Loving

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Letting Go

My cousin Alli holding her dad’s hand. After he lost consciousness, three days before he died. Their last photo together, of a sort.

I stayed with my aunt last week, joyfully helping, with medicine and cooking and comfort and company. I spoon fed and soothed the night terrors of a man who once terrified child me with his mad driving of an impossibly cool Fastback Mustang. How strange the tides of time.

I brought enough books and magazines and craft supplies for ages of reading and fiddling and doing. We made cute felted wool pixie dolls (no photo, drat). We watched hour after hour of Brad’s cool car shows and my aunt’s favorite dramas. We talked.

Of the past – the sweetest memories of me watching my aunt carefully applying makeup while listening to Bread on the hi-fi. How she still has the album in her collection. Of the first time she made Ro-Tel dip and I, as a cheese loving maniac, devoured it and have since eaten just about every spicy melted cheese I can get my hands on. Her, too. We enjoyed this while I was there. It was gone lickety-split quick.

Of the future and letting go. The first time she’d be on her own, after forty-six (!) years of marriage. The hush of a home occupied by one. A life entirely of her choosing, what to do, how to be. The fearful thrill of the unknown. My love for her, then and now.

In conversation with her daughters, my cousins, I was confronted with my own letting go. It was assumed that there was bitterness on my part, my lack of relationship with certain relatives was somehow eating at me. Quite the contrary, being in a relationship with my abusers was a great source of anxiety and pain.

I once read about a psychological study that involved a subject sometimes receiving food after pressing a button and other times receiving a shock. The subject basically went crazy because they never knew what they would get. That was me. When I interacted with my tormentors, sometimes they’d be friendly, shower me with kindness, gifts even. The next time, they’d be cruel, insult me, or blame me for something entirely out of my control. Oh, the wild anxiety, fretfully anticipating what each interaction would bring. Nausea. Headaches. Physical pain.

When I finally ceased all contact, it melted away. I found myself happier and peaceful, able to sleep through the night, at ease in my own skin. The only source of anxiety or bitterness I have felt since is at the hands of the so-called “helpful” who think my lack of interaction is somehow sad or harmful or foolish or whatever. That my life is their business and I ought to behave differently.

Sad is when I disregard my own sanity and safety to forge a relationship for the benefit of others. I’m glad I know better now.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as the song goes. I collected fallen limbs out walking, bought a few decorations (the cute trees are from Target!), and pulled out favorite treasures, so the house is nicely decked out and smelling lovely!

I also did a massive day of holiday sweet baking and making, with Biscochitos, Mexican Wedding Cookies, peanut butter yo-yos (which Daddy calls little burgers), pinon & rosemary caramels, amaretto & walnut fudges, cream cheese mints, and peppermint marshmallows. We’ve eaten and quite enjoyed a lot, but thankfully shared the majority to avoid sugar comas.

This past weekend, we enjoyed a little road trip to Denver to spend time with some of our favorite people. It was quite the whirlwind of tasty food, killer cocktails (Bananas & Bourbon!), games, and lovely company. As is often the norm at this time of year, it was frigid and sunny, with the bustle of humanity as jolly as the skies. We also had an easy drive both ways, which is always nice.

Just because they are so darn cute. Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

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Hello! What a perfect light jacket with full sun kind of day. We sipped our Sunday coffee outside, while Juniper bounded around the yard, chasing balls, eating snow, and generally amusing herself in the warm sunshine.

I had apples that had gone a little wrinkly and decided to make the most of them with Martha Stewart’s apple rosemary tea bread, probably the first and best recipe of hers I ever tried, gotten from a Christmas book ages and ages ago. It is moist and delicious, toasts beautifully, and as the name indicates, is rather nice with tea. We (more accurately Greg) pretty much devoured it.

Chicken with orange zest and green olive gremolata – a stellar combination that was quite pretty, too.

Me and my girl! She is such an adorable love bug. Greg and I were cuddling in bed, talking about life this morning, how you never know what the future holds. We laughed aloud when we imagined our twenty-years-ago selves pondering life with a dog and a brick ranch in Colorado Springs. We have absolutely no complaints about the path that led us here.

I bought a rather smart coat in two of my favorite colors (army green and rust!). It has a liner that is also a perfect down jacket. The one caveat? It came with this wild maroon faux fur hood attachment. I might have considered it, as it does seem quite warm, but it completely obscured my vision. Juniper didn’t think much of it either, but how cute she is in her wondering, “What have you done to me?!”

Jett

Had a super fun time with our nephew Jett this week! He was working locally and bunked at our place. We ate a lot and nearly drank our weight in boba tea!

These were the last photos I took of him, some seven years ago, when he was shorter than me, so it was about time we updated that situation.

He’s since graduated from high school and started work as an electrician’s apprentice. Greg and I are super proud of his accomplishments an even more so of his humanity. He’s a wonderful person with a great sense of humor. We love you, Jett!

 

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Hello, and happy Friday from my FIRST visit to Greeley! It’s funny how I was born and have spent the majority of my life in Colorado (31 years!), yet so much here is undiscovered. In an effort to remedy this, Greg and I went with my parents last weekend, mostly to visit the grave site of my great-great grandparents, Francesquita (Francesca) and William (the adults above, with Clifford, Tillie {my great-grandma}, and Lula) at the Linn Grove Cemetery. It’s been nearly 100 years since their deaths, so it’s about time, right?

Unfortunately, as they were awfully poor in life, we are fairly certain their graves have no headstones. The four of us wandered and searched, literally dug up grass, and Juniper gave her best sniffs, to reveal other nearby graves. We found a whole branch of the Card family (the name of one of my besties, Andie!!), and a LeRoy Williams, but no more. Now we will be purchasing a proper headstone for them. I do believe they deserve it.

As for Greeley, it turns out it is a pretty neat city, with the University of Northern Colorado its jewel in the crown. There are many fine murals and sculptures lining the main street (8th Avenue, actually) and a whole host of restaurants, sweet shops at a at least one distillery. When I return to see the new headstone, I’ll take more pictures!

And to the neighborhood where I grew up, with Little Dry Creek looking rather fine and a fun bit of mailbox art. As we strolled along, I contemplated the minimum number of times I walked along the banks, as it was my route to elementary school (K-6). In those days, the majority of kids walked (only Brandon Johnson and Heidi Geisler got rides on the daily), no matter the weather. I remember some supreme bundlings in winter and the two times I got a ride home from school.

The first was the day my parents bought the 1977 Monte Carlo and celebrated by taking us home early. A HUGE deal! The other was during a rather frightening tornado. Our neighbor Joyce picked us up in her Land Cruiser since my dad and the Monte Carlo were at work. Anyhoo, to that minimum calculation, 1890. How impossibly large that number seems now, a million steps ages and ages ago.

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