Exploring

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Well, mostly earlier today, save these two, which were taken last week, in the same good company, however. A new friend, Jennifer, and I, out walking. Discussing that word, friend, how often it is tricky and not quite enough, sometimes too much.

In between oohing and aahing over the scent of pine and how damn lucky we are to live in THIS place, red stone and dust, spotted towhees, flowers, and giant gorgeous mountains peering over our shoulders, we shared the shorthand of memories, distillations of of selves more than forty years in the making. How did I come to be me in this instant?

Though we did not pose the question nearly as succinctly as that, it is a good one. How did I? I married young and made it last. The hubster is my very best friend. I knew when I was eight years old that I didn’t want children, and thank goodness because my body, strong and sometimes wicked dictator that it is, occasionally renders me helpless and tired and utterly and completely infertile. My wit is sharp, save when dulled by the hammer and illogic of depression. And siblings? Three, one of whom I no longer speak to. No, it is not sad. People always say that, but it’s not. One doesn’t encourage other people to stay in abusive relationships.

Though I love religious iconography and people who hide such treasures for me to find (squee!), I am not religious. Deeply spiritual, yes. In love with humanity, yes. Willing to do good, to give, to share, to help, yes, yes, YES!!

And what else, in this getting to know me phase? I love to walk and hike and bike, mostly in that order. I am an excellent baker and cook. A decent decorator. I love flowers and art and cerebral fil-ums. I devour good books and toss the rest aside. I cuss. I am a speed demon when entering the highway, first gear loud and thrumming, then go granny goose and take in the scenery. Was that a bird of prey I just saw? Let’s smell, touch, taste that. Let’s travel there. Turn right now, I wanna see where this goes. Do you hear that? Isn’t it amazing? Oh my goodness, aren’t we sooo lucky? We are alive now in THIS place!!

choke cherry

green mertensia

pasque flower

trumpet gooseberry

sand lily

yucca seed pod

best friend ever

white loco

scarlet paintbrush

three tooth ragwort

old school litter – a pull tab!!

the path home

One surprise, two surprises, three, and FIVE!

First surprise – not a single contractor chez nous this weekend. A quiet house, me and the hubster, the hubster and me. We celebrated, of course we did, with pyjama lounging, music turned up loud, a delicious lunch at La Baguette, French and cheesy, as in loaded with cheese, not corny, a mushroom omelette and a casserole, namesake baguette loaded with butter, red ripe strawberries, sweet as could be.

Second surprise – hail! Bouncing and skittering during lunch and on our way to our new favorite library, the East branch of PPLD. Nothing like our beloved Bayne Library in Bellevue, but lovely still, modern and bigger and with a stunning view of Pike’s Peak. I’ve decided, should I ever make a Colleen style fil-um, the cosy couches of the reading area will play a role. One day I’ll take a picture, and you’ll understand why.

Third surprise – wild flowers at Palmer Park, some hidden in plain sight, others practically hollering to be seen. As you might imagine, I did a lot of squealing in delight. I can’t wait to try to grow some of these at the new homestead!

Fourth surprise – Radiohead released their latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool! As someone who likes so little of what is released into the world these days (yeah, I am one of THOSE people), I was and remain giddy at hearing their bit of newness, playing it on a steady loop. Thank you ever so much Thom, Ed, Colin, Jonny, and Phil. You make my world better.

Fifth and best surprise – my brother Chris (hey brother…) called! This is no small feat because he is in a tiny town in Namibia, Africa, doing a stint in the Peace Corps. It was our first time speaking in over a year and a half and did as much chatting and laughing as humanly possible in fifty-three minutes time.

Here’s hoping your weekend was equally wonderful, with a lovely surprise or two…

 

 

 

A fun Sunday afternoon in Manitou Springs, a twenty minute drive and decades leap into the past, reminding the hubster and I of every Western tourist stop of our childhood. We wandered and admired the eighties style arcade, old-timey thrift and gift shops, and scads of silver and turquoise (Squee!). Ravenous, we ate at one of those restaurants that just can’t manage to get it together. They were out of cheese dip, smoked trout, three kinds of beer, and quite possibly dropped the hubster’s smoked elk brat on the floor. Thankfully, all tasted delicious and no one fell ill!

Oh, and the spring water was delightfully fizzy…

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In the morning, we walk in the thin cold air, marveling and giggling, at blue sky and wondrous sunshine, overflowing from every possible angle, inside, outside. No, we didn’t forget to turn off a light. Even our our basement is aglow in afternoon. This is our life now, the smell and feel of childhood with the wisdom and appreciation of age. Mountains, hills straw yellow and sun bleached, life at 6200 feet. We are here but were elsewhere for so long, or maybe just a moment, it sometimes seems.

Last night, I remembered our Portland house. The kitchen cabinets that we painted the color of water, the window that was half sun and half shade of the patio. How I watched the birds at the bath: hawks, robins, scrub jays, finches & sparrows, bush tits & chickadees. Paris stretched and yawning. Milo catching flies. Our first November, the yard downright boggy and my shoes nearly sucked into the squelch of muck. Sixteen years in that sweet house, every shade of grey and green, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And this mess of boxes, wreck of a house and yard, washing dishes on our knees in the shower, I wouldn’t trade for anything either. We are home again.

Nighttime

Nighttime walking, positively giddy with neon and gliding geese. Quiet and brisk, my hat pulled down over my ears, fingers laced with the hubster’s. Everything I don’t need to see is hidden, forgotten, mostly, save my worries and woes, which, thankfully, are few at the moment. Goodness, yes.

Our little brick house is one step closer to reality. We had inspections yesterday, by fine and thoroughly kind professionals and were grateful for good news and even excitement from our structural engineer (“One quarter inch of settling in sixty years – incredible!”) and celebrated with high-fives and me gasping, “I could hug you!”

So now, my head is full up with ideas I can rightly execute and thinking about contractors, plumbers, tilers, cabinet installers. Someone who will repair and sand the neglected floors. Another who builds fences, so I can spin like a dervish in the back yard with only the hubster and Google satellites to witness it. Excitement. Cabinet fronts! New windows! Light fixtures – sixteen on their way! This is happening, and we are not going to eke it out like Portland. Sixteen years of projects and paint will be done in rapid HGTV style, with us camped out in the basement, using a pink toilet and a sink short enough for elementary schoolers to delight in the oh-my-goodness-I-don’t-need-a-stool wonderment of it all.

And it was SEVENTY degrees outside when I wrote this. In February. Oh, Colorado!

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