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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)
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!

All pink and blue, unlike our swirling yet unfulfilled storm clouds here in Lafayette this afternoon. And speaking of babies – or those who are no longer babies – my darling daughter goes off to college orientation tomorrow. Then she comes back, which is good, but then she will go away again. I guess that is the way of it. As today’s quote says, we all leave a bit of ourselves behind when we leave a place. I have left much of myself at Topsail. My darling daughter will leave much of herself here. But we both have so much more to see and do and give, and an endless amount of ourselves to leave behind in the places we will love.

Baby SKy
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” — Pascal Mercier

Daily gratitudes:
Making it through a tough day
Sharing Kelsea’s excitement about college housing
Our two new wooden parrots

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

Windows, doors…all ways in and ways out, and important in our lives both physically and metaphorically. I have seen doors not just slam shut, but implode before me, leaving me left to pull pieces of splintered wood and glass from my heart, but no matter how hard it has been, there has always been a window, albeit one I might have to smash with my bare hands to get through. The doors and windows in my life now are welcoming and clear, and that’s a very good feeling.

And A Door
St. Elmo, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” — Helen Keller

Daily gratitudes:
Tattered Cover’s broccoli-cheese soup
A strange tinge of fall in the air
The sunlight on the wings of wheeling flocks of birds

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.

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
Flocks of seagulls in strange places
Open roads
Social and philosophical discussions

MKL and I love road trips. We love seeing new places and having mini-adventures. Even just taking a stray dirt side road to see where it goes can be an adventure for us. Our second date was a daylong road trip, kind of a test to see if I really like road trips as much as I claimed, and if we enjoyed each other’s company enough to be in a car together with no other source of entertainment for hours on end. We discovered a mutual love of opera. We ate at a Mexican restaurant that we both liked in Buena Vista. And he sweetly asked if he could put his hand on my knee. (I said yes.) We’ve had countless other road trips both here and in other states and other countries over the last four years, but that first one holds a dear and special place in both of our hearts. It was a sign of wonderful things to come.

Lyons, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I realised, of course, that other people used these roads; but that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafes were for everyone else.” — Kazuo Ishiguro

Daily gratitudes:
MKL, my car guy
Passing storms
Sparkly boots
The healing powers of Mr. Man
Having Kelsea at the bungalow for a few days

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

October 2015
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