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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.
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
MKL, my car guy
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.
Quote of the day: “My turn shall also come:
I sense the spreading of a wing.” — Osip Mandelstam
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
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.
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
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.
It seems as if he is saying, “Oh, darling, what is that glorious perfume you’re wearing?!” These two were so lovey it was adorable, nuzzling, and giving elk kisses. He was about the only male in the herd, so clearly this was his chosen inamorata for the evening. (Sorry it’s a little blurry.)
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.” — Nicholas Sparks
The lady styling the SpongeBob Squarepants spike-heel ankle bootsHugging Mr. Man
When the day isn’t as hot as they say it’s going to be
That the beach is just days away
It was one of those days when my depression got the best of me and I was enveloped by blues – and not the good tropical kind of blues either. I jumped to erroneous conclusions, berated myself for everything, and questioned the choices I’ve made in my life. I felt all my losses and all my regrets and relived pain in excruciating detail in my head. I was too cold. I was too hot. I was just all wrong.
MKL made things a lot better. He gave me a biiiiiiggggg hug at lunch. He helped me remember who I am and what I am and how loveable I am. That I am worth having as a partner. That my ability to love and that the love I give is as deep as the space beyond the stars. And for all that, I thank him. I feel better.
Quote of the day: “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” — Louise Erdrich
Feelings that pass like storm clouds
Happy bus drivers
Giving little old ladies directions downtown
On this Mother’s Day, most of which I have spent with Kelsea doing pre-college stuff, snuggled up on the couch, on this wet, slight snowy day, I am reminded of how much perseverance starting, nurturing, and living a life takes. For all of us. I hope you have all had a happy Mother’s Day. For those of us who are without our own mothers now, it is a blessing to know that we were so loved and that the stars are the lights in our mothers eyes still, glowing as they watch us.
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Quote of the day: “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” — Washington Irving
Fixing my own printer
The first cricket (though he might be frozen by now)
My darling daughter
A day at home
We have reached a high of 14 today, as warm as it has been in days and days. Perhaps I’ll put on a sarong and flip-flops. Or perhaps not. I am curled up on the couch today, battling a migraine, and watching football players do amazing things in the eastern snow, backing up my computer, and snuggling with Mr. Man. I am warmed today by the memory this image conjures up for me, of driving back from a Labor Day with Kelsea, when we stopped somewhere between South Dakota and Wyoming, at this turn to nowhere surrounded by nothing but sunflowers, and we hugged in such a way that it is imprinted on my soul. If that hug were the last memory I summoned before I left this earthly plane, I would be happy.
Somewhere in the mid-West.
Quote of the day: “Hope and courage and risk dwell inside of us on an uncharted island and if we learn to look for it and tap into it, our possibilities are endless.” — Katie Kacvinsky
Deep sleep (despite the dreams)
Safe travels for beloved friends
Here’s the reason I’ve been a bit remiss in posting. It’s not a very good picture….
but this is Mr. Man. He’s 13 1/2 years old, and 17 1/2 pounds and he joined the household today from the Boulder Valley Humane Society. Even though MKL is rather allergic to cats (and claims he can’t eat a whole one), he was intrigued by the idea of having a Maine Coon. They are known as “the dog of the cat world” because of their size and their chill tendencies. Mr. Man is doing quite well for his first night in a strange house (with a strange woman). He did spend part of the evening under the bathtub, but I probably would have too. He’s having a hard time jumping up on the bed, but I don’t know if that’s because it’s high (it is), he’s high (he is, on pain medications since he had four teeth extracted yesterday) or he just needs to figure it all out. I may have to get him a step stool if he wants to snuggle in the bed.
So, right now, he is consuming me – not literally, but mentally. He’s a love and I’m so happy.
This was (and probably still is) one of my sister (inlaw)’s favorite songs. (I call her my sister (inlaw) as opposed to my sister-in-law because I’m no longer married to her husband’s brother, but she and I are more like sisters than he and my ex-Pat are like the actual brothers that they are. Generally, we just introduce each other as “my sister” and do the explaining later. I guess that kind of makes us like sister outlaws. And we both have some outlaw in us anyway.) Gracious, I am parenthetical today.
My sister (inlaw) and her husband are now living on the road, which is a perfect retirement lifestyle for them. As life currently stands, I don’t get on the road as often as I used to, but I am blessed with a partner who loves road trips. My first “big date” with MKL was a drive. While I didn’t know it at the time, this trip was kind of a test (though I suppose every early date is.) MKL is a car guy. He loves cars. When he is stressed, he lapses into “carspeak.” It relaxes him. I have learned a ton about cars from him. He knows his stuff and he explains it well. We do have a happy agreement that sometimes, he will go past my point of comprehension and it starts sounding like “blah blah blah” to me; at that point, he can stop talking or continue talking, but we both know I won’t be understanding anything. He gives me a warning when he knows he’s about to start going “blah blah blah.”
While he didn’t need a car girl, he was hoping to find someone who enjoyed the road, and who was enjoyable to be in a car with – hence, the test of the first big date. If I had cringed about high speeds, or whined that I wanted to get out of the car, or been a total bore, or not shared some love of music, I don’t think we’d be where we are now. But I do love the road, love to move, love to drive, love to see all kinds of things, love the sound of his voice, love our conversations, and love (most of) his musical tastes. We drove for something like seven hours that day – up to Leadville to see the reclaimed molybdenum (isn’t that the best word ever) mines (which look like beautiful rice paddies now as opposed to the alien public swimming pools they used to resemble) over to Buena Vista (now one of our favorite spots) for lunch at Casa del Sol, and then following the Arkansas River to Canon City and back up to my home north of Denver.
We are excellent travelling partners on the road of life.
My wanderlust has been in high gear this year and due to finances and work, I haven’t been able to indulge it much – our lovely trip to Anna Maria Island in February, and I think we made one trip to Cottonwood Hot Springs (but that could be my wishful thinking) before the fire there – and that’s been it. So I am super eager to get away for a few days, see new places, revisit places I haven’t been to in decades, and spend time with MKL. This will be our first road trip in my truck, which has seen me (and Kelsea) across the country and back, and has proven herself a faithful steed.
I won’t tell you where we’re going, so the pictures will be a surprise! If I have internet, I’ll try to talk to you from the road, but if I don’t, then I’ll see you when I get back!
I am blessed to work across the street from the marvelous Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver. The Tattered (as we so fondly call it) has tiptoed in and out of my life in Colorado up until now.
Decades ago, ex-Pat took me to Denver early in our dating years. At that time, the hip, trendy place now known as LoDo was still a long stretch of abandoned warehouses that served rail freight companies once upon a time. There were no sidewalks, only weedy and cracked asphalt streets. He boosted me up onto one of the old concrete loading docks because I wanted to see what it felt like up there. Homeless people were sleeping in ragged heaps in the deserted doorways. It was very quiet. There was a dangerous feel to the place. The two holdovers from the area’s glory days were Union Station, Denver’s railroad depot, and the Tattered. Entering that magical bookstore was like being transported into a fantasy come to life. It felt old and full of treasures, with creaky wooden floors and cushy deep chairs. We didn’t stay, as Pat wasn’t a fan of bookstores, and I suspect we were in search of champagne, but our brief visit remained bright in my memory.
Even though Boulder is only 25 miles distant from Denver, it was not a place I went often, until I started working downtown. About six years ago, I tried taking Kelsea to the Tattered, and I couldn’t find it. It was as if it had vanished. I thought I knew where I was going. I even looked it up on Google Maps. But it completely eluded me, and I decided that it must have gone the way of all flesh – or of many independent bookstores – and closed. The updated Tattered Cover, locate on Colfax Avenue in a former record store, was a disappointing shadow of my memory.
In some secret space of my mind, I believe that it had hidden itself from me on that day, using a building-sized invisibility cloak. I didn’t need it then, and so it was not available to me.
A year later, I stumbled upon it one lovely blue Saturday when I was downtown, after I had turned my life upside-down. I wandered around inside, completely bewildered, because I knew that I had been here before, and I knew that, the last time I looked for it, it had been gone. But yet, here it was. And here I was, baffled, but delighted.
After a cruel turn of events, when my life again capsized, the ropes I tossed out pulled me to this job across the street, where most days, I have the pleasure playing with words, and I am privileged to call myself a writer. I still make the distinction between the writing job that pays, and my own writing, which doesn’t, but I am a writer regardless. A dream come true, even if it is not right now exactly how I would have dreamed it.
The Tattered has played a large role in my courtship with MKL, which really started from another of those lifelines I tossed out back when I was drowning two years ago. We work at opposite ends of the 16th Street Mall, and so we have lunch together nearly every day, which has allowed our relationship to bloom in a different way than if we were having only weekend dates full of playing and passion. We have had a chance to talk more than most couples do when they are dating, perhaps more than most couples who have been together for many years. Tattered, where they now serve soups and sandwiches, coffee and tea, has been one of our favorite destinations, and the staff all know us there, and think we’re adorable. When one of us shows up without the other, we usually have to explain.
This morning, I stopped in to see if I could find an impulse card for him. None of the cards felt right today, but I did. I had been feeling anxious, as I have been feeling for some days now, and being in the Tattered soothed me. I found books to add to my “Desiderata” list, along with a sense of peace and quiet delight.
I have gone there to shed tears and to find silence. I have felt heartbreak and joy within its comforting walls. I have listened to favorite authors, found friends, and reveled in the feel and scent of books.
If a place can be an anchor, the Tattered is one for me. Not an anchor in the sense that it keeps me from moving. An anchor in that it provides me with a sense of timeless security, of stability. It reflects my past and my future, breathes whispers of my parents and the places I was raised, and reminds me that there are always new words waiting to be discovered, some of them my own.