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Still basking in the glow of newlywed bliss – although it would be really nice if we lived together, but that will come. It’s been a time of many moods, getting ready to send Kelsea off to college. I bought her a one-way plane ticket, and that made me a little shocked. She cut off all her hair and she looks adorable. We know we have a limited number of trashy-tv-together nights, and it makes me a little weepy. So my blues have been coming and going like the tides, rising and falling. But my happiness at being Mrs. MKL and the wonderful memories of our wedding help keep the light in my heart. I had saved a “blue bomb” orchid blossom from a wedding I worked a year or more ago; it has sat on my bathroom shelf so I could describe it perfectly to the florist (shout out to Judy at Surf City Florist for an awesome job). I now wish I had saved a blossom from my own bouquet, but I’m so pleased that I was able to leave Kelsea’s with Lynn and mine with Janie to enjoy.

A Bridal Bouquet
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “She was prettier than a bouquet of roses and crazier than a headless chicken. Fitting in was not an option.” — Marissa Meyer

Daily gratitudes:
The man in mismatched socks in the bus station
Pretty skies
Mothers who smile at their children (that happens less often than you might think)
MKL
Prairie dogs

My feisty friend at Half Girl Half Teacup has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World award! It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the blog award circuit and I’m delighted, so stay tuned for my acceptance speech and nominations!

One of the greatest challenges of seaside photography for me is the timing between taking my camera outside of an air-conditioned car or house and taking a shot. My timing was suberbly off in this instance, but I thought the condensation created as spooky a sand picture as I’ve seen.

Smudged Sands
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.” — Edward Lear

(As an aside, this quote is from The Owl and the Pussycat. My Mother put the poem to a tune, and sang it to me when I was little. Once I had Kelsea, I remembered it, and sang it to her. My Mother heard me singing it to her once, and was so delighted that I remembered her little tune, that has now stood the test of time and generations.)

Daily gratitudes:
Having Kelsea home safe from her long road trip
Seeing my husband today (since we don’t live in the same house yet)
How nice the word ‘husband’ feels in my spirit
A slightly cooler day
Mr. Man laying on my heart in the middle of the night

Family 2The clearing skies after our pre-wedding Shark Party gave our friends a chance to become all one family by the edge of the sea.

Family at Sunset

Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there, regardless. It wasn’t just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger. We had many families over time.”

Daily gratitudes:
Love
Mr. Man
How proud I am to call MKL my husband
Hugs at work
My aircraft carrier-size bed

MKL and I got married on Saturday. Yes, we did. And it was absolutely perfect. There were so many highlights, I don’t even know how to share them with you, and I will share more pictures over the coming months, but here’s a start:

  • Our open house the day before the wedding had the beach house bursting with friends (who are family), blood kin, and love. And the shark tacos were a hit.
  • At the end of that party, the rainy skies cleared to a beautiful sunset and a wide calm beach, and we all migrated to the water’s edge to walk, talk, take pictures, and play ultimate.
  • No one was eaten by sharks (the shark tacos made it the reverse) and the post-wedding day stingray stab on LJRH’s daughter was dramatic, but not debilitating, making for an excellent story for her to take back to Missouri.
  • My loved ones made the house and the deck (E-bro’s, rented down the beach, with more room than mine) look spectacular, and perfect for an inside (rainy) or an outside (sunny) wedding. The sun cooperated and we were outside.
  • An arc of rainbow appeared behind us as we were sitting together after the ceremony. God and my parents were smiling down on us.
  • Painkillers – the drink of the Soggy Dollar Bar, courtesy of my much loved friends Dave and Amanda, who are my family met at that spot 11 years ago – flowed like the sea.
  • The two small and gorgeous girls became fast and immediate friends. In fact, all the people, many of whom had never met, became friends.
  • Beth K., the daughter of my late parents’ best friends, and a true and beautiful warrioress, joined us. We had never met before, and now I feel I have another sister.
  • My three new stepsons, all of whom are treasures: one was the most perfect ceremony officiate ever, one steamed and bustled me and made sure I looked perfect, and one led the toasts that brought me to tears.
  • My brother and sister-in-law and their wonderful children opening their hearts and home to us.
  • My sister and niece flying quickly and crazily in from Colorado to share the day and capture it in photographs.
  • Having my uncle and aunt and darling cousin (now one of my best friends, after a gap in time of some 35 years) made me feel like my parents were there.
  • Our across-the-street neighbor who lovingly provided a sandcastle cake, delicious crab dip, serving trays, a steamer, and her and her husband’s warmth, affection, and light to our special days.
  • JJ, who continues to allow me to come “home” every year for a few brief weeks, to the house on Topsail Beach.
  • My stepson T’s toast, which touched me deeper than my heart.
  • Having the Swine Sisters – aka my two best girlfriends from when I was 17 – reunited again as if no time had passed.
  • The girlie-hen-party that was a part of my getting dressed for the ceremony. I really feel like I have lots of sisters now.
  • I sparkled. And I glowed. And my dress was awesome.
  • Wearing my mother’s rhinestones that I used to play dress-up in, and carrying my father’s handkerchief.
  • MKL’s shirt matching the sky, and being my “something blue”.
  • Beautiful bouquets from Surf City Florist, and a lovely centerpiece created from grocery-store bought flowers. And my daughter’s swagging and shell-arranging skills were front and center.
  • All the vows, including those read by the officiate, handwritten on the back of placemats from the Breezeway, our favorite beach restaurant. (I’ll share a photo later.)
  • My most darling daughter, who not only wore a dress for the occasion, but looked gorgeous, and bailed me out when I pulled her aside just after the ceremony had started and told her I had forgotten MKL’s ring and she needed to drive like a bat out of hell to fetch it from our house. She did so successfully, saving the day, and allowing her to maintain her dignity by not bursting into tears during my vows (which she read the next day).
  • Another wedding down the beach releasing Chinese lanterns after dark – it was if they were ours, but we didn’t have to go to the trouble. (Fire and I are often not a happy mix.)
  • Seeing the Milky Way in the sky for the first time in years; it was here that my father first pointed it out and explained it to me.
  • Remembering almost nothing about the ceremony but the look in MKL’s eyes, which as always looked sparkling like the sea, with a hint of aspen trees.

DSCF3387
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” — Homer

Daily gratitudes:
A couple more days by the sea
Long walks holding hands
Shark’s teeth
The smell of sunscreen
Love

Only a few days away…the sun will be rising from the ocean, instead of setting into it, but I’m not particular. In the meantime, I had to see my little baby girl off on her first cross-country drive last night – she’s going with three other girls, and I think it’s just a taste of how hard it will be to send her off to college. At least this trip, I will see her on Friday.

IMG_8721
Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Quote of the day: “Bring me the sunset in a cup.” — Emily Dickinson

Daily gratitudes:
A good night’s sleep
Outlander Book #2
Packing
Having a strong, independent woman as my daughter
Juggling to-dos

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

You are perhaps wondering why you are reading a blog with a picture of a parking lot. There are two reasons tonight. The first is because I believe in seeing beauty in everything – even the light cast in the darkness of a parking lot, catching the glint of a stream of still puddles. The second is because parking has been a significant issue in the life of my darling daughter throughout her last two years of high school, since she’s been driving. Her school offers rather elitist parking alternatives. Either pay to park in the senior lot (but only if you’re a senior) or park along the 1.5 mile stretch of road alongside the school grounds, which are situated in the middle of a nice neighborhood. She’s a bit of a socialist (like me) and believes it’s wrong to have to pay to park in the lot of a school that you’re attending, and particularly unfair since not everyone has the financial means to do so. Which leaves her with free on-street parking. Needless to say, this free parking is only parallel parking (which even at my age is a nearly impossible challenge) and spots anywhere near the school fill up incredibly early. So for the past two years, I have received texts in the morning that say things like “I had to park in Nebraska and it will take me three hours to walk to class. Do I have to go to school today?” or “Everyone is stupid.” or “I. Can’t. Even.”

This image is not of that parking area. This image is of a spacious parking area that represents freedom and possibilities and how light can shine from the darkness, and that there are places where parking is not a struggle. In other words, today was my darling daughter’s last day of high school, and she will never again have to endure the frustration of parking along Greenbriar Boulevard. And she is to me a shining light that will brighten the future for more people than she will ever know.

Parking Lot - 2

Quote of the day: “My turn shall also come:
I sense the spreading of a wing.”  — Osip Mandelstam

Daily gratitudes:
Dinner with Kelsea
That no one was hurt when a car hit my bus this morning
How much Mary Roach’s books make me laugh
Chats with Christine
That my Texas friends in Runaway Bay survived the tornado with minimal damage

Remember me? I don’t even know how long I’ve been away from you all. It’s been a rich mix of work, varmint infestations, identity theft, and who knows what else. The pleasant things interspersed have been baby goats, the Stanley Hotel, spring (albeit slow-starting), and of course, the wonderful constant of MKL. I have yet to download a lot of photos from recent adventures, so let’s all remember where my spirit truly lives with this image.

DSCF1247

Little Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.” — Rumi

Daily gratitudes:
That Cheryl and Pete are on Anegada
That I loaded three of my own mousetraps this afternoon
Scaling Laundry Mountain
Open windows
People who do nice things for you when they know you are having a hard day

I have been far too busy to write anything but work, but some moment, when I was buried in Proposal Land, spring started to birth. I will have a bit of a break over the weekend and next week, and lots of beauty to share. But for now, please accept my humbling offering in the spirit of the end of winter.

20150318_181323 20150318_181338 20150318_181415

Spring in Colorado makes me smile.

Quote of the day: “The first real day of spring is like the first time a boy holds your hand. A flood of skin-tingling warmth consumes you, and everything shines with a fresh, colorful glow, making you forget that anything as cold and harsh as winter ever existed.” — Richelle E. Goodrich

Daily gratitudes:
Sunshine
The blanket Tamara left me
Tequila when it’s needed
Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel
A trip in the offing

And that I am so happy about marrying Michael. When I married the first time, I really wanted to get married, and I was with ex-Pat, so we got married. This time, I want to MARRY MICHAEL. Perhaps it sounds like a fine difference, but it is hugely fine and makes me radiate peaceful delight when I consider it.

20150223_075227

Lafayette, Colorado.

You know it’s not like me to be too Pollyanna-esque, but I am trying to maintain a sense of positivity as we seem to be diving back into the great white hole that is winter. It reminds me of the Great Blue Hole in Belize, where divers become so mesmerized that they simply keep going down and never return. I have never been there, but this is what it looks like, if you’re not familiar with it:

untitled

Great Blue Hole, Belize (image credit: Atlas Obscura)

Quite a different view than from our snow-covered porches, eh?

Being a beach baby, I thought diving would be a wonderful experience for me. My first snorkeling experience was so magical, once I got the hang of it, that diving seemed to be the next logical step. Alas, it was not to be. I took the initial certification class, but unlike any of my classmates, needed an extra lesson before my instructor was comfortable signing off on me. I couldn’t get over the inability to breathe, and the pressure on my ears, and the growing sense of panic as I went deeper. And so, that dream was wrapped in a lacy lavender sea fan, and tucked away safely for the next lifetime. Even snorkeling now is a challenge, due to ill-fitting masks and random hairs and disorientation. But I have my exquisite memory of my first snorkel, playing alone with two Hawksbill turtles for twenty minutes. And accidentally brushing my hand against some fire coral, but that’s a tale for another time. It was after the diving lessons and a talk with my instructor that I realized I was a beach baby, not a water baby. That those two things were different, and that I need to be BY the water, and IN the water, but not UNDER the water. A dream trip to the Galapagos is still on the Bucket List, and MKL and I will brush up on our snorkeling and snorkel there like billy-o.

But back to the cold reality of a Colorado winter. Poor MKL has the flu and has had expensive car troubles since we tried to escape the -19 weather back in November. It seems to have tailed him like some sort of ninja, springing to beat him about the head and wallet with numchuks when he least expects it. And now he is terribly blue. Having just recovered from my own bug, and being swamped at work, I have not been able to bring him supplies (supplies being Sauza Tequila, which is the cure of all that ails one, Vicks VapoRub, chicken soup, and tender nursing.) I keep telling him that this too shall pass, and it will. It always does. The only certainty in life is change.

While I dislike winter as much as he does, and we are tempted to rethink our strategy for where we live after Kelsea gets out of college, I am trying to stay positive. Hence, today’s unicorn snow. Can you see the sparkles in the photo taken along the fence? It glittered as it was falling in the cold sun, and looked like some celestial unicorns were shaking off the last vestiges of a fine slumber. And the birds had not given up hope and were singing, even in the 8 degree morning. What choice does one have but to try to find encouragement in such signs of spring?

However, Colorado has only put a dent in its winter inferiority complex and will be providing us with more snow this week. Let’s see how far into the white hole I can dive without running out of oxygen.

Quote of the day: (As an aside, this was a favorite of my Mother’s and she had it in front of the bathroom mirror throughout her battle with cancer. It sits on my dresser today. I carefully brought it all the way home from North Carolina and dropped it getting out of the car and broke the frame. I’ve left it so, as there seemed to be some kind of symbolism in that occurrence.)

““In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus

Daily gratitudes:
Getting the occasional ride to work with Elisa
Louis Bayard’s weekly recap of Downton Abbey in the NYT that makes me laugh out loud
Head bonks with Mr. Man
Planning surprises
My beloved

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