That’s all I could think about as we had this vintage car in our rearview mirror on a four-wheel drive road that Kelsea and I were racing down in my truck up in the mountains. Fortunately, we lost them….I won’t comment on our shipment. Guess my Southern roots are showing. :-)

Gilpin County, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I’ve run my last run of moonshine, I’m not gonna do it anymore, I’m just getting too old to be doing this stuff.” — Popcorn Sutton

Daily gratitudes:
Hawks on telephone poles
Road trips
Cloudless skies
Skyping with Kelsea
Union Station

Even though fall is indeed approaching (and along with that comes the “s” word), one of the wonderful things about living in Colorado is this time of year, when the skies are brilliant blue and the aspens are turning their leaves to the sun, shiny a fluttering new pennies.

Central City, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “If your mind and spirit are seduced by images of windswept ridge tops, flutters of aspen leaves caressed by a canyon breeze and the crimson tendrils of dying sun…” — Reid Lance Rostenthal

Daily gratitudes:
Falling asleep early
Kelsea packing (with the help of Joy) – a mixed blessing
When I can put my head on MKL’s shoulder
Fashion Week

A couple of weeks ago, the smoke from the Washington State fires was blanketing the Colorado skies, causing MKL to cough, but giving us lovely sunsets. I watched the sun move down through the sky for almost an hour from the Aquarius Trailhead. I think the fires are still burning, and my prayers go with those battling them, as well as with firefighters in California. My daughter has a one-way ticket to Washington next Saturday, and firefighting is a path she is choosing, which is a bit of a challenge for a mother, but she has angels watching over her – and a very pragmatic attitude about where her chosen paths can lead.


Louisville, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.” — Barack Obama

Daily gratitudes:
Never forgetting
Birds on a wire
My doorbell
Books you can’t wait to get back to reading

I love sunflowers. They’re so cheerful – almost as cheerful as daisies (one of my absolute favorites.) I had a couple of volunteers on the Easement of Evil this year, which was really nice, but the city objected to their height. (Scofflaw that I am, I left them anyway….just waiting for the citation to show up in the mail.) These, however, were in the lovely Aquarius Park off of Empire Road, a perfect place to watch a sunset. I caught up with this little spot of sunshine along the trail. As much as I love sunflowers, and as many wonderful memories as I have of them, I do always feel a little candle in my soul for Amanda MacDonald, the University of Colorado-Boulder freshman who died car-surfing down Flagstaff Mountain in 1994. Sunflowers were her favorite flower. Why I remember that – something I read in the newspaper about a young woman I never met – is curious, but poignant. I have told Kelsea about her, as one of those “this is why you don’t do that thing” lessons, so she remembers that about sunflowers as well.

Louisville, Colorado.

Quote of the day: ““Who knows what may lie around the next corner? There may be a window somewhere ahead. It may look out on a field of sunflowers.”  — Joe Hill

Daily gratitudes:
How every time I call Western Washington University, an actual person answers the phone
Promises that everything will be okay – and I believe them
The one tree on the corner of Public Road and Cannon that is always full of birdsong in the afternoon
Creating half a trash bag of recycle as a first step to purging before moving.

Our mother-daughter labor day trip delrailed from its original “Roadside America” theme this year. Kelsea was exhausted and needed some rest. We had an “at home” day, where we did nothing but binge-watch “Playing House” and “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.” Then we had a mountain day, where we headed up to Central City, to the Cemetery, which is one of Kelsea’s favorite places, did some four-wheeling, ate battered and fried shoe insole in the form of country-style steak, and today, we had a Labor Day cookout with MKL’s side of the family, and then sat on a bench with a beautiful view and read for an hour in the wind. Not typical of our weekends, but still, our time together was lovely and always the most important part. And here in Colorado, the aspens are turning early, a sign of an early fall.

Central City Cemetery
Central City, Colorado.

Quote of the day: ““Most people say about graveyards: “Oh, it’s just a bunch of dead people. It’s creepy.” But for me, there’s an energy to it that it not creepy, or dark. It has a positive sense to it.” — Tim Burton

Daily gratitudes:
Mother-daughter time
A new set of family
Playing with a 2-year old
Ice water
My truck

We’ll leave the beach for a day, and you can see what I see every day — Union Station in Denver. It’s a beautiful building, and often in the morning, people are lined up waiting for the California Zephyr to take them on to parts west. While in the past two years, it has been transformed from what was for me, a sanctuary of stillness and spirit, to a hub for people to sit, work, chat, eat, drink, and generally be social, it still retains a touch of its old self, especially on the outside. And I can still feel the ghosts, way up in the arches of the ceiling.

Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraphs and kerosene and coal stoves — they’re good to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on ’em.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Daily gratitudes:
That the blues have lightened a bit
The magnificent view of the Front Range
How the stars seemed to have shifted tonight
Mr. Man all snuggled up by my side

Today was one of those blue days when I just want to crawl into the spiral of a shell and stay there until my spirits lift. But that’s not the way life – or depression – works. On these days. sometimes, my mind wanders to things that made me bluer, and then I have to shift my perspective on those things to see the blessings inside them. They’re in there, just like a conch is nestled within the spirals of its shell.

Conched Out
Surf City, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space.” — Annie Kaufman

Daily gratitudes:
That my mother used to let me eat frozen peas in the summer when it was hot. They were so good and sweet, one at a time.

That I could afford to pay Kelsea’s first quarter college tuition today

The “golden hours” even when I don’t have my camera

The art collages on my bedroom walls

Watching “Catfish” with Kelsea – it’s her favorite show

This seat is probably hot in many ways. a) It’s in Snead’s Ferry, right on the river,  b) It’s right outside the kitchen window of this restaurant, which means the heat from the kitchen is pouring out upon the sitter, and c) it’s pleather. in the sun. We’ve all been in the hot seat from time to time, and at least this one does occasionally have a cool breeze to stir the hot hair straggling on the back of your neck in the depths of July. Looks like that beer (and the rain puddles) might have helped cool the occupant off a bit too.

The Hot Seat
Sneads Ferry, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “A man who goes into a restaurant and blatantly disrespects the servers shows a strong discontent with his own being. Deep down he knows that restaurant service is the closest thing he will ever experience to being served like a king.” — Kriss Jami

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling better
Ice water
A letter from LJRH
That I get to see my husband tomorrow
How lovely it is to say “husband”

Not us, not for a while yet, but this lovely seagull was. Before we can fly south, my baby girl has to go to the northwest. And we are trying to be with her for Thanksgiving, so she does not find herself in a similarly pitiful and dismal freshman year Thanksgiving as I did. And at least we will be by the chilly sea. So, it’s time to not spend, pay off some debt incurred from wedding and college and house stuff, and then MKL and I can get back to warm, white sandy beaches, and he can properly analyze palm trees to his heart’s content as we listen to the tropical breezes whisper through the fronds – one of my favorite sounds There’s lots of beauty to be had in this life every single day. And my mother would have called this a “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” picture – it was one of her favorite books.

Exit Sky Right
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Only those who dare may fly.” — Luis Sepulveda

Daily gratitudes:
Catching the end of “The Birdcage”
The few remaining hibiscus blossoms outside of Union Station
MKL’s eyes
Awesome sweatpants

And that my much-loved blog friend, the late Patty’s beloved daughter survived her head-on collision. The other (intoxicated) driver sadly did not, and he and his family are in my prayers. Patty’s daughter and I have never met, but I wish I could be there to mother her. I know her mom is watching over her – she was an angel in this life, so certainly she is a powerful one in the next.

My Mother always loved it when the pelicans flew over the porch. It happened seldom when we were little, and more and more often before her passing. Now it is a frequent occurrence, as if they have finally established a new flight pattern. I wonder what changes in the environment drew them in such numbers? I can see them sometimes skimming just over the edge of the sea. Always in formation, they have an interesting wing pattern, as if the leader starts the current with his flapping, then those in line behind each flap until he or she picks up the air current of the first party, and so on down the line, until they are gliding on the squadron’s momentum. Every so often, there will be a straggler or two, or perhaps they are rogues, trying to establish their own crew. They fly south. Then half an hour or so later, they return north. The pattern repeats, often, throughout the day. My Mother would have been delighted.

Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the Day: “Well, if she doesn’t like pelicans she must be very disagreeable.”  —  Tess Oliver

Daily gratitudes:
Outfitting Kelsea for college
The lovely feel of the air today
Pockets of rain
Kelsea’s excellent tree trimming
Getting all my wedding pictures from my good-sister

October 2015
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