other

The lovely Art Deco courthouse, designed by architect Walter DeMordaunt and opened in 1932, is located in Salida, Colorado, and serves as the county seat of Chaffee County…..and the site of MKL’s and my civil ceremony. With our mutual passion for times past, fine architecture, and romance, as well as our love for Buena Vista and Colorado’s beautiful Banana Belt, it seemed most fitting, and it was perfect.

Salida, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Sometimes there is nothing to do but surrender yourself to wonder… You must stop measuring – over and over – the line between loving and being in love. You must offer yourself, whole, to the cobalt starfish (and the orange one and the pale pink one and the biscuit-colored one with the raised, chocolate-brown art deco design) and to the clear, clear water and to the sweep of shining sky and to the silver scattershot of leaping fish (an entire school skipping across the ocean like a stone.)” — Marisa de los Santos

Daily Gratitudes:
A beautiful day
What colors we have in autumn
Dried roses

As a woman of a certain age with a sedentary primary job, my body is a thing that weighs on me. Yes, specifically, my weight. I was just a slip of a thing for so long when I was younger. And even in my 20s, ten pounds could be taken care of with two weeks of Lean Cuisine and walking after work. But now, things are different. My body needs different things. To lose weight takes hours of walking, kickboxing, weightlifting. Fortunately, MKL likes my curves, but I don’t really. I know I’m beautiful on the inside, but I like the downsized outside version of me better. It’s just how I feel most comfortable. Exercise is definitely one thing. Diet is part of the equation as well. My body likes protein. I feel better, happier, and lose weight more easily on a very low carbohydrate diet. I also have a tendency towards kidney stones (thanks, genetics), so there are things that I need to eliminate from my diet to keep those rocks in the river. Finally – at least right now – I have a little arthritis, so that brings a whole different set of dietary guidelines into play.

Denver, Colorado.

As part of my research on the best way to care for myself, I’ve summarized the recommendations for the dietary issues I’m addressing:


So to summarize, I can eat nuts, as long as they’re not peanuts, broccoli, red peppers, vodka, coffee, a limited amount of eggs, and a little bit of meat, poultry, and fish. And that’s it. That should take care of the weight loss too. Will I strictly adhere to this? No. Will I pay attention to it? Yes. (It’s been awfully nice not having a kidney stone since last December.)

Thanks for bearing with me through this analysis. If you want to find me, I’ll be the one pressed up against the exterior window of any restaurant, drooling slightly.

Quote of the day: “I want to lose weight by eating nothing but moon pies, which have significantly less gravity than earthier foods such as fruits and vegetables.” — Jarod Kintz

Daily gratitudes:
Being a mom
The look in MKL’s eyes
My pillows
A cloudless, beautiful day


My blog friend over at Half Girl Half Teacup posted today about a common concern of bloggers, best summarized by “Who’s reading this stuff anyway?” We want people to read our words. We’ve put a little piece of our soul into each post. Sometimes, we want to share some pretty deep and intense thoughts or recollections, and when moved by that spirit, we can sometimes feel stifled by the fact that our family, friends, in-laws and co-workers might be reading these words. I’ve shared some personal things about depression, family, parenthood, divorce, loss, and love. I’ve shared pain and poetry. I’ve shared some of my skeletons.

Weld County, Colorado.

There’s more I want to share, and sometimes I hesitate. I hesitate because I fear the judgement of people who know me. If they really know me, they know that what I share, what I have experienced has helped me become who I am. We are not who we were in our pasts; we are shaped by our past experiences, and by our past choices, wise or otherwise. In blogs, we hang our skeletons on fenceposts, and let whoever drives by see, stop, ponder. That road is public – it might be our own driveway, or it might be an inaccessible trail at the back of beyond. Anyone who finds it can see those bones. As I commented on Jess’ post, there is no shame in my life, my past (remarkable and regretful as some of it is), or my thoughts – no shame in me. So there’s no reason for anyone NOT to see my words, to see those bones. If they judge in some negative fashion, that speaks about them, not about me. My bones are out there, brightening in the sun.

Quote of the day: “Every heart has its own skeletons.” —  Leo Tolstoy

Daily gratitudes:
The graphics on the 1st Bank display downtown
A stubborn cricket outside the back door
The promise of bacon
An orange glow at sunset

We have been back from our beach wedding two months now, and again, I am feeling the restless urge in my spirit. MKL is my home now and that is soothing, but one’s gypsy soul, if one has one, never fades, never stills completely. It’s a lovely feeling to want to plan my travels with MKL, instead of running from something. I can escape through novels, television, pictures, but none of it takes the place of a packed bag and wheels or wings. Soon come (with a considerable amount of research and diligent savings).

Littleton, Colorado.

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:
A beautiful day
A long walk
Dry roads + ABS brakes = not hitting a deer last night
A photography mission

And a shout out to my friend Mick, who has been kind enough to promote my blog a bit recently…please go check out his wonderful writing at https://tellmeastorymick.wordpress.com/

Cows seem to come in fifty shades of brown, or at least that’s how it appeared on this particular driving day. I do love cows, but as you may have gathered, I love all animals. In my shamanic work, I don’t have just one spirit animal, I have an entire menagerie, as confirmed by other shamans with whom I’ve worked. This posse has helped me in my ability to help animals, to do some healing, to figure out what’s wrong with them. It’s a small gift, but a precious one. That level of empathy for animals makes it impossible to see news stories on animal cruelty, and any time an animal is introduced in a film or a book, I have a faint frisson of dread at the prospect of its fate. It also makes me think long and hard about my current carnivorous habits, but I’m not ready to flip that switch (again) yet. I do MOO at cows as a courtesy when passing, and have been known to pause in my travels to serenade them.

Weld County, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Cease, cows, life is short.” — Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Daily gratitudes:
Prairie dogs
Mad Men
My soup
Loving someone enough to miss them so much
Mr. Man starting to think inside the box again

November 2015
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