Being

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H o m e

Also, I changed the lamp.

Juniper and best pal, Juneau. That tongue!

Milkweed – I have two spritely sprouts that I hope will look this lovely next year.

Early morning walks

puddle gazing

We had the most lovely stretch of Portland storms – five days of me sighing wistfully, “Isn’t it wonderful?”, while just about everyone else I know was cursing under their breath. It takes all kinds.

ratibidia

R U N !

Someone had a birthday. I made cupcakes.

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You may be wondering if this is going to turn into a doggie blog. It might rabbit, it just might. Nah. That said, we are in serious doggie mode here. Our schedule has been upended, with us more regimented, rising earlier, so we can get at least an hour walk in every day, though Juniper sometimes behaves as though it’s only been fifteen minutes, darting around the yard like a race horse before deciding she is REALLY hungry and devouring her food in a minute flat. She’s energetic like that.

Our choice of books has been augmented to include everything dog, heavy on the Cesar Millan. We our doing our best to be calm-assertive pack leaders. She is doing her best to keep us guessing, well behaved dream doggie to a spazzy-zig-zaggy pup in the blink of an eye. She’s goofy like that.

But that’s not all I want to talk about, partially to prove that we are not all dog, all the time, and partially because it’s what is on my mind. I am pretty sure I have already mentioned this, but because I am human and rather fallible, I’m going to act like I didn’t. Part of what I love about Colorado Springs, besides its close proximity to near and dear ones and New Mexico, is that it reminds us of all the places we have ever lived.

Much like me, the hubster, and our new pup, our fair city is quirky, complete with a Keep Colorado Springs Lame bumper sticker. Our house is blocks away from a very Powell Boulevard-esque street. It is a five mile bike ride from downtown (though it would have been a treacherous one in Pittsburgh) in a very walkable city, for which we thank goodness, because we are going to cover every inch of it with our sweet Juniper Beulah. Palmer Park is almost equidistant as Mount Tabor was, complete with a snow capped mountain in the background! Capacious Red Rocks Park and Bear Creek serve as fine Forest Park and Frick Park stand-ins, swapping geologic wonders of granite and sandstone for dense woods and towering trees.

Though Portland reigns supreme in this category, we have some super organic food and grocers and stellar local restaurants. One of our favorites, insert spooky sound effect, even has the number 503 in its name. Whaaat?! Though it refers to an address, not the area code of our favorite rainy city. But still.

It is a collection of hills and dales and flat plains, coal mines slipped in and amongst a perfect grid and bowl of spaghetti collection of senseless winding streets, the best and the worst of East and West Side Portland and the whole of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

It is blue collar and higher ed, an hour from every beauty imaginable, save the stellar Oregon coast.

It is HOME, and we are so happy to be here.

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Last night Joy Division was on a constant loop, on the hi-fi and my mind’s eye. Positively agog that this music has been a steady part of my being for more than thirty years. What, whaaat? T H I R T Y.

I sat, joyfully awash in the memories elicited.

Of staying up late, hunched over my desk, doing homework, music low. Other times, the joyous solitude of listening for the sake of it, to grasp the meaning, scribbling words and ideas in notebooks, pinning them on walls and doors, of dancing by myself wrapped in the sheer pleasure, of attempting to drown the noise of a loud house and an even louder family.

Of being an outsider, neither a punk nor a waver, neither a stoner nor a jock, neither a nerd nor a cheerleader, but skirting the territories, knowing each as a person and friend, beloved, crafting the finest patchwork quilt of companions, threads of kindness in my wake. Proving some things never change. Be who you are. Love and do as you like, just show me your kindness, your heart, and we can be friends.

Unpredictable me. Clothes preppy and new wave, loafers and buckle shoes, never a sock. Obsessed with skulls and so much black, save around the eyes. Makeup light, bangs high, then the bob I would have for years, sometimes bangs, sometimes not, shoulder to chin and back again. Honor roll student doing donuts in my friend’s Charger, fast, faster, I laughed wildly while he whimpered like the baby I was purported to be. French student of the year who occasionally got high, drank practically never, save to taste. My first cocktail was a Lynchburg Lemonade, further proving some things never change. I do like whiskey best. Designated driver and caretaker, I got people safely home, handed out bowls to vomit in, and practically ran a therapist’s office out of my car.

My car! I worked long hours and saved for years, fast food and bussing tables, finally having enough Christmas break senior year of high school. 1981 Toyota Celica, five speeds and the freedom to do what I please. My music. My Thoughts. My whims. Mostly in darkness, when I reflect, whizzing and crawling along the back roads of Arvada, Boulder, and the mountains beyond. The Sex Lights and searching for possessed goats. Driving to parties, the Westminster Mall. The highway downtown to be among the skateboarders, outsider again, my favorite, wickedly handsome with a foot tall mohawk and bad manners. But, goll-ee, to watch him skate, the grace and lightness of fine articulated limbs.

Later, at night, to wander among the warehouses, under viaducts, places long gone. To smoke – stupidly, for a year – Camels and the fanciest black cloves at Paris on the Platte, sip a Cafe Jacques, or, on more brazen evenings, a Crowbar, plied with enough caffeine to open the eyes of the dead. Other times it was Muddy’s, darker, quiet and moodier, too, whispering among ceiling-high books, nursing a chocolaccino, delicate sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Music was the undercurrent of it all, often misunderstood and mocked by friends, yet what held us together, too. Those dark hours, adding up to days and months, driving and talking, the music never stopped. Joy Division. The Doors. The Cure. U2. New Order. INXS. Lou Reed. The Clash. Eazy-E. The Rolling Stones. The Beastie Boys. The Psychedelic Furs. Echo and the Bunnymen. The Smiths. Modern English. General Public. More I can’t remember. More I choose to forget.

 

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Palmer Park – a ten minute walk to paradise.

Mountain Mohagany and the loveliest winter light.

My Mom feeds her neighborhood pig and she (he?) smiles with gratitude.

g l o w

Our favorite canine. Not ours, but loved still. Go, Jimbo, go!

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Cusp

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. – Unknown

I am learning, both the potency and urgency of these quotations. A little late in the game, maybe. Maybe right on time. Either way, I’m ready. Ready to have relationships that nourish rather than drain. That uplift rather than crush. That embrace rather than judge.

I am paying C A R E F U L attention. I am listening. Hearing all of your words. Observing all of your actions.

It used to be that I brushed aside small criticisms of my person. Large criticisms, too. Slights. I made excuses. I didn’t believe, without articulating it as such, that I deserved better. That I deserved kindness and respect. That others were more important than me, my thoughts, my feelings.

Times have changed. Show me who you are, and I will believe you NOW, the first time. For some, it may be the 100th. But it will be the last.

These words, seen so clearly, seem a bit harsh to my eyes. But when I look back on the hurts and failed relationships of my past, where I was disrespected and unappreciated, I know I need their simplicity, their clarity.

I’m ready for all the goodness and light I deserve.

See you on the other side. Or maybe not…

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