You might have to look closely to grok this image. My words today feel like an interesting side dish to the picture.

When I was walking back from lunch with MKL today, a young man catcalled at me out of a car window. Now mind, I have just turned 53 years old, and I was not dressed provocatively. I found myself with a quick succession of thoughts that went something like this:

“Wow, that’s flattering. And at my age. Wait, no that’s not flattering at all – that’s rude. Where is my feminist side? Don’t parents ever talk to their sons about not yelling at women on the street [mind flashes to recent videos of a woman walking through New York with someone recording men’s responses to her and the video of reverse behavior with men facing hootsand catcalls from women]? Don’t most parents teach their sons to respect women? I was just totally objectified, and yet it doesn’t bother me. Why not? Because that young man did nothing to define me or who I am or how I feel about myself.”

Hmmm. Strange reflections.

Strange Reflections
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It’s not my responsibility to be beautiful. I’m not alive for that purpose. My existence is not about how desirable you find me.” — Warsan Shire

Daily gratitudes:
The small herd of black yak we saw driving up to Steamboat
That my truck has four wheel-drive so I can get through my own alley that the utility company has turned into a mud pit
That Jess at Half-Girl Half-Teacup has raised my consciousness – a young woman wise beyond her years
That Mr. Man is acting a bit more like himself
That MKL loves me

When we were trying to clear parts of the yard recently, MKL approached me and said, “You know one of the things I like about you? You’re not a girly girl. A girly girl wouldn’t be doing this.” (This being whacking at the weeds with a scythe and yanking the stubborn ones out by the roots with my leather-gloved hands.) He’s right – to an extent. His statement was somewhat validated when I was driving (alone) by a construction site last week and squealed aloud, “Ooooooooo! A BIG hole!!!”, craning my neck to see what action might be going on down there.

But there is a definite girly side of me. The side that likes vintage lingerie and all things weddings, especially wedding dresses. It’s why job number three is in the catering/wedding industry. It has been a pleasure to find my own wedding dress and to have the people I love involved in the process. It releases the girly part of me that I wouldn’t change for the world. But I will continue to curse like a sailor when the lawn mower doesn’t start.

Girly girl
Centennial, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” — Criss Jami

Daily Gratitudes:
A little time with Michael Sean
The dress is almost ready
Watching Kelsea and her friends plan their cross-county road trip
That I used to dance
The possibility of a shark-themed wedding

I don’t think this balloon understands camouflage. And I have promised threatened to buy MKL a pink camouflage hat for most of our relationship. He’s not a camouflage guy, much less a pink camouflage guy, but he is a hat guy, so of course

Poorly Camoflauged
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The extraordinary hides behind the camouflage of the ordinary.” — Jacqueline Winspear

Daily gratitudes:
Dogs so fluffy they look like clouds
A possible new friend
Seeing MKL after three days absence
My very special grilled cheese sandwich
Belated birthday gifts

Kelsea and I had a lovely weekend together in Steamboat Springs – one of our traditional mother-daughter trips, consisting of too-early morning risings for the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, breakfast, walks, rodeo, naps, explorations, and bad late-night television. We talked and talked. And I got a little weepy on my way home, as it will be hard for me when she goes to college. Rightly or wrongly, she’s one of my dearest friends as well as my daughter. I will miss her.

Twinsies1
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.” — Donald Miller

Daily gratitudes:
How much I laugh with my daughter
Music
Flocks of seagulls in strange places
Open roads
Social and philosophical discussions

Today is my birthday, and as it winds down, I must say it’s been very nice. Quiet. Work (though it’s too slow right now for my taste). Lunch with MKL, and a beautiful card. A tour of the vaults in the Broker Restaurant in downtown Denver. A yummy cupcake and card from a lovely co-worker. Facebook greetings. A call from my daughter. And now I’m cuddled on the couch watching The House of Elliot. I realized yesterday that MKL makes me feel so special every day, and has helped me gain so much confidence in myself, that I don’t need my birthday to be a particularly special day. Every day feels special.

I’m glad I was born, and there were years when I couldn’t say that. I did indulge in a turn of the “Happy Birthday to Moo” spinning musical cow when I got home tonight. Because it is my birthday.

Birthday
Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “…we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand.” —  Robert McCannon

Daily gratitudes:
The woman I passed who smelled like lily of the valley
Guiding a new town resident through the grocery store
That my parents had me
The occasional cupcake
A nice walk today

I love windows. I love taking pictures of windows. I love light and how it shapes whatever it touches. The bungalow is a little bit dark, even though it has a big window in the living room; it’s a bit of a shotgun-style house, which I also love. But the bedrooms are light and when we put a new coat of paint in the living room, it will be much brighter. But I digress. Windows intrigue me in photography, giving just a glimpse of the life that lies behind them. Warmth. Shadows. A suggestion of the owners taste in lace curtains, beads, brocade. A suspicion of age and weather in cracks and dust. A hint of ghosts.

Three Windows
St. Elmo, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Daily gratitudes:
Rain (once in a while)
Tattered Cover
Soft blankets
Road trips
Traditions

As MKL and I contemplate what to do with my bungalow’s easement (otherwise known as an uneasement, since it has made my life uncomfortable for four years), we are considering many options, all of which will keep me out of jail, which they’ll put me in if I let my easement get out of control. I have spent hours in time and muscle, weeding, digging, pick axing, and trimming, but all the weeds (and why must they be considered weeds? who made that decision? that they can’t just be plants?) quickly return, because I haven’t tried replacing them with anything. We tried black fabric to keep the weeds down, but they just grew through it, and then the black fabric disintegrated in the winter, blowing around like a wayward witch in the spring. Now, things are about to get real. I’m prepared to pick axe (again). I have ten bags of manure (you’re welcome, neighbors). I will have wildflower seeds. I already have two volunteer sunflowers and some pretty purple perennials that I can’t identify. And today at breakfast, we discussed planting aspens. Aspens are beautiful. They thrive here, and the sound of their leaves in the wind is magical. But they do spread like weeds (no pun intended). They put out feeder roots and make lots of little aspens – they may even create their own grove on the easement. Best of all, they have eyes. Beautiful, all-seeing eyes.

EYes
Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dusk and shiver, thro’ the wave that runs forever by the island in the river, flowing down to Camelot.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson

Daily gratitudes:
A good team
The scythe
That Mr. Man likes to sit at the edge of my aura
Family, both old and new
Ring-necked doves

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.

IMG_4197
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)

A change from landscapes today…goat snuggles! Goats can always make me smile, and this Spring, I had the pleasure of attending the Mountain Flower Dairy‘s Goat Baby Shower with Kelsea and her lovely friend Skye. Baby goats, alpacas, small children racing small goats, old trucks, fiddlers, spring flowers, a beautiful day — what more could you ask for?

The roots of my fondness for goats lie in my teenage years. At 16, I went away to Governor’s School in North Carolina – my first time away from home alone. I was gone for six (or eight?) weeks and made some lifelong friends (love you, Lisa and Beth, Mark and Ken), but I was definitely homesick during the early days. So I would take clandestine walks around the surrounding neighborhoods. And on a hill above a sidewalk situated so that it reminded me of my own home, I met a goat. He hung out at the very edge of the ivy at the top of the small hill above the wall. He would appear every day when I walked by, and we would chat. I would tell him that I was homesick and that he was handsome and share my teenage angst. He would usually eat something in response – trash, clothing he had stolen off the line, a bloom from the landscaping. I think he looked forward to seeing me as much as I looked forward to seeing him. I still remember him, and how he kept my homesickness somewhat at bay until I found my little tribe of human friends.

And so. Goats.

Goat Snuggles - 1
Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “One day I will rule the world with a goat by my side!” — Jhonen Vasquez

Daily gratitudes:
Goat cheese for dinner
A pretty new dress
The Laws of Attraction
The softness of the air today
That Issy is feeling better

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.

IMG_6288
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

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