Being

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Greg and Juniper looking particularly relaxed and happy after a weekend chock full of activity.

Friday night we watched the cousin’s kidlets while they enjoyed a rare evening on the town. There was MUCH play – of the football catching, block building and demolishing, and video gaming variety. There was also Boss Baby (funny!) and pancakes and bedtime stories. Once we tucked the kiddos safely into bed, we binge watched some Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (lives up to its name!) and wished there was ONE single platform for ALL video streaming, as we have zero interest in paying a multitude of fees for our television. Sigh. Incentive for us to watch the kids more often, I suppose!

Up early Saturday morning for a long-awaited visit with some of our besties, Michael and Mary. They brought their dogs, Jesuscito and Lupita, and Juniper thought they were the cat’s pajamas. We can sniff and play all day, inside, outside, run, run, run. Only one thing – do NOT touch my food, okay? Okay. Good.

I made all kinds of goodness – a pork roast, salad, spinach and ricotta gnudi (the flecked with green rolls whose name translates to naked – a jacketless ravioli). The prettiest, hands down, was the delicious orange and fennel cake because, lucky me, blood oranges are still in season and gorgeous, gorgeous!

It was a sleep over, so there was more food adventure in the form of crumpets for breakfast (sore-ee no photo). I had never made them and wondered if I had it all wrong, but they looked right and tasted like WOW! I do believe they will be on a more frequent rotation. Yes, I do.

Did I, after years of swearing I would, remember to take a picture of the four of us? No, because I always get so caught up in the being and doing of fine friendship and cooking and baking that I forget. Even though the camera is close at hand, within eye shot, even. Not the worst to happen, really, so fully immersed in the joy of our togetherness. Yes. But dang, too. I’d like to have us rounded up for the ages. I really, really would.

Winnowing

In keeping with the work I did with the Belong book, on examining my life and friendships more honestly and with the goal of surrounding myself with the kindest and most positive, there’s been a slow winnowing of people, these in particular:

The woman who wants everyone who doesn’t agree with her locked up and calls those she doesn’t like ugly names.

The woman who made vomit noises while describing bearded men, as my beautiful bearded man sat footsteps away.

The man who posted the horrible and unspeakable for who knows what end.

The people who are never-ever on social media and / or haven’t responded to texts or emails or messages or said so much as boo! for ages. I appreciate that people get busy, but I am not interested in a one-sided relationship.

The woman who intimated that I was callous and shallow because my house is clutter-free.

The woman who is angry and bitter and made fun of me.

The people who only use social media to sell their wares. Same goes for the people who get in touch only when they want something from me – can you help me sell X, give money to my kid, etc. Again, I am happy to help, but I don’t want to feel used.

The woman who intimated that other people “get” her snark but I don’t. As if snide and mocking comments directed at my person should be enjoyed.

I know that I am not a perfect person. Too honest sometimes, yes. Too direct. Intense, the hubster says. I also unfriended a woman to save her from having to see comments from me. A bad book (in my opinion) was made into what she thought was an awful movie, and I asked if it was worse than the book. Not to be mean, but because it reminded me of how I LOVE Philip Dick stories on the big screen, yet goll-ee if his writing isn’t a nightmare for me to read (save Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Maybe I should have been clearer. I don’t know. After my comment, she was noticeably cold to me on all fronts. So, yeah, another one bites the dust.

I wonder if all this sounds petty or cruel or gives the impression that I think I am somehow better. I DO NOT. I am simply realizing what works for me (like kindness, courtesy, and actually showing up) and letting go those who don’t. It’s without judgement (I don’t have time for that, either), and I truly wish everyone well. Life is difficult enough as it is. There’s a great line in an Andrew Bird song, “Life is too long to be a whale in a cubicle.” Such a vivid image! Being surrounded by those who don’t rev my positive engines would be like plopping orca Colleen in the proverbial cubicle. What a great tragedy that would be! There are vast and magical oceans beckoning me to swim.

Morningtime

Our morning walk is a cold one. Hats and gloves and puffs of hot breath. Most days, though we live smack-dab in the city, we see no other humans. We see their gravelly footprints. We hear their cars racing and spy their contrails flying to greener pastures. At least, I hope. It is so curious to live in such proximity, to witness such evidence, yet make so little contact.

My life of late has been a steady rhythm of baking, cooking, walking (always walking!), entertaining. I made all manner of cookies and sweet treats for our dear neighbors and a gaggle of women I am proud to call my friends. We came together at our house, seated around our sturdy table. We broke bread and laughed and shared all that is us. Two days later, we did it again, with my Mom and Dad and two of our three nephews. The true blessing of any season, not just of the Christmas variety, to be known and heard and loved.

Here is hoping the same for you on this, the *darkest day of the year…

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Well, at least in this hemisphere.

Mountains for Miles

Cutest cuddlers in the WORLD!

Mountains for miles…

The Collegiate Peaks

Mosquito Range

East Buffalo Peak

silly

More Collegiates

I read somewhere that people should never be best friends with their spouse. If you dare choose such an arrangement, you’ll be sorely lacking a mate to discuss your spouse is the logic. Rule breaker that I am, I find this foolish, for neither I nor Greg has any problem with airing our grievances with one another. I firmly believe this is why our relationship works. We talk. We complain. We call each other out on our bullshit. We also pass the best small moments together: walking, talking, driving, sitting, listening, laughing, and dining. We have no secrets, tell no lies. I cannot imagine a better or more fulfilling way for us to live.

I am most reminded of this when we travel and have the great privilege of leaving the everyday, how I love to look upon the hubster’s face while he drives, handsome and wizened and curious. How all the questions bubble and pop to the surface. What is your opinion? How can we do and be better? Why do I keep making the same mistake? Couple that with senses¬†heightened by experiencing the novel (at least to us), away from the work and noise of home, both the literal and figurative.

This holiday there were hours and hours floating and dreaming in the hot springs, in daylight and moonlight, senses tuned to the rush of water, gales of wind, and falling of snow. How wonderful that nothing is off-limits. No question or thought, because we are best friends, living in the world together. There are great stretches when not a single word is spoken nor needed and similar times when there are so very many: eloquent, jumbled, silly. All carry the same weight. The weight that is US.

Pike’s Peak in a cloud hug! I volunteer at a retirement home, spending time with hospice patients. One of my ladies, when asked if she had a nice view, said, “It’s nothing much.” Not taking her at her word because I am a woman of my own mind, I glanced out and saw Pike’s Peak. She said she’d seen it so many times she was over it.

Though I am open to many possibilities in life, this really isn’t one of them. Nearly every day, I see this great mountain, and am always delighted by it. It’s here for me!¬†And you, too! I felt the same over my sixteen years in Portland; every day I caught sight of Mt. Hood, Mt. Saint Helen’s, and Mt. Adams was a finding a penny on the sidewalk kind of day, simply the best.

The days are also getting cooler and more trees are starting to turn in our neck of the woods, which means Juniper has occasion to wear a coat. This is a snazzy new one that fits nicely and looks absolutely adorable. How about that dog walker, too. Handsome!

In addition to making kombucha (peach, mixed berry, ginger turmeric, and apple are our best flavors), I have started a wee batch of mead! Honey, water, hibiscus, and time. Fingers crossed that it tastes as lovely as the color. So pretty!

My pack! I snapped these post teeth cleaning (done by yours truly). As you can imagine, it ranks right up there with nail trimming (the hubster’s job) as Juniper’s least favorite activities. Post trauma cuddles go a long way!

Views from yesterday morning’s walk. I know I’m like a broken record, but seriously, this place is so beautiful!

Finally, when I was in college, I was struck by ecological succession. A glacier rests cozily during the ice age; it’s remains melt into a lake; the lake turns to a meadow; the meadow turns into a forest. A magical progression, with every manner of life supported.

During our road trip a few weeks back, I saw a woman who had once been one of my very best friends. For a whole host of reasons, I stopped speaking to her about 18 years ago, a heart-wrenching decision that took me years. Afterward, zooting through the jeweled meadows and forests with a head full of memories, I realized how we are kin: a series of individual beings occupying the same space throughout time. Parts grow and flourish, ebb and flow, advance and retreat, each the same but very different. We spend small forevers with creatures great and small. Some of these creatures nourish, some don’t. Same goes for our experiences, in our own minds and out in the world. As I am solidly in mid-life, I am ever more keen on experiencing all that uplifts and take calculated steps to achieve that goal. This means spending more time with the right people, less or none at all with the wrong ones, as well as being less inhibited about taking risks or trying something new.

So to the picture! I have always wanted to go to a rave, to dance myself silly. Sadly, I never took the opportunity. Then one episode of High Maintenance (my very favorite show!) had a story line with a day rave, and I got super excited. Dancing in the morning? No drugs or alcohol? Where do I sign up?! I searched the interwebs and found Daybreaker, the brainchild of Radha Agrawal, and bought a ticket for their most recent party at the Boulder Reservoir. I went alone but was never on my own, enjoying the best community of huggers, body painters, and glitter mavens! I danced for three hours, laughed and cried. Best of all, I was part of something joyful, radiant, and true. Here’s to more…

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